Samuel Parris, Sermon Notebook
[ Ordination Sermon. The Old Style calendar date for this sermon is 19 September, 1689]
How Blessed of God are all you, wo having been at ye Lords table, have had communion with ye Lord at his Table. The Lord bless you, & keep you. The Lord make his face shine upon you, & be gracious unto you. The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, & give you Peace. And the God of Peace that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you perfect in every good work to do his will, working in you yt w'ich is well-pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be Glory for ever & ever. Amen.page: 1
My poor & weak Ordination sermon at the Embodying of a Church in Salem Village on the 19.9.1689. The Rev'd Mr. Nicholas Noyse Embodying of us: wo also Ordained my most unworthy Self Pastor, & together with the Rev'd Mr. Sam: Phillips & the Rev'd Mr. John Hale imposed hands The same Mr. Phillips giving me ye right hand of fellowship with beautifull loveliness & humility.
5 Joshua 9· first part
And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away the Reproach of Egypt from off you. As to the Penman of this Book there are variety of apprehensions but famous Calvin, & some others, suspend their determinate judgments about it as not having sufficient grounds to bottom any certainty upon.
The Scope of this Book is of great excellency & usefullness upon sundry accounts. As
1. To discover to us the sufficiency of a divine promise for Faith to build upon, & (as I may say) rest it self in. God for many years before had promised to give Abraham & his Seed ye Land of Canaan but in the interim he seems (as it were) to have forgotten yt Promise. But yet in his own good & promised time, he doth most punctually notwithstanding all intervening difficulties, seeming impossibilities, & naturally reall invincible impediments fully perform every part of that promise. Hince then all true Israelites have enough to stay upon in all ages as long as they have a Divine promise to build & bottom upon.
2. To discover to us the sufficiency of a divine threatening to strike terrour into Heavens Rebells. God had threatened ye Canaanites for their Idolatry & other wickednesses that he would root them out of the earth, & give their Landpage: 2
to another & a better people: but this threatning was long delayed before it was brought unto execution: & very likely ye carnall Canaanites thought it altogether impossible. Well but at length w'th those wo were to cut them off drew near, & impediments were miraculously removed, namely Jordan driven back, so as to give way to the Israelites dry passage, as soon as ever the Priests wo bare the Ark were dipped in the brim of the water: now these poor cursed Canaanites tremble. 5. Chap. 1. And this doctrine, or lesson, is exceeding usefull for our unbelieving dayes. Alas! unless there be a present fulfilling of an evil threatned many, too many, will little regard it. What the wise man saith is sadly applicable to multitudes in our dayes. 8. Eccl. 11. Because sentence against an evil work – sinners see no hell, & therefore they fear none. Oh Sinners! time enough, time enough, have but a little patience, & you shall see an hell time enough, wrath will overtake you time enough, if you prevent it not by true Repentance.
3. To discover to us the true, & most shining ornaments of a good Ruler whither in Church, or Commonwealth, namely that he be endued with true piety, prudence, valour, diligence, patience &c as Joshua here. Such a one should have his eyes so fastened upon Religion as no Basilisk should remove them. Such a one should be so much for the advancement of Gods pure worship that he should resolve to carry it on as far as he can, when he cannot carry it as far as he would, & tho he cannot get one soul from abroad to joyn with him in it. 24 Josh. 15.
4.To discover to us the very best way for the attaining of a flourishing Common wealth. Many very anxiously have disputed about this point, but the unerring word page: 3 of God, in that book & elsewhere, & also experience gives full proof that there is no readier way to prosperity than to walk heedfully in the paths of piety. New-England knows this very well to be true.
5. To discover to us ye spiritual conduct Gods true Israel have by Christ Jesus through the Wilderness of this world into the other Canaan, that blessed land far off. Joshua both in name & deeds was a type of Christ Jesus. Joshua must convey Israel through the swellings of Jordan & put them into a peaceable possession of Canaan, the promised typical Rest. In all which ws typified what Christ Jesus doth for believers.
6. Last. To discover to us what Xtians mist look for whilst they appertain to the Church Militant, & so are war hours under the Lord Jesus: namely laborious & hazardous combats both public and private till they are are brought to the Rest above
But so much for the several general usefull instructions this book offers us.
In this book of Joshua is described
The history of Joshua’s Life [and] Death
Joshua’s life is set for principally in reference to ye great office committed to him of being chief Governor over Israel to conduct them into the promised land after Moses’s death.
Touching this his Office two things are observable
1. His vocation to his Office 1. Chapt. Wherein you find God Commanding him to who
work, instructing him in it, & encouraging him to go about it 2. His
administration, or Execution, of this his Office, & that both in times of War
In time of peace after his conquest, by his distributing the conquered land,
& appointing cities of refuge, & laying out forty & eight cities for the
Levites, all which were done according to Gods fore appointing &
In time of war we have an account or narrative of his prudent, valiant, & martial acts for dispossessing and destroying of the Canaanites. As
1. His Commanding the people by their officers to make ready for their passing over the River Jordan. 1. Cap. 10. 10. v.
2. His Reminding the two tribes & a half (whose Lot was assigned them on this side of Jordan) of their engagement to Moses to help their Brethren, in the war till the Lord had given them Rest: whereunto is annexed their profession of Obedience unto Joshua. 12. v. ad finem.
3. His sending, or dispatching, of two Spies to view the Land who being received & entertained by Rahab do therefore Covenant with her by oaths to save her, & her household, & who at their return make a faithful & encouraging report unto their General Joshua. 2. Cap. totu To adnomine
4. Last: His, & all Israels, miraculous passage through ye River Jordan. 3. & 4. Cap.
And so we come to this 5th Cap. wherein instead of many things (for brevity’s sake) we may take notice of two. As
1. Of wonderful terror which fell upon the Canaanitish Kings upon Israel’s thus
over the River Jordan 5. Cap.1. God had long before threatened them with destroying judgments but they trusting in their own strength were secure & slighted divine threatenings. But now when they understand that the enemie had passed over Jordan their hearts melted. i.e. their wisdom, valour. & the like failed them.
Jordan was their great Bulwark: a defense to their whole Country, & therefore they feared little. They page: 5heard no doubt of Israels prodigious traveling thro ye Red Sea. I but yt was a great while agoe. & besides very far from them, therefore this terrified ym not, or else time had eaten up yt terror. I but now the like is done near themselves, & mining enemies are upon their very banks, at the presence of whom their very Bulwark Jordan as affrighted gives way, & this strikes terrour into their sinfull souls. What ye holy Ghost sais 20. Job. 22. of the oppressor is many times fulfilled, & particularly here. In the fulness of his sufficiency he shall be in straights. When wicked men think themselves most secure many times they are most in danger. As here ye Canaanites never dreamt of any Invasion this way, on this side their Countrey because it was their strongest post but lo here they are invaded, & their defense opens to the enemy, this strikes terrour into them.
2. Of Joshua's renewing Circumcision 2-10 verse. Concerning w'ch we may take notice of two things: namely the Causes & the Consequents thereof.
I. The causes ofJoshua's circumcising ye children of Israel: & they are two, namely Gods command, & ye Peoples former omission.
I. Gods command 2. v. therefore he dos it in ye 3rd verse.
Quest. But it may be asked w't is meant by circumcising ye Second time mentioned in the 2 verse.
Answ: Only in a very few words (though there are wo do considerably controvert about it) It is not meant by the second time, yt those wo were already circumcised should again be circumcised, which is inconsistent both with Religion & Nature. Seing yt could not be cut off again which was cut off before. But the meaning is page: 6restore the Sacrament of Circumcision, to its primitive use as ye first institution of it to Abraham & his seed w'ch now for a long time had been neglected, or at least omitted, if not during their abode in Egypt, yet during their travel in the wilderness. So that not the same individual person is commanded to be circumcised, who was before circumcised, but the same people who were at first circumcised in their Parents, is now commanded to be circumcised in their children.
2. The peoples omission of this duty & ordinance before as you read in the 4. 5. 6. 7. verses.
II. Now follows to be taken notice of ye consequents of Joshua's circumcising the Israelites. Namely
1. Their forbearing to prosecute their Enemies ye Canaanites. 8. v. The reason was because of their present inability for war as appears in the instance of the Shechemites. 34. Gen. 25. And it is worthy our noting what a notable advantage ye Canaanites now had for doubtless they had spies abroad wo could tell them what was doing among the Israelites, I but God overawed them. Obedience to God is the best defense against the greatest hazards. 34. Exod. 23. 24·
2. Gods speech to Joshua hereupon. Text. And the Lord said unto Joshua, This day have I rolled away ye Reproach of Egypt from off you. In this speech to be short we may take notice of these following things. Viz.
I. God tells us the an Evil was removed, namely ye evil of Reproach. Reproach, contempt, disgrace &c w'ch are synonomous words every one will readily own to be an Evil. Well sais God this Evil is removed, or rolled away.
2. God tells us the kind or quality of this Evil or Reproach namely the Reproach of Egypt. Not a bare & naked Reproach, but a grand Reproach, a very foul Reproach indeed: the Reproach of Egypt. i.e. yt being uncircumcised they were like the Egyptians, namely profanepage: 7
& strangers unto God, not being interested in his coven't w'ch is a very great shame, obloquie & Reproach to any person or people as is by & by to be hinted
3. God tells us which removed this Evil, namely he himself
4· God tells us fro whom this Evil was removed, namely Israel. I have rolled away the Reproach of Egypt from off you.
5. God tells us how he removed it, namely, by rolling it away. Now by rolling away a Reproach dos not mean only the removal of contempt disgrace & infamie but also the bestowing honour & dignity upon such: as 119. Ps. 22. Remove from me Reproach & contempt. Not as if the Psalmist aimed at nothing else in his Prayer but the removal of Reproach, but also at promotion & dignity namely that God would so shine upon him as that those who would be glad to Reproach & contemn him might not by providence be favoured w'th any advantage so to do: but that he might be above the contempt of his wicked adversaries
6.Last. God tells us ye time when, the very day wherein he removed this evil from them, & so consequently & implicitely ye way whereby he did remove this evil from them, namely, by admitting ym into covenant w'th himself, & confirming it unto them by his Seals the Sacraments; Circumcision mentioned in ye former verses & ye Passover mentioned in the verse following ye text.
Doctr. It is an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach to any people to be out of visible & Sacramental communion with God in his Ordinances, w'ch Ordinances when God doth gratiously bring a people to the enjoyment of, then, & thereby, God doth not only take away their former disgrace & Reproach, but also most highly exalt promote, & dignify them.
1.Prop: Vide pag. 8 latter part * It is an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach to be out of visible & Sacramentall communion with God in his Ordinances.page: 8
If you say how may this appear
1. An: From the blessed Gods account. Text. And the Lord said unto Joshua This day, have I rolled away the Reproach of Egypt from off you. i.e. This day I have freed you from that shame & dishonour which did lye upon you whilst ye were bondslaves in the Land of Egypt, by receiving you into covenant & communion with my self, & acknowledging yt for my peculiar people, & admitting you to have this priviledge, sealed unto you by this seal of circumcision. Or by this Reproach of Egypt may be meant ye Reproach w'ch did lye upon the Egyptians themselves, as upon all other Nations in ye being out of Coven't w'th God, & not partakers of the Seals thereof, they were Aliens, and strangers to God, in an Heathenish & damnable condition, & were so reputed, & had in abomination w'h the Church & people of God. For yt was one end for which God appointed the Sacramt of Circumcision viz, to distinguish between his own peculiar servants, & other people, as may be gathered from ye, 12. Exod. 48. And hince it is ye profane Nations are characterized by their being uncircumcised & so out of Coven't with God. 34. Gen. 14. 1. Sam. 14. 6. & many other places. So Sais God here: You were before Uncircumcised as ye Egyptians & other Aliene Nations. You were out of Covenant as they. There was no difference between you & my cursed enemies. This was your Reproach: your disgrace but now it is rolled away. * Vide pag. 7 last words.
Prop: It is an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach to be out of visible & Sacramentall communion with God in his Ordinances.)
2. An: From mans account, that is to say the account of ye best of men, godly men in all ages havepage: 9
lookt upon it, as indeed it is, a disgrace & Reproach to be void of visible & Sacramentall communion with God, & therefore have deeply bewayled such a condition. 42. Ps. 1-5. 74. Ps. 1-11. 79. Ps. 80. Ps. 1-12. But I must not stay here.
3. An: Last in a word. From ye nature of ye thing: Because it is in such a way as God dos offer his seal up to us, & also confirm our Faith in an interest in whatsoever dos or can indeed exalt us. 17. Gen. 11. Ye shall circumcise ye flesh of your Foreskin, & it shall be a token of the Covenant be twixt you & me. And this Circumcision sais Paul. 4. Rom. 11. was a seal of the righteousness of Faith. It was signu [sign] memorativu [memorative]:, introductivum [introductive], demonstrativum [demonstrative], prefigurativum [prefigurative], distinctivum [distinctive]. But I must but hint at such things. So of ye Lords Supper, sais Christ. 26. Matt. 28. This is my blood of the New-Testament. i.e. a sign & Seal thereof.
2. Prop: When God doth graciously bring such a people to ye enjoym't of his Ordinances, then, & thereby God doth not only take away their former Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach but also most highly exalt dignify & promote them. Before they were Profane as other Nations: now they are holy foederally holy. Before they were grosly ignorant of their best good, last End, & way to it, now they have the knowledge hereof: & these things exalt a people above all others 147 Ps. 19. 20. 3. Rom. 1. 2. Other Nations are said to have been without God, because the public wrongly without Gods lively Oracles & exalting Ordinances. 2.page: 10
Chr. 15. 3. where its said even of Gods Israel that they were without God, because without the publick worship & ordinances of God. But on the other hand where God bestows his ordinances the signs of his gracious favour & presence such a people are said to be exalted, yea to be highly exalted, to be exalted unto Heaven as Christ sais of Capernaum. II. Matt. 23.
Reas: in one word because of the blessed presence of Christ in his Ordinances when duly attended upon. As
1.Christ is present there in his Royall & Kingly Majesty. 4. Rev. 1. 2. By which heaven is by some, & very well may be, meant, not only the third heaven, but also his instituted Churches wherein as in heaven, Christ as a King sits & dwells, holding out the Sceptre, the golden Sceptre of grace, and offers most Royall & inestimable bounties.
2. Christ is present there in his Mediatoriall Beauty. 27. Ps. 4.-- To behold ye beauty of the Lord. i.e. to enjoy the blessed worship & ordinances of God's house, wherein Christ Jesus is offered unto, & accepted of, ye beleiver, as his greatest beauty & delight.
3. Last: Christ is present there in wayes of Communication & bounty according to ye promise. 20. Ex. 24. Here it is ye Hammer of Gods word by the hand of his spirit breaks ye Rocks in peices. Here it is ye eyes of ye blind are opened, & the ears of ye deaf are unstopped. Here it is that ye strong man armed (the Devil) meets with one that is stronger than he (who overmatcheth him, viz Christ Jesus) Who turns him out of his tenement, the Souls of sinners & works deliverance for the lawfull Captive. Here it is that ye poor are filled, yea feasted: thepage: 11
wounded are anointed: the sorrowfull are comforted: the shagless are reduced: & the weak confirmed &
I aim at a word or two of use & so shall shut up which great brevity because of the shortness & somwhat sharpness of the season; & the considerableness of time that the remaining work calls for.
1. Use Information
1. Hince learn we to adore, & in our very souls to magnify, the free grace of God in our Lord Jesus, for the gracious distinction he is pleased to make between us in New-England and millions of others. We are all one by nature with Egyptians, Turks, Pagans, Indians, Ethiopians, & but we differ vastly in holy Priveledges. If we ask ourselves, as Paul dos ye Corinthians 1. Ep. Cor. 4. 7. who make[s] ye difference? There is a vast difference indeed. But how comes it? Why not from any merit in us, but from the mercy of God to us as to Israel of old. 7. Deut. 6. 7. 8. It is God who hath rolled away our disgrace & Reproach, & brought this honour & dignity upon us: & seing it is the Lords gracious doing let it be marvellous in our eyes. Sais David, when Zadock brought after him (in his flight from Absalom) the Ark of ye Covenant of God, carry it back: if I shall find favour in the eyes of the Lord he will bring me again & shew me both it & his habitation. 2. Sam. 15. 24. 25. So I say we have found favour in Gods eyes, let us thankfully own it, & admire at it: & say not unto us, not unto us, or our merits, but unto Gods Name is due the glory of these distinguishing privelledgespage: 12
2. Hince learn Ye at this place (this Village) that God hath graciously brought you to a good day this day. This is the day wherein God is giving you hopes that he will roll away the Reproach of Egypt from off you. It is true indeed some of you (& yet alas but a few of you) were partakers of visible & Sacramentall communion which God in his Ordinances, by virtue of your Memberships with other Churches of our Lord Jesus. I but still you had no such settled sacred & Royall dignities, & distinguishing privelledges among your selves. The Reproach of Egypt continued in the place, tho some few persons were exempted from it. Now w' an Egyptian-like disgrace & Reproach was it for such a Number of people (so well able to maintain the Lords Ordinances) in such a land as New-England, so long to continue unlike their professing Neighbours, without the signs & seals of the blessed Covenant of Grace? In the eyes of God, & in the eyes of godly persons this was your Reproach. But this day God gives you hopes of rolling away this Reproach from off you.
3. Last: (To say no more) This doctrine serves to vindicate & justify the holy & Spirituall disquietness of such who were groaning in spirit under the want of the seals of the Covenant to be brought home to their own doors. If there are any grieved at ye restlessness of such in that condition, let them but remember ye Reproach such were under, & that is enough to vindicate their labour after the rolling of it away. Therefore
2. Use may be of caution & admonition. Let none be offended at the work of this day. Do not Reproach the goodness of God: when he is about rolling away of your Reproach: let none saypage: 13
in their hearts, they were in as good a case before, they see not that they were under any Reproach; or the like. I may say to such as Moses did to Korah. 16. Num. 9. Seemeth it a small thing to you that ye God of Israel hath brought you near to himself &c
1. Consider by so thinking, or speaking, you contradict God himself. He calls it a rolling away of your Reproach &c
2. Consider by so thinking, or speaking, you will be found in Gods eyes (whatever you are in mens) guilty of a profane Esau-like spirit.
3. Use. Last: Exhortation
1. To all who belong to this small Congregation. Oh be exhorted to meet God in the gracious work that he is this day about of rolling away your Reproach from off you, by getting into ye covenant of grace, & so coming under the Seals of ye covenant.
And to that end attend heedfully & constantly to the Preaching of the word, by which ye spirit ofGod is wont first to move ye soul to entertain Christ, before it sets his Seal upon the Soul of its interest in Christ in ye Sacrament And remember whilst you keep off from the Seals of the covenant you are maintainers of your own Reproach. The very Seals of ye covenant whereby we are initiated into, & confirmed in an interest in Christ is as holy Calvin sais worth an hundered lives. And remember it is not the bare privation, but the contempt of Sacraments (as Bernard sais truly) is damnable & destructive. Therefore you cannot hereafter live without partaking of the ordinances, but youpage: 14
will of necessity heighten your sins by such neglects or omissions. But I must not insist
2. To all of us who are more especially concerned in the work of this good day: from of whom God is rolling away our Reproach, & upon whom God is about conferring honour & dignity: Oh let us be exhorted in our places most heedfully to Beware of Reproaching & disgracing the work of this day, & for prevention thereof there is no better way in all ye world than to take direction from the word of God how we are each of us from this day forward to behave our selves. In a word
1. I will begin with my self. Much work is laid, or like to be laid, upon my weak shoulders. I will labour to sum it up in a word
I am to carry it not as a Lord, but as a Servant, yet not as mans but the Lords servant: now the greater the Master, the greater the service.
I am to be zealous in my Masters service: to give my self wholly to these things. I am in all godliness to labour to be exemplary. I am to labour that my doctrine may burn, & my con- versation may shine
I am to make difference between ye clean, & unclean: so as to labour to cleanse & purge the one, & confirm & strengthen the other.
As I am to give Cordials to some, so I must be sure to administer corrosives to others. And what I do this way without partial respect to persons, you must not, you cannot, you ought not to be angry, for so I am commanded.
Here is some, & but some of my work, & yet here is work enough, & work hard enough: yet this must be attended, or I shall Reproach the work of this day: & therefore for my help herein I crave, & humbly challenge an interest in allpage: 15
your fervent Prayers who would not have your God Reproached.
2. I will begin now come to you my Brethren, & usual hearers: somthing you are to do, & not a little neither. You are to pay me that Reverence which is due to an Embassadour of Christ Jesus. You are to bear me a great deal of love. 1. Thes. 5. 13. You are indeed highly to love every Minister of Christ Jesus: but (if you can notwithstanding the vast disproportion between my self & others) you are to love me best. You are to obey me (at lest) so far as I watch for your souls. 13. Hebr. I7. You are to communicate to me of your carnall good things, both that which is stable, sufficient & (according to your capacity) honourable: & that not as a piece of alms, or charity, but of justice & duty. 15· Rom. 27. 1. Cor. 9. 11. 6. Gal. 6. 1. Tim. 5. 17. 18.
You are to pray for me, & to pray much & fervently alwayes for me, but especially when you expect to hear from God by me.
You are to endeavour by all lawfull means to make my heavy work as much as in you lyes light & cheerfull. 13. Hebr. 17. And not by unchristian like behaviour to my selfe, or one another, or other Churches of God, or any whither within or without, or to God, or man to add to my burthen, & to make my life among you grievous, & my labour among you unprofitable. So yt you see here is work enough for you also: & therefore by your leave, & in your Name, what I just now requested for my self, I will also desire for you of all praying persons that they would pray for a Sufficiency of page: 16grace yt both you & I may give up a good account in the Season thereof: And as every lover of Gods honour will, so let them, say