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commend it; I could chuse rather to comment thereon, with tears, than words: It is just matter of lamentation, to think what feeble influcoces such divine and pathetical exhortations have, upon the minds and hearts of profeffed Christians. But it is not lamentations, but proper counsels, and coovictions obey ed, must do the work.
The primitive, and purest churches of Christ, consisted of. imperfect members, who, notwithstanding they were knit toge. ther by the same interpal bood of the Spirit, and the same exterpal bonds of common profeffion, and common danger, and enjoyed extraordinary helps for uniting, io the prelence and doctrine of the apostles among them; get quickly discovered a schismatical spirit, dividing both in judgment and affection, to the great injury of religion, and grief of the apostles fpirits. To check and heal this growing evil in the church at Corinth, the apostle addresses his pathetical exhortation to them, and to all future churches of Chril, whom it equally conceras, in the words of my text; Now I beseech you, brethren, &c. Where note,
1. The duty exhorted to
1. The duty exborted to, namely, unity; the beauty, strength, and glory, as well as the duty of a church. This unity he describes two ways, I. As' it is exclusive of its opposite, fchifm, or division : all reats, and ralh separations, are contrary to it, and destructive of it; I beseech you, brethrer, that there be no divisions (or schisms] among you. 2. As it is inclusive of all that belongs to it, namely the harmony and agreement of their judgments, hearts, and language. (1.) That ye all speak the same thing. (2.) That ye be perfectly joined together in one mind. · And, (3.) In the fame judgment. This threefold union in judgment, affection, and language, includes all that be longs to Christian concord, makes the saints Eupatoxos, men of one heart and soul, the loveliest fight this world affords, Acts 2. 46, 47.
2. The arguments enforcing this duty upon them, come next under confideration. And these are three; (1.) I beseech you. (2.) I beseech you, brethren. (3.) I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. These arguments are not of equal force and efficacy ; the first is great, the second greater ; the last the most efficacious and irresistible of all the rest : but all together should come with such power, and irresistible effican cy, upon the judgments, consciences, and hearts of Christians, As thould perfectly knit them together, and defeat all the do
Sigas of Satan, and his agents without them, or of their own
Next, he enforces the duty of unity, by the nearness of their
But the greatest argument of all, is the last, viz. In the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. lo this name he beseeches, and intreats them to be at perfect unity among themselves. In the former he sweetly in souated the duty, by a loving compellation, but here he sets it home by a solemn adjuration; I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Chrift: That is to say, 1. For Christ's sake, or for the love of Christ; by all that Christ hath done, suffered, or purchased for you; and as Christ is dear, and precious to you, let there be no divisions. If you have any love for Christ, do not grieve him, and obstruct his great desiga in the world, by your scandalous fchifms. Mr.
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John Fox dever denied a beggar that alked an alms of him, for Christ Jesus fake
2. In the name of our Lord Jesus Chrift, that is, in the are thority of Christ; tor to his name, alio, fignifies, i Cor.5.4 and it is as if he had said, If you reverence the fupreme zuthority, and sovereignty of Christ, which is the fountain out of which so many solemo commands of unity do flow; theo see, as you will answer him at the great day, that ye be perfecte ! ly joined together in one mind, and in one judgment. The point will be this. Doct. Unity amongst believers, especially in particular church
relation, is as defirable a mercy, as it is a necesary, and
indispensable duty. How desirable a mercy it is, and how necessary a duty, let the same apostle, who prefleth it upon the Coriothians is my text, be heard again, enforcing the same duty with the same warmth, upon the church at Philippi, chap. ü, ver. 1, 2. “ If " there be therefore any consolation in Chrift, if any comfort “ of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels of “ mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be like-minded, haviog the “ same love, being of one accord, of one mind.” In bandling this point, I will new,
1. What unity among believers is. 2. How the Decellity, and desirableness of it, may be evia,
ced, 3. And then lay down the motives, and directions about it.
(1.) What unity amongst believers is, and more particular. ly such believers as stand in particular church.relation to each other.
There is a twofold union, one myftical, betwixt Christ and believers; another moral, betwixt believers themselves : faith koits them all to Christ, and then love koirs them one to 200ther. Their common relation to Christ, their bead, endears them to each other, as fellow members in the fame body : hence they become fanguine Chrifti conglutinati, glued together by the blood of Chrill. Union with Christ is fundamental to all uni. on among the faints. Perfect union would flow from this their common union with Christ, their head, were they not here in an imperfect state, where their corruptions disturb and bioder it; and as soon as they shall attain uoto complete fanctificati. on, they fall also attain unto perfect unity. How their unity with one another comes, by way of necessary resultancy, from their union with Christ, and how this unity among themselves Mall at last arise to its just perfection, that one text plainly dif
covers, John xvi. 23. “ I in them, and thou in me; that they “ may be made perfect in one, " &c.
Unity amongst those that hold not the head, is rather a con, spiracy, than a gospel-unity. Believers, and unbelievers, may
have a political, or civil union; but there's no spiritual unity, . but what flows from joint-membership in Christ. I will not
depy, but, in particular churches, there may be, and still are fome hypocrites, who hold communion with the saints, and pre, tend to belong unto Christ, the same head with them; but as they have no real union with Christ, fo neither have they any fiacere affection to the saints; and these, for the most part, are they that raite tumults and divisions in the church, as disloyal
subjects do in the commonwealth. Of these the apostle speaks, · I John ii. 19. “They went out from us, but they were not of
“ us; for if they had been of us, they would, no doubt, have “ continued with us; but they went out, that it might be " made manifest they were not all of us.”
Sincere Christianity holds faft the soul by a firm bood of life to the uoly Christian community, wherein they reap those spi. ritual pleasures and advantages, which assure their continuance therein to a great degree : but thole that join with the church, upon carnal, and external inducements, make little conscience of reading from it ; and God permits their schismatical spirits thus to act, for the discovering of their hypocrisy, or (as the text speaks) “ that it might be made manifest they were not of “ us ;” as also, that they which are approved, may, by their coostaocy, be also made manifest, 1 Cor. xi. 19.
It hath, indeed, been said, that it is never better with the church, than when there are most hypocrites in it; but then you must understand it only with respect to the external tranquillity, and prosperity of the church : For as to its real spiritual advantage, they add nothing. And therefore it behoves church-officers, and members, to be exceeding careful (especially in times of liberty, and prosperity) how they admit members, as the Jews in Solomon's time were of admitting profelytes. 'Tis said, Amos iii. 3. “ How can two walk together, except " they be agreed?” I deny not, but persons that differ in some lesler points, as to their judgment, may, and ought to be one in affection; but of this I am sure, that when fančtified persons, agreed in judgineộts and priociples, do walk together under pi. pus and judicious church-officers, in tender affection, and the exercise of all duties te ding to mutual edification, glorifying God with one mouth, Rom. xv. 6. and cleaving together with Queness of heart, Aets ii. 42. This is such a church-unity, as
answers Christ's end in the institution of particular churches, and greatly tends to their own comfort, and the propagation of Christianity in the world. Tongue-unity flows from heartuniry; heart-unity, in a great measure, from head-unity; and all three from union with the Lord Jesus Christ. The divisions of our tongues come mostly from the divisions of our hearts ; were hearts agreed, toogues would quickly be agreed ; and then what blessed times might be expected ? And so much briefly for the nature of unity. Next,
(2.) Let us evince, both the necessity and desirableness of this unity among believers, and this will appear in a threefold respect; viz.
1. With respect to the glory of God.
3. The conversion and salvation of the world. . (1.) With respect to the glory of God. The manifestative glory of God (which is all the glory we are capable of giving him, is the very end of our being, and should be dearer to us than our lives) is exceedingly advanced by the voity of his people. Hence is the apostle's prayer, Rom. xv. 5, 6. " Now “ the God of patience, and consolation, grant you to be like “ mioded one towards another, according to Christ Jesus, that " you may with one mind, and one mouth glorify God." 'Tis highly remarkable, that the apostle, in this petition for the upity of the saints, doth not only describe that upity he prays for, one mouth, and one miod, and shews how much God would be glorified by such an union; but he also addresses himself to God for it, under these two remarkable titles, the God of patience and confolation ; thereby intimating two things, (1.) How great Deed, and exercise, there is of patience in maintaining uoity among the saints: They must bear one another's buthens; they must give allowance for mutual infirmitles, for the church here is not an assembly of spirits of just men made perfect. The unity of the saints therefore greatly depends upon the exercile of patience one toward another; and this he begs the God of patience to give them. And to endear this grace of patience to them, He (ž.) joins with it another title of God, viz. the God of confolation, wherein he points them to that abundant comfort which would result unto themselves from such a blessed unity, continued and main tained, by the mutual exercises of patience and forbearance, one towards another. And to fet home all, he lays before them the pattern and example of Christ: The God of patience and confolation grant you to be like-minded, uccording to Chrift. How many thousand infirmitics and failures
d confolader these two of; but he alle andere