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EDMUND CALAMY, D. D.
F it be poffible, as much as lieth in us, let us live peaceably with all men. Though fome flight, and others infult us, yet let us be catholic fpirited. Let us love all, without exception, that have any thing of God in them; any thing of the image of Christ upon them. Let us ftrive to return to the apoftolical fimplicity, and take care that our religion be that of the Bible. Whatever ye do, my brethren, take heed of narrowing your charity, and confining it within any humanly devifed inclofures. Be content with your own liberty, and condemn not such as you differ from; but be ready, as far as the word and confcience will allow, to have communion with them, and with all the true Chriftian churches upon earth, in all Chriftian offices and duties. Manage your differences with modefty, carefully avoiding rafh and intemperate zeal. Take heed of inflaming matters, by attempting to make the differences which there are between the Church and Diffenters, to appear greater than they are in reality, or the distance wider than it is. Endeavour after that latitude and enlargednefs of mind, as may fit you for general and extenfive fervice to the Chriftian church; and never forfake that comprehenfive intereft so far, as to be ingulphed into a party upon any private and distinct basis.
Let us, my brethren, take heed to ourfelves, and instead of endlessly drawing the faw of contention, be much in prayer to Almighty God for the influences of his purifying, quickening, and healing fpirit. Nothing can be more manifeft, than that the church of Christ, at this day, is most fadly degenerated; has long been in a very languishing state, and is become too like the rest of the world. The great doctrines of the Chriftian religion have loft their force, and are profeffedly believed but for fashion's fake; while fuch as seem to entertain them, both are and practise, just as they would do if they believed them not. The primitive Christians were lively and vigorous. Heavenliness and fpirituality sparkled in their profeffion and conversation. They looked like fo many pieces of immortality dropped down from heaven, and tending thitherward.
Let us then beg of God with all poffible earneftnefs, that there may be fuch a spirit of prayer and fupplication ftirring among us, as may bring down upon us all manner of spiritual bleffings in a rich abundance; and fuch an uniting fpirit, as may effectually check our animofities and divifions, and heal our breaches; and fuch a spirit of love and peace, as may make us, like the firft Christians-of one heart and one foul.
Dedication of the Account of ejected Minifters.
UST it not be better to profess what I really believe, than what I do not; and to worship God in that way which I think most agreeable to reafon and scripture, than in another, which appears to me lefs agreeable to both? As this is the judgment we naturally make in our own cafe, we fhould take care how we contradict it in another man's. Perhaps we are in our own judgment, for the things impofed, and fo can be eafy enough as to our own part, notwithstanding the impofition. But fuppofe our judgment was on the other fide, would not that which is now light, be then a burden and a grievance? Let this teach us not to encourage an impofing humour in ourfelves or others. We all love liberty, and ought to have it in things which do no ways entrench upon the rights and privileges of other men. It will not justify the impofition, that it does not come from a fingle perfon, but from a body of men; for let the number of the impofers be what it will, the rule cannot be difpenfed with; ftill they are to do as they would be done by. And can they fay they would be content if others had the power in their hands, to be treated by them as they now treat others?
The many angry and uncharitable parties into which the Chriftian world is unhappily divided,
have not a little contributed to the corruption of Chriftian manners. This effect is not owing merely tò a diverfity of opinions, which in the prefent ftate of things is unavoidable, but to the over great ftrefs which is laid by each party upon its distinguishing tenets, and the meritorioufnefs of contending for them with intemperate zeal and paffion. For, alas! by this means the zeal of Christianity is turned into a wrong channel; the war against the world and their lufts, in which all Christians are equally concerned, is changed into a ftate of hoftility amongft Chriftians themselves; and to be more than ordinarily earnest and active in maintaining fome favourite opinions, hardly allowing that thofe of a contrary fide can have a covenant title to falvation, is made to ferve inftead of the fubftantial duties and virtues of the Chrif
tian life. Were Chriftians more univerfally agreed that there was no virtue in being of this or that opinion, where there was not a good life; and where there was no crime in being of the contrary, after perfons had fincerely endeavoured to know the truth; there would then be no room for men thus to deceive themselves, and to mistake that, for love to the gospel, which is nothing elfe but a proud conceit of their own understandings. Then do men beft exprefs their affection to Chrift and his gospel, when by a charitable and heavenly temper of mind, and a holy and regular conversation, they imi
tate the one and adorn the other. And the more folicitous they were about this, the lefs concerned would they be for the differences between them and other good Christians, in things difputable; and less apt to give any countenance to perfons whose lives were a difgrace to their profeffion, only for the fake of their holding the fame opinions. It is really a melancholy confideration, that while all fides are wrangling about articles of faith, and modes and ceremonies of worship, they fhould fo generally forget that which is of the greateft confequence of all-a ftrict and humble piety, and a diffusive benevolence and charity.
JOHN ABERNETHY, A. M.
DUBLIN. DIED 1740.
UR Lord Jefus Chrift, himself, hath instituted a fociety of a peculiar nature; kingdom, which he faith is not of this world, different from all others that ever have been in the world; formed for different purposes, and governed by different maxims. In this fociety it is his will that there fhould be peace; having laid a glorious foundation for it in that one faith and religion he hath taught his followers, and even the external form of their profeffion, and having united them in the hope of a future bles