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he unity of his people, That
directly your divisions cross, and
'Tis highly remarkable, how in that prayer, which he poured out a little before his death, with such a mighty pathos, and fer. vency of spirit, he io fifts upon nothing more than unity among bis people. He returas upon his Father again and again, for the obtaining of this one thiog: Four times doth he beg for U: pity among them, and every time he seems to rile higher and higher, beseeching his Father, (1.) That they may be one. (2.) That they may be one in os. (3.) That they way of ope, as thou and I are one. And, lasív. that they may be made perfect in one. By all this rhewiog how intent als ople rit was upon this one thiog.
Brethren, if you would study how to frustrate the desigu, and grieve the heart of your Lord Jesus Christ (to profefs love and obedience) you cannot take a rea do it, than by breaking the bonds of unity among I beseech you, therefore, in the game of our Lords who hath so earnestly prayed for the unity of his par ye be perfečtly joined together in one beart, and in one
Cond in one mind, as the text speaks.
Motive 5. Consider how directly your divisions fruftrate the design and end of church-fellowship, stituted for the improvement of each other's graces,
%, and helping on the mortification of each other's corruptions.
God hath distributed variety of gifts and graces degrees, amongst his people; the improvement and graces to the glory of God, and our mutual the very scope and end of particular church-fellow! munion : Every man hath his proper gift of Go late + worthy notes) the gifts and graces of all, aret useful and beneficial. Job was exemplary for P patieoce; Moses for faithfulness and meekness; Jo derness and a melting fpirit; Athanasius was P active; Basil heavenly, and of a sweet spirit; Ch borious, and without affectation; Ambrose resolved One hath quickness of parts, but not fo folid a judg, ther is folid, but not ready and presential; ode wit, another a better memory, a third excels them terance; one is zealous, but upgrounded ; apoche cipled, but timorous; one is wary and prudent; al and plain hearted; one is trembling and melting chearful and full of comfort. Now the end and of fellowship, is to make a rich improvement unto all, lar use and exercise of the gifts and graces foun
+ Torshell's Help to Christian Fellowship, p. 6, 7°
y of gifts and oraces, io different *;, the improvement of these gifts
graces of all. are this way made exemplary for plaioness and ud meeknefs. Tofiah for ten
adaljus was prudent and
et ipirit: Chryfoltom la. mbrose resolved and grave:
lolid a judgment; 100tial; one hath a good Xcels them both in pr.
; another well prin. udent; another open
Melting; another eod and use of church.
uito all, by a regu. ces found in every
one. One must impart his light, and another his warmth; the eye (viz. the knowing man) cannot say to the hand (viz. the active man) I have no need of thee: Unspeakable are the benefits resulting from spiritual, and orderly communion ; but whatever the benefits be, they are all cut off by fchisms, and dissentions; for as faith is the grace by which we receive all from God, fo love is the grace by which we share and divide the comfort of all among ourselves. The excellent things of the spirit are lodged in earthen vessels, which death will shortly break, and then we can have no more benefit by them; but these jars, and divisions, reader faiots, as it were, dead one to another, whilst they are alive. Ah, how lovely, how sweet, and desir, able it is, to live in the communion of such saiots as are described, Mal. iii. 16. to hear them freely, aod humbly to open their hearts and experiences to one another! After this manner, some say, the art of medicine was found out; as any one met with an herb, and discovered the virtue of it by an accident, he was to post it up, and so the physician's skill was perfected, by a collection of those posted experiments. But woe to us! we are ready to post up each other's failings and infirmities, to the shame and reproach of religion, and to furoish our common enemies with matter of contempt and scoro against us all'
Motive 6. 10. a word, These schilms and diffentions, in the churches of Christ, are omnious presages, and foreboding
signs of some sweeping judgment, and common calamity near · approachiog us. It is a common observation with shepherds,
that when the sheep push one another, a storm speedily ensues. I am sure it is so here; if God turo not our hearts one towards another, he will come and smite the earth with a curse, Mal.iv. 6. I believe it, sirs, you will have other work to do shortly; there be those coming (if God prevent not) that will part the fray.
Uje second, for direction. Use 2. In the last place, therefore, give me leave to lay before you fome necessary, and proper directions and counsels, for the prevention and healing of schisms, and divisions amongst the churches of Chrift: For it is not complaints and lamentations, but proper counsels and directions, and those not only prescribed, but obeyed that must do the work. When Joshua lay upon his face before the Lord, Josh. vii. 8, 9, 10. bewailing the fios and miseries of Israel; Up (laith God) fan&tify the people : where. fore liest thou upon thy face? As if he mould say, thy moans and lamentations are good and necessary, in their place; but speedy action, and vigorous endeavours, must be also used, or Israel will perish. So say I, Up, up, fall speedily to your duties, as
met in eargelt; and for your guidance in the paths of duty, I will lay before you the followiog plain and necessary directions.
Direction 1. The orderly gathering, and filliog particular churches, is of great influence to the peace and tranquillity of those churches; and therefore it greatly concerns all that are in terested thereia, elpecially such as are vefted with office-power, to beware whom they receive into their communion.
The scriptures do plainly discover to us, that churcb-members ought to be visible saints, 1 Cor. i. 2. 2 Cor. i. 1, 2. Acts ii. 41. to the ead; Eph. ii. 7. 1 Thef. i. 2, 3. Rom. i. 7. Col i. 2. Hence particular Churches are called the churches of the saints, 1 Cor. xiv. 33. If admissions be lax, and negligent, so much heferogenous malter fills the church, that it can never be quiet. Christians, and Christians, may live together harmoniously, and coalesce in one orderly, and comfortable society, as having one and the fame Head, one Spirit, the same general design and end : But godly and ungodly, spiritual and carnal, are acted by contrary priociples, pursue opposite deligos, and can never heartily coalesce. There is a spirit of discerniog, a judgment of discretion in the faints, and it is especially desirable in a more eminent degree, in those that have office-power in the church, to judge of men's fit qualifications for church commu. pion. We all allow, that gross igoorance and prophaneness are just bars, to mens' admission; and to deny this, were to take all power from the church to preserve the purity of God's ordinances, or to cast out notorious offenders. None ought to be admitted into church communion, but such as do appear to the judgment of clarity (comparing their profesions and converfati. ons) to be Christians indeed, that is, men teariog God, and working righteousness.
And I make no doubt, but some opinions, as well as practi. ces, render men unmeet for church communion, Titus iii. 10. 2 John 10. All opinions which overthrow doctrioes necessary to be believed, which the apostle comprehends under the name of faith; and all fuch opinions as are inconsistent with an holy life, and overthrow the power of godliness, which the apostle compre. hepds under the name of a good conscience, 1 Tim, i. 19, 20. whosoever shall hold or maintain any such opinions as there, he is either to be kept out, if not admitted ; or cast out, if he be in church-fellowship. la receiving fuch, you receive but spies, and incendiaries, among you. What a firebrand did Arius prove, not only in the church of Constantinople, but even to the whole world ? Men of graceless hearts, and erroneous heads, will give a continual exercise to the patience of lober Christians.
+ I deny not, but out of the purest Churches, meo may arise,
speakiog perverse thiogs, and yet the officers and members of those churches, be blameless io their admission ; but if they can be disceroed before they be admitted, a little preventive care would be of fingular and seasonable use, to the tranquillity of
church-societies. to Direction 2. Let all officers and members of the church,
ftudy their duties, aod keep themselves within the bounds of their proper places; ordinate motions are quiet motions. 1 Thes, iv. 11. “ Study to be quiet and do your own businels, " and work with your own hands, as we commanded you." lo
which words he condemos two vices, which disturb, and distract * the church of Christ, viz. curiosity io matters which pertain
Dot to us, and idleness in the duties of our particular callings.
(L.) Let it be for a caution to ministers, that they miod their proper work, study the peace of the church, impartially dif. peale their refpects to the faiòts committed to their chargé, pot fiding with a party. There be few schisms in churches, in which ministers have not some hand. Jerome upon those words, Hofea ix. 8. hath this memorable Dote ; Veteres fcrutans hif torias, invenire non pofum fcidisse ecclefum, præter eos qui fac cerdotes a Deo pofiti fuerunt. Searching the apcient histories (faith he) I can find none that hath more rent the church of God, than those that sustain the office of ministers. This is a fad charge, and it is too justly laid upon many of that order.. Oh what a blessing is a prudent, patient, peaceable minister, to'. the flock over which he watches ! * . : (2.) Let the people keep their places, and study their proper duties. There be io most congregations, fome idle people, who haviog little to do at home, are employed upoo Sacan's . errands,' to run from house to house, carryiog tales to exaf: Perate one Christian agaiost another. These the apostle pare ticularly marks and warns the churches of, 1 Tim. v. 13. “ And . " withal they learn to be idle, wandering about from house to " house; and not only idle, but tatlers also, and busy bodies, " Ipeaking things which they ought not.”. If that one rule of Chrilt; Matth. xviii. 15, 16. were conscientioufly, and stri&tly attended to, to tell a trefpafliog brother his fault privately, then with one or two more, if obftinacy make it necessary, and not to expose him to the whole church, and much lels to the whole world, without a plain pecessity; how many thousand ruptures
i From vain-glorious doctors, contentious pastors, and unprofie table questions, the good Lord deliver us. Luther's prayer. ,,
would be prevented in Christian societies? Bat instead of reo , and ta gularly admonishing and reproving those irregular and idle and it will tallers, (as the apostle calls them) who make it their businels to lege, and low jealousies, to make and widen breaches amongst brethren. “ wilt
Direction 3. Let all Christians govern their tougues, and best one keep them under the command of the law of kindness in their mutual converses with one another. " A soft answer” (faith Directo Solomon) Prov.xv. 1.“ turneth away wrath; but grievous words “ stir up anger.” Hard to hard will never do well. How easily did Abigail difarm angry David by a gentle apology?, What more boisterous than the wind? Yet a gentle rain will allay it. Wildo It may be strongly presumed, that a meek and gentle answer, RD of will more easily allay the passions of a godly man, than of one the that is both uogodly, and full of comity towards us ; and get from a sometimes it hath done the latter. A company of vain, wicked Homi men, having infamed their blood in a tavern at Beltop in New. Englaod, and seeing that reverend, meek and holy minilter of ad pri Christ, Mr. Cotton, coming along the street, one of them tells his companions, “ I'll go (faith he) and put a trick upon the “ old Cotton.” Dowo he goes, and crossing his way, whilpers these words into his ear, “Cotton (faid he) thou art an old “ fool.” Mr. Cotton replied, “ I confess I am so; the Lord “ make both me and thee wiser than we are, even wile to lalo “ vation.” He relates this passage to his wicked companions, which cast a great damp upon their spirits, in the midlt of a frolic. What peaceful societies should we have, if our lips tradle gressed not the laws of love and kindness.
Direction 4. Respectful deportments to those that are beneata us in gifts, or estates, is an excellent conservative of churche peace; lofty and contemptuous carriages towards thole coat are beneath us in either respect, is a frequest occasion of Dita ter jars and animosities. The apostle chargeth it upon
the Coriothians, “ That no one be puffed up for one agai ..“ another.; for who maketh thee to differ from another
I Cor. vi. 7. What respectful language did holy Mr. Brewe.