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complishing the faid Defign, is, We conceive, most proper, and (by the Bleffing of God attending it) moft likely to prove ef fectual. And that Pious Men of all Ranks and Qualities may be excited by this good Book to contribute, in their respective Places and Stations, their beft Endeavours towards a National Reformation of Manners, is the most Humble and Hearty Prayer of,
Your very Loving Friends
fT. Carliol. H. Bangor. N.Ceftrienf. E.Glouceftr. S. Elienf.
Bridgwater. R. Bath &
Willoughby of Parham. Brook.
An Account of the
Reformation of Manners,
LONDON and WESTMINSTER, And other Parts of the Kingdom, &c.
T may be hoped, That this plain Dif course will meet no other Enemies than fuch as are likewife Enemies to Religion and Virtue, and are loft to the Sense of Good and Evil, fince the only Defign of it is evidently to promote the true interest of Religion; and it does not oppofe any one Man's honest Advantage, or encounter any common Opinion, that I know of, among us: The Obfervation having been long fince made, That how many Difputes foever there have been rais'd among the too various Denominations
of Christians, concerning the Power of the Ma giftrate in Matters of Religion, with respect either to Faith or Worship, it hath never been a Difpute, Whether the Magiftrate hath Power to Punifh Immoralities: The Profecution of Men for their Vices hath never been reckoned Perfecution. It being as plainly the Duty of the Magiftrate, from the Word of GOD, which Rom.13.4. obliges him to Execute Wrath upon those that do Evil, as it is evident, from the dismal Effects of Vice and Wickedness in all Ages, that Laws against Prophanenets and De bauchery are neceffary for the Prefervation of Communities, as that Piety and Virtue are requifite to their Well-being; and that unrestrained Vice and Prophaneness are as fatal to Publick Societies, as they are destructive to Private Perfons.
But though LAWS are neceffary to the very Being of Communities, and Good Laws to their Happiness; yet they cannot be fuppofed, by any Rational Man, to be any more fufficient of themselves, to procure the Welfare of the Body Politick, without Execution, than the best Medicines can procure the Health of the Natural Body, without the Use and Application of them.
If therefore the Execution of Good Laws be neceffary, as is proved, to the Welfare of Com manities; and thofe that concern Matters of Religion, as do thofe for the Punishment of Prophaneness and Debauchery, are allow'd, in a Chriftian