THE LAST VVORDS OF THE Reverend, Pious and Learned Dr. HAMMOND: Being Two PRAYERS for the Peaceful re-settlement of this Church and State.
O Blessed Lord, who in thine infinite mercy didst vouchsafe to plant a glori∣ous Church among us, and now in thy just judgment hast permitted our sins and follies to root it up, be pleased at last to resume thoughts of peace towards us, that we may do the like to one another. Lord, look down from heaven, the habitation of thy holiness, and behold the ruines of a desolated Church, and compassionate to see her in the dust. Behold her, O Lord, not onely broken, but crumbled, divided into so many sects and fractions, that she no longer represents the Ark of the God of Israel, where the Covenant and the Manna were conserved, but the Ark of Noah, filled with all various sorts of unclean beasts; and to com∣plete Page 2 our misery and guilt, the spirit of division hath insinuated it self as well into our affections as our judgments; that badge of Discipleship which thou recommendedst to us, is cast off, and all the contrary wrath and bitterness, anger and clamor, called in to maintain and widen our breaches. O Lord, how long shall we thus violate and defame that Gospel of peace that we profess? how long shall we thus madly defeat our selves, lose that Christianity which we pretend to strive for? O thou which makest men to be of one mind in an house, be pleased so to unite us, that we may be perfectly joyned together in the same mind, and in the same judgment. And now that in Civil affairs there seems some aptness to a composure, O let not our Spiritual differences be more unreconcilable. Lord, let not the roughest winds blow out of the Sanctuary; let not those which should be thy Embassadors for peace still sound a Trumpet for war: but do thou reveal thy self to all our Eliah's in that still small voice, which may teach them to eccho thee in the like meek treating with others. Lord, let no unseasonable stiffness of those that are in the right, no perverse obstinacy of those that are in the wrong, hinder the closing of our wounds; but let the one instruct in meekness, and be thou pleased to give the other repentance to the ac∣knowledgment of the Truth. To this end do thou, O Lord, mollifie all exasperated minds, take off all animosities and prejudices, contempt and heart∣burnings, and by uniting their hearts prepare for the reconciling their opinions: and that nothing may intercept the clear sight of thy truth, Lord, let all private and secular designs be totally deposited, that gain may no longer be the measure of our Godliness, but that the one great and common concernment of Page 3 ruth and peace may be unanimously and vigorously pursued. Lord, the hearts of all men are in thy hands, O be thou pleased to let thy Spirit of peace overshadow the minds of all contending parties; and, if it be thy will, restore this Church to her pri∣stine state, renew her dayes as of old, let her escape out of Egypt, be so entire, that not an hoof may be left behind: But if thy wisdom see it not yet a season for so ful a deliverance, Lord, defer not, we beseech thee, such a degree of it; as may at least secure her a being; if she cannot recover her beauty, yet, O Lord, grant her health, such a soundness of constitu∣tion as may preserve her from dissolution. Let thy providence find out some good Samaritans to cure her present wounds: and to whomsoever thou shalt commit that important work, Lord, give them skilful hands and compassionate hearts; direct them to such applications as may most speedily, and yet most soundly, heal the hurt of the daughter of Sion; and make them so advert to the interests both of truth and peace, that no lawful condescension may be omitted, nor any unlawful made. And do thou, who art both the wonderful Counsellor and Prince of peace, so guide and prosper all pacifick endeavors, that all our distractions may be composed, and our Jerusalem may again become a City at unity in it self; that those happy primitive dayes may at length revert, wherein Vice was the onely heresie; that all our intestine contentions may be converted into a vigorous opposition of our common enemy, our un∣brotherly feuds into a Christian zeal against all that exalts it self against the obedience of Christ. Lord, hear us, and ordain peace for us, even for his sake whom thou hast ordained our Peace-maker, Jesus Christ our Lord.
O Most gracious Lord, who doest not afflict willingly, nor grieve the chil∣dren of men, who smitest not till the importunitie of our sins enforce thee, and then correctest in measure, we thy unworthy creatures humbly acknowledge that we have abundantly tasted of this patience and lenity of thine. To what an enormous height were our sins ar∣riv'd ere thou beganst to visit them! and when thou couldst no longer forbear, yet mastering thy power, thou hast not proportion'd thy vengeance to our crimes, but to thy own gracious design of reducing and reclaiming us. Lord, had the first stroke of thy hand been exterminating, our guilts had justified the method; but thou hast proceeded by such easy and gentle degrees, as witness how much thou desiredst to be interrupted, and shew us, that all that sad weight we have long groaned under, hath been accumulated onely by our own incorrigibleness. 'Tis now, O Lord, these many years that this Nation hath been in the furnace, and yet our drosse wasts not but increases; and it is owing onely to thy unspeakable mercy, that we, who would not be purified, are not consumed; that we remain a Nation, who cease not to be a most sinfull, and provoking nation. O Lord, let not this long-suffering of thine serve onely to upbraid our obstinacy, and enhanse our guilt; but let it at last have the proper effect on us, melt our hearts, and lead us to repentance. And oh, that this may be the day for us thus to discern the things that belong to our peace! that all who are (yea, and all who are not) cast down this day in an external humiliation, may by the opera∣tion Page 5 of thy mighty Spirit have their souls laid pro∣strate before thee in a sincere contrition! O thou who canst out of the very stones raise up children unto Abraham, work our stony flinty hearts into such a temper as may be malleable to the impressions of thy grace, that all the sinners in Sion may tremble; that we may not by a persevering obstinacy seal to our selves both temporal and eternal ruine, but instead of our mutinous complaining at the punishments of our sins, search and try our ways, and turn again to the Lord. O be thou pleas'd to grant us this one grand fundamental mercy, that we who so impatient∣ly thirst after a change without us, may render that possible and safe by this better and more necessary change within us; that our sins may not, as they have so often done, interpose and eclipse that light which now begins to break out upon us. Lord, thy dove seems to approach us with an olive-branch in her mouth, oh let not our silth and noysomness chace her away; but grant us that true repentance which may at one thee, and that Christian charity which may reconcile us with one another. Lord, let not our breach either with thee or among our selves be incurable, but by making up the first prepare us for the healing of the latter. And because, O Lord, the way to make us one fold is to have one shepheard, be pleas'd to put us all under the conduct of Him to whom that charge belongs; bow the hearts of this people as of one man, that the onely contention may be who shall be most forward in bringing back our David. O let none reflect on their past guilts as an argument to perse∣vere, but repent, and to make their return so sincere as may qualify them not onely for his but thy Mercy. And, Lord, be pleas'd so to guide the hearts of all who shall be intrusted with that great concernment of set∣ling Page 6 this nation, that they may weigh all their delibe∣rations in the ballance of the Sanctuary, that consci∣ence, not interest, may be the ruling principle, and that they may render to Caesar the things that are Caesars, and to God the things that are Gods; that they may become healers of our breaches, and happy repairers of the sad ruines both in Church and State: and grant, O Lord, that as those sins which made them are become Nationall, so the repentance may be Nationall also, & that evidenc'd by the proper fruits of it, by zeal of restoring the rights both of thee and thine Anointed. And doe thou, O Lord, so dispose all hearts, and remove all obstacles, that none may have the will, much lesse the power, to hinder his peacea∣ble restitution. And, Lord, let him bring with him an heart so intirely devoted to thee, that he may wish his own honour onely as a means to advance thine. O let the precepts and example of his Blessed Father never depart from his mind; and as thou wert pleas'd to perfect the one by suffering, so perfect the other by acting thy will; that He may be a blessed instrument of replanting the power instead of the form of Godli∣ness among us, of restoring Christian vertue in a pro∣phane and almost barbarous Nation. And if any wish him for any distant ends, if any desire his shadow as a shelter for their riots and licenciousnesse, O let him come a great but happy defeat to all such, not bring fewel, but cure, to their inordinate appetites; and by his example as a Christian, and his Authority as a King, so invite to good, and restrain from evil, that he may not onely release our temporall, but our spiritual bondage, suppress those foul and scandalous vices which have so long captivated us, and by secu∣ring our inward, provide for the perpetuating our outward peace. Lord, establish thou his throne in Page 7 righteousnesse, make him a signall instrument of thy glory and our happinesse, and let him reap the fruits of it in comfort here, and in blisse hereafter; that so his earthly Crown may serve to enhanse and enrich his heavenly. Grant this, O King of Kings, for the sake and intercession of our Blessed Mediator, Jesus Christ.