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St-KM-nion, is not a work of the Fle/h, but of ^^^the Understanding. Disapproving the opinions of those whom a man sincerely thinks to be in the -wrong, is not a work of the Fle/k, but the necessary Duty of a Christian. The Crimes therefore which St Pcttt/ Ipeaks of, are the presumptuous affecting of worldly Power, and the causing of Strifes and uncharitable Divisions among Christians, by laying the Stress of Religion upon particular distinguistiing Doctrines and Practices, on which our Saviour himself has laid No Stress. These are indeed, Works of the Flesh: These are destructive of That Love and Charity and Christian Temper, which is so fun-^ damental in Religion, that, whosoever wants it, though be bestows all his goods to feed the poor, and though he gives his Body to be burned, yet, the Text tells us, it /hall profit him nothing. The expression is of the lame kind with That in Gal. v. 2, Behold, I Paul fay unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Chris) shall profit you nothing: Circumcision, was in its own Nature a thing of indifference; Circumcision, as he elsewhere tells them, rS

nothing, nothing, and TJncircumciJion is nothing. Serm. But is they forced it upon the Gentile XIV. Converts as a Necejsary part of Chrijli-*^^* anity, This was a destroying of Charity and their Religion (hedeclares) would be in vain.

2.dly, From what has been above faid concerning the true Nature and Spirit of Christianity, we may easily answer That Question usually put by those of the Church of Rome j Where was the Reformed Religion: before the Times of the Reformers t The Answer is: 'Twas Then, just where it is Now, even in the Gospel of Clmjl; studied and obeyed by all Sincere Followers of Truth and Charity Which Rule, whosoever in Any Age, or in Any Country of the World, has walked by j That person was a true Disciple of Christ: And whosoever follows any Other Rule, is in No Age and in No Country a good Christian. Gal. vi. 16, As many as walk according to This Rule, Peace be on them, and Mercy, and upon the .srael of God. For wheresoever two or three are gathered together in the Name of Chris, (whether they be two or three Y 2 thousands,

Ser M. thousands, or two or three Jingle persons; ^IV- There {fays our Lord ) am I in the midst of them.

^dly, From what has been above faid, we may easily understand in what Sense it is, that Zeal and Moderation are Both of them in Scripture equally recommended as Virtues. When the Question is concerning things indifferent in their own nature, concerning matters of Party and Divisions among Men, concerning any DoSlrines or Practices of Human Appointment; then the Rule is, Let yow Moderation be known unto all men, Phil, iv. 15: And Epbes. iv. 2, With all ImvHness and meekness, with long-suffering, for* bearing one another in Love. But when the matter in question is a Moral Virtue^ or a plain and express Command of God; Then, 'tis good to be zealously affefted always in a good thing, Gal. iv. 18. For Christians, are to be a people zealous of good Works, Tit. ii. 14. And to be careless dr indifferent in the cause of Virtue and Righteousness, is being in the case of the Church of Laodicea; Rev. ill. i3>' know thy Works, that thou art neither cold nor hot; I would thou inert cold or hot; So Se R M. then, because thou art luke-warm, and mi- *' ther cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of^^^ my Mouth. In matters of Party and Factions; in questions relating to the Powers and to the Doctrines of Men; God knows, men are apt to be Hot enough: But for enquiring impartially after the Knowledge of 'Truth, and for promoting the Practice of universal Righteousness and Charity; 'twere well if the Warmest among Christians in these corrupt Ages, were in their Zeal even so much as lukewarm.

qtbly and Lastly, From what has been faid, we may learn the true Meaning of that Exhortation of St Paul, 1 Cor. i. 10,1 beseech you, brethren, by the Name of

our Lord Jesus Christ, that there be no

divisions among you, but that ye be perfectly joined together in the fame mind, and in the same judgment. His Meaning is not, that they must be all exactly of one opinion in every thing: For such an Unity cannot possibly arise, but eidier from perfect and infallible Knowledge, which is not attainable in This World; or from Y 3 gross

S E R M.gross Ignorance and Darkness which is an effect of great Corruption. But the plain

^^"^ meaning of St Paul is, that they ought to be joined together in the same charitable mind, and in the same charitable judgment towards each other, notwithstanding any differences in Opinion. Thus he expressly explains himself, Rom. xv. 5, God grant you to be like-minded one towards another: He does not fay, like-minded or of like judgment, concerning Things For That's in no man's Power: But likeminded, or alike well-affe£iioned, towards each Other's Persons. So likewise, Ephjv. 3, Endeavouring to keep the Unity of the Spirit, in the Bond of Peace: And how was That to be done? Was it by compelling men to pretend that they Ail think alike? No: For this, instead of Unity of Spirit in the Bond of Peace, is indeed nothing else, but either Unity of Opinion in the Bond of Ignorance, or Unity of Practice in the Bond of Hypocrisy. But the Apostle's meaning is, Keep the Unity of the ir pirit, With all lowliness ( fays he ) and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love. Again:

Phil.

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