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Confufions in the whole Courfe of Man's Life; it fets Kingdoms, Families, and Societies in a combustion, and for that purpose it is fet on work by the Devil, and inflam'd by a Fire that comes from Hell.

Now he that would live a quiet and happy Life, muft watch and restrain this unruly Member, keeping it to the good Behaviour, and confining it to the Rules of Truth and Decency. David refolv'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 Mifchief that too often proceeds from it. He that useth his Tongue to Falfhood and Deceit, ftirreth up much Strife, and occafions fometimes very fatal and bloody Contentions, to the fhortning many times of Mens Lives, and the ruin of their Relations; for bloody and deceitful Perfons fhall not live out half their days. But he that ufeth and keepeth his Tongue to Truth and Honefty, will prevent many a Brawl, and preferve the Lives, the Peace and Quietnefs of Mankind. In fhort then, to escape the Dangers, and obtain the Blef fings of this Life, we must keep our Tongue from all atheiftical and blafphemous Speeches against God, from all evil and reviling Speeches against our Prince, and from all detracting, lying, and backbiting Speeches against our Neighbour; and fo guide our Words with Difcretion, that they may adminifter Good to our felves, and Grace to the Hearers. Herein likewise St. Peter would have all Chrif tians to be like-minded, agreeing together in efchewing Evil and doing Good, by all means feeking Peace, and if it feem to flee from them, to follow and purfue it.

Now to preserve this Oneness of Mind, or mutual Agree, ment in these things, the Apostle in the next Verfe preffes it by a double Argument; the one taken from the Safety of fo doing, the other from the Danger of the contrary. The firft 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 fupply their Wants and Neceffities. So that there can be nothing wanting, that may tend to their prefent or future Happinefs. Whereas fecondly,

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The next words tells us, that the Face of the Lord is against them that do Evil. He is fo far from countenancing the Wicked and Contentious, that he fets his face against them, and is no Friend, but a profefs'd Enemy to them. To lift up the Light of the Countenance, is in Scripture-Phrase a token of Favour or Kindness; but to fet the Face against any, is to bid defiance to him, first to frown, and then to fight him. Accordingly, God's fetting his Face here against such Evil-doers, is either to humble them for their good, or to bring greater Evils upon them, to punish their Pride and Prefumption.

But farther to comfort and encourage the Obedient, he asks the Question in the following Verfe, Who is he that will harm you, if ye are Followers of that which is good? Being guarded by the Protection of Divine Providence, and the Integrity of your own Actions, few or none will incline or venture to do you any mischief. But if any fhould be fo wicked as to moleft and trouble you for adhering to the ways of Unity and Vertue, be not difcourag'd at fuch Sufferings; For if ye fuffer for Righteousness fake, happy are ye, and be not afraid of their Terror, neither be troubled. Be not difmay'd or difturb'd at these things, but rejoice in fuch Tribulations, for great is your Reward in Heaven, Rather count them as Bleflings, than fink under them as Burdens; for if you bear up manfully a while, they will tend to the Increafe of Grace here, and of Glory hereafter, Only fanctify the Lord God in your Hearts; be thankful to him for all his Difpenfations, fet him up in your Hearts as your Lord God, and make him your Fear and your Dread; and then he will be both your Patron and your Portion for



This is in fhort the Subftance of the Epiftle for this Day; the whole Defign whereof is to perfuade us to be all of one mind in the Principles and Practices of true Religion, to unite in the Worship and Service of God, and to join together in the Practice of all Chriftian Vertues, tending to our own Good, and the Welfare of one another.

But here fome may be apt to tell us, that 'tis not poffible for all Men to be of one mind in thefe matters, and that fuch an Unity never was or can be in the Chriftian Church.

In answer to this, the Example of the primitive Chrif tians, of whom we read that they were of one heart and one nind, and that they continu'd stedfaft in the Apostles Dac


trine and Fellowship, and in breaking of Bread, and in Prayer; is a plain Confutation of this Objection: for this fhews fuch a Unity to be both poffible and practicable, and that there was a time when this Union was found, and Diffenfions unknown among Chriftians. Which Example is recorded for our Direction and Encouragement, to let us know, that if we will do as they did, we may be as they were. Befide,

The frequent and earnest Exhortations to this Unity in Holy Scripture, plainly fhew it to be attainable by all that will use the means, and have a mind to it; for the Holy Ghoft never calls or puts any upon impoffible or impracti

cable Tasks.

Moreover, the many fharp and fevere Checks given by the Apostles to the Authors and Abettors of Divifions, farther fhew this Unity to be both poffible and neceffary: for as they would not advise to any thing that was impoffible, fo neither would they blame any for what was unavoidable.

But there are others who tell us, that if fuch an Unity were poffible, yet it is not neceffary, no more than 'tis for all Men to be of the fame Stature and Complexion; and that different Opinions and Practices may as well be allow'd in the Church, as different Trades and Callings are in the World. In anfwer to this, I fay,

ift, For all Men to be of the fame Stature and Complexion, is neither in their power, nor is it under any command, and fo can be in no wife neceffary; whereas to be all of one mind is frequently commanded in God's Word, and fo must be a neceffary Duty. And,

2dly, Tho there may be many particular Callings and Profeffions in the World, to employ Mens different Gifts and Abilities for the publick Good; yet there is but one general Calling as Chriftians, in which they are all to agree and go hand in hand together. So the Apoftle tells us, we are all called into one Calling, and have all but one Hope of this Calling, even the Salvation of our Souls; which we are therefore all to aim at, without varying from, or dividing in it,


Thus we fee wherein we are all to be of one mind namely, in all the Acts and Duties of Religion, that we owe to God and to one another; together with the Weaknefs of those Exceptions that are commonly brought against it.



It remains then, that we be all Followers of this Unanimity, and jointly agree in all the Parts and Duties of it; going to the Houfe of God together as Friends, and to each other's Houfes as Neighbours, abounding in all Acts of Piety and Devotion to the one, and of Juftice, Kindness, and Compaflion to the other. This is to dwell together in Unity, which the Pfalmift makes the goodlieft and pleasanteft of all Profpects, Pfal. 133. 1. 'Tis to live the Life of Saints here, and of Angels hereafter; yea, 'tis to do the Will of God on Earth, as 'tis done in Heaven: for there is a perfect Harmony, Confent and Unity among the bleffed Spirits above, who all join in one Confort, and with united Hearts and Minds do the Will, and fing the Praifes of their Maker; and to fit us for thofe heavenly Manfions, we must labour for the fame Concord and Unanimity here. Discord and Diffenfions are the Difpofitions of Hell, and lead to those infernal Regions; 'tis Love, Peace, and Unity, that maft prepare us for the Habitations above, and qualify us for the Happiness and bleffed Society of Heaven.

But how may we come to be thus of one mind in ferving of God and one another? Why, that must be done,

1. By removing all the Obftacles of this godly Love and Unity; fuch as turbulent and unruly Paffions, which are apt to discompofe and divide mens Minds; Pride, and a vain Conceit of our own Wisdom, which makes Men refractory to their Superiours, and peremptory in their own ways; inordinate Self-Love and worldly Intereft, which draw too ftrongly from the ways of Truth and Peace, and lead into all manner of Errors and Divifions: which occafion'd St. Paul's Advice, that all Bitterness, Wrath, Clamour, and Evil-fpeaking be put away, with all Malice; Eph.4. 31. And St. Peter's to the fame purpofe, to lay afide all Guile, and Hypocrify, and Envy, and Evil-speaking; 1 Pet. 2. 1. Thefe are the main Hindrances of Unity, and are therefore to be carefully watch'd against and avoided by all that would promote or pray for it.

2. That we may be all of one mind in these desirable Matters, we muft labour for thofe gracious Qualities and Difpofitions, that can alone fit us for it; fuch as Meeknefs, Humility, Submiffion to Superiours, and the like: which excellent Graces and Vertues will mightily conduce to this Union of Heart and Mind, and 'tis the lack of them that creates all the Difcord and Diffenfion that is among ns.

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If you obferve it, you fhall find moft Men commending Peace, and fpeaking up for Unity: but the mifchief is, they muft all have it in their own way, tho ever fo different and contrary one to the other; they are willing enough that all Men fhould be of one mind, but then every Man must be of theirs, or else they cannot agree with them. 'Tis this puts all the difficulty into this Duty, and renders it in a great meafure unpracticable.

Now there is but one Expedient to cure this Evil, and that is, for Men to think modeftly and foberly of themfelves, to allow their Teachers and Governours to know more, and to be wifer than they; and fo to fubmit their private Judgment to the publick Wifdom. By thus hearkning and yielding to thofe whom God hath appointed to teach and direct us, we may foon come to be of one mind, but without it never. Which made the Apoftle exhort all Chriftians, not to think more highly of themselves than they ought to think, but to think foberly, according as God hath given to every one the Measure of Faith; Rom. 12. 3. In a word then, let me befpeak you in the words of the fame Apoftle; If there be any Confolation in Chrift, if any Comfort of Love, if any Fellowship of the Spirit, if any Bowels of Mercies, fulfil ye my Joy, that ye be like-minded, having the fame Love, being of one accord, and of one mind: Phil. 2. 1,2. So fhall we become one Flock and one Fold, underone great Shepherd and Bishop of our Souls: which God grant, &c.


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