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and that the Punishments inflicted by SERM. God on Nations in this Life, may be I. altogether or in part deferred by God, for fome time, till the Iniquity of thofe Nations is full, and the Sinners grown ripe for Vengeance: These are all Points fufficiently evident from Reafon and Scripture, and the Hiftory of the World; they need no folemn Proof, because they admit of no great Doubt. Little indeed is faid on this Head in the Books of the New Teftament, which were all written for the Ufe of private fcattered Chriftians, ere as yet any one entire Nation was converted, or any of the great Rulers of the World had fubmitted their Scepters to the Scepter of Chrift: And, therefore, the Precepts there contain'd relate chiefly, if not folely, to the Conduct of particular Perfons, and are filent as to the Methods of God's dealing with publick Bodies and Societies of Men. And there was the lefs Occafion for any Inftructions of this kind in the New Teftament, because they had been giVol. II. C
SERM. ven fo frequently and fully in the Old ; I. the Prophetick Parts of which do every where inculcate these Doctrines, as the Matters of Fact, recorded in the Historical Books, illuftrate and confirm them. And from thence therefore, all our Obfervations must be drawn, concerning the Influence which a Peoples Sins have upon their Sufferings, and concerning the Measures of that Political Juftice, by which God governs the World. And in truth, it was proper that the Directions of this kind should be given under the Inftitution of Mofes; the Letter of which extended no farther than to the Concerns of this Life: Whereas the Duties, the Promises, and Threatnings of the Gospel do all look beyond the Grave, and are defigned to regulate our Behaviour in this World, as it relates, and leads to another.
The Doctrine then of God's Visiting Nations, as fuch, for Sins committed by them in that Capacity, being fuppofed; let us briefly apply it to the present Cafe, and fee how far we our felves are concerned in it. That
That the Sin of this Day was Natio- SERM: nal, is not to be denied; the Nation it felf confeffeth it, by appointing and obferving these publick and stated Humiliations. It was under the Colour of a National Authority, that the Rebellion was first raised, and all along carried on, and at laft confummated by the Erection of that infamous High Court of Fuftice; which gave the finishing Stroke to the fuccefsful Villanies of that Time, by taking away the Life of our Sovereign. Indeed, the greatest Part of the Nation abhorred that barbarous Act; (and had their Power been equal to their Inclination, would have prevented it:) But many of them had contributed to it too much, and too long before; and, having joined in all the Steps that led to the Murder of the King, could not at laft, by expreffing their Deteftation of the Crime, excufe themselves entirely from the Guilt of it.
It was the Nation therefore, that finned; and finned with a high Hand, and with all the inflaming CircumstanC 2
SERM. Ces of Guilt and Aggravation. They made their way to the Completion of this Wickedness, through the most solemn Engagements, through all the Ties of Reafon, and the Reluctances of Confcience: The Laws of God and Man were but as Withs upon the Arms of thefe Sampfons, which they broke at Pleasure; and, when they had once overleaped the Mounds and Fences of Juftice, were refolved to think every Step lawful, which was neceffary to justify those they had already taken. Many Years they continued ftedfaftly pursu ing these unrighteous Measures; they Jer. viii. 5 held faft Deceit, and refused to return; and after heaping Tranfgreffion upon Tranfgreffion, did, at laft, through the Blood of many of their Fellow-Subjects arrive at that of their Sovereign, and in the calmest and most deliberate Manner perpetrate the black Defign they had for fome time meditated.
The common Methods, made use of by rebellious Subjects in the Destruction of Princes, did not please them; Poyson,
or a private Affaffination was too hafty SERM. and clandeftine a way: They were refolved to have the Proceeding more Publick, and Slow, and Solemn; to carry it on by the Forms of Law, and with the mock Shew and Pageantry of Juftice, (a Way which crowned Heads had not hitherto been treated in,) and fince the Crime it felf was old, and had been often repeated, to recommend it at least by the Newness of the Invention: In which respect, it must be confessed, that they outstripped all their Rivals in this Sort of Wickedness, even the bloodiest of their King-killing Neighbours. Indeed new Inventions for flaugh. tering Kings, and overturning States, are the peculiar Reproach of this Nation; of which we have two eminent Proofs upon Record, not to be paralleled in other Hiftories, the Gun-Powder-Treafon, and that of this Day; One of them contrived by Papists, the Other by wild Sectaries and Enthufiafts; neither of them (God be thanked) by the Members of the Church of England!