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can be avoided no other way. And as we would have no part of that guilt lie heavy úpon our own souls, and hinder our being admitted to see the Lord, may we all : use our utmost diligence to observe the wholesome advice; and let us every one consider, carefully consider and examine our own felves, and study ta follow peace with all men, and holiness ;' without which we are infallibly assured no, man fhall see the Lord.

Sermons. 1


EXETER.-DIED 1726*. THE design of religion is practice ; to make

men good both in heart and life, zealous and fincere, conscientious and persevering in the difcharge. of every duty towards God and man. And he that in these things serves Christ, is approved of God, and accepted of men. God will never impute to the condemnation of mankind, the involuntary mistakes they are guilty of in matters of speculation, provided they have no bad

* This excellent divine, though dignified by no literary titles, was a man of profound learning, great talents, and unaffected piety. It has been justly said “ that his works will sufficiently speak for him while there are any remains of piety, learning, and good sense, among the fous of Britain ; and will follow him to those mansions where neither envy, malevolence, nor perfecution, can deprive him of his reward."

influence upon their practice. I must profess I have been often ready to envy the happiness of those private Christians, who, not troubling themfelves about matters of speculation, and not knowing the difficulties there are in them, go on easily and comfortably in the discharge of their whole duty, according to 'that light which God has given them. But here I lay the blame, when 'men will quarrel and censure each other about matters which, perhaps, none can pretend thoroughly to understand ; and more especially I think those men are blamę worthy, who make it their business to irritate and infiame such as are dispofed to quietness and peace. As far as I can judge, they who are most confident of there being no difficulties in fuch points, are generally fuch as know the least of them, and such knowledge (as the Apostle fays) puffs up; whereas a little charity mixed with knowledge, would make it more edifying. Where we see men's lives answerable to the Christian rule, let us learn not to judge one another. We are all the servants of Christ, and to him, as our cominon master, we must each of us either stand or fall.

Let others tamely give up their liberty if they please ; but I do, and will insist upon it for myself, as a Protestant, a Dissenter, a reasonable creature, and a Christian. As I pretend not to impofe upon others, fo neither will I, in this case, be imposed upon by others. No king, no par

liament, no church, no council, no fynod, no man, or body of men, shall be acknowledged by me to have any such rightful authority over me. They may deprive me of my civil liberty, of my estate, or of my life; but this liberty, by the grace of God, they never shall deprive me of-to think and speak of God and religion, only in that manner which I apprehend they are spoken of in the holy scriptures by God himself.

A man may value himself upon the goodness of his faith, but there is yet a greater thing than this, even charity; and really Christians have much need of it in such quarrels, for as it will cover a multitude of sins, so there is, commonly, then a multitude that need covering. Let me then beseech you, for God's fake, for Christ's sake; let me entreat you, by the mercies of God, and the gentleness of Christ, as you have a regard to the peace of the church, the reputation of religion, and the success of the gospel, that

you put on, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, and gentleness, humbleness

of mind, meekness and long suffering; that you will forbear one another in love. Let your conversation be upon things on which all Christians agree, and beg of God to pour down a spirit of light, of love, and of peace upon us all, that we may grow up in him who is the head in all things.

Sermon on Charity.


DIED 1730.


HEN we consider the power of prejudice,

or readiness to make rash and hasty judgments ; the plausible colours which may be put upon error ; the indisposition of our minds in our fallen state, for the admission of divine truths; when we consider these things, we have reason in most judgments we form, to carry this cautionary thought along with us, that it is posible we may be mistaken. Who is there among us, who is not conscious to himself, that he hath actually been mistaken in many former judgments he hath made of things, even in some wherein once he was very positive ? And certainly this is a good reason why we should carry the thought of our fallibility about with us in our future time. Those indeed who have made the deepest searches, and the most impartial enquiries in every age, hath discovered most mistakes in themselves, and, therefore, have justly entertained the most lively sense of the possibility of their being still mistaken in many things. Now humility in this view, would teach us; not indeed count, to surrender ourselves to the absolute conduct and government of other men, who are fal-, lible as well as we. To this the church of Rome would lead us, but in pretence of infallibility to Jest ourselves upon; though they are neither

upon that


agreed among themselves where to place it, nor give us any proof from scripture, or their own conduct, that such a glorious gift is lodged with them. If any others would lead us to such an implicit faith in their dictates, while they difclaim infallibility, their claim is still more absurd. If our judgments be not so good, or our capacities not so enlarged as our neighbours, yet we are obliged to make the best of them, and to judge for ourselves. We must answer for ourselves to God, in the great day; and, therefore, it can neither be a laudable, or a safe humility, to take our religion from the dictates of any fallible man, or number of men.

Humility will incline us to make all charitable allowances for their failings and defects, when we are conscious of so many of our own—tó censure them with gentleness, to restore them in the Spirit of meekness, and not vauntingly to say to ány, stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou. A lowly mind will consider even the worst of men, as such with whom we partake, in the same nature, the same finful nature ; who are bought with the same price as we; who have an offer of the same fpiritual and eternal blessings, and are at least capable, by the fame grace which hath made us to differ from them, of the fame everlasting happiness.

Sermons on the Christian Temper.

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