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fake, and to be at peace among themselves, 1 Thess
. v. 12, 13. and it will also teach fuperiors to condescend to men of low degree, and not to think of themselves above what they ought, but “ with all lowliness, meekoels, and long-suffering, to for" bear one another in love, keeping (this way) the unity of the * Spirit in the bond of peace," Eph. iv. 2, 3.
Direction s. This gentle language and respectful deportment, would naturally and constantly flow from the uniting grace of wisdom, humility, and love, were they more exalted in the hearts of Christians.
Wisdom would allay those unchristian hears, Prov. xvii. 27. a man of understanding is of an excellent fpirit, so we reader it; but the Hebrew signifies a cool fpirit ; "the wisdom that is " from above is gentle, and easy to be intreated," James iji. 17.
Humility takes away the fuel from the fire of contention ; only from pride cometh contention, Prov. xiii. 10. How dearly ** hath pride, especially spiritual pride, colt the churches of Chrin?
Love is the very cement of societies, the fountain of peace and unity; it thinketh no evil, 1 Cor. xiii. puts the fairelt sepse upoa doubtful words and actions, it beareth all thiogs. “Love
me (Iaith Austin) and reprove me as thou pleaseft:" It is a radical grace, bearing the fruits of prace and unity upon it.
Direčtion 6. Be of a Christ-like forgiving spirit one towards another, Eph. iv, 31, 32." Let all bitterness, and wrath, and
anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking be put away from you, " with all malice, and be ye kind one to another, tender-heart"ed, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's fake hath " forgiven you.” Hath thy brother offended thee? How apt art thou also to offend thy brother? And, which is iofinitely more, how ofteu dost thou every day grieve and offend Jesus Chrift, who yet freely forgives all thy offences? Remember friend, that an uoforgiving is a fad sign of an unforgiven pero fon. They that have found mercy, pity, and forgiveness, should of all men in the world, be most ready to shew it.
Direction 7. Be deeply affected with the mischievous effects and consequents of schisms and divisions in the societies of the saints, and let nothing beneath a plain necessiły, divide you from communion ope with another; hold it falt till you can hold it no longer without fin. At the fire of your contentions your enemies warm their hands, and say, Aha, so would we have it: Your prayers are obftructed, Matth. v. 24. “ Firit be " reconciled to thy brother, and theo come and offer thy gift.” Edification is bindered : Feverilh bodies thrive not, Eph. iv. 15. God is provoked to remove his gracious presence from VOL, IV.
among you. “ Be of one mind (faith the apostle) live in peace, " and the God of peace shall be with you,” i Cor. xiii. u. implying that their contentions would deprive them of his bleffed company with them. The glory of your society is clouded; “If ye have bitter cavyings and Arife in your heart, glory “ not," James iii
. 14. Glory not in your cbarch privileges, perfonal gifts and attainments; whatever you thiok of yourTelves, you are not fuch Christians as you vogue poorfelves for, living in fio fo directly contrary to christianity. The name of Christ is dishonoured. You are taken out of the world, to be. a people for his name, that is, for his honour; but there is little credit to the name of Christ from a dividing, wrangling people. The alluring beauty of Christianity, by which the church gaias upon the world, Acts ii. 46, 47. is fullied and defaced, and thereby (as I noted before) conversion hindred, and a new stone, as it were, rolled over the graves of poor fingers, to keep them dowo in their impeniteney: Tremble therefore at the thoughts of divisions and separations. St Augustine notes three fins severely punished in fcripture. The golden calf, with the fword; Jehoiakim's cutting the facred roll, with a dreadful captivity; but the schism of Korah, and his accomplices, with the carth's opening her mouth and swallowing them up quick.
Direction 8. Let all church-members see that they have union with Christ, evideociog itself in daily sweet communion with him: Lines drawn from a circumference come the nearest to one another in the center. When God in tends to make the hearts of men one, he first makes them oew, Ezek. xi. 19. " I will give “ them one heart, and I will put a Dew Spirit within you." And the more any renewed heart tastes the sweetness of communion with God, by so much it is disposed for unity and peace with his people. Our frowardness and peevishness plainly discovers all is not well betwixt God and us. Nothing fo opposite to or abhorred by a foul that enjoys fweet peace aod communion with Christ, than to live in fipful jars and contentions with his people. Return therefore to the primitive spirit of love and unity; forbear one another; forgive one another; mortify your dividing lufts; cherish your uniting graces : -" mark them * which caufe divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine
ye have learned, and avoid them,” Rom. xvi. 17. lo a word, and that the word of the apostle in the text, “I beseech you,
brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Chrift, that all “ speak the fame thing, and that there be ao divisions among
you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the fame 5 mind, and in the fame judgment."
ENGLAND'S DUTY, ,
UNDER THE PRESENT
G 0 s P E L - L BE & T Y.
Thanksgiving SERMON for ENGLAND's Delivery
from POPERY, Feb. 1688-9. narciarsinan aaaaa
sacracaniana An EPISTLE TO THE READER.
H E following discourse comes to thy hand in that native
plainness wherein it was preached. I was conscientioufly unwilling to alter it, because I found by experience, the Lord had blessed and prospered it in that dress, far beyond any other compofures on which I had bestowed more pains. Let it not be censured as vanity or oftentation, that I here acknowledge the goodness of God, in leading me to, and blessing my
poor labours upon this fubject. Who, and what am I that I should be continued, and again employed in the Lord's hårvest, and that with success and encouragement, when so many of my brethren, with their much richer furnitures of gifts and graces, have in my time been called out of the vineyard, and are now filent in the grave! It is true, they enjoy what I do not; and it is as true, I am capable of doing some service for God, which they are not. In preaching these sermons, I had many occasions to reflect upon the mystical sense of that scrip
ture, Amoš ix. 13. "The plowman shall overtake the reaper, " and the treader of grapes him that soweth feed.” Sowing and reaping times trode so close upon one another, that in all humility I speak it to the praise of God) it was the bufielt and blessedeft time I ever saw, since I first preached the gospel.
England hath now a day of special mercy: there is a wide door of opportunity opened to it; O that it might prove an effectual door! It is transporting and astonishing, that after all the high and horrid provocations, the atheism, prophaneness and bitter enmity against light and reformation : this sweet voice is still heard in England, Behold, I sand at the door and knock. The mercies and liberties of this day are a new trial obtained for us by our potent Advocate in the heavens ; if we bring forth fruit, well; if not, the ax lieth at the root of the
Let us not be secure. Jerusalem was the city of the great King; the seat of his worship, and symbols of his prelence were fixed there ; it was the joy of the whole earth, the house of prayer for all nations ; thither the tribes went up to worship, the tribes of the Lord unto the testimony of Ifrael. For there were set thrones of judgment, the thrones of the house of David, Psal. cxxii. 4, 5. These privileges she en. joyed through the succession of many ages, and had remained the glory of all nations to this day, had she known and im. proved, in that day, the things that belonged to her peace; but they neglected their season, rejected tþeir mercies, and mise. rably perished in their fins : for there ever was, and will be found an inseparable connexion betwixt the final rejection of Christ, and the destruction of the rejecters, Matth. xxii. 5, 6, 7. The contemplation whereof drew those compassionate tears, from the Redeemer's eyes, when he beheld it in his descent from the mount of Olives, Luke xix. 41, 42.
Let all that are wise in heart henceforth depose their animoz fities, sadly reflect on their follies, encourage and affift the labours of their brethren in the Lord's harvest; and rejoice that God hath set them at liberty by law, whose affistance in fo great an opportunity is necessary and desirable. It is against the laws of wisdom and charity, to envy the liberty, and much more the success of our brethren, 1 Cor. xiii. 4. If the workmen contend and scuffle in a catching harvest, who but the owner suffers damage by it. If, after fo, miraculous, recent, and common a falvation as this, we still retain our old prejudices. and bitter envyings ; if we smite with the tongue and pen, when we cannot with the hands and study to blast the reputation and labours of our brethren; and still hate those wę can:
not hurt : In a word, if we still bite and devour, one another, we shall be devoured one of another. Let us not lay the fault upon others, we ourselves have been the authors and inftruments of our own ruin; and this must be the inscription upon our tombstone, q England, thou haft destroyed thyself. I am more afraid of the rooted enmity and fixed prejudices, that are to be found in many against holiness and the serious professors of it, and inflexible obstinacy and dead formality in many others, (the tokens of a tremendous infatuation) than I am of all the whispered fears from other hands, or common enemies
upon our borders.
To prevent these mischiefs, and promote zeal and unaminity among the ministers of the gospel, I have presumed to address them in the following epistles. I am conscious of my own unworthiness to be their monitor, and of the defects their judicious eyes will easily discern in the ftile wherein it is written; and yet can promise myself a becoming reception of what is so faithfully, seasonably, and honestly designed for their good. I am fatisfied that no candid and ingenuous person will put words upon the rack, quarrel at a fimilitude, or expose a trifle, when he finds the design honest, and the matter good and necessary.
As to the treatise itself, thou wilt find it a persuasive to open thy heart to Christ. Thy foul, reader, is a magnificent structure built by Chrift; such stately rooms as thy understanding, will, conscience and affections, are too good for any other to ịnhabit. If thou be in thy unregenerate state, then he folemnly demands, in this text, admission into the soul he made, by the consent of the will : which, if thou refuse to give him, then witness is taken, that Christ once more demanded entrance into thy soul which he made, and was denied it. If thou haft opened thy heart to him, thou wilt, I hope, meet somewhat in this treatise that will clear thy evidences, and cheer thy heart : Pray read, ponder and apply. I am