IMPRIMATUR.

Hen. Maurice Reverend. Willielm. Cant. Archiepisc. a Sacris.

ERRATA.

PAg. 11. l. 23. for imparable, r. incomparable, p. 13. l. 22. f. Monarch, r. Monarchy. p. 24. l. 5. f. the, r. their.

A SERMON Preached at WEST MINSTER-ABBEY On the 26th. of July, 1685. BEING THE THANKSGIVING-DAY FOR HIS MAjESTIES VICTORY OVER THE REBELS

By Edward Pelling, Chaplain to his Grace the Duke of Sommerset.

Printed at the Earnest desire of some Friends.

LONDON, Printed for Samuel Keble at the Turks-Head in Fleet-street over against Fetter Lane, and Walter Davis in Amen Corner, 1685.

A SERMON PREACHED AT WESTMINSTER-ABBEY On the 26th. of July, 1685. BEING THE THANKSGIVINGDAY, &c.

Psal 124. 6. Blessed be the Lord, who hath not given us as a Prey to their Teeth.’

THE good Providence of God over the Sacred Persons, and the just Go­vernment of Princes, in preserving both from the most malicious designs of so many restless and sanguinary Spirits, [Page 2] is one of the most stupendious Works of Gods Omnipotence that ever he hath shew'd since the last day of the Creation. A Miracle, which was the common subject of King Davids thankful Meditations, up and down throughout his whole Book of Psalms, and particularly in This Psalm; where after a most humble manner, he doth adore the infinite Mercy and Power of God, for delivering Him and his Sub­jects from the threatning dangers of a fresh Insurrection. If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, now may Israel say: If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us; they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the Waters had over whelmed us, the stream had gone over our Soul: The proud Waters had gone even over our Soul: When the Insurrection was so formidable, when the malice of wick­ed men was so outragious, when their ap­petites were not to be satisfied but with streams of Blood; when Ruin was break­ing in upon the whole Land like a migh­ty Torrent; when, without the immediate [Page 3] help of God, nothing could be expected, but utter Desolation; when the danger was so imminent, and seemingly so inevita­ble, that those men of violence thought themselves as sure as if the prey they sought after were already in the Gin; Then was the time for God to lay to his Hand, to make bare his Arm, and to gain himself Honour by rescuing Innocence from the Pit, as it lay at the Brink, rea­dy to drop into the Depth of Destruction.

This Psalm was Davids [...] like the Eucharistical Sacrifice of Jonah, after he had been delivered from the belly of the Whale. And that I may not spend my time in a curious, but unnecessary division of the Text, let us fall directly; first up­on the consideration of David's deliverance, which was the ground of his thankfulness, and the purport of the Psalm; and so pro­ceed in the second place, to the conside­ration of our own deliverance, which is the reason of Our thankfulness, and the busi­ness of the Day.

1. As to that deliverance for which Da­vid here blest God, indeed Divines can­not [Page 4] find out any one certain Aera, or point of time, where to fix it. But if I may have leave to conjecture, I conceive, that David spake here in reference to those his Signal Victories over some Domestick Conspirators, whereof we find a most de­vout and grateful Commemoration in 2 Sam. 22. For several of the same expres­sions we meet with there, which we find in this Psalm. There he spake, as he did Here, of the Waves of Death, of the Floods of ungodly Men, of many Waters, of Snares, of them that rose up against Him, and the like. Now it is evident, that in that place the King of Israel had in his mind, not only the former downfal of Saul, but chiefly the late Victories which God had given him over two formidable Traitors; the one a discontented, yet an Ordinary Subject, the other a Darling, but a grace­less Son. Let us look a little, I beseech you, into the Story of both.

The discontented Subject I speak of, was that considerable man, Sheba: Sheba the Son of Bichri, as he is called eight times together in one Chapter. The Scripture [Page 5] seems to set a mark of infamy upon his Father, as well as on Himself. Where­ever the Traitor is named, 'tis always She­ba the Sonof Bichri, as if he were an He­reditary Rebel. Now Davids deliverance, out of the Hands of this Man of Belial, was a Work of Gods wonderful Provi­dence. For, though this Rebellion was not so near Davids Doors as the other was, yet David mistrusted this Son of Bichri would do him more harm, than had been done him hitherto, 2 Sam. 20. 6. For the wretch was haughty and enraged: His party was very numerous; yet not more nu­merous, than they were perfidious and dis­loyal: Men that had set up for their King one of Sauls Family, while the House of Judah followed David: Men that consented to the Kings Restauration upon meer necessity, and yet would have gone away with the Honour of it: Men that had great expectations from David, and because they could not get their Ends, and obtain the Government of him, took up presently a mortal grudge against him, as if they had no part, no in­heritance in the Son of Jesse (as they spake [Page 6] by way of contempt) and so the Alarm was instantly taken by them all, Every man to his Tents, O Israel. This was Sheba, and these were his Associates; a desperate Leader of a very terrible Defection; nothing being more dangerous to any Prince, than the united malice of Rebellious Spirits, that sub­mit, not for Conscience sake, but either upon Constraint, or for their Interest only.

Yet how soon did the hand of God break that dark and threatning Cloud which now covered the greatest part of Davids King­dom? Joab indeed pursued the Rebel from place to place; and at last hemmed him in. But the Victory was from Heaven; without any battle in the Field, without the personal valour of Joab, without the loss of any of Joabs Forces was this deliverance wrought: by the contrivance of a woman was Sheba's Head taken off, and cast over the Wall; by one of the weaker Vessels was the main thing done, that the Excellency of the Power might be of God, and not of man; that I may allude to the expression, 2 Cor. 4. 7.

But there was a Greater deliverance than this, which I doubt not, but David particu­larly [Page 7] thought of, when he penned this Psalm: A deliverance from a Conspiracy, that might have swallowed up the King, and all the peo­ple that were with him, as 'tis said of that Conspiracy, 2 Sam. 17. 16. the very same expression, as is used at the 3d. Verse of this Psalm: A Conspiracy that was not only near Davids Threshold, but went to his very Heart too, the Conspiracy of his Son Absa­lom. His bloudy Son Absalom, that formerly had been guilty of shameful Murder. His Ambitious Son Absalom, whom none of those Preferments could Content, which would have contented Sheba; nothing would satisfie him but the Crown. His un­grateful Son Absalom, that so basely reward­ed him for his Longings after him, when he fled from his presence to Geshur, and for his Pardon, for his Kisses upon his Return, and upon that his most solemn, though artificial submission at his Fathers Feet. His perfidi­ous Son Absalom, that no sooner went out of his Fathers Court, but ran to the Gates to steal away the hearts of his Fathers Subjects with such mean addresses to the Populace, O that I were made Judg (meaning, King) in [Page 8] the Land. His hypocritical Son Absalom, that pretending a desire to perform his Vow, de­clared for the Throne, and under colour of Religion raised an open and barefac't Rebel­lion This was such a dreadful Conspiracy, as made David himself, though a man of such Prowess and Conduct, presently to flee for his Life. For so it was that Absalom, what with the gracefulness and beauty of his Per­son, what with his Popularity, and what with other sinister and sordid Artifices, had insi­nuated himself strangly into peoples Affe­ctions; the hearts of the men of Israel were after him, saith the Scripture; so that the Conspiracy was strong; the business was laid very broad, for the People increased continually with Absalom, though at the First he was but two hundred Men strong, as we read, 2 Sam. 15. Had not the hand of God, which com­mands the Seas, govern'd and over-rul'd this design, the King had been utterly undone, and all his Loyal Subjects that clave to him: Such a violent agitation were disaffected People in then, that they were ready to flow to him from all Quarters, like the meeting and inundation of many Rivers to make a Deluge.

But that which made this Conspiracy the more terrible, was this, that Achitophel was in the head of it. Achitophel, that had served to corrupt and debauch the young man, Absalom, and had ministred to his Lusts. A­chitophel, that False and Treacherous Villain, that had been one of Davids Counsellors; nay, the President of his Council, as 'tis plain­ly intimated, 1 Chron. 37. 34. Achitophel, that dexterous man at wickedness; such a cunning and crafty Politician, that he was lookt up­on as infallible, as an Oracle. Achitophel, that was so maliciously set against the King, that nothing would satisfie him, but the Assassi­nation of his Person. Achitophel, that hard­ned Traytor, and cursed Reprobate, that when his Counsel and Bloudy endeavours would not take, fled for it presently, and through anguish and vexation hanged him­self: (A sad End indeed, for any Rebel to be his own Executioner, though in some cases 'tis pity that an Achitophel, an inveterate, and advising Rebel should ever die in his Bed.)

When the highest Treason was formed by such working heads, when 'twas condu­cted [Page 10] by such Politick Counsels, when 'twas Ex­ecuted by such desperate Instruments, when it prosper'd on a suddain by such successful stratagems nothing could be expected, but the Kings inevitable ruine, had not the hand of God been more concern'd in the cause, than the hand of Joab.

Herein was manifested the great power of God, that notwithstanding all these Arts, Enterprises, and desired Events of wicked­ness, the whole frame of the Conspiracy was dasht down in a moment, the King was de­livered, Peace was restored, the whole Nati­on was freed from commotions and dan­gers; and all this, by the unexpected and surprizing death of Absalom, who, as God, would have it, was caught in a Wood; and hung by his Locks upon a Tree; to shew the World what a Reward all they deserve, that take up Arms, and Rebel against their Law­ful Prince.

2. You have now seen some of Davids deliverances; I mean his deliverances from Home-bred dangers, from Enemies that were in his own Country, in his own Bosome; which, as I conceive, David had an immediate eye [Page 11] upon in this Psalm, where he blest the God of his Salvation, that he and his people were not delivered as a Prey unto their Teeth.

To proceed in the next place, to the con­sideration of our own deliverances, which is the necessary subject of our Meditations this day. I know not any deliverances, that can come nearer (perhaps not so near) to those of David, either for the Quality, or for the Circumstances of them, then those won­derful deliverances from so many Sheba's and Achitophels, which God hath from time to time wrought for this Nation: Perhaps no Age, no State, no History can shew the Like instances of his good Providence; so un­wearied hath his Goodness been to our Princes, as if he had entailed his Mercy up­on Them, as he did upon David, and upon his seed for evermore. 'Tis true (a most sad and shameful Truth, God knows) such was the monstrous impiety of the Last Age, that it afforded one unpresidented, unparallel'd in­stance of Gods wrath, when that imparable Monarch, the Glory of our Reformation, and the Honour of the World, was forced to bow his head down, and to fall a Sacrifice [Page 12] to the Lusts of the most barbarous Villains, as if God had forsaken him. Yet I cannot tell, but that God, who draweth Good ma­ny times out of the greatest Evil, did in that terrible juncture design to shew men the excessive sinfulness of their Follies, in throwing away a Felicity, always to be re­flected on, but hardly ever to be recover'd to the Worlds End. However, that some Com­pensation might be made for that superlative (and otherwise irreparable) loss, by the due succession, and after Greatness of his Posterity, God hath multiplied those temporal Glories upon the Sons, which he took from the Fa­ther, and gave him a Blessed Eternity in Ex­change for. And to let the World see, that re­sistance is criminal even when 'tis prosperous, and to punish Rebellion in a second Age, tho' it escaped in the First, God hath delivered the two Royal Brothers from six troubles and seven, though Sheba and Absalom, with their wicked Confederates, joyned hand in hand to Execute a Conspiracy, which had been long a forming by the Serpentine subtilty of a twining and party colour'd Achitophel.

This Deliverance was manifestly the work [Page 13] God. For first our dangers were so immense, and yet so close and privy, that it both pas­sed the sagacity, and exceeded the reach of humane Force to prevent them; and no­thing could deliver us from them, but the Power and Wisdome of Almighty God. What were the Conspirators, but the most da­ring and desperate Villains? Men of the most desperate Principles, ready and dispos'd for the most desperate undertakings; and either so la­den with the guilt of former Crimes, or so linked together in the Communion of New ones, that nothing less could be expected, then the utmost of those mischiefs which are always acted by men of the most desperate Fortunes? And what was the Conspiracy it self, but a long studied, and now ripe De­sign, to draw in upon us a whole Deluge of Blood, to overwhelm Prince and People, with final slaughter, to destroy the very Name, as well as to stifle all further efforts of Loyalty, to bury our Monarch beyond all hopes of a Resurrection, to ingulph the Church in an eternal Chaos, so that you should hardly have seen the very Ruins of it, to dash down at once the whole frame of the present [Page 14] Government, and to leave it to Time, and Fortune, and the Decision of the Sword, what other Model should be set up? And what would have been at the end of all this, but Irreligion and Atheism, accompa­nied with the most dismal Confusions, and a perpetual War, till by weak'ning and killing one another, each Party must have given a Forreign Power the fairest opportunity of Invading and Captivating all. Nothing could destroy such a bulky, such a barbarous Design, but the Arm of God, whose extroar­dinary providence is then wont visibly to in­terpose, when dangers are so Immense; so Imminent, and otherwise Inevitable. And the Truth is, the Conspiracy was too great to prosper, too excessively monstrous to give a­ny but Atheists promises of success; the Mercy of God being such, that amidst all our Corrections, he hath still kept us from Ruin, and has always saved us from the Ax, though we have been often delivered most deservedly to the Rod.

2. Again; the Conspiracy was laid so very broad (as one of the Criminals himself con­fest) that there is little reason to doubt, but [Page 15] that innumerable numbers of disaffected men in all parts of this great Island, divers of the most Potent, many the most Active, all the most Violent of the Faction, were more or less actually engaged to carry the Design on; so that had not that good God won­derfully interposed, who commands the hearts, and stilleth the madness of the peo­ple, by his own secret, and unaccountable, but yet over-ruling and efficacious power, in all humane probability no way could have been left for innocence to escape. And when the Rebellion was now begun by the most Forward of the party, that gave the A­larm to the rest, who only waited for an invitation; to distract the whole Kingdom, Sheba had so posted himself in one part of it, and Absalom in another, that all such whose hearts were after both, had their choice gi­ven them of repairing unto either, had not God restrained and dampt their spirits, and made even resolute men, Cowards. This we must needs ascribe to the particular pro­vidence of God; especially if we do consi­der, that those ordinary Forces throughout the Nation, on which we confided for the [Page 16] curbing and suppressing of Rebels, were, (for the most part) what through cowardise, what through perfidiousness, and what through both, much prepar'd, and much more desirous themselves to turn Fugi­tives.

Not but that God permitted the Foeces of the people to gather together into a conside­rable (nay, I must call it, because we once thought it, a formidable) body; for never is there an inundation without a great scum. But yet, such was the good Providence of God to us, that all this was, more for our Terrour, then to our Injury: that by ma­king us sensible of our Conquest, God might shew us our danger; which had it not ap­peared at our Doors, might have made no more impression upon us, than a Dream in the Night.

3. And in this, Thirdly, the Hand of God was most plainly seen, that after so many preparations on the one side, after so many terrours on the other, and after so many uncertainties on both, the Scales were turn'd so in a moment, that we no sooner heard of a Conflict, than we were sure of [Page 17] a Victory, and that in such a Nice and Criti­cal juncture, that we might have thought our selves happy, might have blest God for but a Drawn Battle; they that shall duely consider what a condition the Kings affairs was in that Fatal Night, (for it was the most Fatal Night-work that ever Absa­lom had in hand) how disproportionable his Majesties Forces were in Number, how secure they were, like so many good Consciences at their Repose, how un­expectedly fire and Sword came against them, how silently he stole upon them like a Thief, whose design was to plunder a whole Kingdom; and yet how suddenly that desperate engagment ended, I do not say in a Victory, but in an utter defeat and overthrow of the whole Faction; they must needs look upon it as a Miraculous delive­rance, and grant the providence of God to have been as visible then in the Preservation of the Crown, as it had been before in the Re­stauration of the Prince himself. Lord! how in a moment was that great work done which the Government had been labouring at for so many years, and yet unsuccessfully? [Page 18] How soon were all the Councels of Achito­phel turned into foolishness; and all the Arts and Machinations of his numerous Adhe­rents brusht down all at once like a Cob­web, in the twinkling of an Eye? After so many designs against the Monarchy and the Church, which had been so Poli­tickly, and so deeply laid; after so many close and Treasonable consultations that had been held; after such along trade of Perjuries, that to the wounding of their consciences, and to the scandal of Religi­on had been practiced: after so much in­dustry that had been used in lying, Libel­ling, and debauching the World with wicked Principles; after so much pains that had been taken in setting up Magi­strates to overlay and stifle the Laws; after so much villainous Hypocrisie, which pro­fligate Souls had been guilty of even before the Altar of God; after so many corres­pondences that had been maintain'd thro'­out these Kingdoms to hew down all the pillars thereof; after such a train of Arts, which they had been laying so many years to begin and carry on a Rebellion; after such a [Page 19] vast expence of time and Mony; (Mony like that which Judas received, that may cost even the Creditors their Necks) after all this, I say, and a great deal more, the whole controversie was ended as it were at a Blow, by a few men, by an hours push; and so, that those very methods which they used for the Ruin, have effectually served to the Establishment of the Throne; they have made our Prince (though against their own Wills) a glorious King indeed, and Us his faithful Subjects, an happy and safe Peo­ple: And all, by the good Providence of our God, who for his Mercy sake govern'd and over-rul'd even Midnight surprises, and in that critical and most dangerous juncture kept us All from being the prey to the fury, or cruelties of those Abaddons.

4. And yet, Fourthly, the Providence of God did not stop here; but as his bare and out­stretched Arm had now unexpectedly defeat­ed those villainous Enterprises, so to Crown the Victory after a signal manner, his ven­geance pursued and overtook the Men, even the most Principal Traytors, to deliver up those to the Law, who had escaped the Sword. [Page 20] This was a singular and very remarkable Work of God; because on this our future Peace and Felicity did depend: and to see how strangely God doth sometimes bring his great purposes to pass, this Last, this grea­test Work was done after a most Providenti­al manner, and by the meanest and most or­dinary Instruments. For as that Sheba of the North was after a Months Invasion, taken at last by three Servants, in the Water; so that Absalom of the West was after his Months Invasion, or thereabout, caught also by three Men of the like Figure and Condition, and that like Absalom the First, in a Wood, a­mong Brakes and Trees; and hereby God shewed his just displeasure against All the Rebels both ways, by exposing the most ho­nourable of them to Disgrace and Shame, as well as by bringing them to capital punish­ment. And thus by a Wonderful and an uninterrupted course of Gods blessed provi­dence, he hath in a very short time wrought one of the greatest Deliverances for us, and our Posterity; these having been (we hope) the Last Efforts of that wicked Cause, which for many years hath made such mischiefs [Page 21] in the World, but (God be blessed) was brought at length to it's extream Agonies, and is now Dead: Dead, and I hope Buried, till the day of Final Reckoning, when it's more valiant Patriots will rise up in judgment, and upbraid these for the less fortunate successes of their more Open and Notorious Wicked­nesses.

That I have thus particularly observed the several steps of Gods Providence in this case; is not only to express mine own deep and humble Sense of those manifold Mer­cies which never fail us; or to quicken the like Sense in you, and to excite the Endea­vours of us all, to give due Testimonies and Expressions of the most Religious Hearts; of Hearts Penitent for those Sins which drew the point of the Sword upon us, and Thankful for our speedy and effectual Deli­verance from it.

Though these are Eucharistical acts, very suitable to the purport of this day; very necessary to be performed by us, for the in­finite goodness of God to us, when we were in trouble: yet there are three other things, which I would by way of practical Infe­rence [Page 22] draw out of this whole considerati­on; and methinks we are so plainly taught them by this our late Deliverance, as if God himself did purposely intend to direct us to these three things with his own Hand.

1. That we carry in our minds a Fixt and Awful Remembrance of a Deity. Good God! That ever Atheism should prevail in such a Land as this, where not only all Demonstra­tive Arguments have been used to prove a Being infinitely Wise, Just, and Good, to Preside over the World, but moreover where the Presence of God hath been so of­ten, so long, and in all the vicissitudes and changes of this Sublunary World, so constant­ly seen and manifested, as if he had taken up his Abode with us, as if he had said of this Kingdom, as he did of Zion, Psal. 132. 14. This is my rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have a delight therein.

And yet I may say truly, but to our great shame, that since the Creation of the Universe there never was such an Athei­stical Generation, no not in the most dark, in the most distant, in the most infidel parts of the World, as this Nation hath [Page 23] groaned under of late years. And yet 'tis observable, though it be very strange, that none among us have pretended grea­ter concernment for the Reformation, for the interest, for the security of our establisht Religion, than those who have bid open defiance to all Religion whatsoever. Men of the most Licentious Lives, of the most seared consciences, of the most profligate Reputation: Open Drunkards, profest A­dulterers, Notorious Cheats, Forsworn Rebels, Impudent Lyars, perfidious Hypo­crites, and but the other day Scoffers at God, and at the very shew of piety. 'Tis enough to move the meekest, the most patient man on Earth to consider, what foreheads of steel and Adamant those im­pious Wretches have, that could take the confidence thus to gull and impose upon the World by a seeming zeal for Religion; and especially, that when they were now up in Arms for it, they should Ravish Virgins, commit Sacriledge, and drink the most vil­lainous Healths in the Bowls of the Sanctua­ry, and even before the Altar of God: such a barbarous profanation, as Belshazzar him­self [Page 24] would have dreaded amidst all his Con­cubines.

'Tis no wonder that the righteous God did presently write Mene, Mene, upon the Plaist­er of the Walls, and made a very short Work with that Kingdom, which they thought to have had; for who could think, that such monstrous Impieties could prosper? And when God did on a suddain, and after such a Providential and Signal manner, blast the designs of those wicked men, he did not on­ly vindicate his own Holiness, and gain him­self Honour upon those sons of Belial that were Rebels against Himself, as well as a­gainst their Soveraign; but he did that too, which was enough to Convince even the Actors of those wickednesses, that verily there is a Reward for the Righteous, and that there is a God that Judgeth the Earth. In which re­spect God was so kind and good to those his Enemies too, that he made their very Pu­nishments to Instruct them, and took a direct course to convince the Atheist by defeating, and plagging and delivering up the Tray­ter: I pray God, all such of them as yet sur­vive may be throughly sensible of his Pro­vidence, [Page 25] and make a Christian use of it, while it is called to day; and that all such as have not God in their thoughts, may learn once to make him their Fear, by impartial­ly considering the Exemplary fall of Absalom (if I have not done him too Great an Honor in calling him Absalom, whose persidious and mean spirit never argued him to be the son of a Prince.)

2. As for those, in the Second place, who own and acknowledg a Diety, and yet are apt to stagger (as many among us of late have done) in their belief of the Divine Providence, as if our trusting in God were a thing of small value, as if we and our Religion were in a dangerous case, as if ordinary means would do us no good, and as if nothing but violent and indirect course could secure our Civil and Sacred Interests; in the Name of God let such men seriously reflect upon this our Late Deliverance, and thereby learn that excellent Wisdom, in all Cases and Circum­stances, still to commit themselves to God in well doing.

That which was the Ground (or, at least, the Pretence) for the late Rebellion, was this. [Page 26] Unreasonable Jealousie, which some weak men have entertain'd, that the Ark of God, which hath been (blessed be God) fixed in this Kingdom, hath been so Glorious since the Reformation, is now in a tottering, in a falling Condition, so that nothing but strong and Armed Hands can support it. This, you know, is the Common Plea, which Male­contents and Rebels use for their disobedi­ence to, and resistance of the Lords Anoint­ed. Now I am apt to believe, that in work­ing this late marvellous Deliverance for us, one of Gods good purposes was, to signifie from Heaven, that as he hath been all along with our Fathers, so He is still with Us, that in all circumstances and junctures, he is a­ble to take care of us, and that his good Providence shall not be wanting to us, if we be not wanting to our Duty, but adorn our Faith with sincere obedience to Himself and his Vice-gerent, and so put our Trust and Confidence in him, as good and honest hearted Christians ought to do.

Give me leave to deal plainly with you; for the condition of the Times requires plain-dealing.

It hath been generally believed, that a Prince, who is in the communion of another Church, must needs endeavour the altera­tion of the Establisht Religion, if it be diffe­rent from his own. Men are ready to think it must necessarily be thus, and that it cannot possibly be otherwise. But this is a very great mistake: and to prove that it is so, I appeal to a most memorable story, that I perceive is not taken notice of, and yet the truth of it is acknowledg'd by one, that is well known to be of Republican Principles, and that a while ago wrote a very Seditious Book, to Subvert our Monarchy, and to reduce our Government to the Venetian form; I mean, the Author of Plato Redivivus. That very man tells us (pag. 207) that a few years since, a Duke of Hanover was reconciled to the Roman Church, and even went to Rome to abjure the Protestant Religion. Yet upon his re­turn home, he lived and govern'd as he did before, without the least animosity of his Subjects for the change he had made, and without any endeavour of his to introduce any change in his Government or People, but reigned peaceably fourteen years, and then [Page 28] dying left the Establisht Government and Religion entire to his Brother, the Bishop of Osnaburg, who was a Protestant. Here now is plain experience and matter of Fact, which shews that 'tis very possible for a Prince to Reign very quietly and peaceably over a Church, that is of a different Faith in some things from his own. Consider this instance well: it may be a good means, by the bles­sing of God, to remove those in ordinate jea­lousies, which are so destructive both of the Kings and the Peoples peace, and which we should carefully stifle for that reason; especi­ally since our Prince hath given us so many Solemn Assurances, and in all his actions hither­to hath given Real Demonstrations of his since­rity. A Prince, not of Absaloms temper, un­stable, fraudulent, false; but one of that True Honor and Greatness, that he never yet deceiv­ed any part of mankind, and I am perswaded never will; unless it be in one point; I mean as to their Fears: those indeed, he hath de­ceived already, and truly the World is bound with all Thankfulness to forgive him that.

But I was speaking of the Providence of God and of casting our selves upon it in all Cir­cumstances [Page 29] and Conditions. And do but consider, I beseech you, what is it, but the Providence of God, that all Princes and peo­ple live by: And what is it, but that wonder­ful Providence which hath made our Prince and us to out-live these late dangers, which threatned us with no less, then utter and re­mediless Destruction? Here we have had fresh Experience of Gods over-ruling Providence at Home, in a Deliverance, that may trouble an inquisitive Historian to find out it's paral­lel; if you take it all together, and consider how black the Cloud over our Heads was, and how suddainly it increased from the big­ness of a mans hand, and what Assurances so many Sons of Belial went upon, and how ready the hearts of vast multitudes more were to run to their assistance; and what En­couragements they would have had upon the least success, and how near that Success was; and yet how this great Complication of dangers was broken, dissipated, and utterly destroyed in a moment, in the turn of an hand, in the twinkling of an eye, as if God was ma­king us a new world after the same manner he made this, when he only spake the word, and it was done.

What can there be more, to encourage us to an intire and constant dependance up­on the good Providence of God? Especial­ly, if we remember what David said, when he reflected upon that satisfaction and ease of mind which was the result of his Integri­ly, This I had, because I have kept thy Com­mandments, Psal. 119. 56. And this, perhaps, We have had too as the Reward of our in­tegrity. For though we are far from ever owning the doctrine of Merits, yet 'tis not immodest to think, that God, who hath a Respect unto the Meek, Regard to the Lowly, and a Favour to all such as are true of heart, hath in this our late Deliverance shew'd some regard and favour to our Zeal in the late Times for true Allegiance, Justice, and Honesty, when others did not care what e­vil they did, as long as it tended unto good. Though for a good Conscience-sake we ran the greatest hazards, and were wrapt up in the greatest difficulties, and yet had but very little Encouragements before us, yet (blessed be God) we were mindful of our Duty, and Resolved to Live and Die by it, and acted like good Christians, though seemingly at [Page 31] all manner of disadvantage; and all this upon that firm trust and confidence we had in the Providence of our God. And now we see his Providence hath not failed us, nor have our hopes made us ashamed; but God hath marvellously done the blessed Work for us, and strangely restored us to a blessed condition, while his just judge­ments have been such upon the Enemies of our peace, that all those Arts and Methods which they employed for Our ruin, have after a most stupendious and unaccounta­ble manner turned to their Own. I dare say, that if you trace over all those wick­ed practices which they have used for seve­ral years last past to undermine the Throne, to blow up the Church, to destroy and overthrow All; you will find that true, which David observed of such men in his days, that they are sunk down in the pit that they made; that in the Net, which they had hid, their own foot is taken; that they are caught in the devices which they themselves imagined for others, that they are fallen in­to the ditch, that they digged with their own hands; that their mischiefs are returned up­upon [Page 32] their own heads, and their violent dealings come down upon their own Pates. Blessed be God that it is so; it is marvellous in our eyes.

3. Lastly therefore, that I may conclude all by applying my self to such as hate the sins of Faction and unfaithfulness; let the consideration of this astonishing deliverance, strengthen our hopes and confidence still, that God will perfect that good work which he hath wrought in us. I was upright before God, saith David, upon the consideration of his de­liverances, in Psalm 18. Therefore hath the Lord recompensed me according to my righte­ousness, according to the cleanness of my hands in his eye sight. With the merciful thou wilt shew thy self merciful; with an upright man thou wilt shew thy self upright; With the pure, thou wilt shew thy self pure, and with the fro­ward thou wilt learn frowardness.

The course of Gods Providence is to go along with men in their own ways, to deal with them as they carry themselves towards that Rule of Life, which he hath laid before them; and to protect, or cast them out of his hands, according as their Trust, or their [Page 33] distrust is in his providence. Therefore if we do but unanimously apply our hearts carefully to observe his Will, and Act ac­cording to the Laws of honesty and Religi­on, we have no Reason to doubt, but God will not only preserve that establisht Go­vernment and Religion which are so dear to us, but will moreover fix and re-settle both upon such sure foundations, that we shall be once again the honour and envy of Chri­stendom.

As far as I have observed, the whole Histo­ry of England doth not afford us an instance of Gods providence that can come any thing near that account which relates to our present Soveraign and his Royal Brother and Prede­cessor of ever blessed Memory; unless it be that single story of King Alfred the Great. A Prince of that Learning, Wisdom, Clemency, Sweetness of Nature, and other such excel­lent Vertues, as really made him an Honour and Ornament to the Throne. And yet that excellent Prince was once reduced to those miserable straights, partly by the Invasion of Enemies from abroad, and partly through the treachery of Rebels and Deserters at [Page 34] home, that he was forced to put himself into the disguise once of a common Soldier, ano­ther time of an Herds man, and at last to ab­scond for a considerable time in the West, in a poor Cottage among Woods and Moors; a sad and woful place for a Crowned Head to rest in: And yet, such was his Religious dependence upon God, that though he was forsaken by his friends, environed with his Enemies, and brought to those extreme and shame­ful necessities, that his Mother and him­self were hardly able to subsist, yet he doubted not but providence would one day restore him to his just Grandieur. And so it was, that in that very mean Conditi­on, in that most Obscure Place he began the Recovery of his Fortunes; and 'tis observa­ble, that the Place was in those very Moors in Somersetshire between Taunton and Bridg­water: There he began the new foundation of his Kingdom raising it on still by de­grees, till in a little time he became the sole and absolute Monarch of this Nation, and made it a most flourishing Kingdom, and gave many the most Excellent Laws that we enjoy at this Hour. [Page 35] We know, too well, to what Miseries, Dangers, and reproachful Necessities, the Sins of this Nation exposed the Off-spring of that Royal and Incomparable Martyr, King Charles the First, of whom the World was not worthy. I need not speak of the Royal Oak, nor of the rest of those straights, which were not unlike those of King Alfred. Notwith­standing all those difficulties, the Providence of God hath been over that our late, and this our present Soveraign; so that he hath not only preserv'd them Both out of the hands of their bloud-thirsty and barbarous Enemies, but hath moreover shew'd his Power in Ex­alting the Throne from so Low, to such a Lofty State, as if Alfred the Great sate in it a­gain: and this we owe to the singular Pro­vidence of God in giving his Majesty this most memorable Conquest over His and Our Enemies at King Alfreds quarters.

As we are to bless God for his unexpressi­ble Mercy, so let us ever put our firm hope and confidence in him; being careful still to act like good Christians, and honest hearted Subjects, and then not doubting, but that all things will work together (as hitherto they have done) for our Good.

[Page 36] I conclude all with those Triumphant expressions Apocal. 19. Hallelujah, Salvati­on, and Glory, and Honour, and Power be a­scribed unto the Lord our God, for True and Righteous are his Judgments. To him be gi­ven by us and all Churches of Christ, all Honour, Thanksgiving, and Adoration for evermore: Amen.

FINIS.

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