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GILBERT BURNET, D. D.
BISHOP OF SALISBURY.-DIED 1717.
WITH refpect to love and charity, as our
Saviour was the greatest pattern of doing good for evil, both in life and death, fo he carried the precept higher than any religion ever did. Love is the badge of Chriftianity, and when once this holy religion fpreads its influence into the foul, it not only becomes fo inwardly mollified into that tenderness and compaffion, as to make all fuch fincerely love those who are truly good, but it also begets in them great piety, and a merciful difpofition, even towards enemies, or those who are in error; all cruelty, and fournefs of temper, the great engines and inflruments to fupport all falfe religions, is fo foftened and mitigated, that St. Paul, who was a fierce perfecutor while he was a zealous Jew, became a wonderful inftance of gentlenefs when this Spirit of Chrift was formed in him; a true Chriftian is peaceable, mild, and eafy to be entreated. Piety towards God, and holiness of life, are to be found in other religions, but an univerfal charity, and brotherly kindness, are peculiar to our most holy faith; so that, as far as any church, or fort of men, depart from the rules of truth and goodness, so far they fall from the Spirit of Christ, and bear the character of the lapfed apoftate fpirit, who was a liar,
and a murderer from the beginning. Hence may every one make a judgment of the fpirit that moves and appears in the conduct of any church, whether it be a spirit of truth and goodness, or of falsehood and cruelty; the former is the Spirit of Chrift, the latter must be the spirit of the devil, and of antichrift.
It is a clear evidence of a very ill religion, when men, by its influences, become really worse, and more fiercely brutal, than if they were not under the restraint and government of any religion And what can be a more manifest proof of an ill religion than this? But I am forry to find, that too many among us are alfo deeply tinctured with the fame cruel fpirit. It is true, this is a perfonal fault, for no part of our doctrine gives it any countenance or encouragement; on the contrary, to hate any man, to rejoice in executions, to infult or ufe ill any that are in mifery, or to endeavour their ruin, because of their religion, are all fuch fymptoms of a popish and perfecuting fpirit, that it is our flame not to leave thefe things entirely to them. We ought to pity the feduced or mistaken, and endeavour to reclaim them by reafon, and the force of truth, by our gentlenefs and tenderness towards them: this is moft agreeable to that just and merciful religion we profess.
There is only one, and that the main thing which we want ; namely, the true Spirit of Chrift,
to animate us in the practice of his religion, without which it is dead, even as the body is dead without the foul that quickens it. What can all notions and opinions, however true, all forms and customs, however harmless or useful they be, avail us, without fuch an internal fense of religion as fubdues and reforms our natures, and governs us in the course of our lives. All the reft will fignify nothing, but aggravate our condemnation; for that, having known our mafter's will, we have not done it. This, of all things, is most likely to provoke God to give us up; for, though God is long suffering, flow to wrath, and unwilling to deliver us up to those who are both his and our enemies, yet, if we continue still to provoke him by our wicked lives, all our pretended zeal for this holy religion will only tend to precipitate
Sermon on Popery.
ROBERT LUCAS, D. D.
PREBENDARY of WESTMINSTER.-DIED 1715.
AS virtue is the perfection of human life, fo
is action the perfection of virtue, and zeal is that principle of action which I require in a faint of God. Need I here diftinguish this zeal from the fierceness of faction, the cruelty of fuperftition, from the wakeful and indefatigable activity
of avarice and ambition, from the unruly heats of pride and paffion, and from the implacable fury of revenge? It needs not; no foolish, false, fantastic, earthly, or devilish principle, can counterfeit a divine zeal. 'Tis a perfection that fhines with fuch a peculiar luftre, with fuch an heavenly majesty and sweetness, that nothing elfe can imitate it; 'tis always pursuing good, the honour of God, and the happiness of man. It contends earnestly for the faith once delivered to the faints; but it contends, as earnestly too, to root out wickedness and implant the righteousness of the gospel in the world. It is not eager for the articles of a fect or party, and unconcerned for catholic ones. When it preffes for reformation it begins at home, and fets a bright example of what it would recommend to others. 'Tis meek and gentle under its own affronts, but warm and bold against thofe which are offered to God. In a word, though love fill its fails, divine wisdom and prudence give it ballaft; and it has no heat but what is tempered and refracted by charity and humility.
Need I fix or state the various degrees of zeal? Alas! it is not requifite; zeal being nothing elfe but an ardent thirst of promoting the divine. glory by the best works. 'Tis plain the more excellent the work, and the more it coft, the more perfect, the more exalted the zeal that performs it. In a word, zeal is nothing else but the love of
God made perfect in us.
And if we would fee
it drawn to the life, we muft contemplate it in the bleffed JESUS, who is the perfect pattern of heroic love. How boundless was his love, when the whole world, and how transcendant, when a world of enemies was the object of it! How indefatigable was his zeal! how wakeful! how meek how humble! how firm and refolved! His labours and travels, his felf-denial, prayers and tears; his filence and patience; his agony and blood, and charitable prayers, poured out with it for his perfecutors, inftruct us fully what divine love, what divine zeal is. And now, even at this time, love reigns in him as he reigns in heaven: love is ftill the predominant, the darling paffion of his foul. Worthy art thou, O Jefus, to receive honour, and glory, and dominion! Worthy art thou to fit down with thy Father on his throne! Worthy art thou to judge the world, because thou haft loved, becaufe thou haft been zealous unto death, because thou haft overcome! Some there are, indeed, who have followed thy bright example, though at a great distance. First; martyrs and confeffors: next; thofe beloved and admired princes who have governed their kingdom in righteoufnefs; to whom the honour of God, and the good of the world, have been far dearer than pleasure, than empire, than abfolute power, or that ominous blaze that is now called glory. And next follow !—