[15 February, 1642/3.]
That flourishing Kingdomes have been ruin'd by impenitent
going on in a course of sinning, the sacred story doth plainely tell
us; and how neere to such a Ruine our sinfull Nation now is, the
present lamentable Face of it doth too apparently show. And
though wee should feele the heavy Stroakes of God, yet seven
times more, it is our duty to accept the punishment of our
Iniquity and to say, 'Righteous art thou O Lord, and just are
Yet because the Lord who is just, is also mercifull, and in his
infinite Mercy hath left the excellent and successfull remedy of
Repentance to Nations brought neere to the Gates of Destruction
and dispaire; O let not England be negligent in the application
of it. Humble addresses of a penitent People to a Mercifull God
have prevailed with Him. They prevailed for Nineveh, when
the sentence seemed to be gon out against her, and may also
prevaile for England.
Repentance for personal and national sins enjoined.
It is therefore thought most necessary by the Lords and Commons
in Parliament, that all his Majesties Subjects in this Kingdome of England, be excited and stirred up, speedily to lay hold
upon this onely and unfailing Remedy of Repentance; freely
acknowledging, and heartily bewailing even with deepest humiliation, godly sorrow, and detestation, secretly and in families, but
especially publikely in Congregations, both their own personall
sins, and chiefely those sins that are and have bin the sins of
this Nation. A confession of Nationall Sins being most agreeable to the Nationall Judgements, under which the Land groanes,
and most likely to be effectuall for the removing of them.
National Sins enumerated.
Neither ought this confession to be sleight or light, when there
is so heavy a weight of Sins, infinite in number, and hainous in
nature, that lyes upon this nation. Such are the high Contempt
of Gods holy Ordinances, and of Holinesse itselfe: Gross and
affected ignorance, under the glorious light of the Gospel cleerly
shineing among us; unfruitfulnesse under the precious meanes
of Grace, Ingratitude for Mercies, Incorrigiblenesse under Judgements, multitudes of Oathes, and blasphemies, wicked prophanations of the Lords Day, by Sports and Gamings, formerly encouraged even by Authoritie. All sortes of uncleannesse,
Luxury, of Excesse in Eating and Drinking. Vanity, pride, and
prodigiality in Apparell; Envy, Contention, and unnaturall Divisions; Oppression, Fraud, and Violence; From diverse of which
Sins and many other, not one person throughout the whole Nation
can say that he is whollly free; but all must confesse that they
have contributed toward the Great Stock of Nationall Sins.
And so have increased the Treasure of Wrath, against these
dayes of Wrath; and therefore since, according to the language
of the Holy Ghost, we are a sinfull Nation, a people laden with
Iniquity, and that from the sole of the Foot to the Head, there is
no Soundnesse in us, we may justly expect the desolations that
are denounced against so great and generall Corruption.
And as it is our duty to humble ourselves, and to give glory
to God, the Searcher of all hearts, by confessing all sinnes; So
ought we to be affected and humbled with deepest sense of sorrow
for those most crying Sins, which now we find by too sad experience, to have a more immediate Influence upon the Distruction of a Kingdome; some of which are Idolatry and Bloodshed.
That of Idolatry, as it was the Sin of our Ancestors, so it is the
Spreading sin of these latter times, while by a generall connivence,
and almost Toleration, it hath beene severall wayes fomented and
encouraged: The grievous effects whereof this Kingdome of
England now begins to feele, from Multitudes of armed Papists,
and their Abettors; and the Kingdome of Ireland far more heavily
hath felt, being brought almost to utter Ruine, by the Intestine
Warres of Romish Idolaters.
Murder and Bloodshed.
And for that other crying and cruell Sin of Bloodshed, that
calls aloud for Vengeance (besides many Murders not expiated,
and the blood-guilty pardoned) did it not goe hand in hand with
hat abominable Idoll of the Masse, in the dayes of Queen Mary,
and some of her Predecessors, when many hundreds of the deare
Martyrs and Saints of God lost their precious Lives in Flames
and prisons. And though severall Acts by which that Innocent
blood was shed, have been repealed by Parliament: yet to this
very day, was never ordeined such a solenme Publique and
Nationall acknowledgement of this Sin, as might appease the
wrath of that Jealous God, against whom, and against whose
People, with so high a hand it was Committed.
Ministers to inculcate publicly Confession and Humiliation for Sins.
Now that all the Sin and Misery of this Polluted and Afflicted
Nation may be bitterly sorrowed for, With such griefe of heart,
and preparednesse for a thorow Reformation, as God may be
pleased graciously to accept: It is required and Ordeined by the
Lords and Commons in Parliament, That every Minister and
Preacher of Gods word, in the Kingdome of England, and
Dominion of Wales, in their severall Auditories and Congregations,
especially upon the Fast-dayes, shall most earnestly perswade
and Inculcate the constant practice of this publique acknowledgement and deepe humiliation for these, and all our Nationall and
crying Sins, and likewise the necessity of a Personall and Nationall Reformation, and shall publish this Ordinance concerning the
same: That so, at length we may obtaine a Firme and happy
Peace both with God and Man, That Glory may dwell in our
Land, and the prosperity of the Gospell with all the Priviledges
accompanying it, may Crowne this Nation unto all succeeding