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On the Twenty-third oiAugujl, 1674.
Rom. xiv. 10.
Let us therefore follow after the Things that make for <Peace.
HOSOEVER understandeth any thing of the State of Christianity, as it hath now been for some Ages in the World, will be easily convinced, that there is no one Point of our Religion more necessary to be daily preached, to be earnestly pressed and insisted on, than that of Peace, and Love, and Unity, here recommended by the Apostle.
It hath fared (as the Learned Mr. Hales observed) with the Christian Religion in this Matter, as it did with the Jewish of old. The great and principal Commandment which God gave the Jews, and which (as they themselves teach) was the Foundation of all their Law, Vol. I. B was,
jvas, to worship the God of Israel, and Him only ioserve: Yet such was the Pervcrseness of that Ffcopre, that tfhis wa9 the Commandment, that ot*all others they could never be brought to keep; but they were continually running into Idolatry, notwithstanding all the Methods that God made use of to reclaim them from that Sin. What the Worjljip of om God was to the Jews] tha.tPeace, and Love, and Unity, is to the Christians, even the Great distinguishing Law and Character of their Profession. And yet, to the Shame of Christians it may be spoken, there is no one Commandment in all Christ's Religion, that has been so generally and to/candahujly violated among his Followers, as this. Witness the many bitter Vends and Contentions that have ib long embroiled Christendom, and thenumerous&#i, and Parties,m<\ CommunionS, into which, at this Day, it stands divided.
And, God knows, this is a Thing that cannot be sufficiently lamented among ourselves: For though, in many Respects, we arc the Happies} Nation in the World; and particularly in this, that we have the Advantage of all others, both .as to the Constitution of our Churchy and the cIHtrity of Christ's Dottrine, professed 'therein; yet in this Point of Schijms, and Divisions, and R eligious Quarrels, we arc as unhappy, if not more, than any.
Whether ever we shall fee that blessed Day, when these our Breaches wtll be healed; 'ah'd that an End being put to our unaccountable Separations, and the Unchristian Jnimojities they arc the Occasion osj we shall all join together gether in one Communion, and with one' Mind, and one Mouth, glorify God, (as the Apostle expresses it) God only knows. But sure I am, it is the Duty of every one of us, heartily to fray for it; and not only so, but, in our Place and Station, to contribute all we can towards it. It was this Consideration that put me upon the Choice of these Words of St. <Paul, for my Argument at this Time: Let us therefore follow after the things that make for (Peace.
In treating of which, I shall endeavour Two Things. Firs, To explain the Duty here recommended, by reducing it to its Particular Rules and Instances. Secondly, To set. before you the great Obligations that lie upon us to the Practice of it.
As to the First of these Things, viz. What is contained or implied in this -Duty of following after the things that make for 'Peace; you may be pleased to take Notice, that this Duty hath a Twofold Object, according to the Two different Relations and Capacities in which we are to be considered j namely, the Church out Common Mother,, and Particular Christians our Brethren. In the first Relation, we are considered as Subjects; in the other, as Fellow-* Chriftians. Now with respect to the former, the ^Peace we are to pursue, implies Obedience, and the ^Preservation of Communion, in Opposition to Schism and Separation. With respect to the latter, it implies mutual Love and Charity, in Opposition to Quarrels and Contention?. So that, you fee, my Business upon this First Head must be, to stiew, what are the Par
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