Z. Isham. R. P. D. Henrico Episc. Lond. a Sacris
March 4th 1688/9

A SERMON Preached at LINCOLNS-INN-Chappel, On the 31th of January, 1688. Being the DAY Appointed for A PUBLICK THANKSGIVING TO Almighty GOD For having made His HIGHNESS The Prince of Orange The GLORIOUS INSTRUMENT of the Great Deliverance of This KINGDOM from Popery & Arbitrary Power.

By JOHN TILLOTSON, D. D. Dean of Canterbury, and Preacher to the Honourable Society of Lincolns-Inn.

LONDON, Printed for Brabazon Aylmer, at the Three Pigeons against the Royal Exchange in Cornhil; And William Rogers, at the Sun over against St. Dunstans Church in Fleet-street, M DC LXXXIX.

To the Worshipful the MASTERS OF THE BENCH, And the rest of the GENTLEMEN OF THE HONOURABLE SOCIETY OF Lincolns - Inn.

THough I was at first very unwilling to Expose to the Publick a Sermon made upon so little Warning, and so great an Occasion; yet upon second [Page] thoughts I could not think it fit to resist the Unanimous and Earnest Request of so many Worthy Persons, as the Masters of the Bench of this Honourable Society; to whom I stand so much indebted for your great and continued respects to me, and kind accep­tance of my Labours among you for now above the space of Five and Twenty Years. In a most grateful acknowledgment whereof, this Discourse, such as it is, in mere Obedience to your Commands, is now humbly presented to you, by

Your most Obliged and Faithful Servant JOHN TILLOTSON.


EZRA ix. 13, 14.‘And after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, seeing that thou our God hast punished us less than our Iniquities deserve, and hast given us such a deliverance as this:’‘Should we again break thy Commandments, and joyn in affinity with the people of these abominations? Wouldst not thou be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?’

I Am sufficiently aware that the particular occasion of these Words is, in several respects, very different from the Occasion of this Day's Solemnity. For these Words were spoken by Ezra at a time appointed for Publick and Solemn Humiliation. But I shall not now con­sider [Page 2] them in that relation, but rather as they refer to that Great Deliverance which God had so lately wrought for them; and as they are a Caution to take heed of abusing great Mercies re­ceived from God; and so they are very proper and pertinent to the great Occasion of this Day. Nay these Words, even in their saddest aspect, are not so unsuitable to it. For we find in Scrip­ture upon the most solemn Occasions of Humili­ation, that good Men have alwayes testifyed a thankful sense of the goodness of God to them. And indeed, the Mercy of God doth then ap­pear above measure merciful, when the Sinner is most deeply sensible of his own Vileness and Unworthiness. And so Ezra here, in the depth of their Sorrow and Humiliation, hath so great a sense of the greatness of their Deliverance, that he hardly knew how to express it; And hast gi­ven us such a deliverance as this. And on the other hand, we find that good Men, in their most solemn Praises and Thanksgivings, have made very serious reflections upon their own unwor­thiness. And surely the best way to make Men truly thankful is first to make them very hum­ble. When David makes his most solemn ac­knowledgments to God for his great Mercies to [Page 3] him; how doth he abase himself before Him? But who am I, and what is my people? And so like­wise,1 Chro. 29. 4. after he had summoned all the powers and faculties of his Soul to joyn in the praises of God, he interposeth this seasonable meditation, He Psalm 103. 10. hath not dealt with us after our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. The greater and more lively sense we have of the goodness of God to us, the more we shall abhor our selves in dust and ashes; nothing being more apt to melt us in­to tears of Repentance, than the consideration of great and undeserved Mercies vouchsafed to us. The goodness of God doth naturally lead to Repentance.

Having thus reconciled the Text to the pre­sent Occasion, I shall for the more distinct hand­ling of the Words take notice of these two Parts in them.

First, Here is a Case supposed; should we, after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and since God hath punished us less than our iniquities de­serve, and hath given us such a deliverance as this; should we again break his Commandments.

Secondly, Here is a sentence and determinati­on in the Case; Wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou hadst consum'd us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? This is not spoken doubt­fully, [Page 4] though it be put by way of question; but is the more vehemently positive, the more peremptorily affirmative; as if he had said, it cannot otherwise be in reason expected, but that after such repeated provocations God should be angry with us till be had consumed us.

First, Here is a Case supposed; should we,I. after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass; and since God hath punish'd us less than our iniquities deserve, and hath given us such a deliverance as this: Should we again break his com­mandments, and join in affinity with the People of these abominations. In which Words these following Propositions seem to be involv'd, which I shall but just mention, and pass to the Second Part of the Text.

1. That Sin is the cause of all our sufferings, after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass. Our evil deeds bring all other evils upon us.

2. That great Sins have usually a proportio­nable punishment; after all that is come upon us, there is the greatness of our punishment; for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, there is the greatness of our Sin. But when I say that great [Page 5] Sins have a proportionable Punishment, I do not mean that any temporal Punishments are proportionable to the great evil of Sin; but that God doth usually observe a proportion in the temporal punishments of Sin, so that although no temporal punishment be proportionable to Sin, yet the temporal punishment of one Sin holds a proportion to the punishment of ano­ther; and consequently, lesser and greater Sins have proportionably a lesser and greater Punish­ment.

3. That all the Punishments which God in­flicts in this Life do fall short of the demerit of our Sins; and seeing thou our God hast punish'd us less than our iniquities deserve. In the Hebrew it is, and hast kept down our iniquities, that is, that they should not rise up against us. The LXX. ex­presseth it very emphatically, thou hast eased us of our fins, that is, thou hast not let the whole weight of them fall upon us. Were it not for the restraints which God puts upon his anger, and the merciful mitigations of it, the Sinner would not be able to bear it, but must sink un­der it. Indeed it is only said in the Text, that the punishment which God inflicted upon the Jews, though it was a long Captivity, was be­neath [Page 6] the desert of their Sins: But yet it is uni­versally true, and Ezra perhaps might intend to insinuate so much, that all temporal Punish­ments, though never so severe, are always less than our iniquities deserve.

4. That God many times works very great Deliverances for those who are very unworthy of them; and hast given us such a Deliverance as this, notwithstanding our evil deeds, and not­withstanding our great Trespass.

5. That we are but too apt, even after great Judgments, and after great Mercies, to relapse into our former Sins; should we again break thy Commandments. Ezra insinuates that there was great reason to fear this, especially considering the strange temper of that People, who when God multiply'd his blessings upon them, were so apt to wax fat and kick against Him; and though he had cast them several times into the furnace of Affliction, though they were mel­ted for the present, yet they were many times but the harder for it afterwards.

6. That it is good to take notice of those particular Sins which have brought the Judg­ments of God upon us. So Ezra does here; after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for [Page 7] our great trespass; and, should we again join in affi­nity with the People of these abominations.

Secondly, Here is a Sentence and determinati­onII. in the Case; wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? Which Question, as I said before, doth imply a strong and peremptory affirmative; as if he had said, after such a pro­vocation there is great reason to conclude that God would be angry with us till he had consu­med us.

From whence the Observation contained in this part of the Text will be this, That it is a fearful aggravation of Sin, and a sad presage of ruine to a People, after great Judgments and great Deliverances, to return to Sin, and especially to the same Sins again. Hear how passionately Ezra expresses himself in this Case, vers. 6. I am ashamed, O my God, and blush to lift up mine eyes to thee, my God. Why? what was the cause of this great shame and con­fusion of face? He tells us, vers. 9. for we were bondmen, yet our God hath not forsaken us in our bon­dage, but hath extended his mercy to us, to give us a reviving, to set up the House of our God, and to re­pair the desolations thereof, and to give us a Wall in [Page 8] Judah and in Jerusalem; that is, to restore to them the free and safe exercise of their Religion. Here was great Mercy, and a mighty Delive­rance indeed; and yet after this they presently relapsed into a very great Sin, vers. 10. And now, O our God, what shall we say after this? for we have forsaken thy Commandments.

In the handling of this Observation, I shall do these two things.

First, I shall endeavour to shew that this is a sad aggravation of Sin, and

Secondly, That it is a fatal presage of ruine to a People.

First, It is a sad aggravation of Sin after great Judgments, and after signal Mercies and Deli­verances to return to Sin, and especially to the same Sins again. Here are three things to be di­stinctly spoken to.

  • 1. That it is a sad aggravation of Sin to re­turn to it after great Judgments.
  • 2. To do this after great Mercies and Deli­verances.
  • [Page 9]3. After both to return to the same Sins again.

1. It is a great aggravation of Sin after great Judgments have been upon us to return to an evil course. Because this is an Argument of great obstinacy in evil. The longer Pharaoh re­sisted the Judgments of God, the more was his wicked heart hardned, till at last he arriv'd at a monstrous degree of hardness, having been, as the Text tells us, hardned under ten plagues. And we find, that after God had threaten'd the Peo­ple of Israel with several Judgments, he tellsLev. 26. 13. them, that if they will not be reformed by all these things, he will punish them seven times more for their sins. And if the just God will in such a case punish seven times more, we may conclude that the Sin is seven times greater.

What sad complaints doth the Prophet make of the People of Israel growing worse for Judg­ments. Ah! sinful Nation, a People laden with ini­quity, Isai. 1. 4. children that have been corrupters, a seed of evil doers. He can hardly find words enough to ex­press how great Sinners they were; and he adds the reason in the next verse, Why should they be Vers. 5. smitten any more? they will revolt more and more. [Page 10] They were but the worse for Judgments. This renders them a sinful Nation, a People laden with iniquity. And again, The People turneth not to him Isai. 9. 13. that smiteth them, neither do they seek the Lord of Hosts; therefore his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still. And the same Pro­phet further complains to the same purpose, When thy hand is lifted up they will not see. ThereIsai. 25. 11. is a particular brand set upon King Ahaz, because affliction made him worse: This is that King 2 Chro. 28 22. Ahaz, that is, that grievous and notorious Sin­ner. And what was it that render'd him so? In the time of his distress he sinned yet more against the Lord; this is that King Ahaz, who is said to have provoked the Lord above all the Kings of Israel which were before him.

2. It is likewise a sore aggravation of Sin, when it is committed after great Mercies and Deliverances vouchsafed to us. Because this is an argument of great ingratitude. And this we find recorded as a heavy charge upon the People of Israel, that they remembred not the Lord their God, Judg. 8. 34, 35. who had delivered them out of the hand of all their ene­mies on every side; neither shewed they kindness to the House of Jerubbaal, namely Gideon who had been their Deliverer, according to all the goodness which [Page 11] he had shewed to Israel. God, we see, takes it ve­ry ill at our hands, when we are ungrateful to the Instruments of our Deliverance; but much more, when we are unthankful to Him the Au­thor of it. And how severely does Nathan the Prophet reproach David upon this account? Thus saith the Lord God of Israel, I anointed thee King over Israel, and delivered thee out of the hand of Saul, &c. And if this had been too little, I would moreover have done such and such things. Where­fore hast thou despis'd the Commandment of the Lord to do evil in his sight? God here reckons up his ma­nifold mercies and deliverances, and aggravates David's Sin upon this account. And he was ve­ry angry likewise with Solomon for the same rea­son,1 King. 11. 9. because he had turned from the Lord God of Israel, who had appear'd to him twice. However we may slight the mercies of God, he keeps a punctual and strict account of them. It is par­ticularly noted, as a great blot upon Hezekiah, 2 Chro. 32. 25. that he returned not again according to the benefits done unto him. God takes very severe notice of all the unkind and unworthy returns that are made to Him for his goodness.

Ingratitude to God is so unnatural and mon­strous, that we find Him appealing against us [Page 12] for it to the inanimate Creatures. Hear O Hea­vens, Isai. 1. 2. and give ear O Earth! for the Lord hath spoken; I have nourish'd and brought up Children, but they have rebelled against me. And then he goes on and up­braids them with the Brute Creatures, as being more grateful to men than men are to God. The Ox knoweth his owner, and the Ass her Masters Crib, Vers. 3. but Israel doth not know, my People doth not consider. And in the same Prophet there is the like com­plaint, Let favour be shewn to the wicked, yet will he Isai. 26. 10. not learn righteousness. In the land of uprightness will he deal unjustly, and will not behold the Majesty of the Lord. Lord, when thy hand is lifted up, they will not see, but they shall see and be ashamed. They that will not acknowledge the Mercies of Gods Pro­vidence shall feel the strokes of his Justice.

There is no greater evidence in the World of an intractable disposition, than not to be wrought upon by kindness, not to be melted by mercies, not to be obliged by benefits, not to be tamed by gentle usage. Nay, God expects that his mercies should lay so great an obligation upon us, that even a Miracle should not tempt us to be unthankful. If there arise among you a Pro­phet, Deut. 13. 1, 2. sayes Moses to the People of Israel, or a Dreamer of dreams, and giveth thee a Sign or a Won­der, [Page 13] and the Sign or the Wonder cometh to pass, where­of he spake to thee, saying, let us go after other Gods and serve them; thou shalt not hearken to the words of that Prophet. And he gives the reason, because Vers. 5, he hath spoken to turn you away from the Lord God of Israel, which brought you out of the Land of Egypt, and delivered you out of the House of Bondage.

3. It is a greater aggravation yet, after great Mercies and Judgments to return to the same Sins. Because this can hardly be without our sinning against knowledge, and after we are convinced how evil and bitter the Sin is which we were guilty of, and have been so sorely pu­nish'd for before. This is an argument of a very perverse and incorrigible temper, and that which made the Sin of the People of Israel so above measure sinful, that after so many signal Deliverances, and so many terrible Judgments, they fell into the same Sin of murmuring ten times; murmuring against God the Author, and against Moses the glorious Instrument of their De­liverance out of Egypt, which was one of the two great Types of the Old Testament, both of tem­poral and spiritual Oppression and Tyranny. Hear with what resentment God speaks of the ill re­turns which they made to him for that great [Page 14] Mercy and Deliverance. Because all these men Numb. 14. 22. which have seen my glory, and my miracles which I did in Egypt, and in the Wilderness; and have tempted me now these ten times, and have not hearkned unto my voice: surely they shall not see the Land which I sware to their Fathers. And after he had brought them into the promised Land, and wrought great De­liverances for them several times, how does he upbraid them with their proneness to fall again into the same Sin of Idolatry? And the Lord said Judg. 10. 11, 12, 13, 14. unto the Children of Israel, did not I deliver you from the Egyptians, and from the Amorites; from the Children of Ammon, and from the Philistins? The Zidonians also and the Amalekites and Maonites did oppress you; and ye cryed unto me, and I delive­red you out of their hand: yet you have forsaken me, and served other Gods; wherefore I will deliver you no more: go and cry unto the Gods which ye have chosen, let them deliver you in the time of your tribulation. This incensed God so highly against them, that they still relaps'd into the same Sin of Idolatry after so many afflictions and so many deliveran­ces. Upon such an occasion well might the Pro­phet say, Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, and Jer. 2. 19. thy sins shall reprove thee: know therefore, that it is an evil and bitter thing that thou hast forsaken the Lord thy [Page 15] God. It is hardly possible but we should know that the wickedness for which we have been so severely corrected is an evil and bitter thing.

Thus much for the first part of the Observation, namely, that it is a fearful aggravation of Sin, after great Judgments and great deliverances to return to Sin, and especially to the same Sins again. I proceed to the

Second part, namely, That this is a fatal pre­sage of ruine to a People; Should we again break thy Commandments, and join in affinity with the People of these abominations, wouldest thou not be angry with us till thou hadst consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping? And so God threatens the People of Israel in the Text which I cited before, wherefore I will deliver you no more. Wherefore; thatJudg. 10. 13. is, because they would neither be reform'd by the Afflictions wherewith God had exercis'd them, nor by the many wonderful Deliverances which he had wrought for them.

And there is great reason why God should deal thus with a People that continues impeni­tent both under the Judgments and Mercies of God.

[Page 16]1. Because this doth ripen the Sins of a Nati­on; and it is time for God to put in his Sickle when a People are ripe for ruine. When the measure of their Sins is full, it is no wonder if the Cup of his indignation begin to overflow. It is said of the Amorites, four hundred years be­fore God brought that fearful ruin upon them, that God deferr'd the extirpation of them, be­cause the iniquity of the Amorites, was not yet Gen. 15. 16. full. When neither the Mercies nor the Judg­ments of God will bring us to repentance, we are then fit for destruction; according to that of the Apostle, What if God willing to shew his Rom. 9. 22. wrath, and make his power known, endured with much long suffering the vessels of wrath fitted for destruction? They who are not wrought upon neither by the patience of God's Mercies, nor by the patience of his Judgments, seem to be fitted and prepa­red, to be ripe and ready for destruction.

2. Because this incorrigible temper shews the Case of such persons to be desperate and incura­ble. Why should they be smitten any more? sayesIsai. 1. 5. God of the People of Israel, they will revolt more Matth. 23. 37, 38. and more. How often would I have gathered you, sayes our B. Saviour to the Jews, even as a hen gathereth [Page 17] her chickens under her wings? and ye would not. Be­hold, your house is left to you desolate, that is, ye shall be utterly destroyed; as it hapned forty years after to Jerusalem, and to the whole Jewish Nation.

When God sees that all the means which he can use do prove ineffectual and to no purpose, he will then give over a People, as Physicians do their Patients when they see that nature is spent and their case past remedy. When men will not be the better for the best means that Heaven can use, God will then leave them to reap the fruit of their own doings, and abandon them to the demerit of their Sins.

That which now remains is to apply this to our selves, and to the solemn Occasion of this Day.

And if this be our Case, let us take heed that this be not also our Doom and Sentence.

First, The Case in the Text doth very much resemble Ours. And that in three respects. God hath sent great Judgments upon us for our evil deeds and for our great trespasses: He hath pu­nish'd us less than our iniquities have deserv'd: And [Page 18] hath given us a very great and wonderful Delive­rance.

1. God hath inflicted great Judgments upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespasses. Great Judgments, both for the quality, and for the conti­nuance of them. It shall suffice only to mention those which are of a more ancient Date. Scarce hath any Nation been more calamitous than this of Ours, both in respect of the Invasions and Conquests of Foreigners, and of our own Civil and intestine Divisions. Four times we have been Conquer'd; By the Romans, Saxons, Danes, and Normans, And our intestine Divisions have like­wise been great and of long continuance. Wit­ness the Barons Wars, and that long and cruel Contest between the two Houses of York and Lan­caster.

But to come nearer to our own Times. What fearful Judgments and Calamities, of War, and Pestilence, and Fire, have many of us seen? And how close did they follow one another? What terrible havock did the Sword make amongst us for many years? and this not the Sword of a Foreign Enemy, but of a Civil War; the mischiefs whereof were all terminated upon our selves, and have given deep wounds, and left broad [Page 19] scars upon the most considerable Families in the Nation.—Alta manent civilis vulnera dextrae.

This War was drawn out to a great length, and had a Tragical end, in the Murtber of an excel­lent King; and in the Banishment of his Children into a strange Countrey, whereby they were ex­pos'd to the Arts and Practices of those of another Religion; the mischievous Consequences where­of we have ever since sadly labour'd under, and do feel them at this day.

And when God was pleas'd in great mercy at last to put an end to the miserable Distractions and Confusions of almost twenty years, by the happy Restoration of the Royal Family, and our an­cient Government; which seem'd to promise to us a lasting settlement, and all the felicities we could wish: yet how soon was this bright and glorious morning overcast, by the restless and black Designs of that sure and inveterate Enemy of ours, the Church of Rome, for the restoring of their Religion amongst us. And there was too much encouragement given to this Design, by those who had power in their hands, and had brought home with them a secret good will to it.

[Page 20]For this great Trespass, and for our many other Sins, God was angry with us, and sent among us the most raging Pestilence that ever was known in this Nation, which in the space of eight or nine Months swept away near a third part of the Inha­bitants of this vast and populous City, and of the Suburbs thereof; besides a great many thousands more in several parts of the Nation. But we did not return to the Lord, nor seek him for all this.

And therefore, the very next year after, God sent a terrible and devouring Fire, which in less than three days time laid the greatest part of this great City in ashes. And there is too much reason to believe that the Enemy did this; that perpetual and implacable Enemy of the peace and happiness of this Nation.

And even since the time of that dreadful Cala­mity, which is now above twenty years agone, we have been in a continual fear of the cruel Designs of that Party, which had hitherto been incessant­ly working under ground, but now began to shew themselves more openly: and especially, since a Prince of that Religion succeeded to the Crown, our eyes have been ready to fail us for fear, and for looking after those dreadful things that were coming upon us, and seem'd to be even at [Page 21] the door. A fear which this Nation could easily have rid it self of, because they that caused it were but a handful in comparison of us, and could have done nothing without a foreign force and assistance; had not the Principles of Huma­nity, and of our Religion too, restrain'd us from violence and cruelty, and from every thing which had the appearance of undutifulness to the Go­vernment which the Providence of God had set over us. An Instance of the like patience under the like provocations, for so long a time, and after such visible and open attempts upon them, I challenge any Nation or Church in the World, when they had the Laws so plainly on their side, from the very foundation of it, to produce. In­somuch, that if God had not put it into the hearts of our kind Neighbours, and of that in­comparable Prince, who laid and conducted that great Design with so much skill and secre­cy, to have appear'd so seasonably for our res­cue, our Patience had infallibly, without a Miracle, been our ruine. And I am sure if our Enemies had ever had the like Opportunity in their hands, and had overbalanced us in num­bers but half so much as we did them, they would never have let it slip; but would long [Page 22] since have extirpated us utterly, and have made the remembrance of us to have ceas'd from among men.

And now if you ask me, for what Sins more especially God hath sent all these Judgments up­on us? It will not, I think, become us to be very particular and positive in such determina­tions. Thus much is certain, That we have all sinn'd and contributed to these Judgments; every one hath had some hand, more or less, in pul­ling down this vengeance upon the Nation. But we are all too apt to remove the meritorious cause of God's Judgments as far as we can from our selves, and our own Party, and upon any flight pretence to lay it upon others.

Yet I will venture to instance in one or two things which may probably enough have had a more particular and immediate hand in drawing down the Judgments of God upon us.

Our horrible contempt of Religion on the one hand, by our Infidelity and Profaneness; and our shameful abuse of it on the other, by our gross Hypocrisie, and sheltering great wickedness and immoralities under the cloak and profession of Religion.

[Page 23]And then, great Dissentions and Divisions; great uncharitableness and bitterness of Spirit a­mong those of the same Religion; so that al­most from the beginning of our happy Refor­mation the Enemy had sown these Tares, and by the unwearied Malice and Arts of the Church of Rome the seeds of Dissention were scattered very early amongst us; and a sowre humour had been fermenting in the Body of the Nation, both up­on account of Religion and Civil Interests, for a long time before things broke out into a Civil War.

And more particularly yet; That which is call'd the great Trespass here in the Text, their joining in affinity with the People of these abominations, by whom they had been detain'd in a long Cap­tivity: This, I say, seems to have had, both from the nature of the thing, and the just Judg­ment of God, no small influence upon a great part of the Miseries and Calamities which have befallen us. For had it not been for the counte­nance which Popery had by the Marriages and Al­liances of our Princes, for two or three Genera­tions together, with those of that Religion, it had not probably had a continuance among us to this day. Which will, I hope, now be a good [Page 24] warning to those, who have the Authority to do it, to make effectual provision by Law for the prevention of the like inconvenience and mis­chief in this Nation for ever.

2. Another Parallel between our Case and that in the Text, is, That God hath punish'd us less than our iniquities did deserve. And this acknowledg­ment we have as much reason to make for our selves, as Ezra had to do it in behalf of the Jews; Thou our God hast punish'd us less than our iniquities de­serve. Thou, our God, hast punish'd us; there is the reason of so much mercy and mitigation. It is God, and not Man, with whom we have to do; and therefore it is, that we the children of men are not consumed. And it is our God likewise, to whom we have a more peculiar relation, and with whom, by virtue of our Profession of Chri­stianity, we are in Covenant: Thou our God hast punish'd us less than our Iniquities deserve. He might justly have pour'd forth all his wrath, and have made his jealousie to have smoak'd against us, and have blotted out the remembrance of us from un­der Heaven: He might have given us up to the will of our Enemies, and into the hands of those whose tender mercies are cruelty: He might have brought us into the net which they had spred for us, and [Page 25] have laid a terrible load of affliction upon our loins, and suffer'd insolent men to ride over our heads, and them that hated us with a perfect hatred, to have had the rule over us: But he was graciously pleas'd to remember mercy in the midst of judgment, and to repent himself for his servants, when he saw that their power was gone, and that things were come to that extremity, that we were in all humane probabi­lity utterly unable to have wrought out our own Deliverance.

3. The last Parallel between our Case, and that in the Text, is the great and wonderful De­liverance which God hath wrought for us. And whilst I am speaking of this, God is my witness, whom I serve in the Gospel of his Son, that I do not say one word upon this Occasion in flattery to men, but in true thankfulness to Almighty God, and constrain'd thereto from a just sense of his great mercy to us all, in this marvelous Delive­rance, in this mighty Salvation which he wrought for us. So that we may say with Ezra, Since thou our God hast given us such a Deliverance as THIS: So great, that we know not how to compare it with any thing but it Self. God hath given us this Deli­verance. And therefore, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but to thy Name be the praise. For thou [Page 26] knowest, and we are all conscious to our selves, that we did in no-wise deserve it; but quite the contrary. God hath given it, and it ought to be so much the welcomer to us, for coming from such a Hand. It is the Lord's doing, and there­fore ought to be the more marvellous in our eyes. It is a Deliverance full of Mercy, and I had al­most said, full of Miracle. The Finger of God was visibly in it; and there are plain Signatures and Characters upon it, of a more immediate Divine interposition. And if we will not wisely consider the Lord's doings, we have reason to stand in awe of that Threatning of His, Because they re­gard not the works of the Lord, nor the operation of Psal. 28. 5. his hands, he shall destroy them, and not build them up.

It was a wonderful Deliverance indeed, if we consider all the Circumstances of it: The Great­ness of it; and the strangeness of the Means where­by it was brought about; and the Suddenness, and Easiness of it.

The Greatness of it; it was a great Delive­rance, from the greatest Fears, and from the greatest Dangers; the apparent and imminent Danger of the saddest Thraldom and Bondage, Civil and Spiritual; both of Soul and Body.

And it was brought about in a very extraordi­nary [Page 27] manner, and by very strange means: Whe­ther we consider the greatness and difficulty of the Enterprise; or the closeness and secrecy of the Design, which must of necessity be communica­ted at least to the Chief of those who were to assist and engage in it: Especially the States of the United Provinces, who were then in so much dan­ger themselves, and wanted more than their own Forces for their own Defence and Security: a kindness never to be forgotten by the English Nation. And besides all this, the difficulties and disappointments which happen'd, after the Design was open and manifest, from the uncer­tainties of Wind and Weather, and many other Accidents impossible to be foreseen and prevented. And yet in Conclusion a strange concurrence of all things, on all sides, to bring the thing which the Providence of God intended to a happy issue and effect.

And we must not here forget the many Wor­thies of our Nation, who did so generously run all hazards of Life and Fortune, for the preser­vation of our Religion, and the asserting of our ancient Laws and Liberties.

These were all strange and unusual means; but which is stranger yet, the very counsels and [Page 28] methods of our Enemies did prepare the way for all this, and perhaps more effectually, than any counsel and contrivance of our own could have done it. For even the Jesuits, those formal Po­liticians by Book and Rule, without any considera­tion or true knowledg of the temper, and inte­rest, and other circumstances of the People they were designing upon, and had to deal withal; and indeed without any care to know them: I say, the Jesuits, who for so long a time, and for so little reason, have affected the reputation of the deepest and craftiest States-men in the World, have upon this great Occasion, and when their whole Kingdom of Darkness lay at stake, by a more than ordinary infatuation and blindness, so outwitted and over-reach'd themselves in their own counsels, that they have really contributed as much, or more, to our Deliverance from the Destruction which they had designed to bring upon us, than all our wisest and best Friends could have done.

And then, if we consider further, how sudden and surprising it was, so that we could hardly be­lieve it when it was accomplish'd; and like the Children of Israel, when the Lord turned again the Captivity of Zion; we were like them that dream. [Page 29] When all things were driving on furiously, and in great hast, then God gave an unexpected check to the Designs of men, and stopp'd them in their full career. Who among us could have imagin'd, but a few Months ago, so happy and so speedy an end of our fears and troubles? God hath at once scatter'd all our fears, and outdone all our hopes by the greatness and suddenness of our Deliverance. O that men would praise the Lord for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men.

And lastly, If we consider the cheapness and easiness of this Deliverance. All this was done without a Battel, and almost without Blood. All the danger is, lest we should loath it, and grow sick of it, because it was so very easie. Had it come upon harder terms, and had we waded to it through a Red Sea of Blood, we would have valued it more. But this surely is great wan­tonness; and whatever we think of it, one of the highest provocations imaginable: For there can hardly be a fouler and blacker Ingratitude towards Almighty God, than to slight so great a Deliverance, only because it came to us so easi­ly, and hath cost us so very cheap.

[Page 30]I will mention but one Circumstance more, which may not be altogether unworthy our ob­servation. That God seems in this Last Delive­rance, in some sort to have united and brought together all the great Deliverances which He hath been pleas'd to work for this Nation against all the remarkable attempts of Popery, from the beginning of our Reformation. Our wonderful Deliverance from the formidable Spanish Invasion design'd against us, happen'd in the Year 1588. And now just a hundred years after, the very same year, and at the same Season of the year, this last great Deliverance came to us. That horrid Gunpowder Conspiracy, without Precedent, and without Parallel, was design'd to have been executed upon the Fifth Day of November; the same Day upon which his Highness the Prince of Orange landed the Forces here in England which he brought hither for our Rescue. So that this is a Day every way worthy to be solemnly set apart and joyfully celebrated by this Church and Nation, throughout all Generations; as the fittest of all other to comprehend, and to put us in mind to commemorate all the great Deliverances which God hath wrought for Us, from Popery, and its inseparable Companion, Arbitrary Power. And [Page 31] we may then say with the Holy Psalmist, This is Psal. 118. 23, 24. the Lord's doing, it is marvellous in our eyes. This is the Day which the Lord hath made, we will rejoice and be glad in it.

Secondly, As the Case in the Text is much like Ours, so let us take heed that the Doom and Sen­tence there be not so too. If after all that is come upon us for our evil deeds, and for our great trespass, and since God hath punish'd us less than our iniquities did deserve; should we again break his Commandments, and join in affinity with the People of these Abomina­tions, would He not be angry with us till he had con­sumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor esca­ping? What could we in reason expect after all this, but utter ruine and destruction? We may here apply, as St. Paul does, God's Dealing with the People of Israel, to the Times of the Gospel; for he speaks of it as an Example and Ad­monition to all Ages to the end of the World. Now 1 Cor. 1 [...] 9, 10, 11. these things, says the Apostle, were our Examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted; Neither be ye Idolaters, as were some of them, &c. Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of Serpents. For the explication of this passage we must have re­course [Page 32] to the History, which gives this account of it. And the People spake against God, and against Numb. 21. 5, 6. Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt, to die in the Wilderness? &c. impeaching God and his Servant Moses, as if by this Deliverance they had put them into a much worse condition than they were in when they were in Egypt. And the Lord sent fiery Serpents among the People, and they bit the People, and much People of Israel dyed. But how was this a tempting of Christ? Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted; that is, let not us, now under the Gospel, tempt our Sa­viour and Deliverer, as the Israelites did theirs, by slighting that great Deliverance and by speaking against God, and against Moses. Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the Destroyer. And how far this may concern Us, and all Others, to the end of the World, who shall tempt Christ, the great Patron and Deliverer of his Church, and murmur without cause, as the Israelites did, at the Deliverances which He works for them, and against the Instruments of it, the Apostle tells us in the next words: Now all these things hap­pened V. 11. unto them for Ensamples, or Types; and they are written for our admonition upon whom the ends of the World are come. Let us not tempt Christ; who is now [Page 33] beginning the Glorious Deliverance of his Church from the Tyranny of Antichrist.

To draw now towards a Conclusion; I will comprehend my Advice to you upon the whole matter, in as few words as I can.

Let us use this great Deliverance which God hath given us, [such a Deliverance as this] from our Enemies, and from the Hand of all that hate us; not by using Them as they would have done Us, had we fallen under their Power; with great Insolence, and Rage, and Cruelty; but with great Moderation and Clemency, making as few Examples of Severity as will be consistent with our future security from the like Attempts upon our Religion and Laws: And even in the Execu­tion of Justice upon the greatest Offenders, let us not give so much countenance to the ill Exam­ples which have been set of Extravagant Fines and Punishments, as to imitate those Patterns which with so much reason we abhor; no, not in the Punishment of the Authors of them.

And let us endeavour, for once, to be so wise, as not to forfeit the fruits of this Deliverance, and to hinder our selves of the benefit and advantage of it, by Breaches and Divisions among our [Page 34] selves. As we have no reason to desire it, so I think we can hardly ever hope to understand Po­pery better, and the Cruel Designs of it, than we do already; both from the long Trial and Expe­rience which we have had of it in this Nation, and likewise from that dismal and horrid View which hath of late been given us of the true Spirit and Temper of it in One of our Neighbour Nations, which hath long pretended to the Profession of the most refin'd and moderate Popery in the World; but hath now at last shewed it self in its true Colours, and in the Perfection of a Persecuting Spirit; and have therein given us a most sad and deplorable Instance, of a Religion corrupted and degenerated into that which, if it be possible, is worse than None.

And since, by the undeserved Mercy of God to us, we have, upon such easie terms in compa­rison, escap'd their Rage and Fury; let us now at length resolve, never to join in affinity with the People of these Abominations; since our Alliances with them by Marriage have had so fatal an Influence, both upon the publick Peace and Tranquillity of the Nation, and upon the Welfare also of private Fami­lies. I have known Many Instances of this kind, but hardly ever yet saw One that prov'd happy; but [Page 35] a great many that have been pernicious and rui­nous to those Protestant Families in which such unequal, and, as I think, unlawful Matches have been made: Not that such Marriages are void in themselves, but yet for all that sinful; because of the apparent Danger and Temptation to which those of our Church and Religion that enter into them do evidently expose themselves, of being seduc'd from their Religion; not by the good Arguments which the other can offer to that purpose, but by the ill Arts which they have the Confidence and the Conscience to make use of in the making of Proselytes.

And let us pay our most hearty and thankful Acknowledgments, chiefly and in the first place to Almighty God, the Blessed Author of this Deliver­ance; and under Him, to that happy Instrument whom God hath been pleased, in great pity to this sinful and unworthy Nation, to raise up on purpose for it, his Highness the Prince of Orange; and to that end did in his All-wise Providence lay the Foun­dation of our then future Deliverance, in that au­spicious Match which was concluded here in Eng­land, about eleven years ago, between this Re­nowned Prince and our Excellent Princess.

[Page 36]This is that most Illustrious House of Nassau and Orange, which God hath so highly honoured above all the Families of the Earth, to give a Check to the Two Great aspiring Monarchies of the West, and bold Attempters upon the Liberties of Europe: To the One, in the last Age; and to the Other, in the present. As if the Princes of this Valiant and Victorious Line had been of the Race of Hercules, born to rescue Mankind from Oppression, and to quell Monsters.

And lastly, let us beseech Almighty God, all whose Ways and Works are perfect, That he would establish that which he hath wrought, and still carry it on to further and greater Perfection. Which, after such an Earnest of his Favour and Good Will to us, we have no reason to doubt but that he is ready to do for us; if by our own fickleness and inconstancy, disgusting the Delive­rance now it is come, which we so earnestly de­sir'd before it came; if by our ingrateful Mur­murings and Discontents, by our own foolish Heats and Animosities, kindled and carried on by the ill designs of some, working upon the tenderness and scruples of others, under the specious pre­tences of Conscience and Loyalty: I say, if by some or all these ways we do not refuse the Blessing [Page 37] which God now offers, and defeat and frustate the merciful Design of this wonderful Revoluti­on; God will still rejoice over us, to do us good, and think thoughts of Peace towards us, thoughts of good, and not of evil, to give us an expected end of our long Troubles and Confusions. But if we will not know, in this our day, the things which belong to our Peace, our Destruction will then be of our selves; and there will be no need that God should be angry with us, for we shall be undone by our own Dif­ferences and Quarrels about the Way and Means of our being saved; and so be angry with one ano­ther till we be consumed. Which God, of his infi­nite Goodness, give us all the Grace and Wisdom to prevent; for his Mercies sake, in Jesus Christ, to whom, with Thee, O Father, and the Holy-Ghost, be all Honour and Glory, Thanksgiving and Praise, both now and ever. Amen.


BOOKS lately Printed for Brabaz. Aylmer.

THE Rule of Faith; or, An Answer to the Treatise of Mr. J. Sarjant: By John Tillotson, D. D. Dean of Can­terbury. To which is adjoined a Reply to Mr. J. S. his Third Appendix, &c. By Edward Stillingfleet, D. D. Dean of St. Paul's.

The Advice of a Father: or, Counsel to a Child. Directing him how to demean himself in the most important Passages of this Life.

The True Mother-Church: or, a Short Discourse concerning the Doctrine and Worship of the First Church at Jerusalem, upon Acts II. By Samuel Johnson, Author of Reflexions upon Julian. Price 2 d.

Books Printed for Brab. Aylmer and W. Rogers.

SErmons and Discourses, some of which never before printed: The Third Volume. By the Reverend Dr. Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury. 8vo.

A Discourse against Transubstantiation. In 8vo. Price 3 d.

A Perswasive to frequent Communion in the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper. By John Tillotson, Dean of Canterbury. In 8vo. Price 3 d.

Books Printed for William Rogers.

AN Answer to a Discourse, Intituled, Papists protesting against Protestant Popery; being a Vindication of Papists not Misrepre­sented by Protestants. 4to.

A Sermon preached before the Right Honourable the Lord Mayor and Aldermen of the City of London, at [...]uild-Hall Chappel, on Sunday, November the 4th. 1688. By William Sherlock, D. D. Master of the Temple.

A Letter of Enquiry to the Reverend Fathers of the Society of Jesus. Written in the Person of a Dissatisfied Roman Catholick.

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