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These join together to perform that sentence, whereof the author repented. The Jews take heart to defend themselves ; to kill their

murderers. All the provinces are turned into a field of civil war; wherein innocence vanquisheth malice. The Jews are victors; and not only are alive, but are feared. The most resist them not; many assist them, and some become theirs. The countenance of the great leads the world at pleasure. Fear of authority sways thousands, that are not guilty of a conscience.

Yea, besides the liberty of defence, the Jews are now made their own justices. That there may be none left from the loins of that accursed Agagite, who would have left none of the Jewish seed, they slay the ten sons of Haman; and obtain new days of further executions. Neither can death satisfy their revenge. Those ten sons of Haman shall, in their very carcases, bear the reproach of their father, and hang aloft upon his gallows.

Finally, no man doth, no man dares frown upon a Jew. They are now become lords in the midst of their captivity. No marvel, if they ordain and celebrate their joyful Purim, for a perpetual memory, to all posterities, of their happy deliverance. It were pity, that the Church of God should not have sunshines, as well as storms; and should not meet with interchanges of joy in their warfare, before they enter upon the unchangeable joy of their endless triumph.

CONTEMPLATIONS

UPON THE

HISTORY OF

THE

NEW TESTAMENT.

THE FIRST VOLU M E.

TO THE KING'S MOST EXCELLENT MAJESTY,

CHARLES,

BY THE GRACE OF GOD KING OF GREAT BRITAIN, FRANCE, AND IRELAND,

DEFENDER OF THE FAITH.

Most Gracious and Dread Sovereign,- More than twenty years are slipped away, since I entered upon this task of sacred Contemplations; presuming so long ago, to prefix your Royal Name to some of the first pieces of this long work, which I rather wished, than hoped I might live to finish. The God of Heaven hath been pleased to stretch out my days so far, as to see it brought, at last, after many necessary intermissions, to a happy end. Now, not with more contentment than boldness, I bring to your sacred hands, besides variety of other discourses *, that work complete, whereof some few parcels saw the light before, under subordinate Dedications. The whole is your Majesty's due, no less than the unworthy Author ; whose age pleaseth and prideth itself in nothing more, than in the title of one of your Majesty's most ancient Attendants, in my station, now living.

JOSEPH EXON.

This Dedication is prefixed to the second volume of the works, in folio, which commences with the present portion of the Contemplations.-H.

CONTEMPLATIONS.

BOOK I.

TO MY MUCH HONOURED AND RIGHT WORSHIPFUL FRIEND,

SIR HENRY YELVERTON, KNIGHT,

ATTORNEY GENERAL TO HIS MAJESTY.

Right Worshipful,— It is not out of any satiety, that I change from the Old Testament to the New. These two, as they are the Breasts of the Church, so they yield milk equally wholesome, equally pleasant, unto able nurselings. Herein I thought good to have respect unto my reader, in whose strength there may be difference. That other breast perhaps doth not let down this nourishing liquor so freely, so easily. Even so small a variety refresheth a weak infant. Neither will there perhaps want some palates, which will find a more quick and pleasing relish in this fresher substance. These I thought good to please with a taste, ere they come to sate themselves with a full meal of this divine nourishment; in emulation of the good scribe, that brings forth both old and new.

If it please God to enable my life and opportunities, I hope, at last, to present this Church, with the last service of the history of either page ; wherein my joy and my crown shall be the edification of many. In the mean time, I dedicate this part unto your name, whom I have so much cause to observe and honour. The blessing of that God, whose Church you have ever made your chief client, be still upon your head, and that honourable society, which rejoices in so worthy a leader. To it and yourself, I shall be ever, as I

Humbly and unfeignedly devoted,

JOSEPH HALL.

have cause,

CONTEMPLATION I.—THE ANGEL AND ZACHARY.

LUKE I.

When things are at worst, then God begins a change. The state of the Jewish church was extremely corrupted, immediately before the news of the Gospel; yet, as bad as it was, not only the priesthood, but the courses of attendance continued, even from David's time till Christ's. It is a desperately depraved condition of a church, where no good orders are left.

Judea passed many troubles, many alterations ; yet this orderly combination endured about an eleven hundred years. A settled good will not easily be defeated; but, in the change of persons, will remain unchanged ; and, if it be forced to give way, leaves memorable footsteps behind it. If David foresaw the perpetuation of this holy ordinance, how much did he rejoice

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