A SERMON Preached at St Lawrence-Jury, London, upon the 9th of September, BEING THE Day of Thanksgiving FOR THE DELIVERANCE OF THE King & Kingdom From the late Treasonable CONSPIRACY.

By BENJAMIN CALAMY, D. D. Vicar of St. Lawrence-Jury, and one of His Majesties Chaplains in Ordinary.

LONDON, Printed by R. E. for W. Kettilby, at the Bishops-Head in St. Pauls Church-yard, 1683.

TO THE INHABITANTS OF The Parishes of St. Lawrence Jury, and St. Mary Magd. Milkstreet, London.

Gentlemen,

THE Kindness with which you at first received me, and have all along expressed towards me since my be­ing placed amongst you, hath been so great and obliging, that I ought not in Reason to deny you any thing, tho' never so much against [Page] my own Inclinations, that you are pleased to request of me: Yet yive me leave to say, that upon my own deliberate perusal of the follow­ing Discourse, I cannot find any thing in it at all answerable to your Earnestness for its being Printed.

It was the Occasion, the Subject, and the Temper, which, the Consideration of the Won­derful Deliverance of our Most Gracious King, and these Kingdoms, did on that Solemn Day of Thanksgiving put you into, that made this plain Sermon pleasing to you in the hearing of it, all which Advantages it will want in the Reading.

But however, I had rather fail in any thing, than let slip so fair an Opportunity of shewing my self duly sensible of your Great Respects to me; For which I am, and always will be thank­ful; And I know no better way of being so to [Page] purpose, than by endeavouring to do amongst you all the good I possibly can.

Which I am assur'd I cannot more effectu­ally do, than, after your immediate Duty to God, by encouraging and promoting an Hear­ty Obedience to the King and Church, and a sincere Love and Friendship amongst your selves. To effect which shall be the constant study and labour of,

Gentlemen,
Your most faithful Friend and Servant, BENJ. CALAMY.
Ecclesiastes X. 20.‘Curse not the King, no not in thy thought; and curse not the rich in thy bed-chamber; for a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.’

THE original word, which is here tran­slated Curse, is variously rendred by Interpreters; but the easiest sense seems to be this, That we are here forbid, tho' never so secretly and closely, speaking any evil of, or designing any evil against our Sove­raign, upon any pretence or occasion whatever. Curse not the King, no not in thy thought; we must not so much as wish any Mischief or Harm to him; and curse not the rich, &c. By the rich Grotius un­derstands virum summatem, a Person in Chief Dig­nity and Power, whom God hath set in Authori­ty over us; and so these latter words are either only a repetition of the former, to give the grea­ter [Page 2] force and emphasis to them, or else by the rich may be meant subordinate Magistrates and Mini­sters of State, sent and deputed by the King, who is Supreme, to whom all internal Reverence and Honour ought to be paid, as well as outward Sub­jection and Obedience; (to express the sense in words ordinarily used amongst us) we must not Compass, Imagine, Desire, or Contrive any thing that tends to the Dammage and Prejudice either of our Soveraign Lord the King, or of any that are Commissionated or Authorised by him. Curse them not in thy Bed-chamber; that is, tho' we seek the dark­est Retirements, the most private Corners, however cautious we are that there be no Witnesses present, who may bear testimony against us, so that we think our selves secure from all possibility of Di­scovery, yet a bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter. Which words signifie, that God by his Wonderful Providence, some way or other, by Means we ne­ver thought of shall bring about, that all these evil Speeches, and clandestine Designs against his Vicegerent shall be revealed, to the utter Confusi­on of all those that are engaged in them.

Thus these words do not only contain a Prohi­bition of any secret Plots and Conspiracies against our Governours, but propound also a weighty Ar­gument [Page 3] to discourage men from any such wicked Undertakings: Because, let them be carried on ne­ver so cunningly and closely, yet they shall be as suddenly and surely discovered, as if the Birds of the air had listned to all their Whispers, had over­heard all their Discourse in their secret Cabals, and immediately flown away with the news, and given in Evidence against them.

An expression like to this we may find in the Pro­phet Habakkuk 2. 11. where it is said that the stone should cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber should answer it. What is whispered in a corner, what is hatched in darkness, yet by un­likely Means, by unthought of Accidents, which by the greatest subtlety and caution could not be provided against, shall be disclosed and brought to light; the Divine Providence being peculiarly concerned for the Defence and Protection of So­veraign Kings and Princes, and in an especial man­ner watching over them, as the choicest Object of its Care.

Now that it is thus, that God Almighty is more particularly engaged for the safety of Kings and Supreme Governours, so as wonderfully to appear for their Deliverance from the treacherous Conspi­racies of Ungodly Men, we have both good Rea­son [Page 4] upon which to believe it, and the Experience of all Ages doth abundantly confirm it.

We have good Reason upon which to believe it, and that upon these two plain accounts.

I. Because Soveraign Kings and Princes are God's Deputies and Vicegerents, set up by himself, and they derive their Power and Authority from him alone. God Almighty, the Maker of us all, is the only Absolute Lord and Uncontrolable So­veraign of Men and Angels. Part of his own Power and Authority which he hath over his Crea­tures, he hath delegated and committed to Kings and Princes, who are the most principal Instru­ments and Ministers of his Providence in the World. Hence are they called Gods, and Children of the Most High, Psal. 82. 6. God hath invested them with some part of his own Majesty, stamped his own Character upon them, and appointed them in his place to perform and administer even some part of his own Divine Office, if I may so speak, amongst men: Thus constituting them Earthly Gods, as to their Persons sacred, and as to their Actions accountable to none, but that supereminent Divine Authority that gave them Commission.

This is not any new-coined Divinity, invented in favour of Arbitrary Power by Court Parasites, and needy Flatterers, who seek Preferment; (as the Ene­mies [Page 5] of our flourishing Monarchy have sometimes represented it;) but it is expresly delivered in the Holy Scriptures, was professedly owned and taught by the Primitive Christians, and hath been the con­stant Doctrine of the Reformed Church of England: Nay, it is agreeable to the general sense of Man­kind, and might be made out by rational Evi­dence, if we had no other Confirmation of it.

That Supreme Governours have their Power and Authority from God alone, is expresly deli­vered in Scripture; and that not only of the Kings of Israel, who were evidently established by God's Appointment, but in general we are told, Prov. 8. 15, 16. By me Kings reign, and Princes decree ju­stice. By me Princes rule, and Nobles, even all the Judges of the earth. Thus Cyrus an Heathen Em­perour is called God's Anointed, Isa. 45. 1. Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus; and in the last Verse of the preceeding Chapter he is called God's Shepherd: (Princes being often, by reason of the resemblance between the Pastoral Office and Government, called Shepherds) I have made the earth, saith God by the Prophet Jeremiah 27. 5, 6. and have given it to whom it seemed meet unto me, and now have I given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar the King of Babylon my Servant. Thus Daniel declares that the most high [Page 6] ruleth in the Kingdom of men, and giveth it to whom­soever he will. And he tells Nebuchadnezzar, cap. 2. 37. that it was the God of Heaven that had given him a Kingdom, power, and strength, and glory. In the New Testament nothing can be plainer, than the beginning of the thirteenth Chapter to the Romans, where St. Paul tells us, that there is no power but of God: that the powers that be are ordain­ed of God. Whence in the next Verse he stileth Magistracy or Government the Ordinance of God; and in the Fourth Verse the Ruler is called the Mi­nister of God (not of the People) to execute his ven­geance upon them that do evil.

I shall not now trouble you with any Quotations out of the Primitive Fathers, who so often acknow­ledged even their Heathen Emperours to have been constituted by God, and to have held their Empire from him alone, and to have only him above them.

It is plain that this was always the Doctrine of our Church of England, as appears from the Book of Homilies, wherein we are taught, That the High Powers are set in Authority by God, that they are God's Lieutenants, God's Presidents, God's Officers, God's Commissioners, God's Judges ordained of God himself; nay, it hath been directly asserted in our Church, That the most high and sacred Order of Kings is of [Page 7] Divine Right, being the Ordinance of God himself, founded in the prime Law of Nature, and clearly esta­blished by express Texts both of the Old and New Te­stament.

Nor is it our Religion alone that teacheth us this, but the same was of old owned both by the Heathen Poets and Philosophers, that Kings were from God, and to his Supreme Authority order­ing, and appointing it, was to be referred the Ori­ginal of all Soveraignty and Rule amongst men.

Nor indeed can it be well conceived, or reasona­bly imagined, from whence Kings and Soveraign Powers should have Right to Govern and Com­mand, but from God alone. Since he is the un­doubted Lord of the whole Earth, and alone hath full power and right to Govern it, I cannot see but that whoever shall go about to confer any power of Government, or take upon himself any such Authority over others, were it not by God's appointment and institution, he would thereby put himself upon disposing of God's right, without his leave or ordering. So that Government and Superiority of one or more over others, is all Ty­ranny and Usurpation upon God's right, or else it must be granted to be Ordained by God himself. And it being so necessary for the Happiness and Welfare of Mankind, that it is impossible Peace [Page 8] and Order should be maintained, Justice admini­stred, or that we should live in tolerable safety, every man enjoying his own, without Govern­ment, it would seem an unworthy disparagement and reflexion upon the Divine Wisdom and Good­ness, to have left the World without any such pro­vision for the quiet and security of it.

Thus whatever the Form of Government may be, which is different in several places, whether it be in a single person, or many, or in the Body of the People, or their Representatives, whatever hand the people may have in some places, according to the particular Customs of their Countries, in Chu­sing or Designing the person or persons, that shall be invested with this Supreme Authority, yet the Power and Authority it self is derived only from God, and is neither received of the People in trust, nor is the Soveraign Power answerable to them for the Administration of it. Which is sometimes il­lustrated thus, Tho' the Wife may chuse what per­son she pleaseth to make her Husband, yet the Husbands Authority over the Wife is not owing to her, nor doth she confer it upon him, but it is of Divine Appointment.

The King (as it hath been said of old) in regard of the Nature of his Body is of the same Mould with every man, but in respect of the eminency of his Dig­nity [Page 9] he is like unto God, who is Lord over all, whose Image he beareth, and by whom he holdeth that Power which he hath over Men.

Now this being so clear and undoubted, that Kings and Princes represent the Person of God, and bear his Image, since they are Earthly, Visible, Corporeal Gods; (for so you find it, Exodus 22. 28. a place parallel to the words of my Text, Thou shalt not Revile the Gods, nor Curse the Ruler of thy People.) Since they are the Vicegerents of the Almighty Soveraign, Authorised and Com­missionated by him, his Deputies and Lieutenants here in the world, we may easily hence conclude, that his Providence cannot but be more particu­larly concerned for those, whom he calleth to such an High Office, whom he placeth in such Dignity and Eminence. He cannot but have a more spe­cial regard unto, and a more than ordinary Care over them, because of their peculiar relation to him as his Representatives.

As it is here amongst us in Humane Govern­ments, the Supream Soveraign is highly concern­ed to uphold and support all his inferiour Ma­gistrates in their several Places and Offices, to pro­tect them in the discharge of their Duty, to keep up their Honour and Reputation, and to provide that all due respect be paid to them: He resents [Page 10] all injuries and affronts offered to them, as done to himself; He looks upon all those, who set and oppose themselves against them, as Enemies to his Imperial Crown and Dignity, and that himself is struck and aimed at by any Violence done to his Officers or Ministers. So it is in the Case we now discourse of. Supream Governours have the same relation to God, as subordinate Ma­gistrates have to their Soveraign Princes; they are employed and intrusted hy him, and accord­ingly he expects subjection to them as to him­self, that we should honour and serve them ac­cording to that High Divine Character they bear. He therefore always in a more remarkable man­ner stands by them, and watches over them, as the chiefest of his Servants, and nearest to him­self. He takes what is done against them, as done against himself. Whosoever resisteth the Power, re­sisteth the Ordinance of God, saith St. Paul. To oppose and shake off their Government, to Plot and Conspire against their Life, is to Rebel against God; and when we will not suffer our Lawful Soveraign, whom the Divine Majesty hath ap­pointed, to Rule over us, we do by just conse­quence and fair interpretation endeavour what we can to dethrone God himself, and prove Traytors not only against our Natural Lord and King, [Page 11] but against the Heavenly Monarch himself, by whose Commission he Reigns.

II. Another reason to perswade us of the truth of this, that God's Providence is more peculiarly engaged for the safety and protection of So­veraign Kings and Princes, may be taken from this Consideration; viz. how much the Publick doth depend upon, and is concerned in their welfare and prosperity. Thus the People, 2 Sam. 18. 3. told King David, when they would not suffer him to expose his own Person to hazard in the Battel against Absalom, Thou art, say they, worth ten thousand of us. Hence was he called the light of Israel. Thou shalt go no more out with us to Battel, said Abishai, 2 Sam. 21. 17. that thou quench not the light of Israel. Nay, that wicked King Zedekiah, of whom it is expresly said, 2 Kings 24. 19. that he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, yet is stiled by the Prophet Jeremy, Lam. 4. 20. the Breath of our Nostrils. The Fates of whole Kingdoms depend upon them. All that live under their Government are interested in them, and partake with them, and a Villanous Attempt succeeding against our Soveraign, may stab an whole Nation to the Heart, and fill all places with Blood and Confusion.

Now God Almighty extendeth his Providence [Page 12] to the meanest and minutest things. He cloatheth the grass of the Field, he provideth for the Ra­ven his food, a Sparrow doth not fall to the ground without his knowledge, by him are all the hairs of our Head numbered; and can we think that this same Providence is not more particularly em­ploy'd in matters of such vast moment, which are of such Universal Consequence, as the Life and Safety of Kings and Princes?

God exerciseth a more special Providence over their Sacred Persons, on whom under himself the whole Community doth depend. For the sake of the People, whose Happiness is so closely wrapt up in the prosperity of their Prince, doth God Al­mighty guard him from secret Treachery, defend him from open Assaults, and by various means de­liver him from imminent Dangers. Especially good and gracious Kings, who are Fathers of their Country, and Nursing Fathers of the Church, who maintain the true Religion, encourage Ver­tue, protect Right and Innocence, and resemble the Divine Majesty, not only in Power and Au­thority, but also in his Attributes of Justice, Mer­cy and Goodness, they are more tenderly regard­ed by God. He hideth them under the shadow of his Wings, he keepeth them as the apple of his Eye, he giveth his Angels stricter Charge over [Page 13] them, that no evil may approach them. Such Princes being publick Blessings to the Kingdoms or Nations over which they preside; in their safe­ty must consist the greatest part of the Common Welfare. And thus if we consider either Go­vernours themselves, or the People commited to them, we shall see sufficient reason to believe, that Soveraign Kings and Princes are the peculiar Care and Charge of Divine Providence.

Nor have we reason only to believe this, but the experience of all Ages doth most abundantly confirm it. For surely there is not any one thing, wherein God's Providence hath more remarkably appeared, and interposed it self at all times, than in Discovering the secret Plots, and Defeating the traiterous Designs of wicked Men against the Government they lived under, which hath been often done by such ways and means, as have most evidently demonstrated the Finger of God in it, and must be ascribed to him, who only doth won­derful things.

Nor have we perhaps (besides what Divine Re­velation affords us) a greater Argument to prove this World to be Governed, and all things in it directed by the vigilant Eye and powerful Hand of Almighty God, than the sudden and seasonable Discovery of such Damnable Enterprises, con­trived [Page 14] with the utmost caution and secrecy, car­ried on with great subtlety and cunning, and just ripe for Execution; yet in an instant blasted, in a trice broken all to pieces, either by a surprizing dread and fear seizing the Conspirators themselves, or an unlucky word over-heard, or an unaccounta­ble suspicion of some ill Designs; which tho' found­ed upon no reason, or a very trifling one, yet hath proved true; or God hath smote upon the Conscience of some one of them, and for the ease of his own tortur'd mind he is forced to a Discovery; or a jealousie that they are betrayed by others, hath made some of them give the first notice of it themselves; or a Letter miscarried, or some fright, mistake, oversight, something hap­ning otherwise than was expected, hath brought the hidden works of darkness to light, by which the King and his People have been just snatch'd out of the Jaws of Ruine.

True indeed it is, that there are some Excepti­ons against this. Sometimes it hath hapned that such Desperate Undertakings have been prospe­rous, and God's Providence hath suffered even a Good and Excellent Prince to fall a Sacrifice by the Merciless Hands of a Bloody Assassin, or be­ing over-powered by his own Rebellious Subjects, to be more pompously Murdered under the pre­tence [Page 15] of Justice; of which we have had a sad, and never to be forgotten Instance, in our own Nation. But then this hath been permitted, when the sins of a Nation have been extream, and called aloud for Punishment; when God hath been long and highly provoked to give up a People to Destructi­on, who have filled up the measure of their Iniqui­ties, then hath he sometimes suffered such inhu­mane Barbarities to take place. But ordinarily it is otherwise, and by some secret invisible means God doth either infatuate the Counsels, and con­found the Devices, or else by some fortunate acci­dent seasonably discover the horrid Conspiracies of his own and the Kings Enemies. A Bird of the air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

Of the truth of all that I have now said, concern­ing God's wonderful Care and Providence over So­veraign Kings and Princes, we cannot reasonably desire, we cannot easily meet with a more Illustri­ous Instance, than his Majesty that now is, whom God long preserve. A Prince, for whose safety and protection Heaven hath all along so signally interested it self, and so miraculously defended him, in spite of all the restless attempts of his and ours, either open or secret Adversaries, that I can­not but wonder, if no other Argument could pre­vail [Page 16] with these Sons of Belial to desist from such Hellish Enterprises; yet that they should not at last be tyred with Plotting against him to no purpose; that they should not despair of doing him any hurt, for whose Defence and Deliverance God Almighty hath so frequently and publickly ap­peared. This betrays the Folly, as well as the Wickedness, of all those who are ingaged in such Caballings and Plottings, that they vye Power with God himself, and resolve to destroy him, whom by such a series of miraculous Providences God hath shewn himself resolved to save and protect.

Alas! they are not only the Guards whom they must seize upon and master. In vain are all their Meetings and Consultations about the feasibleness of such a Design; unless they can find out a way to escape God's knowledge, or could be too hard for the Almighty, who hath undertaken to guard and secure our King, and will see that no Weapon for­med against him shall prosper.

Was it not by God's wonderful Providence that he was preserved from the Fury and Rage of those, who embrued their Savage hands in his Fathers Sa­cred Blood? Was it not the same good Provi­dence that continually compassed him, as with a Shield, when his own Subjects in Arms against him sought his Death and Destruction? Was it not [Page 17] the same Providence that for a long time hid and concealed him from the most diligent search of Blood-thirsty Rebels, (though so many Conscious, yet none tempted by great Rewards and more powerful Fears to betray him) and at last, after a miraculous manner, provided an escape for him, and through innumerable dangers, conveighed hime safe to a strange Land? Was it not the same God who de­fended and supported him during a long and most unjust Banishment, and at length by his own right Hand, and outstretched Arm, brought him safe a­gain to his People, and gloriously restored him to his three Kingdoms? Hath he not since been graci­ously pleased in time to discover all the evil De­signs of Wicked men against his Person and Govern­ment, or hath prevented those which were never discovered? Hath he not saved him from the Popish Plot? And are we not this present day met toge­ther to bless God for his deliverance from a Fana­tick one? And after all, have we not vast Reason from such large Experience of God's infinite kind­ness towards our most Gracious Soveraign, and in him to us his People, yet to hope that he will still preserve him, and continue his Life amongst us, to be every day a greater Blessing to these King­doms.

[Page 18] Give me leave therefore in this Case to apply the Words of the Psalmist in the beginning of the Second Psalm, Why do the Papists rage, and the Fa­naticks imagine a vain thing? What madness is this, that thus possesses them to unite and associate together? The heads of the several Parties and Facti­ons set themselves, and take Counsel together against the Lord, and against his anointed King, saying, Let us break their Bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. Let us not be tyed up any longer by that slavish Principle of Obedience to Authority for Conscience sake, but rather like free born Peo­ple throw off the Yoke which the King and his Mi­nisters would impose upon us. He that sitteth in the Heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them in derision. The Almighty Soveraign, by whose Commission and Authority our King Reigns, shall despise all these foolish Attempts, and will expose these presumptuous Rebels to the Scorn and Con­tempt of every man. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Even then when they think they have effected their Design, and made all sure, God shall suddenly disappoint and confound them, so that all men shall observe the tokens of the Divine Vengeance a­gainst them. Yet have I set my King upon my Ho­ly [Page 19] Hill of Sion. See how madly they have Plot­ted against themselves: For our King and his Go­vernment is not only yet preserved, but we hope Strengthened and Established by their impious Con­spiracy against it.

But more particularly, we are now assembled to make due acknowledgments of God's wonderful Providence and Mercy, in Discovering and Defeat­ing the late Treasonable Conspiracy against his Sacred Majesties Person and Government. In speaking of which, I shall first of all briefly set before you the Horridness of the Conspiracy it self; then the Great­ness of the Deliverance we now bless God for; and lastly, add some few plain Advices suitable to this occasion.

I. The Horridness of this late Conspiracy will suffi­ciently appear, if we consider only these three things.

1. The Actors or Persons ingaged in it.

2. The Motives from which they acted.

3. The Mischiefs that would inevitably have followed, had not God's Providence made timely Discovery of it; and under these heads I shall only hint at some few things.

[Page 20] 1. As to the Persons that were ingaged in this Plot, they may be considered under several Circum­stances, which do all highly aggravate their Crime and Guilt: As that they were Protestants; nay, the most Zealous Protestants, who would hardly allow any others to be such besides themselves. Hence on all occasions they would appear most vigorous and active for the Prosecution and Suppression of Pa­pists, and counted all that were not so fierce and violent as themselves, to be Popishly affected, and ready upon any turn of the times to leave their Religion. All this Zeal against the Papists, they pro­fessed to proceed from a just Hatred of their Di­sloyal Principles, which were inconsistent with the Civil-Government, and dangerous to the Monarchy, and the Kings Person; as if they had a mind to save the Government from the Papists, only that them­selves might have the Honour of Subverting it. They liked the thing well enough, it was a glori­ous work, but only they did not approve of the Instruments. And if these must be called Prote­stants, who can joyn in such Villanous Designs, I shall only say, that then I know some Protestants, who are every jot as bad, and as little to be trusted as any Papists.

[Page 21] We indeed of the Church of England, for this one thing, were not a little beholden to these Con­spirators, viz. That they were so careful to distin­guish themselves from us, and were for a finer and purer Communion than that Established by Law. A Protestant is a word at large, and may signifie any thing, and comprehends all that are not Pa­pists, whatever they are for. But the Doctrine and Discipline of the Church of England, we all know what it is; it is Stated and Defined, and we are sure that it condemns all Disloyal, Seditious Practices, on any pretence whatever: And therefore they who were ingaged in this Wicked Conspiracy, how­ever some of them might sometimes be seen in our Churches, yet they were forced to find fault with our Establishment, to decry our Bishops and Ministers, and weaken their Authority, to endea­vour by all means to prejudice the People against our Church, and to lessen its Interest, which they knew stood in the way of their Designs.

And have not these Men now bravely provi­ded for the Credit and Honour of the Protestant Religion? Had these great haters of Popery gone to School to the Jesuits, could they possibly have been taught a more compendious way to serve [Page 23] and promote Popery, than that very way which they took to keep it out?

But besides this Consideration of their Religion, we shall find the persons concerned in this late Treason, under as great Obligations to have lived quietly under the present Government, as could pos­sibly be laid upon Men. Some of them were actually in the late Rebellion, and had hitherto enjoyed the benefit of his Majesties Gracious Act of Indemnity, owing their Lives and Fortunes to his Majesties un­parallel'd Clemency: Of whom it may be truly said, what St. Peter saith of some in his days, 2 Epist. 2. 22. It is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire. So hard a matter is it to cure one be­witched with the Principles of Rebellion, that af­ter above twenty years he shall return to his old trade as bare-facedly, as if we had never heard of his former pranks.

Many of them were Persons, who, besides his Majesties pardon, had partaken largely of his Roy­al Grace and Favour, been advanced by him to great Honour and Dignity, been intrusted in places of great Power and Eminency; and after they had [Page 22] raised their Families, and gotten great Estates by his Majesties Bounty, then lifted up their Heels a­gainst him; to whom the King may well say, what our Blessed Lord did to the Jews, St. John 10. 32. when they took up Stones to cast at him; for which of those many good works I have done for you, do you now design and contrive this mischief against me?

Others there were that were ingaged out of Discontent, because they had not all they had a mind unto, because they were not employed in the publick, proportionably according to the opini­on they had conceived of their own worth and usefulness to the King and Nation, or because they did not now appear in so high a Station as they had done formerly.

Add to this his Majesties wonderful Lenity and Indulgence towards all sorts of Dissenters, the fresh memory of our late Troubles and Confusions, and the direful Consequences of them, the easi­ness of our present Government under his most Gracious Majesty, who adheres so close to his Laws, and hath given us all possible assurance that he will always do so, that great Plenty and Peace we have for so long time enjoyed, excep­ting [Page 24] only the disturbance which our own intestine Divisions and Commotions have raised, the little prospect any could have of bettering his Conditi­on by such a Revolution as was designed, and we must conclude that never any men had less reason or provocation to enter into a Conspiracy against the Government, than those Persons who were actually ingaged in this late Treason.

2. Consider the Motives from which they act­ed, where I do not mean the true and real ones, which did indeed sway with them, and were different according to their several Ranks and Qualities, (some of which I have already men­tioned) but the pretended ones which they made shew of, to gain a Party, and to fasten the Peo­ple to them; and it would not be very difficult to guess what these were, had we never heard of them. To be sure the Good and Interest of the People, Care of their Liberties and Proper­ties, and the Defence of the true Religion against Popery.

Fear of Popery, and Arbitrary Government, and evil Counsellors, once in the memory of ve­ry many here present, made this Nation run mad, and set us all together by the Ears, cost [Page 25] an infinite Treasure, the Lives of many thousand English-men, and which was more to be valued of that Excellent Martyr King Charles the First. And what was the Conclusion of all, but instead of Liberty, enslaving the Nation to a Military Power; instead of Property, Plunder, Sacriledge, and Sequestration, and the setting up freakish En­thusiasm instead of True Rational Religion?

And may it not yet without offence be said, that Men were just playing the same Game over again? The same Fears and Jealousies were start­ed, and industriously propagated amongst the People; the Government, by a number of im­pudent Libels, that every where swarmed and were exposed to every ones view, publickly tra­duced and defamed; all ill Reports of the Kings Ministers, of the Clergy, and all Loyal persons studiously spread amongst the People, and hand­ed from one to another; every miscarriage heightned and aggravated, all Faults and Mis­fortunes laid at the Kings door; every thing that was done or ordered mis-construed and mis-inter­preted; the Church of England represented as daily approaching nigher to that of Rome; and Mens minds were so generally possessed with such sad Prognosticks, of strange and dismal Evils just coming upon us, that even some honest Persons [Page 26] were almost frighted out of their Wits and Alle­giance, and could not suspect any harm in them, who talked so speciously of Reformation of Abuses, and securing of Religion, and defending the Kings Person: all which, as now plainly appears, was de­signed only to prepare the People for the contri­ved Insurrection and Rebellion.

Now of all Rebels they are certainly the worst, that are such out of Conscience; and no such de­sperate Villains as those, who think to please God by Murders and Massacres. Other wicked men may be often checked, are sometimes restrained by their Consciences, and dread of a future Judg­ment: but what Evil shall they ever boggle at, who commit such gross Wickedness out of com­pliance with their Consciences, out of Obedi­ence to God, and expect to be rewarded for it in another World? And is it possible by any thing we can do to bring greater dishonour to, or more effectually to prejudice Rulers and Governours a­gainst Religion, than by pretending it to patro­nize and countenance Faction and Rebellion? If this were the true Genius of Religion, to make men Unpeaceable, Turbulent, Seditious, and Mu­tinous, it would then become the great Interest of Princes to guard themselves against it, as the very Pest of Humane Society, and dangerous to [Page 27] the Civil-Government; but thanks be to God, this is not the temper of our Christianity. Our Sa­viours Religion begets in Men the most Gentle and Meek, Patient and Governable Spirits, and is so far from being inconsistent with Loyalty to our Prince, that it is the greatest tye and obligati­on to it in the World; and there is no one can throw off his Allegiance towards his Earthly So­veraign, but at the same time he renounces all Du­ty and Conscience towards God. That Religion therefore, of which Loyalty is not a very conside­rable part, is not of our Saviours, but of our own making; and when it disposeth Men to such Outrages and publick Mischiefs, it is worse than no Religion at all.

3. Consider what had followed, had God per­mitted this Horrid Conspiracy to have taken effect. What certainly had followed God only knows; but we cannot think any other thing, but misera­ble Confusion, and the Destruction of us all. For what a Bloody Tragedy must presently have begun, as soon as the surprizing news of the Murder of the King and his only Brother, had arrived to this Great and populous City: When the Streets should have been presently stained with the Blood of our Magistrates, and Ministers, and Loyal Citizens, and all those who were not likely to have proved for their turn.

[Page 28] Where this would have ended, the Conspirators themselves could not possibly have divined, nor would it have been in their Power, who set the multitude on work, to have put a stop to them, saying, Thus far ye shall go, and no further. Those Murders, and Massacres, and Rapines, and De­vastations might have followed, which even the Plotters themselves never intended, but knew not how to prevent, having raised a Devil that was past their Power and Skill to lay; and there is no­thing in the World so Cruel, so Outragious, so Barbarous, as an Armed incensed Rabble, which is like the Sea breaking in, the force of which is not to be resisted. Nay, this might have end­ed in the destruction of the very Heads of the Plot themselves, who could not promise them­selves Security. But this brings me to the Second thing I propounded to speak of, viz.

II. The greatness of the Deliverance we are now to bless God for. To his Gracious Provi­dence seasonably discovering this Traiterous Con­spiracy, we do owe the Preservation of his Maje­sties Life, which is dearer to us than our own, to­gether with the Life of his Royal Brother, and the continuance of this present Government, which hath so long made the People of England the hap­piest [Page 29] and most envied People in the World. To the same Mercy many of us owe our own Lives; for who knows in such a day who had passed for Papists, or whom they would have accounted ill affected Persons? By this means all true and de­sirable Liberty is continued to us, whilst we dwell safely, every man under his own Vine and Fig-tree: the publick Laws, which best maintain our Pro­perty, have still their due force, and which to be sure ought not to be forgotten, especially in this place, our pure Religion and Church is yet con­tinued to us. Our Orthodox Ministers are not driven into Corners, nor our excellent Prayers and Liturgy thrust out of the Church, to make room for Extemporary Effusions, nor every one left at Liberty to serve God when, and where, and how he pleaseth. What grateful Acknow­ledgments do so great a Mercy and Deli­verance require from us all; and by our thank­fulness this day for these great and invaluable Blessings, who knows but we may prevail with God, and oblige him still to preserve them to us, and to succeeding Generations?

3. I shall only in the last Place add some few Advices proper for this occasion, and shall men­tion these four.

1. Let us from this Conspiracy, by observing the rise and progress of it, the Methods by [Page 30] which it was carried on, and the Persons that were ingaged in it, make this Rule to our selves, Al­waies to suspect those, who clamour for Refor­mation of publick Abuses, and Defence of the true Religion, and yet are scandalously Wicked and Flagitious in their Lives and Manners. It cannot but be observed almost by every Man, that many of the Heads of this late Conspiracy, were Persons infamous throughout the whole Nation, for their Immoralities and Debauche­ries, notorious Whoremasters, Adulterers, Drun­kards, Murderers, Swearers, and what not? Now what a fulsome thing is it, and to be abhorred of all honest Men, to hear such Persons as these set up for the great Patriots of their Country, and the Assertors of the Peoples Rights, and Conserva­tors of their Liberties, and Religion? Are Men of such Atheistical Principles, and Prostituted Con­sciences, fit to be trusted either with Religion, or our Liberties? Or can we desire any greater Argu­ment, that they are moved by some other Design, which they mask under such plausible pretences? The Case of securing the Protestant Religion with such Men is a meer Story, to sham and delude the Ignorant and Unwary. Such matter not what Religion prevails, so they can but gain their Secu­lar, Ambitious, Covetous, or Revengeful ends. Now this is so palpable a Cheat, so thin a Dis­guise, [Page 31] that methinks the meanest Person may easi­ly see through it.

2. Let us all have a great care of entertaining any ill Opinions or Conceits of our Governours. For this is the first foundation of all Sedition or Rebellion. We must not nourish or give way to any discontents, nor readily give ear to any Factious reports that tend to the disgrace of the Government, or the disparagement of the Pub­lick Ministers, or that detract from their Repu­tation and Esteem, who are set in high place of Power and Authority. Tho' it were really so, that we were oppressed or treated harshly by them, yet we are not to give vent to our Passion, in indecent railing or inveighing against them, called in Scripture Blaspheming or speaking evil of Dignities, Is it fit, saith Elihu to Job, to say to a King, thou art wicked, and to Princes, ye are ungodly.

It is to be feared we in this City have much to answer for our immoderate Taxing and lavish Censuring the actions of our Governours, and aspersing our Superiours with Scandalous Impu­tations; for I doubt not but men may be in this Plot, and have a great hand in this Conspi­racy, tho' they never met at any of the Consults, nor had any particular part to act in it, nor knew any thing of killing the King, or of the Insurrection intended, but yet by doing and [Page 32] saying of those things which manifestly tend to the weakning and disenabling the Government, and prejudicing the People against it, they may by this means have been highly instrumental in carrying on this wicked Design, for our De­liverance from which we now bless Almighty God.

There may be, I say, not a few amongst us, that might never be particularly acquainted with this design, yet hoped much that there was one going on, and that some body at some time or other would dare to appear for the liberty of the Subject and Conscience, and whenever they did, they might be sure of their good wishes and pray­ers: who would have been more than tolerably content, if all that was designed had taken Ef­fect. These are the men that are watching for, and picking up all the stories that may disturb and disquiet the Nation, that have so much pity for these Conspirators, that they have hardly any for the King; who tho' they dare not publickly say it, yet sliely suspect the truth of this Plot, would fain iamagine a trick in it, and that it is all an invention of the Court to take away honest mens lives; who could heartily wish that Vienna had been much nigher, and were very sorry to hear that the Turk was likely to go home again, without making some greater fright, some jumble and alteration in our Affairs. These men are [Page 33] very far gone, and in next disposition towards Rebellion.

Men do not become Traitors and Rebels in an instant, but first they begin with murmuring and complaining, then unmannerly talking of their Superiours, at length plain accusing their Proceedings, till by such undutiful Practices they become Conscious to themselves, that they have offended the Government at so great a rate, as that they cannot be safe under it, and then in their own defence they think of destroying it.

3. Let us all be warned to have a great care ofrea­ding Factious Seditious Libels, or of imbibing An­timonarchical Principles, many of which have strangely prevailed these last years amongst us, as that the Supream Power is always in the People, in the Kingonly in Trust; And that the People may resume that Power whenever they Please, and call their King to an account for his Execution of it; that here in England the Soveraignty is not by Law com­pleatly and absolutely in the King; That he is but one of the three Estates of the Kingdom: And es­pecially one very ill Antichristian Principle, which hath done an infinite deal of Mischief amongst us, and perhaps hath brought more into this Plot than any one thing else, I mean, that it is lawful in some Cases by Force and Violence to resist the Supreme Authority, especially in defence of the True [Page 34] Religion, particularly if the King, or those Commis­sionated by him, use illegal Force to bring in a­nother Religion, or to Persecute the Professors of the True Religion. All such Principles as these, and many more might be named, are directly fitted and calculated for such a Conspiracy, and Associ­ation as this lately discovered amongst us. Let us all have a care therefore of the books, wherein such poysonous Doctrines are taught, or of the Company of those who profess to believe them, lest before we are aware they insinuate themselves into us, and so betray us into infinite mischiefs.

4. And lastly, What a fit opportunity is this for all those that are Honest and Sincere amongst the Dis­senters, to lay aside their Prejudices and little Sngula­rities, and Affectations, and as one man to unite with the Church? And this would be the greatest means to preserve the Civil State in peace; for as long as there remain these Divisions in Religion, these several Sects and Parties amongst us, we shall always be in dan­ger of Plots and Conspiracies against the Government. These Parties will be always matter for Ambitious, Discontented Persons to work upon, and to sow the Seeds of Sedition and Rebellion amongst them. All the Malecontents in the Kingdom fly to these Dissen­ters, and to the Separate Meetings for refuge, and there herd and shelter themselves.

[Page 35] This therefore is the time for those amongst them, who heartily love the King and their Country (as ma­ny of them profess to do) publickly to disclaim and declare their utter Detestation of all such Principles and Practices, which have given occasion and en­couragement to these late Horrid Conspiracies against the Kings Person and Government; with Sorrow to acknowledge how much they have been abused and deceived by the plausible pretences of Wicked Men; to become ashamed and weary of Schism and Fanaticism, since by this late Discovery they cannot but plainly see whither it tends, how trou­blesome and dangerous it is to the Publick Peace, what a Bloody Devillish Spirit it possesses men with al; lastly, as an Evidence of their sincerity in all this, to return into the Bosom of the Church.

This indeed would be a most happy Fruit of this Conspiracy, if all men would now be perswaded, how much it is their Interest and Security to unite in the Publick and Legal Establishment, which under God can be the only probable way of preserving the Peace, Happiness, and Religion of our Nation.

The Lord grant that we may all in this our day mind the things that belong to our Peace, before they are hid from our Eyes.

FINIS.

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