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EDMUND CALAMY, D. D.
IF F it be possible, as much as lieth in us, let us live peaceably with all men.
Though some flight, and others insult us, yet let us be catholic spirited. Let us love all, without exception, that have any thing of God in them; any thing of the image of Christ upon them. Let us strive to return to the apostolical fimplicity, and take care that our religion be that of the Bible. Whatever ye do, my brethren, take heed of narrowing your charity, and confining it within any humanly devised inclosures. Be content with your own liberty, and condemn not such as you differ from ; but be ready, as far as the word and conscience will allow, to have communion with them, and with all the true Chriftian churches upon earth, in all Christian offices and duties. Manage your differences with modesty, carefully avoiding rash and intemperate zeal. Take heed of inflaming matters, by attempting to make the differences which there are between the Church and Disenters, to appear greater than they are in reality, or the distance wider than it is. Endeavour after that latitude and enlargedness of mind, as may
fit for general and extensive service to the Christian church; and never forsake that comprehensive interest so far, as to be ingulphed into a party upon any private and distinct basis.
Let us, my brethren, take heed to ourselves, and instead of endlessly drawing the law of contention, be much in prayer to Almighty God for the influences of his purifying, quickening, and healing spirit. Nothing can be more manifest, than that the church of Christ, at this day, is most fadly degenerated ; has long been in a very languishing state, and is become too like the rest of the world. The great doctrines of the Christian religion have lost their force, and are professedly believed but for fashion's sake; while such as seem to entertain them, both are and practise, just as they would do if they believed them not. The primitive Christians were lively and vigotous. Heavenliness and spirituality sparkled in their profession and conversation. They looked like so many pieces of immortality dropped down from heaven, and tending thitherward.
Let us then beg of God with all possible earneftness, that there may be such a spirit of prayer and supplication stirring among us, as may bring down upon us all manner of spiritual blessings in a rich abundance; and such an uniting spirit, as may effectually check our animosities and divifions, and heal our breaches; and such a spirit of love and peace, as may make us, like the first Christians—of one heart and one foul.
Dedication of the Account of ejected Ministers.
MUST it not be better to profess what I
really believe, than what I do not; and to worship God in that way which I think most agreeable to reason and scripture, than in another, which appears to me less agreeable to both ? As this is the judgment we naturally make in our own case, we should take care how we contradiet it in another man's. Perhaps we are in our own judgment, for the things imposed, and so can be easy enough as to our own part, notwithstanding the imposition. But suppose our judgment was on the other side, would not that which is now light, be then a burden and a grievance ? Let this teach us not to encourage an imposing humour in ourselves or others. We all love liberty, and ought to have it in things which do no ways entrench upon the rights and privileges of other men. It will not justify the imposition, that it does not come from a single person, but from a body of men; for let the number of the imposers be what it will, the rule cannot be dispensed with ; ftill they are to do as they would be done by. And can they say they would be content if others had the power in their hands, to be treated by thein as they now treat others ?
The many angry and uncharitable parties into which the Christian world is unhappily divided,
have not a little contributed to the corruption of Christian manners. This effect is not owing merely tò a diversity of opinions, which in the present state of things is unavoidable, but to the over great stress which is laid by each party upon its distinguishing tenets, and the meritoriousness of contending for them with intemperate zeal and paffion. For, alas ! by this means the zeal of Chriftianity is turned into a wrong channel; the war against the world and their lufts, in which all Christians are equally concerned, is changed into a state of hoftility among ft Chriftians themselves; and to be more than ordinarily earnest and active in maintaining fome favourite opinions, hardly allowing that those of a contrary side can have a covenant title to salvation, is made to serve inftead of the substantial duties and virtues of the Chriftian life.
Were Christians more universally agreed that there was no virtue in being of this or that opinion, where there was not a good life; and where there was no crime in being of the contrary, after persons had sincerely endeavoured to know the truth; there would then be no room for men thus to deceive theinfelves, and to mistake that, for love to the gospel, which is nothing else but a proud conceit of their own understandings. Then do men best express their affection to Christ and his gospel, when by a charitable and heavenly temper of mind, and a holy and regular conversation, they imia tate the one and adorn the other. And the more folicitous they were about this, the less concerned would they be for the differences between them and other good Christians, in things disputable; and less apt to give any countenance to persons whose lives were a disgrace to their profeffion, only for the fake of their holding the same opinions. It is really a melancholy consideration, that while all sides are wrangling about articles of faith, and modes and ceremonies of worship, they should so generally forget that which is of the greatest consequence of all—a friet and humble piety, and a diffusive benevolence and charity.
JOHN ABERNETHY, A. M.
UR Lord Jesus Christ, himself, hath insti
tuted a fociety of a peculiar nature; a kingdom, which he faith is not of this world, different from all others that ever have been in the world; formed for different purposes, and governed by different maxims.
In this society it is his will that there should be peace; having laid a glorious foundation for it in that one faith and religion he hath taught his followers, and even the external form of their profession, and having united them in the hope of a future bles