Salvation Improved: IN A SERMON Upon the 16th of April, 1696. Being the Day of SOLEMN THANKSGIVING For the Preservation of His Majesty's SACRED PERSON, from Bar­barous Assassination; and of this Kingdom, from French INVASION.

Preached at Oswestry, by J. O. Minister of the Gospel.

LONDON: Printed for I. Salusbury, at the Rising Sun in Cornhil, 1696.

SALVATION Improved: In a Sermon on the 16th of APRIL, 1696. Being the Day of Solemn THANKSGIVING, &c.

Psalm 144.10.

It is He that giveth Salvation unto Kings, who Delivereth David his Servant from the hurtful Sword.

THESE Words Recommend unto us, Two Remarkable Instances of Divine Providence.

First, Toward Kings in general, It is He, i. e. The Lord, That giveth Salvation unto Kings.

Secondly, Towards David in particular, Who Delive­reth David his Servant from the Hurtful Sword.

David the Man after God's own heart, had many Enemies; neither his Piety towards God, nor his Successes against the Common Adversaries of Israel, could secure him from the Plots and Conspiraces of Evil Men; among whom, his own Father-in-Law, King Saul, made the first Figure: But God [Page] [Page 3] [...] [Page 4]delivered him from the hurtful Sword of Saul, and other Enemies: No Weapon form'd against him Pros­pered; He wore a Protection against all the Attempts of Ungodly Persons, by vertue of his Relation to God, to whose Service he had Devoted himself, and under whose Umbrage he found Shelter: He was a Servant of God, which contributed more to his Safety, than his being King of Israel.

The Sense of the words may be summed up into this Proposition.

There is a Particular Providence, that concerns its self in the Preservation of Kings and Princes, espe­cially of such as are Good.

Royal Persons are Guarded and Attended by a Numerous Train of Armed Men; but their Salvation consisteth not in these: an Arm of Flesh, is no De­fence without God: Strong Guards have been the Ruin as well as the Support of Princes; as they are more exposed than other Men, so are they framed of the same mould with others; they are as suscepti­ble of Hostile Impressions as others, being Vessels of the same Clay with other Mortals, and easily crush'd and broken: The Almighty King will make them acknowledge sooner or later, That it is he that makes their Mountain Strong, Psal. 30.7. and if he hide his Face, they are Troubled.

There is a Providence to which all things owe their Conservation; the same power which produ­ced this Vast World, and its Innumerable Inhabi­tants,Neh. 9.6. Matt. 10.29. Upholds and Preserves them all: A Sparrow falls not on the ground without our Heavenly Father.

How much more doth the Divine Providence con­cern it self about Man? The Darling of Heaven; [Page 5]The Chief of God's Works: The Object of Re­deeming Love; For whose Salvation the Son of God Assumed Flesh: God stiles himself,Job 7.20. The Preserver of Mankind: It is his Prerogative, and our Priviledge.

He is the Saviour of all men, 1 Tim. 4.10. especially of those that Believe: They are his by Covenant, and he hath en­gaged all his Glorious Attributes, for their Defence and Salvation: He hath Promised to be with them in all Extreamities; and never to leave nor forsake them: The Lord preserveth the Faithful, Psal. 31: 23. saith the Royal Pro­phet; and in another place,Psal. 97.10. He preserveth the Souls of his Saints; he Delivereth them out of the hand of the Wicked: The same is acknowledged by Hannah in her Eucharistick Song;1 Sam. 2.9. He will keep the Feet of his Saints; that is, He will order their Steps, and Esta­blish their Ways; or as the Wise Man expresses it, He preserveth the way of his Saints. Prov. 2.8.

If there be such a Watchful Providence over Good Men, how much more over Good Princes? They have an interest, not only in that Providence which respects Good Men in Common, but in a more distin­guishing one, which is proper to themseves: It is Recorded as the peculiar favour of Heaven, to King David, That the Lord preserved David whithersoever he went. Isa. 8.6

'Tis True, If Princes forsake God, he also will for­sake them, and leave them destitute of desired help, when Distress and Anguish cometh upon them: Thus King Saul; having abandon'd himself to Vile and Un­manly Passions, was first given up to himself, and afterwards into the hands of his Enemies; when the Spirit of God had once left him,1 Sam. 16.14. it was not long un­til the Divine Protection also departed from him:1 Sam. 28.15. If Princes set themselves against God, he'll set his Face against them; and who can Deliver out of his hand? [Page 6] Who cuts off the spirit of Princes, and is Terrible to the Kings of the Earth. Psal. 76.12.

But Good Princes are the Special Care of Heaven; God is with them, his Eyes are upon them for good, his Angels Encamp round about them; they are as a signet upon his Right Hand, Isa. 22.23. which none can pluck thence: He fastens them as a nail in a sure place, and makes them a Glorious Throne to their Fathers House.

There is a particular Providence over them, First, In preventing Secret Conspiraces. Secondly, In Cover­ing them from Open and Publick Dangers.

First, In Preventing Secret Conspiracies: Though the Plots of Cunning Enemies, be laid as deep as Hell, and cover'd with Infernal Darkness; yet that All-see­ing Eye, before which, Hell is Naked, and Destruction hath no Covering, Penetrates into them, and exposes them to publick View.

Little did Moses and his Israelites, suspect the Se­cret Intreagues of Balac and the Princes of Moah, who were forming a Plot against them, under the con­duct of Balaam a false prophet; but the Vigilant Pro­vidence, which ever espouses the cause of Innocency and Truth, rebukes the madness of the Prophet, diverts his vile Inclinations, and converts his intended Imprecations, into Real Blessings.

There was a more Dangerous Plot against our Great Deliverer and our Protestant Israel; the Method was, To Assassinate his Royal Person, to destroy his Friends, to Involve these Nations in Blood and Mise­ry, to Overturn the Foundations of our Religion, Laws, and Liberties, and enslave us to the worst of Tyrants, the French King, and to a forward Instru­ment of his Cruelties, the Abdicated King James, who was ready to Invade us with a French Power, and to return like the Ʋnclean Spirit in the Gospel, [Page 7] with seven other Spirits more wicked than himself, to repossess his deserted Throne, whereby our last state would have been seven times worse than our first.

All this was managed with the greatest Secre­cy, until things were come to such a ripeness, that there wanted nothing but the Execution of an infallible design, as they called it; but blessed be God, it proved equally infallible with the Ro­mish Church, whose distinguishing Character is to extirpate the best of Christians, under the odious name of Hereticks.

Things were arrived to this perfection, and no visible hand at work to prevent the Fatal Stroke; we were in a deep security, as Sheep devoted to the slaughter, tied as it were to the Horns of the Altar, and ready to be Sacrificed.

But the Great Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls, the Prince of the Kings of the Earth, looked down from Heaven, troubled the Hosts of these Egypti­ans, and took off their Chariot-Wheels as they were driving on with the greatest Fury, and as­surance of Success.Ps. 2.4. He that sitteth in the Heavens did laugh, the Lord had them in derision. He Divi­ded their Tongues, Infatuated their Counsels, and made the sworn Instruments of the Kings Destru­ction, the happy means of preventing it. He sent a spirit of Jealousie among them, which occasion­ed the discovery of their execrable Intentions.Ps. 110.2. Thus Christ rules in the midst of his Enemies, and over­rules their Hellish Policies to his own Praise.Job. 5.12, 13 14, 15. He disappointeth the Devices of the Crafty, so that their Hands cannot perform their Enterprize: He takes the Wise in their own Craftiness, and the Counsel of the Froward it carried headlong.

When Balak practiced against Israel, and took Ba­laam for his Counsellor, neither the one or the o­ther thought of the French Method of hiring a company of Desperadoes to Assassinate Moses, who was a King in Jeshurun, and so prepare a way for an easie and inglorious Victory over Israel: No, that Heathen Prince judged it the best policy to en­gage his Gods on his side, and to expose Israel to a Prophetick Curse: The World then was too innocent to entertain such devilish projects. Royal Minds scorn such mean Arts of subduing their Adversaries. The Assassinating Invention owes its Original to latter, and more Brutish Ages; the name and thing are derived from the barbarous Saracens, among whom there is a Bloody Sect called Assassini, living under a Senior, or Ruler, whom they honour as a Prophet, by whom they are sent forth to murther such Princes as favour them not, promising themselves the reward of Immortality by him in all things, though with the loss of their Lives. They are Mahometans by profession, and one would be apt to think no other but a Mahometan were capa­ble of such Villany. Our Noble King Edward the first, when he was at Acon, was dangerously woun­ded by an Assassine, and had undoubtedly died of the Wound which the Saracen had given him with a poisoned Knife, had not Queen Eleanor, of im­mortal memory, sucked out the poison with her Tongue, when no Medicine could extract it. She licked his rankling Wounds, whereby they perfect­ly closed, and yet her self received no harm.

The Spirit of this Barbarous Sect is since en­ter'd into the Jesuits, and other Popish Orders, who have by their Writings, and Actions proved them­selves the genuine Off-spring of the Mahom tan [Page 9]Assassines. Henry the 3d. of France, and his Succes­sor, Henry the 4th. a great Prince, both fell by base assassinating. One would think the present French King, whose Grandfather was stabbed by Ravaillac, should above all Men abhor Assassinations, espe­cially towards a Prince who exposes his Person to the utmost hazards of Battle; but we have have strong Presamptions that the design upon King William's Life was carried on with his Knowledge and Approbation, nor could the late King be igno­rant of it, or less innocent than his mighty Guardian: For the Success of the intended Invasion depended upon the taking away of the Kings Life. The Army at Calais, under the Conduct of Monsieur Bou­flers, and K. J. waited only for the welcome news of the King's Death, to give Life to all their motions: The discovery of the Plot broke all their measures, and spoil'd the infallible design. The French King's Ambassadours at the Courts of Sweden and Portugal, and in some other Courts of Europe, gave sufficient hints of their knowledge of it. Besides,

Grandval, who was Executed in August, 1692. in Flanders, for being in Conspiracy to assassinate King William, confessed that he was put on by Mon­sieur Barbesieux, the French King's Secretary, who promised he should be made a Count, and by the late K. J. of whom he had Audience in Presence of his Queen, and was assured by him he should never want, provided he did his work effectually.

They who have been concerned in a design a­gainst the King's Life, may be justly suspected to have a hand in the late Conspiracy, which was undertaken in favour of them both, and who were like to be the Principal, if not only gainers by it.

2. There is a particular Providence over Princes, in covering them from open and publick dangers. King David often recognizeth the divine Good­ness in delivering him from his strong Enemies, even when they were too strong for him. They compassed him about like Bees, Ps. 18.17, and 118, 12. and were quenched as the fire of Thorns. When he was surrounded with the snares of Death, God made a way of escape for him. When good King Jehoshaphat was inclosed by the Syrian Army,2 Chro. 18.31. he cried out unto God, and he helped him, and moved them to depart from him.

King Richard the first, who was hunting careless­ly near Joppa, with a few of his Nobles about him, was surprized by a company of Turks, who lay in Ambushment for him, and had inevitably fallen into their Hands, had not one of the Com­pany,walsh. hypod. neustr. p. 454. William de Pratellis, cried out in the Turkish Language, That he was the King, which the Turks believing, carried him away in Triumph, and neg­lected the rest, whereby King Richard had his op­portunity of escaping their Hands, and returned safe to his own.

All Histories are full of Instances of a particular vigilancy of Providence over Princes, but no Age hath afforded more pregnant ones than those that concern the Person of our Illustrious King William. A Narrative of all the remarkable deliverances of his Life, would fill up a just Volumn.

None can be more conversant with dangers, none more secure in the midst of them: He walks without fear in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, [Page 11]he passes untouched through the midst of the E­nemy's Fire, guarded by invisible Powers, as the three young Men in the Fiery Furnace; he ad­vanceth with an Heroick Courage before the Mouths of roaring Canons, those Artificial Vulcano's, that vomit out Fire and Smoak, and flying Globes, the irresistible Messengers of a terrible and present death.

His trust is in the name of the Lord, which is a strong Tower, a Shield of defence, and a sure Re­fuge, which no adverse Power is able to penetrate. He believes that every Bullet has its Commission, 2 Kings 22.3 [...] and is directed by unerring Providence. This is not to ascribe events to a Turkish Fate, as his Enemies have invidiously and basely traduced him, but an entire dependance upon the Divine Will, to whose Conduct the most fortuitous Events ought to be a­scribed.

How wonderfully has God preserved him at the Boyn! A Canon-Ball gently salutes him, to give him a sensible Impress of his mortal state, and of his immortal Obligations to his Almighty Pre­server. In Flanders another Canon-Bullet dischar­ges its Fury against a Tree, where the King had been a few Minutes before. At the Siege of Namur, some fall at his Right-hand, some at his Left, while himself stands as an impregnable Mo­nument of Divine Power and Goodness.

The Lord hath delivered him in six Troubles, Job 5.19. yea in seven no evil hath touched him. Eliphaz reckons it among the Priviledges of a good Man,Job. 5.23. that he shall be in League with the stones of the field, that is, he shall be preserved from every hurtful thing. Stones in those ancient times were used in Wars, and did [Page 12]as much execution then as Bullets now.Judg. 20.16. and 9.53. * Josephus in his description of the Siege of Jotapata by Vespasian, saith, that the Stones that the Romans shot out of their Catapultae, and great Machines, destroyed whole Ranks of Soldiers together; and that the Head of one of his Men (for he was Governour of the place) was struck off with a great stone, and was carried three Furlongs distance with the violence of it. He adds, that a Big-bellied Woman was shot in the Belly, and the shattered Infant driven half a Furlong with the force of another Stone.

Thou shalt be in League with the stones of the Field, is as much as if he had said, No Weapon sormed against thee shall prosper, one Species of Warlike Instruments being put for all the rest.

King William may be said to be in League with Guns and Pistols, Ps. 91.12. with Swords and Pikes; he dashes not his foot against a Stone, but walks securely amidst the greatest, and seemingly insuperable dangers.

All this is owing to the Protection of Heaven, which attends all his Noble and Hazardous Under­takings.

He is raised by a singular Providence to be a De­liverer of oppressed Nations, and eminently shares in the Blessings he derives upon others by the di­stinguishing Deliverances which the Divine Favour hath wrought for him. The King trusteth in the Lord, Ps. 21.7. and through the Mercy of the Most High, he shall not be moved.

I shall give two Reasons for the Confirmation of the Truth before us, to wit, That there is a particular Providence which guards the Persons of Princes, especial­ly good Princes.

1. The first reason is taken from their near re­lation unto God. Princes are Terrestrial Gods, they partake in some measure of the Divine perfections, are illustrated with some Beams of the excellent Glo­ry; their persons are Sacred, and have visible Cha­racters of Majesty upon them.

Dominion over Creatures of an inferiour rank,Gen. 1.27.28. is part of God's Image upon Man; Dominion o­ver Men is a more excellent resemblance of God, the supreme Rector of the World.

For this reason Princes are called Gods, Ps. 82.6. I said ye are Gods, by office, not by nature. They are Men by Nature, as it is in the following words, v. 7. Ye shall dye like Men: But by Office they are Gods. God puts his Name upon them,Vox [...] ut notant He­braei, sive de Deo sumatur, sive de hominibus sive de Angelis, judiciariam pote­statem sufficat. Grot. in Ex­od.vid Schinler and invests them with power and Authori­ty for the Administration of Ju­stice, the protection and encou­ragement of those that do well, and for the pu­nishment and terror of Evil Doers. They are ho­nourable Ministers of the Eternal King, deputed by him, and entrusted with the Government of this Lower World. Hence Subjects are required to Ho­nour them next unto God, to obey them in the Lord, Fear God, Honour the King: And in another place,Exod. 22.28. Thou shalt not revile the Gods, nor Curse the Ruler of thy People. Sometimes we Translate the Word Elohim, Judges, as in Exod. 21.6. Then his Master shall bring him unto the Judges, [...] unto the Gods,2 Chron. 19.6. so called, because they judge not for Man, but for the Lord.

Earthly Princes think themselves obliged to support and defend their Officers of State;Turg. [...] coram judices. how much more doth the King of Glory exert a particular Concern for his Vicegerents upon Earth?

They are Gods, not absolute and independent Persons. It is the Prerogative of the Eternal to be Absolute and Unlimited.Dan. 5.23. Rulers over Men are Subjects to God, in whose Hand their Breath is, and whose are are all their Ways. Ps. 18. King David reckons it his highest Honour to be the Servant of the Lord.

God's Government in the World is Absolute, his Will is Sovereign, and the only measure of all good and evil; and it must needs be so, for he is infinitely Wise, essentially and immutably Good. His excel­lent Wisdom secures him from all possibility of erring or mistaking; his transcendent Goodness from all pos­sibility of abusing his Power to the hurt of any. But this cannot be said of any created Being, much less of Man, who is miserably degenerated from his Original Purity and Perfection. The wisest of Men know but in part, the best of Men are imperfectly good. It was Man's first Apostacy from God to co­vet to be as Gods, supreme and absolute. By aspiring too high, and invading the Prerogatives of his Ma­ker, he fell below himself, and became like the Beasts that perish. Ps. 49.20. The most absolute of Princes are the most brutish of Men, they Tyrannize over their e­masculated Subjects, and with an Appetite worse than brutish, devour those of their own kind.

None aspires more to Absoluteness than the Prince of the power of the Air, who boldly usurps the Divine Properties, assumes the incommunicable Attributes of the Infinite Being, and exerciseth a Tyrannical Dominion over a great part of the sinful World, to the ruin and destruction of Mankind. He is there­fore called Apollyon, Rev. 9.11. or the Destroyer.

They that assume the same Power, imploy it for the same Ends, and entitle themselves to the same Name; only they have this disadvantage of him, [Page 15]that they are not Immortal as he is; these Infernal Gods shall dye like Men, and they rarely dye the common Death of other Men. They forfeit the divine Protection, and perish in their own Iniquity. Wilt thou yet say before him that slayeth thee, I am God,Ezek. 8.2 [...]. but thou shalt be a Man and no God in the Hand of him that slayeth thee.

But good Princes account it their greatest Happi­ness to resemble the Divine Goodness, to make the Established Laws the Rule of Government, and to direct all their Actions to the publick Good. They have no Interest of their own, distinct from their Subjects; they are Fathers of their Country, and naturally care for it; they are Heads of the Political Body, and derive Life and Vigour to all the Members of it, except it be some gangren'd parts, which should be cut off, lest the whole be infected, and endanger­ed by them. While proud Tyrants affect to be like the most High, it's the only Ambition of Pious Princes to be like the most Holy. They know themselves to be but Men, and that it is their Interest to be under the protection of Heaven, which is never wanting to them. The Lord delivered me, saith King David, Ps. 18.19, [...] because he delighted in me; the Lord rewarded me accord­ing to my Righteousness, according to the cleanness of my Hands hath he recompensed me.

2. There is a particular providence which guards the persons of good Princes, because they are publick Blessings to the World. This World cannot subsist without the Benefit of Government. The Life of all Societies is their Order and Subordination to Law­ful Rule. The best part of Mankind would soon be swallowed up by the worser part, were it not for the restraint of Humane Laws, which have a greater Influence upon them than the Laws of [Page 16]God; and the surviving part would afterwards de­stroy each other by mutual depredations, did not the Laws set Bounds to the Brutal Appetites of un­reasonable Men.

The enjoyment of Liberty and Property under the favourable Influences of good Rulers, is one of the most valuable of Temporal Blessings. It is an unaccountable Stupidity in a sort of People among us, to prefer the Garlick and Onions of Egypt before the Showers of Manna that fall about our Tents; to prefer French Slavery, which is worse than Turkish, before English Liberty; to prefer the Common Enemy of Europe, before the Generous Assertor of it's just Rights; Would you think it, that any Per­sons that wear the name of Protestants should reck­on themselves aggrieved under the best of Protestant Princes, and seek their relief from the worst of Popish Princes? Good God! what a Spirit of Infatuation has possessed these Men? They are to be pittied as Men besides themselves, and pray'd for, that God would open their Eyes, to see the things of their peace, before they be hid from them. They are homines ad ser­vitutem nati, born to enslave themselves and Poste­rity. But thanks be to God, they are but a small part of the English Nation, and generally the worser part of English Protestants.

I hope we are sensible what Blessings we enjoy un­der the present Government, and what duties we owe unto it in our several Stations.

Good Princes are as useful in their kind as the Sun in the Firmament.2 Sam. 23.3, 4. He that rules in the fear of God, is as the Light of the Morning, when the Sun riseth, e­ven a morning without Clouds.

Princes are the pillars of the Earth, upon which it stands.2 Sam. 2.8. The Pillars of the Earth are the Lords, and [Page 17]he hath set the World upon them. When one of these Pillars falls, the whole frame of the Building is sha­ken, and in danger of being overturned, the Earth, Ps. 75.3. and all the Inhabitants thereof are dissolved, as the Royal Prophet speaks.

Vertuous Princes are like the Pillars in Solomon's Temple, whereof the one was called Jachin, i. e. he will establish; the other Boaz, that is, in him is Strength; their strength is in God, and it is he that Establisheth them.

In another place they are called the Shields of the Earth; The Shields of the Earth belong unto God. Ps. 47.8. Shields are for defence, all Princes ought to be so, good Princes are so. Now these belong unto God, he has a Propriety in them, and they depend upon him. He makes them Shields unto us, and he is a Shield unto them. He shields our very Shields.

Our Lives are bound up in the Life of our King.Lam. 4.20. He is the Breath of our Nostrils, and under his Shadow we shall live among the Heathen.

Precious in the Sight of the Lord is the Life of all his Saints,Ps. 116.15. how much more precious is that ine­stimable Life, in which are involved so many Thou­sands of useful Lives! What was said of David, may be truly affirmed of our renowned King William, Thou art worth ten thousand of us.

Let us improve this Truth.

1. For Thankfulness, God hath wonderfully pre­served the Person of our Gracious King from the barbarous contrivances of ungodly Men.Ps. 21.11. They i­magined a mischievous device, Ps. 64.26. whch they are not able to perform. God hid him from the secret Counsel of the Wic­ked, from the Insurrection of the workers of Iniquity. They [Page 18]search out Iniquities, Iuvestigarunt vias nobis nocendi. Grot. in loc. that is, they set all their wits at work to find out the methods of destruction: They accomplished a diligent search. Their Counsels were brought to a great maturity and perfection; none but he in whose Hands are all the ways of Men, could have prevented the execution of them.Prov. 19.21. Many are the devices of Man's Heart, but the Counsel of the Lord that shall stand. How weak and ineffectual are the endeavours of Politic Men to obstruct it; they con­sider not,Prov. 21.30. that there is no wisdom, nor understanding, nor Counsel against the Lord. When the Lord comes to save his People, he doth it in such a manner, as that he alone may be exalted in that day. The Work is done not by might, Zach. 4.6. or by Power, but by his Spirit, that we may cry, Grace, Grace, unto it. The Spirit of the Lord hath the Hearts and Thoughts of all Men in his Power, and turns them as Rivers of Water. He search­eth the deep things of Man, unlocks the most reti­red apartments of the Soul, and brings to light the hidden things of darkness.

None would engage in so barbarous a design a­gainst his his Majesty's Sacred Person, but such as had cast off all fear of God, had extinguished all prin­ciples of Vertue and Humanity, and were desperate­ly resolved to accomplish their Intentions: But be­hold an instance of the Dominion of God over the Thoughts of Men, he unravels their hellish Counsels, inspires new Thoughts into some of the Conspira­tors, and makes them the instruments of a happy Dis­covery, in the very juncture of time, when all their Measures were concerted, and the Hellish Assassines were ready to perform their Enterprize. We may say with David, Ps. 20.6. and 21, 1. Now know I that the Lord saveth his Anointed. The King shall joy in thy strength, O Lord, and in thy Salvation how greatly shall he rejoice!

O the depth of the Riches of Divine Wisdom, and Goodness, how unsearchable are his Judgments, and his ways past finding out! The Squadron intended last Win­ter to join Sir George Rook at Cadiz could not sail for want of Wind. God foresaw what need we should have of them at home to guard our Coasts against the French, who might easily have landed upon us, and doubtless would have improved their advantage, had that Squadron been out of the way.

Our Deliverance should the rather excite our Thankful­neses because,

1. It was unexpected. We were upon the brink of Ruin, and knew it not. An invisible Cloud was rea­dy to discharge it self upon us in Fire and Brimstone, and an Horrible Tempest, when our Heavens seemed clear over our Heads. We might have been surpriz'd with Sicilian Vapours, or a Bartholomew Supper. This Island might have been Swimming in a Deluge of Innocent Blood. and become the sad Monument of French and Popish Cruelties. When those Monsters of Barbarity had murthered our Renowned King, the next Attempt would have been to destroy his nume­rous and well-affected Subjects; Head and Members must have undergone the same Fate. Bless the Lord, Ps. 103. [...]. O our Souls, and all that is within us bless his Holy Name. When he turned back our Captivity, we were like them that dream, our Deliverance was so surprizing and astonishing, that we could scarce believe our own Senses. God prevented us with the Blessings of Goodness, and his own Right-H and wrought Sal­vation, when we neither foresaw our Danger, nor could provide against it.

2. It is an undeserved deliverance. We are a sinful Nation, a People laden with Iniquity, and it is of the Lord's Mercies that we are are not Consumed. [Page 20]He consulted the Honour of his great Name that is called upon us, and would not give his glory to another, nor his Praise to graven Images.

All the great Deliverances of the Church are Ef­fects of Sovereign Mercy, rejoicing against Judg­ment.Ezek. 20.14.22. When God delivered Israel out of Egypt, he found them in their Blood and Filth, polluted with the Abominations of the Egyptians; yet in the fulness of time,Exod. 12.4 [...]. the Decree brought forth, and the promise of Deliverance had an infallible Accomplishment. God's Truth in keeping Covenant, runs parallel with his Mercy in making Covenant.

The Deliverance from the Babylonish Captivity found the People unprepared, as Daniel confesseth. All this Evil is come upon us, yet made we not our Prayer before the Lord our God, Dan. 9.13. that we might turn from our Iniquities, and understand thy Truth. God deferred his Anger for his Names sake, and chose them in the Fur­nance of Affliction, Isa. 48.9.10 before they were refined from their Dross.

Our Eternal Salvation from the Wrath of God, our Temporal Salvation from the Wrath of Men, flow from the same spring of undeserved Mercy and Grace.

3. It is a Deliverance scarce to be parallelled. One of the greatest Deliverances upon English Records is that from the Gunpowder-Treason, of which we retain as grateful Impression, being Annually revived in our so­lemn Commemoration of it; but our present Delive­rance may seem in some respects to transcend that. That Plot was the Act of a few comparatively, this was carried on by a vast Multitude: That was manag'd by professed Papists, this by Nominal Protestants in Conjunction with Papists: That by a Faction of despicable Priests and Jesuits, this by persons of Note [Page 21]and Figure: That was levelled against the Reform'd Religion as such, this both against our Religion, and civil Liberties, by subjecting us to a French Power: Had that taken, effect it might have hazarded the Pro­testant Interest in one Nation, had this prevailed, it might have been the extirpation of the Protestant Churches throughout all Europe. The French King had grown invincible, had in a little time over-run the Empire, reveng'd himself upon Holland, made the two Northern Crowns submit to his own Terms, and had gloried in more extensive Conversions than those in his own Kingdom, effected by the irresistible Mini­stry of his Booted Apostles. He would have acquired a personal Right to the Title of Most Christian King that was conferr'd by the great Antichrist of Rome, Pope Julius the Second, upon his Ancestor, Lewis the XII, to encourage him to persecute and destroy the poor Waldenses. But blessed be God, who has not deliver'd us up as a Prey to his Teeth: Ps. 124.6, 7. Our Soul is escaped as a Bird out of the Snare of the Fowler; the Snare is broken, and we are escaped.

We may say of this Deliverance, compared with that of the Gunpowder-Treason, what is said of the Deliverance from Babylon, compared with that from Egypt, that the latter should obscure the Glory of the former.Jer. 16.14 15 It shall no more be said, the Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel out of the Land of E­gyt; but the Lord liveth that brought up the Children of Israel from the land of the North.

2. Let us improve this Deliverance as a motive to Obedience and Holiness. Let's Sin no more, lest a worse thing befal us. The design of God's Goodness is to lead us to Repentance. If we turn not from our evil ways, God will set his Face against us for E­vil: If we improve not Mercies, we must feel the [Page 22]smart of Judgments. They that will not learn Righteousness by the gentle Methods of God's Pati­ence and Kindness, must expect to be taught as the Men of Succoth, Judg. 8.16. with Thorns of the Wilderness, and with Briers.

Deceive not your selves with Carnal Confidences, say not,Jer. 7.4; 9, 10 the Temple of the Lord are these: Will ye Steal, Murther, and commit Adultery, and swear falsly,— and say, We are Delivered to do all these Abominations? Trust not to Gospel priviledges in the neglect of Gospel Holiness. Former Deliverances will not secure us from future Ruin, if we harden our selves in a sinful way.Gra. 14.17. and 19.24. The Men of Sodom were rescued from Captivi­ty by Abraham's Sword, not long before they were utterly Consum'd by Fire and Brimstone from Hea­ven. Unbelieving, and Impenitent Israel perished in the Wilderness after their miraculous deliverance from Pharoah's Oppressions. St. Jude urgeth this Con­sideration upon the Christians as an Argument for perseverance in the Faith of the Gospel. Ye once knew this, jud [...] 4. how that the Lord having saved the People out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that be­lieved not.

God forbid that all our great Deliverances should be lost upon us, and be of no other use unto us but to encrease our guilt, and aggravate our punishment. O be not like unthankful Israel, Ps. 106.12, 13. who, after they had Sung the Praise of God their Saviour, soon forgot his Works.

God hath promised that upon Mount Zion shall be De­liverance, Obad. 17. and there shall be Holiness. He hath gi­ven the former Blessing, and will not with-hold the latter from them that seek him. Our Iniquities have retarded the Progresses of our Deliverance, and have provoked God to turn us back to this Wilderness, when we we were within Prospect of the desired rest. [Page 23]The Principles of Christianity are by some neglected as useless, by others rejected as inconsistent with the dictates of their depraved Reason. They consider not that it is not only most reasonable, but most neces­sary, that our imperfect, and erroneous Understand­ings should receive Laws of Truth from Infinite Wis­dom, as our Rebellious Wills do Laws of Holiness from the Divine Goodness.

The Practice of Heathenish Morality, which is all the Christianity that many pretend to, is wofully lost among us. The Sobriety, Chastity, and Uprightness of many Heathens, will rise up in Judgment with, and Condemn a Drunken, Unclean, and Hypocriti­cal Generation. Who can express the Abominations of our Land? What Oaths, what Blasphemies, what Immoralities abound among us? How boldly do guilty Wretches challenge the most Righteous Judge to damn them? Alas, his Holy Law hath Condemned you already, and art thou Impatient of a short Re­prieve? Some professed Protestants lead such Lives as if they were listed under the Prince of Darkness, to fight against Heaven.

God expects that so signal a Mercy as we enjoy this day should melt our Hearts, and effectually oblige us to a Reformed Course.

No sooner were the People come out of Egyptian Bondage, Exod 15. [...]. but they were call'd to renew their Co­venant with God. Let us say with Ezra, Seeing that thou, our God hast given us such Deliverance as this, Should we again break thy Commandments? Wouldst thou not be angry with us till thou hadst Consumed us, so that there should be no remnant nor escaping?

Hapy are the People, whom God delivers at once from their Distresses, and from their Sins, the procu­ring Causes of them. It is a poor Victory to subdue [Page 24]our Enemies, and continue Slaves to our own Lusts. A Servant of Sin is the vilest Slave in nature. The ra­tional Powers which should command, are subject to Brutish Passions, which entangle the Sinner in the snare of the Devil, who leads him Captive at his Will. Look unto your Eternal Deliverer, the Lord Jesus Christ, if he makes us free, we are free indeed.

Set upon the subduing of your Sins, and you have overcome your most dangerous Enemies. The Lusts of the Flesh war against the Soul, they are dangerous Enemies to its Purity, Peace, and Everlasting Happi­ness.Jam. 4.1. Whence come VVars and Fightings among you, saith the Apostle, come they not hence, even of your Lusts that war in your Members.

Mortifie these in your selves, and you shall have Peace within; Pray that God would mortifie them in others, that the blessing of Peace may be restor'd to the oppressed Nations, who are made a Sacrifice to the boundless Ambition, and bloody Rage of defigning Men.

Be importunate at the Throne of Grace for the Life of our Great and Good King William, for a Blessing up­on his Councils, and for the success of his Arms a­gainst his, ours, and God's Enemies. Let us serve the Lord with a willing Mind, that we be not made to serve our Enemies against our Wills. The Lord threatens Israel, that they shall be Servants to the King of Egypt, that they may know his Service, and the Service of the Kingdoms of the Countries. Such as are weary of the easie Yoke of Christ, may have their Necks gall'd with the Iron Yoke of Antichrist.

Is it the Lord that giveth Salvation unto Kings? Let's contribute our best endeavours to support the present Government. God usually saveth Kings and Kingdoms by the Agency of Second Causes. Its rare­ly, if ever, he Saves a People against their Wills. His [Page 25]Majesty never declines emergent Dangers, but expo­ses his Sacred Person upon all occasions for our De­fence, and shall we decline the duty we owe him up­on any Prospects of hazard?

Let's chearfully pay our Taxes, as heavy as they seem to be, they are absolutely necessary for the car­rying on a just War in defence of our Religion and Liberties, which ought to be dearer to us than our Estates, than our Lives.

Let's unanimously join with our Reprosentatives in Parliament in defence of his Majesty's Person and Go­vernment: Let's unanimously joyn with the rest of our Fellow Subjects, who give fresh assurances of their Loyalty, and firm adherence to the Government in this difficult time: Let's joyn with the Great Body of true-hearted Protestants through all his Majesty's Dominions. Our Union is our Strength. Nothing can ruin us but our Divisions. The Experience of most Ages hath evidenced the Truth of that Maxim, A Kingdom divided against it self cannot stand.

The divisions of the old Britains subjected them at first to the Roman Yoke. Dum singul. pugnant, In Agr. co vit. 12. om­nes vincuntur, saith Tacitus. While they were quar­relling among themselves, Caesar comes and decides the Controversie, by a Conquest of all. The Dissen­tions of Androgeus and Cassivellan rulned the Kingdom.

The discontents and Animosities of the Jews, ren­dred them an easie Prey to Antiochus Epiphanes, who miserably persecuted them, caused the daily Sacrifice to cease, set up the abomination of Desolation in the Holy Temple,Joseph. de bel. Jud. lib. cap. 1. Antiq. XII. 6. and ruin'd all the Country by an un­parallel'd Cruelty. The Sons of Tobias to be reveng'd of Onias the Priest, who had banish'd them out of the City, invite over Antiochus, (as some do now the French King) who being glad of the occasion, inva­ded [Page 26]the Country with a great Army, destroy'd all be­fore him, interdicted the Profession of the true Re­ligion,Jos. de bell. Jud. VI. 11. and set up Heathenish Idolatry.

The discords of Aristobulus, and Hircanus brought Pompey to Jerusalem, by whom they were made a Roman Province.

Palestine was lost to the Turks by the unhappy di­visions of the Christians, who had been possessed of it about an hundred Years, after they had recover'd it at a prodigious expence of Blood and Treasure.

Upon the Death of Baldwin the Fifth, whom his Mother poyson'd to advance Guy, her second Husband to the Throne, they fell at variance, and were ready to turn their Swords upon each other; of which Sa­ladin, the Egyptian Sultan, taking the advantage, won many Cities, in a Bloody Battle overthrew the Chri­stians,Turk. Hist. cap. 2. took Prisoners the King, most of his Nobles, and the great Master of the Templars, which broke the Strength of the Christians in Syria, and after four­teen days he took Jerusalem.

If we look into our own Histories, what woful Tragedies have our own Divisions been productive of? The discords of the English brought in the Nor­mans, and subjected this Nation to the Sword of a Forreign Conqueror.

Upon the Death of Edward the Confessor, the Na­tion was divided about his Successor, some were for Edgar Atheling, the rightful Heir, others for Harold, Earl Goodwin's Son, others for William Duke of Nor­mandy, to whom King Edward had promised the Eng­lish Crown. At length Harold possessed himself of the Crown, but enjoyed it not long. The Norman Duke invaded England, being attended with the Pope's Benediction, and the good Wishes of the Cler­gy, who then depended on him, and were disaffected [Page 27]to King Harold, for the Wrongs done unto Robert Archbishop of Canterbury, by him and his Father. Harold was slain in a Bloody Battle, in which above sixty Thousand English fell. The Conqueror advan­ces to London, was Crown'd by the Archbishop of York, the Clergy and People swear to him, and he to them: But he was no sooner established in the Throne, but he enslaved the English, gave their Estates to his Normans, extirpated the ancient Nobility, and so grievously oppressed the Commons, that many of them forsook their Houses, and lived in the Woods by Theft and Robery, preferring the naked name of Freedom before their Inheritances under the misera­ble Tyranny of their Conquerors. vid. Matth. West minst. ap. 433 ad sin. lib. 1. and init. 2. lib Others truckled under their new Masters, endured the heavy Yoke, and durst not complain, lest it should be made yet heaver. He seized the chiefest Offices of Ho­nour and Profit into his own hands, and gave them to Strangers; he receiving Hostages of those that were Potent, and sent them to Normandy, he dis-arm'd all the Natives of the Land; he forbad all Night Meet­ings, and obliged the English to cover their Fire at eight a Clock at Night, at the ringing of a Bell, which is yet call'd Couvre lefeu; he sent the Nobility to his Wars beyond the Seas; he obliged the Com­monalty to turn Soldiers, and by them he fought his sharpest Battles in Normandy, and France, he impove­rish'd the Laity by oppressive Taxes, and Forfeitures; he robb'd the Clergy of their richest Plate and Orna­ments; he published his Laws in French, and took advantage of Peoples Ignorance of them; he amass'd into his own Exchequer the Treasures of this Realm, ruin'd whole Villages and Towns, several Churches and Chappels to make a Forest of, seized into his [Page 28]Hands all the Chases and Forests of this Kingdom.

Thus God brought low the English Nation by their own divisions, and fondness of a French Prince. Can we expect better Treatment from the present French King, than our Ancestors did from the Norman Ba­stard? Will not his little Finger be heavier than the o­ther's Loins?

King Lewis is a professed Enemy to our Holy Re­ligion, and glories in the unchristian, and barbarous Methods, by which he has perverted, or ruined near two Millions of his Protestant Subjects; and can Eng­lish Protestants promise themselves Protection from such a Prince? Will he be more favourable to Stran­gers and Enemies than to his Native Subjects, who were his fast friends, and by whose Loyal Arms he was established in his Throne?

Is he like to assert the liberties of Englishmen, who has left none to his own Frenchmen? It's obvious to all Men of Common Sense, that the late King cannot return but by a French Power, which will prove destructive to our Religion, Laws, and Liherties, none therefore but an Enemy to all these, can wish his Restauration.

FINIS.

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