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fed immortality, and in the relation of children to God as their common Father, and having made them fellow members of one body of which himself is the head, and given them his fpirit to inftruct and direct them, he enjoineth them to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. St. Paul teacheth us that peace is of the very effence of this celeftial kingdom, the main privileges of its true fubjects depending upon it, and it being their indifputable duty to preferve and promote it; the kingdom of God is not meat and drink (Christianity doth not confift in external obfervances, which are often the fubjects of contention) but righteoufnefs and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghoft.
We should, indeed, judge nothing before the time until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifeft the counfels of the heart; and then shall every man have praife of God. The praife which is juftly due to his own works, according to the favourable rule of proceeding which he has declared in his word. How happy would it be for the world, the Chriftian world particularly, if this rule were univerfally followed! What divifions and difcords, ftrifes and confufions, would it prevent, and the great guilt of rafh and uncharitable cenfures? This is a matter of fo great importance, that our Saviour has though fit to infift much upon it, particularly in his fermon upon the
mount, and enforce it by ftrong arguments: Judge not that ye be not judged, and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. It is a point of fuch confequence, that God will have a great regard to it in judgment, and in the diftribution of rewards and punishments; fuch as treat their brethren with candour and tenderness, fhall meet with great clemency from him; but such as have fhewed no mercy to others, may expect a more fevere doom. In fhort, the evil we are here warned against is uncharitableness, an immediate violation of God's royal law, which when it is fulfilled completes a truly good and christian character. Charity envieth not, vaunteth not itself, behaveth not unfeemly; it hopeth, believeth, and endureth all things; it fuffereth long, and is kind; it rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth. How unlike this is the fpirit of a great many zealous Chriftians, who carry it with contempt and wrath towards their brethren; who, perhaps, are really weak, but reputed perversely erroneous; condemned as obftinate, when it may be in truth, and in the judgment of God, more fincere, impartial, and unprejudiced, than we who take upon us to judge? Let even those who oppofe the most important, the moft evident and neceffary truth, be inftructed with meeknefs; let fuch as are differently minded from us in more difficult and lefs important points, be received not to doubtful diffutations; above all, let the fpirit of
jealousy find no room in our hearts; let us not take upon us to impute to any of our fellow Chriftians, felfifh corrupt views and finifter defigns, which they difclaim, or give no fuf ficient ground for fixing upon them--that is really judging the heart, whereby we invade the prerogative of God, as well as injure men. Sermons.
WE have a fervent zeal for the honour of our
Lord and Mafter, and are defirous to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the faints, with all forts of fpiritual weapons; but we do not yet fee a neceffity of stopping the mouths of the adverfaries of our holy religion with fines and imprisonments, even though, to their own infamy and fhame, they treat it with indecency. Let fcandal and ill-manners be punished as it deferves, but let not men be terrified from fpeaking out their doubts, or propofing their objections against the gospel revelation, which we are fure will bear a thorough examination; and though the late ungenerous attacks upon the miracles of our bleffed Saviour, may have had an ill-influence upon the giddy and unthinking youth of the age, they have given
occafion to the publishing such a number of incomparable defences of Christianity, as have confirmed the faith of many, and must satisfy the minds of all reafonable enquirers after truth.
I have faid nothing with a design to exafperate or widen the differences among Chriftians; for as I am a fincere admirer of the doctrines of the New Teftament, I would have an equal regard to its most excellent precepts, of which these are fome of the capital-that we love one another; that we forgive offences; that we bear one another's infirmities, and even bless them that curfe us, and pray for them that defpitefully ufe us and perfecute us. If this fpirit and temper were more prevalent, the lives of Chriftians would throw a bright luftre upon the truth and excellency of this divine faith, and convince the atheifts and infidels of the age, more than all their arguments can do without it.
I would earnestly recommend this temper to the Proteftant non-conformists of the present age, together with an holy emulation of each other, in undiffembled piety and fanctity of life, that while they are reading the heavy and grievous fufferings of their ancestors from ecclefiaftical commif fions, fpiritual courts, and penal laws, for confcience fake, they may be excited to an humble adoration of divine Providence, which has delivered them fo far from the yoke of oppreffion, and to a deteftation of all perfecuting principles. And
may Proteftants of all perfuafions improve in the knowledge and love of the truth, and in fentiments of Chriftian charity and forbearance towards each other, that being at peace among themfelves, they may with greater fuccefs, bend their united forces against the common enemy of Chriftianity!
Preface to the Hiftory of the Puritans.
GEORGE SMITH, A. M.
WHEN Zeal is under certain regulations, I
don't know any character in the world more lovely than that of a zealous man. It is, in fhort this-which the more narrowly we view it the better we fhall like it.
He is one who, by serious enquiry, has arrivedi at a competent acquaintance with those truths! which it is of most importance to know, and of
*Mr. G. Smith officiated to a fociety at Hackney for thirty years as a preacher, excelled by none, and equalled by few. He was looked upon by his own brethren, as holding the first rank in merit amongst them, and not lefs honoured and valued by those of the establishment, who knew him.Toulmin's Life of Neal. The Rev. Dr. Toulmin will be pleased to accept my thanks for the curious and interesting particulars which he has communicated in the notes to that publication, refpecting many valuable deceafed minifters among the Proteftant Diffenters.