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Surely this great Nations is a wise and understanding People.
Thus therefore our Case resembles that of the Jeps, in our having an excellent Conftitution establish'd among us. And so it did likewise upon the Account of the Miseries we endur'd, after it was subverted and destroy’d. How truly might those Words of the Prophet, in this Chapter, be then apply'd to these unhappy Nations! Your Country is defolate; your Cities are burnt with Fire: And the Daughter of Zion (which being translated to our Circumstances, as well as into our Language, is to be render'd the Church of England) is left as a Cottage in a Vineyard, as a Lodge in A Garden of Cucumbers, as abefieg'd City.
Tyranny and Oppression, Insolence and Arbitrary Power, Disorder and Confusion overspread the whole Face of what was call’d the Commonwealth. For with that beloved Name here was Tyranny in the highest Degree; and the worst of Tyranny too, That of Inseriors over their Betters. The Nation was inslav'd
by the most zealous Talkers about Liberty; and Pro:perty was destroy'd by those very Persons who preten
ded to secure it. And so indeed it will ever be found to be: Those who make the loudest Clamour against Tyranny and Arbitrary Power, when there is no Danger of it, unless it be for Themselves, are, to the utmost of their Ability, the most unreasonable Destroyers of Liberty, the most Arbitrary and Infolent of Tyrants. Of which we have had much later Instances, than those from which we were this Day deliver'd. Then, every Thing that was truly Noble, Brave, Generous, and Polite, was persecuted and oppress’d by such a Spirit of Be seness and Barbarity, as was never before heard 'of, lince the Irruption of the Goths, and Vandals into the Roman Empire. All the Plagues of Egypt almost, feem'd, in a figurative Sense, to be at once let loose upon us: Rivers turn'd into Blood, by the Slaughter of lo many Thousands in that unnatural Rebellion: Darko nefs of Ignorance and Error, even thick Darkness which
might be, and actually was, most severely felt : And when the Estates of the most ancient Gentry and Nobility, were seiz'd and wasted by an hungry Plebeian Rabble, who were born to no Estates ; nay, when they swarm'd about the Court, and in the Royal Pa• laces ; it was Thus that the Land was devour'd by Locusts and Caterpillars; and Frogs were even in our King's Chambers.
Then for the Church, how properly might That be call’d a Den of Thieves, when Those who possess’d its Preferments, possess’d them only by Robbery and Sequestration! And all other Circumstances were exacto ly agreeable to this; when Confusion pass'd for Disci. pline, False Doctrine for Divinity, Pedrantry for Learning, Jargon for Eloquence, Hypocrisy for Holiness, and Blasphemy for Devotion. Then it was (and there could not be a more proper Season for it) that so many New, Anti-religious Seets started up among us, such as Quakers, Ranters, Muggletonians, and others of different Shapes, unheard of before in any Age of the Gospel. It was the Iniquity and Corruption of those Times, that hatch'd That numerous Spawn of strange, obscene Heresies; as noxious Reptiles are always apt to be generated out of Filth, and Putrefa&tion.
Thus excellent then, as I have represented it, was the Jewish Constitution, and thus excellent is Qur's. And These, which I have mention’d, were the Miseries which both We and They felt by having our Conftitution overturn'd. Consequently, it is too plain to require any Proof, That it was a signal Mercy in God, to resettle our Foundations after they were subverted. I say it was a signal Mercy in God to do all this. For,
II.“ To bring about such a Refforation, is, to the .“ last degree, Difficult; and requires the immediate
“Interposicion of God's Power, and Providence." Which was the secend Thing I propos’d to Consider.' It is to Him, indeed, that we ought, in a large Sense,
to ascribe all Events whatsoever : Our Blessed Savi-, our assuring us, that not an Hair falls from our Heads, nor a Sparrow to the Graund, without his Notice. But yet some are more remarkable Effects of His particular Providence : They are so great and surprizing, that humanly speaking, it is impoflible to account for them; and therefore they are to be ascrib'd to His immediate Power and Wisdom. In such a Cafe, All Men that see it mall say, This hath God done ; for they Shall perceive that it is His Work. And certainly, there can scarce be a greater Instance of his extraordinary Interposition, than turning the Bent of Popular Madness, New modelling a whole Nation, and restoring a Constitution after it has been once entirely destroy'd. To call such Order out of such Confusion, is like Creating the World out of Chaos; but with God nothing is Difficult, as well as nothing impossible. According to the Measures of Human Probability, how little Prospect had the Jews of it, when They were in Babylon ? Their Chiefs and Princes were in Captivity, and their Government utterly overturn'd. They that hated them were perfectly Lords over them. The Anointed of the Lord, the Breath of their Nostrils, was not only taken in their Pits, but with this Progeny dy'd in Captivity; by which their Hopes were almost as much extinct, as if He had been really the Breath of their Nostrils. So that a Restoration to them, was a kind of Refurre&tion from the Dead; for to that, at least, we may properly compare it, if not to a Creation, which I before-mention d. And thus, indeed, it is compar'd by God Himself, in that Vision of Ezekiel, which he saw, while with his Countrymen he was actually in Captivity, and a Deliverance from it seem'd imposible. By which Vision, he had at once figur’d to him the Re-establishment of the Jews, and the Resurrection of all Mankind from the Dead. It is that elegant Representation in the 37th Chapter of his Prophecy : Where, after having describ'd the Valley full of dry
... .. .. Bones
Bone's; the Re-union of them, and the Reviving of those dead Bodies, he proceeds thus; Then he said unto me, Son of Man, these Bones are the whole House of Israel. Behold they say, our Bones are dryed, and our Hope is loft-Therefore Prophecy unto them, and say, Thus faith the Lord God, Behold O my People, I will open your Graves, and cause you to come up out of your Graves, and bring you into the Land of Israel.
Nor was our Case, in all Appearance, less defperate, during the time of the Great Usurpation. Our King, indeed, was not carried away, but he was driven away into Exile, tho' not into Captivity. His Enemies were not Foreigners, but (which is worse) they were his own Rebellious Subjects; who had all the Power in their Hands, and had wholly overthrown the Constitution of the Government, both in Church and State. And yet this great Restoration was effected, not only without Bloodshed, but even without Noise: And what was before thought impossible, was perform’d as if it had never been Difficult. "But every Body knows the exceeding Improbability, and strange Providences which visibly attended that wonderful Transaction. I shall 'not therefore detain this Illustrious Allembly by unneceflarily describing it; but shall hasten to shew, in the next place, what Use we ought to make of it.
My Third Observable therefore is this: .
III. " That a Nation so signally deliver'd, is obliu ged both in Interest and Gratitude, to be, for the " future, entirely obedient to God's Commands, and
especially to abstain from those Principles, and those c Practices, which before provok'd him so severely to 66 punish them. :
It is well known to all who are acquainted with the Stile of the Holy Scriptures, that this Expression, Thou shalt be called, is equivalent to Thou Malt Be; and that there are several other Instances of the same kind both in the Old and New Testament, particularly, Matth. 5. 9. Blessed are the peace-Makers; for they fall
be call'd the Children of God. Whether this latter Clause of my Text, is to be understood (like the former as a Prophecy ; That they actually would be the City of Righ teousness, the faithful City; or only as an Admonition, that they ought to be fo, may admit of some doubt. Because it may be a little difficult to afsign the Time when that People fulfill'd this Prediction, by the Righteousness and Faithfulness of their Behaviour. However, it is most probable, that it is to be taken, not only in the latter, but also in the former of these Senses; it appearing, from the Historical Account given by Ezra, and Nehemiah, that upon Rebuilding the Temple and Wall at Jerusalem, those that came out of Babylon, were dif pos'd to serve the Lord with all their Heart, and sincerely to repent of all their former Transgressions. And it is very likely they continu'd to do so for many years, tho' they afterwards relaps’d,and became more corrupt than ever. And if it be hard to say, when they answer'd God's Expectation in this particular, I fear it is much harder to say, when we did, or when we shall. Tho? (blessed be God) we have many worthy Defenders of our Constitution, who deserve all imaginable Praife and Honour ; and great Numbers, who in their private Capacity, contribute their Parts to make us answer the Character given in my Text; yet considering the wicked Principles of Many, and the wicked Practices of Most, it is too certain, that upon the whole, we cannot, with any Propriety, be callid, The City of Righteousness, the faithful City.
For as to the first of these Expressions ; can we be call’d The City of Righteousness, when all sorts of Debauchery and Profaneness have, like a Deluge, overspread these Nations ? When there are so many, who even glory in their Shame, make a Science of Lewdness, and are not only Workers, but Professors of Iniquity; The City of Righteousness? When there is so much barefac’d, shameless Injustice, only out of Prepossession, and Favour to a Faction? So much bitter Malice, Ly