Samaritanism Reviv'd.

A SERMON Preached at the PARISH CHURCH OF Great Yarmouth, Upon the Ninth of September; BEING THE DAY Appointed for a Solemn THANKSGIVING FOR THE Discovery of the late Horrid PLOT, against His Majesty's Person and Government.


LONDON, Printed by Samuel Roycroft, for Walter Kettilby at the Bishops-Head in St. Paul's Church-yard, 1683.



THe Innocence of the Clergy of our Church, as by Law Establish'd, whatever their Pretences are to the Contrary, is indeed the greatest Scandal and most real Of­fence to the several Dissenting Parties.

While the Vices of a Clergy-man are Notorious, Hypocrites have somewhat to amuse the Vulgar with, [Page]when they live within the Rules of the Church, those of the Contrary Parties are consequently a­shamed, as having no Evil thing to say of them.

But that Shame soon breaks out into a Malicious Rage, and where the wish'd for Crimes are not to be found, some employ themselves, under the Prince of Hell, to forge Lyes, and affix them boldly, sew­ing up Men in the Skins of Bears and Wolves, and then exposing them to be torn in Pieces by Dogs.

The Blessed Jesus met with this Dealing from Obdurate and Hypocritical Jews, the Christi­ans of the First and Purest Ages, from Pagans, and the Lawful Clergy to this day, and in our Refor­med Church meet with it from pretendedly Pure and Moderate, but really Apostate Protestants.

That Veneration with I, upon the most unpre­judiced and deliberate Study, have entertain'd for the Church of England, has made me too a Sharer in that Glory of suffering by the Words and Actions of Ill-Men, whose greatest Pique against me is, That Bad as I am, I am not yet Bad enough to Associate with them.

Ill Will therefore employs all its Care to trace my Errors, and besides the Dull and Bashful Scurrility of Senseless Libels, and the utmost force of Belins­gate Rhetorick, it has betray'd it self so far, as to declare, that nothing but the Fear of Humane Laws secur'd my Life.

This is indeed a very odd Method of Refining upon Religion, and perswading any that Men of [Page]such Warm Tempers have attain'd to Extraordina­ry Degrees of Spirituality; there was so little of this in the Practice of our Saviour and his Apostles, and the best Christians in all Ages, that for my part, I count it a real Breach of Charity and an Affront to the Gospel, to reckon such among the Proselytes of Christianity.

I have to the utmost of my Power endeavour'd to advance such Principles as were most necessary to make Men Truly Good in their several Relations, Devout and Pious towards God, Obedient and Submissive to their Lawful Superiours, Uniform and Reverend in their Publick Church Services, and Charitable and Peaceable one among an­other.

Others have done this better, having carried on that Great Work with Greater Abilities, but none with Greater Sincerity or under Greater Discou­ragements than my self.

Had these Doctrines been Ʋniversally entertain'd, we should have heard of no Separatists or Fana­ticks, no Plotters, no Traitors, no Rebels.

My Lord, He deserves not the Name of a Mi­nister of the Gospel, who is afraid to speak in the Cause of his God and of his King. Never was any Prince the Subject of so many Miracles, as Ours; and were not the Sons of Separation Mad as well as Blind, He, whom God has so oft and wonderfully pre­serv'd, might at length be free from the Plots of Traitors, and among the most desperate Villains be believ'd Invulnerable.

[Page]The Preachers of Loyalty might prosecute their Great Masters Work in Peace; and if the Affection of the Dumb Son of Croesus was to be lov'd and ad­mir'd, for setting his Tongue free to save his Royal Fathers Life, the meanest Gospel Minister might ex­pect some Favour for speaking Plain, when the Cruel and Barbarous Hands of Traiterous Hypocrites are lifted up against the Dear and Sacred Life of his Soveraign.

Such an Occasion gave Being to this Discourse which now puts it self under your Honours Protection, and that which bears so Great a Name in its Front, must be by All concluded Loyal: The Author owns the Weakness of the Ʋndertaking, and therefore the Boldness of the Address; but is so well acquainted with your Goodness, that he dares not doubt of Par­don for

My Lord,
Your Honours most Obliged, Most Faithful and Obedient Servant, LƲKE MILBOƲRNE.
EZRA IV. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Now when the Adversaries of Judah and Benjamin heard that the Children of the Captivity builded the Temple unto the Lord God of Israel,

Then they came to Zerubbabel, and to the chief of the Fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you, for we seek your God as ye do, and we do sacrifice unto him, since the days of Esarhaddon King of Assur, which brought us up hither.

But Zerubbabel and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the Fathers of Israel said unto them, You have nothing to do with us to build an House unto our God; but we our selves will build together unto the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus the King of Persia hath commanded us.

Then the People of the Land weakned the hands of the People of Judah, and troubled them in Building.

And hired Counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose.

SOLOMON tells us, that there is no new thing under the Sun, Eccles. 1.9. for the thing that hath been it is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done; which may give us a good reason of what he instructs us in elsewhere, Say not thou, Eccles. 7.10. What is the cause that the former days were better than these, for thou dost not enquire wisely concerning this. Which may serve as a Check to those who are always com­plaining of the Times, whereas did they but prudently examine the Records of past Ages, they would find the same Evils prevailing in some places heretofore, which they now wonder at as such new and unheard of things.

[Page 2]The Word of God it self, as it gives us Examples of the greatest Piety and Holiness, so it gives us Instances of the most horrid Sins, such as may seem impossible to be ex­ceeded by the most reprobate Villains under Heaven; and 'tis our unhappiness, that the Patterns of the first kind are generally past by and slighted; but even those who make some slight pretences to goodness, are very solicitous lest by their Predecessors they should be outdone in Wicked­ness. So miserably is the intent of all Records Sacred and Profane perverted, for they are both written for our Ex­amples, to teach us, that we should not lust after evil things, as we sind some in story have done, and that we should look upon such History as written for our Admonition upon whom the Ends of the World are come, 1 Cor. 10.6. as the Apostle advises.

Among the several Sins Copied out from those Enemies of Religion who liv'd in former Ages, we find none more exactly imitated than those of Malice, Falshood and Treachery under the Vail of Zeal and Piety.

Pretended Religion, in its strongest pangs of Zeal, has so incorporated those Sins into it self, that if Men truly wise and pious watch not the more carefully against the Stra­tagems of Hell, they may in time be so far impos'd upon as to believe it, at least possible, for Religion and the most abominable Villanies to meet together easily in one Sub­ject; and others to the Scandal of Christianity may be ready to imagine Deceit and Baseness the very Characte­ristical Notes of it, and so that all the Ill practices charged upon that Profession by the Heathens of Old, were indeed but plain and undeniable Truths. Such a Reputation did the Scribes and Pharisees, those Monopolizers of Piety among the Jews, bring to their Profession, allowing none but the followers of their blessed Examples a portion in the future World,Matth. 2 3. whilst our Saviour so largely discovers what prodigious Impieties their gay Profession was at­tended with.

If we go further backward we may take notice of these Adversaries of Judah and Benjamin, the Subjects of the Text, whose Memory and whose Practices we see sur­viving to this day in our own Nation, which that we may [Page 3]do the better, I shall in my discourse upon these words follow this plain and easie Method.

  • 1. I shall explain the History of the Text.
  • 2. I shall make Observations from it.
  • 3. I shall apply all to our own present Case.

First, For the Explication of the History of the Text, I shall,

1. Tell you who these Adversaries of Judah and Ben­jamin were, with their Conditions, so far as Scripture or other History has inform'd me.

After Salman [...]ssar King of Assyria had carry'd the Inhabi­tants of Israel into Captivity, that the Country might not ly wholly desolate, he placed in it several Colonies, drawn from other places of his Empire, viz. from Babylon,2 Kings 17.24. and from Cu­tha, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim. From Babylon, the Capital City of his Empire, came the Babylonians, from Cutha the Cuthaeans, so call'd from the Region of Chut, of which name also, according to Josephus, Joseph. Antiq. lib. 9 c. 14. Selden. Synt. 2. c. &. Bochart. Phal. lib. 3. c. 5. there is a River in Persia: These Cuthaeans, as Bochart asserts, are the same with the Cissii of Ptolomy, the Inha­bitants of the Province of Susa, formerly called Susiana, now Chusistan on the East of Babylon. Those from Ava, called here the Avites, the same who are elsewhere called Avims, dwelling in Hazerim, Deut. 2.23. from whence being driven by the Caphtorims or those who came out of Caphtor, long before the Israelites enter'd Canaan, Bochart. Phal. lib. 4. c. 36. they past the Eu­phrates, where they found a Seat till this time, when some of them were transplanted from thence into the former Territories of the Ten Tribes. The next nam'd are the Men of Hamath, of whom it may be doubted whether they came from the Ancient Riblah, Amos 6.2. call'd by Amos Hamath the Great, out of the Ruins of which the famous City of Antioch was afterwards rais'd;Heylin's Cosm. lib. 3. Syria. Zach. 9.2. or which is the more probable from Epiphania, call'd also Hamath a City of Syria, not far from the Land of Palestine, from whence a Colony might be more conveniently sent; it was seated according to Ptolomy about 80 Miles from the greater Ha­math, Ptol. Geogr. lib. 5. c. 15. Bochart. Phal. lib. 4. c. 36. Ferrarius in voce Epiphaniâ. and as much from Damascus; both of them stood on the River Orontes, Epiphania near Larissa in the Pro­vince of Cassiotis, and was afterwards the Seat of a Chri­stian [Page 4]Bishop under the Patriarch of Antioch. The last mention'd in the Text are the Men of Sepharvaim, of whom I doubt not but they came from the Sipphara of Ptolomy, Ptol. Geogr. lib. 5. c. 18. situate on the Euphrates between Naarda and Seleucia, where it divides, into two branches, sometime before it meets with the Tygris, and so not far from Baby­lon it self: And so much may serve to inform us whence they came.

For their Religion, by which their temper may be very well guest at, it was various according to the Custom of those places from whence they came; Scripture informs us that The men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth,2 Kings 17.30, 31. the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avites made Nibchaz and Tartak, and the Se­pharvites burnt their Children in Fire to Adrammelek and Anammelek, the Gods of Sepharvaim. What these Idols of theirs were may be worth our enquiry.

The Men of Babylon made Succoth Benoth, that is, they erected Fanes or Chappels to Venus Ʋrania, as Selden in­forms us,Selden. Synt. 2. c. 7. Beyerus in ad­ditamentis ad cap. 7. p. 314. to which Beyerus adds what Selden before had rejected, out of the Jewish Writers, that they worship'd a Hen and Chickens, by which they figured the Pleiades, and they were (as he tells us) the Ancient Symbol of the very same Venus Ʋrania; which fancy of theirs he sup­poses taken from that passage of the Spirits moving upon the face of the Waters, as we translate it; but [...] which we render Moved is a Metaphorical word, taken from the female Bird covering her Eggs and Young ones gently with her Wings, [...] Buxtorf. in voce. whereby she secures them and nourishes them: so the Spirit of God covered the Terra­queous Mass, and by that gentle incubation made the whole Mass prolifick, and nourisht and fomented those Beings which were then in production; and so the female Bird makes the Eggs by her incubation fruitful, and afterwards by the same guards and cherishes her Young ones.

The Men of Cuth made Nergal, by the same Authors concluded to be Fire, the worship of which sacred and ever burning Fire was notorious among the Persians from whose Country the Cuthaeans came;Selden. Synt. 2. c. 8. & Beyerus in ad­dit. a kind of Idolatry it was which those People were so addicted to, that it was no [Page 5]uncommon thing for their principal Devoto's to cast them­selves into the same Fire there to be consumed, as an ex­traordinary and very pleasing Sacrifice.

The Men of Hamath made Ashima, by which the Jewish Rabbins commonly understand an He-Goat. Synt. 2. c. 9. Selden rejects that Notion of theirs, but declares his own Ignorance what it was. Elias Levita, as cited by Beyerus, supposes Ashima to have been an Ass or Monkey, to which he adds the Custom of some Aegyptians and Arabians to worship that Creature; an Idolatrous practice, as some say,Beyerus in add. p. 319. & Linschoten ibi citatus cum a­liis. still follow'd in the Kingdoms of Pegu and Bengala in the East Indies. But most probably it was the figure of Pan, horn­ed, hairy, and cloven footed, and so not very unlike an Hee-Goat. This Idol was worshipt by the Aegyptians in the same manner as among the Grecians, Chartanus de Antiq. Deorum Imaginibus, p. 96. and was by some ador'd as the Symbol of the Sun, a common Deity.

The Avites made Nibchaz and Tartak, Gods very ob­scure. The Jewish Writers make Nibchaz to be a Dog, a Creature worship'd by the Aegyptians in their Anubis, Selden Synt. 2. c. 9. & Beyerus in add. to whom though they give a humane Body they assign the head of an Hound. By Tartak they understand an Ass, of which we meet with no worshipper in those Ages unless the same Aegyptians, who did Tot Portenta colere, might rank it among their Deities. In after times indeed we find Caecilius in Minutius Felix charging the Christians with worshipping the head of an Ass; Minut. Felicis Octavius. a Slander raised against them from the Doctrine of the Gnosticks, of whom Epi­phanius tells us, that giving the name of [...] to one of their Celestial principalities, [...]. Epi­phanius adv. Haer. Gnost. p. 91. some of them describ'd him under the figure of an Ass, and some under that of an Hog, either of them Deities suitable to the Doctrine and Practices of those Pseudo-Christians; but for their monstrous Crimes, the true Christians (such was the injustice of their Pagan Adversaries) were forc'd to suffer.

The last are the Sepharvaites, made Adrammelech and Anammelech, which again the Jewish Writers, that they may the better expose the Samaritans, tell us were an Horse and a Mule, others a Peacock and a Quail. Synt. 1. c. 6. Selden takes them to be but two Names for one things, and both to be the same with Moloch the Abomination of the Am­monites, [Page 6]under which name the Phoenicians worshipt Sa­turn. Concerning the Humane Sacrifices to which Idol there are different Conjectures, for some from the stories of Ahaz, 2 Kings 16.3. Ch. 17.17. RR. Salom. Jac. D. Kimchi. Moses Mikotzi apud Seldenum. and others making their Sons and their Daughters pass through the Fire, conclude that the sacrificing their Children, was only a Consecration of them to that Idol's ser­vice by such a lustration. But others, amongst whom Sel­den himself truly agree, That they burnt their Children to Moloch in good earnest, and with that the Israelites are charged, that they sacrificed their Sons and their Daughters unto Devils, Psal. 106.37. and shed innocent blood, even the Blood of their Sons and of their Daughters, whom they sacrificed unto the Idols of Canaan; and in the Book of Wisdom, the Reasons being sum'd up why God had driven out the An­cient Possessors and settled the Israelites in Canaan, among the rest 'tis added, They were merciless murderers of Chil­dren, devourers of Mans flesh and feasts of Blood; Wisdom of Sol. Ch. 12. v. 6, 7. The Priests out of the midst of their Idolatrous Crew, and the Parents kill'd with their own hands, Souls destitute of help. Such a sacrifice as this the King of Moab offer'd in his extremity,2 Kings 3.27. he offer'd his eldest Son who should have reign'd after him for a burnt Offering upon the Wall. Other Relations we have of the Brazen Image of Mo­loch with its seven Cells, wherein the fine Flower, the Turtle Doves, Selden ubi supr. the Sheep, the Ram, the Calf, the Ox and the Child were severally put, and all consum'd together by a Fire kindled underneath. But so much may serve to confirm us, that all these Nations after their settlement in the Region of Samaria, were abominable Idolaters; from the place they were now settled in, they took the general Name of Samaritans, by which they were known in the stories of succeeding Times.

These, the next Neighbours, liv'd in continual Enmity with the Jews, pretending indeed Relation and Friendship to them when in prosperity, but expressing the greatest ha­tred to them when misfortunes fell upon them,Joseph. Antiq. lib. 9. c. 14. as Josephus informs us. On whose side the quarrel began may be dubious; but it was grown to a great height in our Saviours time, when the Woman wonder'd at our Saviours asking water of her, John 4.9. since the Jews had then no dealing with the [Page 7]Samaritans. The Jews themselves derive it from this very time to which the Text relates, and it may be that very opposition which they made to the building of the Temple, might be the Cause of it; for they tell us, that When Esdras and Nehemias had assembled the People in Gods Temple, and had convocated 300 Priests, who brought with them 300 Trumpets, and as many Copies of the Law, the Levites sounding out aloud the fatal form, they cursed the Samari­tans with every kind of Excommunication, by the secret and ineffable name of God, by the Law of the two Tables, and by the Excommunication of the upper and lower Courts of Judgment (i. e. the Curse of God and Man;) so that no Israelite should dare to eat Bread with a Samaritan, it being a Crime unpardonable as eating Swines flesh, Drus. de 3. Sectis lib. 3. c. 11. no Sa­maritan should be admitted to Proselytism in their Church, nor have any part in the Resurrection of the dead; if this were true, it was no wonder there should ever be a mortal Enmity and an irreconcileable feud between them.

2. We must note the forwardness of these People to assist in building the Temple of God, to joyn with the de­clared People of God in that great Work; the Jews them­selves were scarcely more early or forward than they, so soon as they once heard that the Children of the Captivity builded the Temple unto the Lord God of Israel,Ver. 1, 2. they came to Zerubbabel and the chief of the Fathers, and said unto them, Let us build with you; and questionless this might appear to some a great Evidence of devout minds. Nothing could seem more reasonable, than that the House where Gods Honour dwelt should be rais'd apace, no help sure could come amiss to hasten that; And how much more suitable undertakers of such a work, might that People be, who had liv'd in peace in their Country for ma­ny years, and so were likely to abound in all things, than a Company of poor Exiles, driven many years since from their Native Land by a victorious Tyrant, and who now when they return'd home, had no Fields to reap, no Reve­nues to receive, no Houses to hide their heads in, but lay open and defenceless to all the Storms and Tempests that might be expected from the Rage and Malice of their Ido­latrous Neighbours.

[Page 8]This offer of the Samaritans looks yet more generous in that it seems to tend more to the Honour of the Jews, than their own, the Temple being to be built at Jerusalem, and likely to add much of splendor to that City when re­built, but sit only to give themselves many tedious Jour­neys to come up thither to worship; so that the whole de­sign had at first view no appearance but of Religion for Re­ligions sake, an eager and a pious forwardness to dedicate somewhat of that Abundance he had blest them with to the Honour and Service of God; And yet further they pro­ceed very Regularly in their Motion, they court not the Mobile, the poor unthinking Vulgar, who perhaps might easily have been impos'd upon, they looking more at gaw­dy outsides than at inward Sincerity; this would have lookt like unfair dealing, as if they had design'd to put a slur upon the Jewish Chiefs by raising a faction against them, but they very fairly make their application to Zerubbabel their Leader, and the Chief of their Fathers, and there make their Offers, and such as very probably in a time of need would have been accepted. Which Offers of theirs looks yet better, if we consider,

3. Their Plea for admittance to this work, For we seek your God as ye do, and we do sacrifice unto him since the days of Esar Haddon King of Assur,V [...]. 2. who brought us up hi­ther. Unity in Religion certainly recommends Men to one another above all other Relations whatsoever, and what could bring more comfort to a Company of poor restor'd Exiles, than to meet with Neighbours worshipping the same God, offering the same Sacrifices, and instructed in the same Divinity with themselves, tendring withal their friendly Assistance to carry on the most weighty and most Religious Work? And it may be further observ'd this Pro­fession of theirs was not altogether false.

For, though we are told of the several Idols these People had made to themselves, yet in the same Chapter we find, That in the beginning of their dwelling there, 2 Kings 17.25. they fear'd not the Lord; therefore the Lord sent Lions among them, which slew some of them, the reason of which being sup­pos'd to be because they knew not the manner of the God of the Land, the King of Assyria at their request sent them one [Page 9]of the Priests that had been brought from thence, who came to them accordingly and dwelt in Bethel, and taught them how they should fear the Lord; and it follows,Ver. 32, 33, 41. So they feared the Lord God of Israel. Epiph. adv. Haer. l. 1. p. 22. Of which Epipha­nius gives us a larger account, very remarkable, but full of miserable Anachronismes, of which Scaliger takes some notice:Scal. Animad. in Euseb. Chron. p. 74. Thus Gods Judgments made them learn something of Righteousness, and by the process of the Story we may conclude, that upon this account, of the fearing him, God remov'd that Judgment of the Lyons from them.

But their Plea was nevertheless deceitful, they name what was good in themselves, but take no notice of the Crimes the Text Charges them with,Ver. 33, 41. That in the service of God, they made themselves Priests of the High Places of the Lowest of the People, which sacrificed for them in the Houses of the High places, which was one of Jerobo­ams great sins, and for which Wrath came upon Israel;1 Kings 13.33, 34. they take no notice, that as they feared the Lord, so they served their own Gods, their Graven Images, their Chil­dren, and their Childrens Children unto this day. A Pas­sage doubtless added after the Return of the Jews from their Captivity. Thus their Religion was of a Mongrel kind (however it might be refin'd afterwards) part Jewish, part Heathenish, and consequently of no real Value.

The Jews, out of that inveterate Hatred they have a­gainst these Samaritans, load them still with all the Crimes imaginable, and their Priesthood with all the Contempt possible, but not altogether truly, they were as Eusebius calls them, Aemulatores Legis Judaeae, Eusebii Chro. p. 26. Imitators of the Jewish Model; that little Instruction they had from their single Priest brought them to entertain the Books of Moses, of which indeed they were more exact and faithful Pre­servers, Voss. Is. de 70 Interpr. c. 29. both as to Words and Letters, than the Jews them­selves were. Out of Envy for this, the Jews brand them for Calf-worshippers; to clear them from which, I must put in my own Conjecture concerning a Passage of the Nubian Geographer, observ'd by Scaliger and Selden: The Geo­grapher tells us, That, among many others, there is one Isle in the Red Sea called Samerei, inhabited by Samaritans, descended from Sameri the Framer of the Golden Calf in [Page 10]the time of Moses,Selden Synt. 1. c. 4. on whom be Peace, Scaliger translates it, It is inhabited by Samaritans, the Associates of the Calf­worship in the time of Moses, &c. About which Passage whilst they dispute, the Geographers Mistake is not obser­ved, Samaria was so call'd from Shemer, of whom Omri King of Israel bought the Hill upon which Samaria, as he call'd it,1 Kings 16.24. was built; and this was that Sameri nam'd as li­ving in the time of Moses, by a vast Anachronism of which this seems to have been the Occasion.

The Jews reported the Samaritans for Calf-Worship­pers, they ground their Report upon that Priests settling himself at Bethel, who first instructed them, Where Jero­boam had set up a Golden Calf for Worship, as a Represen­tative of the True God, one of whose Worshippers this Priest had formerly been. Jeroboams Calf unquestionably took its Original from that made by Aaron in the time of Moses, which former Calf being the more notorious, the Geographer jumbles the two Stories together, and to make the Samaritans Calf-Worshippers ind [...]ed, being ignorant of the Latter, reduces them to the Ages of Moses.

This Conjecture I am the more satisfied with from that Tradition I meet with in the Itinerary of Rabbi Benja­min the Jew,Nubien. [...]lor. ann. 1151. Tudelensis mor­ann. 1173. Ferrarius. who was contemporary with the Nubian Geographer, and which being the common boast of the then surviving Cuthaeans or Samaritans, it might be equal­ly known to both. Rabbi Benj. giving the Site of Neapolis, anciently call'd Sichem, adds this; There live about 100 Cuthaeans Observers only of the Law of Moses, [...] Rabbi Benj. Tud. Itin. the same whom they call Samaritans; they have Priests of the stock of Aaron the Priest, who rests in Peace: and these they call by a pecu­liar Name Aaronaeans, who marry not among the rest of the Samaritans, but with those of the same Sacerdotal Line, to prevent confounding their own with the Common Race yet they are the Priests of their Law, and prepare Victims and offer Burnt-offerings in their Congregation, and that upon the Mountain Gerizim. This Pretence of theirs to the [Page 11] Stock of Aaron, might easily lead the Nubian into that Error. And here we may observe, that though our Au­thor afterwards adds many things to the disgrace of these Samaritans, and those spiteful enough, yet he makes no mention of any Calf then, or formerly worshipp'd by them.

4. We may take notice of the Answer given to these Samaritans by the Jewish Rulers, Zerubbabel and the rest of the Chief of the Fathers of Israel said unto them, You have nothing to do with us to build an House unto our God, but we our selves together will build unto the Lord God of Israel, as King Cyrus the King of Persia hath com­manded us. The Chiefs knew very well the Fallacy of that Assertion of theirs, they knew they fear'd the God of Israel, but not as themselves did. The Jews were com­manded not to intermingle themselves with any of their Neighbours for fear of Idolatry, much more were they to avoid complying in Worship. They had the Form of theirs prescribed by God himself, which could no way admit of those Errors the Priests of an Idolatrous Kingdom had in­troduced. The Samaritans might fear the same God and offer Sacrifices to him, but so long as they did it not ac­cording to the Order prescribed, and follow'd by the whole Jewish Nation as Ʋnited in one Ecclesiastical Body, so long they were not to be receiv'd as Partuers in so Sacred a Work, as the Building Gods Temple was. For if Inter­marrying with Idolaters was of dangerous Consequence,Deut. 7.3, 4 5, 6. Deut. 12.29, 30. Exod. 34.12. — 16. no doubt but Communion with them in the most solemn parts of Divine Worship, which was the thing the Sama­ritans aim'd at, would be much more pernicious; so that in rejecting this offer of theirs, they exactly follow'd Gods Law, and withal exprest a punctual and due Submission to the Decree of their then Lawful Prince. We are to build it together, say they, according to the Command of Cyrus King of Persia: Ver. 3. You have no Commission to joyn with us; the Predecessors of the Samaritans had no Hand in raising the former Temple, they were not of the Seed of Jacob, and therefore had no right to build a Temple to the God of Israel; Cyrus had chosen these Exiles to per­form what God had commanded,Ezr. 1.3, 4 and it became not those who were Subjects to the same Prince to Cross his De­sign, [Page 12]or to stretch his Commands beyond their first Inten­tion.

It was then acknowledged by the Jews to be their own proper Work, and they had the Prophets of God to excite them to diligence in that Work,Ezr. 6.14. and they were to build together united among themselves, with one Heart, and with one Mind, if they resolv'd to admit of no Fellow Ʋndertakers, their own whole Strength was but little e­nough to perform so vast a Work; a few of the other Tribes had joyn'd themselves with those of Judah and Benjamin, such as set their Hearts to seek the Lord God of Israel, 2 Chron. 11.13, — 16. and those were but few, the whole remnant of the twelve Tribes, but inconsiderable, to what they had been hereto­fore, and their Enemies ready to take all Advantages against them: Upon which account, as also to shew their Grati­tude to that Prince who had restor'd them to their Native Country, and their Zeal for the Glory of that God, who as he had punish'd them for their Sins, so had told them be­fore by his Prophets of this Happy Change upon their sin­cere Repentance, it was incumbent upon them altogether, as one Man, to begin and to carry on this Work of God, and so the Adversaries themselves might be convinced, That the Temple of the True God might be built accord­ing to Command, without their Help.

5. In the Text we are to observe the Behaviour of the Samaritans upon the Answer given them, They weakned the Hands of the People of Judah, Ver. 4, 5. they troubled them in building, and hired Councellors against them. They weak­ned their Hands by endeavouring to create Jealousies and Suspicions one of another among them, they were newly recovered out of a Miserable Captivity, and the present O­penness and Defencelesness of their Condition made every Idle Rumour terrible to them. One while they try to en­trap the Governour;Neh. 6.2. then they charge the Jews with a Design of Rebellion, Ver. 6.10. and hire Prophets to discourage the People in the Work; but, as the last Effect of their Ma­lice, they write their Letter to the Persian King, Fur. 4.9.21, 23. to in­form him of the danger of the Jews fortifying themselves, and so procure a Stop to be put to their further Procedure; Where observe further the Policy of these Adversaries of [Page 13] Judah and Benjamin, They ow'd Revenge to the Jews for refusing their Help to build the Temple, the Building of which they resolve to Hinder. But in their Letter to Artaxerxes they take no notice of that, lest perhaps, Cy­rus his late Decree being found, their Design should have been defeated; but they complain of former Rebellions, and they fear they would be renew'd, if the Jews had leave to build their City Walls, and here the Persian Records might pinch them. And by this Art they gain'd their End, they having a General Command,Ezr. 4.21, 22. to see that no Damage might grow to the King; took it in the largest sense, and caus'd the building of the Temple as well as the re-edify­ing their City to cease, and thus the Poor Builders, who had so lately felt the Smart of a severe Captivity, were a­fraid of opposing their Malicious Neighbours, lest an Ill Interpretation should have been made of it.

To make their Malice the more Effectual, they hired Councellors against the Jews, such subtile Persons who knew all the Tricks and Quirks of Law, and so could fright the poor Jews into a Belief that they incurr'd great Penal­ties, when indeed they had broken no Laws, and these could point to the Jews Enemies the most certain and secure ways of taking Advantage against this poor Helpless People; or the Councellors they hired might be such great Persons as attended the King of Persia, whom they, as a wealthy sort of People, Brib'd largely to assist them with their Interest at Court, while the Jews, who had no Stock to carry on such Designs, went by the worst, And to this we in some measure may attribute the Success of the Letter to Artaxerxes, for had the Jews retain'd a Friend at Court, who could have put the King in mind of his Father Decree in Favour of them and the reason of that Decree, that it was in Obedience to the Commands of the Most High God, 'tis very probable the Penners of that Mischievous Epistle had lost their labours. And so much may serve for Explication of the Text.

The Text being thus explain'd, the Observations I shall reduce from it, are these.

That every Deliverance from great and general Cala­mities ought to be celebrated with a Restauration of Gods Obs. 1. [...] [Page 14] Publick, Ancient, and Solemn Worship. There can be no end put to Publick Calamities but by the Hand of God; we may seek for remedies elsewhere, but to no purpose, to him therefore the first of our Praises ought to be return'd. It was here the Jews work; no sooner were they resettled in the Land of their Fathers, but they apply themselves to build again the Temple of God that had been formerly burnt; and when they afterwards neglected that pious Work, God by his Prophet checks them severely: Is it time for you, [...]gg 1. [...] Oye, to dwell in ceiled houses, and this House lie waste? Now therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your ways, ye have sown much and bring in little; ye ear, but ye have not enough; ye drink, but ye are not fill'd with drink; ye cloath you, but there is none warm, and he that earneth wages, earneth wages to put it into a Bag with holes. Thus saith the Lord of Hosts, Consider your ways, Go up to the Mountain, and bring Wood and build the House, and I will take pleasure in it, and I will be glorified, saith the Lord. That whole Book indeed is nothing but a reproof for N [...]glect, a command to Industry, and a promise of Blessings upon their Care and Industry in building the Temple of God. The Author of those Golden Verses, commonly ascrib'd to Pythagoras, advises well, To honour and adore the Gods in the first place, [...]. Pythag. Aurea Carm. Carm. 1. for all other lawful un­dertakings can prosper only when that foundation is laid. This was well appre­hended by Numa Pompilius the second King of Rome; [...] S [...] & C [...]r [...]monias omn [...]que [...] immortalium docuit. [...] Populum redegit, ut quod vi [...] injuriâ occupaverat impe­ [...] [...] atque Justitia guberna­ [...]. [...]or. in Numa. [...] multitudi­ [...] [...] & [...] seculis rudem [...] Deorum m [...]tum injicien­ [...] [...] est. Liv. l. 1. It was not the valour and conduct of Romulus, nor the sturdiness of a few rough and ill-tutor'd Shepherds that could secure an Infant State; there­fore he first inrroduced Religion among them, taught them to worship the Gods, and gave them a stated Form and Me­thod for the performance of all Divine Offices; and it was a Remark [...]ble Custom among the Ro­mans, that when they set down to besiege any City, they first tryed to anone the suppos'd Tutelar Deity of the place, endeavouring, with many Ceremonies, to call him [Page 15]out of the beleagued places, with promises of better en­tertainment among themselves; so necessary did they conclude Heavens Blessing to make all their designs suc­cessful. Macrob. Sa [...]u [...]n. l. 3. c. 9.

But if in the first beginning of affairs this Religion be so necessary, Devotion in Extremities is so too, and much more thankfulness for Deliverances. The same Romans, when Hannibal approacht their Gates, us'd means extra­ordinary to reconcile their false Gods to them,Undique Matronae in publicum effusae circa D [...]um delubra dis [...]urrunt, Crini­bus passis aras verrentes n [...]a g [...]bus supinas manus ad c [...]um tenden [...]e [...], o­rantesque ut Urb [...]m Roman è manibus Hostitum eriperent, matresque Romanas & liberos parvos inviolatos servarent. Liv. l. 36. that they might divest that terri­ble En [...]my, and in the time of War, though all things were yet in suspence, the whole Senate, at the Generals re­quest, repair'd to their Temples to suppli­cate Heaven for a Victory, and always in gratitude consecrated some of the Spoils gotten in the Field to their Gods;Rosm. Ant. Rom. l. 10 c 2 [...]. nor was this the practice only of Heathens, though by their Actions we may learn what Nature teaches; but Almighty God himself prescribes it to his own People by his Prophet. And afterwards, Blow the Trumpet in Zion, sanctifie a Fast, call a solemn Assembly, gather the People, sanctifie the Congregation, Joel c. 1. assemble the Elders, gather the Children and those that suck the Breasts; let the Bridegroom go forth of his Chamber, and the Bride of her Closet; Let the Priests the Ministers of the Lord weep between the Porch and the Altar, and let them say, Spare thy People, O Lord, and give not thine Heritage to reproach, Joel 2.15. [...].17. that the Heathen should rule over them; wherefore should they say among the People, where is their God?

This extraordinary earnestness of the Devotions of those that are in distress, is a strong evidence of that ex­traordinary gratitude due to that God, who on such occa­sion hears and answers our Prayers; and he that minds but what Vows Calamitous persons always make on condition of Heavens assistance, may learn from thence, that Thank­fulness for deliverances receiv'd, is a principle Originally so sixt in the Heart of Man, that the most careless and stupid of Mankind know not how to elude it. 'Tis certain, that coldness in the exercise of Religion is the grand Excitative [Page 16]of Divine Anger, the ultimate cause of those Punishments which the hand of God inflicts upon us; for though Pro­faneness, Drunkenness, Whoring, Covetousness, Theft, Murder, Malice, Treachery, Disobedience, Rebellion, and the like, are all Crying Sins, and of themselves merit Ven­geance, yet they are always accompany'd with some consi­derable defect, in the outward Solemnities of Religion: so that let men suffer by us what way soever, God will be sure to have a share in the dishonour. An Hypocrite I know may go far, but one way or other, even in outward per­formances he must fail; for those Scruples, that nicety he must necessarily pretend to for the Credit of that he calls his Conscience, and to perswade Men of his exactness in Religious matters, those very Scruples will betray him into that Sin of dishonouring God in his Publick Worship; for in that he will either not be constant, or not early, or not be have himself reverently or devoutly in it; or not Regu­larly, according to what is prescrib'd by Lawful Autho­rity in the Church; or he will evidence and avow his greater respect to some peculiar Fancies and Enthusiasms of his own, than to what is prescrib'd. Every one of which 'tis impossible for the subtilest Hypocrite to avoid, and eve­ry one of which is look't upon with another Eye by Al­mighty God, than ordinarily it is by us: And all, or any of these, as adding perfection to Sin, at the same time ag­gravate Gods displeasure, and bring down the heaviest of his Judgments upon Men.

But where Vice in General overflows a Nation or Coun­try, there Gods Worship must as generally be disrespected, all Form and Order in it be destroy'd. He that is unjust to Man will be unjust to God.1 John 4.20. S. John's Argument holds good here, He that loves not his Brother whom he has seen, how shall he love God whom he hath not seen; and where that lurking Vice resides that puts on Scrupulous Religion for a Cloak, there above all, that Beauty, Decency and Order that ought to be in Gods Service is contemn'd and sub­vert [...]d, and his House esteem'd no more than the Commonest or the vilest Place. This Truth the Scribes and Phari­sees in our Saviours times give testimony to; none cry'd out louder of the Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the [Page 17]Lord, and none abus'd that Temple more; they profan'd it so far as to make the meek Jesus severely to tell them, My House should be call'd the House of Prayer, Matt. 21.13. but ye have made it a Den of Thieves. In such cases, if God be angry who can wonder? If God confound that People who labour to cloud his Glory, and to render his Service sordid and nauseous, he must then be justified when he speaks, though in anger, and clear when he is judged.

That Publick and Solemn Worship of God, the Contempt of which has such dreadful effects, ought first to be re­garded when the Almighty sheaths his Sword again, and restores Peace and Prosperity to a People. So soon as the Israelites were freed from the Aegyptian Bondage, and but yet on their way to the Promis'd Land, they were call'd upon by God himself to build a Tabernacle and Ark with all their Furniture, before which they might offer their daily Sacrifices. David, when he fled from Absolom, Exod. 25. was careful lest this Ark should suffer by being carry'd with him in his flight; Carry it back, says he, into the City, if I shall find favour in the sight of the Lord, 2 Sam. 15.25. he will bring me again, and shew me both it and his habitation. When he return'd indeed, he presently was for raising a Temple to the God of Israel his Redeemer; and since God permit­ted him not to build it, he provided Treasure for his Son to build it with; He prescrib'd the method of Divine Ser­vice,1 Chron. Chapters 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, &c. and fixt Orders for its exact performance in that Temple. As for the Temple it self, where this cost was to be bestow'd, and these Orders observ'd, David declares, The House that is to be builded for the Lord must be exceeding magnifical, of fame and of glory throughout all Countries; 1 Chron. 22.5. and the Reason he gives is remarkable, The work is great, 1 Chron. 29.1. for the Palace is not for Man, but for the Lord God. And this care of David's was so just and [...]ffectual, that in Heze­kiah's time we find the Priests and Levites obeying the past Commands of David, using the Instruments of David, 2 Chron. 29.25, — 30. and praising God in the Words of David; and he that shall but read profane Story,Multa & epu­lenta ibi Regum populorumque visuntur munera quaeque magnificentiâ suâ reddentium vota gratam voluntatem & Decrum re­sponsa manifestant. Justinus de templo Delphico. Lib. 24. c. 8. and see what large Donaria all Countries appropriated to their Sacred Temples, upon [Page 18] Dangers escap'd or Victories obtain'd, or the Sacred Hi­story, and view the prodigious Liberalities of David, Solomon, and the Nobles of Israel to the Temple of God, must needs conclude, the Service of God was by that means render'd glorious and beautiful, the gratitude of Men to God very commendable, and that those who left us those great Examples were not all of them either Mad­men or Fools.

And indeed Men may pretend what they will, they'l never perswade any in their senses to believe them thank­ful to God for removing Common Judgements, who do not repair the decays of Divine Worship, and endeavour to restore its pristine exactness and splendor, and an Ʋni­form celebration of Gods Praises is the best proof of an agreeing sense of his infinite Goodness. And thus the Christians of old in each Distinct respectively were United in the same Forms of Worship, and the Ʋniversal Church Concordant in the same matter, and the whole World con­vinced of the Beauty and Harmony of that Religion, whose Professors addrest themselves to God, so Ʋnitedly for Matter, and with so little disparity in Words and Me­thods, even that disparity confirming the truth of Chri­stianity, the greatness of the true God, and the Divinity of the Man Christ Jesus, whom, though Crucified, the Christian World with the greatest fervour and devotion ador'd and invocated.

'Tis easie to Object, That though great thankfulness is really due to God after great Deliverances, yet 'tis in­different in what place, by what person, in what order Gods praise in his Worship is declar'd. 'Tis true, a Man may be heard with Job from a Dunghil, with Jonah from the Oceans bottom, with Jeremiah from the miry Dun­geon, or with Daniel from the Lions Den; but scarce any wise Man would chuse those places for his Devotions, if he were at Liberty: And my Groom or Scullion may be heard in their Prayers as soon as I; but it would shew little respect to Gods Service, should I call them to officiate in the Head of my Family in a Scullery or Stable, with their Horse or Kitchen Habiliments about them. Days of deliverance are days of Joy and Feasting, and the gar­ments [Page 19]of Gladness ought then to be worn, and our grati­tude to put on the fairest face of Order, Loveliness and Beauty; those Sins for which we suffer should be forsaken, our thankful Resentments of Gods Goodness should be expos'd to the Worlds view, and that so, that Religion for its deformity may not be made a Scar-crow, nor Slovenli­ness the measure of Divine Worship, nor Enthusiasm the Essence of Devotion.

From the practice of the Samaritans in the Text we may Observe,Observ. 2. That the Enemies of Religion always ap­ply themselves to hinder the Restauration of Gods Solemn and Publick Worship. The Charms of pure and undefil'd Religion, and the Worship attending it, are terrible and odious to the Prince of Darkness, he renders it a Mormo or Bugbear to his wretched Slaves, and cannot endure its allurements should reach the Souls of thinking persons; and therefore as by his Wiles and Policies he endeavours to put a slur upon Piety, to render it ugly and ridiculous in the sight of Men, that so it may crouch to growing Impieties: So when men formerly mad after Sin, begin to return to their almost lost Wits again, he tries all ways to hinder the good Effects of Repentance, that so profest Penitents may return with the Dog to his Vomit, and with the Sow that is wash'd to her wallowing in the mire. That Sin should abound, and that Vengeance should once more deluge the World is his aim, and therefore he studies to obstruct whatsoever tends to Reformation in those things that are really amiss. Whatsoever mischief the Devil designs, his busie Agents here on Earth, who think scorn to be damn'd alone, carry on with the greatest vigour, and labour to engage all whom possibly they can pervert into the same Service: so the People of Israel of old, when God had scourg'd them frequently for their Sins, and by his punishments reduced them to Reason, though their Vows and Resolutions were never so many of reforming themselves to the Pattern God had prescrib'd them, their Resolutions all vanish'd into Air, and easie Temptations drew them to dangerous relapses, as we read in the Book of Judges.

[Page 20] Manasseh King of Judah was eminent in wickedness, as his Father Hezekiah had been in piety; He did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like to the Abo­minations of the Heathen whom the Lord had cast out before the Children of Israel; nay, he made Judah and all the Inhabitants of Jerusalem to erre worse than the Hea­then whom the Lord had destroy'd; for which God deli­ver'd him a Captive to the King of Babylon; where, when he humbled himself, God was entreated of him, and re­turn'd him to his Kingdom. This Mercy made him know that the Lord only was God; but though he endeavour'd afterwards in Gratitude to his Deliverer, to clear Gods Temple, to repair his Altar, and to reduce the Temple Service to its Ancient Glory, it was but in vain; His Son, the Heir of his Crown, the Witness of his Repentance and the Reasons of it, was upon his Death too easily seduced, and instead of perfecting the good work begun by his Father, he only outstript him in Sin, He sacrificed to all the Carv'd Images which Manasses in his folly had made, 2. Chron. 23.2, 9, 13, 16, 22. but hum­bled not himself as Manasses had done, but trespassed more and more.

If we examine the Case of these return'd Exiles, we shall see, that notwithstanding Gods and the Kings Favour to them, the excellent Examples of Zerubbabel, Jeshua, Nehemiah, and the other Chiefs, and the Divine Excita­tives of Haggai and Zechariah; notwithstanding the forward Zeal they shew'd at first to repair the sacred Ruins of the Temple, they were so unhappy, that even some of their own Nobles, for whom, as well as the rest, God had done such great things, held Correspondence with the Enemies of their Church, [...]hem. 5.17, 18, 19. to the notorious hazard of their Religion; but when all these obstacles were past over, when the House of God was built, the Ancient forms of Worship were reestablish'd, and their compleat Joy outwardly exprest by that Care, for that the Lord had made them joyful, E [...] [...].16, [...] 22. and turn'd the Heart of the King of Assyria to them, to strengthen their hands in the work of the House of God, the God of Israel. But, alas! Wicked­ness too too soon prevail'd again, and the prophaness and contempt of Gods Service, grew intolerable; on which [Page 21]account God made the Kings of Syria their Scourge, that Temple, their Pride and Glory, was defil'd by their Ene­mies, as it had been by themselves, and Judas Maccabeus once more compell'd to a Reformation; but still Wicked men were busie and active. And when our Saviour came into the World to rectifie the Errors of mistaken Man­kind, the opposition he found was so strong as seem'd, and was indeed to Humane powers irremediable. And Lastly, Let us view those Laws and Rules prescrib'd by the A­postles themselves, for the settling Ʋnity and Ʋniformity in the Church of Christ, and we shall see so many Schisms and Heresies rais'd by the Devil and wicked Men to per­vert and disannul them, that nothing less than an Omni­potent Power could have preserv'd them to this day.

And yet that due and regular Veneration of the Divine Majesty, is so naturally fixt in the minds of Men, that the most resolv'd Enemies of Goodness are frequently balkt themselves, and downright Opposition to Publick, Solemn and Decent Worship, oft-times disgusts both themselves and others; Hell, in this case, drives them to the other Extream, and makes them overdo what God and the Cir­cumstances of his Publick Worship require, as if there could be no Mean between the sluttery and nastiness of a Common prostitute and the garish Extravagance of a gen­tile Harlot. And thus did Ill Men prevail formerly upon the Jewish Church, and taught them by this means to preach for Doctrines the Commandments of Men; and thus the Christian Worship in the Church of Rome was perverted, where so many things, not only unnecessary but inconvenient, not only superfluous but ridiculous, have been introduc'd, that Paganism in its greatest Wild­ness could not outvy them; and by this means the very Substance of true Sacred Worship has been expos'd to contempt, and some have been so far bewitcht with an empty shew, as to rest in that without examining the real weight of things.

These have been the sad Effects of that Opposition which the Enemies of Piety have made to the resettling Gods Worship in a Publick solemn Way; and that they should not always study for and effect thus much, there [Page 22]can be no reason given but from the infinite Divisions among these very Adversaries themselves, from whence 'tis hop'd that, according to our Saviours expression, the Kingdom of Satan divided against it self cannot stand. Matt. 12.26.

'Tis true, were Piety once totally banish'd the World, those intestine Feuds among the Slaves of Hell would soon grow irreconcileable; Sin would make them, like those who sprung from the Dragons Teeth sown by Cad­mus, to draw their Swords in an immmediate War, till they had ruin'd one another. But alas! the Case is no­thing so happy here, while God has any Servants, though their Quarrels are never so great among themselves, they unite but too too close in persecuting and afflicting them: So these Samaritans, though of so many different Coun­tries, and engag'd in such disagreeing Idolatries, yet could all joyn to hinder the building the Temple of the true God; for though wicked Men of all kinds are at ne­ver so great a distance among themselves, yet Truth be­ing equally an Enemy to them all, it moves their Hatred so much against it self, that other Di [...]gusts and Broyls are soon forgotten:Matth. 16.1. Ch. 22.16. So the Pharisees, Sadduces, and Hero­dians, labour'd at all times to undermine each other, but readily combin'd together to destroy our Saviour. The more vigorous and bright Truth's Lustre is, the more vio­lent will the assaults of its Opposers be: So it prov'd in the Primitive Church, many and absurd Haeresies sprung up in it, the Breaches between the different Hereticks were irreparable, and yet they liv'd almost in a constant Conspiracy against the true Catholick Church of Christ, and he that examines Church History will find, that when Peace gave the greatest Ornaments to Christianity, the Mushroom Heresies and Schisms grew up the fastest; as on the contrary, when Religion grew indifferent, and the Professors of it Luke-warm, Hereticks and Schismaticks seem'd to lay down their Weapons, as if Hell had then no more employment for them.

But when those who ador'd the true God, to maintain his Honour, judg'd no Cost too great to adorn his Temples, and the Devil found it impossible to eradicate that Prin­ciple out of Mens minds which taught them to do so; he [Page 23]try'd another way, and resolv'd himself not to be inferior to his Soveraign, no Temples should be rais'd more magni­ficent, no Ʋtensils more costly, no Sacrifices more expen­sive to the Supream Deity than those he assum'd to him­self, and the worst of Men, in this respect, seem'd aemu­lous of their Bounty who expended most for the Ornature of a Christian Oratory; a thing which observ'd, but not well understood by many, made them afraid of even a decent Beauty and Magnificence in the House of God, as if approaching too near Paganism or Superstition; as if because some Heathen Tyrants had formerly asserted to themselves Divine Honours, therefore now no Honour at all ought to be given to Christian Kings and Princes; or as if because some Ʋsurper formerly had liv'd in a Royal Palace, therefore a Lawful Prince must settle his Throne no higher than a Dunghil. But he who truly loves God will reverence his Sanctuary, and he who loves a neat Service and Attendance in his own House, will never en­dure meanness or slovenliness in the House of God; and he who can be content to dwell himself in cieled Palaces, will not be willing the Ark of God should remain among Curtains, whilst the Samaritan strives to overthrow it, and when once overthrown to keep it down.

That the Enemies of Religion find no surer way of ob­structing the grateful Restauration of Gods Service, Obser. 3. than an Hypocritical Pretence to joyn in the Work: The Devil is never so truly Dreadful as when he puts on the Shape of an Angel of Light, otherwise every one stands upon his Guard, but then the Subtile Serpent insinuates himself in­to the Bosoms of those who least suspect his Poysonous Na­ture. And wicked Men can never possibly do such mis­chief, as when they put on the Visor of Piety; the Ser­vants of God avoid them when they appear like them­selves, but when the Sheeps Clothing has invested the Wolf, even He may pass for a very Innocent Creature: This therefore is the last Result of Hellish Policy, That roaring Lion, who walks about continually seeking whom he may devour, makes use frequently of the Foxes, the little Foxes, to ruine Gods Church; to that end the Samaritans here de­sire to build Gods Temple with the Jews, they declare [Page 24]their Reverence to the same God, their offering the same Sacrifices, a very fair Conformity, as they pretend, and which undoubredly in a short time would have purchas'd for them the Title of The Church of the Jews.

It is not to be question'd, but that the acknowledgment of the True God, and the offering due Sacrifices to him as God, is the main Foundation of true Religion, but a bare Foundation without a Superstructure is of no worth, for upon these Principles, plainly and evidently depend a great Number of other things, which, if not observ'd, prove that the Foundation was never truly own'd: For if a Man believe indeed that there is a God, and by offering Sacrifices acknowledges there is a Duty owing to that God, nothing can be commanded by that God, nothing forbid­d [...]n, but the Man, if he hopes for Salvation, must sincere­ly, and to the utmost of his Power obey it; in which point the Samaritans fail'd foully. St. Pauls words were true of them,Rom. 1.21. When they knew God, they glorified him not as God, but became vain in their Imaginations, and their foolish Heart was darkned; they fear'd God, but wor­shipp'd their own graven Images: Upon account of which though it be said that they fear'd the Lord, 2 Kings 17.33. Ver. 34. yet 'tis asserted again, Ʋnto this day they do after the former manners, they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their Statutes or after their Ordinances, or after the Law and Command­ments which the Lord commanded the Children of Jacob; inferring plainly the same from their Practice, which I would do, that though for fear they acknowledg'd God, yet so long as they obey'd not the Injunctions of that God, their Profession was but False and Vain. And it's to be no­ted, That all the Commands of God must be punctually o­bey'd;Smiths disc. p 346. Men may not cull out this or another according to their own Fancies, and as the Jews themselves have pra­ctised since, the Rule being infallibly Authentick, That whosoever shall keep the whole Law and yet offend in one point, Jam. 2.10. he is guilty of All; the Reason is because he breaks that very Foundation he builds upon, the Confession of a God, and our Duty to him. The Apostle makes the In­ference, For he that said, Do not commit Adultery, said also, Ver. 11. do not Kill; now if thou commit no Adultery, yet if [Page 25]thou Kill, thou art become a Transgressor of the Law: So then, if any man pretend, out of a sense of his Duty to God, to do one or more things, and yet minds not some o­ther things which God has commanded as well as those, his whole Obedience is nothing, and his whole pretence a Lye, he really, with the Fool, says in his Heart, Psal. 53.1. there is no God.

Nor will Cavils or Excuses be admitted here, or the Ob­scurity of our Duty in any Part be a sufficient Plea; for e­very Christian is bound, as far as possible, to enquire into the Word of God as left written for his Instruction, and to do of himself what he finds exprest as his Duty there: and further, I'le grant him, that where there is no Law, there can be no Transgression; where men cannot know of any more to be done by them, they shall not be condemn'd for not doing more. But since God has appointed persons law­fully call'd to study the Scriptures, and to instruct the People in his Church, what those Persons so appointed learn and deduce truly from Scripture is to be attended to; and whereas all Divine Commands have a certain Connexi­on one with another, so that there can be no clashing or contradiction between them, though such things be not in terminis commanded, yet if they be found so concordant to the explicit and plain Rules, such things are to be Ʋ ­niversally submitted to and obey'd: And hence it was that since among the Jews the Priests Lips were to preserve knowledge, Mal. 2.7. Deut. 17.8, 13. and the People were to address them­s [...]lves to them for information in the more doubtful parts of their Duties; These Samaritans were to have apply'd themselves to those Priests, and to have conform'd in all things to their Prescriptions, if they intended really to become Partners with them in one Common Church So­ciety.

And 'tis Folly to believe that God gave greater Power or Priviledges in these Cases to the Jewish, than to the Christian Teachers; for whereas among the Jews, the Prince and the Priest were joyn'd together in the Main­tenance of Gods True Religion, so wheresoever the Prince and People profess Christianity, their Work is the same, the Prince defends, and with the Priest declares the true [Page 26] Catholick Faith. And upon this account it is, that the Burthen that lyes upon the Teachers of the Church is the greater, where the Preacher delivers apparent False­hoods and the People are seduced by him, the Fault is di­vided between the Instructor and the Instructed, it being his work to preach the Truth sincerely, and the Peoples to search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things be so; but in Obscurer cases if the people be seduced, 'tis wholly their Teachers Fault, he being more knowing than they, and being bound not to teach others at random, but what he knows certainly and necessarily true; and for such Errors, not the People, but the Preacher, shall be condemn'd at last.

This Ʋniversal Obedience being so indispensibly neces­sary to make a really Pious Man and a Good Christian, and those who submit not to it, being consequently no Christi­ans, whatever they call themselves, but downright Pa­gans and Infidels; nothing can be more plain, than that such can desire an Interest or Concern in the Church with no other Design but to Ruin it: 'Tis no hard matter to blind the Eyes of Men, so that ordinarily they may sus­pect no harm, but 'tis not so easie for Men to forsake their own Natures, or to design the Conservation of those Laws they never design to submit to. The Samaritans had they been entertain'd by the Jews, would have pry'd into their most retir'd privacies and intendments, Sacred or Civil, that they might so have counterpois'd their Coun­sels and have betray'd their Designs to their Enemies, and others who fear the Lord, and yet follow their own base and lewd Imaginations, being so many Pensioners of Hell, i. e. assisted by the Devil for their faithful Adherence to his Designs, so far as his Interest goes in this World; those Persons would by all means get admission to Employment in the Church, that so they may Cross the great Design of Ʋndeceiving and Reforming Mankind; and by introdu­cing, abetting and encouraging Atheism, Profaneness, Schism and Disobedience, under a shew of Zeal for Trifles, may betray it to all its most dangerous Enemies: So Men of Factious and Discontented Spirits, by eager pretences to Loyalty, labour hard to be trusted with Arms, that with [Page 27]them in their Hands they may at once ingratiate them­selves with Rebels, and assist them. Which Mischief, that it may be the better avoided, we must proceed to

Obs. 4. That the true Servants of God can never without danger, Obser. 4. and therefore in prudence never will admit such Persons at their request to joyn with them in restoring Gods Service and Worship, seeing their design must be so fatal to the Church it self. This we learn from the wise behaviour of the Jewish Chiefs in the Text, who would not upon any account receive assistance from the Samari­tans in building Gods Temple; You have nothing to do with us, say they, but we only will build together. I rea­dily yield, that the Governours of Gods true Church ought to make and admit as many Converts to the Truths of the Gospel as they can, and to reduce as many Hereticks and Schismaticks as may be to Catholick Communion; but to admit them further than bare Church Membership, with­out long tryal of their sincerity, would be little else than madness. A Heretick, a Schismatick, though they profess Christianity, are no more Christians indeed than Pagans; as he is no more my Friend who engages himself in my acquaintance to ruine me, or who endeavours it after my acquaintance, than he who every where publishes himself my Enemy. Our Saviour determines it so when he tells us, He that is not with me, that is,Matth. 12.30 he that is not sincerely and wholly on my side is against me. Now that such Per­sons who are not true Christians should be concern'd in edifying or defending the Church of Christ, is extremely unreasonable, this were to make the Wolf the Shepherd of the Sheep, and would soon render the Church of God sentinam malignantium, the very Sink or Common Sewer of all the Ill the World contains, and the Scoff which Julian the Apostate, by the Mouth of Constantius, puts upon the Christian Doctrine would be a real Truth, Who­soever is an Adulterer or Sodomite, [...]. Jul. Caes. whosoever is a Mur­derer, whosoever is polluted or under the greatest Curse, let him come boldly; for washt once with this Water, [Page 28](meaning that of Baptism,) I'le present him instantly pure and clean from all his Crimes: nay, should he again relapse into his former guilty state, let him but beat his Breast, and knock his Head, and he shall presently be holy again. So easie would an admittance into the Church be, none could possibly be found so bad, but he would be receiv'd into one Society or another; and this would be the effect of that which some persons seem so eager for, and that is Indulgence or Toleration.

Toleration, known sometimes by the names of Liberty of Conscience and Indulgence, the thing which in effect these Samaritans desir'd, seems to have been very odious to those who some Years since held the Pulpit in our Eng­lish Congregations, as appears by the united Votes of a consid [...]rable number of them; We are struck with horror and astonishment, say they, at the endeavours of many for it, A Toleration would be putting a Sword into a mad mans hand, a Cup of Poys [...]n in the hand of a Child, a letting loose of mad Men with Firebrands in their hands, an ap­pointing a City of Refuge in mens Consciences for the Devil to fly to, a laying a stumbling Block before the blind, a pro­claiming liberty to the Wolves to come into Christs Fold to prey upon his Lambs, a Toleration of Soul Murder (the greatest Murder of all other,) and for the establishing whereof damned Souls in Hell would accurse men on Earth; Neither would it be to provide for tender Consciences, but to take away all Conscience; if Evil be suffered, it will not suffer Good; if Error be not forcibly kept under it will be Superior, which we here the rather speak of to undeceive those weak Ones, who under the specious pretext of Liberty of Consci­ence (being indeed liberty of Error, Scandal, Schism, Heresie, Dishonouring God, Opposing the Truth, hindering Reformation and seducing Others) are charm'd by Satan into a better liking of an unconscientious Teleration. We dread to think what horrid Blasphemies would be belched out against God, what vile abominations would be committed; how the Du­ties of nearest Relations would be violated; what differences and divisions there would be in Families and Congregations; what heart-burnings would be caused; what disobedience to the Civil Magistrate, that might be palliated over with a pretence of Conscience, as well as other Opinions and Pra­ctices; what disturbance of the Civil Peace and dissolution of all Humane Society and of all Government in the Church and Commonwealth, if once liberty were given by a Law for men to profess and practice what Opinions they pleas'd, &c. Harmonious consent of Lancashire Ministers with those of London, p. 12, 13. printed 1648. it looks as if men could not sin fast enough unless they were bidden, as if God were not al­ready enough dishonoured, except the Throne of Ini­quity were set up framing Mischief by a Law; or as if men were afraid Error (a goodly Plant to be cherisht) would not grow fast enough except it were made much of. We have searched the Sacred Records, and yet we can­not find that ever such a thing was practic'd with approbation from God, from the time of Adams Creation to the sealing up that Sacred Volume, and the ceasing of Visions and all new Divine Revela­tions. And again, It would [Page 29]be no part of Englands Thankfulness, after so many Deli­verances and Mercies receiv'd from God, to grant men Liberty openly to blaspheme him, at their pleasure to wrest the Scripture to their own destruction; to trample upon his Holy Ordinances, slight and contemn all Ministry, despise his Messengers, commit all manner of abomina­tions, and for every one to go a whoring after their own Inventions, Harm. cons. p. 10, 11. which yet would be the Effects of a lawless Toleration. This was subscrib'd by the Ministers of a whole County. If then it be (as they truly assert) a thing so extreamly ill to indulge persons of different Per­swasions at all; much more is it so, to let them be engaged in the greatest and noblest work the Church of Christ un­dertakes. Schism and Heresie are Crimes of so bewitch­ing a Nature, as we find by Experience, that those Lead­ers of either kind, who happen to renounce their Errors, are unable to reduce those unhappy Souls they had for­merly led astray; and 'tis but too common, that such Con­verts relapse themselves into those very Errors they had abjur'd, and then having by pretended Repentance insinu­ated themselves into the Churches bosom, they have the better opportunity to scatter their Poyson every where.

Those who plead for this Liberty of Conscience, for the better stopping of Mens mouths, are generally wont to distinguish between Errors tolerable and intolerable; but which are so, or which are not, who shall be judge? The Answer is presently by themselves return'd, To the Law and to the Testimony. Isa. 8.20. Let Gods Word decide the Contro­versie, and this is indeed a certain way. And yet Expe­rience tells us, that almost every Party pretend the Scri­pture is on their side, and alledge it in defence of their own Opinions, when yet 'tis impossible it should he for them All, and every one acknowledges that impossibility. What then is to be determin'd in this case? must every one be indulg'd in their own way? That is indeed to give them leave to damn themselves without controll, and is so contrary to Christian Charity, that no Party when in power was ever yet bad enough to agree to it, and when in their deprest Condition they cry out loudest for Tolera­tion, they are then active and busie to draw men over to [Page 30]their different Parties out of tenderness, as they alledge, to their Souls; Therefore the exactest Rules of all true Policy, whether Ecclesiastical or Civil, forbids all kind of Indulgence, even to those Errors that seem in themselves the most tolerable; the Church and State are so united in their Interests in this Case, that what ruines the one must certainly confound the other: The Word of God is a Rule to Princes as well as others; and Princes, if inquisitive, having better opportunities for Instruction, and Souls more vast and capable than other Men, may soon under­stand what Principles have a due agreement with the Tenor of Holy Writ, and what have not, That Chain of Principles which leads men through all the Actions of Life without opposition to any Dictates there, is that to which a Christian Prince is oblig'd to bring men for Gods and for his own sake, with all that power God has en­trusted him with. And unprejudiced Men by consult­ing this Word of God, and by applying to it the pra­ctice of the Prophets and Apostles and the whole primi­tive Christian Church, as upon Record, may easily find out these saving Principles; Thousands, whose Souls are now at rest, have done it before us: And it is a most in­fallible Truth, that wheresoever a Principle disagreeing to the general scope of Scripture is entertain'd, that very Principle will rend the Church, and have an unhappy in­fluence in due time upon the State, nor will the honest in­tention of the Person advancing such a Principle be any security either to the one or the other.

That one Maxim, That the foundation of Power is originally in the People, seems at first very little to con­cern Religion, yet 'tis directly opposite to that assertion of Gods eternal Wisdom,Prov. 8.15. By me Kings reign, and Princes decree Justice; Rom. 13.1. and to that of S. Paul, that there is no power but of God, and the powers that be are ordained of God; and this Tenet, as proper for their turn, Schis­maticks in general own. Now, though I doubt not but many Persons of very sober and innocent tempers have entertain'd that Notion, and d [...]ed in the Belief of it; yet there is no Rebellion or Insurrection carry'd on by Man pro [...]ssing Christianity, but has been grounded upon and [Page 31]asserted from that Principle; and indeed Crowns are ve­ry insecure things if that be true. But every one knows, that by how much the more Innocent the first Movers or the great Promoters of such Doctrines are, so much the greater is the Danger, and the weakness of careless and uninquisitive Persons the more easily impos'd upon.

Again, That Opinion that denies any Power in Church Governours to impose indifferent things upon those under their Charge, seems to hold forth a great deal of Charity, and yet it's directly contrary to the Practice of the Apo­stles, who made Indifferent Things, Acts 15.29, viz. Abstinence from things offer'd to Idols, from things strangled, and from Blood, absolutely necessary by their Command. But cer­tainly every truly compassionate Heart must bleed to see what miserable Fractures and Divisions this has made in the Church, how it has been the Common Plea of Secta­ries, and has almost vacated all the Laws of God and Man; For whilst men oppose their immediate Church Go­vernours, if Princes who are to be nursing Fathers and nursing Mothers to the Church interpose, as their Power and Duty engage them, Ignorant Zeal presently breaks out into a raging Fire, and creates Tumults and Disorders for Conscience sake, and every one who dies in so curst a Cause, looks upon himself, and is esteem'd by too many, as a Martyr suffering for the Common and dearly purchas'd Liberty of Christians.

The Government of the Church by a mixt Body of Cler­gy and Lay Elders, though it be Novel and Absurd, must needs be very plausible to the vulgar, when every Cobler in the Parish may hope in time to mate his Landlord or the proudest of his Superiours, and yet Popery has nothing in it more fatal to the Thrones of Princes, than this. Those of the Church of Rome suppose the Bishop of Rome In­fallible, and from that Supposition laid as a Foundation, they rightly enough conclude, he may depose the Highest Magistrates: For if the Bishop of Rome be indeed Infal­lible, he cannot charge a Prince with any other than a real Sin; He cannot be mistaken in his Judgment, and of necessity he must be Superiour to the greatest Kings and Emperors under Heaven; in opposition to all this, confute [Page 32]but their primary Erroneous Hypothesis, and the Blindest Romanist will be sensible that all his Conclusions are foolish and unwarrantable. But with those who are for the Other Government the Case is very different, They declare, No one Man, Assemb. adv. concerning Conf. of Faith, [...] 1. par. 4. No Body of Men whatsoever to be Infallible, and yet though they acknowledge they may err and be mistaken in their Apprehensions and Decisions of things, they are resolv'd to maintain their Superiority to all Powers whatsoever; 'Tis a standing Rule with them, To Discipline must all the Estates in a Kingdom be Subject, 1 Book of Dis­cipline c. 7. [...] Book c. 13. as well the Rulers, as they that are Ruled: And this, Princes and Magistrates not being ex­empted from Discipline, A third Means whereby they have [...]verted our People, has been the range and damnable Positions, such as, that Subjects do of their own Heads, [...] much better, than what they do in Obedience to Authority. The Parlia­ment can make no Law at all concerning the Church, but only Ratifie what the Church decreeth. It is lawful for Sub­ [...]cts to make a Covenant without the King, and to enter into a Bond of mu­ [...]ual Defence against the King and all Persons whatsoever. An Assembly may [...]brogate Acts of Parliament if they reflect upon Church Government. The Protestation of Subjects against Laws establish'd, frees them from all Obliga­tion of Obedience to those Laws. Kings Declar. Annals of Ch. 1. p. 760. and those that are placed in the Ecclesiastical Estate, rightly ruling and governing, God shall be glorified: So that though we con­vince them of never so many Errors and Corruptions, and prove their Judgments never so much mistaken, there's no Re­medy, they are in the Chair, and Right or Wrong they will Govern. Now where such fallible Persons can Excommuni­cate the Supream Magistrate, and war­rant the Disobedience of Subjects, 'tis in vain to teach Submission to Civil Au­thority, ev [...]ry one looking upon himself at such a time as dispens'd with for all Vows and Oaths whatsoever.

I need not instance in any thing more of this Nature, these to unprejudiced Persons are enough to convince them of the danger of Indulgence. Could it have had a good Influence up [...]n Piety, Julian the Apostate, that subtile and inveterate Enemy to Christianity, would never have gran­ted it;Dissidentes Chri­stianorum An­ti [...] cum ple­be disci [...] pa­l [...] intro­ [...]es me [...]bat, ut Civilibus discordiis C [...]nsopit [...]s [...]uis (que) nullo vetante Religioni sue serviret intrepidus. Quod agebat [...]d [...]ò obstinate, ut dissensiones augente licentiâ, non timeret unanimantem postea plebem: Null [...]s [...] bes [...]ias, ut sunt sibi fera [...]es pleri (que) Christianorum expertus Amnian. Mar­cell Lib. 22. cap 5. nay his own Historian assures us, That be recall'd those Christian Bishops from Exile who had been banisht by his Ʋncle Constantius, advis'd them to live peaceably, [Page 33]and every one else to exercise their Religion freely, hoping that the Christians by that Indulgence, being animated one against another, that Heathenism which he design'd to restore, would meet with the less Opposition; And the same is confirm'd by the Church Historian in his Account of Julians Revocation of the banish'd Bi­shops. [...]. Sozomeni Lib. 5. c. 5. Deni (que) tunc [...]ddidit Basileias Haereti [...]is quando Templa Daemoniis, eo medo putan Christianum nomen posse perire de t [...]rris si u­nitati Ecclesiae, de quâ lapsus fuerat, invi­deret & sacrilegas dissensiones liberas esse permitteret. August. Epist. 166. And whereas the Donatists as well as others had their Share in Julians Liberty of Conscience, St. Augustine tells them, That Julian opened Temples to Hereticks and Devils at the same time, hoping by that means so far to encourage and foment Dissensions in it, as thereby at last totally to ruin the Church of Christ. And whereas we find Themistius applauding Jovian the Chri­stian Successor of Impious Julian, for his Gentleness in per­mitting every one to serve God according to his own Consci­ence, a Policy very necessary in that sudden Revolution of Af­fairs upon the Apostates Death. A Learned Man of our own observes, That when the Gentiles were under Hatches, Caves Eccles. 2 vol Introd. See. 4. p. 51, 52. they knew no Means so effectual for the keeping Paganism alive, as frequent Intercessions for a Toleration.

But supposing it fit an Indulgence should be granted to all persons of what Profession soever, I would fain know why the Extravagancies of Morality as well as Divinity should not be allow'd, why should not Vice be publickly and legally al­low'd and protected? Every one, I know, will exclaim against that, and yet more may be said for that, than the other. In Relation to the Church Vicious Men are scandalous, yet they never quarrel about Circumstances, or study to set people to­gether by the Ears. If they give Offence in participation of Divine Ordinances, let them but alone, and they'le never trouble you; they have, as Vicious, no Piques against the Pastors of the Church for doing their Duties; nor do they trouble themselves in controverted Doctrines whose Argu­ments are the strongest, so that in the Church, if tolerated, they create no Disturbance nor begin any Heresie or Schism. In re­lation to the State, Let but the Adulterer enjoy his Whores, the Drunkard his Cups, the Covetous Man his Tre [...]sures. &c. and, as such a one, he'le never engage himself in Plots: [...]g [...]st the Established Government, nor pry too busily into the Mis­carriages [Page 34]of Superiors: But indeed when Men of these Trades, to cloak their Vices, espouse the Interests of a Religious Party, then they grow dangerous; for since nothing but their furious Zeal for a Faction, hinders the World from making Remarks upon their Shameful Debaucheries, 'tis their greatest Policy to shew enough of that; by this means, after their firm Clo­sure with Malecontents and Schismaticks, how many soft and gentle Words are found out to extenuate their Crimes! So that He that is loaded with all the Wickedness Hell can furnish for him, while he Heads a Party, shall be accounted, though a frail and frequently tempted, yet a very sincere and well-meaning Brother.

But if at last we look into the Word of God, we shall find that as he has commanded us to abstain from all Immoralities, even from whatsoever has the least appearance of Evil; so he has by the Apostle enjoy'd us To mark, to set a Brand of In­famy upon those which cause Divisions and Offences contrary to the Doctrine we have learn'd, 1 Thes. [...]5.22. and to avoid them, for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own Belly, and by good Words and fair Speeches deceive the hearts of the simple. Rom 16.17, 18. It is not the openness of a Sin that makes it comparatively the greater; Malice is as bad as Theft, yet it lies close conceal'd within the dark Recesses of the Soul: Witch­craft, is an obscure Sin, few know what it is, yet every one be­lieves it worse than Drunkenness, Adultery, Covetousness, &c. And Treason, though it hates the Light, is as bad as Pro­phaneness: To curse the King in our Hearts, though never so secretly, is a damnable Sin, and 'tis the same to contrive Tu­mults and Rebellion in the State; but these last admit of one particular Aggravation beyond all bare Immoralities what­soever: and it's this, Every one who pretends to Conscience acknowledges his Duty to abjure all Immoralities, while ma­ny pretend to be active in the other only for Conscience sake, and when Sin is once abetted by that which Men call Consci­ence, the mischievous Effects of it know no Bounds.

Let us then suppose these Samaritans had been so far enter­tain'd and indulg'd by the Jews, as to have built the Temple with [...]hem, to have set up their Synagogues, gather'd their Congregations, and preach'd their own Doctrines among them without Controul, what must have been the event, would not Gods Law have soon been thrust out of doors? Truth indeed is [Page 35]the most Ancient, but Novelty is the most pleasing to Itching Ears, and therefore those Jews who would have been frequent Spectators of the Samaritan Rites, would too easily have been drawn to approve and practise what they had seen; the Jews had prov'd this before to their Smart, when a bare permission of some of the Old Canaanites to live among them, drew themselves, the Lords peculiar Inheritance to Abominable Idolatries. But since their Law gave no such Liberty to the Jews, we may assure our selves our Saviour came not to pur­chase any such Liberty for us; a Redemption from the slavery of Sin God shadow'd out in the Mosaick dispensation; and our Saviour with his own most precious Blood purchas'd for us Christians a freedom from Sin, but no Toleration to do what we please, or to Worship God according to our own Fancies. I doubt not but God has permitted pretences to Liberty of Con­science to end generally in Insurrections and Rebellions, to render the pretenders to it odious to all considerable persons, and to compel Civil Magistrates, if not for Gods, yet for their own sakes to suppress them. I shall conclude this Observation with the words of the Assembly of Divines; ‘They who upon pretence of Christian Liberty, shall oppose any lawful Power, or the Lawful Exercise of it, whether it be Civil or Ecclesiastical, resist the Ordinance of God; and for their publishing such Opinions, and maintaining such practices as are contrary to the light of Nature, or the known Principles of Christianity, whether concerning Faith, Worship, Conver­sation, or the power of Godliness, or such erroneous Opinions or Practices, as either in their own Nature, or in the manner of publishing and maintaining them are destructive to the External Peace and Order,Assembl. adv. about Confes­sion of Faith, c. 20. par. 4. which Christ hath establisht in the Church, they may lawfully be call'd to Account, and pro­ceeded against by the Censures of the Church, and by the power of the Civil Magistrate, & therefore not to be indulg'd.’

That a Refusal of the Assistance exasperates the Churches Enemies, and puts them upon all, Observ. 5. even the most desperate Courses to hinder that good work which by other means they could not. This we learn from the practice of the Samaritans here in the Text, Because their Offer was rejected, they weakned the hands of the People, and troubled them in build­ing, and hired Councellors against them. And here the Hypo­crite shews himself, he cannot bear a Repulse, especially such a [Page 36]one as entrenches upon his high flying Piety, without a Re­vengeful mind. Matth. 15.21, — 28. The poor Syrophoenician Woman in the Gospel could endure it from our Saviour, and very severe Language with it, and yet would not leave him till she obtain'd her Request, and it was because she was sincere and honest in her heart: But some pretending Disciples of our Saviour, who thought highly of themselves, when they heard but one hard Saying, and that spoken that every one might be able to distin­guish between those that believ'd, John 6.64, 66. and those that believ'd not, they took Snuff at it, went back and walk'd no more with him. Hypocrisie always flies out upon the least suspicion into extra­vagance, 'its too tender to endure a severe touch, and it yet wants no Impudence on its part; for take persons guilty of it in a declining state, nothing concerns them then but the great and general decay of true Piety (to which yet they themselves above all others contribute) the impending ruine of Religion, the Coldness, the Formality, the Superstition of Professors; and who would not think at such a time that their tongues were toucht with a Coal from the sacred Altar? who would not be ready at first to believe such Persons rather rejected for their Innocence and out of Envy, than for any just or real Cause? Thus does Hypocrisie rise high in the Vogue of the People, and the worst of men pass for the most zealous Christians; and thus do State Politicians thrown from the management of publick Affairs for their Ill deserts, as if yet all depended upon their concern in the Government, make their loud Complaints among such as are willing to be deceiv'd, of Tyranny, Oppression, Arbitrary and Illegal Impositions, as if none but themselves had been the true Patriots and Assertors of their Countries Liberties.

Put the same Persons into another state and presently they run into another strein, let them have the Power and down go all their Opponents right or wrong; what, are they not sure they are in the Right way to Heaven? are not all things among them form'd according to the pattern in the Mount? And can they to whom God has committed the management of Affairs see Men running headlong into the Methods of Error and Eternal ruine without Compassion, or without endeavouring to compel Men to come in and be saved? And must not the multitude of Dissenters in Religious matters weaken the hands of the Peo­ple of God, hinder the Exaltation of Christ upon his Throne, [Page 37]and expose that Common-wealth to innumerable hazards, whereof Providence has made them the Fathers and the Go­vernors? None but Atheists certainly can deny this, or Men of their own temper, when by driving Phaeton like they have precipitated themselves from their abus'd Command, for then, perhaps, they begin to relent, to acknowledge themselves to have been but men, and so by reason of their carnal minded­ness to have miscarried fouly in these things; but still they plead that others ought not to follow their unhappy Examples, but the rather to insist in the Methods of Charity and Moderation.

Thus the wretched Hypocrites twist and wind themselves every way, yet by all their struggling do but entangle them­selves the more; and yet by such thin and silly Arts as these they creep into the Affections of the rash and inconsiderate, by these means they manage Parties in Religion and Policy, and in the midst of Divisions reign Triumphant; by these means they find opportunities to instil Fears and Jealousies into the minds of Men, and by the numbers of their Admirers to terri­fie the builders of Gods Church: thus Religion it self is by de­grees destroy'd, and the designs and endeavours of Gods most faithful Servants frustrated. These Enemies of Truth know well, that fear is a betrayer of all Counsels, and makes men un­fit for any work; the Samaritans try'd the Experiment, Ne­hemiah was told concerning them,Nehem. 4.12. From all places whence ye shall return to us, They will be upon you; They set a Prophet to perswade Nehemiah to fly into the Temple for his security, whose fear would have discouraged all the rest, and plied him with Ill news and scandalous stories. He gives the reason of their acting thus, For they All made us afraid, saying, Nehem. 6.9. Their hands shall be weakned from the work that it be not done.

Were but Men so good as they should be, the Artifices of Gods Enemies could not have such mischievous effects upon them, they would not be afraid of any evil Tidings, Psal. 102.7. their hearts standing fast in the Lord. This great defect makes every Idle rumor, every vain fancy terrible, so that the most steady, the most deliberate and rational Methods of Honouring God may by malicious Men be traduced, and they by careless per­sons believ'd; and so those come to be charged with Innovating Humors, who above all oppose Innovations; and those who cannot relinquish that Religion they have taken up upon in­fallible grounds, are stil'd Apostates, Fear representing every [Page 38]object contrary to what indeed it is, and bringing us within danger of their Curse who call evil good and good evil; 'tis counted Madness for a man to kill himself for fear of dying, such a Madness those fall into who lose their Religion for fear of losing it, who are sollicitous about it till they forget what it really consists in, and then engage in endless quarrels about Circumstances, as if the Shadow were of any value, when the Body, or when the solid Substance is gone.

Those Men yet who are pure Politicians, who aim at their own profit or grandure, without respect to Religion or the Ho­nour of God, prove excellent Instruments to carry on their de­signs who study to disturb Gods Church. If those Enemies be few and inconsiderable, they may perhaps let them alone; but if they be many and persons of Interest or Wealth, the ap­pearing in the head of them, and whispering stories on their behalf in the Ears of Princes engages the whole Party on their side, who trouble not themselves so much about Faith as about Practice, and therefore believe the greatest Atheist that is but on their side to be a Child of Light though walking in Darkness: And indeed the only certain means for Capital Debauchees to get any Reputation for goodness, is to close with disaffected and malicious Hypocrites, which (if many persons are not in a very gross Error) does, like that true Christian Charity recommended to us by the Apostle,Jam. 5.20. cover a multitude of Sins.

And 'tis remarkable, that when Princes out of Zeal for Re­ligion make the best provision for its defence that Humane Providence can reach to, some are so curiously subtile, as to endeavour at least, to make their Laws like Spiders Webs, so tender, that every daring Spirit may, without danger, break through them; and sometimes they try to turn their edge from those they were design'd against, to those in whose favour they were made, and many more Devices are daily found out to the terror of Well-doers, [...]. Hesiod [...] [...], lib. 1. but to the praise of them that do evil; such shall never want employment; for those who when they are angry at Heaven, would go to Hell it self to prosecute their Revenge, will never miss any help they can find on Earth. But while wicked Men enraged at their disappointments turn every way to work mischief, they fall upon the Poets Truth †, They draw the greatest mischiefs upon their own heads, by their own contrivances, and ruine themselves with their own Arts; for [Page 39]those who move in an higher Sphere, though wicked as them­selves, regard their Faction but as Steps to mount by, which may afterwards be burnt, and therefore those Leaders thrust them upon all desperate Actions, till from Malice, Murmuring and Sedition, they rise to Riots and Rebellions, trying so to wrest that by force out of the hands of their Superiors, which by subtile Flatteries they cannot attain to; wherein if they succeed, though they make themselves perfect Slaves by the bargain, yet the Church, the great Object of their Spleen, must be sure to suffer, and while their Leaders triumph, the Temples building must cease, and Jerusalem continue but an heap of Stones.

Having laid down these Observations,Applic. I shall at last for Application shew the unhappy Parallelism between the Jew­ish and the English Church, in respect of the Practices of the Samaritans against theirs of the Dissenters of all sorts against our Peace, and the Restauration of Gods ancient, solemn, and publick Worship among us: To this end

Let us look back to the first Reformation of Religion in this Kingdom, when it was laid for a sure foundation, That we should forsake the Church of Rome only so far as that had for­saken the Rule of Gods Word. And it's notoriously evident, That whosoever out of one pretence or other should go further, must instead of opposing real Popery close with it, running himself upon the same Crime of bidding defiance to, and super­seding the Gospel of Jesus Christ. When God of his infinite mercy was pleas'd after that long and dismal Night of Popish Ignorance and Superstition to give us a Prince who favour'd the pure and undisguis'd Truth, those whose Hearts God had touch'd, set earnestly upon that great work of Gratitude, the restoring Gods sacred Temple, or the settling God, Worship within these Kingdoms; not according to the Pattern of other Reformers, but that of the truly Ancient, Catholick and Apo­stolick Church of Christ, which they had a greater advantage of doing than others, for that the lawful Supream Authority of the Kingdom concur'd with and encouraged them in their endeavours. And they proceeded in their work with such care, that Dr. Taylor, a Martyr in Queen Maries days, declares of the Church Service as then reform'd, that it was so fully per­fected according to the Rules of our Christian Religion in every behalf, Acts and Men, Tom. 3. p. 131. that no Christian Conscience could be offended with a­ny thing contain'd therein.

[Page 40]When a new Cloud of Popery rais'd by a bigot Queen was by Gods goodness dispell'd, and Queen Elizabeth peaceably settled upon the Throne, the Purification of Divine Worship from those foul Accretions which had fasten'd on it in her Sisters days, was one of the first things they set upon; and whereas K. Edward's Act of Ʋniformity had been by Q. Mary repeal'd to the great decay of the true Honour of God, Act of Unifor­mity, 1 Eliz. and discomfort to the Professors of the truth of Christs Religion. She again by Act of Parliament resettled that almost lost form of Worship,Calv. Cecillio Anglo. and to this very work Calvin himself excites, as he tells Sir W. Cecill afterwards Lord Burghly, whom by an Epistle he perswades to advance the same Work with all his power; and he that shall compare that Epistle of his to the Duke of Somerset when Protector, with this, will find him a strong ap­prover of that very Method our English Prelates insisted in in their Reformation: The maintaining of Gods Worship so settl'd has been the work of succeeding Princes, wherein CHARLES the Martyr of Glorious Memory was Inferior to none.

More Black, more Bloody and terrible yet was that gloomy Night of Confusion and Rebellion that ensued; but it pleas'd God, the great worker of Miracles, to produce Light once a­gain out of horrid Darkness, to restore our Sovereign to his Throne, and our Bishops and Curates to the Church as at first. A task they had no less hard than that of Judas Maccabeus of old,1 Mace. 4.36. — 61. to purifie those Temples once dedicated to Gods Honour; but then miserably profan'd by the impure devotions of time­serving Enthusiasts and Rebels, then was the Nations Grati­tude to God for that never to be forgotten Mercy, duly exprest by renewing the Ʋniformity of Common-Prayer and Service in the Church, Act of Unifor­mity, 14 Car. 2. and Administration of the Sacraments, for the better securing divine Blessings to us for the future: And this Order is now settled among us by so good Laws, confirm'd by so irrefragable Authority, secur'd by such excellent Rules and Canons, Corbets and O­keys Speeches in the Account of their Deaths, p 54▪ 56. See Burnet's Hist. of Ref. v. 2. Preface, p. 16, 17. that even by the Confession of our greatest Enemies, our Church and Nation is the Envy of our Neighbours, the Bul­wark and glory of the Reformation. And the Regular and In­stituted Clergy, are generally so faithful to the Interest of the true Religion as establish'd among us by Law, and so well able to assert it against all Gainsayers, that while any regard is had by the People to them we need not run out of our Wits for fear of Innovations.

[Page 41]In three Revolutions then our case has been paralel with that of the Jews; we have been Captives to our insulting Enemies as well as they, and every return from Captivity has been ce­lebrated with the Restauration of Gods truly Ancient Worship and Service. But we have had Samaritans too, Persons who have by all the Methods of Subtilty and Violence oppos'd that Glorious Work; That the Zealots of the Church of Rome should espouse her Interest, & endeavour to reenslave these Churches to Superstition and Idolatry, is no wonder; but that Persons who pretend the greatest Hatred to that Religion should joyn with its Favourers, should promote and extend its Doctrines, should imitate its worst and most Unchristian Practices, was very strange! But again, to abate of that wonder, it was im­possible that those Persons who concluded every thing unlaw­ful and execrable that had been us'd in the time of Popery, and consequently to be rejected, should have any real good will to the Reformation; Reason tells us, That the abuse of a thing, though never so gross, cannot alter its first or Original nature. Our Saviour himself submitted to the Jewish Rites that he might fulfil all righteousness; though Moses's Law had been as much adulterated among the Jews, Matth. 3.15. as that of Christ among Papists: And the Apostles did not reject every Ceremony or Circumstance that had been abus'd by the Heathens. All which may inform us, that those who use such Arguments against Constitutions lawful in themselves, as their former abuse, can aim at nothing by so doing, but only a general Disorder and Confusion.

It was indeed the Master-Piece of Roman Policy, to scatter the Seeds of Division and Separation among us, and to bring men into conceit against all public Order and Ʋniformity; and they began this Practice betimes, some few there were that from prejudices contracted by forreign Conversation oppos'd some appointments of the Church in K. Edward the 6ths days; but their Scruples were of little concern, & the Effects of their opposition were prevented by Qu. Maries Persecution: But it was an ill Omen of what might follow, that the English Exiles at Frankford should quarrel about the form of Gods Worship, and Knox, the Head of the Schismatical party, be so early and yet justly accus'd of Treason against the German Emperor: When those who had created disturbance there return'd home [Page 42]in the beginning of Queen Elizabeths Reign, they brought so much of a pervicacious humor along with them, that though they fell not themselves into direct separation from the esta­blish'd Church of England, yet they laid the cursed foundations of those fatal differences we have ever since groan'd under; the Parties were but few in those days, but that prudent Queen was so well convinc'd of the Influence their Novel and disorderly conceits then vented, must have upon the State, that no perswasions (though from her greatest Favourites) could reconcile her to them; and yet the Dissenters, their Successors, in these days, proclaim her no friend to Popery. He that reads the Authentic story of Faithful Commin the Romish Priest, the great Patron of Phanaticism in those days,Foxes and Fire­brands by Nal­son. Camdens Ann. Eliz. 1588. and of Heath the Jesuit afterwards, with the Principles they acted upon, and observes the practices of Hacket, Coppinger, Arthington and others, with the boldness of Barrow, Penry, and other fu­rious Factors for Puritanism in that age, will be easily con­vinc'd, that a well regulated Monarchy can never prosper where such Incendiaries are indulg'd; Incendiaries I may well call them, for in the Reign of CHARLES the First their sedi­tious Opinions and Practices, propagated to their Posterity, prevail'd so far as to set Three flourishing Kingdoms in a flame, to the ruine of Law, Liberty, Religion, and whatsoever could be dear to Men or Christians.

The several Plots and Conspiracies, the Pretenders to ten­der Consciences in former days were engag'd in, receiv'd their Consummation at last in that great and tragical Rebellion; and it was no wonder that Rebellion should follow upon that Do­ctrine, That Princes were accountable for their miscarriages to their own Subjects; Dangerous Po­sitions, p. 14. That their Subjects in case of their Neglect might reform Religion, without and in opposition to them; and that the Church of England was then so miserably corrupted both in Doctrine and Discipline, that a Reforma­tion was absolutely necessary. Doctrines which the Apostles and Primitive Christians were absolutely unacquainted with, and which the wisest Men saw no necessity of, which Doctrines were all of them confirm'd in that cursed Covenant The Covenant was receiv'd by Papists with infinite Joy, as hoping that now the time was come in which both we and our Successors might be brought to abhor and detest that Religion, whose profest Zealots had been the Authors of such an unsufferable Covenant, which could not consist with Monarchy, which appear'd to us most evidently by the Advertisements sent up to us by some of our Council of Scotland, that the sudden and frequent arrival of Priests and Jesuits from Doway, and other Seminaries beyond the Seas, was so great in hope of their welcom to us, because of this Seditions Covenant, &c. With Protestants abroad it was receiv'd with most offensive scandal and infinite grief, which appear'd to us by advertisement from some of our Public Ministers abroad, who certifi'd us that both the Ministers and others of their Consistory at Charenton, and of other refom'd Churches in France, as also the Professors, Ministers and Consistory at Geneva, and of other neighbouring reform'd Churches in those Parts, were so scandaliz'd with this prodigious Covenant, as that they were afraid of nothing more than this, That it would bring an inde­lible Scandal upon the reform'd Churches, and alienate the Minds of all the Princes of Christendom from ever entertaining a good thought of their Religion. His Majesties Narrative of Scotch Tumults, 1683., scanda­lous to all persons of all Religions, and the Effect of such Do­ctrines [Page 43]laid open to the astonished World. Then it was that Indulgence indeed prevail'd, and the Papists in those Days with reason enough pleaded for themselves, That all Per­secution for Religion was clearly repugnant to those Prin­ciples of Freedom so often and solemuly declar'd by the Par­liament and Army, Christ. Modern. par. 2. p. 2.7. and Ʋniversally receiv'd by all the moderate and well temper'd People in the Nation; and then it was propounded to the remnant of the Commons at West­minster, That all such as profess Faith in God by Jesus Christ, however differing in Judgment from the Doctrine, Ess [...]'s Watch­mens Watch­word, p. 8. Worship and Discipline publickly held forth, should not be restrain'd from, but protected in the profession of their Faith, and exercise of their Religion according to their Conscience; according to which Proposition all kind of He­resies were to be maintain'd and defended by Public Autho­rity. And thus Gods solemn Worship was overturn'd, and the Liturgy of the Church of England laid aside; about which I may use our Churches words, By what undue means, and for what mischievous purposes the use of that Liturgy (though enjoyn'd by the Laws of the Land, Preface to Common Prayer. and those Laws unrepeal'd) came during the late unhappy Confusions to be discontinued, is too well known to the World, and we are not willing to remember; But when upon his Majesties happy Restauration it seem'd probable, that among other things the use of the Liturgy also would return of Course (the same having never been legally abolish'd) unless some timely means were us'd to prevent it; those Men who, under the late usurp't Powers, had made it a great part of their business to render the People disaffected thereunto, saw themselves in point of Reputation and Interest, concern'd with their utmost endeavours to hinder its restitution. Hence it came that the Pamphlets of former days, were [Page 44]seconded by Petitions for Peace, Necessity of Reformation, &c. Our publick Forms of Worship expos'd to contempt with all the Scurrility and Satyrical Virulency imaginable; their Books of Prodigies, parallel to the Romish Golden Legends, stuff'd with Lies prodigious as the Stories related, and all printed but to make the Vulgar run mad; and all other insinuating Arts were made use of, that even the great Council of the Nations might be made Abettors of an Infa­mous and multiform Faction, and those Laws, whereby the true Religion is secur'd to us, be repeal'd.

While those Devices have sail'd, they have tryed another way; and as if the Nation had nothing to fear but Popery, they have declaim'd loudly against that: and as if the Legal Clergy were too weak to cope with the Goliaths of Rome, they forsooth, have been very forward to lend their helping Hand, where indeed they could only prove, as Rabshaketh told Heze­kiah the King of Egypt would do, A mere staff of a bruised Reed, [...]. Kings 1 [...].21. on which if a man lean'd, it would go into his hand and pierce it; or as the Samaritans to the Jews, Betrayers, not Assistants. To prove which in its largest sense, I shall only give you the Character of the Presbyterians, one principal Party among the Adversaries of the Church of England as by Law establish'd, drawn by a Prophet of the Dissenting Tribe, Trea­son, says he, never walks so secure as under the Cloak of Re­ligion, hence it is that the Pope makes use of those Reverend Foxes the Jesuits to disguise and agitate his Affairs: But what a misery is it that the Jesuits, spued out of other Nati­ons, seem to have taken Sanctuary in ours, walking up and down with the Garb and Title of Protestant Ministers? For the carrying on their Traiterous Designs they have far out­stripp'd the Jesuits both in Practice and Project, they have not only tamper'd with mens Consciences in private, but they preach open Rebellion and Treason with a full Mouth in the Pulpit; they hold Correspondence with the Enemies abroad and with Associates of their own Humour and Faction at home, acting their Conspiracies in the form and authority of a Body Politick, presuming to Commissionate Agents, give out Instru­ctions, treat with the Publick Enemy, raise Money to carry on the Confederacy, to which end they have their private Consults Easts, and Contributions, which in case of Discovery, they say [Page 45]were intended for the Good of the Nation and for Charitable Ʋses. This, though written 30 years since, looks like the Histo­ry of Separatists at this time: but he adds further; The man­ner of breeding up their Proselites is far more serpentine and subtile than that of the Jesuits for qualifying their Novices; For 1. They initiate them with Fastings, solemn Vows and Pro­mises, Sermons and Sacraments, and so all the Ordinances of God are prostituted with the greater Reverence to enchant and bind their Confederates. 2. They are instructed in the most re­fin'd Mysteries of Equivocating and Mental Reservation. 3dly. They are taught never to Confess when Examin'd, or to elude their Confession; which Principles being allow'd, it's impossible for any Commonwealth to be secure, Mercurius Poli­ticus, June 19. 1651. or that Justice can have its Course against Conspirators and Traitors; Thus far that Author, a Prophet indeed. He that shall compare this with Oates's Narrative and The Peaceable Design Renew'd, must needs conclude these would be excellent Champions a­gainst Popery; And whosoever will take the pains to read his late Majesties Narrative of the Scotch Tumults, Paragr. 1.35, 43. and the Scotch Protestation against Marquess Hamilton his Majesties Com­missioner, will find that is the business of the leading Dissen­ters, not to beat down but to confirm and aggravate the grossest Errors in Popery, as I intimated before. To confirm which, I shall add that Monstrous Position laid down in the forenamed Protestation about Oaths, viz. That the swearer is neither bound to the meaning of him that exacts the Oath, nor to his own meaning who takes the Oath, but to the reality of the thing sworn, as it shall be afterwards at any time explicated by the Competent Judge: which Position once granted,Annals of King Charles p. 726. it's im­possible for any one to know what he swears to in the most So­lemn Oath he takes.

So unfit are these Persons to be admitted to build with us the Church of God, Yet the Dissenters of all Sorts plead their A­greement with us in Religion: 'Tis often urged by their A­gents, that their Religion is the same in Substance with ours, they receive our Articles, own our Doctrines, receive Gods Word, &c. And Colledge, the late Protestant Martyr, as he is esteem'd by some, expresses himself very like the Samaritans in the Text, I have been a Lover of the Church of England,Tryal of Coll. p. 79. says he, and of all the Fundamental Points of Doctrine believ'd in [Page 46]it, I own the same God, the same Saviour, the same Faith, the same Gospel. But Pleas of this Nature would not serve turn, Our Soveraign and the Fathers of our Church could not in prudence admit of such Petitions for Peace, as were indeed the loud Alarms to War, nor receive those whose hands had been so deep in the Blood of the late Wars, to joyn in the Restoring Gods Holy Worship without such an Abjuration of their former Errors, as might give the World some reasonable satisfaction, which they knew not how to submit to: They foresaw their Fanatick Design well enough, and that all the World might see it too, since our Soveraigns Miraculous Restauration, them­selves have laid it open enough.

They have since that Time made it their Business to instil the foremention'd Principles into the Minds of Men, and have added others of the same dangerous Nature: No Popery, no Slavery, has been the Common Cry, they acting therein like those Subtile Villains, who when they have kill'd a Man themselves, are the most busie to find out the Murderers. Num­berless have the Pamphlets Invective against the establish'd Government both in Church and State been; The King, his Council, the Clergy have been continually expos'd to the hatred and scorn of the People; and some have ventur'd boldly to charge their Representatives in Parliament to turn all things Ʋpside-down: Vox Pat [...]iae. Addresses to the new chosen Members. Colledges Tryal p. 82. Nor have Seditious Satyrs against the present Government sufficed, but the late Horrid Rebellion has been justified, & Plots and Conspiracies for a new Rebellion form'd.

Presently after the Restauration of his Sacred Majesty be­fore things were sully settled, Tong, Phillips, Stubs, Hind, Sallers, Gibbs, all Men pretending to tender Consciences were executed at Tyburn Dec. 22.—62. for no meaner a Design, than Cutting off Root and Branch, Kings, Queens, Dukes, Bishops, all were to go one way; That there should be no Running be­yond Sea, or Parle is there, but a Total Destruction of Kings, Lords, Bishops and Gentry; the Plot when effected, to be Charged upon the Papists, and the People to be excited to rise in Arms under pretence of a Popish Massacre, See the Tryals printed 1662. Narr. p. last. Tryal p. 12. and that by means of a Seditious Letter design'd to be dispers'd in the Country, the Copy of which was then produc'd in Court; and 'tis remarkable that all Interests, Fifth-Monarchy-Men, Figh­ting Quakers, Anabaptists, Independents, were easily agreed [Page 47]in this Glorious Attempt, and the Grime was confest by them all at the Place of Execution. But the Godly Party were not so to be frighted, the Year following they were plotting again in the Northern Parts, to carry on the same Work their Brethren had fail'd in before, of which Treasonable Plot his Majesty tells the two Houses, That it was of a large Extent and very near Execution, Kings Speech March. 21. 1663. 4. had not He by Gods Goodness come to the Know­ledge of the principal Contrivers, and so secured them from doing their intended Mischief. But still the Evil Spirit was not quite laid, in the year 1666 the several Parties ventured once more upon a Plot, to murther his Majesty, Overthrow the Government, surprize the Tower, kill the Lord General, and to Fire the City of London; which Plot was to have been executed September the 3d of that year; Mony was distri­buted to the Conspirators, and a Council of the Heads settled at London for the management of Affairs; for which Hellish Plot Rathbone, Saunders, Tucker, Flint, Evans, Myles,London Gazet, Apr. 26. 1666. Wescot and Cole, were Arraign'd, Condemn'd and Exe­cuted. And though so many suffer'd, one part of the Plot was unhappily effected in that dreadful Conflagration wherein the great Metropolis of the Kingdom was laid in Ashes. This disappointed, the Devil of Sedition flew into Scotland, where in the same Year the Old Covenanters broke out into a Rebellion at Pentland Hills, Ravill. red. p. 3. but were soon happily disperss'd by his Majesties Forces; soon after James Mitchel, a Covenanting Minister, attempted the Assassina­tion of Dr. Sharp, the most Reverend Archbishop of St. An­drews, and in the attempt mortally wounded the Bishop of Orkney, p. 33. for which Fact confest and prov'd he was deservedly Executed Jan. 18. 1677. But the poor Archbishop escap'd not so, implacable Fanaticism pursued till he was effectually Murder'd by some of the Crew with the most inexpressible Barbarity, May 3. 1679. The same Month a new Rebellion under the Banner of the Covenant broke out at Bothwell Bridge, where their Powers were crusht once again; from which blow God grant they may never more recover: But all these Ill successes have not yet it seems so ram'd our nu­merous Sectaries and their Favourers; but that Religious Treason has once more made its Entry among us, The King himself, the Duke, the great Officers of State, the Loyal [Page 48]Magistrates of the City of London, all doom'd to Slaughter, and the Government both in Church and State to Ruine. I may use the Words of his MAJESTY's Declaration in the case,Kings Declar. p. [...]. It's hard to imagine how men of so different Inter­ests and Opinions could joyn in any Enterprize; but it is certain they readily concurr'd in the Resolution of taking Arms to destroy the Government, even before they had agreed what to set up in the place of it. But the Samaritans in the Text would serve for a Pattern, who though Idolaters of very different kinds, could all agree in the design to ruine the restor'd Jews.

Now if we reflect upon those desires of admittance to publick Preaching in the Church of England, which being rejected produced these violent effects, though they more basely than the Samaritans, Courted the meanest of the of the People, endeavouring to inveigle them into their Party; yet if we remember, that the Fathers of our Church had liv'd in a long Banishment from their Charges, or under the Cruel influences of rampant Rebellion and Hypocrisie, whilst these false Prophets, these ravening Wolves had en­joy'd the fat of our Land, and had engross'd to themselves the Estates of other men, it seems as if they were in the Samaritans condition, more fit to manage the Chargeable design of reinthroning God in his Church than these poor and necessitous Exiles; they offer'd largely for liberty to con­found us once again, and to enjoy their lawless Ʋsurpations, no less than 500000 l. at once to an empty Treasury, Mystery of Nonconformity, p. 5 [...] with which Sum, since 'twas not accepted, they might easily hire Councellors of all kinds against the Church of England, to obstruct its settlement; all which failing, Arms and Treason were the last means left, of which, as I have shew'd you, they have made frequent Trials.

See here then the Result of tender Consciences, as they are stil'd, and a Jesuitical pretence to Moderation; I have heard it objected by Dissenters, That the Persons concern'd in the present Plot were all Churchmen, but the Plot it self confutes the Fancy, it being to destroy the Church, as now settled, as well as the State. But I know many pretend to the Church, frequent Prayers, receive Sacraments, who yet can readily Vote, That the Execution of Penal Laws [Page 49]against Schismaticks is a grievance, Kings Declar. Apr. 8. 1681. p. 5. and lay a good founda­tion for a future Schismatical Plot, by resolving, That if His Majesty should come by any violent Death, it should be re­venged upon the Papists. That Assertion of Colledge's looks very odly, That the last Parliament at Westminster—in —81, was of the same Opinion with that in— 40:Colledges Try­al, p. 81, 82. Some tell us, that the Members of that Parliament were all Churchmen too: but what they were their Horrid Actions declar'd, and their Mortal Hatred to the Government of the Church evidences the falshood of that Opinion, Such Church­men the true Church of England will always disown, as only fit Associates for Conspirators and Rebels.

Thanks be to God the Snare is now broken, and we are thus far deliver'd; God has watch'd over us when we were too secure, and by his Providence has laid open the Mystery of that Hypocrisie which has so long impos'd upon us. Would not any sober Dissenter, when he sees those who are of his own Perswasion run into such Scandalous Crimes, begin to question the Principles he himself acts upon? Is this the True Protestancy some have boasted so much of? or are all Popishly affected who declare an Hearty abhorrence of all such Devilish Principles and Practices? May we all bear that reproachful Character, rather than for a Popular Title run headlong to the Devil; Let us never be gull'd into a perswasion, that such Persons are fit to build up our Church against the Assaults of Ignorance, Idolatry, Profaneness or Superstition; but rather let us unite closely among our selves. Let all Persons who profess Loyalty to their Sovereign, be truly Loyal to that God who is the great Preserver of Princes; Let the World be convinced, that even those seeming Vertues which render Schismaticks plausible, are solid and real in all those who maintain Gods Ancient, So­lemn and Regular Worship; Let us Fear God, and Honour and Trust our Sovereign; Let no subtile Emissaries of Fa­ction make us Suspicious of our Superiours or of one another; That so we preserving the Ʋnity of the Spirit in the bond of peace and righteousness of life, the work of God may prosper in our hand; That all Plots and Treasons may for ever be execrated, and all England may hear and fear, and no such Wickedness may be heard of among us any more.

[Page 50] Now to God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, be render'd as is most due, all Honour, Glory, Praise, Power, Majesty and Dominion, from henceforth and for evermore. AMEN.


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