A SERMON Preach'd before the KING and QUEEN AT Hampton-Court, MAY the 12th. 1689. By ROBERT BROGRAVE, M. A. Chaplain in Ordinary to Their Majesties. Published by Her Majesty's Special Command.

LONDON: Printed for William Rogers, at the Sun over against St. Dunstan's Church in Fleet-street. MDCLXXXIX.

Mr. BROGRAVE's SERMON Preached before the KING and QUEEN AT HAMPTON-COƲRT.

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A SERMON Preach'd before the King and Queen At Hampton-Court.

MATTH. V. xvi.

Let your Light so shine before Men, that they may see your good Works, and glo­rifie your Father which is in Heaven.

THESE words are part of our Savi­our's Sermon upon the Mount, and if you please to cast your Eye from the 13th. Verse to the 16th. which I have here chose, you may observe they make up one Section of that Sermon, and carry an entire sense within themselves.

'Tis at the 13th. Verse, Ye are the Salt of the Earth, (i. e.) the Christian ought to have those useful and beneficial qualities of Salt, as it seasoneth and gives a grateful relish, and pre­serves those things 'tis mixt with; so the Chri­stian, by the vertues of a good Life, must be a means of preserving those about him, to keep them from Corruption and perishing by Sin.

At the 14th. Verse, tis, Ye are the light of the World: A City that is set on an Hill, cannot be hid. Signifying that height and eminency of the Christian's Vertue, which as the Sun that enlightens dark places, must guide such as are in Ignorance; both their Knowledge and good Lives must be instrumental to bring Men to the Gospel, and to recover them from that Dark­ness that over-spreads the Minds of Men.

At the 15th. he is compared to A Candle set on a Candlestick, and it giveth light to all that are in the House: He is not to be a private and solitary Professor, but the Advantages of his Gifts and Graces must extend to others, and be imparted for the benefit of all about him; then follows it in the 16th. Verse, Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven.

You now see from this part of our Saviour's Sermon, is intimated to us a Duty of so Pub­lick a Nature, as seems not confin'd to those Private ends of a Man's own Happiness, but which is interessed in the Common Salvation of those about him. We are to be Vertuous, not for our selves only, but that others may see our good works, and glorifie our Father which is in Heaven. Just as one, by whose Light the Sea-faring Man is directed through a straight and dangerous Passage: Or like the appearance of a Star to the Weather-beaten Mariner; or as the presence of a sure Guide to the be­wilder'd Traveller; or like that Miraculous Pillar of Fire, which safely conducted the Is­raelites through the unknown and unfrequen­ted Passages of a Wild Desart; all this is the Christian before us, by whose Example Men become acquainted with the way of Vertue, and are able to walk in it, without being mis­led into the by-paths of Sin and Folly; an Ex­ample which becomes of universal Benefit.

Happy is the Man, who by thus being care­ful over his own Life, shall give Encourage­ment and Direction to others to be like him, whilst his good Example shall be attended with this Blessing, That by doing thus, he shall save both himself and others.

But alas! I am sensible of the disadvantage I lye under, whilst I am exhorting you to a Duty, which I am fearful not only exceeds the Practice of the most part of Christians, but even their Belief that 'tis absolutely necessary; for if there be few upon whom the Promises of the Gospel shall be able to prevail, but few who for their own sakes will endeavour to be saved; what shall the number of those be, who act that publick and generous part of Religion, who live well for their Neighbours sake, as well as their own.

So great indeed is the Duty, so Divine and Heavenly the Motive, that this passage seems only suited to the perfect and accomplish'd Chri­stian; and hath been thought by some to be­long only to the Apostles, and such who suc­ceeded them in the Offices of Teaching and Instructing Men: Indeed our Saviour in this place spoke to all the Disciples in common, and the same whom he taught in the verses before, to be meek, ver. 5, 7, 8, 9. to be merciful, to be pure in heart, to be Peace-makers; the same are here taught to be of exemplary Lives to those about them, and not only the Apostles; for as yet the Apo­stleship, or Solemn Mission, and instating that Authority on his Disciples, was not begun at [Page 5]the time of Christ's Preaching this Sermon, nor till after his Resurrection, or rather his Ascen­sion; but 'twas to all the Disciples, to all Chri­stians who undertake to follow Christ.

Tho' thus much must be allowed, that all such who according to the excellence of their Dignity, and their stations in the World: All such who have the many Advantages that at­tend the greatness of Fortune and Power, all such whose Actions are of great influence upon those beneath them; who do, as 'twere, give Authority to Vertue, by living up to it them­selves; all such are in far greater measure con­cerned in this Argument, and I must be par­don'd, if in this place I purpose chiefly to treat of the Subject with respect to them, and beg the freedom of offering my thoughts to you, who are so eminently concern'd in all the re­spects above-mentioned, promising my self with­all to be thus far useful to those below you, as to become your Remembrancer, that not only by your good Government they may live peace­able Lives, but by your Vertues they may be taught to live in all Godliness and Honesty. Whilst your Light shall so shine before Men, that they may see your good Works, and glorifie your Father which is in Heaven.

The words are an Exhortation to shew forth an Exemplary Vertue, and I will endeavour to enforce it from the four following Argu­ments.

I. From the Excellency of a good Example.

II. The Obligation that lies upon all Chri­stians to shew it forth in their Lives.

III. From that Force and Power which by their good Examples they will have upon Men to make them Vertuous, and to be ashamed of Sin.

IV. And lastly, From the mischief of evil Examples, both with relation to Mens selves and others.

These Particulars will lead me to encourage a good Example in all such whose influences are powerful upon those about them, to set it before you with its true Advantages, and to shew you how far the Blessing becomes Publick and Universal. 'Tis not to flatter any ones Person, but to invite you to it, and to perswade others to an imitation where-ever they behold it.

They lead me further to discountenance Sin and Error, especially where it becomes open [Page 7]and Notorious, the Scandal it gives the World, the Reproach to Christian Religion, the many occasions it affords to others to go on in the same evil course, but (I can sincerely speak) without censuring any Man's Person; God knows 'tis for no other design, but to remove that stumbling-block out of our Brother's way, which is so great an Offence, and a Temptation to Sin; and I hope we live not in an Age so degenerate, or so jealous of themselves, that we dare not discredit Vice, without being thought to Wound some body; let it rather be the Glory of great Men, that we may open­ly make War against Vice, as against an Enemy, and not of our own Party.

1. The first Argument whereby I am to per­swade you to this Duty, is from the Excellency of a good Example, and this is in some measure seen if we look upon the many Allusions in this Parable, as 'tis compared to Light, or to the Sun, what these have extraordinary in them, with respect to things Natural, and the common Be­nefit of Mankind, the same is a good Example in things Moral and Religious: Hence the He­brews used to say, That Wise and Good Men were as the Lights of Heaven, meaning such who were so by their Instructions and good [Page 8]Examples. So Dan. 12.3. They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the Firmament, and they that turn many to Righteousness, as the stars for ever and ever. But I will not insist upon these Allusions, to represent it to you, but will rather choose to shew its Excellency from these two Observations,

From the Usefulness of good Examples to those about them,

And from the Reputation they have in the World, even among those who are Enemies to Vertue.

First then, Its Excellency appears from the Usefulness of good Examples to those about them, and the manifold good Effects they have among Men. For when Men become Exem­plary in a course of Vertue, they prove the most effectual means to direct those that are about them, and that go astray. They are as Publick Blessings to Instruct the World in that way they must choose, in those Vertues they must prctice, in that Religion they must ad­here to. We may have many Ignorant among us, here will they see the Paths of Righteous­ness. We may have many weak and wavering among us, by such Examples will they be con­firmed and setled; we may have many Enemies [Page 9]of our Church, they will see the Excellency of our Faith, by the Exemplary and Holy Lives of those who profess it; these are the Fruits that the World will reap, when a visible and exemplary Piety dwells in it; when every Man shall have within his view such who are wor­thy to be followed, and shall be animated to a Constancy and Peseverance in the Duties of Religion, when he shall have before him such, whom, should Religion quit the whole World, would yet preserve it in their own Breasts.

What a Generous design then would this be in the Christian, to live well for his Neigh­bours sake as well as his own, to be firm to the Truth, that he may be secure from Error, to be constant and persevering, that he may become the Preservative against his falling off: This is the Noblest sort of Friendship, the great­est Charity; a Charity to the Souls of Men, in preventing them from falling upon Rocks; whilst Men by their Publick Vertues, resemble those Watch-Towers, which guide Men to safe Harbour, but 'tis sin when it's become open and publick, that like a Rock dashes them in pieces.

A Second Observation that will shew us the Excellency of a good Example, is from the [Page 10]Reputation it hath among Men, even among those who are Enemies to Vertue. There are hardly any Men but are so just to Vertue, that how great Strangers soever they are to it them­selves, yet they have great Veneration for it in a good Example; so that 'twas an ill Cha­racter in the last degree which the Historian gives of the Grecian Court, which scoff'd at the good Patriarch Theodorus, for using Good­ness, when 'twas out of Fashion, and for be­ing vertuous by himself. Such an Example would have struck the Heathen World with de­light and admiration, who, tho' they cannot be supposed to have been the greatest Friends to Vertue, yet they constantly employed their Panegyricks upon such who excelled in Good­ness.

Thus thought their Philosophers who had so great an Opinion of Vertue, that they imagined, if it could have been visibly represented to the Eyes of Men, and painted out in its true Colours, and to the Life, 'twould draw all Mankind in admiration after it: That doubt­less which they understood by the visible repre­sentation of Vertue, was a compleatly vertu­ous Example, one that was accomplish'd in Goodness, and void of all mixture of Sin and Evil.

'Twas from the Reputation that such Exam­ples have in the World, that put the Historian upon the Character of Marcus Cato, so as to represent him a fit Object for the love and de­light of Mankind. Velleius Pa­tere. Cato (says he) was Vertue drawn to the Life, and so exact was the resemblance, that 'twas hard to say, whe­ther Vertue animated Cato, or Cato gave life and subsistance to Vertue; nay, such was the unshaken greatness of his Mind, and the Pu­rity of his Life, that he seemed more to par­take of Divine Perfections than of Humane Frailty, for he was so far above all Tempta­tions of doing Evil, and also free from the Allay of mean ends and designs of doing Good, that it seem'd a kind of Necessity of Nature in him to do well.’ This was such an Idea of a great Vertue, that however 'twas the Creature only of a warm Fancy and Imagination, and not really visible in the Per­son, yet it serves to shew what I have hither­to urged (viz.) the Reputation that Ver­tuous Examples have among Men, when they think it the best way of recommending a Man's Memory to Posterity, by setting him off with the Character of an Illustrious Example.

I will not say more to shew you the Excel­lency of a good Example, possibly you may already be so far perswaded of it, that it may prove some Advantage to that which I am go­to speak upon the

Second Particular, II wherein I am to lay be­fore you the Obligation that lies upon all Men to shew it forth in their Lives.

And the force of this Obligation appears from one of the main ends of the Gospel, which is to raise Men to a perfection of Life, as far above the rest of Mankind, as it exceeds all other Religions of the World in the innocency and purity of its Doctrine, that so they may dispose others to think well of that Faith, and be ready to give up their lives to it, and to be guided and influenced by it.

'Twas for this reason St. Peter exhorted his followers to be exemplary, that they might gain such who had lived contrary to the Gospel, Having your Conversation honest, 2. Pet. 2.12. (saith he) that they may by your good works which they shall be­hold, glorifie God in the day of visitation, (i. e.) that they may give God the praise for such good Examples, whereby they have been con­verted unto him.

For 'twill be natural in Men who are ene­mies or strangers to the Gospel, very strictly to observe what those Men are who pretend to such an elevated Doctrine beyond other Men, to see whether their Lives are rais'd to a height that bears proportion with their Pretences to Religion, and to judge of it by the Fruits it produceth. And therefore 'twas very obser­vable in that Souldier under Constantine, who when he was marching with the Army through a City, that had heard they were almost starv'd, for want of necessary Provisions, of their own charity they reliev'd them speedily and freely; the Souldier was surpriz'd at so unaskt for a bounty, and enquired what kind of People those were who were so extreamly good and chari­table, he was told they were Christians, whose profession was to hurt no man, and to do good to every man, the Souldier was convinc'd of the excellency of that Religion which produc'd such good and pious People, he presently became Christian at so sensible a demonstration, being from hence perswaded of the Purity of its Do­ctrine.

What but this gave such success to St. John the Baptist's Mission, when he came preaching a Doctrine the World had not before heard [Page 14]of, they presently had recourse to his Life, found him to be a Man of a severe Vertue, of strict Piety, a Pattern of Sanctity and Holiness, 'twas then they had an opinion of what he taught, and cry'd out he was a Prophet.

You therefore, O my Brethren, with much ease will our Doctrine become fruitful, when the World shall have reason to approve our Lives; the good Example of the Preacher, is the most prevailing Homily, his Life, is his best Sermon; for is it to be imagin'd that his Discourse should work more upon another, than himself? How specious therefore soever may be our Argu­ments, yet they'l appear Fallacies if they have no Faith with us, nor can we ever perswade men of the Necessity of Temperance, Chastity, and the like Christian Vertues, when we who tell men so, see no need of them our selves, but hope to go to Heaven without them; just so have we seen Statues in doubtful and uncertain Roads which point out the way to others, with­out moving themselves; only let us live up to our Doctrines, and our good Works will con­vince and perswade men more then Miracles.

But the Argument I have hitherto insisted upon, lays before you an obligation to become exemplary, which is equally pressing upon eve­ry [Page 15]Christian, but there is a Consideration or two which I must take the freedom to speak of in this place, and which I find my self more con­cern'd to offer, inasmuch as you are more espe­cially ingag'd to shew forth an excellent Ex­ample,

Both from the Advantages of Fortune, of Power, and Authority.

As also from the Many powerful Influences you have upon those below you. The

First Ingagement to it, is from the Advanta­ges of Fortune, of Power, and Authority, all which will afford the greater opportunities of shewing a more excellent Piety, than that of private persons, such a Piety which seems not confin'd to the endeavours of making your selves happy, which is the utmost that private persons can attain to, but which gives security for the common happiness of those about you, a Piety great to the proportion of your Ta­lents, for unto whomsoever much is given, Luke 12.48. of him shall be much required, and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more; Private Men can only grieve and lament at the Vices of the Age, You may utterly discounte­nance them, may make Vertue graceful, and put Vice into neglect; for Vice hath no force [Page 16]or vigour of it self at all, all its strength is from great Examples, who as 'twere put Arms and Weapons into its hands, whereby it conquers and subdues the World.

Private Men may rejoyce and delight to see Vertue flourish in our Land, and the utmost they can do, is to add one to the number of good Men; You by a Zeal proportion'd to your opportunities may incourage and support it, and by being Examples your selves, you will have Multitudes follow after.

You are therefore to consider, that the tem­poral advantages of life, are not always to be esteem'd blessings, when they are misus'd they serve only to heighten and increase that Ac­count which we must all give to God; but would you know when 'tis they descend from above, when 'tis that they are truly the gifts of God, and bestow'd in kindness in love and fa­vour, 'tis when they are imploy'd to God's ser­vice. It remaineth therefore that you promote Holiness in the Court and in our Land; you may so far contribute towards it, that when you shall advance the Standard of Piety, a nu­merous train will come in.

And that the more from the

Second Ingagement, to be Exemplary: from [Page 17]those powerful Influences you have upon those about you. The Historian, Vell. Patere. speaking of the Power of Princes, places it chiefly in their Ex­ample, rather than in an absolute Command, or in the power of the Sword. ‘A good Prince, saith he, sheweth the way of doing well unto his Subjects by well-doing himself, and thô he be great in the title of Power, yet he is greater and more potent by the force of Ex­ample.’ Consonant to which was Plutarchs observation concerning the influence Caesar had upon his Soldiers, that the very same Men who when they were in service under other Commanders did not exceed the ordinary rate of Courage, did yet when he led them become irresistably valiant, being animated and inspired by the Courage and Conduct of that great Man.

'Tis the very same in Religion; the Actions of private Men are seldom known, or but to very few, and when they are, they bear no stamp of Authority, and have little impression upon those who regard them; but the good or evil Actions of great Men determine a Nation and People. Thus Israel fluctuated betwixt Obedience and Idolatry, according to the suc­cession of its Princes, and when Jereboam the [Page 18]King sinn'd, he then by his influence and ex­ample as well as his command made Israel to sin too; and were we to look into the Courts and Kingdoms, that have been establisht in Righteousness, we need only review the Chro­nicle of Pious Princes.

Complain not then if you create nor a New World, where Righteousness and Truth shall inhabit, if Vice be not banish'd from the Earth, and Vertue made again to return among Men; upon your influences will depend much of the course of this inferiour World; if they be good, they will bring Life, and Solace, and Health unto the People. The Church therefore ex­tendeth her hands out to you, and imploreth the aid of your Authority and good Examples: You are among Men as Mountains over Vallies, be like those Mountains Solomon speaks of, Moun­tains of Myrrh, and of Perfume to the Neigh­bouring Borders. You are elevated in the World, be as Lights and Watch-Towers, to give Comfort and Direction to the doubtful and unwary Traveller: The People are as the Sea, you the Winds that raise or depress them as you please; the People have Hearts of Wax or Clay, you under God the Workmen that give them their Figure and Proportion; and they are [Page 19]in some measure made Vessels to honour or disho­nour, according to the Influences and Impres­sions they receive from you.

Hence Seneca truly said, That no Man erreth or is vertuous to himself, either of which ways he takes, he carries many with him.

It remaineth therefore that you be Holy, not to your selves only, but to the degrees of an Excellent Example.

A Third Argument to perswade you to a Good Example, III is from that Force and Power you will have by your good Examples, to make Men Vertuous, and to be ashamed of Sin. Many are the ways whereby Men may effectually recommend Vertue to others, by their own Practice, there being many things which cannot easily be express'd by Words, or taught by Instructions, which a Precept hath not, but which are yet observable in the Life and Conversation of good Men, which insinu­ate gently, and insensibly brings them on Ver­tue's side before they are aware, which provokes an Emulation in Men, and shames their sloth; which relieves mens Modesty, and presseth up­on Ingenuity; in a word, it recommends the Excellency, and demonstrates the Necessity and [Page 20]Possibility of Vertue; here lies the strength and power of a Good Example: Out of these will I choose an Instance or two to represent it to you.

First, The force and power of Example lies much in this, that it relieves mens Modesty, and gives them confidence to do that in Com­pany, which otherwise they would have de­clined, for fear of being Singular: Vertue it self when it becomes singular, meets with few who have courage enough to live up to it; Men do, as 'twere, take Sanctuary in Vice, when it once appears to have all of its side.

St. Confes. 2. c. 3. Austin was extreamly troubled at this in himself, and 'twas one of the Evils he bewail'd in his Book of Confessions: He there tells us, that he did evil as others, not so much from an Appetite and Inclination to it, as not to be Singular; nay, it often happen'd, that he coun­terfeited the Evil he did not, doubting lest by being innocent, he should be accounted a Man of no worth; and fearful of being esteemed Chaste, lest Chastity should make him contemn'd in the World.

The truth is, Vertue loves not in young be­ginners to stand by it self, 'tis those only who [Page 21]have been long and well accustomed to it, that dare be Vertuous by themselves, it must be­come fashionable before 'twill be universally followed; raise it up but a few Examples to give it countenance, and the Age will present­ly be Reformed.

Secondly, The force of Example is seen by that Zeal and Emulation it enkindles in Men, and gives secret reproaches of sloth to our Hearts, such which provokes us to an Imitati­on of the best and greatest Examples; 'tis an Emulation which makes us uneasie to stay be­hind; whatever good we observe in any Man, we are impatient till we have overtaken him: 'Tis to this the World is indebted for all that Excellency of Spirit, that Improvement of Mind, which raises Men above the Ordinary Rank; whatever things are Excellent, whatever is Praise-worthy, 'tis this in great measure hath produc'd it, this hath finish'd it.

This is the Language of Emulation; Shall another of like Infirmities with my self, be raised to an Illustrious Vertue, consecrated to Posterity by a lasting Fame, and shall I con­tinue an inglorious Life, plung'd in Misery and Sin? Shall a Joseph bravely resist and overcome, [Page 22]and shall I be bafled? Shall a Job be stript of all, and be content, and shall I be discompos'd? Shall an Abraham, a David, a St. Paul be Re­nown'd to future Ages, and shall my Memory dye with me? God hath given me Capacity, and hath not refrain'd from me the means of pleasing him, I will therefore strive to become as good, as commendable, as happy as any Man; this is the voice of Emulation, that mighty Passion.

'Twas therefore a very good Advice which Seneca hath left to the World, Sence. Epist. 11. that every one should propose to himself the Example of some Wise and Vertuous Person, such as Cato, Socra­tes, Plato, and the like, and imagine him to be present as a Witness to his Actions, and the Rule to conduct his Life by; but however ex­cellent the Advice was, yet they had none to propose as Examples, but who had great allays of Evil, and could be Exemplary but in very few things. Senec. Ebrie­tas Catoni ob­jecta est. Cato was a Wise Man, but by Day only, at Night he was reported to drink too freely; Plato was remark'd for Incontinency: So that the Advice seems rather reserv'd for a Christian People, among whom there cannot be supposed such a degeneracy, but that we may be furnish'd with many Precedents, whose Ver­tues, [Page 23]as St. Paul said of the Zeal and Charity of the Corinthians, may have provok'd very many. But especially while we have before us the Life and Example of our Saviour, in which that single Grace of Humility, in washing his Disciples Feet, had so sensibly wrought upon the Spirit of one who was attentively consider­ing it, that he cry'd out, Thou hast overcome, O Lord; thou hast overcome the Pride and Haugh­tiness of my Heart; I am conquer'd by this single act of thy Self-denial, and yield up my self thy Servant and Disciple.

The Fourth and last Argument to perswade you to this Duty, IV is from the Mischiefs of an ill Example, both with relation to Mens selves and others; and this is that which is the most unplea­sing part of the Argument, and I would willingly be perswaded, that what I have already said of its Excellency, and its Obligation upon all Men to shew it forth, will prevail with all ingenuous Minds, rather than to work upon their fears, by shewing the danger of an ill Example; so that I promise my self that 'tis rather to per­fect and compleat the Subject, than that I find it needful to press you with Arguments of this kind.

Here then 'twould be easie to represent to you the many Evils of ill Examples; Men that are Exemplary in Vice, they give sin some kind of Reputation, and do, as much as in them lies, recommend it to others.

Again, they not only become mischievous to the present Age, but it extends it self to Poste­rity, and the Malignity spreads it self to after­ages.

From both which 'tis obvious to consider that Men are not hereby only personally culpable, and to answer for themselves only, but such Men must answer to God for the sins of those they live with, and of those that come after them, which have been occasioned through their ill Examples.

The Jewish Law hath in many places very ex­cellently shewed us the equity of this dealing, Exod. 21.33, 34. If a Man shall open a Pit, or if a Man shall dig a Pit, and not cover it, and an Ox or an Ass fall therein, the Owner of the Pit shall make it good; and how much more is a Man concern'd for his Brother, to prevent his falling into Ruine? While by our sins that are open and publick, we lay open a Gulf of Scandal and Cor­ruption, and if he falls into the Snare, we must give an Account to God for that Soul which was Redeem'd by the price of his Blood.

Again, by the same Law of Equity in the 22 of Exodus, If a man hath caused but one small spark of fire to fly out, if it happen to burn the fruitful Fields, and consume his Neighbours Corn, he is bound to make satisfaction; and how much more shall the evil Actions of wicked Men, which enkindle a fire of Vice and Calamity about their Neighbours, be imputed to them? And what Satisfaction can be made for such a Damage?

So that Religion can never thrive in the World, till Men are convinced that 'tis not the work of a few particular Men, but the Common concern of every one, that there may be none to propagate and support an evil Action; if there be never so few to countenance it, it quick­ly gathers strength, and fills the place. 'Tis as Leaven, a little whereof leaventh the whole lump; and 'twas the removing all sin from us, which was signified by that strict Command un­der the Law, Exod. 12.15 of putting away the leaven out of their houses, and which St. Paul alludes to, when he says, Purge out therefore the old leaven, 1 Cor. 3.7. that ye may be a new lump; of the same Nature is sin. Or 'tis as a Contagion, where one distem­per'd Person is enough to infect a multitude of sound and healthful Men; and 'tis the same Charity to Mankind, not to live viciously in [Page 26]the Eyes of those about us, as 'tis not to carry an Infection into our Neighbours Family. And I am sure that Men can never be secure of their Vertue, while they converse in the World, nor can ever be out of danger of suffering damage by the sins of others, till all Men shall think themselves oblig'd to live vertuously in the Eyes of the World, and that, even from a Principle of Charity to the Souls of Men; and till they shall profess the same care and concern for each other, as every Man doth for his Neighbours Beast, and be as ready to preserve him from the Snares of Sin, as to deliver the other out of the Pit.

I will not say more of the Evils and Mischief of a bad Example, but will rather choose that what hath hitherto been spoken in general up­on this Subject, may now in the Conclusion be rendred more useful, by shewing you the par­ticular Vertues you must be Exemplary in.

'Tis not all Vertues that are outwardly to be performed in the Eyes of the World; some there are which have an additional value for their secresie. Let a Veil be drawn over our Vertues in our Retirements, and our Private Devotions known only to God and our own Hearts; let not a Trumpet be blown when we [Page 27]dispense our Charities, Matth. 6.3. nor let the left hand know what the other doth. Nay, even those which we are required to perform publickly, and to be exemplary in, let there in these be nothing of Vanity and Ostentation; these are the Qualifi­cations that must attend our Vertues.

But how shall I be able to recount to you the Vertues themselves that we are to be Exemplary in? Rather will I point out to you some of those Circumstances and Conditions of Life, to which 'twill be easie for every Mans Observation to reduce most of the Christian Vertues to. And they are these.

1. An Exemplary Vertue will be required in all our Conversation with each other.

2. In living up to such Vertues that are op­pos'd to the popular Vices of the Age.

3. In such that concern our Publick Devo­tions.

And from these three General Heads will I instance only in three Duties, which we should cause to shine forth in an Exemplary Life.

First, Charity and Mutual Affection in our Conversation.

Secondly, Purity in our Actions, as they op­pose the Vices of the Age.

Thirdly, And Unity in our Devotions.

And first of all of our Charity and Mutual Affection towards each other, and this I think my self the rather obliged to speak to, inasmuch as there never was a time when greater Blessings might be hop'd for from it; what lasting Foun­dations of Peace, and continued Prosperities would it promise us, could we but nourish up this Grace to its perfect growth?

But alas! if we fall again into Parties and Di­visions, we deliver up our strength, nor can any success attend our Endeavours; 'tis this there­fore which our Enemies promote and hope for, and promise themselves more by our Divisions, than their Armies; 'tis this they labour at even at this time, endeavouring to dis-unite us, by stirring up a false and mischievous Zeal, as may keep up those differences which have hitherto so lamentably divided us, and by suggesting Prejudices and Animosities betwixt us. And so far have they prevailed upon the weakness and ill Tempers of many, that 'tis a truth which I cannot without trouble relate to you, and which in the few years and changes I have seen, seems now to have past into the Character of our Peo­ple, that nothing but great Fears and common [Page 29] Calamities can make us Friends: When we are at ease, we seem then to have only leisure to shew Unkindnesses and Revenges upon each other, the memory of Injuries returns with the power of requiting them, and when God ceases to afflict us, we create Quarrels and Trouble to each other.

Whereas could Men but forget Injuries, and forgive each other; could Men but lay aside their heats, and heartily embrace each other; could Men but lay aside private Interests, and mutually conspire towards a Publick Good, what Foundations might be now laid for present and future Blessings? Such that after-ages may build Peace and Happiness upon them; and we may with God's Providence, as securely transfer Truth, and Righteousness, and Peace, even upon Chil­dren's Children, as the outward Comforts of Riches and a good Estate. But,

A Second Vertue that we must be Exempla­ry in, is Purity in our Actions, as they oppose the popular Vices of the Age. And here 'twill not be enough to be free from all such sins our selves, but 'twill lie upon all of us to endeavour our utmost to discourage and discountenance such sins in others; for there is this unhappi­ness [Page 30]in these sins, that when they once appear common, and almost universal, they beget a kind of Reputation, especially if drest up with Ho­nour, and set off with the Advantages of For­tune; for it often happens that the Actions which in a mean Fortune are justly reputed sins, become fashionable in others and are imitated, resembling herein the guilt of false Coyners, they impress sin with the stamp of Vertue, and it im­poses upon thousands for true worth; and there­fore the surest way of bringing popular sins in­to neglect and disgrace, is to take off that Dis­guise, and mistaken Opinion whereby they pre­vail among Men, and to look upon them as mean, and dishonourable, and reproachful, and then they will quickly become less dange­rous.

Let but all good Men agree together to ex­press a Zeal and Indignation against them, and all the Interest that wicked Men have in the World, will never be able to support them.

But 'tis with some satisfaction that I decline speaking further upon this Particular; inasmuch as I am not destitute of hope, which perswades me, that this work is already begun.

I conclude therefore with a

Third Vertue we are to be Exemplary in, and 'tis Ʋnity in our Devotions, and in the Worship and Communion of our Church, that so if there be any, that have had mistaken Thoughts and Opinions of us, and have thereby been misled into a Causeless Separation from us; let such be perswaded, that we have not been wanting, in giving all manner of Testimonies to the World, that might convince them of our Sincerity, and have as well by Affectionate Addresses, as un­answerable Arguments, endeavour'd to win them to our Communion, and shew'd them the Reaso­nableness of our Service; and that they ought now more especially to consider of the necessity of an Union with us. Since 'tis an Argument wherein Divine Providence seems to concur with me, it being the time design'd by Heaven for an Ʋnion with each other.

And if I may beg leave to offer any thing of Humane Reason, when Heaven speaks in so vi­sible a manner, let me upon this one account intreat your concurrence in an Ʋnity of Worship, inasmuch as 'tis our Divisions in this one thing, that hath rais'd all that storm of Reproaches from our Adversaries against the Reformed Church; they know very well that 'tis not mat­ters of Faith which we disagree about, we are [Page 32]all of us much more united in Faith than they are, but there being so many different Commu­nions among Protestants, who are all one in the Substance of Faith. Hence they raise Arguments that there are so many Differences among us, that there can be no truth or certainty with any of us; when alas! were those Romanists, who are so miserably divided in matters of their Faith, but separated in their Worship too, what a number of Conventicles must there be among them? As many as there are different Orders and Monasteries; Nation would separate from Nation, Italy from France, and each Religious Order from one another; the Molinists from the Jansenists, the Scotists from the Thomists, the Dominicans from the Franciscans, and all of them Universally from the Jesuists.

But the truth is, tho' they are beyond dispute much more divided in their Faith than we are, yet they have the good Fortune to agree in Worship, and so they seem to unthinking Men to be at good Ʋnity with each other. That is, they all agree to Worship the Host, they all agree to Pray in an unknown Tongue, they all agree to Pray to Saints, and Angels, and the Virgin Mary, and to Pray for the Dead, they all concenter in this Worship; I do assure you I [Page 33]have told you the most specious pretences for their Ʋnity; and if such an Agreement with each other as this be their praise, I am sure the Protestants on all sides joyn in a much more commendable Ʋnity against it, and do all with one Heart, and with one Mouth pray to God, that from such a Ʋnity in Worship he would deliver us.

What remains therefore towards an Ʋnion among Protestants but this? That whatever parti­cular Opinions any of us may have touching Re­ligion, yet that mens Zeal for these should not be an hindrance from their concurring to pre­serve and secure those many and greater things in which all of us agree.

All sides of Protestants find the substance of their Faith in the Establish'd Church, each of them agree in this, they all concenter here, more than in any one Society besides; and if where­in they are singular in their Opinions, they find a due Condescention and Liberty to profess them, and cannot otherwise be secure of this Temper, than by the lasting settlement of the Church, which as a Mother gives common Security to every side: Why then should not all sides find it their Interest zealously to concur to give so­lid settlement to that, which is but another [Page 34]word for their own Security and Self-preserva­tion, whilst if they break down these Banks, they are overflow'd by the Common Enemy, and will find no place for their Foot to rest in.

And now to conclude all in one word,

Let me provoke you to such a Zeal in the Concerns of Religion, as may not be con­fin'd to those private Christian Duties, that have respect only to God and your own hearts: such which concern the fervours of your De­votion, the importunity of your Prayers, a great concern for your Innocency, great care and strictness over your Lives, great forward­ness in your private Charities, and the like; but let your Zeal extend it self to the Pub­lick, let its influences promote the good of Religion, and the Churches Peace and Wel­fare.

Your Stations and Circumstances in the World give you great Opportunities, and by your sincere Endeavours you will wonderfully contribute towards it. The Work is great, and calls for your help, and a prudent and well-govern'd Zeal will not fail of its good Effects; 'tis such a Zeal which will give great [Page 35] Temper in all Publick Affairs and Counsels; 'tis such a Zeal which will render you very Ex­emplary to those about you, the most power­ful Argument to invite even your Adversaries to be like you, and to approve of you; nay, rather to render you without Adversary in the World; for to the good Man, to the Peaceful, the Charitable, the Affectionate, and well-tem­per'd Christian no man is an Enemy.

Let me beg the freedom therefore to press this upon you, which I esteem so useful an Exhortation, for I would not willingly spend one Minute in this place, without offering something that (through God's Assistance) may prove to your Advantage, and where I must go down with a Reproach to my own Heart, were I conscious to my self of not having used my utmost endeavour towards it. To you of this Audience, to whom this part of the Application is most suited, who are more especially concern'd, and whose obser­ving it may prove of greatest Consequence to Publick Good. Consider, I beseech you, the Opportunities and Advantages you now have of doing this good, from your Circumstances and Fortunes, from your Stations, and from the Reputation you have in the World; Sa­crifice, [Page 36]I beseech you, the increase of these Talents to your God, and for the benefit of his Church and People. It may be in your way to promote a good will among Men, to ap­pease Dissensions, to prevent Disgusts among each other, to promote a good Understanding among Men. By these you will become Pub­lick Blessings, and by these Fountains of Love and Peace within your own Hearts, and which flow from all your Actions, your Conversations, and Counsels, you will give a Fruitfulness of Peace to all the Neighbouring Borders, and shall become like the River David speaks of, the Streams whereof shall make glad the City of God, Psal. 46.4. the Holy place of the most High: Which God of his infinite Mercy grant, for the sake of Christ Jesus our Saviour, to whom be Honour and Glory for ever. Amen.

FINIS.

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