True Religion makes the best Loyalty.

Discovered and Recommended in a SERMON Prepar'd for that Assembly which intended to meet at St. Michael's Cornhil, April 21. 1682.

And afterwards Preach'd at the New Church in WESMINSTER, May 29. being the Happy Day of His Majesty's BIRTH and RETURN.

And now publish'd, at the earnest Request of the Gentlemen of that VESTRY,

By THOMAS JEKYLL, M.A and Preacher at the said New Church in Westminster.

LONDON; Printed for Jonathan Robinson, at the Golden Lion in St. Paul's Church-yard. MDCLXXXII.

PROV. 24.21.

My Son, fear thou the Lord, and the King; and meddle not with them that are given to change.

THo' Solomon was himself a Sove­reign Prince, whose Honour and safety consisted as much in the Loyalty and Faithfulness of his Subjects and People, as ever any Kings did; yet these words are not spoken by him to serve a Turn, and to support or enlarge his own particular Power and Greatness, but as a necessary Means and Rule to establish that Peace and Tranquillity, in which the Happiness and Wel­fare of any Nation or Kingdom doth consist. Had we indeed none but Kings and Rulers to recommend this Duty to us, we might possibly suspect it guilty of too much Partiality and De­sign; but we find it quite otherwise, for the pra­ctice of it hath been in all Ages still urged upon us, with as much Zeal and Faithfulness, even by those who have been the most oppress'd by it, as ever it was by those who have had the largest [Page 6]share or Interest in it. The greatest Princes and Monarchs upon Earth cannot well desire a larger Power and Dominion than what the Scriptures give them, and all good Men own and acknowledg to belong to them; nor can the wisest Politicians and Statesmen in the World, either invent or desire more firm and solid, more strong and certain, more cogent and convincing Arguments to Loyalty and Subjection, than what are given us by St. Peter and St. Paul. And it's very well known how much their Actions were agreeable to their Doctrines, since all those Hardships and Pressures which they laboured under, could never provoke them to make any Attempts whatsoever against the Government they were either born or liv'd under. It's true, there was a general Clamour rais'd against them, and the rest of the Apostles, as Men of dange­rous Spirits and Principles, Enemies to all the Civil Governments in the World, and therefore not to be endured amongst Men; but we never find any such thing prov'd upon them; bring them but to the Test, and the quite contrary ap­pears; Acts 24. as it did by St. Paul, when so solemnly arraign'd for such things before Felix the Gover­nor, and so fiercely charg'd with them by Ter­tullus a flattering Orator of those Times. And this was the constant Doctrine and Practice of the Primitive Christians for above three hundred [Page 7]Years together, making no manner of resistance against their Tyrannical Persecutors, tho' they wanted neither for Strength nor Numbers; as Tertullian, who liv'd a little before that Time, in his excellent and learned Apology for the Chri­stians, makes it plainly appear; till the Bishops of Rome began to insult over their Fellow Bishops, and to affect a Tyrannical Supremacy in them­selves over the whole Christian World; before which, tho' there might be some fierce Bicke­rings amongst Christians, yet no such open and rebellious Practices against the Civil Government were ever allow'd of, as were afterwards too too commonly seen amongst them: And if any such things have been ever at any time acted since, un­der the specious pretences of Conscience and Re­ligion, we know to whom we are beholden for the first Contrivance, and how far the Hand of Joab is in them still. And indeed, what could be otherwise expected from such beginnings, when Christianity was turned into a secular▪ De­sign, and made to promote a Temporal Great­ness, and that but basely gotten too; for the first that ever established that Doctrine, was an Adulterous Assassine and Bloody Rebel, that murder'd his Master; and the first that made his Markets of it, wanted neither for Pride nor Co­vetousness to make the most of it. And from hence it is that we may date those bold and [Page 8]daring Attempts, to Dethrone and Murder Em­perors and Kings, which the Histories of the latter Ages of the Church have been, and are [...] clogg'd and loaded with; for tho' it's true [...] this many little Attempts were made against the Sovereign Powers by Excommunications and Censures, yet this never grew so rampant and outragious as afterwards, when Pride and [...] bore so great a sway amongst those Ecclesiastical Usurpers. And no wonder if they who had so fairly begun to cast off all Religion, & given themselves up to Villany and Lust, soon learn'd to cast off all Allegiance too: He that can prove false to Hea­ven, and rebel daily against his God, can never be truly loyal to his Prince, nor a Cordial Friend to any Government; and therefore we shall al­ways find the best Men make the best Subjects, none doing more real Honour and Service to the King, than they who truly love and fear▪ God; and therefore the one is still made the Motive to enforce and encourage the other: My Son, fear thou the Lord, and the King; and meddle not with their that are given to change.

In the handling of which words, I shall en­deavour,

I. To explain the fence and meaning of them.

II. Consider the Nature of the Duty con­tained in them.

III. By way of Application, endeavour to enforce this Duty upon our Practice.

1. For the meaning of the words, in which I shall shew in what is mean by the fear of God. 2. What by fearing the King 3. What by being given to change.

1. What is meant by fearing God, Fea [...] thou the word. This is sometimes put for the whole Business of Religion, and domain the [...] and substance of that Duty which we owe to God, the chief part of which consists of eight Appre­hensions of him, because where such are, every other Duty will certainly follow. He that sets God always before his Eyes, can never do a­miss, and the before the Psalmist makes the want of this, the cause of all other Mischiefs and Op­pressions in the World, The Wicked, Psal. 10.4. (saith he) through the pride of his Countenance, will not seek after God; God is not in all his thoughts: And then followeth, [...]ers. 7, 8, 9. His Mouth is full of Cur­sing, Deceit, and Fraud, under his Tongue, is Mis­chief and Vanity. He sitteth in the lurking places of the Villages; in the secret places doth he murder the Innocent. He lieth in wait secretly as a Lion in his Den, he lieth. in wait to catch the Poor; and tho' he cannot but sometimes think of these things with remorse and [...], yet then he flyeth unto his old Refuge, that either God doth not see, Vers. 13.or will [Page 10]forget, and so never Require it. For no ratio­nal Man can commit a deliberate Act of Sin, that is fully persuaded and convinced that God seeth and knoweth what he doth, and will cer­tainly call him to an account for it; and there­fore the first thing that wicked Men do, is to banish this Principle from their Minds, for as long as there are any impressions of it there, the remembrance of their own Actions must needs be very uneasy to them; and therefore hence it is, that the Scriptures, both of the Old and New Testament, lay every where so much stress upon [...], and not only make it the Motive to, but the Sum and Substance also of all true Religion: and this it doth not only in general Terms, when it speaks of God's immediate Worship and Service, but when it descends to the particular Duties which we owe unto our Neighbour also; they are often expressed by the same Phrase. Thus, for the Duty of Magi­strates and great Men. Saith David in his dying words, 2 Sam. 23.3. He that ruleth over Men, must be just, ruling in the Fear of God; that is, as becomes one who is not only in the presence, but in the place of God; 2 Chron. 19.7. with whom there is no Iniquity, nor re­spect of Persons, nor taking of Bribes. And so for any others that are in any other inferiour de­gree of Power; Levit. 25.17, 42, 43. Ye shall not oppress one another▪ saith Moses, but thou shalt fear thy God. Nay, if thy [Page 11]Brother be sold unto thee for a Bondman, thou shalt not rule over him with Rigour, but shall fear thy God; i.e. shalt use him with that merciful re­gard which God requires, and is well-pleased with. And thus the Duty of Subjects towards their Magistrates is expressed in words to the same effect, when we are required not only to be subject for Wrath, but also for Conscience-sake; Rom. 13.5. and what is that, but in the Fear of God; and therefore whoever resists the Power, Vers. 2.resists the Ordi­nance of God; and what is that, but to cast off the Fear of God! And thus also our Duty towards one another, in all Affairs and Bu­sinesses whatsoever is expressed; Psal. 34.11, 13, 14. Come ye Chil­dren (saith David) hearken unto me, and I will teach you the Fear of the Lord: and what is that? keep thy Foot from Evil, and thy Lips from speaking Guile. Depart from Evil, and do good; seek Peace and pursue it. Thus saith the wise Man, The Fear of the Lord is to hate Evil. Prov. 8.13. So that by the Fear of the Lord, we are here to understand the sincere and hearty Profession and Practice of True Religion; the doing the Duties of our particular Places, with an honest Mind, and as we will answer it to God. And this I have been the longer upon, because it helps us both to un­derstand and practise the following Duty of Fearing the King; which comes now to be exa­amined and explained.

2. What is meant by fearing the King. And here we may easily understand the meaning of this Duty, by comparing it with the former; for according to the particular Nature and Ex­tent of it, it hath the same signification with that; for as the one teacheth us what is True Re­ligion, so the other teacheth us what is True Loyalty; for as the one consists in a rational sincere and dutiful Affection and Zeal for God and his Interest, so doth the other for the King and his: they only differ in Degree, as the one is subordinate and must give place unto the other, tho' to none besides: for as we are to be obedi­ent for Conscience-sake, in the Fear of God, so we are to be so according to the Will of God; for if any thing is required that is contrary there­unto, Acts 5.29. we all know that God is to be obeyed rather than Man. Nor doth this at all derogate from the Duty of the Text, but rather confirm and main­tain it; for if Kings are to be feared and ho­noured, as they are God's Vicegerents, then whatever doth dishonour God, reflects also upon them; and therefore those that are truly zealous to preserve the one, do best secure and uphold the other; nor doth this in the least eclipse their Power and Dominion, but leaves them to the full exercise of it, since it never alloweth us to rebel against it, but rather to yield to it, and to suffer by it; which when we chearfully and wil­lingly [Page 13]do, we shew we are more tender of the King's Honour and Safety, than we are of our own; which is certainly the truest Principle of Loyalty, and the best demonstration of the ho­nesty of our Intentions in the practice of this Duty: for tho' the Government may by this means be sometimes crossed of its Will, yet it's never in danger as to its safety.

3. What is meant by being given to change? The word in the Original, is [...], and signifies Changers, and so it's rendred in the Margent; and it is sometimes taken in a good fence, and some­times in a bad.

1. It is sometimes taken in a good sense, for those necessary Changes and Alterations that are made in things that are amiss, which it is every Man's Duty, in the place wherein he is set, by all honest and just Ways and Means to endea­vour; but this cannot be Solomon's meaning here. Therefore,

2. It is taken sometimes, and here more espe­cially, in a bad fence, for those that rather endea­vour to disturb those things that are well; and therefore it is properly translated, by being given to change; that is, Persons of unsetled Minds, govern'd by no Principles, either of Religion or Honesty; whose Profit or Lust is the only thing they are guided by, and which no Government can have any certain security against; fickle [Page 14]and unconstant Men, that always turn with the Times; meer Weathercocks both in Religion and Government, and therefore true neither to God nor the King; whose Religion is only Rea­son of State, and whose Loyalty is either Inte­rest or Humour, and (to speak according to the present Distemper of our Times) Protestants to day, Papists to morrow, any thing the next, and yet all this while nothing at all. And there­fore well doth the wise Man caution us against such as these, as the most dangerous Company we can keep; for they that have no honest re­gard to the Interest of True Religion, can have none to their King and Country; he that every day makes bold with Almighty God, and sets him at defiance in the manifest breach of his Laws, for the sake of his Pleasure, or of his Profit, can never give his Prince any tolera­ble security, that he will not serve him so upon the like occasion: and this is the reason why Princes are many times so unfortunate in the choice of their Ministers, because it is an hard matter to find a great Politician to be as good a Man, one who always makes the Laws of God and his Country the constant measure of his Actions, let what will happen to him; which if they did but truly fear God, they would certainly be and do. And this leads me to the second thing propounded, which is, to consider,

II. The Nature of this Duty: The meaning of which is, I suppose by this time, pretty well understood; and therefore that which I shall en­deavour next, shall be to show,

That True Religion, called here the Fear of God, is the best security of true Loyalty; and that those Persons who fear God most, will serve the King best: And this I shall do in three seve­ral Particulars.

1. True Religion fixeth Men to certain Prin­ciples, which any Government may safely rely upon.

2. It cuts off all occasions of Rebellion and Disloyalty.

3. It urgeth stronger Motives, and layeth greater Obligations upon us to be truly Loyal, than any thing in the World can besides.

1. True Religion fixeth Men to certain Prin­ciples, which any Government may safely rely upon. The Actions of Men either are or should be still governed by some Principle or other, ac­cording to the Truth or Falshood of which they are always either good or bad. Now for those Persons that have no Principles at all, it's only by chance if ever they are good, and therefore no Government can safely confide in them. Now True Religion layeth down such Principles as are to be trusted, such as secure and maintain the Civil Rights of all Men; and take care, not [Page 16]only that God, but that Cesar also may have his utmost Due; which are such as these. (1.) That we must by no means do wrong, tho' we have Power enough, and can do it without Danger or Discovery; nay, we must rather take Wrong than do it. (2.) That we must not revenge our selves when it is done unto us. (3.) That we must always speak and act according to the Evi­dence and Verdict of Truth. (4.) That Sove­reign Princes are not to be resisted by force of Arms, much less to be Depos'd and Murder'd. Nay, (5.) That True Religion it self is not to be propagated or establish'd by Violence and Blood.

(1.) True Religion teacheth us, That we must by no means do Wrong, tho' we have Power e­nough, and can do it without Danger or Disco­very, nay, we must rather take Wrong than do it; True Religion is very tender of the Rights of all Men; and tho' it lays none under the ne­cessity of being wrong'd, yet it restrains all from the doing of it, in any kind whatsoever: it makes an Hedg about every Man's Liberty and Property; fenceth and encloseth him in from Violence and Rapine; secures him against open Force and secret Fraud, that he shall neither be overpowred by the one, nor undermined by the other, but continue safe under its Protection, from all the merciless Attempts of the Sons of Violence, [Page 17]and from all the treacherous and false Accusations of the Sons of Belial; it never makes the fairest Opportunity a sufficient Warrant to the doing of Mischief, nor the closest Privacy an encouragement thereto; but by shewing us the All-seeing Eye of God, and the certainty of his Vengeance, makes e­very Man to become his Brother's Keeper; and therefore whoever offers injuriously to invade us in any kind, tho' under never such specious Pretences, and guarded by never so great a Power, is a pub­lick Enemy, and a notorious disturber of the com­mon Peace of Mankind, and hazards the Peace and Tranquillity of any Government whatsoever.

(2.) True Religion allows us not to revenge our selves when we are wrong'd. Had it made no Pro­vision for our Reparation and Satisfaction in such Cases, we might possibly think hardly of it; but since it hath made better than any we can think of besides, we can never certainly do better, than to have recourse thereunto upon all such occasions; and as long as we do so, the Honour and Safety of the Government is as well provided for as our own, and both of them better than any other way: It is an unreasonable and a dangerous thing, for any Man to be his own Carver in such Matters; for if a Man is not to be a Judg in his own Case, he is not certainly to be the Executioner of his own Wrath: and, blessed be God, there is no need of either, for God hath provided such Ways as are fitter for both; [Page 18]he hath consider'd us as we are Men united into Society, and therefore necessarily under Govern­ment; and hath therefore placed the Power of avenging us, in such hands as are best able and fit­test to do it; and to them we not only lawfully may, but we must too always resort for it: there­fore the Apostle calls Magistrates, Rom. 13.4. the Ministers of God; Revengers to execute Wrath upon all that do evil: and, as if this were the chief thing, he tells us, that otherwise they do but bear the Sword in vain. Nay, so careful is True Religion to give all possible security to the Civil Government, against this dan­gerous Evil, that it forbids us all private Revenge, tho' the Magistrate himself either neglect or refuse to right us; Rom. 12.19. Dearly Beloved, avenge not your selves, but rather give place unto Wrath: Submit with pati­ence & chearfulness to the present necessity of your Condition, for you are not left destitute of Help and Relief; the Great God will take your Cause in­to his own Hand, and will do you right; Venge­ance is mine, saith the Lord, I will repay: And he that can thus stop his own Mouth, tie up his own Hands, and peaceably wait God's Leisure, tho' it be till the Day of Judgment before he be righted, can never be a bad Subject.

(3.) True Religion teacheth us always to speak and act, according to the Evidence and Verdict of Truth. As Peace is the great Blessing of Society, so Truth is the great Conservator of it; take away [Page 19]that, and we are strip'd naked of our best Defence, either against the Malice and Violence of Men, or the Wrath and Justice of God: And therefore this hath he en always required, as one of the Fundamen­tals, both of Religion and Government, That we should, every Man, speak the Truth unto his Neighbour, as the Prophet Zechariah expresseth it, Chap. 8.16, 17. Speak ye every Man the Truth to his Neighbour; execute the Judgment of Truth and Peace in your Gates, and let none of you imagine Evil in your heart against his Neighbour, and love no false Oath. For when once it comes to this, that we cannot believe and trust one another, how can we tell how to discern between right and wrong and know either who or what is good or bad? And therefore the want of this, was that which the Prophets, all as it were, with one consent, complain of; not only as a very ill thing in it self, but as the certain Forerunner of approach­ing Ruin: for besides the Justice of God, which it provokes more than any thing else, it is in it self a Scourge and a Plague, which no Remedy can be provided against; it's like that fretting Leprosy under the Law, which nothing but the pulling down of the House could cure; it's the bane of all Society, a dangerous Civil War, even in the midst of Peace, since it sets every Man's Hand against his Fellow, and yet no Enemy appears. Now True Re­ligion provides a Remedy against this, by present­ing the God of Truth unto us, as more concern'd [Page 20]for it, than for any thing else, because he himself is always made a Party to it: for every Lye we tell, is a bold and impudent denial of his Being, whose very Essence is Truth; and every false Oath we take, is to 'vouch his Authority against the plainest Declarations of his Nature and Will; and therefore it is better for us to cease to be Men, than to cease to be true, for no Government can need our Persons so much as our Truth and Ho­nesty.

(4.) True Religion teacheth us, that Sovereign Princes are not to be resisted by force of Arms, much less to be Depos'd and Murder'd; you see how careful it is to secure the Persons and Rights of private Men, that none may be wrong'd and injur'd in either; and if so, much more doth it take care of the Prerogatives of Princes. And there's nothing more plain and evident than this, even from the Doctrine and Practice of our Saviour and his Apo­stles, and of all good Men in all Ages, affixing a Sacredness to their Persons, equal to the Greatness of their Power: What can be more plain and full, than the Apostle's excellent Discourse to this pur­pose, Rom. 13. and his charge to Titus to preach the same Doctrine afterwards? Tit. 3.1. so far is True Religion from giving the least countenance to Disobedience and Rebellion. And that this proceeds not from weakness and want of Power, is evident enough; for our Saviour had a greater Power at [Page 21]his command, than all the Powers of the Earth; and the same might have been as easily communi­cated to his Church, had it been any ways essen­tial to it. Nor did there, even at that time, want either for Opportunity or Provocation to resist▪ had it been at all consistent with it; for the Magistrates that were then, were as barbarously tyrannical and cruel as ever were; nay, they had usurp'd their Power but a little before, and were then so odious, by the savage exercise of it, that there was indeed a very fair Opportunity offered thereby to shake off that heavy Yoke; for the Romans were weary of, and groan'd under the Oppressions of their inhu­mane and bloody Emperors: and the Jews were always forward enough to shake off a Forreign Ju­risdiction; and there wanted not a considerable Party, even amongst the Christians, to run up Christian Liberty to a very great and formidable height; and yet, even then, the Apostles, all with one consent, preach'd Obedience and Subjection to the Civil Powers, as being an Ordinance of God; upon which score Religion it self obligeth them to have always a very great veneration for it. Nay,

(5.) True Religion teacheth, that even its own Interest is not to be propagated and established by Violence and Blood. There is nothing certainly dearer to good Men than their Consciences, and there's nothing that they desire more than the free Exercise and Enjoyment of them; and therefore [Page 22]there is nothing so apt to provoke them, as restraints therein, because nothing comes so near to them: the Arguments are at first sight so plausible and fair, the Cause it self so honest and good, and the Success so inviting, that it requires a more than or­dinary resolution of Mind to forbear from Resi­stance; and certainly nothing but the Power of that Religion it self, which is so dear to them, can do it: and therefore to prevent such things, it presents it self to them as a mild and good-natur'd Thing, whose greatest Force lies in its Sweetness, whose Arms are Convincing Reason, and Almighty Truth; and therefore the Weapons of whose Warfare are not Carnal, 2 Cor. 10.4. but suitable to the Enemies it fights with, which are Spiritual: It wages no War against Men's Persons, but against their Lusts; captivates their Minds, and not their Bodies; beats down only their towring Imaginations, and not their other Castles and Forts: And of what use now are Swords and Guns for such Service? What do they signify to the Reason of Men's Minds? They may be strong, but they are very absurd Arguments to rational Creatures; they may compel to a complyance, but they'l never prevail to a Conviction; for no Man can judg of any thing in the World, otherwise than his Reason and Understanding directs him. A Man may speak and act contrary to his Judgment, (as God knows too too many of us do) but he can never think otherwise if he would never so [Page 23]fain. A Man that sees the Sunshine at Noon-Day, may say, it is Midnight, and grope about as if it were so, but it's impossible for him to think so. A Papist may say, That the Bread in the Lord's Sup­per is transubstantiated and made real Flesh; but whilst he sees, and feels, and tasts all the Qualities and Properties of Bread; it's as impossible for him to think it so, as it is for his Priest to make it so; and therefore he hath need of a very lusty Faith in­deed to make it out. A Man may will and desire a thing that's contrary to his Reason, but he can­not change his Opinion about the nature of it, till his Reason and Judgment are fully satisfied in it. Besides, True Religion presents it self to our Af­fections as an amiable and lovely Thing, that de­signs our real Good and Welfare: now that which raiseth Wars and Commotions in the World, is both frightful and destructive, and begets Hatred and Detestation. How can we believe that Man desires God's Glory, and our Good, that with an implacable Fury and Malice, (which is the true Image of the Devil) is still doing us all the mis­chief he can? Fire and Faggot, Blood and Slaugh­ter, are strange ways of making Love by, and wholly unknown to Christianity, till the Romish Incendiaries first invented them. The Primitive Christians knew not the way of firing Men's Houses to root out their Heresies, of plundring their Goods to convince their Consciences, of [Page 24]tormenting their Bodies to beget Faith in their Souls, nor of absolving Subjects from their Allegiance to their Princes, and thereby raising Rebellions and Wars, for their own Interest and Advantage, no nor for their own Safety and Preservation; they were still taught to commit God's and their own Cause to him who was best able to protect and defend both, and to keep themselves always with­in the bounds of Modesty and Meekness, and by no Oppressions or Provocations whatsoever, to take up Arms against a Lawful Authority; by which disposition and temper, it gives certainly the greatest security that any Government can desire. But yet it goes farther still. For,

2. It cuts off all occasions of Rebellion and Dis­loyalty; it not only lops the Tree, but it digs it up by the Roots, fights with the Small as well as the Great, as truly knowing what great and dan­gerous Revolutions have proceeded from very lit­tle and contemptible Beginnings: And there­fore,

  • (1.) It makes us diligent and industrious in our particular Callings.
  • (2.) It makes us serious and considerate.
  • (3.) It makes us loving and charitable, good­natur'd and kind.
  • (4.) It makes us temperate and sober. Nay,
  • (5.) It ties even our Tongues and our Thoughts to their good behaviour.

(1.) It makes us diligent and industrious in our particular Callings; for Idleness is a dange­rous thing to the State, and therefore to be time­ly provided against. They that have nothing to do, are ready for any mischief, and for this as soon as any other; and when any Opportu­nity offers it self, they are some of the first that run in to do hurt; for as they are the sowers of Discord in Times of Peace, so they are the most turbulent and mischievous in Times of War. Now True Religion provides a Remedy against this, by obliging all Men to some honest Calling or other, and to a daily and industrious dili­gence therein, and that perhaps with as great se­verity as any one Temporal Concern in the World. This we command you, saith the Apostle, 2 Thess. 3.10.14. that if any would not work, neither should he eat; nay, he was to be banished the society of Chri­stians. Note that Man, (saith he) and have no company or fellowship with him, that he may be ashamed; a thing, which it were to be heartily wished were a little more seriously consider'd of in this Age, in which so many neglect their Callings, and live too like those Strangers at Athens, who spent their time, for the most part, in hearing or telling of News; an Evil certainly of very dangerous consequence, not only to such Per­sons themselves, who are thus fond of it, but also to the publick Peace and Tranquillity of the Nation.

(2.) It makes us serious and considerate, and by consequence constant and fix'd to our Princi­ples. Now Rebellion is always the effect of Rashness and a giddy Mind, and proceeds from a vain and foolish desire of Change: And this the words of the Text have a particular respect unto, and provide against, by making the Fear of God, which is always one and the same, the constant Rule and Measure of all our Actions and Designs.

(3.) It makes us loving and charitable, good­natur'd and kind; a temper as directly contrary to all Sedition and Disloyalty as can be; for Re­bellion is always an ill-natur'd thing, proceed­ing from Envy and Discontent, fomented by Hatred and Malice, and brought out into Act by Rage and Fury. Now True Religion allays Men's natural Heats, cures the Distempers of their Minds, charms their most head-strong and unruly Passions; and not only restrains Violence and Wrath, but converts it into Love and Meek­ness; it unites us together in the most indissolu­ble Bonds of Peace and Amity, and is so far from suffering us to Devour and Destroy, that it obligeth us to Preserve, yea, even to die for one another: and to prevent all Mistakes, it expresly commands us to love our Enemies. So far hath it gone, and so much hath it done for the publick Interest of Society, and to secure the Peace and [Page 27]Tranquillity of it, and by consequence to secure all Civil Governments, from any dangerous and rebellious Attempts and Practices.

(4.) It makes us Temperate and Sober. And without this no Government can always be se­cure and safe; for what stress can any wise Man lay upon Whoring and Drinking? Who can con­fide in such Persons who are so seldom their own Masters? But admit that such Persons may be Men of Honesty and Courage, yet who can expect the Blessing and Protection of Almighty God (without which there can be no true Safe­ty) amidst such Actions? If our Loyalty must be measur'd by the multiplicity of our Oaths, by the largeness of our Healths, and the number of our Whores, God help us. No, my Beloved, these are the things that dispirit our Minds, wea­ken our Hands, and deprive us of our best De­fence, and are enough to spoil the best Cause in the World. I could instance in several Princes and States, who have receiv'd more hurt by the Debaucheries and Luxury of their Friends, than by the Malice or Strength of their Enemies, but that the thing is too plain and obvious to need any Example; and therefore Religion teacheth us to master our Lusts, that so we may at all times govern our Passions, and be always dispo­sed to Quietness and Peace.

(5.) It ties even our Tongues and our [Page 28]Thoughts to their good behaviour: and there is very good reason it should, for tho' the Tongue be but a little Member, yet it's oftentimes a very unruly one, and when let loose, doth always a great deal of mischief, and therefore is by no means to be left at Liberty; and therefore hence it comes to pass, that Religion and Loyalty are both expressed by the same Phrase, and ought both to be of the same Nature and Quality, i. e. hearty and sincere. And therefore how severely are they condemned by the Apostle, Jud. 8. who despise Dominion, and speak Evil of Dignities: and there­fore well says the wise Man, Eccl. 10.20. Curse not the King, no not in thy Thought, for the Bird of the Air shall carry the Voice, and that which hath Wings shall tell the Matter. St. Paul indeed once, and that upon an extraordinary Provocation, betray'd too much of the heat of his natural Temper, in re­flecting severely upon the High-Priest, for com­manding him to be smitten unjustly; but he pre­sently checks himself for it, and acknowledges his Error before them all, and tells them, that it proceeded from Rashness and Passion, and not from Religion or Design; Acts 23.5. I wist not, Brethren, that it was the High-Priest; I consider'd not what I said, nor to whom I spake; For it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the Ruler of thy People: And therefore certainly, from so great an Exam­ple, founded upon so good an Authority, we [Page 29]cannot but see the reasonableness and impor­tance of this Duty, let the usage we meet withal from them be what it will. Religion obliges us to suffer; and certainly Railing and Reviling are but ill Preparatives for it, and shew but lit­tle of that good Spirit which we pretend unto: And this brings me to the third and last thing, whereby True Loyalty is so much promoted by Religion; and that is, in that

3. It urges stronger Motives, and lays greater Obligations upon us to be truly Loyal, than any thing in the World can besides: It propounds to us the Fear and Dread of the great God, the everlasting Good and Welfare of our Souls, and the Concerns of Eternity, than which certainly nothing can be more great and prevalent upon us. Other Arguments from the sweet and bles­sed Effects of Peace, from the Fury and Spoils of War, and the Hazards which we run in en­gaging therein, can never be so strong and co­gent, but that great Provocations, ambitious Hopes, and greedy Desires, may overcome them; but now the assurance that God is concern'd in the Protection and Defence of Sovereign Prin­ces, is beyond all; and therefore saith the Apo­stle, Ye must needs be subject, (it's no indifferent, but a necessary thing) and that not only for Wrath, Rom. 13.5.but also for Conscience sake, in respect of the Laws of God, as well as of Man: And therefore if [Page 30]we should, either by force or cunning escape the one, yet we are still in danger of the other; now there's no Man whatsoever kept so certainly within the Bounds of his Duty and Obedience, as he that sets God always before his Eyes. This Consideration alone kept David from killing Saul, under so many tempting Circumstances, as I think never Man besides had the like. 1 Sam. 26.9. Who can stretch forth his hand against the Lord's Anointed, and be guiltless? And how far this Guilt extends it self, is plainly told us by St. Paul, when he saith, That they which resist, Rom. 13.2.shall receive to themselves Dam­nation; that is, are liable to the Wrath and Ven­geance of God, as well as the Penalty of Hu­mane Laws. And indeed, what are the severest Laws where this is wanting? What do all other Tests signify? What are the fairest Promises, the deepest Protestations, and the most solemn Oaths without this? Where this is not, nothing can bind us; so where this is, nothing can absolve us. And this brings me to the third and last Thing propounded in the handling of these words; which is,

III. By way of Application, to enforce this Duty upon our Practice.

1. How ought we to bless God for such excel­lent Means for our Protection and safety. The Kindness he hath shewed to us, and the Care he [Page 31]hath taken of us in all Ages, hath been exceed­ing great; he hath made us, as far as wholsome and good Laws, as far as a wise and excellent constitution of Government can, as happy a People as are under the Sun: And that nothing may be wanting to make us for ever so, he hath crown'd it all, with that inestimable Blessing of his most Divine and Sacred Truth, whereby all the rest are both defended and enlarged. Time was, that this was a Stranger to us, and besides the Light of Nature, (and that too was greatly obscured) we had no farther knowledg of it, than what the Interest and Humour of a few in­solent and luxurious Priests would allow of; and then neither Princes nor People knew what was their own, how far to command, nor how far to obey. Kings must ask leave to be crown'd, yea, and give sufficient security for their Good-Behaviour, before they could obtain it; and Sub­jects must be Loyal, no farther than was consi­stent with the Will of their Ghostly Father, and so every Man's Life and Fortune, yea, his Body and his Soul too, must be at their Mercy: But, blessed be God, it is otherwise now, for we have a more sure Word of Prophecy, to which we do well if we take heed: And God grant we may, our Duty and Interest is founded upon a more certain Thing; our Safety and Welfare more securely provided for, whilst our Religion obligeth us [Page 32]to be truly Loyal, and our Loyalty to be truly Religious; for he that is not truly Loyal, is no true Protestant, nor can he that is not a true Prote­stant be truly Loyal: Our Religion and Govern­ment are now so twisted together, that we can­not be false to the one, but we must betray the other: We can attempt nothing against the Government in any kind, but we forfeit all Title to that excellent Religion which we profess. A Rebellious Protestant is as great a contradiction as a Loyal Papist; for tho' one that calls himself a Protestant may be a Rebel, and one that calls himself a Papist may be Loyal; yet, according to the Principles of each Religion, and accord­ing to the particular Constitutions of our pre­sent Government, they can neither of them be as they pretend. And therefore,

2. How ought we to detest and abhor all such Principles and Practices, as corrupt and overthrow such an excellent Thing! Religion and Loyal­ty, are and ought to be inseparable Twins, and whoever offers to debauch and divide them, de­serves neither the Name of a Protestant, nor the Priviledg of a Subject. To this we owe all the Faction and Sedition, the Treason and Rebelli­on that have so stain'd and dishonour'd the Pro­fession of Christianity. The truth of it is, we owe the first beginnings of these things under the Gospel, to the Pride and Luxury of the Church [Page 33]of Rome, they taught some of the first Lessons of Disloyalty and Rebellion, tho' they have met with too many apt Scholars amongst those that call themselves by a better Name; but let them pre­tend what they will, and strive to alter the Name never so much, yet as long as they retain the thing, it is all one. We may call our selves Prote­stants as much and as long as we please, but we are never the more so for that; for if we carry on any Seditious & Treasonable Designs under that plau­sible Name, we forfeit our Title to it, and are Papists, or worse (if it be possible) all the while, for the Primitive Christians never thought of such a thing; nay, so far were they from it, that there was more danger of the other extream of complying outwardly to avoid persecution, with every thing which the Civil Government requir'd, tho' never so Idolatrous and Wicked; which gave the Apostles occasion so fairly to state the Question between Subjection and Christian Li­berty, both in relation to their Enemies and their Friends, to allay the Fears and Jealousies of the one, and to rectify the Mistakes of the other, in which they take the middle and safest way, of fly­ing or suffering, rather than resisting: for as the Gnostick Compliance was to be detested as un­worthy the plainness and simplicity of the Go­spel; so all forcible Resistance was to be avoided too, as directly contrary to the Innocence and [Page 34]Meekness of it. And therefore whoever they are that take upon them to do any such thing, let their pretences be never so fair and plausible, I am sure they have not so learned Christ; not that the Christian Religion deprives any Man of the liberty of a just Defence against any of the Sons of Violence; but then it must be only by such ways as true Religion, and the particular Laws of his Country do allow of. Thus we have St. Paul twice pleading the Liberty and Priviledges of his Birth, to preserve him from the Malice and Rage of his Enemies; once he insists upon his being a Roman, to prevent his being scourged; and ano­ther time, Acts 22.25. & 25.10, 11. as such, appeals unto Caesar from the Jew­ish Sanhedrim. And thus doubtless may any Man flie to the known Laws of his Country, for his own fafety and preservation; but to go beyond these, is dangerous and destructive; as is also the perverting the Design and Intention of them, and argueth as little fear of God, as it doth of Loyalty to the King, and good Affection to the Government we live under, which hath provid­ed so excellently for our Defence and Security: for tho' we may pretend a very great veneration for the King and his Government; yet if we use his Name and Authority to undermine or overthrow the Fundamentals of it in any kind, we set the King against himself, as well as his Subjects; we lessen his Power, by dividing his [Page 35]Interest; we stain his Honour, by making him give the lie to so many gracious Declarations of his Will, to make the known Laws of the Land the only Rule and measure of his Actions; and we let in Popery with all its mischievous Effects and Consequences, by the very same means we profess to keep it out: For every thing that brings Confusion and Disorder amongst us, either by Force or Fraud, by open Rebellion, and an ill-gotten Power, or by a treacherous management of what we come more honestly by, is as meri­torious a piece of Service to that bloody Religi­on, as any we can do it, since it hastens that which it most desires and delights in, to wit, our own Ruin and Destruction. Which now that we may prevent, in the third and last place,

3. Let us resolve to persevere in the practice of this Duty, whatever befal us. And,

1. For the Fear of God; a Duty, or rather a Fundamental Principle, so essential to us, that we must cease to be Men, before we can be void of it; so universally useful, that we must resolve to become our own Enemies, before we can de­cline it; so rivited into that Religion which we profess, that we must fly in the face of our own Consciences whenever we act against it; and yet, alas! a Duty so much neglected and despised in this Atheistical Heaven-daring, and God-dam­ming Age wherein we live, as if it were a part of [Page 36]our Religion to bid defiance unto God, and all that is good. And yet if it were indeed a part of it, I am apt to think it would not be so much in fashion as it is; for we seem to glory in nothing more, than in running counter to every thing which some Men place Religion in, without con­sidering whether the thing be really so or no; As if, because we have been sometimes abus'd by Hypocrisy and Pretences, we must necessarily throw off that which we know to be sincere and true. And that which makes it more to be lamen­ted, is the sanction that is put upon this untoward Humour, by making it a note of our Loyalty to the King, and our good Affection to the Church; as if drinking his Health, till we lose our own, were a greater piece of Service to him than pray­ing for his Life and Safety, submitting to his Go­vernment, or chearfully offering up our Lives and Fortunes to the defence and support of it; as if no conformity to the Church, tho' never so exact and canonical, no means to perswade others to the like, tho' never so successful, could make a Man so true a Son of it, as drinking the confusi­on of all that dissent from it, and Damming and Hectoring every thing that is not of the same furious and violent temper with our selves. Cer­tainly, my Beloved, these things are as far from our Duty and Religion, as they are from our Peace and Safety; and therefore the allowing [Page 37]them so considerable a share therein, must needs be very dangerous and destructive. Which that we may prevent or avoid, let us have recourse unto those things which the Spirit of God, who best understands the nature of it, hath wisely, and with great plainness and simplicity placed True Religion in, even as Solomon here expresseth it, in the true Fear of God: which is very well explain'd by St. James, who calls it not only a pure and undefiled thing, but tells us too, That it is peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, James 3.17.full of Mercy and good Fruits, [...], without partiality, as it's very fitly translated, as it were on purpose to fit the Humour of our Times, or as it is in the Margent too, very properly rendred, without wrangling, and without hypocrisie and deceit; all which if we would but rightly and seriously consider, we should certainly avoid those dan­gerous Evils which threaten us, both from abroad and at home. And therefore well doth the wise Man make it the foundation of True Loyalty, since it's not only supported by it, but it will prove deceitful, and vanish into Air and Nothing without it: for those Men are always most given to change, the Principles of whose Religion are most fickle and inconstant, and always adapted to Times and Occasions, or else who have none at all to fix them to any certain Measures that may be confided in; but now the true Fear of God is a [Page 38]fix'd and certain Thing, a sure Guide to us, and a constant and powerful Security to the Govern­ment we live under; and disposeth us every way for the practice of the other Duty of the Text, which is the only thing that now remains to be exhorted to. Therefore,

2. Let us be always loyal and true to the King and his Government. You see how much the Principles of that Religion which we profess do oblige us to it, and methinks there needs no other Argument or Motive to enforce it, and yet it may not be amiss a little further to explain it; for as Religion in general is an ambiguous Term, and oftentimes made use of only to serve a Turn, and therefore applied then to all those things that are proper for it; so is Loyalty too: And the King's Honour and Interest may be pretend­ed, when both of them are, it may be, under­mined, and betrayed. True Loyalty therefore consists in a cordial Veneration for the King's Person as Sacred, and in a dutiful Submission to his Laws and Government at all times: Not that every Man who breaks any of the Laws, is ipso facto an Enemy to the Government, for then there would be no true Friends to it in the Nati­on; Jam. 3.2. since, as St. James says in another case, In ma­ny things we offend all. But then do we become Enemies to it, when we undermine or oppose those Laws upon which the Government doth [Page 39]subsist, and which it is maintained and supported by, let them be never so uneasy to us; which if they should at any time be, and grind either up­on our Estates or Consciences, we must not pre­sently flie in the Face of that Authority which God hath set over us, and by Force of Arms en­deavour to relieve our selves, but must with all cheerfulness submit, even to the spoiling of our Goods, and the loss of our Lives, till God shall find out a way for our Deliverance, and fully re­ward and crown our Patience. And tho' this be an hard Lesson, yet it's a good one, and such as the Primitive Christians overcame their Persecu­tors by, and the English Martyrs founded that happy Reformation of Religion amongst us upon; and such as if we throughly learn, will provide the best for us against all Accidents whatsoever: But I trust in God we shall never have any such great occasion for it, but that he will still go on to protect and defend the Sacred Person of the King, that he may outlive even the treacherous Hopes and Expectations, as well as the undeser­ved and implacable malice of his Enemies, who promise themselves any Benefit or Advantage by his Death, and therefore wish and long for it, that he may be always a Nursing Father unto this our Israel, a powerful Defender of that Faith, which as it enriches his present Crown, so it will entitle him to a better, that his Government may [Page 40]be for many and many Years the Glory and Bles­sing of these Nations, as his Person hath been hitherto the Darling of God's Providence; which as it is the avowed Design of this Meeting to bless God for, so let it be the Business of our Lives to contribute all we can unto.

And thus I have given you a Sermon, which was in­deed intended for another Occasion; which because I have been so severely reflected upon for what I under­took therein, I was resolv'd to take this Opportunity to submit it unto your Judgment, that so you may see, that the Person whom you have so unanimpusly desir'd and receiv'd for your Minister, is not a Man of those dangerous Anti-monarchical Principles as some Men would endeavour to make the World believe; and if now you are but satisfied therein, I shall have the less reason to care whether any Body else be or no.

FINIS.

In Page 15 line 21, read Principles. P. 19, l. 4. read been for he.

ADVERTISEMENT.

POpery a great Mystery of Iniquity, proved in a Sermon on 2 Thess. 2.7. recommended in such secure Protestants that will not believe there is a Po­pish Plot, &c.

Righteousness and Peace the best Means to prevent Ruin: Recommended in a Sermon preached at Guild-Hall Chappel, (Sept. 25. 1681.) before the Lord-Mayor, &c. By the same Author. Both sold by Jonathan Robinson.

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