Tulce Major.

Martis XVIII. Die Martii, 1683/4. Anno (que) Regni Regis CAROLI Secundi Angliae, &c. XXXVI.

THIS Court doth desire Mr. Pearson to Print his Sermon, Preached at the Guild-Hall Chappel, on Sunday last before the Lord Major and Court of Aldermen of this City.


THE STUDY OF QUIETNESS Explained, Recommended, and Directed, IN A SERMON Preached before The Right Honourable the LORD MAYOR and Court of Aldermen, At the GƲILD-HALL CHAPPEL, March 16. 1683/4.

And now Published, as the Heads were, else­where, more Enlarged upon, in several Discourses.

By RICHARD PEARSON Rector of St. Michael's Crooked-Lane, LONDON.

London, Printed by P. H. for Henry Bonwicke at the Red-Lyon in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1684.

To the Right Honourable, Sir HENRY TUICE, Lord Mayor of the City of London.

My Lord,

IN Obedience to your Lordship's Order, I have now made this plain Discourse publick. That which I beforehand most assuredly expected, has since accordingly befallen me, upon my Preaching of this Sermon; which hath brought me under the gentle Discipline of the long-ago-erected Phanatick-Office▪ that is, (if there can be any need to explain my meaning) I have been bitterly Cursed and Railed at, and both my Self and my Discourse vilely aspersed, with an hundred Lies and Slanders, and most ridiculous and malicious Misrepresentations. And, indeed, since I must needs be venturing to tell these Men their own (though out of never so charitable a Design) how could I expect to escape that, which has been the never­failing [Page] Portion of all others, who have yet done the like? or think to come off, without having a Cast of their Office? Nor have I now therefore the least reason, to take it ill that I should be thus treated by them, according to the constant Methods of their pro­per Trade and Mystery. For, to Rail and Slan­der is the only way, which this sort of Men yet ever knew, of requiting those Persons, who speak to them Home-truths, and give them sober Counsels. This is their only significant and most substantial way of Com­mendation, in these Cases. And under this Notion, I can assure them, I have now learn'd to take all their present Treatment; which I do therefore not only readily forgive; but, over and above, return them hearty thanks for the same; professing withal, that I will still carefully endeavour (according to their Rules of judg­ing) never to deserve less, from their hands. If their Design, herein, has been quite contrary, and they far enough from having any Intention to gratifie me, I cannot tell how to help their being defeated; they must e'en bestow their Lies elsewhere, for the future. For for my part in these Cases, I shall ever look upon such course Complements as the greatest Credit and [Page] Courtesies, that these Men are capable of doing me, till I see they come once to have a more real Kindness for their own Souls. In the mean time, in point of Gratitude for what I have already received, I think my self obliged to ac­quaint them, with this secret, viz. That, if they have indeed a mind most effectually to shame, vex and disoblige me, their only way will be, to speak well of me.

As to the Discourse itself, I shall only say thus much; that though there are now several things added, and more enlarged upon, yet there is nothing at all omitted of what was delivered before your Lordship. And I must now leave it to all impartial Readers, to judge, whether in the whole, there be any thing (of my own) either so prophane or ridiculous, as that any one, who is not himself troubled with over moist a Brain, shall need (as some very gravely pretend they did, at the hearing of it) to sweat for me.

My Lord, I have no more to add, but that no man shall more heartily Pray, for your Lordships Happiness [Page] and Prosperity, for the successfull Government, Peace, and true Welfare of this City, than

Your Lordships most Humble and Obedient Servant R. Pearson.
1 THES. 4. 11.‘And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own Business, &c.’

THough Peace and Quietness be a thing in it self so highly desirable, and es­sentially conducive to the present temporal, as well as the future eter­nal Happiness of men; and though Strife and Discord be constantly at­tended with such Misery and Confusion, that any to­lerably wise man cannot but stand amazed at the prodi­gious Folly and Madness of those who make it so their only▪ Business to disquiet the World, and themselves; yet (which is worst of all) no Persons are ever more hardly perswaded to consider what they do, to be made sensible of their folly, or willing to admit of any proper Remedy for their Disease, than such turbulent factious Spirits. Who, whilst in the heat of their Passion and Disorder, are commonly so far from hearing any Argu­ments of Reason or Religion, which would tend to pacifie and bring them to a better Mind, that the very Proposal of any such Arguments does usually but so much the more exasperate and enrage them, and make them become extreamly furious also against him, who does but offer to make any such charitable Applications to them.

[Page 2]Thus popular Tumult and Faction is apt at first, like a violent Torrent, to carry all before it. And such men, whilst in their full Carreer, are as deaf to all moral Ar­guments, as the very Bruits; till at last, when either they have wearied out themselves, or come to be over­powred by Authority, and forcibly restrained from proceeding, or are made a little to smart for, and feel the bad Effects of their own Disorders; then, perhaps they may become more docible, and ready to hear such sound reason, as may prevail upon them, for the future, to betake themselves to more regular Courses, and a peaceable Behaviour.

And now, as this Observation hath generally proved true, as to the men of most other Ages and Places of the World, and as the first part of it has been already too sadly and notoriously fulfilled, by very many men of our own Time and Nation; so 'tis to be hoped, that now the second part of it will also be no less verified, in the future Temper and Behaviour of the same Per­sons.

'Tis but a very little while ago (if it be indeed yet over) since very considerable numbers amongst us, were, by the wicked Artifices of some of the worst of men, boil'd up into such a height of Tumult and Se­dition, so wholly bent upon Faction, Disorder, and Con­fusion, that no sober Counsels or Perswasions of those who sincerely endeavoured to maintain Peace could find any tolerable Reception. Men were grown far wiser than all their regular Teachers; and only admi­red and betook themselves to such false Guides, as would first suffer themselves to be guided and instructed, by their fond Disciples, how, and what to teach them; such only as would be sure still to infuse into them more and more unresonable Fears and Jealousies; make [Page 3] them more froward, discontented, and seditious, and fire them on into an open Combustion.

As for those faithful Monitors (as, God be praised, there were many) who, according to their bounden Duty, continued to preach to the People, Trust in God, and Re­liance upon the divine Providence, who sincerely inculca­ted to them, the constant Doctrine and Example of the A­postles and Primitive Christians; such men failed not to be mortally hated, scoffed at, and publickly derided, for their pains, by many, who were not ashamed to give out, by way of answer to all this; That we of this Age are but little concerned in what the Apostles either said, or did; and that, had they lived in our Circumstances, they would have preached and acted quite contrary to what they did; many times withal, not obscurely in­sinuating as if they thought their own Teachers, now in this Age of Light, far better acquainted with the true Christian Liberty, in these Particulars, than the ve­ry first inspired Planters of the Gospel.

In short, for one to have taken such a Text as this but two years ago, and solidly and pertinently to have dis­coursed upon it, according to the true meaning and de­sign thereof, was enough, without any more ado, to call a man's true Protestantship in question, and to make him shrewdly suspected for, and to give him the black Character of (that under which they comprehend all evil) a Person Popishly affected.

But now at length, since by a wonderful Providence, the hellish Designs of the accursed Promoters of our Discord, and wicked Ring-leaders of the Faction have been so clearly discovered and defeated; since so good Provision also is made, by the watchful Endeavours of a Wise and Gracious Prince, that it may be no more in the power of such men, by the same Methods to disturb the [Page 4] Publick Peace, or to bring Ruine and Confusion upon themselves, and others; since some of them have like­wise tasted the bitter Fruits of their former Disorders and wicked Follies; I hope now, that all men will so far open their eyes and ears, as not to be any more so inra­ged against faithful Admonitions, nor to think a Dis­course of this Nature unseasonable.

Now men are come a little more to themselves again, and grown cooler, I hope that of the Preacher may be verified in them, Eccles. 9. 17. And the words of wise men will now be heard in quiet, more than the cry of him that ruled among Fools, that is (as the learned Grotius paraphraseth it) rather than the Clamours of a factious Tribune of the People, or the Suggestions of any sedi­tious Demagogue of the silly Vulgar.

Now such men will be more at leisure to sit down a little, and soberly consider, what it is they have gained, by their former Unquietness, Cabals, Riots, Tumults, and unnatural Conspiracies; and may, perhaps, be con­tented hereafter, to give St. Paul a patient hearing, and look upon it worth their while also to think at length, of practising his excellently Political no less than Chri­stian Advice, whilst he, here in my Text, most earnest­ly beseecheth them, That they would study to be quiet, and to do their own Business.

Which though it be to be looked upon as a complica­ted Exhortation, and there are two distinct things which we are here press'd to; so that I might, and shall also (so far as it may be thought necessary) handle them distinctly: yet since the second is here recommended only for the sake of the first, and we are called upon to mind our own Affairs, and to do our own Business, and keep our selves within the compass of our own proper Callings, as one excellent means, in order to the procuring and [Page 5] maintaining that Peace and Quiet, for which mainly we are to study; I shall therefore content my self with en­deavouring these three General Things.

First, To shew, What it is to be quiet, or who they are that may be truly said, to study to be quiet.

Secondly, To consider, and briefly to demonstrate what absolute necessity there is of the most earnest stu­dy and contrivance, of the most diligent care and cir­cumspection to be used by all those who would lead a quiet and a peaceable life.

Thirdly, I shall endeavour to shew how this study of ours may be best directed; or, in what Particulars chiefly our care to this purpose may most succesflully be im­ployed.

And then, in the last place, I shall conclude the whole with some seasonable Application.

First, I am to shew, what it is to be quiet, or who they are that may be truly said, to study to be quiet. Nor will this Enquiry (as some may be apt to think it) be altogether unnecessary or impertinent: Since though it may seem easily enough to be understood, yet (like several other plain things) it may be liable to be mista­ken. And, I fear, there are but too many who are no less Strangers to the full meaning and true notion of the thing, than they are to the practice of the Duty it self; as perhaps, 'twill better appear in my farther Ex­plication.

Now Quietness here may be taken both Passively and Actively; and he is truly quiet, who is neither himself [Page 6] restless and disturbed in his own mind, nor yet any ways disturbs others that are about him.

First, To be quiet (in that which I call the passive sense) is no other than to be of a calm, even, well com­posed Temper; to have a man's mind at rest and ease, void of all Sowerness, Discontent, Peevishness, secret Murmurings and Repinings at God's Providential Dis­pensations; not apt to be ruffled or disordered, by any troublesome and inordinate Lusts and Passions, but full of Love, Joy, Peace; well contented with that state and circumstances of condition, which Providence has at present allotted the man; and far from desiring any violent or irregular alteration.

And now this inward Peace and Tranquility▪ of Mind is indeed the only true Foundation of all other Quietness. Which, in the Second Acceptation, is no other than a peaceable Temper and Behaviour towards other men. In which active sense of the Word (here mainly designed in my Text▪) that man only can be truly said to study to be quiet, who has such a special care over himself, over all his Deeds, Words, and Thoughts, as never wittingly to Do, Say, or Design, nor yet to countenance, or any way encourage any other in the doing, saying, or designing any thing that is apt to cre­ate Hatred, Faction, or Discord, in the Church or State; or may tend to the Injury, or Disturbance of that Kingdom, City, Society or Family, of which he is a Member; but, on the contrary, endeavours, in all Par­ticulars, both so to demean himself, and (as much as in him lies) to prevail with all others also after such a manner to behave themselves, as may best comport with the Peace of man-kind in general, and tend to the Benefit and Establishment of that Lawful Government [Page 7] in particular, under which he is a Subject. But still, in order to the Rectifying or Prevention of several too common Mistakes, it may not, perhaps, be inconvenient for me somewhat more particularly and distinctly to insist upon, and explain the several Parts of this gene­ral Description.

And First then, all they who may be truly said to study to be quiet, will be sure to have a special care o­ver all their Actions, that they never offer any Injury to, or do any thing that may justly offend, or tend to molest others; but carefully endeavour to do as they would be done by, and to render unto every one his due, according to those several Stations, either in Church or State, in which others stand related to them: But more especially to be careful to behave themselves reverently and obediently to the Supreme Magistrate, and towards all those who are set in Authority under him, being sub­ject to every Ordinance of Man, for the Lord's sake; to pay Tribute and undergo the common Burdens chearfully; to suffer private Wrongs, where they cannot legally be redrest, patiently, in order to the Publick Welfare and Advantage: To be far from doing any thing in con­tempt of, or opposition to Authority; but heartily to pray for their Governours, both Civil and Ecclesiasti­cal, and readily to comply with all the Laws of the Land wherein they live, where nothing is required of them inconsistent with any Law of God. In short, to do nothing that is apt to breed Private Contentions, or Publick Broyls, nothing that tends to disturb the Publick Peace, to change or subvert the Lawful Go­vernment established; nothing that would hinder the Reign of their Prince, from being safe, easie, and pro­sperous, or their Fellow-Subjects, from leading under [Page 8] him, a quiet and a peaceable life, in all Godliness and Honesty; but, on the contrary, to do all they can to promote the same. All this care now, over his Actions, must he have, who may be truly said, to study to be quiet.

And from hence now may appear how grossly they endeavour to impose both upon themselves and others, who, tho they have been guilty of all the Sedition and Disorders, which directly lead to down-right blows, do yet call themselves the most peaceable Persons, and would fain be thought as quiet as Lambs, meerly be­cause they have as yet abstained from open Violence, and plain cutting of throats; as if nothing were suffi­cient to denominate men unquiet, less than being actu­ally up in Arms, and in open Rebellion against their Lawful Sovereign. Nay, time was, you know, and not so long since, when men of the same Principles, and many of the self-same Persons too, even at the same time that they were proceeding to all the highest De­grees of Outrage and Hostility, and were actually swimming in a whole Sea of Innocent Blood of their own shedding, could yet have nothing but God and Religion, and the Gospel in their Mouths, and pretend to do all this as the greatest Lovers of Peace, and in order to promote the Publick. Well-fare and Tranqui­lity; impudently styling themselves, the King's most Dutiful and Loyal Subjects, at the same time, when they appeared in open Field against him, and in despite of all their own Cannons, loudly proclaiming to the World, and roaring them out the greatest Liers and vilest Hypocrites, that, perhaps, were ever yet permitted to be the Curse of any Nation. Now, if any pretences whatsoever can make such Practices as these consistent with a peaceable Temper, or not to argue indeed the [Page 9] greatest Contradiction in Men to all Study of being quiet, then no Men in the World ever yet were, or can study to be, unquiet. But certainly far less than this comes to, may justly make a Man deserve this Cha­recter; and not only to be in open Rebellion; but even to refuse to obey the wholesom Laws of the Land, or for Men to promote Schism and Factions, Hatred and Animosities, by causelessly withdrawing and unreaso­nably seperating themselves from the Publickly Establisht Worship, wherein nothing is Prescribed or Practised contrary to the Word of God, this is as truly in­consistent with the Study of Peace, as any thing; as generally, and almost necessarily laying the Foundation of all other Unquietness, Sedition, and Confusion. Whereas all they who truly study to be quiet, will carefully abstain from this, or any other Action, which they know, will tend to destroy Peace and Charity, and sow the Seeds of Discord and Contention among Brethren and Fellow Subjects.

But Secondly, This Study also implys a watchful Care over our very Words, as well as Actions, of what we speak or write, as well as how we behave our selves in other Particulars. For a Man may sit still and do nothing else, and yet so imploy his Tongue or Pen, as will no less effectually disturb the Publick Peace, set Men by the Ears together, and even turn the World up-side down, then if in the Head of an Army, and actually making use of the most Warlike Preparations, to the same purpose. The Words of a cunning Incendiary have a strange kind of Force and Influence, to the Poy­soning and Inflaming of Men's minds; so that indeed, were it not for these, Men would scarce ever proceed to Blows. Behold (saith St. James) How great a matter, [Page 10] a little Fire kindleth. The Tongue is a Fire, a World of Iniquity [enough] to set on Fire the course of Na­ture. All wise Magistrates have been so deeply sensi­ble of the extream Danger which there is, from the Liberty of unruly Tongues, that they have ever thought fit, in order to the securing of the Publick Tranquility, to lay Restraints upon the same, by the se­verest Penalties, and to make Words as well as Actions Capital. And David brings in his Enemies vaunting, and placing no less Confidence in these, than in their very Arms, Ps. 12. 4. With our Tongues (say they) will we prevail; and do our business, by the Force of Calumny. And the same Royal Prophet complains, Ps. 57. 4. My Soul is among Lyons; and I lie even among them that are set on Fire; whose Teeth are Spears and Arrows (that is, as contributing towards their Speech) and their Tongue a sharp Sword. And Ps. 64. 3. who whet their Tongue like a Sword; and bend their Bow, to shoot their Arrows, even bitter Words. And indeed, Words there are of such a cursed Nature and Effect, that they may be well lookt upon under the Notion of most Formidable Weapons; and as the very Files that serve to point all other Weapons, and to set an Edge also upon the Minds of the Rebellious Persons that make use of them. Insomuch, that what cruel Hatred Strife and Discords, what Murders, Seditions, Wars and Desolations do not commonly, from hence, pro­ceed, as their true Cause, and unhappy Original? So true is that of Ecclus. 28. 14. 18. A Back-biting Tongue hath disquieted many, and driven them from Nation to Nation; strong Cities hath it pulled down, and over­thrown the Houses of great Men. Many have fallen by the Edge of the Sword, but not so many as have fallen by the Tongue. But we of this Nation have sadly been in­structed, [Page 11] in the late Civil Wars, and had now like once again to have Experienced, what sad Feats may be Effected, by the Power of Licencious Tongues and Pens. For from the abused Pulpits and Presses chiefly sounded the Shrilest Trumpets, and Effectual Alarms, to that Cursed Rebellion; These were the main deadly En­gines of Battery and Confusion; these were the very Magazines, which furnished them, with all that Hel­lish Artillery, of the most Horrid Lies, Slanders, and Ca­lumnies, of the most unreasonable Suspitions, Fears, and Jealousies, which made Men perfectly Distracted, and fall to the Butchering so of one another, and at last to the Barbarous Murder of one of the best Princes that ever sway'd Scepter. And indeed as long as Men are suffered still so much to make use of the same Chavel'd Bullets, the like Poysoned unlawful Weapons, there can be no Hopes of securing any lasting Peace or Tranquility among us▪ Nor can any one be esteemed o­ther than a troubler of our Israel, who makes no Conscience of his Words, to keep his Tongue from Evil, and his Lips that they speak no Guile. For the same may be said of Peaceableness, which▪ St. James affirms of Re­ligion in general; If any Man among you would seem or be thought to study to be quiet, and bridleth not his Tongue, that Man does but deceive his own Heart, and all his Pretences to Quietness are altogether vain.

Nay Thirdly, He that may be truly said to study to be quiet, must be careful also over his very Thoughts, and Wishes, and most secret Designs; not to desire or me­ditate within himself, any thing injurious, or which tends to the Perjudice, or causeless▪ Disturbance of any of his Neighbours▪ much less any thing which would un­settle the Government, or be Inconsistent with the Se­curity [Page 12] of the Publick Peace, and Common Well-fare. For it many times may, and does so happen, that under a more strict Government, a man may be so o­ver-awed, through the fear of Punishment, as to lay some Restraints upon his Words and Actions, and to be care­ful of what he does, and what, and to whom he says anything, meerly for want of a safe Opportunity of be­having himself otherwise: Whilest his Heart is full of that Treason and Sedition, which will be sure to break out and openly shew it self as soon as ever the Man supposeth he has met with a more secure Season. But they who are truly Peaceable, will be careful also to have a Peaceable Mind, ready always most heartily to pray for the Peace of their Jerusalem, and for the Safety and Prosperity also of all those lawful Gover­nours, whose Business it is to secure its Tranquillity; will be far from cursing the King so much as in their Hearts; for let Mens Words be smoother than Butter (as the Psalmist Phraseth it) yet whilest War is in their Hearts; this is sufficient to denominate Men Enemies unto Peace; as being indeed, in it self, a most direct Con­tradiction to all Study of being quiet.

Nor is it yet sufficient for a Man to take care of him­self only, unless (in the last Place) he endeavour, as much as in him lies, that all other Men also may be alike Peaceably disposed and demean themselves. For 'tis possible for a Man to sit still, and neither to do, nor say any thing himself, which may immediately denominate him a Disturber of the Publick Tranquil­lity, and yet whilest, by any means, he willingly af­fords Incouragement or Opportunity of Success, to those that are so, the same Man does no less effectually con­tribute to the insuing Disturbance, than if he had ne­ver so immediately busied himself to the same Pur­pose. [Page 13] 'Tis much the same thing for one to do Mis­chief immediately by himself, or through the means of some other third Person, by him enabled and set on to do it. The main difference is only, that the one does it usually more▪ securely, as to himself, and always more slily, Basely, and Treacherously than the other.

And they who, as far as they dare, make it their con­stant Practice underhand to favour and encourage o­thers, in their Vile Misrepresentations of the Designs, in their blasting the Reputation, and weak'ning the Hands of those that are the true Lovers of, and Endea­vourers after Peace; and, on the other Hand, make it their Business, to conceal, stand up for, defend, countenance, and excuse the Seditious Words and A­ctions of others, whose Design it is to set all in a Com­bustion, such Favourers and Abettors are indeed no less dangerous or Innocent, than the most open and decla­red Enemies to the publick Well-fare and Tranquillity. Nay, in short, for a Man▪ to stand still only as a Sly Squinting▪ Neuter, and not heartily to joyn with, help, and strengthen (as much as he can) the Interest, Re­putation, and Authority of all those who truly endea­vour to be quiet, and maintain Peace: or, on the con­trary, not to do his best to detect, discourage, and hinder the wicked Counsels and Attempts of all those who evidently make it their Business to create Distur­bance and Confusion, either in Church or State, even this also, is wholy inconsistent with the Real Study of being quiet.

And thus having done with the first Enquiry, I proceed now to the second General thing I proposed, viz. to con­sider and briefly to demonstrate what absolute necessity there is of the most earnest Study and Contrivance, of the most diligent Care and Circumspection to be used, [Page 14] by all those who would indeed lead a quiet and a peace­able Life.

Now there are these two Things chiefly, which, when they happen to meet together, do always make it absolutely necessary for us, to bestow the utmost of our Care and Diligence, about the Attainment of any Qualification; and that is, when the Qualification it self is of great Excellency and of highest Importance to be attained, and yet, 'tis most certain, cannot be attained, without much Difficulty. But now both these Properties or Conditions are eminently Conspicuous and Demonstrable in the present Duty which we are discoursing of.

For First, as for the singular Excellence and high Importance of a quiet and peaceable Behaviour, the Scripture is every where so very plain and Pregnant to this purpose, that none but a meer Infidel can, in the least, doubt of the thing. David was so ravished with the sweet Contemplation of it, that he crys out in perfect Admiration, Behold, how good and pleasant a thing it is, for Brethren to dwell together in Ʋnity! Nor indeed does God himself (who alone best knows how both to value and reward our several Perfections) more highly esteem of any thing, than of this blessed Temper; St. Peter assuring us, that a meek and quiet Spirit is, in the sight of God, of great price, 1 Pet. 3. 4. And are not these the very Words of him, who shall, at last, pronounce every Man's Final Sentence either to Woe, or Happiness? Blessed are the Peace-makers; for they shall be called (That is, esteemed and rewarded as) the Children of God? Does not our blessed Savi­our himself likewise, make this the standing Infallible Mark and dislinguishing Character of a Christian or Ge­nuine [Page 15] Disciple? By this shall all Men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye love one another. And according­ly St. Paul, in like manner, could not desire Men to give a better Evidence of their Walking worthy of the Vocation, wherewith they are called, that is of their be­having themselves as Christians than by their endea­deavouring to keep the Ʋnity of the Spirit, in the Bond of Peace; as it may appear, by the Connexion of the First and Third Verse of the Fourth Chapter to the E­phesians.

So we find Love and Peace reckoned up as the main Fruits of the Spirit: Whereas Hatred, Variance, Emu­lations, Wrath, Strife, and Seditions are put among the Manifest and Notorious Works of the Flesh, Gal. 5. 19. 22. And St. Paul Appeals to those who give them­selves up to such Vices, as Persons self-condemned, for no better than meer Carnal-men, and such as are far e­nough from having any thing of the true Christian Spirit and Gospel Temper, 1 Cor. [...]. 3. Whereas there is among you Envying, and Strife, and Divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men? St. James also tells us plainly, That where Envying and Strife is, there is Confusion, and every evil Work, 1 Jam. 3. 16, 17.

In short, How frequently, and with what Earnestness are we every where called upon, To follow after the things which make for Peace; to let the Peace of God Rule in our hearts? How full are all the Holy Writings of the New Testament of Precepts and Exhortations, to this purpose▪ And were there no other, methinks, that of St. Paul might be sufficient, to all who in earn­est believe a future State; when he expressly assures us, from God himself, that, without following after Peace as well as Holiness, in the General, No man shall ever see the Lord, Heb. 12. 14.

[Page 16]So that, indeed, if all the Promises, or Threatnings, if all the Commendations, Exhortations, or Commands of the Gospel be of force enough to make a thing ne­cessary; if it be of any importance to us, whether we be real Christians or no; whether we be Spiritual, or Carnal; such as Christ will, at last, approve of, or con­demn; In a word, if either our present Happiness here in this life, or our eternal Happiness hereafter be thought things worth our looking after; it must then also be of highest Concern to us, that we be of a quiet Temper, and be found such as behave themselves peaceably.

Nor can we possibly use too great Diligence about this. Especially if we consider also, how many Rubs and Hinderances we are like to meet with in the way, and how difficultly it is attainable.

Many indeed who are but little acquainted with themselves, and with the World, may be apt enough to imagine, that to be quiet and peaceable is no such hard matter, as that it should require in men so much Care and Study to keep themselves so. For does not Quietness (may they say) consist chiefly in Negatives? And is it not much easier, in the general, to sit still, and not to act, than to be busily employed in Action? So that, after a man has but once a mind to be quiet; what should hinder him from so behaving himself? or how should there be any such great Difficulty in this Affair?

But yet when such men come indeed to the Practice and Experiment, they may soon be convinced of their Errour, and fully satisfied that all the Care and Contri­vance they can use, to keep themselves peaceable, is little enough. For though indeed, but to have a mind to be quiet, will go a great way in the thing, and though it be in it self also more easie, as well as more happy and delightful for a man to be peaceable, than to be un­governable [Page 17] and contentious; yet such is the strange Corruption of our Nature, such, and so many are the Hinderances and Temptations, both from within, and without us, that it seems almost impossible for any one to be truly quiet, and much more that he should long continue so, by chance, but, as the World goes, he that would indeed be so, must be sure to take a great deal of pains to be quiet.

For First, Every Lust you are willing to harbour in your hearts, will certainly prove a Make-bate and In­cendiary, which will never suffer you to be long quiet: but, forcing you to break all your Resolutions for Peace, be sure to ingage you in endless Broyls and Contentions. But now how hard and laborious a Task it is, and what great Care and Diligence must be used, to conquer and subdue a man's own Lusts, all will easily acknowledge, who have been, in the least acquainted with the Work of Mortification.

But still, besides this Treacherous Brood, of his own House-hold, which every man has more or less With­in himself, we are also continually surrounded from without, with whole multitudes of such as are sworn Enemies unto Peace; who will be sure, if possible, to hinder us from following it. The Devil and all his wicked Instruments are always strangely busie, in sow­ing the Seeds of Hatred, Discord, and Contention, and the World is every where full of such Persons, who, as they are themselves extremely Peevish, Discontented, and Ungovernable; so is it their very Study and Im­ployment (as much as they can by all means) to draw in, and make others become like them. And that good man has found out a happy Dwelling-place indeed, whose heart finds not occasion frequently to sigh out [Page 18] that Complaint of David; My Soul hath long dwelt a­mong them that are Enemies unto Peace.

He that would keep himself quiet will be forced to be at the trouble of often suspending his Belief, of stop­ping his Ears, of shifting his Company, and changing his Acquaintance. And yet, when all is done, you must contentedly expect to be mortally hated and slan­dered, to be injured and reviled, and lookt upon as strange Monsters, by the Sons of Wrath and Bitterness, merely because you will not run, with them, into the same Excess of Riot and Sedition. For if, with David, you sincerely endeavour to maintain Peace, you will be sure to meet with those also, who, as soon as ever you speak to them thereof, will be so much the more enra­ged thereat against you, as presently to make them rea­dy for Battle. In short, they who are the real Troublers of Israel themselves, will not fail to call you, by this odious name, and to treat you as such, upon no other account, but because you refuse to joyn with them, in being so indeed.

Nay, the Devil has of late, made use of one powerful Stratagem and Temptation, which seems, indeed, beyond all others; and is such as, I'm perswaded, has most start­led and rendred it extreamly difficult, even for several well-meaning men, to keep themselves peaceable. And this he has effected, by inspiring a sort of leading Hy­pocrites among us, who, whilst they pretend them­selves the only Zealots for, and Professors of the true Re­ligion, have indeed set up a New Gospel of their own, so directly opposite, in this, to that which our Saviour and his Apostles delivered, that, according to the Do­ctrine of these men; He must presently be stigmatized, as an Enemy to the Truth, who is careful to continue a Friend unto Peace.

[Page 19]Nor will their Gospel allow any one to be truly Religi­ous, who is, at the same time, truly Peaceable: but that study of Love, and mutual Peace, which our Saviour makes the mark of a true Disciple, they endeavour to turn into the Character of one who secretly adores An­tichrist; whilst what St. Jude attributes to the first grand Hereticks, The dispising of Dominions, and speak­ing evil of Dignities, and refusing to be subject to any lawful Authority, either for wrath or conscience sake, goes, with them, for the most substantial Argument of an Orthodox Professour, and only true Believer. In a word, under the pretence of Religion, they have done their utmost to destroy the very Life and Soul of it; And, if what these men (as I shall hereafter shew) have both preach'd and lately printed, were indeed the Gospel, our Saviour must then have bequeathed to all his Disciples, not that blessed Legasie of Peace, but nothing but War, Discord, and Confusion, from Generation to Generation; and have come into the World only to turn men into Wolves and Tigers, to subvert all good Order, and ut­terly▪ to dissolve all Civil Society, among the Sons of Men.

But now since such Doctrines as have this direct ten­dency are both taught and maintained, by those who would be thought the most faithful Ministers of the Gospel; and since there are also so many other Temp­tations and Discouragements that render it so extreme­ly difficult, for men to behave themselves peaceably; how infinitely therefore does it concern every sincere Christian to arm himself against them, and carefully to look about him? How highly necessary is it for us, [...], that is, as the Word implies, to study and endeavour to be quiet, with the same earnest­ness and solicitude, as the most ambitious Persons do, in [Page 20] the pursuit after Honours and Preferment, or with the like Concern, which may be observed in the most Co­vetous, to heap up Riches; that is, to endeavour after Peace with the most Exquisite Care and Diligence ima­ginable.

And so I proceed now to the Third General thing, viz. To endeavour to shew, how this Study of ours may be best directed; or, in what Particulars chiefly, our Care to this purpose may most successfully be employed. And now in Order to this, let me, in the first place direct you, as the main Foundation of all Peace and Quietness, to endeavour to be fully convinced of the Truth of Christianity and to have also your Minds and Hearts fully possest with the continual Consideration of those Glorious Rewards and Happiness of that future State, which the Son of God came into the World to acquaint us with, and prepare us for. Seek but first, in good earnest, the Kingdom of God and his Righteousness; place your main Treasure and Happiness in Heaven, and in those Qualifications which may fit you for it; and then where your Treasure is, there will your Heart be also. And he that is thus sincere in Religion, and has once got Heaven into his Heart; must necessarily so little value all else, as that it will be impossible, he should fall out about any earthly things; the excessive Love of which is always the Cause and true Root of all Qua­rrels and Contentions. He that is fond of the World, or dotes upon any thing here below, will never fail upon infinite Occasions, of being engaged, in endless Broiles and Contests; whilest Heavenly-mindedness is the only thing that can render Men contented, and effe­ctually secure them in Peace. And our Saviour is therefore indeed the great Author and Promoter of Peace, among Men, not only in that he has every [Page 21] where so strictly commanded them to maintain the same; but chiefly, in that they who heartily embrace his Religion, are powerfully enabled, through the firm Belief and Consideration of the life to come, to wean themselves from, and set loose to the things of this; setting their Affections on the things above, and not on the things beneath; otherwise all his Commands of following Peace, would have been impracticable, and but to little purpose. Whilest now, nothing is more easie or natural, than the Observation of these Precepts, after once a Vigorous faith has pluckt up out of Men's Hearts, that bitter Root of all Contention, Worldly­mindedness. And therefore it is not at all so strange, that the Primitive Christians should live in such Peace together and blessed Concord, as to be of one Heart, and of one Soul, when the full Persuasion and Belief of the eternal Happiness of another Life, had so per­fectly rased out of their Hearts, (that very Founda­tion of all Discord) the love of Worldly things, that they could afford to think nothing of the things they possessed, their own, but to have all things common, selling their Goods, and imparting them to all, as eve­ry Man had need, as we read, Act. 4. 32. 8. c. 2. 45. Which extraordinary and miraculous Example of theirs, tho it does not hinder (unless the like Circumstances should also require the same of us) but that Christians now may both lawfully and conveniently maintain a Propriety in these temporal Good Things; yet, as the same Belief will make us always ready cheerfully to distribute to those that have need, as Christian-pru­dence may direct us, so will it be sure to keep us from any such fondness towards Worldly Good Things, as would engage us to sacrifice Peace; but we shall be far enough from disturbing the World, or injuring [Page 22] any▪ Person, in order to the keeping or encreasing our Possessions. 'Tis nothing else but their Pride, Cove­tousness, or Ambition, that makes Men Restless and Un­quiet, and sets them so at difference; for from whence come Wars and Fightings (saith St. James) come they not hence even of your Lusts, which war in your Mem­bers? These, these are the real Pensioners that betray the Peace and Happiness of a Nation or Society; these are the things that make Men first uneasie within themselves, and then troublesome to others. Upon which account therefore, the Prophet, compares wicked Men, to the troubled Sea, when it cannot rest, whose Waters cast up Mire and Dirt. If. 57. 20. But let us take care only, by that purifying Hope, which ought to be, and is in every real Christian, to regulate our corrupt Affections, and mortify our Fleshly Desires, and then, when our Jonas-lusts are once cast from us, all the former Storms and Tempests of Contention will soon cease, and the rest of our Voyage besure to prove Calm and Peaceable.

He who so seriously believes the Gospel, as to place his Hopes, his Treasure, and his Heart in Heaven, must needs have Active Peace with all the World. For first, such a one, to be sure, can have no manner of Occasion, or possibility of Temptation, either to Envy, Hate, or fall out with any other, upon the account of spiritual Good Things; because he knows it is impossible that any Man in the World, without his own consent, should either injure him in, or hinder him of that Happiness, in the Hopes of which he can rest perfectly well con­tented: And then, as for any temporal things, his Heart is too much engaged else where, nor does he value them at such a rate, as that, for the sake of those, he should become Quarrelsome, and Unpeaceable; espe­cially, [Page 23] since he well knows, that his so behaving him­self about such Trifles, would most certainly hinder him, of that future Happiness, for which alone, he is so mainly, and heartily concerned. So that let Men colour their Designs as they will, let them endeavour to deceive others, and, perhaps, their own Hearts, as much as they can, with the vain Pretences of meer zeal for Religion; there can be no such thing in the case, whilest Men are Peevish, and Quarrelsome, Sediti­ous, and Ungovernable; nothing but Mammon, no­thing but Pride, Covetousness, or Ambition, and what is most contrary to the Gospel, is really at the bottom of such Mens Hearts, and that which indeed puts them upon such Practices and unquiet Behaviour; they are far from having yet believed or considered things, like true Christians.

In short, if we look, not only on bare Names, but upon things themselves; a Worldly minded Man, or an unpeaceable, or difloyal Christian, is no less Nonsense and a Contradiction, than a Spiritual-sensualist, a just Robber, or an innocent Murderer. Whereas he who does really believe, and endeavours still more and more to strengthen and confirm his persuasion con­cerning the other Life; he who has his Heart above, and makes it his earnest Study to mortify his Lusts; that Man does also, in the same, most effectually stu­dy, and take the most successful course in the World, to be quiet.

But Secondly, in order to this excellent purpose, have a special care what you use to hear, and read, and with what kind of Company you enter into any Fami­liarity: For otherwise, let a man be never so peaceably inclined, it will he wholly impossible for him long to [Page 24] continue quiet. 'Tis natural for men to colour with their Company, and with the froward to learn Froward­ness. Such as thy Companions are, such wilt thou also soon be thy self. More men are poysoned, by the way of the ears, and from what comes from other men's mouths, than from what enters in at their own. And he who feeds upon nothing but stinking Carrion, and takes in nothing but tainted and most unwholsom▪ Meat and Drink, may as well expect to retain a sound and healthful Constitution, as that man a quiet peaceable Mind; who can allow himself to be great and intimate only with those that are of a factious turbulent Spirit, and of seditious Principles; for by frequent and familiar converse with such Persons, 'tis natural and necessary for a man insensibly to receive the like Impressions and Ap­prehensions of things, to imbibe the same Hopes, and Fears, Jealousies and Suspicions, and, by degrees, to be wholly moved and carried on by the same Discontents, Prejudices and Disaffections. And what can be expe­cted of any such Person, whose Acquaintance or Relati­ons hap'ning to be chiefly of those that are notorious­ly Factious and Discontented, does, by his open ears and credulous heart, give a ready entertainment to what they infuse, and make himselfe (as it were) the Sink or Common Shore, of all the accursed Lies and Ca­lumnies, of all the false Stories and malicious Insinuati­ons, and of the rest of that filth and excrement of their cankred Minds, which the whole Party shall at any time think fit to void, on purpose to cast in the Face of the Government, and to render all those odious, who faith­fully endeavour to uphold it? whither will not such a Man be, at last, hurried, through the Influence of such ill Company, tho otherwise, of himself, never so peace­ably inclined? Nay indeed a Man runs a very great Hazard in being intimate but with any one single Per­son, [Page 25] that is of this sour leven. And therefore let the Courtesies Received, or to be Expected from such a one be never so Considerable to thee, let his Reputati­on for Parts or Piety be never so great; after the Man has evidently Discovered to thee, by any one or more deliberate ill Actions, that he is not sincere, nor a real Friend to Peace, but of a Restless Ambitious Temper, and a great Favourer of those, who, in Pursuit of the like. Designs, would be glad to put all into Confusion; and thou perceivest withal no likelyhood of his being reclaimed by thee; whatsoever it costs thee then, be sure to break loose from him, as soon, and as civilly as you can: for such a one can no longer be safely made a Friend or Familiar, by him, who would successfully study to be quiet.

Thirdly, As another excellent course to keep your selves quiet and peaceable, Be sure to make Conscience of avoiding Idleness, and be careful to serve God and your Countrey, by diligently employing your selves every one in his proper and lawful Calling. Idleness is in it self a very melancholick discontented thing, na­turally apt to breed, in Men, many Lusts and great Poverty, to make them need and desire more than other Men, and yet to have less; and so, prove to put them upon any the most violent and injurious Courses, by a short and easie cut, to make out their desired For­tune. And indeed, were there nothing else in it, he that will not employ himself as he ought, will soon fall to busie himself in doing Mischief. So true is that of the Son of Syrach, Ecclus. 33. 27. Idleness teacheth much Evil. And accordingly, had not Pharoah been Tyrannical, in the unreasonable Tasks he imposed, he was not out in his Politicks, when, to secure his fears of [Page 26] the Children of Israel's making Head against him, he thought it his best Course to take care, that they should all be continually imployed in Labour. And most Governments and Common-Wealths have wise­ly thought fit to provide for the Security of the Pub­lick Peace and Tranquillity, by making Laws to pre­vent Idleness, under very severe Penalties. Nor is it any other than a very obvious Observation, how such kind of Persons generally are the main Instru­ments, both of more private Mischiefs, and of Pub­lick Disturbances, whom Idleness, and her attendent Lusts, and discontented Poverty, has first prepared for such wicked Undertakings. And what one of the late Traytors also (who seemed to die more like a penitent than any of the rest) does, in his last Speech, caution others to this purpose, is well wor­thy the serious notice, and timely Consideration of several among us, who are but too notoriously con­cerned in that particular. But thus much, I hope, may suffice to make you sensible, how great an Ene­my to Quietness is Idleness; and on the contrary, how good a help and expedient is Diligence in an honest Calling and Employment.

Which brings me now directly to the particular means, which we are here so expressly directed to, in the Text, to this very purpose, Mind your own Business. Which we are to understand as an useful Caution, in Op­position not only to Idleness, but chiefly to that prag­matical Temper, or idle Business, when men will not keep within their own proper Sphere and Compass; but intrude themselves into other men's Affairs, and become busie-bodies in other men's Matters, which they ought not any way to be so concerned in. Which Vice, because it is so general and epidemical, and yet [Page 27] commonly apt to be thought harmless enough and inno­cent; I shall therefore think it worth the while a little more largely to shew the several other great Follies and Mischiefs of it in general, as well as its direct Repug­nancy to all Peace and Quietness, in particular. And this now I shall endeavour to perform, from these fol­lowing Arguments or Considerations.

First, He that busies himself in other men's matters, will be forced to neglect his own proper Business and Calling, by the due following of which he might be sure of being most happy and successful, and through the neglect of which, he usually makes himself misera­ble for the present, and must be sure to give a severe ac­count, for such his neglect, hereafter. Every man has enough to do, to acquit himself conscionably, and like a Christian, in the diligent discharge of those several Du­ties required of him, in that particular Sphere and Stati­on, in which it has pleased God to place him. The mind of man is so finite, and our Stength and Abilities so limited and confined, that scarce any man is fit suc­cessfully to undertake, at the same time, many and diffe­rent Employments: But he that stands fixt in his own proper place, and diligently applies himself to the fol­lowing of that particular Employment only, which God's Providence, in the direction of his own first Choice, and the Care of his Relations, has called him to, seldom or never fails of very good success therein. Whereas that man who intermeddles with every matter, and endeavours to be somebody, in every thing, is very seldom extraordinary in any thing; and many times is grossly defective, and unhappy, in that particular thing, which is his proper Profession, and of which it is greatly both shameful and inconvenient for him to be [Page 28] either ignorant or neglectful. And what can be com­parable to the Folly of those men, who incumber and distract their Minds about many things, who wast their time and strength in vain, about what belongs not at all to them, about such things, as they might both safe­ly, and with much Benefit both to themselves and o­thers, let alone; and at the same time are wholly care­less of doing their Duties, in that particular Province, which yet cannot, without their great Sin and Punish­ment, be so neglected? And when, at length, by this mean's (as it usually comes to pass) such fond Pragmati­co's have greatly disturbed the Peace of the Communi­ty, and have brought Infamy, Poverty, and Misery upon themselves and their Families, even in this World, and come at the last day to give an account of their Ta­lents and Behaviour; What a wretchedly ridiculous Plea will it be for them to alledge, We were so very much busied in instructing of our Teachers, and in cor­recting the Faults of our Magistrates; so wholly taken up about State Affairs, and in directing of our Superi­ours how to govern us, or the like, that we were for­ced to forget the Obedience of Subjects, and could find no time for that necessary diligence which we should have exercised in our own proper Callings? Thus, may not that of the Son of Syrach, be justly applied, to all such self-conceited busie-bodies in other men's Matters? Ecclus. 27. 19. There are those that are wise, and teach many, and yet are unprofitable to themselves.

Secondly, Such a one usually mispends his time and strength to no purpose; in busying himself about such things, as he cannot, ordinarily, understand, nor is any way fitly qualified to mannage. The different Birth, natural Parts, Custom, and Education of men, and in­deed [Page 29] (in all these) Providence it self seems so to have designed some to one only, and some to another, this man to a meaner, and that to a higher Office, in the Common-wealth, that 'tis ordinarily the greatest wisdom and truest Interest, for each Person to keep close only to that particular Vocation, which he at first pitched upon, and has, for any considerable time, applied himself to. Whilst they who do otherwise, do commonly but be­tray, and find, at last, sufficient cause to repent their Fol­ly. Every man is not cut out for every Employment, and yet 'tis a common Folly for most men to think themselves better fitted, to do the Business of others, than their own. And, O what a profound Divine, what an excellent Preacher could I make? saith the Me­chanick; and how admirably well could I perform the Office of a Judge, a Magistrate, Privy-Counceller, or Prince? saith the inferiour Tradesman; for as to their own Profession, Experience has taught them, that there are in it several Difficulties; whilst in those of other men, meer Blindness makes them bold, and Ignorance confi­dent; and when they are not able to see the Difficul­ties, soon conclude, that there are none, but that all is smooth and easie. Thus even the most dull and block­ish Persons, who have ever been no better than meer Bunglers in their own proper business, and have scarce Capacity enough to understand or go through with the meanest Profession, are yet many times the most pert and medlesome, in the Affairs of other men, and apt to think themselves most fit to undertake such high and difficult Employments, towards the worthy discharge of which, indeed, even the choicest natural and best improved Parts, the largest Time, Diligence, Study and Experience, are all little enough rightly to qualifie and enable a man. How can he get wisedom (saith the Son [Page 30] of Syrach, Ecclus. 38. 25.) that holdeth the Plow, and that glorieth in the Goad, that driveth Oxen, and is occu­pied in their Labours, and whose talk is of Bullocks, &c. The same incapacity likewise he afterwards affirms, to be in the Carpender, Graver of Seals, Smith, Potter; concerning whom and the like Artificers, he concludes in the 31, and 33, Verse; All these trust to their hands, and every one is wise in his own work; but they shall not be sought for in Publick Council, nor sit high in the Con­gregation; they shall not sit on the Judges Seat, nor un­derstand the Sentence of Judgment; they cannot declare Justice and Judgment, and they shall not be found where Parables are spoken. We might also instance in several other less considerable Occupations, which though they may not be, perhaps, altogether unuseful (as the same Author speaks) towards the maintaining the State of the World; yet it can hardly seem possible, how the Pro­fessors of the same should ever, without immediate In­spiration, attain to that wisdom of the Learned, which ordinarily cometh only through opportunity of leisure. Nor can I, for my part, very easily discover (though al­ways ready to submit to more discerning Judgments) what great Kindred or Analogie there can be, between the skill of rightly composing of a Brush, and that of ordering the Commonwealth; and I am very apt to think it possible for one who has made this his constant business, to know well enough how to make a Bird-cage, and yet be no very fit man to determine the deepest and most controverted Points in Divinity, nor over well versed in the Arcana Imperii. And, methinks, I cannot but fancy it to look a little Ridiculous, that one who has attained skill enough conveniently to wire-in a silly Parrat, and has got a trick, like it, to talk by roat, and without understanding of Religion, should immediate­ly [Page 31] esteem himself a Saint, take heart upon it, and from hence conceit, that he has both the Skill and Call also to bind Kings themselves in Chains, and their Nobles in Fetters of Iron.

Thirdly, Even where such Persons do happen com­petently to understand, and have Skill and Parts enough to manage what they undertake, yet when, without any regular Call to it, they so intrude themselves into other men's Affairs and Provinces, which no way be­long to them, they are seldom or never successful there­in. I readily acknowledge that some Persons one may observe, whose minds may seem too great for that mean part, which Providence has given them to Act here on this World's Theater; some, whose natural Parts are such as, to which had there but been added the advantage of a suitable Education, might have qua­lified them for any thing; nor can it be denied, that some, though, rarely even in the meanest Occupations, make a shift to steal so much time, to attain to such con­siderable Improvements of Nature's Stock, as may ren­der them very capable of no ordinary Station or Em­ployment in the Commonwealth; and there want not Examples, of such Persons, who when they have been regularly called, by Authority, to such higher Offices, have proved singularly useful to the Publick: But yet let their Knowledge and Abilities be what they can, when men who have all along professed a meaner, or much different Occupation, shall of their own heads, busily intrude themselves to act in the Affairs of a high­er Station, there are these three things, that commonly hinder them from any good Success in the discharge thereof.

[Page 32] First, Such Persons are sure to labour under no small Envy and Prejudice, and very much to want that general Reputation and Trust, from others, without which they can scarce have an opportunity of doing any great matters. Men are naturally most relyed upon and trusted for their Skill in that Art or Profession, which they are known all along to have made their Business; Whilst Upstarts and Intruders, are as generally pre­sumed, without any more ado, to be raw and unskil­ful, in their new Employments and Undertakings. So that the one, having more Trust and Credit, though possibly less Skill and Parts, are more resorted to, and better succeed than the other; who, though furnished sometimes with greater Abilities, yet wanting the necessary Credit thereof, are therefore commonly neg­lected and contemned.

Secondly, Though such Usurpers may have know­ledge and Abilities, sufficient for the discharge of those employments, into which they so unreasonably intrude themselves: Yet they seldom have the Will or Desire sin­cerely to make use of the same, towards the publick Benefit, but only to the satisfaction of their own particular Lusts; and as Pride, Covetousness, or Ambition, first puts them upon the Undertaking, so they commonly behave them­selves accordingly all along, most unhappily and extra­vagantly. Lastly, God himself is so much a friend to the Observance of that necessary Order, without which Government and humane Society cannot be well main­tained, that for the more effectual discountenance of all Attempts to the contrary, he seldom gives a Blessing to those, who, without any regular Call to it, impatiently leap out of that Rank, in which his Providence has seen fit to place them; but such Persons are commonly un­fortunate, [Page 33] and very rarely suffered to be successfull. And accordingly it was the saying of Luther; That, He should be very loath to be a Soldier in that Army, where Priests were Captains, because the Church, and not the Camp, is their proper place; and going to War, they willingly outed themselves, of God's Protection, being out of their own Vocation. To which I think, I may, with Parity of Reason, add, that I should be no less loath to joyn my self a Member of that Congregation, where the pretended Pastor, was never any regularly Ordained Minister, but a meer Lay-Usurper upon the sacred Office, whether Soldier (as such have been) or Tradesman, or illiterate Mechanick. However, I am sure, that one of the most Remarkable Judgments, that God ever yet inflicted, (for ought we read) since the World began, upon any Sinners, and such as may well serve as a stand­ing Warning-piece, to all other Persons alike evilly inclined, was that old-new thing, which he created for the Punishment of such, as only attempted to Usurp upon that Holy Office; when that Arch-Busybody Corah and his Pragmatical Company, were swallowed up quick by the Earth, commanded visibly to cleave in sunder for that Purpose. And though God does not think fit, to repeat the like dreadful Judgment, upon all Offenders of the like nature; yet such is the usual hazard and insuccessfulness of such Persons, that the Wise Solomon saw cause enough, therefrom, to ground that general Observation of his, with which I shall con­clude this Particular, Prov. 27. 8. As a bird that wan­dereth from her Nest, so is a Man that wandereth from his place. That is, as the lesser Birds cannot depart from their resting places, without becoming Obnoxious to Nets and Snares, and the Fury of Birds of prey; so for a Man to keep close to his own proper Station and [Page 34] Calling, is always the safest for him, by forsaking of which he usually exposeth himself to many Dangers and Misfortunes.

But Fourthly, though such Men do happen also to be successful, yet they cannot do half so much good to the Publick, by their particular Success, as they are sure to do mischief to it, by the ill Influence of their Pragmatical Examples. For if every Man himself may once be allowed to be the sole judge of his own Parts and Abilities, there are few persons (howsoever really stupid and uncapable) will be found to conceit so meanly of themselves, as not presently to think them­selves sufficiently fit and qualified, for the undertaking almost of any Office or Employment. And 'twill be natural from the Examples of some other Successful Busybodys and Intruders, for every Man thus to dis­course within himself. Nature, I am sure, has been no less bountiful to me, nor have I wanted as good Education and Opportunity of emproving my self, as such a person; and why may not I also therefore pre­sume of as good Success? If such a one, who never made it his Business, is fit to undertake such an Em­ployment, why am not I as well qualified for, or may not, by the same right and justice, attempt to dis­charge his Office, or any other Person's, which I most Fancy?

How natural it is for such Pragmatical Examples, to have this ill Effect upon others, was wittily represented, in the sharp Reproof of an imprudent Action of King Lewis the Eleventh of France; who having appointed a certain Bishop, to take the general Muster of Soldiers at Paris, and Chabannes, one of his Noblemen, taking this thing in ill part, desired of the King to give him the [Page 35] Authority of censuring the said Bishop's Clergy-men; to which the King replying, that it was not fit to put ones Sickle into another man's Corn; Yes, saith the other, since the Bishop has made our Harvest, his own; why may not we also as well make his, ours? Thus what can be of worse Consequence to a Commonwealth, than for men to have such Occasions of Encouragement, in that pragmatical restless Humour, which most are, of themselves, but too much naturally prone to? And so, whilst neglecting the Duties of their own proper pla­ces, this man, who perhaps never had Capacity enough to learn, shall be prompted to set up for a Teacher and Instructer of others; and another man to turn States­man and Magistrate, who never knew how to obey; and another intruding himself into another's Province, and so on: In a Word, whilst all men will be every thing, and no man, at last, any thing he should be; must not all be perfectly unfixt, by this means? or what else can ensue from hence, in this Case, but lamentable Dis­order, and the most absolute Confusion?

But still Fifthly, Were it not a thing of such conside­rable Damage, as it really is, to the Publick; yet such pragmaticalness is, in it self, a very great Sin, and such as includes, in the very nature of it, many and grie­vous Vices; as being evidently made up of a certain Complication, of Discontent, Pride, Covetousness, Am­bition, and Injustice; of the last of which especially, it has apparently so large a Dose, that several Moralists know not how more fitly to place it, than under the rank of a certain sort of Injustice. And indeed, though it be not only just, but also an Act of Charity, for a man that is able, out of meer good will, to lend his helping hand to another, when his Advice and As­sistance [Page 36] is either needed or desired, by the Person there­in concerned; and accordingly in this sense, some have understood (I inquire not now how truly) that of the Apostle, as a Precept, to this purpose, Phil. 2. 4. That we should not look only on our own things, but every man also on the things of others: yet what can be more highly disparaging? what more contrary to the Rules both of Charity and Justice, than the pragmatical In­vasion of another man's Office, against his own Con­sent, when our interposal in the Affair, is neither needed, nor desired? nay, when we are neither able, nor willing to do the Person any Courtesie; but indeed directly de­sign the quite contrary, thereby? How far is this from doing, as we would be done by? or who would not take it grievously to be himself thus dealt with? And now, to put the case more home, and render it more useful, by giving such a particular Instance, in which men are apt, both most commonly and injuriously to offend, in this kind; suppose then, that the King, or a­ny of his great Ministers, vouchsafing to cast an eye in­to any of your Shops, should, upon any slight Hear­say or Information, presently determine, that such or such a man (though he has all his life-time made it his Business) does not, in my Opinion, competently under­stand, nor is he fit to follow the Trade he does profess; I will therefore take care to chuse his Journey-men or Partners for him, and put in some of mine own Follow­ers, men of better Parts, to manage his Affairs for him; Suppose, I say, His Majesty should proceed with you after this manner; How patiently, do you think, you should be able to take it? would you not all immedi­ately complain of Tyranny and Arbitrary Government, and make the most heavy Out-cries, that your Liber­ties and Properties were invaded? And yet now, I [Page 37] pray, turn the Scales a little; and consider whether it be not far more hard and injurious, for any of you, for­getting your own Shop-boards, sawcily either by Words or in your Behaviour (so far as you dare) to in­timate, That His Majesty▪ does not sufficiently under­stand His Business; that either your selves, or such a one, could Govern far better; that he is wholly lead a­side by Evil-Counsellers; and that you must endea­vour to have such and such a Judge, such a Privy Coun­sellor, or Minister of State removed, or else nothing can ever go well? What intollerable Insolence and Injustice is there is such kind of Behaviour? How come you, I wonder, so inspired to understand King-craft, far better than that Person himself who was born and bred to it, who has had all the Advantages of Nature, Education, long Experience, and the most singular Opportunities, to be an absolute Master in his Royal Trade? Is this indeed to be look'd upon as a far less Mystery, and such as may more easily be learnt, than any of your inferi­our petty Crafts? or can you think it more tollerable and less injurious, for a Subject to usurp upon the Prero­gatives of the Crown, than it would be for the Prince to intrench upon a private man's particular Calling? If all this be most ridiculous to imagine; then, for shame, mind your own Business, and let State Affairs alone to whom they properly belong, and cease any more so in­justly and prophanely to treat Majesty. If you should take it so ill, that any should meddle in your Trades, or put your Journey-men, or Partners upon you; be then intreated, out of common Justice, to let your So­vereign also manage the State, and give him leave solely to chuse and keep, such Ministers and Assistants, as himself shall think best qualified for that purpose. In short, however slight or innocent, general Custom [Page 38] and the Multitude of Offenders may have made this Vice esteemed, by most men; we shall find, (if we will take St. Peter's Judgment in the Case) that it is indeed to be look'd upon, as a Sin of the most heinous nature; insomuch that this Apostle plainly supposeth, both that such pragmatical Persons well deserve to suffer, and that, let their Punishment be never so severe, they are far e­nough from suffering, as Christians; Nay, he can afford to rank them with no better Company, than those which they are indeed so near akin to, even with Thieves and Murderers, 1 Pet. 4. 15. But let none of you suffer as a Murderer, or as a Thief, or as an Evil-doer, or as a Busie-body in other men's Matters. To conclude, we may also know what to think, both of the Guilt and Danger of all such Persons, if we well consider the Grounds and Reasons of that excellent Advice of the Son of Syrach, Ecclus. 11. 10. My Son, meddle not with many Matters, (that is, not belonging to thee) for if thou meddle much, thou shalt not be innocent; and if thou follow after, thou shalt not obtain; neither shalt thou e­scape, by flying. That must needs be a great Sin, which is complicated of so many others, and by which we do so apparent Wrong, both to God, and man.

Which would bring me now to the Sixth and last aggravating Consideration of it, viz. That this Prag­matical Temper is highly injurious to the Divine Pro­vidence, and Government of the World; wholly in­consistent with all necessary Order, and directly tending to obstruct the Peace and General Benefit of Mankind, and to introduce the utter Ruin and Dissolution of all Humane Society. But indeed all this is in it self, so very evident and notorious, that barely to name things, may be sufficient; nor shall I therefore think it needful [Page 39] to proceed to any more particular Demonstration here­of; especially, since I before touched upon the same, under some of the former Heads.

I shall therefore here only add, That as this wretched Temper, wheresoever it is suffered to prevail, is enough to turn the World upside down, so we of this Nation have, by woful experience, been instructed concerning the most cursed▪ Effects thereof; in those horrid Disorders and Confusions, which have been wholly owing to those among us, who call themselves by the Name of Dissenters. In whom this Pragmatical Temper is so No­toriously Predominant, that it seems to be as the very Evil Genius, with which they are possessed. For as their Guides and Leaders, are the most Scandalous Busybodys and gross Usurpers, in the very Office and Employment, which they have professedly taken upon themselves; so do they likewise make it their very De­sign and Trade, to infect all their Followers, with the same Humour; whilst they teach them (as a main point of Godliness) to be continually Murmuring and Complaining, to quarrel and find fault with, to be Medling, and Endeavouring (as they call it) to re­form every Thing, and Person, but (what alone they can, and ought to reform) themselves: In short, to be at every thing, besides that alone in which they should be really Concerned; and in whatsoever State they are, never to be therewith contented.

Now my hearty Prayer to God, and earnest Entreaty to all, and especially to such Persons, is, that they would, at length, but diligently reflect upon what has been, and must necessarily be the sad Effects and fatal Con­sequences of this Cursed Temper; that they would seriously consider what has now been said concerning it; How such Busybodies in other Mens matters must [Page 40] necessarily neglect their own proper Business, by the due following of which they might be most happy here; and for the Neglect of which, they are sure to be so sadly accountable hereafter; that they meddle with what they cannot, ordinarily, understand, nor are any way fitly qualified to manage; that if they did competently un­derstand the same, yet Providence seldom suffers such Intruders to be successfull in what they undertake; that though they should happen to be Successful, yet their particular Success never does the Publick half so much good, as they are sure to do it Mischief, by the ill Influence of their Pragmatical Examples; that this Pragmaticalness is in it self so great a Sin, and Complicated of so many other grievous Vices; that it so highly affronts the Divine Providence, and so directly disturbs the Order, Peace and Quietness of the World.

If these men, I say, who▪ talk so much of Conscience, and pretend so great Scrupulousness, where they need not, would but, in earnest, consider the great Sin, which they are, hereby guilty of, and all these, and many more Mischiefs, which they incur themselves, and bring upon others, by such their restless and pragmatical Behaviour; they would then see sufficient reason, to mind and med­dle with their own Business only; and so, better find in their hearts, To study to be quiet, and to suffer others also, that are about them, to be so. Then, might we, indeed, hope for true, and lasting Peace and Prosperity; whilst, Living together like Fellow-Citizens, like Brethren and Christians, we should all, in our several proper Places, make it our Business mutually to serve each other in Love, and Blessed Concord. O, well would it then be with us, and happy should we be!

Thus having competently finished the main things which I designed from this Text, there is now no­thing [Page 41] else remaining, but some more particular Appli­cation. Which, I think, will most naturally be per­formed, by endeavouring chiefly to Answer such com­mon Objections, as I know many will be ready to make, against my Discourse in General upon this Subject. What I shall say, (I must tell them before hand) will chiefly Concern, and must therefore be Understood, as more particularly directed to Dissenters, or their pro­fessed Favourers. With whom I am resolved (let them take it how they will) to deal with all imaginable Plainness and Freedom. And indeed, if it be not now high time to do so, (and that, not without some Hopes too of better Success, than formerly) their Disease must be altogether desperate and incurable; and I know not when this charitable Office either will, or can be seasonable. And yet I cannot chuse but be heartily troubled for their sakes, to observe; how highly they are still Enraged and Offended, at all Discourses of this Nature. For what then? Are they still even at this time of day, so much Enemies unto Peace and Quiet­ness, that they cannot endure to hear a Man speak to them thereof, but they must be ready to fly in his Face, and presently prepare themselves for Battel? I should have thought truly, that after they and their Friends, had so long, and so much both Said and Written, Acted and Contrived, in order to the setting this Kingdom in a Flame, and to the utter Ruin of the present Government, that we, who were designed by them as Sheep to the Slaughter, might now at length, after the so plain Discovery and Defeat of their Malice, have had the Liberty, at least, to have told them of their Bloody-Mindedness, and to endeavour (if possible) to perswade them to Repentance.

But does not this kind of Behaviour indeed Argue in [Page 42] them, the most Desperately Malicious, obstinate Tem­per, and that they are still so far from any Real Con­trition, or the least thoughts of Reformation, that they have still as much Mind, as ever, to be carrying on their Accursed Plots, and cannot therefore endure, that what they have already done, should be spoken of or believed, for fear it should hinder them of being Successful, in what they are ready to design farther, upon the first Opportunity? That Charity must first put out its own Eyes, that can make any more favourable Construction, of their so excessive Rage and Impatience, upon these Occasions.

But yet as for mine own part, I confess I have not so much reason to complain, as having hitherto (God be praised) fared better than some other of my Brethren, who, perhaps, have not been more plain with their Party, than my self neither. For several Ministers, even since the Discovery of the Phanatical Conspiracy, have been Desperately threatned, and it is well known, how one Reverend Divine was, not long since, knock't down in the open Streets, and Miserably Bruised and Battered, to the no small hazard of his Life, notwith­standing the Endeavours of several good People to rescue him; and all this, at the same time expresly signified, by the Ruffian himself, to have been done for no other cause, but only his Loyalty, and that he had shewn himself against the Designs of the Dissenters.

Now if this sort of Men can afford to shew themselves such fell Creatures, even whilst the Law and Civil Power is against them, and their hands are pretty well tyed up; then Judge, I pray, what absolute Tigers and Dragons they must needs prove, were they but once loose, and had all (as they desire) under their own Dominion? what could we else expect, but to be [Page 43] all flea'd alive, and to be torn by them (like the Arch-Bishop of St. Andrews) into a hundred pieces? And yet a man cannot open his mouth, to give good Peo­ple warning, nor speak the least word, of the horrid Pra­ctices or Principles of these men, but presently some or other of their Favourers are ready to stand up for them, and slander it, under the odious Name of (that which is indeed their general Character of all such charitable Re­proofs) down right Railing and Reviling.

And, What (say some) should we go to Church for? We should go thither to profit; but truly we cannot bene­fit at all, by such kind of Preaching. Can they not so, indeed? I am heartily sorry to hear it. But what is the reason that they cannot benefit? I doubt the fault will be no bodies, but their own; and I fear they'll hardly ever believe themselves to benefit, by any Preach­ing, but only such as really tends (if possible) to make them worse than they are already, by still more con­firming them, in their wretched Errours and Iniquities. But I would fain know what such men mean, by their not benefitting. If they were but rightly sensible of their own meaning, I am perswaded they can under­stand nothing else, by it, but that they are not at all pleased, with what they hear. And it is very grie­vous to them, to be told of, or to think of amending their Faults. As for my own part, I am not conscious to my self, that, in what has been now said, I have de­livered any thing, but the Words of Truth and Sober­ness. And if Truth, plain Scripture, and Reason will not go down with them, I know not how to help it; they are not indeed so much offended with Ʋs, in these Cases, as (in effect) with Christ himself, and the Do­ctrine of his Apostles. And there is no other Remedy, but they must e'en go seek out for some other Gospel, [Page 44] that will better agree with their corrupt Lusts, that they may profit by the hearing of it: for as for that of our blessed Saviour, whilst they resolve to continue thus affected, it will never be able to do the feat for them.

But if such men do indeed believe the Scripture, and are willing equally to be guided by it, as their Rule in all things; coming to these places with an honest teach­able heart, ready to forsake their Errours, and to do their Duty, whensoever they shall be made sensible thereof; then (I can assure them) that such kind of Preaching will highly both please and profit them; far more, perhaps, than all the Sermons put together, which ever they heard in Conventicles, their whole life-time. By which, I fear, they have profited hither­to only backward, and the wrong way; whilst this kind of Preaching, if practised, will indeed benefit them, even to the saving of their Souls; which are now so imminently hazarded, by their woful Disobedience and horrid Contempt of the Laws both of God and Man.

But again, (as some will object) is this the way to bring in Dissenters, to be thus continually inveighing against them? Nay, is it not rather the ready way to drive those out again, who are already a comming in?

In answer to which, I shall First consider, how the Ge­nerality of those, who have yet made any Approaches at all, have hitherto shewed themselves a coming in to us.

Some, 'tis true, have come hither, and received the Holy Sacrament with us; but (as themselves have given too just Occasion to fear) meerly to serve a Turn, or to qualifie them for some Place, in which they [Page 45] might have an Opportunity of doing the Church and State so much the more Mischief: for they have received no more, nor scarce ever came to Church again, for a whole twelve Month afterwards.

Others again, awakened by the fear of Legal Penal­ties, have received here in the Morning, and (as I am credibly informed) in the Afternoon, in a Conventicle; as if they meant presently there to undo again, what they had here done; or designed to make that which should be the Bond of Christian Charity, serve only more to confirm them in their Schism, and most sinful Separation.

And their deceitful Guides (I find) have furnished them, with that more than Jesuitical Distinction, of a Legal and a Necessary Receiving. The first of which with us, stands for just nothing, but meerly to satisfie the Law; whilst the second with them, is that only which is to be accounted real and effectual.

Others there are who come hither usually, when Di­vine Service is either quite, or almost done: and then sitting too all the remainder of it, as if they scorned so much as to seem to joyn with us therein; and we have not wanted Instances of running out again in a fury, be­fore the Sermon was at an end.

In short, too many of them (for I charge not all) have hitherto so lamely and awkwardly joyned with us, and after such a manner, as would tempt one to think they studied to have us believe, that they only play'd the Hypocrites in so doing.

Nor let any one say, this is an unwarrantable judging of other men's Hearts; for we may safely, and without breach of Charity, judge of men's hearts, from the te­nor of their Actions and Behaviour.

And besides, some of them have been so very silly and al­together [Page 46] shameless, as openly to declare and profess, that they would come to Church, only once a Month, or so, to avoid the Lash of the Law, not out of any sense of Du­ty. Whereas, by the way, let me tell such, that they may find, this will not be enough to satisfie the Law neither, any more than it ought to satisfie their Con­science.

This now has been (for the generality) the main of their coming in, which I have been yet able to take no­tice of. But suppose, that, now at length, they were in­deed disposed, in more good earnest to joyn with us; why should such Discourses of Peace and Quietness, of Loyalty and Obedience, and plainly to mind them, wherein they have been hitherto notoriously guilty of the Breach of these Duties, Why should this, I say, so pre­sently again fright them away from us? If they are resolved to become real Converts, how is it possible they should be so very nice and squeamish? for how can they ever so truly repent, unless they be first made tho­rowly sensible of their Errors? or how should they be so sensible of them, unless they be plainly told of them? or where can they expect this plain dealing, if not in these Places? Methinks, after they have been so long used to be soothed up, flattered and confirmed in their wicked Follies, were they but now really disposed to­wards any Reformation of them, they might be well enough contented, for once in their lives, to be roundly told their own.

But if their Design be, so only to come hither and joyn with us, as yet to bring with them and still keep all their former Pride, Prejudice, implacable Malice, and seditious Principles; I must needs tell them, that our Church will never be large enough long to hold them; and their Room will be here more acceptable than their Company.

[Page 47]For if it be sufficient only to bring men's Bodies hi­ther, without their Minds; we needed not then to be so very solicitous about this Matter. 'Tis but staying a little while, and Death will soon do this Feat for us. That will ere long, not fail to bring in all Dissenters, to the Church or the Church-yard. Their Carcasses will then conform, and lie peaceable enough here with ours, nor will they scruple to mingle Ashes with those of them, who have been the highest for the Church of England.

But in the mean time, our main Business is so to bring them in hither, that our Souls may be united; to reform their Minds, and perswade them to lay aside those unruly Lusts and evil Principles that have so long pos­sest them; and this they will never do, till they can first patiently bear Reproof: and yet, till this be indeed done, come here as often as they will, Light and Dark­ness may assoon be reconciled, as they and we be really united.

In short, If they still desire to be flattered, and re­solve never to have their Consciences thorowly awake­ned, by hearing of those Sins, of which they are most guilty; Our Churches, I hope, will be no convenient Places for them. There is no remedy, but they must e'en return (if they can) to their Old Meeting-houses again; where it is the proper Work and Business, the ve­ry Profession of the Masters of those Assemblies, to lull men asleep, and most industriously to train them up, and confirm them, in their most pernicious Errors: Their most notorious Sins are both the Food and Re­creation of those Pastors; who eat up the Sin of the People, are maintained, and grow rich by their damna­ble Separation. These Guides will be sure to flatter and please them, in their Lusts, that they may be followed [Page 48] and admired of them, and themselves profit thereby. There indeed, such will never be reminded, of their Spi­ritual Pride, Malice, or Hatred; nor yet of their Un­quietness and Pragmaticalness; of their Lies, Slanders, or most horrid Perjuries; nor of any other of those most unsociable Vices, which make them become no small Plague, both to themselves and the whole Nation. They may indeed continue long enough, in those Places, and never hear so much as one word of those grievous Faults of theirs, till they come at last to hear of them, at the day of Judgment.

But as for the Business of those faithful Ministers, who would indeed preach Christ Jesus, and not them­selves, it is of a quite opposite Nature and Design. These are, and always will be so determined, as that they had much rather (if it cannot be otherwise) by their plain-dealing, and telling men necessary Truths, affright away such obstinate and incorrigible Offenders, than by a cowardly silence, in these Points, be fawned upon and crowded after (as some are) by never so great Multitudes of Hypocrites of all sorts. Nor will they ever change their Minds, or forbear, sometimes, to tell such men roundly of their Faults, till such time as they give some better and more substantial Arguments, than yet they have done, of their Repentance and Reforma­tion. Let us but once see this happy Day, and then we'll all lay our Hands upon our Mouths; they shall never hear one word more of their former Behaviour: but all that is already past, shall, by my consent, be buried in eternal Silence and Oblivion. For, as for my own part, whatsoever some may think, I can assure them, that it is, in it self, no such grateful Office to me, to be ripping up sore places. Nothing in the World puts me upon this Employment, but the real sense of my [Page 49] Duty herein, joyned with the most unfeigned Charity towards the Souls of the Persons so much concerned. For, if I have any acquaintance with my own Heart, I think I could be contented to part with the last drop of blood therein, might I but thereby secure the spiritual Welfare of any the worst Enemy I have, or can have a­mong them.

But whilst they continue to excuse, or deny the late notorious Crimes of their Party; whilst they endea­vour to make Martyrs, of those who have justly suffe­red for their most damnable Treason; and go about to defend them as innocent, in spite of their own plain Confessions, and the most Sun-beam Evidences to the contrary: In a Word, whilst they cannot so much as endure to hear of this Matter; I must needs tell them, that these are no such excellent Signs of their Repen­tance.

But to this, perhaps, some may be ready to object; What are we concerned in these things? or why do you tell us of Repenting? For, certainly, you do not take any of us to have been in the late Plot; do you? Truly, no, I do not, perhaps, believe them to be so guilty of it, as that the Law can take hold of them: But yet, (to deal freely with them) I cannot but think the whole Body of Dissenters, to have been in the general more or less, concerned therein; Nor do I believe any tho­row-paced Conventicler of them all, so wholly inno­cent in this case, before God, but that they have great need to repent. For, if they had either Eyes or Ears, they could not but be sensible, in the general, of a De­sign on foot, among those of their own Party, for the Destruction of the present Government. It is next to impossible that they should go constantly to Conven­ticles, and yet be ignorant of thus much.

[Page 50]Nor do I speak this rashly, and without sufficient Grounds: For, what will you say, If I give you some evident Demonstrations, even from their own late Wri­tings, both that the Phanatical Preachers were not ignorant of the late horrid Conspiracy, and that they have also, all along, for several Years together in their Publick Preachments, made it their Business, not only plainly enough to signifie the same, but also to instigate and prepare their several Congregations to do the bloody work of it?

Will they not then believe there was a Plot, when they hear it, even from their Teachers own Mouths? I hope they do not know them to be such notorious Lyars, but that they will believe what they speak from the very Pulpit. And though I confess, indeed, that or­dinarily (to use the Psalmist's Phrase) Their very Preaching is of Cursing and Lies; yet I know no Reason why they should not be credited, in this Case.

Now what I have proposed, I make no question, but that I shall be able easily to make out, to the full satisfa­ction of all, excepting only such as indeed need no Conviction in the Case, and will therefore never seem to believe, because they full well know the thing alrea­dy to be most true, and themselves also deeply engaged therein. All others, I doubt not, that have any Eyes, I shall soon enlighten, by the help of some certain Jew­els; which, (though, I suppose, not very easie to be had, as being designed only for the particular Comfort and Edification of the Saints; yet) hap'ned, by good fortune, to stragle into my hands. The first, of which I shall now make use, and shew you some Rays, has this Title or Inscription; A most useful Sermon, Preached in London, one Fast-day, in the Year, 1670. By a most faith­ful Minister of Christ, for the Support and Comfort of [Page 51] the People of God, in evil Times, opened and pressed from Ps. 91. 11. Light is sown for the Righteous, and Printed in the Year, 1676. For, or by whom, they durst not set. Now in this Discourse, pag. 35. there is this Inference, which you must be content to take, as all the rest, in his own Words.

If Light and Comfort be sown for the Righteous; Why, then here is Comfort this Day, for the Church of God in England; the Seed is in the Ground, and Delive­rance, in God's due season, shall spring up, &c.

Then follows some Lines after; I confess things here amongst us, as they have a sad Aspect this Day, I would be sensible of your Condition. If we are not sensible of God's hand, we cannot be humbled under it. I would be sensible of it, grey hairs are here and there; sad Symptoms of God's Displeasure are upon us; our Sins grow higher, and our Trading grows lower, &c. Yet, I say, in this Day of Mourning, I would not have you mourn, as they without Hope. My Text tells you, that Light is sown for the Righteous. There is a little Light, God knows, it is but very little Light; we can scarce see it at the Key-hole; but there is some Light sown for the Righteous. There are three Seeds of Comfort, for this poor dying self-destroying Nation. First, God hath a People in this Land that fears him (he means, you may be sure, the Dissenters) and are very dear to him; that is one Seed of Comfort; they are to him, as the Apple of his Eye, they are the Glory of Christ; they are God's Jewels, all the rest of the World are but Lumber. (Wonderful Charity and Humility!) God hath a Peo­ple dear to him in England. Were the Godly removed, as it is the desire of some to give them their Pass, to be gone; Why, God would soon make quick work with the Nation; He would soon break up House in England, were it not [Page 52] for the Elect, he would soon sink Ship and State; but for some Elect Jewels in the Ship, but for their sakes, the Lord may reprieve the Nation. Then, after some o­ther of his Comforts, he comes in the 41. pag. to this Caution; But here I must insert a Caution. And I be­seech you to observe; Though there be some Light sown for the Righteous, yet take this Caution; Expect an hour of Darkness. It is usually dark before Morning. Things are like to be worse with us, before they are better. Be­fore Gospel-deliverance you must expect some sore Pangs; and the reason of it is this (and let me beseeeh you to mind his Reason) here is the Reason; because God has a great deal of work yet to do; there is much Rubbish to be removed (you know his meaning, for he told you before, that all are Lumber and Rubbish but themselves) much Rubbish to be removed, before God's Spiritual Tem­ple will be built; Sins must be brought lower; Super­stition must be purged away; the Devil must be cast out; and will not this, think you, cause great Commotion in the Church, and Convulsion fits, before Light spring up? therefore look for an hour of Darkness.

The most Prophetick man, it seems, could foresee; that we wicked superstitious Wretches, when the Saints should come to attaque us, would not stand still, and tamely suffer them to cut our Throats and swallow all, without making some Busle and Resistance. Then he concludes in the 47. pag. with an Encouragement, in these Words; The Mercies we are in expectation of, they are worthy waiting for; The Mercies we have pray­ed for, and are in expectation of, they are worthy waiting for; To see the Golden Fleet of Prayer coming home, with rich Returns; Is not that worth waiting for? To see the Lilly and the Rose Ʋnited, I mean Truth and Peace; To see Wickedness discountenanced, and all its [Page 53] Forces disbanded; To see the Beauty of Holiness shin­ing in our Christal, to see Jesus Christ riding in Triumph, in his Chariots of Gospel-administration, &c. Now is it not pretty plain, from all this stuff, that they had long ago, some hopes of swallowing Bishops lands again, and getting all into their own hands.

But this, you must know, was a great while ago, and this Man saw Light only through the Key-hole; and yet, not so much the time of his Preaching, but the time of Printing this Sermon, is chiefly to be taken notice of; and this was in the year—76. And even then you must also consider, that 'twas but early Days with them; much about the time (if I mistake not) when Marvel's Growth of Popery came out; and then the Masters of this fellow were but just framing of their Popish Plot, (for theirs, I shall not stick to call all false Additions to the Real one) for the setting up of Pha­naticism, and the Destruction of the present Govern­ment; then their among all, other seeds of Comfort, their Wild Oats were but just a Sowing; or, at most, lay only a Corrupting; the Blade had not yet appeared above Ground.

But all this is just nothing, in respect of what we may find in another of their Sermons, which I have by me, bearing this Title; England's condition Parallel'd, in a Sermon, Preached by a Servant of the Lord's, learnedly Opened and Pressed from Jer. 30. 7. London, Printed for J. Johnson, in the Year 1682.

Then their Plot was almost Hanging-ripe, and you shall hear how boldly this Man speaks, as if they had concluded, that all was absolutely their own. I shall need but barely to repeat some passages, without making any Reflections, but leave you to be judges in the Case.

[Page 54]And First, it is Remarkable, how sadly he Alarmes his People with Fears and Jealousies, P. 11. in these Words; I do say that the Churches of God, may meet with Land-wasting, Houses-burning, Women-ravishing, Child­killing, State-devouring, Religion-scorning, Ordinances­casting-down, Heart-trembling, and Liberties-over­throwing-times. And I readily confess, for my part, so they may, and will, if these Men come once again to prevail. But P. 19. he comes most directly to his Business. Let me tell you, my dear Friends, That, upon four Occasions, times will be Troublous. First, When Dagon and Baal is to go down. No great or prevailing Evil can be cast down, without much Trouble and Tumult. If Gideon cast down the Altar of Baal, and cut down the Grove by it, the Men of the City keep a mighty stir about it. If the Goddess Diana be in danger, what a Noise and Ʋproar is there in the City! And I further conceive thus much; That England hath many bad▪ Te­nants, who have gotten Possession, and can plead Pre­scription, tho no Scripture-Title for themselves, yet they are resolved not to go out, without great Trouble; neither can it be imagined, unless a Miracle be wrought by God, that so many Proud, dronish Ministers; so many idle scandalous Non-residents; and so much Rubbish of humane Invention, as are crept into God's Worship, will ever be cast down, or carried out, without Troubles. Can you conceive that Satan will lose his Kingdom, and never wag his tail! Believe it Brethren, There are many thousands in the Kingdom so set upon Idolatry, Superstition, and ways of Formality, that they cannot be quiet, if these things be taken from them. When the Temple is to be re-edified, no great and good Work can be carryed on, with­out much Trouble. This is certain, God hath brought us to Church-reforming-times, and these always have been troublesome times.

[Page 55]After this, he proceeds to give them a great many other reasons why the times must be troublesome, whereas, he might indeed have made shorter work, and included all under that, with which he did begin; For the times must▪ be Troublesome, because these Men are resolved to make them so; nor can they, indeed, ever be otherwise, as long as their Seditious Conven­ticles are suffered, and such vile Wretches as himself there permitted, to Poison and Seduce the poor silly Vulgar. But still, afterwards he falls to encourage them again to the Work, by reminding them of their former Suc­cess. P. 27. Had we not had our troublous times, we had not seen so many Wicked Men cast down among us. What times have more discountenanced Enemies? What times have more discovered Enemies? What times have more crost Enemies! Nay, what times have been more Destructive to Enemies, than the times of the Churches Troubles? These Winds blow them no good. They always presage their down-fall. And, for my own part, I do verily believe, that all the Troubles in England, will end in the Shame and Confusion, of many Powerful and Politick Enemies, &c. Out of the most troubled womb came there greatest quiet: If there were no War, there would be no Victory; though troubles Create not Mercy, yet they Occasion and Ante­cede. I am verily perswaded, that England, which is now in great Troubles, is big with Child of some extraordi­nary Mercy. We may not think, that these troubles shall end without a Blessing; let the Consideration of these things stay your thoughts, &c.

In the self-same Page likewise he cannot refrain from reviling, and endeavouring to render both the King himself, and all his Ministers both in Church and State, Odious to the People. Have we not amongst us (saith he) all Land-wasting, did Land-weakening sins. Most [Page 56] of our Pastors are either ignorant and Blind, or Corrupt, or unsound, so far from reforming themselves, that they are Enemies to the much desired Reformation. (That is, we would hinder People, from Rebelling again as much as we can,) Many of our Rulers and great Ones, are Idolaters, Adulterous, full of Pride and Idleness, leading many thousands into Wickedness, by their evil Examples, following the Footsteps of Jeroboam, who made Israel to Sin. And, O, how many Times-troubling Enemies have we Lodging and Lurking among us; Men of no Religion, Men of a false Religion, a great Popish Party, Men of no Rank and Quality; whose Mouths are full of Scoffs and their hands full of Blood, (now he is at the Kings Gaurds) whose hope only lies in this; that shortly they shall ravish our Virgins, Deflower our Wives, cut our Throats, and divide our Estates. What meaneth the Countenancing and Maintaining those Vermin and Off­scouring of the Land, but that troublesome times are at hand? Certainly the Kingdom cannot vomit out these Frogs, or quit it self of these Locusts, without much ado. (It seems they were resolved to have the Guards down then.) I shall trouble you but with one passage more. P. 43. We must desire and further a National Reformation; there must be a Purging of the Church from its Dross, and there must be a setting up the Power and Purity of Ordi­nances. Every Man must strive to reform and amend, or else the Kingdom (its greatly to be feared,) will fall asunder. And we must cast out the endangering Enemies of the Kingdom. If you shall suffer (did he Preach to the Oxford House of Commons, I Wonder, or to his own People?) If you shall suffer Men of Cruelty, Enemies to God and Religion, and not do justice upon them, the Kingdom cannot but be ruined.

And now, for the upshot of all, because this Man's own [Page 57] Conscience could not but accuse him, as Guilty of the most horrid Treason and Sedition, that he may clearly wipe off this Imputation, he tacitly supposeth himself immediatly inspired of God, to say and do all this Villany; and therefore for a Conclusion, you must take his own bare Word for it, that they only who would hinder themselves from putting all this in Execution, are to be look't upon, as the Make-bates and Incendiaries of the Nation, whereas he, and those of his Party, are, notwithstanding all this, no more the real Troublers of our Israel, than holy Elias, was.

I might have transcribed much more, both out of these, and out of several other late Discourses of theirs, to the same purpose; but it is high time to have done; since this, I think, may be enough, in all reason.

And truly, I hope, that none of you will be angry at me, for this way of Proceeding, or say that I might be ashamed, to bring such stuff as this is into the Pulpit, when you consider, that it was there once before, or otherwise, you had not had it here now. For ought I know, some here present, may have beard the same at the Fountain's head, and if any of you did so, I make no Question, but that you then thought your selves to profit, and were indeed wonderfully pleased therewith. And truly I see no Reason, why you may not (unless it be your own fault) more truly benefit by it now, thus at the second hand; especially since you use to be so much for Repetitions. You will not suspect, I hope, that I have made this for them; for fear you should thereby allow any of us able to Preach, so exceeding well as this comes to; for it has their own infallible Stamp and Shibboleth upon it; and besides, I have their own Authentick Printed Copys by me, and much [Page 58] more of the like Nature, at forth-coming for any that shall herein desire satisfaction. And I beg their pardon only, that I have been forced a little to disgrace the Matter for want of the right Twang and elegant▪ whi­ning Tone, the peculiar set-off, by which, usually, such Discourses are chiefly▪ recommended to that sober Par­ty.

But however, as for all those who would indeed de­serve this Name (and to such chiefly I shall now direct the small Remainder of what I have to say) they may, I think, (had they no other Evidence) sufficiently dis­cover from what they have now heard, what kind of Trade it is, that they drive, at Conventicles; and how impossible it is, for those that have their Hearts set so upon going to those Places, not to be utterly intoxica­ted and destroyed, by such deadly Poyson. They therefore who have any due Care either of their Souls or Bodies, may see, if they will, what they are to shun, as they would avoid a Pest-house, or coming into the most dangerous Places of Infection. And you may easily enough judge, by this time, with whom you have most reason to be displeased; whether with those who sincerely Preach to you, the ever blessed and most peace­able Gospel of our Saviour, or with them who have coin'd and would intrude upon you another, of their own, in direct opposition to it; whether with them, who make it their Business to exhaust your Pockets, and corrupt your Minds; or with those, who endea­vour to rectifie your Understandings, and to cure your Lusts, desiring no other temporal Reward, for the same, but that standing Maintenance which the Law allows them; whether with them, who contrive all they can, to instigate you to those horrid crying Sins of Murder, Rapine, and Rebellion, and would involve you, and [Page 59] your Countrey, in endless Misery and Confusion, or with them, who do their best to hinder you from the Guilt of these heinous Crimes, and to secure you from all these dreadful Mischiefs.

In a Word, Remember to what sad and shameful Ends the accursed Doctrines of these men have already late­ly brought so many▪ of their professed Admirers; and consider with your selves which of the two are really your best Friends; they, who sincerely endeavour to secure your Necks here, and your Souls hereafter; or they, who direct you the ready way, to destroy both▪ Chuse your Friends, and then follow them. And if you do indeed believe this to be any part of the New Testament, and Word of Life, be then entreated, as you tender your everlasting Welfare, (let others do what they please) to betake your selves to the Study of being Quiet, and to do your own Business.

To which, that we may all, at length, most seriously ap­ply our selves, the God of all Peace and Love, of his infinite Mercy Grant, through Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, &c.


Books Printed for and sold by Henry Bonwick, at the Red-Lyon in St. Paul's Church-Yard.

A Late Voyage to Constantinople: Containing an exact Description of the Propontis and Hellespont, with the Dardanels, and what is else Remarkable in those Seas; as also of the City of Constantinople, where­in is particularly described the Grand Seraglio and Chief Mosquees. Likewise an account of the ancient and present State of the Greek Church; with the Religion▪ and manner of Worship of the Turks, their Ecclesiastical▪ Government, their Courts of Justice, and civil Em­ployments, Illustrated with Curious and Exact Draughts▪ of the Hellespont, Propontis, Constantinople, the Sera­glio, Sancta Sophia, and other Chief Mosquees, with▪ the several postures of the Turks during Prayer-time, in fourteen Copper-plates, the exactness whereof is attested by several Famous Travellers, published by Command of the French King, by Monsieur William Joseph Grelot, made English by J. Phillips.

Certain Miscellany Tracts, Written by Thomas Brown, Knight, and Doctor of Physick, late of Nor­wich.

The History of the late War with the Turks, during the Siege of Vienna, and the great Victory obtained against them, at the raising the Siege; together with [Page] the under-hand dealings of France in that Affair, being the best and fullest Relation that has been yet Published, Printed at Cologn, and reprinted at London.

The Constant Communicant, a Diatribe, proving that Constancy in receiving the Lords Supper, is the indispensable duty of every Christian, the second Edition, to which is added a Sermon Preached at the Anniversary meeting of the Sons of Clergy-Men, at St. Mary le Bow, on the seventh of December, 1682. By Ar. Bury D. D. Rector of Exon Coll. Oxon.

A Discourse of the Repugnancy of Sin to the Prin­ciples of Universal Reason; being a Diswasive from a Sinful Life, from Principles of common Wisdom, currant amongst all Man-kind, save in the Concerns of their Souls.

A Discorse proving from Scripture and Reason, that the Life of Man is not limited by any absolute Decree of God, by the Author of the Duty of Man, &c.

The Importance of Religion to young Persons represented in a Sermon Preached at the Funeral of Sir Thomas Viner, Baronet in St. Hellens Church Lon­don, May the 3, 1683.

A Private Peace-offering for the Discovery and Dis­appointment of the late horrid Conspiracy against the King, &c. In a Sermon Preached July the 8, 1683.

[Page]A Sermon Preached before the Lord Major and Court of Aldermen at the Church of St. Mary le Bow, Sep­tember the 9, 1683.

All 3 by H. Hesketh, Minister of St. Hellens London, and Chaplain to his Majesty.

Providence bringing Good out of Evil, in a Sermon Preached the 9 of September, 1683. By Richard Pearson Rector of St. Michaels Crooked-Lane.


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