[Page]Piety's Address to the Magistrate. Delivered in a SERMON AT THE ASSIZES HELD IN WINCHESTER, Iuly 11th. 1695. BY E. YOUNG, Fellow of Winchester College. And Chaplain in Ordinary to His Majesty.

LONDON, Printed for Walter Kettilby at the Bishop's-Head in St. Paul's Church-Yard, 1695.

To the Right Worshipful and Honored The Justices of Peace for the Coun­ty of Southampton, lately assembled at the Assizes held in Winchester.

SIRS,

WHen the Israelites were in de­spair of ever getting free from the Egyptian Yoak, because the Red Sea seemed to be an Invincible Stoppage to their Flight; God commanded Moses to Lift up his Rod, and That instrumentally divided the Waters and made Them room to escape. In this appointment of Providence Moses his Rod was the Complete Emblem of the Magistrates Coercive Power; which is the only Competent Means under God to recover Men from the Bondage of Reigning Vice, and to force a passage thro their opposing In­clinations, without which it is morally impos­sible they should ever get Free. What pre­sent need we have that This Rod of Moses should be lifted up; and what success it pro­mises [Page] towards the publick Reformation of Manners; and how Hopeless all other Me­thods are in Respect of This,—is the Ar­gument of the following Discourse: Which You having honoured with a liberal Approba­tion, I cannot but send it amongst You to be a farther Remembrance of what is therein offered. To give Advice is a familiar and Easie Task, and That was Mine; but to take Advice of this Nature, as You appear to have done, indicates so much both of Wis­dom and Goodness, that I hope the Honour of it will always accompany You in this Life, and follow You to the Future. To be Able to assist publick Vertue is a glorious Power; and This is in Your Hands: To assist it, is a more glorious Act, and This is in Your Choice: God invigorate and prosper and Crown Your just Endeavours to do so. Thus humbly pray's He, who is

Yours, With all Respect and Observance, E. Young.

A SERMON ON 1 TIM. ii. 2.

‘—For all that are in Authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable Life, in all Godliness and Honesty.’

IN the foregoing Verse the Apostle gives Di­rections concerning Prayer; He requires us to pray (in entire Charity) for All Men; and his Choice of Words points out what it is we are to pray for, [...] in the behalf of all Men: For, First (he says) there must be Supplications, i.e. we must pray for all, that God would bestow upon them such Blessings as are needful: Next, There must be Prayers, to render the Word more distinct­ly, Deprecations, i.e. we must pray for all, that God would take away his displeasure, and avert his Iudg­ments from them: Then, There must be Interces­sions, i.e. we must pray, that God would apply the Means of Salvation to all that sit in darkness; and of Conversion to all that walk contrary to the Light [Page 2] that is afforded them: and Lastly, There must be Thanksgivings, i.e. we must Thank God for all the Blessings we see bestow'd on Others; to signify that we have a feeling Complacency in the Comforts that Others enjoy thro God's good Providence; whether it be his Pleasure that We enjoy the same, or no.

Having given this Direction to pray for All Men in general, he comes, in the Verse of the Text, to require our Prayers for some particular Orders of Men in a more especial manner; and that is, For Kings, and for all that are in Authority: Now there is Room for the Question, What it is we are to pray for in behalf of These? And some would have it meant by the Apostle that we should pray for Those in the following Form of Words, (viz.) That we may live (under them) a quiet and peaceable Life in all Godliness and Honesty: But this Interpretation, as it is Wanting in Respect to the Governing Powers, so it is in itself a formal Absurdity; For that to pray on this manner, would be to pray not at all for Them, but purely for Ourselves; the whole pro­spect of the Words extending no farther than our Own advantage. I know it is Lawful to pray that we may so live under the Governing Powers; But the Question is, Whether such a Prayer be a Dis­charge of that Duty towards Them which the Apo­stle is here insisting upon? It is Lawful for me to pray that any private Man may do me a good Of­fice; [Page 3] but would any interpret that such a Prayer were a Prayer for that Man, or did discharge any part of my Duty of Charity towards Him? And if such a Prayer could not acquit me of my Duty to­wards a Private Man; much less can it acquit me towards Those that are in Authority; whose Care and Character extends our Duty to larger measures.

We may conclude therefore that This Form of Words was not at all intended for the Matter, but only for the Motive of our Prayer.

To determine then What we are able to pray for in the behalf of Kings, and all that are in Authority, This may be the Rule (viz.) We are to pray for them, in their Personal Capacities, with the same prospects of Charity that we do for other Men; but in their Relative Capacities, i.e. as they are Kings and Magistrates, we are to pray for all such Bles­sings upon Them as are suitable to their Relations: All which (in short) may be included in This; That God would dispose them to, and furnish them for, and prosper them in a due discharge of their Respective Offices. Now This, as it will be the greatest Blessing to Themselves; so (the Text tells us that) it will be Consequentially the greatest Blessing to Us: For This will be the Fruit and Ef­fect of such an Administration, That we shall be able to live under it a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and Honesty.

[Page 4] From the Words therefore I shall draw These Two Heads of Consideration.

  • I. The Magistrates Influence upon the publick Wel­fare. And,
  • II. The Proper Matter of the Magistrates Charge.

As for the Magistrates Influence upon the publick Welfare; It appears evidently from the Hypothesis of the Text; which is This, That if Magistrates rule Well, Peace, Godliness and Honesty will be the natural Fruits of their Administration.

And as for the Proper Matter of the Magistrates Charge, It appears as evidently from the same; For since God has made Magistrates a Competent Means to procure such great Blessings to humane Society, Who can doubt but that it is the Proper Business of Magistrates to intend and take care of the same Bles­sings, that they are designed to procure?

I begin with the First Consideration; The Magi­strates Influence upon the publick Welfare.

It is the known Method of God to draw Good out of Evil; And accordingly we may observe that there were Three remarkably Good Consequences which followed upon Sin; For, It brought forth Sorrow; It Occasioned a Redeemer; and It made Go­vernment necessary: Whereof

The First is the NaturalCure of Sin.
The Second is the Federal
And the Third is the Political

[Page 5]And thus the same Wise Providence that has ap­pointed Vipers and other Venomous Creatures to car­ry in themselves Antidotes against their Own Poyson, has made these Consequences of Sin to be Sana­tive and Recovering, as much as Sin itself is Poysonous and Deadly.

  • I. Sin brought forth Sorrow; Which, without sin, Man had never known: But since he knows Sin, It is Happy for him to know Sorrow; Because (as One of the Antients expresses himself upon the matter of this Observation) ‘Peccatum peperit Tristitiam, & Filia destruit Matrem. Sin brought forth Sorrow, and the Daughter destroys the Mother.’
  • II. Sin occasioned a Redeemer; Of Whom, with­out it, there had been no need: But since a Redeemer was needful, ‘Faelix Culpa! quae tantum meruit Re­demptorem; Even Happy Sin! that met with such a Redeemer;’ a Redeemer, in Vertue of whose Purchase, greater Beatitude is derived to Penitent Sinners, than ever was offered or hoped for in the State of Inno­cence.

But the Third Observation (which I am to insist upon, as being only pertinent to the Subject in hand) is This: That Sin made Government Necessary.

It would be perhaps too Curious to dispute Whe­ther there would have been any Government in the World, if so be Man had not sinned. We know there is a Government of Order among the Angels that are Sinless; And such there might have been among [Page 6] Men; Especially considering that even Then the Dif­ference of Superiour and Inferiour, and consequently the Right of Rule and Subjection, would have been founded by Nature itself in the ordinary Course of humane Geniture: But This we are sure of: There would have been no need of any Coercive Govern­ment; No need of Laws, which (the Apostle says) ‘are set not for the Iust, but for the Unjust;’ Laws en­forc'd with Penal Sanctions, and asserted with Pri­sons, Whips and Gibbets; There would have been no need of These. Now This is the Government that Sin has made Necessary, and therewithal made Necessary its Own Restraint and Cure.

The present state of humane Pravity, Man's proud Appetites and Injurious Passions, has made Govern­ment necessary with all its Arts and Instruments of Coercion: So Necessary, that humane Society can­not possibly subsist without it: So Necessary, that the most Tyrannous Government that ever was in the World, is more Eligible than No Government: Because, while the Government is never so Tyran­nous, that Tyranny can only express it self in the Enormities of a Few; the Multitude must in the mean time be kept within the bounds of Right and Reason: Whereas in Case of No Government, Eve­ry one is let loose to act the same Insolencies and Wrongs. The Tyranny of Government may Cut men short in some desirable Commodities of Life, as Ease and Plenty; but it cannot in the mean time but [Page 7] assert them to the enjoyment of those which are far Greater; I mean those mentioned in the Text, Peace Godliness and Honesty: For should not These be as­serted, the Government it self would moulder and go to ruin: When the Magistrate takes not Care of these Best of things, he is Perfidious to Himself, he sup­plants his own Dignity, and cuts down the Bough he sits upon.

For as Society cannot subsist without Govern­ment; so neither can Government subsist without Peace; Nor Peace without Honesty; Nor Honesty without Godliness: So that if we do but consider the necessary Dependence that these things have one upon another, we shall see the Reason, why every Go­vernment, that will be Just to itself, must necessa­rily provide for the Maintenance of them All: And Magistrates, tho we should suppose them to be in themselves neither Peaceable, Godly, nor Honest; yet must they take care that the Publick be so, in re­gard of their own Interest, which must unavoidably sink without it.

  • I. Government cannot subsist without Peace; And this secures that Peace must be provided for by Law: ‘A Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand:’ and a Kingdom is divided against itself not only by pub­lick Tumults and Rebellions; but likewise by the neglect of Private Injustices and Wrongs. Rebellion beats down the Fabrick of Government at Once; but every private Outrage, if encouraged by Impu­nity, [Page 8] pulls out a Stone; and so renders the Fabrick loose and weak: Nor will Rebellion stay long be­hind so fair a Pretext as is the Want of Particular Justice and Protection.
  • II. Neither can Peace subsist without Honesty. Honesty is sometimes taken in simple Opposition to those Vices that are Injurious, as Fraud, Violence, Breach of Contract, and the like; All which are Im­mediate disturbers of Peace: But This is a Restrain­ed sense of the Word; For Honesty, in its proper latitude, is opposed to all manner of Vice, and so it is in the Text; And we may affirm, that Peace can­not subsist without Honesty, even in this Latitude of signification: Because, There is no Kind of Vice but what is in effect an Enemy to Publick Peace. Ex. gr.

Neither Idleness nor Luxury seem to have any malignant Aspect upon Others; they seem to threaten none with ill Consequences but the personally Guil­ty; The Idle man seems to propose the enjoyment of his Ease, and the Luxurious man of his Pleasure, without the design of troubling or molesting any one Else: And yet when These Vices have reduced men to Poverty (as thither they necessarily tend) they certainly lead on to Sourness and Discontent, and a consequent Desire of publick Disturbance and Change. Some Vices are destructive to Peace Di­rectly and at hand; some only at a Distance, and by remoter Influence; But These are no less to be [Page 9] apprehended by the Government: For that Poyson that is longer working, and more by Circuit, does the same mischief; It kills, and with this only dif­ference, that men are less aware of the danger. Some Vices embroil at Home, by Invading Rights, or grounding Animosities, or gathering Factions; and some expose to Enemies from abroad, by enervating mens Bodies, or effeminating their Minds, or rendring them purely selfish and regardless of the Common welfare; whereby the State must necessa­rily become weak and defenceless. And thus Every Vice, if propagated, as it will be by Licence and Impunity, is destructive to Peace in its own ten­dency; which Governours, tho Ill men, cannot but be aware of; Abstracting from the Judgment of Gods Displeasure, which Governours, when Good men, will chiefly fear. And therefore whoever are concerned for publick Peace, they are in prudence equally concerned to provide for publick Honesty.

But Thirdly, Neither can Honesty subsist without Godliness, that is, without a true sense of Religion.

For Humane Laws, and the Fear of them can only bind the Outward Man; which as he will be always seeking to Get loose, so he will not Long want an Occasion: But when the Inward Man (i. e.) the Conscience, is bound by the power of Religion to Good Behaviour, the Publick needs no farther secu­rity; because Occasion, when offering, will not tempt Such a one to transgress. And therefore the [Page 10] Etymology is well enough Guest at by Those who say that Religio comes à Religando, from Binding a­gain; For Humane Laws are the First Bond of publick Quiet, but Religion is the Second and the Stronger. And hence it is that Even Atheistical Po­liticians advise their Princes to take especial care of Religion, and to see it rooted as firmly as possible in the hearts of their People, how slender hold so­ever it has of their Own.

This being the Natural Connexion between these Three chief Blessings of humane Society; It is evi­dent that Each of them must fall under the Magi­strates Care by Force of Interest: And how happily the proper Care of Magistrates will be able to ad­vance those Blessings, I shall choose to shew in an Instance drawn from that Government to which my Text relates; I mean the Roman, altho Heathen, as it Then was.

The First Colony of Men that gave beginning to that Empire, were not more commendable for their Vertues than the Rest of their Neighbours; Indeed they had nothing Commendable in Them but only This; That they put themselves under Government with a firm Resolution to observe whatsoever their Princes and their Laws should require from them: And from This bare Principle they grew to be the fairest Instance that ever was in the World, How far Humane Nature may be improv'd and elevated by the simple assistance of Institution and Discipline.

[Page 11] As for Civil Peace, to shew how inviolably it was preserved among them, I will only give This Instance; That altho they were a People martial and brave, yet they esteemed it infamous to fight a Fellow Citizen: Insomuch that Duelling was a way of Vindication perfectly scandalous among the Ro­mans; and when the Point of Honour engaged any of them to resent a particular Indignity, Their only Challenge was, To shew Who was the Best Man at the Head of the Enemy.

As for their Honesty (in the whole Latitude of the Word) begin where we will, and we shall find Them Exemplary. So did the Reputation of their Integrity obtain in the World, that to speak or act More Romano, was taken in the Common Stile, as signifying to speak or act Fairly and Sincerely. So remarkable was their Justice, that all the World ap­peal'd to their Arbitration; as wherein they were secure that Right should not be born down either by Fear or Corruption. So strict were They in the Observance of their Promises, that having promised to send Succour to their Allies upon Occasion, they would not fail to send it, tho at a time when Them­selves lay under the straitest Siege. For as they had always an Eye to the Assistance of Heaven for the Issue of their Undertakings, so they thought themselves stronger by their Justice, than by their Numbers, because more ally'd to that Assistance: And thus keeping awake the Consciences of the [Page 12] People, and always acting such things as were Agree­able to Conscience, tho of apparent hazard, it raised their minds to confide in their Gods, and made them consequently Fearless, and their Courage In­vincible. So Wonderful was their Conjugal Love and Chastity, that a Divorce was not heard of at Rome in 500 Years, tho there was nothing to re­strain it but only this Consideration, That it would be look'd on as an Act of Ill Fame. The like I might say of their Industry, Temperance, and Par­cimony; and yet withal they had such an absolute contempt of all dishonest Gain, that Ill Men could not find room for their Briberies amongst them: Their chief Aim being universally not Pri­vate, but Publick Good; and their ‘Glory (as one of their Generals said upon Occasion) not so much to be Rich, as to Command those that were so.’

In the mean time the Source and Bond of all these Vertues was their studious Regard of Religion, which their Second King had with all industrious care planted and fixt amongst them.

And such a Regard they had to the Sincerity of Religion, that while any man was observed to live loosly and viciously, he fell under a Civil Excom­munication; For that Law of their Twelve Ta­bles, Impius ne audeto, &c. prohibited all such from joyning in the Publick Worship, till such time as they could bring Testimony of their better beha­viour. And such an entire Veneration did they [Page 13] pay to their Reputed Gods, that in the distress of Sieges, and fear of Sacking, Private Men shew'd more concern for their Temples and their Images, than for their Own Houses, Families and Fortunes.

Now this Glorious Advance both of Vertue and Piety amongst them proceeded from the direct Influ­ence of the Government; Which had provided Laws extending to all Instances of Good Manners; and, for a fence to These, Laws Enforcing Indu­stry, and Regulating Expences; and, for a Guar­dian of all the Rest, The First Law in their Tables was, Divos castè adeunto, Which in their Own In­terpretation is This, Let Men worship the Gods with Temperance of body and Purity of mind. Nor were These Laws contented with a bare Promulgation, they were reverenc'd and made venerable by a for­mal Institution; It being the Custom (as Cicero says it was to the beginning of His days) that the Chil­dren should be instructed in their Laws, and learn an Abridgment of them memoriter, as a part of their necessary Education.

And yet the Happiness of Their State did not owe itself so much to Their Laws, as to Their Magi­strates.

Most of their Laws they borrowed from the Athe­nians, upon whom This Reproach had been cast; That the Athenians shewed their Wisdom in making Good Laws, but their Folly in not observing them: And therefore They of Rome being aware of this Rock, [Page 14] took especial Care that the Execution of their Laws should be committed to Grave, Honest and Active Men; and that such Men should be charged with a vigilant Inspection into the publick Manners. Con­cerning which Magistrates the Law provided This Caution; ‘Is Ordo vitio careto; Caeteris Specimen esto; Let that Order be Men of unstained Probity, and Ex­amples of that Behaviour which they require from Others:’ Upon which Cicero makes This Reflection, ‘Quod si est, tenemus omnia; If that be observed, we have all we can wish.’Nay to prevent their Magistrates from Supineness and Neglect in the Execution of their Charge, There was another Ordinance, That all Inferiour Magistrates should be obliged to justify their Administration by bringing in to the Publick Censors, from time to time, an Account of what particular Acts they had done in order to the main­taining and asserting of their Laws. A most whol­some Constitution! and which our Own Legisla­tors seem to have had some Eye upon in their Injun­ction annex'd to the late Act concerning Swearing.

Thus were the great Blessings of the Text, Peace, Godliness and Honesty planted and establish'd in that Commonwealth for several Centuries of Years, by the pure Wisdom of the Government, exerting it­self thro the Care and Diligence of the Magistrates.

Indeed one cannot contemplate the State and Man­ners of that People, for so long as the Reins of their Government were held in steady hands, (for [Page 15] we may take notice, That as it was the Vigilance of the Magistrates which rais'd that People to this pitch of Glory; so it was Their succeeding Remissness that sunk them from it again) I say, One can­not contemplate the State and Manners of that People without seeing occasion to reproach the Ge­nerality of the present World; Which, altho Chri­stian and under the Influence of greater Light, Ob­ligations, Encouragements, and Assistances, does yet fall far short of their Common Vertue; and run to a Dissoluteness mischievous both to the Particular and to the Publick; such as Heathen Rome for many Ages neither admitted nor saw within her District. A matter fitter for our Humiliation, than our Dis­courses!

But there is One Argument which the Dissolute­ness of the Age usually defends itself withal, which I cannot but reflect upon from this Occasion.

Let a Man be demanded Why he did any thing Ill, and answer naturally upon it; he answers, That he did it for his Pleasure; And This is the Truth: But a Truth so reproachful that upon Second Thoughts he will not own it; And therefore let him be charged Conscienciously for the same thing, and he takes Refuge in the blaming of Nature; and seeks to discharge himself from the Scandal by lay­ing it upon that Corruption with which he was Born; not upon that which he has Contracted. But unless we could alledge That the Roman People [Page 16] (I have been speaking of) were born Exempt from the Propensions of Common Nature, It appears that the Charging Nature with this Issue of Corruption, is no other than a Calumny; For we Impute that to Nature, which is owing purely to want of Disci­pline: Nor is it that Corruption we Derive, but that which we Nurse up and Cultivate by Indul­gent practice, which produces such a common De­pravation of Manners; The Remissness of Superi­ours Concurring in the mean time to the Effect.

I proceed to my Second Head, which is, To con­sider the Proper Matter of the Magistrates Charge.

By Magistrates (in this place) I mean the Sub­ordinate Magistrates, to Whom the Execution of the Laws is committed; with Whom my present busi­ness lyes, and upon Whom our Hope of procuring the forementioned Blessings chiefly depends. For altho Kings are joyned with Them in the Text, yet my Argument will not be weak, if I impute the Whole effect to Those of This Order: Because whatsoever Good is derivable to the Publick from good Constitutions, it can be derived Immediate­ly by none but the Subordinate Powers: The Su­preme being as the Head, whose Office it is to pre­scribe; the Subordinate as the Hands, whose Office it is to apply; and it is the Application only that brings the benefit, or works the Cure. So that the Remissness of Inferiour Magistrates will at any time absolutely Void all the Care and Wisdom of Kings and Legislators.

[Page 17] Concerning These Magistrates therefore I assert, That their Charge requires them to take respective and distinct Care of Peace, Godliness and Honesty: And who can doubt it when he reflects That these are the Blessings which by a sedulous Administra­tion they may procure; and that God's Providence designs no less in their very Institution than that they should procure them?

They that consider Least what is the Charge of a Magistrate, will pronounce him obliged to take care of Peace, and to protect Men from Acts of Violence and Injustice: And if the Magistrate be su­pine in This part of his Province, he shall be awaken'd by the Complaints of those that suffer. But in the mean time There are Other Acts against Godliness and Honesty, as much Criminal in them­selves, as much Mischievous to the Publick, and as much Prohibited by the Laws as the Former; which yet usually pass without either Complaint or Aven­ger; and in respect of which it seems to be the common Vote That the Magistrates Authority should lye asleep and be passive. Whether it be That, al­tho men would have their Properties guarded, yet they would not have their Vertues guarded, they would be at Liberty to loose These when they think fit: Or whether it be That, if Property be guarded, Men think Themselves sufficient for the Guard of their own Manners and Consciences: For Man is an over-weening Creature, and full of obstinate [Page 18] Conceit; Insomuch that scarce any among the loose and vicious but think themselves Wise enough, and Able enough to make themselves as Good as they please, without any other's Help. And therefore as He in the Poet says of Iupiter

‘Det Vitam, det Opes, sanam mihi animam Ipse parabo, Let God give me Life and Fortunes, I will give my self a Good mind;’ So most are ready to say of the Magi­strate, ‘Let Him take care of my Safety and my Rights, I will take care of my Manners and my Religion:’ But Both are equal Mistakes; For as Human Nature cannot be made truly Good without the Assistance of God; so neither can it be restrain'd from the utmost extravagance of Ill without the awful Vigilance and Animadversion of the Magistrate.

Whereas therefore the Laws of our Government have made a due Provision not only against Felonies, Treasons, Larcenies, Batteries and the like, which are usually prosecuted; but likewise against other Immo­ralities, which are as usually over-look'd; such as Idle­ness, Intemperance, Debauchery, Wizardism, Sorcery, Fortune-telling, Swearing, Profaneness, Neglect of Di­vine Offices, and all wild Opinions in Religion that either blaspheme or subvert the establish'd Truth; It may be opportune to Enquire Whether these Crimes may possibly be restrained by any Other Means than that of the Magistrates Coercive power? For, if so; This may (so far) excuse the Magistrates Care in these matters: But, if not; Their not being [Page 19] restrained will affect the Magistrates Conscience more than all are aware of.

Perhaps it may be thought That the Power of the Gospel, and the Grace of God, and the Vigilance of the Church may be a sufficient Means to restrain these Crimes in a Christian State: Let us see then what Issue may reasonably be expected from These several Means. And (1.) From the Power of the Gospel.

If Laws could do the Work, none certainly were needful but These of Christ; which tye all men so expresly to the Offices of their respective Stations, that the Observance of These would void all other Pro­vision both for the Vertue, and the Tranquillity of the World: Or could simple Sanctions enforce Laws, none can be so moving as the Two Interminable states of Heaven and Hell, wherewith the Precepts of the Gospel recommend themselves to our Obser­vance: But alas! we find that men make no diffi­culty to trample upon the Laws of Christ, notwith­standing the Venerableness of their Author, and the Moment of their Sanctions, as well as upon those of human Constitution: For altho their Sanctions are so Important, yet the Execution of them is Remote; And men are made so Shortsighted by the Importu­nity of their present Appetites, that Threatnings at such a distance affect them no more, than the Penal­ties of Our Laws would do, should they not be exe­cuted at all. And therefore Solomon's Determination may still hold, That sin is restrainable by no possible [Page 20] means but that of a Speedy Execution, Eccl. 8. 11.

Indeed some have pretended to be of Opinion, That the Gospel is the only Law, and Christ the only Ma­gistrate that is either Needful or Lawful among Chri­stians: For this was the Reason why the Anabaptists held Magistracy to be Unlawful, because it was a Re­proach to the Laws and Government of Christ to pre­sume that Christians had need of any Other. But never was Doctrine more effectually confuted than This of Theirs was from their Own Example; For never did Magistracy appear to be more necessary in the World, than it did at that time, to suppress the Impieties of those Men, who had decry'd it as Need­less and Unlawful.

The Convictions and Precepts and Motives of the Gospel (which is all we can mean by its Internal Pow­er) we see daily over-born by the Tide of human Cor­ruption. But then It is True, (2.) That the Gospel has an Assisting Power (viz.) the Grace of God: And where That takes place, we may not doubt of a bet­ter Issue.

But in the mean time we ought well to consider What it is we mean by the Grace of God: Mean we a power that will ravish men from the bosom of their corrupt Inclinations, and force them to be Good in spite of their Reluctancy? This indeed would void both Laws and Magistrates, and render them Useless. But if we will speak true Sense we can mean no other by the Grace of God than a Sanctifying Principle, [Page 21] that joyns it self to, and cooperates with the Series of Ordinary Means; of which Means the Coercive power of the Magistrate is one of the Chief. It is an usual Expression concerning flagitious and loose living men that They want the Grace of God; Now if we mean thereby that God had debarr'd such men from the distributions of his Grace, Our Judgment is Contumelious to God; Or if we mean that the Grace of God would Forcibly make such men Good, Our Judgment is Erroneous and False: All the Truth therefore that can be couched under that Expression is only this; That such Men for want of those purging Fears, which ought to be wrought in them by their Own Consideration, or (for want of that) by the wholsome Coercion of the Magistrate, do extinguish and make void that Grace of God, which has been offered to them In and With the dispensati­on of the Gospel; Offered to them (I say) equally as to others, but wanted success, because Discipline was wanting to concur with the Operation. Where­as therefore in Scripture the Ordinary Means to Good­ness are called the Grace of God, as well as that Di­vine Energy which cooperates with these Means; So we ought to look upon a Good Magistracy, and a Due Execution of the Laws, to be a great part of the Grace of God to any people: As on the contrary, a Remiss Administration is no other than a Judg­ment, which makes all Gods other Grace to be be­stowed in vain upon the generality of Mankind.

[Page 22] Let us see (3.) In what measure the Vigilance of the Church may be hoped to supply the Defect in this Case.

What Influence the Church can have upon the Manners of Men consists in the Methods of Exhort­ing, Rebuking and Censuring: All which after once men have wasted their Consciences, or taken a loose beyond the Decency of Behaviour, become the most Despisable things in the World. How weak was that Voice of Old Eli and how Incompetent to restrain a Hophni and Phineas, when he cryed, ‘Why do you such things? Nay my Sons! for it is no good Report that I hear of You.’ Now the Voice of an Ecclesiastick in its proper Elevation, scarce amounts to be Louder than This; or if it be heightned with the thunder of Gods Menaces, yet it will be contemned by a hardy Sin­ner as easily as that of Eli was; But it cannot be so Criminal as that of Eli was; because Eli was a Magi­strate as well as a Priest, and therefore could have spoke with a more Effectual voice, and such as would have reached more sensibly home.

The Power of the Ministry is no more than Per­suasive; But stubborn Nature will not often be persuaded, there is need of Force: And say not that Vertue or Religion, when Forc'd, are nothing worth; What is begun in Force, may end in Choice; What is begun in Fear, may end in Love; altho without Force and Fear it would have begun. But supposing that Vertue thus Forced should never ar­rive [Page 23] to the State of Choice and Love; yet still This Good would follow, that the Magistrate had done his Part; Besides that, it is no small advantage to the common Cause of Virtue That men can be brought to be at least Good Hypocrites.

I know the Pastors Exemplary Care and Circum­spection is always necessary (Contempt be upon him that makes Apology for the Defective,) But still This is a Means insufficient to Reform: For where Sense comes to govern more than Conscience, there He that comes armed with Mulcts and Corrections is the only Edifying Man.

To say how Ineffectual the Censures of the Church would be towards this Purpose, were only to bring under Your Contemplation a deplorable Scandal: Who would care for being turned out of the Church, of those who seem Careless whether they are ever In? And as for the Farther Process in that Case, we have seen enough of its Consequences, to make us wish for Any, rather than That Invidious and Successless Method.

As therefore the Publick Cry is for Reformation of Manners, to see Godliness and Honesty advanced in common practice, and the Fruit of Peace spring­ing out happily from that stable root; So we can­not but turn our Eyes upon You that are the Magistrates; I mean Expresly You that are the Iu­stices of Peace, as being invested above all other Ma­gistrates with the most competent Means and Power [Page 24] of procuring this End. No other Hand can cure our Sore; No other hand can reach it but only Yours. Without You, all our wholsome Laws are like a Box of Medicines well prepared, but then locked up, while the Diseases spread and reign for want of Application. Without You, Majesty it­self is made Impotent, and can only deplore our dis­orders, but not possibly redress them. And what is it we may expect from Judges and their Circuits? They are necessary indeed so far as their Business ex­tends; but utterly unable to reach the Root of our Evil: For to what Purpose of Reformation is the Cutting off some Few, Signal, overgrown Weeds; while such multitudes are still growing up in the Nurseries of Idleness, Debauchery and Profaneness? Here it is, in These Nurseries that Vice is to be sup­prest; and Greater Crimes mercifully prevented by Animadversion upon the first Buddings of them in their Remoter Causes.

'Tis You we pray for in our Common Liturgy; ‘That you may have Grace to execute Iustice, and to main­tain Truth:’ And again, ‘That You may truly and indif­ferently minister Iustice to the Punishment of Wickedness and Vice, and to the Maintenance of Gods true Religion and Vertue:’ What we pray that You may do, suffer us to pray to do. Lend Your best Assistance to this Cause of Vertue and Religion; Which is God's Service, and Your Charge, and Every man's Bles­sing.

[Page 25] As for Vertue, You are able to serve it in the whole latitude of its Province; Because the Laws have made Every Vice obnoxious to Your Censure: All formal Crimes have their punishment assigned; and all smaller Misdemeanours are submitted to your Discretion; Insomuch that the first Seeds of Crimes, whether they appear in Laziness, Lavishness, Petu­lancy, Sauciness, Lying, Contumely, or any other kind of Offensive Behaviour, may stand in just awe of Your Authority. It is not simply from Punish­ments (Pecuniary or Corporal) that we expect the Success; Your very Frowns and Rebukes, as on the other hand Your Countenance and Favour, when distributed respectively, and joyned with Your Ex­emplary Steadiness, will do the greatest part of the Work.

Religion implores your Care especially in This, That there be no Mockers of holy things, no Con­tempt of Religious Worship, no bold Profanation of the Lords Name or Day: Which are Crimes that necessarily wast and harden Mens Consciences, and take off all Awe and respect of Duty from their minds. In my mention of Religious Worship, I spoke not restrainedly to That of our Established Church, because there are other Allowances by Law; But yet I am not blamable if I chiefly intended That. I hope You are all of Opinion that there is no false Reasoning in his Majesty's Preface to his Late Injun­ctions, where he says; ‘We are sensible that nothing can [Page 26] more effectually conduce to the Honour and Glory of God, and to the support of the Protestant Religion, than the Protecting and Maintaining of the Church of England as it is by Law established; which we are (therefore) re­solved to do to the utmost of our Power.’ This Reason­ing is certainly sound, as well as it is Authoritative: Nor yet could any Magistrate, tho he were other­wise persuaded, be less than Perfidious to the Govern­ment, if he did not shew more regard to that which is Established, than to that which is barely Tole­rated. Nevertheless, since, whatsoever be the Ar­guments of Preference between the particular Ways of Worship, the Main Point is to be Religious; Whosoever is not so (Tros, Tyriúsve) let him be made sensible of Your Displeasure.

And (if there be any Love of Christ) have a Watch upon the Socinian Poyson: Suffer it not to creep into Houses, and lead Captive (should I say Silly Women, it would be too much beneath the haughty pretences of their Scheme; and therefore I shall choose to say) Silly Wits; And if there seem to be any Contradiction in the Terms let Them answer for it, who think there be Wit in Blaspheming. For so it is that the Wits (such of them as are Profligate) run into this Hypothesis, as well as the Ignorant and Unstable: Not that They can have any Concern for Religion; but because they look upon this Hy­pothesis as a Battery raised to beat down all Religi­on: For what Article is there in Religion wherein [Page 27] we may not deny the Sense or Authority of the Scri­ptures with as much Reason as we can deny the Di­vinity of Christ? Which, I desire You to observe that it carries in it a Double Blasphemy; the First in Asserting that Christ is not God, and The Second in Implying, That though he be not God, yet he had an Am­bition to be Thought to be so. (For, since the whole Stile of the Scripture points plainly as it does, This is a Consequence which the Socinians can never evade by all their boasted Happiness of Interpretation, Be­cause the more Happy their Interpretations are, the more they demonstrate This Consequence.) And now laying These Two Imputations together, let any one tell me how they can be Tolerable; How the First, when charged upon Him, who thought it not Robbery to be Equal with God; or How the Second, when charged upon Him, Who made himself of no Reputation, and was the Humblest of Men.

But if You will serve either Vertue or Religion, It is necessary that You be Vigilant and Active. However Justice ought to be Blind, the Justitiary ought (like those Ministring Spirits about the Throne of God) to be Full of Eyes; i.e. he ought to be sedulous in Inspection and Enquiry into the Matters of his Charge. In Offences that happen betwixt Man and Man, it is Rational and fit to stay for a Complaint; Because the Offended Party is so much a Friend to himself, that he will be sure either to Complain, or to Forgive; which (generally [Page 28] speaking) is the Better Issue: But in Offences, where God and Piety are barely concerned, there, be the Facts never so Notorious, 'tis possible the Complaints may be none at all: And therefore He who will not proceed upon Noto­riety in these Cases, without the Formality of a Com­plainant, will leave himself very little Opportunity to dis­charge his Trust.

Some there are that deliberate; Whether a Magistrate should Choose to be Loved, or to be Feared; But let not That come under Your deliberation; For he that Chooses Either, has given himself a Byass, that will certainly draw him from being Just. A Magistrate ought to have no other Prospect than simply That of doing Justice; And He that does So, may be contented with what will follow; For he shall be Feared by Ill men, as he should Wish to be; And he shall be Loved by God and Good men, Which is all the Love that is Desirable.

'Tis a Noble Work that I presume to admonish You of: and the Incitement is no Less So, which offers itself to You from the Conscience of serving God, from the Glory of serving Your Country, and from the Felicity of serving Your selves; when You consider what That great Ma­gistrate and Prophet Daniel has told us (Chap. xii. 3.) They that turn many to Righteousness shall shine like the Stars for ever and ever.’

Grant O Lord we beseech Thee, that the Course of this World may be so peaceably ordered by thy Governance, that thy Church may joyfully serve Thee in all Godly Quietness; through Iesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

FINIS.

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