A SERMON Preached before the QUEEN AT WHITE-HALL Ianuary the 30th. Being the day of the Martyrdom of King CHARLES the First.

By the Bishop of St. Asaph, Lord Almoner to Their MAJESTIES.

Published by Her Majesties Command.

LONDON, Printed for Thomas Iones at the White-Horse without Temple-Bar. MDCXCI.

The BISHOP of St. Asaph's SERMON Preach'd before the QUEEN AT WHITE-HALL.

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A SERMON Preach'd before the QUEEN AT WHITE-HALL.

2 Chron. xxxv. 24, 25.‘And all Juda and Jerusalem mourned for Josiah: And Jeremiah lamented for Josiah; and all the singing-men and the singing-women spake of Jo­siah in their lamentations to this day; and they made them an Ordinance in Israel; and behold, they are written in the Lamentations.

WE are here met this day to humble our selves before God, for one of the greatest Sins that ever was committed by any People that profess'd the true Religion; except only the [Page 2] Iews rejecting and crucifying their Messias; and to bewail the greatest loss, I think the greatest, that ever befell any Nation, in the death of any one Per­son; both which Sin and which Calamity toge­ther, I would have parallel'd in one Text, but I know not where to find it in Scripture.

For the Example of our Saviour is too high to be brought into comparison with any other: And to go lower (as it becomes us, when we speak of a mere Man, a Temporal Prince;) for so excellent Goodness in Man, for such a Blessing in a temporal King, to be so wretchedly lost, so wickedly destroyed, by them that were blessed with it; there is no Example of the like to be met with, I say, not only in Scripture, but not in any Story that I know, from the beginning of the World to this day.

In the Age of Gospel-Story, while Christ and his Apostles were here, there was then no Christian King upon the Earth; and if there had been, we may guess what Affection, what Obedience, what Veneration would have been paid him by them that so abounded in their Precepts of those Duties, to Heathen Princes, to cruel Tyrants, to monsters of Men, such as Nero, under whom two Apostles know­ing they were to suffer Death, yet commanded every Soul to be subject to the higher Powers, the People to submit to them for the Lords sake, and their Pastors to put them in mind to obey them.

[Page 3]They which taught thus, (and we are sure they liv'd as they taught,) how glad would they have been to have had those Duties to pay to such a Prince as we have seen, by some great Pro­fessors of Religion, but quite contrary to their Pat­terns and Rules, most contumeliously treated and abused, most sacrilegiously and barbarously mur­ther'd.

Among the Iews, who had many Kings of their own Religion, some approv'd of God, and others tax'd as they justly deserv'd; it is observable that their Carriage towards them all (as well the e­vil as the good,) was generally such as the Gos­pel requires of us Christians. If there were amongst them any Murtherers of Kings, the Scripture is care­ful to let us know what they were, wicked Men, Sons of Belial; and it shews us how they sped, they were put to Death for it, according to the Law of Mo­ses; it is most careful to separate them from the Generation of Gods People, to shew their detesta­tion of such Persons and Practices. By what we read, we cannot but judge, they would have tremb­led to think of that which they that call'd them­selves Gods People had the impiety to do; they had the prodigious wickedness to do it, and yet they had the face to call themselves Gods People. I am sure 'tis in vain, to look for any thing like this in Scripture.

[Page 4]But to shew how the Iews demean'd them­selves toward their Kings, and first to evil Kings, I ought to take my first measures from their Behaviour towards Saul; and especi­ally from the most memorable instance of David, whom God himself having declar'd to be a Man after his own heart, we have the divine Approba­tion of what he said and did in this matter.

But of his excellent behaviour toward Saul, be­sides many other remarkable instances, we have one in the Lesson that was read to you this mor­ning. There you heard, how when one brought David the News of Sauls death, by a sure token, that he had kill'd him himself, which one would have thought should have been welcome News to one that could never be safe while Saul liv'd, and that now upon his death was sure to be his Successor; for all that, David had such a detesta­tion of the Fact, and of the impudence of him that boasted of it, that first he caus'd him to be put to death; he pronounc'd his Sentence in those memorable words, 2 Sam. i. 16. Thy Blood be up­on thy head, for thy mouth hath testifyed against thee, saying, I have slain the Lords Anointed: And having thus aveng'd his Death, how he mourn'd for it afterwards, we see in his mourning Song that he compos'd, and which was read to you out of the same Chapter.

[Page 5]But we are novv upon the Death of a good King, and to shew the Peoples sense of this, and their Behaviour upon it, you cannot pitch upon an instance more likely, than at the Death of Io­siah. A most remarkable instance in two re­spects:

First, Considering their loss of so excellent a Person.

And Secondly, the many harsh Circumstances of his death.

For the Person, a holy and good Man, a just and a merciful Prince, such a Prince as came not in many Ages; in many hundreds of years.

They had three Kings, in whom they gloriedEcclesiasti­cus xlix. 4. above all other; they were David and Hezekiah, and Iosias. And yet David had faults, which one would tremble to think of. Hezekiah was not free from Faults, as appear'd when God left him, 2 Chron. xxxii. 31. The least Evil we read of any King in Scripture, is of Iosiah. Some Indiscretion it was perhaps in him, to engage in that War against Pharaoh Necho. I dare not say it was sin in him, for Scripture hath not said it. But if that was not sin, I am sure we read of none that he had. And in this respect, we may place him above David and Hezekiah; so the Scripture does in general Words, saying, that like him there was2 Kin. xxiii 25.[Page 6] no King before him, that turned to the Lord with all his heart, and with all his Soul, and with all his Might, according to all the Law of Moses; neither after him arose there any like him.

He was a singular Prince, and had a singular mark of it in that Prophesie, which named him 300 years before he was born: Behold a Child shall 1 Kin. xiii. 2. be born to the House of David, Josiah by Name.

No small things you may be sure he was to do, that God thought worth speaking of, and foretelling so many Ages before.

When Iosias was born, and came to be King, he did all those things which were foretold of him in that Prophesie. He abolisht that Idolatry and Su­perstition, that had grown up under his loose Pre­decessors. He restor'd and establish'd the true Religion according to the Scriptures: Which Scriptures were lost, (say the Iews) through disuse, in the Reign of King Amon his Father; and it appears in his Story, how he brought them to light, and restor'd them unto their Authority and Dignity. You read how Zealous­ly and Industriously he provided for the Worship of God: for the place of it, by repairing and beautifying of the Temple; for the Service by fur­nishing it with Vessels and Utensils; for the Solem­nity of it, appointing Musick according to the [Page 7] Commandment of David; for the Festivals of it, he made all Israel and Iuda to be present at the Passover; he brought all their Religions into one, he had that Exercis'd in one manner, and in one place; he made all that were present in Israel to serve the Lord their God, 2 Chron. xxxiv. last verse.

All this the Scripture saith of him, and approves in him; and therefore we are sure he did well in it. And as well one would think he might have ex­pected at Gods hands, especially, if we consider those Scriptures of the Jewish Dispensation; which stirred men up to Obedience, with the Pro­mise of Temporal Blessings; and deterred them from sin, with the threatning of temporal Punish­ments. Among those promised Blessings are Peace and long Life; for which, who, in Iosias's Case, would not have thought he might have taken God's word? But with this excellent Prince it seem'd to fall out on the contrary.

For great and just cause, as I shall shew you, (but it may seem very strange the mean while) when he had done all that in him lay to advance the Kingdom of God; in an hour unlook'd for, his Kingdom was at an end, and his Life with it. Both these were cut off in the 37th. year of his Age, which is but half the Age of Man, the Noon of it as 'tis term'd in that Prophesie, Amos viii. 8, 9, 10.

[Page 8]'Tis a remarkable Prophesie, I shall first read you the Words, and then I shall shew you the Accomplishment. The words are, Shall not the Land Amos viii. 8, 9. 10. tremble for this, and every one Mourn that dwelleth therein? And it shall rise up wholly as a Flood, and it shall be cast out and drowned as by the Flood of E­gypt. And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord God, that I will cause the Sun to go down at Noon, and I will darken the Earth in the clear Day. And I will turn your Feasts into Mourning, and all your Songs into Lamentations; and I will bring up Sackcloth upon all Loyns, and baldness upon every head: And I will make it as the mourning of an only Son, and the end thereof as a bitter day.

All this Rabbi Salomon Iarchi observes, was fulfil'd upon the death of Iosiah. The King of E­gyt there specified, Pharaoh Necho (or the Lame) Wars with the King of Babylon; and Iosiah's Coun­try lying between them, he marches through it with an Army, without his leave, nay against his Prohibition. Which injurious attempt against his honour and safety, while Iosiah endeavoured to oppose, he engag'd himself in a War, which soon after cost him his Life.

One Arrow puts an end to that Holy Life, that good Reign, that Righteous Government, by which he thought he had secured a lasting peace [Page 9] to himself and his Kingdom. So good Iosiah is gone; and Iudah and Ierusalem with him. Gone are all those Blessings they enjoy'd, and hoped for, by his means. There was nothing more to be lookt for, but a bitter day, a day of Captivity; a bitter day according to Amos's Prophecy; which they knew, and which if you read over again, you cannot wonder at that which follows in my Text; All Iuda and Ierusalem, &c.

For the method of my Discourse upon this Text,

First, I shall consider what the People of God did in that Age, upon the Death of Iosiah.

Secondly, I shall consider the Reasons of their doing it.

Thirdly, I shall consider how it is applicable to our Occasion.

First, What they did, it appears in my Text, they lamented him at present, they laid up their Lamentations for future times. They had a set Form drawn up for that purpose, and they made a Law that that Form should be observed; and so it was unto this day, saith the Text, that is for a­bove 100 years; how much longer we know not, but so long we are sure it continued; For it con­tinued from Iosiah's Death, at least till the writ­ing of this Story, and this was written much above a hundred years after Iosiahs's Death.

[Page 10] Secondly, For the Reasons of it, which are not in my Text, they are easy to be collected out of this Chapter, compared with other places of Scripture. It appears they had great cause to lament the death of Iosiah; and that, not for any loss it was to him, but for the great loss to Gods Church and Peo­ple.

First, And principally for the cause of it, that was for their Sins. And,

Secondly, For the punishment of their Sins: they were punish'd at present in the want of his good Example and Government; and for the fu­ture, great cause they had to fear, it might por­tend and bring on the ruine of their Nation.

For the Third part of my Discourse (that is,) what we are to do in our Circumstances; it will be very easy to judge, when we have consider'd what they did in theirs.

First, At present they lamented King Iosiah's Death, as being no doubt, a great Calamity to their Church and to their Nation. Saith my Text, All Juda and Jerusalem mourned for Josias; in the Arab. Translation, they were cast down with vehe­ment Grief for Josias; in the Syriac Translation, they laid up mourning and lamentation for Josiah; it was a great, a publick, a lasting Calamity; it de­serv'd a great, a publick, a lasting lamentation.

[Page 11]Especially my Text saith, the Prophet Jeremiah lamented for Josiah; the vulgar Translation adds Ieremia's Maxime, Ieremiah above all others. No question but as he best knew the worth of Iosiah, so he most grieved for the irreparable loss in his Death.

But was that all? I suppose not; for Ieremiah was a Prophet; he foresaw the sad consequence of this loss to his Nation: He felt how it Shook the Foundation of their Happiness: He was concern'd, not only for the present, but for after times; as a wise and good Man, he lamented with them of the present Age; as being also a Prophet, he la­mented for them of future Ages. And to engage the whole Church to mourn and lament with him, he provided a Form, both for the present and for the future.

Their publick Forms in the time of Solomon's Temple, were no other (that I know) but Hymns suited to their occasions; whether ordinary, on their Sabbaths, and New Moons, and other Festi­vals; or extraordinary, on their Fasts, and Days of Thanksgiving.

For every Fast-day, they had a [...] or Song of Lamentation. Iosiah deserv'd a yearly Fast up­upon the day of his Death. Ieremiah compos'd the Office for it, which was a Song of Lamenta­tion. [Page 12] A Song of Lamentation, so it is plainly expres­press'd in the Original, and it is sufficiently rend­red in the Septuagint, but imperfectly in our Eng­lish Translation. He made on him a [...] as the Hebrews, a [...] as the Greeks call it, he made a mourning Song or Psalm of Lamentation.

Which Song, being (as I have said) the pub­lick Office of the Church for that day; he put it it into their hands, by whom that Service was to be perform'd. Now that was chiefly by singing Men and singing Women: Yet not so, but that all the People join'd with them in singing the Publick Office, or Psalm in their Lamentations. They do it still to this day, saith the Writer of this Book, who is thought to have been Ezra the Scribe: Sure e­nough, it was one that lived after the Babylonian Captivity; for the last Chapter and Verse of this Book, speak of their return from that Captivity, and the same is the first Verse of the first Chapter of Ezra. From hence it certainly appears, that till after the Captivity, that is, for 140 years, they still continued their Lamentation, and still us'd this Form of Lamentation for the Death of Iosiah.

And they did it not arbitrarily, but by a Lavv vvhich oblig'd them to it. So my Text saith, [...] that is, they vvhich then governed made it a Lavv upon Israel, that every [Page 13] year upon the day on vvhich Iosiah vvas slain, these Offices should be used for the lamenting of Iosiah. Thus Pagnin and Malvenda interpret my Text.

And that which follows, behold they are written in the Lamentations; they understand, not of those Lamentations in the Bible, but the whole Body of the Iewish Lamentations, that were used upon their solemn Fast-days. Those now extant in the Bible, were particularly composed for the Baby­lonian Captivity. Which Captivity having occasio­ned so many Fast-days in the year; one for the besieging of Ierusalem, another for the taking of it; another for the destrustion of the Temple, ano­ther for the loss of the Remnant with Gedaliah; these Lamentations in after-times swallowed up the remembranee of all other Lamentations; and of this for Iosiah among the rest.

They remembred it, (as I have said) until Ezra's time; when tho' perhaps they observed not the day, yet they continued the Office or Form for it.

But how? They sung not this by it self, but (saith my Text) [...] they used this Among their other Lamentations. But since his time (as it may seem) for the shortning of the Office, which was long upon those Fast-Days in remembrance of the Cap­tivity, [Page 14] they left out this particular Office for the loss of Iosiah; and so probably by this means we came to lose the words of this Lamentation.

But these four things I have sufficiently prov'd from my Text:

First, That there was a general Mourning for Josiah at his death;

Secondly, That the Prophet Ieremy made a par­ticular Office for it;

Thirdly, That this Office was used among o­thers upon the Day of Lamentation;

Fourthly, That this Use was established by a Law upon Israel; and that this Law was observed till Ezra's time, that is, for 140 Years, even till the end of the Babylonian Captivity.

Next, I am to proceed to the Reason of this In­stitution.

The Reason of it was, not for his sake that was taken from them, but for their sakes from whom he was taken.

As (for him) there was no cause to lament. He died in Peace; or else how could God's Promise to him be fulfilled? 2 Chron. 34. 28. It was said to him from God by Hulda the Prophetess, Behold, I will gather thee to thy Fathers, and thou shalt go to thy Grave in Peace.

But yet it is plain, that he died in War. What [Page 15] shall we say to this? He that died in War, did he go to his Grave in Peace?

Then surely Peace in Gods Language is some­thing else than in ours.

It is so, it is Peace with God. Take it so, and there is nothing strange in those Paradoxes of Scripture, that there is no peace to the wicked, but abundance of peace is to the righteous. These and all the like Sayings are plain, if you understand them aright, of Peace with God.

It is certainly true, that whether Peace or no Peace, it must be judg'd, by having God to our Friend, or to our Enemy. This is a sure way of judging, as sure as it is that God is true; only the truth of it does not appear in this life, as it will in the future. The Righteous in this life, though he is in Friendship with God, which nothing can break but wilful or habitual Sin; yet his Peace is disturbed often times, even with Sins of Infirmity, 'tis eclipst with troubles in this World, it is cloud­ed with melancholy Doubts, which even good Men are subject to. It is never perfect and clear while we live in Houses of Clay; but when these are dissolv'd, then the Righteous enters into peace, that is, into the perfection of it; into that cleer Light, the calm Sun-shine of Gods presence for e­ver more. Now this blessed estate, being that [Page 16] which Iosiah gain'd by his Death, according to the promise of God; a blessedness which none can ob­tain but by Death; and which he could not have had so soon by dying otherwise: What reason had they to lament for Iosiah, that was such a Gainer by his Death? There was no cause of lamen­tation for him.

They only had cause to lament for his Death that lost by it: And that did all Iuda and Ieru­salem. They lost all they had to trust to, they lost the Lease of their safety and well-being; for they held it only by his Life, the holy and good Life of Iosiah.

It was decreed against them in the Court of Heaven, after a long Tryal, for their National Sins, that they should be carried away into Captivity. There was no Remedy, for the Lord had sworn it, Amos 8. 7. I will remove Juda out of my sight, I 2 Kings xxiii. 27. will cast off Jerusalem, which I have chosen, and the house of which I said my Name shall be there.

It was thus decreed; but when was it to be exe­cuted? Not in good Iosiah's days; for it is against Gods Rule to punish the good Child for the wick­ed Father's sake. And besides, God had promis'd him in the fore-mentioned place, that his Eye2 Chron. xxx. 28. should not see all the evil that he would bring up­on that place.

[Page 17]What then? Should God for Iosiah's sake whol­ly reverse that Judgment which he had sworn to execute upon Israel? He could not reverse it, be­cause his Oath was immutable. And yet, for his promise sake, God could not execute it in his days. Tho' in his days the People deserv'd it; for they were then a wicked People, notwithstanding all the good they derived from his Influence; they serv'd God, because he made them do it, 2 Chron. 34. 33. they turn'd to God, not with all their heart, but feignedly, Jer. 3. 10. even in those days, in the days of King Iosiah, as you read in the 6th. Verse of that Chapter: Yet that hypocritical People, was protected by this Religious Prince; God's Judgment could not come at them, till he was taken out of the way.

But when he was removed, they lay bare to the Vengeance of God. Then he would have a full blow at them, then wrath was to be poured out upon them to the uttermost. Then God's Judgments were to rush in upon them, like the breaking in of the Sea. Then they were to suffer those things, which to hear of, were enough to make ones Ears tingle. 2 Kings xxi. 12. Ier. xix. 3.

And if they understood this, as we are certain they might, and Jeremy did understand it; we [Page 18] cannot wonder that all Juda and Jerusalem mourn­ed for Josiah, and Jeremy especially: Since they saw, and he saw it especially, their Walls and Bulwarks were broken down by that good King Josia's death. They had lost that good Prince of whom they were not worthy, and were now to expect those things of which they were most wor­thy. They had great cause therefore to lament themselves before God.

They could not but do it voluntarily, that were sensible of their Condition. And they did well to make a Law for it, to oblige them that were not sensible.

But beside this Cause, which was peculiar to them; there was another in Common to them and us, and all Nations; that is, considering their own Sin, and God's punishment of it. For the death of a good King is a great publick Calamity. And such Calamities are always for the sins of the People.

I begin first with the Punishment, for of that we are most apt to be sensible.

And yet many are not sensible of that; not of a publick punishment, till it comes home to them­selves, till it touches their own Persons and Fami­lies; 'tis pity that such should ever want such pu­nishment;

[Page 19]But for such as have a sense of Publick Affairs, they cannot but be deeply sensible of this; that, the loss of a good King is a great Calamity to a Nation.

The death of any King is a loss, unless God change him for a better. But he must be extream bad that is not better then none at all. It was ne­ver worse with Israel then when there was no King amongst them; for then, every one did what was good in his own Eyes. In the 4 last Chapters of the Book of Judges, God says this four times over, as fit for more than common Observation.

But specially there is a great loss of a good King, a good Example, a good Governour, one that makes it his business to do all that can be done for the protecting and uniting of his People, for the preserving and advancing of Truth and Peace, of Religion and Righteousness among them. Such a nursing Father to the Church, such a Wise Mana­ger of the State, such a Fortress and Bulwark to his Nation, when he is taken away from them; what can they think of it?

If they are not lost to all Sense, they cannot but be sensible of this. A good King being so great a Blessing to a Nation, vve have cause to impute the loss of him to our Sins. We are taught so in sundry places of Scripture. And therefore vve are [Page 20] taught to lament for those Sins; both National and Personal; for our ovvn sins and the sins of our Nation.

For our own sins in the first place. It should be every ones care, when we bewail the Publick Ca­lamities, to consider, that such are for the sins of the Nation. But the Nation is made up of Indivi­dual Persons; and I am one of those Individuals, therefore I am to search into my own sins, (I speak now as being one that lived and sinned in those times;) to lay my hand upon my breast, to ex­amin my own heart, and seriously to consider, how far I contributed to that publick Guilt which brought down this publick Judgment upon us. And as far as I find I contributed to it, to confess and bevvail my ovvn sins before God; to ask par­don; and that I may be capable of it, to mourn deeply and heartily; and to shew the proof of it in my real amendment; that as I have throvvn in my Talent, into the National sin, so I may do my part in promoting the National Reformation.

If I have no sin of my own to mourn for, (vvhich in strict speaking is impossible,) but if I have no presumptuous and clamorous sin to answer for; or if my sins are of a latter date (which is the case of the greatest part of you that hear me;) yet for such, they are all to consider themselves as [Page 21] Members of this Nation, and mourn for the sins of the Nation; for those Epidemical sins, that brought down such a publick Judgment upon us.

For so doing, we have the Examples of Ez. 9. 3. of Neh. 9. 16. of Daniel 10. 1. How did those Ho­ly Men Mourn, and humble themselves before God for the sins of Ages past, that brought upon them the Babylonian Captivity? And yet that Captivi­ty also was past when they poured out their Souls before God, in tears for the sins of their Fathers. How much more have Holy Men lamented for the sins of their own Age? The Prophet David on this account poured out Rivers of Tears, Psal. 119. 136. The Prophet Ieremy 9. 1. Wish'd that his head were Water, and his Eyes a Fountain of Tears, to bewail the sins of his Nation. But especially our blessed Saviour himself, tho' he had no sin, yet he had Tears for them that had, Luke 19. 42. He beheld Ierusalem and wept over it, saying, Oh that thou hadst known, even in this thy day, the things that belong to thy peace! but now they are hid from thine Eyes.

Tears are of no use, without hearty endeavours, where endeavours may be used, and we have rea­son to hope they may do good. And therefore these also were applied, by those Holy Men whom I have mentioned. And these also are required of [Page 22] us, even our utmost Endeavours, every one within the Sphere of his Calling, to bring o­thers to a sight and sense of their Sins; and to persuade them to join with us, every one, by his particular, to help on the publick Re­formation.

This is the end of all Judgments, which are not to final Destruction, Isaia 27. 9. This is the fruit of them to take away our sin. And this is the end of our Sorrow, 2 Cor. 7. 10. Godly Sorrow works Repentance to Salvation, not to be repented of. And this is the end of our Fast days, as God teaches us: Ioel 2. 12. Turn you to me with all your hearts, with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning; and rent your hearts, and not your Garments, and turn you to the Lord your God. So Hosea xiv. 1, 2. O Israel, turn unto the Lord thy God, for thou hast fallen by thy iniquity; take with thee words, and turn to the Lord; say unto him, take away all our Iniquity, and receive us graciously; so will we render thee the Calves of our Lips.

This ought to have been the Fruit of their Lamentation for Iosia; but for want of this, it did them no good; their Iniquity was their ruine.

[Page 23]That ours may not be so to us, God grant we may mend that fault in our Lamentation.

'Tis our business on this day to lament our Iosiah, above 40 years after; as the Iewish Church did theirs, 140 years after his Death. I shall first consider the Cause of our Lamen­tation, and then our Duty in consequence of it.

On both these Heads, I have much more to say then I can bring within my time. But if I do exceed, I hope you will bear with me; for I suppose I hinder nothing but what may well be spared on this day.

Our business on this day, is to lament for the Death of our Iosiah; that most excellent Prince, on whose Name his greatest Adversaries have fastned no more, nor indeed no other blame, then God hath left upon the Memory of Io­siah.

But whatsoever good we read of in Iosiah, it is known, to all that knew him, to have been eminently in that Prince, whom we lament on this day.

They were both alike, born and bred up in the true Religion. But herein the advantage was on our Iosia's side, that this was he true Christian Religion; which as far excels the Iew­ish, [Page 24] as the clear Sun-shine doth the light of a dark misty day. And as we have reason to believe that Josiah had studied his Religion, for he as well taught as commanded both his Priests and People their Duties; so had our Josia. He understood his Religion throughly. It was his judgment that indear'd it to his Af­fection. And with both these together, like a true Defender of the Faith, he maintain'd it all ways against all sorts of Adversaries.

Especially, he was a most zealous observer and assertor of God's Worship, as was Josia. He was an heroick Pattern of all Virtues, as was Josia. He was like Iosias in all the Divine Perfections of his Life; and for our Sins he was too like him in suffering an untimely and vio­lent Death.

So the Parallel runs quite through between the two Persons; and it doth not fall short in any part of that Duty that was paid to their Me­mories. All that my Text saith, was done up­on the Death of Iosia, we have seen, and yet see, the same done to the Memory of our King. All true Servants of God in our Church, do and will for ever bewail and lament for him. We have a Set Form prescrib'd for it, which was read to us upon this day. And it is to be read year­ly [Page 25] upon this day, for (as my Text saith,) it is made an Ordinance throughout Israel.

But in the Lamentation of the Iews for Iosia, there was, as I have shewn, a just Reflection made, by Ieremiah especially, upon those Sins of the Nation, for which God depriv'd them of that Blessing that they enioy'd in such an excel­lent Prince. The like was made afterwards by Daniel, and by Ezra, and by Nehemia, upon those Sins of their People in those Times, which provoked God afresh to send down his Judg­ments upon them to their utter destruction.

This is that we have reason to fear; and their way to prevent it must be ours. Our Reflecti­ons upon the Sins of this Nation, as well before the Kings Death, as since, even to this day, in order to our Amendment, these are the most useful and necessary Ingredients of our Lamen­tation.

And this will be more requir'd of Us, then it was of the Iews, in respect of that much great­er Light which God hath given Us. We shall find in our Account, that we are the Disciples of Christ; and that in the upper Form of his School, whatsoever we think of it. We have his Re­ligion in as great perfection, as ever it was in a­ny Nation.

[Page 26]This advantage we have had by our Refor­mation from Popery. Ever since, God hath given us the free use of the Scriptures; and together with it, those helps of Learning that never were before in any Age; which singular Blessings of God, to set forth to you as they deserve, would be the business of a Book, and not of the end of a Sermon.

Now what returns to God have we made for all this? I must needs say, for an Age after the Reformation of Religion, there seem'd to be a great Reformation of Mens Lives. There was then a zeal for Religion kindled in their hearts, by seeing so many holy Men burn for it in Queen Mary's days.

But when that heat was over, (their first love I may call it,) as they cool'd to Religion, so they went off by degrees, from their Primitive Puri­ty and Holiness. It was but too visible in this blessed Monarch's Reign, that they that had the Conduct then of Religion, had not the same zeal for it that they had, whom God made the Instruments of our Reformation. They were indeed more concern'd than they for external things, but not so much for that which is the Soul and Life of Religion.

[Page 27]This gave occasion to others to fly out ano­ther way. They call'd every thing of external Worship, Popery. They were against all Im­position, even in lawful things. They made such a noise against it, as turn'd Mens heads. They so scar'd them with little things, made great by false Lights, that they run into the greatest Evils to avoid them. Into a War, the worst sort of it, a Civil War; a bloody Rebellion, that drew a long Train of Calamities after it. It came to this at last: We lost the best King that God e­ver gave to this Nation. How we lost him, I tremble to say; and yet we all know; it is the saddest part of our Lamentation on this day. It soon appeared what a blow this gave to Religi­on, by the general dissolution of Order and of Discipline in the Church. And to the Nation likewise, by the Confusions that followed; which, if they had run a little further, we should soon have ceas'd to be a Nation.

In this miserable condition, when we lay (as it were) gasping for Life, it pleased God out of the Cloud to look upon us. He gave us, as it were, a New Life, a Resurrection from the dead. He restor'd us, when it was visible that none but he could do it. It was such a mercy to this Na­tion, [Page 28] such a heap of Mercies together, that all Nations stood amaz'd at it.

We cannot but be astonish'd our selves, if we consider what opportunities▪ God put then into their hands. They that were at the Helm, need­ed but ask and have, whatsoever they thought fit, to settle both Church and State. To have secured Truth, and Peace, and Unity, and Love, and Holiness; in a word, all that pleases God, and all that makes a People happy.

We have cause for ever to lament the loss of these Opportunities. But how much more the wretched purposes to which they were misap­plyed? For the gratifying of Mens Lusts, for the wrecking of their Revenge, for the enrich­ing of themselves and their Friends.

For them that had no such designs, they seem'd to live like Men without any. Instead of glori­fying God, they fell to drinking of Healths. In­stead of being stricter in Religion, they grew looser in their Lives. Instead of frequenting God's Worship, they fill'd the Play-houses, and worse places. Instead of adorning the Gospel, they expos'd it to the scorn of our Adversaries: Instead of composing Differences among our selves, they were rather for widening them.

This was bad enough otherwise, but much the worse through their fault that should have mended [Page 29] these things. Instead of Reforming, they us'd ways to debauch us more; and instead of Uni­ting, they us'd ways to inflame our Divisions.

It was a Riddle, that any Government should suffer such things; till at last it appear'd, they were not only suffer'd but design'd. The design of it was plainly this, to bring in Popery again. And that had certainly return'd; It had pre­vail'd over us e're this time; if God had not won­derfully deliver'd us from it.

It pleas'd God to give us a second Resurrecti­on, more wonderful then the former. The marks of Gods Hand were so visible in it, at first, and are so daily more and more; that he is blind that doth not see them. There is enough, one would think, to convince even the Atheist to the be­lief of a Providence. But whosoever doth believe it, should consider the work of God; and who­soever considers, cannot but see what it drives at: and he that sees that, how can he but com­ply with his Design? It is plainly the design of God by this turn, to establish the Protestant Re­ligion in these Kingdoms. And in order to that, to unite us among our selves: all that can unite in Worship, and the rest in their Interests and Affections. And especially, to unite us in that common design, of driving out all immorality and prophaneness out of this Kingdom. It is not [Page 30] sense, it is a plain contradiction, to call that a Reform'd Religion, which hath not the power of reforming Men's Lives.

It is the purifying and Reforming of these, that is the chief business of Religion. And this is the chief design of God's Providence, in this Revolution. That this is Gods design, he hath shewn us particularly, by giving us such Princes, as enjoin us nothing but what they are Patterns of themselves. I know not what can be a clear­er token of the design of Gods Providence than this.

But hath this good Providence of God the ef­fect that he designs, and may justly expect at our hands? We are so far from it yet, that it is a shame to say what all Men know. We are now, as to our Morals, perhaps as bad as ever we were. I fear I said too much, in saying perhaps: It is too sure, it is notorious to all the World. There ne­ver was louder Swearing, never more open Drunkeness, never more impudent Adultery, such daily Robbing, and Killing, not only in Houses, but in the open Streets. And if this Li­centiousness should run on, what will it come to in time? This is a Lamentation, and shall be for a Lamentation.

We are so far from being fit for those Mer­cies and Blessings, which we had otherwise all [Page 31] the reason in the World to expect and to hope for under their Majesties Government; that now on the contrary, we have reason to fear that God will have mercy on us no more; that having tryed the utmost means to do us good, when those fail, he should give us over as incorrigible.

My Principal hope is in the Mercies of God. Not his Ordinary Mercies, for we seem to be past them; but I speak it with respect to those abso­lute Promises that he hath given to his Church, to be fulfilled in this Age. God's Promises will be made good to his Church, though we deprive our selves of the benefit of them.

It was an absolute promise that God made to Abraham, that he would bring his Seed out of Egypt, and that he would seat them in the promis'd Land. And God was as good as his word; though of all them that came out of Egypt, only two had the full benefit of it; all the rest of them died in the Wilderness. God will fulfill his Promises to them, and only them, that are careful to per­form the Conditions. He preserv'd righteous Lot that was griev'd with the filthy Conversation of them with whom he liv'd in Sodom, when that City was destroyed. And at the destruction of Ierusalem, he did set a mark upon them that mourn'd for the abominations of Jerusalem. He will do the like for all them that fear his Name; he will preserve [Page 32] them from the common destruction. They sha [...] be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in the day that [...] make up my Iewels. I will spare them, as a Ma [...] spares his own Son that serves him. Then shall y [...] discern between the righteous and the wicked; betwee [...] him that serves God, and him that serves him no [...] Mal. iii. two last Verses.

God grant that this may be the lot of all th [...] hear me this day. God grant this blessing effect [...] our Lamentations: that beholding the Judgment of God, considering those that are past, and dread­ing those that are to come; we may fear to [...] against God; we may not only keep our selves unspotted from the World, but do all we can to save others from Sin and Death, snatching them (as the Apostle saith,) like Brands out of the fire.

At present, it would be a greater thing to stop the growing course of wickedness, then it will be afterwards to restore Religion and Vertue. And re­stor'd, I trust, it will be to a greater lustre then ever, by their Majesties Zeal, and Wisdom, and Dili­gence; which will be wholly applyed to this busi­ness, when God hath well discharg'd them of the other, the great burden of War that is now up­on their hands. God grant a speedy and happy is­sue of it, for his Mercies sake, through Iesus Christ our Lord.

FINIS.

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