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SERM. occasion. Tho' the first setting out of these X. Troubles wasa Struggle for Liberty, which
in a free Country is acknowledg’d to be lawful, and what a free People have a Right to ;
and whatever occasion there was given for it by the Rashness and Inadvertency of some People about the King, , whose Business it was to know the Constitution of the Kingdom better ; yet it is well known, that it ran soon into another Channel; for these Grievances were settled in a Parliamentary Manner before the War began ; yet by means of a murmuring Spirit, that then appear'd among some Malecontents, new Grievances were trump'd up, and what at first was only a Stand for Liberty, became afterwards a Struggle for Licentiousness : A Defire of redressing Grievances was succeeded with a Defire of making them; and what was once thought a Crime in the King's Party, was thought very just and reasonable in theirs.' This carried them thro' so many different Scenes of Strife, that they hardly knew at last what they fell out for: They feem'd to have forgot the first Quarrel,
and turned the Remainder of their Resent- SERM. ment against one another. They were
X. several times so non-pluss'd that, like Travellers who have lost their way, they did not know which Road to take. The wiser Part began to look upon one another as asham'd of having gone such extravagant Lengths beyond their first Intention, and were willing to bring Matters to a Pacification; and whatever Grievances they thought the King had been guilty of making before, yet they began now to look
upon him as the greatest Sufferer, and
No doubt one great Addition to these
SERM. vile mercenary Wretches promoted the AniX.
mofities as much as they could, and kept up
the Flame for their own Advantage; no matter where it burn'd and devour'd so long as they were sure to warm themselves by it. Such Fellows as these are common in Cases of this Nature, who make a Trade of building their own Fortunes
the Ruins of their Neighbours. This, together with a multitude of concurring Circumstances, heightend with the Addition of á Multitude of Vices, hurried them on from one Pitch of Enthusiasm to another, till they inverted the very Nature of Things, call d Evil Good, and Good Evil, made God the Author of all Wickedness, the Scripture a Cover for all manner of Knavery, and Grace a 'Plea' for Sin; and so, at length, after a long and tedious Rebellion, and the Calamity of a Civil War, to fill up the Measure of their Iniquity, they closed the horrid Scene in the Murder of the King, and the Destruction of the Church and State.
But Secondly, I come now to Thew the Bin and Folly of murmuring against the
present Dispensation of God's Providence, SERM. even upon Supposition that it was true,
X. that the former Days were better than these. . And this I shall shew from these two particulars,
First, As it is contrary to Reason. . Secondly, As it is contrary to Religion,
And First, As it is contrary to Reason, Every one prétends to know what is Reafon, and what is not, and would take it very much amiss to be thought not to know.it; but when we come to put this Knowledge in Practice, for want of consideration we act as if we knew nothing of the Matter. We are ready enough to pronounce a thing reasonable or unreasonable, when we consider it only as a Proposition, or a Rule, not including ourselves in it; and therefore when a Friend seems under
Uneasiness or Discontent, we fall to considering the thing, and tell him the Unreasonableness of so doing; but when it comes to be our own Cafe, then we cannot see the Strength of our own Arguments; what we would have to be thought conclusive in one Case, we will not allow in a Case
SERM. of the fame Nature : But whether they X.
will consider it or no, this Temper is very contrary to Reafon. For if there was no such thing as Reveald Religion in the World, yet the Religion of Nature teaches us thus much, that however it goes with the World without us, we ought to keep the Mind calm and serene, because from thence proceeds the Happiness or Misery of this Life: For it will fignify but little to us how the Times are without, if we have no Peace of Mind within.
But the Unreasonableness of this Temper will farther appear, if we consider, that whatever happens in this - Life is either what we can help, or what we cannot; both which it is equally unreasonable to complain of: For if we can help it, it is ve. ry unreasonable to complain, as if we could not; and if we cannot, it is
unreasonable to complain, as if we could. The Truth of it is, moft of this is what we can help; and if so, why don't we do it? Why do we complain, when the Remedy is at hand, and in our own Power? We are apt to carry our Views too far; and