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SERM

And, Shall I not vifit for fuch Things, I. faith the Lord? fhall not my Soul be avenJer. v. 8.ged of fuch a Nation as this?

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People fin in this remarkable Manner and fhall not that Sin be as remarkably punished? It was immediately, and in some Measure punished by the fatal and neceffary Consequences of it, by the fad Disorders and Confufions that attended it. For had Zimri Peace who 2 Kings x. 31. flew his Master? Did the Partners in this black Crime quietly reap the expected Fruits of it? No! they did not, they were foon displac'd from the high Seat of Authority which they had ufurped; and gave Way to other Ufurpers, and to various Forms of Government which prevailed in their Turns. The feaverish Nation rolled from one Posture, one Expedient to another; and found Reft in none. It then foon appeared, how great the Lofs was of their admirable Prince, and of their ancient Conftitution which perished with him. The People, who had mifcalled his mild and gentle Reign, Oppreffion and Tyranny

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found themselves now ruled with SERM. a Rod of Iron, and broken in Pieces like a I. Potter's Veffel. They had complained Pr.ii.9. of Arbitrary Power without Cause, and now smarted under it without Remedy. To secure their Liberty and Laws, they had made this Change; which left both of them at the Mercy of standing Armies. Thus did their ownWickedness correct them, and their Backflidings did reprove them ! Jer. ii. 19. They had pulled down a regular Primitive Church; and immediately Churches, Seas, and Religions without Number fprang up in the room of it; inftead of the honeft English Plainness and Simplicity, a demure and fly Hypocrify prevailed; instead of fober and well-weighed Devotions, all the Freaks and Rants of Enthufiafm. Every Way of worshipping God, but the true One was publickly allowed; all Men were admitted to the Exercife of the Sacred Function, but those who were most lawfully called to it, and beft qualified for it. A loud and caufelefs Complaint of Impofitions on the Confciences of Men, in C 4 Things

SERM. Things pertaining to God, had helped to I. ruine the Church; and now, every little Society pretending to that venerable Name, did the very thing they had complained of; impofed the Platform of their Doctrine, Discipline, and Worfhip, as Divine; and were for rooting out all that oppofed, or did not comply with it. In the mean Time, they, who preferved themselves free from this fort of Infection, were in as much Danger of swerving to a contrary Extreme, and of making Inferences to the Prejudice of Religion it felf, which they faw perverted and proftituted to the worst Designs, Even good Men, at the Sight of thefe profperous Hypocrites, were ready to cry out, in the Words of complaining Jeremiah. Righteous art Jer. xii. thou, O Lord, when I plead with thee; yet let me talk with thee of thy Judgments: Wherefore doth the Way of the Wicked profper? why are all they happy that deal very treacherously? Thou haft planted them, yea, they have taken Root, they grow, they bring forth Fruit; thou art near in their Mouth,

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I.

Pfal. xliv.

Mouth, and far (very far) from their SERM. Reins! Then, when thefe hypocritical Pretenders to Godliness abounded, did an oppofite Spirit of open Levity and Prophanenefs begin to gain Ground upon a serious and religious People: Then were thofe Seeds of Infidelity firft sown among us, which have fince sprung up, and increafed into a mighty Harveft. Our endless Divisions were a Scandal to the truly Pious, the Boaft of Rome, and the Sport of Atheists: We were made a Reproach to our Neighbours, a Scorn 13,14. and a Derifion to them that were round about us; a Byeword among the Heathen, a Shaking of the Head among the People : We lay down in our Shame, and our Confufion covered us. No Words can express the various Sorts of Misery, under which this Nation then groaned by rea- Job xxxv. fon of the Multitude of Oppreffions and 9. Oppreffors. New Lords had Dominion over us; the very Refuse and Outcast of the People; the Head became the Tail, and the Tail the Head; the Child behaved himself proud against the Antient,

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Ifa. iii. 5.

I.

SERM. and the Bafe against the Honourable. From Violence and Bloodshed this new Model of Government had arifen; and the fame Methods were requifite to cement and uphold it. Plunder and Rapine compleated the Devastations which War had begun: Armed Force decided Right, or executed the Sentence of those who had no manner of Right to decide it: They were altogether like Ezek. Wolves, ravening the Prey to shed Blood, and to deftroy Souls to get dishonest Gain. As the Voice of a Woman in Travail, as the Anguish of her that bringeth forth her firft Child; fuch was then the Voice of the Daughter of Sion, that bewailed her felf, that Spread forth her Hands, faying; Woe is me now! for my Soul is weary because of Murderers!

xxii. 27.

Jer. iv.

31.

At last this Storm ceafed, the Clouds dispersed, and the Sun fhone out again in his Strength; the Royal Family returned, and with it our old Conftitution in Church and State; the Regicides fuffered, and the Land feemed to be cleansed of the Royal Blood, that wa

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