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For as we have muny Members in one Bo

dy, and all Members have not the same
Office: So we being many are one Body
in Christ, and every one Members one of

HE Epistles in the New Serm. I.

Teftament have all of them m

a particular Reference to
the Condition and Usages
of the Christian World at

the Time they were written. Therefore as they cannot be thoroughly understood, unless that Condition and those Ulages are known and attended to : B


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Serm. I. so further, though they be known, yet if

they be discontinued or changed ; Exhortations, Precepts, and Illustrations of things, which refer to such Circumstances now ceafed or altered, cannot at this Time be urged in that Manner, and with that Force which they were to the Primitive Christians. Thus the Text now before us, in its first Intent and Design, relates to the decent Management of those extraordinary Gifts which were then in the Church *, but which are now totally ceased. And even as to the Allusion that we are one Body in Christ, though what the Apostle here intends is equally true of Christians in all Circumstances, and the Consideration of it is plainly still an additional Motive over and above moral Considerations, to the Discharge of the several Duties and Offices of a Christian : Yet it is manifest this Allusion must have appeared with much greater Force to those, who by the many Difficulties they went through for the sake of their Religion, were led to keep always in View the Relation they stood in to their Saviour, who had undergone the same; to those, who from the Idola

tries * I Cor. xii,

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tries of all around them, and their ill Treat-Serm. I.
ment, were taught to consider themselves
as not of the World in which they lived,
but as a distinct Society of themselves, with
Laws, and Ends, and Principles of Life and
Action, quite contrary to those which the
World profess’d themselves at that Time
influenced by.

Hence the Relation of a
Christian was by them considered as nearer
than that of Affinity and Blood, and they
almost literally esteemed themselves as Mem-
bers one of another. It cannot indeed por-
sibly be denied, that our being God's Crea-
tures, and Virtue being the natural Law we
are born under, and the whole Conftituti-
on of Man being plainly adapted to it, are
prior Obligations to Piety and Virtue, than
the Confideration that God sent his Son in-
to the World to save it, and the Motives
which arise from the peculiar Relation of
Christians, as Members one of another un-
der Christ our Head. Yet its manifest, that
though all this be allowed, as it cxprefly
is by the inspired Writers; yet Christians at
the Time of the Revelation, and immedi-
ately after, could not but insikt motly up-
on Confiderations of this latter Kind.

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Serm. I. These Observations show the original par

ticular Reference of the Text, and the peculiar Force with which the Thing intended by the Allusion in it must have been felt by the primitive Christian World. They likewise afford a Reason for treating it at this Time in a more general Way.

The Relation which the several Parts or Members of the natural Body have to each other and to thewhole Body,is here compared to the Relation which each particular Person in Society has to other particular Persons, to the whole Society; and the latter is intended to be illustrated by the former. And if there be a Likeness between these two Relations, the Consequence is obvious : that the latter shows us it is our Duty to do good to others, as the former shows us that we are to take Care of our own private Interest, But as there is scarce any Ground for a Comparison between Society and the mere material Body, this without the Mind being a dead unactive Thing;, much less can the Comparison be carried to any length. And since the Apostle speaks of the several Members as having distinct Offices, which implies the Mind; It cannot be thought an unallow


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able Liberty, instead of the Body and its Serm. I.
Members, to substitute the whole Nature of m
Man, and all the variety of internal Prin-
ciples which belong to it. And then the
Comparison will be between the Nature of
Man as respecting Self, and tending to pri-
vate Good, his own Preservation and Happi-
ness; and the Nature of Man as having re-
spect to Society, and tending to promote
publick Good, the Happiness of that Society.
These Ends do indeed perfectly coincide
and to aim at publick and private Good are so
far from being inconsistent, that they mutu-
ally promote each other: Yet in the follow-
ing Discourse they must be considered as en-
tirely distinct ; otherwise the Nature of
Man, as tending to one or the other, cannot
be compared. There can no Comparison
be made, without considering the Things
compared as distinct and different.

From this Review and Comparison of the
Nature of Man as respecting Self, and as re-
specting Society, it will plainly appear, that
there are as real and the same kind of Indi-
cations in Humane Nature, that we were
made for Society and to do good to our Fel-
low-creatures, as that we were intended to

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