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lines of duty, by special arguments: and if any witty censurer shall say, that I tell him nothing but what he knew before; I shall be contented with it, and rejoice that he was so well instructed, and wish also that he needed not a remembrancer: but if, either in the first, or in the second; in the institution of some, or the reminding of others, I can do God any service; no man ought to be offended, that sermons are not like curious inquiries after new nothings, but pursuances of old truths. However, I have already many fair earnests, that your Lordship will be pleased with this tender of my service, and expression of my great and dearest obligations, which you daily renew or continue upon, my noblest Lord,
Your Lordship's most affectionate
And most obliged Servant,
A PRAYER BEFORE SERMON.
O LORD God, fountain of life, giver of all good things, who givest to men the blessed hope of eternal life by our Lord Jesus Christ, and hast promised thy Holy Spirit to them that ask him; be present with us in the dispensation of thy holy word [and sacraments ]: grant that we, being preserved from all evil by thy power, and, among the diversities of opinions and judgments in this world, from all errors and false doctrines, and led into all truth by the conduct of thy Holy Spirit, may for ever obey thy heavenly calling: that we may not be only hearers of the word of life, but doers also of good works, keeping faith and a good conscience, living an unblamable life, usefully and charitably, religiously and prudently, in all godliness and honesty before thee our God, and before all the world, that, at the end of our mortal life, we may enter into the light and life of God, to sing praises and eternal hymns to the glory of thy name in eternal ages, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
In whose Name, let us pray, in the words which Himself commanded, saying,
OUR Father, which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven: give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
a This clause is to be omitted, if there be no sacrament that day.
A PRAYER AFTER SERMON.
LORD, pity and pardon, direct and bless, sanctify and save, us all. Give repentance to all that live in sin, and perseverance to all thy sons and servants for his sake, who is thy beloved, and the foundation of all our hopes, our blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus; to whom, with the Father and the Holy Spirit, be all honour and glory, praise and adoration, love and obedience, now and for evermore. Amen.
SERMON I. ADVENT SUNDAY.
DOOMSDAY BOOK; OR, CHRIST'S ADVENT TO JUDGMENT.
For we must all appear before the judgment-seat of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad.—2 Cor. v. 10.
VIRTUE and vice are so essentially distinguished, and the distinction is so necessary to be observed in order to the well-being of men in private and in societies, that to divide them in themselves, and to separate them by sufficient notices, and to distinguish them by rewards, hath been designed by all laws, by the sayings of wise men, by the order of things, by their proportions to good or evil; and the expectations of men have been framed accordingly: that virtue may have a proper seat in the will and in the affections, and may become amiable by its own excellences and its appendant blessing; and that vice may be as natural an enemy to a man as a wolf to a lamb, and as darkness to light; destructive of its being, and a contradiction of its nature. But it is not enough that all the world hath armed itself against vice, and, by all that is wise and sober amongst men, hath taken the part of virtue, adorning it with glorious appellatives, encouraging it by rewards, entertaining it with sweetness, and commanding it by edicts, fortifying it with defensatives, and twining it in all artificial compliances: all this is short of man's necessity: for this will, in all modest men, secure their actions in theatres and highways, in markets and churches, before the eye of judges and in the society of witnesses
but the actions of closets and chambers, the designs and thoughts of men, their discourses in dark places, and the actions of retirements and of the night, are left indifferent to virtue or to vice; and of these, as man can take no cognisance, so he can make no coercitive; and therefore above one half of human actions is, by the laws of man, left unregarded and unprovided for. And, besides this, there are some men who are bigger than laws, and some are bigger than judges, and some judges have lessened themselves by fear and cowardice, by bribery and flattery, by iniquity and compliance; and where they have not, yet they have notices but of few causes; and there are some sins so popular and universal, that to punish them is either impossible or intolerable; and to question such, would betray the weakness of the public rods and axes, and represent the sinner to be stronger than the power that is appointed to be his bridle. And, after all this, we find sinners so prosperous that they escape, so potent that they fear not; and sin is made safe when it grows great;
-Facere omnia sævè
Non impune licet, nisi dum facis
and innocence is oppressed, and the poor cries, and he hath no helper; and he is oppressed, and he wants a patron. And for these and many other concurrent causes, if you reckon all the causes, that come before all the judicatories of the world, though the litigious are too many, and the matters of instance are intricate and numerous, yet the personal and criminal are so few, that of two thousand sins that cry aloud to God for vengeance, scarce two are noted by the public eye, and chastised by the hand of justice. It must follow from hence, that it is but reasonable, for the interest of virtue and the necessities of the world, that the private should be judged, and virtue should be tied upon the spirit, and the poor should be relieved, and the oppressed should appeal, and the noise of widows should be heard, and the saints should stand upright, and the cause that was ill judged, should be judged over again, and tyrants should be called to account, and our thoughts should be examined, and our secret actions viewed on all sides, and the infinite number of sins which escape here, should not escape finally. And therefore God hath so ordained it, that there shall be a day of doom, wherein all