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Blind, Lights to them which are in Dark-Serm.
ness, &c. Shall we therefore, who think VI.
ourselves able to teach others, not teach
ourselves ? Shall we, who say a Christian
should commit no manner of Violence
or Cruelty, be guilty of that very Crime
ourselves? Shall we, who make our Boast
of the Gospel, thro' breaking the Gospel
dishonour God? For the Name of God
is blafphem'd among the Gentiles thro’
such sort of Christians. For the Profession
of Christianity verily profiteth, if we live
according to the Gospel ; but if we abuse,
and neglect it, our Profession becomes the
fame, as if we did not profess it at all.
Therefore if He who does not profess
Christianity keeps the Righteousness of the
Gospel, shall not He be as acceptable to
God, as He who does profefs it? And
shall not He, who has the Light of Na-
ture only to direct Him, if He fulfil the
Law, judge us, who by observing the Let-
ter only, and by regarding nothing but a
bare empty Profession, transgress it? For he
is not a Christian, who is one outwardly
by Profession, any more than that is true

R 2 Circumcision

nd

SERM. Circumcision, which is outward in the Flefh;
VI.

but he is a Christian, who is one inward-
ly; and the true Profession of Christianity
is that of the Heart in the Spirit, and not
in the Letter, whose Praise is not of Men,
but of God. But to this perhaps it will be
objected, that this is putting Christians
and Heathens upon the same footing; for
if the Case be so, how is a Christian bet-
ter than a Heathen. To which I answer,
Not at all, but rather worse; he is better
in no respect, that I know of, unless he
leads a better Life. A Chrisțian by hav-
ing a better Light to walk by, and the
Influence of God's Holy Spirit to direct
him, has, no doubt of it, great Advantages
above a Heathen; but unless he makes a
good Use of it, 'tis no advantage to hin
at all: 'Tis the same thing to him, as if
he had it not.

The ancient Moralists thought it to be
the proper Business of a Philosopher to
live well; and shall it be the proper Busi-
ness of a Christian to live ill? Or shall
we break all the Rules of Humanity to
thew what good Christians we are? 'Tis

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the Privilege of Human Nature 'above Șerm.
Brutes, says Antoninus, to love those that VI.
disoblige us. (Lib. 7.) This is the Doctrine
of an Heathen, and the Gospel teaches us
the same Leflon, when it bids us pray
for those that despitefully use us; and yet
the perfecuting Christian is for hating
those, that do him no Injury at all. And
the same Author says elsewhere, that we
ought to be beneficial to others, as being
that which as Men we are bound to
do. (Lib. 9.) Take me, says he, in ano-
ther Place, under the particular Distinc-
tion of Antoninus, and Rome is my Town
and Country; but consider me as a Man
in general, and I belong to the Corpora-
tion of the World ; that therefore, and
that only, which is serviceable to both
these Societies, is an Advantage to me.
(Lib.6.) What a generous benevolent Tem-
per

this is ! Now which of these is the good
Man, he who without the Gospel practi-
fes a benevolent charitable Temper, or
he who with it an uncharitable persecu-
ting one? Such a one is so far from being
& Christian, that he is a Composition of

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Serm. Worst Part of Heathenism, as being made
VI. up of a Spirit, that tends to destroy the

great Law of Nature, which no Reveal'd
Religion, nor even an Angel from Heaven
can do, without altering the Nature of
Things, and making Right and Wrong
stand for other things than what they do
at present.

But it is Time now to draw nigh to a Conclusion: And in order to make some Use of what has been faid, let us all endeavour to get more Love, and Charity, and universal Benevolence; and let us beware of raih Judgment, for it is a very natural and easy Transition from rash judging to hating, and then there will be nothing wanting but Power to make a compleat Persecutor: Let us consider not how we differ from one another, but how far we differ from the Truth ; and leave one another in the Poffeffion of each others Right, considering that One is our Masters even Christ, and all we are Brethren. Have we any Overflowings of Hatred or Ill-Nature, let us bestow it upon our Sins; and let us be sparing of our Fire-Brands,

and

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129 and leave such hot antichristian Work to SERM. that Church that deals in such things ; for VI. we read that Michael, thoan ArchAngel, when contending with the Devil, brought not against him so much as a railing Accufation ; but said, the Lord rebuke tbee. Let us of all things beware of false Zeal, for that makes People Perfecutors even against their Nature; as is plain from the People of those Countries, where the Inquisition reigns, who are obferv'd to thew as much Compassion as any People in the World for a Malefactor, who is to suffer for Murder, Robbery, &c. And yet

when they see a poor innocent Person, dragg’d from a horrid Dungeon with trembling Limbs, and a meagre Countenance, and fastned to a Stake in the midst of a devouring Flame, for no other Crime than for not having the same Understanding with them, they shew all the Tokens of Joy and Pleasure imaginable. Good God! that

ever People should come to such a height of Wickedness, as to look

up to thee, whom they offend every Day of their Lives, and beg thy Mercy and Forgiveness,

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