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- vigorously asserted by the only Way left. When the Sword is drawn for Justice alone, and ever ready to be sheathed as soon as that is granted, then Heaven may be appealed to, with Hopes of a favourable Sentence coming forth
from his Presence, whose Eyes behold the thing that is equal *. But if the Affertors of a righteous Cause be in other respects a sinful People, it is evidently just for God, who hath the Cognizance of both these things, to regard whichsoever of them infinite Wisdom shall direct; and make even the injurious Party the rod of his anger, and the staff in the day of his indignation of, to correct, or destroy, if their Wickedness deserve it, such Nations, as though right in their Disputes with their Enemies, are wrong at the same time in Matters more important. And how little Terror soever our Enemies might give us at first; yet now we must be sensible, that we know not in the least, how soon and how formidably they may increase: but this we know certainly, that there is no restraint to the Lord, to punish, as well as to farse, by Many, or by Few. || Times of War therefore add a peculiar Strength to those Admonitions, which Reason and Scrip
* Pfal. xvii. 2. + Ifai. x. 5. & 1 Şam. xiv. 6.
ture give us at all times, to consider what our State is with regard to Him, who doth according to his Will in the Army of Heaven, and among the Inhabitants of the Earth *. Let us then all consider now, whether. we have Ground of Hope or of Fear from that awful Declaration of the Prophet, which you have heard read..
The Lord is with you, while ye be with Him. To be with God, is to preserve in our Minds a reverent Sense of his Being, Presence, and Government; to keep close to his Laws, and stand on his Side against the opposite Power of Darkness and Sin. Let us then think, if there be need of Thought to answer ; How is the Reverence due to the Supreme Being preserved among us? Have we not Persons who even ridicule the Notion of a wise and good Maker of all Things? Have we not those, who, if they do admit a Creator, do not admit a Moral Governor of the World; or at least represent him so very defective in his Administration of it, as finally to let bad Persons be Gainers by their Wickedness, and good Persons Losers by their Virtue: rejecting with mirthful Scorn, what hath ever been the Hope and Support of * Dan. iv. 35.
wife and good Men, the Belief of that future State, in which the visible Irregularities of the present shall be rectified ? Have we not also too many, who, professing perhaps to believe in Natural Religion, yet speak of Christianity, the great Means by which it is both supported and perfected, not only as a Fallhood, but an Impossibility: Blaspheming that worthy Name, by which we are called *, and disdaining to receive from God himself any other Rules, either of Faith or Life, than such as their own Reason, directed by their own Fancy, shall prescribe to them? And let us suppose, if we can, that the Number of such, as go these Lengths deliberately, is upon the whole but small : yet what shall we say of the inconsiderately guilty? Are there not Multitudes of all Degrees, who seem never once to have asked themselves, whether they believe in God or not? or if they do, whether any Regard is due to him or none : who flight Religion boldly, without imagining they have ever examined it: who are persuaded of its Truth perhaps, so far as they have any Persuasion about the Matter ; but have no Notion, that they are to regulate their Conduct by it: who
* James ii. 7.
poffibly do not quite approve of profane Perfons, but are astonished at pious ones ; and by their Indulgence to the former, and their very great Proneness to despise the latter, plainly shew, whether they perceive it themselves or not, which Party they are on the Road to join? • We have indeed many still, who frequent Divine Worship: but how many of all Ranks, and of that Rank particularly, which ought to be an Example, and will be one either of Good or Bad; how many that omit this Duty entirely, or near it; and though it be an evident Part of the Law of Nature, and an express Precept of Christianity, can yet talk, not only of their own neglecting it, with much Gaiety and Humour, but of other Persons attending upon it as Matter of Conscience, with much Raillery. And fuch an Ascendant hath this contemptuous kind of Impiety got, that there are many Persons, who sincerely honour their Maker in their Hearts, but dare not for fear of Derision fhew it in their Behaviour. Let it be thought of a little, what the Appearance and Construction of these Things is: and let those who are qualified for it, judge ; Is not this the one Nation upon Earth, in
which Regard to God is taught in the greatest Purity, and treated with the greatest Contempt?
But a worse Symptom yet is, that whilst Irreligious Persons are active in the Cause of Infidelity; some of them with fo self-denying a Bigotry, as to teach it their Servants, their very Wives and Children : the Generality of such, as think themselves very competently religious Persons, scarce appear to have any practical Impressions at all made on them by those Truths, which they acknowledge for the Law of their Lives. They forget, it may be feared, almost totally, the Exercise of private Piety; and behave in regard to publick Devotion with a Negligence, which they would think highly indecent towards their earthly Superiors : allow themselves in such Levity of Speech on the most serious Subjects, as would scarce be justifiable in some of the most trifling ones; form their Conduct avowedly on Principles, that have no Tincture in them of the Faith, which they profess; and in effect declare themselves to think of nothing but this World, whilst yet they are really perfuaded of another to come. To this it must be added, that very maný, who not only be