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To tile Reader
Ten things that are yet wanting to the hypocrite, that prove
THE MISCHIEF OF AN UNBRIDLED TONGUE,
AS AGAINST RELIGION, RULERS, OR DISSENTERS,
PREACHED AT THE ABBEY IN WESTMINSTER,
MANY MEMBERS OF THE HONOU'RABLE HOUSE OF COMMONS,
THE FOOL'S PROSPERITY
THE OCCASION OF HIS DESTRUCTION
PREACHED AT COVENT GARDEN.
BOTH PUBLISHED TO HEAL THE EFFECTS OF SOME HEARERS'
MISUNDERSTANDINGS AND MISREPORTS.
TO THE READER.
THOUGH God be not the author of sin, he knows why he permitteth it in the world. He will be no loser, and Satan shall be no gainer by it in the end. The malice of the devil and wicked men is, ordinarily, the destruction of the cause which they most desire to promote; and an advantage by accident to the cause and persons which they would root out from the earth. Were there no more to prove this than the instances of Joseph's brethren, of Pharaoh, and the murderers of our Lord, it were enough. We usually lose inore by the flatteries of Satan and the World, than by their violence. If these hasty, coarse, unpolished sermons, shall prove beneficial to the souls of any, this also may come in among the lower rank of instances. If the devil had let me alone, they might have been cast aside, and no further molested him or his kingdom, for aught I know, than they did upon the preaching of them. But seeing he will needs, by malicious misreports, and slanders, kindle suspicion, and raise offence, against them and the author, let him take what he gets by it. He hath never yet got much from me, by violence, or by his foul-mouthed slanderous instruments : no, not when the impudence or multitude of their slanders have forced me to be silent, lest I trouble the reader, or misspend my time.
The first of these discourses, being intended to undeceive the formal hypocrite, and to call men from a vain, to a saving, serious religion, and to acquaint them that cry out against hypocrisy, where the hypocrite is to be found, it seems, provoked the ignorant or the guilty; in so much that the cry went, that I preached down all forms of prayer, and all government and order in the church : when there is not a syllable that hath any such sense; but it seems what I spoke against the carcass, was interpreted to be spoken against the body of religion. The words of Mr. Bolton, and other divines, which I have