« ПредишнаНапред »
would the air of a plague-sore, meddling with those that are given to change.
I now proceed to the second observable in the text, viz. That God's delivering up of rebels is a just ground of praise and thanksgiving to him: for the proof of which, I shall not need to urge any other argument, than the signal defeat and overthrow of this late rebellion, for which we are now rendering our thankful acknowledgments to God. For considering the temper and quality of the persons of which this unnatural rebellion was composed, a very small prophet may easily prognosticate to what a deplorable condition this nation must have been reduced, if it had prospered and succeeded : for it was nothing but a common sewer, into which all the kennels of the nation ran; being partly made up of the most debauched and profligate atheists, that had broke through all the laws of humanity, and stripped themselves so naked of all the show of piety and virtue, that they had not hypocrisy enough remaining to disguise their lewd and villainous intentions ; partly of beggarly malecontents, who had no other way to repair their broken fortunes, but by running in to the shipwreck of the nation; but chiefly of hotbrained, furious sectaries, whose blind zeal, like the devil in the possessed man, threw them into fire and water, transported and hurried them into any villainy, into perjury and murder, treason and sacrilege, and would not permit them to stop at any thing that made for the interest of their cause : such were the ingredients of this poisonous mixture. So that had God for our sins permitted it to prevail, we had quickly seen a flourishing kingdom, like Herod in all his glory and splendour, seized on, eaten up by lice, by a swarm of the basest and most infamous vermin that ever bred out of the filth of a nation : we had seen the atheist glutting his lust with the rapes of our wives and daughters, and quaffing the tears of widows and orphans: we had seen the beggar on horseback, flaunting in the spoils of our fortunes, and triumphing on the heads of our nobles and gentry; and the bloody enthusiast imbruing his hands in loyal blood, appeasing his furious zeal again with royal sacrifice, and throwing down all that is sacred in our Jerusalem, to make way for erecting his fanatic Babel, his tumult and confusion of religions. In a word, we had seen our laws trampled on, our liberties enslaved, and our yet sacred and virgin throne, to our everlasting infamy, defloured and profaned by a spurious illegitimate issue: with this dire spectacle our eyes had most certainly been entertained, had this black rebellion succeeded. Wherefore our gracious God, being moved to commiseration by this woful prospect of our approaching calamity, roused up himself, like a mighty man of war, and with an avengful eye looked down upon this host of Assyrians, and with the breath of his nostrils scattered the rebellious rout before him. Wherefore, not unto us, O Lord, not to our conduct or puissance, but unto thy name be all the glory and ho
And since we are all of us sharers in this great deliverance, it is just we should all return the tribute of our praise to our great Deliverer. O give thanks unto the Lord therefore ; for he is good : because his mercy endureth for ever. Let Israel now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let the house of Aaron now say, that his mercy endureth for ever. Let all them that fear the Lord, say, that his mercy endureth for ever.
And, as the best return of gratitude we can make to God, let us by our future loyalty to his illustrious vicegerent, by our firm reliance on his royal promises, which hitherto have been ever sacred and inviolate, by our cheerful submission to his laws, and constant forwardness to oppose and detect all treasonous designs against his person and government, endeavour, as much as in us lies, to render his reign safe, and easy, and prosperous : and by our immovable constancy in the profession and practice of our holy religion, the most pure and unsophisticated, the most primitive and loyal religion of the church of England, let us endeavour to endear ourselves to God; that so by our faithful supplications we may prevail with God to fix the crown upon his royal head, to guard and protect his sacred person, to bless and secure his government, to abate the pride, assuage the malice, and confound the devices of his enemies; and after he hath enjoyed a long, a pious, and prosperous reign upon earth, to crown him with everlasting glory in heaven. To which prayer, I am sure, all that are the genuine sons of the church of England will, with a true heart and zealous affection, say, Amen.
AT THE ASSIZES AT CHELMSFORD IN THE COUNTY
OF ESSEX, AUGUST 31, 1686.
ROMANS xiii. 1. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers ; for the pow
ers that are, are ordained of God. IN which words you have, first, A duty enjoined; Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Secondly,A reason enforcing it; for the powers that are, are ordained of God. In the duty there are three things considerable. First, The extent of it, it is to
Secondly, The matter of it, it is to be subject. Thirdly, The object of it, the higher pow
Of each of which I shall discourse briefly. First, Here is the extent of this duty, it is to every soul; that is, to every man, of what order, or degree, or quality soever; whether he be high or low, rich or poor, spiritual or secular, none are exempt ; without any exception either of St. Peter and his successors, or of the body of the people: for the reason extends equally to both; because the powers that are, are ordained of God. They are by God's commission, and rule by his authority: and therefore neither the bishop of Rome, nor the majority of the people, can claim exemption from this duty of subjection, without arrogating to themselves an authority superior to God's. For if we must be subject to them, because they rule by God's authority, then it is certain there are none that are subject to God but are under the force and obligation of this reason.
But then, secondly, you have here the matter of this duty; and that is, to be subject: in which comprehensive phrase is included the whole duty of subjects to their princes and governors; honouring their persons, reverencing their authority, assisting them against their enemies, defending the rights of their government, and conscientiously rendering to them their due customs and tributes : but more especially and particularly it includes our free and ready submission to them, in yielding a cheerful obedience to their commands, so far as we can innocently, and consistently with our duty to God; and where we cannot, in patiently undergoing all those pains and penalties they shall think fit to inflict on us for our disobedience; in suffering their unjust persecutions without murmuring or clamour, without disturbing their government, or resisting their authority, or endeavouring to repel their force with force; but meekly submitting our cause to the judgment of God, who is the patron and protector of oppressed innocence. But for our clearer understanding this necessary duty of subjection to our princes and governors, I shall briefly explain the particulars implied in it, which are these five:
First, It implies our ready and cheerful obedience to them in all lawful things.
Secondly, Our obedience to them in all doubtful things.
Thirdly, It implies our obedience to them in all those cases wherein we are not able to judge for ourselves.