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ripeness, they should not be improved to any useful vintage? This must be done by the Wine-press: that is set up. And now, what can remain, but the setting under of vessels, to receive the comfortable juice, that shall How from these so-well-husbanded clusters?

All this hath God done for his Vineyard: what could have been done more?

Not to dwell in the mists of allegories; God himself hath read this riddle. The Vineyard of the Lord of Hosts is the house of Israel; verse 7: and the house of Israel is his Church. The Church is God's Hill, conspicuous for his wonderful favours (though not ever) even to the

eye of the world; not a hidden, unheeded Valley: a Fruitful Hill; not by nature, but by grace. Nature was like itself, in it, in the world: God hath taken it in from the barren downs, and gooded it: his choice did not find, but make it thus.

Thus chosen, he hath fenced it about with the hedge of discipline; with the wall of his Almighty protection.

Thus fenced, he hath ordained, by just censures to pick out of it those stones of offence, which might hinder their holy proceedings, and keep down the growth of the vines; whether scandalous men, false opinions, or evil occurrences.

Thus cleared, he hath planted it with the choicest vines of gracious motions, of wholesome doctrines.

Thus planted, he hath overlooked it from the watch-tower of heaven, in a careful inspection upon their ways, in a provident care of their preservation.

Thus overlooked, he hath endeavoured to improve it by his sea. sonable wine-press, in reducing all those powers and favours to act, to use; whether by Fatherly corrections, or by suggesting meet opportunities of practice. And now, having thus chosen, fenced, cleared, planted, watched, and ordered to strain his vines, he says most justly, What could have been done more, that I have not done?

Certainly, it is not in the power of any human apprehension, to conceive what act could be added, to perfect his culture; what blessing could be added, to the endearing of a Church. If he have made choice of a people for his own; if he have blessed them with good government, with safe protection; if he have removed all hindrances of their proficiency; if he have given them wholesome instructions, and plied them with solicitations to good; if his provident eye have been ever over them for their deliverances; if, lastly, he have used both fair and foul means to wring from them the good juice of their obedience: say, Men or Angels, what could have been done more? What Church soever in the world can make good to itself these specialties of mercy, let it know, that God hath abated nothing to it of the height of his Favour.

II. These are the Favours, wherewith God hath begun to Israel. Now turn your ears to the answer, that Israel returns to God: see the Mercies of a good God requited with the REBELLIONS of a wicked people. Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes? A woeful issue of such blessings : wild grapes; and that, with the disappointment of God's expectation!

Two usual faults doth God find with any vicious tree; No fruit, Ill fruit: the one, in omission of good; the other, in commission of sin. The fig-tree in the way is cursed for the one; Israel here, taxed for the other.

What then are these wild, or, as Pagnine renders it, Uve putida, rotten grapes? God hath not left it to our guess; but hath plainly told us verse 7, in an elegant paronomasy; I looked for own judginent; and behold nown a wound or scab, that is, oppression : I looked for 7p7 justice; and behold > clamour. Generally, whatever disposition or act uncultured nature doth or would produce of itself, that is a wild grape. Particularly, the Holy Ghost hath here instanced in several sins so styled; a self-greatening oppression; verse 8: a settled drunkenness and wilful debauchedness; verse 11: a determined resolution of wicked courses; verse 18: a nicknaming of good and evil; verse 20: a self-conceitedness in their own ways; verse 21: bribery in their judges; verse 23: pride in their women; ch. ii. 16: obdured infidelity in all; ch. vi. 10. Wild grapes indeed! such as corrupted nature yields, without a correction, without an alteration : she herself is wild: she can yield but what she hath, what she is.

Please yourselves, who list, in the opinion of your fair, and sweet, and plausible dispositions; ye shall find nature at best but a wild vine. In me, that is, in my flesh, there dwelleth no good; saith the Chosen Vessel. Wild grapes, for the harshness and sourness of the taste, for the odiousness of their verdure, to the palate of the Almighty. The best fruits of nature are but glorious sins; the worst are horrible abominations.

Such are the wild grapes of Israel: which yet could not have been so ill, if God had not been put into an expectation of better; and if this expectation had not been crossed with disappointment: Wherefore, when I looked that it should bring forth grapes, brought it forth wild grapes ? Had only maples, or thorns, or willows grown there, God would not have looked for grapes; had only wild vines grown there, God would not have looked for pleasing clusters: but now, that God furnished the soil with noble and generous plants, with what scorn and indignation doth he look upon wild grapes! Favours bestowed raise expectation; and expectation frustrated doubles the judgment. The very leaves and the highway drew a curse upon the fig-tree. Woe be to thee, Chorazin: woe be to thee, Bethsaida! Son of Man, what shall be done to the vine of all trees? Woe be to thee, O Vineyard of Israel: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be eaten up: I will break down the wall, and it shall be trodden down.

III. My speech shall now descend to the woeful VENGEANCE, that God threats to, and inflicts upon his Israel: a fit theme for so heavy a day. The bedge of good government and wholesome laws shall be trodden down: the wall of divine protection shall be broken: the beasts of the field and forest shall be let in, the grapes devoured, the trees bruised and trampled upon, the roots extirpate;

to the full and final vastation of Israel, to the scorn and hissing of all nations, to the just terror of the world: while that darling people, which was once the example of God's mercy, is now become the fearful spectacle of his fury and revenge; surviving only in some few abhorred and despised vagabonds, to shew that there was once such a nation.

IV. But the time and occasion call my thoughts homeward, and invite me rather to spend the rest of my hour in PARALLELING ISRAEL'S BLESSINGS, SINS, THREATS OF JUDGMENT WITH OUR OWN: Wherein our interest shall be a sufficient motive of our attention.

1. Gather you together therefore, gather you, O nation, not worthy to be loved; and cast back your eyes upon those incomparable FAVOURS, wherewith God hath provoked and endeared this Island; in which I dare boldly say we are, at the least, his second Israel. How hath he chosen us out of all the earth, and divided us from the rest of the world, that we might be a singular pattern and strange wonder of his bounty! What should I speak of the wholesome temper of our clime; the rich provision of all useful commodities? so as we cannot say only as Sanchez did, “I have moisture enough within my own shell;" but as David did, Poculum exuberans, My cup runs over, to the supply of our neighbour nations. What speak I of the populousness of our cities, defencedness of our shores? These are nothing, to that heavenly treasure of the Gospel, which makes us the Vineyard of God; and that sweet Peace, which gives us the happy fruition of that saving Gospel. Albion do we call it? nay, as he rightly, Polyolbion, "richly blessed.” O God, what, where is the nation, that can emulate us in these favours?

How hath he fenced us about with the hedge of good discipline, of wholesome laws, of gracious government;

with the brazen wall of his Almighty and miraculous protection! Never land had more exquisite rules of justice, whether mute or speaking.. He hath not left us to the mercy of a rude anarchy, or a tyrannical violence; but hath regulated us by laws of our own asking, and swayed us by the just sceptres of moderate princes. Never land had more convincing proofs of an Omnipotent Tuition, whether against foreign powers or secret conspiracies. Forget, if ye can, the year of our invasion, the day of our Purim: besides the many particularities of our deliverances filled up by the pen of one of our worthy prelates *.

How bath he given us means to remove the rubs of our growth; and to gather away the stones of false doctrine, of heretical pravity, of mischievous machinations that might hold down his truth! And, which is the head of all, how hath he brought our vine out of the Egypt of Popish Superstition, and planted it! In plain terms, how hath he made us a truly-orthodox Church, eminent for purity of Doctrine, for the grave and reverend solemnity of true Sacraments, for the due form of Government, for the pious and religious form

* Bishop Carleton's " Thankful Remembrance of God's Mercy.EDITOR.

of our public Liturgy! With what plenty hath he showered upon us the first and latter rain of his Heavenly Gospel! With what rare gifts hath he graced our teachers! With what pregnant spirits hath he furnished our academies! With what competency of maintenance hath he heartened all learned professions! So as, in these regards, we may say of the Church of England, Many daughters have done virtuously, but thou excellest them all; Prov. xxxi. 29.

How hath the vigilant eye of his Providence, out of his tower of heaven, watched over this Island for good! Not a hellish pioneer could mine under ground, but he espied him: not a dark lanthorn could offer to deceive midnight, but he descries it: not a plot, not a purpose of evil could look out, but he hath discovered it; and shamed the agents, and glorified his mercy in our deliverance.

Lastly, how infinitely hath his loving care laboured to bring us to good! What sweet opportunities and encouragements hath he given us of a fruitful obedience! And when his Fatherly counsels would not work with us, how hath he screwed us in the wine-press of his afflictions: one while, with a raging pestilence; another while, with the insolence and prevalence of enemies; one while, with unkindly seasons; another while, with stormy and wracking tempests: if, by any means, he might fetch from us the precious juice of true penitence and faithful obedience, that we might turn and live! If the press were weighty, yet the wine is sweet.

Lay now all these together, And what could have been done more for our Vineyard, O God, that thou hast not done? Look about you, Honourable and Christian Hearers, and see whether God hath done thus with any nation. Oh, never, never was any people so bound to a God. Other neighbouring regions would think themselves happy, in one drop of those blessings, which have poured down thíck upon us. Alas! they are in a vaporous and marish vale, while we are seated on the fruitful hill: they lie open to the massacring knife of an enemy, while we are fenced: they are clogged with miserable encumbrances, while we are free: briars and brambles overspread them, while we are choicely planted: their tower is of offence, their wine-press is of blood. O the lamentable condition of more likely vineyards than our own! Who can but weep and bleed, to see those woeful calamities, that are fallen upon the late-famous and flourishing Churches of Reformed Christendom? Oh, for that Palatine Vine, late inoculated with a precious bud of our royal stem; that Vine, not long since rich in goodly clusters, now the insultation of boars and prey of foxes! Oh, for those poor distressed Christians in France, Bohemia, Silesia, Moravia, Germany, Austria, the Valteline, that groan now under the tyrannous yoke of Antichristian oppression! How glad would they be of the crumbs of our feasts! How rich would they esteem themselves, with the very gleanings of our plentiful crop of prosperity! How do they look up at us, as even now militantly triumphant, while they are miserably wallowing in dust and blood; and wonder to see the sun-shine upon our hill, while they are drenched with storm and tempest in the valley!

What are we, () God, what are we, that thou shouldest be thus that grow

there on

rich in thy mercies to us, while thou art so severe in thy judgments unto them? It is too much, Lord, it is too much, that thou hast done for so sinful and rebellious a people.

2. Cast now your eyes aside a little; and, after the view of God's Favours, see some littie glimpse of our REQUITAL. Say then, say, O‘nation not worthy to be beloved, what fruit have ye returned to your beneficent God? Sin is impudent: but let me challenge the impudent forehead of sin itself. Are they not sour and wild grapes, that we have yielded? Are we less deep in the sins of Israel, than in Israel's blessings? Complaints, I know, are unpleasing, how, ever just; but now not more unpleasing than necessary. Woe is me, iny mother, that thou hast borne me a man of contention ; Jer. xv. 10. I must cry out in this sad day, of the sins of my people.

The searchers of Canaan, when they came to the brook of Eshcol, they cut down a branch with a cluster of grapes, and carried it on a staff between two, to shew Israel the fruit of the land; Num. xiii. 23. Give me leave, in the search of our Israel, to present your eyes with some of the wild

grapes, every hedge. And what if they be the very same, that grew in this degenerated vineyard of Israel?

Where we meet, first, with Oppression : a lordly sin, and that challengeth precedency, as being commonly incident to none but the great ; though a poor oppressor (as he is unkindly, so he) is a monster of mercilessness. Oh the loud shrieks and clamours of this crying sin! What grinding of faces, what racking of rents, what detention of wages, what inclosing of commons, what engrossing of commodities, what griping exactions, what straining the advantages of greatness, what unequal levies of legal payments, what spiteful suits, what depopulations, what usuries, what violences abound every where! The sighs, the tears, the blood of the poor pierce the heavens, and call for a fearful retribution. This is a sour grape indeed; and that makes God to wring his face in an angry detestation.

Drunkenness is the next : not so odious in the weakness of it, as in the strength. O woeful glory! Strong to drink. Woe is me! how is the world turned beast! What bouzing, and quafting, and whiffing, and healthing is there on every bench! and what reeling and staggering in our streets! What drinking by the yard, the die, the dozen! What forcing of pledges ! what quarrels for measure and form! How is that become an excuse of villainy, which any villainy might rather excuse, “ I was drunk !” How hath this torrent, yea this deluge of excess in meats and drinks drowned the face of the earth, and risen many cubits above the highest mountains of religion and good laws! Yea, would God I might not say that, which I fear and shame and grieve to say, that even some of them, which square the ark for others, have been inwardly drownied, and discovered their nakedness. That other inundation scoured the world: this impures it. And what but a Deluge of Fire can wash it from so abominable filthiness?

Let no Popish eaves-dropper now smile to think, what advantage

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