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Reflections concern the Cause of Religion? Wható
Chriftians would do well to consider, that these mean Arts of exposing Mens Persons to i difcredit their Opinions, are very much un- ja worthy the Dignity of their Profession, and is most of all milíbecoming the Sacredness and ii Venerableness of the Trut) they contend for. And besides, no Cause stands in need of them, of but such an one as is extremely baffled and desperate; and even then they are the worst i Arguments in the World to support it, for quick-sighted Men will easily fee through the Duft we endeavour to raise ; and those that are duller will be apt to suspect from our being so angry and so wafpish, that we have but a bad Matter to manage. ' ;
We should consider, that Mens Persons are facred Things that whatever Power we have to judge of their opinions, we have no Authority to judge or cenfure Them: That to bring Them upon the Stage, and there throw Dirt
at on them, is highly rude and uncivil, and an 21, Affront to Human Society, and the most con7x crary Thing in the World to Chriftian Charity,
which is to far from enduring Reproaches 21.) and Evil-speaking, that it obliges us to cover
as much as we can all the Faults, and even -ill the very Indiscretions of others. 1
The Sixth and last Thing I shall recommend to you as an Expedient of Peace, is a vigorous Pursuit of Holiness. si
Do but seriously set yourselves to be good, do but get your Hearts deeply affected with Religion as well as your Heads, and then there is no fear but you will be all the Sons of Peace. .!
rese :1, 3, We may talk what we will, but really it is our not practising our Religion, that makes us so contentious and difputatious about it :: It is our Emptiness of the Divine Life, that makes us so full of Speculation and Contro verfy : Was but That once firmly rooted in us, these Weeds and Excrescencies of Religion, would prefently dry up and wither; we should loath any longer to feed upon such Husks, after we once came to have a Relish of that Bread.
Ah! how little Satisfaction can all our pretty Notions, and fine-fpun Controversies, yield to a Soul that truly hungers and thirsts after Righteousness? How pitiful, flatly, and infipidly will they taste, in comparison of the Divine Entertainments of the Spiritual Life ? :
Were we but seriously taken up with the Substantials of our 'Religion, we thould not
have Leisure for the Talking, Difputing Divinity; we should have greater Matters to take up our Thoughts, and more profitable. Arguments to furnish out our Discourses. So long as we could busie ourselves in working out our Salvation, and furthering the Salvation of others, we should think it but a mean Employment to spend our Time in Spinning fine Nets, for the catching of Fliese
Besides, this Divine Life, if it once took Place in us, would strangely dilate and enlarge our Hearts in Charity towards our Brethren; it would make us open our Arms wide to the whole Creation; it would perfe&ly work out of us all that Peevishness and Sowrness, and Penuriousness of Spirit, which we do too i often contract, by being addicted to a Sect; and would make us sweet and benign, and obliging, and ready to receive and embrace all Conditions of Men. In a Word, it would quite swallow up all Distinctions of Parties; and whatever did but bear upon it the Image of God, and the Superscription of the Holy Hefus, would need no other Commendatories to our Affection, but would upon that alone account be infinitely dear and precious to us.; . Let us all therefore earnestly contend after this Divine. Principle of Holiness; let us bring down Religion from our Heads to our Hearts, from Speculation to Practice : Let us make it our Business heartily to love God, and do his Will, and then we may hope to see Peace in our Days. . .
Di This, this is that that will restore to the
to World the Golden Age of Primitive Christianity, ble when the Love and Unity of the : Disciples fer of Fefus was so confpicuous and ternarkable,
that it became a Proverb, See how the Christians love one another! This, this is that that will bring in the Accomplishment of all those glorious Promises of peace and Tranquility that
Chrif hath made to his Church: Then fhall of the Wolf dwell with the Lamb, and the Leon ege pard lie down with the Kid: Then shall not ell; Ephraim envy Yudab, nor Judah vex Ephraim; Che . but we shall turn our Swords into Plough-mares, Du and our Spears into Pruning-hooks; and there und will be no more consuming or devouring in
all God's Holy Mountain
I should now proceed to the Second general md: Point in my proposed Method of handling this uce Text, viz. To set before you the very great eld Engagements and Obligations we have upon us es; to follow after the Things that make for Peace;
and that, ;!!
1. From the Nature and Contrivance of our
Religion. :D 2. From the great Weight the Scripture lays
upon this Duty. 3. From the great Unreasonableness of our
Religious Differences.' 4. From the very evil Consequences that
attend them: As, 1. In that they are great Hindrances of a good Life. 2.
They are very pernicious to the Civil · Peace of the State. 3. They are highly
i opprobrious to Christianity in General.
And 4. and. Lastly, Very dangerous to
the Protestant Religion, as giving too many 1: Advantages, and too much Encourage:: ment to the Factors of the Papacy. i
.. But I have, I fear, already exceeded the
Limits of a Sermon, and therefore shall add no more.s tiri . ci : God open our Eyes, that we may, in this . .our Day, understand the Things that - belong to Peace, before they be hid
from our Eyes.