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selves are out ? But when the Scene turns, and they get their Enemies undermost, they do not abate in the least of their Insolence and Cruelty. The same may be said of all Party Quarrels. There is no greater Enemy to this noble Rule, than the acting from the Spirit of Party, and the espousing all Party-Opinions and Practices by the Lump; and taking our Measures of right and wrong, according to these Party, and therefore partial, Considerations. And therefore let us never espouse any Party so far, as to see only their bright Side, but none of their Faults and Errors. And let us endeavour after such an unbiassed Rectitude of Spirit, that we may be able to discern the Virtues even of a Foe, as well as of a Friend, and the Faults of a Friend as well as of a Foe; and whenever we have the Luck to be of the Party that is uppermost, let us treat those that are under, with the fame Moderation and good Temper, as we would wish them to treat us, if we were in their Place, and they in ours.
To conclude, in order to the due putting in execution this Rule of doing by our Neighbour as we would have him to do by us, let us learn to admit this one Question into our Deliberations, and not to proceed to Action till we have decided it as impartially as we can; namely, if I were in my Neighbour's Place, and he in mine, how would I think it just or charitable to be treated by him? The true Answer to this Question will direct us to every Thing that is just and fair, nay, to every Thing that is kind and charitable, and even to every Thing that is handsome and generous. And though, at pre2 sent sent it may perhaps not be so grateful to our Selflove, and Self-interest, or to our Lusts, or Passions, and Resentments, we may assure ourselves it will yield us afterwards more Peace in our Consciences, and more Comfort at the Hour of Death, and in the Day of Judgment, than if we had followed the crooked Rule of more partial Views and Considerations.
Now God himself, who hath taught us, that all our Doings without Charity are nothing worth; fend into our Hearts this mo/t excellent Gift of Charity, the very Bond of Peace and of all Virtues, without which whosoever liveth is counted dead before him, for his dear Son Jesus Christ's fake.
To whom, &c.
SERMON XIV. *
Mat. VII. 13.
Enter ye in at the strait Gate; for wide is the Gate, and broad is the Way that leadeth to Destruction, and many there be which go in thereat.
V. 14 . Because strait is the Gate, and narrow is the Way which leadeth unto Life, and few there be that find it.
The First Sermon on this Text.
IN these Words our blessed Lord endeavours to remove another Impediment, which was likely to hinder the good Success of the Doctrine he had delivered; he foresaw many would be startled at the great Difficulties in the strict Way of Duty, which he had laid down, and would be for inventing Ways and Means to creep out of them; some would content themselves with the exterior Part of Duty, neglecting the interior; some with publick Duties, neglecting secret ones; some with Duty in peaceable Times, when they run no great Hazard by it, neglecting or deserting it in Times of Persecution and Danger: Some would interpret Duties in such a soft Sense, as to
reconcile them with the Customs and Fashions of the World; some would think to make up -what was wanting in practical substantial Duties, 'by an over Zeal in speculative Points and Ceremonials, and against all erroneous heterodox Opinions; some would be /or delaying their Repentance and Amendment of Life, to Sickness, or old Age, or even to a Death-bed. These and • many other various Ways, our Saviour foresaw Men would invent, to shake off the Yoke of Duty ; and not only that false Teachers and loose 'Livers would invent them, but that great Multitudes would be apt to join in with them, and at least, by their Numbers, give them Countenance, and perhaps affix odious Names of Distinction on those few who should stick close to their Duty, let the Hazard, or Disgrace, or Unfashionableness, be what it would. Therefore he thought it necessary to caution his Followers against all such loose Opinions and Practices, how much Countenance soever they might receive from the World, and to exhort them to keep strictly in the narrow Way of those Duties which he had laid down, tho' it should be ever so much deserted by others, and discountenanced and discarded, or even persecuted by the World. This I take to be the Scope and Design of these Words, which I have read, Enter ye in at the strait Gate, &c. q. d. I have now taught you the perfect Way of Duty, and that so plainly, that ye cannot easily miss of the Sense and Meaning of it; nevertheless, I must give you Warning, that there will be many Ways found out by falle Christians and loose Livers, to contrive a broader and easier Way to Heaven than I have laid out for you;
but but have a Care of it, it is the high Way to Hell, and therefore avoid it, though it be frequented by ever so much Company; and keep ye to the strict Way of Duty, if ye should meet with ever so many Difficulties, and ever so little Company in it; for that is the Way will lead you to Heaven and Happiness.
But for our better understanding the Meaning, and pressing the Scope of this Exhortation of my Text, it will be necessary more particularly to consider these four Things.
1. What is jo be meant by the broad and nar* row Way, here described.
2. What by the little Company in the narrow, and the great Company in the broad Way.
3. The different Ends to which both these Ways lead; the broad Way to Destruction, and the narrow Way to Life.
4. The Necessity of our most vigorous Endeavours to go by the strait Gate and narrow Way.
I. We are to consider what is meant by the broad and the narrow Way, here described. Now these being but Similitudes, we are to enquire what is couched under them. The strict Way of Duty may well be compared to a narrow Way, hedged up on each Side, and keeping us within the just Bounds of the Road j and if this Road happens to be deep or rough, we must go through it; there is no turning aside to the right Hand, or to the left, without trepaffing upon some Man's Enclosure; and besides, the By-ways of Enclosures would be apt to mislead us -} for tho' , Vol^iv. £ they