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BENJAMIN HOADLEY, D. D.
BISHOP OF WINCHESTER.-DIED 1761.
HOW many men who are not contented with being in what they judge a good way themselves, with the advantages of truth and right on their own fide; not without fuch a due fenfe of the miftakes and faults of others, as may infpire with a defire to reclaim and amend them, but think their bufinefs is to irritate and expofe them as far as poffible; and imagine that they cannot be just to their own caufe without being unjust to that of others; nay, that no one is truly and heartily in their way of thinking, as to the main object of their zeal, who doth not join in the reviling, abufing, and unchriftian treatment of all who think otherwife? This is vifible in many of all parties and all fects throughout the world; and yet this is as certainly contrary to Chriftian moderation, as it is to all hopes of peace in the world. For if Chriftian moderation be a yielding and pliable difpofition of mind, then it certainly tends to the uniting the differences of men.
Perfecution, in any degree, is the invention and inftrument of God's greatest enemy; and as Chrift difdained to make ufe of outward force in planting the best religion in the world; fo it is. unchristian and 'impious to change his method in fupporting it, and for this purpose to chuse thefe very weapons which his enemies used at
firft against him and his kingdom; and which his Father, in his infinite wifdom, rejected as improper for the good end he then had in view. We may now, therefore, very justly ask, if this be true according to the law of nature and the gofpel of Jefus Christ, how great, inexpreffibly great, is the guilt of the leaders of that church which places the whole ftrength of religion in the ftrength of power and the arm of flefh which turns the motives of all that is good from inward to outward; which hath no care or concern about honesty and integrity, but enforces an unity of voices by fires, banishments, racks, and fuch like methods; which forfakes the paths of meekness, plainly pointed out by God and Chrift, and pursues those of defolation and destruction? And then let us confider how much it behoves all who have profeffed to feparate from that church, to feparate effectually from the most unchriftian and diabolical thing in it; and to keep themfelves at a distance from every tendency to the fame evil; to study the gofpel, and to put on that spirit of charity, of peace, and of forbearance, which breathes through every page of it. And this will effectually dispose them not to judge or cenfure, much more not to condemn and injure, opprefs and torment, the fervants of another mafter; but to leave their fellow fervants in all matters of religious concern, to ftand or fall by the judgment of their com
mon Lord and Mafter; to whom alone, they must all give an account for themselves.
THOMAS SHERLOCK, D. D.
BISHOP OF LONDON-DIED 1761.
Go to your natural religion: lay before her Mahomet and his difciples, arrayed in ar mour and in blood, riding in triumph over the fpoils of thousands, and tens of thousands, who fell by his victorious fword-fhew her the cities which he fet in flames, the countries which he ravaged and destroyed, and the miserable distress of all the inhabitants of the earth. When the has viewed him in this fcene, carry her into his retirements; fhew her the prophet's chamber, his concubines and wives; let her fee his adultery, and hear him alledge revelation and his divine commiffion, to justify his luft and his oppreffion. When he is tired with this profpect, then fhew her the Bleed Jefus, humble and meek, doing good to all the fons of men, patiently inftructing both the ignorant and the perverse-let her fee him in the moft retired privacies-let her follow him to the mount and hear his devotions and fupplications to God. Carry her to his table to view his poor fare, and hear his heavenly difcourse. Let her fee him injured but not provoked.
Let her attend him to the tribunal, and confider the patience with which he endured the fcoffs and reproaches of his enemies. Lead her to his crofs, and let her view him in the agony of death and hear his laft prayer for his perfecutors-Father forgive them, for they know not what they do. When natural religion has viewed both, afk which is the prophet of God? But her answer we have already had-when she saw part of this fcene, through the eyes of the Centurion, who attended at the crofs, by him fhe spoke and faid, Truly, this man was the Son of God.
THOMAS SECKER, L. L. D.
ARCHBISHOP OF CANTERBURY.-DIED 1768.
HRISTIAN zeal indeed is a duty that never was more needful, and never lefs fhewn. But paffion will do no good. If expressed against thofe who are indifferent about religion, it will turn them into enemies if against the enemies of religion, it will make them yet more vehement enemies. Befides, the extravagant things which men fay, and attempt against us and our profeffion, are not always defigned injuries, but frequently the effects of mifrepresentations and prejudices that have imperceptibly taken hold on
perfons who, otherwife, mean tolerably well. Now mildness to fuch as these is but justice; and to all others it is prudence. Railing is the province which our adverfaries have chofen, and let us leave it to them. For whatever fuccefs. they may meet with that way, as indeed they excel in it, we shall meet with none, but only make the Spirit of Chriflianity be misunderstood and illspoken of by our own want of it. Therefore, how injuriously foever we may be treated, let us return neither injurious nor harsh treatment for it; nor endeavour to mark out those perfons for objects of popular hatred, who are ever fo unwearied in labouring to make us so.
And if undue severity of speech must be foreborne towards profeffed enemies, much more to those who may, for aught we know, design themselves for friends. Indeed when it is evident that men only put on a pretence of wifhing well to Chrif tianity, or the teachers of it; and whilst they affect to charge us with uncharitablenefs for queftioning their fincerity, would defpife us for believing them; there we must be allowed to fee what plainly appears, and to fpeak of them both. a's adverfaries and unfair ones. Or when doctrines, whatever the intention of propagating them be, are inconfiftent either with the whole, or any part of our religion, it is no uncharitableness, but our duty to lay open the falfhood