A SERMON Preach'd before the KING In the Cathedral Church of WINCHESTER, Ʋpon Sunday, Septemb. 9. 1683. BEING THE Day of Publick Thanksgiving FOR THE DELIVERANCE OF His Sacred Majesties Person and Government From rhe Late Treasonable CONSPIRACY. BY F. TƲRNER, D. D. Dean of Windsor.

Published by his Majesties special Command.

LONDON: Printed for Benj. Tooke, at the Ship in S. Paul's Church-yard. 1683.

A SERMON ON PSAL. cxliv. 9, 10.

I will sing a new Song unto thee, O God, and sing Praises unto thee upon a ten-stringed Lute;

Thou hast given Victory unto Kings: and hast deliver'd David thy Servant from the peril of the Sword.

IF ever any might presume to take up the words of David in another Psalm where he says in be­half of himself and of God's own People, Like as we have heard so have we seen in the City of our God, i. e. in the Church, God upholdeth the same for ever; We may be allow'd to take them up at this time, and to speak them in our own behalf. If ever those words of his might be apply'd by way of comparing the Great Deliverances which Almighty God has afforded to Kings and Kingdoms in Ages past, with Mercies no less wonderful in the present Age; Then I may justly [Page 2] apply those words with reference to the words of my Text: I take it out of a Psalm appointed in part of our Office for this Solemn Thanksgiving; and there's none but at first hearing my Text read may see it as it were fulfilled once more in our own Story, and glori­ously accomplisht on this Good Day: for we hear in my Text of a Victory given by God to a King, and now we see a King who having stood as it were in a Battel not for a single day onely, but for several months, his Enemies are so disappointed, and defeated now, that we may truly say, God has given him a Noble Victory: We hear of a King in my Text, Deliver'd from the peril of the Sword; for 'tis plain this Psalm was written by David after he was Establisht upon his Throne, since he speaks to God in the second verse, my Deliverer, my Shield, and he in whom I trust, who subdueth my People that is under me. But we cannot tell whether this Psalm were written before or after his Encounters with Absolom, the Son of his own Bowels that sought his Life, or with Sheba that manag'd a Rising in the City against him, till the Loyal Party of the City pre­vail'd, and the Traitor lost his Head: therefore I make no reflection upon those passages, for tis more than I can prove that David himself reflected upon them, here. But there's no question he had an Eye to all the Terrible Hazards he had run before he was Crown'd, when Saul and his bloudy house were hunting him like a Partridge upon the Mountains: So that not his own House, which should be a Man's Castle and his Sanctu­ary; not his own Bed, which was made to be quiet in; [Page 3] not those very places whither he fled for Refuge, were free from the peril of the Sword.

This then we hear from the Text compar'd with the Story of that King; and (to keep far enough off not only from cold and frivolous Parallels, but also from odious Comparisons) I shall only say, we see a King preserved from the same Implacable Enemy that has pursu'd him above these Forty Years; but a much more formidable Enemy since he conceal'd his Enmity, than when he declar'd himself openly, even by set­ting a Price upon the Most Sacred Head.

But David in all these Reflexions either upon his Dangers or his Deliverances, looks up to Heaven, he acknowledges, that the Race is not to the Swift, nor the Battel to the Strong; and tho' it be added by Solomon that Time and Chance happen to all things, his meaning was, that many things look indeed like Chance, tho guided by a Hand of Providence, to most unseen, which yet was most visible to King David in the whole Course of his Fortunes; therefore he gives the Honor to God alone. He thanks him not only for his own prospe­rous Successes, but in behalf of all the Crowned Heads in the World, it is he that giveth Victory unto Kings: to the same Great God of Heaven he ascribes their Preservation from so many Horrid Conspiracies, as while there is a Devil in Hell, and so many of his Agents upon Earth, will never cease to be carryed on; and when they are taken off, it is He the King of Kings that de­livers his Servant David, or by parity of reason, any other Sovereign Prince, that may be styl'd his Servant, from the hurtful Sword.

Lastly, to compleat the Solemnity and Honorary Part of his Thanksgivings upon these Accounts, he re­solves to celebrate his Victory and his Deliverance, with such Musick as is proper to be used in the Worship of God, and together with Church-Musick to Introduce its best Sister and Heavenly Twin, i. e. Divine Poetry, wherein he will endeavour at Higher and Nobler Strains than ordinary. I will sing a new Song unto thee O God: I will sing Praises unto thee upon a ten-stringed Lute.

Now I cannot deny but many of the modern Expo­sitors are careful, in their Descants on my Text, to in­struct us that the religious Use of Instrumental Musick was purely Mosaical and Typical; that it was adapted to the grosser and duller Constitution of the Jewish Votaries, but by no means to be taken for our Pattern, nor imitated under the Gospel. But if all this were Typical, I would gladly learn what a Ten-stringed Lute was a Type of; I would fain know too, whether the Piety of those Reformers be so much more Refin'd and Exalted than was that of David, that they refuse and despise such low Dispensations as these, which he made good use of. I would willingly understand, why they are not as well pleased with good Instrumental Musick in some few Churches, as they are with ill Vocal Musick in many Churches. In short, if I find it in use with other Nations as old as Homer's time, with Nations who never received the Law, and with the Jews before they received the Law upon Mount Sinai, (for Miriam the Sister of Aaron and the Virgins that bore her Com­pany [Page 5] to celebrate their Deliverance out of Egypt, played with their Timbrels and danc'd to the Song of Moses) I must conclude it a piece of Natural Religion, to which the common Light of Reason directs all Civi­lized Nations, especially upon any general Jubile and Publick Thanksgiving; and if ever any Prince and People had reason to sing Te Deum, to raise their Affections with Voices, and Strings and Instruments of Wind fit for their Songs of Deliverance (as David calls them) we have reason to do it on This Day.

Tho this being no common Day I must be more particular than to spend all my time upon any Com­mon-place; yet I have warrant enough to draw from the special Case of David towards some general Ob­servations; for this Proposition, It is God that giveth Victory unto Kings, is virtually and implicitely uni­versal; he does not say that God always gives them Victory: We know it has been given against the Best of Kings to the Worst of all his Subjects; but the meaning is, that whenever a King is a Con­querour, God gives him Victory: Nor does he say that Every Sovereign Prince is Constantly Deliver'd, as David was from the Peril of the Sword. Alass was our late Royal Martyr so Delivered from it? In the highest and truest sense of the word, he was never more de­livered from all the Evils of this World than when he was delivered up by Gods unsearchable Counsels to the Will of his Enemies; but yet not so delivered as David with a Temporal Deliverance. This only can be gathered, that whenever these Sacred Princes [Page 6] are so delivered as to be preserved from the Sword, (and so they are most frequently;) so as to be rescued out of the very Jaws of Death, 'tis by an extraordi­nary Vigilance of the Divine Providence over them, 'tis God is their Guardian, and not Man. There is no King (says the same Royal Prophet in another place) that can be saved by the Multitude of an Host; a mighty Man is not delivered by much strength. i. e. 'tis not the Number of his Forces that can secure the greatest Prince, nor the Courage and Power of the most Giant-like man, no, tho' he has never so numerous a Party on his side, that can Preserve or Sustain him. And as no King is to put his Trust in the Number or the Fortitude of his People, so neither is any People to Confide in the Wisdome of their Heads, or in the vast­ness of their Body, to oppose their Lawful Prince; for it follows, the Lord bringeth the Counsel of the Heathen to nought, He maketh the Devices of the People of none effect. Now in the Book of Psalms the Heathen do commonly signifie the Godless-men: So 'tis as if he had said, whatsoever Godless men design or propose to themselves contrary to the Will of God, he blasts and frustrates their Plots, he dissipates all their Cabals, he unravels all their Intrigues, be they never so cunningly manag'd by such as have erected themselves into Secret Councils, be they never so strongly backt by Factious Associations; still God does in his good time make it appear, that he governs the World, he makes them feel his hand that think to wrest the Scepter from them that hold it for him. Whoever they are that [Page 7] use indirect and unlawful means to Raise or Establish, or but to Secure themselves, to set up as it were for themselves, without God in the World; they take the certain course either to miscarry with their Design, or if they do gain their Point, yet their Success it self is a judgment upon them: proportionable to the great­ness of their Sin will be their Punishment; which if it comes in this world, is commonly fetch'd out of the very bowels of the Sin that deserv'd it, and so as the Hand of God is illustriously visible in it.

But to be more distinct, I shall lay the main design of my Text into these three Heads of my Discourse.

1. I take the first of them from the very words of David, That since it is God who giveth Victory unto Kings, it is better to trust in the Lord, than to put any confi­dence in man.

2. Secondly, That such as will not trust in God as a Deliverer from any Dangers they fear, but will take the Sword against their Lawful Prince upon any Pre­tence whatsoever; their Sentence is read in the words of our Blessed Saviour; They that take the Sword shall Perish by the Sword.

3. Thirdly, That there is a Peculiar hand of Provi­dence over Kings and Princes to deliver them from the hurtful Sword; and so also over all their Loyal Subjects and Good People, that will but trust God and walk in his holy ways.

First then, Since it is God who giveth Victory unto Kings, it is better to trust in the Lord, than to put any Confidence in man. What need I look any farther for Proof of so plain a thing than to this Great Man in the Text?

When he yielded to that great Temptation of Num­bring the People, an Act which God interpreted to be relying on the Arm of Flesh, and priding himself in the many that he had at his Service, instead of depending upon God, then God was pleas'd immediately to shew Himself; the vast Muster-Roll of his Fighting men was quickly diminish'd by an Epidemical Plague, a Judgment worthy of God; a fair warning for every Great Man that puts his trust in the Multitude, espe­cially for him that follows a Multitude to do Evil, tho' he vainly supposes that Good may come of it, or at least that a great Evil and Mischief cannot be avoided but by running along with the stream. This Principle of yielding, and steering a crooked Course for fear of the Torrent, was by a Noble English Martyr within the memory of man, most Christianly Con­fest and Condemn'd with his last breath, as that which had brought upon him the Guilt of Innocent BloodLd. Capel.. In such hard Cases as these, the resolution of David (tho' somewhat of the latest for him after he had Numbred the People) should be our Rule, Let us now fall into hands of the Lord, for his mercies are great, and let us not fall into the hands of men: Then how low soever we may fall we are sure to fall decently, with an humble great­ness, [Page 9] and with the honest Pride of a good Conscience; nay then we have reason to be consident, that God is on our right hand, therefore we shall not fall, by those floods of Belial; or, those overflowings of ungodly men, which made even David afraid; for God takes to him­self this Glory, that He stills the raging of the Sea, and the noise of its Waves, and the madness of the People.

But if ever any one thought to carry all before him by the Number and Force of his Armed men, in spight of the Living God, it was Senacherib; The Speech that was spoken in his Name by Rabshekah to the Peo­ple on the Wall, was like that of the Gyant Capaneus, whom the Poet represents upon the Walls of Thebes daring and defying all the Gods of Heaven and of Earth. But when the Tumor of the Assyrians Pride was lanc'd by an Angel's Sword, (which in one Night cut off a hundred fourscore and five thousand of his fighting men; and so gave a great Victory to the King of Israel, and so delivered Hezekiah the Son of David, from the hurtful Sword) then does not Senacherib blush by falling low on his Face to a God of wood or of stone to give himself the Lie; he that confess'd no other God than his own strong Arm (to that alone he gives the Attribute of Omnipotence) he is found upon his Knees to his God Nisroch; he who not only despised the Servants and Worshippers of the God of Israel, but in comparison of his own strength, derided the Power of a Deity, and prickt all his Religion upon the end of his Sword, this Scorner [Page 10] of God is slain by two of of his own Sons while he was crouching to a thing without Sense or Life; in the very Act of his Publick Adoration, God in his in­finite Wisdome ordering it so, that he should seal his Faith (such a faith as it was) with his own Blood, that not only his Crime and his Punishment; but his Recantation too might be publish'd to all the World.

But sure I may take your Assent to this for granted, that 'tis better to trust in God than to put any Confidence in Man.

2. I proceed in the second place to shew more largely, That such as will not trust in God as a de­liverer from any dangers they fear, but will take the Sword against their Lawful Prince, upon any pretence whatsoever, their Sentence is read in the words of our blessed Saviour, They that take the Sword shall perish with the Sword.

This also will best appear by some clear and proper Examples, even David the Hero in my Text, He who had shew'd himself infinitly tender of touching the Lords Anointed, tho' himself were the next to succeed, when he made but one false Step in point of Duty to his King and Love to his Country, it cost him almost as dear as his very Life; for when King Saul had driven him from his Country, when being pursu'd and persecuted to extremity, he did but fly for refuge to the Phi­listins, those mortal Enemies of Israel, how quickly do they call his sins to remembrance? Is this not David of whom they sang one to another, Saul hath slain his Thousands and David his Ten Thousands? Then was [Page 11] he fain wisely to act the fool, and to counterfeit the Mad-man, to let his spittle fall down upon his Beard. Yet was not that so abject or so ridiculous a spectacle as to see one lick the spittle of the people from the very Ground, as the greatest man must do that would court a Party, and set up for base Populari­ty: He must be contented not onely to play the fool for Company, and to cant with them; but he must play the Bedlam too, or else he must leave his Party. Well under this Disguise of a man that had lost his wits, and was not worth their looking after, David escapes from that fatal Court to a Cave; He raises some forces: nor was he to blame for this, to go about with a Guard, when his Life was unjustly attempted by the Philistins, the common Enemy. Every one (we are told) that was in debt, and every one that was discontented gather'd them­selves unto him; Multi quibus Ʋtile Bellum, many to whom War and Troubles would afford a subsistance: now he thought himself considerable enough with his flying Army to offer his service again to the same King Achish of Gath; and personating the Lunatick no more, he is kindly receiv'd there. And yet 'tis plain he never intended to make War on their Side against his own Prince and People, for while he dwelt among them he diverted and imployed his Forces another way against some of the Borderers, the Old Enemies of Israel. But then to what cruel hard­ships was he reduced, even to put all to the Sword, that none might survive to tell any Tales of him? [Page 12] What pitiful Evasions; what officious Equivocations was he driven upon, to make the Philistines believe that he was heartily theirs? and then does King Achish bring him to the Test, to fight with Israel? And Achish said unto David, Know thou assuredly that thou shalt go out with me to Battel, thou and thy men. There's no stepping back for a man once en­gag'd on the wrong side, he must either go through­out with his new Friends, or quit them in plain Field. He answers the Prince whom he had made his Master, in general terms, Surely thou shalt know what thy Servant can do. He and his men keep in the Rear on the Day of Battel; what he meant to do, or which way he design'd to extricate him­self out of these Difficulties into which his false Poli­ticks had cast him, 'tis impossible for us to deter­mine. Perhaps he would have thrown himself and his Forces between the two Armies, to prevent the Fight and to mediate a Peace, and so he would have satisfied both his Obligations, the one of Loyalty to his Prince, the other of Gratitude to his Pro­tector.

But the Providence of God decided the Case and drew him out of the Snare, but made him take shame upon him, when the Princes of the Philistines urg'd their King to send him away in disgrace, Make this fellow return, and let him not go down with us to Bat­tel, lest in the Battel he be an Adversary to us, for where­with should he reconcile himself to his Master, should it not be with the Heads of these men? Thus they in a [Page 13] manner cashier'd him, as one to be justly suspected for a double Traitor; and though they censur'd him unjustly, yet the whole Story may serve to strengthen my Conclusion; which David had often experimented to be most true; that as an humble Confidence of Gods Protection over us, if we resolve to live in his most holy fear, is the most infallible course we can take to continue in safety, so on the other side all Policy that swerves from the strict Rule of Conscience, does rather procure than prevent extream Danger.

But to confirm this observation from Experience older than David and yet still to keep within the Sacred story. The Men of Israel said unto Gideon (that was in the time of the Judges) Rule thou over us, both thou and thy Son and thy Sons Son also. Al­mighty God had chosen him before to be their Lea­der and Chief; but what they offer him now was more than an Act of Recognition, or an Acknow­ledgment of his Right; for by this Act they bind themselves and their Posterity to be subject to him and his. But how did they keep their Faith with him? Much at the same rate as the unconstant Multitude is wont to keep it. As soon as Gideon was dead, Abimelech his Son by a Concubine (as he is stil'd) insinuates himself into them; They furnish him with money under hand, wherewith he hires vain and light Persons to follow him; for com­monly such are the Followers of Mock-Princes: with the help of this Noble Retinue he assassinates all [Page 14] the seventy legitimate Sons of his Father upon one stone; yet the People have still that wicked Parti­ality for him as to make him their King; But how did this Murderous Traitor and his Abettors prosper? Jotham the Youngest Son of Gideon and the only Son that surviv'd the Massacre, cryes as a Prophet from God against the Usurper; and denounces that fire shall come out of the Bramble (so in his Parable he calls that Base Son) and that this fire shall de­vour their Cedars of Lebanon, their Noble men that rais'd him. And presently after that, we shall find that their Underwoods, i. e. the Common People were destroyed in the flame of their own blowing up. For the next account we receive is, that God sent an Evil Spirit between Abimelech and the men of Sichem: He sent i. e. he suffer'd the Devil as his Instrument of Vengeance to go, and he gave him power over them: And now they grow as weary of their Pageant as once they were fond of it; they hold their Close Meetings against him, 'tis said they met in the House of their God to Eat and Drink, and to Curse Abimelech; this was to turn their Church into a True Conventicle, where they carryed on the work of the day in their two laudable Exer­cises, whereof one was inveighing against the Go­vernment, though it was of their own setting up; and the other was indulging their sensual Appetites under the Cloak of Religion. Then we are told, the men of Sichem dealt Treacherously with Abimelech, as those that have once been fellow-Traitors to [Page 15] their Lawful Governours do seldome long continue faithful to one another. What Tumults there follow'd? What Insurrections? How the Fields were dyed with gore, and how much Blood ran down the Streets of their City, you may read in that noble Story; which finishes at last in the most ignominious Death of that mighty Man, who took not God for his strength, he perishes by the hand of a Woman. To make it the more re­markable; he that had murder'd seventy of his Bre­thren upon one stone, has his own Brains dash'd out by another stone: and to shew that the hand of God was in all this, we are told expresly, And all the Evil of the Men of Sichem did God render upon their own heads, and upon them came the Curse of Jotham.

But because this distrusting of God and (instead of doing that which David presses so passionately, O tarry thou the Lords leisure) being ready to say with that impious Noble-man that was at last trodden to Death by the People, Why tarry we for the Lord any longer? Because this fatal Impatience seems to be now one of our National Sins, I shall urge against the sad effects of it some such Examples as shall be Na­tional and Virtually a Multitude of Examples; Zede­kiah the King of Judah having absolutely submitted to the great King of Babylon, 'tis said he Rebelled against King Nebuchadnezzar, who had made him swear by God: Therefore by the way, the resisting a Lawful Prince to whom an Oath of Obedience has once been taken, tho' he be a Heathen Prince, as Nebuchadnezzar was, is no better than a downright Perjury, and a wicked [Page 16] Rebellion. So Jeremiah the poor despis'd Prophet of God implies it to be throughout his Prophecy. But what if these men were perjur'd Rebels? yet this was always their Note concerning themselves, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord are these, i. e. they were the Godly, they were the Saints; just as the True Protestant, the True Protestant, is now the Common Cry of those who think that Title a good Apology, and a sufficient Plea to legitimate Perjury and Rebel­lion, nay more, he is sure to be called a Factor for Babylon (as Jeremiah was call'd) that dares but call it Perjury and Rebellion. But by whatever Names they are pleas'd to call us, I must tell them by the way, since in Opposition to their Rebellion we have held our Lives so long at the mercy of their Perjury, and yet they have found to their Cost that we have stood our ground still in the Church of England; they that have try'd us at this rate have given a sufficient proof that we are ready to lay down our Lives for the Church of England. We can say no more than this, and we ought to say no less. But to return from this short occasional digression to the Story of that Rebellion I was relating; What came of it? That easie misguided Prince Zedekiah was utterly lost, his very Eyes were not left him but only so long as to see his Sons put to the Sword; the Temple that was their Glory, and which they turn'd into their Vain Glory, was burnt by Nebuzaradun the Assyrian General, the main Body of the People was carryed away Captive into that same Babylon, that Heathenish Countrey which they so justly abhorr'd.

Again, the same turbulent and restless People being after many Ages in some degree re-establisht by the Va­lour of the Maccabees, had made an intire and necessary surrender of themselves to the Romans as to their Lords and Masters. Fo fear of giving Umbrage to the Romans of any other Pretender to the Crown but Caesar, their carsed Politician Caiaphas was for putting our Blessed Lord to death: those two words Venient Romani, the Romans will come and take away both our Place and Na­tion, were effectual incentives to stir up the People to Cry, Crucify him, Crucify him: As now to Cry loud enough Popery will come in and swallow us up, serves all the turns of any great Incendiary to break through all Human and Divine Laws. But how were those Pharisees and Sadduces, those Hypocrites and Atheists destroyed by themselves? their shedding innocent blood (and it was the Blood of God) brought upon them a deluge of blood; at last their open Rebellion against the Romans, their lawful Governours at that time, caused their whole Nation to be pluck'd up by the very roots, and to make the Judgment more apparent, when Titus the Roman came and burnt their Temple again, so many Ages after its first Destruction, that second Desolation came upon them (says Josephus their great Histo­rian)Josp. de Bell. Jud. l. 7. c. 9. in the same Month, on the same day of the Month that the former fell upon; and when by the same division of Priests and Levites, the same Divine Service was reading in course; viz. that Psalm, which was written in Admiration of Gods vindictive Justice, O God, to whom Vengeance be­longeth, [Page 18] thou God to whom Vengeance belongeth shew thy self.

3. After such instances as these, I shall need no more: and in hopes I have gain'd this second Point, that such as will needs take the sword against their law­full Prince shall perish with the sword, I make hast to my Third and Last Part, That there is a peculiar hand of providence over Kings and Princes; to deliver them from the hurtful Sword: so also over all their Loyall Subjects and Good People that will but trust God and walk in his Holy ways.

Now then let us look back on the other side, and see but how well they fard in those same great Conjun­ctures and Revolutions who took the Prophets Advice to cease from man, i. e. to trust in God: Upon how easie terms was the whole Nation offered by God to be preserv'd? He does as it were renew his old promise, to fight for them while they should hold their peace, if they would but reform their Lives: thus saith the Lord amend our ways and your doings, and I will cause you to dwell in this place. See how God takes to himself the Ordering of State-affairs, as the first Mover and Manager of all second Causes, then I will cause you to dwell in the Land that I gave to your Fathers. But the greater number of that People would not take God's word, and he dealt with them accordingly: But how was the patient and the peaceful temper of mind signally rewarded in the Preservation of Jeremiah, and the Remnant his little Party? how was submission and obedience to their Chief (tho he were dead and [Page 19] gone) nobly requited to Jeremiahs beloved Rechabites in that very time of the Siege? because they kept to those Constitutions which they had received from their Ancestor, they had a gracious and a glorious promise from God, Jonadab the Son of Rechab shall not want a man to stand before me for ever. Under what part of Heaven soever they have liv'd, I believe God, that this Religious Family was preserved (when the whole Nation was almost extinguish'd) to last the outmost date of this most true Promise. And if any faith may be given to a Jewish Author, who Tra­vail'd over the greatest part of the habi­table World, to visit the dispersed of his own NationBenj. Tudel.; he assures us in his Itinerary, that what­ever becomes of his Country-men the Sons of Abraham, yet the Posterity of Rechab do still subsist; that they en­joy a fair Territory; that they have built a strong City, (which they were not for bidden to do for their necessary defence) and are very formidable Neighbours to other petty States among the Arabs at this day. Just so it fell out again at the second destruction of Jerusalem, when the Romans took it; Gallus began the Siege, but rais'd it again without any reason imaginable, except this account may be given of it, that he was over-rul'd from above, to open a passage for the Christians (who in those days follow'd nothing but Peace and Holiness) to fly to the Mountains; so that when Titus came a few months after to renew the Siege, there was not one Christian left in Je­rusalem. Euseb. l. 3. c. 5. We must needs believe the most Auihentick [Page 20] Writers of that Story, that the Christians all escap'd to Pella, a City beyond Jordan, while the seditious Jews were not only cut off by the Romans, but were all the while killing and slaying, and damning one another.

Take but one instance more of God's extraordinary Care of those that will but give credence to his Word, and keep themselves within any tolerable compass of doing their duty; but it shall be an instance reaching from the beginning to the last fatal End of the Jewish Government; for during all that time Almighty God was pleas'd to work more than an Anniversary Miracle for their sakes, when the Tribes of Israel went up to their great Solemnities thrice in the Year, leaving their whole Country naked and in a manner exposed to a Forein Invasion, God visibly and gloriously perform'd what he had engaged to do for their Security; for he struck their Neighbour-Nations and Powerful Cities that were at Enmity with them, with Panic Fears, and the Terror of the Lord was upon them, that they drust make no Inroads on the Holy Land, however abandon'd for the Time by most of its own Inhabitants: According to that assurance given 'em in that wonderful place of Scripture, Exodus, xxxiv. 24. For I will cast out the Nations before thee and inlarge thy borders: neither shall any man desire thy Land when thou goest up to appear before the Lord thy God thrice in the Year.

But if such and so extraordinary has been the Pro­vidence of God in the preservation of the obedient People; much more remarkable has the Divine Pro­tection been over the Sacred Persons of Kings and [Page 21] Princes. I have not time to expatiate on so noble a Theam, I will come presently home to the wonderful Instance now before us, and to the peculiar business of this Day: How was our Native Country, this fruitful Soil, like to have been stain'd with a most barbarous Assassination of our Sovereign Lord the King and his Royal Brother, had not their Lives been precious in the sight of God! There had an Acre of Ground been made an Aceldama, a Field of Blood, and consider pray, you that have in your minds the situation of the place where this most horrible Treason should have been acted; was there ever a place more cunningly found out for the Execution of so damnable a Design? an Inclosure, an errand Pound; in the midst of it a House as convenient for the reception of all the Conspirators as the Master of that House was proper to make One at the head of that execrable Crew. Set then before your Eyes those la­mentable Images, (but most necessary to make us sen­sible of our great deliverance) a number of murderous Phanaticks in whose sight Blood was as nothing, and Royal Blood no more to them than the meanest, nay the more meritorious Sacrifice; suppose those Armed Traitors rushing out of their lurking-place, while our Fearless Princes had been talking of indifferent things, or while they had been reposing themselves in their Journey, pent up in a Coach, disabled even from drawing their Swords, or Dying Nobly; and for a few of their Guards what could they have done? Alass the Blow would have been given before they could have apprehended their Master to be in danger. This was a perfect Powder-Plot [Page 22] in the most literal sence, the deed had been done before the noise had been heard, the greatest Courage upon Earth had been useless there; in an instant the Furies had gain'd their hellish point, had not Heaven been watchful over us.

If ever you hear Gods Providence call'd in question by our bold Atheists, choak them with the fire at New-Market, which hastning the King away, spoil'd the whole Train that was laid, and by the loss of a few Houses pre­vented three great Kingdoms from perishing together in one Flame. For can you believe or imagin that all would have ended in a Massacre of the Royal Family? No, doubt you not, the Massacre would have been carryed on as far as they could against all the Royal Party. What else could they intend? what other thing could they wish? what other cause of acting so detestable a Treason? for to take off a most merciful King, and his next Suc­cessor, who next to him has shewed himself of a most reconcileable Temper; to do all this with a purpose of calling in the next of Kin to the Crown, who was bound in honour and conscience to take vengeance upon them; or with a purpose of setting up some other single Person that had no Right; this is a degree of madness which none of these shrewd Phanaticks have to plead in their own excuse. Bring forth the Blind that have Eyes, and the deaf that have Ears (as Isaiah speaks) If any man will not see a thing so clear as this, or if any one will not hear this certain truth, That this Conspiracy was the goodly fruit of that Worthy Association; the design of which was to establish their Common-Wealth in [Page 23] the State, and to introduce a Chaos or deform'd mass of all Religions under the false Pretence and counterfeit Title of One Protestant Religion in the Church. But then to bring this to pass, tho' God only knows what they could have effected, yet they must needs have in­tended to cut off immediately all men of note that had adher'd to the Crown, all that had been true to the Church, all that had behav'd themselves honestly in the last perplext Five years: Ye had all been Popishly Affected at least, and the Protestant Flails (as they call 'em) had flown about your Ears long ago. My thoughts are lost and drown'd in the horrour of what would have follow'd; I may be allowed to use that Metaphor of Drowning, for David uses it here, praying Almighty God to save him and deliver him out of the great waters, from the hand of strange Children; for a Popular Insur­rection is like an inundation in the Night, when the Sea beats down its walls: A Tyrant makes indeed a horrible noise like Thunder, but he, like that, does seldome de­stroy any great numbers; but an Enthusiastick Multitude breaking loose, do's, like the raging waves, make no distinction or stop, it bears down all impetuously that stands before it. I speak not only with regard to those Loyal Noblemen and principal Ministers of State, and Magistrates of the great City, that were marked out and condemn'd to have fallen with the King, and a par­ticular Butcher provided for each one of them, But I must say it to all the worthy Patriots in this Great Assem­bly, they ought to make a present of their Lives and give them back again to the Service of God (whose [Page 24] Service is perfect Freedome) for perhaps there is not a man among them but owes his Life to the Goodness of God in this discovery; for what did not those Barba­rians swallow in their own thoughts? Whose Blood did not those Cannibals thirst after? Upon whose Estate and Fortunes had they not fixt their envious and impudent Eyes? As great a shame as it is for some profligate and desperate Wretches to have been left out of the Caballs that manag'd this Conspiracy, meerly because they knew them to be made up of so much Treachery and Falseness, they would not be true, no not to themselves; So great a Shame would it have been for any Worthy Men not to have been in their List of Men worthy; It would have been a Scandal in­deed for any man of Honour and of Conscience to have been suffer'd to Live by them, to have surviv'd the Royal Family, and so many good Subjects as would have fallen with it, had the Villains prevail'd.

And yet perhaps they would have spar'd the Com­plying men as not worth their Anger, such men as re­solve to thrive under all Governments, or can at least be well content to sit still, indifferent and unconcern'd whatever Religion is uppermost in the Church: they are Animals incombustible for Religion, (as one defines them) and whatever Interest prevails in the State, they laugh at the Notion of being State-Martyrs.

I wish this sort of men who please themselves with being so Passive in so Active times as these, would consider what kind of Censure or Sentence rather, an Heathen Legislator has past upon them; Amongst [Page 25] the Laws of S [...]lon (says Plutarch, the writer of his Life) that is very peculiar and surprising, which makes all those Infamous, who stand Neuters in a Sedition: for it seems he would not have any one Insensible and Re­gardless of the Publick, and securing his private affairs glory that he had no feeling of the Distempers of his Country, but presently joyn with those that had the Right upon their side, assist and venture with them rather than shift out of harms-way, and watch who would get the better. These are the words of that wise man, stating and declaring the concern that every Private man ought to shew when his Prince or his Country are in danger.

But now for any of those that are in a publick trust or have a more special obligation to be upon the watch for the safety of the King and Kingdom; if such men are asleep David being yet a subject, tell's them plain­ly, as the Lord liveth (says he) ye are worthy to die, because ye have not kept your master the Lords Anointed. Awake then you that together with the land which the Lord gave to your Fathers, inherit their vertue too, the old English Loyalty and Courage: lay out your thoughts upon somthing more worthy of your selves than are thoughts only of your own security: let every one in his Station do his duty fearlessly: And they that do so prove for the most part the wisest as well as the most conscientious, the safest as well as the noblest and best Patriots; let us set it down to our selves that Honesty is the true Policy, and let none make that accursed Conversion of the Proposition, as if Policy were the true Honesty; unless they mean [Page 26] to revive that old abominable Gnostick Principle of com­pliance with any Ʋsurpations, or Impositions, for fear of Suffering, for fear of that which a Christian would rather wish for his own sake, could it be without other mens guilt, i. e. the Crown of Martyrdom; Ita te alius senem cum Petro cingat, That was St. Hierom's good wish to Damasus then Bishop of Rome, So let another hind thee when thou art old, as St. Peter was bound, that was, to be carryed to Martyrdom. This would seem but a course Complement, a piece of ill Courtship now, A wish (says Erasmus) if any now should make it in behalf of his Holiness and present it in an Epistle to him, I wonder (says he) what Reward he would assign him? Crucem opinor. But let the worst come to the worst (as they say) if this be the worst, that it shall please Christ to call any of us as the Angel from Heaven call'd St. John the Apostle, come up hither, shall it be enough to deter us from going thither, that first he may happen to call us as he did St. Peter, Follow me, that is through death? What a noble Army of Martyrs have followed the great Captain of our Salvation? The Church the Field of God has been manured, and enriched with the noblest compost in the World, the Blood of Martyrs; The times and seasons of the Year are bounded out and signaliz'd by the dying Days of Martyrs: The Christian Temples are dedicated to the Memorials of the Martyrs, and Miracles were undeniably wrought at the Monu­ments of the Blessed Martyrs. After all this, men of soft and smooth insinuations would introduce a Principle of Self-Preservation (as they call it) as if it were unworthy, as [Page 27] if it were unlawful to suffer any thing like Martyrdom, nay as if it were more Christian to be Rebels and Regi­cides, than be so much as Confessors in the Cause of Christ.

But we that have been saved from the Massacre, we that have received a great and new Mercy our selves in this last wonderful Deliverance of the King from the hands of his Enemies; have we not reason to sing a new Song unto God, to sing praises unto him? And I make no doubt but many of those his Enemies will now change their note, and let them sing our new Song, and let it come from the ground of the Heart, as the Psalmist speaks, Give thanks, O Israel, to God the Lord in the Congregation, from the ground of the heart, let them joyn with us here in the Offices of the Church to bless Almighty God for this Day, and for this happy Disco­very; Upon these terms they are welcome not only to our Communion, but to that of the Angels in Heaven; for there is joy in the presence of the Angels of God over one Sinner that Repenteth, then much more joy over many Repenting Sinners. But then I must press them vehe­mently to bring forth fruits worthy of Repentance. What Love; what Duty do they owe to God and the King, out of pure gratitude for being afforded as great a delive­rance as ours, a deliverance from themselves, from the Plague of their own hearts? If they sorrow after a godly sort, as the Corinthians did for having sided with that In­cestuous Person, they will run through all the Apostles scale of Repentance. What carefulness will it work in them? what clearing of themselves? what indignation? yea what fear? yea what vehement desire? yea what zeal? [Page 28] yea what revenge? If any Catiline hereafter shall dare to come into the Senate, they will presently rise from his Side, (as Caesar and Crassus did, though they both had abetted him formerly;) he will see himself de­serted, and ready to be detected by those that once encouraged him; Thus they may easily recover the false steps they have made by the Services they may do; and all this is little enough for their own and the Publick Security. For I must needs observe to you, that the King in my Text after he had offer'd Thanks to God for delivering him from the peril of the Sword, did not yet think himself so mighty safe, but that he had need to Pray in the very next words, Save me and deliver me from the hands of strange Children! and what sort of men were those? his open Enemies? No, they were the strange Children that dissembled with him. For there are many that kiss the hand which they would cut off, and we know by what Name he was call'd who Kist his Lord and Master even then when he led up the Band of men to seize him: it was the Traitor Judas; yet did not Christ reject his Address, but gave him the title of Friend. But our Blessed Saviour himself has given out the surest Test for pre­rended Converts, and he gave it to St. Peter upon foresight that he would deny his Master, when thou art Converted strengthen thy Brethren; such Infant Converts as those whose tender and weak Loyalty is now in danger of being over-laid and stifled by the pressing importunity of the Party: They whose own Eyes are open'd should endeavour to reduce those whom [Page 29] their ill Example has been the cause of misleading. But especially they that have been guilty of Spiriting others away (for so it may well be called,) They ought to have dreadful apprehensions of the Curse upon those that lead the Blind out of the way, unless they take care and pains to bring them home to their Duty. And now is the time, now that such hidden works of darkness have been brought to light; that they must be blind indeed who will not see them: now that such prodigies of Villany, have been discovered, that he is the greatest prodigy of all that disbelieves, or denies them: Now that also so great a number, tho' I will not say the third Part of the Stars are smillen down (as they were in St. John's Vision) yet now that so many who shin'd heretofore in their proper Orbs are fallen: Now the Apostle will be allow'd to be in the Right, that Evil Communications corrupt good manners; and tho' it is now to be hop'd that noble minds will consort with none hereafter as their Friends but with those of their own temper; but tho' not pre­sently as Friends, until they have reason to believe their Friendship on both sides is founded upon Virtue, yet as Physicians, I must tell them from our Blessed Saviour, the whole need not the Physician, but those that are sick; then certainly those that are poyson'd have not only need but right to have an Antidote given' em by the same hand that hurt' em. And what a noble change, or rather what a glorious Transfiguration would be wrought upon these men, that were lately such instruments of Mischief; would they now turn Saviours in their kind, such as [Page 30] the Prophet gives God thanks for, thou gavest them Saviours who saved them out of the hands of their Ene­mies. Nehem. ix. 27.

And this I have said to those deluded men who I hope are coming to themselves. But for the Atheists who make up one main strength of the Party against us; I will not lose my time in exhorting them to be Loyal, but rather employ it in imploring for them this only Charity of which they are capable, that they may be severely punish'd and treated according to their merit. Let not such wretched men be bolder in Blaspheming God and the King, than we are in Asserting and Maintaining our Duty to them both. To what a height of this Virtue was David come, when he was able to say like one who had no longer any human thoughts about him, the Zeal of thy House hath eaten me up, as a mighty flame devours whatever stand in its way: and it follows, the Rebukes of them that rebuked thee are fallen upon me. Again the same Royal Confessor, for thy sake (says he) have I suf­fered reproof, shame hath covered my face, i. e. (says S. Austin upon that Psalm) I was contented to be thought a shameless person, because I would not be asham'd of my Re­ligion. Thou hast need of this Confidence (says he) to en­counter some Peoples impudence; When they upbraid thee for being a worshipper of one that was hanged upon a Tree, if thou dost blush for shame thou art Guilty (says he) of a grievous Sin—Quid fronti times quam signo crucis ar­masti—prorsus esto frontosus. (i. e.) Remember that thou wert arm'd in thy forehead with the sign of the Cross, (so long ago it was used) therefore be not weak-foreheaded (says he) in the Cause of God.

As Heroick an example of such a pious magnanimi­ty as this in David, was that in King Lewis of France, I mean him whom they stile the Saint, and well they may stile him so upon this account; that having made an Edict against Atheistical or prophane talking, with this Penalty annex'd, that the Guilty Person should be Branded in the Forehead with a hot Iron, when great Intercession was us'd to procure a Pardon for a cer­tain Right Honorable Offender, the King comman­ded that Execution should be done immediately, and added this memorable saying, That he would gladly t [...]e the Brand in his own Forehead, on condition the name of God should no more be blasphemed in his Kingdom.

But having done with our Enemies, before I con­clude, there is somewhat to be said to our Friends, to our selves: If we sing a new Song unto God for this De­liverance, If we sing praises unto him, then the Son of Syrach will tell us, that praise is not comely in the mouth of a sinner, for it was not sent him of the Lord. If therefore we will sing a new Song of Praise to God as we ought to do, then we must lead new lives too: we must consider that the most deceitful enemy of all is within, Intus ho­stis, intus periculum, and the greatest victory that we have to gain in this world, is over our selves, and within our selves; a victory over our own unruly passions within us; For he that is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he that ruleth his spirit than he that taketh a City, Prov. 16. 32. and a victory over the many Temptations from without, conspiring with the Tempters within us; For he that resisteth pleasures [Page 32] crowneth his life, Ecclus. 19. 5. This were indeed a glorious victory: 'tis properly that which the Apo­stle calls overcoming the world: and if Alexander de­serv'd to be stil'd the Great for Conquering but some parts of it, when yet his wild Appetites had the do­minion over him; then let but these be subdu'd, and we justly triumph.

Such a deliverance from our Lusts, would be a mercy transcendently greater than even this by which God has given us our lives; for that would save our souls too. The greatest courage in the world may find room enough to exercise and shew it self in a thorough Penitent; as 'tis excellently argued by S. Chrysostom, That David shew'd a more undaunted greatness of mind in daring to think of surmounting the sin, and the shame, and to set up again for a Saint, after his foul, Treacherous, and Bloody Offence in the matter of Uriah, than he had shewn' in his single Combat with Goliah of Gath. But a Victory that gives not God this glory, a Victory that leaves it to be said of us, they repented not to give him Glory, such a Victory may be more perillous than even the Sword it self from which we are deliver'd. Good Fortune, unless we use it reverently, joyning good Minds to good For­tune, may be one of the dangerousest things that can happen to us: But as to mend our lives would be to make the best use of our present advantage; as to forsake our sins would be the bravest conquest over ourselves: so it would be the heighth of Gratitude for our Deliverance. The Heathens on such an occasion [Page 33] as this would have built a Temple to Jupiter the Con­servatory But this would be done like Christians in­deed, to dedicate our selves as Temples of the Holy Ghost, to God the Preserver of men, as the Prophet stiles him.

Let this great work be done, and then we may conclude with the Psalm, and secure our selves of all the Temporal Blessings here annex'd to sincere Piety, That our Sons shall grow up as the young plants, That our Garners shall be full and plenteous with all manner of store, That our sheep shall bring forth thousands and ten thousands, that so there may be no decay, no leading into captivity, nor no complaining in our streets; Happy are the people that are in such a case; yea, Blessed are the People who have the Lord for their God: which God we ought All to Adore, Invoke, and most humbly Beseech that the Church, which it was his good Providence so to Reform, as to make it the Best, the Purest, the most Apostolical of any Church upon Earth; This he would vouchsafe to Preserve (now that all her Enemies are vanquisht by dint of Argument) from Perishing by the Sword in the Person of Her Gracious Sovereign, since she never takes the Sword against Her Lawful Sovereign. To which good Prayer let me but add those Petitions which a most ancient Writer tells us the Primitive Christians us'd to make for their Emperor; For his long Life, for the Peace of his Empire, for the safety of the Royal Family, for Valiant Soldiers under him, for a Faithful Senate, an Honest Commonalty, a Quiet World, [Page 34] and whatsoever else ought to be the subject of our Prayers, as He is a man whom we pray for, or as He is Caesar.

And we may the better hope that God will accept these Prayers we make for the KING, because the King himself is here in Devotion with us to say AMEN.


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