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by the strictest Obligations from all fchifmatical factions, and turbulent Behaviour in thofe facred or civil Societies whereof we are Members. And unless we do fincerely endeavour to fulfil thefe Obligations,however we may monopolize Godliness to our own Party, and claw and canonize one another, we are Saints of a quite different strain from thofe blessed ones above, and are acted by the factions Spirit of the Devil, whofe Business it is to foment Divisions, and kindle Disturbances and Commotions where-ever he comes. This therefore must be our great Care, if we defign for Heaven, to root out of our Tempers all Inclination to Contention and Difcord, and to compose our felves into a fedate and peaceable, calm and gentle frame of Spirit; and not only to avoid all unneceffary Quarrels and Contentions our felves, but fo far as in us lies to be Peace-makers between others, and preferve a friendly Union with and among our fellow members. And if through humane Frailty and Infirmity, through our own Ignorance or the plaufible Pretences of Seducers, through the too great Prevalence of our Worldly Intereft or the Principles of a bad Education, it fhould be our Misfortune to be infenfibly misled into unwarrantable Diffents and Divifions, yet still to keep our Minds in a teachable temper, and our Ears open to Truth and Conviction; to be defirous of Accommodation, and willing to hear the Reafons on both fides, and as foon as we are convinced of our Error, to repent of our Division and immediately return to Unity and Peace.
Which if it be our conftant Practice and Endeavour, we shall by Degrees form our Minds
into fuch a peaceable and amicable Temper, that when we go into the other World where we fhall be perfectly difengaged from all temporal Interefts,and throughly convinced of all our erroneous Prejudice, our Souls will be effectually contempered to the quiet and peaceable Society of the Blessed; who having no private Interefts to purfue, no particular Affections to gratific, no Ends or Aims but what are common to them all, which is to adore, and imitate,and love that never-failing Spring whence all their Felicity flows, it is impoffible there fhould be any Occafion adminiftred by any of them of any Schifm or rupture of Communion. And fo thofe happy. People live in the most perfect Unity and Concord, as being all united in their ends, and tied together by their heart-ftrings. For they having no counter Opinions or cross Interests to divide them, nothing but Truth shining in their Minds, nothing but Goodness reigning in their Wills, it is impoffible there should be any diffenting Brother among them, any Non-conformist to the bleffed Laws of their Communion; but confpiring together as they do in the fame Mind and Interest, and in the fame peaceable Intentions and Affections, they muft needs walk hand in hand together in a moft perfect Uniformity. So that if we would live for ever with thefe bleffed Folk, we must now endeavour to calm and compofe our felves into their Temper; to discharge our Minds, as much as we are able, of every froward and contentious Humour, and reduce our Wills to a perfect loathing of them; that fo being qualified for their Society we may be admitted to it when we go away from this wrang
ling World. And then how unspeakably happy fhall we be, when with Minds perfectly refined from all Contention and Bitterness we fhall be received into the Company of those calm and fedate Spirits, and bear our part in their sweet and placid Converfation, wherein they freely communicate their minds to one another without the leaft Fierceneß or Infolence, Captioufneß or Mifconftruction, Clamour or Contention for Victory, and do eternally difcourfe over the wife things of Heaven, and ftill perfectly concenter both in their UnderStandings and Wills; wherein like fo many Stars in Conjunction they mingle Light with one another, and do peaceably communicate the treafures of their Knowledge without the least bandying or Controverfie. For though some of them do doubtlefs know much more than others, yet there being no Intermixture of Error in the Knowledge of any, it is impoffible they should oppofe or contradict one another, because whatfoever is true, agrees with every thing that is true. And being thus united in Mind and Judgment, they freely communicate their thoughts without ever difputing one anothers Sentences, which renders it impoffible for them ever to quarrel or difagree.So that all their Communion is a perfect Concord of Souls; wherein there is no fuch thing as a Schifm or Divifion,as paffing cruel Cenfures or affixing hard Names or bandying Anathema's at one another,but in Mind & Heart they are all as perfectly one as if they were all animated by one and the fame Soul, And thus they live unspeakably happy in the mutual exercife of an everlasting Peace, and all their Converfation with one another is perfect Harmony without Difcords. IV.As
IV. As we are rational Creatures related to one another, we are obliged modeftly to submit to our Superiours, and chearfully to condescend to our Inferiours in thofe refpective Societies whereof we are Members. These two I put together, because they are Relatives, and as fuch do mutually explain and contribute light to each other. Now it being neceffary to the Order and End of all Societies that their Members fhould be diftinguished into fuperiour and inferiour Ranks and Stations; that fome fhould be trufted with the power of Commanding, and others reduced to the condition of Obedience, that fo in this regular Subordination they may every one in their several stations be obliged to aid and affift each other, and according to their feveral Capacities to contribute to the good of the Whole; which in a state of Equality (wherein every Man would be abfolute Lord of himfelf). cannot be expected, confidering the different Humours and Interefts by which Men are acted; this, I fay, being upon this account neceffary, it is upon the fame account equally neceffary that they should mutually perform thofe Offices to one another, which are proper to their respective Ranks and Stations. That Superiours should look upon themselves as Trustees for the Publick Good, whom God hath invested with Authority over others not to domineer and gratifie their own imperious Wills, but to provide for and fecure the Common-weal; and confequently to take care that they do not prostitute their Power to their own private Avarice or Ambition, but that they employ it for the Common Good and Benefit of their Subjects and Inferiours; that they be ready
to do them all good Offices, to compaffionate their Infirmities, confult their Conveniencies, and comply with all their reasonable Supplications; confidering that for this End they derived their Authority from God who is the Fountain of Authority, to whom they are accountable for their good and bad Administration of it. And fo for the Inferiours, it is no lefs neceffary for the Common Good, that they perform their parts towards thofe that are above them; that they behave themselves towards them, with all that Loyalty and Modefty, Refpect and Submission which their Place and Authority calls for; that they reverence them as the Vicegerents of God, and addrefs to them as to facred Perfons, and render a chearful Obedience to that divine Authority that is stampt upon all their just Laws and Commands; confidering that in their feveral Degrees, they represent the Perfon of the great Soveraign of the World, to whom we owe an intire Subjection, and confequently are in every thing to be obeyed and fubmitted to, that he hath not exprefly countermanded. For that Subjects and Superiours, fhould thus behave themselves towards one another, is indifpenfably necessary to the Welfare of all Societies. For whilft the Inferiours of any Society do obftinately refufe to fubmit to the Will of their Superiours, and the Superiours to condefcend to the Common Good of their Inferiours, they are contending together, either for a Confufion or a Tyranny, and if the Superiours prevail, Tyranny follows; if the Inferiours, Confufion: either of which is extremely mischievous, not only to the Society in general, but to each of the contending Parties.