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of the Lord in their mouchs, abuse both the Temple, and the God that dwells in it. People, whose understandings are weak, observing men to carry Daggers under their Bibles, and to make use of the noblest means for the worstand baseft ends, are apt to think they may with authority laugh at all that's Sacred, and fancy they are excused from all devotion, when they find the greatest pretenders make it only a trick to cheat the World. Whether that prophaneness, which hath too much of late incroach'd upon this Western World, do not owe its original to such Religious pretences of men, who, under the name of Justice and Sanctity, have dared to do that which Heathens would have trembled at, I leave to wiser men than my self to judge.
Only I cannot but take notice of a strange effect, which our Sermons have accidentally, as the Sun doch Snakes and Serpents, when shining upon unclean Dunghills, produced in the lives of too many, of whom we might justly haye
expected better returns in Religion : for while we have been discouraging them from Hypocrify, they have run out into Debauchery ; and while we have endeavour'd to clear our Church from such as have but a form of Godliness, they have made our attempt an opportunity to indulge themselves in their Lusts, and thought that the way to approve themselves true Members of our Church, was to drink, swear, and be lewd, and to commit those fins openly, which the other may be did in secret ; Excellent Sons of the Church ! that, Viper-like, tear up her Bowels, and by a kind of gallantry, fetch'd from Hell, rail at their Mother more, than Shimei did at David. I may be bold to affirm, That there is no Church this day in all the Christian World, that in her Doctrine doth either encourage real goodness more, or strives more to keep the balance even
that God may have the things which are Gods, and man the things which are mans, than that we live in : Yet to our forrow we find, that while
we have given People leave to laugh at
The just indignation I have taken at the injuries our Church suffers from these scandalous men, hach been partly the occasion of this Treatise. For I see mens Cures lie within their own Breasts, and that so many are fick unto death, and ready to perish, the reason is, because they will not reflect, what unreasonable men they are;, nor represent to themselves the wrong they do to their Souls by a lively Consideration, as will evidently appear in the ensuing Discourse.
i confess , divers accomplishments, which render a Book acceptable to curious Palates, such as are Rhetorick, Elegancy of Stile, Fancy, Wit, and frequent Quotations of Authors, &c. will be found wanting here; but, as I profefs no skill that way, so my design was not so much to fill mens heads with Notions, as their: hearts with Fire. It was to engage the ignorant and careless, to a substantial improvement of their reason; and if what I have said, can prevail with those that have lived like Beasts, to recover them
selves into Men again. I both undervalue the little Censures of supercilious men, and content my self with that success. We cannot all shine as Stars of the first Mag. nitude in the wide Firmament of the Church ; those that cannot, must give such light as they are able to dispense; I envy not our Eagles in Divinity, that they see far more than I, but thank God I see so much ; and while the greater Sages offer Gold , and Myrrhe, and Frankincense, I am happy enough, if I may be allowed to bring Goats Hair, and Badgers Skins, towards the accomplishment of the Tabernacle. A critical Eye may spy. faults in this Free-will-offering, and I do not wonder at it; for my duller sight, now I have done, discovers more than I wish there were in't. But my Discourse is fitted to my
end. Doing good is my intent ; if I succeed not, it's no more but what greater men have failed of. Farewel.