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Which two principles will secure us in all our actions, The first is premeditation of thought.
whether they be considered,
The second is, ordering of our words by perti.
1. As true. The folly of a sinner presuming upon nence and brevity of expression.
God's mercy, or relying upon a future repentance. Because prayer prevails upon God, not as it does
Or whether supposed,
with men, by way of information, persuasion, impor-
11. As only probable. No man, in most tempo- | tunity,- an objection to this last anewered. But
ral concerns, acts upon surer grounds than of pro as it is the fulfilling of that condition upon which
bability; and self-preservation will oblige a man to God dispenseth his blessings to mankind, - an ob-
undergo a lesser evil to secure himself from the jection to this removed. As it is most properly an
probability of a greater. Probability supposes that act of dependence upon God; a dependence not
a thing may or may not be ; both which are ex natural, but moral, for else it would belong indiffe-
amined with relation to a future state.
rently to the wicked as well as to the just.
III. As false. Under this supposition, the virtu 1. Premeditation ought to respect, 1. The object
ous walketh more surely than the wicked, with of our prayers, — God, and his divine perfections ;
reference to temporal enjoyments, — reputation, 2. The matter of our prayers, - either things of ab-
quietness, health. Answer to an objection, that solute necessity, as the virtues of a pious life ; or of
many sinners enjoy all these.
unquestionable charity, as the innocent comforts of
Hence we may perceive the folly of atheistical it; 3. The order and disposition of our prayers, by
persons, and learn to walk uprightly, as the best excluding every thing which may seem irreverent,
ground for our present and future happiness. incoherent, and impertinent; absurd and irrational ;
rude, slight, and careless.
Therefore all Christian churches have governed
SERMON XIV.- Page 112.
their public worship by a liturgy, or set form of
prayer. Which way of praying is truly,
To pray by the Spirit ; that is, with the heart, not
hypocritically ; and according to the rules prescribed
“ Henceforth I call you not servants ; for the ser by God's Holy Spirit, not unwarrantably, or by a
vant knoweth not what his lord doeth : but I have pretence to immediate inspiration.
called you friends ; for all things that I have heard Not to stint, but help and enlarge the spirit of
of my father bave I made known unto you." prayer; for the soul being of a limited nature, can-
John, xv. 15.
not at the same time supply two distinct faculties to
the same height of operation ; words are the work
The superlative love of Christ appears in the of the brain ; and devotion properly the business of
several degrees of his kindness to man, - before he the heart, indispensably required in prayer.
was created, when created, when fallen ; whom even Whereas, on the contrary,
he not only spared, but, from the number of subjects, Extempore prayers stint the spirit, by calling off
took into the retinue of his servants, and farther the faculties of the soul from dealing with the heart
advanced to the privilege of a friend. The differ both in the minister and in the peopie. And be-
ence between which two appellations is this,
1. That a servant is, for the most part, 1. Unac They are prone to encourage pride and ostenta-
quainted with his master's designs ; 2. Restrained tion, faction and sedition.
with a degenerous awe of mind; 3. Endued with a II. Brevity of expression, the greatest perfection
of speech ; authorized by both divine and human
II. That a friend is blessed with many privi- examples ; suited best to the modesty, discretion,
neges, - as, 1. Freedom of access; 2. Favourable and respect required in all suppliants; is still farther
construction of all passages ; 3. Sympathy in joy enforced in our addresses to God by these argu-
and grief ; 4. Communication of secrets ; 5. Counsel ments, — 1. That all the reasons for prolixity of
and advice ; 6. Constancy and perpetuity.
speech with men, cease to be so, when we pray to
In every one of which particulars, the excellency God; 2. That there are but few things necessary to
of Christ's friendship shining forth, we may learn be prayed for ; 3. That the person who prays can-
the high advantage of true piety.
not keep up the same fervour and attention in a
long as in a short prayer ; 4. That shortness of
speech is the most natural and lively way of express-
SERMONS XV. XVI.-P. 120.
ing the utmost agonies of the soul ; 5. That we have
examples in Scripture, both of brevity and prolixity
AGAINST LONG EXTEMPORE PRAYERS.
of speech in prayer ; as of brevity in the Lord's
Prayer ; the practice of it in our Saviour himself ;
“ Be not rash with thy mouth, and let not thine the success of it in several instances, - as of the
heart be hasty to utter any thing before God : for leper, of the blind inan, and of the publican; whereas
God is in heaven, and thou upon earth ; therefore the heathens and the pharisees, the grand instances
let thy words be few.” – EccLEs. v. 2.
of idolatry and hypocrisy, are noted for prolixity.
By these rules we may judge, 1. Of our church's
Solomon, having been spoken to by God himself, excellent Liturgy ; for its brevity and fulness, for
and so the fittest to teach us how to speak to God, the frequent opportunity of mentioning the name
here observes to us, that when we are in God's and some great attribute of God; for its alternate
house, we are more especially in his presence ; that responses, which thing properly denominates it a
this ought to create a reverence in our addresses to “ Book of Common-Prayer," for appointing even a
him, and that this reverence consists in the prepa form of prayer before sermons. 2. Of the dissenters'
ration of our thoughts and the government of our prayers, always notable for length and tautology, in-
expressions, two great joint ingredients of prayer.
coherence and confusion.
And, after this comparison, pronounce our
Liturgy the greatest treasure of rational devotion ; the Greeks and Gentiles, whom he charges with an
and pray God would vouchsafe long to continue to inexcusable sinfulness. And the charge contains in
us the use of it.
this, and in the precedent and subsequent verses,
I. The sin, “ that knowing God, they did not
glorify him as God,” (ver. 21,) idolatry; not that
SERMONS XVII. XVIII.-P. 137. kind which worships that for God which is not God;
but which worships the true God by the mediation
OF THE HEINOUS GUILT OF TAKING PLEASURE IN of corporal resemblances.
OTHER MEN'S SINS.
II. The persons guilty of this sin,“ such as pro-
fessed themselves wise," (ver. 22,) not the gnostics,
“Who, knowing the judgment of God, that they but the old heathen philosophers.
which commit such things are worthy of death, III. The cause of that sin,“ holding the truth in
not only do the same, but have pleasure in them unrighteousness,” (ver. 18,) that the truths which
that do them.” — Rom. i. 32.
they were accountable for, viz. 1. The being of a
God ; 2. That he is the maker and governor of the
The sin of taking pleasure in other men's sins is world ; 3. That he is to be worshipped ; 4. That he
not only distinct from, but also much greater than is to be worshipped by pious practices ; 5. That
all those others mentioned in the foregoing catalogue. every deviation from duty is to be repented of ; 6.
To arrive at which pitch of sinning there is a con That every guilty person is obnoxious to punish-
siderable difficulty, because every man has naturally ment, - were by them held in unrigliteousness, (1.)
a distinguishing sense of good and evil, and an in-By not acting up to what they knew ; (2.) By not
ward satisfaction or dissatisfaction after the doing of improving those known principles into proper con-
either, and cannot quickly or easily extinguish this sequences ; (3.) By concealing what they knew.
principle, but by another inferior principle gratified IV. The judgment passed upon them, “ that they
with objects contrary to the former. And conse were without excuse,” (ver 20,) that they were unfit
quently, no man is quickly or easily brought to take not only for a pardon, but even for a plea, - because,
pleasure in his own, much less in other men's sins. 1. The freedom of the will, which they generally
Of which sin,
asserted, excluded them from the plea of unwilling-
I. The causes are, 1. The commission of the same ness ; 2. The knowledge of their understanding ex-
sins in one's own person ; 2. The commission of them cluded them from the plea of ignorance.
against the full conviction of conscience ; 3. The con From all these we may consider, 1. The great
tinuance in them ; 4. The inseparable poor-spirited mercy of God in the revelation of the gospel ; 2. The
ness of guilt, which is less uneasy in company ; 5. deplorable condition of obstinate sipuers under it.
A peculiar unaccountable malignity of nature.
il. The reasons why the guilt of that sin is so
great, are, 1. That there is naturally no motive to
SERMON XX.-P. 161.
tempt men to it ; 2. That the nature of this sin is
boundless and unlimited ; 3. That this sin includes
OF SACRAMENTAL PREPARATION.
in it the guilt of many preceding ones.
III. The persons guilty of that sin are generally “ And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in
such as draw others to it, — particularly, 1. Who hither, not having a wedding garment ?" -- Mart.
teach doctrines, which represent sinful actions either xxii. 12.
as not sinful, or as less sinful than they really are,-
censure of some modern casuists ; 2. Who allure The design of this parable, under the circumstantial
men to sin through formal persuasion or inflaming passages of a wedding's royal solemnity, is to set
objects ; 3. Who affect the company of vicious per forth the free offer of the gospel to the Jews first,
sons; 4. Who encourage others in their sins by and upon their refusal, to the Gentiles. But it may
commendation, or preferment.
be more peculiarly applied to the holy eucharist;
Lastly, the effects of this sin are, 1. Upon parti- which not only by analogy, but with propriety of
cular persons ; that it quite depraves the natural speech, and from the very ceremony of breaking
frame of the heart, – it indisposes a man to repent bread, may very well be called a wedding supper, to
of it, - it grows the more as a man lives longer, — the worthy participation whereof there is indispen-
it will damn more surely, because many are damned sably required a suitable and sufficient preparation.
who never arrived to this pitch ; 2. Upon commu In which these conditions are required, -
nities of men ; that it propagates the practice of any I. That the preparation be habitual.
sin till it becomes national, especially where great II. That it be also actual, - of which the principal
sinners make their dependents their proselytes, and ingredients are, 1. Self-examination ; 2. Repentance;
the follies of the young carry with them the appro 3. Prayer ; 4. Fasting ; 5. Alms-giving ; 6. Chari-
bation of the old. This the reason of the late increase table temper of mind ; 7. Reading and meditation.
The author seems to have designed another dis-
course upon this text, because in this sermon he only
despatches the first part, viz., the necessity of pre-
SERMON XIX.-P. 153.
paration ; but proceeds not to the second, viz., that
God is a severe animadverter upon such as partake
NATURAL RELIGION, WITHOUT REVELATION, SUFFICIENT without such a preparation,
OF THE FATAL IMPOSTURE AND FORCE OF WORDS.
PREVENTION OF SIN AN INVALUABLE MERCY.
The necessity of reflecting frequently upon the great
SERMON XXI.-P. 169.
MIJ. In private interests of particular persons,-
such as calling, 1. Revenge, a sense of honour í 2.
Bodily abstinence, with a demure, affected counte-
nance, piety and mortification ; 3. Unalterable malice,
Samne subject, Sermons LXI. LXII. LXIII. end of constancy ; 4. A temper of mind resolved not to
cringe and fawn, pride, and morosity, and ill-nature ;
and, on the contrary, fiattery and easy simplicity,
“ Wo unto them that call evil good, and good evil.” and good-fellowship, good-nature ; 5. Pragmatical
- Isaiah, v. 20.
meddling with other men’s matters, fitness for busi-
Add to these, the calling covetousness, good
Here a wo is denounced against those, not only in husbandry; prodigality, liberality; justice, cruelty;
particular, who judicially pronounce the guilty inno and cowardice, mercy.
cent, and the innocent guilty ; but in general, who, A general survey and recollection of all that has
by abusing men's minds with false notions, make been said on this immense subject.
evil pass for good, and good for evil. And in the
examination of this vile practice it will be necessary,
1. To examine the nature of good and evil, what
SERMON XXII. - P. 178.
they are, and upon what they are founded, viz., upon
the conformity or unconformity to right reason. Not
upon the opinion, or laws of men ; because then, 1.
The same action under the same circumstances might “ And David said to Abigail, Blessed be the Lord
be both morally good and morally evil ; 2. The laws God of Israel, which sent thee this day to meet
could neither be morally good nor evil; the same me : and blessed be thy advice, and blessed be
action might be, in respect of the divine law com thou, which hast kept me this day from coming to
manding it, morally good ; and of a human, forbid shed blood, and from avenging myself with my
ding it, morally evil. But that the nature of good and own hand.” — 1 SAMUEL, XXV. 32, 33.
evil is founded upon a jus naturale, antecedent to all
jus positirum, may be exemplified in those two moral This is David's retractation of his revenge resolved
duties, towards God and towards one's neighbour. upon an insolent wealthy rustic, who had most un-
II. To shew the way how good and evil operate thankfully rejected his request with railing at his
upon men's minds, viz. by their respective names or person and messengers. From which we may,
1. Observe the greatness of sin-preventing mercy,
III. To shew the mischief arising from the mis Which appears, 1. From the deplorable condition of
application of names. Since, 1. The generality of the sinner, before that mercy prevents him ; 2.
men are absolutely governed by words and names; From the cause of that mercy, which is God's free
and, 2. Chiefly in matters of good and evil, which grace ; 3. From the danger of sin upprevented,
are commonly taken upon trust, by reason of the fre which will then be certainly committed ; and in such
quent affinity between vice and virtue, and of most deliberate commission, there is a greater probability
men's inability to judge exactly of things. Thence that it will not, than that it will be pardoned, because
may be inferred the comprehensive mischief of this every commnission hardens the soul in that sin, and
misapplication, which man is either, 1. deceived, disposes the soul to proceed farther, and it is not in
or 2. misrepresented.
the sinner's power to repent ; 4. From the advan-
Lastly, To assign several instances, wherein those tages of the prevention of sin above those of the
mischievous effects do actually shew themselves. pardon of it, which are the clearness of a man's con-
I. In religion and church, - such as calling, 1. dition, and the satisfaction of his mind.
The religion of the church of England, popery, which II. Make several useful applications. As, 1. To
calumny is confuted from the carriage of the church learn how vastly greater the pleasure is upon the
of Rome towards the church of England, and from forbearance, than in the commission of sin ; 2. To
the church of England's denying the chief articles of find out the disposition of one's heart by this sure
the church of Rome; 2. Schismatics, true protestants, criterion, with what ecstasy he receives a spiri.
against wliom it is proved, that they and the papists tual blessing ; 3. To be content, and thankfully to
are not such irreconcileable enemies as they pretend acquiesce in any condition, and under the severest
to be ; 3. The last subversion of the church, refor- passages of Providence, with relation to health, re-
mation, which mistaken word turned the monarchy putation, and wealth.
into an anarchy ; 4. The execution of the laws, per-
secution, by which sophistry the great disturbers of
our church pass for innocent, and the laws are made SERMONS XXIII. XXIV. - P. 185.
the only malefactors ; 5. Base compliance and half-
conformity, moderation, both in church governors, OF THE NATURE AND MEASURES OF CONSCIENCE.
and civil magistrates. A terrible instance of pulpit
impostors seducing the minds of men.
“ Beloved, if our heart condemn us not, we have
II. In the civil government, (with an apology for confidence toward God.” — 1 John, iii. 21.
a clergyman's treating upon this subject,) such as
calling, 1. Monarchy, arbitrary power ; 2. The It is of great moment and difficulty to be ration
prince's friends, evil counsellors ; 3. The enemies ally satisfied about the estate of one's soul : in which
both of prince and people, public spirits ; malicious weighty concern we ought not to rely upon such
and ambitious designs, liberty and property, and the uncertain rules as these : 1. The general esteem of
rights of the subject. Together with a discovery of the world ; 2. The judgment of any casuist ; 3. The
the several fallacies couched under those words. absolution of any priest ; 4. The external profession
even of a true religion. But a man's own heart and III. This persuasion hath been the foundation of
conscience, above all other things, is able to give great corruptions in religion, namely, Pelagianism,
him confidence towards God. In order to which we and Popery. But though we are not able to meris,
I. How the heart or conscience ought to be in IV. This ought not to discourage our obedience.
formed, namely, By right reason and scripture, and Since, 1. A beggar may ask an alms, which he can-
endeavouring to employ the utmost of our ability to not claim as his due ; 2. God's immutable veracity
get the clearest knowledge of our duty ; and thus to and promise will oblige him to reward our sincere
come to that confidence, which, though it amounts obedience.
Dot to an infallible demonstration, yet is a rational,
II. By what means we may get our heart thus
SERMON XXVI. - P. 214.
informed, namely, 1. By a careful attention to the
dictates of reason and natural morality ; 2. By a
OF THE LIGHT WITHIN US.
tender regard to every pious motion of God's Spirit;
3. By a study of the revealed word of God; 4. By 6 Take heed therefore that the light which is in theo
keeping a frequent and impartial account with our
be not darkness.” – LUKE, xi. 35.
conscience. With this caution, lest either, on the
one side, every doubting may overthrow our confi The light within us, or right reason, is our con-
• dence, or, on the other, a bare silence of conscience science, whose duties are to inform and to oblige ;
raise it too much.
which is capable of being turned into darkness,
III. Whence the testimony of conscience is so very considerable evil, and great danger of falling
authentic, namely, 1. Because it is commissioned to into it. The cause of this light's being darkened is,
this office by God himself. And there is examined I. In general ; every thing which either defiles
the absurdity and impertinence, the impudence and the conscience, or weakens it by putting a bias upon
impiety, of false pretences of conscience ; such par its judging faculty.
ticularly as those of schismatical dissenters, who II. In particular ; every kind and degree of sin,
oppose the solemn usages of our church, the neces considered, 1. In the act ; and thus every commis-
sity of which is founded upon sound reason. 2. sion of any great sin darkens the conscience. 2. In
Because it is quicksighted, tender, and sensible, the habit ; and thus the repeated practice of sin puts
exactly and severely impartial.
out its light. 3. In the principle ; and thus every
IV. Some particular instances, wherein this confi vicious affection perverts the judging, and darkens
dence suggested by conscience exerts itself, namely, the discerning power of conscience. Such as, (1.)
1. In our addresses to God by prayer ; 2. At the Sensuality, by the false pleasures of lust, of intem-
time of some notable sharp trial, – as poverty, perance ; (2.) Covetousness ; (3.) Ambition, or
calumny, and disgrace ; 3. Above all others, at the pride ; and many others besides.
time of death.
Thence a man may learn what he is to avoid,
that he may have a clear, impartial, and right-
SERMON XXV. - P. 205.
“ Can a man be profitable to God ?" - JOB, xxii. 2.
“ But I say unto you, Love your enemies." -
It is an impossible thing for man to merit of God.
Matt. V. 44.
1. Men are naturally prone to persuade them The duty here enjoined by Christ is not opposed
selves they can merit, because, 1. They naturally to the Mosaic law, but to the doctrine of the scribes
place too high a value upon themselves and perfor and pharisees. For the matter of all the command-
mances ; 2. They measure their apprehensions of ments, except the fourth, is of natural, moral right;
God by what they observe of worldly princes ; yet, and there is no addition of any new precepts, but
il. Such a persuasion is false and absurd, because only of some particular instances of duty. An an-
the conditions required in merit are wanting ; swer to some objections concerning the commands
namely, 1. That the action be not due : But man of loving God with all our heart, and laying down
lies under an indispensable obligation of duty to our life for our brother. Then it is proved, that
God by the law of nature, as God's creature, and Christ opposed not Moses's law as faulty or imper-
servant, and by God's positive law. 2. That the fect, but only the comments of the scribes and
action may add to the state of the person of whom pharisees upon or rather against it. Among the
it is to merit : But God is a perfect being, wanting duties here enjoined by Christ, is to love our ene-
no supply, and man is an in considerable creature, mies, by which,
beholden for every thing to every part of the crea I. Negatively, is not meant, 1. A fair deportment
tion. 3. That the action and reward may be of an and amicable language; 2. Fair promises; 3. A few
equal value, which cannot be in the best of our reli kind offices. But,
gious performances, notwithstanding the popish dis 11. Positively, is meant, 1. A discharging the
tinction between merit of condignity and congruity. | mind of all the leaven of malice; 2. The doing all
4. That the action be done by the man's sole power, real offices of kindness, that opportunity shall lay in
without the help of him of whom he is to merit : the way ; 3. The praying for them. All which are
But God worketh in us not only to do, but also to not inconsistent with a due care of defending and
securing ourselves against them,
III. This love of enemies may be enforced by from heathenism, (hiere,) in these words ; towards
many arguments drawn from, 1. Their condition ; the understanding of which we must know,
as they are joined with us in the community of the I. What a weak conscience is ; not that which is
same nature ; or (as it may happen) of the same improperly called tender, but the weakness here
religion ; or as they may be capable, if not of being spoken of is opposed to faith, and implies, 1. The
made friends, yet of being shamed and rendered in ignorance of some action's lawfulness; not wilful,
excusable ; 2. The excellency of the duty itself ; but such an one as is excusable, and the object of
3. The great example of our Saviour, and that of a pity, arising from the natural weakness of the under-
king, upon the commemoration of whose nativity standing, or from the want of opportunity or means
and return this sermon was preached.
of knowledge ; 2. The suspicion of some action's
Lastly, because this duty is so difficult, we ought unlawfulness ; 3. A religious abstinence from the
to beg God's assistance against the opposition which use of that thing, of the unlawfulness whereof it is
flesh and blood will make to it.
ignorant or suspicious.
II. How such a weak conscience is wounded,
namely, 1. By being grieved and robbed of its peace;
SERMON XXVIII. - Page 233.
2. By being imboldened to act against its present
persuasion, either through example, or through a
FALSE FOUNDATIONS REMOVED, AND TRUE ONES LAID. command, with the conjunction of some reward or
penalty, descending from a private or a public per-
“And every one that heareth these sayings of mine,
and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a fool III. We may thence infer, 1. That none having
ish man, which built his house upon the sand : been brought up and long continued in the com-
And the rain descended, and the floods came, and munion of a true church, having withal the use of
the winds blew, and beat upon that house ; and his reason, can justly plead weakness of conscience ;
it fell : and great was the fall of it.” — Matt. vii. 2. That such a weakness can upon no sufficieut
ground be continued in ; 3. That the plea of it ought
not to be admitted in prejudice of the laws, which
Our Saviour teaches us not to build upon a de are framed for the good, not of any particular per-
ceitful bottom, in the great business of our eternal sons, but of the community. For the ill conse-
happiness, but only upon practice and obedience ; quences would be, that there could be no limits
assigned to this plea, nor any evidence of its sin-
I. That is the best and surest foundation, being, cerity, and this would absolutely bind the magis-
1. The only thing that can mend our corrupt nature ; trate's hands. Besides, such pleas are usually
2. The highest perfection of our nature ; 3. The accompanied with partiality, and hypocrisy, such as
main end of religion, as the designs of it in this those of the dissenters, which, upon the foregoing
world are the honour of God, and the advantage of reasons, ought not to be allowed
II. All other foundations are false, - such as,
1. A naked inoperative faith ; 2. The goodness of
the heart and honesty of intention ; 3. Party and
SERMON XXX. - Page 249.
singularity, because the piety of no party can sanctify
its proselytes, and such an adhesion to a party car CHRISTIANITY MYSTERIOUS, AND THE WISDOM OF GOD
ries with it much of spiritual pride in men, who
naturally have a desire of pre-eminence, and a spirit
of opposition to such as are not of their own way. “But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery.”.
Ill. Such false foundations, upon trial, will be sure
1 Cor. ii. 7.
to fall, which is sliewed from, i. The Devil's force
and opposition, which is sudden and unexpected, The apostle's design here is to set forth the tran-
furious and impetuous, restless and importunate ; scendent worth of the gospel by two qualifications
2. The impotence and non-resistance of the soul, eminently belonging to it, namely,-
which is frequently unprepared, weak, and incon 1. That it is the wisdom of God, a wisdom respec-
ting speculation, and here principally relating to
IV. The fall will be very great, being scandalous practice, a wisdom as irresistibly powerful as it is
and diffusive, hardly and very rarely recoverable. infallible,
Therefore no man must venture to build his salva II. That this wisdom is in a mystery, 1. In the
tion upon false and sinking grounds, but only upon nature of the things treated of in the Christian
such terms as God will deal with him, namely, a religion, which are of difficult apprehension for their
greatness, spirituality, strangeness, as may be exem-
plified in two principal articles of it, regeneration,
and the resurrection ; 2. In the ends of it: It is as
SERMON XXIX. - Page 241.
much the design of religion to oblige men to believe
the credenda as to practise the agenda; and there is
A TRUE STATE AND ACCOUNT OF THE PLEA OF A TENDER as clear a reason for the belief of the one, as for the
practice of the other. But their mysteriousness,
(1.) Makes a greater impression of awe; (2.) Humbles
“ But when ye sin so against the brethren, and the pride of men's reason ; (3.) Engages us in a more
wound their weak conscience, ye sin against diligent search ; (4.) Will, when fully revealed, make
Christ.” -I COR, vüi. 12.
part of our happiness hereafter.
Thence we may learn in such important points of
The apostle treateth of a weak conscience in new religion, 1. To submit to the judgment of the whole
converts from Judaism, (in the 14th of Rom.) and church in general, and of our spiritual guides in