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his credit and good name, as in his other goods, (for they perhaps may be as much valued by him, may really be of as much consequence to him, as any thing that he
bath ;) which bindeth us to abstain from hurting him, as Prov. x. 12. well in word as in deed; how oppofite they are to cha1 Cor. xiii.
rity, which obligeth us to think the best of our neighbour, and to endeavour that others also may do so; to conceal his real faults and blemishes; much more not to devise and affix false ones to him, not to gather and disperse ill reports to his prejudice; of how mischievous
consequence also they are, breeding ill-will, and sowing Prov. xvi. strife in all societies both public and private, (even sepa
rating chief friends, as the Wise Man telleth us,) common sense and experience do shew: they consequently must be very odious in the fight of God, who loveth the peace and welfare of men; and very offensive to men, who do the mischiefs springing from them.
To this law may be reduced our obligations to be can
did in our opinions and discourses concerning others, (aci Cor, xiii. cording to St. Paul's excellent description of charity ;) to
forbear all rash and harsh censure, as you know our Saviour in his most divine sermon on the Mount chargeth us; to be veracious, sincere, and faithful in all our con
versation ; which duties are so often taught and pressed Levit. xix. in both Testaments: Ye Mall not, saith the Law, steal, nor y deal falsely, nor lie one to another; and, To walk upright
ly, and work righteousness, and speak the truth from his
heart, are the first lineaments in the good man's character Zech. viii. drawn by the Pfalmist; and, These are the things ye fhall
do, faith God in the Prophet; Speak ye every man the
truth to his neighbour ; execute the judgment of truth and Eph. iv. 25. peace in your gates : and in the New Testament, To lay
01. I. 9. afde lying, to speak the truth every man with his neigh1 Pet. ii. 1. Vour ; to lay afde all malice, all guile, all hypocrises, en
vyings, and backbitings, are apostolical commands.
11. Plal. x
Chou Chalt not covet thy Neighbour's House ; thoux. Com
fhalt not cover thp Neighbour's "Wife ; nor his" Pan-servant, noz His Paid-servant, noz His Dr, noy his Als, noz anp thing that is thy Neighbour's.
· THIS law is comprehensive and recapitulatory, as it were, of the rest concerning our neighbour, prescribing universal justice toward him; (whence St. Mark, it seems, meaneth to render it in one word, by un ános teprons, de- Mark x.19. prive not, or bereave not your neighbour of any thing ;) and this not only in outward deed and dealing, but in inward thought and desire, the spring whence they do issue forth, (for, from the heart, as our Saviour teacheth, do proceed Matt. xv. evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefis, falfe-'s witness, blasphemies;) we are obliged to be so far from depriving our neighbour of any good thing belonging to him, that we are not so much as to wish or desire it; not only to abstain from injurious action, but to repress covetous inclinations: wherein is also implied, that we should have a delight and complacence in our neighbour's good; not envying him any enjoyment; being in our minds content with the portion God pleaseth to vouchsafe us; and entirely trusting in him, that he will supply us with what is needful or befitting to us, without the damage of our neighbour. Thus God's law is, as St. Paul observed, Spi- Rom. vii. ritual ; not only restraining exterior acts, but regulating": our inmost thoughts, quelling all inordinate appetites and affections of heart within us; the which may be extended so as to respect not only matters of justice toward our neighbour, but all objects whatever of our practice; so as to import that which in the Christian law is so fre-,
Rom. ii. 29. quently enjoined us, as the life of our religion, circum- Phil. iii. 3.
cond Col. ii. 11. cihng our heurts, crucifying the flesh with its pasions and defres, mortifying our earthly members, putting to death Rom. vi. 6.
Col. iii. s. by the Spirit the deeds of the body, putting off the old man, ji: which is corrupted according to the deceitful lufs : Qúx &To-Eph. iv. 22.
1. v. 24.
Junjo sis, Thou shalt not unlawfully or irregularly defre, doth, according to the spiritual intent, import all this.
I have done; and shall only add, that the sum and end of these, and all other good laws, of all religion, and all
our duty, is (as we often are taught in the New Testa1 Tim. i. 5. ment) comprised in those two rules, of loving God with
all our heart, and loving our neighbour as ourselves ; seriously and honestly attending unto which, we can hardly fail of knowing what in any cafe our duty is : it remains that we employ our best care and endeavour on the conscientious practice thereof; imploring therewith the affistance of God's grace, and that good Spirit, which God hath most graciously promised to those who duly ask it, by which alone we can be enabled to keep God's commandments: to him be all glory and praise. Amen.
It is a peculiar excellency of our religion, that it doth Cypr. Ep. not much employ men's care, pains, and time, about mat- 76. ters of ceremonial observance; but doth chiefly (and in a manner wholly) exercise them in works of substantial duty, agreeable to reason, perfective of man's nature, productive of true glory to God, and solid benefit to men. Its defign is not to amuse our fancies with empty shows, nor to take up our endeavours in fruitless performances; but to render us truly good, and like unto God; first in interior difposition of mind, then in exterior practice; full of hearty love and reverence to God, of tender charity and goodwill toward men; of moderation and purity in the enjoyment of these things; of all true piety and virtue ; whereby we may become qualified for that life of bliss which it tendereth and promiseth; for conversation in that holy society above, to which it designeth and calleth us. Yet because fancy is naturally a medium, and an It hath, effe&ual instrument of action; and because sensible ob- especially
upon vul. jects are apt strongly to affect our minds ; it hath pleased gar and the divine Wisdom to apply them, in fit measure, and to minds, a sanctify them to those good purposes, by appointing some strong effifew solemn and significant rites to be observed by us, being in their own nature proper and useful, and by God designed to declare his mind and gracious intents to us; to confign and convey his grace into our souls, to confirm
our faith in him, to raise our devotion toward him, to quicken our resolutions of obeying his will; to enable and excite us to the pra&ice of those great duties which he requireth of us ; a Our Lord Jesus Chris, faith St. Austin, hath subjected us to his gentle yoke and light l'urden; whence, with facraments most few in number, most easy for observance, most excellent in fignification, he bound together the society of new people : and, The mercy of God, faith he again, would have religion free, by the celebration of a most few and most clear facraments.
Of these there appear two (and St. Austin in the place cited could instance in no more) of general and principal use, instituted by our Lord himself; which, because they represent to us somewhat not subject to sense, and have a secret influence upon us ; because what is intended by them is not immediately discernible by what is done, without some explication, (their fignificancy being not wholly grounded in the nature, but depending upon arbitrary institution, as that of words, which is of kin to them; whence St. Austin calls a sacrament, Verbum vi. fibile,) have usually been called mysteries, (that is, actions of a close and occult importance, of deeper meaning and design than is obvious to ordinary perception;) and thence are also called sacraments, for no other reason, I conceive, than because the ancientest translators of the Bible into Latin did usually render the word uusupov by the word Sacramentum ; whence every thing containing under it
somewhat of abstruse meaning is by ancient writers termExod. xii. ed a sacrament. (So Tertullian calls all Christianity the
.; facrament of Christian religion; and Elisha's ax he calls Sacramenti natura di- the sacrament of wood; and St. Austin speaks of the faserte et
crament of bread, of fish, of numbers, of the rock, &c. In primitur. short, he says of all signs, that when they belong to divine
• Dominus nofter leni jugo suo nos fubdidit, et sarcinæ levi; unde facramentis numero pauciffimis, observatione facillimis, fignificatione præftantirfimis societatem novi populi colligavit : ficut eft baptismus Trinitatis nomine consecratus, communicatio corporis et fanguinis ipfius ; et fi quid aliud in Scripturis canonicis commendatur, &c. Ep. 118. Religionem pauciffimis et manifeftiffimis celebrationum sacramentis misericordia Dei libcram effe voluit. ld. Ep. 119.