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Heaven: By afflicting us in this World, prepareft a Place for us, where we fhall for evermore be freed from all manner of Afflictions!

But we may make a farther Use of these Things, we may observe how hard a Venture they run who prostitute their Confcience to their Intereft; and venture on Sin to get the Favour of those in Authority. How foon are they with their Protectors caft down, and made the Scorn and the Laughter of their Neighbours? and how miserable must they needs be, who have an accufing Confcience within, and nothing without to give them any Support, or Relief? when as he that in all Times acts according to the Dictates of Reason, and is always true to his well settled Principles; if Affairs change, and he happen to be in Adverfity, he is esteem'd and honour'd by all fober Men: And however, he has that within which is a fovereign Cordial against all the Mischiefs he may fall into: And can with an humble Affurance look up to Heaven, and folace himfelf in the Favour of God, and the Hopes of a bleffed Immortality: He can, as Horace fays, Sua virtute se involvere; and be as safe and happy with the Defence of a good Confcience, as if he had Walls of Brafs encompaffing him. If it please the divine Providence to profper and exalt him in the World, he is thankful, humble, and takes care to make use of his Place, and Power, for Gods Glory, and the Benefit of Mankind. But if the fame Providence deprives him of all his Honours and Preferments, he knows 'tis because it will reward him Sevenfold hereafter, and he is fatisfied and contented;

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contented; being affur'd, if his gracious Father had seen it beft for him to have been ftill a Courtier, or great, he should so have remain'd ftill: And he is not fo foolish as to wish for what he believes would have been to his own Harm and Detriment, at the Upshot: But heartily joins with that Petition in the Lord's Prayer, Thy Will be done. But as to the Actors in this great Change, whether they can justify themselves before that God, who trieth the Heart, and fearcheth the Reins; must be left to the Determination of the great Day, where no cunning Shifts, and Pretences of Piety, will pafs for a fufficient Excufe for Rebellion, and Difobedience to lawful Magiftrates. Or whether it be lawful to comply with thefe Things, and fwear Allegiance to a new King, the other claiming his Right, 'tis not very eafy to determine, [but more about this fee, in my Paper call'd The Lawfulness of the new Oath of Allegiance foberly difcufs'd.]

Shew me thy Way, O Lord, and teach me thy Paths. Make thy Way plain before my Face, that I may always have a Confcience void of Offence, towards God, and towards Men. Amen.

May 12, 1689.

VI. A Lamentation of the Decay of true Piety, and Practical Chriftianity,

WHERE needs nothing but a right Senfe of


Religion, following from a true Notion of it, to make us forely bewail its Decay and Difefteem in the World. When a Man seriously confiders the Excellency, Noblenefs, Neceffity, Ufefulness, and Pleasantness of Religion; its Fitness to Man in


every Relation and Condition of Life; the Peace and Quiet of every particular Soul, and of human Societies and Conftitutions, which it aims at; the Greatnefs of its Object, even the one Eternal Majefty of Heaven and Earth, the Immensity of its Rewards in another World; and withall takes a View of human Nature, its Faculties, and Defires, its Capacities, and Endowments, exactly fitted and adapted to Religion; as Religion in the Reverse is exactly calculated to fupply the Wants, remedy the Evils, enlarge the Powers, raise the Mind, erect the Hopes, and finally perfect and compleat Mankind: And at the fame time fees how little it is heeded, how vilely it is abused, how it is proftituted to every unworthy Purpose, and now fo intolerably spoil'd and corrupted in its practical Part, which is the main Aim and Scope of it, that one may almost cry out, Away with it out of the World, let it divide no more Minds, destroy no more Kingdoms, butcher no more Innocents, cloak no more Crimes, nay debauch no more Principles any longer: He that fhall foberly reflect on these Things together, will be ready to fay with the Prophet Jeremiah, O that my Eyes were Waters, and my Head a Fountain of Tears, that I might lament, Day and Night, the miferable State and Condition of the Generality of Mankind! that I might bewail the Madness, Folly, and Stupidity of wretched Men! that there fhould be fuch a Price and Opportunity put into the Hands of fuch Fools to get Wisdom, who have no Heart to it! that fo precious a Privilege, purchas'd with the Blood of


the Son of God, as the Promises of Religion propofe of being Heirs of eternal Felicity, fhould be fo undervalued and rejected by ungrateful Mortals! that what the Almighty defign'd for the perfecting human Nature should be fo deform'd, alter'd, and chang'd, to be inftrumental too often to its Bane and Mifery! fuch Confiderations as these might well make a Man conclude there were fome great Cheat in the Business of Religion; fome mighty Impofi-tion, and Abufe put upon Mankind; and that its Principles were quite of a different Nature from what it is above reprefented; or else it must be refolved that, by one Means or another, human Nature is ftrangely distorted, and out of order, thus to convert Meat into Crudity; Phyfick into Diseases; and the moft fovereign and universal Medicine, into the moft pernicious and epidemical Malady. Which laft will foon be found to be the real Cafe of the World, when, (1.) 'tis undeniable to any one reading either the Law of Nature engraven in all Men's Hearts, or the Law reveal'd to the Jews under dark Representations, and to the Chriftians in its meridian Splendour in the Holy Records, that the Precepts, Promifes, Threatenings, Examples, and Counfels of Religion, are uniformly adapted, and do univerfally concenter in those noble Ends, the Glory and Pleafing of God, in the perfecting and making happy of human Nature, &c. (2.) Tis evident Man's Nature is a capable and proper Subject of Religion; and that the Ends propos'd by it are attainable: Because de facto we find in the first Ages of the Church that Religion in a great Measure attain'd its Aim, and rendered the


Christians amiable, and honour'd in the Eyes of the Heathens themselves; whereby Multitudes were every where converted to our most Holy Profeffion feeing them fhew out of a good Converfation, their Works with Meekness of Wisdom; as the Apostle exhorts them. Then was the Power and Excellency of Christianity feen when non magna loquimur, fed vivimus, was the Badge of a Disciple of our Lord; when more Pains was taken in conquering Lufts than Foes; and more fought against their Sins than their Sovereigns; when Preces and Lachryme were the Arms, and Sanguis Martyrum the Seed of the Church militant, upon Earth; when Chriftians had a ferious Senfe of what they profefs'd to believe, and durft not be Hypocritical in that Religion for which every Day they expected. to lose their Lives, and all they had in this World. Oh when will that Golden Age again vifit the languishing Church of Chrift? when will that daily Piety and Devotion; that ftrict Juftice and Sincerity; that hearty Love and Charity grow warm in thefe frozen Regions of the World any more? But if it be too much to expect that; yet I may have leave I hope to lament, to defire, to wish and at least to comfort my troubled Mind with the Thoughts that it was once among us on Earth, and will return however in Heaven to thofe that feek it earnestly in this World. O my good God! whither is thy Fear banished! whither is Devotion retir'd? into fome warmer Regions of the Earth? No: they are as ftrange there as here. Whither is Humility, Temperance, Candour, Unity, Content


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