A vindication of the true Christian religion in opposition to the abominations of popery in a sermon upon Ezek. 21: 24,25,26,27 : being the text appointed by the Pope for Master Whitebread, one of the popish conspirators, to preach upon the accomplishing of their wicked design for taking away the life of His Most Sacred Majesty ...
Thomas, J. (John)
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A VINDICATION OF THE True Christian RELIGION, In Opposition to the Abominations of POPERY; IN A SERMON Upon Ezek. 21. 24, 25, 26, 27. Being the Text appointed by the Pope for Master Whitebread, one of the Popish Conspirators, to preach upon the accomplishing of their Wicked Design, for taking away the Life of his Most Sa∣cred Majesty: Wherein the King, the Church, to∣gether with his Majesties Laws, Constitutions, and true Protestant Subjects of England, are clearly Justified; and the Pope, the Church, and Popish Faction of Rome, are justly charged to be guilty of the like Dreadful Curse in the New, as hath been denounc'd against Revolted Israel in the Old Testament. By J. Thomas Rect. of S. Nicholas; Preached at Cardiffe, Before the Bayliffs and Aldermen there. Feb. 2. 1678/9.

London, Printed for Isaac Cleave, at the Star next to Serjeants-Inn in Chancery-Lane. 1679.

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EZEK. XXI. 24, 25, 26, 27.

24. Therefore thus saith the Lord, because you have made your iniquity to be remembred, in that your transgressions be discovered, so that in all your doings your sins do appear; be∣cause I say that ye are come to remembrance, ye shall be taken with the hand.

25. And thou prophane wicked Prince of Is∣rael, whose day is come when iniquity shall have an end.

26. Thus saith the Lord God, remove the Dia∣dem, and take away the Crown; this shall not be the same; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high.

27. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he comes whose right it is, and I will give it him.

I Thought it not unseasonable (being desir'd) to explain this Text, which (as it is credibly re∣ported) was intended by the Popish Faction to Consummate and Cloak the horrible malice of their Bloody Conspiracy against the Life of his most Page  2 Sacred Majesty; but conceiv'd it useful and necessa∣ry, to apply it to whom most properly it appertains, as well for the justifying of his Royal Person, and Sa∣tisfaction of all honest Protestants, as also for the Re∣proof and Conviction of our Adversaries.

I shall proceed to handle this Text with all humili∣ty of mind, faithful love to Truth, and due regard to the Testimonies of the Holy Scriptures, with the sense of the first General Councils, and the Doctrine of the Fathers in the first five or six hundred years af∣ter Christ; whereby you may evidently perceive, and be fully satisfied, that the King, and Church of England, who hold the true Apostolick Faith, and bind themselves by Mutual Oaths to uphold and maintain the same, are not sentenced with the dread∣ful Curse of God, as was denounced against Judah and Jerusalem, but that the Antichristian Pope of Rome, that Man of Sin, now of a long time reveal'd, with all his bloody and Idolatrous Train; the Igna∣tian Tribe have their Judgment denounc'd in the New Testament, which lingreth not, and their Dam∣nation slumbereth not.

I observe with S. Augustine, not the Monk; that all Holy Writ is so tempered by the Holy Ghost, that quod alibi obscurius, alibi clarius explicitur, one porti∣on of Scripture explains another; and that is acknow∣ledged by all the Orthodox to be the most certain and undoubted Exposition. Wherefore that this Text may be rightly understood, the Matter therein con∣tained must, for it requires it, be consulted of in our Bibles in the following particulars.

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  • I. The Time when this Prophecy was declar'd.
  • II. The Causes wherefore this Prophecy was declar'd.
  • III. The Event, being a dreadful Curse de∣nounced.
    • Wherein observe,
    • 1. The Authority, Thus saith the Lord.
    • 2. The Charge, Thou wicked and prophane.
    • 3. The Parties, Prince and People.
    • 4. The Confusion, I'll overturn, &c.
    • 5. The Duration, Until he comes.
  • IV. The Promise annex'd.
    • Wherein observe,
    • 1. The Kingdom of Christ pro∣mised, He comes.
    • 2. His Claim, Whose right it is.
    • 3. Divine Institution, I will give it him.

Of all these in order, by Gods assistance, with Infe∣rences from, and Application to the whole matter, I shall conclude with the uses proper for our selves to make of it.

And first, of the Time when.

1. The Time when this Prophecy was made, is ea∣sily known, when we look upon Ezek. 1. 1, 2, 3. where the Prophet gives the World to understand expresly the Year, the Month, and the Day, the Word of the Lord came unto him; Now, saith he, it came to pass, &c. in the fourth month, in the fifth day of the month, which was the fifth year of King Jehoiakin's Captivity, the Word of the Lord came un∣toPage  4 Ezekiel the Priest, in the Land of the Caldeans, &c. Compare this with 2 Kin. 24. 15, 16, & 17. verses, and there you shall find that this King Jehoiakin, the King of Judah, was carried away to Babylon in the eighth year of his Reign, and the King of Babylon made Mattaniah his Fathers Brother King in his stead, and changed his name to Zedekiah: insomuch that by these places of Scripture it evidently appears, that Ezekiel began to prophecy much upon the midst of King Zedekiah's Reign, for he reigned eleven years. For by that you see, that the fifth of Jehoia∣kin's Captivity must be the fifth of Zedekiah's Reign. The Text calls this time, Iniquitas Termini, by an E∣nallage, for Terminus Iniquitatis, when Iniquity shall have an end; that is, now is the time come that all the revolt, and back-slidings of Judah and Jerusalem by Idolatry, Blood-shed, and Prophaneness, is come to remembrance, and it shall now end in Zedekiah's days, who shall with the people be carried Captive unto Babylon.

2. The Causes wherefore this Sentence was de∣nounc'd are twofold; the first, is the provocations of the people moving and incensing Gods wrath against them; and to this relates the first verse of the Text, which saith, you have made your iniquity to be remem∣bred: and in the 23. verse next before the Text, it is said, But he will call to remembrance the iniquity; which according to the Original may be well tran∣slated, Hereby you call to remembrance, that is, by this contempt and disdain which you cast upon my Word in the mouth of my Prophet, which seemeth Page  5 to you as a false divination, ver. 23. you do provoke me to call to remembrance all your wickedness, and the iniquity of your forefathers, for this obduration of heart against my Messenger, and breach of Alle∣giance to the King of Babylon, shews what you are: ver. 24. So that in all your doings your sins do ap∣pear, because, I say, that you are come to remem∣brance; that is, by this your hardness of heart, and contempt of the Prophets Doctrine, you force me, saith the Lord, to remember your Idolatry, Bloodshed, Pro∣phaneness, and Apostasies in all kinds; all which the Prophet sets down in the next Chapter, Ezek. 22.

2. The second Cause here mentioned is God pro∣voked, and expressed in these words, Ye shall be taken with the hand; which seems, as if it were, the In∣strumental Cause, but indeed the King of Babylon was the Instrumental Cause of their Captivity, to whose hands God delivered them up: In the 23. ver. it is, Ye shall be taken with the hand; and in the 11th ver. before the Text, it is call'd, The Hand of the Slayer; and in the 9th and 10th verses it is set forth with much fierceness, A Sword, a Sword is sharpned, and also furbished, it is furbished to make a sore slaugh∣ter: by this Sword sharpned and furbished, being an evident sign of Gods Wrath, is signified, that he was incens'd to a very great height of fierceness a∣gainst them; and that appears by the effects and in∣fluence it had upon them, in the 7th ver. Every heart shall melt, and all hands shall be feeble, and every spi∣rit shall be faint, and all knees shall be weak as water. Alas! alas! when the point of Gods Sword is set a∣gainst Page  6 the Gates, what hearts can endure, or hands be strong to deal with it, or in any way be able to re∣sist it? Thus we see what's the sad and dreadful cause of mens Confusions, even Gods severe anger, so highly provok'd with repeated contempts, and hardness of heart against his Messengers and Messa∣ges, sent so sedulously to instruct them; and by the Instrumental Cause of this peoples calamity, the King of Babylon, we also see, that it often comes to pass, through the anger of the Lord against his own chosen people, he maketh use of, and stirreth up a∣gainst them the hands and hearts of Heathen and prophane people.

3. The third thing to be considered in the Text is the Event; i. e. the Sentence of Destruction de∣nounced, wherein we must observe these particu∣lars.

1. The Authority of it in ver. 20. Thus saith the Lord. What I say and denounce against this Prince, I have Gods Warrant for it, saith the Prophet, and that's the reason why he omits all terms of honour to this Prince; and I think he might have inlarg'd thus, and say, I know the Commandment of God in the Law concerning Princes, Ex. 22. 8. Thou shalt not re∣vile the Gods, nor curse the Rulers of thy people, for by God Kings do reign, and Princes do decree Justice: And that Solomon had taught, saying, Curse not the King, no not in thy thought, for his unsearchable heart is in the hand of the Lord. And Kings are the Lords Anointed, ordain'd for our Nursing Fathers, and therefore not to be touch'd with any violence: But I Page  7 am commanded by the Hand of God upon me, and the Inspiration of his Spirit within me, Thus saith the Lord: as Saul told Samuel, and Elijah told Ahab be∣fore this time Kings of Israel, so I by the Word of the Lord, or the Lord by me, and my mouth pro∣phesieth, and saith thus against this Prince and Peo∣ple.

2. The Charge in this Sentence is observable, Thou prophane, wicked. You shall see these words ex∣plain'd in Jer. 52. 1, 2, 3. where Zedekiah is said to do that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, ac∣cording to all that Jehoiakin had done: and Jehoia∣kin's Charge you will find in Jer. 22. 17. he was tax'd for Idolatry, and shedding of Innocent blood, by offering up Children unto Moloch, for oppression and violence, covetousness, and prophaning holy things. And this was not spoken of him alone, but of all the people, and of the former Ages, since the re∣volt of Rehoboam, and Jeroboam, who made Israel to sin, in the 4th Chap. of Ezek. 4, 5. ver. the Prophet was to bear the iniquity of the people for 390 days, representing all the years, a day for a year, down from Jeroboam; which time is computed by the Learned to be 390 years to the Captivity under Zedekiah.

3. The Parties charged, Prince and People; the Prince was Zedekiah, whose name had been Matta∣niah, as is shew'd before, who now rebels against the King of Babylon, that had shew'd kindness, and made him King instead of Jehoiakin: the People are also concern'd here; for when it is said, Remove the Dia∣dem, and take away the Crown; by the Diadem and Page  8 Crown is meant the Government and Kingdom, the whole Nation; the Cidarin and Corona are Royal Ornaments; and by the signs Synechdochically, is meant the things signified, amove, tolle, i. e. Prophecy that the King and People shall be removed, and carried captive into Babylon; Haec non haec, this shall not be the same; i. e. this shall remain no more such a glo∣rious Nation.

4. The Confusion or Destruction denounced is to be considered, which is set forth in several expressions in the Text; as first, Exalt him that is low, that is, Jehoiakin who is now low in Captivity at Babylon, he shall be exalted; which came to pass in the 37th year of his Captivity; 2 King. 25. 27, 28. &c. you may read how Evilmerodach, King of Babylon, lift∣ed up his head, and spake kindly unto him, and gave him an allowance a daily rate, for every day all the days of his life.

Abase him that is high; that is, Zedekiah that is high-minded, and through the pride of his heart, and Gods anger, rebelleth against the King of Baby∣lon, shall be abased: this ungrateful, undutiful, and disloyal Prince, requites the kindness, favours, and great honours conferr'd upon him by the King of Ba∣bylon, with Conspiracies, Plots, and Rebellion, 2 Kin. 24. ult. therefore abase him, cast him off: I have re∣jected him, saith the Lord; which came to pass you see in 2 Kin. 25. The City was besieged to the ele∣venth year of King Zedekiah, and the City was bro∣ken up, and all the Men of War fled by night, &c. and Zedekiah was taken, and brought to the King of Page  9Babylon to Riblah, and he gave Judgment upon him, and bound him in Fetters of Brass, and slew his Sons before his eyes, and put out his own eyes, and brought him to Babylon. The next words declaring this great Confusion, are,

I will overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more; that is, with repeated Calamities and Judgments will I destroy it, with Sword, Famine, and Pestilence; my accustomed and usually sent Judgments, I will bring it once, twice, and the third time, to make a full end of it, and it shall be no more; that is, not such a great, terrible, and glorious people any more. This was fulfilled, you shall see that Nebuzaradan, Captain of the Guard, a Servant of the King of Ba∣bylon, came to Jerusalem, and burnt the House of the Lord, and the House of the King, and all the Houses of Jerusalem, and every Great Mans House burnt he with fire, and broke the Walls of Jerusalem round a∣bout, and carried the rest of the people away. And although by the Edict of Cyrus they had Laws after the City and the Temple was rebuilt, yet all was but slender and unstable, as by the History of Nehemiah and Esrah doth appear; and since Christ came, whom they crucified at Jerusalem, by the just Judgment of God upon them, they were utterly abolished by Titus Vespasianus, and now are become the most distressed and despicable people, and Nation in the World.

5. The Duration of this Judgment and Confusi∣on, until he comes: Here is a comfort promis'd them by the coming of Christ, which although that blind∣ness, as S. Paul calls it, hath happen'd unto them for Page  10 a time that they could not receive the Messiah when he came, yet there's a time and a promise for their Restoration; upon this Promise, and other-like Pro∣phecies of Scripture, do they to this day depend, and look for the coming of the Messiah to deliver them: and herein they are more happy than Antichrist un∣der the Gospel, for there's not one syllable of pro∣mise made for his restoring to the Truth which he hath forsaken, but he is to be consum'd for ever by the Spirit of Gods Mouth, and utterly destroy'd by the brightness of his coming.

4. The fourth particular, observable in the Text, is the promise of Christs coming; He comes, whose right it is, and I will give it him: Here's meant no Temporal Prince, but the coming of the same that was a long time before spoken of by the Kingly Pro∣phet, Thou hast made him little lower than the An∣gels, and hast crowned him with Glory and Honour, thou hast made him have Dominion over the works of thy hands, thou hast put all things under his feet; and to the same Prince and persons coming doth Mala∣chy speak: He cometh suddenly to his Temple; Behold he shall come, saith the Lord, and who may abide his coming? therefore it is said by S. Paul, he was appoint∣ed Heir of all things: He comes, saith the Text, whose right it is Jesus of Nazareth King of the Jews. This right of Ruling and Power, the Lord Jesus saith of himself in Mat. 28. 18. All power is given me of my Father in Heaven, and in Earth; therefore it is said in the Text I will give it him.

The whole Text thus open'd, and the circumstan∣ces Page  11 thereof considered, there do arise these several Inferences.

The first Inference is from the Time, &c.

When the Wicked plot against the Just, and com∣bine in rebellious Conspiracies, then doth approach the appointed ruine of the Plotters. This Sin of Witchcraft carries men blind-folded to destruction, and that is the reason, I think, why it is so called; men are bewitch'd to lay Snares that their own feet may be taken. Non est Lex aequior ulla, quam necit artifices arte perire suae.

A juster Law can no man make, nor wish,
Than Plotters of Death should for Plotting perish.

Therefore did the Psalmist sing, The Heathen are sunk in the Pit that they have made, in the Net which they have hid, are their own feet taken: And from this time of Zedekiah's Rebellion, when he conspired a∣gainst the King of Babylon, and brought upon him∣self by his Plotting a total Ruine, we may very well observe, that Conspiring and Plotting Times are but the Fore-noons to the Evenings of executing Rebels: I have a very sure word of testimony for it, Psal. 37. 12, 13. The wicked plotteth against the just, and gnash∣eth against him with his teeth, but the Lord laugheth at him to scorn, for he knoweth that his day is coming. The Lord laugheth to scorn at the wicked Plots and Conspiracies of bewitch'd minds, and though men do not perceive their approaching Ruine, God know∣eth that his day is coming: In the Net which every Page  12 bloody Traytor hath made, may his own foot be first taken. And do not we now see whose days are come, and whose iniquity will have an end? is it not the days of such as devise Rebellion? and who hath not a full sense of these unquiet and restless Spirits, who never cease to plot against the just, yea a most just, tender, and gracious Soveraign; and who are those, and how many of all hands do we daily see, that gnash their teeth against him, and against his Prote∣stant Church and Kingdom of England. The Igna∣tian Tribe, the Brood of lame Loyolah, falsly call'd Jesuits; for indeed they are aes avitae, saith one, spend all their time and wits to bring the Kings of the Earth to the Battel of the great day of the Lord, that is, to sow Sedition and Rebellion in the whole World; witness their late Dismal Plot of Gun-pow∣der, and this now discover'd of no less danger, as 'tis credibly reported: Dr. Hall in his Epistle to the Bishop of Bath and Wells, observes the time of this plotting Confederacy, with their ador'd Idol the Pope, to be approaching, saying,

All the World knows how that pretended Chair of Peter tottered and crack'd, threatens a speedy ruine to her Usurper: how is it that it still stands?
This rebellious Zede∣kiah (Jer. 52. 1, 2, 3. and 2 King. 24. 18, 19, 20. which two places of Scripture, are the same word by word) felt the revengeful stroke of Gods hand of Justice, in a short time, after his ungrateful and un∣dutiful opposing of the King of Babylon. And the Holy Ghost speaking of Antichrist (who indeed is a Rebel against Christ, professing the name of a Chri∣stian, Page  13 but opposing him in Doctrine and Practice) tells us, his destruction is swift, and his judgment lingereth not. And to conclude this point, see how free from this witchcraft of Rebellion all the true Sons of the Church of England, Princes and People are, and ever have been accounted, insomuch that their perfect Loyalty, and true observance of their Kings, is born as a mark in their Forehead, and is become a Proverb, No Bishop, no King; no King, no Bishop.

2. Inference from the Provocation.

When obdurate hearts contemn the words of God, admonishing and threatning by his Messengers, they aggravate their former sins, and exasperate Divine Indignation against them. In the verse before the Text, Hoc revocatis, i. e. hereby ye call to remem∣brance, that is, by disdaining my Prophets and Pro∣phecies, which in your sight is as a false Divination, through the hardness of your hearts against me, saith the Lord, you provoke me to call to mind the wick∣edness, prophaneness, idolatries, bloodshed, oppres∣sion, and blasphemies that is amongst you, and all the Apostacy of your Forefathers this 380 years and upwards. You have transgressed very much, 2 Chron. 36. 14, 15. after all the abomination of the Heathen, and polluted the House of the Lord; and I sent unto you my Messengers, rising up betimes, and sending, be∣cause I had compassion on you, saith the Lord. But this is it that imbittered me against you more than any thing, you have mocked my Messengers, and despised my words, till my wruth rose against you, till there was Page  14 no remedy. Pro. 29. 1. He that being often reproved, hardneth his neck, shall be suddenly destroyed, and that without remedy. This was the case of Ely's Chil∣dren, who disdaining the voice of their Father, per∣sisted in their pollutions, till God in his wrath slew them: This hardning of the heart, is nothing else but the contempt of Gods Word; and the contempt of Gods Word, is the provoking of God to his face. When the people invited to the Wedding, in the Pa∣rable of the Marriage-Supper, made light of their call, &c. and the King heard thereof, he was wroth, and sent forth his Armies, and destroyed those Mur∣therers, and burnt up their City. It is strange to see with what a scornful state the proud ambitious Usur∣per of the Chair of Peter would trample upon the Necks of all his Brethren, and how he looks from a∣loft upon the honest Protestants reproving him, he looks upon them far below him, and with supercili∣ous looks despiseth them; for so the word 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉 signifies. Thus he, and all his Train of the Scarlet Conclave, the Cardinals, with the sly Jesuite (think∣ing themselves righteous, despising others, as the Spirit of God rebuketh them, Luc. 18. 9.) do aggra∣vate their former Revolt and Apostacy this thousand years standing, and call all to remembrance, that at last they shall, through the fire of Gods wrath, here∣by incens'd, be taken with the hand, as the Text speaks. But as for the meekness and humility of the Church of England, and our readiness to condescend and submit to the Truth, let the World be our Wit∣ness, as learned Bishop Jewel declares it;

If any Page  15 learned man of our Adversaries, or of all the learn∣ed that be alive, be able to bring any one sufficient Sentence, or Testimony, out of any old Doctor, or Father, or out of any old General Council, or out of the holy Scriptures of God, or any one Example of the Primitive Church, whereby it may be clearly and plainly proved, that there was any private Mass, or that the Bishop of Rome was delegated for Universal and Supreme Head of the Catholick Church, with Invocation upon Saints, worshipping of Images, and buying of Indulgences and Par∣dons; or that the Roman Church was accounted and call'd the Universal and Catholick Church, or any thing own'd as Transubstantiation, at that time, for the space of six hundred years after Christ, we are content to yield, and to subscribe, otherwise we hold our selves strictly obliged to retain the Religi∣on and Faith of Christ which we do now profess, and as it is now by our Laws established.

Inference the third, from God provoked, Ye shall be taken with the hand.

Idolatry, Bloodshed, Oppression, Prophaneness and Blasphemy, are the crying sins that provoke God sa∣fest, and hasten his unavoidable Judgments soonest. In Ezek. 22. 3. The City maketh Idols against her self, to defile her self. Idolatry is an open defiance to the Deity, therefore abhorr'd of God above other sins, and call'd by Gods Spirit, the Abomination; and therefore it is said in the Text, v. 24. Because you have made your iniquity to be remembred; this was so odi∣ous, that it was the cause that made other sins to be Page  16 remembred; and for Bloodshed and Idolatry, being put together, it is expresly declar'd by the Prophet, Chap. 22. 4. that they have hasten'd their destructi∣on: And thou hast become, saith he, guilty in thy blood which thou hast shed, and hast defiled thy self with thine Idols which thou hast made, and thou hast caused thy days to draw near. And as to their oppression, prophaneness and blasphemy, it is declared in Ezek. 22. to be so notorious and palpable, that God blew the fire of his wrath to consume them: Their sins did testifie against them, the way of peace they knew not, truth was fallen in their streets, and equity could not enter; and Esay crys out, that he won∣dred there was no Intercessor, Es. 59. 16. Esay, Jere∣my, and Ezekiel, spend their breath and their books in declaring the falling away of these people from God, and his worship; insomuch that at last you see the fierce anger, wrath and indignation of God fell upon them, in this King Zedekiah's time.

4. Inference from the Charge, Thou wicked and prophane Prince, is this:

It is such as revolt from the Faith, despising holy things, and fall to the practises of the Heathen World, that the Scriptures call wicked and prophane, and never charge any so that keep the true Faith and Worship of God.

These people were justly charged, and their Prince also, as wicked and prophane, and that for these Rea∣sons: (1.) They had forsaken the Lord and his Law, which is declar'd by good King Josiah in 2 King. 22. 13. Our Fathers hearken'd not unto the words of this Page  17 Book, (meaning the Book of the Law found by Hil∣kiah in the House of the Lord) to do according to all that is written concerning us. And this falling away from Gods Law, the Scripture calls Fornication, com∣paring these people of Israel to sordid men, Ezek. 16. 15. Thou playedst the Harlot, and pourest out thy fornications on every one that passed by. (2.) They despis'd the holy things of the Lord: Manasseh built Altars for Baal in the House of the Lord, and set a graven Image, of the Grove which he had made, in the House, of which the Lord had said, In this House will I put my Name for ever: Therefore doth Ezek. Chap. 22. 8. cry out against them, Thou hast despised my holy things, and hast prophaned my Sabbaths. And ver. 26. Her Priests have violated my Law, and pro∣phaned my holy things: I am prophaned among them. (3.) These people were justly called wicked and pro∣phane, for they follow'd the Idolatrous practises of the Heathen World; Zedekiah did as Jehoiakin had done, and Jehoiakin as Jehoiakin his Predecessor, and he did as Jehoahaz, and he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his Fathers Manasseh and Ahab had done. Now Manasseh built up the High-places, rear'd up Altars for Baal, made a Grove, and worshipped the Sun, and the Moon, and the Planets, and all the Host of Heaven. (4.) They delivered their Children to pass through the fire to Moloch at Topheth, and shed Innocent blood: And behold, saith the Prophet, the Princes of Israel every one were in thee to their power to shed innocent blood, like ravening Wolves to destroy Souls for dishonest gain, Page  18 Ezek. 22. 27. These Abominations were grounds e∣nough to charge them, as the Prophet doth here, Thou wicked and prophane: And besides all these, there did Oppression and Usury, Lewdness and Un∣cleanness, reign in the highest degree amongst them.

Now having seen who the Scriptures call wicked, &c. in the Old Testament, it lies upon us to know who are so charged also in the New Testament, and for what; and that appears plainly, 2 Thes. 2. 7, 8, 10. S. Paul tells you, He who now letteth, will let, until he be taken out of the way, and then shall that wicked be revealed, i. e. He that letteth and opposeth Christs Doctrine and Kingdom, is that wicked one, which in his appointed time shall be reveal'd, and in the 10th verse he gives the reason why he calls him wick∣ed, Because they received not the love of the Truth. This is much like that of Queen Esther spoken con∣cerning Haman, who had conspir'd to destroy all the Inheritance of God, the Generation of the Jews. This Adversary and Enemy is that wicked Haman: So in Eph. 6. 12. we find that the Church of Christ under the New Testament, wrestless against Powers and Principalities, that is, men exercising Autho∣rity, which he calls spiritual wickedness in high places.

Again, in the 16th verse he tells you, that you are to take the Shield of Faith, which is able to quench all the fiery darts of the Wicked; whereby you must understand; that that wicked one hath fiery Darts with him to throw at the faithful, and by fiery Darts you can think of nothing else but bloody Persecuti∣ons. Page  19 And lastly, you may know that wicked party by his blasphemy, prophaneness, and coming after the working of Satan, with all Powers, and Signs, and lying Wonders, who opposing and exalting him∣self above all that is called God, or that is worship∣ped; so that he as God sitteth in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God. So that in every par∣ticular, when these are compared with the former Prince and People, they are guilty of the same wick∣edness and prophaneness: As thus.

    Under the Old Testament.
  • 1. Those forsook the Law of the Lord.
  • 2. Those despised holy things.
  • 3. Those followed the Idolatrous Practises of the Heathen World.
  • 4. Those deliver'd their Children to Maloch, and shed Innocent Blood.
  • To Zedekiah and Israel, in the Text it is said, Thou prophane, wick∣ed.
    Under the New Testament
  • 1. These received not the love of the Truth.
  • 2. These sitting in the Temple of God, shew himself that he is God.
  • 3. These exalt above God, with signs and lying wonders, after the working of Satan.
  • 4. These shoot Fiery Darts of Persecuti∣on.
  • To Antichrist and his Kingdom in the New Testament, Thou man of sin, and wicked, 2 Thes. 2. 3. 8.

Page  20

Now I will shew you how the Pope of Rome, and the Roman Church resemble revolted Israel, in their Apostacy and wickedness; and will also declare how clear and free the King and Church of England are from this Charge.

Polanus saith, That the Popish Canons and Decre∣tals, with the Lives and Practises of the Popes, do expresly declare them to be Antichrist; and Anti-Christ is defin'd to be a Man exercising Authority, Head of the Universal Apostacy, and Desertion of the Faith, professing the Name of Christ, yet op∣posing himself to Christ and his Doctrine. That he is a Man exercising Authority no Man denys, that he is Head of Universal Apostacy, and opposeth Christ and his Doctrine, I will plainly shew in my Application. We are oblig'd to regard his Person as a Prince and a Prelate by the Laws of God and Nature, i. e. to give honour to whom honour is due; but it is his Vices and Corruption we cry out against, and what the Scripture and judicious Divines, ancient and mo∣dern, of reformed Protestants have declar'd concern∣ing him, we may without malice, or hatred speak of him; and omitting all terms of honour, he is an Idolater, a Hypocrise, a Blasphemer, ambitious, proud, lawless, and forbidding to marry, covetous, vain, a Lyar, a cruel Tyrant, a Persecutor, and Mur∣derer of the Saints, despising holy things, and sitting in the Temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

The Idolatry of the Church of Rome, in wor∣shipping the Pope as Supreme Head of the Univer∣sal Page  21 Church, and Images, with the Relicks of Saints, and their Invocations upon the Virgin Mary, with the lifting up of the Host are as directly against the I. and II. Commandment, as Blood shed is against the VI. and as palpable as it was with Israel who worshipp'd the Sun, Moon, and Planets; He must have a good Hide, saith Dr. Hall, that can worship Martin's Boots, George's Scabbard, Crispin's Pareing-Knife, Thomases her Shoo, and Joseph's Breeches; to equalize these Fopperies with the Son of God in point of worship, as those do who fall before them, and call upon them, as Eraesmus complains, is abo∣minable Idolatry, and horrible Impiety.

The Blood-shed of Rome is so sensibly known through all the Christian World that every Country can bear witness to it, and no marvel the Holy Ghost compare her to a Woman clothed in Scarlet, and drunk with the Blood of Saints.

The fiery Darts of this wicked-one have been so prevalent in Italy, that at one time was condemn'd 16000 Protestants, where 18 had their Throats and jugular Veins cut with a Butchers-Knife, the Butcher putting it between his Teeth whilst he did rid his Hand of one and take the other. In Queen Mary's days were several hundreds, here in England, burnt, in the space of the two last years of her Reign, 13 sometimes together, 12. 10. 6. 5. and other numbers, Bishops, Preachers, Gentlemen, Trades∣men, old and blind Men, Cripples, and poor Maids; no sort of Christians could escape the fury of these bloody Persecutions.

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And to speak of their Covetousness, Oppression, Prophaneness, and Blasphemies which are so com∣mon, will be too tedious for me to hint here in the corner of a Sermon; therefore, in a word, I leave this point concerning the charge, and say it may be well said, Thou wicked and prophane Pope of Rome, whose Day is come, and thy Iniquity shall have an end; remove the Diadem, take away the Crown; I will exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high; I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, until he comes, &c.

Inference the fifth, from the Confusion of Judah and Jerusalem.

Crowns and Kingdoms cannot stand, when God Almighty hath denounc'd their fall: Witness the fall of all the mighty Monarchs of the World, and therefore this Prophet expostulateth pathetically, Can thy Heart endure, or will thy Hands be strong, in the day that I shall deal with thee; I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more; and who can say to God, What dost thou: The Beast with seven Heads and ten Crowns must fall and tumble down, when God is pleas'd to toss them. Whom the Lord shall destroy with the Spirit of his Mouth, and consume with the brightness of his coming.

But as for the King and Church of England, being free from the Charge, they may be also concluded to be free from the Judgment, in the sence of all cha∣ritable minds.

And that they are free from the Charge, let every sober-minded Man weigh these Particulars.

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1. The King and the Church of England protest to maintain, nor suffer for no other Faith, but that which was once by Apostolical Tradition deliver'd to the Saints: This Profession do both Prince and Peo∣ple, by a mutual Oath and Covenant, bind them∣selves to assert, keep, and uphold, to the honour and glory of God; as good King Josiah and his People, in their days. His Majesty, (as other Kings his Pre∣decessors, of blessed memory, at their Corona∣tion) first promiseth (being ask'd by the Arch-Bi∣shops) to keep, and afterwards by Oath confirms, the Laws and Customs of England; namely, the Laws, Customs, and Franchises, granted to the Clergie by the glorious King St. Edward his Predecessor, accord∣ing to the Laws of God, the true Profession of the Gospel, and according to the Prerogatives of the Kings thereof, and defend and uphold the same to the honour of God, as much as in him lyeth.

The Oath.
The things that I have here promis'd, I shall perform and keep, so help me God, and the Contents of this Book. This Oath is published in King Charles the Martyr's Answer to a Remonstrance, &c. of the 26th of May 1642.

The same Oath, for matter, you may find in an old Manuscript, containing the Form of Coronation, &c. in the publick Library at Oxon.

Is not this as firm, and as great a Covenant as blessed King Josiah made, who stood by a Pillar, and made a Covenant before the Lord, to walk after the Lord, and to keep his Commandments, and his Testi∣monies, Page  24 and his Statutes, with all their hearts, &c. and all the People stood to the Covenant, 2 King. 23. 3.

So all the People of England, and all his Majesty's Subjects, bind themselves strictly by two Oaths, called the Oaths of Allegiance and Supremacy, to obey the King's Laws in all true Faith and Allegiance, renouncing all Forreign Powers, and declaring the King's Majesty Supreme Head and Governour in all matters, as well Ecclesiastical as Temporal, next under Christ, in all these His Majesty's Dominions: Thus do both Prince and People most unanimously, and faithfully, pro∣test to stick to the Profession of the Protestant Reli∣gion as it is by Law establish'd, being no other than the same as christ and his Apostles taught, and the pure Times of the Primitive Church maintained in the first Centuries after Christ.

2. For the purity, justness, and reasonableness of His Majesty's Laws whereby we are Govern'd, the Common, Civil, and Ecclesiastical; all the malice of our Adversaries cannot impeach them of the least savour of Idolatry, or Impiety, Prophaneness, or Blasphemies, as those of rebellious Israel under the Old did, and of the Roman Papists under the New Testament do: The Common-Law being certain reasonable Customs refined by succeeding Ages, and gathered out of Divine, Natural, and Moral Princi∣ples; our Civil and Canon-Laws, being all grounded upon the Word of God, and the Decrees of General Councils, and the Sence of the Fathers in the first six-hundred years after Christ; and in this it is as Page  25 clear as the Sun at Noon-day, that neither His Ma∣jesty, nor his People can be charg'd for wickedness, nor prophaneness, in their Profession, nor Laws.

3. For the Doctrine which we reach it is briefly contain'd in the Creed, call'd the Apostles Creed, the Lords-Prayer, and Ten Commandments, and ex∣plain'd throughout the whole Bible: we believe no∣thing, we pray for nothing, and we practice no∣thing as necessary to Salvation, but what is plainly prov'd by evident Scriptures. And as for the Go∣vernment, Discipline, and Worship of our Church, it is acknowledg'd by all Judicious Protestants to be the best constituted Church this day in the whole World, and that in the main, the Doctrine, Disci∣pline, and Worship, being so decently and excellent∣ly fram'd for edification, that it makes all Men that duly observe it, truly and soberly religious, securing them (as a Reverend Divine saith) on the one side from the wild Freaks of Enthusiasm, and on the o∣ther from the gross Follies of Superstition.

4. As for any violence and cruelty, we thank God, the World is our Witness, we can wash our Hands in Innocence; none condemn'd to death for bare per∣swasions in point of Conscience, or different Opini∣ons in matters of Religion. It is Fellons and Tray∣tors, because they have not the fear of God before their Eyes, by the King's Law do dye. His most Sa∣cred Majesty being of that gracious and Lamb-like Disposition, that he laboureth rather through ten∣derness to regain, than through severity to compell Dissenters, to Unity of Spirit and Uniformity in Re∣ligion.

Page  26

5. And lastly, weigh our Practices, I mean the Lives and Conversations of those that are true Sons, and Observers of the Church: we ingenuously con∣fess, that through our carelesness, and want of more strictness, in many things we do offend all; but with∣all, at our daily and publick, as well as private De∣votion, we pray for true repentance, and forgive∣ness; and there's not a Christian Man that hath a little Grain of Charity in him, that will deny, but that we through a certain (though not so Univer∣sal as wish'd) Obedience, receive, and submit to the Truth, Will, Law, and Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To these things, if I had time to amplifie, I would, nor do, desire no more Credit than shall be due to the fair Evidence of clear Scripture, and sound Reason, the two Master Pillars of a good Cause.

Now upon these and other like grounds, is found∣ed the unmovable settled ends of our fixed hopes through Faith in our dear Saviour, that we are not Sentenc'd with Idolatrous Israel under the Law, are not, nor shall be condemn'd with Antichristian Popery under the Gospel: And I conclude this Point with that of our Saviour, in Joh. 14. 27. Confiding that it is appertaining to us, as much as to any other par∣ticular Church in the World; for some have called the English Church, the Primogenita of the Catho∣lick, and for certain it is a Member of the true Ca∣tholick, and therefore may expect her Share in the Legacy of Christ; Peace I leave with you, Peace I give unto you, not as the World gives give I unto you, Page  27 therefore let not your Heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. And this leads me to the next Infe∣rence.

Sixthly, The sixth Inference is from Christ's coming.

The Lord's goodness is so far extended to his be∣loved Spouse, the true Church Catholick, and to every Member thereof, that in the greatest distress and confusions in the World, Christ and his com∣forts will attend the faithful; Job 5. 19, 20, 21, &c. He will deliver thee in six troubles, and in seven there shall no evil touch thee; in Famine he shall redeem thee from Death, and in War from the power of the Sword; thou shalt be hid from the Scourge of the Tongue, neither shalt thou be afraid of Destruction when it cometh. What unspeakable comforts, satis∣faction, and rejoycing all the holy Martyrs of Jesus have ever had in their sufferings, will be too long to relate here: He comes whose right it is, and I will give it him.

I think you do evidently perceive, and are fully sa∣tisfied, by these things already said, concerning this Text, that there needs no further discourse to make all Men apprehend, how free, and plainly unspotted, with the Charge and Curse here denounced against Jerusalem, the present State of England stands. The City of Jerusalem and Israel were curs'd, mark, as you have heard, for breach of their Oath and Al∣legiance, and further Rebellion (to the King of Babylon, though a Pagan King) together with their Contempt of God's Word, Idolatrous, and Prophane Page  28 Practises; but the English Protestants are hated, cen∣sured, accus'd, and persecuted by the Popish Faction, for no other cause, more than for bearing true Alle∣giance to the rightful and lawful King of their Realm, and maintaining, as by Oath they are bound, that the Pope hath no power to depose the King, or to dispose of his Kingdoms; his present Majesty, Charles the II. being the 26th that successively in the right Line from the Conquerour have reign'd abso∣lute Kings of England, &c. Now I will shew you, by way of Application, who have fallen off from the Faith under the New Testament, and that plainly and particularly in what points, and then you may judge whether the like Curse, as was so dreadfully denounced against Israel, may not be also hanging o∣ver their heads, and pointing at their doors, being palpably guilty of the lille Charge.

The Church of Rome, Canonizing, as de fide, a new Doctrine, contrary to the Catholick Faith, for the first five or six hundred years after Christ, is become a false Church (or the Church of Antichrist, which is no part of the true Church of Christ) but an Im∣posthume, or a bad humour in the body, and no part of the body, I mean the true Spiritual and Mystical Body of Christ: And as the ten Tribes of Israel fell off from the Worship of God, and ador'd the Golden Calfs made by Jeroboam, and turn'd Bethel, the House of God, into Bethaven, a House of Iniquity, so have Papists turn'd the Roman Church, which was once a pure flourishing Church, to a corrupt Den of Thieves. And yet it is granted by judicious Protestants, that Page  29 some may possibly be saved, though with great ha∣zard, that are in Communion with her, and groan under the lewd and Antichristian Doctrines and Pra∣ctices (impos'd by her as necessary to Salvation) which overthrow the Fundamental Articles of the Christian Faith, (although held by themselves) and are contrary point-blank to the Catholick Faith once delivered to the Saints; particularly these follow∣ing.

1. The Church of Rome hold and affirm the Pope to be Universal and Supreme Head of the Catholick Church, Caput totius Ecclesiae Militantis; Universal Father of the Church, the only Dispenser of Aposto∣lick Benedictions; thus dignified, he Lords it over all the Clergy upon Earth. Our Creed, composed by the Apostles, teacheth us to believe first in God the Father, &c. and in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord: and the Nicene Creed explains it, I believe in one God, &c. and in one Lord Jesus Christ. The Scripture explains this plainly, in the 4th of Eph. 15. Speaking the truth in love, grow up into him in all things, which is the Head, even Christ: By which it appears we have no Universal Head for the Church Militant, but our Lord Jesus Christ.

2. The Church of Rome is held by them to be the Catholick Church, contrary to our Belief in our Creed, which saith, I believe in the holy Catholick Church; and explain'd in the Nicene Creed, I believe in one Catholick and Apostolick Church: All the Elect of God that ever have been, now are, or ever shall be in the world, comprehending all particular Churches Page  30 which were before the Roman Church, and were in the same time that she flourished, in other Provinces in Asia and Europe, and now are separated from her, making up one Catholick Church, the Mystical Body of Christ.

3. The Doctrine of the Popes Infallibility, that he cannot Err, and that his Authority confirm'd by Councils, is greater and more certain than the Scrip∣tures, doth fly in the face of all the Foundation of our Faith; for we take, as the holy Catholick Church hath ever done, the holy Scriptures for the only cer∣tain Rule of our Faith and Practice, from which we own no higher Authority to appeal unto, no, though an Angel did preach things contrary to the Scriptures, they are to us an Anathema; he, the Pope, can di∣spence, they say, against Paul and Peter; that is, controul and wrest the sense of the Scriptures writ∣ten by Paul and Peter, yea against the Old and New Testament he can, plenitudine potestatis, as much as God. This Doctrine you will find often boasted of in their Canons and Decretals.

4. The Church of Rome doth plainly and point∣blank oppose and overthrow the Catholick Faith, concerning the Remission of sins: The Apostles in the Creed, as all the New Testament most amply and largely explaineth, teach us to believe the forgiveness of sins; and the Roman Church doth set it up on quite other terms, by proposing that gift, I mean, the forgiveness of sins, to be sold by the Pope, and his Priests, if any will be so fondly blind as to buy in the vile Market of Indulgences; so, in a word, the Ca∣tholick Page  31 Faith is to believe the forgiveness of sins, and the Doctrine of Popery is to sell and buy it.

5. The Popish Faction overthrow and utterly con∣found by their new Doctrine and Practice, the Faith and Practice of the Catholick Church in Prayer: Our Saviour Christ himself taught us to pray after this manner, &c. directing our Petitions to God the Father, by the help of the Holy Ghost, in the Name and by the Mediation of God the Son; so are all Prayers made in the Old and New Testament: But the Papists call upon Saints and Angels, and because they believe it, for it is a prevailing Argument with them, that the Kingdom of Heaven is divided into two parts, the Kingdom of Mercy to the blessed Vir∣gin, &c. but the Kingdom of Justice to Christ; they pray more for mercy unto Mary, than unto God through Christ.

6. They contradict and oppose the Christian Faith in the first six hundred years, by the most unreason∣able Point to be impos'd for matter of belief as ever any man can hear of, Transubstantiation, come out of the Council of Lateran under Pope Innocentius the III. He who contended with John King of Eng∣land: They believe that the Bread and the Wine in the Lords Supper, after Consecration, is substantially and materially changed, contrary to our Natural Sense, Seeing, Tasting, and Feeling; and we believe it, that they are Signs and Symbols of a Spiritual Food, and refection which our Souls receive from Christs Body and Blood which was given for us.

These things being considered, every Christian Page  32 man will say, that it was piously done of all the Re∣formers, Luther in Germany, Jerome in Prague, Val∣dus in France, Wickliffe, Bilney and Tindal in England, to separate from this Apostate Church, lest they should be partakers of her sins, and afterwards re∣ceive of her Plagues, Rev. 18. 4. Hos. 4. 15. 1 Cor. 10. 14. whose judgment now of a long time lingreth not, and her damnation slumbereth not. Rev. 13. Let him that understandeth count the number of the Beast. There's a set time appointed for his Judgment, men∣tion'd in 2 Thes. 2. 7. until he be taken out of the way; as it is in the Text, until he comes. Let any se∣rious, unbyass'd spirited man weigh these Points and Scriptures before-recited, and he will soon resolve himself how tottering the See of Rome is, and how miserable the honour of the Ignatian Tribe is, who brag if they had not been, Rome had not been; the Angel had long since said, It is fallen, it is fallen.

Use 1.

Now the Use that every true Protestant is to make of this, is to render unto God his unfeigned thanks for our most Religious King, and Church of England, who vow and assert, and protest to stick to the true Christian Faith once delivered to the Saints, which Faith hath been receiv'd in this Island of Bri∣tain 1640. and upwards; i. e. ever since the latter years of Tiberius his Reign, who died in the 27th year of Christ, as Baronius reckons it. Joseph of A∣rimathea, and Simon Zelotes were the first Planters here; and some say that Paul preached here also: King Lucius in the year of Christ, 169. was baptized, Page  33 and setled three Primates and Metropolitans: one in London, another in York, and the third in Caerlion in Monmouthshire, and ever since we have had succes∣sively Archbishops, and Bishops in our Church of England; whereupon this Church became to be call'd of some Anglicana, filia Primogenita, Ecclesie Catholica. The Reform'd Christian Professors of Christs Faith were call'd Protestants first in Germany, when the Doctrine of Christ, by the industry of Me∣lancthon, Luther, and Zuinglius prevail'd so with the Princes, and Dukes there, that they have unani∣mously agreed and protested to stick to the Reforma∣tion against superstitious Popery, to their Lives and Fortunes: And this Protestant Religion, much upon the same time, or shortly after, was profess'd and esta∣blished in England by King Edward the Sixth of bles∣sed memory, revived by Queen Elizabeth, continued by King James and King Charles the First, all of bles∣sed memory, and now maintained and defended by our most gracious Soveraign Charles the Second, whom we heartily are bound to pray for, may he go on and prosper, and may his Royal Heart be still in Gods good hand for it, to dispose it his own good way: May his Royal Person, both at his going out, and at his coming in, be now and evermore, as safe, Body and Soul, as all the holy Angels can make him safe, from all pernicious Counsels, and from Counsels of falshood and wrong.

Use 2.

To strengthen and establish us in this Religion, yea though it be to the hazard and loss of Properties, Page  34 and Liberties, Fortunes, and Life it self; Mat. Fear not him that kills the body, but rather fear him that can destroy both body and soul in hell; put on your Spiritual Armour, fight the good fight of Faith, and finish the good Religious course that ye have begun: Consider your Case and Quarrel you contend for, the Testimony of Jesus Christ, Rev. 12. 17. Run, I say, therefore the Race with patience, looking unto Jesus the Author and Finisher of your Faith. Did Scipio suffer Death for vindicating the City, and Aristides Banish∣ment for his love to Equity, and was Demosthenes de∣stroy'd for his care of his Country? and shall we sink under the weight of some light afflictions, which can endure but a moment, for so great a Case?

3. And lastly, because our Enemies are watchful to take advantage, and rejoyce at our miscarriages, they are like Ravens and Vultures, gathering to, and picking at our infirmities and failings,

Laetetur, certe priamus, priamoque Creati.

Therefore ought we to be very cautious in all our ways, and circumspect in all our actions; Be wise as Serpents, and harmless as Doves.

It is excellently observ'd of Plutarch, that such li∣ving Creatures as have strong and firm Bodies and Stomacks, can devour and digest Serpents and Frogs; let us then, quitting our selves like men of whole∣some Minds, strong Faith, sound Principles, and blameless Practises, slight and digest with patience the Scandals and false Accusations of the Serpents Page  35 Seed, the Evil Spirits proceeding out of the Mouth of the Dragon; Let us bless them that curse us, and pray for them that spightfully use us.

And to conclude the whole matter of what hath been said, as you would escape the imminent danger of the dreadful Curse of God, with pernicious Con∣fusions in this and the World to come, be watchful and active against the prevailing of Popery, which with the utmost rage of Persecution is unavoidably destructive to Prince and Properties, Religion and Laws, Liberties and Countries, Families and Lives, yea Souls too, if we subscribe to it: And as we ten∣der the love and peace of God, the integrity of the true Christian Faith, profess'd publickly, as once de∣livered to the Saints, and the continuance of Pious Government by just Laws, and have a due regard for the safety of his Majesty, and for the strength and preservation of the Kingdom from Forreign Innova∣tions, let us without wavering stick to the Protestant Religion, in which we have been bred and born; and God out of his abundant Grace grant we may be a∣ble (with courage and comfort in the Holy Ghost) to die in the same, in which (if we continue, through Faith in Christ) we shall assuredly find Salvation.


Page 15. Line 23. for provoke God safest, read provoke God fastest.

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BOOKS Printed and Sold by Isaac Cleave, at the Star next to Ser∣jeants-Inn in Chancery-lane.

THe Church of Rome unmasked, or her false Principles briefly detected, with some Reasons of so many retaining or returning to Communion with her, and the great danger of everlasting destru∣ction that such do run themselves upon: Written by a Learned Divine, by way of Letter to a Friend in the Country.

The Book of Rates, now used in the Sin-Custom-House of the Church and Court of Rome, containing Bulls, Dispensations, and Pardons for all manner of Villanies and Wickednesses, with the several sums of Money to be paid for them: To which is added the new Creed of the Church of Rome, containing the Articles of their Faith; by Anthony Egane, B. D. late Confessor of the Kingdom of Ireland, but now of the Reformed Religion.

England's Improvement Revived in a Treatise of (all manner of Husbandry and Trade by Land and Sea; plainly discovering the several ways of impro∣ving all sorts of waste and barren Ground, and en∣riching all Earths, with the Natural Quality of all Lands, and the several Seeds and Plants which most naturally thrive therein, Together with the manner of Planting all sorts of Trees, with Directions to make Walks, Groves, Orchards, Gardens: Also the way for ordering of Cattel, &c. By Jo. Smith.

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