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(though no doubt all gentle and peaceable natures are most capable of Christian precepts, and most afa fected with them) but kings and princes themselves. St Paul knew well, that the peaceable inclinations and dispositions of subjects could do little good, if the sovereign princes were disposed to war; but if they desire to live peaceably with their neighbours, their subjects cannot but be happy. And the pleasure that God himself takes in that temper, needs no other manifestation, than the promise our Saviour makes to those who contribute towards it, in his sermon upon the mount,

6 Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God,” Matt. v. 9. Peace must needs be very acceptable to him, when the instruments towards it are crowned with such a full measure of blessing; and it is no hard matter to guess whose children they are, who take all the pains they can to deprive the world of peace, and to subject it to the rage and fury and desolation of war. had not the woeful experience of so many hundred years, we should hardly think it possible, that men who pretend to embrace the gospel of peace, should be so unconcerned in the obligation and effects of it; and when God looks upon it as the greatest blessing he can pour

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the heads of those who please him best, and observe his commands, “ I will give peace in the land, and ye shall lie

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down, and none shall make you afraid,” Lev. xxvi. 6, that men study nothing more than how to throw off and deprive themselves and others of this his precious bounty; as if we were void of natural reason, as well as without the elements of religion : for nature itself disposes us to a love of society, which cannot be preserved without peace. A whole city on fire is a spectacle full of horror, but a whole kingdom in fire must be a prospect much more terrible ; and such is every kingdom in war, where nothing flourishes but rapine, blood, and murder, and the faces of all men are pale and ghastly, out of the sense of what they have done, or of what they have suffered, or are to endure. The reverse of all this is peace, which in a moment extinguishes all that fire, binds up all the wounds, and restores to all faces their natural vivacity and beauty. We cannot make a more lively representation and emblem to ourselves of hell, than by the view of a kingdom in war; where there is nothing to be seen but destruction and fire, and the discord itself is a great part of the torment: nor a more sensi. ble reflection upon the joys of heaven, than as it is all quiet and peace, and where nothing is to be discerned but consent and harmony, and what is amiable in all the circumstances of it. And as far as we may warrantably judge of the inhabitants of either climate, they who love and cherish discord

among men, and take delight in war, have large mansions provided for them, in that region of fac, tion and disagreement ; as we may presume, that they who set their hearts upon peace in this world, and labour to promote it in their several stations amongst all men, and who are instruments to prevent the breach of it amongst princes and states, or to renew it when it is broken, have infallible title to a place and, mansion in heaven; where there is only peace in that perfection, that all other blessings are comprehended in it, and a part of its

OF SACRILEGE.

On a Fast-day at Jersey, 1641. The original and ground of the first institution of fasts and solemn days of humiliation, was to deprecate God's judgment, and to remove some heavy afflictions either actually brought upon or immediately threatened by him upon that people; and in order thereunto to make a faithful inquisition into all sins, and to enter into a covenant against those which seem to be most cordially embraced by us, and consequently the most likely causes of the present calamities we groan under: so that though every act of devotion should raise in us a detestation of all sins whatsoever, yet as a particu

lar fast is commonly for the removal of a particular judgment, so the devotion of that day will not be too much circumscribed and limited, if it be intent upon the inquisition into the nature and mischief of one particular sin, and in the endeavour to raise up some fence and fortification that that sin may not break in upon us; especially if it be such a one, as either our own inclinations, or the iniquity and temper of the time in which we live, is like to invite us to. If the business of our fasts be only to inveigh and pray against the sins we are least inclined to, we make them indeed days of triumph over other men's wickedness, not of humiliation for our own; and arraign them, not prostrate ourselves before God. If the parliament's fast-days had been celebrated with a due and ingenuous disquisition of the nature and odiousness of hypocrisy, rebellion, and prophaneness, instead of discourses against popery, tyranny, and super • : stition; which though they are grievous sins, were not yet the sins of those congregations; and if the fast-days observed by the king's party had been spent in prayer for, and sincere study of temperance, justice, and patience in adversity, of the practical duties of a Christian, of the obligations of conscience to constancy and perseverance in our duty, and of the shame and dishonesty and impiety of redeeming our fortunes or lives with the breach

of our conscience, instead of arguments against taking up arms against lawful authority, sedition, and schism ; which, though they are enormous crimes, were not yet the crimes of those congregations; both parties without doubt would not have been as constant to their own sips as to their fasts; as if all their devotions had been to confirm them in what they had done amiss, and in the end to shake hands in the same sins, and determine all further dispute of oaths, by a union in perjury, a general taking the covenant, and to extinguish rebellion by a universal submission, and guilt in sacrilege.

I have not yet met with any man so hardy as to deny that sacrilege is a sin ; or to aver that, being a sin, a man may be guilty of it for any worldly consideration or advantage whatsoever; and yet, as if there were no such thing in nature, or as if it were only a term of art to perplex men in debates, men of all tempers, and scarce reconcileable in any other conclusion or design, are very frankly and lovingly united in this mystery of iniquity : which I cannot be so uncharitable as to believe proceedsfrom a vicious habit of the mind, but an inadvertency and incogitancy of the nature and consequence of the sin itself. It would not otherwise be, that a thing that hath been so odious from the beginning of the world amongst all brave nations, who have been endued but with the light of nature, and have made

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