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WE read, Luke xiii. 11, of a woman who had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself. This woman may pass for the lively emblem of the English nation; from the year of our Lord 1642 (when our wars first began) unto this present 1660, are eighteen years in my arithmetic; all which time our land hath been bowed together, past possibility of standing upright.

Some will say that the weight of heavy taxes have caused this crookedness. But alas! this is the least and lightest of all things I reflect at in this allusion. It is chiefly the weight of our 187sins, Heb. xii. 1, which doth so easily beset us. Our mutual malice and animosities which have caused this incurvation.

A pitiful posture wherein the face is made to touch the feet, and the back is set above the head. God in due time set us right, and keep us right, that the head may be in its proper place. Next the neck of the nobility, then the breast of the gentry, the loins of the merchants and citizens, the thighs of the yeomanry, the legs and feet of artificers and day-laborers. As for the clergy (here by me purposely omitted) what place soever shall be assigned them; if low, God grant patience; if high, give humility unto them.

When thus our land in God’s leisure shall be restored to its former rectitude, and set upright again, then I hope she may leave off her steel bodies, which have galled her with wearing them so long, and return again to her peaceable condition.

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