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Nor have we any reafon in the mean time to think, that God will put a stop to temporal judgments; but that if we be not reformed by all those terrible things which our eyes have feen, God will punifh us yet feven times more for our fins. If we ftill perfift_in Our atheism and profanenefs, in our contempt of God and his worship, in our abominable lufts and impieties; what can we look for, but greater judgments, and a more fiery indignation to confume uş and our habitations?

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Methinks nothing is a fadder prefage of greater calamities, and a more fearful ruin yet to befal us, than that we have hitherto been fo little reformed by those loud and thick vollies of judgments which have already been thundered out upon us. This was that which at laft brought fo terrible a destruction upon the E gyptians, that they were hardened under ten plagues. To be impenitent under the judgments of God, which are fo mercifully designed to reclaim and reform us, is to poifon ourselves with that which was intended for our phyfick, and by a miraculous kind of obftinacy, to turn the rods of God into ferpents. O that we were wife, that we understood this, and that we would confider our latter end!

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SERMON CCLV.

257

Preached at the morning-exercife at Cripple

gate.

MATTH. vii. 12.

Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men hould do to you, do ye even fo to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets.

The following fermon, which was preached by the Late Archbishop Tillotson about the year 1660, before he conformed to the church of England, is now reprinted at the defire of feveral Gentlemen, who have a great regard to the memory of fo great a perfon; who also judge from the importance of the fubject, that it ought to be rescued from that oblivion it lies under, while it is only in the morn ing-exercifes.]

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THESE words being brought in by way of inference from fomething faid before, we muft look back a little to find out the relation of them to the former verfes. At the feventh verfe Chrift commands to ask of God thofe things which we want; to encourage us to ask, he promifes we should receive; to induce us to be lieve this promife, he puts a temporal cafe: Our earthly fathers, who are evil, give us good thingswhen we ask them, how much more eafily may we believe this of a good God of infinite goodness ?: Now as we defire God. fhould give us thofe things we ask, fo we should do to others,, and not only fo but univerfally in all other things, what we would that men fhould do to us, that we should do to others. That men should do unto you; though the perfons be expreffed, yet we may take it imperfonally, by ant

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ufual Hebraifm, as if it had been faid, Whatever you would should be done unto you; leaving the perfon to be fupplied in the largest sense: Thus, Whatever you would should be done unto you by God or men. This is the Law and the Prophets, i. e. This is the fum of the Old Teftament, fo far as concerns our duty to our neighbour.

The obfervation which arifeth from the words is this:

The great rule of equity in all our dealings with men is this, To do as we would be done unto. This rule hath been otherwife expreffed, but not more emphatically in any other form of words than this here in the text. Mat. xxii. 39. Love thy neighbour as thyfelf: This requires that we fhould bear the fame affection to our neighbour, which we would have him bear to us; but the rule in the text exprefly requires that we fhould do the fame offices to others, which we would have them do to us. Severus the Emperor (as the hiftorian Lampridius tells us) did learn this rule of Chriftians, and did much reverence Chrift and Chriftianity for it, but he expreffed it negatively, Quod tibi non vis, alteri ne feceris: Now this forbids us to do injuries to others, but doth not fo exprefly command us to do kindneffes and courtefies.

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In fpeaking to this rule, I fhall give you,

1. The explication of it.

II. The grounds of it.

III. The instances wherein we ought principally to practise it.

I. For the explication, the meaning of it is this: Put thyself into the cafe and circumstances of every man with whom thou hast to do, that is, fuppofe thou wert he, and as he is, and he were thyfelt, and as thou art; that then which thou wouldst defire he fhould do to thee, that do thou to him; and that which thou wouldst be unwilling he fhould do to thee, do not thou to him. Now this is an exact rule, for we are very curious in determining our own privileges, and what duty others owe to us; just fo much as we take to ourselves, we must allow to o

thers

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thers; what we expect from others when we are in fuch circumstances, we must do the fame to them in the like. And this is a plain and eafy rule. Many men cannot tell what is law, or justice, or right in fuch a cafe; many cannot deduce the laws of nature one from another: but there is no man but I can tell what it is he would have another man do to him; every man can take his own actions, and put them into the other fcale, and fuppofe, if this that I do now to another were to be done to me, fhould I like it? Should I be pleafed and contented with it? And thus by changing the fcale, his own felf-love, and felf-intereft, and other paffions, will add nothing to the weight; for that felf-intereft which makes a man covetous, and inclines him to wrong another man for his own advantage, makes him likewife (when the fcales are changed) unwilling that another man fhould wrong him: That felf-conceit which makes a man proud, and apt to fcorn and de fpife others, makes him unwilling that another should

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contemn him.

I queftion not but by this time you understand the meaning of the rule; but we are not yet paft all difficulties about it: Three things are to be done, before this rule will be of use to us.

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1. We must make it appear, that it is reasonable. 2. Make it certain, for till it be certain it cannot be a rule.

3. Make it practicable.

1. We must make it appear to be reasonable. The difficulty about the reasonablenefs of it is this: Ac cording to this rule I fhall be obliged to do that ma ny times which is finful, and to omit that which is a neceffary duty. I will give two or three instances: Saul would have had his armour-bearer to have killed him; might he therefore have killed his armourbearer, if he had been willing, and had defired. it.? I may not be an inftrument or furtherer of another man's fin, though I were fo wicked as to defire that another would be fo to me. If I were a child, I would not have my father correct me; or a malefactor, I would not have the magiftrate cut me off:

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muft there therefore be no correction or punishment? Now because of these, and the like inftances which may be given, the rule is neceffarily to be underftood of things that may be done or omitted, i. e.. which are not unlawful or unreasonable. Saul might not kill his armour-bearer; I may not further another man's fin in the cafes propounded, because these things may not be done; they are morally impoffible, that is, unlawful. A parent or magiftrate may not wholly omit correction or punishment, becaufe fuch omiffion would tend to the ruin of good manners, and of human fociety.

2. We must make the rule certain. The difficulty about the certainty of it is this: Everlasting dif putes will arife about what is lawful and reasonable, and unlawful and unreasonable. Now we must reduce it to a certainty thus: Whatever I would that another should do to me, that I fhould do to him, unless the thing be plainly and evidently unlawful or unreasonable. And this cuts off all difputes: For though there may be perpetual difputes about what is lawful and reasonable, or the contrary, yet there can be no difpute about the unlawfulnefs and unreafonableness of thofe things which are plainly and evidently fo; for that which is plain and evident, is out of all difpute. To confirm this, let us confider another text, Phil. iv. 8. where the Apoftle exhorts Chriftians to follow whatever things are true, and boneft, and just, and pure; and as a difcovery of what things are fuch, he adds, whatever things are Lovely, of good report, and praife-worthy; that is, whatever things are amiable, well fpoken of,. and praised by wife and good men (who are the only competent judges of these things) if they be not plainly contrary to truth, or honefty, or justice, or purity, follow these things and if this be not the meaning, those words, lovely, of good report, praifeworthy, are fuperfluous, and do not at all direct our converfation, which certainly the Apoftle intended to do by them.

3. We must make it practicable. There are two things which make the practice of it difficult.::

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