THE TRUMPET IN SION, SOUNDING A General Alarm IN THE NATION. By J. G. G.

Blow the Trumpet in Zion, and sound an Alarm in my holy Mountain: Let all the Inhabitants of the Land tremble, for the day of the Lord cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2.1.

LONDON, Printed: And are to be sold by Dan. Browne at the Black-Swan and Bible without Temple-Bar. 1700.

TO THE READER,

AMongst great, many, and frequent Dangers, 'tis a Blessing to have Warning given, and to take it; for by these means, Evil may be prevented. This World is like a Wilderness, full of fiery Serpents, and other hurtful things, which on all Sides, we are compassed a­bout, and can one go upon hot Coals, and his Feet not be burnt? Which should put us in mind of the Prophet's Question, Who can or shall dwell with everlasting burnings? Which in Hell shall be a Punishment for Sins com­mitted here, if not pardoned in the way to Salvation. We have Enemies within and without: Our Heart is false, Cor­ruptions strong, the World wicked, Tem­ptations common and powerful, the Devil is subtle, and Sin deceitful, which all to resist, we must Repent, Believe and Pray for converting, confirming and re­straining [Page]Grace. This, Reader, is my advice and warning to you: You shall know more after the perusal of the fol­lowing Sheets. Remember that with­out Repentance, no remission of Sins, and as without Faith it is impossible to please God, so without Holiness, no Man shall see the Lord.

ERRATA

THey are very few, whereof the First and Fourth are material, which the Reader may be pleased to Correct with a Pen.

In Page 5. line 8. instead of care not, read take care, Page 11. line 21. read plaister, for plaistering, Page 56. line 2. friendly for friend, Page 64. last line assoon for also, Page 79. line 17. for War, read Warrant, Page 104. line 9. for earth read land.

THE TRUMPET IN SION.

CRY aloud, spare not, Isai. 58.1.lift up thy voice like a Trumpet, and shew my people their Transgressions, and the house of Jacob their Sins: These are the Words of Eternal and Almighty God to a great Pro­phet, who was considerable not so much for his extraordinary Parts and Royal Extraction (for he was the Son of Amos, Brother to Azariah King of Judah) as for the Excellency of the signal Visions and Revelations, which the Lord was pleased to honour him with; and he being dead yet speak­eth to us. Seeing all God's Actions are so wise, and so just, we must conceive such an express and positive Order not to be given without a weighty Cause, for God never in vain employs his Ser­vants, nor indeed none of his Creatures, which are all his Servants. Ps. 119.91.

The Occasion of this Commission and Com­mand to the Prophet, was at that time a Compli­cation of Sins among the People, whereof Hypo­crisy and want of Charity were some of the chief: but though by their shews of Piety, as seeking God daily, drawing near unto him, Fasting, &c. they imposed upon Men, yet could not do so upon God, who will have his Prophet with diligence and se­verity to reprove Sinners for their Sins, though for some, more sharply than for others. As for me, thô I be no Prophet, nor Son of a Prophet, yet I thank God, Prophets are no strangers to me, for I daily am conversant with Prophets and with Apostles too, out of whose Writings, after several worthy Persons, whose heart God hath stirred up to appear against the great and many Sins of the Times, as 'tis every one's Duty in his station to do, I hope I may give in my Evidence: 'Tis a great Work that requires many hands, Multorum manibus, grande levatur onus. Some­times God makes use of several instruments, in­considerable in themselves, in different ways to carry on his works, thô all be tending to the same end; and although through the perverseness of Mens hearts, the Effect doth not always answer the Design, Ezek. 2.5. yet they shall know, that there hath been, if not a Prophet among them, yet an Admo­nisher who hath given warning. May the Lord be pleased to bless with success, the weak Endea­vours of all that are desirous to promote his ho­nour and service with the good of Souls, and to enlarge the Kingdom of Christ, in a time when we see the Sins of all Ages, of all Nations and in all kinds, more and more discovered and practised among us; Isai 1.6. From the sole of the Foot unto the head, as the same Prophet complains of, here the Disease is become Epidemical, and its Fits very frequent, if not continual.

The house of Israel wanted being told of their Sins, so doth England, thô told often, but who can tell the number, diversity, and frequency of them? However, I by the grace of God, shall endeavour to run over the most palpable and con­spicuous: I shall speak first of the Sins, after of the Punishments, according to God's threatning, due and inflicted for them. The Sins are of two general Kinds, some in Doctrine, others in Pra­ctice, otherwise called Error and Vice. Errors in Judgment are usually followed by those in Pra­ctise.

As Sin is extended over every Faculty of the Soul and Member of the Body, so there are Sins seated in the Mind as well as there are in the Heart, as indeed without a sound Mind, the Heart can hardly be Sound: When the Soul's Eye is blind, how great must her darkness be? The mistakes of the Understanding, which commonly from the Latin word are named Error, are by the Greeks called Heresie, relating to Religious Mat­ters, which is a division in the Church caused by some erroneous Opinion against the Fundamentals of Religion: And thô all such be bad enough, yet some there are worse then others, according as they more or less strike at the Root of Christian Religion: Those Paul calls perverse things, and Doctrines of Devils, and Peter, Damnable Heresies. Acts [...]. 30. 1 Tim. 4.1. 2 Pet. 2.1. Now there is in England, too many of those as strike at the very Foundation of our Holy Reli­gion.

First, Here are Atheists, not that properly speaking any can be such, for there is no Man in the World, but at one time or other, hath with­in himself convictions that there is a God, for such a degree of Knowledge is naturally in Men: [Page 4]Hence it is that there was never in the World so Barbarian and Ignorant a Nation, but owned and worshipped some Divinity or other; for 'tis only the fool that saith in his heart there is no God, Ps. 14.1. yet he is not such a Fool as to publish it, for he da­reth not for shame, but saith it in his Heart, where against the Light of Nature and Testimo­ny of Conscience, he would smother the sense of a Godhead, because he wishes it. But the Atheists I mean, are those who speak and live as if there was no God, and these I may well call worse then David's Fool, for they blunder out Atheisti­cal words, indirectly hinting that there is no God: Giddily, Impiously, Prophanely and Blasphe­mously striking if not at the Being, yet at his Attributes, Works, Word and Providence, express it in their Discourses and Coversation, and some in their Writings, whereby they seduce and cor­rupt the Judgment of some, influence the Weak, and give a great Scandal to those who fear God and have an awful reverence for his Holy Name, when they happen to hear them in their Atheisti­cal fits. This is a presumptuous and defying Sin, which among us too many are guilty of; such teach the way to Hell, and were taught in the School of Vanninus and of such abominable Wret­ches; for he who owns not the true God, and hath not the right Notion of and due Reverence for him, is as if he believed no God. This is so odious and shameful, that Men take it as a great Injury to be call'd Atheists, and thô the thing be really in them, yet hate to be call'd by its Name; and we have cause to remember, how because the Title of a Bill was against Atheism, &c. great exceptions were taken against it, as of a great stain upon the Nation, that we thereby should de­clare to Foreign Countries how we have Atheists [Page 5]among us, which is too true, thô some, whom there is cause to suspect to be such, would not have it said: But I would have such to answer me one question, Which of these two brings a greater Scandal and Reproach to England, either not to forbear saying we have Atheists when we have, and not to punish them, or else to own the Truth, that we have some, but care not to re­strain and punish them? David declareth, Ps. 53.1. that where abominable Iniquity is committed and no regard had to Virtue or Vice, there is no God.

Next we have the Deists, whose Religion con­sists only in acknowledging one God, and think that is enough to be Saved: Who thô they own a God, yet fancy him to be other then he is, and to act otherwise then he doth; they are for a Natural Religion without and against Revealed, they think all Religions to be equal, and that a­ny one is at liberty to chuse which he pleases, and that he may be saved in any.

Idolatry is another Sin of the Nation; I mean not only the Spiritual one of those whose God is their Riches, Honour, Pleasures, and their Belly, but gross and material Idolatry of those who be­lieve Religious Worship to be due to the Crea­ture, and actually render it, and in too many Places there are too many Books that justifie it. I thank God, Protestants here are not of that O­pinion, but Papist, are, own and practise it; and that Abomination is in the sight of all still com­mitted in the Land, which is thereby defiled. Priests, contrary to Laws, do every where, even out of Foreign Parts swarm as much as ever, Pa­pists are as free as can be, whilst poor Protestants against the Laws of their Country, are barbarously Persecuted in Popish Dominions; yet one would think we might somewhat better their Con­dition [Page 6]with threatning here Papists with the like Usage, I shall not say as to Liberties and Lives, (for our Religion, like theirs, doth not bind us to be Sanguinary) but as to Estates and Fortunes; with our Neglecting to take the same care to Defend our Religion, as they do to Promote theirs, we seem to intimate that theirs is better than ours; but if we, whosoever we are, under the Notion that we are not Persecutors, be ashamed of Christ and of his Cause, in his due time he will be a­shamed of and disown us; I may say, I remem­ber the time when here it was not so. Is it not the height of impudence for Popish Priests to go (as of late they have done) to dying Men, To Doctor Connor. after they by Protestant Ministers had been prepared for Death, to disquiet them, and not give over till they had made them do what upon such occa­sions is usual for Papists; yet this hath been win­ked at, no inquiry made, no examination taken against those who so notoriously break the Laws of the Land. The following Paper in French was on a Lord's Day, April 24. 1698. posted up over the French Chapel door in St. James's, and other Places, in these words, Hereby notice is given, that in case any French Refugee, be willing to go back into France, there to abjure Heresie, he may address himself to the French Ambassador, and according to his Quality he shall be rewarded: By this beginning we may see what we must expect from his being here; one would think such things should not be­long to his Instructions or Commission; but what would they say if our Ambassador in Paris had attempted any thing of the like nature. Never till of late any Foreign Minister was allowed two Popish Chapels, one Private for Himself and Fa­mily, which no Man will question, and to the great grief of many, another Publick one, for [Page 7]all that have a mind to come to't, with Four or Five Priests belonging to it; and neither Legisla­rive nor Executive Powers would take any notice of it; but God will in his due time, and may be punish us by such Snakes as we keep in our Bo­som.

For these many years together, we have had very near this City a Nunnery hitherto undisturbed; and one more, near about the same distance, but another way, is a forming, or rather already for­med. Another Mass-Chapel in Town, is as much frequented by hundreds at this time, as it was when in the hands of Benedictine Friars. And now Priests to seduce People, as much as ever do transform themselves into all shapes, and too of­ten do prevail upon Servants, Prentices, and Ma­sters too: Yet by the Laws it is Treason to in­tice any one to be reconciled to the Romish Church, as well as to be reconciled to't. But as yet it doth not appear that any effectual care hath been taken to hinder that great Evil, and to prevent this Venom of Popish Idolatry from spreading far­ther, to the Ruine and Destruction of precious Souls, the Scandal of Religion, and Shame of the Nation.

Blasphemy, unhappily we have here: Socinians who would be called Ʋnitarians, and others, have in every possible way taken great care to infect the Nation, and spread among us their Blasphe­mous Opinions against the most Holy Trinity; they are so well known by their impious Doctrines and unwarrantable Practices to propagate them, that there is no need any longer to mention them here in this Place. 'Tis pity they have not been taken notice of in the way of Punishment, as in their presumptuous Offences against God's Cause. Ano­ther sort of Blasphemers as execrable as can be, [Page 8]do impiously in their Discourses ridicule the ado­rable Mystery of the Incarnation, our Saviour's Birth of a Virgin, the Holy Scripture, and the whole Christian Religion, which they call Priest-Craft, a Forgery of Melancholick Brains, and such other abominable things, as makes one's Hair stand on end.

Libertinism is here promoted by a Sect call'd Antinomians, who Believe, as if Men might go to Heaven in the way to Hell, without Faith, Re­pentance, and new Obedience; thus no necessity of good Works; and all this because we are said to be Saved thorough Grace, which is most True, and indeed excludes Good Works from being the meritorious Cause of Salvation, but not from be­ing means and way to it; for he who created us without us, will not Save us without us.

Here is also a kind of Free-willers, who di­rectly strike at God's free Grace in Christ, and I dare say, are as much against it, as Socinians are against his Person. Sins against God's Justice, his Truth and other Attributes are great, but I look upon Sin against his Grace, as one of the greatest and less pardonable.

Here we have a Monstrous Sect call'd Qua­kers; Monstrous I call it, for its Doctrine is a Rhapsody of Errors in several kinds; they have troubled the World with a number of idle Pam­phlets, containing a confused heap of Spiritual and Natural Ignorance; full of Nonsense, Pre­sumption, wresting and misapplying of Holy Scripture, and a meer racking of good Sense and sound Reason, which is able to disgust any Ra­tional Man from Reading them, as I confess, I soon was; but some who made it their Business to go throughly with them, have therein found se­veral Pernicious, Impious and Blasphemous Te­nets, [Page 9]drawn out of their Writings, which they have Published and set their Names to't. This I may say of Quakers, that to themselves they assume the Name of Christians, but in my Opi­nion, without True grounds: For they own no other Christ, but him whom they say to be with­in them, whom they make speak any thing they please; then they are not Baptized in the Name of Christ, whose Ordinances they Reject and De­spise, for they own no Sacraments, deny Mini­stry by way of Office in the Church, which is the House of the God of Order; yet all Or­der therein, but what is of their own making, they would destroy, and condemn All that are not of their own Persuasion, usurping only to themselves the name of God's People; withal, in their Worldly Concerns they are Cunning and Crafty, Busie and Active, Thriving and Multi­plying, medling with many Things, with a Stock of ready Money to supply their Occasions, and carry on their common Interest in the World: The Government hath thought fit to give them a Toleration; I wish they do not prove a Snake in its Bosom, for they are as dangerous to the State as to the Church. Certainly 'tis a great Sin to suffer them to Dishonour God through their Blas­phemies, as 'tis in them to do't.

Several other Heresies and Errors in Doctrine we have here, whereof some are more, and o­thers less known, Who can tell them all? But all, thô in different Degrees, are contrary to Gospel Truths; and thô winked at, are to be reckoned among the sinful Opinions and Do­ctrines in the Nation.

But as the Nation is infected with many Sins in the Mind, so 'tis full of others seated in the Heart, wherein is the Spring of all sinful Practi­ses, [Page 10] For, Matth. 15.19. saith our Blessed Saviour, out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, or desires, murthers, adulteries fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. This leads us to the Second Branch of the great and many Sins of the Nation which consist in Pra­ctice; and upon this Head, with David I may say, thô very short of what the thing deserves, Rivers of water run down mine eyes, Ps. 119.136. because they keep not thy Law.

The Sins properly lodged in the Heart, are First Hypocrisie, a damnable Sin in this World, and accordingly to be rewarded in that which is to come; Matt. 24.51. for, there is a portion for hypocrites, who indeed can sometimes dissemble with and impose upon Men, but not so with God: The Hypo­crite is Squint-ey'd, and thô he looks one way yet like the Waterman Row's towards a quite contrary. It is bad upon all accounts; but in Matters of Religion, abominable, like the Pha­risees, as our Saviour with many a Woe tells them, they are like unto whited Sepulchres, Matth. 23.23, 24, 25. &c. which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead mens bones; and of all uncleanness; an outward shew of Piety and Virtue, but in reality are no­thing less: They strain at a Gnat and swallow a Camel. and outwardly appear righteous unto Men, but within are full of hypocrisie and iniquity. The Ro­man Poet could say of such, Qui Curios simulant sed Bacchanalia vivunt. In some things of the least mo­ment they would seem to be Pious and Conscien­tious; they pay tithe of Mint, of Anise, and Cumin, but omit the weightier matters of the Law; like the Jews, who upon the preparation day of the pass­over, John 18.28. would not go into the Judgment-Hall, lest they should be defiled, but made no Conscience to shed innocent Blood, and to cry out Crucifie, Crucifie.

Pride and Vanity is another Sin of the Heart, Mark. 7.22. or it proceedeth out of it; of it I make but one Sin, for a Proud Man is a Vain Man; Pride is the Sin of the Devil, and of our First Parents, now too natural with many among us, who look ve­ry big upon others, as if they were not Flesh, Blood and Corruption, as well as other Men, yet they are not made of a Matter of a different na­ture of what others are; they came into the World like other Men, shall Die and be a Pa­sture for Worms as well as others. Some are proud of their Riches, which, as Solomon saith, Prov. 23.5. certainly they make themselves wings and fly away as an Eagle; others are proud of their Honours, which in a short time are laid in the Dust; others of their Pleasures, for they have all that Heart can wish, so had Belshazzar in the great Feast he made to a Thousand of his Lords, to his Wives and Concubines; Dan. 5.5.6. but in the same Hour came forth fin­gers of a Man's hand, and wrote over against the Candlestick upon the plaistering of the Wall of the King's Palace. Then the King's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another, and in that night was the King slain. v. 30. 1 Cor. 3.1. Others are proud of their Parts, as Wit, Learn­ing, &c. for knowledge puffeth up; for want of know­ing themselves, those parts they prophane, and make a wrong use of: Others are proud of their Strength, Comliness, Beauty, and such Bo­dily Endowments; but to all such, the Apostle saith, What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Ch. 4.7. now if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it? Be thankful for what thou hast received, and Glory not in thy self, or in thine own Shame, but glory in the Lord. Ch. 1 31. Pride is a Sin odious to God and Man, which [Page 12]none was ever the better, Prov. 8.13. but many have been the worse for. The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, pride and arrogancy, &c. Saith the Son of God, under the name of Wisdom; Ch. 11.2. Ch. 16.18 Chad. 3. and when Pride cometh then cometh Shame; it also goes be­fore destruction. Therefore saith the Prophet, The pride of thine heart hath deceived thee, not only to Moab, but also to every one that is proud; for God, Psal. 31.23. who is Just, plentifully rewardeth the proud doer. And we have the testimony of Two Apostles for this Truth, Jam. 4.6. and 5. 1 Pet. 5.5. that God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Certainly that Sin shall not go unpunished.

Vanity doth constantly attend Pride: Proud People are vain, and sometimes extravagant in their Food, Apparel, Discourses, Expences, and whole Carriage; 'tis a Fume which from the Heart flies up into the Head, and makes those who therewith are affected, Giddy, Odious, and Ridiculous to a stander by: and as this is their weak part, so by the discovery they make of it, they lie open to the Attempts of all that to hu­mour them, will flatter them in their Vanity. Hezekiah's vain Glory in shewing the King of Ba­bylon's Ambassador all his Treasures, Isai. 39.67. was most se­verely punished, and by the grievousness of the punishment (for all those things were afterwards carried to Babylon) 'tis demonstrated how much God doth Hate and Detest Pride and vain Glo­ry.

From Pride and Vanity flows Idleness, the Mo­ther of Vices, for Oria dant vitia. A proud and vain Man thinks it to be below himself to do any thing, scorneth to set his hand about any Work; which he would look upon as a disparagement unto himself; rather Steal, Rob, Cheat, and Starve than to Work, being intoxicated with a [Page 13]Chimerical Opinion of Abilities, Merits, Birth, and Quality: Hence it is, that often we see se­veral to miscarry in what they undertake, because they take it to be beneath them. Pride and Idleness we find reckoned among the Sins of abo­minable Sodom, for, Behold, Ezek. 16.49. this was the iniquity of thy Sister Sodom, Pride, fulness of Bread, and abundance of Idleness was in her, and in her Daugh­ters. Her terrible punishment should make eve­ry one tremble that is partaker of her Sins.

Under this Head of Idleness, some things I may reduce, which being not evil in themselves, and moderately used, may well enough be allowed, chiefly when there is with it a Bodily Exercise; but when abused, become evil by accident, as when there is too much Cost and Time bestow'd upon't: Such are Play-houses when too often fre­quented; (suppose the Stages were Chaste and Pure, as they are not) What Excess is it to give so much Money to a French Dancer, to an Ita­lian Singer, who when they are full of Money, will go home and Laugh at us for it: I can ne­ver forget what once I heard Harlequin (give me leave to name him,) say upon the Stage, having said something which made all People Laugh; he added, Who hath cause to Laugh, you, who part with your Money, or I who get it? Such also are so many Lotteries, which afford occasi­on of much Cheating and Tricking, whereby greediness of Getting, and something of Infatua­tion, squeeze out of Peoples Purses that Money which might be better bestowed upon their ne­cessary occasions. Such are also Races, upon which some lose sometimes Hundreds, nay Thou­sands of Pounds, besides Charges they are at in keeping their Horses, when they will deny a poor Person One Peny ask'd for God's and for [Page 14]Christ's sake, to keep them from Starving; and a Creditor One Shiling, towards Payment of Debt. Is not this a Sin, and a great One too? I shall but name Hunting, Hawking, Coursing, &c. which, thô indifferent and tolerable enough in themselves, yet when too much time, which might better be bestowed, is spent upon't, become sinful: Actaeon's Fable suggests that when that Sport goes beyond the bounds of a Bodily Exer­cise, and of a necessary Recreation, and be­comes a violent and unsatiable Passion, he that is possessed with it, is sometimes ruin'd, and eaten up by his Dogs, which Sport leads him to see naked Nymphs, which hasten his Destruction: And to speak the best of it, I wish Men to consi­der how Diana the Hunting Queen was Chaste, but Barren, so produced nothing,

Covetousness well call'd Idolatry in Scripture, Coloss. 3.5. for Riches are the Covetous Man's Idol God, and al­so the root of all evil; 1 Tim. 6.10. for the love of Money puts Men and Women upon all wicked Designs and Attempts: Hence spring Injustice, not to pay Debts, and give every one their own, Violence, Op­pression, Extortion, Cheats; in few words, 'tis the breach of the whole Law: The Covetous like the Swine, doth much harm, but no body good till he be dead; he is the wicked and unprofita­ble Servant, who burieth the Talent, and with it doth others no good nor himself neither, for as he deprives them of their due, so he denies him­self not only Conveniencies, but also Necessa­ries. We have some who accumulate Sins, for they are both Proud and Covetous: Some­times Men will bear with ones Pride if he be liberal; and with his Covetousness if he be Ci­vil and Meek: But he who is both Proud and Covetous, is hated of all.

The Vice opposite to that, namely Prodigali­ty, is also seated in the Heart, which might seem a Paradox, as is to have contrary things lodged in one and the same Subject, were it not that in the Heart are so many places, several windings and turnings. This Sin I look upon as a branch or effect of Pride and Vanity, for out of this Principle, and for the end of being seen and ap­plauded by Men, some are profuse, and unne­cessarily bestow Costs upon their Lusts, &c. Ma­ny more Sins there are in the Heart, as all inor­dinate Affections which come under what Philo­sophers call Appetites, either irascible or concu­piscible, which I shall omit speaking of, that I may come to Sins in practice, which the Nation is so much Affected Infected, and Overgrown with, to the Dishonour of God, wrong and prejudice of the Neighbours, Shame and Infamy of the Guilty: Hinc dolor hinc lachrymae: Where shall I begin, and how shall I make an end? there be­ing such a number and variety of them.

About Sins in Practice, I shall begin with those which directly are levell'd against GOD; so shall follow with those that also are (but indire­ctly) against GOD; for one way or other, every Sin is against GOD, but immediately against Men, and destructive to Human Society: But as this would prove a long Task, I shall mention only the most Common and Notorious. And First, We have too many of those who would ridicule Grace, and, thinking it to be a piece of Wit, Impiously and Prophanely to carp at God's Word and Works, and in their Discourses, as well as in their Lives, to make a mock at Sin. But who are those? not the Wise, except it be in their own Conceit; but Fools, for long ago, by Solomon's Pen, God hath proclaimed them for such, [Page 16]when he said Fools make a mock at Sin; Prov. 14.9 now in Solomon's and David's stile, the Fool is the Wicked Man, who at the latter end, shall appear to be the greatest Fool of all: No jesting with Holy Things, nor with God, who will not be mockt; and Men who believe otherwise are much deceived; and if their Conscience tells them not before, shall at last find they were so.

Sabbath-breaking is one of the Chief and Epide­mical Sins of the Nation: Every one that can read Scripture may know how strict and severe God was against Sabbath-breakers; by his imme­diate command they were Numb. 15.32, 35. stoned to death. The holy Observation of that day, was what he mostly required of that People, not only now and then, here and there, but he made it the Fourth Com­mandment of the first Table of the Law; greatly complain'd of the breach thereof, and severely punish'd it upon Persons, and the whole Nation. There is the same reason for the Christian Sab­bath, in Scripture call'd the Rev. 1.10. Lord's Day; and se­veral breakers thereof, God hath in the Christian Church made Examples of his Judgments. A great one we had in this Nation, of that Prince, who at several times, having with Stage-Plays polluted the Lord's-Day, and by means of a Book of Sports, allowed and encouraged others to do so, was out of the same Place where he had seen them acted, brought upon the Scaffold, where he lost his Life. I do not pretend to dive into the secret Causes of God's Judgments, but I must take notice how the Circumstance of the Place is very remarkable, and we may be allowed to say how upon that Ground, as well as upon others, Ps. 76.12. God is terri­ble to the Kings of the Earth. This is Matter of Fact: Thô in his Son's Reign Piety was little re­garded, yet then we saw Acts of Parliament for [Page 17]the better Observation of the Lord's-Day, to come out; but now 'tis thought not to be worth looking after: in That of 29 Ch. II. 1677. one of those Acts, the Sale of any Wares, Merchandizes, Fruits, Herbs, Goods or Chattels whatsoever, upon the Lord's Day, or any part thereof, was forbidden, upon pain that every Person so offending, shall forfeit the same Goods so cryed, or shewed forth, or exposed to sale. Sabbaths were never more prophan'd then of late and now: The generality of People make Play and Sport Days of them, On that day we see Markets set up in many Places, Children publickly at play; Taverns, Alehouses, Coffee and Chocolate-Houses doors open and full of People: and those Beasts, which in the 4th Precept God had a regard to, must not rest upon that day, though upon every other in the Week, they labour with all imagina­ble hardness, which is a Cruelty, for Prov. 12.10. a righteous man regardeth the life of his beast. Yet these must be for the Service of many Sabbath-breakers: When the Drunkard is so fuddled that he with­out Reeling and Staggering cannot go, he must have a Coach to carry him home. We have but one true Christian Holy-day, which ought to be employ'd only for Holy uses. He who makes no Conscience to break the Lord's Holiday, will make no Scruple of breaking any of the Ten Commandments; and he who delights to ob­serve it, will the use Authority to make others ob­serve it too, 'Tis strange, yet true, that some who in the Church have been and still are most fond after the reading of every Commandment, of the fourth as well as of every one else, to say. Lord have merey upon us, and incline our hearts to keep this law, such as Pocklington, Heylin, and the Highest Church-men, in their Writings, Sermons, and Discourses, declared much against the Mo­rality [Page 18]of the Sabbath or Lord's-Day, how then can they pray to God to incline their Heart to keep a Law which they believe and profess to be abrogated? But if herein one was to consult with Man's Opinion, besides the Judgment of se­veral Divines, that of the good Pious and Learned James Ʋsher Primate of Ireland, is with me of greater weight then the Authority of all Anti-Sabbatharians, and all know how much in his judgment and practice, he was for the strict ob­servation of the Lord's Day. One thing more, though by the by, and not to my present purpose, I shall observe out of the Words, Incline our Hearts to keep this Law, it appears how the O­pinion of those who compiled the Common-Prayer-Book and appointed these words to be said after every Precept, was, that Men cannot incline their Hearts to keep God's Law, but must pray to God to do't, and consequently that to be­lieve and obey, doth not depend upon Man's Will, but upon God's working upon and inclining it.

There is another crying Sin in the Nation, which hath several branches, as Lying, Swearing, Cursing, and Perjury. We have a sort of People who in this kind offend in the least Degree, yet thereby contract a Guilt upon themselves; out of an ill Habit and Custom, upon most or any trivial account, saying, O Lord, O God, which is to take that Holy Name in vain, and a Breach of the Third Commandment: But others worse, impiously take the Lord by his Bloud, Wounds, &c. and swear by the Creatures; 'tis abomina­ble sometimes to hear in the Streets, Children of Eight and Ten years old and upwards, to Curse and Damn themselves and others, which ought to be the Care of Parents to prevent; a horrid Sin; God hath given us a Tongue to Bless not to Curse [Page 19]him, nor our Neighbour, or our selves, yet some, as soon as they are able to speak, rap out Oaths. A Curse in God's Name never falls without an Effect either against the Curser or Cursed. That abominable Sin of Perjury, and Swearing falsly in God's Name is too common. Forswearing, Cove­nant-breaking and Burning, are so grievous a Sin, as that in every judgment we undergo, we may therein see a Grain of it, as the Jews did in theirs, in relation to the Golden Calf.

The Sin of Ʋncleanness is Loud and Epidemi­cal in its several branches of Fornication and A­dultery; and there is too much cause to name Incest and Sodomy, for which the Earth affords no sufficient Punishment; therefore, in Fire and Brimstone, God, as it were, rained down Hell from Heaven upon Sodom and Gomorrah. Unclean­ness is among People of all Conditions, Ages, and Kinds, now as common, frequent, and publick, as between Dogs and Bitches, without Curb and Restraint put upon't, so that Whoredom is cer­tainly one of the Master Sins of the Nation: Bawdy-Houses are tolerated, and, even in high Places, want no Advocates to speak for them; at any time, specially towards the Evening, one can hardly go up and down the Street but he meets with Inticements and Temptations: Sometimes an honest Woman, who goes about her necessary business, can hardly pass safely and undisturbed through the Streets; and some of that Sex that prostitute themselves, in some times of the Night walk in their Meeting-places, and wander up and down the Streets, when Bridewell should be filled with them. But we must leave this filthy Subject, which defiles Thoughts. Tongue, and Pen, and as well as Swearing and Perjury, have of late in some [...]. Tracts been set out in their own Colours [Page 20]and only give a Hint of an idle Vanity of some Men and Women, who in order to please others, to excite Lust, and satisfie their Corrupt Inclina­tions, do stand or sit whole Hours before a Look­ing-Glass, there to admire themselves, like so many Narcissus's in love with their Faces. I can­not blame Men or Women for seeing every thing about them to be well, decently, and cleanly, but far from this necessary Care are the foppish and vain Attire and meer Trinkets, as Patches, Painting, &c. too much used by some for ill ends.

Concerning this Head, before I leave it off, I must farther take notice, how there are too many kinds of Houses subservient to this Sin, as first Bawdy-Houses, kept up meerly for that purpose, or Stews, by Henry VIII. for ever forbidden in England. 'Tis a great shame that in a Christian State Reformed, or pretending, from the abuses of the Romish Church, in Doctrine and Practices, such Places should be known and suffered: We Protestants say, and 'tis very true, that the Pope and those under him in Rome, receive Money for tolerating such Wickednesses, under the pretence, that 'tis to avoid a more horrid Sin, as if God had allowed to chuse and exchange Sins, and so dispensed Men from the strict Observation of his Law: And I am afraid, here we have some who against their Duty and Oath, take Fees not to disturb those Infamous Places. Here also are some Places which we may call Game-Houses, where are play'd more than one sort of Game, to the Ruine of the Souls of some, Young and Old, and Lavishing the Estates of others, and this by such Persons, as the Land should vomit out into their own: Also there are Chocolate-Houses with Private Rooms, which though frequented by [Page 21]some Persons of Honour and Virtue, yet are look'd upon as meeting Places for Vice, Idleness, Cor­rupt Discourses, and other sinful Practices. And we hear, of late are sprung out of Hell, Houses for the execrable Seed of Sodom and Gomorrah; who could have believed it?

Drunkenness is a great and common Sin, which deprives Men of the use of Reason, and makes them, I shall not say like unto, but worse then Beasts, which, do what you can, you are never able to make to drink, if they be not thirsty: The use of Liquor is to quench one's Thirst, but when 'tis abused, through God's Judgment, it causes a contrary Effect, for it inflames and makes one drier and drier. The Lacedaemonians, to make that Vice odious to their Children, made their Slaves Drunk, and then exposed them to their sight: And Lyeurgus being asked, why in his Laws he had appointed no punishment for Drun­kards? said, Drunkenness carries its punishment a­long with it; the Head-ake, the Pain in the Sto­mach, violent Vomiting, Inflammation of the Blood, with many other Symptoms that attend it, do sufficiently demonstrate its Malignity: And if a Drunken Man could but well see his dull or wandering Eyes, the redness or paleness of his Face, his wry Mouth, Crabbed Looks, smell the Stink of what comes up out of his Stomach, as out of a Dog's, and hear the Stammerings and Stut­terings of his Tongue, perceive his Reeling and Staggerings, in a word, how much he looks like a stinking and a silly Fool, he would be ashamed of himself and of his Vice; besides the danger of Breaking his Neck, or some Limb, when he is Drunk, or doing himself and others some Mis­chief when his Drink turns into Fury and Mad­ness, as we daily have a sad Experience of it, and [Page 22]'tis too usual with some; or else being tumbled into a Feaver or some such violent Distemper, or at last being besotted, for continual Drinking drowns what good natural Parts a Man may hap­pen to have either by Nature or acquired by Labour and Industry. Prov. 23.29, 30, 31, 32. Who hath wo? Who hath sorrow? saith the Wise man, Who hath con­tention? who hath babbling? who hath wounds with­out cause? who hath redness of eyes: He answers, They that tarry long at the Wine; They that go to seek mixt wine. His advice followeth, Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth its colour in the cup, when it moveth it self aright; ar the last it biteth like a Serpent, and stingeth like an Adder. These are the Effects of Drunkenness, yet some are so infatuated as to delight in fuddling themselves and others: Against such the Prophet pronounces a Hab. 2.15. Wo unto him that giveth his neigh­bour drink, that puttest his bottle to him, and ma­kest him drunken also. There must be a Venom in the Fruit, when abused, which we may per­ceive in the Tree that produces it, which is good for nothing else but to be burnt, for God saith so by the Prophet. Ezek. 15.2, 3, 4. Son of man, what is the Vine tree more then any tree? Shall wood be taken thereof to do any work? or will men take a pin of it to hang any vessel thereon. Behold it is cast into the fire for fewel, the fire devoureth both the ends of it, and the middle of it is burnt: is it meet for any work? No; and Experience shews, it is of no use, only for the fire. Now Drunkenness is a Mother-sin, for it causes many others, and indeed can produce any other, as Noah and Lot can witness. We read of one who when he was Sober, being asked which of these three things he would chuse, either to be Drunken, to Lye with his Mother, or to Kill his Father; he rejected the two last as un­natural [Page 23]and abominable, and made choice of the first; but once he being Drunk, laid with his Mother when she was asleep, and kill'd his Fa­ther upbraiding him for it. Is. 28.1. Woe to the drun­kards of Ephraim, saith the Prophet, and others too, as well as to them. This Excess of some, and abuse of the Creature, which God made to be used with Sobriety and Thanksgiving, makes it Rom. 8.21, 22. groan and travail in pain till it be delivered from the bondage of corruption, which in their way Drunkards keep it under.

These are the most beastly and grossest Sins in the Land; but there are of another kind more subtle and refined, which stick to the Soul more than to the Body. We read how in our Saviour's days, the Bodies of many were possessed of the Devil, but now when he hath a greater Experi­ence, he is, to Man's greater harm, gone far­ther, and possesses the Souls as much as ever he did the Bodies: Too many have Learn'd under that cunning and dangerous Master, and are be­come great Proficients in his Art, and as Scrip­ture calls it his 2 Cor. 2.11. Devices and his Rev. 2.24. Depths. Some of these I shall give a hint of.

Certainly Injustice is one of the loudest and most crying Sins in the Nation, the Evil and Wickedness whereof we may unquestionably know, by its being directly opposed to one of God's Essential Attributes, for God is essentially Righteous and Just: And according to our power and measure we ought to endeavour to be such, for as we must be Holy because God is Holy, so we must be Just because he is Just; that is, as near as we can we ought to conform to God. Nothing in Scrip­ture is more often and earnestly commanded and commended than to be Just, as nothing more strictly forbidden then Injustice, especially to those whom God hath appointed to administer it. There are [Page 24]three sorts of Justice, the Distributive, Commuta­tive, and Legal. The first consists in the distri­bution of Rewards and Pains, and hath respect to the Dignity of Persons, according to the Geo­metrical Proportion: It composes the whole with the part; that is the common Goods of the Re­publick, bestowing them upon those who deserve it best. The second allows every Man his own, the Workman his Hire, the Servant his Wages, Soldiers their Pay: and it depends much upon agreements; thus a Nobleman is to pay the price of a Horse as well as an ordinary Man, and it is according to the Numerical Proportion: It also doth compose one part with another, making one Citizen equal with another. The third is, that Justice which is according to Right and Law; it doth compose and fit the Part for the whole, making every particular Man contribute to the Common Good, and Private Interests, subservient to the Publick and Great one.

Now 'tis too true that in all these, there are wants and abuses, and I leave it for those who are concern'd, to examine themselves about it. As to the first, There should be Rewards and Punishments adequate to the Good and Evil done by Men; and I wish all Princes would but con­sider some of the last words of a great and good King, David I mean, who said with a great Em­phasis, 2 Sam. 23.3. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, he that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. Reward and Punish well, and God will be pleased, and you well served, but to let some who deserved well to Want and Starve, whilst others that were very unworthy Men, receive abundantly to supply their Lust, this I say is a great breach of Distri­butive Justice. As to the Commutative, how many [Page 25]and great Abuses about it there is in this our World: Some have forgotten, or mind not what our Blessed Saviour said in his Sermon upon the Mount, Matth. 7.12. Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that Men should do to you, do ye even so to them: And the more to persuade them to't, he adds, for this is the Law and the Prophets. If when Men wrong others, they would but say to themselves, Wouldest thou be content to be so used? Their Conscience would fly into their Faces, Why then will not they give every one their own? Seve­ral in the Kingdom, against Justice, Honour, and all Rules of Honesty, make no Conscience to take other Men's Goods, and not to pay for them, thô they have plentiful Estates, yet will not pay one Six-pence of Debts; rather bestow it upon their own Lust, Whoring, Gaming, Drink­ing, &c. to the Starving and Undoing of many Persons, and whole Families, yet think them­selves Priviledged to do so. Do such People think there is no God in Heaven to hear Jam. 5.4. the cry of the hire of the Labourers which have reaped down their Fields. Of those who sold them their Wares and Goods, but cannot get one Farthing from them that always are ready to Buy, but never care to Pay; Certainly saith the Apostle, such Gen. 18.21. cries are entred into the ears of the Lord of Sabbaoth. God heareth the Cries of the sins of the wicked, to punish them for it; thus Gen. 18.21. the cry of those of Sodom went up to God. He also heareth the Exod. 2.24. groaning and cry of the Afflicted and oppressed, as he did that of his People in Egypt. For saith the Lord to Moses Ch. 3.9. The cry of the children of Israel is come unto me; thus Da­vid's Psal. 18.6. cry came before him, even into his ears: for indeed, 1 (h) Psal. 34.15. the eyes of the Lord are upon the righ­teous, and his ears are open unto their cry, to avenge [Page 24] [...] [Page 25] [...] [Page 24] [...] [Page 25] [...] [Page 26]and deliver them. The Wicked and Oppressor is but a fool for his pains, to Psal. 10.13.14. say in his heart, thou wilt not require it, for thou hast seen it, saith the Psalmist, for thou beholdest mischief and spite to requite it with thy hand, the poor committeth himself unto thee, for thou art the helper of the fa­therless. The helpless Man upon Earth hath a God in Heaven to go to.

There are high degrees of this sort of Inju­stice, called Oppression and Extortion. Oppres­sion is a vexation and tormenting a weak­er or inferior Person by Violence and Authority; this is the sin of Superiour Powers and Rulers: thus Tyrants oppress God's People, laying so hea­vy burthens of several sorts upon them, as they are not able to bear, but are thereby pressed down, and must ly under; in this God is high­ly concern'd, it being an abominable Abuse of that Power and Authority which he hath com­mitted to some over others, this, in David's words is Psal. 94.20. To frame mischief by a Law. Now this odious Sin God hath taken special care to deterr Men from, Lavit. 25.14, 17 Ye shall not oppress one another. The Quality of the Oppressed is an aggravation to the Sin, as to oppress the Afflicted, Prov. 22.22. Rob not the poor, because he is poor, neither oppress the afflicted in the gate: which instead of Comfort is to add Affliction to the Afflicted; so 'tis to op­press the Widow and the Fatherless, which by name, as well as the Poor, the Zach. 7.10. Lord hath forbidden to do; among the several Characters which God gives of a wicked Man, this is one, Ezek. 18.12. he hath oppressed the poor and needy. God, who is a Just Judge, hath solemnly Declared that he will punish several sorts of Sinners; Oppressors are among the black List Mal. 3.5. I will come near to you to judgment, and I will be a swift witness against the [Page 27]Sorcerers, the Adulterers, false Swearers, and against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, the wi­dow and the fatherless.

Extortion is when Men lay hold upon the Straits and Necessities of others, to extort and squeeze out of them, more than they ought or can give; and in their urgent occasions, to relieve them up­on hard and unreasonable terms, as to lend Mo­ney upon great and unconscionable Interest, or else refuse to do't, which is a Cruelty: Tis al­so a wresting by force, Threatnings or Autho­rity, that which is not his due, or more than it is; as when an Officer doth exact more than he ought, or than his Fees come to. I am afraid we had of late, and now have too many of these Unjust and Merciless Men: But let them know, that if the Law, in a way of punishment takes no notice of their Crime, at one time or other, God, if they continue and Repent not, will visit them for it.

Another kind of Injustice is called Illegal, with­out, or against Law, and this directly regards the Courts of Judicature: I confess 'tis sad that Law and Equity do not always agree; and that sometimes a Just and Conscientious Judge, who, as in the Presence of God, would discharge the Duty of his Place, is not always free in a Cause to follow the Dictates of his own Judgment, but must be drawn away with certain Formalities of the Law: thô in his mind he be satisfied a Wit­ness Swears Falsly, yet he must Judge and Act according to Allegata & Probata, and not accord­ing to his own Judgment; but this being not di­rectly to our present purpose, I omit, and come to that which is.

The Courts of Judicature are the Seat of Ju­stice, the Oracles and Interpreters of the Laws, which in the Administration of Justice, are there Righted or Wronged. Thô I speak not of Per­sons but of Things, I gladly own that upon the Benches sit some Persons of known Abilities, and Integrity, yet that Profession is not free from Flaws; it hath its Sins, and grievous ones too: is often a Remedy which proves worse than the Disease; and for the Truth of this, I appeal to those therein concern'd, that are sincere, and make Conscience of their ways, therefore Abuses therein should be Reformed, Things Regulated. and those Springs when Corrupt, Purged: to de­lay Doing Justice, to Deny. and Pervert it, makes many times the Law to be a Grievance, and are Three abominable, thô different Degrees of In­justice. Long and tedious Proceedings at Law are Vexatious, Chargeable, and make one unne­cessarily lose abundance of time; Why should one put off till to Morrow that which he ought and can do to Day? May be, God will take away that Power and thy Life too; 'Tis an unhappy Inclination of some Men of Business, out of a Humour, Custom, Pride. Neglect, Preju­dice of some other corrupt Motive or Design to prolong time to do things which require Speed: So that sometimes it would be better to have to deal with a Bashaw, who, before Men go out of his Sight, will decide a difference; and thô some­times he doth one wrong, yet on the other side he doth a Kindness, with saying Charges, Time and Trouble: For what mean the Long, Tedious, and Chargeable Suits at Law, which become end­less, to the ruin of Persons and Families, and the Oppression of the Poor by the Rich, who with strength of Money, tire and disable them from [Page 29]holding out, the Law, say some, is ever open to all, that is, for the Rich to Ruin the Poor; thus the Remedy is turn'd into Poison, which ever keeps things unsettled and at uncertainties, and affords continual occasions for one to disquiet and wrong another; and sometimes both are serv'd like the two that Quarrel'd about an Oyster they had found, one saying he had seen it first, the other, that he had taken it up; for he whom they referr'd the business to, did open and eat up the Oister, and gave each of them a Shell. The Emperor Instit. l. 4. Tit. 16. de Pae­nâ temerè litiganti­um. Justinian appointed punishment against those who went to Law without a just Cause.

To Deny Justice when due and sued for, is another degree of Injustice: We know a com­petent time to Examin and Inquire into the Mat­ter, must be allowed; but after that, one may well expect to see it done: I cannot believe any Man in that station can so far forget himself, as positively to say, I will not do you Justice, but not to do't is by a side-Wind in effect the same: Besides the unnecessary Trouble a Plaintiff's put to, and made to lose his other Occasions; bis dat qui citò dat is with me a good Rule; soon to do Justice or a Kindness lays a double Obligation. The Judge spoken of in the Parable, did not tell the Widow, You shall have no Justice from me, only Luke 18.4. he would not for a while; at last he did, nor for Justice sake, but out of a Selfish Motive, that is to be no longer troubled with her Importunities, and in the place, for this reason, our Saviour calls him v. 6. The unjust Judge. After he had passed this Sentence upon himself, That be feared not God, nor regarded Man.

But to pervert Justice is the highest Degree of Injustice, as is to Condemn the Just, and Justifie the Wicked, which Prov. 17.15. Both are abomination to [Page 30]the Lord. Or to give one that which belongs to another; this happeneth when out of the cor­ruption of the Heart, Judges, through Bribery, Favour, or other perverse Motives, suffer them­selves to be byassed: when once any one hath been noted for it, he ought for ever to be brand­ed with Infamy, as being a Scandal to the Law, and a Shame to the Bench; the Injustices of Subordinate Judges cry loud for Vengeance to God the Supream Judge of all: Would to God there was not so much cause as there is to Com­plain of it; no Court, either Ecclesiastical, Po­litick or Civil, is free from Abuses and Sins, in relation to this last, I must give a hint of ano­ther Abuse, which is, When Lawyers undertake for Money to Patronize any Cause whatsoever, thô in their Judgment they be convinced it is bad: Indeed in dubious Causes, for a Fee they may make the best they can of it, but to encourage Clients in a wrong way, with telling they are in the Right, is certainly a Sin; for 'tis to betray the Truth, to engage them in an Ill Cause, put them to unnecessary Charges, and Trouble, and make them run the hazard of being Cast, and Losers at the end.

But a great piece of Injustice very common, and Hurtful is among Tradesmen, who make a great part of the Nation: I do not say every one for some make Conscience of their ways, but too many, when you come into their Shop, then out with their Lies; 'tis, say they, the best in the kind, cost so much, and the like, to wheedle one to Buy, which the Apostle hath forewarned of and forbidden, when he saith, (Ephes. 4.25. Wherefore put­ting away lying, speak every Man truth with his neighbour. But the worst is, that in such Shops and Houses are kept False Weights, and False [Page 31]Measures, contrary to what God so often, and so strictly Commanded his People: Lev. 19.36. Just Ba­lances, Just Weights, a Just Ephah, and a Just Hin shall ye have. Elsewhere repeated, Deut. 25.15. But tbou shalt have a Perfect and Just weight; Prov. 11.1. a Per­fect and Just Measure shalt thou have. Ch. 20.23. The con­trary God abhorreth; For a false balance is abo­mination to the Lord, but a just weight is his delight. Again, Divers weights are an abomination unto the Lord, and a false balance is not good. Some have different Weights, one to Buy, another to Sell by. As to Measures, would to God there was less cause than we have to complain of it. I shall give an Instance which is obvious; and thô in some respect, the Thing be not of great Mo­ment, yet the Sin is not the less; rather, because it reaches many, chiefly the poor People, it is the greater. In many Alehouses where an ordina­ry Man goeth for a Quart of Drink, out comes a False Measure, a Black Pot, or the like, holding less than it should; This for the Master, but the Drawer to have his share, doth not fill it up but gives Froth instead of Drink; so that one hath at least half a Pint wanting of his measure, and some­times but a whole Pint instead of a Quart; with some this Observation will seem mean: But for all that, I would have them to know that it is a great Sin, and no Sin may be call'd a mean Sin: And seeing I am upon this Subject, I far­ther shall take notice of the Injustice of Brewers, who, for Instance, under pretence of a Shilling Excize given the Government, because there is no Assize (which upon these Occasions should ever be to prevent Abuses) they take, may be. Two for themselves, and so make the Drink small, raise the Price, and lessen the Measure. The like may be said of Bakers, who make their [Page 32]Bread Lighter than it should be, or raise the Price of it. As Butchers do of their Meat. Chand­lers of their Candles; so do other sorts of Trades­men, even as they please, without any curb put upon them; Thus the generality are left to the mercy of unreasonable Men: And for they to plead The Liberty of the Subject, is an aggravati­on, to pretend to, or desire a Liberty to do wrong and injury. Here I speak for the poorest sort, who by such dealings are the greatest Sufferers. One of the chief grounds of Policy in matters of Government, is to Prevent or Remedy Abu­ses put upon the People, about necessary Provisi­ons for Life; nothing more apt to cause Tumults and Insurrections, than to want Food and Rai­ment, or Money to buy it: One thing more I shall observe upon this Head, How in common Dealings, even without distinction of the Qua­lity of Persons, in their Bargains, according to their several ways, there is abundance of False Dealing, Tricking, Cheating, and Over-reach­ing; and the worst is, that when Men have gain­ed their Point, they Laugh at it, and Brag of it; when the Tradesman Sells his Commodities with False Weights, and False Measures, and not sa­tisfied with a moderate Gain, at unreasonable Rates; Doth he wonder after, if he be ill paid, or not at all? thô I will neither excuse nor ju­stifie the Buyer; but I say, 'tis Just with God to Retaliate him; so others are unjust to him, because he hath been so to them. So our trivial Saving is very True, Honesty is the best Policy.

There are Sins also which attend the Professi­on of Physicians, as are sometimes to pro­long the Cure of their Patients, especially when they are Rich, to have many Fees, and the more to squeeze Money out of their Purse; and also [Page 33]when they begin to recover strength, to prescribe strong Remedies, to weaken them again. At other times they, without a due regard to the good of the Patient try Experiments upon them to the hazard of Life: And withal, thô no sort of Men, more than they, have occasion to observe the finger of God in the Works of Nature, where­in his Power and Wisdom are so evident; yet none more apt to attibute to Second Causes, that which is due to the First and Supreme one: We know God hath appointed means to be used, and hath tied us to them, which we ought not to neglect, but Men must not be so unjust as to give them the Praise and Glory which belongs to God, who prescribed, and whose Blessing made them effectual, for when God calls for our Life, all Re­medies are in vain, Contra vim mortis non est me­dicamen in hortis. The recovery of Hezekiah was not so much to be attributed to the Virtue of the King. 20.7. Lump of dry Figs, thô the Remedy was very pro­per for the Disease, which was a Boil, and the dry Fig a great Drawer, as it was to God's Bles­sing, who, by the Prophet Isaiah appointed it. In this same predicament of Profession we include Apothecaries, who to put off their Old Drugs, which having lost their Virtue, can indeed stir Humours, but want strength to carry them out, and so are rather Poison than Physick in the Bo­dy, keep the best, and thereby do Patients more harm than good; they sometimes also lessen the Dose, yet will be paid for the whole: Besides that, often their Bills are unreasonable and un­just, and so a Sin in them. Under this Classis, for at the first, in the days of Hippocrates, Diosco­rides, Avicenna, Galenus, &c. One and the same Man professed Physick, Apothecarie, (if I may so call that Art) and Chirurgery: I leave for Chi­rurgeons [Page 34]to examine, and leave off Sins attend­ing their Profession.

'Tis a saying of Augustin, that Sin, amidst the Disorders it hath caused in the World, hath left Mans Goods and Estates in the hands of Lawyers, his Body in that of Physicians, and his Soul to the Care of Divines: This is a great Charge in­deed, and thô every one be bound to look to his own Soul, yet God hath been pleased to appoint a sort of Men, whose Office is to be Pastors, Teachers, Overseers, Watchmen, to Warn, Guide, and Direct others in the way to Salvation: The Care of Souls is a great and difficult Task, and a high Trust, attended with a world of Lets, Hin­derances, and Oppositions, from the Devil, the Flesh, the World, and from Sin: Therefore without God's especial Grace, which such Men ought constantly to pray for, are liable to great and many Sins of the highest Consequence; for sometimes the Eternal Felicity or Misery of Souls, doth, as to means, depend thereupon, and 2 Cor. 2.16. Who is sufficient for these things?

The Clergy, or Ministers of the Gospel, which use hath made to be the meaning of the Word, are called 1 Cor. 4. and v. 1.2. Stewards of the Mysteries of God The Apostle in the same place saith, Moreover, 'tis required in Stewards, that a man be found faith­ful, and blameless, for, Tit. 1.7. A Bishop, under which name is understood every Pastour and Minister, as Overseer of his Flock, must be blameless as the Steward of God, not self willed, not soon Angry, not given to wine no striker, not given to filthy lucre, but a lover of hospitality a lover of good Men, So­ber, just, holy, temperate: The like charge to this is by another Apostle given the Elders, which is the same Office; 1 Pet. 9.1, 2.3. Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by con­straint [Page 35]but willingly, not for filthy lucre, but of a rea­dy mind, neither as being lords over Gods heritage, but being examples to the flock; examples of Prety, [...] Charity, Temperance. Sobriety, Humility, and of every other Christian and Moral Virtues, Learning of Christ, for Matth. 11.29. he is meek and lowly in heart, who John 13.15. hath given an example or Hu­mility: After the example of the Sovereign Lord and Master Ministers ought also to follow that of the Apostles, as Paul gives himself for one Phil. 3.17. but be together followers of me, and mark them which walk so, as ye have us for an example. For his Design was 2 Thes. 3.9. to make himself an example un­to others to follow him. Another Apostle exhorted those whom he wrote to, in some particulars, Jam. 5.10. to take the prophets who have spoken in the name of the lord for an example: I have a great Re­spect for the high Character of the Ministers of Christ, and of the Stewards of the Mysteries of God; and I know we have some who, as much as Human frailty can allow, perform the Duty of that Holy Office; but to others whose num­ber is too great, and who do not walk worthy of Christ, what Paul upon another account saith, upon this I say, 1 Cor. 7.28. I spare you; for the Offices sake, I spare the Persons unworthy of it, leaving them to examine themselves by the Rules and Examples I mentioned a little before, Whether they have not prevaricated, but taken due care of Souls, fed them with the sincere Milk of the Word, given good Counsel and good Examples, or a Scandal that made the weak of the Flock to stumble, and the enemies of God to Blaspheme? I know, no perfection can be attained to, in this world, nothing without spots and stains, Deut 32.5. but I doubt their spot is not the spot of God's children the corruption of the best things is the worst of [Page 34] [...] [Page 35] [...] [Page 36]all; and where more of Christ's Image in Ho­liness, Purity, and of every Christian Grace is re­quired, the more conspicuous, and odious are Sins and Things contrary to't. 2 Cor. 12.20. I fear, (to speak somewhat like in Paul's words) Lest there be a­mong them debates, envyings, wraths, strifes, back­bitings, whisperings swellings, tumults, and that ma­ny have not repented of the uncleanness, Drunken­ness and other sins, which they have committed.

One fault more I shall but name, which some of the best are sometimes guilty of, and that is In Preaching or Praying, to be inconsiderate (when in the Pulpit) in their Expressions, for they should use none but such as become the Ma­jesty of the Great God, whose Ambassadors they are, and whose Holy Word they Preach, which ought to be done with an awful Reverence, and in a serious and grave manner; Graciously God allows them to be free in Preaching and Prayer, but not to be Saucy or Careless with him. There is besides a worse and greater Fault, and of ve­ry ill consequence, which out of Covetousness they often commit, for to have Money, they in Priviledged places, as called, Favour Clande­stine Marriages, and without examining about the Qualification of Persons, Consent of Parents, other Abuses or Inconveniences, which to pre­vent they should be better informed and satisfi­ed about, yet they Declare the Parties to be Husband and Wife.

One of the greatest Causes of Miscarriages of Clergy-men, is the Ignorance and Inconsiderate­ness of Parents, who Devote their Sons to the Ministry, without inquiring whether they be well Inclined, Fit, and have the necessary Qua­lifications and Dispositions for that Holy Office, which they look upon as a Trade, and to get a [Page 37]livelyhood, whereby is caused a great Prophanation of God's Service? In consequence of this, a young Man doth not examine himself to know, whether he hath a Call to, and be Gifted for it; but when once he is engaged in't, doth indeed make a Trade of is, not so much minding the Duty, as the Pro­fit of the place, and is striving from a Good to get into a Better Benefice; not to do good to the Souls of his Flock, but to have larger Profits, and more Income: Hence it is that sometimes I have been ashamed, and then moved with some Indignation, instead of good Pious and Profita­ble Discourse, when Three or Four Parsons are got together, to hear them talk after the rate of Farmers at Market, how such a Benefice is worth so much, such another more; one hath gotten a good one, and another hath a prospect of a bet­ter: For my part I could wish all Merchants and Changers of Money and Benefices, were driven out of God's House, their Tables overthrown, and such unsavoury Discourses laid aside, till there be a necessary occasion, for they smell too much of Simony: Would to God there was no more than the Smell, but there's too much of the Body of it. And now I am upon this Point, I cannot forbear taking notice of a commenda­ble Care by a neighbour Nation, lately taken to revent Simony; by By the States of Holland and West Fr. Dated Hague, April 18 1698. a Proclamation, which thô it doth not concern us, yet the thing 'tis about, doth, and 'tis no harm nor disparagement to learn good from others: Therefore out of it I shall take notice only of this, That-all, Candi­dates for the Ministry in the Church, after the pre­paratory Examination is over, when they are called to any Benefice to take care of Souls, ought upon Oath to Declare, that they have neither promised nor gi­ven any Gifts, nor caused to be given; nor directly or [Page 38]indirectly promised to any person for their being call'd; and know not that any hath done it in their behalf: The Controvenors thereof to lose their places, and to pay Forfeiture amounting to four times as much as in Gift: Besides the usual Penalty inflicted for Perjury. This may work upon any that makes Conscience of an Oath: But here the abuse of Patronage is very great; the Presentation, thô to take away the appearance of Simony, some un­worthy Tricks and Prerences are made use of, is sometimes actually bargained for and bought; thus a Minister is intruded upon a Congregation who dislike him, which is as bad as to force a Husband upon a Woman whether she will or not.

One thing more relating to the Clergy I shall observe, how to the grief of sound and Ortho­dox Men, a due and necessary Care hath by some not been taken to curb and restrain the damnable Heresies of Socinianism, which of late have been and still are too much abroad: I know, a late worthy Prelate, and others to their immortal Praise, have, as it becomes them, be­stirred themselves for this Cause; but in others there hath been a great Lukewarmness; I say not to Write, but to make use of the Authority which the Laws give them against such things Besides others, in the Anno 29. Caroli 2d. in 1677. Act for taking away the Writ De haereticô comburendo, 'tis provided that nothing in that Act shall extend or be constru­ed to take away or abridge the Jurisdiction of Pre­testant Arch-Bishops or Bishops, or any other Judges of Ecclesiastical Courts, in Cases of Atheisme, Blas­phemy or Heresie, and other damnable Doctrine and Opinions, so that still they may prosecute the Of fenders. This is still in Force and Unrepealed, but certainly it hath not been made use of as it might and ought to have been. I am afraid that [Page 39]those who in things of that nature have been so remiss, would, if they had by the late Act, been allowed, have been more severe about Forma­lities and Ceremonial things; for thô Thanks be to God, Persecution about indifferent things be ceased; yet in many remains the persecuting Spirit, and 'tis often found that those who Matth. 23.24. Swal­low a Camel will strain at a Gnat.

It is a great Mercy of God when he is pleased to raise up and send those who give Men warn­ing of the Danger, and of their Duty: Such are the fore-runners of a Blessing, as the Lord mentions it by a Prophet, Isai. 62.6. I have set watchmen over thy walls O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night. These are the faithful Servants which never grow remiss or weary, but are continually doing their Work, standing up­on their Guards, giving warning where there is any danger or approach of an Enemy; and how great must the Guilt be of those, who when the Enemy is at the Gate, and the Isaia 56.10. Wolves amidst the Flock, are as unconcerned as Dumb dogs and Idol Shepherds: then in such a case, even those who are not Christ's Ministers by way of Office, ought to speak out; for which, out of that same place of the Prophet, they have God's Warrant, ye that make mention of the name of the Lord, keep not silence. When the Watchman doth not give warning, then any Member of the Society may give it for the Publick Good. And upon this oc­casion this is my Warrant, and the ground of this Acting of mine.

Another kind of Sins which the Nation abounds in, is call'd Sins of Age, for every part of Man's life hath some Sins, which that Age doth parti­cularly incline him to. And First, The Sins of Youth, as are Rashness chiefly, Lust and Pleasures Zech. 11.17. [Page 40]of Sin, which heat of Blood in that Age draws them into: These David could not forget, but Repented of, Psal. 25.7. and Prayed to God to forget and forgive, Remember not the sins of my youth. Am­bition, is one of the proper Sins of Men of ripe years, and Covetousness, of Old Age; 'tis very strange to see Men, the nearer they draw to the journey's end, the more sollicitous to be to make provision for it, and God knows how many un­lawful ways are by Men made use of to attain to their ends: The Nation is full of them; and thô we cannot tell all the Works of Darkness subservient to their evil Designs, there is enough of it known to grieve the Heart, of all that love. God and hate Sin.

There are also Sins of Relations, as are be­tween Husband and Wife, how many daily mis­carriages are there of one of those Relations against the other? Want of Union, want of Love, full of Wranglings, Divisions, Quarrels hard Usage, and Abuses, by one put upon the other: And no wonder, for God's Blessing go­eth not along with the breakers of so Sacred a Bond as is Marriage, of God's own immediate Institution, at the very beginning of the World. There hath been a mutual Contract, a recipro­cal Agreement, a solemn Promise in the Presence of God, and in the face of the Church; but is the Husband Faithful to his Wife? Is the Wife True to the Husband? Far from that, in too ma­ny Families, the Husband to maintain his Whore or to satisfie his Drunkenness, or some other Lusts, doth almost starve his Wife and Children; and too often an ill Wife, to please her Vanity, and others, more than her Husband, instead of looking to her Family, and doing her self and others some good, misspends her precious time [Page 41]with standing idle before her Looking-Glass, Dressing, Patching, like Jezebel, Painting, and sometimes in gaudy Cloaths, Gaming, Gossip­ing, and the like pernicious courses, doth often Beggar her Husband. Thus Isai. 3.16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. the Daughters of Zion were haughty, and walked with stretched out necks, and wanton eyes; walking and mincing as they went, and making a tinkling with their feet: But what doth God say to all this? Therefore the Lord will smite with a scab the crown of the head of the daughters of Zion, and the lord will discover their secret parts in that day; the Lord will take away the bravery of their tinkling ornaments, and their cauls, and their round tire like the Moon, the chains and the bracelets, and the mufflers, the bonnets, and or­naments of the legs, and the head bands and the tab­lets, and the ear-rings and nose-jewels, the change­able suits of apparel, and the mantles, and the pim­ples, and the crisping pins, the glasses, and the fine linnen, and the woods, and the vails; and it shall come to pass, that instead of sweet smell there shall be stink, and instead of a girdle there shall be a rent, and instead of a well set hair, baldnesi, and in­stead of a stomacher, a girding of sackcloth, and burning instead of beauty. Many of those vanities our present times do not want, which they seem to have borrowed of them; so we may expect the like punishment. Some of these vanities con­tinued in the days of the Apostles, therefore they would Reform it, and give the Sex the example of Holy Women in the Old times, for, saith he, 1 Pet. 3.5, 6. after this manner in the old time; the hold women also who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands; and in the next verse he names what old time he meaneth, name­ly of Abraham, for he adds, even as Sara obeyed Abraham calling him lord, whose daughters ye are as [Page 42]long as ye do well; and to instruct them well in this matter; he tells first Negatively, what this vain Apparel must not be, whose adorning let it be not that outward one v. 3. of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of ap­parel. Then Positively, what kind it ought to be v. 4. but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price. But the more to confirm this Truth, another witness joyns with this. 1 Tim. 2.9, 10. I Will—that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shame fac'dness and sobriety, not with broidered hair or gold, or pearl, or costly aray; but (which becometh women professing godliness) with good works. All Wo­men that have some regard to God's words, will mind this,

Many sins are committed in another kind of relation, between Parents and Children: often when Men want Children they desire to have some, and when they have, they look, or ought to look upon't as a Blessing of God, for thereby they afford Church and State some Members; but do they afterwards answer God's end, in gi­ving them Children? Do they take due care to breed them in the fear of God, and put them in a capacity to serve their Maker, and their Country? Sometimes they be very careful to ga­ther an Estate for them, but not to qualifie them how to manage it well. If they have a sine Horse, they look out for a good and skilful Groom to Break and Order him, but often neglect the means to improve the Souls of their Children: What they do for them, is sometimes not with judg­ment, and often it doth them more harm than good: They ought to give them good Counsel, and good Example, not to fright, but to entice [Page 43]them to good things, bear with some Humane Frailties, especially those which attend the Age, but to make use of their Authority to curb and restrain them from evil things, shew themselves enemies to every vitious course, as much as may be; infuse into them a love for Piety, Virtue and Honour, with a Hatred to all that is contrary to't; they ought to study their Tempers and In­clinations, Reform what is Bad, and improve what is Good in them. When this foundation is laid, and there are in a Family several Chil­dren 'tis Prudence in Parents not to shew them­selves too partial for some, more than for others, for such carriage hath caused great mischief in some Families: Yet 'tis fit Parents should shew their Approbation of those Children that do well, and are virtuously inclined, and wisely, a dis­like of those whose Dispositions are vicious, Coloss. 3.21. yet do not provoke them, but elsewhere I have abun­dantly written upon this Subject. Farther, 'tis the Duty of Parents, according to their Abilities and Quality to provide for Children, and dispose of them in the World. This Scripture presseth upon them 2 Cor. 12.14. The children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the Parents for the children: And 1 Tim. 5.8. If any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house; he hath deny'd the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

On the other side, How many Unduti­ful, Disobedient, and Rebellious Children in the World? Some Psal. 58.3. are estranged from the womb, they go astray assoon as they be born: This is a most wicked and unnatural frame of Spirit, ab­horred by all Nations, and by God's immediate Command the Offender was Deut. 21.20. punish'd with death. By a natural Right all Men are equal, but only in this case, there is by nature a subje­ction [Page 44]of one to another: Children ought to Love, Honour, Obey, and Help their Parents, But how many now a-days, who instead of being the Joy, Help, Comfort, and Support, are the cause of their Grief and of Trouble in many ways; and instead of a staff in their Old Age, especially to support it, do rather serve to knock them down; but God will judge for such wick­ednesses.

I shall now insist upon the sins here committed in another relation, between Masters and Servants: There are so many notorious examples, as any one may see them; on the Master's side are Hardness, Injustice, contrary to Scripture; not only Threatnings, which the Apostle exhorteth to forbear, but also Blows and Violence, not considering that Coloss. 4.1. their master also is in heaven. On the other side, Servants are Unfaithful, Care­less, Vicious, Despisers, when they are Com­manded Ephes. 6.9. to be obedient to their masters according to the flesh, v. 56. and Coloss. 3.22. with fear and trembling in singleness of heart, as unto Christ, not with eye-service, as men­pleasers, but in singleness of heart as fearing God. And they ought to 1 Tim. 6.1. count their masters worthy of all honour: 'Tis a common guilt with many Servants when their Masters find fault with them, to Reply, which they are expresly forbidden to do [...]. 2.9. not answering again.

Another Relation there is, between Rulers and the People, which hath its Sins great and perni­cious: this being a slippery step, one must be nice and wary upon't; howsoever it being of the highest concernment, must not go untouched: For suppose we should speak of the Throne, but with a due Respect; yet those who Sit upon't, are but Men subject to like Infirmities with us. Humane Nature is in them attended with Frail­ties [Page 45]and imperfections, for being Kings they cease not to be Men: then sometimes happen such Conjunctures as Cross, and are Lets in the way of the Government, which yet I say, not to excuse those who might do better, but only those that cannot help it: Besides that in all things we must observe a Governing and Over­ruling Hand of God. 'Tis too usual and common for Authority to mind its own Honour more than the Glory of God; and also, not John 5.44. to seek the honour that cometh from God only, but that which cometh from men: It was as truly as wisely said, Prov. 20.8. A king that sitteth in the throne of judgment, scattereth away all evil with his eyes; that is. ought to do so, and look upon Evil with a design to disperse it as the Sun doth the Clouds: Nay, 'tis sin him Wisdom to do so, these are the words of a Wise King, and not mine, v. 26. A wise king scat­tereth the wicked. and bringeth the wheel over them: 'tis not only his Duty, but his Interest so to do; for Ch. 16.12. the throne is established by righteousness: which he gives as a reason of what he said in the beginning of the Verse Ch. 16.12. It is an abominati­on to kings to commit wickedness; they should mind Christ's Interest preferably before their own in this world, which in effect is to promote their own, if it be not contrary to the Lord's, where­by they ought to begin, Mh 6.33. Psal. 103.13. Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you. After that, they must procure the good of their People, whom they ought to Love, and upon some occasions, in imitation of God, to pity, as a father pitieth his children; the good Prince is like the true (q) 2 Kin. 3.26. Mother of the Child, who had rather lose her Right, than to see him torn and out in pieces. Tyrants are otherwise minded, divide & impera, is their Motto. [Page 44] [...] [Page 45] [...] [Page 46]again, Authority must be kept within lawful bounds, for in the world ought to be no unli­mited Power, only God's: even giving just grounds of fear, ought in prudence to be avoided. Punish and Reward well those who deserve it, or else the neglect, or misapplying these, can at last pull up by the root any Government, give those who deserve and want, and not undeser­ving Men to bestow it upon their evil and vici­ous courses: It is a shame that Palaces should be turned into a Den of Thieves, and be made a Sanctuary for some Brokers, Cheats, and the like, who there would shelter themselves from the hands of Justice, whilst other such places as were be­fore, have justly been taken away. Sollicitors of Pardons for Rapes are abominable, especially when attended with such circumstances as highly aggravate the Crime: who without a just Indig­nation can hear of it? No doubt for Money, or such other Considerations, they will become Ad­vocates for Murtherers. Robbers, Sodomites, and Villains in any kind, God, who is the Supream Judge of all, hath committed some in High Pla­ces, and these others under them, to execute Justice for him, in the World, and woe be to them if they neglect it.

The People being a collective Body, which con­sists of so many different and contrary Humours 'tis not easy to specifie all their Sins; only gene­rally speaking of the middle and lower sort, in relation to Governments, when any way pinched, they are apt to fall in Discontents, Grumblings. Tumults, and the like, chiefly when they see themselves wronged and oppressed, and finding no redress from the Government, they will make Reflections against it; for by reason of their yield­ing Obedience, paying Taxes, and undergoing [Page 47]other Burthens, they think they have cause to expect Safety and Protection from Wrong and Injuries, but most of all when they want neces­saries, either by reason of Scarcity, unreason­ableness of the Price, or want of Money to Buy: 'Tis the Prudence, and ought to be the Care of the Ruling Power, with removing the Cause, to prevent their doing themselves Justice; for then they go beyond all Bounds, and so fall into Vio­lence, Rage, Injustice and Cruelty, which hath given occasion to the saying, a furore populi libera nos. Lord deliver us from the fury of the People; I know 'tis too usual with them to repine at any thing that is amiss, and to complain of the least inconveniency, not considering that there happen sometimes such conjunctures and accidents, when miscarriages are unavoidable, not so much through the fault of the Government as the con­currence and contingency of Causes that have ill influences; as sometimes we see a good Watch to be out of Order, not by any defect in the Workmanship, but by reason of the injury of the weather, or other accidents, which ariseth not out of the Watch itself, and herein, and when such things happen, I could wish the Government to pity those whose ignorance of such things make them uncapable of that necessary Observation, and deal with them accordingly. The Head must be the Seat of Wisdom, but if it suffers Grievances to accumulate, and takes no care to prevent or redress with punishing the Guilty, and relieving the Sufferers, then not only the Igno­rant but also the Wise part of the Subject will suspect some ill Design, wherof the bad conse­quences are obvious; Fear is a great distemper in the Spirits of Men, which by all means State-Physicians ought without delay, go about to [Page 48]Cure, else that Distemper is of such a nature, as can soon make it increase; wherefore when the Patient calls for Remedy, let it soon be applyed, or else there is danger, the Disease shall turn in­to a Delirium and Madness, which some Tem­pers are more apt than others to fall into, which should make Rulers well to study how to under­stand the Constitution of the Government, and the Temper of their People. He who denies another a just thing, doth thereby provoke him to ask for things that are unjust, and if he hath strength along with him, that will make him the more dangerous. Let Rehoboam be an exam­ple for all Rulers, who being influenced by evil Counsel, deny'd, and that in a smart way, to ease the People of unjust and heavy Burdens: 'Tis true, in that case 'tis expresly said, 1 King. 12.24. That thing was from the lord, so 'tis in every other, for sometimes when Princes Rebel against God, in his Just Judgment, their Subjects Rebel against them.

Great Men, tho' placed in a higher Orb, yet come within the predicament of Subjects, and have Sins proper to their station; some of them out of Pride, Ambition, or Covetousness, make use of the Power which God hath put into their hands, to wrong and oppress their Inferiours, and consider not their Authority, as means they are intrusted with to do much Good and not much Evil; for like Stewards they shall give God an account thereof; those Abuses of theirs are taken notice of in Scripture, Jam. 2.6, 7. Do not rich men oppress you and draw you before the judgment seats? Do not they blaspheme that worthy name by the which ye are called? If with Power God had given them Grace and Wisdom, they would con­sider that their being Seated in High Places, lays them the more open to the eyes of others, and [Page 49]that their failings and false steps are more taken notice of, and exposed to the censure of Men; they must not make Cyphers of themselves, nor be like the fiery Vapours in the middle Region of the Air, which are taken notice of only by their fall; Great Men God hath placed within their Sphere, to give Light unto those of an inferiour Orb, but too often they are conspicuous only for their bad examples and the ill Influences they have upon others: They think themselves to be above all Rules and Quod libet, licet, they may do what they please, which in them is a great mistake; therefore often, God to make them know them­selves, doth lay their Honour and Power in the Dust, as of late years we have seen examples, even of Crowned Heads. That King of Egypt, who hearing Alexander to be called the Great, said, He is not Greater except he be better than I, he spake well.

There are other sins and of a very dangerous consequence, the more because so Epidemical, and these, committed by Men of several Sorts and Tempers; whereof some suffer their Judg­ment to be imposed upon, others out of parti­ality, or for some Worldly Considerations, to their own Loss, let their Heart to be Bribed in the choice they make of some Men whom they entrust with their Concerns, who neither fear God nor love their Country, Atheists, Epicures, who oppose any thing that tends to promote Piety and Virtue, or to discourage Vice and Immora­lity, who having sold their Soul to the Devil to do his Drudgery; make no scruple to sell them­selves to Men to do all their Will and Pleasure: Therefore no wonder if Men so ill qualified, do for Self-Interest betray their Trust: He who is not True to God will be False to Man, thô in [Page 50]different ways; some above-board, others un­der, and indirectly; some by openly opposing their Friend's Interest, others with neglecting, withdrawing, and upon occasion deserting the Service, These indeed are loud and crying sins, which yet cannot excuse the Folly of those who Intrusted them with what's near and dear: As no Prudent Man will Trust a Bloody Man with his Life, So none that is Wise, will lay his Estate in the hands of one who is needy and greedy: But the Silliness of some, and Dishonesty of others, do prepare matter for a Judgment to come.

Thô I already have given some hints against Bribery, yet the matter is of too high a concern­ment to be lightly passed over; the more, be­cause now more than ever, like a mighty Stream it hath overflown all beyond bounds and mea­sure: One can neither look nor go any where, but 'tis to be seen and met with; it hath poi­soned our very Springs. Oh! the abominable wick­edness. Thus at first, the Devil, under a speci­ous pretence, blinded the understanding of our first Parents, corrupted their Heart, and sedu­ced them to Rebellion against, and Disobedience to their Maker. To go about Bribing Men, is to do the Devils work, and tempt them to com­mit evil, to turn Rogues and Knaves, to betray their Judgment, Conscience, Truth, Trust, Good Name, Friends, Relations, Countrey, with what­soever ought to be near and dear, even God him­self as much as ever; for Money Judas betrayed his Lord and Master, and if they could, would deliver him too, and to Damn their own Souls. I would be for cutting off a Hand that offers a Bag of Gold, sooner than that which takes it; for if there was no Giver there would be no Re­ceiver, [Page 51]and none would be Tempted if there was no Tempter, who is the Devil's Tool: And to Tempt and Seduce is a damnable Office, which in Men argues a mean, a base, and a wretched Soul: A generous Spirit will scorn to take any advantage of the Frailty, Corruption, and Wants of another; or to lay Snares and a Stumbling-block before the Weak, which is so contrary to a Christian Frame. This is not Policy but Knavery, for True Policy is grounded upon Ju­stice and Honour, guided by Prudence, Wisdom, and Experience; and through reasonable means tend to good ends. Knavery is an effect of a dark Understanding, whereof Cheating, Trick­ing, Deceiving, with over-reaching, are the In­gredients. When any Person and Party are re­duced to such miserable Shifts, which banish Ho­nesty out of the World, and makes way for them­selves to be served, as they cause others to be, 'tis a clear sign that they are at their Wits end, and despair of the Goodness and Success of their Cause, seeing they would promote it by unlaw­ful means. Sometimes they would make speci­ous pretences, and even God's Holy Name sub­servient to their pernicious ends, who to them will say as formerly he did to his People, Thou hast made me to serve with thy sins, thou hast wea­ried me with thine Iniquities. Isai. 43.24. And having for a while winked at, and suffered them to go on in their unworthy courses of Bribing, Suborn­ing, Corrupting, Seducing, and taking Advan­tage of the Weakness, Blindness of Mind, or Falseness of Heart of others, will at last send a blast upon all their contrivances, and as in a mo­ment overthrow what through sinful means they had been building for bad ends, and to them say as be doth to the Sea, Job: 2.11. Hitherto shalt thou come [Page 50] [...] [Page 51] [...] [Page 52]and no farther, and here shall thy proud waves be stayed. And as Ch. 5.12, 13. he disappointeth the devices of the crafty, and taketh the wise in their own craftiness, may be, when they least think on't; God, to con­found all their great contrivances, will send Death with this Errand, come to give an account of thy self. By what is said against the Bribers, I in­tend not to excuse the Bribed in any station or capacity whatsoever, no more than shall be those who yield to the Devil's Temptations; for both Tempter and Tempted are guilty. It availed Adam nothing to cast the fault upon another, that is, his Wife, nor Eve to say The Serpent beguiled me. For God passed Sentence of Condemnati­on upon all Three. Is it not a great Crime? Is it not a great folly in one to sell his Soul for Money, or other worldly Advantage? Yet there are those Men in the World, who to do an ill thing, will, assoon, and as often take a Bribe, as a Lawyer will take a Fee to speak for a Client.

To Beg is become a Trade full of Abuses, which daily may be seen in the Streets: 'tis a Seminary of Idleness, Lewdness, &c. I know some are fit Objects of Charity, but others use it as a Cloak to their evil Designs, which ought to be enquired into: Remember the Apostles Rule 2 Thess. 3.10. That if any will not work, when he can, nei­ther should he eat: Here we have a parcel of Boys, known by the name of the Black Guard, who by a loose manner of Life, inure themselves to all kinds of Vice: So there are many young Girls who under the notion of Begging, are seen up and down the Streets, to drive on the Trade of Pick-Pockets, and Whoring: As to the Men, when they grow older they become wandring and sturdy Beggars, and at last High-way Men, which if timely minded and remedied, might be pre­vented, [Page 53]and consequently their being condemn'd to the Gallows.

Here I cannot forbear taking notice of a thing, which thô, it may be, is not properly and in it self a Sin, yet with Humble Submission to those whom it may concern, I say it may become a Sin in its Adjuncts and Consequences, for it af­fords occasion enough of Sin in those unchari­table Sermons, which our Boanerges do upon the Anniversary Day, fulminate against the Dead and the Living, and thereby shew they know not what a Christian Spirit is: This is too much like the Antichristian Practice of Popes, who every Year on a certain day, cause a Bull full of Cur­ses to be read. One would think that after Fifty years time, there should be a Prescription for such things, and 'twould be well to forget and forgive that which keeps up Divisions, and intails hatred and Revengefulness upon us and our Po­sterity; as if of late we had not Breaches enough, but we must still continue the old ones, and Su­perstitiously keep an Anniversary for the Ashes of a Man; and with such Religious Circum­stances, as make the thing much the worse, which upon another occasion God grievously complain'd against, That Ezek. 43.8. by setting man's threshold by his thresholds, and their post by his posts, they pro­phaned his Temple, and defiled his Worship, therefore he commanded them to put away the Carkasses of their kings far from him, v. 9. whereby Men are stained with a kind of Idolatry, and a down-right Superstition, a good and proper In­struction, for this Case and these Times. A thing is sometimes a Sin, and sometimes a Punishment for Sin. Heb. 3.12. Take heed brethren, saith the Apostle, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God,: here to depart [Page 52] [...] [Page 53] [...] [Page 54]is a Sin, in another place 'tis a Punishment Matt. 7.23. De­part from me ye that work iniquity: So the thing I now speak about, may be both a Sin and a Pain for it.

Besides all these Publick Sins, there are in the Nation Secret Sins, so called upon several Ac­counts, either because they are the dear darling and bosom Sins in the Heart, so beloved, that the Sinner is content to part with God, with Christ, and with every thing else, rather than with them; such Dalilas they cannot and will not leave, thô their Life lay at stake: O these prophane Esaus, who Gen. 25.33. Sell their birth­right for pottage! O the Fools who prefer Heb. 11.25. to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, Psal. 16.11. before the fulness of joy in God's Presence, and the pleasures for evermore that are at his right hand! Else they be called Secret, because committed in secret; for, Shame, which from the beginning of the World, as we see in our First Parents, followed Sin, makes the Sinner hide himself as they did. Also they are called Secret, because sometimes the Of­fenders see them not, and are ignorant of, either by reason that they are too many, or else not minded, which made David pray for Pardon, and say, Psal. 19.12. Who can understand his error? Cleanse thou me from secret faults: which sometimes are above the rest of so shameful a nature, as make the Apostle say, Ephes. 5.12. For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret. These are the works of darkness, which he would have us to cast off, and instead of them to Rom. 13.12. put on the Armour of light. These must be left to God, and to the Conscience of Sinners, 1 Cor. 4.5. until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make mani­fest the counsels of the heart. For, saith Truth it [Page 55]self Luke 8.17. Nothing is secret that shall not be made ma­nifest, neither any thing hid that shall not be known and come abroad. What Men have done in secret and in dark corners out of Man's sight, God hath seen, and shall be published upon the House tops, Some of these Sins appear and are great in God's Sight, for every Sin is the Transgression of the Law of an Infinite, Eternal, and Almighty God, so upon that Account no Sin may be called Small, only comparatively; as there shall be degrees of Pains, so there are degrees of Sins which deser­ved those Pains: Yet these secret Sins are upon some Accounts, not so bad as presumptuous and publick Sins, which cause God's Enemies to Blas­pheme, give ill examples, and stir up the cor­ruption in Men's Hearts to do the like.

Here are not only Isai. 1.18. Crimson Sins of notorious Sinners, but also those of them who struggle against Sin, for God's People have their spots too, of many kinds, Jam. 3.2. for in many things we offend all, 1 King. 8.46. there is no man that sinneth not: 'Tis a Les­son Taught by the Light of Nature, for saith a Wise: Heathen Nemo sine crimine vivit. But 'tis most proper to leave these to their own Con­sciences. These Sins are fitter to be spoken of in a Pulpit, than here insisted upon: Besides, they are not the crying sins of the Nation; and thô sometimes, God, like a Father, gently chastiseth his Children for them. Jerem. 30.11. I will correct thee in mea­sure, and will not leave thee altogether unpunished; yet never overthrows Nations, for the same, he gives them Repentance of, and they mourn fro them in secret.

As there are sins of Omission, and those dam­nable too, as well as of Commission; so 'tis a Sin not only to commit any I named, as not to punish them; but also not to use means to re­claim [Page 56]the Sinners. 'Tis a Christian Duty in a Friend in a proper and charitable manner, to warn his Brother, and endeavour to bring him off his Sin; but if that cannot do't, then other ways ought to be try'd, and one must go for help where it may be had. In another Case we have Directions which may be useful in this: When a Man who hath offended another, will not hear him, then he must take one or two more and go to him, but if he refuses to hearken, then he is to go farther, and where is some Authority, and Matth. 18. tell it unto the Church. Thus in this Case, if a Man doth Curse, Swear, or in any other notorious way, break the Laws of God and of the Land, he that hears him is bound to go to the Magistrate, in whose hand lies the executive power, and in­form against such a one. I know some presently will cry our against an Informer, which indeed hath been a very odious Name, when gotten, for Unjust, Odious, and Unlawful things; as to take away a Man's Good Name, Fortune, Liberty or Life, to serve ill purposes, whether of private Men, or of a bad Government; but the Case is much otherwise, when the Honour and Service of God are concerned, which any wise to be instrumen­tal to Defend and Assert, is in a Man very Ho­nourable: And because the Magistrate, in whose Hand God hath put the Sword to be Rom. 13.4. an avenger, and to execute wrath upon him that doth evil, can­not be every where to see and know, there­fore he stands in need of being informed, so there must be those who can and will do't. Let the wicked World do what it can to revile, and ri­dicule so good an Office; I will not mind what is against it, no more than the Experienced Pilot doth the roaring and tumbling of the Waves, or the cross and side Winds, but still [Page 57]steers towards his Point: As long as we have a sure word of prophesie, 2 Pet. 1.19. we do well that we take heed as unto a light that shines in a dark place; Our Warrant for this is out of God's Word. and we must Obey God, and not fear Man, Levit. 19.17. thou shalt in any wise, or plainly, rebuke thy neighbour; the words in any wise go far, by all means, if you cannot directly: do't indirectly; if not of thy self do't by others, if thou wantest Power, do't by those that are in Authority; what is added is considerable, and not suffer sin upon him. Endea­vour to get it removed, either by good and bro­therly Counsel, and if those cannot serve, by Pu­nishment. This is a Rule under the Gospel, as­well as under the Law, represented as a most im­portant Service, attended with a great Reward. Jam. 5 19, 20 Brethren, if any one of you do err from the truth, and one converteth him, let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the errour of his ways, shall save a Soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins. Then 'tis a Christian Duty in one's station to use means to make a Sinner leave his sins, if not out of Love yet out of Fear, which not to do, draws God's Censure upon the best of Men: The Son of God having highly commended the Angel of the Church of Thyatira for his Charity, Service, Faith, Patience and Works, yet finds fault with him, which is of the same nature with that we now are upon. Rev. 2.20. Notwithstanding I have a few things against thee, and what are these? Because thou sufferest that woman Jezebel to teach and to seduce my servants, to make them commit fornication, and to eat things sacri­ficed unto Idols. This Indulgence and Toleration of evil Practises and Doctrines, is condemned, so that no Man ought to suffer, but to the utmost of his Power, within his station, to hinder with Accusing, Condemning and Punishing publick sins. He which [Page 58]declares not Treasonable Words and Designs, which he knows, deserve's to be severely punished? So doth he who hearing Blasphemy, Impiety, and Wickedness spoken, and committed against God, conceals it, which is no small Guilt: 'Tis a kind of Rebellion against the most High, Eternal and Almighty God, and Treason in the Highest de­gree; therefore every Pious Man, for all the talk and frowns of the World, is in his capacity, but without self-ends, bound to appear, either as a Wit­ness to convince, or a Judge to Condemn; and upon this account God saith, Isai. 51.7. Fear ye not the reproach of men, neither be ye afraid of their revilings.

Another Sin very common I must not forget, 'tis Want of Charity, which thô expressed in Nega­tive terms, yet contains a positive Evil in the bot­tom, for it usually arises out of a principle of Envy and Malice, or at least of Imprudence; when some Men wrest, and give a misconstruction to the Words and Actions of others, and like Spiders turn all into poison: they take pleasure to hear their Neighbour ill spoken of and slander'd, which they promote and encourage. Love or Cha­rity, which in Greek, the Language of the New Testament, is one and the same, is the fulfilling of the Law, for, Rom. 13.8. He that loveth another hath fulfilled the Law, so the want of it is the breach of the whole Law, which is by our Saviour reduced to these two Heads, to love God with all our Heart, with all our Soul, and with all our Mind, and our Neighbour as our selves: Now if we do not perform this last, which cannot be when we are uncharitable to him, we will never do the first, for, 1 Joh. [...]. He that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath nos seen: Charity is what God requires of us; for, [Page 59] 1 Tim. 1.5. The end of the Commandment is Charity. And we are exhorted Coloss. 3.14. above all things to put on Charity. which as another Apostle saith, 1 Pet. 4.8. Shall cover a multitude of sins. And without it every thing else is insignificant, 1 Cor. 13.1, 2. Thô I have the gift of Prophecy, and understand all Mysteries, and all Knowledge, and thô I have all Faith— and have no Charity, I am no­thing, saith the great Apostle of the Gentiles: v. 3, And thô I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and give my body to be burned, and have no Charity, it profit­teth me nothing Charity not only doth no evil, but also thinketh no evil. There are Men in the World who measure and judge of others by them­selves, and so think evil of others, because they do evil themselves; such should remember what saith our Blessed Lord, Matt. 7.1, 2. Judge not that ye be not judged, for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged. Rom. 14.4. and Who art thou that judgest another Man's servants? to his own Master he standeth or falleth: The Advice which the Rabbies say Moses gave the children of Israel, at his coming down from the Mountain, before the reading of the Law to them, would in these uncharitable times be very neces­sary, be quick to hear, slow to speak, slower to anger, and slowest of all to judge.

The Duty of every Christian is, not hastily to judge, or rashly condemn one another, but rather out of a principle of promoting his Neighbour's good, friendly and gently in private to Advise and Admonish him, not with Authority, and Ma­gisterially, which doth more harm than good, and commonly produces, rather a bad than a good Effect; but with a Christian Prudence, by all means avoiding to expose his good Name: For if he be not tender of his good Name, 'tis in vain he will pretend to be his friend, or to do't for his good; and any one, thô indifferent­ly [Page 60]clear-sighted, shall easily perceive Malice, and some ill Design in the bottom of it: I say that gentle ways ought to be used, though the Party was in fault, and deserved to be reproved for it, according to the Apostles Rule, Gal. 6.1. Brethren, if a Man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the Spirit of meekness, consider­ing thy self, lest also thou be tempted. Those Sons of Thunder who would bring down fire from Heaven and destroy all, know not what Spirit they are of, sure I am 'tis not the Spirit of Christ. This must also be done in a fit and proper time; thus Abigail finding 1 Sam. 25 36. Nabal in drink, told him nothing more or less of his folly against David, until the Morning light: 'Tis the Character of a good Man to be discreet in the management of his Con­cerns, either in relation to himself or neighbour. Psal. 112.5. A good man will guide his Affairs with discreti­on. He who cares not how he treads upon his Neighbour's Reputation, doth thereby discover Venom in the Heart, let his pretences be never so plausible and specious. In this World every Man hath Two general Parts to act, which thô in some things opposite, yet may well agree, be­ing brought under a due Subordination, and in relation to their respective Objects: I mean that of a Christian, and of the Rank and Quality which God hath placed him in the World, and he may well satisfie both, and with Prudence perform his Duty to God, and what his station requires of him: and as primarily he ought to mind the Glory of God, and Good of his Soul therein included; So Secondarily he ought to take care of his Honour in the World, when it crosses neither Piety nor Virtue; and by all law­ful means defend it, when maliciously and vio­lently [Page 61]assaulted by bad Men. And this, those that set themselves for Censors of other Men's Actions, ought to take notice of, especially when they know them to be no Despisers of good Ad­vice, when duly given.

But the abominable Disease of Calumny being now so Epidemical, the danger of suffering it so visible and great, and the harm thereby done so frequent, it requires the greater Care to prevent and suppress it: Nothing more destructive to So­ciety, and nothing brings more confusion into the World, than doth speaking ill one of another: Whence do often arise Quarrels, Fightings, Duels, Bruises, Wounds, and Death, but from words Mis-spoken, Mis-reported, and Mis-understood? O the Tongue that cannot be governed, thô Jam. 3.5, 6. A little member, how great a matter a little fire kind­leth? it setteth on fire the course of nature. More mischief proceeds from the Organ of Speech, than from all the other Members of the Body, as we may see in what the Apostle saith about it, Rom. 3.13, 14. With their tongues they have used deceit, the poison of asps is under their lips, their mouth is full of cursing and bitterness. What in English we call Slanderers, or False Accusers, is in Greek called Devils, for the Devil is their Father; who as our Saviour saith, was a lyar and a murderer from the beginning. How many children in that kind hath he in the World, Prov. 10.18. thô in some different degrees and ways. But, He that hideth hatred with lying lips, and he that utter­eth slander is a fool.

Some out of Malice, Revengefulness, or the like sinful Principle, do either invent Lies with out any ground, against others, or misinterpret their Words and Actions, and are glad of any pretence to Blacken their Neighbour with false Aspersions and malicious Insinuations. And these Men have another fortunder them, who publish [Page 62]the Lies and Slanders which the others forged, and so become partakers of other men's sins: Both he who steals the Money, and he who puts it in­to the Bag are guilty; so he who spreads abroad the Slander, is as guilty as he who invented it; thô herein sometimes there is a difference, for some publish it out of Imprudence, others out of a sinful Compliance, and others out of Malice, Nay, there are some, who out of their own na­tural Corruption, take pleasure to hear others ill spoken of, and thô in their mind they be convin­ced the things are not true, yet in their Heart are glad of it; and contrary to the Rules of Charity and Prudence, will rather believe Evil than Good; thô in doubtful Cases, the least they should do is to suspend their Judgment, till they see a just cause, and not presently to proclaim it abroad and thus fall into the snare, for this is a direct breach of the Ninth Commandment, Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy Neighbour; whether his Goods, Good Name, or Life be con­cerned. Spreading ill Reports upon uncertainties and hear-say, is a base thing, and odious before God, and a nice point in the sight of Men, who being pinch'd in so sensible a part as Reputation, will kick against such as thus lash them behind: Neither do I think that the Laws of God and Men require in a Man the Stoician [...], or Insensibility, as if he was a Stock or a Stone, but rather do allow him in lawful ways, to vindi­cate his good Name, as to defend his Life. One Case excepted, when 'tis plainly for the Cause of the Lord Jesus, then suffer all things gladly from those that have Authority and Power over you: The Spaniards have a saying, Por tu honra pon la vida, y, pon los dos por tu Dios. Hazard thy Life for thy Honour, But venture both for thy God. 'Tis fit for the good of Human Society, that a strong [Page 63]Curb should be be put upon Authors and Pro­moters of Slanders' to take away from the Suf­ferers all just cause from doing themselves justice, when wronged in this case; and by these means shall Peace be kept, and it will strike Terror up­on Offenders in this kind; or else this will bring in Trouble and Confusion: for there are some Men in the World who are as ready to venture all they have to vindicate their Reputation, when unjustly assaulted, as to defend their Life. This is spoken as to Men.

But in relation to God, there are more pressing Motives, not only against him who raises false Reports against another, but also against him that takes it up, Believes and Propagates it: God's word we have for it, for he that doth so, shall not abide in God's Tabernacle, nor dwell in his Holy Hill; for David puts the Question to God, Psal. 15.1, 3. Lord, who shall abide, &c. which he Answers, He that taketh not up a reproach against his Neigh­bour. What is to take up a reproach? the Old Translation hath it very plain, not to receive a false report against his neighbour, He who desi­reth to be in God's Favour, and be admitted in­to his House, must not hearken to, encourage or support a false Report against another, but say, I will not be concern'd, and so let it fall. The meaning of the place is of a large extent; some explain the words takes not up a reproach, by doth not lift up ignominy and scandal upon his Tongue, and with it lays no snares to others, either with forming false things, or wresting those that be true: Who will not hear, speak, or believe a Reproach or false Report against his Neighbour, thereby to keep innocent his Ear, Tongue and Heart. I say further, that in some cases, Truth it self, as to matters of Fact, when [Page 64]prejudicial to some body, ought not to be pub­lished without necessity, and a lawful Call, as when a Man is upon Oath, summoned to bear Evidence in a Court of Justice to preserve a Man's Right; but when by such Reports some body receives harm, and no body no good, thô they were True, ought to be suppressed and bu­ried: Doeg's report to Saul of what had happen­ed between David and Abimelech was True, Psal 53. yet David for it cursed him; 'tis not always well and fit to speak the Truth: A Son's Saying, My Fa­ther is a Thief and a Drunkard, may be True, but 'tis ill of him to say it; so 'tis, when against the Rules of Charity.

Several other kinds of Sins we have here, which to mention would prove an endless Task, and in­deed, who can number them all? Whether of Inclination and Temper, of Relations, Professi­ons, Conditions, Ages, of both Sexes, Family, Per­sonal and National Sins; and there is too much cause to complain, that England is become a sink of evil in all sorts, not only the iniquities of the Country, but also those of others. How great Sinners from him that sitteth upon the Throne to the Beggar upon the Dunghill, must we all be, since the Man, according to God's own Heart so heavily complained. Psal. 38.4. Mine iniquities are gone over mine head, as an heavy burden they are too heavy for me. And elsewhere, Psal. 40.12. Innumera­ble evils have compassed me about, mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up, they are more than the hairs of mine head, therefore mine heart faileth me. O that we could every one of us speak of our Sins so feelingly and penitently, as He did of His; and that God would appoint over us Refiners and Purifiers; some Hezekiah and Josiah, who also as they be­gun [Page 65]to Reign shewed their zeal for God, and against Sin.

I hitherto have spoken of our Sins, I must now say something of the punishment: With Paul, I say to my self, and to all Sinners, Gal. 6.7, 8. Be not decei­ved, God is not mocked, for whatsoever a Man sow­eth, that shall he also reap: For he that soweth to his flesh, shall of the flesh reap corruption: But he that soweth to the spirit shall of the spirit reap everlasting life. Here is Good and Evil, a Gracious Reward, and a just punishment offered, let us chuse well 'Tis of God's Truth and Justice that Punishment should follow Sin, he rewardeth both Good and Evil, we are told how 1 Cor. 3.8. every man shall receive his own reward, and ever it was so, Heb. 2.2. for every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward. There is a Reward for the Righteous, so saith our Saviour. Matth. 5.12. Great is your reward in heaven. Long before, he had by David said, that the Obe­dience to God's Laws was the way to't. Psal. 19.11. In the keeping of them there is a great reward; and as there is a recompense for the good, so there is for the wicked Psal. 91.8. With thine eyes shalt thou see and behold the reward of the wicked. We for our Sins have felt, and still feel Judgments of several sorts, for I must come home. First, the Honour of the Nation is low in the world, which doth hit in a sensible part: Foreign Countries at this time want the Value and Esteem which once they had for England. Time was, and 'tis not long since, when our Neighbours were in fear of, and had us in Reverence, but now 'tis otherwise, the reason is plain; 1 Sam. 2.30. Them that honour me I will honour. and they that despise me, shall be lightly esteemed; that is, shall be honoured by Men, as they are of God, as we have it in the examples of David at the latter end of his Life, of 2 Chro 17.10. Jehosha­phat, [Page 64] [...] [Page 65] [...] [Page 66]Hezekiah, Chap. 32, 23, 27. and their People under them, but now God hath smitten, us in that very tender part, Prov. 14.34. Righteousness exalteth a Nation, but sin is a reproach to any people. Also Rom. 2.9. Tribulation and an­guish upon every Soul of Man that doth evil.

The strength of the Nation is much weaken­ed, now it cannot do what formerly it could, and what remaineth of it, is through certain ways and means made useless. The Comliness is gone, Psal. 39.11. For when thou with rebukes dost cor­rect man for iniquity, thou makest his beauty to con­sume away like a moth: For God is a consuming fire, and we are as stubble before him: There is now a concurrence of Sins committed, of Judg­ments inflicted, and of others threatned, so that not only we feel, but also have cause to fear; for God's Mercies, we by our sins, have made our selves unworthy of, and deserved his most severe Judgments, We seem in our carriage ashamed to Confess and Repent of our Sins, thô not to commit them; so that 'tis a wonder that having so often sinned against Grace and the Gospel, we have not quite sinned it away, it threateneth to to leave us to go to others who will value it more than now many do among us.

Also the Riches are lessen'd, Poverty is come on apace upon many, I know those who former­ly Fared plentifully, now to want the Conveni­encies, even the Necessaries for Life: Trade once Flourishing, is now much decay'd, the Mastery of the Sea question'd, and a Blast laid almost up­on every thing we undertake. We have felt the great Scourges, Plague, Fire, War, Unseasonable weather, one after another, and Dearth; yet are not returned to God; we are troubled with Partialities, Factions, Hatred, and Animosities: The Nation is Divided, Subdivided, Under­subdivided, [Page 67]yet we will not return to God, but walk contrary to him; so no wonder if he walks contrary to us, and I am afraid it may at last be in fury. For as, we have been unthankful under Mercies, so we are become uncorrigible under Judgments; besides, we have God's word for it, to be seriously read in the Texts Lev. 26. Deut. 28. Joel 1. and 2. Amos 4 2 Chron. 7.19, 20, 21, 22. quoted in the Margin, which contain terrible Judgments, but the worst are the Blindness of Mind, and hard­ness of Heart, which many are punish'd with, who mind not, and care not for the Dispensati­ons of God's Providence, and are Rom. 1.26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31. Given up to vile Affections, and to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient, being filled with all unrighteousness, Fornication, Wickedness, Cove­tousness, Maliciousness, full of Envy, Murther, De­bate, Deceit, Malignity, Whisperers, Backbiters, Haters of God, Despiteful, Proud, Boasters, Invent­ers of Evil things, Disobedient to Parents, without Ʋnderstanding, Covenant-breakers, without natural Affection, Implacable, Ʋnmerciful; This is all now written for us as once it was for the Romans, for those Sins are among us as they were among them, and I look upon them not only as Sins, but also as Punishment for Sins: For when God leaves Men to themselves, from one Sin, they by his just Judg­ment fall into another; for these Spiritual and Temporal Punishments are only Warning pieces; What then will the Murthering ones be? Do we wait and stay till some destroying Angel come upon us? Well may we cry out with the Pro­phet, Lam. 3.22. It is of the Lord's mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not.

We read, how once upon an unseasonable weather of Rain and Thunder, in Wheat-Harvest time, 1 Sam. 12.18. the people greatly feared, and cry'd out they had sinned: And in another place 'tis said, that [Page 68] Ezra 10.9. All the men of Judah and Benjamin trembled, because of their sin and for the great rain, which they look'd upon as a Punishment for it: So should we, who of late, almost every Summer about Harvest time, have had such Rains as prejudiced the Corn, and other Fruits of the Earth, upon the like case as now ours is, Micah 6.9. The Lord's voice crieth unto the City, and Country too, and what doth the Lord say? v. 10, 11, 12. hear ye the rod and who hath appointed it, and for what cause. There the Pro­phet makes an enumeration of several sins, the same as now we are guilty of, namely, Treasures of wickdness in the house of the wicked; Scant Measure, wicked Balance and Weights, Violence, Oppression, a lying and deceitful Tongue; but mind the punishment: v. 13. Therefore will I make thee sick in smiting thee, in making thee desolate because of thy sins. 14, 15, 16. And so proceedeth to the several kinds of sensible punishments which shall be in­flicted upon them. These things were written for our instruction, that we might mend and be the better for it. Therefore before it be too late, let us hear the voice of the Rod, which saith, that according to God's Truth and Justice Psal. 137.17. Fools, because of their transgressions, and because of their iniquities are afflicted. Which in David's and So­lomon's stile is the sinner, this ought to stop our mouth, and the consideration that we deserve much more at the hand of God, removes all ground of complaint Lam. 3.39. Wherefore doth a living man complain for the punishment of his sins? See­ing God doth not in the least proportion reward us according to our Sins, nor punish us after our Iniquities.

The voice of God, and of the Rod are but one, (with this only difference, that one is of Precept, the other of Providence) and say the same thing, [Page 69]how, Eph. 5.6. Because of those things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. That is, the things he named before, Fornication, uncleanness, covetousness, filthiness, foolish talking, jesting; which with many more, are now the Sins of the Nation. The same voice saith to Whormongers, Thieves, Drunkards, and every other sinner, re­member that God sees thee, that thou must Die, yet knowest not the time when, then thou must 2 Cor. 5.10. come to judgment before Christ, that every one may receive things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Then will God set all thy Sins Psal. 50.21. in order before thine eyes, as it were in order of Battel to fight against thee. If Men would seriously mind this, and with Da­vid, say in Truth. Psal. 16.8. I have set the lord always before me; and in whatsoever we do to eye him as present. I am persuaded it might be a great preservative to keep many from Offending. No Servant will willingly do before his Lord and Master that which he knows will displease him: but hides from him as much as he can: but with God no Man can, he is every where, sees, knows, and rewards all things, and when he punisheth for Sin with Paul, we may say, Rom. 2.2. We are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.

Now when I am upon this punishment for Sin, before I proceed to another, I must out of Scrip­ture bring such examples of God's Judgments upon it, as should make all Kings and People to tremble. Joash King of Judah, I shall begin with: during the Life of Jehojadah he did well, but after the Princes made obeysance to, courted and flattered the King who hearken'd unto them, and fell a sinning against God, who to reclaim him and them 2 Chro. 24.17. Sent prophets to bring them again v. 19.[Page 70]unto the lord, but they would not give ear; and kil­led one of them, which highly aggravated the Sins, and hastened the Punishment v. 23. For at the end of that year the Army of the Syrians came against Judah and Jerusalem, and de­stroyed all the Princes of the People, from a mongst the People, who had been the evil Coun­sellors; and that which is remarkable, God de­livered a very great Army into the hands of a handful of Men; for the Syrians were but few, and the reason is given v. 24. Because they had forsa­ken the Lord, so they executed Judgment against Jo­ash. v. 25 But this is not all, His own servants con­spired against him, and killed him on his bed.

Abijah said of Rehoboam his Father, 2 Chro. 13.7. That he was young, when he came to the Throne; yet 'tis recorded that he was Ch. 12.13. One and forty years old when he began to Reign. At that Age no Man may be call'd young; therefore 'tis to be understood, in relation to the ill management of his Concerns to the Succession of the Kingdom over all Israel, wherein indeed he acted the part of a young Man. But I go farther, and find that v. 14. he did evil, because he prepared not his heart to seek the Lord, so that he was a raw Man, no wiser in matters of Religion than in those of State, For 'tis farther said in the beginning of that Chapter, that he forsook the law of the lord, v. 1,2.and all Israel with him, therefore God punish'd them, for Shishak came up against Jerusalem, after he had taken the fenced Cities of Judah, and took away the Treasure of the Lord's House, and of the King's House, and the reason was, 2 King. 15.29. Because they had transgressed against the lord. For in God's name a Prophet said to them, 2 Chro. 12.6. Ye have forsaken me, and therefore also have I left you in the hand of Shi­shak. Here is a punishment for Sin, for Solo­men's [Page 71]Idolatry, and his Son's and People's Apo­stasie, whereby the Glory of the Kingdom alrea­dy reduced within a narrow compass, was Eclyps­ed, and its Riches carried away: Which yet was a lighter punishment than that which afterwards was inflicted upon Manasseh, whom the Assyrians took and bound him with Fetters, and carried him to Babylon. So that God spareth neither Peo­ple nor Princes, nor Crown'd Heads, when pro­voked by their Sins. This in these times we can­not pretend Ignorance of, therefore ought to take warning by.

In the Kingdom of Israel, after the rending of the Ten Tribes, by reason of their Sins, nothing but destruction, and killing one another, this among themselves; also God brought Foreigners among them, for he stirred up Tiglath-Pileser King of Assyria, who took several places, 2 King. 15.29. and all the Land of Naphtali, and carried them captives to Assyria. Ch. 17.6. And in the next Reign of Hoshea who had killed his Predecessor Pekah, came up (r) Shalmaneser, who carried away captive the Ten Tribes, and put an end to the kingdom of Israel: And the Spirit of God hath left upon Re­cord the cause of it, namely their Sins, whereof in that Chapter is an enumeration from ver. 7. till the 19th. So of the Kingdom of Judah, when the measure of the Sins of their Kings, 2 Chron. 36. and of the People was filled up, God sent up Nebuchad­nezzar, who took Jerusalem, ruin'd and destroy'd the Temple, bound Zedekiah in Chains, killed his Children before him, put out his Eyes, and carry'd him with the People captive into Babylon: Wherefore this terrible Judgment? for their Sins, the King's Perjury named for one. v. 13, 14, 15, 16. Moreover, all the chief of the priests and the people transgressed ve­ry much, and the Lord God of their fathers sent to [Page 72]them by his messengers rising up betimes and sending, because he had compassion on his People: But they mocked the Messengers of God, and despised his words, and misused his Prophets, until the wrath of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. In many things this suits with our case, our Sins are many and great, if God move the Heart of some to speak about it, we have too many of those who will despise and ridicule them for it; Let us not hold out until God's Anger comes upon us, and till there be no remedy. O England, Rulers and People pray mind this before it be too late. I could upon this Head take no­tice how all signal Judgments in the World have been inflicted for Sin, which brought the Flood upon the first World, Fire and Brimstone upon Sodom and Gomorrah; utter destruction upon the Seven Nations in the Land of Canaan, which God, by Moses commanded the children of Israel to do. Josh. 9.24. The Lord commanded his Servant Moses to give you all the Land, and to destroy all the inhahitants of the land from before you. But time would fail me, if I would insist upon all the Instances of God's Judgments for Sins, Recorded in Scripture. I pray God we be not made the next Example. For out of this we may see how God doth shoot his Warning-pieces, before he doth the Murthering ones. We have warnings enough, both at home and abroad; whence it comes nearer and nearer to us, but if we kick against the pricks, grow stiff-necked, and harden our hearts as Pharaoh did his, then let us hear what God saith, Levit. 20, 21, 22. &c, But if ye walk contrary to me, and will not hearken unto me, I will bring seven times more plagues upon you, according to your sins. Again, And if ye will not be Reformed by me by these things, that is, by the Plagues he threateneth them with, then I will yet [Page 73]punish you seven times more for your sins. And in that Chapter the Seven times is often multiply'd, wherefore to avoid it, let us prepare our Heart to seek the Lord, or rather pray to God to do't for us; let us Repent, Mend our Lives, Reform our Manners, leave off our Sins, cease to do evil, and learn to do good. Job 15.16. Man which drinketh ini­quity like water is abominable and filthy. Therefore compared to the Dog that returns to his vomit, 2 Pet. 2.22.and the Sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire.

Seeing then punishment is tied to the tail of Sin; and that in the Nation, we, thô in different degrees, are all Sinners, what else can we look but for punishment? According to God's Truth and Justice, Sins must either be Pardon'd or Pu­nish'd, and is there no remedy for this? No other way to Pardon, but to Repent and Believe; or else nothing Heb. 10, 27. But a certain fearful looking for, of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries of God. To make Punishment hold a proportion with Sins against an infinite Maje­sty. There can be no other way but Eternal Torments, besides those inflicted in this life: What Remedy have we for this? As we shewed the Distemper, Sin, and its due Reward, Punishment, for the wages of Sin is Death, whether natural, of Afflictions, Spiritual, or Eternal, we must now speak of the Remedy: Be converted from Sin to God, and our Sins shall be forgiven. God hath appointed Repentance, consisting, First In a contrition of Heart, or sorrow for Sin. Se­condly, In a confession of Mouth, or owning our Faults, thereby giving God the Glory; as upon the like occasion did Dan. 9. from v. 5. to 20. Daniel Ezra 9.5, 6, 7, &c. Ezra Nehem. [...]. 5, 6, 7, &c. chiefly in Ch. 9. Nehe­miah, &c. Thirdly, In a satisfaction given those whom after God we have offended and wronged. And Fourthly, In taking, as far as we are able, a [Page 74]full resolution to forsake Sin, and follow after Ho­liness and Righteousness. Then when the Cause is removed, the Effect will cease, and through God's Blessing the Remedy will produce a Cure of the Disease: Through a deep and Universal Repentance, Nineveh prevented the ruin which within 40 Days, she was threatened with. Days of Fasting and Humiliation should be kept, but not such as God condemneth, as Isai. 58.5, 6, 7. a day for a man to afflict his Soul, to bow down his head as a bulrush, and to spread sackcloth and ashes under him Such an outward and superficial Fast God hath not chosen, but to loose the bonds of wickedness, to un­do the heavy burdens, and to let the oppressed go free. To deal thy bread to the hungry, to bring the poor cast out, to thy house, &c, Exercise Justice and Charity as well as Piety. This another Prophet call's to Joel 2.13. Ezek. 18.30. Rent your hearts and not your garments, God saith, Repent and turn from all your transgressi­ons, so iniquity shall not be your ruin.

When once Men are really touched with a sense of their Sins, and pricked in their Hearts, they, with the new Converts will say, Acts 2.37. men and brethren what shall we do? and with the Jaylor to Paul and Silas Chap. 16, 30.Sirs, what must I do to be saved? Long before a Prophet had answered a Question about a Man's Duty: Micah. 6.8. He, God hath shewed thee, O man, what is good, and what doth the lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly before thy God. To this answereth the Excellent Lesson of the Grace of God, Tit. 2.12. by the Apostle mentioned first Negatively. Teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts. Here we must begin, then we should live soberly Here is our Duty to our selves, Righteously. This towards our Neighbour, and godly. This in re­lation to God, In this present world. Which Three [Page 75]words contain the whole Duty of Man: So Men may not pretend ignorance of what we must know and do. This is every Man's Duty, thô of some more than of others, according to their station, and every one ought to know't: Now Luke 12.47. the servant which knew his lord's Will and did not according to't, shall be beaten with many stripes, which to avoid, let every one with Da­vid say, Psal. 38.18. I will declare mine iniquity, I will be sorry for my sin. Not barely out of the Mouth, which sometimes the most wicked can do: Pha­raoh said, Exod. 9.27. I have sinned this time, the lord is righteous, and I and my people are wicked, So could Balaam to the Angel, Numb. 22.34. I have sinned. So Saul to Samuel, 1 Sam. 15.24. I have sinned, because I feared the people and obeyed their voice. Let all Princes have a care not to fear Men more than God. So said Judas. Matth. 27.4. I have sinned in that I have betray­ed the innocent Blood. This Confession of Sin must not meerly come out of the mouth, but from the bottom of the Heart, with Grief and Sor­row, attended with a real and sincere desire here­after, to do so no more, to be able to say with David Psal. 18.23.I kept my self from mine iniquity. If God was pleased to make us all sensible of our sins, and send us to Peter for Counsel; the An­swer is, Acts. 2.38. Repent: but that Counsel must be asked, to that effect by the Angel's direction, Cornelius sent for him. And Paul when the voice from Heaven came to him, said, Lord, Ch. 9.6.what wilt thou have me to do? No other remedy for Sin but Repentance, and to make it acceptable, no­thing else but the Bloud of Christ: But how can those who impiously prophane it, as too many among us do, hope to have any benefit by it? chiefly those who like the Jews, one day cry out Marth. 21.9. Hosanna, and few days after, and few days after, [Page 76] Luke 23.1. Crucific, Crucifie him; as the People of Lystra who to Paul and Barnabas, Acts. 14.13, 19.would have done Sa­crifice, but soon after stoned him. To shew how apt on a sudden, some Men are to change for the worse; or rather to appear really to be contrary to what they were but seemingly before.

The Trumpet, saith (And who knows but that this may be the last Sound. Rom. 13.13, 12, 13. It is high time to awake out of sleep-the night's far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of dark­ness, and let us put on the armour of light; let us walk honestly as in the day not in rioting and drunk­enness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. If not, I boldly denounce God's Judgments against impenitent Sinners, not as of my self, Psal. 68.21. but after the Royal Prophet: God shall wound the head of his enemies, and the hairy scalp of such a one as goeth on still in his trespasses. Wounds in the Head thô not Mortal, are known to be dangerous. We have daily examples of some who die suddenly, and of an unusual death, there being in God's Quiver such a number and variety of deadly Arrows: And will Sinners take no warning? Then in the name of the just God of Truth, I declare that those who die by means of extraordinary Accidents, are not always great­er Sinners than we who are left behind, no more then were the Luke 13.1. Galileans, whose Bloud Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices, or those upon whom the tower of Siloam fell, and slew them, above all that dwelt in Jerusalem. I tell you nay, but except we repent we shall all likewise perish. Time to re­pent allowed us is a mercy, if we have the Grace to consider it, or else the slower vengeance is a coming on, the harder it will strike: And be­cause Men must not be afraid or ashamed to speak for God's Cause; for such was Elias, such John [Page 77]Baptist, and 'tis said of Apollos, that Acts 18.25. he was fervent in the Spirit; after such examples, with­out any pretence to immediate Inspirations, only according to the rule of the revealed Will of God. I think I may be more plain and free in deliver­ing God's Message, which tends to a speedy and sincere Reformation in Doctrines and Practices, in Head and Members, which when compared one with another, admit of a difference; but in relation to God are all equal, being consider'd in themselves, Every Man's Breath is in his No­strils, some have Death in the Head, others in the Lungs, Bloud, Stomach, Bowels; therefore all equally concerned to prepare for it, and fi­nish the Task given them to do, before they die. I think no Man in Authority, if asked, will de­ny it to be his Duty to raise and erect Monu­ments for the Honour and Service of God; but he who hath a mind to Build, must clear the ground, and remove all rubbish out of the way. The building of God's House is an Honourable Work, committed chiefly to the care of Princes, but when they mind their own more then God's, they give him just ground of complaint, which is follow'd with his Judgment. 'Tis likely David had not kept that good Resolution of his, Psal. 101. of the good Orders he said he would keep in his House and Kingdom, with punishing, correcting, and rooting out Wickedness; encouraging and favour­ing Piety, Virtue, and Godly Persons; But he was sensible that he was to begin at home in his own Heart, therefore he said, as all Princes, who as well as ordinary Men meet with Crosses and Troubles ought to do; Psal. 66.18. If I regard iniqui­ty in my heart, the Lord will not hear me. In con­sequence of this he would not see or suffer wick­ed Men in his Presence, which made him say, Psal. 6.8. De­part [Page 76] [...] [Page 77] [...] [Page 78]from me all ye workers of iniquity; and there he gives this reason, for the lord hath heard the voice of my weeping, implying that he would not hear him if he continued to keep such. This is an example for all Kings to follow, who often have wicked Men about their Persons, who Hu­mour, Flatter, and for Self-ends do what they can to please them; thus they insinuate themselves into their Hearts and Affections; Such consider themselves more than their Master, and what they do is to promote their Designs, which, as they arise out of an evil Principle, so they tend to a bad end. 'Tis the Duty and Interest of every Prince who hath such Men about him, to remove them from his Presence. If Rulers go about to Re­form, they ought thoroughly to know the Dis­ease, and well apply the Remedy, or else like Job's Friends, Job. 13.4. they shall prove Physicians of no value. Then they ought first to begin at home, and in their own Houses; Hence may flow a National Reformation, whereof the necessity hath with the Method well been An Ac­count of the Societies for Refor­mation. demonstrated: of late God hath been pleased to stirr up the Hearts of some, as much as within their station they are able, to encourage Piety and Virtue, and get im­piety and Vice discouraged and punished: And if the Superiour Powers were pleased to lend a helping hand, it might (through God's Bles­sing be hoped, in some good degree to see it ef­fectually done. Indeed 'tis very sad and a shame that notwithstanding Presentments of Grand Ju­ries, Acts of Parliament, and King's Proclamati­ons, for want of a due execution, Heretical Do­ctrines and Sinful Practices go on bare-faced, which should convince Men of a necessity to Re­form such Abuses; and upon a good warrant I may say, that except we speedily go upon a per­sonal Family, and National Reformation, God [Page 79]will work it for us with a witness: His word I have for it, Levit. 26.23, 24. And if ye will not be reformed by me by these things, the Judgments before-mention'd, but will walk contrary unto me, then will I also walk contrary unto you, and will punish you yet seven times for your sins. That whole Chapter is to be read with great attention, for it contains a great number and variety of Judgments which God threateneth his People with, for their diso­bedience to his Holy Law and Commandments, which concern not only them, but us also. Rom. 15.4. For whatsoever things were written afore-time, were writ­ten for our Learning. With the Psalmist we must say, A good understanding have all they that do his Commandments. Psal. 111.10. Psal. 85.8. Now God will speak peace unto his People, and to his Saints, but let them not turn again to folly.

what I said, I speak not without God's War­ [...]

Yet I know some hate the very name of Refor­mation, and Laugh at it, but if those who want it, as more or less every one doth, do not work it, then God for their neglect and contempt, will Laugh at them, as under the name of Wisdom, his Eternal Son, Declares it; Prov. 1.24, 25, 26. Because I called and ye refused, I have stretched out my hand in mer­cy and in judgment, and no man regarded: But ye have set at nought all my counsel, and would none of my reproofs; I also will laugh at your calamity. I will mock when your fear cometh. For this very thing an aversion to be Reformed, God in another place threateneth to Reprove, and set before the wicked, (for such are all that despise God's Word;) his Sins like so many Enemies, in order against him: Psal. 50.16, 17.21. Seeing thou hatest to be Reformed, as 'tis in the Old Translation, and castest my words be­hind thee, I will reprove thee and set them, thy Sins, in order before thine eyes. The word Reforma­tion is also known in the New Testament, so that [Page 80]he who hateth Name and Thing, must be an enemy to God's word, for there hath been Heb. 9.10. a time of Reformation, of Legal Ceremonies, or car­nal Ordinances, as the Apostle calls them: Much more ought there to be a time of Reformation from sinful Practises, for the former were once commanded and appointed by God, but the last were ever forbidden, Besides that, as we con­stantly Sin, so we must continually Repent. Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. 2 Tim. 2.19.

It is in the work of Reformation as it was in rebuilding the Walls of Jerusalem, for we read (as a brand set upon some) Nehem. 3.5. That the Nobles of the Tekoites, put not their necks to the work of their Lord, So the Great Men, the Rich and Migh­ty refuse to lend a helping hand to repair the breaches in God's Church, and to set up and pro­mote his Service, and Honour. And of others, the chief and greatest Men, we read how not only they would not help, but opposed the work of God's House, and caused Ezra 4.6, 7, 8, 9. the work of the house of God at Jerusalem to cease. One Nehem. 6.1. Sam­ballat or other do what they can to stop the Lord's work from going on, yet in spite of their Teeth it proceeds on, a Man's Eye cannot per­ceive it, no more can it see water run through pipes under ground; for God hath his secret ways of Providence: Rom. 8.28. We know, saith Paul, that all things work together for good to them that love God: Pharaoh's cruelty hastened the delive­rance of God's People, and 'tis observed that Exod. 1.12. the more they afflicted them, the more they multipli­ed and grew, and this was the ground of the saying among the Jews, when the burdens are increased, then Moses is at hand, that is, to deliver: I wish it was here not so true as it is, that some who should set the wheel of Reformation a going, [Page 81]either directly or indirectly do what they can to clog and stop it: Thô some under hand, yet others in defiance, and with a high Hand, like so many Pharaohs, Chap. 5.2. Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice? And let my sins go. I know not the Lord, neither will I part with my Sins, nor with my Lying, Cursing, Swearing, Forsearing Psal. 12.4. who have said with our tongue, we will prevail, our lips are our own, who is Lord over us; nor with their Pleasures; but for the momentary Pleasures of Sin in this Life, slight those which are Psal. 16.11. at God's right hand for evermore. Nor with their Cove­tousness, which to satisfie they care not how they oppress others. As 'twas in Nehemiah's days, so 'tis now, in many particulars a like great oppres­sion of the Poor by the Rich and Mighty, which as then, so now, it causes Neh. 5.1, 2, 3.4. a great cry of the people, who are forced to Mortgage, to Sell, and upon unreasonable and unmerciful terms to bor­row Money to pay Taxes, buy Bread, and to serve other necessary occasions,

Now I say that these and other wickednesses, are such as when committed and not punish'd, draw God's heaviest Judgment, upon a Land: And those Men whose Duty, and in whose Power it is to suppress Sin, if they neglect it, become thereby accessary to, and guilty of Sins by others commit­ted, and shall for it answer to God; I think eve­ry Man hath Sins enough of his own to give an account for, without bringing upon himself the burden of those of others: Indulgence gives an encouragement to Sin, and carries along with it a kind of a silent approbation, when I call Indul­gence a not punishing, I think to call things by their right name; now this is a great aggrava­tion, for after the enumeration made by Paul of wickednesses in several kinds; he adds, [Page 82] Rom. 1.32. not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them: They are not content to commit it themselves but approve it in others. I am per­swaded there is a great guilt contracted upon us, for we now do our selves what before we con­demn'd in others, whom we have seen God's judg­ments executed upon; which should make us a­fraid or the like, therefore should take contrary courses Do but keep out Sin, and ye shall keep our Judgment: But that which most of all is a­borninable, tis that we have such presumptuous sinners as boast and glory in their own shame; may be they never read, or else have forgotten what God saith by the Prophet, Jer. 9.24. Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me: that I am the Lord, which exercise loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the Earth; for in these things I delight saith the Lord, and not in Sin, which I abhor.

Once there were great outcry's against the Sins of the late Reigns, and there was cause for it, as God's Judgments which are always just, de­clared: But are we now better in the least? On the contrary, we can observe those same Sins to increase, and daily grow stronger and more fre­quent upon us. Have any of the guilty, and of­fenders against God and the Country, been pu­nished for their notorious Offences? How can the Effect cease, if we remove not the Cause, and what signifies to find fault, except we mend? I look upon't only as an aggravation: We know, yet act not according to knowledge, neither do we improve the means and opportunities which God had put into our hands, to assert his Honour and his Truth, to reform Abuses, redress Grie­vances, promote the good of the Nation, pre­vent, Evil, restrain Sin, punish Sinners, and [Page 83]with greparing our Hearts unto God, to fit our­selves for further Mercies. Rather with conti­nuing, as we do in our Sins, and through our unthankfulness, we provoke the Lord, and are in a way to draw his vengeance upon us. The most notorious Sins of the late Reigns were Whoredom and Adultery, taking other Mens Wives, and without Shame, living with them in the sight of the Sun: Also downright and open Idolatry, yet such were Prayed for, as our Religious Kings, and Defenders of the Faith; when they were, about destroying it. So was Hypocrisie, in pretending to be Protestants, tho' actually Papists; yet 'twas made Treason to say the King was a Papist, or Popishly affected; which I say, to shew how any Society or Assembly of Men, chiefly when guided by Interest and Passion, is apt to Err and be mistaken; and thereby Men were made guil­ty of Death for telling the Truth. Well, these Sins and many more in Church and State, were under the late Reigns the cause of our Com­plaints, and have been the grounds for our Deli­verance: But what are we the better for it? Tho' God Ezek. 16.50 hath taken away some of the Sin­nners, as he saw good, if the same Sins, in the same degree, nay in a higher, do still continue a­mong us, and are become our master Sins, is not there Cause to put this Question, after God hath so graciously and wonderfully wrought for us, are these Distempers remedied, and all the great Abuses we complained of, Reform'd, nay are we so much as in earnest about to do it? Tho' we may say, some few are in a small degree, yet far from it as to others; for, specially those relating to God' Honour and Service, are increased, and without restraint daily multiplied. We have bad Examples whence we expected good ones. How [Page 84]careful are Men to promote their worldly selfish Interest, and how neglectful of God's, as if it was not worth minding? Hence it is that we see obscene, blasphemous and impious Books publickly exposed to Sale in Shops, Auctions &c. without any Curb; and when there hath been other Books in opposition to those; how much unfaithfulness, tricking and unfair dealings have been used to smother or mangle them about the time of the coming out; nay after that, for Love nor Money one could not get them put into the Gazzetts, among the Advertisements, tho' desir'd more than once. So that Diana's Interest wants no Demetrius of several kinds among us.

Some think they may be of no Religion, o­thers of any, and profess what they please; some do vent and publish their Opinions, whilst others cheat and revile their Neighbours, and wrong them in their good Name, Fortune, Liberty, and sometimes in their Life, without little or no Curb at all, which is a bringing in a-pace of Confusion and Anarchy; and all this, some would call the Liberty of the Subject, which is with Impunity to abuse one another, and to run into all manner of Licentiousness: Some think them­selves Priviledged to Defraud others of their own, nay others go further to Strike those Per­sons whose Character ought to be Respected, and that in such Places as require a special Pu­nishment, and upon such occasions as deserve Thanks and not Blows: Thus in one kind or o­ther, Judg. 17.6. Every one doth that which is Right in his own Eyes, as we read it was when there was no King in Israel.

Thus God in his wise Providence suffereth A­buses to Creep in, and sometimes to Prevail (of which we may say, what our Blessed Saviour [Page 85]speaks of Offences, Luke 17.4. It is impossible but that Offences will come; but Wo unto him through whom they come; (by Right it should be so with those who commit Abuses.) but also, he from time to time raiseth Instruments in his hand for his Peo­ple's good; and makes them as Paul would have us to be, Rom. 12.11. Acts 17.16. Fervent in Spirit, Serving the Lord. As we read how his Spirit was stirred in him in Athens, when he saw the City wholly given to Idolatry. Not Lukewarm in his Service, for such Rev. 3.16. He speweth out of his Mouth. Nor such as Jer. 48.10. Do his Work deceitfully: For such are Cursed: But for his Honour and the benefit of his People, he makes use of such as Love, Fear, and Serve him with their Heart; such a one was Moses to deliver Israel out of Aegypt, and Jo­shua to bring them into the promised Land: Af­ter the Babylonian Captivity, God chose Zerub­babel to carry them home, Ezra to reform their Manners, settle Religion, and build the Temple, then Nehemiah to build up the Walls of Jerusa­lem: So he never wants Instruments to do his Work, and if some Men ly as Blocks in his way, he knows well how to Remove them: Happy those whom he is pleased to make use of for so good a Work: But as Rules back'd with Exam­ples, make a greater impression, so I shall men­tion some, whom Scripture hath proposed as Pat­terns in matters of Religion, for after Ages to follow.

Asa, I begin with; for after the falling off of the Ten Tribes, he was the first Reformer of the Kings of Judah: To his commendation 'tis Recorded of him that 1 King. 15.11.14. He did that which was Right in the Eyes of the Lord, as did David his Father, and that his Heart was perfect with the Lord all his days. Whereof Instances are given [Page 84] [...] [Page 85] [...] [Page 86]to shew how he minded the true Worship of God, and removed Abuses therein Committed. 'Tis with every collective Body, whether Ecclesiastical, Civil or Politick, as with the Natural; in this, ill humours and destructive are sometimes Bred and Formed, which 'tis necessary to Purge a­way: Thus often Corruptions which cause Di­stempers, do creep into the sore-named Bodies, which, to preserve the whole, ought to be taken away and Remedied. This good King began his Reign with minding things of Religion; 'tis just that God should be served first: The Right way for a Prince to get nis House Establish'd, is to take care of God's; he is that good Master who provideth for those Servants of his, who approve themselves to be Faithful in his Service: But when they are more Solicitous for their own Concerns than for his, he then leaves them to shift for themselves; but former and later Expe­rience shew how ill they speed that do so. Now let us see what that King did which was Right in the Eyes of the Lord: v. 12. He took away the So­domites out of the Land; that abominable and un­natural Sin, which God hath so highly declared against, he punished; but stopped not there, he set himself against Idolatry too, for, v. 13. He re­moved all the Idols that his Father had made, and went farther, for he spared not his Mother, and also Maachah his Mother, even her he Removed from being Queen, because she had made an Idol in a Grove; and Asa destroy'd her Idol and burnt it by the Brook Kidron. No Relation nor Quality should be regarded, when it causes the Dishonour of God through Idolatry, Blasphemy or other­wise. 'Tis a great Brand put upon Rehoboam's Reign, and a high aggravation to his other Sins, Chap. 14.24. There were also Sodomites in the Land, which to [Page 87]his praise, Asa his Grandson took away, and re­moved the Monuments of Idolatry; for 2 Chro. 14.3, 4, 5. He took away the Altars of the strange Gods, and the high Places, and broke down the Images and cut down the Groves. Yet he went farther, for he com­manded Judah to seek the Lord God of their Fathers, and to do the Law and the Commandments: Also he took away out of all the Cities of Judah the high Places, and the Images. All this is by the Spirit of God called v. 2. that which was good and right in the Eyes of the Lord his God. Pious Kings not only serve God themselves, but also take care to see their Subjects do so: And we find that when in Judah there was a good King, the People was also good, or at least restrain'd from doing evil; so much were People influenced by Commands and Examples from the Throne. Asa did not serve God in vain, but found the fruits and effects of his Zeal, for 'tis added, v. 5. Therefore the Kingdom was quiet before him. Whereby 'tis declared that the Rest and Quietness of Kingdoms depends up­on abolishing Idolatry, setting up the true Wor­ship of God, and suppressing all that is contrary to Piety; 'tis further said of him, v. 6. He had no Wars in those Years because the Lord had given him hest: And by the Prophet Agariah. God told him and all fu [...]ah the cause of it. Chap. 15.2. The Lord is with you wouldst you be with him: But if ye forsake him, he will forsake you. Thus the just and gra­cious God rewardeth those Princes who make use of the Authority he hath given them, to pro­mote his Honour and Glory. This King went on further, for after a great Victory, v. 9.10. &c. He ga­thered all Judah and Benjamin, and they entred in­to a Covenant to seek the Lord God of their Fathers, with all their Heart and with all their Soul; that whosoever would not seek the Lord God of Israel, [Page 86] [...] [Page 87] [...] [Page 88]should be put to death, whether small or great, whether Man or Woman. Whereupon they took an Oath, for they sware unto the Lord, &c. and all Judah rejoyced at the Oath, for they had Sworn with­all their Hearts, and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them, and the Lord gave them Rest round about: after great disorders in matters of Religion; what a happy Union of King and People towards a blessed Reforma­tion? O that we might Here see the like in Parliament, where the King meets with his Peo­ple in their Representatives. Here among o­ther great Sinners, we have execrable Sodomites and Idolaters, not only those who adore Riches, Honours and Pleasures, and in their hearts and practises make them their Gods, but also I­dolaters, those who adore a piece of Bread, as they do God, and are not minded, thô con­trary to Divine Laws, and to those of the Land.

Asa's Son, Jehoshaphat, continued the Refor­mation, and carried it further on; for 1 Kin. 22.46. The Remnant of the Sodomites which remained in the days of his Father Asa, he took out of the Land: also 2 Chr. 19.3.4. He took away the Groves out of the Land, and prepared his Heart to seek God: Also He went out again thorough the People, from Beersheba to Mount Ephraim, and brought them back unto the God of their Fathers: He not only would serve God, but also took great care that others should do so; and 'tis written of him, Chap. 17.7, 8, 9. He sent Men to teach in the Cities of Judah: For he knew it to be in vain to profess Religion, except such were appointed who would instruct the People in the same, and had power to remove all that is contrary to Piety, that is Men good in them­themselves, and able to do others good. I [Page 89]wish all Princes would by the Example of Jeho­shaphat take notice how plentifully God reward­eth those who serve him in Truth and Sincerity: Thus they might see how much it consists even with their worldly Interest to perform their Duty towards God; this Character Scripture gives of him, that v. 4.5. He sought the Lord God of his Father, and walked in his Commandments; therefore the Lord Established the Kingdom in his hand, and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat Presents, and he had Riches and Honour in abundance: Fur­thermore, v. 10. the fear of the Lord fell upon all the Kingdoms of the Lands that were round about Judah, so they made no War against Jehoshaphat: The Reason is given, and 'tis this, v. 3. And the Lord was with Jehoshophat; and why was God with him? 'tis in the same Verse, because he walked in the First ways of his Father David. So, is any Prince desirous to be at Peace at home and abroad, to have Riches and Honour in a­bundance? Let him like Jehoshaphat walk in God's Commandments, promote his Service, and enlarge the Kingdom of Christ, who is King of kings, Lord of lords, and by whom Kings Reign.

But as nothing is perfect in this World, so those two Kings wanted not their flaws, for not to speak fo their particular ones, as that of Asa for relying on the King of Syria, for which Hanani reproved and said to him, 2. Chr. 16.7, 8, 9. Herein thou hast done foolishly, therefore from henceforth thou shalt have Wars as a Punishment, and also because, v. 12. In his Disease he sought not to the Lord, but to the Physicians: That of Jehoshophat was for Chap. 18.1. joyning Affinity with Ahab, and for helping him, which by a Prophet he was rebuked for, who went to meet the King, and said to him, [Page 90] Chap. 19.2. shouldst thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? There was besides a common fault in both, worse than the others which were personal, and hindred not God's Work from go­ing on; for thô they had done much for God's Service in the way of Reformation, yet they did not enough, not so much as they ought and might have done; for both their Reigns are branded with this, Chap. 15.17. But the high Places were not taken away out of Israel. This as to Asa; as to his Son, Chap. 20.33. howbeit, the high Places were not taken away; which might partly be through want of a full Zeal in them, partly through the neglect of their Officers, and partly through the Superstition of the People; because it is said, for as yet the People had not prepared their hearts unto the. God of their Fathers: However those good Kings may not be deprived of a due commendation, for that only thing excepted, they went through the work of Reformation. O that we might but see here actually some Attempts and Steps towards it.

Hezekiah hath in Scripture the Character of a Chap. 32.32. good King: He began his Reign with taking care of Religion, for he reformed the great and many abuses crept into't during the several bad Reigns, between Jehoshophat's and his. 'Tis said, Chap. 29.2, 3. He did that which was right in the sight of the Lord, according to all that David his Father had done. 'Tis observed that he in the First year of his Reign, in the First Month, without delay, the First thing he did, opened the Doors of the House of the Lord and repaired them; which is a remarkable Example for all Princes; first of all to settle the true Religion, and to procure that God may be well served. But this good King stopt not there, he restored the true Worship [Page 91]according to God's Institution, Advised, Exhort­ed and Commanded the Levites and Priests to do their Duty about it: his own Diligence and giving good Example is mentioned, for 'tis said, v. 20. He rose early and gathered the Rulers of the City, and went up to the House of the Lord, and what they went upon, was heartily, cheerfully, and speedily performed, for 'tis observed that v. 36. the thing was done suddenly; the Reason is given, For God had prepared the People. Where­at both King and People rejoiced. O that now Here God were pleased to prepare King's and People's hearts to seek unto and serve him.: But I fear all our Minds and Hearts are so crouded and affected with worldly thoughts and affections, that there is hardly room left for hea­venly concerns, except out of his infinite good­ness, God be graciously pleased to make it. But let us hear what that pious and zealous King did; and I wish all Kings of the Earth, were like him: He went on further in the work of Reformation than his good Predeces­sors had done, for he removed all Monu­ments of Idolatry, and every Idol of Jealousie; even the high Places which others before him had not meddled with, for of him 'tis Re­corded how 2 Kings 18.4. he removed the high Places, and the Images, and cut down the Groves, and brake in pieces the brazen Serpent that Moses had made; for unto those days the Children of Israel did burn Incense to it, and he called it Nehushtan, that is a piece of Brass, in contempt, because it had been made a Tool of Idolatry; thô at first it had by God's immediate and special Com­mand been erected in the Wilderness, and Mi­racles had been wrought by it: This he did, and for this special Zeal of his in every thing, [Page 92]obtained this Character, that v. 5.6. after him, was none like him among all the Kings of Ju­dah, nor any that were before him: And to shew that all this was acted in Sincerity and from his Heart, 'tis said, he trusted in the Lord God of Israel and he clave unto the Lord, and de­parted not from following him, but kept his Com­mandments. He was not content to shew his zeal in Judah, within his Kingdom, but also invited others to do the like: To that purpose, 2 Chr. 30.1. He sent Letters to all Israel and Judah, and wrote Letters also to Ephraim and Manasseh, that they should come up to Jerusalem to keep the Pass­over; which v. 18.24. many out of the other Tribes did. And the King, as also his Princes, gave the Congregation thousands of Bullocks and Sheep; which liberality shews how Kings, Princes, and others whom God hath given means to, ought readily to bestow it upon his Service, and to enable others to do the like: But to perfect what had been so well begun, for in Religi­on there must be no trimming, nor doing things only by halves; 'tis Recorded, Chap. 31.1. Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present, went out to the Cities of Judah, and brake the Images in pieces, and cut down the Groves, and threw down the high Places out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, untill they had utterly destroyed them all. They began in Jerusaiem, and followed all the Coun­try over. This Head I shall conclude with this remark, how God is graciously pleased, plentifully to reward not only in the World to come, but also in this, a sincere zeal for his Honour and Service, as he did to Hezekiah, for 'tis said, 2 Kings 18.7, 8. and the Lord was with him, and he prospered whithersoever he went forth. Fur­thermore, [Page 93] 2 Chr. 32.27. 28, 29. Hezekiah had exceeding much Riches and Honour, and he made himself Treasuries for Silver and for Gold, and for precious Stones, and for Spices, and for shields, and for all manner of pleasant Jewels. &c. Let all Men take notice how there are Rewards for those who pro­mote God's Interest; and within their Station procure others to do so, also Punishments for those who do not.

In the Person of Josiah, we have a pattern of a compleat Reformer: There are such ex­traordinary circumstances relating to him, as make us look on him with admiration; for by 1 King. 13.1.2. a Prophet, his Birth was foretold, his Name mentioned, and his zeal prophesied of, about 300 years before he was Born: Then he was but Eight years old when he began to Reign; and those tender years of his, were in a high degree seasoned with Grace, for then 2 Chr. 34.1. &c. He began to seek the God of his Father David, and declined neither to the right hand nor to the left. Happy is the Country where such Kings are Born and Reign, who assoon as they. Sit upon the Throne, take care of Religion, and to suppress Sin. The zeal of this good King, Scripture sets forth as an example to others, to teach what God requireth of them: When he was but Sixteen years old, he shewed himself very zealous for the Glory of God, and when he was Twenty, he abolished Idolatry, and restored true Religion in Jerusalem and in Ju­dah, and so continued to do in the v. 6. Cities of Manasseh, Ephraim, Simeon and Naphtali, which belonged not to his Kingdom; and be­cause he would not trust others to do't with­out him, this great Work, he would see it done with his own Eyes: For 'tis said, v. 4. They brake [Page 94]down the Altars of Baalim in his presence, and the Images that were on high above them, he cut down, and the Groves, and the carved Images, and molten Images he broke in pieces, and made dust of of them, and strowed it upon the Graves of those that had sacrificed unto them. The Altar in Bethel which Jeroboam had built, and the high places he brake down, he defiled Tophet, put down the Chemarims or Idolatrous Priests, whom the Kings of Judah had ordained to burn Incense in the high Places: He brake down the Houses of the Sodomites, and so we may think he did of Baudy Houses, if there were any, for he aimed at a general Refor­mation, whereof we 2 King. Chap. 22. and 23. read the particulars: How much grieved was he when he heard the Words of the Law, seeing he thereupon rent his Clothes! This his tenderness of heart, as of having humbled himself, the Lord took notice off by the mouth of 2 Chr. 34.27. Huldah the Pro­phetess. Now judge of the happiness of hav­ing pious Kings, by the good effects and con­sequences thereof, for not only they do good, but by their example influence others to do so: Often the good King makes his Subjects good, Regis ad exemplum, many times the People fol­lows the King's Example; hence it is that in Scripture we read that when the Kings were good or bad, the Subjects were commonly such as they, so like Prince like People, Be­cause Chap. 35.7, 8, 9. Josiah gave to the People of the Flock, Lambs and Kids, all for the Passover-offerings, to the number of Thirty thousand, and Three thou­sand Bullocks, and 'tis expressed, these were out of the King's Substance: So in the next verse we read how that good example was follow­ed, and his Princes gave willingly unto the People, [Page 95]to the Priests and to the Levites: And to their immortal Praise, not only their gifts are specifi­ed, but also the givers Names are upon Record: Josiah's Princes were acted by the same Zeal, and they not only worshipped God, but helped others to do so.

These examples are insisted upon, in hopes that at this present Time, and in this Conjuncture when Sins overflow, and there is a necessity of a speedy Remedy, it will not be in vain: Nei­ther can any just exceptions be taken against what I say; for 'tis not I that speak, but God; all is out of his holy Word. The Trumpet of Sion must Speak or Sound in the Language of Sion: Happy those who can understand the Lan­guage of Canaan; 'tis a gracious promise as a Blessing to the Gentiles, Isai. 19.18. In that day shall Five Cities in the Land of Egypt speak the Language of Canaan and Swear to the Lord of Hosts. I write as a Christian, for Christians about the things of Christ; therefore I lay aside human Reason, Wisdom, Considerations and Stile, to express my self in Christs, that is Scriptural Phrase, to please God and not Men; Gal. 1.10. for if I yet pleased Men, I should not be the Servant of Christ: But my design is, if possible after Rom. 10.19. God's Exam­ple, without distinction of Persons to move Men to Emulation and Godly jealousie to out-do one another; and upon this, as upon every other occasion to practise the Apostles exhortation, 2 Cor. 14.31. Whatsoever ye do, do all to the Glory of God. Chiefly Rulers, who are publick Springs, whence the People draw, whose carriage the Subjects Eyes are fixed upon; and when the Princes heart is affected with zeal for God's Honour and Ser­vice, it commonly passeth upon and influenceth the People whose Head he is. Therefore he [Page 96]should be careful of the way he leads them by, either into Salvation or Destruction.

In the Christian Church also, after many Persecutions, Heresies and wicked practises, God raised Instruments to do his Work, suppress Errors, defend his People, and purge his Church of notorious Vices. Such were the Constantines, the Theodosius's, and other Christian Emperors whom God made Nursing Fathers to the Church: So in the last Age, at the beginning of, and since the Reformation from the abominations of the Romish Church, some pious Princes in Germany, and other Northern Countreys, and in some Southerly parts of Europe, whose Names are to their high Commendation Recorded in History: And here, Pious young King Edward VI. never to be mention'd without Elogy, who for Zeal in his tender years, might have been compared to Josiah, if God had been pleased to have al­lowed him a longer Life; he upon all occasi­ons expressed his Piety and Abhorrency of Popish Idolatry; besides that, Providence made this Conformity between those Two good Kings, both died young, One by the Sword, the other (as strongly suspected) by Poison. Josiah not long before the Destruction of Jerusalem and the Babylonian Captivity: And Edward, just before the Judgment and violent Persecution under Bloody Queen Mary,

Commonly such matters as these, admit of necessary Cautions; thus when I was upon the point of Slander, (to which what I intend now to say, hath some affinity) I spake of some who under specious pretences, as that they hate not the Person, but the Hypocrisie, or such other thing which they invent, do put abuses upon others, and thus to satisfie their Hatred, Malice, [Page 97]Revengefulness, or some other disordinate Passi­on, would bring in their false accusations under the Name of the cause of God, and by these means impose upon imprudent and credulous Men, or easily perswaded those that are as ill dis­posed as themselves, whom Solomon sets this brand upon: A wicked doer gives heed to false lips, Prov. 17.4. and a lyar gives ear to a naughty tongue, for similis simili gaudet: Now in this place I must enter a Caveat which is this, That about the great Work of Re­formation of Life, Manners and other Abuses, the Magistrates in the Execution of the Laws, must be very Cautious how they receive Accusa­tions and Informations from private Men against their Neighbour, specially when the accused are for one quality or other Eminent above the Vulgar sort; thus the Apostle charges his disci­ple, against an Elder receive not an Accusation, 1 Tim. 5.19. but before two or three Witnesses. They ought not to believe every thing they hear, but must first endeavour to know who the accuser is, and whether he is biassed; for in such Cases, sometimes, Gal. 2.4. (to speak in the Apostles Words) false Brethren creep in privily to spie out occasions of doing mischief, and avenging their grudges and quarrels; selfish Men who would make God's Holy Name and Cause subservient to their own ends: And if through their base way of Ca­lumniating, they gain their Point; they are pleas­ed with, and applaud themselves in't; and as the Prophet saith, they rejoice and are glad, Habak 1.15.16. there­fore they Sacrifice unto their Net, and burn Incense unto their Drag: And like the Assyrian boast of the Mischief which through the Credulousness of others they have done; and say, by the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent: Therefore when you are about suppressing one evil, have a great care not to [Page 98]make way for another. Hot headed and fiery Men are not proper Instruments for the work of Reformation; they are fitter to Destroy than to Build up, and commonly they will use means not conducing to the true End. But the manner of doing things is that which Men should be very Cautions in; 'tis not enough to do a good thing, but it must be well done, in a due manner, the saying is true,

Prosunt verba parum, prosunt adverbia multum.
Non bona tam pensat, quam bene facta Deus.

Will you get rid of Slanderers, then frown upon them, for an angry Countenance driveth away a back­biting tongue, or else who can be safe? Si accusare sat est, quis erit innocens? A zeal for God's Glory is with some nothing but a pretence when it breaks the rules of Charity, without which no true Piety: 'Tis highly Commendable when sincere and real, but withal it must not be inconsiderate, rather ac­cording to knowledge, and managed with meekness and Christian prudence, for Prov. 25.23. the Servant of the Lord must be gentle to all Men. What such Men call Zeal is only an Effect of the violence and imperuo­sity of their Temper, and not a real desire of God's Honour; 'tis more to please their passion than to serve God. 1 King 19.11.12, 13. When God appeared to Elijah, he was not in the 2 Tim. 2.24. great and strong Wind, nor in the Earth­quake, nor in the Fire, but in the still small Voice. God doth so when he comes in the way of Mercy; if o­therwise, 'tis in Judgment; and as God is Merciful & Just, Men are commanded to be so one to another.

—Peragit tranquilla potestas
Quod violenta nequit.—

Saith a Latin Poet; which is true, therefore gentle and fair means must be try'd before you come to hard and rough ones, for they effectu­ally work upon some Tempers when the con­trary do not: For this Reason I would have [Page 99]private Men that are willing to promote the work of Reformation, the more to gain upon the Spirits of Men, to make use only of per­swasion, and leave the way of compulsion for the Magistrates, whose Office is to see the Laws ex­ecuted against hardned and refractory Offenders; but ever to avoid base and false ways. But when all is said, Reformation is properly God's work, who turns the hearts, disposes things and Persons, and blesses means in order to't.

But now to our Times, for we are more nearly concerned: The Nation is wholly overgrown with Sin in Soul and Body, we are quite over­spread with that Spiritual leprosie, so that with the Leper we may well cry out, Levit. 13.45. unclean, unclean: And out of God's holy Word, the experience of all Ages, and of our own, with a witness we may know the sad effects and consequences of Sin, not only on the low Shrubs but also upon the ta­lest Cedars. I can remember, (so may many more) how within this half Century, God's Thunderbolt hath, thô in some different degrees, lighted upon the Heads of several Countrys; I can name Six, nay Seven, whereof (a) one lost his life, and (b) his Son, his Kingdom, (c) another for a while lost his Kingdom, and was a long time besieged in his Capital City; (d) Two others left their Crowns and Country, not so willingly as they would have had (e) seemed to be, and went to Travel and di­ed in Foreign parts; (f) a Sixth one, was Trans­ported out of his Kingdom, confin'd in a Prison and his Brother raised upon his Throne: All these were Christians, thô of different Perswasions; the Seventh (g) Emperor of the Turks, Dethroned and [Page 98] [...] [Page 99] [...] [Page 100]his Brother made his Successor. God forbid I should pretend to dive into God's Secrets, and as­sign the particular Causes of these Judgments; but I may boldly say, Sin was the general One; for except they had been Sinners, they should have been no Sufferers; but let this make us all adore and tremble at those Effects of God's wise and just Providence. The great Psal. 76.12. God is ter­rible to the Kings of the Earth, as well as to o­ther Men: When it seems good unto him, he can drive Dan. 4. Nebuchadnezzar from his Throne, and make his dwelling among the Beasts of the Field, till he had humbled himself before him, for the most High Ruleth in the Kingdom of Men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will; herein the Psalmist concurs with the Prophet when he saith, Psal. 75.7. God is the Judge, he pulleth down one and setteth up another. He hath Angels whereof 2 King. 19.35. one can in one Night destroy an Hundred fourscore and five thousand Men of Sennacharib's Army, and send him home to be killed by his Sons. The same God who then did, doth now Govern the World, and his Hand is not shortned, but that he can still reach his Churches Enemies, yea, such ones as in Cruelty and Falsness have outdone all the Nebuchadnezzars and Sennacheribs in the World; and some wait to see what in God's due time, will be the end of such Pharaohs and Oppressors as now are alive. When God chastiseth Men, and his Arrows are fast in them, they may and must own themselves to be the Cause of it; and and with King David say, Psal. 38.18. I will declare mine iniquity, and will be sorry for my Sin. It were well to say and do so before the Judgment hath overtaken us; to prevent it therefore, bring forth Fruits worthy of Repentance: We know the Doom of the fig Tree that bare no fruit, Luke 13.7. cut it down, why cumbreth it the Ground? For Three [Page 101]years he had been looking for fruit, but found none. God hath been waiting for fruit from some of us, not only Three but Thirty years and more, yet we are barren still; at the de­sire of the dresser of the Vineyard, there is a re­prieve granted for a year longer, lord let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it and dung it, and if it bear not fruit, then after that thou shalt cut it down. As this is the Case of many a par­ticular Man, so it hath been, and is in general that of the World: Thus it happened with the first World, God for several years waited for fruit, but finding none, at last his patience being tired out, he brought the Flood upon them and thô they had been forewarned a Hundred and twen­ty years before; yet, it took them unawares, for they were cating and drinking, Matt. 24.38, 39. marrying and giving in marriage, and knew not until the Flood came and took them all away: And just before the destructi­on of Sodom, two Angels advised Lot to bring his Relations out of the Town, not to be invol­ved in its Ruin: But when Lot spake unto his Sons in Law, they would take no warning, but Lot seemed as one that mocked unto his Sons in Law; Gen. 19.14. but they were soon hurried away in that terrible Judgment. As for us doth not our Saviour say, that the coming of the Son of Man shall be as it was in the days of Noah, unexpectedly shall surprise this World, as the other was; for we are come to the Fourth year, the last of the tryal; the First was from the Creation to the Flood, the Second from the Flood till Moses and the Law, wherein Sodom, Gomorrah, Admah, Zeboim and all the Plains were overthrown, the Third year from Moses or the Law, wherein the Seven Nati­ons were destroyed by the Children of Israel, till the coming of Christ, the Fourth from his first [Page 102]to his second coming, when utter Ruin shall be­fall the impenitent and unbelievers; let all Sin­ners mind this and tremble.

And now O Sinner, I speak without any di­stinction of Persons; I will try, and then try rhy self whether thou art one of those who Rom. 2.5. after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasu­rest up to thy self wrath against the day of wrath, and revelation of the righteous Judgment of God: Whe­ther thou hast Ephes. 4.18, 19. thine understanding darkned, be­ing alienated from the life of God through the igno­rance that is in thee, because of the blindness of thine heart, who being past feeling, hath given thy self over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness? Or whether there be in thee any thing of good Nature, or rather of Grace, and something left of humanity? This may be known if thou wilt be serious upon the meditation of the Love of [...]. 3.19. Christ which passeth knowledge: Consider well how out of the motive of that tree Love of his to thee and to me; he for a time parted with an infinite, unspeakable and incomprehensible Glory, John 17.5. which he had in Heaven together with the Father, before the World was: Attended by Millions of Millions of Angels waiting for his Commands, and who 1 Tim. 6.16. dwelt in the Light which no Man can approach unto; all this he was content to leave, and Philip. 2.6, 7. being in the Form of God, thought it not rob­bery to be equal with God, yet made himself of no Reputation, and took upon him the form of a Ser­vant; nay, became Psal. 22.6. a Worm and no Man, the reproach of Men, despised of the People. Our human Nature he took upon him with all her infirmities, only Sin excepted; for he was hungry, thirsty, weary, sorrowful, and he wept. He often was Matt. 9.24. Mark 5. [...]0 Luke 8.53. laughed to scorn, contemned and hated by Men, not for any fault of his, for he [Page 103]had none; but for thy Sins and mine, which were the Judas that betray'd him, the Jews that that accused, the Pilate that Condemn'd, and the Souldiers that Crucified him, the thorns which fetched Blood out of his Sacred Head, the nails that fixed him to the Cross, pierced his Hands and Feet, and the Spear which pierced his Side. O Sinner, O wretched sinner, O wicked and a­bominable sinner, I may say, canst thou look upon Jesus in his Agony, sweating great drops of Blood, his Soul sorrowful even unto death, and under such circumstances as was necessary for an Angel to come down from Heaven to comfort and strengthen him; canst thou see and be unconcerned at all this? Thou seest him upon the Cross praying for thee leaning down his Head to Kiss, and stretching out his Arms to Embrace thee, and shall not this work upon thine heart? He came down to save thee, and wilt thou damn thy self? He came to destroy the work of the Devil, that is Sin, and wilt thou in thine heart and bosom receive, enter­tain, cherish and prefer before him that Enemy of his and of thine; so that thou hadst rather part with Christ than with thy Sin. O stupen­dious blindness and madness; by his Death and Passion he hath delivered thee from the Curse of the Law, and of God's wrath to come, he hath subdued all thine Enemies, Death, the Grave and the Devil; for as Christ was visibly Cruci­fied, so Satan was invisibly; he hath through his precious Blood rescued thee from the Bondage and power of Sin; and wilt thou still continue in it? Where is thy thankfulness to him who hath done and suffered so much for thee? If thou wilt not come to thy self from thine heart to give him thanks and Honour, thou art as [Page 102] [...] [Page 103] [...] [Page 104]bad as the Devil, and worse than all other Crea­tures; for when he was upon the Cross, the whole work of Creation was out of order, there was a great Earthquake, the Graves were open­ed, the vail of the Temple was rent in the midst, whole Nature put on a mourning Garment, the Sun was darkned, no light of the Moon or of the Stars, for there was a darkness over all the Earth, which made a Heathen say, Apoll­nius Tya­neus. aut Deus naturae patitur, aut Mundi Machina dissolvitur. Either the God of Nature doth suffer, which was true, or this World is come to an end: And thou canst look upon a bleeding Jesus upon the Cross, as unconcerned and with a heart harder than the very Rocks, which upon that occasion rent: Then prepare for Hell as thine own home and proper place, Job. 31.3. for destruction is to the wicked. One look of his upon Peter, having made him remember only one of his Sins, did work so much upon him, as that thereupon he went out and wept bitterly; the Centurion and they that were with him, when they saw the things that were done, feared greatly, and all the People that were come together to see that sight, smote their Breast; and canst thou be the only spectator of the Sufferings he underwent for thy Sins, and not shed for grief and sorrow Tears of Repentance, and part with thy Sins? Then thou art a Mon­ster in Nature. Know that thou canst not keep both Sin and Christ, Christ is in Heaven, where is no Sin; Sin shall for ever be in Hell, but Christ not, except it be in his Justice.

But a thing which deserves our whole atten­tion, thankfulness and admiration, and which adds an infinite value and merit to our blessed Sa­viours Actings and Sufferings is this, that they were the Actings and Sufferings, not of a meer [Page 105]Man but of a God, thô not of the Godhead. If he had been a bare Man, the obligation had been much inferiour to what it is; but the same Person was God as well as Man, which makes all Transcendently more precious than other­wise it had been. God the Father did for our sins deliver his only begotten to death, and that only Son voluntarily gave himself for us: O the exceeding riches of God's Grace in his kind­ness towards us; The whole World can afford nothing to parallel with this; indeed the exam­ples of Abraham and Isaac were Types of, but nothing to it; for what a comparison can there be between Eternal, Almighty and infinite God, with a poor worm of the Earth, but dust and ashes, as he said of himself? And what was Isaac, Abrahams Son to the Lord Jesus, God's Son? For he is simply, properly and absolutely such; which fundamental Truth to be confirmed in, I desire the Reader to take the following Scripture Evi­dences wherein he is so called, for I will omit no occasion to assert it.

The first sort are immediately from Heaven; upon this account the Angel Gabriel before our Saviout was conceived, said of him to the Vir­gin, he shall be called the Son of the Highest, Luke 1.32. v. 35. and the Son of God. But at his Baptism in an Authen­tick way, God the Father declared him such from Heaven when this voice came thence, Chap. 3.22. Thou art my beloved Son, in thee I am well pleased. It is spoken in the Second Person, which applies what we read of, Matt. 3.17. where 'tis in the Third, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased, Confirmed in the Transfiguration, Chap. 17.5.

Another kind of Evidences, thô from Hea­ven were upon Earth, John Baptist said of the [Page 106]Jesus, John 1.34. Chap. 5.33.34. &c. and I saw and bare Record that this is the Son of God; this Testimony our Lord, thô he receives not testimony from man, as he said, yet to condescend to the Jews unbelief, he appealed to, but chiefly to his Father's Natha­niess words are another Evidence, Chap. 1.49. Rabbi, thou art the Son of God, thou art the King of Is­rael; Observe how the Title King of Israel, ab­solutely taken is the same as God of Israel. To this add Peter's Confession in his Name, and of the other Apostles, Chap. 6 69. We believe and (observe) are sure, that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God. Our blessed Saviour, whose right and prerogative is to bear Record of himself, as he told the Jews, for Chap. 8.14. he knew whence he came and whither he went; in several places, as John 8.42, and 10. I said I am the Son of God. Martha said, Chap. 11.27. I believe that thou art the Christ, the Son of God. The end of St John's writing his Gospel is, Chap. 20.31. Acts 8.37. that ye may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Upon this Faith the Eu­nuch was Baptized by Philip. Chap. 9.26. I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God: And by this funda­mental Truth Paul after his Conversion began to Preach the Gospel, Luke 4.41. that he, Christ is the Son of God; other places I omit, these being suffi­cient to confirm this fundamental and essential Truth of the Gospel, that Jesus is the Son of God, in a true and proper Sense.

We might bring in a third sort of Evidence, for not only Heaven and Earth, but Hell also hath owned that Truth; for Luke 4.41. the Devils them­selves cry'd out and said, thou art Christ the Son of God. The very Heathens said no less, for the Centurion and they that were with him, watch­ing Jesus at his death, said, Matt. 27.54. truly this was the Son of God: A Truth which no Christian, no [Page 107]Child of God will deny, after so many clear Proofs.

This short digression I have been put upon, after the perusal of a most damnable Socinian Pamphlet, of two whole Sheets, which is fallen into my hands since this was under the Press, it hath two Titles, the first, A Dialogue by way of Questions and Answers concerning the Deity: The last, A brief, but clear Confutation of the Doctrine of the Trinity, stuffed with the quintessence of diabolical and most abominable Impieties and Blasphemies usual with that sort of Men, with Texts of Scripture wrested and misapplied, with several impertinent Objections, which a­gain and again have been See Gailhard against the blasphe­mous Soci­nian He­resy. answered and ex­ploded. That wicked Spirit is restless; neither Authority of Scripture, true Reason, nor Acts of Parliament are able to quiet them, but they will vent their venom, spiritual ignorance, and the gall of bitterness which is in them, against the most Holy Trinity, and the Persons of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Foolish and crackt Men may be pitied, but when the humour turns into Rage and Fury, then mad Men should be Chained up, to prevent their doing others mis­chief. How often in this last part doth that hellish Instrument prophane and take God's Name in vain, with saying good God, when he spits in his Face, and curses him in his heart? But how much reason have we to cry out, good God, that such horrid Blasphemies which make Chri­stians hair stand on end, should come abroad, and the Author go unpunished?

Poor England, within thy Bowels thou hast the two most cursed things that are or can be, and the most abominable to God, Blasphemy and Idolatry, wrapt up in Socinianism and Popery: The [Page 108]one denies the Lord that bought them, to be God as he is; the other, every day Crucifies him, and with attributing to the Creature, that which belongs only to the Creator, namely Divine wor­ship, and to forgive Sins, hath matched and con­centered Blasphemy with Idolatry; that Society under the notion of probability, doth admit of any, thô never so abominable Doctrine, and un­der pretence of directing the Intention, receives all execrable practices; yet this is known, seen and suffered; but thô Men do, God will not. But as punishment is tied to the tail of Sin, God in his due time will make us smart for it: Are we thus rescued from Popery, when by a detestable tolleration or winking at, against the Laws of God, of the Land, and the Rules of true Po­licy, we are more than overgrown with it: I wish God doth not lay it to the charge of the Government; is it possible for Protestants to forget the cruel Canons of the Councils of Late­ran and of Constance, and the Congregation in Rome, for the Propagation of their Faith, and the Extirpation of Hereticks, or can England forget bloody Mary's Reign, the barbarous Irish Mas­facre, which is still a bleeding, and what of late, James would have been at, to have de­stroyed the Northern Heresie, as Colman in his Letters called the Protestant Religion: This is fresh in every ones memory; and there are upon Record the Injustice and Cruelties practised in Bohemia, Silesia, and Hungary; what bloody persecutions have formerly been, and now are acted in France, and in the Palatinate? Are we quite infatuated? Have we forfeited common Sense and Reason, that we leave a back Door open for Rome, to pour in her Emissaries upon, and to blow the Fire of Division among us? [Page 109]The Inland and Foreign Priests, who come o­ver with all freedom, say as many Masses, and may be more than are Sermons every day preach­ed in the City, and use all possible means to undermine our Holy Religion and the Govern­ment too, thô it be not minded, which is a great Sin, and may happen to be soon followed with a heavy punishment: But I must return to my main design, which tends to perswade Men to leave Sin and all, to gain Christ, to Love, Fear, Honour and Obey him.

Out of these Considerations, let us all for God's sake and our own good, in our several Stations, do something for him, who hath done so much for us: Leave off, punish and discourage Sin. Christ died for us, therefore for his sake, Colos. 3.5. Let us mortifie our Members which are upon Earth, For­nication, Ʋncleanness, inordinate Affection, evil Concupiscence, &c. He was Crucified for us; then let our old Man and his deeds be Crucified with him, never preferring to please one Member, one Sense, one Passion before him, who is all­together lovely, ought to be the desire of our Souls, as Haggai 2.7. He is the desire of all Nations, and Isai. 63.1. mighty to save that Strong One, out of whom came forth Sweeness, called, Rev. 5.5. the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, whom in the New Testament we read of is transformed into a Lamb, and so all along after represented by a Lamb, as it had been slain, of whom may well be said what we read of Sampson, one of his Types, Judg. 16.30. the dead which he slew at his death, were more than they which he slew in his life. O that I could so indear this blessed Saviour to the Souls of Men as to pre­vail with the proud for his meekness sake, to part with his Pride; with the unclean, for his holiness sake, with his uncleanness; and so with [Page 108] [...] [Page 109] [...] [Page 110]every sinner else, to part with his Sins in al kinds, or else resolve to lose Christ for ever; for Christ hath no Concord with Belial; be not mista­ken, God will be sanctified either by, or on us all.

The Song touching the Vineyard must be minded; Isai. 5. it was planted in a very fruitful Hill, fenced, the Stones gathered out of it, planted with the choicest Vine, a Tower built in the midst of it, and nothing wanting that labour and industry could afford to improve it; yet after all this Care, instead of bringing forth Grapes, that ungrateful Vineyard brought forth wild Grapes: This is the literal Sense of the Parable, but there the Prophet declares the moral Sense of it; how the house of Israel is the Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts, to whose Judgement he refers the Case, betwixt him and his Vineyard, so just and so plain it is against it, and thereby sets before their Eyes their ingratitude and God's mercy. Now what the Apostle saith, in another Case, may well be appli'd to this, Rom. 4.23, 24. it was not writ­ten for his sake alone, but for us also. Thus I may say, England, thou art the Vineyard, God hath planted thee in a pleasant and plentiful Country, thou hast enjoyed the light and warmth of the Sun, the former and the latter Rain, the upper and the nether Springs, and all Blessings from Heaven; yet how barren of late, and now more than ever, are we under those means of Grace? instead of Grapes and Figs, bitter and sowr Fruits; the Olive, Vine and Fig-trees are turned into Thorns, Bryars and Brambles: How plainly, abundantly and gloriously hath God's Word been Preached here, I dare say, more, at least as much as in any other Country since the coming of Christ; but what fruits of Repentance, Faith, [Page 111]Charity, Holiness, and Justice have we brought forth? Now the generality is quite degenerated, and God hath as much cause to say to us, as he did to the House of Israel, Isai. 5.7. I looked for Judg­ment, but behold Oppression, for Righteousness, but behold a Cry: Most, if not all follow the imagi­nation of their evil Heart, we are over head and ears in Sin; and what the Apostle saith of John 5.19. the whole World, we may say the most part of the Nation lyeth, and is suffered to lie in wickedness: This should make us afraid of the Vineyards doom, Isai, 5.5. I will tell you what I will do to my Vineyard, I will take away the Hedge there­of, and it shall be eaten up, and break down the Wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down, and I will lay it waste, it shall not be pruned, nor digged, but there shall come up Briars and Thorns; I will also command the Clouds that they Rain not upon it. That is, he will withdraw his Graces. The Navy is England's Hedge and Wall, which of late hath been Tottering, and hath not appear­ed with that Glory, Vigour and Strength as it did formerly; whereby we lie more than ever open to an Enemy; and the fear and danger of it is upon many: So there are Dangers, Fears, and Judgments, and we should remember the Flood, how, of so many Millions in the old World, only Eight Persons escaped drowning; and of Sodom, Gomorrah, and the other wicked Towns, only Lot and his Two Daughters were saved from that signal Judgment. And if God was pleased after the War, to send Plague, Fa­mine, and other grievous Judgments upon us, besides that of Sin, which we are overflown with, and we should say, Jer. 5.19. wherefore doth the Lord our God all these things unto us? Then shalt thou an­swer, like as ye have forsaken me, and served strange [Page 112]Gods in your Land, so shall ye serve strangers in a Land that is not yours: As if he had said, as you have done against me, so shall it be against you, and your punishment shall be of the same nature as your Sin hath been; wherein the Prophet fore­tells their Captivity; and have not many of us instead of God, served the Idols of their ambi­tion, pleasures and riches, and forsaken Piety, Virtue and true Honour? Are we not guilty of the like Sins as was the House of Israel, which the Prophet mentions, with a Isai. 5.11. Woe unto them that rise up early in the Morning that they may fol­low strong Drink that continue until Night, till the Wine inflame them, and v. 22. that are mighty to drink Wine, and Men of strength to mingle strong Drink: Is not this the Case here? is not drun­kenness an Epidemical Sin, again, v. 20. who call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter; that are wise in their own Eyes, and prudent in their own sight; which justifie the wick­ed for Reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him. Doth not every thing here reach some of us? But in the same Chapter the Prophet adds, the Harp and the Viol, the Ta­bret and Pipe, and Wine are in their Feasts; but mark what follows, as a mighty aggravation, but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands; an effect where­of is, therefore my People are gone into Captivity: But that which is worse and damnable, therefore Hell hath enlarged her self and opened her mouth without measure. If it were but the Grave, it were enough to terrifie Men from such things, and in v. 24, 25.26. we read of further Judg­ments very terrible, with a therefore, to shew they are the fruits of their Sins; which should [Page 113]make us all fear and tremble. They are God's own Words to the same People, to us as well as to Israel. Jer. 5.22. Fear ye not me saith the Lord, will ye not tremble at my Presence? If ye do not, I will make you before I have done: For all these Judgments which ye feel, my anger is not turn­ed away, but my hand is stretched out still.

Not long before his death, Josh. 24. Joshua gathered the People to put them in mind of what God had done for them, to represent unto them their Duty, and gave them a strict charge about it, in a remarkable circumstance, v. 26.27. he took a great Stone and set it up there, and said behold this Stone shall be a Witness unto us, for it hath heard all the words of the Lord. God uever wanteth Witnesses, and rather than fail, the very Stones shall speak: However, he often is pleased to make use of weak Instruments, whose Testimony is not to be re­jected when they speak in his Name, and out of his own Word: As for me who am come to an Age wherein I have little to hope for, desire, or fear from Men, and tho' I had, I would al­ways. Fear God rather than Men; therefore be­ing instructed by some experience, which my God hath given me of his gracious and wise Provi­dence, do now upon this nice and important con­juncture, give in my Evidence for God, and a serious warning to all Sinners in the Land; I begin with, and speak to my self first, as the chief of Sinners, then to King, Parliaments, Judges, Magistrates, Clergymen, and others, of all Conditions, Ages, Relations and Professions whatsoever, as at the last and terrible day we shall answer to God, every one within our re­spective Stations, as much as in us lieth, to en­courage and promote Piety, and Virtue, to dis­countenance, punish and suppress Error and Vice, [Page 114]and let every one begin with himself in his own Person, or else, I denounce God's terrible and in­fallible Judgments upon you and upon me, and these lines of mine shall upon occasion, if we ne­glect our Duty, be Evidences against you and against me; this is neither time nor thing to flatter, or to dally with, for Num. 16.46. there is wrath gone out from the Lord, the plague is begun; there­fore, hear that faithful Servant of God, Moses, as speaking to you, Deut. 30.35. see, I have this day set before thee, life and death, good and evil, light and dark­ness, Heaven and Hell, Christ and Sin, chuse well, and be wise unto Salvation: I have brought and laid a looking Glass before all, wherein e­very one may see himself; therefore make a right use of it; as much as I could, I made what I said to reach all: I hope none that is good will take ill what I write; as for the bad, and im­penitent, I neither intend nor care to please them, truth doth offend some, who thereupon hard­en themselves, others are better for hearing it, and mend? these will thank God for the occa­sion he affords them to learn by being told, to the other in Pauls words, I say, Gal. 4.16. am I there­fore become your Enemy, because I tell you the truth; but know, I will not betray it for any Man's sake.

Our Sins are many, great and frequent, and God's hand is lifred up against us, therefore let e­very one, Prince and Subject, High and Low, Rich and Poor, Man and Woman, Young and Old, mend and repent, and in his place do his duty, or else, Amos 4.12. prepare to meet thy God O Israel, If not in the way of Repentance, in that of his Judgments, which I am afraid are hanging over our heads, at least we have cause to think so; therefore hear ye the sound of the Trumpet, [Page 115]and know the meaning of it; learn and be wise, for thereby God doth invite us all to repent, and to mind his work and Service, which is Ho­nourable, Glorious and Profitable: But if blow­ing the Trumpet in Sion cannot do with, but be neglected by Men, then Joel 3.16. the Lord also shall roare out of Sion, nay, hath already roared, and if Amos 3.8. the Lion hath roared, who will not fear? 'Tis a terrible voice which denounceth Judgments, and thundereth Threatnings, and if yet by this, Men will not be awaked from their Sins, then, at that Joel 2.31. great, and very terrible day of the Lord, at last they shall come out of their Graves, to suffer the punishment due to their impenitence and unbelief, when 1 Thess. 4.16. the Lord himself shall de­scend from Heaven with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, and with the Trumpet of God.

May the great God, our most gracious Fa­ther, be pleased to prevent us with Temporal blessings, to continue with Spiritual, and to end with Eternal, by the merits and mediation of his only begotten Son, our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, through the powerful working of the Holy Ghost, in one most sim­ple and undivided Godhead, three Persons, Co-essential in Nature, Co-eternal in Time, and Co-equal in Power, to whom be, by every Crea­ture rendred as most due, all Honour, Glory, Power, Majesty and Dominion, now, and for evermore, Amen.

FINIS.

Some Books Printed for D. Brown, at the Black Swan and Bible, with­out Temple-Bar.

FOur Tracts; 1. A shore Discourse about Divorce and its Causes, Fornication and Adultery. 2. A Charge to Judges, Juries, and Witnesses concerning Oaths. 3. About Infant Baptism. 4. A Letter to a Lady who hath forsaken the Protestant Religion for the Romish, The 2. Edition

Free Thoughts, in Defence of a Future State as discoverable by natural Reason, and stript of all Su­perstitious appendages. Demonstrating against the nominal Deists, that the consideration of Future Ad­vantages is a just motive to Virtue, of Future loss and misery, a powerful and becoming restraint of Vice.

With occasional Remarks on a Book Intituled, an enquiry concerning Virtue, and a Refutation of the revived Hylyzoicism of Democritus and Leucippus.

A compleat History or Survey of all the dispensati­ons and methods of Religion from the beginning of the World to the consummation of all things, as re­presented in the Old and New Testament, shewing the several Reasons and Designs of those different Ad­ministrations, and the wisdom and goodnes of God in the Government of his Church, through all the Ages of it, in which also the Opinion of Dr. Spencer con­cerning the Jewish Rights and Sacrifices is examined, and the certainty of the Christian Religion demon­strated, the Cavils of the Deists, &c. By John Edwards. C. D.

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