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but ro both; examines without prejudice, argues without passion; differs from others with civility and good manners; though mistaken is never obstinate; though sure is never dogmatical; would rather win by persuasion than prevail by compulsion; preserves a medium and measure in things; avoids every fort of excess and extravagance; is not even righteous overmuch (as Solomon adviseth); is not over wife; is more for promoting what is equitable, than for adhering to the strictness of the law; tempers justice with mercy; softens severity with candour; is rigid to crimes but tender of persons; punishes the offence but pities the offender; and, under the worst of provocations and sufferings, behaves with meekness, and patience, and gentleness, towards all men. Sermon before the House of Lords.
HENRY TAYLOR, A. M.
VICAR OF PORTSMOUTH.—DIED 1785.
"II7"HAT Procopius fays of Justinian, was the .. general notion of the Christians for many
ages. "He did not believe he was guilty of murder, when he condemned to death those who made a profession of religion different from his own." But the Christians have gone far beyond this, arid massacred the members of their own churches, merely for differing upon subjects which neither side understood! This was what St. John was so amazed at, when he faw the Christian church drunk with the blood of the faints and martyrs of Jesus—And when I saw, says he, I wondered with great admiration. St. John was not surprized that the Christians sliould be persecuted 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 Jesus should know so little of the true spirit of Christianity as to murder one another, was a matter of the greatest astonishment to him. And yet, in this practical apostacy from the most essential part of Christianity, their love to one another, the very criterion by which he declares his subjects sliould be known to belong to him, all sects among them have agreed without exception. Orthodox and heretic, papist and protestant, churchman and dissenter, all, in their turns, have thought proper to shew their zeal against the nation-desiroying Jin of toleration, as it was called in Cromwell's time; and for setching the devil out of other men's consciences, have made no scruple of giving him free entrance into their own, not knowing what spirit they were oj'. Good God! what amazing ignorance, prejudice, and presumption, that men, frail men, who know not the essence of a blade of grass, and are liable to oversight, mifapprehension, and error, upon the plainest subjects, should dare to murder and damn their sellow creatures and sellow christians, for not agreeing with them in opinion, about the essence of the Supreme God! O, my soul, come not thou into their secret—unto their assembly, O, my honour, be not thou united!
To conclude, there have been so many divisions made in the church, so much ill-blood raised, and so many dreadful murders committed, under the pretence of preserving the peace of the church, on both sides of the question, upon these abstruse subjects, in which it is impossible 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 spirit of the gospel, and to understand it, every man for himself, with the best help he can get, as well as he is able, and God will require no more of any man; and so 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 sight of God, than a thoufand errors upon this, or any other metaphysical
Ben Mordecai's apology-.
FRANCIS BLACKBURN, A. M.
ARCHDEACON OF CLEVELAND.—DIED 1787.
"T^HE Protestant religion was called the gospel, in
contrast with the paganisli fables, idolatries,
and traditions, which made a considerable and essential part of the popish system. And happy would it have been for the protestant cause, had the conductors of it never been known by any name but that of Evangelics, or Gospellers, by which they were at first distinguished. This would, at least, have reminded them of the impropriety of being divided into sects, from which they adopted so many different denomincitions, few of whose peculiarities had any countenance in the sacred writings; whence it happened in the end, that what was asserted to glorify the word of God in one .society, was understood in another to debase and corrupt it.
Nothing, in our present situation, can be more unworthy of our ministerial 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 sentiments on disputable points of doctrine, as matters of faith to be believed on the peril of their salvation. We may, and we ought freely to profess our sentiments, and with a becoming modesty 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 assent to what is advanced with such assurance; and in certain circumstances may serve, perhaps, to gain over numbers to strengthen a sect or a party, but will not add one grain of Christian knowledge, or Christian 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 ablest of his teachers. True ChrisTianity speaks another language. Search the scriptures whether these things are so. Believe not every spirit, but try the s/iirlts whether they are of God? Beware of false prophets. Why even of yourselves judge ye not what is right f I speak,.fays the great apostle of the Gentiles, as to wise men, judge ye what I Jay.
Be these our rules in our teaching, and be theft our instructions to our hearers. Let us be clothed with the fame moderation, and with the fame humility; and, as far as possible, prevail with our people to make themselves judge, from their own diligent study of the scriptures, what true Chriflianity is. And let us be assured, that the more we succeed in these exhortations and endeavours; the more sincere believers, and the more true servants of God we shall find among them; and what is still more, we shall 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