The Righteous taken away from the Evil to come. Applied to The DEATH OF THE Late Excellent QUEEN, IN A SERMON PREACH'D At St. MARTIN'S CHURCH, On Sunday January the Twentieth, 1694/5. Before the MAYOR, Bailiffs, and Commonalty of the City of OXFORD. By WHITE KENNETT, B. D. One of the Lecturers to that Corporation.

OXFORD, Printed by Leonard Lichfield, for George West, Bookseller, 1695.

A Sermon, &c.

ISAIAH. Chap. LVII. Ver. 1.‘The Righteous perisheth, and no Man layeth it to Heart; and merciful Men are taken away, None considering that the Righteous is taken away from the Evil to come.’

THE preceding Chapter does con­clude with a grievous Complaint, which the Prophet makes, of a loose and careless World: when all Persons were either intent upon their Profit, or addicted to their Pleasure: and seem'd to have little or no Concern for any publick Calamity that fell upon them.

Hence in the Ninth Verse, All ye Beasts of the Field come to devour: Yea, all ye Beasts in the Forest. That is, the Land of Is­rael which GOD once Cared for, the Vine­yard which he once Planted with his own Right-hand, it is now so Degenerate, and [Page 2] Barren of all that is Good, that it is only Ripe for Desolation. Therefore, All ye Beasts of the Field and the Forest come and devour it. i. e. Let this Vineyard be Entred and Trampled by some Forreign Nation: Let it be Profan'd by some strange Religion: Let Heathens come, and take away the Place and Nation.

For alas! All the Inhabitants are Secure and Stupid: They scarce apprehend the com­mon Danger: They take no thought of ap­peasing the Anger of GOD, or of averting those Judgments that hover o're their guilty Heads: No! Even they whose Character and Office makes it their especial Duty to attend the publick Good, They are all wrapt up in Vice and Ease. ver. 10. His Watchmen are blind, they are all ignorant, and so on. Some have their Soul fill'd up with Thoughts and Cares how to force Trade, and improve their sordid Store. ver. 11. They all look to their own way, every one for his Gain from his Quarter. And while these are drudging to encrease their Wealth, there be Others equally unconcern'd for National Interest, who drown the sense of common Safety in Riot and Excess. ver. 12. Come ye, say they, I will fetch Wine; and we will fill our selves [Page 3] with strong Drink; and to morrow shall be as this day, and much more abundant.

And thus, between the base Avarice of some, and the rude Debauchery of others: The Nation sleeps on in fatal Security, and wants the feeling of her own Wounds. If GOD should now threaten Invasions from abroad, and Distractions at home; yet few would apprehend the Storm, more few pro­vide against it. If GOD should take away a righteous Prince, and give the deepest cause for a universal Grief and Lamentation; yet a covetous and dissolute People would scarce be affected with the infinite Loss: For so it follows in the Text.

The Righteous perisheth, and no Man lay­eth it to Heart; and merciful Men are taken away; None considering that the Righteous is taken away from the Evil to come.

Let me ask leave first to explain the Words, and then to reflect on the Sense and Subject of them.

First, Here is the Character of those who are said to perish, and to be taken away. They are the Righteous and the Merciful: The Righteous perisheth, and merciful Men are taken away.

[Page 4]To be Righteous does I think imply a uni­versal Goodness, Piety, Justice, Integrity, and most other Graces and Vertues, that make the perfect and upright Soul: There­fore our Blessed SAVIOUR who had no Sin nor Guile,Mal. 4.2 is call'd the Sun of Righteousness; and scarce a higher Eulogy could be given of him, than what the Centurion deliver'd at his Passion,Luk. 23. ver. 47. Certainly this was a Righteous Man.

And tho' this Title cannot be strictly con­ferr'd on any of us Sinners: For in truth, a­mong us there is no One fully Righteous, no not One. Yet in a qualify'd sence, and with that allowance which Religion and Lan­guage make, those Persons who are Exem­plary for Goodness and Vertue, they are just­ly call'd Righteous: Partly for their own love, and their own practice of all Equity, and Honesty; but chiefly for the Merits of the Holy JESUS, by which they are justify'd, or accepted as Righteous, in the sight of GOD: For he is said to cover us with a Robe of Righteousness, Isa. 61.10. and by St. Paul to be made Sin (or a Sufferer for Sin) for us, [...] Cor. 5. ver. 21. that we might be made the Righteousness of God in Him.

Nor are they only call'd Righteous, but [Page 5] Merciful: The Merciful men are taken a­way. Because Mercy, Pity and Compassion, they ought to be alway the Temper and Practice of Righteous persons: Therefore the the Wise Man joins these Two Vertues to make up the Characters of Goodness,Pro. 21. ver. 21. He that followeth after Righteousness and Mer­cy. Mercy without Righteousness makes a soft and a weak Soul, and Righteousness without Mercy has nothing Divine or Hu­mane in it: At least, if Righteousness alone would create some Veneration; yet it is Mercy can alone command the love of Man­kind: For scarcely for a Righteous man will one Dye, yet peradventure for a Good man some would even dare to Dye.

This in general is the Righteous and Mer­ciful that perisheth, and is taken away. But Interpreters believe the Prophet meant some one particular Person of eminent Vertue and of high Degree: Perhaps the Messiah him­self: or perhaps some Crowned Head in Is­rael, who reign'd a publick Blessing, whose Righteousness and Mercy, so long as he liv'd, did serve to establish his Throne, and to ex­alt his Nation.Grot. in Loc. And Grotius understands it of the great Example of Royal Vertues Jo­siah, who did alway that which was right in [Page 6] the sight of the Lord; and keeping the noble Mean between Superstition and Profaneness, turned not aside neither to the right Hand nor to the left. 2 King. 22. v. 2.

Alas! That righteous Prince, and merci­ful Governour perisheth, and is taken away. The second Phrase to be explain'd.

To perish cannot be here meant a total De­struction, or a return to sleep in Nothing; in which sence the Beasts are said to perish. Psal. 12. v. 20. No one of Mankind can so perish: For when our mortal Bodies drop, our Souls must put on Immortality; and while our Flesh falls back to Dust and Ashes,Eccl. 12. ver. 7. our Spirit does re­turn to God who gave it.

Nor can perishing here mean that eternal Perdition, which remains the plague and portion of the Wicked, who without doubt shall perish everlastingly: For the Righteous shall be sav'd from that dreadful Doom, and shall enter into a rest, and peace, and joy for ever and ever.

But by perishing is here plainly meant a temporal Death, from which no more the Righteous than the Wicked can be exempted. It being appointed for all (however great and good) for all Men once to Dye. Heb. 9. v. 27. So is the sence of the same phrase, Mic. 7.2. The Good man is [Page 7] perished out of the Earth: i. e. is dead and gone; and so is taken away, or remov'd from one World to another: As the Messiah by his Passion is said to have been taken away and cut off out of the land of the Living. Is. 53.8.

So as the Prophet might design these words should signify to this effect. Some one righteous and merciful Soul, whose Autho­rity and Example countenanc'd Vertue, and kept up Religion: That Great Soul, of whom the World was not worthy, has left this ungrateful World, and is gone to seek a better Country, and to sit upon a higher Throne, where it has receiv'd a Crown of Righteousness laid up for it, where it reigns in greater Glory, and enjoys a Kingdom which shall have no end.

But tho' the Righteous thus perisheth, and the Merciful be thus taken away: yet No man layeth it to Heart, none considereth.

To lay to Heart is a Hebrew Phrase to be deeply affected with Concern and Sorrow: to mourn and express the Affliction and Bit­terness of our Soul: and to be humbled un­der the severe Blow that is struck by the mighty Hand of GOD. Then to consider of it: that is, to remember what Provocations [Page 8] we have given to the ALMIGHTY, that he should thus Chastise us in his Anger: to reflect that we have indeed deserved these and worse things to come upon us: but then to weigh and advise, what Course will be most proper to appease an Offended GOD, and to avert those farther Judgments, which this one Calamity seems to threaten and pre­sage.

And One would think all this Scene of Sorrow musts needs open, when the Righte­ous perisheth, and when the Merciful are taken away. It is the Instruction of Solomon, that after the day of Death, there will be a house of Mourning:Eccl. 7. ver. 2. and at the End of any Man, the Living will lay it to his Heart.

To Die is the debt of Nature, paid by De­parting Souls: and to mourn for the Dead is as much the debt of Nature in those Friends that survive. Especially if the Soul taken away were Righteous and Merciful, the Loss is greater, and the greater Sorrow due. More precious is their Death in the sight of the LORD: and more dear should be their Memory among the Sons of Men.

But especially, when 'tis probable the Prophet meant, not a righteous Soul that in­spired a common and ordinary Mortal: but [Page 9] One advanc'd to Grandeur, One in Royal Dignity and Power; whose Greatness did dilate and recommend his Goodness; who shin'd in an higher Orb, even as a Sun of Righteousness, and shed a gracious Influence on all Below: For such a One to perish, and be took away, must needs spread a Darkness and a Horrour over the Faces and over the Hearts of all, that were so lately blest with that Auspicious heat and light.

The Prophet might well expect, that on this sad Occasion, every Breast should have swell'd and broke in Sighs, and from every Eye should arise a Fountain of Tears, when the Breath of their Nostrils, the Anointed of the Lord, was taken from them: But he found himself disappointed; the People had no sense of Loss, no impression of Grief; as careless and unconcern'd, as if common Hu­manity had been buried with the Dead.

This provokes the Prophet to upbraid their hardness of Heart, their stupidity of Soul; that they should have no common Justice to lament the perishing of the Righte­ous; no Bowels left to condole the Merciful being taken away.

Alas! That the Righteous One should perish, and no Man should lay it to Heart! [Page 10] and that Merciful men should be taken a­way, none considering that

The Righteous is taken away from the Evil to come. This Phrase does admit of a double sence: Either first, For the Righteous to be taken away from all personal Evil, that by a longer Life should come upon themselves: Or secondly, The Righteous being taken a­way from some publick Evil, that after their Departure shall fall upon the People and Na­tion, which they leave behind. It is un­doubtedly true in the First, and I am afraid more true in the Second sense.

First, The Righteous and Merciful are taken away from all personal and private Evils &c. For as the Psalmist declares, Many are the Afflictions of the Righteous, Ps. 34. ver. 19 and it is only Death can deliver them out of all: And sure one great Evil, from which they are taken, is to see the Wickedness of the Age they live in: For Righteous persons to observe so much of Fraud and Oppression, of Injury and Violence; for merciful Souls to live on, and behold so much spiteful Re­venge, and so many cruel Mercies of the Wicked: This must needs move their Pa­tience, and tempt their Indignation; as was the sore Experience of Lot in the midst of [Page 11] Sodom, when to be an Eye-witness of their scandalous and abominable way of living, He dwelling among them, 2 Pet. 2. ver. 8. in seeing and hear­ing, did vex his righteous Soul from day to day.

Especially good and pious Princes, they are more nearly concern'd for the Glory of GOD, and the Good of Mankind; and there­fore are more deeply affected with the hei­nous and crying Sins of their People. To see that neither their Authority can restrain, nor their Example reform, the Age they live in: In spite of their Laws and their own O­bedience to them, to see Vice and Villany in­sult, and reign above their Sovereign power; This must needs be a Grief and Vexation to their Royal Spirit: For so holy David was often mourning for the Sins of his dissolute Subjects:Ps. 119. v. 136.158. Rivers of Waters run down mine Eyes, because they keep not thy Law: I be­held the Transgressors, and was grieved, be­cause they kept not thy Word. From this un­grateful Evil wise and vertuous Princes are taken away by Death, entring then into a Kingdome, where without Punishment or Reproof all Obey: Where, tho' there be dif­ferent Orders and Degrees, there is no dif­ferent Interest or Inclination, nor other Passi­ons but those of Love and Joy.

[Page 12]To be thus taken away from personal and private Evils may be one Sence implied: But I doubt the Sence chiefly intended is, their being taken away from some publick Evil, or some common Calamity, that after their Departure shall fall upon the People and Na­tion, which they leave behind.

Pro. 14. ver. 34.As the just GOD does provide that Righ­teousness should exalt a Nation: So does he resolve that Sin shall prove to the De­struction of every People. Therefore when a whole Country declines into Profaneness and Atheisme, into delighting in their Vanity, and glorying in their Shame; then does that God to whom Vengeance belongs, begin to shew himself, to vindicate his Justice, and exert his Power: Then does his Resentment break forth in those words of the Prophet: Shall I not Visit for these things, Jer. 5.9. saith the LORD, and shall not my Soul be avenged on such a Nation as this?

But when the day of Visitation is appoint­ed, GOD often calls away the innocent and righteous Souls, and hides them from the Judgment dropping down: As of Old, he prepared a Zoar for righteous Lot, before the Descent of his fiery Indignation upon Sodom: And an Ark was built for Noah, before the [Page 13] Deluge flow'd in upon the guilty World. So has it been since observ'd, that the good St. Augustine departed this Life, just before his City Hippo was taken and laid wast: And Zealous Luther is congratulated for being took out of the World a little before the Civil Wars in Germany, and the Miseries of that divided Country.

Thus frequently are the Righteous taken away from the Evil to come. Especially, if the Text referrs to righteous and merciful Princes, They by the singular Care of Provi­dence seem caught away from some publick Calamity, which Themselves deserve to e­scape, and their People deserve to suffer. It was so in the Reign of Hezekiah, That ex­cellent Prince had a perverse People, for whom GOD had prepared a Vial of Wrath, but would not pour it down, till his Anoint­ed Head was laid safe in his Sepulchre. Wrath was upon Judah and Jerusalem, 2 Cron. 32.25, 26. but Heze­kiah humbled himself, so that the wrath of the Lord came not upon them in the days of Hezekiah: But when He slept with his Fa­thers, then came Invasion, and Bloud, and Captivity. Then the Lord brought upon them the Captains of the Host of the King of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the Thorns, and [Page 14] bound him with Fetters, and carried him to Babylon.

This dispensation of Providence was more remarkable in the Reign of religious Josiah: When the People despis'd the Example of the Best of Princes; and made the City and Country a Stage of Profaneness, while the Court was all Devotion: Then by the mouth of Huldah the Prophetess, thus said the LORD,2 Cron. 34.24. Behold I will bring Evil upon this place, and upon the Inhabitants thereof, even all the Curses that are written in the Book: My wrath shall be poured out upon this place, and shall not be quenched. But the pious Prince, He was snatched as a Fire­brand out of the Fire. As for the King of Judah, thus saith the LORD, Because thine Heart was tender, and thou didst humble thy self, and rend thy cloaths, and weep before me: lb. 27, 28. Behold I will gather thee to thy Fathers, and Thou shalt be gathered to thy Grave in peace; neither shall thine Eyes see all the Evil that I will bring upon this place, and upon the Inhabitants of the same. And so the Reprieve was granted, till his Sanctuary was the Grave. But then, the first Successor was depos'd, and carried into Aegypt; and under the next, GOD brought upon them the [Page 15] King of the Chaldees, 2 Cron. 36.17. who slew the young men with the Sword, and had no compassion upon Young man or maiden, Old man, or him that stooped for Age.

The Records of our own Church and Na­tion present us with such an Instance of Di­vine Mercy in the most Pious of our English Princes,Sim. Dunel. sub an. 957. King Edward the Confessor;Allredus de vit. & Mi­rac. Ed. confess. whom our Oldest Historians report to have had this Vision on his dying Bed. Two Men of Re­ligious Order and Habit appear'd in his Chamber,Cron. Joh. Brompton. sub Anno. M LX VI. and declar'd themselves the Mes­sengers of GOD, and deliver'd this Express to him: Your Nobility, Clergy, and People of England have fill'd up the measure of their Iniquities: Henr. de Knighton de Event. Ang. Cap. 14. So that God has bent his Bow, and made his Arrows ready for them. Die you in Peace, but within One Year, and One Day after your Decease, Strangers shall possess this Land, and condemn it to Fire and Sword. To this Message they say the Prince return'd: My Soul is sore troubled to foresee the Af­fliction of my People; but sure if they turn from their Wickedness, then will God repent, and leave a Blessing for them. A like Sen­tence was denounc'd upon the Ninevites, and yet suspended on their Repentance: Nay, the Humiliation of wicked Ahab diverted the [Page 16] Evil from his own days: Therefore (says he) I will perswade my People to repent, that God may have Mercy, and withhold the im­pending Judgment. No, said the Two Holy Men, The Heart of this People is hard'ned, and their Eyes are blinded; they cannot see with their Eyes, and understand with their Heart, and God cannot heal them. Depart you in Peace, and escape the Evil to come. The History proceeds, That the decaying Prince recover'd strength to tell This to his attending Courtiers; and that Stigand a­mong Others ridicul'd the Story, and said it was all the Dotage and Delirium of a dying Man: But it prov'd a Prophecy, and had a fatal Completion; for within the appointed time, the Normans invaded, and conquer'd, and divided the Land.

Thus have I op'ned the Text, and familiar­ly explain'd the several parts of it; so that it is easy for you to apprehend this to have been the sence of the Prophet. In the midst of a wicked and careless Generation, some publick Calamity, some universal Loss may happen, and yet None be much affected with it: Even the sharpest Affliction may befal a Nation, their righteous Prince may perish, and their merciful Governour be taken a­way; [Page 17] and yet the Wound reaches to no Heart, None betray the Concern and Sorrow which so sad an Accident calls for; but drive on their little Humours and Designs with no regard of publick Loss, or publick Good. When alas! They ought to consider, that by such a providential Chance, they may suffer more than they imagine: For that Castle of Defense being now remov'd, Ene­mies and Destruction may come upon them; and sad Experience may too soon convince, that the Righteous was taken away from a fatal Evil to come, which had been longer suspended, had the Righteous longer liv'd.

And now All this I will not apply so near, as every Conscience may apply. When righ­teous Princes perish, their Ashes are too Sacred to be disturb'd by every Tongue: And when they seem taken away from an Evil to come, yet it is not fit every bold Person should portend that Evil, or describe the Tokens of it: It is more modest to direct you how to bestow one serious Thought or two on these Branches of the Text.

First, On the Righteous perishing, and the Merciful being taken away.

Secondly, On no Man laying it to Heart, nor considering what may be the Conse­quence of it.

[Page 18] Thirdly, On the fatal Reason of GOD'S Providence in it: The Righteous may be taken away from some Evil to come.

First, Let us reflect on the Righteous pe­rishing, and the Merciful being taken away.

Let us reflect, I say, that Piety and Vertue will save our Souls, but not our Lives: All Graces are subject to Mortality in this World, and only purchase Eternity in that other World. It is true, the prolonging of days in the Land wherein they live, is promis'd a Reward to the Obedient Keepers of Divine Laws; and so it really proves, by the course of Nature, and by the care of Providence: By the course of Nature, as Sobriety, Tem­perance, and all Vertue preserve our Health, and protract our Life: And again, By the care of Providence, as GOD more especially protects his own Servants from common Dangers, keeps them as the Apple of his Eye, and hides them under the Shadow of his Wings, and carries them safe to Grey Hairs, and a good Old-age.

But this is not so meant, as if all Men's Piety were to be a Charm against Sickness and Death: No! Not only the Bloud-thirsty and Deceitful do not live out half their days; but even the Good and Vertuous fall often [Page 19] in the prime of their Age: And yet by their untimely Death they justify the Wisdom and Mercy of GOD, in that they more quick­ly retire to Rest, when they are sooner weary of a wicked World; and particularly are taken away from some ensuing Judg­ment, which they kept off by their exem­plary Lives, and make room for by their sudden Death.

This is a just Reflection on the Death of all Righteous and Merciful Men: But if the Prophet understood, as we cannot but un­derstand, the Words of some one Righteous and Merciful Prince: Then we should far­ther reflect, That Royal Bloud will run no longer, than that in the Veins of the mean­est Subject: That a Court stands as open to Diseases as a Cottage: That Crowns, and Swords, and Scepters cannot awe, nor bribe the King of Terrors Death. I have said ye are Gods, but ye shall die like Men: For so the haughty Heathen Monarchs, who affect­ed to be Divine, soon prov'd their Humanity by being Mortal.

Nay, it has so hapned, that the Best Prin­ces have generally had the more early Tran­slation to Heaven. Whither because they most despise the vain Glories of an Earthly [Page 20] Crown, and labour to be the more quickly deliver'd from the Burden of it: Or, whither by their great and good Deeds they sooner work out their Salvation, and deserve the more speedy Admission into the Courts of Heaven: Or, whither their Subjects by such a Loss may be taught more to value such a Blessing: Or whither, as the Text implies, they stand in the Gap, and fence off the De­struction of a profligate People, and must be taken out of the way, that GOD may be a­venged on those his Enemies. Whither for One, or All of these Reasons, Holy and Re­ligious Princes are the shortest Loan from Heaven, soonest call'd in from an ungrateful World. Thus the Jews lost their good Josiah, before he was Forty Years of Age; and He, whom we English call'd our Josiah, K. Edw. VI. was a Minor in all but Piety and Parts: As if Rare Princes were to be shew'd only to the Earth, and then snatcht from it; to leave their Memory more esteem'd, and turn Envy into Admiration.

But let us secondly reflect on no Man lay­ing this to Heart, nor considering the Great­ness of such a Loss.

Sorrow for the Dead was alway an Instinct of Nature, and alway a Precept of Religion; [Page 21] and therefore alway a Custom in civilized Countries, that, as Solomon expresses it, when Man goeth to his long Home, Ecl. 12. ver. 5. the Mourners went about the Streets. This Cere­mony is paid to common Friends, and to or­dinary Relations: But when a Prince and Governour, when a righteous and merciful Prince and Governour resigns a well-manag'd Scepter, and retires into the inner Cham­bers of Death; then is it a National Cala­mity, and calls for a National Grief and La­mentation.

When meek and righteous Moses was ta­ken away from the Judging of Israel, the People Wept in the Plains of Moah, Deu. 34. ver. 8. and full Thirty Days were employ'd in the unin­termitted Penance of Weeping and Mourn­ing. When good Samuel Died,1 Sam. 25.1. all the Israe­lites were gathered together, and lamented him. When devout Josiah fell, they bemoan'd him,Jer. 22.10. and wept sore for him that was gone a­way, because he should return no more, nor see his Native Country. So strict and solemn a Grief, that it became a Proverbial Exam­ple of Mourning:Zech. 12 ver. 11. A great Mourning as the Mourning of Hadradrimmon in the Valley of Megiddo.

Nay, the want of such Condolement GOD [Page 22] threatens as the most Reprobate hardness of Heart, which he can possibly inflict on an obstinate People: It is denounc'd as the Por­tion of the Wicked,Job. 27. ver. 15. Those that remain of him shall be buried in Death, and his Widows shall not weep: Or as the Psalmist expresses it,Psal. 74. ver. 66. There shall be no Widows to make lamen­tation. And when the Prophet Jeremy was to represent the desperate and lost Condition of the Jews, he proposes this as the heaviest Judgment: Thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of Mourning, Jer. 16. ver. 5. neither go to la­ment nor bemoan them; For I have taken a­way my Peace from this People, saith the Lord, even Loving-kindness and Mercies.

And sure Men's Hearts, like Pharoah's, must be doubly-harden'd, by their own Per­verseness, and by the Judgment of GOD; be­fore they can resist the Torrent of Grief, drove down by the Death of an excellent Prince. Sure Christian Religion must be re­nounc'd, and common Humanity put off, before the decent Respects of Silence and Sorrow can be omitted on such a sad Oc­casion.

Sure All, that have the Bowels of a Man, cannot but in meer Nature have some Pity and Regret at the Instability of Humane [Page 23] Greatness; and to see how little Distance there is between a Throne and a Grave. Sure All, that have any Love for their Sion, any Value for their Religion, cannot but com­plain in Bitterness of Soul, when they lose a KING that has been a Nursing Father, or A QUEEN that has been a Nursing Mother. And even All that are concern'd only for the Interest of the State, must needs commise­rate the Suffering of it, when the Head is laid low that did so wisely Guide it: When There's an end of the Sagacity, and Courtesy, and Clemency, and all the other Excellence of Spirit, that was fit to fill a Throne, and save a Nation.

Sure Examples are not wanting how much Grief, and grateful Respect, has been paid to the Ashes of Wise and Vertuous Princes. I might offer One from the known Annals of our own Nation: Maud, the Wife of King Henry the First, a Princess, who by her Charity, and Affability, and Piety, all temper'd with Prudence, did so win upon the Hearts of all the English People, that when She came to Die, the Nation was in a perfect Tumult of Grief and Sorrow: They all lamented Her, as the most dutiful Daugh­ter of the Church, and the most affectionate [Page 24] Mother of her Country: They labour'd to touch her Coffin, [...] H [...]st. W [...]nt. A [...]g. [...] p 2 [...]. and to salute her Grave: And in all Discourse and Writing, they scarce ever mention'd Her, but with this Character, Mold the Good Queen.

Certainly our Reform'd Religion must have now improv'd the sense of Tenderness and Love, above the Temper of those who liv'd in a Communion of a narrow and per­secuting Spirit. Certainly that Disposition, for which we have since invented the Name of Good-nature, and boast it the Propriety of our Modern English Tongue, must incline us to more soft and compassionate Thoughts, than could arise to those our rough and hardy Ancestors: And certainly, that very Breed­ing, to which our Times so much pretend, must direct us to all those just Civilities of Duty and Respect, which were less paid, and less due, in that Ruder Age. One would (I mean) imagine, that the Blessing of a Good QUEEN should make a deeper Impress upon English Hearts; and the being depriv'd of that Blessing should raise warmer Resentments of Grief, than the like Providence did in the remote Reign of Hen. I. when the Normans were transported with Conquest, and the Saxons were dis-spirited with Oppression; [Page 25] when the Insolence of one Party, and the Indignation of the other, were enough to take away all the better Affections of Hu­mane Nature.

It is impossible that Nature, Education, and Religion, when they are All reform'd, should be All less effectual to strike and wound the Hearts of a Nation, when they have lost a QUEEN equal to the greatest Ex­ample of past Ages.

When, without suspicion of Flattery, Her Character shall be drawn for the Use of Posterity. Posterity will not believe, That a great part of Her People were Indifferent, and Unaffected with Her Death; and only put on their Mourning, as the Pharisees did their Sackcloth, to appear unto Men. At least, Posterity will not believe, That some were so Insolent, as to Ridicule the Divine Judgment, and make a Mock at GOD'S Anger, and their own Sin. A barbarous In­dignity, that could have been only tolerable in that Emperour,Sueton. in Vit. Ner. Cap. [...]8. who, amidst the Confla­gration of his City, was setting Musick to the Flames:Idem in Vit. Calig. Cap. 31. Or in that Other, who wisht a signal Calamity might happen in his Reign, to distinguish it from ordinary and unob­servable Times.

[Page 26]The Thoughts of such inhumane Practice will naturally lead us to the more melan­cholly Reflection.

For we are lastly to reflect on the fatal Reason of GOD'S Providence, in so severe a Dispensation. The Righteous is taken away from the Evil to come.

History tells us, The First Christians were retreated to Pella, before the Siege and De­struction of Jerusalem: Or else, perhaps their Prayers might have turn'd back the Armies of the Aliens, and stopt the Bloud that was imprecated on the Jews, and on their Chil­dren. Indeed GOD cannot execute a dreadful Judgment, while the Righteous remain to intercede, and turn aside his stretched out Arm. Had but Ten Righteous Persons been found upon their Knees in Sodom, Gen. 18. ver. 32. they had quencht the Fire and Brimstone, before it fell on the polluted City. Yes! Righteous and Merciful Men,2 Kin. 2. ver. 12. they are the Chariots and Horsemen of Israel: They are the Guar­dian Angels, and defend the Province over which they do preside.

The Messenger of GOD told Lot, that No­thing could be done against the City, while he was within the Walls of it:Gen. 19. ver. 22. Hast thee, escape thither; for I cannot do any thing till [Page 27] Thou be come thither. When the LORD was wroth with his Inheritance of Israel, and resolv'd their Iniquity should be upon their own Heads; yet the Intercession of Moses stopt his drawn Sword; nor could he strike till Moses should let him alone.Ex. 32. ver. 9. I have seen this People, said the LORD, and behold it is a stiff-necked People: Now therefore let me alone, that my Wrath may wax hot against them, and that I may consume them. So much Violence does GOD himself seem to suffer from the Prayers of Holy Men: And in the most Sinful Land, it is rather a Threat than a Decree,Eze. 14. ver. 14. That Noah, Daniel, and Job, shall deliver Nothing but their own Souls.

Oh! That a People were Wise, and would Consider this! Who cannot but Consider? That when the Walls of a City are broken down, how easy is it for the Enemies to en­ter and destroy? When the Pillars of a Tem­ple are took away, how soon must the un­supported Fabrick fall? When the Banks are laid low, how naturally will the Waters overwhelm the defenceless Ground? Even so, when the Righteous are taken away, how without Resistance must descend the Evil to come?

[Page 28]It is true: While we reflect on former Mercies, and contemplate our present Af­fairs, we grow Sanguine, and presume that All will be Safe and Happy: But while we take the other Prospect of Divine Justice, and our own Provocations of it; Then the Light Side of the Pillar is turn'd round to Cloud and Darkness, and fearful Expecta­tions may remain.

What Judgment may we expect? What may we not expect? Shall we choose any One of the Three Evils, which Gad offer'd to David? 2 Sam. 24. Shall Seven Years of Famine come upon us in our Land? Our Bodies Hungry and Thirsty, and our Souls fainting in them? No! Bless, O LORD, our Victuals with En­crease, and satisfy our Poor with Bread; and suffer us not to know the want of that Plen­ty we abuse! Shall we flee Three Months be­fore our Enemies, while they pursue us? Shall Invasion, and Conquest, and Slavery, drown us in Sweat and Bloud? No! Defend us, Good LORD, from barbarous and insulting Foes: Give us the undeserved Favour of Victory Abroad, and Peace at Home! Well, but Shall there be Three Days Pestilence in the Land? Shall Carcasses fall in Heaps, and the Living be buried among the Dead? Yea, [Page 29] rather Let us fall into the Hand of the Lord, for his Mercies are great, and let us not fall into the Hand of Man: But rather, O LORD, turn away this Plague from us: Give us Strength and Health: Give us leave to wait our appointed Time, till a natural and gen­tle Change shall come.

Tho' the Hand-writing seems upon the Wall; and the Sentence of Death be already executed against that just Person, who could alone have stopt the determin'd Woe: Yet, Let us turn unto the Lord with all our heart, with Fasting, Joel. 2. ver. 15. and with Weeping, and with Mourning: Let us rend our Heart, and not our Garment; and looking upon the Evil to come, let us try whither the Merciful and Gracious LORD will Repent him of that Evil: Who knoweth, if he will return, and repent, and leave a Blessing behind him?

Merciful GOD! Let it be Judgment Enough! That we have lost a Princess, whom past Ages never did Exceed, and future Gene­rations shall scarce ever Equal! Judgment Enough! That we have lost the Benefit of so many Prayers of that Devout QUEEN, who lov'd no Apartment of Her Palace, so well as Her Chapel; and behav'd Her-self in it with that Zeal and Affection, as if She be­liev'd [Page 30] it the House of God, Gen. 28. ver. 17. and the Gate of Heaven, which is now Open'd to Her: Who made Her Closet a continued Oratory of pri­vate Devotions: Who prosecuted all Busi­ness, as if She had no leisure to Pray; and yet Pray'd so Continually, as if She had at­tended no other Business. Judgment enough! That we have lost Her who believ'd Religi­on, and adorn'd it; who understood the Con­stitution of our Church, and therefore lov'd it: Who Honour'd Divines for the Sake of their Profession, and made Her Preferments the Reward of good Preaching, and good Liv­ing. And (what is not improper to mention within these Walls) Lost Her, who was a Friend to Learning, who knew how to chuse Books, and to digest them; and amidst all urgent Affairs, could descend to the Cares of a Library. Judgment Enough! That we have lost Her, who paid all the obedient Du­ties of a Wife, so rare in Royal Consorts, who, in a less Coparcenry than Hers, are tempted to bear no Equal, at least to ac­knowledge no Superiour. Lost Her, who was a Mistriss Affable and Humble; and who, if She had wanted Power, could have been Perswasive; whom supreme Authority could not make Imperious to Her Servants: Who [Page 31] set Her Maidens an Example of Domestick Industry; and Govern'd Her Family, as if that had been her Only Kingdom. Lost Her! Who could Rule a Nation, and make Her Lord seem Absent to None, but to Her-self: Who could do Justice without Revenge, and shew Mercy without Weakness, and Reign in the Hearts of Her People. In a word, Judgment Enough! To lose Her, wherein Her Quality has lost an Ornament, Her Sex a Glory, Her Nation a Blessing, and the World an Example.

Good GOD! Permit no other Judgment to fall upon us: Let Us the Priests, and You the People, Weep between the Porch and the Altar; and let us say, Spare thy People O Lord, and give not thy Heritage to Re­proach: Be jealous for thy Land, and pity thy People, Thy Distressed People.

To Thee, O Father of Mercies, with the Son of thy Love, and the Spirit of Conso­lation, be ascrib'd the Kingdom, Power, and Glory, for Ever and Ever.


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