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other right where they think they are wrong, but never attempting to force from others a submillion to their fentiments without inward conviction ; not judging or censuring ; not hurting or molesting one another upon account of mere differences of opinion, which at the worst can be only errors in judgment, from which no inan is entirely exempted-could we see this temper and spirit prevailing among Christians, we might yet hope that the gospel of Christ would have free course, and be glorified in the world; the truth would get fair play ; the name of Christ would be no longer blasphemed among infidels, on account of the scandalous immoral behaviour of his professed followers ; all prejudices against our religion, arising from that quarter, would be happily removed; the light of genuine Christianity, shining before men in the lives of its profeffors, would almost irresistibly invite and engage them to glorify our heavenly Father; the blessing of God would attend their endeavours to propagate it; and this divine religion, seen in its native unsullied lustre, and in its most salutary and beneficial effects, would gradually prevail over the whole earth. Then, in the emphatic language of the prophet, ten men out of all tole nations would take hold of the skirt of him that is a Christian, saying, we will go with you, for we have heard that God is


Sermon on Unity among Christ's Disciples.



WHAT can afford a better opportunity

of thewing how oppofite an intemperate zeal and persecuting spirit are to the genius of the religion of Jesus, than the severe rebuke he gave his disciples, for so much as propofing to call down fire from heaven upon the Samaritans, for an instance of churlish inhospitality to them and their Master? To correct a spirit of cenforiousness and uncharitable judgment, what excellent hints are suggested by our Lord, in the story of those who were destroyed by the fall of the tower of Siloam ? Yet religion has always had its enemies. These will not take the trouble to examine into the nature of it from the character given of it in the sacred oracles, or the picture exhibited of it in the life of the divine Jesus. Such examination would be attended with some trouble. They commonly take that course in judging of it that is attended with the least; and though nothing can be more unfair than fuch manner of judging, they form their sentiments of it from the lives of those who have no other argument to support their claiin to the character of its votaries, but their profeffion of it. Knowing this, should you not carefully study, if you would approve yourselves the sincere friends of religion, to add to the other evidences of its excellenc that which may be derived from the happy influence it has upon your heart and practice ? Few are proper judges of the nature of evidence, or of good reasoning ; but all feel the force of good example. It has something admirably eloquent in it, and should be always exerted by the votaries of religion as a most powerful recommendation of it. By these means you would adorn the gospel of Christ ; add to its laurels by making it triumph over the passions, prejudices, and vices of mankind; filence the cavils of its adversaries, and comfort the hearts of its friends.

Comparative View.




T is by such friction as seems at first sight

likely to break it, that the diamond is polished and receives its lustre. In like manner it is by being fretted as it were, with every difficulty and objection, that truth is made to fhow the full brightness of its evidence. The trial distinguishes the true gem from the supposed one, which in the lump promised, perhaps, as fair as it; and plausible falsehoods are often as well received as real truths, till both have been subjected to an exact and severe examination; but the opposition of argument overturns the former, and renders the certainty of the latter more undeniable. No species of truth has been subjected to a stricter scrutiny, or tried by ruder opposition, than the evidences of our holy religion. As soon as this heavenly gem was presented to the world, both Jews and Heathens fell upon it with so great violence, that if it had the smallest flaw it must have been shattered into pieces. It has been in the poffefsion of the world for many centuries, and numberless attempts have been successively made to prove that it is a worthless counterfeit; but all these attempts have only contributed to evince with stronger evidence, that it is genuine. Every person who is at all acquainted with the subject knows, that infidels have derived their most plausible objections against the excellence and utility of the gospel, from the corruptions with which Christianity is blended in the Polish religion, and from the remains of the tenets and spirit thence arising, which still adhere to many Protestants. These have given them an occasion to represent the gospel as a disputatious system of dry, speculative, intricate, abstruse opinions ; as promoting a spirit of superstition, as irrational and abject as any that was ever cherished by any species of Paganism; as giving countenance priestcraft and usurpation over the confciences of men--in a word, have given them an occasion to affirm that the gospel has been productive of no advantages to mankind, that, on the contrary, it has been, on the whole, "pernicious. When infidels lay hold of these advantages in their opposition to the gospel, this has a strong tendency to push Christians forwards in reforming their religion from all corruptions. When we find plausible or strong objections raised against what has been at any

time reckoned a part of Christianity; when we can scarce give a rational and satisfying defence of it, it is natural to examine carefully, whether this be truly a part of the original gospel, or only an addition to it. Many of those articles against which infidels have erected their strongest batteries, and which they have attacked with the fairest prospect of success, have appeared on examination to be of the latter kind, and have been very generally abandoned.

Pure notions of Christianity, once introduced, will naturally diffuse themselves. They will by degrees recommend themselves fo generally, that all Christians must, in time, imbibe fomewhat of the spirit which they raise. Even Popery has become considerably different from what it once was; and it would have been still more reformed, if artificial and political restraints had not opposed the tendency of examination and enquiry. Since Christianity began to be depraved by adventitious mixtures, there never was an age


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