Concerning the Remissness of the Magistrate. A SERMON Preached in the Parish-Church of Bovey-Tracy, LAST Easterday in the Afternoon.


EXETER: Printed by Sam. Darker and Sam. Farley, for Charles Yeo, John Pearce, and Philip Bishop, Booksellers in Exon, 1698.



THE only occasion of Printing this following Discourse, is to vindicate My­self and it, from the unchristian Calumnies and Reflections that are every day cast upon us: It was not my Design in Preaching of it, nor is it so in Printing of it, to exasperate any Man, but only to contribute what I could towards the suppression of Vice and Immora­lity: And in pursuance of His Majesty's Pro­clamation, for preventing and punishing Im­morality and Profaneness, I concluded the best means of effecting it, was to reprove the Re­missness [Page] of Magistrates, and to excite them to a diligent Execution of the Laws against notorious Offenders. And this I was moved to do from no other principle, but an hearty Zeal for the Honour of GOD, and the In­terest of Religion; which are very much di­minished by the bold and unrestrained com­mission of Wickedness

But instead of the Success I intended and hoped for, it was condemned as a personal Reflection, and a very rude Treatment of the sublime Dignity of the Magistrate; and a for: of Indigitation, to be preached only before one of them. Now, I do sincerely protest, I had no such intentions, and should have done it as soon before a whole Congre­gation of that Order; and it may be with better acceptance, and less hatred, than now I have met with. I have therefore ventured to send it abroad into the World, to let Men see how much I am wrong'd, and how un­justly I have suffer'd in my Reputation, upon the account of it. I am conscious enough of its being unworthy of an Impression, and [Page] of my own inability for such a performance, and should have gladly declined the Un­dertaking: but the perpetual incessant Cla­mours that are risen against us, together with the terrible Threats, and false Reports that are given out, have constrained me to it; besides which I know nothing could have prevailed with me to appear in publick: And all that I have to desire of the Reader, is, that he will vouchsafe it a candid Censure, and give some allowance for the Occasion.


ACTS xviii. Ver. 17.

And Gallio cared for none of these things.

THE Words are a description of the Carriage and Behaviour of a great Ma­gistrate towards the most intolerable Impu­dence and Indignity that could be offered in his Presence; no less than striking, and lay­ing violent Hands upon a Person in open Court; a Crime of so heinous and culpable a Nature, that it is accounted Capital in some Courts, and would have been punished with Death. But Gallio did not account it such, nor shew so high a Resentment of it, and took as little notice of it, as tho' it had been an innocent, or an indifferent Action: He cared for none of these things.

Indeed it is a matter of great Consequence in all Governments to make choice of such Magistrates as are impartial and couragious, active and resolute in the execution of their Office; and will spare neither Friend nor Foe, where-ever they observe the Laws to be vio­lated, or any Insolencies or Outrages commit­ted. This would be a means to suppress the present Disorders, and to prevent the like au­dacious and rude Attempts for the future. This indeed is the original design of Magi­stracy and Government, to restrain Men from doing Evil and Mischief, and to keep them in Peace and good Order; and as often as any shall transgress and deviate from these Rules, to assign them a condign Punishment, according to the demerit of their Offences. And if this Method were duly observed, the World would not have that cause to cry out of Rapine, Extortion, Oppression, Fraud and Injustice, that now it hath: the Rich would not grind the Faces of the Poor, nor the Poor have cause to complain of the Oppression of the Rich; Superiors would not tyrannize over [Page 3] their Inferiors, nor Inferiors murmur and re­bel against their Superiors. Vice would not be so bold and bare-faced, nor Prophaneness so common and reputable, but Peace and Ho­liness would go hand in hand, and a univer­sal Piety and Justice would overspread the Face of the whole Earth, and Righteousness would run down our Streets as a mighty Stream.

It is generally esteemed a great Honour to be a Member of those that make Laws; I am sure it is a much greater to be one of those that put them in execution: For, to what purpose are they made, if they are never executed? But 'tis much to be feared, there are too ma­ny which are invested with this Power, are of the same Temper and Disposition with Gallio, They care not for these things: Altho' the greatest Indecencies and Disorders are perpe­trated in their Presence, and to the very Face of them. The Apostle tells us that the Ma­gistrates Power was given them for this pur­pose, To be a terror to those that do evil, and an encouragement to those that do well, Rom. 13. 3. And he supposeth the Sword to be [Page 4] born in vain, when the Magistrate is not the Minister of God in this respect, A revenger, to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

And what a Blessing would it be to this Nation, if all our Magistrates would resolve upon this Course, Act in conformity to the Apostle's Rule; and be magnanimous and fearless in the execution of their Office in such a manner as he here directs. But instead of that, may we not justly complain of a Cold­ness and Indifferency, Remissness and Neglect, in taking cognizance of, or Punishing Offences; and altho' they are many times Eye witnesses and Ear-witnesses to the foulest Vices and the greatest Lewdness and Prophaneness, yet will they for all that, pass by such Actions, and shew as little resentment of them, as the great Man did in the Text, who would not be of­fended, altho' there could not be a greater oc­casion given, then for Men to revenge them­selves with their own Hands, and to offer Vi­olence to a Person in the Court of Judicature, and in the sight of the Judge. And yet we read of some that did so, for the Greeks took [Page 5] Sosthenes, the chief Ruler of the Synagogue, and beat him before the Judgment-seat, And Gallio cared for none of these things.

In discoursing on which Words, I shall do these three things;

  • I. I shall treat of them particularly, and as they relate to Gallio.
  • II. I shall consider them in general, as they concern the whole Order of Magistrates.
  • III. I will shew what use and improvement may be made of them: And of these severally.

1. And first, let us observe them in their particular concern, as they relate to Gallio, who is said here to care for none of these things; wherein we may inform our selves, 1st, Who this Gallio was; a chief Magistrate. 2dly, What was the Crime objected against him; Neglect and Remissness in the executi­on of his Office; he cared not for it. 3dly. [Page 6] Wherein the peccancy and culpableness of his Crime consisted; he was careless in these things, (i. e.) in things of the greatest Mo­ment and Importance.

1. As to the Person here spoken of, Gallio, he was a chief Magistrate, no less than Pro­consul of Achaia; viz. the Lord-Deputy of that Province, under Claudius Caesar the Em­peror of Rome. This Gallio was a Roman by Birth, and of a noble Extraction; he was the great Seneca's elder Brother, and a Man of great Eminency and Note in his time, o­therwise he could not be fit to manage such a difficult Post as the Government of Achaia was, a Country very full of Factions and Divisi­ons, and the People of it very stubborn and headstrong; and where they could not pre­vail by Law, and obtain their Purposes by Justice, they would fulfil them by Force and Violence; as appears by their beating a Man in the presence of their Governour; a very rude and unmannerly Action.

2. But yet it did not move Gallio in the least, he pass'd it by, and took little or no No­tice of it, or at least, would not seem to do so; he would not concern himself on either side, but as they quarrelled, so they might agree again for him; it was all one to him whether they were Friends or Foes, so long as they were Loyal and Obedient to Caesar. But however, this is censured by all Interpreters as a great Fault in him, and taken as a parti­cular Remark fastned on him by the Spirit of God, and adjudged thereby, a careless Ma­gistrate, and a very ill Man, because he cared not for these things; but otherwise, of a very good Temper and Disposition; for he is stiled by the Poet, Dulcem Gallionem, which imports no less. But whatever the Nature of the Acti­on was, he thought it would be no Policy in him to take either part, and so far he was safe, for then he was assured he should disoblige neither side; but all this proceeded from a cowardly and pusillanimous spirit in him; for being newly entred upon his Government, [Page 8] probably he might be afraid of the Rabble. He knew not but the Jews, had he favoured St. Paul's Cause, might have accused him as no Friend of Caesar's: And 'tis most likely the Greeks, had he rescued Sosthenes out of their Hands, might in that boistrous Humor have served him in the same kind. Therefore he concluded it the safest way to pass it by, that so he might escape their Fury; and save himself in a whole skin.

This was the Humor of our great Magi­strate here in the Text, he cared not what Vi­olences and Outrages there were committed; nor undoubtedly, if Murther it self had ensu­ed, would not have been much concerned, provided he could keep himself out of Harms way. But this Behaviour of his is so far from being commendable, or indeed justifiable, that it is very criminous and blamable, and deserves to be branded with the ignominious Character of Cowardize and Popularity.

3. But that which heightens his Crime, and makes it the more culpable yet, is that he was [Page 9] of the same temper in all things, in every Complaint that came before him, and those of the greatest moment and importance; such as Controversies about Religion, as this is ge­nerally supposed to be: If he had been remiss and indifferent in one particular case only, and that too but a small and inconsiderable mat­ter, the Crime had not been so great; but he cared for none of these things, small nor great: he would not concern himself in any of them. Now by this general neglect and remissness of his, he did but encourage and enbolden them to do the like again, and to be the more insolent and irresistible for the future; had he put the Laws in execution, and punished them as soon as they had offended, they would have been under some terrour and dread of com­mitting the like, or any other offence again; whereas the impunity of one Crime is not only taken for a toleration of that, but is also a temptation to another. And this was the fault with which Gallio was justly charged; he neglected the doing Justice upon one sort of Offenders, and presently he is disturbed [Page 10] with the insolencies and clamours of another; had he punished the Jews for their Insurre­ction, the Greeks would never have fallen up­on a Person in such a violent manner, and beaten him in his presence.

You have heard what this Gallionian tem­per and disposition was, and wherein the cri­minalness of it lay; which was the first thing undertaken to be shewn. And I think what is here alledged against this Magistrate in par­ticular, may with as great a truth be asserted of the generality of that Office: they are too careless and remiss in the execution of their Authority, and are worthy of as great blame as Gallio, or any other of that Order: they care but little for these things; if they did, Sin would not so much abound.

2ly. For the neglect of doing Justice upon Offenders, is one of the principal causes of that deluge of Vice and Immorality, which at this time overflows the World. And this is the general Proposition deduceable from these Words, and the second Point we are to speak to.

And to confirm what is here asserted, I need go no farther than Experience; I say Daily Experience is a sufficient Proof to this Purpose: But I shall not content my self with this only, but shall assign you a Scriptural one; which is that of the old Eli, who we are told 1 Sam. 4. 18. had been Judge of Is­rael forty Years; and behaved himself un­doubtedly very well in the Office; for we hear no ill character fix'd upon him, but only too much gentleness and lenity, in the execu­tion of his Office: but we find this was a just cause of incensing the divine displeasure against him, and of God's denouncing such heavy Judgments against his Family. Nay the old Man, as soon as the Complaint came to his Ears of the profane and dissolute lives of his Sons, he took particular notice of it, and im­mediately reprov'd them for it, saying unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil doings by all this People: Nay, my Sons, it is no good report that I hear; for ye make the old People to transgress. The good old Man seem'd to be heartily sorry and [Page 12] troubled for his Sons follies, but this did not answer God's end: And he was offended with him for this reason, because his Sons made them­selves vile, and he restrained them not. God expects more than mere words, and bare re­proofs; especially where his Honour, and that of Religion are so much concerned. For when Profaneness, and Looseness, and Irreligion crept in among them, and grew too hard for the Government, God threatens to do such a thing in Israel, at which both the Ears of every one that heareth it shall tingle, 1 Sam. 3. 11.

Now the principal Reason why God enter­tained such an indignation, and denounced this heavy judgment against the House of Eli, was because those Crimes his Sons were guilty of, were of a very contagious nature, and might infect others, as well as themselves; and by not restraining them, the whole land would soon be overrun with profaneness and de­bauchery. So that it was not Eli's personal mis­carriages that God thought himself so disho­nored by him; but for want of taking due care for the suppression of Lewdness and Immora­lity [Page 13] in others. And this shews us the true way how every Magistrate may best serve God In his Station, acquire the applause of being an Honour to God and his Profession, and best answer the end of his Function; which is by giving all due encouragement to Religion and Vertue; and by a diligent application of the most effectual means for suppressing Irreligion, and Profaneness.

This indeed is a great and noble Design, worthy of the greatest Minds; and an Em­ployment fit for Persons of the most celebrated Valour and Courage; and no way proper for Men of dastardly and effeminate Spirits: For it must be acknowledged to be a work of some difficulty, to do this effectually. It be­ing much easier to subdue the Bodies, than the Passions of Men: For many are so wedded to their Lusts, that they account it as bad as Death to be separated from them; and would rather mortify their Bodies in the Literal sense, than to be depriv'd of their beloved Sin. For do we not daily see that Men will forgo Ho­nour, Reputation, Interest, Health, and the [Page 14] hopes of Heaven, rather than those Vices they have been accustomed to the practice of? It is in vain then to imagine, that the mere fears of the Execution of Human Laws should pre­sently restrain those, whom no fear of Hell or Damnation, could hitherto reform? How­ever there may, no doubt, be a means found out how this blessed Design may be perfected; how Vice may be brought into Disgrace, and Vertue become genteel and fashionable: And there cannot be better expedient, than good Examples; especially of those who are Men of Fortune and Grandeur: Let such as these set the Example, and there is no fear but they will soon be followed. For Vertue is as at­tractive as Vice, when it is recommended by the practice of Men of Riches and Authority: for whatever a Great Man practices, be it good or evil, it is mighty influential, and sel­dom fails of success: For, for the most part, (I know not how) it strikes Mens Eyes, and charms their Hearts and Affections into a Love first, and then into an Imitation of it.

But how powerful and efficacious soever great mens Examples may be to this purpose, yet this of it self will not do with all; for meer Examples, altho' of excellent use to men of ingenious minds, yet to others, they are not so, but are likened to Mercury-posts which stand in the Road and point to the right, but men will go which way they please not­withstanding.

But if Examples will not do, surely Laws will; and it cannot be denied but that we have excellent Laws against Vice and Debauchery, and there is as great an Encouragement for the Execution of them as was ever known in any Reign. But yet there is a just Complaint of a mighty Deluge of all sorts of Wickedness still among us; Are not Drunkenness, and Unclean­ness, Unrighteousness, and Oppression, Propha­nation of the Lord's day, and Contempt of Re­ligion, as common Vices now as ever? And don't we hear as horrid Oaths and tremendous Curses, and as great a Plenty of them, as we heard before that excellent Act was made for the suppressing of these Vices? Nay, How [Page 16] few of those whose Concern it is to see it done, are so hearty and zealous in punishing of them as they are required to be? And what should be the reason that there is no abate­ment of it all this while, especially at a time when Gratitude, if not our holy Profession, should oblige us to a Reformation? Why, it is easie to resolve all into the Corruption of human Nature; men are degenerated from the Vertues of their Ancestors, and are become feral and brutish: but this is a general An­swer which serves for all Times and Places, and may not be so peculiar to the present, but I shall assign one as much more probable and likely; which is, that the bad Examples of those who ought to reform others, bring Vice into fashion, and do thereby propagate and encrease the Practice of it. It is to little pur­pose therefore to talk of Laws, Religion, or Reformation, unless there be a Power made use of to restrain the Vices, alter the Customs, and change the Lives of Men.

Therefore to Examples and Laws the Ma­gistrate's Power must be added, which was originally ordained for this end; that is, to be both a Terror to those that do Evil, as well as an Encouragement to those that do well. And then the Apostle supposeth the Sword is not bore in vain, when the Magistrate is the Minister of God in this respect; a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil. But if they suffer this bold Commission of Sin to pass without Correction, it will ere long pull down the Vengeance of God upon the King­dom, and cause him to rain Fire and Brim­stone upon it, as he did upon Sodom and Go­morrha, till it be consum'd: And if it should happen that this or any other terrible judg­ment should be our fate, where can we lay the blame? Will it not lay at the door of the Magistrates and Officers of Justice; be­cause they might, but would not redress these Impieties. For it has always been an allow'd Maxim, That he who did not forbid Sin, when it was in his power, does in effect com­mand it. And he that doth not punish it, [Page 18] when it is in his power, encourages and up­holds it.

But the great evil and mischief of the Ma­gistrate's Neglect, in doing justice upon no­torious Offenders, will more fully appear from these following Considerations; because God is thereby dishonoured, Religion disparaged, the Government weakened, Authority dispis'd, and Atheism increas'd.

1st. First, I say, God is thereby dishonoured; when Vice and Immorality are countenanced, and tolerated in a Nation: or, which is all one, when they are conniv'd at, and uncorrected; Men will be apt to judge irreverently of God, and say, That if he do not take complacency and delight in such actions, yet he is not very highly provoked and offended with them. For, if he was, he would either shower down an immediate Vengeance upon the actors, as he did upon Hophni and Phineas, who for their Immorality and Lewdness, were taken off both in one day: Or else, he would denounce an heavy judgment against those, who had it in [Page 19] their power to restrain such Indignities, and affronts to the Divine honour, and yet were so negligent as to over-look them; as he did to old Eli and his House, so as utterly to can­cel and extinguish it.

Should Pagans and Infidels observe the de­baucheries of Christians, and how they escape without punishment, they would be apt to en­tertain mean and unworthy notions of the Deity whom we worship; that he is an im­pure or careless Being, and unconcerned for his Honour; otherwise he would never suffer such intolerable Abuses against his Divine and Sacred Person. Holiness and Purity are most essential to GOD; herein does his Image chiefly consist, and whoever acts in conformity to these Vertues, bears the nearest resemblance to his Heavenly Father, and may (in some sense) be said to dignify and illustrate the Deity whom he adores. And it is so accounted even by GOD himself, who takes it as an Honour done unto Him; and has promis'd to compen­sate such services with Honour, Those that ho­nour me, I will honour with God; (i. e.) Those [Page 20] who by Holiness of Life and purity of Man­ners, do profess to believe in me, such as these I would choose for my Votaries; for they are an Ornament to the Religion they profess, and a credit to the Numen they adore: But they that despise me, shall be lightly esteem'd, (i. e.) such as profess to know GOD, but in their works deny him; who own a GOD, and yet live as if there were none; who give them­selves up to a profane and irreligious temper of Mind, and let loose the reins to all sorts of wickedness in their Lives, such as the Sons of Eli were, who are said to be the Sons of Belial; that lived without yoke or restraint, who knew not the Lord. 'Tis true, GOD cannot be despis'd for his glorious Perfections; yet his Authority may be dispis'd, when Men presumptiously break his Laws, and do not regard what he hath commanded or forbidden them. And seeing he hath appointed an Or­der of Men for this purpose, to see his Com­mands executed, to punish Vice, and reward Vertue; he accounts it as a great affront done him, if they neglect it.

2ly. And as GOD is highly disho­noured, by such a sinful Neglect, so is Reli­gion no less disparaged and contemned. Some will be apt to take it for a cheat and imposture, and say, It is imposed upon Men for Secular and Politick ends, and no way conducive to the Honour of GOD, or the benefit of Souls. Whereas if the Magistrate did profess an aw and veneration for it, and act in conformity to his Profession; then most Men, especially such as are dependent on him, would be brought by his Authority, or won by his Ex­ample, into a love and liking of it. But when Magistrates are careless and indifferent them­selves, it makes others so too; and renders Religion as a mean and contemptible thing: When those whose main Duty it is to look af­ter it, who are constituted Guardians and De­fenders of it, do slight and neglect it, and will not concern themselves in restraining Immo­rality and Profaneness, the great blemishes of Religion; then will Men be apt to slight and ri­dicule it, and account it a thing of indifferency whether they are subservient to it, or no.

3ly. But this is not all; their Con­tempt does not stop here; they will at last de­spise Authority it self: What an insignificant thing is Power and Superiority, if it be not employed to the uses for which it was or­dained? And where it is not duly executed, it will at length be slighted and despised: It is a true Saying, Too much Familiarity breeds Contempt; but never more true than in re­spect of Magistracy and Ministry; a too great Freedom and Familiariry of Conversation, does very much depreciate and degrate these subblime and honourable Functions, and makes them disesteemed and neglected: whereas Strangeness and Distance, will create a reve­rential Aw and Deference in all accesses to them, and preserve that Honour and Dignity, which is justly owing to their Character.

4ly. Another evil Consequence of Care­lessness and Remissness in the Magistracy, is, because the Government is very much weak­ned, and made impotent thereby. The Sins of a Nation do naturaly tend the weakness and dishonour of it: Profaneness, Debauchery, [Page 23] and Vice, are not only the reproach of a People, but they are the readiest means to destroy it: who can deny that Luxury, Debauchery, and all sorts of Intemperance, not only sink the Reputation of a People; but also softens and effeminates them, and makes them careless, idle and regardless of any thing, but what conduces to Ease and Voluptuousness. In all probability, such a Nation cannot stand long; especially if it chance to be encountred by an­other of more Wisdom, Courage and Reso­tion, it will soon be overcome by it. So that it is plain, that such Sins as these have a na­tural efficacy in them of weakening the Power and Interest of a Kingdom. But there are other Sins, such as Profaneness, Contempt of GOD and Religion, common Swearing, Hy­pocrisy, Lying, &c. are the moral causes of a Nation's Ruin; and when the measure of the People's Iniquity is filled up, it will accord­ingly succeed with them; as it did with the Jews, who are now a Lo-ammi, that is, no more a People.

5ly. The fifth and last evil Consequence of Remissness in the Magistracy, is, that Sin is thereby increased and propagated; he that does not dread the power of a Magistrate, will make but little conscience of his Actions, but indulge himself in his Lewdness with all ima­ginable freedom and licentiousness, and suffer nothing to restrain him, till he has gone thro' all the classes of Impiety, and is become a great proficient in it: and having drown'd his Senses and his Reason, he is at last tempted to say with the fool in the Psalm, There is no God. And the Consequence of that, is to be corrupt and abominable, or to commit all Unclean­ness with greediness, in the Apostle's phrase. This is the pernicious effect of Sin, if it be not timely restrained and prevented: It is of so contagious and spreading a nature, that it pre­sently infects the whole Neighbourhood, dif­fuses it self from City to Country, and at last becomes Epidemical.

These are some of the mischievous Effects of Remissness in the Magistracy; by which it evidently appears to be most true, what was [Page 25] asserted in the general Proposition, That the Neglect of doing Justice upon Offenders, is one of the principal causes of that deluge of Vice and Immorality, which at this time over­flows the World.

Now the Application is as follows: If this then be the Cause of most of the Sin and Im­piety that abounds in the World, it does cer­tainly then very much concern all the Magi­strates, and Officers of Justice among us in this Kingdom, to use all due care to prevent the growth and increase of Atheism and Pro­faneness. Let them abandon that Popular and lukewarm Temper (which has been the cause of so much mischief, both to Church and State, for the future, and be more active and diligent in their Office; especially where the Glory of GOD, and the Interest of Re­ligion are struck at: they should blush to be found remiss and negligent in Executing the Laws, upon willful and notorious Offenders. To do so, is an argument they are too much in love with Sin themselves; otherwise they [Page 26] would be more careful to punish it in others. I wish I could lift up my Voice, and speak loud enough to awaken every one of them, and perswade them to be diligent and vigilant in their Office; to chastise all publick Offenders, and do Justice strictly upon those who disho­nour GOD, and are a scandal to Religion. Stir up your selves, and be zealous for your. GOD, as the Scripture speaks. Let not the Drunkards, the Blasphemers, the profaners of the Lord's-day, who despise his Worship and Service, go unpunished. Be just and impar­tial in all your Corrections; spare neither Re­lative, nor Dependent; let your Indignation be extended against Sin in general, and as often as you find it perpetrated, be sure to punish it. Discountenance Make-bates, and sowers of Discord among Brethren: reprove the Pro­fane and Common-swearer, and lay the Pe­nalty as often as you find him to offend. In a word, let the severity of the Law be exe­cuted against all open Wickedness.

And this indeed would be the most effe­ctual way, to produce a Reformation through­out the whole Kingdom. This would be the readiest way to make us an happy People. For tho' there might still be a great many sins com­mitted amongst us, in secrecy and under covert; yet they would not be National Sins, nor be imputed to us as a publick Guilt; but every Man should bear his own Iniquity. Whereas without such a Reformation as this, or an hearty and an honest Endeavour after it, all our Pretences to Religion, will serve only as so many marks of our Insincerity, and of the mean Opinion we have of GOD; as if he would be moved with such Services, wherein we present Him only the form and surface, and neglect the weightier concern of doing Justice, shewing Mercy, and walking humbly before Him. There cannot be a greater dis­honour done to His Divine Majesty, than to be unconcerned at the great Scandal that is cast upon Religion, by a bold and publick Profaneness, and to suffer it to escape with­out check or punishment.

It will be to no purpose for Ministers, to decry Vice in their Sermons, nor to divert from it in their Lives, if the Magistrate's Autho­rity do not second their Endeavours; for let them do the one never so powerfully, and the other never so regularly, yet it will be all in vain, without the concurrence of the Magistrate's Sword, to terrify and restrain them from Vice, and over-awe and compel them to Obedience.

And this is no private conjecture, or groundless surmise; but the wisdom of the Nation has concluded this to be the most ef­fectual means of suppressing that flood of Sin and Impiety, that at this time over­spreads the Kingdom; and have rightly ad­judged the cause of it to be want of Care and Diligence in the Magistrate, of putting the Laws in execution.

As you would therefore answer the great Ends of your sublime Order, omit no op­portunity of doing all that is conduceable [Page 29] thereunto: use your utmost Power to pro­mote the Honour of GOD, and the Inte­rest of Religion: And this cannot be better done, than by discountenancing all lewd and vicious Persons, and encouraging the Ver­tuous and Good. And above all, be most care­ful to avoid all the kinds, nay, and the very appearance of evil in your Lives and Actions: Consider the Dignity of your Character; the Scripture calls you Gods; and sure to answer that Character your must not only refrain your selves from all Wickedness in general, but also be eminent and exemplary in all holy Conversation and Godliness. Let your Light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glory your Father which is in Heaven. And let us constantly pray, as our Church directs in that pertinent branch of her Litany, ‘That GOD would be pleas'd to bless and keep the Magistrates, giving them Grace to execute Justice, and to main­tain Truth.’

And to close up all, let me exhort and beseech you, in the words of St. Paul, That every one that nameth the Name of CHRIST, would depart from Iniquity: As we expect the Blessing of Heaven upon us, and wish the Happiness of these Kingdoms, and that the great work of Reformation may go success­fully on; let us every one in our several Con­ditions, Stations and Places, set our selves se­riously against Vice and Wickedness, and la­bour to root it out. For not only our Tem­poral, but our Eternal Interest is depending on it: Which GOD give us all Grace to do, &c.


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