Fall not out by the Way: OR, A PERSWASION TO A Friendly Correspondence Between the Conformists & Non-Conformists. IN A Funeral Discourse On Gen. 45.24.

Occasioned by the Desire of Mr. An­thony Dunwell, in his last Will.


LONDON: Printed, for John Dunton, at the Raven in the Poultery, 1692.

To the Gentlemen that Con­tribute to the Encourage­ment of the Evening Lecture at Crosby-square.


IT is to you that I owe the largest acknowledgment ima­ginable; for the kindnesses that you have shewed me, have not only been in themselves very Great, but very Singular. It [Page]was a Noble and a Generous Act, so liberally as you have done, to encourage Mr. Kentish and Me, and it was a Rare and Peculiar Generosity not to with­draw the Testimonies of your Love and Respect during my Long and Doleful Sickness, which made me for two Years incapable of being any way ser­viceable to you. It is impossible for me to forget so great a Favor, and equally impossible for me to express the sense I have of it.

At the desire of Mr. Dun­well, one of your number, I Preached on the following Sub­ject, [Page]and now at the request of a great many of the same number, it comes into the World: And I was the more willing that it should see the Light, because, as far as in me lies, I would help to Extinguish those Flames, which being encreased by di­stance and strangeness, have long Troubled and Scorched us. It is in vain, I well know, to think that all Men will have the same Thoughts, or the same Ex­pressions about matters of Reli­gion; forasmuch as in their dif­ferent Souls there are different degrees of Light; but I would [Page]endeavour however to perswade persons of different apprehensions to be kind and civil and genteel to one another, and this is easy to be done, and will be attended with a mighty pleasure.

Our Lecture, as you will bear us Witness, is not a Semi­nary of Sedition; nothing, we dare appeal to you and our other Hearers, is Preached there, but what is Orthodox and Loyal too; nor do we there take an occasion to vent our own Passions instead of the Truths of God; nor at any time endeavour to make our Hearers have an ill Opinion [Page]of our Brethren the Confor­mists, for so we love to call them, and we hope they will not refuse to give to us the same Friendly Title. We have among us all abundance of common Work to do against Atheism and Drun­kenness, and the other Vices of a Corrupt Age, and against the World, the Devil and the Flesh: The necessities of the Souls of Men are so many, that our United Endeavors will be little enough to supply them; and therefore we should Love and Encourage and bear with one another, and so the Good of all sides, I verily [Page]perswade my self, will resolve to do.

In our Discourses our Audi­tory do not use to find matter ei­ther of just Scorn or Laugh­ter, nothing, I hope, that is Ab­surd or Ridiculous. A late Epi­tomizer of the Works of the Learned, is so complaisant as to call some Practical Discourses of mine, formerly Published, Cant­ing Sermons, and thinks those Gentlemen, who in a late Ac­count of Books, put an Abridg­ment of those Discourses after some Sermons of Mr. Norris, Acted, as if by such a method [Page]they designed to expose the Dis­senters. I will allow Mr. Norris to be an Ingenious and neat Wri­ter, his Thoughts is Clean­ly, and his Language Fine; but I think it will be no diskindness either to him, or Mr. De la Crose, to desire them not to dip their Pens in Gall, and to for­bear Satyr when they would spread Truth: A little more good Nature and Civility would do neither of them any great harm. To say this or that is Cant is no Proof, 'tis Reviling without a Reason, and none of the Learn­ed or Judicious will use so silly [Page]and so Trite a Word. I am afraid this French Writer is of a very little Soul, and thinks no Sense can be spoken but on his own side: Men of more Ʋnder­standing than he, will allow that the Dissenters know a little what belongs to Sense and good Lan­guage too. He Ridicules the Lives of Mr. Hieron and Mr. Eliot of New England, those Blessed Divines, as he calls them, but I wish he may sit at their Feet in the other World. I would desire this Abridger of Books not to be so Partial; and if he would have his Writings [Page]to be useful, not to cram them a­gain with such Stuff, for it is nauseous to all Men of Sense and good Breeding, to see persons of such a Little Soul talk as if they had Monopolized all the Wit and Sense of the World in their own Brains. I have longer in­sisted upon this, because I hope it may a little Soften some that are of a Morose and Waspish Constitution: I wonder in what Air they have lived that are continually spitting out Ulcerated Language: I wish all the Men of Bitterness an Healthful state of Soul, and then I am sure [Page]they will be calm and gentle, they will cease to be Incendiaries and learn to be Peacemakers, which is a much better Office.

To you, Gentlemen, it is that I do now publickly return my sincere and hearty Thanks for all your Kindnesses to me both in Health and Sickness: At your Service I am, and shall upon all occasions be ready to give you the most chearful Marks of my Respect; may your Trades and Employments thrive better for what you give to my Brother Kentish and to me: What good is done to the [Page]Souls of Men by us (as we hope there is some) will turn al­so to your Account in that Day: I wish you may continue to be promoters of Peace and Uni­on among all good Persons of all Perswasions, and that you would labour in your several Sta­tions to advance a thing so Plea­sant and so Profitable: May you have always calm Spirits, and quiet Families, and loving People to Deal withal: May you have Comprehensive and large Souls: For many long Years may you Thrive and Pros­per, and be useful in this World, [Page]and at last be admitted into the World above, which is the blessed place, for it is the World of Love.

So Prays, Gentlemen,
Your very much Obliged Servant, L. Rogers.

The following Books have been lately Published by the Author of this Dis­course.

1. PRactical Discourses on Sickness and Re­covery, in several Sermons, as they were lately Preached in a Congregation in London, after his Recovery from a Sickness of near two Years continuance.

2. Early Religion: Or, a Discourse of the Duty and Interest of Youth, with some Ad­vices to Parents and Aged People to Pro­mote it in their several Capacities.

3. A Discourse concerning Trouble of Mind, and the Disease of Melancholy.

All three to be Sold by John Dunton at the Raven in the Poultrey.


PAge 25. line 20. Read Ages posesed, p. 31. l. 21. r. in its self, p. 71. l. 19. for of, r. in.

Two SERMONS Preached upon the DEATH OF Mr. Anthony Dunwell.

GEN. xlv. 24.

See that ye fall not out by the way.

IT is not unknown to several here, That this Evening is solemn to us upon more Accounts than one; not only as 'tis the Evening of the Lord's Day, and the usual Time of our Lecture here, but also as the Providence of God hath given us a peculiar Occasion [Page 2]to remember a Departed Friend, by whose Appointment and Desire, before he dyed, I am now come to Preach a Funeral Sermon for him. It is the same Person for whom, when I was last here, we prayed, as being then in the painful Agonies of Death; and the next Morn­ing God was pleased to let him Dye. He had for several Months, by a Lingring Wasting Disease, found the Truth of that in Job. 14.1. That man that is born of a Woman is full of Trouble: and now his going hence has also given us the Proof of the next Verse, how, he cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down: He fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not. This Flower, on which a little while ago we looked with Delight, is now blasted with the Stroak of Death, and we shall not behold its Greenness and Freshness in this World any more: Though we hope it is transplanted to flourish in a better Place.

This Friend, whose Funeral we now celebrate, was a constant Hearer in this Place, a generous Encourager of this Lecture; to my Brother Kentish and to [Page 3]me he was a Cordial and sincere Friend; but alas, he is gone: His Death is indeed our Loss, but we hope it was his Gain. He is gone, whose Friendship was so pleasant and so neces­sary to us: He that delighted in the Activity of his serviceableness to God and us, is now at rest in the silent Grave; there we hope he sleeps in the Lord; there we must leave his Dust, and thither will his Works follow him. He used to be a constant Attender on this Lecture, as he was always more than a Well-wisher to it; and I could heartily desire that those other Young People, to whom we are beholden for their Kindness, would be equally Serious, and if it consisted with the Order of their Families, as diligent Attenders; there are some indeed that are so, and if they were all such, we hope they would not lose their Time: We would willingly have them to receive some Benefit by our poor Pains, and to taste of the Fruit of those Studies which their Liberalities have Promoted and Encouraged. If it had so pleased God, I had rather have [Page 4]come hither to have preached a Sermon of Thankfulness, for the Recovery of our Friend, than a Funeral Sermon: I know it would have been pleasant to us, and to all his Relations, to have joyned toge­ther on such a chearful occasion; and our Praises then would have been as many as are now our Sighs and Tears: To these Mourners I am sure the Gar­ments of Praise would have been much more delightful than these of Heavi­ness: But what shall we say, the Will of God is Done, and let us humbly and quietly acquiesce therein, for he alone knows when it is the most proper Sea­son for us all to dye: Our Acquaintance are going into the next World, one after another, and in a little while we shall also be gone, and our Places know us no more. To those that are Departed we must go, they will not return to us; though our Duty under the Stroaks of God, and the Loss of our Friends ob­liges us to be sensible of his Warnings, and of our own Frailty; yet it also does engage us not to Repine or Murmur at his Providence. Our Eyes may justly [Page 5]weep when we see the Graves of our Holy Friends; but they ought not so to weep, as to hinder our View of their certain and approaching Resurrection, when their now vile and consuming Bo­dies shall be like the glorious Body of our Lord.

I believe you will think this a very strange Place of Scripture, on such a sad occasion as this; I believe, had I been left to my Liberty, I should not have chosen it; but it was bequeathed to me in the Last Will and Testament of our deceased Friend Mr. Anthony Dunwel, and I do now understand, That it was that which he had fixed upon several Years ago: Men never put any thing in their Wills of this nature, but what they most firmly desire to have done. It may be a great Comfort to his Friends and Acquaintance, that he not only re­tained a quiet and peaceable Spirit to his Dying Day, but that he was willing to have Peace and Quietness flourish in the World and in the Church, when he was Dead and Gone; a Temper not like to those selfish and narrow▪ Soul [Page 6]People, that so they may Live and Dye at Ease, care not if all the World be in Flames and Wars, and Confusions after­wards, as he said, Me pereunte ruat Mundus. Our peaceable Friend was in this Like to our Blessed Saviour, who as he chose to be manifested when the Temple of Janus was shut at Rome, and all the World was in a profound Peace, and being himself the Prince of Peace; and his Reign full of Pity, he endeavoured to Reconcile God and Man, and the Sons of Men to one another. So, a little before his Death, discoursing with his Disciples, Peace was the great Legacy that he bequeath­ed to them, Joh. xiv. 27. Peace I leave with you; my Peace I give unto you: And it is like, our Deceased Friend had this in his Eye when he left this Text; which is indeed a most pleasant Text, though the Occasion on which I am to insist upon it be sad and mournful, and I will apply my self to the handling of it, when I have done that Justice to the Relations and Friends of the Deceased, as to say, That I never heard of any falling out [Page 7]among them; nor is there, I fully be­lieve, any Disagreement, but a cordial and sincere Love, as there ought to be: Nor do I believe that he intended them, when his Thoughts fixed upon this Sub­ject; but only from what I apprehend, he was greatly desirous that there should be Love, and Friendship, and Union, and Peace among all Good People, of whatsoever Profession and Denomina­tion, whether Conformists or Nonconfor­mists; and in this Sense, and with Re­lation to this, that I shall now explain this good Advice, See that ye fall not out by the Way.

This History of Joseph contains a series of admirable Transactions, and is a great instance of the Mysteriousness and Wis­dom of the Divine Providence, that by Ways, to Appearance very unlikely and undiscerned at first by Mortal Men, does certainly bring about his own De­signs, and that Curious Succession and Period of Things, which was first laid in his own Decree. The Malice and Envy of Joseph's Brethen was the Means of his Advancement; their Selling of [Page 8]him preserved their own Lives: It was a Cruel Lye that they told his Father Jacob, when they said, Joseph was torn to pieces, and shewed the Coat of his Son, his dearest Son Joseph, all besmear­ed with Blood; What Hearts had they that could thus torment a poor Old Man, and their own Father too? and what Sorrow pierced his Heart, when he thought he had taken of him an everlast­ing Farewel, and should see the promis­ing and hopeful Youth no more for ever? See Gen. 37.33, 34. he said, It is my Son's Coat, an evil beast hath devoured him; Joseph is without doubt rent in pieces. And Jacob rent his Cloaths, and put Sack­cloth on his loins, and mourned for his son many days. I wonder at Joseph, that he should never send Word to his Father that he was alive; or that when he had now so fair an Opportunity he should so long neglect to give him the Tidings of his Welfare, for he might justly think it would wipe away all the Tears of his Mourning Father, as it did ex­tremely revive him afterwards; when he heard that Joseph was alive, the good [Page 9]old Patriarch was then content to Dye: Gen. 45.48. Israel said, it is enough, Joseph my Son is yet alive: I will go and see him before I dye. I most of all wonder that he should urge his Bre­thren to bring from their Father his only remaining Comfort, their younger Bro­ther; the very Motion of which was so formidable to his Cruel Brothers, and they knew it would be so sad News at home, that it immediately awakened their Consciences for the Crime that they had committed against him a great while ago, Gen. 42.21. And Joseph hearing their Mutual Accusations, was much affected with them, and was forced to turn about and Weep, ver. 24. They brought the sad News Home, and you hear the Language of Jacob's Sor­rows, ver. 36. he said unto them, Me ye have bereaved of my Children: Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away, all these things are against me. The poor Man thought all this was to load him with a greater Heap of Mi­series, when it was the way to make him Happy. Good People are apt to think, [Page 10]when many Crosses meet together, that they are absolutely ruined; but the Potions that are very bitter, pro­mote their Health; and what they lose in the Creatures, God is pleased to make up with his own Love, or to restore them Mercies of the same kind with those of which they are now bereaved. This was a severe Proposal to Jacob, and as one says, (Cereziers. Joseph. or the Di­vine Providence, p. 109.) he may be supposed to cry after this manner; Will you bury me alive? Suffer me to Live, may be you intend to see me languish the rest of my Days! I have one only Son, that Con­solates the Loss of Joseph, and of his poor Mother, and must I lose him! O my God, how happy had my Condition been, to have had no Children, or to have had some more prosperous! I have then had but my Miseries to bewail; whereas now I see my self ob­liged to take the best part of those that inflict them: Joseph hath satisfyed the Cruel Hunger of a Savage Beast; and his Brother, to appease ours, must be exposed to the Desire of a Barbarian, who perchance may take Pleasure to torment me in the [Page 11]Person of Benjamin. What know I if he obliged not all my Children to present themselves to him, to involve them under one and the same Ruin, and to blot out the Name of Israel from the Earth? In the 43 Chapter you behold, That this Joseph, that had carried it so politickly toward them for a long Time, does at length begin to melt, v. 29. his Pity and his Joy made him scarce able to re­frain before them; and apart, he wept very plentifully. And after some few strange intervening Passages, in this 45th Chapter, at last dawned, after all this Night of Mysteries, the bright and pleasant Day; he could not refrain him­self, nay he wept aloud: He said unto them, v. 3. I am Joseph; doth my Father yet live? and his brethren could not answer, for they were troubled at his presence. And in v. 4. he said again, I am Joseph your brother whom ye sold into Egypt. Well they might be astonished and afraid, when they knew it was the very Joseph that they envied, and that they sold: He comforts them against excessive Grief, telling them, They designed Ill, [Page 12]but God had a very gracious Design in suffering all this to come to pass, and very humbly owns, that God sent him into Egypt, v. 8. Then it was he de­sired them to acquaint his Father with all his Glory: And because it was a very surprising thing to them, so great that they could scarcely believe it, he is forced to say, v. 12. Behold your eyes see, and the eyes of my brother Benjamin, that it is my mouth that speaketh to you. And v. 14. He fell upon his brother Ben­jamin's neck and wept; and Benjamin wept upon his Neck; their very Souls melted over one another, there were between them the dearest Transports of Love and Joy; there was an Extasie, or a pleasant Contact of two Souls run­ing each into other: He gives them Waggons to bring down to Egypt the rest of the Family; assures them they should have the Fat, and the best of the Land; and that they needed not to re­gard their Stuff, i. e. to bring their Mean or Ordinary Goods along with them; for all that was Delicate, and Rich, and Pleasant, was to be theirs. [Page 13]And v. 24. he sent his Brethren away, and they departed, and he said unto them, See that ye fall not out by the way.

The Proposition that I intend to insist upon from these Words, suitably to the Meaning of our Friend, is this,

That all good People, of all Perswasi­ons, ought to agree together.

I hope my Work at this Time will be to be a Peace maker; and such a Sub­ject, as this of Union, and Love, and Mutual Concord, is of all others most delightful to me, and I pray God it may be Profitable to us all. I will endeavour to Reconcile all Christians, but I will Reflect upon none that I judge to be truly so; I come not to shoot Arrows, but to bring Balsom; not to open Wounds, but, as far as I can, to close them up; and may that blessed Provi­dence, that has at this Time called me to so excellent a Task, assist me in it; and if any Persons came hither Wolves or Tygers, may they go Lambs away; [Page 14]if any came hither with Revenge and Passion, and Hatred or Prejudices a­gainst any good People, may they ne­ver, for the Time to come, entertain such a Savage and Brutal Disposi­tion.

I. Good People should not Fall out by the Way or Disagree, because they have all the same Father, and he is the God of Peace: It is uncomely for Children, that have a Father, who sincerely loves them all, to wrangle and contend with one another: It is unsuitable to their Relation, and reproachful to the Family. 'Tis unnatural for Brethren to fight with one another, Gen. 13.8. And Abraham said unto Lot, Let there be no strife, I pray thee, between me and thee, &c. for we are Brethren. All Mankind ought to agree together, as having a Participa­tion of the same Human Nature; they are all Brethren in a larger Sense, and Sons of the same Father Adam. Much more ought they so to do, who are de­scended from above, the Place of Love and Peace; that are not only of the same Nation, but of the same Church, that [Page 15]is, the Church of Christ; for you shall find me, through this whole Discourse, not to confine my self to this or that Party, but to take in all whom I believe to be sincerely good.

II. Good People, of all Denominations, should now agree together, because they have been in Common Danger. Joseph's Bre­thren had like to have starved together, and therefore their Plenty should not make them disagree. We in this Nation have not felt such a Famine as they did, but we have seen heretofore Dangers that threatned us with a Worse, even a Famine of Hearing the Words of the Lord; and if the Papists had prospered in their Plots, Plots that were levelled both against the Church of England and Dissenters, we had all by this Time been in Common Darkness, destitute of all Light but that of Fire and Faggot, and then the good of all sides must have agreed to Burn together, though they did not live very quietly together; the Stake would have united those, whom the Pulpit or the Press could not: They would have swallowed us up all; and [Page 16]shall we not learn so much Wisdom as not to quarrel with one another, which is Sport to them and a Mischief to us? The World, the Debauch'd, the Wick­ed Part of Men hate all good People on every side, and therefore they should not Hate nor Fall out with one another, remembring how they had like to have perished all together, Gen. 13.7.

III. Good People should not quarrel with one another, nor be injurious, when God has forgiven them all: For Joseph's Brethren to Fall out by the Way, when they were so lately pardoned after an heinous and aggravated Crime would have been a very shameful thing, and would have made all their future Sin more sinful: Have not we provoked God more than any of our Friends or Neigh­bours can provoke us? He forgives us all thousands of Sins, and alas we can hardly put up one Injury. It is unbecoming for us now to quarrel, when God is willing to be at Peace with us all, after innu­merable Transgressions which we have been guilty of. That Man that is of a Wrangling Contentious Humor, is [Page 17]either yet in Sin, or has obtained a Par­don for it; if he have his Guilt and Filth upon him, he has much more ne­cessary Work to do, even to search his Heart and abhor himself, and to dwell at Home, instead of medling with other Persons; and if God hath for­given him, he has very low Thoughts of that Grace, which all the Saints wonder at, when he cannot easily forgive his Neighbours Wrongs: Take this for a certain Truth, That the strongest and the best Christians are most Mild and Gentle; they are weak and Children in Under­standing that are Passionate and Wasp­ish, and Boisterous and Fretful, for so far they are Carnal, and walk as Men: And 'tis directly contrary to the Apostle's Exhortation, Eph. 4.31, 32. Let all bit­terness and Wrath, and Anger, and Cla­mour, and Evil-speaking, be put away from you, with all Malice; and be ye kind one to another, forgiving one another even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

If God were not more tender to us all than we are to one another, alas! who could then be saved?

IV. No Good People should fall out by the Way, because they are all Travelling to the same blessed Home; they are Strangers and Pilgrims here on Earth, and should as Foreigners and Countrymen that meet in some distant Land, embrace and be glad to see one another. Travellers of several Nations, German, English, Scotch or French, will agree and be civil to one another upon the Road, how different soever their Opinions and Con­stitutions are. We are all travelling to the Land of Canaan, and hope all to meet in the same Place; and therefore it is highly unsuitable for us to Fall out by the Way. Nor will our common Father be pleased with us, when we disagree; we have all the same Rule and the same Guide, the same Leader and the same Prospect of Reward; and therefore we should go Hand in Hand, and hearten and quicken, and encourage one ano­ther.

V. Our common Enemies agree together; the Devil, the World, and the Flesh, will oppose to us their united Srength; our Divisions do raise their Courage, but [Page 19]our hearty Love will defeat all their Stra­tagems. Our Adversaries sow the Seeds of Discord, but our Business is to prevent their after-growth, and not to let the Tares spring up, whilst we are asleep. Quarrelling among Christians is as foolish as if a Caravan of Merchants, that travel through the Deserts, should all fall upon one another, and let the Wild Arabians, in the mean while, make a Prey of their Common Stock. Let not the Israelites sharpen their Swords a­gainst one another, whilst the Phili­stines design the Ruin of them all.

VI. Not to fall out by the Way, will make the Way less Tedious and more Plea­sant. 'Tis so troublesome a thing to be always Quarrelling and Contending, that I wonder Men will not be so wise as to love their own Quiet. They are of a very hot Constitution whose Element is Fire, and who cannot live but in the midst of Flames. Persons that are al­ways Fighting, cannot Travel very fast, it retards their Progress, and makes them advance very slowly to their Home. In the ordinary Affairs of Life, [Page 20]Wrangling hinders all Dispatch, and no business is rightly done till Mens Thoughts are cool and Sober. Passion­ate People usually make a great Noise and Bustle, but they do but little Work; a Ship does not sail so directly and quick­ly to the Port, in the midst of Storms, as she does in the more quiet and fairer Calm. Solomon very wisely says, Prov. 21.9. It is better to dwell in the corner of the house top, than with a brawling wo­man in a wide house, because the Vio­lence of her Voice will disturb him in eve­ry Place, and effectually with her Clamors hinder all his Business. 'Tis much bet­ter to live in a smoaky Cottage, with one of a meek and quiet Spirit, than to live in a Palace with a Scold; the Thunder and the Lightning are not more disturbing and frightful than such a Wo­mans Tongue: But now, to live with Holy, Silent, Agreeing People, makes a Man's House his Delight, and his Hours with such happy Society slide away with Pleasure. When they all think and speak the same Things, and when their Designs and Interests, and Hopes [Page 21]are the same. Love makes every thing sweet and easie; it makes us yielding and compassionate; it makes us prone to Civilities and Kindnesses, and to all the good Offices we can for others; it makes us to give them good Advice to raise them up when they fall, and when they wander to bring them into the right way again. Men that love Con­tention are usually scorched and pained with the Fires of their own kindling; and 'tis very fit it should be so. 'Tis a most grievous tiresome thing to a Man of a Quiet Soul, to see others always in a Ferment and Vexation, and Wound­ing themselves, when they have none to Reproach; and Poysoning themselves with Fury and Passion, when they have not sit Objects whereon to spend their Venom.

VII. Good People ought not to fall out by the Way, because this will promote their common Strength and Safety. The Church united is as an Army with Banners; her joynt Prayers and Praises are formid­able to her Enemies: But when she is divided she is liable to be Attacqued [Page 22]and molested on every side. 'Tis among Christians, as some observe, it was a­mong the Roman Armies, so long as they were well united, that their Com­manders held a perfect Understanding among themselves, and their Soldiers were kept in a true Obedience to their Orders, other Nations endeavoured to procure their Friendship with great ea­gerness; they esteemed it a Glory to enter into Alliance with this People: But so soon as they disunited among themselves, other States despised their Alliance, and took up Arms against them. Whilst Brethren fall not out by the way, they can assist and help one ano­ther in a common Danger; they can ad­vise and warn, and pray for one another; but when they are divided, that Divi­sion, like a preternatural hectical Heat in the Body, makes the Spirits more feeble, and causes all its Strength and Beauty to decay. All Societies of Men are both more Illustrious and Powerful when they are linked together in a com­mon Bond of Love: But our Saviour has told us, Matt. 12.25. Every King­dom [Page 23]divided against it self is brought to desolation: And every City or House di­vided against it self shall not stand. It is therefore the Policy of the Devil, and of Wicked Men, to render good Christians odious to one another, and to engage them in Wranglings and Disputes, and Quarrels that so the Glory of Religion may not be discerned when 'tis covered with so black a Veil. The whole Course of Nature subsists by the common Union of all its Parts. The Heavens above us, as one observes, Daillee Quinze Sermons, p. 129. have for many Ages rouled about with an admirable Con­cord. The Spheres, in the midst of many Motions, do not disturb nor hinder one another; the Stars, both the Wandring and Fixt, conspire to promote the Good and Per­fection of the Universe: The Elements sweetly communicate among themselves the Qualities they receive from Heaven: The Air gives to the Earth of its Light, its Winds and its Rains: The Sea gives to the Air of its Vapors and Exalations, and both together give to Plants and [Page 24]Living Creatures what is necessary for their Nourishment and Refreshment: So the Seasons of the Year give Place to one another, the Winter to the Spring, and the Spring to the Summer, and the Summer to Autumn, and that to Win­ter again; and so there is a perpetual following of Day and Night, of Light and Darkness, of Calm and Storm, of Hot and Cold, of Rain and Shine: In this pleasant Commerce of the several Parts of the World does consist its Strength and Beauty; and if it were In­terrupted, there would be nothing but Confusion and Deformity. Union and Agreement is, as he calls it elswhere, the Soul of the Universe, the Ornament of Heaven and Earth, the Life and the Joy of both Worlds.

VIII. Falling out by the Way, destroys the Power of Religion. It is not much Talking, but a lively Practice of our known Duties, that is the best Evidence of our being Christians indeed. If we disputed less and prayed more, if we could but Love and not Quarrel, we should be far better Men: Wrangling [Page 25]may fill our Heads with Notions, but never will enrich our Hearts with Grace; it may enlarge our Knowledge but not promote our Holiness: It takes up that Warmth and Zeal, and Time and Strength which should be spent about our own Salvation, and the Good of others; for a Man that is heated with Passion is not fit for Duty; it is not suitable to one scorched with such a profane Flame, to address himself to the God of Peace. 1 Pet. 3.7. This Falling out by the Way breeds Pride and Envy, and Self-conceit, instead of Self-denial and Humility, and Love, and many other such excellent and ami­able Graces. A Polite Writer has well observed, That, that Pestilential Spirit of Division, that Heat of Disputation, which has for so many possessed Ages and wasted the Catholick Church, and by an unhappy kind of Magick transformed the Zeal of Christian Practice into an Itch of Unchristian Dispute, made the Questions about our Creed more nu­merous than the Letters of it, and by this the Serpent, got into the Paradise of [Page 26]Christ. Causes of the decay of Christian Piety, p 247.

IX. To live in Ʋnion and Concord and Friendship, is the State of Heaven: For that is a calm and quiet State, as well as Pure and Holy. There is the God of Peace; there the Angels and blessed Spirits live in perfect Concord with one another; there is no jarring in their mutual Praises and Hallelujahs; there are no Axes or Hammers to be heard in that Eternal Temple; that Land is full of the most chearful Light and Peace; and we should be ambiti­ous while we are below, to be like them above; for as one has well ex­prest it,

All we know of what they do above,
Is that they Praise and that they Love.

Do but suppose a Family, where every part of it is agreed, no bitter Words, no Strife, but a pleasant sincere good Will to one another, and every thing is done in Love; and there they live as if they were in Heaven. Suppose the People [Page 27]of London were all agreed, and had all one common Interest, and all studyed and contrived to lay aside their Quar­rels and Contentions, and Names and Reproaches, and loved as Friends and Neighbours, and Fellow-Citizens; not injuring, not reviling, not undermine­ing one another: Oh what a blessed Place would this be, it would be like the New Jerusalem! If all this Nation were agreed, if all the Churches and Kingdoms of the World, did but live in Peace and Friendship with one ano­ther, oh what an Heaven on Earth might we then see! And why should not all endeavour in their several Sta­tions that it may be so? All good Peo­ple hope to meet above, and why should they fall out by the Way as they are going thither? All their Enmities will cease there, and why should they not now be Friends? Why should they that hope to live in one and the same Glory, now revile or reflect upon one another? All their differences will be composed when they arrive there, and why should they now differ? There Luther [Page 28]and Calvin, and Dr. Owen and Mr. Baxter, will be of all one Mind, there will be no Misunderstanding of one another there. Now to live in Strife and Bitterness and Wrath is a sad resemblance of Hell, for that is a place of universal and per­petual Discontent and Rage; there is no Peace nor Quiet there for ever; there the guilty condemned Souls, are always accusing and upbraiding and cursing one another; there they rage against God, against themselves, and against all the Instruments of their Ruin and Calamity.

Inf. 1. How unsuitable is it for any under the name of Christian to persecute others, or to force them to be of their Mind! 'Tis Barbarous and Inhuman and Antichristian, to use violence in the Matters of Religion, it is not civil nor like Men so to do: How unreasonable would it appear to be, if you met with such upon the Road, that are re­solved to Beat and Rob and Plunder, all that would not say as they say, nor travail their Pace? It would also be an unjust Method, a thing that would car­ry [Page 29]with it a brand of Eternal Shame, for any Men to injure their Brethren in their Goods, or Lives, or Estates, meerly for matters of Opinion, which are Innocent and Harmless, and no ways dangerous to the Civil Government. To persuade gently and with mildness is the way to convince a Man if he be er­roneous, but Fines and Imprisonments, and harsh Usage and bad Language, will never make any Mortal think that such as use them are in the right way; 'tis a poor Cause that is forced to serve it self of such inhuman and sorry Methods; to force Men to believe, is a French way indeed, but never was nor never will be Apostolical: It savours of Hell to be violent and cruel, and our Saviour never intended that Men should be Dragooned into Religion, but by all the mild and gentle ways in the World, be perswaded to receive it. A Perse­cuting Spirit wherever it is, is a piece of Popery: 'Tis the proper Character of the Romish Church to be fierce and bloody; their Scarlet is dyed with the Blood of the Saints of God. I have [Page 30]learned (says the famous Mr. Chilling­worth, that great Ornament and Defender of the Protestante) from the Ancient Fa­thers, that nothing is more against Re­ligion, than to force Religion: And of St. Paul, The Weapons of the Christian Warfare are not Carnal. And great rea­son, for Human Violence may make Men counterfeit, but cannot make them believe; and is therefore fit for nothing but to be breed Form without, and Athe­ism within: Besides, what will follow from this Method but the preservation peradventure of Unity, but peradven­ture only of Uniformity in particular States and Churches; but the Immor­talizing the greater and more lamenta­ble divisions of Christendom, and the World? And therefore what can fol­low from it, but perhaps in the judg­ment of Carnal Policy, the temporal Benefit and Tranquility of temporal States and Kingdoms, but the infinite prejudice, if not the desolation of the Kingdom of Christ? Chillingworth's Religion of Protestants, Sect. I. Ch. V. p. 228. Ed. 5.

Inf. 2. How Beautiful are the feet of them that Preach the Gospel of Peace, Rom. 10.15. They deserve a free and chearful Entertainment that Preach this Gospel of Peace in a peaceable and quiet manner, when they do not mingle their own Passions with the Truths of God, and carry that Heat and Bitterness into the Sanctuary, which would be disal­lowed about any common things. The Ministers of Christ are honourable, both with respect to their Character, and the Message that they are charged with­al, that is, to persuade Men to be re­conciled to God, and then to one ano­ther; and they have this further advan­tage too, that they may as they ought frequently instil into the Minds of their Hearers, the necessity of Peace and Quietness and Friendship, and how amiable it is self, and how ac­ceptable to God such a Temper is. It is the work of a Minister to be an Hea­ler of Breaches, to resolve the Doubtful, and to compose Quarrels as soon as ever they begin to rise; as well knowing that no Churches ever thrive, where [Page 32]Love and Brotherly Kindness do not abound. But they are very unhappy Men who are never pleased but with Invective, who first kindle Fires in their own Breasts, and chafe their own Spi­rits with eager and severe Thoughts of those whom they account their Enemi­es, and then warm their Sermons with this Terrestrial culinary Fire; and so I call it, because that Heat and that Light which comes from Heaven, is pure and peaceable, and soft and gen­tle; that Doctrin will certainly pro­duce the best effect which drops as the Due, its mild Influences will both pro­fit and Delight. A Minister of all Men in the World, should be Meek and Compassionate and Loving to his Peo­ple, for he is an Ambassadour from the Prince of Peace: His Sermons, his Vi­sits, his Instructions, his every Action should tend to promote this; and upon all occasions to shew the evil of Cen­suring and Reviling and Backbiting, and a thousand other too common Sins, that have very much of the Image of the Devil in them, as they are Spiri­tual [Page 33]Wickednesses, and they are always highly disgraceful to Religion. Woful were those times, and unsuitable to their character were those Men, that would turn their Sermons into so ma­ny Satyrs and Alarms, their Pulpits into Drums, and their Congregations into a Field of Battle: Unhappy were the times, when the Preacher was most hummed when he was most full of Rail­ery, and that was thought the best and most witty Sermon that was the most sharp: Such Persons spoke not as if their Tongues were touched with a Coal from the Altar, but as if they had been scorched with Fire from be­low. God forgive those Men that sought by all manner of Reviling Speeches, to render their Brethren odi­ous to the Magistrates and the common People, and as far as they could, to ex­asperate both against them; and may a peculiar Blessing be on their Heads, who are now of the highest Rank in the Church, and who were then, to their Immortal Honour be it spoken, Men of great Calmness, Temper and Moderation; [Page 34]of such no Church will ever have cause to be ashamed, though she may blush for those who were then Sons of Coal, and who increased the Flames they should have quenched. Above all things a Minister must be apt to forgive private Injuries, and not to quarrel with his Hearers for small matters nor on every slight occasion; for this will unavoidably prejudice them against his Doctrin, and render it altogether un­successful: And if they be of my mind, they'll not care to hear a passionate and froward Man; for I think, he has nothing in him attractive, whose great­est Gift lyes in railing at others, and who by that provocation are frequently tempted to rail at him again; and thus they fall out by the Way, when they might with great ease Travel lovingly together.

Inf. 3. See hence the woful Effects of Adam's Fall: This occasioned all the Disorders that are both in the great and little World, all the Storms and Huri­cans, and Tempests and Inundations, and Miseries that break the Peace of the [Page 35]Creation, and all those unbecoming violent Passions, that are in the minds of Men; who are now like the Beasts that perish, and as so many Wolves and Lyons to one another. Surely nothing of this would have ever hapned, had not our first Parents tasted of the for­bidden Fruit. By Transgressing the Command of God, the Harmony of the lower World was greatly spoiled, and Confusion, and War, and Bloodshed, came instead of Peace and Love, from that time to this; these two happy Guests have been Strangers to the Sons of Men. To be Passionate and Reveng­ful and Quarrelsome, is to have the old Man in his Strength; but to be Meek, and Humble, and Lowly and Forgiving, is to be conformable to the second Adam, 'tis to shine with his Image, who came to repair the breaches of the Fall; therefore, says the Apostle, Col. 3.7, 8. Now you also put off all these, Anger, Wrath, Malice, &c.

Inf. 4. The great Patience of God that so bears with all his Children, when they fall out by the way, and cannot [Page 36]bear with one another; it is their Weak­ness, their Folly, and their Sin so to do; but for his own sake, though he is fore­ly displeased at it, yet he lets not all his Anger burst out upon them: Would it not move even a mild and gentle Father, to see his Children always quarrelling, when he provides for them all? Their Strife and Bitterness does vex his Soul, but he remembers they are his Child­ren still; and they are but Children; and he knows when they have grown to riper and wiser years, even for their own ease they will be more quiet. Alas! they are Children in Ʋnderstand­ing, that are Peevish and Fretful and soon Angry; and when their Minds are more Enlightned, they will by degrees be like their Heavenly Father, who is Merciful and Kind and slow to Wrath, Psal. 103.8, 9. It should fill us with wonder to consider how gracious, how compassionate, and how good our God is to us all, when we are many times full of Bitterness and Venom against one another.

The next Thing is to enquire whence it is that good People and Brethren are apt to fall out by the way: The causes of it are such as these,

1. It arises from their Lusts and the remaining Corruption of their Na­ture, Jam. 4.9. All the Commotions that disturb the Peace of the World or of the Church, have their Original from the inward depraved Habits of the Souls of Men: None are satisfied with their own Stations, some seek to climb higher than they are, and so justle and quarrel with all that oppose their Am­bitious designs; some have an inward grudging at the Reputation and Great­ness and Serviceableness of others, and their envy kindles a Rage within their Breasts, which may be stifled by pru­dent Considerations for a while; but it is so tormenting, that it vents it self either in Reproaches or Opposition, or Contempt of others, Gal. 5.26. And Covetousness, and an immoderate De­sire of Wealth, is the occasion of many fold Contentions; and indeed it is for Mony or Dominion, or some such al­luring [Page 38]Bait, that the greatest part of the World quarrel with one another; or some Interest they have, that is the I­dol of their Hearts, which they love, and which they are afraid they must part withal, if they should agree. Too ma­ny Men, in the Matters of Religion con­sult more their Temporal Advan­tage than God's Glory; and it has been often observed by Learned Men, Bishop Reynold's Works. p. 949. That Avarice and Ambition, a Spirit of Contention, a corrupt Conscience and Carnal Ends have usually been the Original of those Heresies which have from Time to Time annoyed the Church of God; and that Arius, Valentinus, Marcian, Montanus, Novatus and others, by their Ambition and Impatience of Repulse, revolted from the Truth. Thus the Disciples strove together on the Way, and it was who should be greatest: To be Great in the World is that which many Persons so vehemently desire, that to attain it they scruple not to disturb their own, their Neighbours, and the common Peace. It is from Guilt, and the too [Page 39]great Power of Sin in Brethren, that they fall out by the Way. Joseph gave this Caution to his Brethren, because they had accused themselves, as being verily guilty of great Barbarousness and Cruelty towards him, and he was afraid that they might too severely reproach one another upon that account.

2. This falling out often proceeds from a cross-grain'd Temper: A little good Na­ture and Religion would bring the World and the Church to a state of Peace; but some People are of so sowre and morose a Constitution, that nothing that others do, pleases them, and so they fall out with them: Some are so touchy and crabbed, that the least thing puts them into a Flame, the least Molestation gives them an occasion of stinging and troubling them: Some are so Peevish that the least misunderstood Word or Expression that they do not like, puts them all into a Heat. I generally ob­serve, That Good-natur'd People, whe­ther Conformists or Nonconformists, do most easily and pleasantly agree together: And that those that are under the Curse [Page 40]of an uneasie rugged Temper, never do, nor will agree. I am sure there would be a great deal of more Peace in the World, if Men would but strive to resist the Vices of their own Constitution; I am sure they would be less Wranglers if they were more Gentlemen; for it is high­ly disagreeable to a well-bred Man, to be always contradicting and opposing others; a sweet, affable, courteous, ob­liging Carriage and Expression, does insensibly draw one to a good Opinion of those among whom it is observed; and a stiff inflexible Temper, is a vast hinde­rance to the Beauty and the Progress of Religion: There may be good People that are bad natur'd; but then, I say, it is their Duty to strive against, and not to indulge their own Weakness. Some Men are naturally hot and fiery, and eager, and violent, and it is their Duty to cool this Heat with very serious and deliberate Consideration, lest it ruin themselves, at last as it now vexes others. It is a most honourable thing for any Person to be yielding and full of Conde­scension towards others in all Lawful and [Page 41]Necessary Things. I should reckon it a very great Misery as could well befal a Man of Temper, of Meekness and Wis­dom, to be bound always to live with a morose crabbed Man; it would be a very severe and tormenting Punishment. Some are naturally boisterous and stor­my, and full of that Clamour which the Apostle reproves, Eph. 4.31, 32. and such disturb the World, which if they could learn Silence, would quickly be at Ease.

3. This falling out by the Way, among good People, proceeds from want of frequent Conversation and Acquaintance with one another. They whet their Spirits with abundance of useless and dry Disputes, and when they come affably and civilly to talk together, they find they are all of one Mind. Strangeness and Distance, and reservedness and shyness, perpetu­ate many times the Quarrels and Con­tentions which an Hour or two's fami­liar Discourse would remove. Acquain­tance among. Men of different Perswasi­ons will by degrees cause them to enter­tain a better and more favourable Opi­nion [Page 42]of each other than they had before; and indeed, as one very well observes, we ought to converse with one another as Friends, and remember, that the way to Agreement of all Parties is not to bring Men to be of one Opinion, but to be of one Mind; which we may be, though of different Opinions: Not by thinking the same things, but by think­ing well one of another; endeavouring to preserve Charity as carefully as to preserve Truth (Bishop Patrick's second Part of a Sermon before the then Prince of Orange, p. 39.) I do not see any Rea­son why a Conformist should shun our Society, or we theirs; nor why we should be strange to one another, be­cause we have not the very same Senti­ments in things that are not Essential to Religion.

4. Listning to Backbiters is another Cause of falling out. Some People have so little Religion and so little Business, that they can find nothing to do but to gad about to tell Stories of this or that Person, whom they or their Friend does not like; And if they be regarded, such [Page 43]Busie-Bodies will occasion abundance of Strife. It is a wise Man's Part to stiffle all their Revilings, or not to give any Credit to them, for Tale Bearers are usu­ally the most Credulous and the most Impertinent, and the most Censorious, and the most Noisy of any People in the World; they will always commend themselves, and always reflect on others. And it is a Sign they know not their own Hearts, when they meddle so much with others; I am afraid they keep not their own Vineyard, nor sweep their own House, they are so very much abroad; and the hearkening to such silly People does oftentimes breed a lasting Mischief. It would cause us to have an ill Opinion of Many that are a great deal better than they are represented, and to sow Discord among Brethren, is one of the seven things that are an Abomination to the Lord, Prov. 6.18. Some Men take Delight to set others a quarrelling toge­ther, and it is Musick to them to behold the Flames which they have kindled. Tale-bearers are a sort of Hawkers and Pedlers of groundless Reports, which [Page 44]they take in the Gross, and afterwards Retail out in all Companies, and it ought to be the Care of every good Man to have them suppress'd, for they great­ly hinder the Progress of Love.

5. Another Cause why Men fall out is, because they are very proud of their own Apprehensions, and cannot bear to be Con­tradicted. They would be humoured, and have all People to say just as they say, or to think as they think: Self-will and Self conceit are the greatest undermin­ers of Peace and Quietness both in Churches and Families. You meet with abundance of People that cannot bear to have their Wills crost in the least, or to have their Opinions examined and brought to the Test; they carry it so haughtily as if they only were Infallible, and all others were in the dark; some Undervalue others because they have not their Parts and Learning, or because they will not blindly submit to their Dictates, and subscribe every thing which they say is True: And others, though they want Learning, yet have great Confidence, and will not suffer any to be in the Right [Page 45]but who use their Terms, and just their way of Expression: It is better to be cha­ritable than to be only Learned: And 'tis better to be humble than to be too well conceited of our own Abilities; a proud Man is a very bad Neighbour; to dwell with such an one is to dwell with Storms and Tempests, with Waves and Rocks, for if he be Proud he is hard to please, and can never be a good Friend. Men are generally fond of the Brats of their own Brain, and are very angry if others that see no Cause for it, will not doat as much upon them as they do, Prov. 13.10. the Pride of many is so great, that they cannot live in any quiet unless they be flattered, and unless o­thers will acquiesce in all their Actions, & suffer themselves to be trod upon. And Self conceited Men, Sir William Temple's Obs. on the Nether­lands, p. 169. as one says, talk much of right Rea­son, and mean always their own; and make their pri­vate Imagination the measure of general Truth; and the Dispute between them and us, ends at last in three Words, which it might as well have ended in at [Page 46]first, That they are in the Right, and we are in the Wrong.

6. Another occasion of falling out is from an Ignorance of Human Nature: It is strange, Men do not consider that as there is a variety of Souls, there always is and will be some variety of Thoughts; some men have a quicker sight than others, and penetrate with great ease and pleasure into the deepest recess of Truth, whither a Man of a duller capa­city will never come. It would be a very senseless thing for one to be angry with another, that he cannot see so well nor at so great a distance as he can. All Persons will never have the very same Gifts nor the same Degrees of Grace, and upon this account there will be different Apprehensions, though they ought for all that to bear with one ano­ther; for whilst they are in this World they will but know in part, and but little of what is still further to be known. And one great Reason of the various Sentiments of Persons about one and the same thing, is from the Contexture of their Spirits; in some they are very [Page 47]pure and lively, in others they are gross and more terrestrial; and according to these they have either a finer and more sprightly, or a more dull and less active Soul, which will act whilst it is in mat­ter, in very many things conformable to the good or ill Humours of the Body, where it lodges during its Absence from the spiritual and unseen World. And Men frequently mingle their particular Inclinations (to which they are led by their Constitution, and which they greatly value) with the Matters of Reli­gion. Thus take (as one observes) a Man greatly admiring natural Philoso­phy, he will be apt to mingle and qua­lifie Religion with Philosophical Noti­ons. Behmen who was a great Chymist, resolves almost all Religion into Chy­mistry, and frames his Conceptions of Religion suitable and conformable to Chymical Notions. Many great Physi­cians that have much observed the Con­stitution of Man's Body, have figured to themselves Notions of the Soul con­formable to their Observations in the Body: And so again, Men of Metaphy­sical [Page 48]and Notional Brains have conform­ed Religion, and their Notions of it to Metaphysicks, and indeed have made that which is, and ought to be the com­mon Principle for the actuating of all Men, yea even of the meanest Capacities, to be a meer Collection of Subtilties far more abstruse than the most intricate and sublimated Learning whatsoever. See the L. Ch. Just. Hale's Disc. of Rel. p. 26. Besides, Parents, and Examples, and Education, and Company, and Books have their several Influences upon the Thoughts of Men; and it is unreason­able to expect an entire Ʋnion of Think­ing among those whose early Years have been seasoned with Principles and Opi­nions very different from one another; and we ought to make great Allowances to one another upon this Account.

7. Another Cause of Brethen's falling out by thy way, is when they impose things upon their Brethren, that are but in their own Nature Indifferent, as if they were absolutely necessary; or will not hold Communion with others, unless they will agree to all the Terms which they [Page 49]have proposed, as it would be an unrea­sonable thing for a Man not to allow me to Travel with him in the same Road, unless I will wear a Garment of the same Colour with his own, and stop or go on, just as he would have me stay or go; and yet for the sake of Peace, I may comply with him in several things which I take to be Innocent and Law­ful, though I can by no means praise him for his enjoyning them. It is no doubt (as one says) a very desirable thing to lessen the differences of Christians, Dr. Wake's Sermons, p. 282. and enlarge their Communion as far as ever we can; and it has never gone well with the Church of Christ, since Men have been so narrow spirited, as to mix the Controversies of Faith with their publick Forms of Worship, and have made their Liturgies, instead of being Offices of Devotion to God, be­come Tests and Censures of the Opini­ons of their Brethren. It is a miserable thing when Men agree in Fundamentals, and in all those common Truths that are absolutely necessary to be known in [Page 50]order to Salvation, that they cannot bear with one another in less considera­ble things; and without doubt the best things are the plainest, and the least dis­putable; and unless we can prove our selves to be Infallible, we cannot claim of others a total Submission to what we say or impose upon them; and unless by the Light of Reason and of Scripture, we can gently convince them that they are in the wrong way, and that we are in the right. And if we be in the right and have setled things very well, yet if the peace of the Church be like to be injured by their scrupling of several things as sinful, in the lawfulness of which we are very well satisfied; yet it will be no' Reproach to us, to make such alterations and abatements in the conditions of our Communion, as may shew that we most charitably desire to have them to worship God with us, and in our Assemblies; for nothing Human can be so compleat, as not to need by some unforeseen Circumstances, some Variation. No harm will ensue, so long as the things most Fundamental are [Page 51]agreed on both sides; and as one ob­serves, Charity to a weak Brother in things indifferent in their own nature, is then to be exercised when my Brother is offended therewith, or never: And if it be said, it is his Duty to submit to the Church, and not the Church to him, I do think that Answer will not serve in this Case; for surely though a Child owes a Duty to a Father, yet his neg­lect thereof, especially if it be upon a Conscientious Account, will not excuse the neglect of a Father's duty to his Child: The Apostle professed he would abstain from things lawful, rather than offend his weak Brother. See the L. Ch. Just. Hale's Disc. of Relig. p. 32.

8. Another cause of falling out by the way, is from a littleness and narrowness of Soul; when Persons will have no good opinion of any, but such as are of their own Way and Party; when they will cry up their own Men with excessive Praises, and run down all others with the same Breath. Such are like the Jews of whom we have read, that living in some remote Place surrounded with [Page 52]Seas, because they have no Correspond­ence with others, think that they are all the World, and that the Race of Men is confined to so small a number. It is a most uncomly thing for any Party of Christians, to say that none can be saved but in their way; as if they did not know, that several Roads may all lead to the very same Place; and several Apprehensions about less necessary things, not hinder their passage to the same Glory. Let us take heed lest we di­minish the Kingdom of our Lord, and make his Empire less extensive than it is. He hath his People scattered up and down the World, and it would be a foolish and uncharitable thing, to say we alone are the true Church, and there is none so besides our selves: Let us take heed of such a littleness of Soul, and of such an ignorance of the State and Pro­gress of Christianity; let us not judge nor condemn, nor think hardly of ano­ther Man, because he is not of our way; but stop our Censures, till we know the Reasons upon which he differs from us. We need not Fall out by the Way, be­cause [Page 53]we cannot all think and speak alike; it would be a rude and uncivil thing for an Englishman, suppose, to fall out with a Frenchman upon a Journey, because his Air, his Address, his Judg­ment, his Prounciation, and the Tone of his Language differs from his own: A Publick and Generous Spirit, will love the Name, the Interest of Christ, and his Glory, wherever it is advanced, though by Persons of another Persuasi­on, or in Places vastly distant from his own Country. Let us carefully distin­guish between things that are really Momentous, and those that are but Tri­fles: Let us not lay too great a stress on the little Things that are peculiar to this or that Party; for a great many are, as one says, like a Company of Boys that blow Bubbles out of a Walnut-shell; every one runs after his Bubble, and calls it Religion; and every one measures the Religion or Ireligion of another, by their agreeing and differing with them in these and the like Matters; and at best whilst we scramble about the pieces of the Shell, the Kernel is either lost, [Page 54]or gotten by some that do not prize any of their Contests. And we ought to consider (as a great Man observes) That Belief is no more in a Man's Power than his Sta­ture, Sir William Temple's Obs. on the Nether­lands, p. 168. or his Feature; and he that tells me I must change my Opinion for his, because 'tis the truer and the better, without other Arguments, that have to me the force of Conviction, may as well tell me, I must change my grey Eyes, for others like his, that are black, because these are lovelier or more in esteem.

9. The great Cause why Brethren fall out by the way, is from the Malice and Policy of the Devil: It is delightful to God, Angels and Saints, to see them live together in Unity; but to the De­vil it is greatly vexatious; for Peace and Love do oppose his Designs, and render that Religion which he hates, amiable and venerable in the Eyes of all. The Devil fires furious and angry People with more Flame and Heat; this Engineer blows the Coals, and en­creases Strife and Contention; and he [Page 55]knows that if he can make Persons once very Passionate, he thereby unfits them for all due performance of Duty, either to God or Man; they unhinge themselves, and molest others too. There are many People, whom the Devil finds he cannot ruin by gross carnal Sins, as Theft, and Whoredom, and Swearing, and Drun­kenness, and Sabbath-breaking and the like; whom he endeavours to destroy by spiritual Sins, such as Envy and Cen­suring, and Bitterness, and Wrath, and Malice; for all these are most agreeable to his own Hellish Nature, Eph. 4.26, 27. Be ye angry and Sin not, let not the Sun go down upon your Wrath; neither give place to the Devil. To be passion­ate and long angry, is to let the Devil Triumph over you, 'tis to bind your selves with Chains, and let him lead you Captive at his will: He once fell from Heaven like Lightning, and he has ever since inflamed and disturbed the World, and has a peculiar Malice against the Gospel; and his great Bu­siness is to hinder it from being a Gos­pel of Peace and Mercy, and so to [Page 56]render it in a great measure unsuccessful by the Quarrels of those that pretend to obey its Laws: And it is observable, That (as one says) no Quarrels were raised among the Heathens about the several Gods they worshipped; for the Devil, the irreconcileable Enemy to God's Glory and Man's Happiness, was pleased with their deadly Errors, and let them adore the Host of Heaven, or of the Earth, it was alike to him, for they all diverted the Minds of Men from the sole Object of Divine Worship, the True God. The Devil makes his Slaves to Fire Towns, and Depopulate Countries, and to Destroy Churches, and Disorder Families: Let us not warm our selves at his Fire, nor in the least resemble his Cruel Nature. Let us all fight against him with one accord, remembring we serve the Prince of Peace, and his Ban­ners over us are Love.

10. An Ignorant and Misguided Zeal: Or as the Apostle calls it, Rom. 10.2. A Zeal of God, but not according to Knowledge; and 'tis no wonder if Per­sons justle against one another when they [Page 57]are Blind or in the Dark: When they call that Truth which is not so, or when they are as violently concerned for their own Opinions as if they were plainly re­vealed; or when they are solicitous to preserve real Truth, but go about it with too much Warmth and Hear, or make too great a Noise about it. Zeal must be tempered with a great deal of Pru­dence, if it be truly genuine and pro­fitable.

The next thing is to shew, what Methods may be taken by Persons of all Persuasions, That they may not fall out by the Way; and the principal is,

1. To take Care that they believe in Jesus Christ: He is the Prince of Peace, and all that yeild themselves to be his Subjects, he brings by degrees to this amiable Frame; a Spirit of Gentleness, and Mildness is conveyed to all the Parts of the Body, from this peaceable and blessed Head. Faith in Christ gives us Union with him, and conveys a strength to us, whereby we may subdue all our Sins; among which a proneness to quar­rel [Page 58]and fall out with one another is not the most inconsiderable; whoever has this Faith is immediately thereupon a Mem­ber of the true Church, has a Right to all the Sacraments and Ordinances of the Gospel; and if any should refuse such a Believer admission into this or that par­ticular Church, they must do it at their own Peril: if I had so great an Ho­nour as to have a particular Charge of Souls, all good Christians, under what Names soever they go, of Conformists, or Presbyterians, or Independents, or Anabap­tists, I would, upon their Desire, their pro­mising to live peaceably, most chearfully receive them into my Communion, and though one should be for Receiving the Lord's Supper Kneeling, another Stand­ing, or another Sitting, I would not think it in the least contrary to Decency or Order to administer it to them all in their distinct Postures; for if I thought them true Believers, how could I dare to refuse them, merely because they were not satisfied in this or that Gesture, which, it may be, I should think most Proper and Convenient: All good Chri­stians [Page 59]are of the same Church; and if our Blessed Lord will receive them all into one Heaven at last, Wo to them that shall refuse to receive them here; for certainly that which Qualifies a Man for Heaven and Everlasting Salvation, qua­lifies him for Communion with any Church on Earth whatsoever; for the Principal Enquiry of the great Day will not be of what Party we were, whether Conformists or Nonconformists, but whe­ther we really believed in Christ, and took him for our Lord and King? whe­ther we were of his Body, and renewed by his Spirit, and subject to his Laws? The great Rule for Peaceful Agreement among Christians in their several Soci­eties, is that, Rom. 15.5, 6, 7. Receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God. And Christ receives us all most kindly when we believe. Our com­mon Faith in him is our highest Honour, & that well evidenced gives us the truest Right to all Church Communion. I would earnestly desire People that are censorious and narrow sould, to read the 14th to the Romans often over, as a [Page 60]most excellent means to cool their Heats and Animosities.

2. That you may not fall out by the way, you must not give one another bad Names, nor use Provoking Venomous Expressions to one another. How many lasting Quarrels and Contentions arise by some awkward and scurvy Titles that Men give to others, whom by that means they make their Adversaries? All would be calm and quiet but for such an Evil Tongue as James describes ch. 3.6. The tongue is a Fire, a world of iniquity, it deflleth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature, and is set on fire of Hell. The Devil and an Evil Tongue go together. Bitter Speeches exasperate and chase those that otherwise would be at Ease; and it is a great Weakness when Chri­stians cannot omit Personal Reflections, but love to Satyrize on one another, as if they were in Jest, when by their sharpen'd Animosities the poor injur'd Church receives many Wounds. O that all our other Names were laid aside, and only the Name of Christians retained among us; then we might somewhat [Page 61]resemble the purer Ages of the Church, when their Business was to live, nor to talk great Matters; and the Name Christian (as one ob­serves) did so charm them, Dr. Horneck's Letter to a Person of Quality, p. 490 that though there were various Degrees of Men among them, Ecclesiasticks, Lay­men, Virgins, Widows, Married Per­sons, Confessors, Martyrs and Friends, yet the Name Christian swallowed up all; and in this they triumphed beyond all other Titles in the World: Which, as he says, made Attalus in Eusebius, when the Governour asked him, What Countryman he was? who his Father and Mother were? what Trade, Pro­fession and Employment he was of? whether he was Rich or Poor? give no other Answer but this, That he was a Christian. Give to your Neighbours, and to those that in some things differ from you, the most kind and affable Ex­pressions: It is an unseemly thing for Christians to fix ignominious Names upon one another, when one side will say, That the other are Formalists, and [Page 62]know little of the Power of Godliness: And when another Party will say, That all that differ from their Ceremonies do but Cant and Whine, and make a Shew, and that all their Profession is Hypocrisy: These are both to blame. What Mischief have we seen spread in the Minds of Men, under several new-coyn'd Names, as of Whig and Tory, and the like? and formerly a great deal of Trouble was occasioned by the differing Names of Presbyterian and Independent: But now, Thanks be to God, those Names are bu­ried, and I hope and wish that they may never have a Resurrection, seeing we have lately given them a very decent Fu­neral: The Name of Ʋnited Ministers and People, is a thousand times more Honourable: And The Heads of Agreement between these two fore-men­tioned Persuasions, and the most emi­nent and learned of either side, will, I question not, for many Ages be a Cre­dit to us; and blessed be that Day of Peace, in which they were concluded: Blessed be that God of Love that sug­gested to our Fathers and our Brethren, [Page 63]such peaceable and uniting Resolutions, which when I my self saw concluded, I could not but think that Healing Day to be as one of the Days of Heaven, and as a Resemblance of that Holy Place, where­in all Good Ministers and People shall agree together; and who could forbear saying with David, Ps. 133.1. Behold how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! And especially if you would not fall out, be not always ripping up Old Sores, nor speaking of things that may kindle Strife, and not allay it, as they did that in a more un­happy Time used to be always talking of 41. and of that Rebellion; not fore­seeing, That many of themselves would upon some parallel Emergencies use the very same Arguments, and do some of the same things. Neither ought we to upbraid others always with the Doctrin of Passive Obedience, of which I verily believe the more Ingenuous and Learned part of the Clergy are now very much ashamed; inasmuch as in the way that it was frequently, though most unwarily pressed, it was a very slavish Doctrin.

3. That you may not fall out by the Way, put the fairest Construction that you possibly can upon the Carriage and Actions of those that in some things differ from you: Take every thing by the best Handle, and do not wrest their Words to a Purpose which they never intended. Do not load them nor their Doctrins with Consequences which they neither own nor see; consider they are to stand or fall to their own Master, and not to be judged at your Bar: Oh! take care that you condemn none of those in your Censures, whom Christ will own and justifie at the Great Day. What Peace would be in Families and Churches, and larger Societies, if Men would not stretch Words beyond their Natural Signification; nor conceive an abiding Disgust from this or that Misun­derstood Expression, with which the Speaker never designed to affront them, or which he never levelled at them? They entertain many things which were never sent them, and such touchy Peo­ple plant Bryars in their own Spirits; they never want Vexation, nor never will. See what the Apostle says of [Page 65]Charity. 1 Cor. 13.4. Charity suffereth long and is kind, charity envieth not, cha­rity vaunteth not it self, it is not puft up, doth not behave it self unseemly, seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, think­eth no evil, rejoyceth not in Iniquity, but rejoyceth in truth, beareth all things, be­lieveth all things, enduring all things. There are many waspish and angry Peo­ple, that behave themselves as if they had never heard of such a Chapter, or of such a Grace; I desire them to read this Description often over, and also the first Epistle of St. John, that Loving Dis­ciple; as also to meditate on the Life of Christ, with what Meekness, with what what Lowliness and Affability he car­ried himself to all, unless that now and then he was a little sharp towards the Superstitious Scribes and Phari­sees.

Fourthly, Resist the beginnings of Strife and Falling out; for how great a Matter will a little Fire kindle? Jam. 3.5. a few misplaced Words many times be­gin a Quarrel, though the Storm ought by Prudence and mutual Forgiveness to [Page 66]be laid, as soon as it begins to rise. If petty Differences among Men were but composed with a suitable and an early diligence, how many Law-suits, which are both tedious and very costly, might be with ease prevented? For continu­ance of Anger makes those People that are hot, to be more hot, it chafes and fires them more and more: A Disease taken betimes admits of help or some mitigation, which will not yield to all the most prudent Methods of Physick, that are used after it is become strong and obstinate: Therefore the Wise Man advises us, To leave off Contention before it be medled with. It may seem, (as one says) a Contradiction to leave it off before it is medled with; but we are so early to retire from all Contenti­on, that as soon as it appears, and be­fore we have engaged in it, we must break it off; for if we are once enga­ged, Humour, Honour, and other peevish or designing Men will hold us to it; therefore it is best to break it off in time.

Fifthly, Carry it always towards those that dissent from you, in a sweet and ob­liging manner: Let not their different Opinions make you Morose or Froward; be very Civil to those whose Persuasion is not the same with yours: A Confor­mist ought to do all the good Offices of Kindness that he can, for a Nonconfor­mist; and the Nonconformist the like again to him: I see no Reason why we should be shy or unkind to one another, we are both Englishmen, and we are both of one Religion. Remember that a Meek and Quiet Spirit is of great Price in the sight of God, 1 Pet. 3.4. and vers. 8. Be ye all of one Mind, having Compassion one of another: Love as Bre­thren, be Pitiful, be Courteous, not ren­dring Evil for Evil, or Railing for Railing; but contrary-wise Blessing, know­ing that ye are thereunto called, that you should inherit a Blessing. In the Primi­tive times they could forbear and for­give their Enemies, much more their Brethren; and were not like the Wasp­ish Philosophers, who, as one says, [Page 68]were ready to fall foul up­on one another, Dr. Cave's Pri­mitive Chri­stianity, pt. 3. ch. 3. p. 317. for every petty and inconsiderable Difference that was among them. Christians, as he says, were careful not to offend either God or Man, but to keep and maintain Peace with both; thence that excellent saying of Ephraem Syrus, when he came to die; In my whole Life (said he) I never re­proached my Lord and Master, nor suffered any foolish Talk to come out of my Lips; nor did I ever Curse or Revile any Man, or maintain the least Difference or Contro­versie with any Christian in all my Life. Why may it not be among us, as Sir Wil­liam Temple says it is in the Netherlands? where differences in Opinions, make none in Affections; little in Conversati­on, where it serves but for Entertain­ment and Variety: They argue without Interest or Anger, they differ without Enmity or Scorn, and they agree without Confederacy. Men live together like Citizens of the World, associated by the common tyes of Hu­manity, [Page 69]and the Bonds of Peace, un­der the Impartial Protection of indiffer­ent Laws, with equal encouragement of all Arts and Industry, and equal free­dom of Speculation and Enquiry. Ac­cording to our old saying, Soft Words and hard Arguments are the best; and if I may judge of others by my self, harsh Expressions and a sowre Carriage, will never make one regard what another says: The Potion has too much Gall in it to be Medicinal; whereas we cannot refuse to listen to a Man, that comes to us in a mild and gentle manner. It is the Spirit of Elias and not the Spirit of Jesus, that is furious and violent. It is an Human thing to be kind to those of the same nature with our selves; but for one Professing Religion, to be furious and eager and stormy, is to let the Christian destroy the Man. Mildness is an Offspring of Heaven, the resem­blance of Christ, and has a strange con­straining Power with it: A calm and gentle Soul will govern and allay the disorder of the Tongue, and keep us all [Page 70]quiet. The very appearances (as one observes) of a calm Temper have a Charm in them; but the effects of them in concurrence with other pru­dent Methods are almost irresistible: And, says he, it is better to be over­run and ruined in the ways of Meek­ness, than to conquer all the World by Cruelty; in the one we bear the Cross, and suffer for Righteousness sake, in the other we Triumph in the Garments of Antichrist, dyed red with the Blood of those, who though in Errors, yet may be good Men in the main, for ought we know.

Sixthly, Let us always Love our Bre­thren, though we cannot he in all things of their Mind: And this Love will pro­duce all those acts of Kindness and good Will which I have newly mentioned; in our different places of Worship, and in the different manner of our Prayers, there may be still an Union in our Hearts. I can love many a good Man and wish him well with all my Soul, to whose particular Persuasion I am not [Page 71]satisfied to joyn my self. Let us love our Brethren for the Common Truths, in which they and we both agree; we have one Faith, though we have two Names; then let us commend all that we see in others, that is truly good and commendable; let us commend their Gifts and Graces, their Learning and their Holy Lives; let us pity their Faults, and praise them for their good Deeds; and this is the best way that I know of, to keep us from falling out: And if we must strive, let us strive who shall be most serviceable to God, and to one another.

Seventhly, Take heed of loving need­less Disputations: Of all things beware of taking pleasure in them; or of fri­volous and curious Questions, which tend to fill us with Rancour, but promote not Edification. Carnal Zeal (as one says) may put us on disputing, but true Zeal will put us upon Prayer. Some Men are of so strange a Palate, that they love Niceties and Quelques chose, rather than solid and substantial [Page 72]Food; some love to splinter the plain Truths of the Gospel, and to wrap them up in Clouds, when, if they left them to their native plainness, they would be as bright as day. For my part, I had rather be a quiet Ploughman, than a fiery Philosopher; I had rather be a Son of Peace, than the greatest Dis­puter in the World: Disputes occasion abundance of ferment in the Minds of those, who would otherwise be very quiet People; and they also prove a Generation of Vipers: Such as love them, generally sting one another with many base and mean Reflections, and which tast more of Billings-gate, than of Jerusalem. I thank God I have a peculiar Antipathy in my Temper to all hot and fiery Proceedings, and I had rather Preach one Sermon of Ʋnity a­mong Brethren, than Write a thousand Follo's of Controversie. We have all Reason to be thankful that our Age is pretty well delivered from a doting Admiration of the old School-men, that spun Divinity into Cobwebs, and [Page 73]made Depths and Mysteries where they found none; it would pity a Man to see such excellent parts as many of them had, to be so ill imployed: But their Notions are now musty and antiqua­ted and dead, and I will never do any thing to revive or quicken them: For as one very well observes, our Fathers in the beginning of the Reformation, were greatly scandalized at that School divinity, which for a long time had fill­ed the World, not only with Questions vain and frivolous, but pernicious also, and leading Men to Wicked­ness. What can any one think of such a manner of treating the Mysteries of Religion as they used, and by Di­stinctions crude and sensless, if it were not that all that was very likely to raise an abundance of Errors, and excellent­ly contrived for the maintaining of all such, as Ignorance, Passion, Engage­ments or Interests would have pro­duced? One of the Effects of that Dis­order of the Schools was the deprav­ing of Christian Morality by the In­troduction [Page 74]of divers destructive Max­ims, which tended only to cor­rupt Men's Minds and Hearts; In­stances of which see at large in Mon­sieur Claude's Historical Defence of the Reformation, part 1. p. 28. It would be a Comfortable Sight to see the Funeral of all needless Controversies. We have seen indeed a Book lately writ by a Learned Man, Mr. Baxter. of The End of Controver­sies; and I wish they were really ended, that so we might Learn though not to Talk so logically, yet to Live better. Some Errors there are indeed that must be opposed, and God leaves not his Ministers without Gifts for that very Purpose. The Mi­nisters of the Church of England have done worthily in their excellent and Learned Writings against Popery; they have shewed their feebler Adversaries the Papists, what Learning and a good Cause was able to produce, to their solid Resutation. And I may add, The Dissenters too have done their [Page 75]part against these Philistines, though they have been by the severity of some later Years very much discouraged, yet none will deny but such as Dr. Owen, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Clarkson, and many other Divines among us have done very considerable Service in their Learned Books against the Common Enemy.

8. Do not attribute the Judgments of God, that may befal us all, to this or that Party: There is no doubt but we are all guilty of many Provocations in the Sight of God. Do not say, this or that Evil is long of the Conformists; nor ought they to say this or that befals us, because there are so many Dissenters: This would be in too great Measure to imitate the Heathens, in the Time of the first Persecutions, who if there were any pinching Famine, or any contagi­ous Disease, that over-ran Italy, or if the River Tyber did overflow his Bounds, and cause abundance of Damage to the Country by that means, it was imme­diately the Clamour of the People, That [Page 76]the Christians were the cause of all these Evils, and that the Gods were angry with them for suffering the Christian Religion: Thus pretending by an un­warrantable Impudence, to know the certain Cause of God's Judgments, which are a great deep, and the laying the Blame only on one side, does necessarily make People quarrel with one another, whereas upon all such Occasions there ought to be among them a common and sincere Humiliation.

9. We ought to study our own Hearts more, and what Work we have to do there, and then we should not so easily fall out with one another. Alas, if we have enough to do within, with our own Thoughts, with our own Pas­sions, with our own Sins, what Time shall we have to range abroad, and busi­ly to meddle and interpose in the Busi­ness and Opinions of other People? We shall have no time to censure when we find that we our selves are bad enough.

In order to accomplish this, let us

Consider I. How many things all good Christians and Protestants are agreed in: We are all agreed, That God is our only Happiness, and Christ our only Saviour, and the Spirit our only Sanctifier. We are all agreed, That Heaven is our Home, and Holiness, the way thither. We are all agreed, That the Scripture is the Rule of our Faith, and that Sin, the World and the Devil are our great­est Enemies; why should we not bear with one another in things that are of a much lower nature than these great and weighty Matters of the Law? For (as one of our Learned Bishops expresses it) The very Basis of the Reformed Re­ligion is this, Bish. Patrick's Serm. before the Queen, on Col. 3.15. p. 36. That all necessary Truths are not only plainly con­tained in the Holy Scriptures, but plainly set down there: Which single Truth being agreed, it is manifest there must [Page 78]needs be an Union of Opinions among us in all things necessary: And as for other things which are not evident in Holy Scriptures, and therefore are not necessary, what should hinder, but that notwithstanding any different Opinions about them, there be among us a Unity of Affection; unto which the Holy Scri­ptures direct and press us, as the great­est Happiness of which this World is capable? We have all the same Creed, and we all subscribe to the same Doctri­nal Articles, except some small Points relating to the Ceremonies. Let but the Ministers of all sides strive, as Mr. Dod used to express it, to preach Christ into the Hearts of their Hearers, and then they will love as his Subjects, and as Heirs of the same Glory, and bear with one another. How much com­mon agreed Work have we all to do? How many ignorant People to instruct? How many Wounded to Heal? How many Troubled in Soul to resolve and pacify? How many Sleepers to a waken? How many Wanderers to reduce into [Page 79]the Right Way? And is all this Work upon our Hands, and have we any Time to lose in Quarrelling and Falling out by the Way?

Consider. 2. Whenever the most plea­sant and prosperous Condition of the Church shall be manifested, it will be introduced by Peace, and Ʋnion and Love will then abound. Is. 11.6. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the Leopard shall lye down with the kid, and the calf and the young lion, and the fatling together, and a little Child shall lead them, &c. v. 9. They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy Mountain; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea. Ezek. 28.24. There shall be no more a pricking brier unto the house of Israel, nor any griev­ing thorn of all that are round about them, that despised them, and they shall know that I am the Lord God. Zech. 14.9. The Lord shall be King over all the earth, in that day shall there be one Lord, and his name One. A glorious [Page 80]Light shall shine from Heaven, and shall shew to all good People the Right and the Comely Way of Peace; the Spirit of the Lord shall reconcile those Bre­thren that are now somewhat strange to one another; then the Lustre of Christianity, which is now obscured with our Contentions, shall appear in all its Brightness and all that look upon the Church then, shall discern it to be full of Glory: It shall no more appear in Garments died in Blood, mangled and torn by open Ene­mies and false Friends, but in Gar­ment of Praise, and then be very Beautiful without, as well as she is now within. Then Zion shall be a praise throughout the earth. Then shall the golden Age of Peace return again, then shall the New Jerusalem descend from Heaven; nay then Heaven it self shall come down to this Earth, and our now deformed World shall then have an Amiable and comely Face; Then the Tabernacle of God shall be with men, and he will dwell [Page 81]with them. And my Friends, do we hear of such pleasant Things, and such glorious Times, and do we not all wish to see these joyful days begin to dawn? Do we wish, and shall we not endeavour by our Prayers, and by our Love, to make this blessed and comfortable Time to hasten on apace? Surely 'tis Mo­tive enough to say, it will be then a Time of Love. Come then let us lay aside all Backbiting and Reproach­es, and Heats and Quarrels, with one another; come my Friends, my Brethren, and my Fellow-Travellers, God is willing to forgive us all our former Sins and Provocations, let us I beseech you forgive one ano­ther: Let there not be one in this Assembly, that harbours a rancorous revengeful Thought against any Per­son whatsoever: Let us not Fall out by the Way, for we hope to dwell in Peace at our Journeys end, we hope all to come to the same Heaven [...] let us rejoyce in each other's Wel­fare; [Page 82]let us relieve each other's Wants, and in fine, let us unite our Hearts, our Praises and our Thoughts, to God our Maker, who is the God of Peace; and as our Apostle says, 2 Thes. 3.16. The Lord of Peace him­self give you Peace always by all Means.

Consid. 3. Not falling out by the way will increase the number of good People: Union among Bre­thren is in Psal. 133.3. said to be as the Dew of Hermon, and as the Dew that descended upon the Mountain of Zion, i. e. as one very well Para­phrases upon it, without Dew nei­ther Hermon nor Zion would be any other than very barren Places; so with­out Concord, our Life would be very miserable. The dew falling from Hea­ven, covered those places with Herbs and Plants and Fruits; Brotherly love makes the Church to flourish in Zeal and Patience and Diligence and Fervour; and it is a very great en­couragement [Page 83]to New Converts, when they can say of the old ones, Behold, How these good People love one another! There is nothing in all the World has so great a Magnetism and such an attractive Vertue as Love; 'tis the most mild and gentle of all the Passions, and so consequently the most powerful and persuasive: What a Sweetness and a Pleasure is there in a Family, where the several Members of it treat one another, with a cordial and sincere Affection? How ambitions is every one to be acquainted with such a Loving Company? But at what a distance will others keep from a So­ciety where there is no Agreement, but an everlasting Fighting and Scolding with one another? To live in Unity and Peace, would bring again that happy Temper, which was common every where, when Acts 4.32. The Multitude of them that be­lieved, were of one Heart and one Soul, when they called one another [Page 84]Brethren and lived as such, and were full of Condecension, and Charity, and good Works; for then, as some observe, Dr. Horneck's Letter conc. the Primitive Christ. p. 498 Religion had mortified in the Rich and Noble all Punctilo's of ho­nour and state, and made them remember that in Christ they were all equal. She in whose Veins the noblest Blood did run, would say of her poor distressed Neighbour, she is my Sister, my Fellow-mem­ber, one that hath part in my dear Redeemer; if she be Ancient, she is my Mother, said she; if Younger, she is my Daughter: Nor were these Expressions, Names of course only, but they were Written in their Hearts, and their Lips spoke what their Minds believed, and these Words were at once pronounced and thought. If, as he says, one Family had any thing to do more than ordinary, Id. p. 520. the Neighbouring Family would help them: If one was to [Page 85]Fast, his Neighbour Fasted with him; if one Wept, his Neighbour did Weep with him; if one Mourn­ed, his Neighbour Mourned with him, as if both had committed the same Sin; they had their Joys and Sorrows common, and they might be said to be all in one, and one in all. In these loving and amiable Times, by these gentle and kind Methods, many thousands were added to the Church: Whereas, for Brethren to fall out, is very scandalous and dis­graceful; it makes the Religion they profess, look very meanly in the eyes of Strangers. When they see that it does not reconcile their Minds to one another, they have not Judg­ment nor Patience enough to examin its abstruser Mysteries, but what effects it produces they do most nar­rowly observe; and if it avail not so far as to make Men peaceable, they conclude it does them no good at all. 'Tis a thing more especially scanda­lous to the People, when they see [Page 86]those Ministers disagree, and those Lights dash against one another, which should yield a pleasant, an united, and a Common Light; therefore Christ prayed to his Fa­ther, Joh. 17.23. Let them be made perfect in one, that the World may know that thou hast sent me.

Consid. 4. Not to falll out by the Way would be a great joy to your Ministers; they would study their Sermons and Preach them with more Comfort, if they had always to deal with a Peaceable and a Loving People; nay, they would have more Time wherein to study; for several Hours una­voidably go away in striving to Compose Differences, when their Hearers are so foolish as to quar­rel with one another; and then they are a great Interruption and Grief to them in their most seri­ous Retirement, and many Times [Page 87]their Bitterness and Wrath send them sooner to the Grave.

Consid. 5. Falling out by the Way, and bitter Contentions amongst those that should Love as Brethren, may stir up the Wrath of God against them all. It is no Wonder if a Fa­ther, after long Patience, be at last provoked to turn all his Chil­dren out of Doors, when they can­not be quiet, nor agree together: So it was heretofore, when there was in the Church great Siding one against another, Pastor against Pastor, and People against People, some ingaged in this Faction, some in that, till, as one observes, the Brethren of the Camp brought in Dio­clesian's Persecution, which devour­ed them all: And it has often been observed, by Learned Men, That when God had blessed his Church with Peace and Protection, and after a long tryal, during three Ages and ten Persecutions, a nursing Fa­ther [Page 88]was raised up: Then arose those Contests about several Specu­lative and Mystical Points, which made the Churches of Africa very desolate; and what wonderful Mi­series were occasioned by the too warm and eager Contentions of the Greek and Latin Church? This fal­ing out has turned the most pleasant and fruitful Countries into a Wil­derness, and the most beautiful Churches into Dust and Ashes.

Consid. 6. 'Tis one of the Great Designs of the Gospel of our Saviour, to promote Peace among all his Fol­lowers. Nothing does he more urge than that they should Love one another; and as he had loved them with the most constant and sincere Affection: And for this he prayed, Joh. 17.21. That they all may be one, as thou Father art in me and I in in thee, that they all so may be one in us. His first Ap­pearance was wellcom'd by the [Page 89]Heavenly Host with Songs of Love, saying, Glory to God in the highest, peace upon earth, and good Will to Men. And to be full of Love is to be Angelical; it is a Resem­blance of their kind and Loving Nature: And which is more ho­nourable, it is the very Image of the Son of God, who is the ex­press Image of his Father: And God we know is Love. The Go­spel does frequently urge us to live in Peace and Quietness, and conveys to us that Spirit which is to mortifie our bitter and unruly Passions: And the Jerusalem where our Lord does intend at last to bless all his Servants, is the City of Peace; and his Sacraments are designed to bind us more to himself, and to one another in the truest Bonds of Love. We have one Baptism, and are all nourished with the same Bread from Heaven; he entertains all at the same Table, that we may lay aside all our little Quar­rels, [Page 90]when we see him shedding his dearest Blood to appease his Fa­ther's Wrath, and to testifie how he loved us all.

Consid. 7. You ought not to fall out by the Way, for you will very shortly be at your Journey's End. This is the Motive of our Apostle, Let your moderation be known unto all Men, the Lord is at hand, Phil. 4.5. The Lord is at hand, who is to judge you and them; The Lord is at hand that will bless you for ever, if you are peaceable, and meek, and lowly; but he will con­domn you if he find that by Wrath, and Strife, and Contention you are altogether disagreeable to his Holy Example. Oh let not the Great Judge find you quarrelling with one another, when he comes, but la­bour to be found of him in Peace. Surely the Brethren of Joseph might keep from falling out by the Way, when it was but a little Distance [Page 91]between Egypt and Canaan: It would have been a very unpleasant thing to their good Father, to have seen them coming Home in so bad a Temper. Oh my Friends, let us heartily love one another; let us do all we can for one another: It is but a little Season that we are to be to­gether; a little while hence, we that are in this Congregation shall be in the Congregation of the Dead, and our Places, and our Friends know us no more. Oh let us not be Clamorous now against one ano­ther, seeing we shall shortly be in the silent Grave: Surely we that have so short and so vain a Life, and may so soon be dead, should spend our Time to better Purpose than to quarrel or fall out; People that are to die together do usually embrace one another with all the Marks of a tender Affection, just before they die. Let us labour to die in Charity with all the World, for Death will come upon us all, [Page 92]and we must rest together in the Grave; there will be no Warmth, no Fire in our Common Dust, there will be no Fighting or Scolding in the Grave; there lye the Heads, now Cool enough, that were once full of Heat, and many a Vexatious and Uneasie Thought, and who once disturbed both themselves and others with needless Disputations, and Strife, and Quarrels. Oh let us be as Loving Travellers, that are all going to the same Blessed Home, and let us help one another in the Way thither, seeing it is but for a little while, and we know we have but a little way to go, and when we are at our Journey's End, our Hea­venly Father will most kindly enter­tain us all.

I shall only say two or three things relating to the particular Occasion, and so conclude.

  • First, To the Relations of our Deceas­ed Friend.
  • Secondly, To the Young Men that were his Acquaintance. And
  • Thirdly, To those who are usually Hearers in this Place.

First. You that are his Relations have lost a kind Relation and a good Friend; you that heard him dis­course, and saw him with Delight, shall not see him again till the Hea­vens be no more. You have laid him in the Grave, and there his poor Body does now consume away: But let his Death, and the Death of your other Friends teach you to prepare to Dye; as you now Mourn for him, so will others Mourn for you, when a few Days and Nights are gone. Oh make you sure of a better World, for this is altogether Vanity: Breath after Eternal Life, for this that you [Page 94]now have, does very quickly pass away. And let me beseech you earnestly to long for that Day, when you and your Holy Friends shall meet in Health together, and never part again; when you shall see those that you beheld here pale and wan with Sickness, to shine like the Sun in Glory; when you shall see those Breasts, from whence there came so many Sighs and Groans in their painful dying Agonies, to be full of Love and Praise: You shall never hear their Tongues faulter with a Disease, nor their Breath stop, nor see their Countenances change, they shall never complain nor die again; they shall be with you, and you with them, and all of you with the same God and the same Jesus, and shall never quit or be separated from one another. Oh blessed State! Oh sweet and comfortable Priviledge of all true Believers! What is all that shines in this World to the least Beam of this Approaching Glory? You [Page 95]have lost a dear Relation, and one whom, if our Prayers could have pre­vailed, we would have kept longer with us. I beseech you, see that you have an Interest in a God, whom you may never lose. You that attend­ed him and visited him in his Sick­ness, have beheld his Patience, and seen his Resignation. In the many Times that I visited him, I never heard him in the least murmur at the Hand of God, though it pressed him very sore; he never in the least opened his mouth to complain that his Disease was so tedious and so very long; imi­tate you his Patience when you come to the like Trials, and shew your Sub­mission to the Will of God, who has now taken your Dear Friend away. Some of us that were near him in his dying Agonies, heard him praying earnestly to God through Jesus Christ, and expressing his Trust in his Righ­teousness alone, and hoping only for Acceptance in and through this Great Mediator; and indeed let [Page 96]Men in Health and at a great di­stance as they think from Death, talk what they will of the great Power of their own Will, or of the exactness and multitude of their own Works, yet the approach of Judgment will strangely change their Apprehensions, and let them know, that the Mercy of God in Christ is the best Plea when they are to die. Some of you were Sick at the same time, and the Physicians had no hope of your Recovery, but God has been your Healer: God has tur­ned your Glass when his is run out; and whilst you are in Time, he is in Eternity: God has renewed your Life, and taken his away; his Lamp is gone out, and yours is recruited with fresh Oyl again. Let the Mer­cy and Goodness and Deliverance of so kind a Physician, draw you near­er to himself; and whilst you see our departed Friend and your Son no more in your Habitation, beg of God to dwell with you there; he is better [Page 97]than a thousand Sons and Daughters, his Presence and his Favour is a part of Heaven. God may have spa­red you with this design, that you may more glorifie him by a patient acquiescence in his Will, and I do not question but you do. Let me further entreat you his Relations to continue to live in Love, for your Friend has left you all this Legacy. And if at any time by any occasion whatsoever you are tempted to Passi­on, remember your dead Friend as if you heard him say, Fall not ought by the way: These were the Words left in a solemn manner by a dying Man, and I hope you and we all shall the more regard them upon that Account: Excellent Advice he has given us, God give us the Grace to take it. It is necessary to be considered by many People in the World, That, to their own Re­proach, never Quarrel more than about the Last Will and Testament of a Departed Friend, and make [Page 98]that an Occasion of long and trouble­some Suits at Law, which was designed to put an End to all Con­troversies and Debates: But there is not the least Cause to fear any thing of this from any of you, you have not so learned Christ: Go on in your peaceable Carriage and Behaviour, and the God of Peace shall be with you, and he himself will supply this and all your other Wants.

Secondly, To those Young Men that were the Acquaintance of the De­ceased Mr. Dunwell. Oh what Cause have you to admire the Pe­tience and Goodness of God, that when so many are snatch'd away, that you have known, he still suf­fers you to Live, when many that were both Healthful and Stronger, and Younger than you but a while agoe, are at their Journey's End, and you are still Travelling in the Way: You have yet Opportuni­ties [Page 99]and days of Grace wherein to work out your Salvation, and to prepare for another World; and let me desire you that are as yet in your Flourishing and Greenest Youth not to put afar off the Evil Day; do not grieve the Spirit of God; do not misimprove your Sa­baths, nor lose your Opportuni­ties, for you may be near, very near to your latter end; in a Week or a Fortnight, or a Months time, you may be also in your Eternity: It is yet Morning with you, and as yet 'tis a clear Day, but Storms will overtake you, and for ought you know your Sun may go down at Noon: Oh! learn to be Wise in the Time of Health, for Sickness is not the most proper Season wherein to do any thing for your Souls; your uneasiness, your disorder and your pains will then be so great, that you'll find your Selves unable to do any thing that requires much Thought and Care; those of us [Page 100]that have been Sick, can tell you this by our own said Experience, an those that are now Sick will Con­firm to you the very same thing: Think you hear this your Depart­ed Friend saying to you, Oh! do not presume upon having a very long Life, for you see God has cut me off in the midst of my Days: ‘Oh! never think that you can too soon be Religious, or that you can do too much for God, for he is worthy to be Served: Whilest you mind the World, Oh! take heed that you do not forget Heaven and Eternal Glo­ry: Remember that your Time hastens on apace; Oh! Remem­ber that Sickness will come to you as it came to me; restless Nights and weary Days will be your Lot, as they were mine a while ago: Death will soon knock at your Door, as he knockt at mine, and painful Agonies will go before him, and none but [Page 101]those that have felt them know what are the Pangs of Death.’ O my Friends! Do you know what it is to Die? Do ye know what it is to appear before the Tribunal of an Omniscient and Infinitely Holy God, and will you not make ready for it? Oh! repent of all your Follies, Pray in Secret, Examin any Try your selves, and put your Souls in Order that it may be well with you for ever-more. I beg of you that are Young to consider the Example and the Practice of our Deceased Friend; he was not of their Tem­per that spend all their Mony on their Cloaths, or in Games and Taverns, and needless and unprofi­table Recreations, but gave some part of what he had to Encourage and Promote the Gospel; he was (which I put upon him as a pe­culiar Mark of Honour) a great Friend to young Ministers; he knew, tho many others never considered it, that the young Men came to [Page 102]appear in the World with great Discouragements, and after having undergone many great and sharp Necessities, and he always was ready to assist them what he could, and I question not but therein he performed an acceptable Service un­to God. When we had a Lecture in Exchange-Ally he was forward to help us all he could there, and the continuance of many Years and very rugged and severe Times never changed his Temper, but as he was then, so he continued to be our Friend to his Dying day. He gave us more than a Cup of cold Water, and I hope he has now a Prophet's Reward: And are there none of you that might save a great deal of Mony from need­less Expences, from Luxury and Ri­or and Recreation, to encourage the Ministers of the Gospel? And I think I might say to those Young-men that are our constant Hearers, that I hope it would be no dishonour to them [Page 103]hereafter, to be called Encouragers of the Lecture at Crosby-Square; and I would not speak only to the Young, but to the Aged and the Rich; it would more Honour your Memory, and make your Slumbers in the Grave more quiet, if you made your own Hands Executors, and gave yearly such a part of your Estate to the Maintenance of poor Young Scholars and Ministers: You do not know but by that means, you might promote the Conversion of many Souls, which would be your Joy in the day of the Lord: As for you that are Aged, bless God that you have so long a Day, and see that your Sins be not more than those of others that have a shorter date. Here is a Young Man dead in the middle of his Days, and so have you seen many others die; Oh! take heed that you be not old in Sin, take heed that all your work be done, for your Clock begins to point to the concluding Twelve; [Page 104]your Glass has remaining in it but a very little Sand; your Sun is going down, the Shadows of the Evening are stretched out upon the Moun­tains, and in a few Moments it will be Night with you, when you can­not Work: Take heed that when the Grave opens to receive you, your Sins do not lye down with you in the Dust. To all of you that are here, let this Warning be of Use: Our Friend a few Weeks ago, was a constant Attender in this Congrega­tion, and now he is at his long Home: He used to sit with Reve­rence and Seriousness in this Place, but now he will never see us, nor we him, till the great Day. He that silled a Seat here, does now fill a Grave; a Coffin holds him there, whom nothing could detain from Religious Assemblies while he was alive: But we hope that he is gone to a better, a more enlightned, a more loving, and a more pure As­sembly, even the Assembly of the [Page 105]First-born, and the Spirits of just Men made perfect. His Relations have lost a loving Relation, his Friends a kind Acquaintance, his Servants a good Master, and we a liberal Benefactor; and we may justly cry and say, O Death thou dost indeed make great spoil and havock in the World; thou dost visit every Family and every Per­son at one time or other; thou art so cruel that thou sparest neither Young nor Old, neither the Useless nor the Serviceable, neither the Pro­fitable nor Unprofitable Servant: Our Sin has indeed given thee all thy Power, and made thee look with a formidable Aspect to Flesh and Blood; but because thou art so formidable, we turn our Eyes from thee, and look with more pleasure upon that Blessed Redeem­er, that has disarmed thee of all thy hurtful Power, and that will give us Life when thou hast exercised all thy Rage, and done the very [Page 106]worst; he dyed that that such as believe might never die. We can­not but somewhat fear thee, O Death, as thou dost dissolve our pre­sent Frame; but we bid thee wel­come, as thou art the Messenger of the Lord of Glory to convey us thither.

To Conclude, It is like that we who are in this Assembly upon this occasion, shall never meet a­gain; Oh that We and all our Ac­quaintance might meet in Heaven above! And let us be sure not to Fall out in our Way thither: Let us while we live in a changeable and fading World, prepare for one that will never fade: Let us not be amazed at the Grave, it now swallows us up and our Friends; but it shall not keep us very long, for our Lord will shortly come and make our Dust to live again, and make those Bodies that were weak­ned, by Sickness and destroyed by [Page 107]Death, to be like his own glori­ous Body; and what we now be­lieve, we shall then see and know to be true: In the mean while let us make Conscience of Meditating at the least once a day, upon that Comfortable and Reviving Place of our Apostle, 1 Thes. 4.14. and so to the end, For if we believe that Jesus died, and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus, will God bring with him. For this we say unto you by the Word of the Lord, that we which are alive, and remain unto the coming of the Lord, shall not prevent them which are asleep. For the Lord himself, shall descend from Heaven with a shout, with the Voice of the Archangel, and with the Trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive, and remain, shall be caught up together with them in the Clouds, to meet the Lord in the Air; and so shall we be ever be with the Lord. Wherefore Comfort one another with [Page 108]these Words. I conclude this Sub­ject with the Prayer of the same Apostle, 2 Thes. 3.16. Now the Lord of Peace himself, give you Peace always by all Means. The Lord be with you all.


Books lately Printed for John Dunton at the Raven in the Poultry, viz.

THE Mourners Companion: Or Funeral Discourses on several Texts, by John Shower, p. 1s. 6 d.

The Life and Death of the Re­nowned John Eliot, the first Preach­er of the Gospel to the Heathens in America. Written by Mr. Cotton Mather.

Mr. Barker's Book, Intituled, Flores Intellectuales, or Select No­tions, Sentences, and Observations: [Page]Collected out of several Authors.

Mr. Lees Joy of Faith.

Casuistical Morning-Exercise, the Fourth Volume. By several Mini­sters in and about London; preached in October 1689.

Mr. Quick's Young Man's Claim to the Sacrament.

Mr. Crow's Vanity of Judicial A­strology.

A New Martyrology, or the Bloody Assizes, containing the Lives and Sufferings of those who died in the West. The third Edition.

Early Piety Exemplified, in the Life and Death of Mr. Nathaniel Mather: With a Prefactory Epistle by Mr. Matthew Mead.

Mr. Baxter's Poetical Fragments.

Mr. Oakes Funeral Sermon.

Mr. Kent's Funeral Sermon.

The Tragedies of Sin, together with the Remarks on the Life of the great Abraham. By Stephen Jay, Rector of Chimer.

The Heads of Agreement assented to by the United Ministers.

There is now in the Press.

Mr. Brand's Funeral Sermon, Preach­ed by Dr. Annesley, which will speedily be Publish'd. Printed for John Dunton.

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