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that the people may be so afraid, as not to continue in any thing which displeaseth him. Then it is plain, that in

every such merciful evil, God speaks to this effect, “O that there were such an heart in this people, that they would fear me, and keep my commandments always, that it might be well with them, and their children after them !"

Thirdly: What signs we have manifested of this wise and grateful fear, I am now to consider more at large.

First, Let us consider how God hath blown his trumpet in this place; and, secondly, whether we have been duly afraid.

Let us consider, first, how God hath blown his trumpet among us in this place. And that it might never be forgotten, it were much to be wished, not only that parents would tell their children, to the intent that their posterity might know it, and the children that are yet unborn : but also, that it were written in our public register, for a standing memorial to all generations : that in the very week, and on the very day, when that diversion which hath had a considerable share in turning the Christian world upside down, was to have been brought in hither also, such a fire broke out, as neither we nor our fathers had seen in this place: a fire, which soon spread itself not over one only, but over several dwelling-houses, which so went forth in the fury of its strength, that it soon prevailed over the weak resistance made against it, and left only so much standing of most of those buildings over which it prevailed, as might serve to quicken our remembrance of it. Let it be told, that those who came prepared for another prospect, were entertained with that of devouring flames. A prospect which continued during the whole time of the intended diversion, and which was þut too plainly to be seen, toge- . ther with the fiery pillars of smoke, which increased its horror, from the very place which had been pitched upon for the scene of this diversion.

This is the bare matter of fact. And even from this, let any one in whom is the spirit of a man, judge, whether the trumpet of God hath not sufficiently sounded among us of this place! And doth this trumpet give an uncertain

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sound? How would you have God speak more plainly? Do you desire that the Lord should also thunder out of heaven, and give hail-stones and coals of fire? Nay, rather let us say, “ It is enough! speak no more, Lord, for thy servants hear! Those to whom thou hast most severely spoken, are afraid, and do seek thee with their whole heart. They resolve not to prolong the time, but even now, by thy gracious assistance, to look well if there be any way of wickedness in them, and to turn their feet unto the way everlasting: to renounce every thing that is evil in thy sight; yea, the sin that doth the most easily beset them; and to use their whole diligence for the time to come, to make their calling and election sure. : Those to whom thou hast spoken by the misfortune of their neighbours, are likewise afraid at thy tokens, and own that it was thy mere goodness, that they too and their substance were not consumed. They likewise firmly purpose in themselves to make the true use of thy merciful warning; to labour more and more, day by day, to purge themselves from all sin, from every earthly affection, that they may be fit to stand in the presence of that God, who is himself a consuming fire !"

But have we indeed been thus duly afraid? This is now to be considered. And because we cannot see the hearts of others, let us form our judgment from their actions, which will be best done by a plain relation, of which every one that hears it, can easily tell whether it be true or false.

In the day following that, on which the voice of God had so dreadfully commanded us to exchange our mirth for sadness, the diversion which that had broken off, was as eagerly begun anew : crowds of people flocked out of that very town, where the destruction had been wrought the day before; and rushed by the place of desolation, to the place of entertainment! Here you might see the ground covered with heaps of ruins, mingled with yet unquenched fire. A little way off, as thickly covered with horses and men, pressing on to see another new sight. On this side were the mourners bewailing the loss of their goods, and the necessities of their families. On the other, the feasters

delighting themselves with the sport they had gained. Surely, such a mixture of mirth and sadness, of feasting and mourning, of laughing and weeping, hath not been seen from the day in which our forefathers first came up into this land, until yesterday.

Such is the fear we have shewn of the wrath of God! Thus have we been afraid after he had blown his trumpet among us! These are the signs we have given of our resolution to avoid whatever is displeasing in his sight! Hereby we have proved how we design to avoid that diversion in particular, which he hath given us so terrible a reason to believe is far from being pleasing to him! Not that this is the only reason we have to believe so. Besides this last melancholy argument against it, we have so many others, as any serious Christian would find it a hard task to answer. But I have only time to mention slightly a few of the consequences that were never yet separated from it.

Before I mention these, it is not necessary for me to say, whether the diversion is sinful in itself, simply considered, or not. If any one can find a race which has none of those consequences, let him go to it in the name of God. Only till he finds one which does not give occasion to these or the like villanies, let him who nameth the name of Christ, have a care of any way encouraging them.

One thing more I would have observed, That it is so far from being uncharitable to warn well-meaning people of the tendency of these diversions, that the more clearly and strongly any one represents it to them, the more charitable to them he is. This may be made plain by a very easy comparison. You see the wine when it sparkles in the cup, and are going to drink of it, I tell you, There is poison in it! and, therefore, beg you to throw it away. You answer, The wine is harmless in itself: I reply, perhaps it is so: but still, if it be mixed with what is not harmless, no one in his senses, if he knows it, at least, unless he could separate the good from the bad, will once think of drinking it. If you add, “ It is not poison to me, though it be to others. Then I say, Throw it away for thy brother's sake, lest thou

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embolden him to drink also. Why should thy strength occasion thy weak brother to perish for whom Christ died ? Now let any one judge which is the uncharitable person; he who pleads against the wine or the diversion, for his brother's sake, or he who pleads against the life of his brother, for the sake of the wine or the diversions.

All the doubt there can be is this : Is there poison in this diversion which is supposed to be harmless in itself. To clear this up, let us, first, observe, The notorious lying that is always joined with it; the various kinds of over-reaching and cheating! the horrid oaths and curses that constantly accompany it, wherewith the name of our Lord God, blessed for ever, is blasphemed. When or where was this diversion ever known without these dreadful consequences? Who was ever one day present at one of these entertainments, without being himself a witness to some of these? And surely these alone, had we no other ill consequences to charge upon this diversion, are enow, till a way is found to purge it from them, to make both God and all wise men to abhor it.

But over and above these, we charge it, secondly, with affording the fairest means to exercise and to increase covetousness. This is done by the occasion it gives to all, who please to lay wagers with one another: which commonly brings so strong a desire of possessing what is another's, as will hardly cease when that one point is decided; but will be exceeding likely to leave such a thirst in the mind, as not all the winning in the world will satisfy. And what amends can the trifling sport of a thousand people make, for one soul thus corrupted and ruined? Therefore, on this account too, till a way is known to secure all that frequent it from this danger, well may this sport itself be an abomination to him who values one soul more than the whole world.

May we not well fear, that it is an abomination to the Lord, because of a third effect of it ? because it is so apt to enflame those passions which he so earnestly commands us to quench? Because many people are so heated on such occasions, as they never ought to be on any occasion,


Supposing it possible that a man might be angry and not sin; yet hardly upon such occasions, or in such a degree as those who are angry on such occasions commonly are. This consequence too, let him separate from such a diversion, who would prevent its being displeasing to God.

Till this be done, let no one say, What harm is there in a horse-race? But if any should still ask that question, we can answer yet more particularly, Are you a young person who desire to go to it? Then it is likely you go either to see or to be seen; to admire other fine sights, or to be admired yourself. The hurt of this is, it nourishes that, friendship which is enmity with God. It strengthens those affections which are already too strong, the desire of the eye, and the pride of life. All such diversions as these are the noblest instruments the devil has, to fill the mind with earthly, sensual, and devilish passions; to make you of a light and trifling spirit: in a word, to make you a lover of pleasure more than a lover of God. Are you, who desire to go to it, advanced in years, and, therefore, less subject to such temptations ? Take heed that your hearts deceive you not. But be it as you suppose, hath it not done you hurt enough, if it has hindered any of you from partaking of the blessed sacrament? If by preventing either that serious examination, or that private devotion which you wisely use before you come to it, it has occasioned your neglecting to come to this holy table; and so not only disobeying a plain command of God, but likewise losing all those inestimable advantages which are there reached out to them who obey him. Are

Are you a rich man that desire to go? Then you have probably given something towards it. That is, you have thrown away that seed, which might have borne fruit to eternity! You have thrown away a part of that talent, which, had you rightly improved, you might have been an everlasting gainer by it! You have utterly lost what God himself, had you lent it to him, would richly have repaid you; for you have given to those who neither need, nor perhaps thank you for it; which, if you had bestowed upon your helpless brethren, your blessed Redeemer would have

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