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sake, and to be at peace among themselves, 1 Theff. v. 12, 13. and it will also teach superiors to condescend to men of low degree, and not to think of themselves above what they ought, but " with all lowliness, meeknels, 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.
DireEtion 5. This gentle language and respectful deportment, would naturally and constantly flow from the uniting grace of wiftlom, humility, and love, were they more exalted in the hearts of Christians.
Wisdom would allay those unchristian heats, Prov. xvii. 27. a man of understanding is of an excellent spirit, so we render it; but the Hebrew signifies a cool spirit; "the wisdom that is "from above is gentle, and easy to be intreated," James iii. 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, cost the churches of Christ?
Love is the very cement of societies, the sountain of peace and unity \ it thinketh no evil, 1 Cor. xiii. puts the fairest fense upon doubtful words and actions, it beareth all things. "Love "me (faith Austin) and reprove me as thou pleascsl:" It is a ladical grace, bearing the fruits of peace and unity upon it.
Direftion 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 infinitely more, how often dost thou every day grieve and offend JesusChrist, who yet freely forgives all thy offences? Remember friend, that an unforgiving is a fad sign of an uoforgiven person. They that have found mercy, pity, and forgiveness, should of all men in the world, be most ready to shew it.
DireEtion 7. Be deeply affected with the mischievous effects and consequents of lchisms and divisions in the societies of the faints, and let nothing beneath a pluin necessity, divide you from communion one with another; hold it fast till vou can hold it no longer without fin. At the site of your contentions your enemies warm their hands, and fay, Aha, so would we have it: Your prayers are obstructed, ^latth. v. 24. " First be "reconciled to thy brother. and then come and offer thy gift." Edification is hindered: Feverish bodies thrive not, Eph. iv: 15. God is pnviked to remove his gracious presence from
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trnong yon. "Be of one mind (iaich the apostle) live in peio?, "and the God of peace shall be with yoo," i Cor. xiii. n. implying that their contentions would deprive them of his Welled company with them. The glory of your society is clouded; "If ye have bitter envyings and strife in your heart, glory "not,'' James iii. 14. Glory not in your church privileges, personal gifts and attainments; whatever you think of yourselves, you are not such Christians as you vogue yourselves for, living in sin so 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 gains upon the world, Acts iL 46, 47. is sullied and defaced, and thereby (as I noted before) conversion hindred, and a new stone, as it were, rolled over the graves of poor sinners, to keep them down in their impeniteney: Tremble therefore at the thoughts of divisions and separations. St Augustine notes three sins severely punished in scripture. The golden calf, with the sword; Jehoiakim's cutting the sacred roll, with a dreadful captivity; but the schism of Koran, and his accomplices, with the earths opening her mouth and swallowing them up quick.
Direction 8. Let all church-members fee that they have union .with Christ, evidencing itself io daily sweet communion witb him Lines drawn from a circumference come the uearest to one another in the center. When God intends to make the hearts of men one, he first makes them new, Ezek. xi. 19. ** 4 will give "them one heart, and I will pat a new Spirit within yon." 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 ns. Nothing so opposite to or abhorred by a soul that enjoys sweet peace and communion with Christ, than to live in sinful jars and contentions with his people. Return therefore to the primitive spirit of low and unity; forbear one another; forgive one another; mortify your dividing lusts; cherish your uniting graces: "mark rhrn "which cause divisions-and offences, contrary to the doctrine "ye have learned, and avoid them," Rom. xvi. 17. In a word, and that the word of the apostle in the text, "I beseech yon, "brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all "speak the.£tme thing, and that there be no divisions among "you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in thr lame f mindt and in the lame judgment.."
UNDER THE PRESENT
GOSPEL - LI BERT Y.
From. Revelation iii. 20.
To wHICH IS ADDED,
S - * '•*
o R, A
Thanksgiving Sermon for ENGLAND'S Delivery from Popery, Feb. 1688-9.
An EPISTLE To The READER.
TH E following discourse comes to thy hand in that native plainness wherein it was preached. I was conscientiously unwilling to alter it, because I found by experience, the Lord had blessed and prospered it in that dress, far beyond any other composures on which I had bestowed more pains. Let it not be censured as vanity or ostentation, that I here acknowledge the goodness of God, in leading me to, and blessing my poor labours upon this subject. Who, and what am I that I mould be continued, and again employed in the Lord's harvest, 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 silent in the grave! It is true, they enjoy what I do irot; and it is as true, I am capable of doing some service for God, which the)> are not. In preaching these sermons, I had many occasions to reflect upon the mystical sense of that scripD d d z
ture, Amos 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 busiest and blessedest time I ever faw, 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 aster all the high and horrid provocations, the atheism, prophaneness and bitter enmity against light and reformation: this sweet voice is still heard in England, Beheld, I jland at the dpor 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 tree. Let us not be secure. Jerufalem was the city of the great King; the feat of his worship, and symbols pf his pretence 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 Israel. For there were set thrones of judgment, the thrones of tie house of David, Pfal. exxii. 4, 5. These privileges she enjoyed through the succession of many ages, and had remained the glory of all nations to this day, had she known and irn.proved, in that day, the things that belonged to her peace ,- but they neglected their season, rejected their mercies, and mise-. rably perished in their sins: 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 bis descent from the mount of Olives, Luke xix. 41, 42.
Let all that are wife in heart henceforth depose their animoT sities, fadly reflect on their follies, encourage and assist the labours of their brethrep in the Lord's harvest; and rejoice thali God hath set them at liberty by law, whose assistance in so great an opportunity is necesfary 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 an.d scuffle in a catching harvest, who but the ownersuffers damage by it ?* If, after so 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 hand i and study to blast the reputation and labours of pur brethren i and still hate those we can
lot hurt: In a word, if we still bite and devour one another, ve shall be devoured one of another. Let us not lay the fault ipon others, we ourselves have been the authors and instruments of our own ruin; and this must be the inscription upon )ur tombstone, Q England, thou hast destroyed thyself. I am more afraid of the rooted enmity and fixed prejudices, that are :o be found in many against holiness and the serious professors rfit, and inflexible obstinacy and dead formality in many 0thers, (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 mischiess, 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 stile 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 similitude, 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 soul, reader, is a magnificent structure built by Christ; such stately rooms as thy understanding, will, conscience and affections, are too good for any other to inhabit. If thou be in thy unregenerate state, then he solemnly demands, in this text, admission intd 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 foul which he made, and was denied it. If thou hast 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
Thine and the