Jovis, octavo die Novembris, 1666.

ORDERED,

THat the Thanks of this House be returned to Doctor Perrinchief; and Doctor Sandcroft, Dean of St. Pauls; for the Sermons by them Preached Yesterday before this House; and that they be desired to Print their Sermons: And Mr. Crouch is to return the Thanks of the House to Doctor Perrinchief; and Sir John Berkenhead to Dr. Sandcroft; with the desire of the House to each of them to Print their Sermons.

Will. Goldisbrough, Cler. Dom. Com.

A SERMON Preached before the Honourable House OF COMMONS, At St. Margarets Westminster, Nov. 7 Being the Fast-day appointed for the Plague of Pestilence.

By Richard Perrinchief, D. D.

Published by Order of the said House.

LONDON, Printed by E. T. for Richard Royston, Book-seller to the Kings most Excellent Majesty in St. Bartholomews Hospital, 1666.

Lev. 26.18.

And if you will not yet for all this hearken unto me, then will I punish you seven times more for your sins.

ALthough God hath laid Obli­gations enough upon the Souls of men to serve him; though there is such an evi­dent wisdom in his Counsels, such a beauty of Holiness shines in his Law, as are sufficient to ravish our Reason to a compliance: Yet men seldom or never are prevailed upon without something that concerns the Sense. For the Out­ward man must be invited by somewhat that will allure the carnal affections, or terrified by what represents the loss of their satisfaction. Therefore God was pleased so far to stoop to the infirmities [Page 2]of mankind, that when he gave his Law, which in it self is holy, Rom. 7.12.just, and good, he added to his Precepts those Promises and Threats, which should assure the more sensual part, that there are all just and solid comforts in Obedience, and that to Disobey shall be neither safe nor plea­sant. The Gospel also, though it be a more plain and open institution for the spirits of men, and a direction for the life to come, 1 Tim. 4. 8. yet invites Godliness with the promises of this life; and hath the san­ction of Indignation, Rom. 2.8, 9.and wrath, tribula­tion, and anguish upon every soul of man that doth evil.

More particularly in this Chapter are proposed those Blessings which shall make the sincere in heart rejoyce, and crown those heads that are wise with the fear of God: and then afterwards, from ver. 14. to the end of ver. 17. he denounces the several effects of his An­ger which shall weary and grieve the ungodly, and consume the sinner.

But then, his infinite Wisdome fore­seeing the variety of events which should be from his Judgments, and that though [Page 3]some in their affliction should seek God early, Hos. 5 15. yet others would not regard when his hand was lifted up, Isa. 26.11. Chap. 9.13. nor turn to him that smote them; doth therefore in this Text declare how dismall shall be the issue of such a stupidity: And if ye will not, &c. then will I punish you seven times more for your sins.

The Text consists of 1. A Suppositi­on, And if you will not for all this hearken unto me: 2. A Consequence, Then will I punish you seven times more for your sins.

In the Supposition you may observe, First, The Persons concerned; Ye, who have already been punished, that have had terrours appointed over you, and against whom God hath set his face. Secondly, What is supposed of these Persons; That they will not hearken, not repent, and turn to him in obedience, but continue still in the perversness of their waies. Thirdly, The aggravation of this perversness; That it was in contempt of all those discoveries of God's Wisdom, Power, and Goodness, which he doth manifest in his Judg­ments: For all this.

In the Consequence are, First, The Consequent, Punishment; I will Punish. Secondly, The Necessity or Certainty of the Consequence, I Will punish. Third­ly, The Terrour or Measure of it; Se­ven times more. Fourthly, The Justice and Equity of it; For your sins. The consideration of these parts, with a re­flection on them how far they concern us, will be proper to the Occasion of our present meeting.

I. The Supposition, That a people on whom the Judgments of God have passed may yet not hearken to him that smote them, nor seek the Lord of Hosts by re­pentance. This may well be supposed, because it is possible. For all the Provi­dences of God, how apt soever they are in their own nature to affect the spirits, and awaken the consciences of men, yet being intended by God only as mo­tives, perswasives, and convictions, and not designed as instruments of violence to force the Soul, leave them still in the natural liberty of their wills. His Mer­cies indeed are as cords of love, to elicite and draw forth our affections; to raise [Page 5]longing and panting passions for the enjoyment of that fountain from whence flow such pleasant streams: Yet they are but as the bands of man, work in such a manner as is fit for a reasonable Soul; not leading it in chains, not dragging it as a slave. Therefore how much so­ever they may ravish a pious man, yet they may be despised by him who is proud to do wickedly.

So likewise the Judgments of God, though they may consume all those things about us for which we sin, cut off the darlings of our lusts, and the vile prices of our damnation, shew us what bitterness is in the end of transgression; yet they may leave the heart of man un­wounded, without the least impression of a true and penitent sorrow. And if the heart of man be yet left free to it self, there may flow from it the issues of death, Evil thoughts, murthers, Mat. 15.19.adulte­ries, fornications, thefts, false-witness, and blasphemies, and all those other pol­lutions which defile a man. So that all the terrours of Judgments, the fall of Heaven, the shakings of the Earth, the [Page 6]ruines of the dissolved world, may leave the sinner where they found him; ama­zed, perchance, and terrified, yet still infamous, with an inclination to all his abominations, which waits for the next opportunity of his shame.

But it were well for mankind if this supposition were grounded only upon a possibility, that it were only a specula­tion, and never practicable; for we have too many sad Histories, and too frequent Instances of others, besides our selves, whom the Judgments of God have not altered. The Deluge of waters in the time of Noah was the most universal and terrible Judgment that God ever brought upon mankind; yet did it not cleanse all that out-lived it, and were saved from it: for Cham, who had been one of the witnesses how soon the glory of this world vanishes, how all the ac­quisitions of bloud and violence were swept away by the opening of the win­dows of Heaven, how all the frolick joyes at Marrying and giving in Marri­age, all the lusts which by eating and drinking were nourished to a prodigy, [Page 7]concluded with shrieks and cries at the breaking up of the great Deep; he who beheld how fruitless and vain were all the labours of men to secure themselves from indignation, and escape the wrath of an incensed God, being forced at last to submit to the execution, and end their daies with horrour and lamentation; he who had an experience that there was no safety but in righteousness, Gen. 7.1. that it alone had made an Ark for a Sanctuary to his Father and his Family: yet even this man entred upon the new world with all the sins of the old, and revived those impieties and injustices for which God before had cut men off from the face of the earth. The Israelites were as it were pulled up by the roots from the Land of their Fathers, carried in chains to Babylon, and there made to serve so heavie a service, as rendred the Egyptian bondage inconsiderable, Jer. 23.7, 8. and was imbittered with the various reproa­ches of their God: Yet this very peo­ple, when they were delivered in so mi­raculous a manner, that they could scarce believe their own happiness, and [Page 8]doubted their freedom to be but a day­dream, Psal. 126.1. and their safety too great for a reality; yet soon declared by their pra­ctices, that they had left nothing but their chains at Babylon, and came home loaded with their old crimes of Vio­lence, Oppression, and Uncleanness, for which God before had made their Land to mourn. It is needless to recite more instances; what hath been already done, may be done again. It deferves our consideration to enquire into those dreadful causes that bring this possibility to an actual existence; that render in­effectual to the reforming of our lives the Judgments of God, either as threat­ned, or executed.

1. The bare threatning of Judgments is one of those methods the Divine wis­dom thinks fit to use to draw men off from their sins, to warn before he strikes, and to brandish his Sword over our heads before he wounds them, that if by this means men would be brought to repent of the evil of their doings, he would repent of the evil he had spo­ken against them. This was he pleased [Page 9]to do in the Old Testament very particu­larly: He sent his Servants the Prophets to such and such a Nation or People, that they should deal clearly, and plainly charge them with their sins, denounce Judgments in proportion to them, and in particular determine the limits of the time wherein they should come to pass; as, within three years, Isa. 16.14. Jon. 3.4.as years of an hire­ling, within forty daies. And yet many of these were not regarded, so that the threatnings being despised, the executi­on took place on them.

In the times of the New Testament, though God is not so particular, yet is he as positive. Rom. 1 13. For the general decla­rations of his wrath against all ungodli­ness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness, atte­sted unto by so many several instances of such that have faln under this wrath, leave every man to conclude God's an­ger against his own particular sins, as certainly as if a Prophet had been sent on purpose unto him. For it is not the appearance of a Prophet, nor his particular application, that makes the [Page 10]threatnings of God effectual; because then all would have been prevailed upon to repentance to whom the Pro­phets did address themselves, which it is plain they were not. Or more certain; for no one particular Prophet can possibly have so many evidences of his being sent by God: as there are of the whole Scripture, of Jesus himself, and all the Prophets which spake by his Spirit. So that whosoever is not moved at all by these threatnings of God in his Word, though general, the same person would also despise a Prophet, had he no other business from Heaven but to forewarn him what should be the issue of his sins.

Besides, these general denunciations may by prudent observation be fixed to particular Times, and Persons. Our Saviour told the Jews, it was as possible for them to know the signs of the times, Mat. 16.3. Luk. 12.56. that is, the approach of Judgments, as to tell what weather the face of the skie will wear-the next day. For there are some previous Circum­stances in the state of affairs, in the lives and conversations of men, by which [Page 11]wise persons may gather, Publick cāla­mities and ruines are hard at hand; such as are, the general debaucheries of mens manners, the impudence of sins, obstina­cie in the prosecution of our lusts, con­tempt of the worship of God, either cherishing, or chastising us. By these, and the like, the approaches of common distress, and troubles are as conspicuous, as a following storm or tempest is in the gathering together of the blacker clouds. 2 Chro. 25.14, 15, 16. When Amaziah the King of Judah was so strangely infatuated as to forsake the God who had given him a wonderful victory, and to worship those of his defeated enemies, which could not deliver their own people out of his hand, and was so obstinate in his follie as to terrifie the reproving Prophet; the Prophet concludes from thence that his destruction was nigh, for it is said, that he forbare, and said, I know that God hath determined to destroy thee, because thou hast done this, and hast not hearkened unto my counsel. Nor are such Conclusions to be drawn from mens practises by Prophets only: Macchiavel [Page 12](who was conceived to be no great ad­mirer of God's waies of Providence, yet being true to his own observations) sets this down as a rule of Augurie of the state of Nations, Disc. l. 1. c. 12. Nissuno maggiore inditio si puote havere dalla rouina d'una pro­vincia, che redere di­spregiato il culto divino. We cannot have a greater sign of the ruine of a people than to see the Worship of God despised. Thus many men prudentially comparing to­gether the Word of God with his most usual Providences, and applying them to the times and lives of men, have been able to foresee and declare those future events, which have as certainly come to pass as if a present Inspiration had enabled them to prophecie. So that the threatnings of God, how gene­ral soever they are, may yet be brought home to the hearts and consciences of particular persons, to move them to a serious repentance, without the expe­ctation of Prodigies, or some porten­tuous Signs from Heaven, which are dark and ambiguous in their event. But if these prove ineffectual to this great end, the fault is not to be im­puted to any defect in the Divine goodness, as having waved his former [Page 13]methods of long-suffering and pati­ence, and intending to surprize us, but to the various and strong cor­ruptions of men, which truly are those hardening causes, that make them not hearken unto God. And such are these:

1. Some harden themselves by Infide­lity, and that wisdom of the World which is now in Vogue; Not to believe any thing but what brings a demonstration to our reason, or satisfies our sense to an assent: therefore because things fu­ture are not to be demonstrated, nor can our senses be certain of that which is not yet in being, they feoff at the Oracles of God, and make their sport at the affirmations of Heaven. So that it is unlikely they will be forced from the pleasure of their lusts, Gen. 19.14. by that which is the object of their scorn. Thus Lot's Sons-in-Law discrediting the news he brought them, that the Lord will de­stroy this City, (for he seemed to them as one that mocked;) they continued in So­dom, and the sins of it, till fire from Heaven did, too late, convince them of [Page 14]the truth of his kind intelligence. In­fidelity hatches our lusts, as Cockatrice-Eggs, till they become flying Serpents. Look about you, and observe how impudent they are in their sins, how impenitent in their lives, how regardless of the publick miseries, who mock at Religion, and draw matter of rallery from the Scriptures; who scoff at past Pro­phesies as antiquated Stories, tales that never had accomplishments; and endea­vour to impose upon the securer world a dis-esteem of all the threats of God, as the troublesome dreams of some hungry melancholy Priests, who divine for a re­ward. These scoffs you know make up a great part of the vain discourse of many in our Age; whose Infidelity arises not from a want of evidence in the truths of God, for there are more degrees of probability in all his threatnings, than there are of desirableness in the things for which they sin: but because they are so far in love with their lusts, that, like importunate Adulterers, they quarrel, and duel all those who would perswade or divorce them from their [Page 15]unlawful embraces; so that Infidelity, and Lust, do mutually spawn, and nou­rish each the other.

2. Others are not wrought upon by the denunciation of Judgments through a too fond Credulity, a believing too much. For howsoever they are perswaded; that what God hath said shall certainly come to pass; yet, cheating themselves into an Imagination, that they are his choisest Servants, his dearest Children, they are confident he intends nothing but smiles and embraces for them, and that the an­ger which he threatens is to fall to the lot of others. And this perswasion arises from some peculiar opinion, or practice of theirs in Religion, different from the rest of mankind; on which while they put too high a value, they be­lieve it commends them so to the Love of God, that though they do those things for which the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience, Eph. 5.6. yet by some vain words they are cheated to think, that they are chosen for his Jacob, and separated to be his Israel, and that God sees no Iniquity in them: and when [Page 16]they believe God so kind to them, they will not be less kind to themselves. And it is no wonder if such persons are not changed by the threatnings of God, since they presume there is nothing in them can provoke his anger. Thus when the Prophets told the Jews of those several destructions that should fall upon them, how Plagues should consume them from the earth, and yet a wrath pursue them beyond the Grave, they trusted in lying words, they believed without any ground, Jer. 7.4. saying, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord, &c. viz. that the Lord dwelling among them as in his Holy place, and they being a people nigh unto him, none of those things should happen unto them, so that instead of hearkening to God by repen­tance, they more provoked God by in­juries to those his servants.

3. Some render all the threatnings of God fruitless, through their shortness of discourse, whereby they fool them­selves into a presuming upon his mercy: they commit the Attributes of God, and to all declarations of his future [Page 17]justice they oppose, that God is Gracious and Merciful, plenteous in Goodness, that he is not extreme to mark what is done amiss, that satisfied with his own Recti­tude he descends not to mark our follies: and, as he is the most perfect Being, whose glory is Goodness, that is, an incom­prehensible Inclination to do good to his Creatures; anger and fury is not his: neither can so Gracious a God appoint eternal torments for punishments of finite creatures, or temporary trans­gressions: thus they baffle his Veracity with his Clemency. Or else they make his Long-suffering to wear out the sense of his Justice: as those Scoffers, 2 Pet. 3.3, 4. who walking after their own lusts, said, Where is the promise of his Coming? For since the Fathers fell asleep all things continue as they were from the beginning of the Creation. Such wilful ignorance as this made the unfaithful Steward to argue from his Lord's delaying to come, Luk. 12.15. that either he would not call him to an ac­count; or that he might have leasure enough to beat the men-servants, and the maidens, and to eat and drink with the [Page 18]drunken. How far such foolish Colle­ctions as these will prevail to harden mens hearts, the Wise-man tells us, Eccl. 8.11. Because sentence against an evil work is not speedily executed, there­fore the hearts of men are fully set in them to do evil.

These are the most common and or­dinary waies which harden the hearts of men against all the severity of Gods threatnings, and render them as ineffectual to a change of life, as if they were deemed but causeless curses that never come, as the passionate Rants of weaker persons, who would terrifie where they cannot perswade, and frighten those whom they cannot force. These keep the finner more close to his sinful enjoyments; suggest unto him a more than vulgar wisdom not to be shaken as a fool with words, and a mistaken courage, which is but obstinacy; not to be Hector'd out of his carnal satisfactions. And as the Corruptions of men, or their common Enemy, hath found out these arts to de­lude God's goodness and long-suffering in the use of his threatnings; so

2. There be various causes which do hinder the converting effects of his Power, manifested in the execution of Judgments: so that they leave no more impression on the hearts of men, than Arrows do of their paths in the air; their presence may cause some disturbance, but leave no lasting alteration: For

1. Some men clude the convictions which Judgments bring along with them, by a kind of Scepticism; doubting and questioning whether publick calami­ties, and common miseries, come from God? or whether they be the producti­on of natural causes, which in certain Periods of time have their conjunction? or the event of a fortuitous concur­rence of malignant agents, free from the management of any superiour, and de­signing Cause? Thus men affecting a repute of knowledge above the Vulgar, the esteem of Speculativi in searching all the ressorts of nature to trace the effect, and abhorring any resolutions into Pro­vidence as the Sanctuary for ignorance, and confession of it; they first doubt, and afterwards (their Lusts precipitating [Page 20]the determination, and inclining the ballance where they may have least check,) deny, that God was at all concer­ned in our miseries. And therefore if it were not he that smote us, why should we turn unto him? Why should we forsake a beloved sin, to seek a Lord, who doth neither good, nor evil? Whereas God owns the works of natu­ral causes, as well as those whose speed and greatness discover his immediate hand. The Plague of Locusts was con­fessed to be as much an effect of his in­dignation on Egypt, as any of the other prodigious Punishments; for they desi­red Moses to intercede for their remo­val: Exod. 10.13, 19. yet it is said, that an East wind brought them, and a West wind carried them away. But when God hides him­self behind a traverse of immediate In­struments, and wraps up his all-dispo­sing hand in a cloud; when, as the Psalmist saith, Psal. 97.2. Clouds and darkness are round about him; we seldom consider the Righteousness and Judgment, which are the habitation of his Throne. Thus while God God suffered the Devil to rival him [Page 21]in power, so that the Magicians could vie wonders with the servants of the most High, Pharaoh concluded the Lord's hand was not in the Plagues; he discre­dited the Credentials of Moses, which were his Miracles, as the issues of some common art, and rejected the Embassie; for it is said, Exod. 7.23. That he turned and went into his house, neither did he set his heart to this also.

2. Sometimes, though men acknow­ledge the evil which befalls them was the Lords doing, and through a cloud of tears behold the brightness of Gods power, yet they render Judgments in­effectual to their amendment, by assign­ing them as vengeances for other mens sins, and punishments for the abomina­tions of those who differ from them; from whence they conclude, Repentance to be the duty of others, and there needs no change in themselves. The several parties of men do in common miseries, as routed Souldiers in a defeat: trans­fer the blame from themselves, and lay the cause of an overthrow upon anothers shoulders. How often have ye heard [Page 22]every one of those Judgments which have faln upon this Land, by men of different Parties charged upon the sins of their contrary Faction? This side thinks the Rebellion of the other, and the innocent bloud they have shed, did cry so loud for vengeance, that the Al­mighty could not rest till he arose to avenge it on the Inhabitants of the earth. That side imagines, the Luxury, profane­ness, and impieties of their Opposites to wearie the patience of God, till he take away our comforts, and strip us of all our glories. One Sect believes, that all the sad Providences under which we groan, are but the inseparable concomi­tants of a war which God now wages against Antichrist, whom they think is to be seated among those who are dissenters from them. The other is as firmly per­swaded, that the Schisms, Haeresies, Blasphemies of the Holy Spirit; the neglect of Publick worship, the malicious, and designed Disbedience to lawful Ma­gistrates, the Ʋncharitableness and Envy of their fellow Subjects, which the others are infamous with, have justly [Page 23]provoked the God of pure eyes to make his anger smoak against such an infatua­ted and perverse Generation as this is. Thus every Party confines Gods love and hatred by their own measures, and are so far in love with what is theirs, that they think God doats upon their Cause as much as they do themselves: and therefore suppose he calls others on­ly to return; their business is to stand still. Whereas all and every Party, yea, the best of men, have sins enough to justifie Gods greatest severity: his in­dignation calls for all our tears, and his Judgments make no difference. In the Pestilence we saw the same pit devour the spotted Carkasses, that had before ranged themselves under contrary Perswasions; nor was the destroying Angel more ten­der of one Congregation than another. The late Fire preyed upon the stock and dwellings of the Orthodox, and Fanatick; and the houses of pri­vate Meetings, together with publick Churches, were mingled in the ashes. And should our provoked God give us over into our Enemies hands, they would [Page 24]spare no Sect, that had wherewithall to gratifie their lust and rage. Therefore in such Common Judgments we can never do our duty, till every one be affected as the conscious Prophet, and take up his confession, Jon. 1.12. I know that for my sake this tempest, this misery, is come upon you. And could we be so happy to attain to a common repentance, and walk by the same rule in turning to the Lord, it would remove that other Judgment of our Divisions, which is pregnant with many mischiefs; for, the Apostle assures us, Phil. 3.15. If in any thing else ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal this even unto you.

3. Some men by their very delive­rance from a Judgment, through a prodi­gious folly, become impenitent after it: accustomed dangers harden the escaped fool oftentimes to a stupidity; the ru­der Mariners, that have weathered out several storms, will steal, blaspheme, and be drunk in the next tempest. Dion Cassius tells us, That Catiline, being ac­cused for the murders, and rapines com­mitted on those whom Sylla had [Page 25]proscribed, and escaping the condem­nation under which others fell for the same crimes, [...], Dio. Rom. Hist. l. 37. did from this grow much worse, and by this did at last perish. So we often see him that hath come off safe from one Judgment, careless to avoid another by the amendment of his life; especially if he can any way fancie that he owes his deliverance to some poor Art of his own: for then he promises himself, that without the austerities of Repentance, or making himself any longer a burden to Providence, the same Arts, or the like, shall be his constant refuge. And wicked men are alwaies confident in their own counsels. The Prophet charges the impenitencie of the scornful men of Jerusalem upon the confidence of their own Arts, Isa. 28.15. For they said, We have made a Covenant with Death, and with Hell are we at agreement; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, it shall not come nigh us, &c. Besides this, the prospect of some advantages which a deliverance represents, takes off all thoughts of repenting in those that are escaped, and [Page 26]employs them to gather up the relicks of anothers ruine, the spoils of a common wrack, to repair the breaches of their own fortunes, or encrease their estates. So that they conceive a publick Judg­ment to lose its nature as to them, and that it was but a kindness of heaven to advance their private interest; and there­fore they interpret those loud Calls to re­pentance to signifie in their sense, invita­tions to eat, drink, and be merry, because they have more goods laid up for them. Thus the men of Samaria turned not to him that smote them, because they saw an advantage arise from the blow: Isa 9. 10. For they said in the pride and stoutness of their hearts, The bricks are faln down, but we will build with hewn stone; the Sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into Cedars. By these, and several such like follies, do many men transform their deliverance it self to a greater Judgment, and make the saving of some temporal concernment, the occasion of their spi­ritual ruine.

Lastly, Corruptions and Lusts having got strength by frequent satisfactions, [Page 27]and by a constant practice arrived to ha­bits of sin, are not to be taken off by common and ordinary means; but are as the Leprosie, when got into the walls, Lev. 14.45. that was not to be removed but by pul­ling down the whole house. The in­stances of impossibilities are used to ex­press the difficulty of reforming a custo­mary sinner; Jer. 13.23. Can the Aethiopian change his skin, or the Leopard his spots? Then may ye also do good that are accustomed to do evil. It is a miracle of Mercy, and an extraordinary triumph of Grace, if ever an habitual sinner be changed or altered. For sin, by wilful and habitual enterprises, having gotten dominion, makes the soul of man naturally uncapa­ble of the means of Repentance. The Scripture tells us, what strange mon­sters men become by constant practises of Iniquity: Zech. 7.12. Their heart is as an Ada­mant, and exceeds the hardness of rocks; their foreheads are as brass, Jer. 6.28. that cannot blush at the reproaches of any wicked­ness. The Historian observes, Tac. An. l. 110. of those that are grown to the height of impiety, Novissima voluptas est infamia; Infamy [Page 28]is their last pleasure; their under­standing, which is naturally impai­red by frequent acts of sin, is debased to the narrowness of sense; and there­fore to the most stupid Creatures doth the Holy Ghost compare them, as to the Oxe, Isa. 1.3. the Asse, the wild-Asses Colt, the deaf Adder, Job 11.12. Psal. 58.4. Hos. 7.11. the silly Dove, and the wandring Sheep; and the advantage lies on the side of the beast. In this condi­tion they will blindly charge through a legion of destroying Angels to come to their sinful enjoyments, and to attain their wicked hopes. In such persons, all the gracious methods to re­pentance are disappointed: For the Pro­phet observes, Isa. 26.10. that Let fa­vour be shewed to the wicked, yet will he not learn righteousness: So that goodness prevails not; nor is wrath more succes­ful, for it is added, Ver. 11. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see: All Corrections and Chastisements be­stowed upon these, are like blows spent upon wilde beasts, which do rather more enrage, than tame them.

These are the dreadful causes which [Page 29]make good the supposition in the Text, that bring the possibility into an actual being; and therefore require all our in­dustry and caution to avoid them, lest they betray us to the sadness of the in­evitable consequence: Which is next to be considered, it being.

The second part of the Text; Then will I punish you seven times more for your sins. Wherein the Consequent, which is Punishment, and the necessity of the Consequence, I will punish, do first require your contemplations.

1. That punishment should follow sin, there seems to be a necessity of nature: For, were sin rightly considered, and did it appear as hateful in our eyes, as it is in the eyes of God, and good men: we should see so much misery in it self, separated from the horrid train of its effects and merits, that we should deem it torment enough to satisfie any re­vengeful Adversary without the super­additions of his fierce anger. Men reckon for punishments, not only the loss of Life, or Limb, or Estate; but put into the Catalogue, a forfeiture of [Page 30]priviledges, the degrading from ho­nours, and the imposition of base and servile offices. All this is Sin in it self, for it is a renouncing of all our rights to the Divine Goodness, a laying aside our robes of righteousnes, a stripping and making our selves naked of inno­cency, which is the glory and honour of the Creature, and it is also a drudg­ing, and service, of the soul to the car­nal appetite, which was appointed to be her slave. This seems to be so ac­counted by God, for he is said to hide his face from the sinner; which though it admit many other senses, yet may be also true in this, that he doth as a Fa­ther, who is unwilling to see his child carried about as a publick shame, or behold him panting upon a Wrack. And pious men apprehend it no other­wise: for the transgression exacts more tears and groans from them, than the terrours of a pursuing anger. There is indeed a different respect betwixt sin, and punishment as commonly appre­hended, because that is our own choice, when this is accounted the effect of [Page 31]anothers displeasure; yet the event, di­minutio capitis, a real loss, is the same in both: which in one comes forth by way of emanation, in the other waits the formality of a Judge and Sentence. But this may be thought a notion too nice for our grosser apprehensions; and in­deed, God's Justice is not satisfied in it, as not fully answering his ends in puni­shing: For it is not enough for the cor­rection of the sinner, who by his sin being grown more sensual, must be afflicted there where he is most de­lighted: Nor is it enough for the ter­rour of others, who cannot survey and be warned by our spiritual losses. Therefore he hath established between them a

2d. Consequence, as from a necessary cause to the effect, all the effects of sin being afflicting and consuming. For wickedness burneth as the fire, Isa. 9.18.it devours the briars and thorns. Iniquity preys upon the Transgressour, if it be let alone, till it hath consumed him. For every sin doth in its way and measure either waste the body, fill it with [Page 32]diseases; abate its strength, shorten its day, obstruct its lawful delights, and keep off the solid comforts of life: or it impairs the reasonable Faculties, weakens the Ʋnderstanding, confines it to poor and low cares; limits, and re­strains the Will, cloggs it in its brave essaies, pinions it as to noble flights: discomposes the passions with sad appre­hensions, or frolicks of madness. Or else it plainly wastes his Estate, brings the sinner himself from a plentiful Ta­ble to a morsel of bread, and sends his Children to seek their meat in desolate places, Or else it corrupts his Fame, makes his Memory an execration, and his Name an astonishment. These are real punishments, which thus afflict the Transgressour, and raise an horrour in those that are about him: God having put a kind of Nemesis, a vindicative Justice in the course of things, and chained Sin and Punishment together, as the Romans did their Malefactors to the Souldiers that were to be the Keepers or Executioners. But this is not all: for there is a

3. Necessity of the Consequence, which is that of Justice to the Merit: From sin immediately flows guilt, which is an obligation to punishment answe­rable unto it; and the execution of it depends not upon the bare efficacy of sin, but upon the Rectitude of some Cause without, who, as a Judge or Prince, orders and disposes those things which are apt to afflict or destroy the Offen­der. So God, the Great Judge, and King of all the earth, doth in justice pro­secute the Offenders, using and dispo­sing the other Creatures for the execu­tion of his anger: Sometimes he makes the Air upon its wings to convey infecti­on and rottenness into our inward parts, as in the Pestilence; sometimes he causes the Fire to kindle upon our houses, and a Flame to waste our ill­gotten stores. Another time he calls the Beasts of the field, to come and de­vour: Or he alarms the Nations to war, bids one people besiege another; to scoff at Kings and Princes: Hab. 1.10.to deride eve­ry strong Hold, and take them: Or, he admits the accusation of the great [Page 34] Adversary of mankind, and suffers that greedy Executioner to lead the guilty captive. 2 Tim. 2.26. These, and several other waies hath this Great Judge, to trace out sin with punishment; and he uses each of them in their seasons, as his wisdom thinks fittest, to convince the wicked, point out the fin, and declare the Glory of the Judge. His punishments are al waies cer­tain on the impenitent, though it be not certain to us what way he will execute them.

Therefore those frequent complaints and scandals which men take at Provi­dence, as if not careful enough in ob­serving this consequence betwixt sin and punishment, because they sometimes see the wicked prosper, Psal. 73.5. (as they imagine) and to come into no misfortune, nor to be plagued as other men, are false and vain, and arise from our own weakness, and impatience.

For first; It is a vulgar errour, to think that there is no punishment but what is obvious to our senses, so that unless we see the sinner cloathed with shame, ruined in his estate, or cut off from the face of [Page 35]the earth; men murmur, Psal. 73.11. and will que­stion, whether God knows, and doubt whether there be knowledge in the Most High? For we do not see, or else take no notice of, the continual decaies in the body of the finner, the daily wasting of his soul, the declining of his reason more and more to brutishness and sensuality; we cannot behold the cares and anxieties that do afflict his spirit, disquiet and con­tinually turmoyl his inward man; we see not when God gives him over to a reprobate mind, and to vile affections; Rom. 1.26, 28. when he leaves him in the hardness of his own heart, by which he doth as it were shut him up in prison till he be brought forth to entertain the World with his publick Execution: and yet these are as real, yea, more dreadful pu­nishments, than loss of Life, and Fortune, and all; though not so visible, yet more insupportable.

Secondly, It is another Mistake, when men think Outward prosperity to be in­consistent with God's punishments. For even in the greatest wealth, and the su­preamest fortune, all the vindicative [Page 36]effects of sin may be in their Execution: for, besides those less visible punishments, the very crimes, and lusts themselves turn into a punishment; while they contend one with the other which shall have the spee­diest satisfaction, and every one strives against the natural checks of the light of Reason, (which often makes them boggle and start at the Commission; varie and alter the designed times of execu­tion; neglect the present, and torment them with thousands of fears in ex­pecting a future opportunity; Pla. l. 9. de Rep. [...].) the mind is so torn and distracted: that Plato con­cludes, If their breasts were transparent, we should see such laniatus, & ictus, such galls and gashes upon their minds, as rods of iron, and scourges of steel make upon the mangled bodies of some condemned Wretches. Tac. An. 6. And Tacitus makes Tiberius an instance of this: who in spight of his fortune, his guards, and beastly divertisements at Capreae; could not but confess in his Letter to the Se­nate, Tormenta pectoris, suasque poenas, &c. the tortures and punishments his soul endured, to be such as he thought the [Page 37]Gods could not inflict greater. Dii me deae­que pejus perdunt, quàm perire quotidie sentio. Thus Nero also, for all his fidling, singing, and rioting through many the chiefest Cities of the Empire, had yet the con­science of his impieties, to interrupt his pleasures, which made him tremble in the Temples, as if the Gods did appear, like revengeful Furies, to his conscious spirit; or, Tac. An. 14. facinorum recordatione nun­quam timore vacuus, the memory of his crimes appaling him with continual fears. These, and many other Instances, which Historians have observed, shew: No outward condition secures the offen­der, or reprieves him from the deserved punishments.

Lastly, We might observe, that God traces sins even with outward punishment; were it not for our own impatience, which arises rather from a too nice sense of the injuries we suffer, & from an envie at the wickeds prosperity, than from any neglect that God can be charged with. We would have fire come down presently from Hea­ven, a thunderbolt immediately hurled, and an Angel with all speed dispatched to remove the loathed sinner from our [Page 38]troubled sight: and permit not that lea­sure, and those seasons which the Divine wisdom of our Judge thinks fit to choose. Whereas if we did in patience possess our souls, curb and depress their violent and inconsiderate motions; we might perceive, even to a satisfaction, how God seldom, or never lets an infamous offender go off from the stage of this world, without some evident marks of his Indignation; either in his own Per­son, or those of his Family. For some­time God cuts him off in such a way and manner; in such a time, and place; in his Arts, and by his own wickedness, while he riots in his crime, or before he ga­thers the expected fruit of his impious designs; that men may plainly conclude, that the Lord's hand was in his ruine. Or, though the fire of Gods anger burn not clearly out in his life-time, or at his death: yet it may flame brightly on his children; and his posterity, with the in­heritance of his criminal gains, may have that of his punishments. And this may be his punishment, as being within his prospect: for before the darkness of death [Page 39]seal up his eyes, he may see the train laid that will blow up his house; the follies, vanities, and lusts of some heir, or cur­sed off-spring, that will waste all he hath gathered, and bury his name and memo­ry in the ruines of his house. There­fore God seems to limit his anger on the posterity of the wicked to the third or fourth Generation, Exod. 20.5. because their miseries may be within the fore-sight of the sin­ner, and have the same men witnesses of the inflictions, that were of the offences. The sad apprehensions of which, joyned with the awakened fears of an approach­ing Judgment at the Throne of Christ, may make his end as comfortless as all the fury of men can render the execu­tion of a Malefactor. And these waies of Providence justifie the Righteousness of God in observing the consequence betwixt sin and punishment. Add to this,

2. The terrour of the Consequence, I will punish you seven times more. This expression is so large, that it alarms all our fears, comprehends all that we de­serve, and whatsoever an Almighty [Page 40]wrath can inflict. For God by this doth not bound himself to definite degrees of punishing; because when we by an ob­stinate continuance in sin, in despite of all his methods to repentance, have for­feited all our rights to the Goodness of God, it must be only his pleasure, and our capacity of suffering, that must give measure to his punishment; therefore this seven times more may signifie,

1. Greater and more punishments than those formerly inflicted: for when past Judgments have left us mad upon our sins, his Wisdom may bring some new, fuller of terrour, and more pregnant with destruction, to bring us to our wits again. Or his Justice may multiply our Miseries to a proportion with our Ini­quities, which are encreased by our un­profitableness under foregoing correcti­ons. Besides, our case requires it; for every affliction that hath passed over us without any effects to amendment, have made our hearts harder: therefore if he intend us any good, he must multiply, and agg randize his Strokes. So that whereas God before did whip us with [Page 41] Rods, now he must do it with Scorpions: he may adde fears within to the terrours without; if before, his punishments came singly, now he may amass them into troups, and bands; bring Desolation, Poverty, Pestilence, a War within, and War without, all at once.

2. Punishments of another kind, and to other purposes: That whereas at first he did chastise, and correct to amend­ment; now he may make us an Exam­ple, and Terrour round about. In his corrections he may retain his love, his chastisements are reconcileable with his fatherly kindness. But he deals with us as an Enemy, brings us into Judgment with him, when he pleads with us before men; puts us to an open shame, and discovers our nakedness in sight of all that go by the way; makes us an astonishment to them that see us; so that they wag their heads, and say, These are the Men that took not God for their guide; This is the People that forsook God their Saviour; This is the foolish Na­tion, and unwise, that did evilly re­quite the Lord that bought them, and [Page 42]thus shall it be done to all them that forget God.

3. Punishments to Excision; his ma­king both a full end of us, and of pu­nishing us. When he is weary of cor­recting, and shaming us, and weary of his own repentings, as he was of those, Isa. 1.5. Why should ye be stricken any more, ye will revolt more and more? When he is tired out in his waitings for fruit from barren fouls, then he cuts them off, and will not suffer them any longer to cumber the ground; Luk. 13. then he will cut us off from being a people, and our name shall no more be had in remem­brance, nor shall we be reckoned among the Nations.

4. Punishments to Vengeance; when he casts the sinners into Hell, and there makes their pains and sorrows as lasting as their sins would have been, had they continued to Eternitie. This is a far­ther degree of punishment than the for­mer; for God may cut off many, as to this life, for their transgressions; and yet bound his wrath in the Grave, and not pursue them with Punishments in the [Page 43]state of the dead. St. Paul saith, many of the Corinthians, 1 Cor. 11.30. for the unworthy receiving of the Sacrament, were sick and weak, and fell asleep, that is, died: but yet, that is too soft an expression to signifie their being damned: for in the language of Scripture, Isa. 57.1, 1. the taking away of merciful men, from the evil to come, and the death of those that walk in their uprightness, is called, their rest in their beds. But when men have opposed, and obstinately endeavoured to disap­point God in his end of Judgments by impenitencie, we may with reason think they shall be turned into Hell; for that is stiled, the Congregation of Giants: Pro. 21.16. [...] and that you know is the Title of notorious fighters against God. Thus all these Pu­nishments are comprehended under that number of seven times more: and there­fore render the Consequence exceeding terrible. Which yet is but just; For,

3. The Justice of the Consequence is in those words which are as a reason of the encreased punishments: I will pu­nish you, &c. For your sins; that is, be­cause you have deserved them. For the [Page 44]horrour of any punishments inflicted by God, argues the Offence pro­portionably haynous: there being so great an Equity in all the Judgments of God, that they never exceed, but for the most part are beneath the transgres­sion. So that if God so severely punish our not amending after Judgments, it is because that Impenitencie is a most horrid provocation; and such in truth it is, being a contempt and despight of all his Gracious and Glorious Attributes. For,

1. His Wisdom is slighted, and an affront is put upon his infinite Under­standing, which did invent the Con­sequence betwixt Sin and Punishment; to turn men from the vanity of their waies, that they might be advised not to doat upon evil, which draws after it such an inseparable throng of miseries. But he that hath both tasted sin, and felt punishment, and yet thinks the first worthy the hazard of the latter, and that one is a cheap purchase for the other; reproaches the Divine Know­ledge of having not sufficiently pro­vided [Page 45]for the attainment of his end.

2. The goodness of God is turned off with scorn: for if he hath only afflicted us, so that we live; it is clear, that he re­served us for his service, and the em­braces of his love; because, had he re­solved no more to accept of our wor­ship, he would have shut us up in the pit, Psal. 6.5.where there is no remembrance of him, and closed us in the grave, where none do give him thanks: but if he let us live, it is clear he intended that we should praise his Name, and upon that to shew us his Salvation. But if he that was afflicted, yet not destroyed; terrified, yet not broken in pieces; shall have no new songs in his mouth, nor will order his conversation aright to please him who pulled his feet out of the mire, and set him upon a rock; such a man doth rude­ly scorn the kindness by which he was saved, and rejects the courtship to a more endearing love.

3. The Power of God is under­valued, and his Omnipotencie braved. For, he that hath escaped one stroke of God, and yet will not amend upon it, but still [Page 46] affronts him to his face, must be con­cluded to think; God hath wasted all his Thunderbolts, emptied his Quiver, and broke his Sword in the past encoun­ter; and become like those poor Animals, who lose their sting in the first wound they give. The routed Syrians had not renewed their Invasion of Israel, 1 King. 20.23. had they thought the God of Jacob could triumph in the Valleys, as gloriously as upon the Hills, and had strength enough for a fresher victory: This vile esteem of God thrust their infatuated Prince upon another overthrow. The same thoughts, if not formally, yet virtually, those men have of God, who having hardly come off from one Judgment, yet do by re­peating their sins, seem to challenge him to another. For did we seriously think, that that God, who at first did but light­ly afflict, could plague us seven times more; that he which brought the Pesti­lence upon our nation, could spread our own persons over with Spots and To­kens; that he, who by a Flame consu­med our goods, and houses, could turn our bodies into ashes, and after that cast [Page 47]our souls into Hell-fire; that he, who hath brought our enemies out to the battel, could give us up as a prey to their fury; that he, who hath gathered For­rain Nations against us, could also turn the swords of every man into the heart of his neighbour, and appoint each one as a slaughter-man of his brother; did we but consider what Judgments can be brought upon us by an Almighty Arm: we should certainly follow the Counsels of his first Providences; be ashamed that our Father hath spit in our faces, and not weary him till he smite them with a Leprosie, or make the earth open to swallow us up. We should humble our selves more in the appehensions of what might befal us, than be troubled, or murmur for what we already suffer, lest God punish us seven times more for our sins.

The Text being thus considered; the Application of it will shew us what we are to think of our present and future condition. For Our case is the same with theirs in the Supposition: as if we also had been the very People God had in [Page 48]his prospect when he spake this Text. We of this Generation have been a peo­ple of wrath, and seem to have been born to be as Fewel for Judgments; or to have been called from the Womb, and summoned from the lower parts of the earth, to come forth and behold what desolations God can bring upon a Land, for the wickedness of them that dwell therein. For those plagues and miseries which did use to be divided among se­veral Ages, and to come singly, and in certain Periods of time; have all fallen upon us, with as much speed as that of hastie Messengers, one treading upon the heels of another; that we have had scarce time to survey the wastes which one hath made, ere another came to call for our tears and wonder. Let us sit down upon our Ruines, and recount them if we can. We have seen a tedi­ous Civil War, with all the innumerable Series of its miseries, and of its sins, bringing Poverty, and Desolation, upon the far greatest part of the Kingdom; desiling most men with innocent bloud, introducing Schisms, Haeresies, Blasphe­mies, [Page 49]and Atheism; tempting men to perjuries, and the practice of most dam­nable Arts; which iniquities ought to fill us with more sorrows, than our out­ward miseries did.

When this was ended by a Mercy above our merits, and too great for our hopes, in the restoring of our lawful Prince, and our ancient Rights, and yet neither our late unhappinesses, nor present blessings, did prevail to repentance; but God had waited three years, seeking the fruits of his Providences, and finding none, yea, had granted one year more to the interces­sion of his own Goodness; then came up­on us a Forrain War. Wherein, though we have hitherto no reason to complain of a want of mercy; because he hath crowned our just battels with success: yet still that which costs so much Bloud, and Treasure, must be accounted a Judg­ment; & it is no little misery to be necessi­tated by Arms to maintain our own rights.

While we were thus busied with cares against men, God surprises us with new fears from himself, and brings such a Plague upon us, that [Page 50]neither we, nor our Fathers, nor their Fore-fathers, for many Generations, had ever known the like.

Ere the destroying Angel had finished his work here, and while he was raging in many other places of the Nation, a mer­ciless Fire & devouring flame, came upon our chief City, the Queen of our Provinces, which consumed the prices of many years labours, and those publick Orna­ments which had out-lasted the injuries of many hundred Ages, in the space of far less hours. The sad Consequences of which, are yet not known, as if clouded in its own smoake: but we may conceive that as burning Mountains scatter their ashes, and spread a desolation and barrenness over the neighbouring Plains and Fields; so this burning City, may over­spread the lesser Towns and Villages with want of Trade, and Poverty; and cast forth something of her ruines upon the whole Nation. But, notwithstanding this is come upon us, which I conceive are greater punishments than the Text supposes, yet the other part of the Sup­position is also too true of us; For,

We have not yet for all this hearkened unto the Lord, Alas! this is too poor an Expression for us to say, We have not hearkened, for we have revolted more and more; we are so far from forsaking our sins, that we have encreased them; made it our business to out-vie Judg­ments with our Transgressions; as if Punishments were Instructions to impiety, and it is too evident they have been used as opportunities for greater Crimes. I am ashamed to rehearse them, they are so bruitish and abominable; besides, their number exceeds, as well as their foulness affrights the memory: and indeed there is no need to represent them; for our Iniquities are not only marked before the Lord, but they are also, as written with a beam of the Sun, so plain, that he who runs may read them.

Thus therefore when our Case is wholly the same with the Supposition, what remains for us, but a fearful look­ing for, and expectation of, God's more fiery Indignation, that on us also the Consequence should be fulfilled, and that God should punish us seven times [Page 52]more; that he should bring upon us greater, and other sorts of Punishments. He hath already punished us to Correcti­on, and we have not amended: Nay, we are not confounded, though he hath punished us to a terrour and example; for he hath called Heaven and Earth to witness; he hath cited all the Nations, that know us, in the world, to Judge betwixt him and us: for he hath pleaded against us in his Judgments, discovering our nakedness, and putting us to an open shame. For all the world knows, that the righteous Judge will not deal un­justly: and therefore in that he hath brought upon us so great destructions, it is certain we had greater abomina­tions; for where Judgments are engra­ven, on the reverse Iniquities are in­scribed; there needs no more to de­clare the guilt of Sodom, than to tell the Travellers as they go along, There once was a City where there now is a pitchie Lake. And when the Marriners and Ship-Masters shall saile by our Shores, and say, How is the Joyous City become a desolation? They will soon [Page 53]subjoyn, How was the faithful City be­come an harlot, and unrighteousness lodged in her? Therefore God hath al­ready punished us to an Example, and there remains only now that he should punish us to Excision and Vengeance, which himself only knows, how soon may come upon us, and by what waies his wis­dom will proceed to execution: we our selves may guess by our sins and terrours that it is not far off.

I tremble to think, that he may make our proud and cruel Enemies to land up­on our Coasts, who shall sport with our bloud, and make our labours the ministe­ries to their lusts: who may drive us to seek the mercy of less barbarous Indians, and leave the Land of our Fathers to their satisfaction. Or, he may cut off us, and this good Land together, withdraw the Foundation of this (as Histories tells us, he hath done of other) Island, and let it sink from the arms to the bottom of the Sea. Or, he may by some un­heard-of way, turn this whole Nation into Hell, that have so long forgotten God. These are the horrours of that [Page 54]Consequence, which we deserve should seize on us; and which certainly will, unless we labour to prevent them.

But how can that be? Can it be by a continuance, and encrease of sin? If so, let us go on then, and let us encrease our confidence; Let the Sons of Impiety invent some new sin that may surprize the fore-sight of Eternity; let them find out some bold, and brave transgression that will secure men from Omnipo­tencie, and terrifie God himself from his own wrath. But alas! how can the pot­sheards of the earth strive with their Ma­ker? How can the small dust of the ballance contend with him that sitteth on the Cir­cle of the heavens? Who ever hardened himself against the Lord and prospered?

If then it cannot be done this way, can we do it by breaking off our sins by repentance, and humbling our selves before the Smiter? Yes, this will do it: For, the amendment of our lives is able to rescue us from our present miseries, and preserve us from the evil that is yet to come. Such a change in man works another in God; turns all [Page 55]his frowns into smiles; makes his Fury against, to become Zeal for, us; alters the thunder of his threatnings, to the sounding of his bowels; and his compassi­ons and repentings will be kindled in him instead of kindling the fire of his Jealousie; so that this will prevent that Ruine which we see gathering about us.

But then the difficulty returns, How shall this repentance be wrought, if the Judgments of God will not do it? For, though we may believe, many private persons mourn in secret for the sins, and miseries of the Nation, yet this is not enough; because, publick sins must have a publick repentance; besides, God may take away these merciful men from the evil to come; and then by whom must we look for a common delive­rance? When there are so many Atheists and Hypocrites, so many fools and half-witted Scepticks, so many factious and voluptuous persons, as make up the greater bulk of this Nation; who all think there is no need of repentance, or are resolved not to do it themselves: what hopes can we have of a publick [Page 56]amendment? There remains nothing visible for our comforts but this, The Example, and Industry of those in Power to take away all publick abominations; this under God is our only ground for hope, and this by his assistance will per­form it, (unless our Iniquities come to the full, ere they apply themselves to the work:) For Government is the soul of Society, and Magistrates in Church and State are as the upper soul and In­tellectual faculties to guide the whole to safety, and honour: if these there­fore be once set right in a way that is good, I cannot say, They shall have all; but am sure, they shall have many followers, and the tears of repentance will bedew the publick face of the Nation.

This I humbly conceive to be, in some measure, the duty of the Honoura­ble part of this Assembly, who have their share in Government. It lies upon you, within the just limits of your power, to do that Right to God, to this your Country, and to your own Honour, which are justly expected from you. For, if [Page 57]the Publick be guilty, You cannot be thought innocent: if we be miserable, You cannot be happy. Let it not be said in following Generations, (if there shall be any after this,) That You sate in Council, and the whole Nation commit­ted folly. Let not Posterity say, and future Historians write, These men were concern­ed in the Publick Justice, and yet Impiety was so high, that God brought such and such dismal Plagues upon the Kingdom. Pub­lick miseries are taken as reproaches of those who are in power to prevent pub­lick Sins. You have exceeded all ex­amples in your provisions for the Honour of your King, and our safety from a Forrain Enemy: Let that move you now to exceed Your selves, do something also for the honour of God, and the advancement of Righteousness. You have comforted the hearts of the People by your Zeal against the Old Adversa­ries of our Faith; let the same be exerted against all. Give some Reve­rence to Religion; that if wicked men will not love it, yet they may not dare [Page 58]to despise it; that, if their hearts will not renounce their lusts, yet let it not be safe to act them in the face of the Sun. Give some power and force to Holiness; make some brave Attempts, in spight of the Corruptions of our Age, to restore somewhat of the Discipline of Christianity, that Wickedness may be cloathed with shame, and be the asto­nishment of a City and Nation. Con­sult the Honour of your own Assembly, and let your Lives and Examples be as Sacred as your Laws: that men may praise them, and not dare to violate these. If God shall be pleased by your means to bring this great, yet miserable, People, to repentance; and to save them from the depth of misery, on whose brink both You and We do all now stand: How will all Generations call you blessed! your Memories will out­last Monuments of Brass and Marble. God will make you rejoyce with his Inheritance, and your Seed shall possess the Land, in the fruition of all those comforts wherewith he satitates righteous [Page 59]Hearts, & crowns wise Heads; For which, may his infinite mercie fit you and us, through the merits of Jesus Christ.

To whom, with the Father, and the Eter­nal Spirit, be given all obedience, and ascribed all Honour and Glory both now and for evermore. Amen.

FINIS.

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