Page images
PDF
EPUB

more at home, and sweep our own doors, before we look abroad and complain of the Foulness of others. In a word, let us abstain from all rash and hard Censures of others, and let us judg and condemn our selves; and then we shall not be judg'd or condemnd of the Lord: which God grant, &i.

[merged small][ocr errors]

DI S C Ô U R S E XX.
The Epistle for the Fifth Sunday after

Trinity.

1 Pet. iii. 3—iği Be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of anos

ther : Love as Brethren, be pitiful, be courteous ; not rendring Evil for Evil, or Railing for Railing, but contrariwise Blessing : knowing that thereanto called, that ye foould inherit a Blessing; &c.

je are

W

E are taught in the Collect for this Day to befeech

Almighty God, that the Course of this World

may be so peaceably order'd by his Governance; that the Church niay joyfully serve him in all godly Quietness. To effect or bring this to pass,

The Epistle for this Day prescribes this excellent Advice to that end, Be ye all of one mind : signifying to us, that Unity of Mind and Judgment is the best means to preserve the Peace of the Church and all godly Quietness; and likewise that Diversity of Opinions is the main cause of all the Discord and Confusion that happens in it. And therefore St. Paul, in his last Advice to the Corinthians, joins them both together'; saying, Finally, Brethren; be of one mind, live in peacey 2 Cor. 13. II: thereby intimating, that there is a Connexion or mutual Dependence of these two upon each other, that Unity will put an end to Divisions, and the best way to live in peace, is to be of one mind.

[blocks in formation]

But what is that Unity or Oneness of Mind here prefcrib'd to that end? Why that respects partly Matters of Religion, or the great Affairs of the Church, and partly Matters of Practice, or the Rules of a good Life.

First, I say, we are to be all of one mind in the weighty Matters of Religion, viz. in the Doctrine, Discipline, and. Communion of the Church ; in all which we are commanded to think and speak the same things, and to be pero fectly join'd together in the samé Mind and the same Judge ment. Cor. 1. 10.

As for the Doctrine of the Church, that is contain'd and deliver'd to us in the Holy Scriptures, the Standard of all Divine Truths; and is more briefly summ’d up for us in the Apostles Creed, the Touchstone of found Doctrine, or Form of found Words, which we are calld upon to hold faft. This is that one Faith, in which all Christians are to agree

unite, Eph. 4. 3, 4. 'tis that Faith of the Gospel, in which they are to stand fast in one Spirit, and with one Mind to strive for ; Philip. I. 27.

As for the Discipline of the Church, that likewise was instituted by Christ for the Unity and Édification of all its Members. There is but one Lord (faith the Apostle) that is, Christ himself, the sole Head and Governour of his Church

gave firft Apostles, secondarily Paftors, and then Teachers, for the perfecting of the Saints, for the Work of the Ministry, and for the edifying of the Body of Chrift: Eph. 4. 11, 12. Where first signifies a Primacy of Order and Jurisdiction ; for the Apostles were appointed to preside over the rest, to ordain Elders in every City, and to set in order the things that were wanting : Tit. 1. 5. And as they died away, others of the inferiour Order succeeded, and were advanc'd to their Office, as Matthias was in the room of Judas. Herein our Saviour continu'd the antient Go. vernment of the Jewish Church, which was in the High Priests, Priests, and Levites : he only chang'd the Names, ordaining first Apostles, and under them Paftors and Teachers; which holy Discipline is still handed down and continu'd to us in a Succession of Bishops, Priests, and Deacons : which God long preserve. This is the Discipline of the Church, in which we are all to be of one mind, without fwerving from it, or setting up new Models in opposition to it. Then,

Lastly,

; who

Lastly, For the Worship and Communion of the Church, that is the Bond of Peace, mention'd by the Apostle, that helps to make it one Body, by tying all the Members together, and uniting them in one Christian Fellowship; for We being many (săith the fame Apostle) are one Bread, and one Body, by joining together in one Communion : by this we serve God, as we fhould, with one Heart and one Confent, and with one Mind and one Mouth glorify our great Creator.

These are the great and weighty Matters of Religion, in which we are requir'd to be all of one mind; for being all prescrib'd by Divine Authority, and so made necessary and effential to the Being and Continuance of the Christian Church, we are all to agree and unite in them, and not to differ or divide about then.

But, Secondly, the Oneness of Mind here directed to, relates not only to the great Affairs of Religion and the Church, but likewise to Matters of Practice and the Rules of a holy Life; as will appear by the following part of this Day's Epistle: where we are bid to be of one mind,

If, in all Acts of Compassion and Courtesy to one another. So the next words direct; Having compassion one of another, love as Brethren, be pitiful, be courteous. The Sense whereof is, that we should agree together in all the mutual Offices of Love and Kindness ; sympathizing with our Brethren in their Amictions, and bearing one another's Burdens, thereby easing and comforting each other as much as poffible ; having a Fellow-feeling of their Afflictions, which will encourage them to bear up, and not fink under the Weight of any Trouble that may happen to them : imitating the good Samaritan, who pour'd in Wine and Oil into the Wounds of the distress's Traveller, which our Saviour there ftiles a friendly and neighbourly Act, willing us to go and do likewise. This is to have compassion one of another, and to love as Brethren. To which we are to add all Acts of Courtesy and Kindness, relating to a prosperous as well as adverse Condition ; sharing in the one, and synapathizing in the other. This is to be kindly affection'd one to another, rejoicing with them that rejoice, and weeping with them that meep'; being affected with the Good or Evil that happens to any, and partaking in the Joys and Sorrows of one another : and in this we are bid to be all of one mind. And as a Consequent of this, the Apostle wills us to be of one mind,

M 3

zdly,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

2dly, In avoiding all manner of Revenge and Retaliation; saying in the next Verse, Not rendring Evil for Evil, or Railing for Railing, but contrariwise Blessing ; knowing that ye are thereunto callid, that ye mould inherit a Blessing. The meaning whereof is, that we should never permit our felves in any degree to act or meditate Revenge in case of any Injury done to us : which how great foever it may be, we must not think of returning the fame or the like again, If the Injury done be by Acts of Violence, to do the like again, is the Revenge of the Hand ; if it be by railing Words and Accufations, to return Railing for Railing is the Revenge of the Tongue: both which are carefully to be avoided by all the Followers of Christ, who hath given us both his Precepts and Example to that purpose ; for he hath commanded us to love our Enemies, and to do good to them that hate us, himself doing the same to his greatest Adversaries. So that instead of recompensing Evil for Evil, we are to return Good for Evil, and Blesling for Cutling; for hereunto we are call’d by the Precepts and Profession of Christianity. This mind the Apoftle would have us all to be of; and by thus doing good and blessing of others, we shall receive a Blefling from God, not only in the Life that now is, but in that which is to come.

And here the Apostle speaking against Railing and the Revenge of the Tongue, adds a seasonable Caution against it, back'd with a strong Motive or Reason to enforce it, in the next words : For he that will love Life, and see good days, let him refrain his Tongue from Evil, and his Lips that they speak no Guile. Which words are quoted out of the 34th Pfalm, 12th and following Verses; where the Pfalmift gives the same Advice, and urges it upon the fame Conficerations. There is none but desires to live long, and to see many and happy Days; 'tis the Voice of Nature, Who will fhew

us any Good, and promote the Comfort and Prof. perity of our Lives? Why, here is a piece of wholesom Counsel given to that' end, to wit, to keep the Tongue from Evil-speaking, Lying, and Slandering, and the Lips from uttering any Deceit or Guile : both which will prevent many Troubles that are apt to Marten and imbitter our Lives. The Tongue, when let loose, is by St. James ftiled a Fire, à World of Iniquity, that setteth on fire the Course of Nature, and is set on fire of Hell ; James 3.6 meaning, that ʼtis frequently a means of kindling Divisions, Strife and Contention, and is the cause of infinite Evils and

Cont

[ocr errors]

Confusions in the whole Course of Man's Life ; it sets Kingdoms, Families, and Societies in a combustion, and for that purpose it is set on work by the Devil, and inflam’d by a Fire that comes from Hello

Now he that would live a quiet and happy Life, must watch and restrain this unruly Member, keeping it to the good Behaviour, and confining it to the Rules of Truth and Decency, David resolv'd to keep his Mouth as it were with a Bridle, whilst the Ungodly was in his fight ; to prevent its Extravagance, and to avoid the Evil and Mischief that too often proceeds from it. He that useth his Tongue to Fall hood and Deceit, stirreth up much Strife, and occasions sometimes very fatal and bloody Contentions, to the shortning many times of Mens Lives, and the ruin of their Relations; for bloody and deceitful Persons shall not live out half their days. But he that useth and keepeth his Tongue to Truth and Honesty, will prevent many a Brawl, and preserve the Lives, the Peace and Quietness of Mankind. In short then, to escape the Dangers, and obtain the Blefsings of this Life, we must keep our Tongue from all atheistical and blasphemous Speeches against God, from all evil and reviling Speeches against our Prince, and from all detracting, lying, and backbiting, Speeches against our Neighbour ; and so guide our Words with Discretion, that they may administer Good to our selves, and Grace to the Hearers. Herein likewise St. Peter would have all Chrif tians to be like-minded, agreeing together in eschewing Evil and doing Good; by all means seeking Peace, and if it feem to flee from them, to follow and pursue it.

Now to preserve this Oneness of Mind, or mutual Agreea ment in these things, the Apostle in the next Verse presses it by a double Argument; the one taken from the Safety of so doing, the other from the Danger of the contrary. The first is in these words, For the Eyes of the Lord are over the Righteous, and his Ears are open to their Prayers: that is, there is a watchful Providence over the humble and peaceable Christians, that will promote their Good, and preserve them from Evil; the Eyes of the Lord are still looking about for their Security, his Ears are always open to hear their Prayers, and his Hands are ever ready to supply their Wants and Neceflities. So that there can be nothing wanting, that may tend to their present or future Happiness, Whereas secondly,

« PreviousContinue »