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BRITAIN's REMEMBRANCER.

BEING Some Thoughts on the proper Improvement of the present Juncture.

The Character of this Age and Nation.

A brief Viow from History, of the Effects of the Vices which now prevail in Britain, upon the greatest Empires and States of former Times.

Remarkable Deliverances this Nation has had in the most imminent Dangers; with sui­table Reflections.

Some Hints, shewing what is in the Power of the several Ranks of People, and of every Individual in Britain, to do toward securing the State from all its Enemies.

THE SEVENTH EDITION

LONDON: Printed.

PHILADELPHIA: Re-printed by GODHARD ARMBRISTER for B. L. and are to be sold by him, and the Printer hereof, 1748.

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The PUBLISHER to the READER.

THE great Demand for this Pamphlet sufficiently shews how acceptable it is to the Publick; the Number printed in England being above 4000 besides an Impression in Scotland, and the Sale still in­creasing. That a Piece which tends to recommend serious Religion, should be so well received, will doubtless, give Pleasure to every good Man, and Lover of his Country. I beg Leave only to add the Reverend Mr. BARKER'S Opinion of it, in his Sermon occasioned by the Victory obtained over the Rebels at CULLODEN, in the Note, p. 22. where he says, ‘See a Pamphlet called BRITAIN'S RE­MEMBRANCER, which takes notice of this and so many Things more relating to this Rebellion, and proper for the right Improvement of the present State of our Affairs, that I cannot but wish it in every Family; and that it might be very attentively read and considered. I know not the Author, but I take this Opportunity, publickly and heartily to thank him for his ex­cellent Performance.’

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BRITAIN'S REMEMBRANCER, &c.

DEAR COUNTRYMEN,

THIS Address comes to your Hands at a Time * when it is to be hoped you are a little, come to yourselves, and may be spoke to, if you will bear being spoke to at all. When publick Calamities have been striking Terror into a Peo­ple, and the Dread of a general Ruin hastening upon them has forced them on thinking, then seems to be a proper Season for suggesting to them Thoughts of a Kind too serious and important to be listned to in Times of Peace and Tranquility, or in the giddy Hours of Mirth and Wantonness, To lay before you what I think the proper and necessary Considerations upon such a Juncture as this, and endeavour as well as I can to direct you to that Improvement of it which may be worthy of a wise and great, as well as a pious and Christian Nation, is the only Intention of this Application to you. And if there has been any Juncture within the Period of these last thirty Years, that might give any Hopes of gaining your Attention to wholesome Advice, methinks this is it; and therefore I am not without Hopes, that what I shall say on this Occasion, will have some Effect upon you, and tend less or more to your Advantage. But, however it may succeed with regard to you, I am sure it will turn out no way to my own Disadvantage another Day, which is Encouragement enough to me to proceed in it.

[Page 4]If in any Part of this little Tract, the natural Warmth of my Imagination, my Zeal for the Cause I engage in, or an Excess of Concern for my Country, should give Occasion to my using any Expressions that may appear to one Sort of Readers too much ex­aggerated or heightened; I hope the unquestionable Sincerity of my Intention will plead my Excuse.

First, I think I may safaly lay it down for a Truth capable of Demonstration, that if there is a God in Heaven, who by his Pro­vidence over-rules the Revolutions and disposes the Fates of Na­tions, according to his Pleasure, raising one to Grandeur, and humb­ling another to the Dust; then it is plain from two of the necessary Attributes of his Nature, Wisdom and Goodness, that whatever Distresses he brings upon the Kingdoms of the Earth, he brings them for no other End than the Punishment of Guilt, and the moral Im­provement of Mankind. It is plainly impossible, that any Evil can arise in the World against the Will of a Being of infinite Wis­dom and Power; for by means of his Wisdom he must of necessity know whatever arises in the World, and by his Power must be able to prevent it if he pleased; therefore there is no satisfactory Ac­count to be given how Wars. Famine, Pestilence, and other Afflic­tions come upon Mankind, but by concluding, that they are per­mitted or sent by the Almighty for the Punishment of his disobedi­ent Creatures, or for Warnings to call them to Repentance and Reformation.

There is indeed another Purpose for which one Particular Kind of Calamity has been permitted, I mean Persecution; and that is, for the Trial of the Faith and Constancy of pious Men. But when War, Famine, or Pestilence are sent upon a People, who have for­got God, and given themselves up to Folly and Wickedness, then it is plain they are intended as seasonable and rouzing Alarms, to call the Thoughtless to Repentance, and as Scourges to punish the da­ringly Impious, Since the Conclusion of the Prophetic and Apostolic Ages, the Almighty Governor of the World has used no other Me­thod for working out his important Ends of reforming or punishing wicked Nations, than by threatning or actually inflicting upon them such Judgments as will severely distress them; the natural Effect of which is to put them upon flying to something divine, for that Relief which they find nothing human will yield.

[Page 5]When the Almighty, of his great Mercy and Forbearance to a sinful People, instead of bringing upon them the Punishment due to their Wickedness, does but threaten the Blow, without inflicting it; when he brings a Nation to the very Gates of Destruction, and by Means wholly out of human Power, delivers them in a signal and remarkable Manner; then does it highly concern that Nation wisely to regard the Hand that has thus conspicuously exerted itself [...] their Deliverance, and to consider what important Lesson is intended to be taught by such a remarkable Interposition; lest, if they slight these Warnings too often, the Patience and Forbeatance of the best of Beings be at last provoked against them, so that he determine again to bring them into Danger and Fear as formerly, but not as formerly to deliver them.

You have, my dear Countrymen, in one Season been threatned with two heavy National Calamities, viz. a Dearth of Corn, and a bloody intestine War. As to the first, every one remembers, that the Fall of Rains last Summer was so severe, and of so long Con­tinuance, that the whole Harvest of the Year was generally given over for lost, and it is certain, that a very few Weeks more Rain had entirely cut it off. But that Mercy, which we have never deserved, interposed in the Time of our Distress. The Almighty shewed us how entirely we were in his Power; what we might expect, if we did not take timely Warning; and at the same Time how loth he is to treat Mankind as they deserve. We let this Threatning go as it came, without shewing any Regard to it. And yet he forgave us and spared us. He scattered his Clouds by the Breath of his Winds; he commanded his Sun to shine and his Hea­vens again to smile upon us: the Earth yielded her Fruits, the Poor rejoiced in the Prospect of Plenty, and he crowned the Year with his Goodness.

You have likewise very lately seen the Sword let loose amorgst you, and have been put in Fear of its coming home to each of your own Bosoms. You have seen the daring Emissary of a Popish Pre­fender presume to invade this peaceful Island, unused to Scenes of Violence and Blood, and with a Crew of lawless Rebels threaten Ruin and Destruction to your civil and religious Liberties, and Sla­very, Persecution and Death with Tortures, to all who should refuse to make Shipwreck of a good Conscience. You saw this Rebel Rout over-run and conquer a very considerable Part of your Country [Page 6] a great and populace City, and a Body of your regular Forces, All this you saw with Terror and Amazement. Confusion filled every Heart, and Paleness covered every Face. You loked when this bloody Crew with hasty Marches should arrive at your Metro­polis, and lay the Glory of the greatest City in the World in Dust, You dreaded every Day the Arrival of a French Army on your Coasts, well knowing that it was under the Umbrage of that restless and ambitious Nation, the Rival of your Greatness, and the old Disturber of your Peace, that the cursed Scheme was framed. You saw yourselves wholly destitute of Forces to defend you against the Enemy already in your Country, and much more against the united Force of the rebellious Crew, and an Army from France to second them. Then did French Tyranny, Popery and Persecution, Present themselves to your Eyes. Then did you view your Country as already filled with Blood, with Fire and Desolation, a general Massacre begun, and the British Empire destined for a Province to France. And had they not been infatuated by Heaven to consume so long a Time in the North, instead of hurrying on towards London, immediately after the Defeat of the Army, what Numbers from every County in England would have flocked in to them, flushed as they were with their first Success, who can pretend to say? And had we not all the Reason in the World to fear, that their Friends in London would have immediately fited the City? What could then have been the Event of this infernal Machination, but our Country's being plunged in a Sea of Blood, if not wholly overflowed and lost in it? These were the Terrors of that gloomy Day, and these your Fears were but too well grounded. It was in that me­lancholly Crisis, when all looked black and threatning around you, and when no Help seemed to be near, that He, whose timely In­terposition has so often saved this unthankful Nation in her last Ex­tremity, cast an Eye of Pity on your Distress, and resolved to de­liver you once more from your Enemies, to prove you, whether you would leave off your Follies, cast your Sins behind your Backs, and turn to him with your whole Hearts, or if you would forget your almighty and merciful Deliverer, and return to the Pursuit of your Follies and Vices as before. He commanded his Winds to waft over your Forces from abroad. He commanded an East-Wind to blow for a whole Month together, at a Season of the Year in which they are very rarely known. Our Army landed, after one of the [Page 7] quickest Passages ever heard of, just in Time to support and revive our Spirits after our sudden Consternation, and to restore to us that Courage which was absolutely necessary to enable us to take any further Measures for our own Safety.

Let any Person of Judgment in the Nation say what must have been the Consequence, if a Westerly Wind had set in for a very few Weeks, about the Time when our Forces were so much wanted from abroad, which would have been only agreeable to the usual Course of the Season; or what would have been the Consequence if a Body of ten or twelve thousand Men from France had arrived among us, at the Time when an Army of Cut-throats were already broke loose in our Country; or what would have been the Conse­quence, had the rebellious Crew, immediately after the Defeat of our Army hastned in to the midst of England, and hurrying on to London itself, taken us under every Disadvantage; which was the Part they ought, according to Prudence, to have acted, and were expected to act, according to their own declared Intention. The Thoughtless, who do not take the Trouble of observing the Ways of Heaven, and the Impious, who have forgot the God who made and governs the World, may overlook these remarkable Concur­rences of Circumstances, or consider them as no other than common Accidents falling out according to the natural Course of Things: But the Wise and Considerate, I am persuaded, will own, that it is not our own Arm that hath saved us; and that this Deliverance, so far as we are yet delivered, is from God.

And now, my dear Countrymen, must I ask you whether you think such signal Interpositions in your Favour require any particular Regard on your Part, or whether you can persuade your selves that they have no Meaning at all, and are no way intended to put you upon thinking, or altering your Conduct; Methinks the very Sup­position that a wise and a Christian Nation should be capable of overlooking such remarkable Providences, & of neglecting to make the due Improvement of them, ought to appear an Affront to your Character. But, alas! the Days of Thought, Attention, and reli­gious Regard to the awful Steps of Providence, are gone, and giddy Pleasure and atheistical Ignorance have taken their Place. If there are however any left among us, who have not resolved to harden their Hearts against all Thought and Reflection, to them I willingly write, and do not grudge the Trouble of laying before them the [Page 8] following brief View of the characteristic Vices of the Age, which we are so loudly called upon by these awful Threatnings of Heaven, to reform without Desay. And if any, from a sincere Desire of their own Amendment and that of others, of appeasing the Wrath of Heaven, and preventing a much more fatal Visitation; would know what are the peculiar Vices which distinguish this unhappy Age from all the past, and against which the late Vengeance of Heaven was particularly threatned; I wish the Answer were not so ready as it is, and that if were not so obvious to every Eye, that LUXURY and IRRELIGION, which are inseparable Companions, are the characteristic Vices of the Age, and that our degenerate Times and corrupt Nation have the Unhappiness of being singular in this Res­pect; that, whereas in all the other Kingdoms of the World, and all the Ages of it, it has ever been only the Rich and Great who have either had Taste enough to pretend to consume their Lives and In­comes in Luxury and Pleasure, or Insolence enough to presume to treat all Things serious and sacred with Contempt: On the contrary, with us no Rank or Station is too low for either of these polite Vices; for at this Day hardly any Man thinks himself so mean as not to be above Religion, Frugality and Sobriety. But when I say these two are the distinguishing Vices of the Age, I am far enough from meaning that they are the only Ones. No; tho' they alone are more than sufficient to sink a Nation, yet we want not for a numerous Train of others that always follow at their Heels. For when Luxury and Irreligion enter a Nation, with them enter Venality, Perjury, Faction, Opposition to legal Authority, Idleness, Gluttony, Drunk­enness, Leudness, excessive Gaming, Robberies, clandestine Marria­ges, Breach of Matrimonial Vows, Self-murders, and innumerable others. Here is a Legion of Furies sufficient to rend any State of Empire that ever was in the World to pieces; and accordingly we find, from universal History, that no Degree of Wealth, of Trade, of Naval or Military Force, have ever been sufficient to support any Nation where Luxury and Vice have prevailed; but on the contrary the greatest Empires in all Ages have sunk before them.

I hope it will not be to your Disadvantage to observe, from the few following Instances, the Truth of this Assertion; which may shew you what you are to expect, and what will be the Issue of your Conduct, if you do not alter it in Time.

[Page 9]The first great Empire in the World, viz. the Assyrian, the Ca­pital of which was Niniveh, Ówed its Destruction entirely to the Luxury of its Prince, Sardanapalus, of whom Diodorus, Justin, &c. gave the following Account, That he surpassed all his Predecessors in Effeminacy, Luxury and Cowardice. That he never went out of his Palace, but spent all his Time among a Company of Women, dressed and painted like them, and employed like them at the Di­staff. That he placed all his Glory in the Possession of immense Treasures; in Feasting, Rioting, and indulging himself in all the most infamous and criminal Pleasures. Which Luxury some of his own Generals growing impatient of, and despising to be governed by him, took Arms against him, entirely overturn'd the Empire, and broke it into three Kingdoms. Such was the Effect of Luxury and Vice in one Person: What may they not then produce, when they become so universal as to debauch a whole Nation?

The Babylonian Empire, so called from the City Babylon, its Ca­pital, arose after the Fall of that properly called the Assyrian. It grew to great Splendor and Riches, and those Riches, produced great Luxury, which proved the Ruin of the State. For the City and Empire were taken by Darius the Median in the Night by Sur­prize, while the King Belshazzar, his Wives and his Concubines, with a Thousand of the Nobles of the Land, were engaged in a Debauch So little did this luxurious Monarch and his Court profit by the Example of the Ruin which Luxury and Vice had before brought upon the Assyrian Empire.

The Persian Empire, which arose on the Ruins of the Babylonian, acquiring immense Riches by that Conquest, fell also into great Luxury, and in Time exceeded the Babylonian in that very Vice which they saw bring on its Destruction. For in Xerxes's Time, when he invaded Greece with an Army of above two Millions and a half, the Number of the Servants and Attendants exceeded that of the Soldiers: But that of the Concubines, Eunuchs, and other Implements of Luxury, which accompanied his Army, according to Herodotus, was beyond reckoning. And the Event was answerable; for almost this whole Multitude was destroyed. The Luxury of this Army was so great, that in Mardonius's Camp (who was left by Xerxes to finish the War, which he himself thought proper to [Page 10] desert with great Precipitation) there were found such prodigious Sums in Gold and Silver, besides Cups, Vessels, Beds, Tables, Neck­laces and Bracelets of Gold and Silver, not to be valued, that Justin gives it as his Judgment, that these very Spoils proved fatal to all Greece, by becoming the Instruments of introducing Luxury among her Inhabitants. And, when afterwards this Empire was attacked by Alexander, its whole Power fell before him at the Head of a Handful (for such they were, compared to the Army of Darius) of Troops not enervated by Luxury, in wich Darius indulged him­self to such a Degeree, as could not fail to ruin his Expediton: the very Army being incumbred with such a numerous Train of Prin­cesses, Concubines, Eunuchs, and Domesticks of both Sexes, that their Procession in Chariots, with all manner of Magnificence made his Expediton appear more like a Triumph or a Pageant, than the March of an Army to Battle. It is observ'd by Seneca, That the Persians carried their Luxury and Extravagance in the Army, with respect to their Tents, Chariots, and good Cheer, to a greater Ex­cess, if possible, than they did in their Cities. The finest Meats, the rarest Birds, and the most exquisite Dainties must be found for the Prince, in what Part soever of the World he was encamped, They had their Vessels of Gold and Silver without Number; ‘Instruments of Luxury says Q.Curtius, not of Victory, and more proper to allure and enrich an Enemy, than to repel or defeat him.’

One would have thought that Alexander, who himself over-power'd the vast Army of Persia, by the mere Advantage of his Troops being hardened to War, whereas those of Darius were effe­minated by Luxury to such a Degree, that Thirty thousand Mace­donians proved victorious over Six hunderd thousand Persians? one would have thought, I say, that Alexander himself would have been in no Danger, with such an Example before his Eyes, of splitting upon the same Rock that had proved so fatal to Darius. But we are told by Justin, ‘That he degenerated into the Luxury and Vi­ces of the Persians, who by means of that very Luxury he had overcome. That he suffered his Army to debauch themselves in the same Manner. That afterwards he gave himself up to the most unkingly Cruelty against his own Friends, one of whom he murdered for expressing himself a little freely concerning his Faults. That he then proceeded to demand Divine Honours to [Page 11] be paid to him; which some of his Ministers bravely refusing, he basely caused them to be murdered.’ At length, degenera­ting into immoderate Intemperance and Drunkenness, he died sud­denly in the midst of a Debauch. Whether he was poisoned by some of his Nobles, whom he had provoked by his Cruelties, as some Writers affirm, or whether his Death was the Effect of Drunkenness, as others assert, comes to the same Purpose, to wit, that he sell a Sacrifice to his own Luxury and Vices. With him fell the Empire he had raised, being immediately divided into several Kingdoms, which his Favourites shared amongst them.

Thus have we seen the three first universal Monarchies, viz. the Assyrian or Babylonian, the Persian, and the Grecian, suffer several terrible Shocks, and at last sink under Luxury and Vice. Let us now see what Effects they had upon the sourth, viz. the Roman.

It is remarkable, that after Lucullus debauched the Romans with the Luxury of Asia, they did not preserve their Liberties for half a Century; the perpetual Dictatorship being within that Time usurped by Julius Caesar, which provoked Brutus, and those who stood with him for Freedom, to cut him off. The Commonwealth was immediately upon this involved in a bloody Civil War, in which some of the greatest Men of Rome fell. From these Times, the ancient, simple Roman Virtue gradually sunk more and more, till the Empire at last was torn to Piecas by the Irruption of the Northern Nations.

We are told by Sallust, That the principal Tools which Cataline (after the Expedition of Lucullus) made use of for carrying his Con­spiracy into Execution, were such of the Men of Birth in Rome as had by their Luxury and Extravagance consumed their Estates (and who consequently were willing to engage in any Design from which they had a Chance of repairing them by Plunder) and those of the Army, whom Sylla in his Wars in Asia had debauched with Luxury and Pleasure, in order to engage them the more strongly to his Par­ty. From this Conspiracy, the greatest Empire in the World was in the most imminent Danger of a total Subversion, and must have fallen before it, but for the unequalled Sagacity and Vigilance of Cicero, who was then Consul, and who for his successful Care of the State, received the honourable Title of The Father of his Country.

To add no other particular Instances, which would be endless; how the Roman Empire sunk from one Degree to another in Luxury, [Page 12] Venality and Effeminacy, till at length it was divided into ten Kingdoms by the Goths and Vandals, is very well known to all that are in the least acquainted with the Roman History; and that its Ruin was owing to its Vices, and to its Vices only, which enerva­ted its ancient Strength, and gave it a Prey to its Enemies.

Your Patience would fail me before I could give an Account of one Half of the fatal Effects of Luxury and Vice upon the other States, Empires and Cities of the World. Yet I cannot avoid mentioning the Destruction of the luxurious City of Tarentum, the Manners of that People having very much resembled our own at this Day. We are told by Strabo Plutarch, &c. that there were more Festivals, solemn Games, and publick Feasts in this City, than Days in the Year. That, upon an outrageous Insult offered by them to the Romans, being drawn into a War with them, their Pride and Wantonness were so great, that they neither knew how to conduct it, nor to avoid it by a prudent Peace. That, having called in King Pyrrhus to manage it for them, the whole People soon began to exclaim against him (much in the same licentious Manner as many People of England were wont to shew their Wit and their Ignorance, by railing against their Governors) because he found it necessary, in order to qualify them for War, to establish an exact military Discipline among them. Some even qutted the City, thinking it a Condition of insupportable Slavery not to be permit­ted to live the same idle and voluptuous Life, while they were en­gaged in War with a powerful Enemy, as they used to indulge themselves in, in Time of Peace and Prosperity. The War en­ded accordingly in the total Overthrow of that powerful City, once so famous for its Wealth, Trade and Magnificence.

The Character of the Sybarites, and the Ruin of theit City and State, are likewise so peculiarly proper to my Purpose, that I cannot help abridging their Story. This City became so very powerful, as to be able to raise an Army of three hundred thousand Men. Their Wealth soon introduced Luxury, and such a Dissolu­tion of Manners as is almost incredible, if it were not attested by Strabo, and other authentick Writers. The Citizens employed themselves in nothing but Banquets, Games Shows, Parties of Pleasure and Carousals. Public Rewards were bestowed on those who gave the most magnificent Entertainments; and even on such ingenious Cooks as were best skilled in the important Art of making [Page 13] Improvements in the Dressing of nice Dishes, and inventing new Refinements to tickle the Palate. They carried their Delicacy to the monstrous Length of sending out of the City all manner of noisy Artificers, as Blacksmiths, Carpenters, &c. and destroying all the Cock, that their downy Slumbers might not be disturbed by any Noise.

This unbounded Luxury naturally produced Dissentions, which proved their Ruin: one of the contending Parties having Interest enough to engage the Crotonians to come against the City with an Army, which tho' only equal to a third Part of that which the Sybarites brought into the Fieid, yet not being enervated by Luxury, as that of the Sybarites was, proved victorious over them, and totally overthrew their City and State.

Why should I weary you mith a long Account of the ancient State and Destruction of the great City of Corinth? A City once so eminent for its fine Harbours, its extensive Trade, and its Wealth, as to draw upon it the Envy of Rome herself. This Wealth puffed them up so with Insolence, that they cast the most provoking In­dignities they could think of upon the Roman Ambassadors. In Revenge for which the Romans sent L. Mummius against them, who burnt their City, and razed it to the Ground.

Why should I enlarge on the Fall of the great City of Constanti­nople, which at its Destruction was got to a prodigious Height of Splendor and Riches, which the Inhabitants refused to part with for their own Security. The Turks were so enriched with its Plunder, that it became a Proverb, if any Man acquired great Wealth on a sudden, "That he had been at the Sack of Constantinople *"

Or why should I mention the Conquest of Syria by the Maho­metan Saracens, the Inhabitants of which were grown so wicked from the great Riches and Ease they enjoyed, that they themselves imputed their Miseries to the just Judgments of God for their pro­digious Luxury

These are some of the Ravages, which the infernal Monster, LUXURY, and its attendant Vices, have been making upon the Nations of the Earth for almost these three thousand Years back­wards. The mightiest Empires, the richest Kingdoms, and the best fortified Cities have fallen before them. And what can Britain [Page 14] then expect but to share their Fate; if she do not take Warning by their Fall?

And now, for the LUXURY of our own Times, should any one desire to have it proved to him, that we are in the present Age arrived to an Excess in that Vice peyond all the past, from which the greatest Danger may be feared to the State, both on Account of the natural Consequences of that Vice itself, and the others, which are its constant Attendants, and likewise of its judicial Consequen­ces, or the Vengeance it is likely to bring upon us from the Hand of Heaven; I say should any one desire to have a Demonstration of the excessive Luxury of our Times, it might seem sufficient only to desire him to take a fupersicial Survey of the Manner of Life of almost every Rank in the Nation, but especially the very lowest, and he will hardly see any Thing else but Luxury, Pleasure, and Extravagance staring him in the Face, wherever he turns his Eyes in Town or Country.

As to the Conduct of the highest Ranks in the Nation in this Respect, to say the Truth, it its less to he blamed than that of their Inferiors. It were to be wished indeed, that they would live mostly upon their own Estates, and within their Incomes, and that they would make the best of their Estates, by keeping their Accounts and transacting their Business themselves, without the Intervention of a Pack of rascally Stewards and Rent-gatherers, whose Practice it is too commonly to plunder the Landlord with one Hand, and the Tenant with the other.

Again, if any one desires to enquire into the Character of the trading Part of the Nation as to Luxury, let him take a View of the Manner of Life in all the considerable Cities in Britain, but especially in this once great and flourishing Metropolis. Whoever does so, will see little else than Scenes of Wantonness, Pleasure, and Extravagance. In these Streets, which in the last Ages were filled with decent Citizens, dressed in a Garb, plain, uniform, and fit for Business, he will now see a motley Race of English Traders bur­lesqued into French Dancing Masters; the Cloaths bepatched with Lace, their Hands unfitted for Business by being muffled up in Cam­brick to the Fingers Ends, and their Feet crippled by Wooden­heeled Shoes of some Inches high. That these French Fopperies should thus fill the Heads and disguise the Persons of our Citizens, seems no hopeful Omen for the Trade of England. If he goes into [Page 15] the Houses of the Citizens (and not of the richest neither) the Luxury, the Expence, the Number of Servants, and the Entertain­ment of a Palace will meet his Eyes. If he Visits a Tradesman of the meanest Rank, he will see nothing less than gilt China-ware, Silver Plate, and Choice of foreign Wines adorn his Board

Where are now the sober and regular Manners of our Fathers, when it was the constant Custom of the Citizens to rise betimes according to the Order of Nature, and employ the Morning in ex­amining their Accounts, adjusting their Warehouses and Shops, and preparing themselves for the busy Hours of the Day; When the Exchange was shut at Twelve, and Dinner over every where by One; when they spent their Evenings at home in instructing, their Children, Apprentices, and Servants, in the Principles of Virtue and Religion, and concluded every Day with the laudable Exercise of Family-devotion? In place of these decent and regular Methods of living, our Citizens now find it hard to rise by Ten, to get dress'd for the Change by Two, to get Dinner and the Bottle after it, over by Four; and in an Hour after the joking Club the wanton Play house in Winter, and the luxurious Musick-Garden in Summer, call them from the peaceful Enjoyment of their Families at home, from the Instruction of their Children and Domesticks, and from the Worship of Him in whose Power alone it is to send a Blessing upon their secular Employments. Nor do they think the Mid­night-hour too late to conclude their Pleasures, or to seek that Rest which Nature, wearied with a Round of Follies, requires. Thus does Luxury invert the beautiful Ordination of Heaven, which ap­pointed the Day for Labour, and the Night for Rest.

And is it then any Wonder, that the rising Generation have no more Sense or Understanding of Christianity than if they had never heard of it, and that the London Apprentices are, generally speak­ing, a Sett of meer Town Rakes? Is it any Wonder that the Af­fairs of Families are neglected, when the Masters of them are gone [Page 16] abroad in Pursuit of Pleasure one Way, and their Wives another? Or is it to be expected, that an extravagant Apprentice or Journey­man, who has not had one Principle of Honesty or Religion infused into his Mind by Education, will not lay hold on such Opportunities for plundering his Master for the Gratification of his own Lusts and Apperites? If People will not take Care of their own Houses themselves, how can they expect others should do it for them? In­deed I cannot conceive how they can relish any Mirth or Pleasure abróad, while their Houses at home are liable to be stript or fired by the Carelessness or Dishonesty of Servants. And if the Scenes of Pleasure and Gaity, which they pass through abroad, are at all re­lished by them, the Effect they must have on their Minds must be, only to make their Business a Drudgery, and their own Homes dull and tiresome.

The modern Luxury and Extravagance of the Citizens appears from nothing more convincingly than its visible Effects; I mean the frequent Bankruptcies of late, which have brought Things at length to that Pass, that now it is hardly thought prejudicial to the Credit of a Trader that he makes a Stop of Payments, if he escapes being fairly declared a Bankrupt. And indeed how can Bankruptcy miss to be the Consequence, when our young Traders now a days usu­ally begin where formerly the old Ones ended, I mean, with fur­nishing a Town House and a Country-House, setting up Coaches, or keeping Horses, making as great a Shew as possible of Wealth and Trade, and taking as much Credit as they can have by any Means, without making any Allowances for the innumerable Chances of Trade, and Dangers of being disappointed of Returns to enable them to make due Payments.

How many Instances have we of the terrible Consequences of Extravagance among Traders? Some of whom have been forced by their Necessities upon the fatal and wretched Shift of endeavour­ing to patch up their Credit by Gaming, which only sinks them so much the Deeper. Others we have seen betake themselves to the Highway and in endeavouring to recover their ruined Fortunes, make Shipwreck of Life, Fortune and Soul at once.

But what above all, gives the most dismal Prospect of the State of the Nation, is the monstrous, and hitherto unequalled Luxury, wich prevails among the very lowest Ranks of the People. It is very well known, that now even the poor Mechanick, by whose [Page 17] Labour and Trade of our Country ought to be supported, has lear­ned to spend every Sunday, and at least the two following Days of the Week, in Drunkenness and Idleness and to lay out generally the whole Earnings of the foregoing Week in procuring to himself a Taste of those heighten'd Pleasures which even in the luxurious Age of King Charles the II. were thought only fit for People of Fortune to run mad after; I mean, getting drunk, haunting of Bawdy-Houses, seeing Plays, hearing Musick, &c. So that in our Days every Journeyman has as high a Relish of Pleasure, and as fine a Taste, as they affect to call it, of Plays and Music, as most of the Gentry of the above-mentioned infamous Age. And is it then any Wonder that we cannot carry our Manufactures to foreign Markets on equal Terms with the Rivals of our Trade; with the additional Charge of foreign Wines, Musicians and Players to be added to their Price?

To give a full View of the Luxury of the Age, my dear Coun­trymen, would carry me a great Way beyond the intended Length of this Pamphlet; and of your Patience. To have just Notions of the State of this epidemic Vice, let any Man open his Eyes and every Object will present it to his View. For in every Street of this great Metropolis he will see one Tavern or House of Entertain­ment within Call of another *; whereas it is known, that only in the Days of the Fathers of People now alive; strong Liquors were sold no where but at the Shops of Apothecaries. In the Dress of the Inhabitants he will see Journeymen and Chambermaids got be­yond the Pitch of the Quality of the last Age. In every Village round the City he will see every Sixth House possessed by a Re­tailer of strong Liquors, and prepared for the Reception of the rambling Inhabitants, of which he will see such Numbers carousing in each of them every Sunday, when the Weather is fair, as would make a Stranger conclude there was a general Carnival in the Na­tion, and that all the Inhabitants were broke loose. In every de­lightful Spot around the City, he will see a Retreat set apart for Mu­sick, Wine and Wantonness, and there he will see such Magnifi­cence, Taste and Expence, as is beyond the Power of most Princes [Page 18] in Europe to support; all for the Entertainment of the Inhabitants of a City which was once the Seat of Frugality, Trade, Industry, Sobriety,, Religion, and every Virtue that could make a Nation great and happy. If he looks into the publick News-Papers, he will see them filled with Advertisements of Races, Cock-Matches, Plays, Musick-Gardens, Balls, Assemblies, Operas, Concerts, Masquerades, Breakfasting houses, Ridottos, and Fire-works. And to shew how our Pleasures have engrossed us, and into what a Lethargy they have sunk us, in the very Papers, which lately gave Accounts from time to time, of the Progress of the Rebels, whose Arrival at our Metropolis we dreaded every Day, and from which a general Mas­sacre was reasonably to be expected; in the very same Paper, I say, one Paragraph contained the History of their Motions, and the very next invited us to a Play or a Horse Race. And, if he steps into the Theatre, it will be hard for him to say, whether Luxury or Wickedness Prevails there most; but (to postpone the Wickedness of the Theatre till afterwards) surely the Magnificence of the De­corations, the Dresses of the Players, the Finery of the Audience, and the Indolence of their Appearance, as they sit dissolved in Plea­sure and Gaiety, would incline a Being who did not know the State of Human Nature, and who had been transported thither from ano­ther World, to conclude, that Mankind were an Order of Creatures placed here on Earth merely to enjoy themselves for a Course of Years, without being obliged to any Manner of Duty, or that their whole Duty were to invent the most exquisite Gratifications for their Senses, and indulge themselves in the most exquisite Pleasures that could be found out.

We may think of this Matter as we please, but it will be found hereafter, that no Son or Daughter of Adam has any Indulgence from Heaven to live a Life of absolute Indolence and Pleasure, with­out filling up a certain Station, and doing the Duties of a certain Sphere. Were we even an Order of Beings absolutely innocent and blameless, it is not to be conceived, that the Almighty Governor of the World would see us with Satisfaction consume our Time in a Manner altogether useless to ourselves or our Fellow-Creatures, tho' the Enjoyments we amused ourselves with were otherwise harmless: But for an offending, guilty Order of Creatures, who are continually provoking the Displeasure of our Maker, and in continual Danger of bringing down his Vengeance upon our Heads, to pass away the [Page 19] Time of Trial for an everlasting State in Pleasure, and in criminal Pleasure too, while we ought to be endeavouring by Penitence for our Faults to avert the Punishment due to us, and by a constant Watch over our Conduct to qualify ourselves for being fit Objects of heavenly Mercy; I say, for such an Order of Creatures as we are to live the Life we do, what is it but for a Sett of Criminals to revel in Prison with Wine and Music, and to insult their Judge to his Face?

From this cursed Fountain, among many other poisonous Streams, flows that fatal One of the unhappy Divisions of our Country. While so many among the Great by their Extravagance run out their Fortunes, it is no Wonder that so many want to fish in troubled Waters, and can find in their Hearts to divide a Nation for the Sake of gaining their own private Purposes. And, when Men of infe­rior Ranks find their Affairs going into Disorder, they readily be­come proper Dupes to the Heads of Factions, and are then fit to join in the Clamour against their Governors. Were People at Ease in their own private Fortunes, they could not so soon be put in a Passion at the Proceedings of the Government. What gives me the most Disgust in this Matter is, that those simple people, who are so good-natured as to let out their Passions for nothing to the Heads of Parties, are commonly the most ignorant both of the Hi­story of other Countries, and the present State and true Interest of their own; are commonly the farthest from the Springs of Govern­ment, and consequently know least what Difficulties a Government have to struggle with, and in what peculiar Circumstances they are involved. Thus they, that are least qualified for finding Fault, are generally speaking, loudest in their Complaints. That ever Men should pretend to settle the Affairs of Nations, while their own exorbitant Desires and Appetites are in an Uproar within them, or to find Fault with those who have the Government of Kingdoms in their Hands, while themselves cannot govern their own Passions!

Nor is it to be imputed to any other Cause than unbounded Luxury, that the People of Great-Britain, formerly a Nation of Heroes, are now so enervated and effeminate, that, if they happen to be destitute of an Army trained to War and Hardship, they are before an Enemy as a Flock of Sheep before Wolves; as appears from what we have seen but the other Day § viz. a Banditti of hardy [Page 20] Russians penetrating into the Heart of our Country, without Inter­ruption or Opposition from the People, and likely to reach our Metropolis itself, had they not been prevented by the Army.

Thus have I laid before you, my dear Countrymen, a very brief View of a very copious Subject, viz. the modern LUXURY of our unhappy Country. The other Epidemick Disease I mentioned, from whence the most fatal Effects are to be feared, and which is in­separable from the former, is IRRELIGION. And here I am got, if possible, into a larger Field than before, and into a Subject which yields a more gloomy Prospect than the former. If the unbounded Luxury of the Age has the false Plea of great Wealth and Trade to support it (tho' it is certain no Degree of Wealth or Trade are sufficient for it;) if it should pretend, tho' falsly, that its natural Consequences are more to be feared than its judicial: If Luxury, I say should pretend to these wretched and sophistical Defences, Ir­religion cannot: for it is more inexcusable in this Age (an Age of the greatest Light and Knowledge that has been for above these Twelve Hundred Years backwards) than in all the past; and it is likewise a more certain Means of bringing Destruction upon a Na­tion, than even Luxury itself. For, if there be a God in Heaven, it is not to be imagined he will long suffer a Nation to flourish, which shews the utmost Contempt for the best and most sublime Dispensation of Religion that can be laid before the Sons of Men. That many People in England are at this Day guilty of this atrocious and provoking Crime, needs no other Proof than what will appear to any one, who will but cast the most careless Eye upon the Ways of all Ranks in the Nation, the Clergy themselves not excepted, to our inexpressible Confusion, and their indelible Disgrace be it spoken

The Irreligion of the present Age is above sneaking out of Sight, or concealing itself: It appears without Blushing in our News Pa­pers, walks in State at our Declarations of War, presides at our Elections, and reigns without Controul at our publick Diversions.

The following and such like Bravadoes meet our Eyes almost in every News-Paper. ‘The Fleets are in high Spirits, and only long for a hearty Brush with the Dons. We only Desire the Arm of flesh may be left to decide the Quarrel. We doubt not but [...] brave Admiral such-a-one, with his glorious Fleet, will soon [...] a good Account of the Enemy. Let England but take Care of her Fleet, and what has she to fear.’

[Page 21]In all which there is so far from any Appearance of a Sense of Dependance upon Heaven, that we seem rather desirous to stand by our own Strength, than be beholden to the Assistance of the God of Battles. I shall only at present add on this Particular, that had such Expressions as the above, and many others of the same Kind, that have passed unpunished in the publick News-Papers since the Com­mencement of the Spanish War, been published at Athens or Rome, the Publishers had been treted as Contemners of the Gods of their Country *

And, now I mention the Spanish War, I appeal to the Thousands who saw it declared, whether there appeared in the Behaviour and Conversation of the People of London, on that Occasion, the least Sense of Humanity for their Fellow-Creatures who were likely to suffer in it, or the least Dependance on Heaven for the Success of it; or whether the Spirit which reigned at that Time in England, was not a Spirit of Insolence and Difiance both of God and Man! It is plain from the Roman History, that that humane People (tho' Strangers to our Religion, which teaches us that the whole Success [Page 22] of War depends upon the over-ruling Providence of God) always engaged in it with a deeper Sense of Dependance upon their Gods, who yet were Idols and no Gods, than we shew on Him who does in the Armies of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth, whatever pleases him, and whose Hand none can stay

Further, it is owing wholly to the Luxury and Sensuality of the Age, that a Religion which has upon it all the Characters a Re­velation from God can be imagined to have, is rejected and despised in this unhappy Nation.

What avails it, that the important Truths of Christianity have of late been so deeply enquired into, that they have been opposed by the most subtle Writers of the Deistical Party, and defended by the greatest Masters of Human Reason; and that the Result of all this Enquiry is, that these sacred Truths have by that Means been better established, to the Satisfaction of every fair Examiner, than if they had never been controverted: What avails, I say, all this strict and severe Scrutiny, and the convincing Proof of the Truth of the Christian Religion which it has produced, if there be at this Day a more numerous Party of Deists, who are such meerly from Igno­rance and Sensuality, than of Christians who are such in Belief and Practice, from a fair and thorough Examination.

What avails it, that any Man, who will fairly enquire into the Christian Religion, will find that the Scheme, at it stands in the Scriptures taken literally, is so far from being unreasonable, that the Main of it was thought of and earnastly wished for by the wisest Heathens *? that its Doctrines, if they were not true, are of that sublime and heavenly Nature as to make every wise and good Man admire them, and wish they were true: that its Proofs are the most irresistable that ever were laid before Mankind uqon any Occasion, viz. the Completion of almost innumerable ancient Prophecies in [Page 23] our Saviour's own Person, some written several Thousand Years before his Appearance, besides those given by himself, the Com­pletion of many of which is unquestionable; the Performance of almost innumerable Miracles by him and his Apostles; the At­testation of his Resurrection by Multitudes, some of whom per­from'd many Miracles, and at last gave their Lives in Attesta­tion of the Truth of it, in which it was impossible they themselves should be deceived; and as plain from the miserable Lives and Deaths they exposed themselves to by their Adherence to this Reli­gion, that they could have no Design of imposing upon others? What avails it, that the firm Belief and strict Observance of Christia­nity would raise the Human Nature almost to the Pitch of the An­gelick? It is the single Objection, of its fixing beyond Dispute the Bounds of Right and Wrong, and pointing its Cannon directly a­gainst our favourite Lusts and Passions, that disgusts us at it, and puts us upon so many wretched Shifts to prove that false which we dare not allow to be true,

Is there a Fop in any of the Inns of Court, whose Reading goes no farther than the Pamphlets he subscribes for at the Coffee-House, or an Oxonian in his second Year, whose Knowledge serves only to enable him to call a Horse, a Hause, or a Table, by a different Word, in Latin, Greek, and French, that does not take upon him to cast Reflections on the awful and solemn Doctrines of the Christian Religion, and this in the very Age, in which a Newton, a Clarke, and a Locke, (a Triumvirate which no Age since the Appearance of Christianity can exceed) have declared their Belief, and exerted the utmost Force of their Genius in demonstrating the Truth of it, and without even pretending to have found out one new Difficulty in it, one Fallacy in the Arguments formerly applied in Defence of it, or so much as knowing the best Objections against it, much less the satisfying Answers wich have been made to these Objections.

Nor does the Irreligion of the Age appear more shocking in any single Instance, than in the modern Education of Youth; for from thence there is no Manner of Prospect of any Cure of the Evil; but on the Contrary, every Appearance of Religion's sinking more and more in the Nation with every succeeding Generation. It is notorious that the Immorality of the Youth of one of our Univer­sities is grown to such a Height, that it deserves at this Day more properly to be stiled, The Seat of the Vices, than of the Muses. [Page 24] Nor is it to be doubted, but that it is in the Power of the learned Gentlemen, who have the Charge of the Youth at that University, to remedy, or at least in a great Measure to restrain this Evil. I should be glad to hear of any Number of School masters, publick or private, who make a Conscience of teaching the Children committed to their Charge, to form rational Conceptions of the Christian Re­ligion, or of the Duties of common Morality; for having made some Enquiry myself into the general Practice of Instructors of Youth I must own I have, to my great Concern, found that they have generally thought they had discharged their Duty to them, if they made them Scholars, tho' they did not use the least Endeavour to make them Christians, or honest Men. At this Rate, how many Ages, upon a reasonable Computation, may any Sense of Religion, be expected to remain this unhappy Country, (if Heaven should suffer us slill to hold our Place among the Nations) since every rising Generation falls behind their Fathers in the Knowledge and Practice of it?

To what a deplorable State of Irreligion must that Nation be reduced, in which many of the Men, who should be the last to give up the Spirit and Power of Christianity, are got into the same epi­demic Unbelief and Immorality that has over-run the Rest of the Nation? That in England at this Day; too many of that Order of Men, whose Business it is to support, by their Doctrine and Ex­ample, the Belief and Practice of Christianity, have betrayed their important Trust; that they have made themselves too obnoxious to the Reflections of the Enemies of Religion, by engaging them­selves in secular Schemes for Preferment, and some by notoriously immoral Lives, is a Truth not less certain than melancholly. I am aware, that in this Tract I shall not have Occasion to touch upon any Subject more tender and delicate than this, and that it is very difficult to attack a Sett of Clergy without wounding Religion through their Sides. And, if the Objections against those of the present Age could be ascribed to human Frailty, I should with Pleasure do my best to palliate and excuse them, instead of exposing them to publick View, being in all Cases, and in this especially, of Opinion, that private Offences ought to be reproved in private, and that Deeds of Darkness ought to remain in Darkness. But what avails it, that I or any other Writer carefully conceal the Faults of the Clergy, if too many of their own Body expose their [Page 25] Shame, by embroiling themselves in Politics and Party Causes to the Neglect and Disgrace of their sacred Function, by indulging themselves in all the Luxury of Theatres, Music-Gardens, Wine and Feasting, and some in other Kinds of a more infamous Nature? The Practices of a Set of Clergy of a Character preferable to those of this Age, drew upon them the severe Rebukes of two of their own Order, who thought it necessary to reprove them from the Press; Whose Proceedings will sufficiently justify mine, especially as their Names are no less than those of Archbishop Tillotson and Bishop Burnet

To proceed, how can a People pretend to have any Sense or Love of Religion in their Hearts, who never have it in their Mouths? We know that Mankind love the Riches, Pleasures, and Honours of this World by this certain Token, that they are ever talking of them, and nothing but them. But as to Religion, I ap­peal to every judicious Person in the Nation, whether such a Thing is now to be heard of any where in Town and Country, as a Con­versation, in which religious Subjects are the prevailing Ones, kept up with any Relish or Satisfaction in any mixed Company; and whether, on the Contrary, they don't find that they few, who love such Subjects of Conversation, are obliged carefully to avoid them in all but select Companies, as generally disagreeable. It is a wise and just Saying of our Saviour, ‘Out of the Abundance of the Heart the Mouth speaketh.’ Were there as much Love of Re­ligion in our Hearts as there is of worldly Honour, Profit, or Pleasure, our Conversation would favour as much of it, as now it does of them.

Another fearful Instance and Effect of the Irreligion of the Age, is the horrid Contempt of judicial Oaths exacted at entring upon almost every Office, from the highest down to that of a Scavenger, with those of the Custom-House and Excise, and those yet more shocking, if possible, which are required at Elections for Members of Parliament.

What makes this Particular the more deplorable is, that these Oaths answer no Purpose, but to lay a Load of Guilt upon the Nation: For it is not to be supposed, that any Person who has not Virtue enongh to resist the Temptation of a Bribe, or of defrauding the Revenue, or of betraying his Trust, will have Virtue enough to refuse an Oath [Page 26] he does not intend to keep, to answer a present Purpose; especially considering how little Solemnity or Significancy there is in the Form of the Oath, and in the Manner of administring it, which accordingly ignorant and thoughtless People swallow with the greatest Indiffe­rence, regarding the Kissing of the Book no more than as a meer insignificant Ceremony.

For proving the Frequency of the shocking Crime of Perjury, there needs no curious Enquiry, nor dirty raking into dark Scenes of Corruption. Whoever knows any Thing of Elections, and Custom-house Practices, knows that there it walks in open Day­light; that a great many Thousand Electors must be perjured at every Election, of which the many strict Laws against Bribery shew the Sense of the Legislature itself; that Custom-house Oaths are become a standing Term of Redicule; and that the Oaths taken upon entring on most Places and Offices, and taken without so much as being intended to be kept, many of them being so strict, as to render it almost impracticable to keep them.

Good God! What a Scene of Perjury is here. And how great must be the Mercy of the insulted Being, who suffers such a wicked People to live upon his Earth, without commanding her to open her Mouth and swallow us up!

If there is not a more daring Crime committed among Men, than calling the God of Truth to witness a Falshood; if no Crime ever was more frequent in any Nation than Perjury is in England at this Day; and if the abovementioned Oaths, to which all this Perjury is owing, are of no Manner of Advantage for preventing Bribery, Infidelity in Offices, or Frauds to the Prejudice of the Revenue; if all these Things are so, and if it be not yet Time to consider of a speedy Redress of this Grievance, I know not when it will.

If there were any Love of Religion or Piety left among us, it would appear from the Fulness of the Places of publick Worship, and from our constant keeping up among us the Practice of worshipping God in private Families. But we shew by our Indifference to every Thing that has the least Relish of Religion in it, that we have forgot the God that made us. Indeed we are now grown so very polite, that we are above asking a Blessing of Him who only can bestow it upon the common Comforts of Life, or thanking Him, whose Creatures we have been consuming, for his Bounty in feeding and supporting us.

[Page 27]Should I pretend to give a View of the Wickedness of the Theatre, I should not know where to begin, or to what Length the Subject would carry me. For whether I insisted on the Lewd­ness or Impiety of most of the Plays themselves, on the infamous Characters of the Actors and Actresses, on the scandalous Farces they commonly tag the gravest Plays with, or, above all, on the inhumanly impudent Dances and Songs, with, which they lard them between the Acts; I say, which soever of these Particulars I insisted on, each of them would furnish Matter for a great many Pages; and much more, if I should enter upon a full View of them all. Indeed the Theatre is at Present on such a Footing in England, that it is impossible to enter it and not come out the worse for having been in it; for, now-a-days, a good Play is no other than a Trap to draw in the Modest and Innocent to a Love of Theatrical Entertainments: And the Minds of the Spectators are not the safer from being pol­luted and debauched, tho' the Play itself be in the main decent and modest; since the ingenious Contrivance of the Managers entirely prevents the good Effect of any worthy Sentiment expressed in the Play, by introducing a painted Strumpet at the End of every Act, to cut Capers on the Stage in such an impudent and unwomanly Manner, as must make the most shocking Impressions on every Mind: and, lest the Audience should chance, in spite of all this, to carry away somewhat that might make their Hearts the better, a ludicrous and shameless Farce concludes the whole, and with one Stroke erases all the little Traces of virtuous Sentiments that were formed by the Play itself.

I only beg Leave to ask you, my dear Countrymen, for what Pur­pose you support a sacred Order of Men to teach you the pure and holy Laws of the Christian Religion, and at the same Time en­courage by your Countenance and your Riches, a Sett of the very Dregs of Human Nature, who make it their Business to debauch your Minds by their lewd Compositions and wanton Gesticulations, to fill them with impure and vile Ideas, and to disappoint the most diligent Endeavours of a Christian Ministry? Surely it can never be consistent with common Sense to support in the same Country, one Order of Men for the Propagation of Virtue and Religion, and a­nother for the Destruction of them; to maintain one Sett of People for promoting a Reformation of Manners, and another for promo­ting an universal Corruption.

[Page 28]It is the Saying of a great Man of the last Age, That upon some Accounts it were better that wicked Men would fairly renounce Christianity, than continue to profess it, and at the same Time dis­grace it by their scandalous Lives. And indeed it could be no such Matter of Grief to good Men, to see a Nation of Barbarians over­run with Vice and Debauchery, as to see this Kingdom, once il­lustrious for its Purity in Doctrine and Practice, celebrated for its Martyrs, and which pretends to be the grand Bulwark of the Pro­testant Religion; to see this Kingdom, I say, thus sunk to a Pitch of Wickedness and Lewdness in its publik Entertainments, which at Athens, where they worshipped the unknown God, would have thrown the celebrated Diversions of the Stage into utter Disgrace.

And are these the favourite Pleasures that so wholly ingross and bewitch a Christian Nation, that we cannot live without them, even while an Enemy is laying waste our Country, and expected every Hour at our very Gates? For my part, I cannot say I am sure, whether, if it had been our miserable Fate to have had our Metro­polis burnt to the Ground, and the Inhabitants put to the Sword by the Rebels, they would not have found us upon their Arrival en­gaged in hearing Musick and seeing Plays, and whether Numbers had not been sent by them directly from the Play-house into another World *.

[Page 29]And now, my dear Countrymen, what remains or what more is in the power of any private Person, than, after having thus laid before you a brief View of the National Guilt that has brought the late Troubles into our Land, to conclude this little Tract by earnestly calling upon each particular Rank in the Nation, to exert them­selves in their publick and private Stations for bringing about that general Reformation, which is necessary for averting a final and extirpating Judgment.

[Page 30]I only beg Leave, first, to recount some remarkable Deliverances this Kingdom has had from the immediate Hand of God; to shew you what you owe him on the Score of meer Gratitude alone, if there were no other Engagement upon you.

To take no Notice of the many wonderful Preservations of the Life of Queen Elizabeth of immortal Memory, from almost innu­merable Plots of the Papists against her Life, (which were in effect the Preservation of this Nation from Popery and Slavery) since the Year 1588 a Period of little more than One Hunderd and Fifty Years; it is easy to shew that this Nation has been ten or twelve different Times in imminent Danger of the total Destruction of its Liberties civil and religious, and as often been delivered by imme­diate and indisputable Interpositions of Divine Providence.

In the Year 1588, K. Philip of Spain, sent against us a Fleet of such Force, that he did not scruple impiously to call it, The Invin­cible Armada; nor indeed had the World till that Time ever seen [Page 31] such a powerful Naval Armament. The Seas were overspead with their Sails, and the Ocean groaned with their Weight. Scarce had they displayed their Pride to the inviting Gales, when He, who holds the Winds in his Treasures, let them loose upon the Face of the great Deep. He commanded them to lift up the stormy Waves of the Sea. They mounted up to the Heavens, they went down to the Deeps; their Souls melted within them, because of their Trouble. The Almighty triumphed over them gloriously. Their Fleets and their Warriors he cast into the Sea. They sunk to the Bottom as a Stone. His right Hand became glorious in Power; his right Hand dashed in Pieces the Enemy.

The pious Queen, who then swayed the English Scepter, scrupled not to ascribe the Glory of this Victory to the immediate Interposi­tion of Heaven, ordering a Medal to be struck with this Inscription, He blew with his Wind, and they were scattered

In the Year 1596, another Attempt was made by the same Power to make a Descent upon England, with a very fromidable Naval Armament. ‘But a violent Storm arising in the midst of the Voyage several of the Ships were lost, and the rest so dispersed, that the Fleet was rendred unservicable for this Year. Thus Elizabeth had the Pleasure of hearing that it was disabled from hurting her, before she knew of its sailing’ §. The Winds in their Courses fought for England. He that is mighty hath done glorious Things for us; he hath scattered the Proud in the Imagina­tion of their Hearts. He hath taken our Enemies in the very Snare themselves had laid for us.

In the Year 1605, when that infernal Power, who has long been drunk with the Blood of Saints and Martyrs, found her cursed Ma­chinations against us disappointed; ever thirsting, ever insatiable of Protestant Blood, she resolved to strike a Stroke, which might at once cut off the Hopes of all who opposed her Interest in this Land, by hurrying our King, and some Hundreds of the principal Men and chief Rulers of the Nation, out of the World by one Explosion of a Mine of Gun-dowder *. Deeply was the Plot laid, and dark [Page 32] and secret was the hellish Contrivance: But that Eye, from which the Darkness hides no more than the Light, before which Hell is naked and Destruction uncovered, saw all their horrid Combinations, confounded their Devices, and brought them in Ruin and Vengeance upon their own Heads *

From the Year 1685 to 1688, we saw our Royal Seat filled by a Popish Prince, and his Court and many principal Places of Power and Trust by Persons devoted to the same Interest. We saw the Laws of England, the Barriers of our Freedom, broken; a standing Army establish'd to force a devilish Religion and an arbitrary Go­vernment down our Throats; our Church put under the Inspection of Popish Bishops, and her true Protestant Fathers and Overseers discarded and imprisoned *. We saw a bloody Inquisition setting up in our Country, tho' under a softer Name *, and begun to feel the Iron Teeth of that merciless Religion .

These were Scenes of Gloominess and Darkness. These were Days of Horror and Dispair. How didst thou then, fair Liberty, and thou Star crown'd Religion § lift thy streaming Eyes to Heaven, and how didst thou, O my Country, faint with thy deadly Wounds, how didst thou lie all pale and ghastly, wallowing in thy Blood. Come glorious Deliverer, come immorael William; for thee is re­served the Honour of saving a miserable Nation from spiritual and temporal Slavery. He came; he saw; he delivered. The in­constant Winds seemed proud to serve him, and the swelling Floods smoothed their Rage to waft him over. They varied and calmed in the Minute when he needed them, and his Fleet was carried prosperously through the Seas while that of the Enemy was shut [Page 33] up in Port. The Winds breathed a gentle and favourable Gale, till his Fleet was secured, and then broke in a violent Storm upon that which came against him. They were scattered and forced into Ports, and their Hopes and the Fears of the Protestants at the same Time extinguished §

In the Year 1690, when in the Bloody Field of Boyne our heroic Deliverer †† was bravely shewing his Love of this Country and his Contempt of Death; in its most dreadful Form; while Thou­sands fell at his right Hand and his Left, the sure Messenger of Death passed so near him as to violate his sacred Person; but at the same Time passed guiltless of his important Life. A sure Proof that the Eye of Providence watched over him, and that the Hand of God was around him to ward off every fatal Blow. For had he fallen at that critical Time, the glorious Labours of those worthy Patriots, and of that excellent Prince who wrought our Deliverance, had been lost; the Hopes of the Protestants dashed; the Revoluti­on again unhinged, and Popery again let loose upon us.

In the Year 1692, a formidable Armamant was brought to the opposite Coast *, and embarked to invade us, when we were in no Condition to resist it The Fleet was even got into our Seas be­fore ours was ready to receive them; but its Course was soon stop­ped, and that for some Time, by Winds contrary to them, but so favourable to us, that our whole Force was brought together before they could advance. Upon this followed the most glorious Naval Victory England every gained, with the Destruction of the best Part of the Enemy's Fleet, on their Coast and in their very Sight. In this whole Affair there was such a Conjunction of extraordinary Interpositions of Providence, that he, who had the greatest Share in the Action * thought it no Diminution of his Honour to reckon [Page 34] up a whole Train of them, and to acknowledge, that the Success of that happy Day was owing to the immediate Hand of God.

This fatal Defeat of our Enemies, seemed sufficient, to free us from all Apprehensions for some Time, but they again resolved in the Year 1696, to make another' Attempt, and that upon a surer Foot­ing, with the additional Improvement of an Assassination * to make Way for it. This black Contrivance, worthy only of France and Rome, was discovered but two Days before it was to have been executed, by some who were practised on to engage them in it. And as the Design was thus disappointed at home; so by a kind Providence our Fleet, which was designed to be sent to a very great Distance, was kept in our Ports by cross Winds, contrary to what is ordinary at that Season of the Year. And then the same Person who formerly had the Command, when the same Enemy was defeated, took it upon him again, and went with our Fleet toward their Coast, till they saw the Design impracticable, and dispersed themselves

Another remarkable Crisis was in the Year 1724 §. It is very well known to Numbers now alive, that the rest less and indefatiga­ble Enemies of the Protestant Religion, and our present happy Esta­blishment, had for a considerable Time beer undermining them, and secretly working their Ruin; that their Schemes were in the above-mentioned Year in great Forwardness; too many Well-wishers to that Interest, from which we have every Thing to fear, having wormed themselves into the Court of Queen Anne, and into Places of great Power and Influence; that several violent Steps were actual­ly taken, the sure Presages of what we had to expect? that all Things were going forward in the fairest Manner they could desire, for reducing us again under the Power of the same Family we had been before obliged to exclude from the British Succession, a Family educated in Principles of Cruelty and Blood, and besides exasperated by their late Disgrace. Heaven, at this dangerous Juncture, again [Page 35] looked down upon us. Death was sent in the critical Moment, to cut short the Royal Life, before the fatal Schemes were ripe for bringing in a Popish Pretender to fill the Throne *. The Conse­quence of which remarkable Providence was, that the Affairs of England immediately went into another Channel. The Schemes of the disaffected Party were unhinged, and the illustrious Father of the august Prince, who now happily sways the Scepter over us, same in Time to prevent them, and once more baffle their Preten­sions; and this without so much as a single Blow struck, or one Drop of Blood shed, to make way for his Accession.

The famous Year 1715, is yet fresh in the Memory of many among us. We have not yet forgot how the insulting Enemy plu­med themselves with as sanguine Hopes of gaining their Point, as tho' they had never been once disappointed. We have not forgot that they raised in our Country an Army of Rebels, which almost shook the Pillars of the British Throne. It is also very well known, that they placed their chief Dependance on that ambitious Power § which has all along been the Patron of their baffled Cause: And what the Consequence must have been, if Providence had suffered France to land a powerful Body of Forces to second them, while the whole regular Force in the Nation did not amount to ten thou­sand Men, is very obvious. But He, who at his Pleasure cuts short the distant Prospects of ambitious Men, who has in his Hand the Breath of the mightiest Monarchs, by one timely Stroke put an End to the Life of a King who had been for threescore Years the Plague and Scourge of Europe, reduced his Kingdom to the pre­carious State of a Minority, and disabled it from lending that Assist­ance to our Enemies, which they expected. The Upshot was, that an easy Conquest gave them into our Hands; a few the Govern­ment punished; but a much greater Number their unequalled Le­nity spared; which Lenity they have very ill requited by their late ungratefull and brutal Attempt to overturn the very Government to which some of them owe their Lives.

[Page 36]It is also fresh in our Memories, how the same implacable Power, that has so long been the Firebrand of Christendom only in February 1743. got together against us an Embarkation consisting of sixteen Thousand Men, with Arms for the Friends of the Jacobite Interest in our own Country to the Number of many Thousand Stands be­sides. That they were suffered but just to peep out of their Har­bours; and were presently by a Storm wrecked, sunk, and dashed on the Shore; that the Bodies of many Hundreds were taken up on the French Coast, and that the Fleet was totally disabled from hur­ting us, before we set sail to attack it *. As if that kind Provi­dence, which so tenderly watches over us had been unwilling to let us take the Trouble of conquering our Enemies, or run the Hazard of suffering any Loss from them, and chose rather to bid us stand still, and see the Salvation of God.

The last remarkable Interposition of Providence in our Favours, that I shall mention, is what has given Birth to this Address. An Interposition neither less kind nor less conspicuous than any of the above mentioned, and which I hope neither we nor our Children shall ever suffer to slip out of our Memories, nor its good Effects on our Lives and Conduct to cease; but that the Year 1745. shall be remembred, among the other memorable Years, with due Gratitude to latest Posterity, for a Deliverance from a Dearth of Corn and bloody Civil War, or rather a general Massacre; of each of which we have been this Year within the Distance of only one Forthight or perhaps less, and from both which the Hand of God alone hath saved us; unless any one will pretend, that the Winds and Rains of Heaven are at our Disposal.

Can we look back upon the hideous Precipice we have so narrow­ly escaped, without Hearts full of Gratitude and stedfast Resolution of future Obedience to our Almighty Deliverer? And are not [...] a Sett of Deliverances, which for their uncommon Nature and Cir­cumstances may be applied as Arguments for a Providence sufficient to silence Infidelity itself?

And now, what so reasonable an Account can be given why this peculiar and constant Care has been exercised over us, but that Pro­vidence has thought fit to set this Nation up as a Fence against that worldly Ecclesiastic Power, whose Business has even been to subvert all true Religion and moral Virtue, and which has for these Twelve [Page 37] hundred Years been scattering Delusion, Impiety, Corruption, Fire, Sword and Desolation over the Kingdoms of the Earth? I know it is not in the Eye of Heaven of such Consequence, what particular Sect or Subdivision of Religion a Nation or Person is of, where due Re­verence is had to those Laws he hath established by his sacred Mes­senger, who came to be the Light of the World. But the Difference between the Popish and Protestant Religion, is the same that is be­tween Darkness and Light; between incredible Absurdities and cer­tain Truths, between diabolical Cruelty and heavenly Benevolence; between Satan and Jesus Christ. It is therefore no Wonder, tho' the Almighty has determined to prevent by the most singular Interposi­tions the general Establishment of this infernal Religion; which would prove the general Establishment of Irreligion and Vice, and the rooting out of Christianity and Morality. And shall we, for the Sake of a little guilty Pleasure, and fleeting Amusement, drop or give up this pure and sublime Religion, which God himself has by so many visible Interpositions taken Care to preserve among us? I mention giving up the Protestant Religion for Pleasure, because no­thing in the World is so likely to open a Door to Popery as unboun­ded Luxury and Voluptuousness; it being a Religion calculated for the Indulgence and Gratification of the Lusts and Appetites of Men.

Let us not flatter ourselves, that our Work is over, now we hope the late Danger is over. It was sent for a Trial; and, if it do not work its Effect upon us, it will only make way for a more terrible Judgment. We have been, as I said before, threatned in this one Year with a Dearth of Corn, and a civil War, supported by an Invasion from abroad. Third national Judgment, when Famine and the Sword prove ineffectual for the Reformation of a People, is commonly the Pestilence: And, for God's Sake, let us think in Time, before that terrible Scourge be sent amongst us, how we shall get free of it, as we hope we are thro' Divine Help of the others. National Guilt can only be punished in this present Life, the Punishments in the next being for personal Guilt, We are not therefore to dream, that the Governor of the World will pass from his usual Method of dealing with Nations, out of any Partiality for us. On the Contrary, we may assure ourselves he will not be always insulted; but will send such Judgments as shall produce either a Reformation or a final Extirpation.

[Page 38]The present Juncture seems to be the Crisis that is to determine the Fate of this once illustrious Island, and you the Persons in whose Power it is by your good or bad Conduct either to gain your Country that Favour and Protection of Heaven, which alone can support you against all your Enemies; or to draw down upon it that almighty Vengeance, which can shake the Pillars of the best established Em­pire in the World, and lay its Honour and its Pride in Ruins. And for the Sake of all that is dear to you, if you have any Regard for your Children, any Love for your Country, any Reverence for your Religion, or any Gratitude to your Almighty Deliverer, let the Time past be sufficient to have lost in Indolence and Pleasure; and at last, before it be too late, resolve to consider what is to be done for saving a sinking, Nation. It will be ingrateful, impious and brutish to a Degree I hope you are not capable of, to despise so many signal Warnings, and to make no other use of your late remarkable Deliverance, but to return with so much the more Goust to your Follies, which have been a little, and but a little, interrupted by your Danger.

There is the more Necessity to guard you against the Danger of giving yourself up to impious Mirth and Wantonness upon the Re­turn of your Tranquility, because it is so well known, what a Flood of Wickedness over ran the Nation after the Restoration of King Charles II. and the Deliverance it brought from Troubles of the same kind as we have lately been alarmed with. Nor ought it to be forgotten, what a Succession of Judgments the Divine Providence at that Time brought upon this guilty Land, to shew that Heaven was displeased with so monstrous an Abuse of such a remarkable Deliverance. We engaged in a War with our next Neighbours * and best Allies, which proved as unsuccessful a it was unjust. A very considerable Part of our Naval Strength was destroyed by the Fire of the Enemy in our very Ports . A devouring Pestilence was let loose among us, which heap'd our Streets with dead §. A fearful Conflagration was suffered to over power our Capital, and to humble the proudest City upon Earth to the Dust . And need [Page 39] I then advise you, to take Care how you again provoke such Wrath, and draw down such Vengeance upon your Heads? A People may trifle with Governors of their own setting up, and baffle both their Laws and the Sanctions annexed to them, which seems to be the English Nation of Liberty; but woe to that People who presume to trifle with the Almighty Governor of the World.

Upon you, my Lords and Gentlemen, who hold the first Ranks in the Nation, whether Sharers in the Legislative Power, or not; upon you it lies to begin the general Reformation, by your superior Example and Influence, which, you know, cannot fail to lead the Nation. Let but the Quality and Gentry enter into an Association, to live mostly in the Country upon their Estates, and within their Incomes; to countenance the publick Worship of God, and to sup­port a due Decorum in their own Families; and to observe how long Extravagance and Impiety will continue in Britain. In whatever Light this Matter may appear to People of Birth and Quality, it is certain they are blameable, not only for their own personal Faults, but also in a great Measure for those of their Inferiors, since their bad Example leads a whole People astray.

Of you, Right Reverend Fathers of the Church, it is expected, that you will neglect no Means in your Power for influencing the inferior Clergy who have the immediate Charge of Souls commit­ted to them, to make Conscience of instructing their People in their Duty, and of warning them against the Danger of Popery, of which you know they have of late grown excessively negligent; and that you use all proper Means for coming at the true Characters of the several Clergy of your respective Dioceses, and shew particular Marks of your Favour to such as live exemplary Lives, and are di­ligent in the Execution of their Duty, and do your utmost to dis­countenance those whose Lives are not at least sober and decent, and who do not shew that they have the spiritual Advantage and Re­formation of the Manners of their People at Heart.

I the more chearfully, and with the better Hopes, address you upon this Occasion, Right [...], because I [...] great Satisfaction, seen some of you [...] yourselves [...] the Cause of Religion and your Country, [...] the Beginning of the late Troubles. I should think no better Opportunity [...] the present could offer for your laying [...] whatever may [...] Appearance of Luxury and [...] in your Expence, and [Page 40] can any way be spared for charitable Uses. I hope, I need not recommend to a Body of Christian Prelates, the Christian Virtue of Charity, from Considerations taken from Scripture: But I will appeal to yourselves, whether, by a Hundred Pounds a Year be­stowed in Charities, you are not likely to gain more of the Love and Esteem of Mankind, than by a Thousand laid out in the Pomp and Grandeur of Life. I mention this, because the usual Pretence for the Bishops keeping what they call a Rank, and making a Fi­gure, is to give them Weight and Authority among the People; which End, I am sure, would be much more effectually gained by laying out all above the Conveniencies of Life in judicious and well-chosen Charities. Let me add, that this Vertue is peculiarly graceful in your sacred Order, and that you may contribute as much this Way to averting the Vengeance of Heaven from your Country, as any Way; according to the Judgment of that Honour of the Christian Priesthood, Archbishop Tillotson, who was himself a glorious Pattern of this Virtue. ‘I have often thought (says he) that the extraor­dinary Charity of this Nation, next to the infinite Mercy and Goodness of Almighty God, hath had a very particular Influence upon our Preservation and Deliverance from those terrible Cala­mities that were just ready to rush in upon us.’

And upon you, Reverend Pastors of the Church, it is not to be expressed how much depends with regard to the State of Vertue and Religion in the Nation. It is certain, no Rank in it has more In­fluence in forming the Manners of the People, unless perhaps the Great may be excepted. And it is likewise certain, that no Order of Men in the Nation has the Morals of the People committed to their Charge so immediately as you have. Of your Hands therefore, if our Destruction be decreed, you may expect a great Part of the Blood of your expiring Country will be required *.

If there is any Foundation for hoping that the Divine Providence will not give us up to our Enemies, nor extirpate us by any imme­diate Judgment from his own Hand, it is, that, as I said before, we are the only seeble Bulwark of the Protestant Religion; and, it is to be hoped, it is not the Scheme of Providence, that the Protestant Religion be suffered wholly to sink But if by our vicious Lives we disgrace our Religion, or if by our mad Pursuit of Pleasure we drop all Sense of Religion, or if thro' the Careleness of our Watch­men [Page 41] we degenerate into popery, why should we hope the Protestant Religion will stand as a Fence betwixt us and the Vengeance of Heaven?

Nor is less to be expected of you at this important Juncture Right Worshipful Gentlemen of the Magistracy in Town and Country, in whose Hands the executive Power is lodged. It lies wholly in your Breasts, whether that Body of Laws, which regards the Morals of the People, shall be a Terror and Restraint upon Evil doers, or a gigantick but harmless Bugbear. It has long been the Complaint of the most Judicious, that no Country is better furnished with Laws, and yet that no Country is more lawless, than England. It is in your Power, Gentlemen, to wipe off this Reproach whenever you please; for the publick Business may always be done, where Ma­gistrates know how to command, and will see themselves obey'd.

It is wholly in the Power of your numerous and wealthy Body, worthy Citizens of London, to regulate the Conduct of all the tra­ding Part of the Nation. If you will set before them a Pattern of Industry, Sobriety and Oeconomy, you will see how powerful your Example is, and how closely it is copied by the other trading Cities in the Kingdom. You have lately made a glorious Stand for the Support of publick Credit: Why should you not make as noble a One for the Support of publick Vertue? You have unanimously entered into Associations for the Defence of your Lives, and your Liberties, civil and religious, against a Popish Pretender and his Adherents; Why should you not enter into Associations for the Restoration of the frugal, the industrious, the virtuous and religious Manners of our Fathers, against a Flood of Deism, of French Foppery, and of bewitching Pleasure, which over runs the Land?

O London, London, how hast thou degenerated! Where are now those happy Days, when thy Greatness and Superiority to the other Cities of England, consisted more in thy superior Virtue and Piety, than in thy enormous Wealth, Trade, and Magnificence. Thou art the chief of the Cities of the Earth; thy Merchants are Princes: thy Commerce is extended from Sea to Sea and from the Rising to the Setting of the Sun. Thy Riches have exalted thee to Hea­ven; beware lest thy Pride humble thee to the Dust For, when thy Sins have once brought upon thee the Hour of thy Destruction, it will not be in the Power of thy Riches, thy Commerce, or thy mighty Fleets, to protect thee; much less will the [...] [Page 42] and Panders to thy Luxury and Pleasures, serve to come between thee and the Vengeance which hangs over thee.

It is in your Power, learned Gentlemen, to whom the Instruction of Youth is committed, by infusing into their Minds a Sett of ra­tional Principles of Religion, to do a great deal toward providing a rising Generation to serve God, to support the Cause of Virtue, and to hand down the Protestant Religion to Posterity, after you are gone to receive the Reward of your pious Labours. And I doubt, whether any Thing could give this Country more reasonable Hopes of the Protection of Heaven, than the Prospect of a succeeding Ge­neration likely to walk in the Ways of Vertue and Religion, for the Sake of whose Piety (tho' only seen in Futurity) God might think fit to spare the Nation.

You, Gentlemen, have the Opportunity of forming the Mind, at almost the only Time when it is capable of being impressed; I mean in Youth: For it is to be lamented, that in this Age of Wealth, Prosperity, and Luxury, the Minds of many People who are come to Years, are too stubborn to be bettered by any kind of Advice, whether given from the Pulpit, the Press, or in private. I know it is said on this Subject, tho' unreasonably, that those who have had the most pious Educations, are often seen to go shamefully astray from the good Ways they have been brought up in; and on that Account it is pretended, that a religious Education is of the less Consequence. The Assertion is true, and a melancholly Truth it is: But the Reasoning upon it is false. For it is not to be conceived, that a Person who hat not had his Mind tinctured in his Youth with religious Principles, should, in any future Part of his Life, give him­self up to a religious Practice: And therefore a religious Education is absolutely necessary, if we would give our Youth any Chance of ever becoming pious or virtuous Men. Further, the Advantage of a religious Education, upon a rational Foundation, appears even in the Course which Men of loose Lives take. Of which those, who have not had that Advantage, when they once get into the Ways of open Vice and Impiety, having no Principle within them to stop them in their Career, are ever seen to ramble from one Folly to another, till Providence puts an End to the Course of their Lives and Impieties at once. But those, who have had their Minds tinctured with Principles of Virtue and Religion, tho' they some­times miserably wander from the peaceful Ways of Sobriety, over­powered [Page 43] by Heat of Youth and strong Temptation; whenever that youthful Heat abates, and the Temptation loses its Force, or some severe Affliction, the Result of their Follies, intervenes, are often found to return to the Temper of Mind their Education gave them, and tread those Paths again which they were formerly accustomed to.

If therefore you will make a Conscience of giving the Youth en­trusted to your Care a rational View of the Christian Religion, as it is in the New Testament, and of that admirable System of Morality communicated to Mankind by it; especialiy, if you will inculcate upon their Minds the Beauties and the indispensible Obligation of those sublime and heavenly Precepts contained in that best Discourse that ever was made to the Sons of Men, or ever will, till He who made it appears again, I mean our Saviour's Discourse on the Mount Matth. v. vi. Vii. the Law, by which we all are to be judged at the last Day; if you will do these Things carefully and conscien­tiously, regarding them as the most important Parts of your Duty to the Youth whose Education is entrusted to you, you will then contribute your proper Part toward bringing about the national Reformation so much wanted at this Day.

Nor ought I to let slip this Opportunity of addressing myself to you, my fair Countrywomen, nor of laying before you a View of your proper Duty, and the Part you ought to act on this Occasion. The Beauties and Graces of your Persons and your Minds make you the proper Objects of the most tender Love and Affection of our Sex; and the Ordination of Heaven itself has put you under our immediate Protection. Your Characters as to Vertue and Vice. greatly depend on your Fathers and Husbands; your tender Minds being naturally so pliant as to be susceptible of whatever Impressions are made on them by our Sex. It is therefore the more melancholly a Consideration, that by our Neglect of you, from too much false Indulgence and Fondness, your Minds have been suffered to grow wild, and your Passions and Desires to shoot out into such Extrava­gancies as are altogether unsuitable and ungraceful in the Female Character.

It is with Reluctance and Grief I accuse you; and the more be­cause my Accusation is but too just: For it is certain, that no small Part of the National Guilt is to be charged to your Account. It is by no Means to be denied, that in this gay and voluptuous Age many of you have given yourselves up a great deal too much to the [Page 44] heightned Pleasures of Theatrical and Musical Entertainments; to the Neglect not only of all that is spiritual and sacred, but also of those domestick Cares which are your proper Province. The una­voidable Effect of a constant Pursuit of the most innocent of these publick Diversions must be, entirely to pervert your Minds from what is the only natural Sphere of Womankind, and what you were originally intended for by the Ordination of Heaven; for I will not stick to tell the proudest Beauty that shines in the Front Box, or in [...] gay Alcove, bedecked in all the gaudy Plumage that Female Vanity can contrive to put together, that she was originally formed for the plain and homely, but necessary and endearing, Characters of a Wife and a Mother; and that all the various Orna­ments of Pride, which fill her fantastical Brain, and disfigure the native Beauties of her Person, and all the giddy Hours she passes in a Round of guilty Follies, falsly called Pleasures and Diversions, rend only to make her more and more unfit for what Nature designed her for. Believe me, my dear Countrywomen, whenever you aim at any Thing else than to be dutiful Daughters, loving Wives, ten­der Mothers prudent Mistresses of Families, faithful Friends, and pious Christians, you aim at somewhat that is quite out of Nature, and beside the Intention of Heaven in making you rational Crea­tures. Will Vauxhall improve you in Oeconomy and Frugality, or Ranelagh in the domestick Arts that make Families happy? Will the bombastick Rant of the Play-House furnish you with Maxims of Prudence, or its obscene Ribaldry store your Minds with the Graces of Modesty and Vertue? How long must you die away to soft Strains of Musick, or study to enter deeply into the various Thea­trical Excellencies of Stage Heroes and Heroins, before you will be the sitter Companions for Men of Sense? How long must you prac­tice curling your Hair, fluttering your Fans, and overloading your Persons with false Ornaments, before your Conversation will be ever new and ever entertaining to a Husband of Knowledge and Worth?

I beg Leave only to ask you, Whether there is more of Happiness or Uneasiness in the Life you generally live, even in your own Ex­perience? Can you say you ever come away from the [...] Scenes of Pleasure, which ingross the Bulk of your Time, without having your Minds disturbed and thrown into a ferment of irregular and exorbitant Desires, which, if you lived a Life of Sobriety [Page 45] Peace and Retirement, would never have stirred in your [...]? Can you pretend that the Sight of gorgeous Dresses, of gaudy Paintings, and all the various Magnificence, which exquisite Art supported by unbounded Extravagance can put together; that the hearing of the most melting Strains of Musick, and of the most rap­turous and passionate Flights of Poetry; can you pretend I say, that these have any other Effect upon you than to fill your Fancies with a thousand romantic Wishes and Desires altogether inconsistent with your Station and above your Rank in Life, and to make your own Homes dull and tiresome to you? Is the Pleasure of being bowed to by a brainless Pop in a Side Box, equal to the Satisfaction of Mind, which arises from the judicious Regard of a tender Parent or a loving Husband! What is the Happiness of being rumpled in a Crowd, compared to that of the peaceful Enjoyment of the Society of affectionate Relations and Friends, and the Endearments of a Race of promising Children.

If it be certain, that your Fortune chiefly depends upon your being well settled in Marriage; if it be certain, that a Lady's hav­ing a fine Taste in Pleasures, and delighting to pass her Life in the most expensive Diversions, serves rather (according to the Judgment of the Male Sex) to qualify her for a Mistress than a Wife; and if it be likewise certain, that at this very Time what chiefly deters the Youth from enting into the Marriage-State, is the excessive Love of Idleness, Dress, and publick Diversions they observe in the La­dies, to which very few Incomes are equal; if these Things be cer­tain and indisputable, methinks your Interest alone, and the Desire of being agreeable to the other Sex, if there were no other Motive, ought to Influence you greatly, and put you upon correcting your Conduct. I assure you, however our Sex may flatter you in your present Taste for Pleasure, there are few of them such Fools, as not to know, that a fine Lady, who delights in gadding abroad in Pursuit of Pleasure, and when she stays at home in having her House crowded with idle Visitors, and who is too polite to lend a Hand to promote her Husband's Business or to mind her own domestic Cares, is not in the least fit for being a Wife, but, instead of being a Help meet for Man, is rather like to be a Clog or Incumbrance upon his Affairs.

But, though I have said, that the unavoidable Effect of your haunting the luxurius Entertainments of Plays and Music-Gardens, [Page 46] is, to pervert your Taste, and to turn the Bent of your Inclination aside from your proper Sphere; I have not yet mentioned by far the most fatal Effect of a Life spent in this Manner. I appeal to the common Sense of Mankind, whether it is conceivable, that a Lady can frequent the luscious Theatre, be a Witness of all the Scenes of Impurity, and give Ear to all the shameless Leudness of that Haunt of Vice and Obscenity, without having her Mind de­bauched and polluted, which is the surest Prelude to the de­bauching of her Person. Nor indeed would I advise any Friend of mine to make his Addresses to one of those gay Ladies, who spend much of their Time at Plays, as I should not think his Honour the safer for being in the Power of a Woman, who had drawn her Principles of Modesty and Virtue from Drury-Lane or Covent-Garden. But to add no more on this Head; a Word being enough to the Wise.

From what I have said of the Faults of your Conduct, my dear Countrywomen, you may plainly see what is in your Power to do toward the general Reformation I have been recommending so ear­nestly to wit, to correct those Faults. It is in your Power to lighten your Country of all that Part of the National Guilt, which your bad Conduct has brought upon it. It is even in your Power to do a great deal toward reforming the other Sex. Vertue, ac­cording to the well known Saying of the Poet, is doubly amiable in a beautiful Person, and you can hardly fail of gaining her some Votaries among your Lovers and Husbands. Upon the whole, if you will resolve to retrench your Extravagancies, to employ your Time at home in the works of domestic Oeconomy, Charity, Vertue and Piety, and in filling up the Place you hold with regard to your Friends, your Relations, and your Good; you will con­tribute what is properly in your Power toward the Reformation, an consequently the saving of your unhappy Country.

Lastly, my dear Countrymen and Countrywomen in general, it is in the Power of every one of you (from the highest to the lowest Rank in the Nation) to do somewhat toward the general Reforma­tion; it is in the Power of every Man and every Woman in Eng­land to reform one, to add one to the Number of the truly Virtuous and Religious, for the Sake of whom incensed Omnipotence may be moved to spare a guilty Nation, and lay the avenging Thunder­bolt aside.

[Page 47]If by what I have written, I shall in any Measure disoblige or disgust, and by that Means fail of attaining my Design, it will give me infinite Concern: For I appeal to him who knows the Secrets of all Hearts, that my Intention is to reform, and not to irritate.

These are not Times for saying soft Things; and, if it were not that finding Fault is the most disagreeable Work a Man of common Humanity ever engages in, it is easy to see only from the List of epidemical Vices of the Age mentioned Page 8. most of which I have only named, that I could have spun out a Volume upon that ungrateful Subject: But it is my Opinion, that no Man ought ever to write or say a harsh Thing against his Fellow Creatures, but when he has some Prospect of gaining a superior Advantage by it.

I conclude with my hearty Pragers, That God would be pleased to touch your Hearts, and put you upon amending your Conduct by whatever Means he may see proper, whether I am to have the Happiness of being any Way instrumental to it or not; and that he would graciously accept this poor Offering to his Honour, the Interest of the true Religion, and the Good of my Country.

FINIS.

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