Imatges de pàgina
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tise perpetually a Vindication of his own foolish Life, with the History of the Stage in his Time, even when he is in Years himself, and must e'er long go out of this vain, and short, and wicked World, into another more serious and more lasting, there to give up his Account to his Creator, how he has behaved himself in this. As if he would set himself at the Head of a profane Set of Men now among us, who seem to have a Mind directly to insult God Almighty and his Providence, under the present heavy Tokens of his Displeasure. Such Men should consider what the Prophet Isaiah said of old to the Jews, [If. v. 11-14.] on the like Occasion: Woe unto them that rise up early in the Morning, that they may follow strong Drink ; thaf continue until Night till Wine infiame them. And the Harp, the Viol, and the Tabret aud Pipe, and Wine are in their Feafts; but they regard not the Work of the Lord, nor consider the Operation of his Hands; therefore my People are gone into Captivity, because they have no Knowledge; and their honourable Men are famised, and their Multitude are dried up with Thirst: Therefore Hades bath enlarged berself, and opened her Mouth without Measure ; and their Glory, and their Multitude, and their Pomp, and be that rejoiced Mall descend into it.

Norought we to forget what BishopSherlockobferves in his excellent Letter, Page 10, and what I myself observed and complained of about the very fame Time, « That there were no less than 15 Adver• tisements for Plays, Operas, Musick, and Dancing; for Meetings at Gardens ; for Cock-fighting,

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Prize-fighting, &c. not only in the Time of · Lent, but after these Divine Warnings by the two

Earthquakes, in one and the fame News-paper : When, as he truly adds, we have turned a Season proper for serious Reflections, both of Body and

Spirit, into a Time of Mirth and Laughter, of • Musick, Dancing, and riotous Living.' Let me conclude this Head with a Reflection of Mr. Horton's, Chaplain to the British Factory at Legborn, relating to the Earthquake which happened there, 1742, and of which he has given a very particular and affecting Account in Print : “ The

Sense of so great a Deliverance, says hes (for God in the Midst of Judgment remembered Mercy) produced an unanimous Resolution of the Magistrates, Clergy, and People of Leghorn, • to observe a solemn Fast for ever on the Day it ' happened, prohibiting any publick or private 'Balls, Masquerades, or any other Diversions of

the Carnival for that Day ; with an humble Application to his Royal Highness the Grand Duke of Tuscany, that Masquerades at the Theatre there might be for ever abolished. Which Request was approved, and confirmed by an Order from ' the Council of Regency from Florence.' - This is a glorious Example indeed! and highly worthy of our Imitation. It is taken verbatim out of the General Evening-Poft, from Thursday, April 19, to Saturday, April 21, 1750 ; in which Paper is very seasonably advertised, a Pamphlet,called, Jubilee Masquerade Balls at Ranelagh Gardens, a bad Re

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turn for the merciful Deliverance from the late Earthquakes. Containing,

(1.) The Presentment of the Grand Jury against Ridotto's, Masquerades, Balls, &c.

(2.) Extract from the late Bishop of London's (Dr. Gibson's) Sermon against Masquerades.

(3.) Extract froin the present Bishop of London's Letter on Occasion of the late Earthquakes.

(4.) A Copy of a Paper posted up last Sunday on all the Churches and publick Places in London and Westminster ; and Remarks

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it. (5.) Reasons why Persons of Prudence should not venture to the Masquerade at Ranelagh Gardens, advertised for Wednesday, the 25th Instant.

VI. We here in England have done a Thing that, if it were not open and undeniable to all the World, would be thought absolutely incredible : I mean we have, by Act of Parliament, abrogated a very good Law, for the discouraging the Poor's drinking of Gin and Spirituous Liquors ; nay, have in Reality encouraged them to Drunkenness, and to the Murder of themselves, by such drinking. A most proper Judge, Dr. Hale, who earnestly promoted the former Bill, and opposed its Abrogation, always judges, that about 1,000,000 Perfons every Year kill themselves by these fatal Liquors; and always compares it to one of the terrible Woes in the Revelation. Nor could this former Bill be abolished, till that excellent Master of the Rolls, and my great Friend, Sir Joseph Jekyl, who most zealously promoted the former Act, was dead and gone. Now that the Ministry should be either

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so wicked themselves as to propose the Repeal, or should be able to persuade the Parliament to consent to it, is almost incredible. I say persuade the Parliament, or a Majority of the two Houses in general only ; for though the Majority of both Houses did consent, yet must I do the Lords Spiritual the Justice to say, that although a Majority of the whole Bench of Bishops were not present, yet did not one of them consent that were present, to so horrible a Bill ; nay, some made vehement Speeches against it, though all to no Purpose. The Ministry got fome Money to the Government by it, and that was all they cared for. But that any human Legislature can really give such an Act, fo expresly against Morality and the Laws of God, che Force of a Law, or oblige either Judges or Subjects to submit to it, I am by no Means fatisfied. Nor, as I think, can our Parliament hope for Almighty God's sparing the People whom they represent, or even themselves, till this abominable Act be disannull’d. Hear what an unknown Friend of mine says of this Matter, in a late Letter to me: 'That • had the whole Bench of Bishops been present, and joined to oppose this Bill, it had been cast out ; we and our Posterity mighe then have had Rea

son to have blessed them, and called them in. ' deed the true Physicians both of the Souls and • Bodies of the People ; Debauchery and Poverty ' would not have reigned in our Streets in the • Manner they do at present, and increasing every · Day, without Hopes of Cure, or Thoughts of ! Amendment.' Isaiah's melancholy Lamentation

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of the Jewish Nation of old, may be too juftly and sadly taken up by good Men here at this Day. Isaiah i. 4-9.

Ab finful Nation; a People laden with Iniquity; a Seed of evil Doers ; Children that are Corrupters; they have forsaken the Lord; tbey bave provoked the Holy One of Israel to Anger ; they are gone away backward. Wby Should ye be stricken any more? Ye will 'revolt more and more : The whole Head is fick, and the whole Heart faint ; from the Sole of the Foot, even unto the Head, tbere is no Soundness in it, but Wounds, and Bruises, and putrifying Sores : They have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mellified with Ointment. Your Country is desolate ; your Cities are burnt with Fire; your Land Strangers devour it in your Presence ; and it is defolate, as overthrown by Strangers. And the Daughter of Zion is left as a Cottage in a Vineyard ; as a Lodge in a Garden of Cucumbers ; as a besieged City. Except the Lord of Hofts had left unto us a very small Remnant, we should have been as Sodom, and we should have been like unto Gomorrah.

I say nothing here particularly of our cessary and impracticable Oaths ; of our Impofitions in the Universities ; of our obliging Men to take the Sacrament of the Lord's Supper for Civil Employments ; of our taking away Men's Lives for Robbery or 'Theft ; of our Luxury and Extravagance in Eating and Drinking, in Dress and Equipage, and Gaming; the general Neglect of Divine Worship in publick and private ; the taking

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