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dition of the persons who did it, the means, most. And therefore, for these silent cancircumstances, and manner of its transac didates of future preferment, I wish them no tion;
suppose it will fill the measure and other punishment for the treason of their reach the height of the words of the text : desire, than to be preferred under another “ that there was no such deed done nor change. seen since the day that the children of Israel But I have not yet finished my text, nor, came up out of the land of Egypt to this according to the command of it, spoke all my day.”
mind. I have one thing more to propose, and For my own part, my apprehension of it with that to conclude. overbears my expression ; and how to set it Would you be willing to see this scene acted off, I know not ; for black receives no other over again ? to see that restless, plotting colour. But when I call together all the humour, which now boils and ferments in ideas of horror, rake all the records of the many traitorous breasts, once more display Roman, Grecian, and barbarian wonders,
itself in the dismal effects of war and desolatogether with new-fancied instances and un tion? Would you see the rascality of the heard of possibilities, yet I find no parallel ; pation in troops and tumults beleaguer the and therefore have this only to say of the royal palace ? . Would you hear ministers king's murder, that it is a thing, than which absolving their congregations from their sacred nothing can be imagined more strange, amaz oaths of allegiance, and sending them into the ing, and astonishing, except its pardon.*
field to lose their lives and their souls, in a And now, having done with the first part professed rebellion against their sovereign ? of the text, does it not naturally engage me
Would you see an insolent overturning army, in the duty of the second ? Must such a deed, in the heart and bowels of the kingdom, movas was neither seen nor heard of, be alsó | ing. to and fro, to the terror of every thing neither spoken of; or must it be stroked with which is noble, generous, or religious ? 'Would smooth, mollifying expressions ? Is this the you see the loyal gentry harassed, starved, and way to cure the wound, by pouring oil upon
undone by the oppression of base, insulting, those that made it? And inust Absalom be grinding committees? Would you see the therefore dealt with gently, because he was
clergy torn in pieces, and sacrificed by the an unnatural and a sturdy rebel?
inquisition of synods, triers, and commisIf, as the text bids, we consider of the fact, sioners ? and take advice, (that is, advise with reason
And to mention the greatest last ; would and conscience, we cannot but obey it in the you have the king, with his father's kingdoms, following words, and speak our minds. For inherit also his fortune? Would you see could Cresus's dumb son speak at the very
the crown trampled upon, majesty haled from attempt of a murder upon his prince and prison to prison ; and at length with the father? and shall a preacher be dumb, when
vilest circumstances of spite and cruelty, such a murder is actually committed ? bleeding and dying at the feet of bloody, in
Or do we think it is enough to make long human miscreants? Would you, now Prodoleful harangues against murder and cruelty, vidence has cast out the destructive interest and concerning the prerogative of kiugs, with from the parliament, and the house is pretty out ripping up the particular, mysterious, well swept and cleansed, have the old“ unclean diabolical arts of its first contrivance ? Can spirit return, and take to itself seven spirits," things peculiar and unheard of be treated seven other interests worse than itself, and with the toothless generalities of a common
dwell there, and so make our “latter end place?
worse than our beginning ?". I will not be so uncharitable as to charge a
We hear of plots and combinations, parties consent in this particular wheresoever I find joining and agreeing; and let us not trust too a silence : I will only conclude such to be much in their opposition amongst themselves. wiser than others, and to wait for another The elements can fight, and yet unite into one turn; and from their behaviour rationally body; Ephraim against Manasseh, and Macollect their expectation. But whosoever is
nasseh against Ephraim ; but both equally so sage, so prudential, or (to speak more
against the royal tribe of Judah. Now, if we significantly) so much a politicus, as to fit
dread these furies again being let loose upon himself for every change, he will find, that if us, oh! let us fear the return of our former ever another turn befalls the nation, it will be provocations. If we would keep off the axo the wrong side outwards, the lowest upper- from our princes and nobles, let us lay it to
our sins. If we wonld preserve their lives, * This was far from being intended as a reflection upon the
let us amend our own. We have complained act of indemnity itself, and much less upon the royal author of of armies, committees, sequestrators, triers, it, but only as a rhetorical attempt for expressing the transcen and decimators. But our sins, our sins are dent height of one thing by an equally transcendent height of another; namely, by that of the mercy pardoning, and by that
those that have sucked the blood of this of the crime pardoned; both of them, in their several kinds, nation; these have purpled the scaffold with superlative.
the royal gore, these have ploughed up so many
noble families, made so many widows, and How does any man know, but the very oath snatched the bread out of the mouths of so he is swearing, the lewdness he is committing, many poor orphans. It is our not “ fearing may be scored up by God as one item for a God,” that has made others not to honour new rebellion? We may be rebels, and yet the king;" our not benefiting by the ordi neither vote in parliaments, sit in committees, pances of the church, that has enriched others or fight in armies. Every sin is virtually a with her spoils.
treason ; and we may be guilty of murder, by And now, since I have slid into a mention breaking other commands besides the sixth. of the church of England, which at this time But at present “ we are made whole :" God is so much struck and railed at, and in danger has by a miracle healed the breaches, cured (like its first head) to be crucified between the maladies, and bound up the wounds of a two thieves, I shall say thus much of it; that bleeding nation : what remains now, but that it is the only church in Christendom we read we take the counsel that seconded a like miraof, whose avowed principles and practices
Go, sin no more, lest a worse disown all resistance of the civil power; and evil come unto thee.” But since our evil has which the saddest experience and the truest been so superlative as not to acknowledge a policy and reason will evince to be the only worse ; since our calamities, having reached one that is durably consistent with the Eng the highest, give us rather cause to fear a Jish monarchy. Let men look both into its repetition, than any possibility of gradation; doctrine and into its history, and they will I shall dismiss you with the like though somefind neither the Calvins, the Knoxes, the thing altered advice, “ Go, sin no more, lest Junius Brutuses, the synods, nor the holy the same evil befall you.” commonwealths of the one side; nor yet the Which God of his infinite mercy prevent, Bellarmines, the Escobars, nor the Marianas even that God by whom kings reign and of the other. It has no fault but its revenues ; princes decree justice ; by whom their thrones and those too but the remainders of a potent, are established, and by whom their blood surfeited sacrilege. And therefore, if God in will assuredly be revenged. To whom therehis anger to this kingdom should suffer it to fore be rendered and ascribed, as is most due, be run down, either by the impious nonsense all praise, might, majesty, and dominion, and idolatry of one party, or the sordid tyranny both now and for evermore. Amen. and fanaticism of the other; yet we will acquiesce in this, that if ever our church falls, it falls neither tainted with the infamy of popish plots, nor of reforming rebellions; and that it was neither her pretended corruption or
SERMON LI. superstition, but her own lands, and the kingdom's sius, that destroyed her.
SATAN HIMSELF TRANSFORMED INTO AN For when I hear of conspiracies, seditious
ANGEL OF LIGHT. designs, covenants, and plots, they do not much move or affright me. But when I see
PREACHED BEFORE THE UNIVERSITY, AT ST MARY'S the same covetousness, the same drunkenness
CHURCH, OXON, ON AN ACT-SUNDAY. and profaneness, that was first punished in
“And no marvel ; for Satan himself is transformed into an ourselves, and then in our sanctified enemies;
angel of light." when I see joy turned into a revel, and debauchery proclaim itself louder than it can be He who has arrived to that pitch of infiproclaimed against; these, I must confess, delity as to deny that there is a devil, gives a stagger and astonish me, and I cannot persuade shrewd proof that he is deluded by him ; and myself, that we were delivered to do all these so by this very denial does unawares infer the abominations.
thing which he would deny. There have inBut, if we have not the grace of Christians, deed been some in all ages, sects, and religions, have we not the hearts of men ? Have we no who have promoted the devil's interests by bowels, no relentings? If the blood and arguing against his being. For that which banishment of our kings cannot move us, if men generally most desire, is to go on in their the miseries of our common inotlier the sin withont control ; and it cannot be more church, ready to fall back into the jaws of their desire, than the devil accounts it his purchasers and reformers, cannot work upon interest that they should do so. But when us, yet shall we not at least pity our posterity ? they are told withal, that he who tempts to Shall we commit sins, and breed up children sin now, is to execute God's wrath for our sin to inherit the curse? Shall the infants now hereafter, the belief of a spirit, appointed to unborn have cause to say hereafter, in the so terrible an office, standing so directly bebitterness of their sonls, “Our fathers have tween them and their sins, they can never eaten the sour grapes of disobedience, and our proceed smoothly in them, till such a belief teeth are set on edge” by rebellions and con be first taken out of the way; and therefore, fusions ?
no wonder if meu argue against the thing they
- 2 Cor. xi. 14.
hate ; and, for the freer enjoyment of their terms perfectly equipollent; they would do lusts, do all they can to battle and throw off wisely to consider, that as the fowler would a persuasion, which does but “ torment them certainly spoil his own game, should he not, before their time :” this undoubtedly being as much as possible, keep out of sight; so the the true, if not only ground of all the disputes devil never plants his snares so skilfully and men raise against demons, or evil spirits, successfully, as when he conceals his person ; that their guilt has made it their concern nor tempts so dangerously, as when he can that there should be none.
persuade men that there is no tempter. Nevertheless, on the other side, it must be But I fear I have argued too far upon this considered, that the proving of spirits and point already ; since it may seem something immaterial substances from the common dis inartificial for the sermon to prove what the courses of the world upon this subject, has text had supposed. But since the infidelity not hitherto proved so successful as might be of the present age has made the proof of that wished. For that there are such finite, in necessary, which former ages took for granted, corporeal beings, as we call spirits, I take to I hope the usefulness of the subject will atone be a point of that moment, that the belief of for what may seem less regular in the proseit ought to be established upon much surer cution, It must therefore be allowed (and proofs than such as are commonly taken that not only from the foregoing probable from visions, and apparitions, and the reports arguments, but much more from an infallible which use to go of them ; it having never and divine testimony) that there is a devil, hitherto been held for solid reasoning, to a satan, and a tempter. And we have him argue from what seems to what exists; or, here presented to us under such a strange in other words, from appearances to things; kind of mask or visard that we cannot see him especially since it has been found so frequent, for light; and then surely he must needs for the working of a strong fancy and a weak walk undiscovered, who can make that, which judgment to pass with many for apparitions. discovers all things else, his disguise. But Nor yet can I think the same sufficiently the wonder ought to abate, if we consider, proved from several strange effects, chances, that there is a light which dazzles and deludes, and alterations, which (as historians tell us) as well as one which informs and directs; having sometimes happened in the world, and that it is the former of these which and carrying in them the marks of a rational Satan “ clothes himself with, as with a efficiency, (but manifestly above all human garment.”. A light so far resembling that of power,) have therefore by some been as the stars, that it still “ rules by night," and cribed to spirits, as the proper and immediate has always darkness both for its occasion and causes thereof. For such a conclusion, I con- companion. The badge of truth is unity, and ceive, cannot be certainly drawn from thence, the property of falsehood variety; and accorunless we were able to comprehend the full dingly the devil appears all things, as he has force and activity of all corporeal substances, occasion; the priest, the casuist, the reformer, especially the celestial ; so as to assign the the reconciler; and in a word, any thing but utinost term which their activity can reach to, himself. He can change his voice, his dress, and beyond which it cannot go; which, I and the whole scene of his fallacies; and by a suppose, no sober reasoner or true philosopher dexterous management of the fraud, present will pretend to.
you with an Esau under the form of a Jacob; And therefore, in the present case, allow for the old serpent can shift his skin, as often ing the forementioned common arguments all as he has a turn to serve by his doing so. For the advantage of probability they can justly it is a short and easy transition from darklay claim to; yet if we would have a certain ness to light, even as near as the confines of proof of the existence of finite spirits, good or night and day.
So that this active spirit can bad, we ought, no doubt, to fetch it from that quickly pass from one to the other, and infallible word of revelation, held forth to us equally carry on a work of darkuess in both. in the Scriptures; and so employ faith to We read of a dæmonium meridianum, though piece up the shortness and defects of science ; the sun, we know, is then highest, and the which, as nothing but faith can do, so that light greatest. The Psalmist, in Psalm man must by no means pretend to faith, who xci. 6, tells us not only of a pestilence will not sell his assent under a demonstra which walks in darkness," but also of a tion; nor indeed to so much as prudence, “ destruction which wasteth at noon-day ;" who will be convinced by nothing but expe- and consequently that he who is the great rience, when perhaps the experiment may manager both of the one and the other, is as prove his destruction. He who believes that much a devil when he shines as Lucifer, as there is a devil, puts himself into the ready when he destroys as Satan. way to escape him. But as for those modern Now the devil, I conceive, is represented Sadducees, who will believe neither angel nor to us thus transformed in the text, not so spirit, because they cannot see them; and much in respect of what he is in his perwith whom invisible and incredible pass for son, as in his practice upon men ; for none
ever dissembles or conceals himself, but he things (as they may be not unfitly called) to has a design upon another. And therefore, the imagination. For this is the grand reto prosecute the sense of the words by as full pository of all the ideas and representations a representation of his frauds as I am able to which the mind of man can work either upon give, I shall discourse of him in this method. or by. So that Satan, our skilful artist, can
I. I shall endeavour to shew the way of his as easily slide his injections into the fancy, as operation upon the soul, in conveying his present a deluding image to the eye. From fallacies into the minds of men.
whence it is, that poor deluded women II. I shall shew the grand instances in (followers of conventicles, or ratlier of such as which he has played an angel of light, in the meet them there) talk much of sudden joys, several ages of the church successively. And, and raptures, and secret whispers of the Spirit,
III. and lastly, give caution against some with a great deal more of such cant; in all principles, by which he is like to repeat the which this grand impostor is still at his old same cheat upon the world, if not prevented work, and whether he speaks in the gentle in time to come.
charming voice of a comforter, or roars in the I. And first, for the influence he has upon terrible thunders of damnation, is, and ever the soul.
was, “a liar from the beginning," and will To lay open here all the ways whereby be so to the end. Again, some perhaps have this spiritual engineer works upon us, to trace had a text, of something a peculiar signifithe serpent in all his windings and turnings, cancy, cast into their fancy; as that for inis a thing, I believe, as much above a mere stance in Jerem. xlviii. 10, "Cursed be he that human understanding, as that is below an keepeth back his sword from shedding blood;" angelical ; but so far as the ducture of com whereupon they presently thought themselves mon reason, scripture, and experience will commissioned, by an extraordinary call from direct our inquiries, we shall find that there Heaven, to cut and slay all such as fought for are three ways by which he powerfully reaches the crown and the church, in the late infamous and operates upon the minds of men. As, rebellion.* Likewise it is very credible, that
1. By moving, stirring, and sometimes the same spirit can in discourse suggest smart altering the humours and disposition of the sentences and strictures of wit, far surpassing body. That the soul in all its operations is the invention of the speaker; for otherwise, strangely affected by and held down to the whence can it be that persons, kuown to be particular crasis and constitution of the cor deplorably dull in other things, can yet be poreal part, is indubitable. And that the witty upon a subject obscene or profane? And devil can model and frame the temperament no doubt, what the Papists falsely and ridicuof it to his own purpose, the woman whom lously said of Luther, may with great truth Satan is said to have bound for so many years, be said of many leading heretics, that the (Luke, xiii. 16,) is a convincing instance. devil furnished them with arguments. For Now this expert anatomist, who has examined where the cause is his, he will never be wantand looked into all the secret recesses, caverns, ing to give it a helping hand, but will be and little fibres both of body and soul, (as I still with the heretic in his study, guiding his may so express the matter,) knows that there pen, and assisting his invention with many a is no grace but has its counterfeit in some pas- | lucky turn of thought and sophistical reasonsion ; and no passion of the mind, but moves ing. So that upon the whole matter, the upon the wheel of some humour of the body. devil himself may, perhaps, more properly So that it is easy for him to refine, and, as it pass for the heretic, and Arius or Socinus only were, sanctify the fire and fury of a choleric for the amanuensis. For he is able to present humour into zeal, and raise the operations of images of words and sentences to the imaginamelancholy to the semblance of a mortified tion, in as clear and perspicuous an order, as demureness and humiliation. On which case the most faithful and methodical memory. of supposed sorrow for sin, but real disturb And why should the common word be, that ance from some other cause, it is not to be the devil stands at the liar's elbow, if he were questioned, but many repair to the divine, not to be his prompter? But whose best casuist were an apothecary; and 3. The devil can work upon the soul, by endeavour to cure and carry off their despair an actual ingress into and personal possession with a promise, or perhaps a prophecy, which of the man, so as to move and act him; and might be better done with a purge. Poor self- like a kind of vicarious soul, use his body, and deluding souls ! often misapplying the blood the several faculties and members thereof, as of Christ under these circumstances, in which instruments of the several operations which a little effusion of their own would more he exerts by them. Upon which account effectually work the cure ; and Luke as physi- persons so possessed were heretofore called cian give them a much speedier relief, than ved atópopor, and ivepyohusyo. And if any Luke as an evangelist. 2. The devil can act upon the soul, by
* Such persons, principles, and practices, can want nothing
to enable them to overthrow any government, but to be counte suggesting the ideas and spiritual pictures of nanced by it.
one here should doubt, that a spirit can move peculiar proper improvements of each partiand impel a body, since without quantity and cular age. And, accordingly, let us take a dimensions on both sides there can be no con survey of the several periods of them. As, tact, and since without contact some think 1. The grand ruling principle of the first all impulsions impossible, this maxim, if too ages of the church, then chiefly consisting of far insisted upon, would bear as hard upon the gentile converts, was an extraordinarily the soul itself, as to its moving the body, zealous devotion and concern for the honour (allowing it to be a spiritual immaterial sub and worship of one only God, having been so stance ; which, I hope, in a Christian audi newly converted from the worship of many : tory, needs not to be proved.) And now, which great truth, since the devil could neither the premises thus supposed, how easy must it seasonably nor successfully oppose then, he be for this spirit to cast any person possessed saw it his interest to swim with the stream, by him into a kind of prophetic ecstasy, which he could not stem, and, by a dexterous and, with other amazing extravagancies, to turn of band, to make use of one truth to suputter through him certain sentences and plant another. Accordingly, having met with opinions, and in the utterance thereof to a fit instrument for his purpose, he sets up in intermix some things pious and good, to take Arianism, and with a bold stroke strikes at off the suspicion, and qualify the poison of no lower an article than the godhead of the the bad ? For so the sibyls used to wait, till Son of God; and so manages this mighty and at a certain time the demons entered into universal hatred of polytheism, to the rejecthem, and gave answers by them, suspending tion of a trinity of divine coequal persons, as the natural actings of their souls, and using no ways consistent with the unity of the their bodily organs of speech, with strange divine essence.
The blasphemny of which prodigious convulsions, and certain circum
opinion needed, no doubt, a more than ordistances of raving and unseemly horror attend nary artist to give it the best gloss and colour ing them; as Virgil elegantly describes the he could, and therefore was not to be introCumaan sibyl, in his 6th Æneid.
duced and ushered into the world, but by
very plausible and seemingly pious pleas. -Subito non vultus, non color unus,
As for instance, that the ascribing of a Non comptæ mansere comæ; sed pectus anhelum, Et rabie fera corda tument; majorque videri,
deity or divine nature to Christ, was not so Nec mortale sonans, &c.
much a removal of polytheism, as a change,
That for Christ to decry the pagan gods, and Of which words, the Quakers amongst us yet assume the godhead to himself, was, in(as little as they deal in Latiu) have yet been stead of being their reformer, to be their rival; the best and fullest interpreters, by being the and that by thus transferring divine worship liveliest instances of the thing described in to his own person, he did not so much destroy them of any that I know. And so likewise idolatry, as monopolize it. Moreover, that in the case of the person possessed, (Acts, xix. Christ himself professes his Father to be 16.) Certainly he could never have prevailed greater than he ; and therefore, that either he over so many men, had he not had something himself is not God, or, if so, that the deity in him stronger than man. But what needs then includes not the highest degree of perfecthere any further arguing, or how is it pos tion. For if Christ was God, and upon that sible for that man to question whether the account comprehended in him all perfections, devil can enter into and take possession of how could the Father be greater? which relamen, who shall read how often our Saviour tion yet must imply a degree of perfection cast him out?
above that of the Son. And if it should be These, I say, are the physical ways of here replied, that the Father is greater in operation which the devil can employ, so as respect of a personal excellency, but not of a to insinuate thereby his impostures in a clever natural; such as reply so should do well to unsuspected manner: which three general consider, how it can be, that where essence ways doubtless may be improved by so ex includes all perfection, personality can add perienced a craftsman into myriads of parti- any further. 'Besides, that the granting Christ culars. But I shall confine myself to his to be the Son of God will not therefore infer dealings with the church, and that only with him to be God. For the son of a king is but in the times of Christianity; and so pass to his father's subject; and consequently, to the second general head proposed.
assert any more concerning Christ, seems to II. Which was to slew the grand instances be only paganism refined, and idolatry in a in which the devil, under this mask of light, better dress. has imposed upon the Christian world. And These, I say, were the Arian objections here we must premise this general observation, against the deity of our Saviour ; all of them as the basis of all the ensuing particulars ; extremely sophistical and slight, and such as namely, that it has been the devil's constant the heathen philosophers had urged all along method to accommodate his impostures to the against the Christian religion, for near three most received and prevailing notions, and the hundred years before Arius was born: and we