Books lately Printed for Richard Chiswell.

DR. TENISON (now Lord Bishop of Lincoln) His Sermon of Doing good to Posterity.

—His Sermon concerning Discretion in giving Alms.

—His Sermon against Self-Love, before the House of Commons▪ Iune 5. 1689.

—His Conference about Religion with Pulton the Jesuite.

—His Sermon before the Queen, concerning the Wandring of the Mind in God's Service, Feb. 15. 1690.

—His Sermon before the Queen, of the Folly of Atheism. February 22. 1690.

Dr. FOWLER (now Lord Bishop of Gloucester) his Sermon before the Queen, March 22. 1690.

The Bishop of Sarum's Sermon, at the Funeral of the Lady Brook, Feb. 19. 1690.

—His Fast Sermon before the King and Queen, April 29. 1691.

Dr. FREEMAN (now Dean of Peterborough) his Sermon at the Assizes at Northampton, before the Lord Chief Justice Pollexfen, Aug. 26. 1690.

—His Thanksgiving Sermon before the House of Commons, Novem­ber 5. 1690.

Some Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of PIEDMONT. By PETER ALLIX, D. D.

A Vindication of their Majesties Authority, to fill the Sees of the deprived Bishops, in a Letter out of the Country, occasioned by Dr. B—'s Refusal of the Bishoprick of Bath and Wells. 4to

V. CL. GVLIELMI CAMDENI, & T [...]strium Virorum ad G. C [...]ndenum EPISTOLAE. Cum Appendice varii Argum [...]nti Accesserunt Annalium Regni Règis Iacobi I. Apparatus, & Commentarius de An [...]ate, Dignitate, & Officio Comitis Marescalli Angli [...]. Pramittitur G. Camdeni [...]. Scriptore Thoma Smitho S. T. D. Ecclesiae Anglicanae Presbytero, 4to.

MEMOIRS of what past in Christendom from the War begun 1672. to the Peace concluded 1679. 80.

Remarks upon the Ecclesiastical History of the Ancient Churches of the ALBIGENSES. By PETER ALLIX, D. D. Treasurer of the Church of Sarum. 4to. will be shortly published.

A Sermon Preached at White-Hall, on the 26th. of November, 1691. be­ing the Thanksgiving-Day for the Preservation of the King, and the Reduction of Ireland. By GILBERT Lord Bishop of SARVM, 4to.

A Thanksgiving Sermon before the Lords, on the 26th. of November, 16 [...]0. for the Preservation of their Majesties, the Reducing of Ireland, and the King's safe return. By SYMON Lord Bishop of ELY.

ADVERTISEMENT.

PROPOSALS will be shortly published by Richard Chiswell, for Subscription to a Book (now finished) Intituled, ANGLIAE, SACRAE PARS SECVNDA; sive Collectio Historiarum, antiquitus Scriptarum, de Archiepiscopis & Episcopis Angliae, à prima Fidei Christiane Susceptione, ad annum MDXL. Plures antiquas de Vitis & Rebus gestis Praesulum Angli­ [...]orum Historias sine certo ordine congestas complexa.

A SERMON Preach'd at the Meeting OF THE Sons of the Clergy IN S. Mary-le-Bow Church, On Tuesday the Sixth of December, 1692.

By EDWARD Lord Bishop of Gloucester.

LONDON, Printed by T. M. for B. Aylmer at the Three Pidgeons over against the Royal Exchange, and A. and I. Churchil at the Black Swan in Pater-noster-row, 1692.

To his Honoured Friends, the Stewards of the late Feast OF The SONS of the CLERGY, Viz. • Sir Salathiel Lovel, Recorder of London, , • Thomas Paske, Esq , • Mr. Thomas South, , • Mr. Iohn Reeve, , • Mr. Samuel Knowles, , • Mr. Iohn Thresher, , • Capt. Iohn Willimott, , • Capt. Abraham Robarts, , • Mr. Robert French, , • Mr. Francis Sedgwick, , • Mr. Robert Sedgwick, , • Mr. Thomas Granger, , • Capt. Theoph. Blechynden, , • Alexander Duncomb, Esq , and • Mr. Iohn Dillingham. 

Gentlemen,

THo' I was not difficultly perswaded to comply with your Request, that I would be your Preacher, as little Time, as I truly foresaw I should be Master of, to prepare a Discourse proper for the Occasion; yet I could [Page] not consent to your desire of having this, which you heard, Printed (as re­ally not thinking it worthy to be made more publick) till you were pleased to back it with such Importunities, as I could not withstand, without the im­putation of Incivility. I therefore here Present you with it, most earnestly wishing, and humbly praying, it may do that Service, which your Zeal for the promoting of Love and Good Works induced you to think it fitted for, and remain,

GENTLEMEN,
Your Affectionate Brother, and Humble Servant, E. G.
JOHN 13. 34.‘A New Commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another.’

THE Design of this Meeting of the Sons of the Clergy being to promote Love and Amity among our selves, and to exercise Christian Charity, I think these Words are no improper Subject to be discoursed on upon this Occasion.

A New Commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another. A New Commandment! Was Love to each other no Duty before the coming of our Blessed Sa­viour? Was it never injoyned under the Old Law? Our Lord himself assures us of the contrary, Mark 12. 31. As in the foregoing Verse, he saith, that the Love of God comprehends the whole first Table, so in this, that the Love of our Neighbour is the Sum and Substance of the Second: The Second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self. And we find the Duty of loving our Neighbour, often re­peated and inculcated in the Old Testament.

The New Commandment therefore was not, that [Page 2] we should merely Love one another, but that we should Love one another, as Christ hath loved us. A New Commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. We have in the Words,

First, A Duty enjoyned, viz. Loving one another.

Secondly, The Pattern we are to follow in so doing▪ As I have loved you. And in the handling of them I shall observe this Method.

  • I. I shall shew, What it is to Love one another.
  • II. The Necessity of so doing.
  • III. How far this Phrase One Another is to extend.
  • IV. What Qualifications our Love to each other ought to have.
  • V. In what Instances it ought to be expressed.

First, What it is to Love one another. The Word Love signifies either Complacency, or Benevolence and Good Will. And it is our Duty to Love one another, according to both these Acceptations of the Word, though not every individual Person, according to both Some we are obliged to Love Complacentially, to take [Page 3] Delight and Pleasure in them; but there are others, whom we are not bound so to Love; nay whom we are bound not so to Love.

Some we can not so Love though we would; and there are others whom we may not so Love, though we could. For instance, Churlish Nabals, People of Sour, Morose, or Captious Tempers, to whom scarce a free Word can be spoken, without danger of Offence: We cannot Love these with a Love of Delight, though we would never so fain. To whom may be added Narrow-soul'd People, who have no Concern for any but their own dear Selves; and much more such as make no Conscience of injuring others to serve them­selves. As Good natur'd People can take no satisfa­ction in such as these, so can hardly any of these, be pleased with the Society of one another: Especially, Proud, or Envious, or Churlish, or Testy and Waspish People, are no Company for one another; and much less for those, who are of contrary Qualities; Simili­tude being the Foundation of all Love of Complacen­cy. Tho' where there is Similitude there may be no such Love, viz. when it lyeth in unlovely and troublesome Qualities; yet wheresoever there is such a Love, there must be more or less Similitude: And according to the degree of Similitude, will be the degree of Com­placential Love.

Again, if such a Person be sensible, that such a one [Page 4] Hates him, and watcheth all Occasions to do him Mischief, he cannot have this kind of Love for him.

Now when I say that some we can take no Com­placency in, I suppose that therefore we are not ob­liged to it. Nemo tenetur ad impossibile. Nor is it a­greeable to the Divine Goodness, to impose unnatu­ral things on Men.

There are again Others, whom we may not Love with this Love of Delight, though we could: Name­ly, Prophane or Debauched People; those, who tho' they may have the Form of Godliness, deny in their Practice the Power thereof. The Apostle admonisheth his Son Timothy, to withdraw himself from such as these. To be pleased with the Conversations of such People, is to express a liking of their Ways; at least it argues a very Luke-warm Temper, and a great Unconcernedness for the Honour of God, and the In­terest of Religion.

But no Man can be of so Unlovely a Temper, or so wicked a Wretch, as that it should not be our Du­ty to love him, in the Second Sense of the Word, viz. to wish well to him, and endeavour, as we have Op­portunity, his Welfare and Happiness. Which sup­poseth, I need not say, a Change of his Nature, with­out which he cannot be capable of Happiness. And therefore this Change of his Nature is in the first place to be desired and endeavoured.

[Page 5] Secondly, As to the Necessity of Loving each other; there is no Duty more plainly enjoyned, or more vi­gorously urged in the Holy Scriptures: Especially by our Blessed Saviour and his Holy Apostles. And there­fore those who are better acquainted with the Chri­stian Religion, than with the Spirits and Behaviour of those who profess it, may think it needless to spend any time, upon this Argument. But because the Re­ligion of too too many who are called Christians, and that Religion which our Saviour brought into the World, are very unlike, it will not be amiss to give a short Account what this is, in reference to the Point before us.

As our Blessed Lord calls it His New Commandment, That we Love one another as He hath Loved us; so in the Words following, he makes this the distinguishing Character of his Disciples. By this, saith he, shall all men know that you are my Disciples, if ye have Love one to another. And so desirous was he that they should not be defective in Love, that above all the excellent Petitions he puts up for them Iohn 17. this of Love is the only Grace, he particularly prays for in their behalf, viz. ver. 21. That they all may be one as thou Father art in me and I in thee; that they may be u­nited in Love, have one Heart, and one Soul. And the Reason for which he thus prayeth, doth mightily Commend this Grace, viz. That the World may believe [Page 6] that thou hast sen [...] me. Which is as much as to say, that Christian ex [...]ing in the Grace of Love, will be a great Conviction to the World, of the Execllen­cy, and therefore of the Truth, of the Christian Re­ligion. And again Verse the last, I have declared, saith he, to them thy Name, and will declare it, that the Love wherewith thou hast Loved me, may be in them. And his Beloved Disciple S. Iohn thought, he could never enough extol this Grace. He makes Love the very Essence of the Deity, 1 Ep. 4. 16. God is Love; and adds, that he who dwelleth [...]n Love, dwelleth in God and God in him. And v. 7. he saith, that Love is of God, and every one that Loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. Knoweth him practically and ex­perimentally. And Ch. 3. 14. We know, saith he, that, we have passed from Death to Life, because we love the Brethren: We know that we are Regenerate Chri­stians by our Love and Charity. He that loveth not his Brother abideth in Death. He is certainly an Un­regenerate Man, a wicked Creature. And ver. 15. Whosoever hateth his Brother is a Murtherer, and ye know that no Murther hath Eternal Life abiding in him.

Nor is S. Paul wanting in Recommending and pressing this Duty. Owe, saith he, no man any thing but to love one another; for he that loveth another, hath ful­filled the Law. Or this is the Christian Perfection of the Law, as it relates to our Neighbour. And in what [Page 7] follows he sheweth, that the whole second Table is herein implyed. And in short, this great Apostle pre­ferreth Charity before all other Endowments and Ac­complishments: Before the speaking with the Tongues of Men or Angels, before [...] all Mysteries, before all Kn [...] and [...] all Faith too, even the Faith of Miracles; nay before the greatest Zeal, nay such a zeal as will make men give their Bodies to be burnt, 1 Cor. 13 chapter. He there tells us, that Charity is so much above all these, that they are none of them worth any thing without Charity. Much more may be said to sh [...]w, what a mighty Figure, this Duty of Loving each other makes, in the Religion of our Saviour.

Thirdly, I come to shew how far this duty of loving one another is to extend; or what we are to under­stand by one another in the Text. In a word, it takes in all Men whatsoever: Not only our Friends and Ac­quaintance: Not only our own Party, and those that say as we say, and think as we think: Not only those that oblige us and do us good turns; but all the World, all that partake of the same common Nature with our selves, be they who or what they will.

1. This is apparent from the Text. A new Com­mandment I give unto you, That you love one another, as I have loved you. Now the Love of Christ was Vn­limited, He dyed for all mankind. S. Iohn saith, that [Page 8] He is the Propitiation for the Sins of the whole World. S. Paul calls him, The Saviour of all Men: That is, so their Saviour as to exclude none from Salvation, who will comply with the Terms on which He offer­eth it. He hath shut out none from having benefit, by what he did and suffered in the behalf of Sin­ners; nor ever will he any, who shall not reject the Counsel of God against themselves. And lest we should think that by the World, and the whole World, and all Men, we are only to understand some of all sorts, this same Apostle assures us, that this Phrase all Men is to be taken in the same Latitude, in refer­rence to the Remedy brought by Christ, that 'tis to be taken in, in reference to the Mischief done by Adam. Therefore as by the offence of one, saith he, judgment came upon all men to Condemnation, even so by the Righ­teousness of One, the free-gift came upon all men to Iusti­fication of Life; viz. the gift of the new Gracious Co­venant. And the Author to the Hebrews, chap. 2. 9. tells us, that Christ tasted death for every man. Now if our Saviour loved all men, loved all so as to put them into a Reconcilable state; so that it must be their own Personal fault, and long of their Wilfulness and Obstinacy, if the worst of Sinners be not actually re­conciled to God; then, since he hath commanded us to love others as He hath loved them, our Love is to extend to all without exception. And well might [Page 9] our Lord call this a New Commandment, for no such is to be found in the Law of Moses, or in the Pro­phets.

2. This farther appears from those other words of our Saviour, Mark. 12. 31. Thou shalt love thy Neigh­bour as thy self. You may say, the word Neighbour seems to be Limiting and Confining. But we must understand this word, as our Lord himself hath Ex­plained it, Luke 10. 29. Here is a Question put by a Lawyer to Him, Who is my Neighbour? Now see His Answer in the following words: A Certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his Rayment, and wound­ed him, leaving him half dead; and by chance there came a certain Priest that way, and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side; and likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came, and looked on him, and passed by on the other side: But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was, and when he saw him, he had Compassion on him, &c. Now saith our Saviour, v. 36. Which of these three, thinkest thou, was Neighbour to him that fell among thieves? And the Lawyer answering, He that shewed mercy on him; Our Lord replyed, Go thou and do likewise. Which is as if he had said, Thou hast now answered thy self; every Person that needs thy relief, tho' he be unto thee as Iews and Samaritans are to one another; tho' he be of a different Religion [Page 10] from thee, nay tho' he be thine Enemy, as the Iews and Samaritans were to each other, he is thy Neigh­bour; and therefore thou art obliged to love him as thy self; to do to him, when in an afflicted state, as thou wouldst be done unto in the like Condition. Again 'tis Evident,

3. That we are not to confine our Love and Cha­rity to some particular Persons, in that we are far­ther required by our Saviour, to imitate our Heaven­ly Fathers Love and Charity. Be Perfect, saith he, as your Heavenly Father is perfect, Mat. 5. 48. That is, as appears from what goes before, let the exercise of your Charity extend as far as God's extendeth, For, as it follows v. 45. He maketh His Sun to rise on the Evil and on the Good, and sendeth Rain on the Iust and on the Vnjust: And, as the Psalmist declareth, His mereys are over all his works: The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercys are over all His works. But,

4. Express Texts enjoyn this. If any are to be excluded from our Love, they must be our Enemies; but what saith our Lord of these, Mat. 5. 44? But I say unto you Love your Enemies, bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and per­secute you, that you may be the Children of your Fa­ther which is in Heaven. And v. 46. If you love them which love you, what Reward have you? Do not even the [Page 11] Publicans the same? And if you Salute, [...] em­brace, your Bretheren only, what do you more than others? Or, what Excellent thing do you? Do not even the Publicans the same? And Gal. 6. 10. The Apostle saith, Let us do good unto all men; and the next words shew, that tho' we ought to love all without exception, as that word signifies Benevolence, yet we are not to shew neither this kind of love to all alike: For it follows, Especially to them who are of the House­hold of Faith. That which makes our Brother a Member of Christ's Church, doth give him a Title to our greater Affection in both the foresaid Senses. And here let me mind you, that we ought to have a higher degree of love, for all that own Christ for their Lord and Saviour, than for Infidels, and such as are Enemies to his Religion; and those that own him most in their Practice, we are obliged to have a greater love for, than for mere Professors of Christiani­ty; or such as whose lives are less Conformable there­unto. 'Tis highly Reasonable, that the most Lovely Persons should have most of our love. There is no­thing so Amiable as true Goodness, and according to the degree thereof in any Person; should be the degree of our Love to him. God is to be the Object of our Highest Love, because He is Perfectly and O­riginally Good; and according as Men are more or less like to God, the greater or less Complacency [Page 12] ought we to take in them; and more or less ar­dently to Desire and Endeavour their Wellfare. The true Christian Love doth chiefly consist in loving His Image from whom we are call'd Christians: And where there is most of that, whether the Persons are in all things of our minds or no, we do not Love as becomes Christians, if there we do not most love.

I speak now of Christian Love, as I said, such a love as is the effect of our own choice, directed and Governed by our Saviour's Laws. I speak not of a Natural Love, which is necessary, and not the effect of Choice. This love do we what we can, will ordi­narily flow most freely towards our Yoke-Fellows; Children, Brethren, and Sisters, as being parts of our selves. And so for those that are Naturalized to us by a long Acquaintance, we cannot in that respect but love them better, than such as are less known to us; and those that have greatly obliged us, we na­turally love with a greater Passion, than those to whom we are not at all, or less beholden.

But tho' Scripture, Nature, and Reason do enjoyn us to love one another with a different kind and degree of love, yet it hath been fully made to appear, that 'tis our duty to extend our love to all; to wish well to, and desire and endeavour (as we are able and have opportunity) the happiness of every man.

Fourthly, I proceed to shew, what Qualifications our [Page 13] love to each other ought to have. Our Text tells us, that we ought to love one another as Christ hath loved us; and the other Text in S. Mark, that we are to love our Neighbour as our selves. And that is,

1. Most Heartily and Sincerely. My little Chil­dren, saith S. Iohn, Let us not love in word, neither in tongue, but in Deed and in Truth. Let love be without dissimulation, saith S. Paul. I need not say that Christ's love to us was most hearty, nor that our love to our selves is so. Indeed, if our Love be not hearty, as we love not like Christians, so we do not love at all. Love is seated in the Heart only, so that Professions of love, and love it self are no more the same thing, than are Shadows and Sub­stances, Realities and mere Appearances.

2. We ought to love Ingenuously as well as Hearti­ly. To love Men Ingenuously, is to delight in them, or wish well to them, for their own sakes, without respect to our own Interest. So, you need not be told, our Saviour loved Mankind; next to the Glory of God, and the Advancement of Righteous­ness and Universal Goodness in the World, He was acted by a vehement desire of Our happiness. He did not Love Men, as men love their Horses, and too commonly their Servants, only or mostly for his own Advantage.

Now, as I said that to Pretend to love, is not to [Page 14] love, so to love others merely with respect to our own good, is rather mere self-love, than a love of them. And to love others principally for our own sakes, is more to love our selves than them. And that such a love is far from deserving to be called Christian Love, will appear by what a Pagan saith of it. Tully tells us in his Laelius, that Ipse se quisque deligit non ut aliquam a seipso mercedem exigat Charitatis suae, sed quod perse sibi quisque Charus est, &c. Every man loves himself, not that be may obtain a reward from himself for so doing, but because he is, for his own sake, dear to himself: And except (as he proceeds) men so love one another, they cannot be true Friends. And this (saith he farther) is seen in the very Brutes, how much more then ought it to be found among Men. But many Im­pudently desire that others should be such Friends to them, as they will be to none; and expect that love from others, which they will not bestow on others. That is, they ex­pect that others should love them purely upon their own account, and not that their love to them, should Ultimately Terminate in themselves. And as the Example of our Saviour, so that of God the Father ob­ligeth us thus to love one another. For Man cannot be profitable to God, as he that is wise may be profitable to himself. Is it any Pleasure, or Courtesy, to the Almighty, that thou art Righteous? &c. Iob 22. 2, 3. And therefore he cannot desire, that Sinners should turn [Page 15] from their Wickedness and live, for any gain to himself. If therefore we would be the Children of God, we must love each other not only sincerely, but generously and ingenuously.

And indeed, if we consider the Nature of Mankind, we shall find that this, as well as the Commands of God and our Saviour, doth oblige us to such a love of all Men. And this, indeed, is the reason why they have obliged us hereunto by their Commands. They Command it because it is fittest in it self and best. And therefore are we required to love and wish well to all for their own sakes, because every man is in himself considered, and as abstracted from Vicious Habits, and from what is Preternatural, an Excellent, and there­fore a Lovely Creature. Every man, as to his pure Naturals, bears God's Image; and consequently 'tis most reasonable to love every man, and desire his greatest happiness, for his own sake.

Nay, we ought to bear such a sort of Good-will to God's whole Creation; thus to love Brutes as well as Men, tho' in a far lower degree, and to desire for them all that Happiness their Natures are Capable of, with­out as well as with respect to our own Advantage, and the service they may do us. I say we ought to desire the well-being of all Creatures whatsoever, for their own sakes (I mean so far as it is consistent with the Well-being of Men) because all God's Works [Page 16] are good, and whatsoever is so hath a Right to our Benevolence as such. A mercifull man, saith K. Solo­mon, Is merciful to his Beast: And not only is he so, because by his ill usage of his Beast, he will disable him from being serviceable (for this would not speak one a Merciful Man, but a Man that considers his own interest) but because the poor Creature has a Right to good Usage. And if such a Love as this be due to Beasts, much more is it so to Man-kind.

By the way, what an ill-natured Principle is that of the Malmsbury Philosopher, viz. That our Need of each other, is the only Cause of our entring into Societys, and the Ground of all Friendship. He might judge so by himself, but every one whose Nature is not miserably depraved, knows by but reflecting on himself, that this is wretched Doctrine.

3. We are obliged to have such a degree of Love for one another, as will make us most Prompt and Ready to the Performance of all Offices of Mercy and Kindness, as shall be shewn presently: And so to love the Souls of our Brethren, as to be willing even to lay down our Lives for the procuring of their Eternal Happiness, if it be necessary. Here­by, saith S. Iohn, Perceive we the Love of God, be­cause He laid down his Life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the Brethren. And thus to [Page 17] love one another as Christ hath loved us, is not only o love our Neighbour as our selves, but even better than our Selves, that is, than one part of our selves, our viler part. And as severe as this may seem, nothing is more highly Reasonable, than that we should prefer our Brethrens Souls before our own Bodies; than that we should be more solicitous for their Eternal, than for our own Temporal life. This appears so Reasonable at first sight, that such a Man as Tully, had it come into his Mind, would certainly have asserted it to be our duty. This Love I might shew, S. Paul professed to have for his Un­believing Country-Men, and he gave the greatest Demonstrations of the sincerity of that his Profession; and so did the other Apostles too of the like Love. And the same ought we all to aspire after.

Fifthly, I come, in the last place, to shew in what Instances our Love to one another ought to be ex­pressed. Many I might lay before you, but I can­not insist on above two or three.

1. It ought to be Exprest by Sympathizing with each other in Afflictions, and Rejoicing in each others Prosperity. Rejoice, saith the Apostle, with them that Rejoice, and Weep with them that Weep. And look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. Not that he would have us be Busy-bodies in other folks matters; this we [Page 18] are elsewhere Cautioned against by the same Apostle: But he would have us enquire after, and be affect­ed with, the State of others; if it be good not to Envy them, but to be Glad for their sakes; and if bad to Compassionate them. This was the Temper of our Blessed Lord, when on Earth. We again and again read, that upon the sight of People in Calamity [...], His Bowels yerned towards them. And this we must have a special care to be like Him in, as we profess to be His Followers. Love as Bre­thren (saith S. Peter) be pitiful. But then,

2. To our Affecting Sense of the Condition of o­thers, we must add our Relief of all Objects of Pity, according to our Ability. And our Nature is indued with such a Passion as this of Pity, for this reason only, that we may be the more strongly thereby excited to Relieve our Afflicted Brethren; so that 'tis for this end that we ought to cherish this Affection. And to be affected with the sufferings of others, without administring what help we can, is so poor and low an expression of love, as to be of no Account at all with God. If a Brother or Sister (saith S. Iames) be Naked and destitute of daily Food, and one of you say unto them, Depart in Peace, be ye warmed or filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful for the Body; what doth it profit? That is, if you be so little Affected with the [Page 19] Condition of your poor Indigent Brethren and Sisters, as only to bestow good Wishes on them, it will nei­ther profit them nor your selves.

I will present you with two or three Texts, which if we will Consider, we cannot think our selves sincere Christians, while we live in the neglect of this duty of Charity. The first shall be that of S. Iohn, Whoso hath this Worlds Goods, and seeth his Bro­ther hath need, and shutteth up his Bowels of Compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him? 1 Iohn 3. 17. He hath no more love for God, than he hath for his Brother. The second shall be that of S. Iames, Pure Religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, to visit the Fatherless and Widows in their Affliction; and to keep ones self unspotted from the World, Iames, 1. 27. The third shall be that of the Prophet Micah, He hath shewed thee O man, what is Good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, to love Mercy, and to walk Humbly with thy God? Mich. 6. 8. And so great a number of Texts of the like nature, may be produced, as you must needs be satisfied are more than enough, to overthrow all the Hopes of a Covetous Hard-hearted Professour of Christianity, let him have built his hopes upon never so many-other Evidences.

3. Another Expression of Love to each other, [Page 20] should be wholesome Advice and Counsel. As Oynt­ment and Perfume (says the Wise Man) rejoice the heart, so does the sweetness of a mans Friend by hearty Counsel. And if in our Temporal Concerns, the good Advice of a Friend is to be valued, How highly valuable is it in our Spiritual! And therefore, How much more should our Love prompt us to give it in such Concerns! Exhort one another daily, says the Apostle, While it is called to day, left any of you be hardned through the deceitfulness of sin. And let us consider one another, to provoke unto love and to good works. Can I be a Friend to any man, and not be so to his better Part, his Soul? And can I be Friend to his Soul, and decline giving him that Advice which I am sensible he needs, either for the Taking him off from some sinful Course, or prevention of his falling into some Sin, or of his Continuance in the neglect of some necessary duty? And to encourage us to this great Instance of Friendship, let us consider those words with which S. Iames concludeth his Epistle, Brethren, if any of you do Err from the truth, and one Convert him; let him know that he who Con­verteth a sinner from the Errour of his way, shall save a Soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of Sins. Or, this will be a prevailing Motive with God to pardon his own many sins.

But yet, as Noble and necessary an instance of [Page 21] Charity as this is, and as great a Reward as is Pro­mised to it, there is no duty more neglected in this Luke-warm, nay most Prophane Age; in which such an Expression of Friendship, too generally passeth for a Piece of Fanaticism. But Honest Heathens have had a much more honourable Opinion of it. And I will conclude this Argument with this saying of Cicero: Consilia, Sermones, Cohortationes, Consolati­ones, interdum etiam Objurgationes, in Amicis vigent maxime. Good Counsel, wholesome Admonitions, In­structions and Consolations, and severe Reproofs too, when there is Occasion for them, do most take place in Friendship.

I might proceed to other Instances of Love, to which we are necessarily obliged; As a Readiness to forgive offences: A Forwardness to make up diffe­rences. Putting the most Candid interpretations we reasonably can, upon each others Actions: Concealing each others Faults, except when it is necessary to make them Publick: And Condescention to each others infir­mities. But I may not do more than Mention these, lest I trespass too much upon your Patience.

The Application.

NOw what remaineth, but that we put in pra­ctice with all our might, this Great, this New Commandment of loving one another, as Christ hath loved us. And we of this Society, who are many of us Clergy-men, and all Sons of the Clergy, are in these respects under a special Obligation, of Excelling in this, with all other Christian Virtues.

Those of us who are Clergy-men are strictly bound, as S. Paul tells us, in the Person of Timothy, to be Examples to the Flock; and so to demean our selves, in all respects, as to be able to say as that Apostle did, Walk as ye have us for an Example. As it is our great Business to Teach others their duty, and to press them thereto by the most persuasive Ar­guments, so must we make great Conscience of it our selves, as we would not lose our labour; nay as we would not do more hurt than good. And those ought to Expect, at least to have their labour lost upon their People, whose Examples do not back and inforce their Doctrine. If we are not such our selves, as we tell them, as they hope to be saved, they must be, each of them will be ready to make this shame­full Reflexion, upon our Sermons and good Admoni­tions, Cur verba audio, cum facta non videam?

[Page 23]And particularly, as to this duty of loving one a­nother, it will be in vain to use Arguments with our Flocks to stir them up hereunto, while they perceive us wanting in any of the Necessary instances and Expressions of Love: I mean such as are within our own power.

And I say this, because a Multitude of our Clergy are, God knows, in very sorry Circumstances to be Ex­emplary, in that great Expression of Love, Alms-giv­ing. I much doubt, that the far greater Part have not wherewith to be so. Nay 'twould pity any good Man to see, how many of them are reduced to such Streights (especially of late years) as to want a Competent Subsistence for themselves and Families. And 'tis very sad to Observe what Con­tempt is by this means brought upon their Holy, their Honourable Function. Necessitas cogit ad turpia.

And this puts me in mind to wish, that the Condi­tion of the Clergy were better Considered, in the Taxes and other impositions, than it lately hath been.

What I have now suggested, I am too well Con­firmed in the belief of, by the sad Informations I have received, and Observations I have made, up and down in my own Diocese: Which yet, I think, is not the poorest in the Nation.

In the next place, I would mind you, my Bre­thren, [Page 24] not only that the Clergy, as such, are most con­cerned of all Persons, to be Exemplary in the Vir­tue of the Text, and all other, but the Sons too of the Clergy are in an Especial manner obliged here to, upon the account of their coming out of the Loyns of such Parents, and their having generally had so Re­ligious Educations, as they are to be supposed to have.

Next to the Faults of the Clergy, those of their Children are exceeding Scandalous; Nothing being more common, than for Prophane People, and such as catch at all Opportunities, to cast Dirt upon our Excellent Religion and Church, to charge the Sins of such upon their Parents loose Education of them. Nor is any thing more Ordinary, than for People to Encourage themselves to do Evil, by the bad Examples of the Children of their Teachers, as well as of their Teachers themselves. These two things, it is likely, the Apostle had a Special re­gard to, in making it a necessary Qualification of an Elder, to have faithful Children, not accused of Riot, or unruly, as well as to be blameless himself, and the Husband of one Wife; Titus 1. 6.

But in reference to this duty of Love, I will repeat what I now said, viz. What remains, but that we Endeavour to practise it with all our might. That All bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil-speaking, be put away from us, with all malice. [Page 25] And that we be kind one to another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another; Even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven us: According to the earnest Advice of the Apostle, Eph. 4. 31, 32. That we be kindly Af­fectioned one to another, notwithstanding any differen­ces of Opinion, with Brotherly love in Honour pre­ferring one another; As the same Apostle Exhorts, Rom. 12. 10. Oh how many pressing and powerful Motives to this duty of Love, Vniversal Love, Catho­lick Charity, doth the New Testament, and Natural Reason too, present us with!

But I will now onely Observe to you, that what Nerves and Sinues, are to our Natural Bo­dies, that is Love in all Bodies Politick, 'Tis Love, above all things, which Cements and holds together Societies and Communities. And therefore another short and sad Digression is here too Seasonable, viz. 'Tis a Wonderfull thing, that this Church and Kingdom should not long since have been utterly Broken to pieces, as they hath both been miserably shattered, by means of our most Vnchri­stian, and indeed Inhumane Breaches; by means of our having so banished Love: Not onely Christian, but Natural Love, in a very great measure: Not one­ly Vniversal Love, but Love to one another, taking that Phrase in the most restrained Sense. We should [Page 26] before now have been Wofull Examples of the Truth of that observation of our Blessed Saviour, A City or Kingdom, divided against it self cannot stand, but is brought to Desolation, had it not been prevented by a Series, a long Train of such Providences, as have scarcely been much short of Miracles.

Desolation is the Natural Consequent of great Di­visions, of Divisions not greater than Ours have long been. If ye bite and devour each other, take heed ye be not Consumed one of another, said S. Paul to the divided Galatians, ch. 5. 15. But especially is it so, as Divisions give a mighty Advantage to a Common Enemy. And therefore nothing can hinder their pro­duceing this Effect, but a [...], signal inter­positions of the Divine Providence: Which I say, & you need not be told it, we have from time to time had▪ Oh what a History of such Interpositions have these five last years given us! And never had we a more Eminent one, than this last Spring. But what a Dangerous Condition are those People in, who have little to Encourage their hopes with, but the Con­tinuance of Extraordinary Providences! And especially when they have no other Reason still to Expect them, but because they have had so many of them.

But, alass, we of all▪ People have the least cause still to depend upon them, because no Visible good Effect upon us, hath been produced by them; We will not [Page 27] be Reformed in any One instance. And particularly, we will still Obstinately persevere in our Old Em­nity to one another, which daily Encreaseth too in­stead of abating, Let God Almighty do what He will, and a Formidable Enemy do what he can, to make us Friends. But I must not lengthen out any father so Melancholy a Digression, since we are now met up­on so Pleasant an Occasion.

And therefore I add, that Love is the main thing, that makes such Meetings as these, and our Eating and Drinking together, a true Pleasure. Better, saith King Solomon, is a Dinner of green Herbs, where love is, than a Stalled Ox, and Hatred therewith.

And as Love makes Meetings of this nature, very pleasant Diversions, so the professed Design of them being to Encrease Friendship, and to Express Love by shewing Mercy, it makes them highly Commendable and Praise-worthy.

And of All Works of Mercy there is no one more Acceptable to our Heavenly Father and Blessed Savi­our, as is Evident from what hath been said, than that of Comforting distressed Widows, and making their Hearts to sing for joy; and Taking Care of poor Or­phans, and Enabling them to live Comfortably and usefully in the World.

[Page 28]And the Relief of the poor Widows of Clergy men; and providing for their helpless Children, being the onely Design of our being Incorporated, let their Names be had in Everlasting Remembrance, who first set on foot this Noble Project; and, next to them▪ theirs, who have chiefly Contributed to the En­couragement of it▪

And the Latter of these Charities, viz. That which relates to the poor Children of deceased Mi­nisters, being the Special Design of these Annual As­semblies, may This at least Equalize each of the for­mer ones, in this Excellent Work!

Our Courts of Assistants, and Stewards of these Feasts, have ever been made too sensible of what I but now observ'd, of the miserably streight Circum­stances of Abundance of our Clergy, by the Vast Number of their Widows and Children, whose de­plorable Condition is, year after year, laid before them. And tho' the Bounty which Worthy persons have from time to time deposited in our Treasurers hands, be very Considerable, yet 'tis grievous to see how little falls to the Share of particular Suppli­cants, by reason of their Excessive Number.

Nor is the Parade, which makes such a noble [Page 29] shew on these days, in our Streets, any Objection a­gainst what I have sadly observed to you; since it would be very strange, if so many Thousands of Ministers as our Church consists of, should not al­ways produce a very great Number, whose Natural parts, and Liberal Educations, have Enabled them, to improve the Advantages put into their hands by the Good providence of God, to the Arriving at ve­ry plentifull Fortunes. And, upon a just Computa­tion, I doubt not but it will be found, That there are Extremely Few of the Sons of the Clergy, whose large Circumstances in the World are owing to their Patrimony, in Comparison of those who are inriched, by the Blessing of God, upon their own Industry.

I hope I need not tell such, how much they are Obliged in Gratitude to their Great Benefactor, for making such a difference between them, and most of their Brethren, To be Liberal in their Con­tributions towards the Relief of the Necessitous part of them.

And this is the most Effectual Course you can possibly take, to secure Gods Blessing to your Poste­rity; and to prevent their Ever Coming into the Number of Petitioners for Charity.

[Page 30] And, which is a far greater Consideration, being Compassionate towards Widows and the Fatherless is such a sort of Charity, as will make those who are in love with it, the Happy Objects of Gods Special Love. Be as a Father to the Fatherless, saith the Son of Syrach, and instead of an Husband unto their Mo­ther; so shalt thou be as the Son of the most High, and He shall love thee more than thy Mother doth.

THE END.

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