A SERMON PREACHED On the 16th Day of April, 1696.

In the Parish Church of St. Michael in New-Malton: BEING THE Thanksgiving Day Appointed for the Discovery and Disappoint­ment of the Horrible and Barbarous Con­spiracy, &c.

By William Perse, M. A. Minister of Malton, and formerly Fellow of King's College in Cambridge.

LONDON: Printed for E. Whitlock, near Stationer's-Hall, 1696.

To the Honourable The Lady PALMS.


YOƲR favourable Acceptance of that small Free­will Offering that I paid to the Memory of the Best of Women, our late most Gracious Queen, in­courages me to hope that your wonted Goodness, which I have long experienc'd, will vouchsafe to receive this mean Eucha­ristical Oblation for the Deliverance of our Dread Sove­reign, (the Best of Princes) from the Barbarous and In­humane Conspiracy, that was laid against His Sacred Per­son and Government, with the same Candor which you did the Former: Especially since in Obedience to your Honour's Commands, which I shall ever to the utmost of my Power with all readiness observe, it is made thus Publick. And I am the rather induced to suffer it to pass through more hands than it was at first designed for, because the Chief Subject it treats of, (being the Peculiar and extraordinary Providence, which watches over Good and Righteous Kings, for the Security and Protection of themselves and Govern­ment, against the most Secret Contrivances that can be form'd against them) may, I hope, convince every one of the Folly and Vanity, as well as Sinfulness and Danger, of all such attempts that are made against either: And that this Particular instance of the Wonderful Discovery of the late Bloudy and Treacherous Design, that was so deeply laid [Page]against the Life of our Gracious Prince, joyned to that series of Signal Providences which hath all along attended his Royal Person for his Preservation from all those Perils to which he hath been so frequently exposed, may at length cause that Obstinate Party, which hath hitherto so unrea­sonably stood out, to comply with, and to own that Autho­rity which GOD hath so visibly and so signally appeared for; and by which their own Liberties and Religion, have continued safe to them, and us.

That our Church, (the Best and Purest of all other) and our State, may long Flourish under the Happy and Prospe­rous Reign of our Wise, Valiant, Merciful, and Religious Leader whom God's own Right-hand hath placed over us, and made so strong for himself; And that your Honoura­ble Family, which hath so Zealously espoused the Interests of both, may always enjoy the Blessings that accrue to this Nation thereby, and the Everlasting Happiness of the King­dom that is above afterwards, is, the earnest Prayer of

Your Honour's Most Faithful, and Obedient Servant, William Perse.

A SERMON Preach'd on the 16th of April, 1696. being the Thanksgiving-Day.

Ecclesiastes, Chap. 10. Ver. 20.

Curse not the King, no not in thy Thought, and Curse not the Rich, no not in thy Bed-Cham­ber; for a Bird of the Air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the mat­ter.

THere is a general Providence, that to any observ­ing Eye, is visible over the face of the whole Creation, whereby all things are kept, and preserved in their own Order, and Way of subsisting, by the same Divine Power which at first formed, and brought them into Being: and according to the several Degrees of Perfection of those divers Species which God Created, (for when he saw every thing that he had made, behold it was very good) hath he proportioned the manner, and the measure of their preservation. Though nothing, no not of the most minute consequence can pass without his Knowledge, and which is not under his Eye, yet Creatures of the lowest rank, and size, cannot pre­tend to claim so great a share of his Protection, for [Page 6]their continuance in that station wherein Nature hath placed them, as those which are of a more eminent, and useful Quality in the World. And as Infects which are of an equivocal Generation, some of which are but of a days duration, come into the World by Shoals, so they tumble out of it again by heaps. Thus the Locusts, God's great Army, as they are called in the Prophet Joel, which covered the face of Egypt, as they were brought in on a suddain by an East Wind; so after they had consu­med all the Forage in the Land, and done the Work which God had appointed them, a mighty West Wind cast them back again, as suddainly into the Red Sea, and destroy­ed them. But as the scale of the Creature rises, and be­comes more serviceable to that great End for which he Created all things, viz. Man's Happiness, and his own Glory; so hath he ordered all means to concur suitably for their conducing in their proper ways towards the promoting of that Design, to which every thing in its respective capacity is, and must be subservient. And this our Blessed Saviour plainly intimates to his Disci­ples, in his Discourse concerning Providence; wherein he tells them, that God preserves the Grass which is to day in the Field, and to morrow in the Oven; and that he ordereth Food for the Ravens, that have neither Store­house nor Barn; and that not one Sparrow is forgotten before him: inferring from thence by an Argument drawn a fortiori from the stronger side, that they ought in their greatest Exigencies, and Extremities, to depend upon God's Care of them, and his Love towards them; seeing, if he does not neglect his Creatures of the low­est Degree, but sustains them in a way suitable to their own Nature; it must needs follow that he will take a more particular Care of those whom he hath made after his own Image, and for whose sake chiefly, all his other Works in this lower World were Created, and ap­propriated [Page 7]to their use, and service; and that he will let them lack nothing that may tend, not only to the continuance of their Being, but their Well-being also: And as I have drawn this Scheme of Providence from its lowest Basis, till we come to the highest Spire, and top of this sublunary World; all whose parts mutually de­pend upon one another; and which are all conserv'd by the same All powerful Hand from which they receiv'd their Original; so the Beauty, and Harmony, of this wonderful, and stupendous Frame will more eminently and conspicuously appear, and the infinite Wisdom of the Almighty Architect be the more visible, when we con­sider that even in the dispensation of his great Care and Providence over Man himself, the Noblest and finisht Ma­sterpiece of his Six Days Works, that even here, as to Persons of the same kind, he puts a great difference be­tween them, in order to their particular security, and preservation, according as they are by his Divine ap­pointment, to be more or less concern'd in the admini­stration of that Government, which he hath constituted for the establishing these things, in that Order wherein he first placed them; and without which they would run into Anarchy, and Confusion: and therefore, althô for the better preservation of Mankind, he hath denoun­ced a severe penalty against every one, who should up­on any unwarrantable Account Destroy the Life of an­other; Declaring, That whosoever should shed Man's Blood, by Man his Bloud should be shed: yet he hath thought fit to lay a particular Injunction upon all Persons, not to offer any violence to those whom he (for by him Kings Reign) hath set in Authority over his People; to which end he hath fixed a peculiar Mark, and Character upon those whom he hath design'd, and appointed for publick Offices of Trust; upon whose welfare the safety of the whole depends, to keep their Persons Sacred, and Invio­lable; [Page 8]saying, Touch not mine Anointed, and do my Pro­phets no harm: because by them he was to promulgate, and put in execution those Laws and Precepts, which if duely observed, would keep the World in Peace, and Prosperity here, and lead them the way to Eternal Hap­piness hereafter; And likewise to be a Terror to those who would not yield Obedience to his Commands: for the Magistrate is not only the Minister of God, for the incouragement of them that do well, but likewise a Re­venger to execute Wrath upon him who doth evil. Touch not God's Anointed, no, not with the venemous Arrow of thy Tongue: for he hath given a particular Charge, that none should dare to Curse the Ruler of his People; as it is Recorded, Exod. 22.28. To which St. Paul al­ludes in the 23 of the Acts, ver 5. when he was taxed for reviling the High Priest; when he says, I wist not Brethren that he was the High Priest, for it is written, thou shalt not speak evil of the Ruler of thy People; and it was no less then death to do so; as appears by what Abishai said concerning the Railer Shimei; Shall not Shi­mei be put to death for this, because he cursed the Lord's Anointed? And David, when he dying, left it in Charge to his Son, Not to hold him guiltless, but to bring down his Hoar-Head to the Grave with Blood; and we find that he was afterwards slain upon that old score, by Solomon's Commandment. But here my Text seems to go fur­ther, when the same Wise Man tells us, That we must not only forbear from casting Reproaches, and Calum­nies upon our Governor, by scurrilous and opprobrious Language, thereby to make him vile, and to blacken him in the Eyes and Esteem of his Subjects, to the endangering his Person and his Government; but we must not so much as in the secret of our Heart, think evil of him, nor wish his ill; nor in our mind, contrive to do him any Mischief, for even that Thought of the Heart, which [Page 9]was the first mover of the wicked Design, (for as our Saviour says, Out of the Heart proceed Murders, faise Wit­ness, and Blasphemies, &c.) shall not go undiscovered, before it come to its full execution, and consequently, shall not be unpunisht.

Curse not the King, no, not in thy Thought (says the wisest of Princes) nor the Rich, no not in thy Bed-Cham­ber, for a Bird of the Air shall carry the voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the matter.

King Solomon, to whom God had given a Wise, and Understanding Heart, had searched narrowly into the Causes of all things under the Sun, and strictly exa­mined, as you will find throughout this whole Book of his Sermons; all the Proceedings of God in the manage­ment of the Affairs of this World, so far forth as they were knowable and apprehensible by their effects; and does more particularly insist upon the various methods of his Providential Dispensations towards his Creatures, than upon any other Subject whatsoever. And upon a general Survey, he acquaints us, that he had observed, that as God had not placed all things on a Level, so neither had he left all things to be guided and order'd ne­cessarily by the common Rules of Nature, which he hath prescribed to the whole Creation; but that some­time, whenever he pleases, he interposes his own Power, for the bringing about his own Ends, to the frustrating of those Designs, which, had they been left to work ac­cording to the strength and vigour of those proper In­struments, and means whereby they were acted and car­ried on, must have produced effects suitable to their re­spective Causes: Thus he tells us, that the Race is not always to the Swift, nor yet the Battle to the Strong, nor Bread to the Wise, nor Riches to Men of Ʋnder­standing; though these in their several ways, are the best qualifications for the obtaining of those Ends: And [Page 10]as God hath put a great difference between those of the same kind, ordaining some to Rule, and others to obey, by which subordination the Government of the World is preserved in that uniform Harmony wherein it conti­nues as to the main, at this day; so does he take a more particular Care of those whom he hath appointed for the administration of Justice, and the preservation of the Rights and Liberties of his People, committed to their Charge, then of others of the ordinary sort, and mould; as knowing, that they would be apt to be exposed to a thousand hazards, and violences for the due execution of their Office; it being a difficult matter to satisfie and please all Parties that sue to them for Justice, and to gra­tifie all those who pretend by extraordinary Services to have merited great Favours from their Prince; and then, the Party who thinks himself wrong'd and aggriev'd for want of such a favourable Sentence as he expected in his Cause; or, who thinks he is not sufficiently rewarded according to his Deserts, will be prone to Meditate and Study Revenge, and to side with those who are disconten­ted upon the same, or any other Account: And therefore the All Wise Moderator of the World hath thought fit, in order to the keeping the frame of Government on the Wheels, and to prevent that disturbance that would ac­crue to the Publick by the frequent Change, and altera­tion of Magistrates; and to encourage Persons qualify'd thereunto, to take those weighty and troublesome Im­ployments upon them, to secure and protect them with a higher, and more defensible Mound and Bulwark of his special Providence then ordinary, and to set a particu­lar Watch over them; so that there cannot be so much as the least Thought of evil designed against them; nor the closest contrivance hatcht in the most secret Apart­ment of the Heart, either against their Persons, or their Government (so long as they are approved by him, and [Page 11]that they act in conformity to those great and good Ends for which he set them in those places of Trust, as well as Honour) but as it is known to him from whom nothing is hid, so doth he in his own time, when he sees all things ripe for execution, send his Emissaries, and dispatch his Mes­sengers to discover the bottom of those damnable and hellish Conspiracies that are plotted against them, and thereby to frustrate, and defeat their deepest, and most secret Designs; for there is nothing of this kind so hid, but shall be made manifest; That which they have spo­ken in Darkness, shall be heard in the Light, and that which they have whisper'd in the Ear, in Closets, shall be proclaimed upon the House tops; For a Bird of the Air shall carry the Voice, and that which hath wings shall tell the Matter.

By which expressions does appear the wonderful and extraordinary Care, that God Almighty the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords does take of Kings, and Ma­gistrates that he hath set in Authority over us; for by Birds of the Air in this place, and those that have Wings, we may safely conclude to be meant the Holy Angels, those winged Messengers of Heaven, those Ministring Spirits which he sends abroad upon all emergent Occa­sions, for the good of his Elect; and especially for the preservation of those whom he hath mark'd and digni­fy'd with more than ordinary Beams of his own Maje­sty, and Glory. He hath certainly given his Angels a particular Charge over those good Princes who execute Judgment and Righteousness, and who make it their business to preserve the Peace, and Prosperity of all those whom the Divine Wisdom hath committed to their Care, and Protection: And that there are Tutelar An­gels presiding over Kings, and their Kingdoms is plain from the Tenth Chapter of Daniel in several parts of it; and as they are set by God for a Guard over his Anoint­ed; [Page 12]so are they sent likewise for the deliverance of his Prophets also; thus God sent his Angel, as you find in the 12th Chap. of the Acts, and deliver'd Peter out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the Peo­ple of the Jews: and that it was the Opinion of his Friends that he had a peculiar Angel attending on him for his safety, appears in that after the Maid affirmed constant­ly that he was knocking at the Door, and they could not be brought to believe a thing which they thought upon a surprize impossible, they said, It is his Angel. And though sometimes God suffer a Pious, and Religious Prince, for the sins of a Nation, whom he designs, either to chastize for their amendment, or to de­stroy for their Obstinacy, and Ingratitude; to fall into the Ambushes, and to be taken in the Nets of wicked and Blood-thirsty Men; yet in the general course of his Providence, he does usually by some signal means, or other show his great Care of them, by delivering them contrary to the expectation of their Enemies, from all the open force that is gathered, and from all the hidden Treachery that is contriv'd, and manag'd against them; by discovering the Designs that are form'd against their Persons, and their Government, by these speedy and swift Messengers whom he imploys for that very pur­pose.

Neither are those Heavenly Spirits which continually wait about the Throne of God, and are always ready to obey his Will, and to dispatch his Commands, unfitly by the Wise Man likened unto the Birds of the Air, to those swift Creatures that have Wings wherewith they are able to measure vast distances of space in a Short time, and to Protect and Preserve whatsoever they ad­mit, and receive under the Shadow and Coverture of them. The Representation of the Cherubims, the highest Order in the Caelestial Hierarchy, was made by God's [Page 13]own appointment by Creatures with Wings, where­with they covered they covered the Mercy-Seat; and in all the Visions of the Prophets, they always appeared to them in that form; and the Seraphim that was sent to the Prophet Isaiah is said to fly unto him, Isa. 6. v. 6. Nothing so swift to convey Intelligence as those winged Posts of the Air, to which purpose Doves we know are frequently made use of, to be News Carriers in the Eastern Parts of the World to this day; and therefore nothing so proper to represent the Activity and Celerity of those Faithful Messengers which God dispatches in the time of Danger, to warn his Vice-gerents of those Wicked Designs that are formed against them, and to discover by those Ways and Methods he orders, those hidden practices that the Devil and his Agents are plot­ting and Contriving against them; and think that no Eye can see them, and that it is beyond the Art of Man, as sometimes indeed without the Hand of God it is, to hinder the Execution of them. These are the true Birds of Paradise, which have Wings and no Feet: Wings to express their Swiftness wherewith they haste to give tidings either of Good or Evil, to those to whom they are directed by their great Lord and Master; but no Feet to fix upon any Earthly Object, or to make any stay there. Though indeed, no Creature on this side Hea­ven can in any due proportion, represent the wonderful Agility of those Spiritual Substances, who move quicker than Thought it self, whereby they communicate the Will of GOD to those to whom they are sent: Nor yet can we tell the Secret ways whereby they instill and insinu­ate those early Notices into their Breasts, to forewarn them of the Dangers wherewith they are threatned. Suffici­ent it is, that we know they attend for that very end; and that we have Scripture, and frequent Experience for the Confirmation and Avouchment of it. These are [Page 14]the Heavenly Intelligencers that belong to the Court a­bove, which upon all Emergent Occasions, fly on the Wings of the Wind by their secret Intimations to bring to nought the most hidden Counsels of the Wicked, and to make all these Devices, though never so artificially laid, against those Publick Persons who are the more im­mediate care of Heaven, of none effect. And how, in­deed, should it be otherwise, when, as my Text assures us, that the least Malicious Curse, and Evil Intention, that is lodg'd in the closest Caverns of the Heart against Kings, and Publick Magistrates, (for by rich Men are meant here Magistrates, because they are taken and cho­sen from out of that rank which is most eminent for Wealth and Honour) shall not be undiscover'd. So that the Wise Man here shews the Vanity and Folly of all those wretched Miscreants who conspire and lay their heads together, to overthrow the Foundations of that Government which God's Providence hath setled; by the Destruction of the Heads and Supporters of it. Seeing, as he tells us, that not the least Design of Harm that is contrived against their Persons, though it be never so deep laid, never so closely managed in the most private Bed-Chamber, but as it is known to him, who searcheth the Secrets of the Heart, to whom Darkness and Light are both alike, so when the cursed Design shall by the untimely Discovery of it miscarry, and become abortive, it brings not only Shame, but Punishment also to the Rash and Desperate Undertakers.

God by his Holy Spirit, or the Ministry of his Angels, sometimes lays open the Secret Counsels and Machinati­ons that are intended against his Chosen ones to them­selves; and by some sudden, and almost unaccountable impulse of Spirit, they are prompted to such thoughts that tend to the Preventing and Disappointing the Con­spiracy that is laid against them: Thus God put it into [Page 15]the Heart of King James the First, to unriddle that My­sterious Letter, by which Interpretation, that Horrible and Hellish Powder-plot of the Papists which was near its Execution was prevented. Sometimes God raises good to a Prince and his Government, from the Evil that was intended against it; making the breaking-forth of the Treason instrumental to the Settlement and Security of those, whose Ruine and Destruction was thereby malici­ously endeavoured and design'd. Thus after Abner the General of the Army, had set up Ishbosheth, the Son and Heir of Saul, against David, whom God had chosen to be King, though he was not of the Royal Line; and was defeated, and disappointed of his great Expectati­ons; the House of David ever after, as may be seen in the Second Book of Samuel, c. 3. v. 1. waxed stronger and stronger, and the House of Saul weaker and weaker from that very day. And when Absalom's Treason was discover'd and brought to nothing, it made abundantly for the Peace of David all his Reign after. It settled the Hearts of the Twelve Tribes, which were in part divided, wholly towards him; so that they all then una­nimously Associated, and friendly strove togther who should have the greatest share in him, and do the most for him. Sometimes God, for the Preservation of the Person whom he intrusts with the Government, inspires the Hearts of his Prophets with the Knowledge of the Secret Counsels of those that rise up against them, and thereby eludes and disappoints the Success of their De­signs. Thus when the King of Syria warr'd against Is­rael, he took Counsel with his Servants, saying, in such and such a Place shall be my Camp: The Man of God immediately sent to the King of Israel to beware of pas­sing to that place, for thither, saith he, the Syrians are come down, and he saved himself, as the Text says, not once, nor twice that way: Therefore the King of Syria [Page 16]was troubled, and concluded that some of his own Privy Council had betray'd his Secrets; till one of his Ser­vants told him, that none but the Prophet Elisha had revealed his most secret Intentions, for saith he, he tell­eth the King of Israel the Words that thou speakest in thy Bed-Chamber.

You see then, that God is pleas'd in a more Peculiar manner to take upon himself the Care and Protection of his Anointed, and to appear in sundry manners for the Discovery of those hidden Counsels that are hatch'd in the most Secret Places against them. And this God does, as I have already hinted, for the continuance of the or­derly Government of the World, which would in every short Period of time be put out of Joynt, if the Designs of Proud, Ambitious, and Revengeful Men, who upon several Interests are ready at every turn to combine a­gainst those that are possess'd of the Seat of Honour, and the Throne of Justice, should obtain their design'd and intended Effect. For the Welfare and Prosperity of the People, are lock'd and treasur'd up in the Life and Safety of a Good, Virtuous, Valiant, and Couragi­ous Prince; whose Life, as the Children of Israel told King David, as truly, as well as affectionately, in relati­on to the Publick Good, is worth ten thousand of his Subjects: Seeing their loss may easily be recruited and made up again; but the loss of a good King is so much the greater, by how much the harder to be repaired again. Besides, the dismal consequences that attend a Nation ween depriv'd suddainly, accidentally, and un­expectedly of him, on whose staffe of Authority, under GOD, their Strength chiefly depended, and relyed, makes the Case most deplorable. The Prophet Zachariah took two Staves, the one he called Beauty, the other Bands, when those Two were broken, and Three Shepheards cut off in one Month; the Order of the Government [Page 17]wherein consisted its Beauty, and its Bands, wherein con­sisted its strength, was dissolved; and the Brotherhood between Judah and Israel was broken: as you may see, Zachariah 11.7, to the 14th. upon this account God, (some particular Cases only reserv'd) does usually de­fend those good Princes whom he raises up, to be in­strumental to the Peace and Prosperity of his People, as he does the Earth it self, with a Shield; and protects them both from the open Assaults, and the more dange­rous hidden Plots, and Conspiracies of their most furi­ous, and implacable Enemies.

Why then do these worse then heathen Miscreants, from time to time conspire against the Lives of Princes, and take Council together against the Lord, and his A­nointed; saying, Let us break their bands, even the bands of their Lives asunder, and cast their cords from us: Why do they rage so furiously, and imagine such a vain thing; and contrive such designs as they are not able to perform? For he that sitteth on high shall laugh them to scorn, the Lord shall have them in derision, when they least think of it, he shall speak to them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure; he shall break them with a rod of Iron, and dash them in pieces like a Potters vessel.

Surely the reason why these mischievous workers of Iniquity in secret Places, who lay in wait for Blood, and lurk privily in corners for the Innocent, without a cause, are so bent upon these wicked and abominable Designs, is their misapprehension of the Divine Nature: They do not certainly believe that God takes any notice of what is done, and acted in this Lower World, but imagine that he sits an unconcern'd Spectator of the various Scenes that are presented on the Theatre of the Earth; and that he lets every thing go on, and succeed suitably to the Vigour and Energy of those Natural Causes, by which it is managed, without any interposition of his own [Page 18]Power to controul, and check their Proceedings, though he never so much dislike, and disapprove of them: or else they fondly conceive, that their hidden Deeds of Darkness are unknown to him, and that he cannot pierce into the depth of their secret Councels; otherwise, did they either believe that God took any particular Care of the Government of the World; or that he was a di­scerner of the Thoughts, and Intents of the Heart; they would not be so foolishly impudent as to dare to Plot against the Lives, and to devise and compass the death of those whom he hath more peculiarly shrowded under the wings of his particular, and especial Providence. This is the very Reason given by the Royal Prophet, why these workers of Iniquity boast themselves in their Vil­lanies. Psal. 9.4.7. They say, the Lord shall not see, neither the God of Jacob regard it: But he presently convinces them of their Folly and Ignorance, in the next Verse; when he says, Ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the Ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the Eye, shall he not see? Yea, he sees them in their most private Ca­bals, and in their most secret Consultations, and lets them alone till they fancy they have brought their bloudy Designs beyond any possibility of disappointment. He knows their Down-sittings, and their Up-risings; he is about their Path, and about their Bed, and spieth out all their ways; yea, there is not a word in their Tongue but he knoweth it altogether; nay, he understandeth their Thoughts, from whence proceed all their evil Deeds, long before; when they are yet a far off; for the Thought is the main Spring, and Original of all Humane Acti­ons. The Heart is that small spot, that little dark Cloud which, though not so big as a Mans Hand, would pro­duce such showers of Bloud, if not prevented by Divine Providence, as would overflow whole Countries. Here the wicked Traitor, after he hath conceived mischief, tra­velleth [Page 19]with Iniquity, and bringeth forth Falshood. Here Ambition and Revenge, when they have conceiv'd some cunning stratagem for the accomplishing their wick­ed Design, bring forth their monstrous and deformed Issue of Sin, and that Sin bringeth forth Death, either to the Author, or the Parties against whom the Plot is contrived; but most commonly the mischief returns upon their own Head; and their violent dealing comes down with a vengeance on their own Pates: For thô the Anvil of the Heart, upon which all their ungodly Projects are hammer'd, be never so soft quilted, that the boldest strokes whereby they are forging mischief against the Lords Anointed, and against his Church, cannot be heard by the quickest Ear; yet even the least Thought doth not scape his knowledge, from whom nothing is hid; though for a while he lets them go on in their Vil­lanies, till at length he taketh them in their own crafti­ness, and their Counsels come down headlong upon them­selves: Thus the Psalmist says particularly to this Point, when Treason was hatch'd against his own Royal Per­son; Psal 37.12, &c. The wicked plotteth against the Just, and gnasheth upon him with his Teeth; The Lord shall taugh him to scorn, for he seeth that his day is coming; the wicked have drawn their Sword, and bent their Bow (all instruments of Cruelty ready for the fatal execution) to cast down the poor and needy, and to slay such as are of an upright Conversation; But, behold the issue; their Sword shall enter into their own Heart, and their Bow shall be bro­ken. The wicked watcheth the righteous and seeketh to slay him; but the Lord will not leave him in his hand, nor con­demn him when he is judged; the Righteous shall rejoyce when he seeth the vengeance, and shall wash his footsteps in the bloud of the wicked; so that a Man shall say, Verily, there is a reward for the Righteous, doubtless, there is a God that judgeth the Earth. Psal. 58.10, 11.

[Page 20] And this insensibly leads me to that which is an evi­dent Proof of what the Wise Man lays down in my Text: an Undeniable Instance and Demonstration, of the Par­ticular Care that God takes of those Good and Righte­ous Princes, into whose hands he hath committed the Reins of Government, for the Establishing of the Wel­fare and Prosperity of his People; manifested in the late Signal and Wonderful Act of his good Providence, in discovering the late Barbarous and Inhumane Conspiracy against the Precious Life of our Dear and Dread Sove­reign, in whom all our Lives and Welfares are wrapt up: Which shews the Watchful Eye that the Almighty hath over his Royal Person, which he hath so often se­cured, not only from the Casualties of War, which have been many and great, but from the secret Plots and Ma­chinations of Deceitful, and Blood-Thirsty-Men, which have been formed and contrived against him; for this is not the first time that they have laid wait privily to destroy him, nor the first Demonstration of God's won­derful Deliverance of him. O who can sufficiently de­test and abhor the Villanous Attempt of those Barbarous and Bloudy Assassins, against the Sacred Life of our most Gracious Prince, or enough praise the Almighty's Good­ness for the Preservation of it? Who can without hor­ror and amazement of Spirit consider what the dismal and fatal Consequences would have been to this Land and Nation wherein we Live, if God, for the Sins of this ungrateful People, had suffer'd this Black and Hellish Conspiracy hatcht in the Secrets of Darkness to have ob­tain'd the expected Success. Had the Breath of our No­strils, the Anointed of the Lord, under whose shadow we hope long to be shelter'd from the Fury of all our Popish Enemies, been taken in their Nets, what a sad Confusion would there have been among all Orders, De­grees, and Conditions of Men among us? What Rivers [Page 21]of Blood would have run in lately dry places; when eve­ry Man's hand had been against his Neighbour? What Murders, what Out-crys, what Groans, and Shrieks of Dying Persons? What Devastations by Fire, to consume that beautiful and magnificent City, one of the Europae­an Wonders, which hath risen more glorious out of those Ashes in which those implacable Incendiaries had not long since laid it. And all this to be follow'd (for with­out the accomplishing the Barbarous Assassination, it would have been in vain to attempt it) by a terrible and formidable Invasion, when all things were in hurry and Disorder; and a sudden Fear and Astonishment for the dismal and unexpected Blow had seized upon the hearts of all good Men; and no Preparations at hand to have resisted the vast Numbers of Armed and Well-Disciplin'd Men, which would continually have been pouring forth upon us: And all this to bring us into Slavery and Sub­jection, to a Cruel and Perfidious Nation that hates us, and which we have no other Reason but only as Enemies, to Love; and what is worse yet, to destroy our Rights and Liberties, and that which ought to be dearest to us, to extirpate our most holy Religion, and to introduce the Hateful Names of Popery and Tyranny among us. And how near was all this dire Mischief to be accomplish'd? Just upon the Edge of Execution: The black Cloud that hung over our Heads, that was charged with Thunder and Lightning, was ready to break down upon us, un­less he who is higher than they, had diverted the Bloody and Dreadful Storm. For God was pleased to discover this Horrid and Detestable Conspiracy but a day before the Fatal time intended for the accomplishment of it. He touch'd the Heart of one of the Conspirators by a sudden Impulse of his Spirit, with a Remorse for that Barbarous and Inhumane Design wherein he had engag­ed himself, and made him see with Horror and Distracti­on [Page 22]of Mind, the Blackness and Unworthiness of that Cowardly and ungenerous Fact he was about to commit: So that he could not be at quiet, nor take any rest, till he had vomitted up, and disgorged the Bloody Secret which he had so greedily swallow'd. God making him, and others that were pick'd out to be of the Party to Assassinate our Gracious Prince, (and they were more than Forty, the like number of those who had banded together to kill St. Paul, who made this Conspiracy) to be the happy Instruments of his wonderful Deliverance and Preservation. Thus God, when he pleases to appear for the safety of the Church and his People, can turn a Lion into a Lamb; he can make of Saul, who was a Persecutor of the Saints, a Paul, a Preacher, and an Apostle, and a Propagator of his Holy Gospel. Thus near was this Deadly, Execrable Plot of being fully executed upon us: And that there was something at that very time extraordinary in the Wind, some great matter hoped, and suddenly look'd for by that Party, which is still, though God be praised for it, unsuccessfully plotting the Downful both of our Church and State, might easily have been conjectur'd, (neither did it miss the Observa­tion of some) by the more than ordinary Feasting and Revelling, and meeting together of the professed Enemies of our Religion; the Flocking together of those ill-boding Vultures in unusual numbers of that time in the chiefest Places of concourse, shewed that they more than smelt the Bloody Design; and that they were in daily expecta­tion of their long-look'd for Prey; waiting to be gorged with Royal Blood; and that with the Gore of those in­numerable Sacrifices of both the Senatorian Orders, as well as of those of inferior Ranks which must have in­distinctly fallen, to have made way for the compleating of that detestable, and almost unparallel'd design which they had undertaken. And indeed, the time of extre­mity [Page 23]of Danger is the usual Season that God for the ma­nifestation of his own Honour, and to shew that it is his Hand that does it, chuses for the Discovering and Frustrating the Wicked Counsels of those who are in deep Consult, to overthrow the Foundations of that Go­vernment he hath establish'd, and for the Deliverance of his Chosen Servants: When the Mandatory-Letters were sent Post by Haman's Order to destroy, to kill, and cause to Perish the whole Nation of the Jews, then was God pleased to give Esther so much favour in the sight of the King, as to obtain to have them coun­ter-manded, and to turn the Destruction intended against them upon the Heads of the Authors themselves: O may we ever, as the Jews did, keep solemn the two days of our Purim, for our wonderful Deliverance, when the Lot was on both days cast to consume, and destroy us; That these Days may be may kept Holy to the Lord by an Ordinance, according to their appointed time every Year, that they may be remember'd in every Generation, and the Memorial of them be continued to our Posterity after us. Again, when the Match was laid to the Train, and the Conspirators were in expectation every Minute to hear the Fatal Crack, then GOD, when they least expected it, was pleas'd to open the long hidden Mine, and to discover their Magazine of Ammunition that was laid to have blown up the King, with all the Flower of his Nobility and Gentry, together with our Religion, at one blast. Thus God suffer'd this damnable Conspiracy for the greater Confusion of the Traytors, who fell so sud­denly from their hopes with which they were puff'd up; and to give us the greater occasion to Praise and Magnifie his Goodness towards us, to come just to the Birth, and then would not give it strength to come forth. He saw them all along; follow'd them from one place of Meeting to another, his Eye pursued them from [Page 24]one Tavern to another; for there in those Temples, Dedicated to Bacchus, they held their most Private and nocturnal Consults; there, on his slippery Altars they sacrific'd their Drink-offerings in intemperate Bowles, for the success of their unhallow'd, and most bloody Conju­ration: and when they were thorowly heated with the furious Spirit of their impure Deity, then were they fit­test to contrive, and the most audacious to execute the maddest, and most desperate Designs: Dignum sanè Pa­tellâ operculum; a fit Cover for such a Mess; A proper Place, and fit Ingredients for the carrying on such a cru­el and bloody Enterprize, that no Man in his right Wits, and in a sober Mind, durst so much as think on. Thus Cataline, such another bold Conspirator against his Coun­try, as these were; who plotted the Death of one of the Chief Magistrates, Tully, the best Consul, they almost ever had; and the burning the City; the slaughter of the Senate, and the ruin of their Temples, and all that was Sacred among them, (just such another Holy and Worthy Project as this was) kept all his debauched Con­sults by night, with all manner of lewd Intemperance, and Excess; and when they were high flown, then he carried about a great Goblet, wherein Wine and Man's Blood was mix'd together; and when all his Accompli­ces had tasted of it, and taken that Sacrament of Con­federation to be true to one another, he swore them all to Secrecy, and then participated his Intentions, and then consulted for the most proper time and means for the execution of them; but when all their black and horrid Designs, which they had formed against their Country, Laws, and Magistrates, were ripe for to be put in Action, and a Day appointed for the same, (even a time prefixt in the Month of February, as the Histo­rian tells us) their Plot was discovered to the Consul, by one of their own Party, and the City saved, and his [Page 25]Life, with the Lives of the Patricians, and the whole Order of Senators, and their Liberties preserved. Thus God to shew how easily he can baffle all the most cunning contrivances of the wisest Achitophels, let's them go on, without seeming to take the least notice of them: he suffers them to Pride, and boast themselves in the happy inventi­on of their bloudy Project, and of the fitness and conveni­ence of the place for the Execution of it; he lets them go on to fill up the measure of their Iniquity, and then on a suddain when they think they have their Prey, so safe in the compass of their Net, that he cannot escape them, and that nothing can intervene to frustrate their expectation; Behold a Bird of the Air, a Message from Heaven sent by God into the Heart of one of their own Tribe, which prompts him to a Discovery, carries the Tidings, and that which hath wings tells the matter.

And now what can we think of a Religion, if we may call it one; which Authorizes, Allows, and Commands the acting such barbarous Villanies, for promoting the Interest of the Roman Catholick Faith, as it is by them­selves incongruously, and absurdly called, and the bring­ing a Nation back again to that Spiritual Thraldom and Captivity, out of which God had wonderfully deliver'd it, which even the worst of Heathens would have been asham'd to own, or in the least to countenance; to the great scandal and reproach of our most Holy, Pure, and peaceable Christian Profession, which suffers much in its Credit, and Reputation, by such pernicious Doctrines as the Church of Rome teaches, and prescribes to those of her Communion; under the colour and pretended Authority of Religion, they contrive with the greatest Sacredness that can be, the most bloudy and inhuman Murthers, and Treasons imaginable; making even the Holy Sacrament of the Eucharist, the Bond of their wicked Confederacies, and Combinations; both their [Page 26]Obligation to commit their execrable Villanies; and their Tye not to confess it, if it may tend to the preju­dice, and discerdit of their Holy Mother Church; when it is done. Now what Security and Guard can Mankind have against such as have no regard for whatever they say, do, or swear, when the Cause which they have espous'd is concern'd; or when their Lives, Fortunes, or Reputations are called in question: Who can but detest and abominate such cruel and Faithless Principles as de­stroy all Morality, and good Nature, and which incou­rage their Proselytes to Murder Princes in cold Blood, and to do the Devil's work, who was a Murderer from the beginning in God's name, under the mask and pre­tence of doing him good Service. They consecrate Dan­ners with Exorcisms, and Holy Water, for a more suc­cessful Invasion; and that they may the more deeply, and effectually take the Dye of Protestant Blood, they Hallow Daggers and Pistols with all the dire Ceremo­nies, of their formal, and soppish Superstition, that they may enter the sooner, and pierce the further into the Hearts of Gods Vicegerents. But God be praised, who hath defeated all their pernicious Counsels, who hath discovered all their deep-laid Designs, who hath turned back all their vast Preparations with shame, and disho­nour; and hath made that proud insulting Monarch, who by these vile Arts, and unchristian, unmanly, as well as unkingly practices thought to have over-run us, and our most Holy Religion, a scorn, and a by-word, and an object of Contempt, and Reproach to all Christendom. Though Satan and his Adherents sate in full Consult for the ruin of our Religion, and the Chief Head under Christ of it; yet the everlasting Counsellor who always advises the best for his chosen, hath infatuated all their Designs, and hath brought that untimely Fate which they intended to others, upon their own Heads: this, [Page 27]God hath done for us, and it ought to be marvelous in our Eyes; That God who hath assured, that he will make all things conspire, and make for the Good of those who love him, and put their Trust in him: who makes even the wrath of Man to praise him, and whose fierce­ness he can, when he pleases, restrain, and make their most wicked Conspiracies, instrumental to their future Secu­rity, and Preservation. A Tree shaken by the Wind, and whose Roots are loosened thereby within the ground, thrives the better, settles the faster, and bears the more Fruit when the Storm is over: and this Government, whose Foundations seemed to be shaken by the violence of those furious attempts, which have been made by the Prince of the Air to overthrow them, shall be the stronger and more firm for those vain and empty blasts which these bold Conspirators have rais'd against it. It hath cut off some of the rotten and unsound Members already, and I hope will either hinder many from being infected with the same Contagion, or cure them if they have been al­ready tainted with it. It hath united and confirmed the Hearts, and Affections of all Good Men, and made them unanimous in their Resolutions of defending the Sa­cred Person of their valiant Leader; and of taking new, and more effectual Methods (with submission still to, and reliance on God's Providence, which hath hitherto watched over him, and us) for the securing both Him, and our Religion, which through him was aimed at from the like dangers for the time to come. It will, and ought to make us the more watchful. and to have a stricter Eye over those whom we now find, to be, ac­cording to the Character that St. Paul gives First Chap. to the Romans, of those whom God had given up to a repro­bate Mind, to be filled with all manner of Ʋnrighteousness. and Maliciousness, to be full of Envy, Murder, Debate, and Deceit, to be inventers of Evil things, Covenant-break­ers, [Page 28]without Natural Affection, Implacable, and Ʋnmer­ciful: whom no Kindness can oblige; but are still studying, and plotting to disturb the Peace, and quiet of our Jerusalem.

But above all this, it will in all Humane Probability, have that good Influence and Operation upon a Party within our selves, as to open their Eyes, and to convince their Judgments, and to make them own that Duty and Allegiance, which they have so long neglected and for­got to pay; when they cannot but see before their Faces the Base, Unworthy, and inhumane Practices that have been used by the Papists, (Permissu & Jussu Superiorum) and by some among themselves to bring about their Wicked Designs; and when they must, if they have the least grain of Sense left, acknowledge, that if what they have so passionately wish'd and strove for, had for our Sins, been accomplish'd by a French Power, which I hope now they will no longer deny, that they themselves must have fallen a Sacrifice among the rest to their besotted Bi­gottry, unless they would abjure that Religion which hi­therto they seem so Zealously to profess, and to fall down before the Golden Idol of Rome. Surely they will be asham'd to herd with the Papists for the time to come; seeing as their Principles lead them to it, so now they are actually detected and convicted, by Plain and Undeniable Evidence, of the most Barbarous and Ungenerous Attempt that almost was ever made, against the Life of a Prince, by secret Treachery and Ambushment, who hath so Free­ly and Bravely exposed his Person to the most imminent Dangers upon all Occasions, not only for the Preservation of the Protestant Religion, and the Rights and Liberties of his Subjects, which, but for him, under GOD, had long since been swallow'd up by that great Leviathan, who spares nothing that comes within his reach and grasp; but also for the recovery of the Rights and Possessions of [Page 29]most of the Princes of Europe which have been invaded, and encroach'd on by the common Disturber of the Peace, and Welfare of Christendom.

O how happy should we be, if all our Divisions and Differences were composed among us; then should all our Enemies, either Abroad or at Home, be discouraged to make any more attempts against us; then should our Re­ligion flourish, and the Prosperity of the Nation be firmly establish'd among us! Let us therefore make that right use of GOD's Mercy thus signally and visibly conferr'd upon us, by the Discovery of that Detestable Conspiracy against His Majesty's Royal Person and Government, as to lay aside all distinctions, and frivolous Disputes about Words more than Realities, and bear a Dutiful and un­constrain'd Allegeance to the best of Princes, who thinks nothing too hazardous to undertake, nothing too painful to undergo to procure the Happiness of his People, and the Security of their Religion.

And as we have praised God this Morning in that ex­cellent Form of Thanksgiving, composed by his Order, for the great and signal Deliverance of his Person and Government, from all the Wicked Designs that were laid against both, so let us shew the sincerity of our Thank­fulness unto God by our conformity to his Laws, and by yielding a cheerful Obedience to the Commands of his Vice-Gerent, for whose safety he hath so graciously ap­pear'd.

Lastly, As we have joyntly set our hands in token of our readiness to imploy our whole Strength, and to use our utmost Endeavours to assist for the Defence of his Royal Person, and support of his Government, and to bring to condign Punishment those who shall offer any violence to the one, or disturbance to the other; so let us now with one accord lift up our Hearts and our Voices, and associate our selves this Day, to present our humble [Page 30]Address to the Divine Majesty of Heaven, in behalf of our Dear and Dread Sovereign, King WILLIAM; that he may be long the Care and Darling of the Al­mighty, and the Joy, Comfort, and Safe guard of these, and all other his Realms and Dominions whatsoever. He hath long, O Lord, abode in the heat of the Battel, under the cooling and refreshing Shadow of thy gracious and protecting Providence; thou didst cover him with thy large and capacious Wings, from the Bullets that flew about him; and now thou hast quash'd all those Mid­night-Plots and Conspiracies that were hatch'd in the depth of Hell, and they are by thy goodness discover'd, and come to nothing. O contime thy loving kindness unto him, because he hath known thy Name, and when he calls upon thee, do thou answer him. Let thy Truth and Mercy be still his Shield and Buckler; Let him take to himself the Jealousie for thine Honour for compleat Armour, and let him put on Righteousness for a Breast­plate, and true Judgment instead of an Helmet: Let thy Hand, O GOD, hold him fast, and thy hand strengthen him: Hide him from the Secret Counsels of the Wicked, and from the Insurrection of Evil-Doers, who encourage themselves in Mischief, that they may suddenly shoot at him that is perfect, and commune among themselves how they may lay snares, and say, that no Man shall see them: But do thou, O Lord, suddenly shoot at them with a swift Arrow, that they may be wounded: Yea, let their own Tongues make them fall, that whoso seeth them may laugh them to scorn, and that all Men may say, This hath the Lord done, for they shall perceive that it is thy Work; then shall the Righteous rejoyce, and put their Trust in thee, and all they that are true of heart shall be glad. And that he may be a long Blessing to this Na­tion, do Thou continue to deliver him from the Evil Man, and preserve him from the Wicked Man, who imagines [Page 31]Mischief in his Heart, and stirrs up strife all the Day long; Keep him from the hands of the Ungodly, who had purposed to overthrow his Goings: Keep him from the Snares they have laid for him, and from the Traps of the Wicked-doers; Let the Ungodly fall in their own Nets together, and let him ever escape them.

Grant this, and whatever else we have prayed for, in much mercy to us and this Sinful Nation, for thy Dear Son Jesus Christ's sake, to whom, with thy self, and Holy Spirit, be ascribed all Honour and Glory, World without end, Amen


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