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SERM. pretending to a greater Perfection of it than
to the Sorrow of all good Christians, subsists
Mischief can Hatred do more than tliis ? SERM. And indeed we should be too partial to the VI. rest of the World, did we not acknowledge that all sorts of Proteitants have shewn to much of this unchristian Spirit. They, who have in the most folemn Manner protested again't it, have, nevertheless, when they have had it in their Power, made too great Use of it in perfecuting and harrassing one another; as if they protested not against the Thing, but against any one's making use of it but themselves ; not considering, that Hatred or Cruelty is never the better, or the less fo, for being Protestant, but will be just what it is, in what Shape soever it appears, and what Name foeyer it stands distinguish'd by.
The first Thing that offers itself to us in the Gospel is Love, which is the distinguishing Badge of a Christian. For as every Profeffion has fomething to distinguish its Professors by, so the true Professors of Chriftianity are known by this Mark of loving one another: And as far as any one wants this charitable, benevolent Temper, so far he wants this distinguishing Mark, and belongs to some other, and not to that Profellion. For as he is by no means a true Physician, who is not skill'd in Medicine,
Serm whatever he may think fit to call himself,
Charity, because he wants that which is ef
if we were to look round us a little, one would think the Rule was revers'd, as if he had said, By this all all Men know ye are my Disciples, if ye hate one another. For how many are there, whose Religion consists in little else, but in hating all of the opposite Side! That think they can't shew their Zeal but by their Wrath, and as long as they hate one another heartily, they imagine they give sufficient Proof of their Integrity, and of their stedfast Adherence to Religion. Instances of this Kind are too frequent; and yet these are the Men who profess a Religion of Love, that would be thought Advocates for the Gospel of Peace at the same time that they delight in nothing but Hatred and Discord; as if they were to commence Brutes in order to be Christians, and divest themselves of Humanity to prove their Zeal for Religion.
Thus Christianity, which is the most peace- Serm.
VI. able and lovely Institution in the World, by the Wickedness of Men, becomes the same as if it had been made up of Fire and Sword. Which brings me,
Secondly, To shew the dangerous Consequence of abusing Christianity to such wicked Purposes. The Gospel is a Declaration of the Pardon of God to Mankind, and consequently a Revelation of his Love to his Creatures ;
whoever therefore turns this Love into Hatred, as every one does who makes the Gospel a Cover for Persecution, tramples under Foot the Blood of the Covenant, wherewith we are seaľd through the Redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And if they were to die without Mercy who de. fpis’d Moses's Law, of how much forer Punishment shall they be thought worthy, who, by this their Apostacy from Christianity, have, in Effect, trodden under Foot the Son of God, and render'd his inestimable Love to Men useless and ineffectual !
This is doing the very Work of the Devil, and helping him out in that hellish Drudgery for which he will not fail to reward them: For we know very well whose Business it is to fave Men's Lives, and whose
SERM. to destroy them ; who it was that weut China VI. bout doing good, and who it is that goes (in
boot seeking whom he may devour. So that we can't be ignorant whose Kingdom a cruel perfecuting Spirit tends to advance; not the Kingdom of Christ, but the Kingdom of Satan. For it is certainly true, that to whomsoever we gield ourselves Servants to obey, his Servants we are to whom we obey, whether of Sin unto Death, or of Holiness unto Righteousness.
Our blessed Saviour has given us an extraordinary Example of universal Love and Benevolence, in laying down his Life, not only for our Sins, but also for the Sins of the whole World : And as far as we are for promoting the fame Love, so far we follow his Steps; but when we turn that Love into Hatred, even unto Death, we shew that we belong to another Master, viz. the Prince of Darkness, and follow his Steps, in endeavouring to prevent and frustrate the inestimable Benefit of Christ'sDeath, by destroying them for whom Christ died.
Axes and Halters are unanswerable Arguments indeed, but then 'tis for this Reafon, because they put an End to the Difpute and the Difputer too. But one would think that every one must know, that it