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ligion with more advantage to others, than by loving God as he did, and imitating him in his friendship, affection, and kindness to mankind ? Doth the commandment aim at the perfection of human nature, and the creating men into a divine nature and resemblance? Remember, Christian, God is love, and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him, and thus bears his image in the most amiable and attractive perfection of his nature. Is one great intention of the Christian command, peace on earth, and to promote goodwill amongst men, and hereby to advance the welfare and happiness of society; the love of God and our neighbour, prevailing in all its genuine fruits and effects, will effectually remove every cause of public discord, uneasiness, and misery, unite men to God, and cement them together in their endeavours to promote the happiness of each other, and the public safety and prosperity. And, finally, is the end of the Christian commandment to prepare men for, and secure them the possession of, eternal life and blessedness. What ingredient can he want to self-enjoyment, and the happiness of the present state, in whose breast benevolence and fervent affection dwell? How well prepared is he who loves God, for the heavenly felicity which arises froin the perfection and perpetuity of this love? How fit for the enjoyment of the best of beings, who himself resembles him in goodness ? How ripe for the society of those friendly beings, the angels of God and the perfected saints of Christ, whose heart is purified from all malevolent difpofitions, fitted for the services and pleasures of friendship, and prepared for all those facred and exalted fatisfactions, that must be enjoyed in that happy world, where eternal harmony reigns amongst all the blessed inhabitants, where the foul spirit of jealousy, discontent, and envy never enters to defile or trouble, where all hearts are inflamed with the love of God, united by fervent affection to each other, each is happy in himself, and continually heightening his own happiness, by promoting that of others, and the love of God to all is the eternal fource from whence they derive joys unspeakable and full of glory. Cherish, therefore, this god-like temper, as you encrease in it, you will grow more meet for the happiness of heaven. That blessed world will at last receive you, and the God of love will complete and perpetuate your felicity.
Sermon on the importance of Charity.
NATHANIEL LARDNER, D, D.
DIED 1768 * A BRANCH of moderation towards such as
differ from us, is mildness and gentleness in all debates and arguments for the truth of our re
* Dr. Lardner, when he had written a great part of his celebrated work, entitled the Gredibility of the Gofpel ligion: which we find recominended in the writings of Christ's Apostles. Says St. Peter: But fanétify the Lord God in your hearts, and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear. That direction seems to be addressed to Christians in general. St. Paul speaking more especially of those who were in the ministerial office, says: And the servant of the Lord must not strive, but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, in meekness instructing those that oppose themselves, if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledgment of the truth. Whether it be any just ground of offence, that others differ from us or not; yet men are apt too often to take it a miss, that others differ from them, and yield not to the force of those arguments which convince and satisfy themse’ves. It is, therefore, a branch of mildness, and very laudable, to bear patiently with those who differ from us in point of religion, and calmly to propose our best arguments, and be willing to
History, which consisted of 17 octavo volumes, made the following memorable declaration, “ I have lately published the seventh volume of the second part of the credibility ; but a temper and conduct worthy the doctrine of the gospel, are more valuable than any written defences and apologies for it, or explications of it. I beg that I may be more and more possessed of that temper of humility and meekness, which shall bear good fruits.”
Kippis' Life of Lardner. ·
renew those methods of conviction, which hitherto have been ineffectual.
Christians have the most forcible arguments and inducements, and the best assistances of any men, for the practice of moderation, mildness, and equity. Forafınuch as they have had experience of the mercies of God and Christ Jesus in forgiving them, and showing towards them great mildness, tenderness, and equity. They have also been taught to love one another, and all men, so as no other men have been taught, and the principles of love will mightily difpose to mildness and gentleness, for love suffereth long and is kind; it is not easily provoked, is not puffed up; it beareth all things ; believeth all things; hopeth all things; moreover they know and, expect the righteous judgment of God, who will render to every man according to his work. We may reasonably conclude, that mildness, or moderation, or equity among Christians, will be to the honour of their religion, otherwise certainly the apostle had not directed Christians to let their moderation be known to all men. Some might possibly be apt to think, that rigour, harshness and severity, might be more useful than moderation and inildness. But since mildness towards men is not an approbation of any thing that is wrong, and men may be differently treated according to their different conduct, moderation, or mildness, will not be hurtful but advantageous.
And, indeed, we may be assured, that moderation or mildness is a great virtue; it being often commanded and enforced, under many other words, in the writings of the apostles. For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, and meekness. And St. James says, The wifdom that is from above, is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.
Sermon on Christian Moderation.
SHREWSBURY-DIED 1783. PERSONS chargeable with fecking their own
things more than those of Christ, are they who are more zealous for those particular modes of faith and forms of worship, which distinguish themselves and their own party, than for the acknowledged essentials of Christian truth and duty. I choose to mention this character distinctly, because this kind of zealis often mistaken for zeal in the cause of Christ, and commended as such, though it is most foreign from it and opposite to it. This St. Paul hath expressly determined, when he tells the Corinthians, While one faith, I am of Paul, and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal ? Whereas there is among you envying and strife, and divisions, about particular persons, whom ye set up as heads of parties, are ye not carnal,