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putrifying Sores : They have not been clos'd, neither bound
up, neither mollify'd with Ointment. Then to describe the · Hypocrisie which in those Days Reigo'd among the In
habitants of these Nations, when a Repetition of rolemn Pafts, and Thanksgivings, long Prayers, and much Preaching, was made a Cover for such gross Abominations, as Rebellion, and Murder ; nothing certainly could be more proper, than such a Reprehenfion as this. To what purpose is the multitude of your Sacrifices unto me, faith the Lord? I am full of Burnt Offerings, of Rams, and the Fat of fed Beasts; and I delight not in the Blood of Bullocks, or of Lambs, or of He-Goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath requir'd this at your Hands to tread my Courts? 3.e. To Tread them thus, in such a manner, with such profane Hearts, and hypocritical Intentions. Bring no more vain Oblations, Incense is an Abomination unto me : The New Moons and the Sabbaths, the Talling of Allemblies I cannot away with: It is Iniquity, even the Solemn Deeting. Your New Moons, and your appointed Feafts my Soul hateth: They are a Trouble unto me, I am weary to bear them. And when ye spread forth your Hands, I will bide mine Eyes from you, when ye make many Prayers I will not bear : Pour
Hands are full of Blood. But then after having · promis'd Forgiveness, upon their Repentance and Re
formation, He proceeds thus. And I will turn my Hand upon thee; and purely purge away the Dross, and take away all thy Tin : And I will restore thy Judges as at the first, and thy Counsellors as at the Beginning; afterward Thou shalt be called the City of Righteousness, the faithful Ciry.
From what is either express'd or imply'd in the Words of my Text, naturally arise these Three following Observacions.
1. First, " That to a Nation which has a well tem“ per'd Constitution of Government establish'd in it, onothing can be a greater Misery, or Amiction, than " to have that Constitution overturn'd; and consequently, nothing can be a greater Blessing, than to
" have it restor'd, after it has been fabverted.
This is the very Foundation of what is here promis'd and foretold; and all that is contain'd in the Text, turns upon this Supposition.
II. Secondly, " That to bring about such a Restora " tion, is, to the last degree, dificult, and requires the « immediate Interposition of God's Power, and Provje " dence." I will restore iby Judges, &c. God takes upon Himself fo great a Work, as to effea so extraordinary a Deliverance.
III. Thirdly, " That a Nation fo signally deliver'd, " is oblig'd, both in Interest and Gratitude, to be, for " the future, entirely obedient to God's Commands; " and especially to abstain from those Principles, and « Practices, which before. provok'd Him so severely " to Punish them.“ Afterward thou shalt be called the City of Righteousness, the faithful City. · I do not lay down These, as Points of Divinity to be Stated, or Proved : They are sufficiently plain of Themselves. But then they naturally flow from the Words of the Text: And the Ure I make of them, is, not to prove them, (that they are true, being taken for granted) but only to illustrate, enforce, and apply them to our own particular Circumstances. And this I am afraid, will appear, before I have done, to have been no less than Necessary. For tho' in this Polite Age, Men abound with Wit, and Knowledge ; yet as 'ris observ'd, that Wit is commonly attended with a bad Memory, it appears in nothing more than in the present Instance. It is therefore extreamly requisiteto remind them of many Things, in which they do not want to be instructed.
The first Observable is this: .." That to a Nation which has a well temper'd “ Constitution of Government establish'd in it, no“ thing can be a greater Misery or Affli&ion, than to " have that Constitucion overtörn'd; and consequent
ly, Nothing can be a greater Blesling, than to have at it restor’d, after it has been once subverted. , * This, one would think, should need no Proof: And yet, by the. Maxims, and Behaviour of some among us, it seems to be as contestable a Point as any whatsoever. By their love of Change, by their restless and unquiet Temper, they seem to be of Opinion, that scarce any thing is more agreeable than that confus'd Variety, which arises from frequent Alterations in Government. But leaving Them to be rather Chain'd as Madman, than Argu'd with as rational Creatures, I shall not go about to prove this Propolition, but shallonly, as I said, illustrate and apply it
Any tot al Change in the Constitution of a Government, even a Change from a Bad to a Good one, cannot but be extreamly Difficult and Hazardous. As the whole Mass of Blood cannot, even to remove a Distemper, be on a suddain put into an Agitation, so as to be entirely alter’d, without endangering the Life of the Patient. But this holds much stronger, when the Change in Government is of a contrary Nature, from a Good to a Bad one, or to none at all : As it is perfe&t Madness in a Man to take Pains and Physick to make himself Sick, when he was before in a State of Health and Vigour.
To apply this therefore to the Case of the Jews in former Times, and of our selves in the present. The Constitution both in Church and State, ander which that people liv’d, was undoubtedly excellent, because it was Divine ;God Himself being their King for many Years ; first giving them their Laws, and afterwards their Plan of Government. For that was allow'd to be a Privilege in those Days, though it may be none in the Opinion of some Men now, who will not recognize the absolute Dominion and Authority even of the God that made them. There was then no Notion of the Horeb-Treaty, nor of the Original Contract made there: That Discovery was reserv’d for the Free-Thinkers of the Times we live in. Then Then for the Miseries which the Jewish Nation und derwent, after the Glory was departed from Ifrael, and their excellent Constitution overthrown; No body that reads the Holy Scriptures can be ignorant of the Historical Account,and melancholy Description, which is given them, in those Sacred Writings; particularly in the Mournings of the Prophets, and the inspir'd Complaints utter'd by them ; especially by Jeremiah in that pathetical Book of his Lamentations. To instance only in the Beginning of it: What can be more moving than those bemoaning Expressions: How doth the City fit folitary that was full of People? How is she become as a Widow ? She that was great among the Nations, and Princess among the Provinces, how is the become tributary? She weeperb fore in the night, and ber Tears are on her cheeks, Among all her Lovers the bath none to comfort her ? all her Friends have dealt treacherously with her; They are become ber Enemies. Judah is gone into Captivity. The idays of Zion do mourn, because none come to the solemn Feafts ; All her Gates are desolate; Her Priests figh, her Virgins are afflicted, and she is in bitterness. Her Adversaries are chief, and her Enemies profper; For the Lord bath afflicted her, for the multitude of her Transgressions her Children are gons into Captive before the Enemy.
As to our own Case, the Ordinary Providence of God never blest any Nation of the World with so perfect a Constitution, as That of these Kingdoms: In which the Authority of the Prince, the Liberty of the Subject, and the Happiness of Both are equally provided for. The Schemes of Lycurgus, Solon, Plato, or Machiavel, were not so exquisite in Speculation, as our's is in Fact; . and what they could not so much as contrive, we a&ually enjoy. A Constitution it is, made up like the Universe, of Four Elements; and tho the Sovereign and the three Estates seem to be, in their Nature, like them, jarring and disagreeing Principles, yet like them too, they are so mutually temper'd, and blended, that inItead of destroying, they strengthen and support the
be, and it is bull: We have furtituly Apostolical.
Whole. And as This Scheme resembles That of the World in its Composition, so it may do in its Duration ; if so great a Blessing be not prevented by our own Folly and Wickedness.
Nor do we less excel all other Nations in the Model of our Church, than in that of our Civil State. For its pure uncorrupted Doctrines and Discipline; for its proper, decent, and Edifying Ceremonies ; for its excellent Liturgy, Cannons, and Articles : In short, for its being every way truly Primitive, truly Apostolical, and truly Christian. We have sufficiently prov'd it to be, and it is by all unprejudic'd Persons acknowledg'd to be, the most perfect, the most unexceptionable, the most glorious Church this day in the Christian World. Other Churches have indeed quitted the Errors of the Romish Religion; but then they have quitted something more than its Errors: They have lost the Episcopacy instituted by the Apostles, as well as the Corruptions introduc'd by the Papists. Like those, who recover indeed out of one dangerous Distemper, but not with; out throwing themselves into another; or not without losing a Limb, or an Eye, in the ftruggle between the Disease, and the Constitution. Whereas our exo cellent Church, recoveř'd clearly and entirely from the Disease of Popery ; throughly purg'd away all its ill Humors, and without being maim'd in any Part whatsoever, was perfectly restor’d to primitive Strength, and Beauty.
Upon the whole therefore, we are the happiest People in the World, both in our Civil and Ecclesiaftical Establishment, if we can but prevail upon our selves to be sensible that we are so; and those Words of Mofes to the Children of Israel, are now most properly true of us; What Nations is there so great, that hath Statutes and Judgments so righteous ? And I pray God we may for the future keep and do them; this be-. ing our Wisdom and our Understanding, in the light of the Nations, which shall bere these Statutes; and will then say,