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ing them to light, or freeing them from corruption, or illustrating their doctrine, or afferting their authority, than the members of any church, or indeed of all the churches in all the world.
Ye are the sons of the clergy, who, by this rule of God's word, thus interpreted, reformed from Popery in such a manner, as happily to preserve the mean between the two extremes, in doctrine, worship, and government; and who perfected this reformation by quiet and orderly methods, free from those confusions and tumults that elsewhere attended it: Sothat our temple, like that of Solomon, was built without the noise of axes or hammers.
And as they fhutout Popery in the most effectual manner, by only paring off those , corruptions it had grafted on pure and genuine Christianity; so did they stand boldly in the breach, when it meditated a return, and for eyer silenced the champions of that baffled cause, by their immortal and unanswerable writings: So that you, their sons, were at the altar itself (if I may so speak) initiated by your fathers, as the great Carthaginian was by his, into an hereditary aversion from Rome; which, I doubt not, will ever last, and will ever preserve you against all her open afsaults, or her secret and undermining approaches.
Ye are the sons of a clergy, distinguished by their zeal for the rights of the crown, and for their reverence towards those that wear it, and famous for suffering always together with it, and for it: Immoveably firm to their duty, when they could have no prospect of reward; when they might have lost their integrity with advantage,
and could scarce with safety retain it; when they faw majesty oppressed and sinking, and the fury and madnefs of the people prevailing against it; "and they looked, and there was none to “ help; and they wondred that there was none “ to uphold,” Ifa. lxiii. 5.
Finally, ye are the sons of the clergy, who are the farthest removed of any, from all possible ,suspicion of designing to enslave the undestand. ings or consciences of men, who bring all their doctrines fairly to the light, and invite men with freedom to examine them; who have been the best advocates in the world for the use (the due use) of reason in religion ; as knowing the religion they profess to be such, that the more cxactly it is fifted by reaľon (pure, unbiassed reason) the more reasonable still it will be found.
Of this loly root, ye are the branches; from this excellent order of men ye spring ; happy in your extraction on many accounts, but chiefly in this, that it derived to you the inestimable advan. tages of an honest, sober, and religious education; that, by the means of it, the first impressions made upon your tender minds, were on the side of virtue and goodness, that you had the earliest and best opportunities of knowing God and your duty, and were led into the immediate practice of what you knew; that “from children you were “ acquainted with the holy Scriptures, which are 6. able to make you wise unto alvation," and bred up every way in the muture and adınonirion of “ the Lord.” A bi fling, which, next to that of life itse.f, is the grca.e.t iliai Nan can beftow;
and without which even life itself would often prove rather a curse than a blefling to those to whom it is bestowed.
Let others then value themselves upon their birth: We, I am sure, have great reason to think God for ours; and to express our thanks by openly owning our parentage, and paying our common devotions to God among the numerous attendants of this day's solemnity-A folennily, which I doubt not but St. Paul himself, if fentible of things below, is now pleased to see, and thinks this holy place, that bears his name, never better employed than on fich occalions as these, which tend to promote the honour of the Christian priesthood, and the fervent exercise of charity; two arguments on which he, in his epililes, dweils often, and often delights to dwell.
As our birth therefore does honour to us, so it is one way, in which we also do honour to our birth, if we countenance such meetings by our presence, and promote the great ends of thein by our example; if we take these opportunities of practising, and therely recommending and instilling, brotherly ki idnets ; “ confidering one « another, to provoke unto love, and to good “ works; not forfaking the assembling of our“ felves together, as the manner of some is, Heb. X. 24, 25. Should any little difference of sentiments happen, any personal prejudices obtain among the members of the same holy coinmunity, let them not hinder us from uniting to procure the common good of it, and from pursuing with jint hands in ihn', the unexcepcion biedeliga of this pious and wisu inititution. If our jerutia
lem be in other refpects unhappily divided, yet, in this respect at least, let it “ be as a city that is “ at unity in itself, whither the tribes go up, even “ the tribes of the Lord, to testify unto Ifrach « to give thanks to the name of the Lord :" Pfal. cxx. 3, 4. And let every one of us be ready, on such occasions, to exhort himself, and others, in the language of good David, -" I was glad when " they said unto me, We will go into the house “ of the Lord. Our feet shall stand in thy gates, “ O Jerusalem. For my brethren and compa“nions fake, I will wish thee prosperity! yea, “ because of the house of the Lord our God, I « will seek to do thee good,” ver. 1, 2, 8, 9. Let there be no “Spots in these” our “ feasts of “ charity;" nothing that may fully the brightness and damp the chearfulness of this day's folemnity: But let us flock to it like brethren and like Christians, “ forbearing one another, and for' giving one another, if any man hath a quarrel « against any;" and adding to the external exercise, the inward temper and spirit also of that divine grace, which “ is kind, envieth not, seck“ eth not her own, is not easily provoked, but is “ easy to be intreated, thinketh no evil, beareth “ all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, “ endureth all things.”
Thus if we think, and thus act, we shall indeed shew ourselves to be every way worthy of our descent, and duly mindful, not only of the advantage we receive from thence, but of the obligations also which are on that account incumbent upon us; even the obligations of adorning our sacred parentage by an answerable sanctity of
behaviour, and of distinguishing ourselves as much by an inherent and habitual, as we are already distinguished by an external and relative holiness. This was what I, in the second place, proposed to confider.
II. We stand in the nearest relation to them, who stood in the nearest relation to God, and who were on that account obliged “ to be holy even as he is holy :" to imitate every way, as far as human infirmity would suffer them, “ the apostle, and high-priest of their profeflion, who was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from finners.” Some share of their obligations descends to us; who “ partaking of the rooot and fatness of the olive tree,” whereof we boast to be the branches; ought also to produce the fruits of it.
The sons of fervants do, in a peculiar manner, belong to him, whose fervants their fathers were: At his will and in his interests they ought entirely to be. We therefore, being born of parents who were employed in the holy functions of God's family, the church, and were dedicated to his immediate service, ought to look upon ourselves as particularly devoted to the honour and interest of their and our great master: The cause of religion and goodness (which is the cause of God) is ours by descent, and we are doubly bound to efpouse it.
As our advantages, towards practising and promoting piety and virtue, were greater than those of other men; so will our excuse be less, if we neglect to make use of them. We cannot plead, in abatement of our guilt, that we were