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En quò difcordia cives Perduxit miseros ! To conclude this sad story: It was the Jews themfelves that by their own folly and dissensions forced the Romans to this sorrowful victory over them; for in truth all the remorse and pity was on the enemy's side. The Romans were little more than spectators in this cruel tragedy ; the Jews acted it upon themselves : and they only, who were arrived at that prodigious height of impiety and wickedness, were fit to be the executioners of this vengeance of God upon one another : as if the Prophet had foretold this, when he says, Thine own wickedness shall correct thee, Jer. ï. 19.
When impiety and wickedness are at their highest 'pitch in a nation, then they themselves are the only proper instruments to punish one another. The Roo mans were by far too good and gentlę to infie a fuffering upon the Jews that was equal to the evil of their doings : none but their own barbarous felves, who were sunk down into the very lowest degeneracy of human nature, were capable of so much cruelty and inhumanity, as was requisite to execute the judgment of God upon them to that degree which their fins had deferved.
You see, my brethren, by what hath been said upon this argument, what were the faults, and what the fate of the Jewish nation. Now, these things (as the Apostle expressly tells us) were written for our admonition, and to the intent that we, upon whom the ends of the world are come, might be instructed by them : We, I say, who next to the Jewish nation seem to be a people highly favoured by God above all the nations of the earth. We resemble them very much in their many and wonderful deliverances, and a great deal too much in their faults and follies.
But as I intend it not, so God forbid, that there should be any just ground for a full and exact parallel between us. Yet this I must say, that nothing ever came nearer to them than we do, in several respects; in our fickleness and inconstancy, in our murmurings and discontents; for we are never pleased with what God does,
neither when he brings us into danger, nor when he delivers us out of it. We resemble them likewise in our horrible profaneness and inndelity, and in our impiety and wickedness of several kinds ; in our monItrous ingratitude and most unworthy returns to the God of our salvation; and, lastly, in our factions and divilions, which were the fatal sign of God's being departed from the Jews, and the immediate cause and means of those dijinal calamities which wrought their final ruin. And how can we chuse but dread, left their fate should overtake us, the example of whose faults and follies we do in so many things fo nearly resemble ?
That this may not, nor any thing like it, be our fate, let us apply ourselves to the great duties of this day; a serious and deep repentance and humiliation of ourselves before almighty God, for the many and heinous lins which we in this nation have been, and still are guilty of against his divine majesty ; by our profaneness and impiety, by our lewdness and luxury, by our oppression and injustice, by our implacable malice and hatred one towards another, and by our senseless divilions and animofities one against another, without cause and without end; by our neglect of God's worship and profanation of his holy day, and by our dreadful abuse of God's great and glorious name in those horrid oaths, and curses, and imprecations, which are heard almoit day and night in the streets of this great city.
for these and all other our innumerable provocations of the patience, and goodness, and long-suffering of God towards us, let us sadly repent ourselves this day; and turn unto the Lord with all our hearts, with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning : and rent our hearts and not our garments, and turn unto the Lord our God; for he is gracious and merciful, Now to anger, and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil : and who knoweth if he will return and repent, and leave a blessing behind him? Turn thou us unto thee, O Lord, and we shall be turned. Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.
And let us earnestly beg of him, that he would be pleased to prevent those terrible judgments and calamities which hang over us, and which our sins have so justly deserved should fall upon us; and that he would
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perfect that wonderful deliverance which he hath begun for us, and establish the thing which he hath wrought : that he would bless them whom he hath set in authority over us; and particularly, that he would preserve the person of the King in his present expedition, and crown him with victory and good fuccess.
And to our repentance and prayers let us add our liberal alms; and, according to the counsel given by the Prophet to Nebuchadnezzar, let us break off our sins by righteousness, and our iniquities by thewing mercy to the poor, if so be it may be a lengthening of our tranquillity.
We are yet, blessed be God, in the full enjoyment of peace and quiet at home, and of our religion and civil liberties. God hath given us two excellent princes Gitting on the throne together, and both of the same religion with the main body of the nation ; and as bright examples of piety and goodness as England ever faw; and who do by all ways and means study and seek the good of the people committed to their charge.
So that if we did but know our own happiness, and how to value it, we might be the happiest people this day under heaven. And yet, for all this, we are very far from being happy; because we are neither contented, nor united; and though we have all the materials of happiness about us, and within our reach, yet have we not the skill and wisdom to put them together.
Miserable people! that may be happy and will not ; whom neither só fresh a deliverance from so great a danger as was just ready to have swallowed us up, nor the fear and apprehention of falling again into the like confufion, can be a warning to us from returning again into the fame folly. For those odious and unhappy names of difference which some years ago sprang up among us, the devil knows how, did seem, whilst a common danger threatened us, to be quite dead and buried : but no lovner was the danger over, but, by a kind of miraculous infatuation, behold a sudden resurrection of them, with greater heats and animosities, if possible, than before: Just as it was with the Jews in the siege of Jeru. falem, when the Romans had made a wide breach, and the city was furiously assaulted, the factions then gave truce to one another, and ran in to the common defence;
but as soon as ever the danger was a little over, they fell on afresh, and prosecuted their main design of destroying one another.
And now that the danger is a little over with us also, how like a fate upon us does it look, that we are so soon altered from our wiser and better temper? Did we well and wisely before our late happy revolution, when we united for our common defence against a common danger, and did let those unlucky names of distinction fall, so that they seemed to be quite extinguished ? and can it be now wise to revive them, and to take them up again, when the same danger, in some degree, and from the same implacable enemies, still hovers over us ? No, surely; it would not be wise, if the danger were quite pait and over : but when it still remains, and threatens us, what greater folly and infatuation can there be, than still to divide and quarrel among ourselves ? Will nothing but sad and bitter experience be an admonition to us? Will nothing but the last neceflity, and extremity of things, bring us to ourselves, and teach us wisdom?
Methinks we should all now be glad to be at rest, after the tedious troubles and distractions, the fruitless quarrels and divisions of fifty years. So long I remember; and in all that space how very few years passed o
us without some great calamity and dismal event ? So that, by this time, one would think we should all be sick of our own follies, and fo tired with our unprofitable feuds and diffenfions, as to make both sides look about them, to see if any body will take pity on us, and step in to part our quarrels.
And now I begin to be sensible, that I have engaged in a tender point indeed, and do feel myself standing upon a very slippery place. For who is fit to interpofe in such hot and fierce differences ? who can do it without danger, or with any hopes of success ? and yet for Zion's fake I will not hold my peace, for Jerusalem's Lake I will not keep filence. Of so great consequence is it to the peace and happiness of this church and nation, that these names and distinctions of parties should be laid down, and abolished for ever.
In order whereunto I take it for granted, and lay it for a principle, that he who hopes to persuade both sides,
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must provoke neither : and therefore I will not so much as inquire where the fault lies. It is in these civil dif. ferences, as in family-quarrels between man and wife, if any man alk, on which fide lies the fault? one may almolt fafely answer at a venture, on both fides. It must indeed begin on one; but if it be not presently healed, and made up, the other party is always so civil, as to run in and take a share of the fault, that all the blame may not lie wholly on one side.
And now, my brethren, let me for once persuade and prevail with you for your good ; let me be so happy, as to say something that may fink into your hearts, and incl ne your minds to peace and good agreement with one another. Have falt in yourselves, (lays our blessed Saviour, the great peace-maker), and peace one with another. By fult is meant grace and spiritual wisdom and if that do but rule and sway in our hearts, we shall then endeavour, if it be possible, and as much as in us lies, to live peaceably with all men. If we have falt in ourfelves, that is, if we be wife, we will then certainly have peace one with another.
And if we were but once come to this healing temper, in this divided and distracted nation, we should not then need to fear all the power of the enemy. And this our enemies know full well : and therefore their chief policy and wisdom is, and ever hath beer, to divide us; and it will be our own great folly and weakness, if we suffer ourselves to be divided : for who that is wife will take counsel and advice from an enemy? But if we could agree, and hold together, then our Jerusalem would be as a city that is compact together, strong and impregnable.
Let us then be instructed, and know in this our day the things which belong to our peace, before they be hid from our eyes. And let us all earnestly endeavour, and pray for the peace of 7erwfalem. They shall proper that love her, says the Psalmili, Psal. cxxii.; and they do not love her, that do not seek her peace, and endeavour by all means to procure it: That peace may be within her walls, and prosperi, t; within her palaces. The one cannot be without the other; without peace there can be no prosperity. And to go on with the words of the Psalmift, let every one of us lay, yea let us all with one heart and voice fay, For