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SERMON I.

Preached at

GUILD-HALL CHAPEL

On the Twenty-third of August, 1674.

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Rom. xiv. 19.
Let us therefore follow after the Things

that make for Peace. HOSOEVER understandeth any thing of the State of Christianity, as it hath now been for fome Ages

in the World, will be easily convinced, that there is no one Point of our Re

, ligion more necessary to be daily preached, to be earnestly pressed and insisted on, than that of Peace, and Love, and Unity, here recommended by the Apostle.

It hath fared (as the Learned Mr. Hales observed) with the Christian Religion in this Matter, as it did with the Jewish of old. The great and principal Commandment which God gave the Jews, and which (as they themselves teach) was the Foundation of all their Law, Vol. I.

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was, to worship the God of Israel, and Him only to serve: Yet such was the Perverseness of that People, that This was the Commandment, that of all others they could never be brought to keep ; but they were continually running into Idolatry, notwithstanding all the Methods that God made use of to "reclaim them from that Sin. What the Worship of one God was to the Jews; that Peace, and Love, and Unity, is to the Christians, even the Great distinguishing Law and Character of their Profeffion. And yet, to the Shame of Christians it

may

be spoken, there is no one Commandment in all Chrift's Religion, that has been so generally and to fcandalously violated among his Followers, as this. Witness the many bitter Feuds and Contentions that have fo fong embroiled Christendom; and the numerous Sects, and Parties and Communions, into which, at this Day, it ítands divided.

And, God knows, this is a Thing that cannot be sufficiently lamented among ourselves : For though, in many Respects, we are the Happiest Nation in the World ; and particularly in this, that we have the Advantage of all others, both as to the Constitution of our Church, and the Purity of Christ's Doctrine, professed therein; yet in this point of Schisms, and Divisions, and Religious Quarrels, we are as unhappy, if not more, than any.

Whether eyer we shall fee that blessed Day, when these our Breaches will be healed; and that an End being put to our unaccountable Separations, and the Unchristian Animosities they are the Occasion of, we shall all join to

gether

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gether in one Communion, and with one Mind, and one Mouth, glorify God, (as the Apostle expresses it) God only knows. But sure I am, it is the Duty of every one of us, heartily to pray for it; and not only so, but, in our Place and Station, to contribute all we can towards it. It was this Consideration that put me upon the Choice of these Words of St. Paul, for my Argument at this Time: Let us therefore follow after the Things that make for Peace.

In treating of which, I shall endeavour Two Things. First, To explain the Duty here recommended, by reducing it to its Particular Rules and Instances. Secondly, To set . before

you

the great Obligations that lie upon us to the Practice of it.

As to the First of these Things, viz. What is contained or implied in this Duty of following after the Things that make for Peace; you may be pleased to take Notice, that this Duty hath a twofold Object, according to the Two different Relations and Capacities in which we are to be considered; namely, the Church our Common Mother, and Particular Christians our Brethren. In the first Relation, we are considered as Subjects; in the other, as FellowChristians. Now with respect to the former, the Peace we are to pursue, implies Obedience; and the Preservation of Communion, in Opposition to Schism and Separation. With respect to the latter, it implies mutual Love and Charity, in Opposition to Quarrels and Contentions. So that, you see, my Business upon this Firf Head must be, to shew, what are the Par

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