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SER M. Evil. Ever since the Reformation has been IX.
, established, from it's Youth up the Papists have fought against it. But, Thanks be to GOD! they have not prevailed azainst it! Their Attempts have been often, very often providentially defeated, and all their Measures blasted. We are rescued from a Rebellion that would have impoverished the Public, raised several Tumults, made our Country a Seat of War and Desolation, and exposed it to the Attempts of foreign Enemies.
Arbitrary Power would have been absolutely necessary to introduce a corrupt and absurd Religion, and would have been so natural to the Infolence of a Conqueror, that should our Invader have gained the Sovereign Power by Violence, there is no Doubt but He would have preserved it by Tyranny.
Success is not always a Proof that we are the extraordinary Favourites of Heaven. However, if it should not be thought strictly providential, there is something at least extraordinary and unaccountable, that an illustrious Person, whose Years did not promise any distinguished Experience or Conduct in Military Affairs, or incline our Men to repose a firm Confidence in Him, should strike a Terror into a Set of desperate Men, embarked in a desperate, as well as wicked Cause, who were flushed with
repeated Successes : That our Armies should serm. be like so many Cyphers (which however IX. numerous, were of little or no 'Account) till He, the distinguished Figure, was placed at the Head of them. But from that Time that He was placed the principal Figure at the Head of them, their Numbers became of infinite Value, and could earn or purchase any Thing, however valuable the Acquisition might be. This seems to be the LORD's Doing, and it ought to be marvellous in our Eyes; that We were not given over for a Prey unto them; that We still retain those Blessings that ought to be most dear to us as English:men and Protestants.
And it is to be hoped, that, by a due Reflexion on the Progr ess and Event of this Conspiracy, Those who are not convinced of the Wickedness of Attempts of this Kind, must at least see the Vanity, Folly and Madness of them.
To conclude : We have with a commendable Zeal on many Occasions stood in Defence of our Religion at the Expence of the Blood and Treasure of the Nation ; let it not be observed that the Religion of England, like a mere Watch-word for an Army, is never valued but when it is to be fought for; and in Times of Peace laid by and condemned to rust, with other useless Instruments of War.
SERM. To a Zeal for Religion let us add ChaIX. rity, the Crown of all Virtues, and let us lay
afide all Hatred, Malice and Defire of Revenge; that We may with one Heart and one Mouth glorify GOD for His Mercies, and implore His Protection for ourselves, our King and our Country; that He would give us the Blessings of Peace, and that We may never want a Protestant Prince, who has the Interests of Reformed Chriftianity and the Good of His Country at Heart, to rule over us.
Religious Pleasures productive of
the greatest Happiness.
Prov. iii. 17.
T and Revenge, are disagreeable to our Nature, because they are open and declared Enemies to our Repose: they alarm the Soul at their first Insurrection, and afterwards command it with an overbearing Tyranny. But Pleasure steals upon Us by insensible Degrees, smooths it's Passage to the Heart by a gentle and insinuating Address, and softens and disarms the Soul of all it's Strength. It is more therefore to be guarded against, as being more dangerous, and what we have a greater Inclination to, To arm Us then against the Deceitfulness of unlawful sensual Delights, I have chosen the Words of Solomon, which set before Us the genuine and sincere Pleasure which Religion affords. Her Ways are Ways of
Serm. X. Pleasantness. In discoursing on which Words
I shall endeavour to fhew,
I. First, That the Pleasures of Religion and Virtue are superior to the Pleasures of the Animal Life; and,
II. Secondly, How necessarily those must be disappointed, who place their Happiness in any Thing exclusive of Religion and Virtue.
First then I am to shew, that the Pleasures of Religion and Virtue are superior to the Pleasures of the Animal Life.
And here we expect to be told by the Men of Pleasure, that spiritual Satisfac, tions are nothing but the Product of an over-heated Fancy, and mere Enthusiasm, But we except against them as very incompetent Judges. A good Man by tasting the Pleasures of Sense, as far as they are consistent with Reason, is very well qualified to form a true Estimate of them. But the sensual Man, by being an utter Stranger to Religion, is no more able to make a Judgment of the Satisfaction it yields, than a Man of no Taste is to pass a decisive Vera dict upon the Elegancies of Poetry, or an Idiot upon a Point of Philosophy.
Dismissing him therefore as an improper Judge, we appeal to the Virtuous for the