The waters of Marah sweetned

A Thanks­giving SERMON.
Preached at Taunton, in the County of
Somerset, May 11. 1647. for the gracious
deliverance of that poore Towne from the
strait and bloody Siege.
By T. B. Master of Arts, and a Minister
of the Gospel in that County.
Write thee the name of the day; even of this same day.
DEUT. 4.32, 39.
For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee since
the day that God created man upon the earth, and aske from
one side of the heaven to the other, whether there hath been
any such thing, as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it?
Know therefore this day, and consider it in your hearts, that the
Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath,
there is none else.
Keep therefore his statutes and his commandements

Printed for Francis Eglesfield, and are to be sold by George Treagle in Taunton. 1648.

PUBLISHED FOR Francis Eglesfield

1. To the Right Worshipfull the Major, with all the faithfull and well affected (to God and his Cause) Inhabitants of the Town of Taunton.

Honoured Friends,

YOur importunities drew me to an un-dertaking the duty of That Day: A day set apart for calling to re-membrance the day, as of your enlargement, so the Kingdomes dawnings toward deliverance. Your incessant restlesse desires (after much self­strugling) have hardned me a-gainst the conscience of my weak abilities, to offer unto yours and the publick view, this Sermon from the Presse, which, when delivered, you were pleased with patience to attend;

and readinesse of affection to imbrace. Jts not self­overvaluing, or forwardnesse of mine owne, that carries these lines abroad: 'twas enough in my appre-hension, that such suddain and broken concepti-ons were taken in by so judicious an Assembly. [Page] However, if its publication may minister occa-sion of perpetuating the memory of Gods great goodnesse to Taunton, by remaining its se-cond remembrancer of that unparallel'd deli-verance of yours, (the onely ground of your soli-citations to me; as for the then preaching, so for the now printing of this Sermon:) may it contribute the least mite towards the quickning of your hearts that way, its my expected recom-pence and glory. And if its homely dresse may render it low, or unsatisfying for so knowing an age as this, be pleased to consider, I intended not in this (or any other) with excellency of speech, or perswasible words of mans wisdome, to Court the fancy; my desire being to speak a word in season, and to preach not my selfe, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and my selfe

Your Servant for Jesus sake,
T. B.
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2. The waters of Marah sweetned, &c.

EXOD. 15.23, 24, 25.
And when they came to Marah, they could not drink of the waters of Marah, for they were bitter: therefore the name of it was called Marah.

And the people murmured against Moses, saying, What shall we drink?
And he cryed unto the Lord: and the Lord shewed him a tree, which when he had cast into the waters, the waters were made sweet.

WE are met here to solemnize this day in a re-ligious acknowledgement of those mercies and unparallel'd deliverances, which the great God (who is the hope of Israel, and their Saviour in the day of trouble) hath reacht forth to you of this place, in crushing the cruelty, blasting the hopes, and defeating the projects, of his, yours, and his Churches enemies. Indeed, God hath gi-ven to you abundant matter of thanksgiving; you have whole stories of wonders, enough to fill your hearts and mouthes with eternall praises; and if your natures could be content to smother these favours in silence, the lepers of Samaria would condemne your ingratitude, and tell you to your faces, you did not well to hold your peace; seeing this day is a day of good tidings, 2 Reg. 7.9.

In fur-therance therefore of your piety, I have made choice of this Scripture: which though it may seeme unsuitable [Page 2] both to the Auditors and occasion; yet I doubt not, but you may meet with something in it, that may both re-fresh your memories, and quicken your devotions. I must confesse, the greatnesse of this work, and the insufficiency of mine owne abilities, might have been a sufficient plea, to have wav'd this task; but that I might not seem wan-ting to Gods glory, or your desires, I have adventured to appeare in this place, before this Assembly, upon this occasion. Let me beg this, that I may find you attentive, leave you thankfull.


Israel was now on their journey againe for Canaan: their songs are scarce ended for their deliverance from Pharaoh, and their cruell task­masters, but behold ano-ther rub in the way: a new trouble assaults them: they were not (in their owne apprehensions) in more danger of perishing formerly by the hands of their enemies, then now they are for want of water; they had gone three dayes journey, and could find none. Here was a sharp mi-sery, clapt upon the heeles of a sweet mercy. when God delivers us from destruction, he doth not secure us from affliction. Though we are not condemned with, yet we may be chastned in the world.

In the words we have

  1. The peoples expectation.
  2. The disappointment of that expectation, with the reason of it, They could not drink, &c.
  3. Their carriage upon that disappointment, They murmured against Moses.
  4. Moses his practice, or the course he takes upon that carriage, He cryes to God.
  5. Gods returne to Moses his prayer, The waters were healed.
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For the opening of the words.

First, what is meant by the waters of Marah. Two or three things held forth in it. 1. Afflictions. Jer. 23.15. ‘They shall drink the water of gall:’ Afflictions are bitter wa-ters. So Lam. 3.15. ‘He hath filled me with bitternesse, he hath made me drunk with wormwood.’ Exod.cap.15. 2. The Law, with the curses and terrours of it: tis very bitter. Sinne never kills, untill the Law put life in it. The strength of sin is the Law, 1 Cor. 15.56. 3. The heresies, errors, and schismes in the doctrine and worship of God, Apoc. 8.11.

Secondly, what tree this was, that Moses cast into the waters, that made them sweet. Some think it was some sweet tree, that had a naturall vertue in it to produce sweetnesse. Others, that it was a very bitter tree, and so likely in its owne nature to make the waters more bitter. So that the changing of the water was not naturall, but divine, miraculous, as is evident from the smalnesse of the tree; from the abundance of the waters; as much as sufficed 600000. men; the suddennesse of the change, and the shortnesse of it; they were sweet but for the present: This God could have done without any externall signe,Fer.Annot. in exod.cap.15 but he was pleased to use this meanes for the manifesta-tion of his owne power, and that it might leave the dee-per impression upon their spirits, who were so dull and hard to beleeve.

Thirdly, what this tree points out. It intimates to us, Christ and his Gospel. Gal. 6.14. The Gospel hath a crosse that goes along with it: yet tis such a crosse, as swee-tens all other crosses to us. Rom. 8.1. ‘There is no condem-nation to them that are in Christ Jesus, &c.’ Let the Law come thundring out all its curses and terrours, it can ne-ver trouble a gracious spirit: here is a tree that sweetens all.

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From the coherence observe, After great mercies may come great miseries. Doct. 1.

Crosses oftentimes lie neere our choicest comforts: God usually doth mingle his favours with afflictions: see it here in these Israelites, after their joyfull melody of songs, and instruments of musick, they are exercised first with thirst, and then that thirst is tortured with bitter water: See it in Abraham, Gen. 22. Sampson, Judg. 16. the Church, Act. 12. what ever our comforts may be, yet crosses will follow, and trip up our heeles. A Belee-ver here in this world, is halfe in heaven, and halfe out; Sathan may come to buffet him, as well as Christ to comfort him: A Christians life, is but an intercourse of peace and trouble: God hath his ends in it.

First, that he might drive us to the throne of grace: times of distresse are praying times: I doubt not but you of this place can seale to this truth, ‘Lord in their trouble they have visited thee: they poured out a prayer, when thy chastning was upon them,’ Esay 26.16. their prayers did but drop before, now they are poured forth. And that of Hosea 5. ult. ‘In their afflictions they will seek me early. Dant animum ad loquendum liberè ultimae miseria.’ Liv. l. 9. Extremities are not onely an incentive, but a warrant to importunities: a storme will bring a very heathen upon his knee, Jonah 1.5. God knowes that his children are never so fuly disposed to servency in prayer, as when the Crosse is upon their shoulders.

Secondly, that he might keep us from carnall security. A man is never more apt to grow secure, never a fitter prey for Sathan, then after some great mercy received: as men are more drowsie after a feast, then upon an emp-ty stomack; so we after a feast of mercies: and therefore God will exercise us this way, that he might keep us wa-king. [Page 5] No sleep so dangerous as that in sinne.

Thirdly, that we might set the higher price upon his favours: we usually love that best, which we sometimes want, are likely to loose one years peace now, is better then 80. heretofore: Abrahams Sonne at seventy years, was better then if he had been given sooner; and the same Isaack had not been so precious to him, had he not been as miraculously restored, as given; his recovery from death made him more acceptable, then if he had never been in danger.

Use 1Is it so, that after great mercies, may come great miseries? Then, though you have, and doe enjoy great mercies, dream not of a freedome from crosses, whilst here below, our present estate is no Paradise of ease, but a warfare: we are like a ship on the waters; though the Sun shine to day, a storm may arise to morrow, which may suddainly deprive you of all your present enjoyments.

I beseech you tel me, how have you improved your delive-rances? have you been the more aboundant in your obe-dience, in giving God the glory of your peace, Liberties, lives, and those comforts you now enjoy, whereof you might have been deprived by the malice of men, the wrath of God? is your strength improved in his service, your time spent to his glory, for his praise, your All laid out for him? or rather have not they brought forth secu-rity, profanenesse, pride, a loose and carelesse walking with your God, a wantonnesse of spirit in the things of God and his Son? Is not drunkennesse, swearing, who-ring, profanation of Gods day and ordinances, are not these as strong, as generall as ever? how many of you are guilty of one, or more of the fore­named sins? (the sheep bleat, the oxen bellow.)

In most, what is there more then a meere forme of godlinesse, more then a name [Page 6] to live? and can you then expect a continuance of your undervalued mercies, which you have so evilly impro-ved, so horribly abused? Oh tremble to consider what may yet become of you; and feare, lest your habitations that are yet remaining, be made a desolation; lest a pro-voked God, cause you with weeping and amazed eyes to read this lesson,Oh that we had knowne, even we (who have been partakers of such a deliverance as this in this our day, the things that did belong unto our peace! But now­­­ You may weep out the rest. But I proceed. ‘And when they came to Marah, they could not drink, &c.’ Observe that ‘It is the nature of creature­comforts, to disappoint our expectations.’ Doct. 2

They are like Jobs deceitfull brooks, Job 6.15. that will make men ashamed in the Summer, when they turne aside for water to refresh them, and find none. There are five particulars wherein this truth appeares.

  1. In regard of their entitie, and substance; they have not that in them, which we expect they should yeeld: What Solomon speakes of dainties, is true here; Desire not his dainties, for they are deceitfull: there is abun-dance of falshood in creaturecomforts.
  2. In regard of their quantity; there is not enough in the creature to supply our wants. See Hag. 1.6, 9. ‘You have sown much, and bring in little, &c. Ye lookt for much, and loe, it came to little:’ the Creatures are too poore, too beggerly to content or satisfie us.
  3. In regard of their quality. Men think in changing their condition, to find waters of life, but they meet with waters of death. There is that in them will poyson, when relyed on.
  4. In regard of the efficacie. There is little efficacie in [Page 7] any creature we can fancie, little vertue of their own, to convey any comfort, they are but like a dead man, no way usefull, till God put life in them: the strength they have, they doe receive from heaven. Man lives not by bread, &c.
  5. In regard of their duration: Riches take Eagles wings and flee away, Prov. 23.5. swiftly, suddenly, irre-coverably. All dependance upon outward comforts, in outward excellencies, is uncertaine, dangerous; if a man rest on them, he may outlive his trust, his prop may be taken away, and then downe he falls.

Is it so? Let not your hearts run out after these de-Use.ceitfull, empty, poysonous, feeble, dying comforts, that cannot but disappoint you. Nulla res longa mortalium est, omnis que[?] foelicitas seculi, dum teneiur amittitur. Hier. All the excellencie of all creature­comforts, is but like an impression of a seale upon water, which doth vanish ere you see where, or what it was: or like a picture drawne upon ice, that melts away with it.

‘The fashion of this world passeth away’, 1 Cor. 7.31. The Apostle sheweth, how unbeseeming a thing it is for a Christian to set his heart upon things that are so vaine, rather shadows then true substantials. When Alexander saw that he was woun-ded, and by that wound likely to die, he did then per-ceive the vanity of those flatteries, who did perswade him, that he was a god: So when you shal see those com-forts, after which your spirits have been let out, and on which your hearts have been so mightily set, as if your chiefest good had been lockt up in them, when you see them wounded, and the impression of death upon them; learn to see the vanity of your flattering thoughts, and to work off your hearts from such things, as are compo-sed of such fading principles:

Look upon them, as upon [Page 8] the wing, ready to fly away. Jacob served Laban twenty years, and his wages was changed ten times. Thus the world deales with them, who serve her. Oh that the con-sideration of it might cause you to abate the edge of your desires, and learn you to let out your affections after none but Christ! he deceives none, failes none, never dies, but is still the same; able, willing to help, to satisfie. Remem-ber that of the Psalmist, Psal. 36.8. ‘Thou shalt make them drink of the river of thy pleasures.’ While we seek after creature­comforts, we seek to drink in puddles; but when we seek to Christ, we shall have rivers of pleasures, which are both sweet and sure: and the lesse you take of that, the more you shall receive of these.­­­For the waters were bitter.

Gods children shall meet with waters of Marah in their way to Canaan. Doct. 3.

Whosoever will walk in Gods wayes, must look for bitter things, not from foes onely, but friends. Call me not Naomi, but Marah, for the Lord hath dealt bitterly with me. So 2 Reg. 14.26. ‘God saw the affliction of Israel, that it was bitter:’ And Job complains, that God had writ-ten bitter things against him. Well then, if you resolve for Canaan, resolve to meet with the waters of Marah in your journey; yet let not that discourage you, for God can, and will lend a tree to sweeten them.

‘When men are disappointed of their expectations, they are apt to murmur.’ Doct. 4. See it here in Israel; the people want water, and instead of seeking to God, they murmur against Moses; as if he had dryed the wildernesse, or imbittered the waters. How mad is Man when he wants his naturall desires! Crosse but his will, and you shall quickly see and know what is in him. One would have thought that nothing could [Page 9] have opened their mouthes to have spoken ill of Moses; even the best in authority are subject to be murmured at, reviled. If people fare well, they applaud themselves; if ill, they repine against their Magistrates, their Governors. Some natures are so squeamish, that (as one said) God himselfe can scarce please them.

Take heed ye be not found guilty of this sin: YourUse. murmurings will hinder your mercies, and if continued in, will undoe you. ‘Murmur not, as some of them did, and were destroyed’, 1 Cor. 10.10. your deliverance is enough to make you thankfull, though what you expect be yet denyed you. If God answer you not in every thing, will you take pleasure in nothing? will you slight his favours, because in one thing he crosses you? his least mercy is beyond your best merit. Be silent before the Lord, lest he answer you again in fury. And to help you in it, take these following rules.

  1. Use a holy silence, not of tongue, but of spirit. When Aarons sons were strucken dead with fire, ‘he held his peace:’ And David, Psal. 39.9. ‘I held my tongue, because it was thy doing; I was dumb, because thou didst it.’ Thus ‘Hezekiah, Good is the word of the Lord,’ when he had received that sharp message, Esay 39.8.
  2. Adore what we cannot fearch the reason of: as the mysteries of salvation, and Providence, the Well is deep, we cannot fathom it; therefore with Paul, let us adore it. Rom. 11.33. O the depth! Gods wayes are past finding out.
  3. Seek after a great measure of self­denyall: the grea-test enemie of our conformity to Gods will, is our Self, self­love, self­ends, self­will; oppose, subdue these, and that will help you against this sin. And he cryed to the Lord, &c. From hence observe, That ‘Fervent Prayer, is a speciall remedy in our greatest extremitie.’

[Page 10] Be we where we will, we may use this; and tis the best means to help us out of trouble: tis Gods prevailing ordinance, and tis that great engine that hath carryed on things so prosperously for us: Luther calls the prayers of the Saints so many guns; and the Fathers call them the Churches Artillery; which, if sent from the heart, they pierce the very heavens, and wound the Lord of Hosts with pity: it overcomes him; ‘Let me alone Mo-ses’, Exod. 32.10. tis the golden key which unlocks heaven, and fetches all from God: Whatever is in Gods power, is a Saints by prayer; and what ever we want there, we may fetch it: if soule­strength, Psal. 138.3. if strength against enemies, Psal. 109.4. For my love they are mine adversaries, but I give my selfe to prayer: q. d.

That is my refuge, I will not raile as they doe, I wil make my moane to my God. Tis a signe of a gracious spirit to lay the burthen upon Prayer. And though the strongest arguments we can use cannot alter God, yet they change and move our hearts: and God is pleased to be so indul-gent to us, and to suffer us thus to plead with him, and then he usually answers: but yet tis 1. when tis in faith, that is one of our chiefest strengths, Gen. 32.9. Where there are but words, they vanish, but where there is faith, that makes it prevalent.Jan. 1.15... 2. When you can appeale to God, that we are in his way he set us in: when a soul can say, Though there be such a difficulty, yet Lord thou knowest I am in thy way. 3. When we can plead a par-ticular promise: the more faith there is to plead a pro-mise for what I have in hand, the more assurance to pre-vaile. 4. A sense of our owne unworthinesse: When a soule comes to see his vilenesse, emptinesse, and so comes with humility, &c.

  1. Use 1Is it so? It condemnes those that make not use of [Page 11] this remedy in their distresses, who want both words and hearts to go to God: When you speak to men, you are ful; but when to God, you have nothing to say: But consider; is not God a Father, and can Children want a tongue to speak to their Father? Is not God a Husband, and can a Wife want words to speak to her Husband?
  2. Is it so? Let wicked men take heed how they wrong the Saints, who have such a powerfull means to help them-selves: If they complain, ‘the Lord is bound to hear’, Exod. 21.23. and ‘if he take the matter into his hands, woe be unto ye’, Psal. 2.
  3. Is it so? You then who have had experience of this powerfull ordinance, and have found God to be a prayer hearing, and a prayer answering God in his gracious re-turnes of mercy: Blesse this God, for his favours thus conferred, get enlarged hearts to set forth his mercies accor-ding to their merits. Indeed the tongue of Men and An-gels can never do it as they should; but will not you there-fore do as you may? His mercies have not failed you, and shall your acknowledgements fail him? should you not finde your tongues to praise him for his favours enjoyed, as well as pray for them, wanted? As miseries are removed by prayer, so mercies are to be welcomed with songs: Sa-crifices of thanksgiving did alwayes follow Sacrifices of pacification. Lev. 3. Could you poure out petitions in time of need, in the day of your distress; & will you not drop forth a few thanks, when you have what you would, more then you expected, then ye pray'd for? No, let your right hands forget their cunning, your tongues for ever cleave to the roof of your mouthes, rather then forget, neglect to set forth his praises, who hath given you such a deliverance. And the Lord shewed him a tree, &c. ‘God never wants supplies to help his People.’Doct. 6.

[Page 12] Did you ever know the Sun want light; the Sea, a Foun-tain, Water? God is a sun, a sun of righteousnesse; a Sea, a Fountain, a Spring of living Water; and though you may, yet he is never empty; there is still an overflowing fulnesse in him, he is never at a stand, but knowes how to comfort, to deliver his, 2 Pet. 2.9. I might bring a cloud of witnessesPsal. 84. Psal. 18.2. Jer. 2. Eze. 11. Esay 33.21 and 17.3. to make good this truth; scarce a page in the book of God but proclaims it. Hence you shall find, he is compared to whatsoever may be requisite, for the comfort and defence of his people: Sometimes he is styled a Sun, a sheild, a san-ctuary, a refuge, a rock, a fountaine, a light, &c. to teach us, whatever our condition, our wants be, there is that in God will answer, will supply all.

Hence is he called an ‘all suf­fi-cient, an Almighty God; a God to whom nothing is hard’, Gen. 18.14. Infinite in wisdome, that knows all our wants, and the way to supply them; knowes them, not onely objectivè, but affectivè; ‘being touched with the feeling of our infirmities’, as the Apostle phraseth it, Heb. 14.15. he knows how to cleer every channell to convey, and seasonably to dispence comfort: he is infinite in power, and is able to do whatso-ever he will; there is nothing can reach beyond his power: he is infinite in goodnesse, in love, which layes an engage-ment upon him, to let out and act these for the good of all afflicted ones: so that be our straits never so great, there's wisdome enough to see them, and to bring out of them; be our enemies, our weaknesse never so powerfull, there is strength enough to sustain, to rescue us; be our back­sli-dings never so many, there is goodnesse and love enough to heale them, faithfulnesse and truth enough in God to per-forme, what ever he hath promised. In many places he is styled The Lord of Hosts; he is one that hath the command of all the creatures both in heaven and earth: and if they cannot afford help enough, he can create more; he can doe [Page 13] it without them, by, and from himselfe; he can change the very course of nature for his childrens good. See it in Jonah,Isa. 59.10 in the three Children, in Daniel. As no meanes can save where God will ruine; so nothing shall hinder where God will help.

I might be particular in the proof of this truth, and shew you the fulnesse that is in God to supply us. 1. In respect of all our necessities, both for soul, or body, or both: there is that in him that will supply every want, make up every defect: God is a generall, an universall good. 2. In respect of all times and seasons: It may be said of creature-comforts (as one speaks) as 'twas of David, he served his time; but God is such a help, to whom there is no time, wherein he cannot do good: Nullum tempus occurrit regi: no season is out of season with him: he is as able now, as then, then, as at any other time: All times are alike to him, who never wants power, nor a heart to do good to his. But I am confident you of this place have seen, and can speak as much of God in this particular, as ever did a people; (oh that you had hearts to render unto him according to all the good that he hath shewn ye!) and therefore I shal hasten to the Application, and the main Use shall be to provoke you unto thankfulness.

Use.Is it so, that God never wants supplies to help his people? and wil you want tongues and hearts to praise that God, who hath laid out so much goodnesse, and love, and power, and wisdome in your deliverance? hath God drawn forth something of all his treasure to help you, and will not you draw out any thing of yours to glorifie him? where Gods favour shines, there cannot but be a reflection: true love will never be idle; 'tis a working, an active grace, it must (as one) returne or die. Oh the base ingratitude of many! who are so far from taking advantage from the receipt of mercies to praise God, as that they either bury them, or a-buse [Page 14] them to his dishonour.

Friends, consider what God hath done for you; the mercies that you have received, do enjoy; But tell me, where are your books of remembrance? where is your Jehovah now, Exod. 17.15. wherein you have proclaimed God to be your salvation? what is become of all Gods wonders among you? wonders that might even fill a Volumn, and give life to a story that should out­live the world? whither is the memory of all your deliverances fled? deliverances (a)...taken by the Parl force[?] (a) from cruelty and oppression within, when they that hated you, ruled over you; from the teeth and sury of those barbarous wretches (b)As the rai-sing of the forst and last Sieges.[?] (b) without? have you forgotten this? Again, what is become of the destroy-ing pestilence; that within these few years had taken up its habitation among you? hath your present health and jol-lity put to silence all those dying groans, which so lately sounded in your affrighted ears? shall such mercies as these are, lie raked up in the dust of time, without any monu-ment set over them, to tell, once they were? But to passe over these, this day alone hath matter enough of an eternall gratulation, being the center (as it were) wherein all mer-cies met upon your heads.

Oh what an evidence of love, and wisdome, and power was here, that when so many po-tent and malicious enemies had environ'd you, were so neer you, had brought destruction within your walls, even to your thresholds; enemies that were high in bloud and rage; that had all the helps that either Rome or Hell could afford; when you were even ready to be swallowed up of them (and in your own apprehensions, a lost, an helples, hopeles people) that God should then, even in the very nick of time, when your necks were on the Altar, and under the sword, that he should then step in, and find means for your escape, defeat them, deliver you!­­­surely no strength, no Armies shall prevaile to ruine them, whom God resolves to pro-tect, [Page 15] to deliver: if he be with us, no matter who is against us.

‘Oh, that you would therefore praise the Lord for his good-ness, and declare the wonders that he hath done for you! May not we say of Taunton, as once Balaak said of Israel’, Num. 23. what hath God wrought for you! oh, how solemnly festi-vall should this day be to you, and your posserities for e-ver! Let me therefore speak to you in the words of the Lord to Moses, Exod. 17.14. write it for a memoriall in a book, and rehearse it to Josuah: so do you; set up a monu-ment of this deliverance, a monument, that may eternize Gods praises, and procure him honour, by those that are yet unborn: that you may sing of the mercies of God for ever, and may make known his fa ithfulnesse to all generations: take up the expressions and resolutions of the Psalmist, Psalm. 118.24. This is the day which the Lord hath made, we will re-joyce and be glad in it. Sure I am, had your enemies pre-vailed, it would have been an high feast in Gath, a day of Jubile in Ascalon; the daughters of the uncircumcised would have made it a day of triumph: be not you behind them, but shew as much joy, expresse as much thankfulnes for your deliverance, as they would certainly have done for utter desolation.

Think seriously on it; (I cannot but speak it again) hath God bestowed such favours on Taunton, and shall Taunton forget them? there is an Emphasis in that word; much Rhetorick in it; Taunton? a place that hath been freed from so many judgements, and that so oft; the sword, the Pestilence, and the famine? that doth enjoy so many blessings, and those so pretious; health, prosperity, plenty, and the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ, &c. a place for which God hath wrought so many (even miracles of) mercies for its preservation, in its deliverance; shall such fa-vours be heaped upon such a people; and should they die in their thoughts? but for two or three motives, if this serve not, to stir you up.

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  1. Consider the misery you were in before you were de-liver'd, that is the way to exalt God in your praises: re-present to your selves your sad condition, your fears, your wants, your dangers: contraries illustrate one another, as prosperity and adversity. The misery of a Saint formerly, sets forth the mercy of God in Jesus Christ: one years peace now, is more prised then ten before: the want of things do much commend them: As the wickeds troubles are mightily aggravated, by the mercies went before; so the Saints deliverances, by the miseries preceded. You that have deliverance by Christ, look to the misery you were in, begin with that: what darknesse and shadow of death did you sit in? in what bondage to sin and hell? how irreco-verably lost and undone in your selves? when we were sin-ners Christ died for us; when ungodly, when enemies, when dead, Rom. 5. Ephes. 2. look to this mercy of God in Christ: alas! what praise will ye else give to God this day? we can never praise God aright unlesse we look upon the perfection of all misery we were in, to the perfection of all happinesse that by Christ God hath brought us to: to study misery out of Christ, is to dig to hell; but to study misery and Christ, is to build to heaven, so for the business of this day: remember from whence you were delivered; take the rise of the misery there: the way to value a mercy, is to see a misery: look back to the beginning of your troubles, and see the wonders God hath wrought; what seas have been divided for you to passe through: remember how nigh you were to the enemies hands, what enemy 'twas, what their threats, their malice, their bloudy resolu-tions: look on the straits you were in for Ammunition, Provision; and with what a mighty hand and stretched-out arme God did supply you, and hath rescued you; look upon all the waies of God towards you, that you may re-turn [Page 17] to him according to his working, and rejoice in him: 'tis a poor thing to have such a strong hold preserved, such a cruel enemy subdued, to be matter of your joy: but let this, that the Lord of hosts is with you; let that be the matter of your joy, of your praise: Let temporall deliverance stir up within us a war against our lusts, our pride, our self­ends, our loosenes, &c. oh, these are provoking things, which of themselves will work our destruction; they are graves of Sodome, vines of Gomorrah; Fight against these, but let God be your joy, let him be matter of your praise.
  2. Consider your demerits, how little you deserved, how justly you might have perished, and been both the prey and scorn of your bloud­thirsty enemies: he that thinks him-selfe unworthy of any thing, will be thankfull for every thing, content with the smallest mercy; much more for such a concerning one.
  3. Thirdly, Look upon the worth, the excellency of the mercy vouchsafed you; nay, how many mercies you enjoy, how many miseries you have escaped by it: the considera-tion of your condition with such mercies, will set an high price upon what you now enjoy, and provoke you to thank-fulness: how sad, how truly miserable would your lives have been, without Wife, Children, houses, friends, e-states, without the presence of God in his ordinances: and is not the enjoyment of all these (and more) worthy of thanks? what was your bitternes when every moment you expect either death, or a prison? and can you not thank God, who hath wrought so happy a change?
  4. Confider 'tis the way not onely to continue, but en-crease your blessings: unthankfulness forfeits all we have received, undoes all: dries up the channell, and stops the passages through which mercies should flow; but this laies all open: I know you use to sow your seed, where you may [Page 18] have most encrease; so God his favours where he hath most praise: But then remember in your return of praise it must bee,
    1. A free praise, not pressed or wrung out; the willing-nes of the mind is ever the fat of the sacrifice: God gives, delivers freely; therefore doe you praise him freely.
    2. Full and compleat: not of the face onely to shew, nor the tongue only to proclaim it, but of the heart too: that is true praise, when the heart as well as the tongue sounds it forth, Psal. 103.
    3. Holy: they were merry that kept the Kings day, Hos. 7.5. by taking bowl after bowl, till they were sick again: ours must not be such: It must begin at Hosanna: I will make them joyfull in my house of prayer: the stream of our praise, must come from the spring head of religion. And then
    4. Lastly, it must be constant, continued in our conver-sations: we must live thankfully as well as speak so: you all seem to congratulate the joy of this day, but if you would approve your selves truly thankfull to your God, in whose favour is life, and so be gainers by all your former losses; Live down your sins, your formality, your securi-ty, &c. part with all your gainfull, your plausible evils: be more holy, more humble, more temperate, spirituall, fruit-full, &c. renue your holy covenants with your God, and keep them for ever: oh, how memorable a pattern of mer-cy would you then be! and what a famous trophe of vi-ctory might then be erected in Taunton, over all your ene-mies! And you that are Magistrates, rouze up your spirit, awaken your Christian courage, bear not the sword in vain; but set your selves zealously against the sins of your Town to root them out, which else will betray your happines; and the Lord be with you. One observation more, and I have done.

[Page 19] ‘'Tis Christ alone that sweetens all conditions.’ Doct. 7. He is the tree that must be thrown into the waters; he sweetens the law, afflictions, prosperity, adversity; that turns all into gold. Let our condition be what it will, if Christ be there, it cannot but be comfortable: see it in Da-vid, how many Psalmes did he begin in fear; which he did end in joy? at first you shall find little, but anguish, dispair; yet after a sharp conflict nothing appears but joy: what, did there a messenger of good news come in whilst he was writing; as Elisha sent to the King of Israel, whilst he was rending his clothes: 2 King. 5. No but as he grew more inward and familiar with God, his soul became lighter and lighter, arising from the burden with abundance of com-fort. Nothing can trouble or darken that soule where Christ is pleased to shine: ‘thy favour is better then life’: Psal. 63.5. and Christ to ‘Paul, my grace is sufficient’, 2 Cor. 12.9. Sathans buffets can never hurt, where the grace of Christ is our strength: as no plaister can cure where he wounds, so no sorrows shall overcome where he is the com-forter.

Use 1.Is it so? Labour to see an excellency in Jesus Christ: It will one day be a confusion to all those sordid spirits that know nothing more excellent then riches: heaven delights not them, because it brings them no mony: such things as Angels stand amaz'd at and admire, they see no excellency in them: let God, and Christ, and heaven, and all go, so they may have pleasures and profits: 'tis a signe their eies are stopt with clay: a signe of reprobation, to live under the Gospel, and not have our spir ts in some measure eleva-ted: many Christians do not look upon themselves as born to greater things, then to get wealth, but did Christ come to purchase no greater things then these? what are your hearts upon? would you not blesse your selves, if you could [Page 20] get such an estate; as such, or such a man hath, and be con-tent if God should give thee thy portion in this life? oh, the basenes, the blindnes of men!

Use 2.Is it so? make out for Christ, trade for this pearl: thou shalt never repent thee for any pains thou takest about him: he will prove a sufficient recompence for all your labour, your sufferings: do but once taste him, and you will for e-ver after be in love with him. And you that have him, make use of him, make much of him, love him, prize him: he is full of comforts, of sweetness, of ravishing delights: in Esa. 51.11. 'tis said, ‘that the redeemed of the Lord shall come with singing unto Sion, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain gladness, and joy; and sorrow and mourning shall flee away:’ there is matter of joy, of triumph in Jesus Christ; and though you should meet with bitter waters at first, yet you shall find sweet at the last; though you drink of the waters of Marah here; yet you shall arive at Canaan in the end, where you shall not only drink off, but sweetly bathe your selves in never­ending ri-vers of glory and pleasure for evermore, and help make up that heavenly consort, in singing Hallelujah; glory, and ho-nour, and praise to him that sits on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever.

This is the full version of the original text


drink, want, water

Source text

Title: THE WATERS OF MARAH SWEETNED. A Thanks­giving SERMON. Preached at Taunton, in the County of Somerset, May 11. 1647. for the gracious deliverance of that poore Towne from the strait and bloody Siege. By T. B. Master of Arts, and a Minister of the Gospel in that County. EZEK.24.2. Write thee the name of the day; even of this same day.­­­ DEUT. 4.32, 39. For ask now of the days that are past, which were before thee since the day that God created man upon the earth, and aske from one side of the heaven to the other, whether there hath been any such thing, as this great thing is, or hath been heard like it? Know therefore this day, and consider it in your hearts, that the Lord he is God in heaven above, and upon the earth beneath, there is none else. Keep therefore his statutes and his commandements­­­

Author: Timothy Batt

Publication date: 1648

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: This text was transcribed from images available at Early English Books Online: Bibliographic name / number: Wing (2nd ed., 1994) / B1148 Bibliographic name / number: Thomason / E.433[19] Physical description: [4], 20 p. Copy from: British Library Reel position: Thomason / 68:E.433[19]

Digital edition

Original author(s): Timothy Batt

Language: English

Selection used:

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Texts collected by: Ayesha Mukherjee, Amlan Das Gupta, Azarmi Dukht Safavi

Texts transcribed by: Muhammad Irshad Alam, Bonisha Bhattacharya, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Muhammad Ehteshamuddin, Kahkashan Khalil, Sarbajit Mitra

Texts encoded by: Bonisha Bhattacharya, Shreya Bose, Lucy Corley, Kinshuk Das, Bedbyas Datta, Arshdeep Singh Brar, Sarbajit Mitra, Josh Monk, Reesoom Pal

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Genre: Britain > non-fiction prose > religion: sermons

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