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God will). But my guilty friends are offended with me for what I have done. I dare not, therefore, be silent, as being the officer and ambassador of Christ, and not of men; God spoke effectually against them by those wondrous monsters in New England. But wonders are overlooked where the heart is hardened, and God intends to get his justice a name. The fearful delusions that God hath formerly given them over to, and the horrid confusion which they have introduced where they have sprung, hath spoken fully against both these latter sects. The weeping eyes, the bleeding sides, the lacerated members, of these churches; the reproached Gospel, the disappointed reformation, the hideous doctrines, and unheard-of wickedness that hath followed them ; the contemned ordinances, the reproached, slandered, and ejected ministers; the weak that are scandalised, the professors apostatised, the wicked hardened, and the open enemies of the Gospel that now insult: all these do ascribe them more plainly to England than words can do, and cry loud in the ears of God and man. What will be the answer, time will show : but, from Rev. ii. 14–16, 20–22, &c., we may probably conjecture.
6. Above all, see that you be followers of peace and unity, both in the church, and among yourselves. Remember what I taught you on Heb. xii. 14. He that is not a son of peace, is not a son of God. All other sins destroy the church consequentially, but division and separation demolish it directly. Building the church is but an orderly joining of the materials ; and what then is disjoining, but pulling down? Many doctrinal differences must be tolerated in a church. And why, but for unity and peace? Therefore, disunion and separation is utterly intolerable. Believe not those to be the churches’ friends that would cure and reform her, by cutting her throat. Those that say, no truth must be concealed for peace, have usually as little of the one as the other. Study Gal. i. 2; Rom. xiv. 1, &c.; Acts xxi. 24, 26; 1 Tim. i. 4, and vi. 4 ; Tit. iii. 8, 9. I hope, sad experience speaks this lesson to your very hearts, if I should say nothing. Do not your hearts bleed to look upon the state of England; and to think how few towns or cities there be, where is any forwardness in religion, that are not cut into shreds, and crumbled as to dust, by separations and divisions ? To think what a wound we have hereby given to the very christian name. How we have hardened the ignorant, confirmed the doubting; and are ourselves become the scorn of our enemies, and the grief of our friends; and how many of our dearest, best esteemed friends are fallen to notorious pride or impiety; yea, some to be worse than open infidels; these are pillars of salt, see that you remember them. You are yet eminent for your unity, steadfastness, and godliness; hold fast that you have, that no man take your crown from you; temptations are now come near your doors, yet many of you have gone through greater, and, therefore, I hope, will escape through these. Yet, lest your temptation should grow stronger, let me warn you, that though of your own selves men should arise speaking perverse things, to draw disciples after them; (Acts xx. 30;) yea, though an angel from heaven should draw you to division, see that you follow him not, If there be erroneous practices in the church, keep yourselves innocent with moderation and peace; do your best to reform them, and rather remove your dwellings, if you cannot live innocently, than rend the church. It must be no small error that must force a separation. Justin, a holy, learned martyr, (in Dialog, cum Triphone,') who was converted within thirtyone years of John's death, and wrote his first Apology within fifty-one, (and therefore it is like he saw John's days,) professeth, that if a Jew should keep the ceremonial law, so he did not persuade the Gentiles to it as necessary, yet if he acknowledge Christ, he judgeth that he may be saved ; and he would embrace him, and have communion with him, as a brother. And Paul would have him received that is weak in the faith, and not unchurch whole parishes of those that we know not, nor were ever brought to a just trial. You know I never conformed to the use of mystical, symbolical rites myself, but only to the determination of circumstantials necessary in genere: and yet, I ever loved a godly, peaceable conformist, better than a turbulent nonconformist. I yet differ from many in several things of considerable moment, &c.h As my “Aphorisms of Justification,'
h of which I may say, as famous Camero: Etsi non spondebam fore ut omnibus arrideret, attamen nunquam veritus sum nequis piorum eo offenderetur, quasi is causam adversariorum juvaret. Nam nullus inde quicquam potuit exculpere, quod causæ quam agebam, obesset, et is sic institutus est, ut ubique sententiam adversarii non modo petat, sed feriat etiam et jugulet. Quod siquis eum parum aptum et concinnum judicet, ego quidem certe id neque indignor, neque doleo, ut qui sciam probe, quam sit æquum et rationi consentaneum, ut sint in hoc genere libera hominum judicia. Tantum id peto (quod à bonis viris impetraturum me facile confido) ne hic obruar præju. diciis, neu me quis nisi admonitum et vi veritatis victum, neque cedentem tamen existimet damnandum. Utinam me sic vobis purgarim! Quod si cui vestrum ullus adhuc hæret scrupulus, mihi rem fecerit et pergratam, et apprime utilem; si mecum volet aperte agere, mihique vel agnoscendi errorem
show (as is explained in my . Confession'). And yet if I should zealously press my judgment on others, so as to disturb the peace of the church, and separate from my brethren, that are contrary minded, I should fear lest I should prove a firebrand in hell, for being a firebrand in the church; and for all the interest I have in your judgment and affections, I here charge you, that if God should give me up to any factious, church-rending course, against which I daily pray, that you forsake me, and follow me not a step.
And for peace with one another, follow it with all your might; If it be possible, as much as in you lieth, live peaceably with all men, (Rom. xii. 18.) Mark this : when you feel any sparks of discontent in your breast, take them as kindled by the devil from hell, and take heed you cherish them not. If the flames begin to break forth in censoriousness, reproaches, and hard speeches of others, be as speedy and busy in quenching it, as if it were fire in the thatch of your houses : for why should your houses be dearer to you than the church, which is the house of God? Or than your souls, which are the temples of the Holy Ghost ? If any heart-burnings arise, do not keep strange, but go together and lovingly debate it, or pray together, that God would reconcile you; or refer the matter to your minister, or others; and let not the sun go down on your wrath; hath God spoken more against any sin than unpeaceableness? If you forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive you, which made Ludovicus Crocius say, that this is the measure and essential property of the least degree of true faith, “Syntag:' lib. iv. c. 16. If you love not each other, you are no disciples ei, vel tuendæ atque illustrandæ veritatis copiam facere, prolatis rationibus ac testiinouiis S. Scripturæ, quibus vel cedere, si contra me faciunt vel si minus, respondere queam.-Camer. in Epist. Resp. ad Theol. Leidens. Oper. fol. p. 716, vel ut Augustin. “Sicut lectorem meum nolo mihi esse deditum, ita correctorem polo sibi. Dle me non amet amplius quam catholicam (fidem : iste se non amet amplius quam catholicam) veritatem. Sicut illi dico, noli meis literis quasi Scripturis Canonicis in servire ; sed in illis et quod non credebas, cum inveneris, incunctanter crede, iu istis autem, quod certum non habebas, nisi certum intellexeris, noli firmiter retinere. Ita illi dico; noli meas literas ex tua opinione vel contentione, sed ex divina lectione, vel iuconcussa ratione corrigere. Si quid in eis veri comprehenderis, existendo non est nieum : at intelligendu, et amando, et tuum sit, et meum. (Siquid autem falsi conviceris errando fuerit meum.) Sed jam cavendo nec tuum sit vec meum."-Aug. Proem. I. 3. de Trin. This is all I desire of the readers of my writings; Hoc erga me omnes observare vellem, quod erga te ipse servavi; ut quicquid improbanduin pulant in scriptis meis, nec claudant subdolo pectore, nec ita reprebendant apud alios, ut taceant apud me.--Aug. Epist. ad Hieron. inter opera. Hieron, tom. iii. fol.164. (edit. Amerbach.)
of Christ; nay, if you love not your enemies, and bless not them that curse you, and pray not for them that hurt and persecute you, you are no children of God. The wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, easy to be entreated, &c. (Jam. iii. 17.) O remember that piercing example of Christ, who washed his disciples' feet, to teach us, that we must stoop as low to one another. Sure, God doth not jest with you in all these plain Scriptures. I charge you, in the name of Christ, if you cannot have peace otherwise, that you suffer wrongs and reproaches, that you go and beg peace of those that should beg it of you; yea, that you beg it on your knees of the poorest beggar, sather than lose it. And remember, Rom. xvi. 17, 18.
7. Above all, be sure you get down the pride of your hearts. Forget not all the sermons I preached to you against this sin. No sin more natural, more common, or more deadly. A proud man is his own idol ; only from pride cometh contention. There is no living in peace with a proud person; every disrespect will cast them into a fever of discontent. If once you grow wise in your own eyes, and love to be valued and preferred, and love those best who think highest of you, and have secret heartrisings against any that disregard you, or have a low esteem of you, and cannot endure to be slighted, or spoke evil of; never take yourselves for Christians, if this be your case. To be a true Christian without humility, is as hard, as to be a man without a soul. O, poor England, how low art thou brought by the pride of ignorant zealots ! Dear friends, I can foretell you, without the gift of prophecy, that if any among you do fall from the truth, mark which is the proudest, that cannot endure to be contradicted, and that vilify others, and those will likely be they ; and if ever you be broken in pieces, and ruined, pride will be the cause.
8. Be sure you keep the mastery over your Aesh and senses. Few ever fall from God, but flesh-pleasing is the cause; many think that by “flesh” the Scripture means our in-dwelling sin, when, alas! it is the inordinate, sensitive appetite that it chargeth us to subdue. Nothing in the world damneth so many as fleshpleasing, while inen generally choose it as their happiness instead of God. O remember who hath said, “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die," and, “ Make no provision for the flesh, to satisfy its desires.” (Rom. viii. 5—7, and xiii. 14.) Think of this when you are tempted to drunkenness, and gluttony, and lustfulness, and worldliness; and when you would fain have your dwellings
and states more delightful. You little think what a sin it is, even to please your flesh, further than it tends to help you in the service of God.
9. Make conscience of the great duty of reproving and exhorting those about you : make not your souls guilty of the oaths, ignorance, and ungodliness, of others, by your silence. Admonish them lovingly and modestly, but be sure you do it, and that seriously. This is the first step in discipline. Expect not that your minister should put any from the sacrament, whom you have not thus admonished once and again. Punish not before due process.
10. Lastly: be sure to maintain a constant delight in God, and a seriousness and spirituality in all his worship. Think it not enough to delight in duties, if you delight not in God. Judge not of your duties by the bulk and number, but by the sweetness. You are never stable Christians till you reach this. Never forget all those sermons I preached to you on Psalm xxxvii. 4. Give not way to a customary dulness in duty : do every duty with all thy might: especially, be not slight in secret prayer and meditation. Lay not out the chief of your zeal upon externals, and opinions, and the smaller things of religion. Let most of your daily work be upon your hearts : be still suspicious of them; understand their mortal wickedness, and deceitfulness, and trust them not too far. Practise that great duty of daily watching : pray earnestly that you be not led into temptation. Fear the beginnings and appearances of sin. Beware lest conscience once lose its tenderness. Make up every breach between God and your conscience betime. Learn how to live the life of faith, and keep fresh the sense of the love of Christ, and of your continued need of his blood, Spirit, and intercession; and how much you are beholden and engaged to him. Live in constant readiness and expectation of death, and be sure to get acquainted with this heavenly conversation which
i Fateor insitam esse nobis corporis nostri charitatem. Fateor pos hujus gerere tutelam. Nec nego iodulgendum illi, serviendum nego. Multis enim serviet, qui corpori servit, qui pro illo nimium timet, qui ad illud omnio refert; sic gerere nos debemus, uon tanquam propter corpus vivere debeamus, sed tanquam non possimus sine corpore. Hujus nos nimius amor rimoribus inquietat, solicitudinibus onerat, contumeliis objicit. Honestum ei vile est, cui corpus nimium charum est. Agatur ejus diligentissima cura ; ita tamen ut cum exiget ratio, cuni dignitas, cum fides, mittendum in ignem sit.- Senecu Epist. xii. p. 543. Happy were many a Christian if they had learned this lessun which an infidel teacheth them.