« AnteriorContinuar »
Subjects are not satisfied with it? And if that Diffatisfa&tion be'a just Reason to break Communion with the Established Church, what' Ligaments have we to tie Christians together? What will become of holding the Uni
ty of the Spirit, in the Bond of Peace? What is & the Consequence of this, but endless Schismis
sider what an unaccountablé Humour it is to i make a Rent and Schism in the Church, upon a meer Point of State. . :
Great Revolutions have happened in all Ages, and in all Countries, and we have frequent Instances of them in Story. But, I believe it will not be easily found, that ever any Christians separated from the Church, upon account of them. Still they kept unanimously to their Doctrine and their Worship, and never concerned themselves farther in the Turns of Statė (how great foever they were) than peaceably to submit to the Powers in being; aand heartily to pray to God, fo to prosper their Government, and direct all their Affairs, that all their Subjects might lead quiet and peaceable Lives under them, in all Godliness and Honesty. But when in a Revolution, a Prince was advanced to the Throne, that they looked upon to be a good Man, and an Encourager of the True Religion ; in that Cafe, they did not only readily submit to him, but acknowledged it as the great Blessing of God to them, that he had raised up such a Man to rule over them. This was the Notion, and this was
the Practice of the Primitive Christians as to this Matter; I may, indeed, fay of the Christians in all Ages. And whatever you may have heard to the contrary, I doubt not to say, that this is the very Doctrine of the Church of England.
Let me, therefore, cxhort all of you to be Followers of Peace; to promote Publick Unity and Concord, as much as is possible; to study to be quict, and mind your own Busincss"; to be more concerned for your Country, and Nation, than the Interest of any single Man in it ; hcartily to Tubmit to the Government ; and not only so, but to thank God for the Blessings you cnjoy under it, and most carnestly to pray for the Continuance of them: Lastly, Never to espouse any Party or Faction against the Government, nor ever to be driven away from the Communion of the Church, of which you have always professed yourselves Members, by any of the Pretences which some warm Men may suggest to you. This I dare venture to say, how uncaly foever some of you now may be in joining with our Prayers, you will at last bé Ten times more uncafy in separating from us. For Faction has no Bounds, and God knows whither it will lçad a Man at last. Were there nothing else; but the Heat and Turbulency, the Passion and Peevishness, thç bitter Zcal and Uncharitableness, that the being of a Party doth naturally ingage Men in ; I say, were there nothing clsc but this, no Man that consults the Peace of his own Mind, would for any
Consideration leave the Publick Communion, and espouse the Cause of a separate Interest,
But there are worse Consequences than these, Land, I pray God we may never feel them.
And now I have done with my Exhortation. - And I have spoke my Thoughts very o freely to you, And I hope you will receive | what I have said with the same Kindness that
I mean it it. And truly, I have no Reason to doubt of it, after so long an Experience as I have had of your Civility and Candor. Indeed, during all the Time I have been among you (which hath been now near Sixteen Years) I have been so kindly treated by you, and have received so many Testimonies of your Good-will, that I cannot but take this Opportunity of Publickly acknowledging my Obligations to you, and returning you my folemn Thanks for them.
I cannot, indeed, fay, that I have done my Duty as I ought ; and I heartily beg of God to forgive all my Defects : But I have this Satisfaction, that I have sincerely endeavoured,
in all my Preaching, to instruct you in the : true Doctrine of the Gospel, and to teach you
the right Way that leads to Salvation. And I am so certain, that I have not been mistaken myself, nor misled you in that Matter, that I dare with Confidence address myself to you in some of the Words of the Apostle, which do immediately follow after my Text: Viz. Those Things which you have learned and received, and heard from me, do; and the God of Peace Thall be with you.
I shall I shall ever bless God for that Providence of his which placed me among you ; and as I shall always and do carnestly desire all your Prayers for me ; so I shall always heartily pray for you ; that God would guide and prosper you, that his good Providence would always watch over you for Good ; that he would bestow upon you, and your Children after you, all sorts of Blessings needful and. convenient for you; and especially, that he would deliver you from every evil Work, and preserve you to his heavenly Kingdom. ..
Lords Spiritual and Temporal
On the Fifth of November, 1691. ;;
Rom. X. 2. For I bear them Record, that they have a Zeal
of God, but not according to Knowledge. ? FOGHESE are St. Paul's Words, and he ST spoke them of the Yews, those unbemblieving Fews, that were fo tenacious
of the Traditions of their Fathers, and so utterly averse to any Reformation of Religion ; that though it appeared by undeniable Evidence, that Christ Jesus was by God sent into the World for that Purpose; yet did they, to the last, stand out in their Opposition of him and his Gospel, even to the final Rejection of their Nation.