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but to both; examines without prejudice, argues without paffion; differs from others with civility and good manners; though mistaken is never obftinate; though fure is never dogmatical; would rather win by perfuafion than prevail by compulfion; preserves a medium and measure in things; avoids every fort of excefs and extravagance; is not even righteous overmuch (as Solomon advifeth); is not over wife; is more for promoting what is equitable, than for adhering to the strictnefs of the law; tempers justice with mercy; foftens severity with candour; is rigid to crimes. but tender of perfons; punishes the offence but pities the offender; and, under the worst of provocations and fufferings, behaves with meeknefs, and patience, and gentlenefs, towards all men. Sermon before the House of Lords.
HENRY TAYLOR, A. M.
VICAR OF PORTSMOUTH.-DIED 1785.
WHAT Procopius fays of Juftinian, was the general notion of the Chriftians for many ages. "He did not believe he was guilty of murder, when he condemned to death thofe who made a profeffion of religion different from his own." But the Chriftians have gone far beyond this, and maffacred the members of their own
churches, merely for differing upon fubjects which neither fide understood! This was what St. John was fo amazed at, when he faw the Chriftian church drunk with the blood of the faints and martyrs of Jefus-And when I faw, fays he, I wondered with great admiration. St. John was not furprized that the Chriftians fhould be perfecuted by the Heathens; for this he had seen before, in the reigns of Nero and Domitian; but that the members of the meek and holy Jefus fhould know fo little of the true fpirit of Chrifiianity as to murder one another, was a matter of the greatest astonishment to him. And yet, in this practical apoftacy from the most effential part of Christianity, their love to one another, the very criterion by which he declares his fubjects fhould be known to belong to him, all fects among them have agreed without exception. Orthodox and heretic, papift and proteftant, churchman and diffenter, all, in their turns, have thought proper to fhew their zeal against the nation-deftroying fin of toleration, as it was called in Cromwell's time; and for fetching the devil out of other men's confciences, have made no fcruple of giving him free entrance into their own, not knowing what firit they were of. Good God! what amazing ignorance, prejudice, and prefumption, that men, frail men, who know not the effence of a blade of grafs, and are liable to overfight, misapprehenfion, and error, upon the
plaineft fubjects, fhould dare to murder and damn their fellow creatures and fellow chriftians, for not agreeing with thern in opinion, about the effence of the Supreme God! O, my foul, come not thou into their fecret-unto their affembly, O, my honour, be not thou united!
To conclude, there have been so many divifions made in the church, fo much ill-blood raifed, and fo many dreadful murders committed, under the pretence of preferving the peace of the church, on both fides of the queftion, upon thefe abftrufe fubjects, in which it is impoffible for men of the greatest learning and piety to be all of a mind-that it is time to return to the plain doctrine, and fpirit of the gofpel, and to understand it, every man for himfelf, with the beft help he can get, as well as he is able, and God will require no more of any man; and fo to become one fold under one Shepherd, and bear with one another's errors and infirmities. For the breach of charity is a more heinous offence in the fight of God, than a thoufand errors upon this, or any other metaphyfical fubject whatsoever.
Ben Mordecai's Apology.
FRANCIS BLACKBURN, A. M.
THE Proteftant religion was called the gospel, in
contraft with the paganish fables, idolatries, and traditions, which made a confiderable and
effential part of the popish system. And happy would it have been for the proteftant cause, had the conductors of it never been known by any name but that of Evangelics, or Gofpellers, by which they were at first distinguished. This would, at least, have reminded them of the impropriety of being divided into fects, from which they adopted fo many different denominations, few of whose peculiarities had any countenance in the facred writings; whence it happened in the end, that what was afferted to glorify the word of God in one fociety, was understood in another to debafe and corrupt it.
Nothing, in our present situation, can be more unworthy of our minifterial calling, than to take. advantage of any personal esteem we may have from our people, or of any wrong notions they may entertain of peculiar gifts and privileges belonging to the clerical character, to inculcate our own private opinions and fentiments on difputable points of doctrine, as matters of faith to be believed on the peril of their falvation. We may, and we ought freely to profess our sentiments, and with a becoming modefty give our reasons why we adopt them; but to fay to the multitude, thus and thus ye must believe, or be shut out of the kingdom of heaven, may amaze and terrify the ignorant and the fearful, and procure an outward affent to what is advanced with fuch affurance; and in
certain circumstances may ferve, perhaps, to gain over numbers to strengthen a fect or a party, but will not add one grain of Christian knowledge, or Chriftian edification to the reasonable mind of the humble hearer, who, whatever may be pretended, is as much intitled to the knowledge of the truth as the ableft of his teachers. True CHRISTIANITY fpeaks another language. Search the fcriptures whether these things are fo. Believe not every fpirit, but try the fpirits whether they are of God? Beware of false prophets. Why even of your felves judge ye not what is right? I speak,.fays the great apoftle of the Gentiles, as to wife men, judge ye what I fay.
Be thefe our rules in our teaching, and be these our inftructions to our hearers. Let us be clothed with the fame moderation, and with the fame humility; and, as far as poffible, prevail with our peo-. ple to make themselves judge, from their own diligent study of the fcriptures, what true Chriftianity is. And let us be affured, that the more we fucceed in thefe exhortations and endeavours; the more fincere believers, and the more true fervants of God we fhall find among them; and what is ftill more, we fhall find more agreement in opinions, more union of affections, and more edification every way among ourselves, than ever yet was produced, or ever will be, either by the terrors or allurements invented by the wisdom of the