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ties, those tender relations, which act a double part, and whilft they make us happy here in the discharge of them, recommend us at the same time to the Almighty, and secure our future and everlasting happiness.
I re then, how joyful a thing it must be to dwell together in unity! and on the other hand, he-a fatal must be the effects of discord and division! How careful should we be, lest at any time envy should unravel, jealousy loosen, or anger diffolve the tie! Where there is, or where there ought to be much love, there should be much forgiveness also; because the stronger the connection, and the more folemn the engagement, the wider is the breach and the greater is the aversion : and how horrible is it to see those whose blood, whose fame, fortune, and interests should be united, torn to pieces by hatred and animosities; to fee the father divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother! to see all those tender ties of nature, which were designed to soften the ills of life, and leffen its cares, become at last its bitterest misfortunes!
This can only give us an image of a rude, uninformed world, a chao3 of matter, as it stood before the creation, where all the elements were mixed together, and nothing reigned but discord, darkness, and confusion.
Whereas on the other hand, a well-regulated family, where order and harmony are preserved, all obliging, and obliged by each
other, where they are all bleft by love and unity, is an image of the frame of nature after God had pronounced it good ; an emblem of the universe, where each part is perfect in itfelf, and contributes at the same time to the beauty, magnificence, and duration of the whole.
Therefore, if we would live easily and happily with each other, to union of blood, interest and fortune, we must add also, union of sentiments of heart and soul. To benevolence we must add, forbearance and mutual complacency. In a world like this, so full of evils and so full of ignorance, interests muft jar and opinions muft differ ; but as we are all liable to error, and all subject to passions, we muft hear the faults, and pardon the weaknesses of each other, because it is a blessed and a joyful thing to dwell together in unity.
Come we then to the last and great relation in which I proposed to lay before you, the indispensable duty of Union as Chriftians.
Our gospel is the gospel of peace; it be. cometh all men ; but above all men it becometh Christians; it becometh those who walk in the house of God to walk as friends; not by our practice to contradict and give the lye to our doctrines, not by discord and animosities to subvert that religion which we are fworn to protect. By this, says our Saviour, froll men know ihet se are my disciples, if ye lozie Oire another. Alas! that distinguishing mark is, I lear, almoft erased and worn out amongit Our church is so overrun with herefics
and fchisms, so torn by jarring sects and dir. cordant factions, as to make her à bye-word unto the heathen, and to those who have no knowledge of her laws.
Nothing can so much debase religion, as the ill-placed zeal of its outrageous followers, who hate all that will not agree with them in all, even in things where it is of no consequence whether they agree or not.
There are men who shew their love to God, hy oppressing those whom he hath made, who never consent but to destroy ; never unite but to perfecute.
It cannot be expected, it never was designed by our Creator, that all men should think alike; but surely it way, it will be required of us, that we all endeavour to promote the unity of the church, the glory of God, and the religion of our Saviour Chrift.
Let me then, above all things, recommend Unity to you as Christians. A house divided against itself can never fland. In the last
age there were sects enough among lis, and yet, as if discord were still ambitious of fowing more tares amongst us, fresh parties are every day springing up and increasing. To the fa. . natics and visionaries of the last century, whose decaying fabric ftill fubfifts, have succeeded a race of modern enthusiasts, whose tenets are more ridiculous as well as more anti-feriptu. ral than any of their predeceffors, as the noti, ons which they endeavour to inculcate, are absolutely destructive of all religious union, and directly oppolite both to the laws of
Christ, and all the moral and social purposes of human society. For shame, my brethren ! let us at last, though late, unite and conquer ; the parution fiill subdifting between fome of us, is built of very slight materials ; insensibly moulders away, and might easily be thrown down by the hand of charity and mutual love: let us hope, my brethren, to see that good work perfected, and let every one lend his neceffary aid and assistance towards it.
Let not any difference of opinion in matters not effential, alienate our affections, or hin. der us from kind and friendly offices. Let us be friends to all, of what feet, party, or profession whatsoever, who are the friends of ho. nour and virtue; and have no enemies, but the enemies of God and his Son Jesus Chrift. Let us reflect, that it was to their union and harmony we were indebted for the exertion of that truth on which our religion depends : let us consider what light and lustre they throw on each other, and how exactly, and how blessed!y all their predictions were fulfilled.
If then we would be happy in our alliances, in our societies, our relations, our friendships, and all our mutual endearments, let us pray to that God who maketh men to be of one mind in one house, to pour into our hearts that fpirit of unity and godly love, of benevo, lence, patience, and charity, and which may bless us with all the good things of this life, and bring us to those seats of rest and peace, of unity and concord, of tranquillity and happiness, which he hath prepared for the good and righteous in that which is to come.
ON THE PHARISAICAL CHRISTIAN.
S E R M ON
MATTHEW V. 20.
Except your righteousness exceed the righteousness
of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of heaven.
THE 'HE Scribes and Pharisees, whom our bles.
fed Saviour doth in the words of my text so severely reprehend, were men of such high rank and esteem amongst the Jews, as to command the deepest reverence, respect, and veneration from the multitude, who considered them, especially with regard to religious matters, as the most perfect examples of purity and virtue; to doubt therefore their truth, and to call in question their integrity; to unmask their sophisms, detect their frauds, and to expose their hypocrisy, was a task which few would have the courage to enter upon, and still fewer the steadiness and resolution to execute: our Saviour, notwithstanding, who came down upon earth to establish truth, without the least regard to any ill consequences that might arise to himself from such a conduct, boldly, strenuously, and perpetually opposed them.
When we consider the great influence, weight, and authority which these men possessed, we