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Babylon, surely it may be expected, that impious blasphemers against God, and his worship, should, at least, be discouraged and put out of countenance, in these Christian countries. Now, a constant course of disfavour from men in authority, would prove a most effectual check to all such miscreants. When therefore they are public and bold in their blasphemies, this is no small reflection on those who might check them if they would.

It is not so much the execution of the laws, as the countenance of those in authority, that is wanting to the maintenance of religion. If men of rank and power, who have a share in distributing justice, and a voice in the public councils, shall be observed to neglect Divine worship themselves, it must needs be a great temptation for others to do the same. But if they, and their families, should set a good example, it may be presumed, that men of less figure would be disposed to follow it. Fashions are always observed to descend, and people are generally fond of being in the fashion; whence one would be apt to suspect, the prevailing contempt of God's word, and estrangement from his house, to a degree that was never known in any Christian country, must take its rise from the irreligion and bad example of those who are styled the better sort.

Offences must come, but woe be to him, by whom the offence cometh. A man who is entrusted with power and influence in his country, hath much to answer for, if religion and virtue suffer through want of his authority and countenance. But in case he should, by the vanity of his discourse, his favour to wicked men, or his own apparent neglect of all religious duties, countenance what he ought to condemn, and authorise by his own example what he ought to punish; such a one, whatever he may pretend, is in fact a bad patriot, a bad citizen, and a bad subject, as well as a bad Christian.

Our prospect is very terrible, and the symptoms grow stronger every day. The morals of a people are in this like their fortunes; when they feel a national shock, the worst doth not shew itself immediately. Things make a shift to subsist for a time on the credit of old notions and dying opinions. But the youth born and brought up in wicked times, without any bias to good from early principle, or instilled opinion, when they grow ripe must be monsters indeed. And it is to be feared, that age of monsters is not far off.

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Whence this impiety springs, by what means it gains ground among us, and how it may be remedied, are matters that deserve the attention of all those who have the power and the will to serve their country. And although many things look like a prelude to general ruin; although it is much to be apprehended, we shall be worse before we are better; yet who knows what may ensue, if all persons in power, from the supreme executor of the law, down to a petty constable, would, in their several stations, behave themselves like men, truly conscious and mindful, that the authority they are clothed with, is but a ray derived from the supreme authority of Heaven? This may not a little contribute to stem that torrent, which from small beginnings, and under specious pretences, hath grown to such a head, and daily gathers force more and more to that degree, as threatens a general inundation and destruction of these realms.







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Be not startled, reverend Sirs, to find yourselves ad-
dressed to by one of a different communion. We are
indeed (to our shame be it spoken) more inclined to
hate for those articles wherein we differ, than to love'
one another for those wherein we agree. But if we
cannot extinguish, let us at least suspend our animo-
sities, and, forgetting our religious feuds, consider our-
selves in the amiable light of countrymen and neigh-
bours. Let us for once turn our eyes on those things,
in which we have one common interest. Why should
disputes about faith interrupt the duties of civil life?
or the different roads we take to heaven prevent our
taking the same steps on earth? Do we not inhabit the
same spot of ground, breathe the same air, and live
under the same government? Why then should we not
conspire in one and the same design, to promote the
common good of our country.

We are all agreed about the usefulness of meat, drink, and clothes, and, without doubt, we all sincerely wish our poor neighbours were better supplied with them. Providence and nature have done their part; no country is better qualified to furnish the necessaries of life, and yet no people are worse provided. In vain is the earth fertile, and the climate benign, if human labour be wanting. Nature supplies the materials, which art and industry improve to the use of man, and it is the want of this industry that occasions all our other wants.

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