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let us, in such Instances, not only bear with them, but propose them for our Examples. This, I say, was the Apostle's Practice, and I think it is so agreeable to the Spirit and Temper of our great Lord and Master Chrift; that it will become us in like Cases, to act accordingly.'.'
But then after I have faid this. These Two Things are always to be remembred. . •
First, That our Tenderness tò mistaken Zealots, must always be so managed, as that the true Religion, or the Publick Peace suffer no Damage thereby. And therefore, how kindly and compassionately soever, we, as private Chriftians, are to treat those that differ from us, and pursue a wrong way out of Conscience; yet this doth not hinder, but that both wholesome Laws may be made, for the restraining the Exorbitancies of mistaken Zeal; and when those Laws are made, that they may be put in Execution.
The Consideration of Law-givers and Magiftrates, is different from that of private ChriItians. Their Business is to fee, Nequid detrimenti respublica capiat, that the Government be secured, that the common Peace be kept, that the Laws of God be observed, that God's Religion, as it is delivered by Yesus Chrift,' be preserved sincere and undefiled, and that the solemn Worship of God, be purely and decently performed. And, therefore, there is no doubt, but that in all these Matters the Government may make Fences and Securities against the Insults of intemperate Zealots, and when these Fences are made, it should be at their Peril if
they transgressed them, supposing Magistrates did their Duty. And all this, we say, is very consistent with that Tenderness and Charity that all Christians, and even Magistrates themselyes, in their priyate Capacity, do owe to mispersuaded erroneous Consciences.. · And then, Secondly, it is to be remembred, that that Kindness and Tenderness to mistaken Zealots, which we are speaking of from the Text, is not to be expressed to all alike; but to fome more, to some less, to fome, perhaps, in no Degree at all; according as the Nature and Quality of their Errors are, and according as the Men that are guilty of them, may more or less, or not at all, be thought to have a real Zeal of God, and to act out of Principles of Conscience. Thus, for Instance, : In the First Place, 'Those that set up for Patrons of Atheism or Epicurifm; that make it their Business in their Conversation to expose all Religion, and to bring it into Contempt ; that ridicule the Professors of it as a Company of easy credulous Men; that make no Con science of blafpheming God, and all things Sacred, as occasion is given them : Why, these Men may have Zeal enough for their Opinions, and we find that they often have a great deal too much; but are such to be treated with that sort of Tenderness and Compassion that we are now fpeaking of ? No, by no Means; for they are quite out of the Bounds of my Text, they have a Zeal indeed, but it is not a Zeal for God, but for the Devil, and the In, terests of his Kingdom. . And if one were to
measure the Greatness of Crimes, by the Mischief they do to Human Society, I should think, that this Sort of People, were not to expect so much Favour and Respect from Mankind, as some other Malefactors, that yet by our Laws are to pay for their Offences, at no less à Rate than their Lives. ! Again, Secondly, If there be any Men that under a Pretence of Religion do teach or éncourage, or promote any Sort of Vice or Immorality, or whose Principles do necessarily lead to debauch Mens Manners, in the plain : Matters of Sobriety, Chastity, Truth, or Justice, and the like; fuch Kind of People are by no means. Objects of that Tenderness and Com, passion that we are now speaking of: For the Laws of Nature, as to moral Virtue and Vice, áre fo plainly writ in every Man's Heart, that he must be supposed to be an Ill Man, that can easily entertain any Principle (let it come never so much recommended, under the Name of Religion) that contradicts them. And whatever Allowance may in Charity be made for a Man's Mistakes, there is no reason that much should be made for his Wickedness...."
Again, T hirdly, If there be any Men, that whilst they express a great Zeal for the Purity of Religion, and exclaim against the Corruptions of it (as they term them) which are introduced into the Publick Establishment, and turn every Stone to have all Things settled in another Method; yet all this while, God and their own Hearts know, that all this Concernment and Zeal of theirs for Religion, though it
make a great shew, is only pretended; and w that there is another Thing that lies at the the bottom, that is to say, Worldly Interest and 1
Dominion, and Power, which they hope to · compass by such a Regulation of Matters as
they desire; I say, if there be any such Men, they are likewise no way concerned in that Compassion my Text. speaks of : For though they may be very Zealous, yet it is a Zeal for their own secular Advantages that acts them, and not a Zeal of God. "If such Men could be known, instead of being kindly and charitably thought of for their Zeal in Religion, the Virtuous Part of Mankind, would look upon them as the worst of Hypocrites. But since Ĝod only knows the Hearts of Men; all such Pretenders to Zeal for Religion, must, till we know them also, be treated according to the Merits of the Cause they pretend to be Zealous for.
But then Fourthly and Lastly, All that I have now said, is with respect to those that are out of the Limits of my Text, such as have no Zeal of God, though some of them may pretend it : But then, as for those that really ad out of Principles of Conscience, and have a real Zeal of God, though in a wrong way; these are true Objects of our Tenderness and Compassion, though yet in different Degrees. For according as their Principles and Practices do more or less injure our common Christianity, or are more or less dangerous to our Governiment and Confiitution; in the same. Proportion, the greater or less Tenderness and Indulgence is to be expressed towards them. But most of
what concerns this Matter, being already set. tled by Law, I will not be so bold as to meddle in it; and therefore I proceed to the Third Head of my Discourse. .!
III. The Third Thing I told you we might observe from this Text, was this, The Apostle's tacit Reprehension of the Jewish Zeal upon this i, account, that it was not according to Knowledge.
The Use I make of this is, that from hence we may be able to gather to ourselves a true Rule for the governing our Zeal in Matters of Religion, and likewise for the judging in others
what Zeal is commendable, and what is not. 7 For be our Zeal of God never so great, yet
if it be not a Zeal according to Knowledge, it is - not the right Christian Zeal. And though we
fee others neyer fo fervent and vehement in pursuing a Religious Cause, and that too out of Conscience, yet if this' Zeal of theirs be not according to Knowledge, it is a Zeal that justly deseryes to be reproved. And though both we and they may, for our Sincerity in God's Cause, expect some Allowances, both from God and Man, yet neither they nor we
can justify it, either to God or Man, that we * are thus foolish and ignorantly Zealous. 2: I wish this Mark of right Zeal, 'that it ought
to be according to Knowledge, were more considered : For it seems not often to be thought on by those that are most zealous in their Way, of what Persuasion soever they be. This same Business of Knowledge, is a Thing that is most commonly forgot to be taken in as an Ingredient or Companion of Zeal, in moft fort of