A SERMON Preach'd before the ARCHBISHOP, Bishops, and Clergy, OF THE Province of CANTERBURY MET IN CONVOCATION At the Cathedral Church of St. Paul, on Monday, February 10. 1700.

By W. HAYLEY, D.D. Dean of Chichester.

Published by Command of His Grace the Archbishop of Canterbury.

Done into English from the Latin Original, By W. JONES, A.B.

LONDON, Printed for J. Tonson, under Gray's-Inn-Gate, in Gray's-Inn-Lane. MDCCI.


THE following Discourse having been deliver'd in a Learned Lan­guage, to a Learned and Venerable Auditory, and upon a solemn Occasion, many well-disposed Persons, who are not acquainted with the Latin Tongue, may be curious of knowing what is contained in it. For the Satisfaction of These Men, and for the sake of those two most desira­ble Things, which are here treated of, Peace and Edification, I have ventur'd to hand it into the World in our Mother-Tongue.

W. J.


ROM. xiv. 19.Let us follow after the things which make for Peace, and things wherewith one may edifie another.

THESE Words of St. Paul recommend two things to us, Peace and Mutual Edification; very proper to be discours'd of at this Time, as well as to be pursu'd throughout our whole Lives. To the One we owe, whatever is Plea­sant and Grateful to us in this Life; and to the Other, all the Happiness we hope to enjoy in the Next.

Nor does the Apostle alone join these two together, but even God himself and the Nature of Things require such a Connexion. For while we live in Peace, we are more Ready in Finding out, more Happy in Executing, and more Successful in Promoting those Things that [Page 2] tend to Edification; and whilst we study Edification, Tranquillity of Mind and Brotherly Love flow in of course. From hence it seems very evident, that he will never attain to either, who doth not prosecute Both; and that the One can never be true and genuine with­out the Other. That Peace is false and impious which obstructs Edification; and he is not the Servant of Christ; but of Satan, who under pretence of Edification violates Peace. For thus St. James argues; Jam. iii. V. 13, 14, 15. Who (says he) is a wise Man, and endued with Knowledge amongst you? Let him shew out of a good Conversation his Works with Meek­ness of Wisdom. But if ye have bitter Envying and Strife in your Hearts, glory not, and lie not against the Truth. This Wisdom descendeth not from Above, but is Earthly, Sensual, Devilish.

That therefore Peace and Edification should, every where, and in all Ages of the Church, go hand in hand together, is highly necessary; and our Apostle, in this his Epistle to the Romans, recommends Both for a spe­cial Reason: For the Church planted at Rome was then but young and tender, its Root not firm and deep, and yet was expos'd to the Insults both of Jews and Gentiles. There were in that City several Weak Brethren, who were not well acquainted with the true Bounds of a Christian Liberty. V. 2. V. 5. One believed that he might eat all things; another who was Weak, eat Herbs: And one Man esteem'd every day alike, whilst another esteem'd one day above another, having not as yet sufficiently shaken off the Yoke of the Mosaical Dispensation. From both these Extreams therefore very dangerous Consequences were to be expected. On one side it was to be fear'd, lest the better Instructed Christians should, by a vain Osten­tation of their Liberty, draw over the Weaker to do that, with which their Conscience could not as yet comply; [Page 3] which could never be consistent with Edification. Hence the Apostle advises; V. 13, 14, 15. Judge this rather, that no Man put a Stumbling-block, or an occasion to fall in his Brother's Way. I know, (adds he) and am perswaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of it self: But to him that esteemeth any thing to be unclean, to him it is unclean. But if thy Brother be grieved with thy Meat, now walkest thou not Charitably. Destroy not him with thy Meat, for whom Christ died.

The Danger that threatned on the other hand was, lest the mutual Contests and Offences arising about these Matters, should both disturb the Peace of the Church, and give the common Enemy an opportunity of scat­tering the Flock of Christ. For it was very natural for the Weak to condemn those as Sinners, who made use of a Liberty, which they look'd upon as Criminal; and it was as natural for those who were puff'd up with Knowledge, to despise them as Ignorant, who declin'd that Liberty, which they knew to be allowed by Christ himself. Now, what else would have been the Issue of these Contests, but that the Weaker-minded, would either have return'd back again to Judaism, or have torn the Church to pieces by Schism? And that the Enemies of Christianity, would have taken occasion from the Cen­sure which each Party pass'd upon the other, to have crush'd them Both: cutting off those who made use of their Liberty, as being wicked Men, by the Testimony of the Weak; and oppressing the Weak, who, in the Judgment of their Brethren, were a foolish and inconsiderable sort of People? For how mean an Opi­nion must the Infidels needs have conceiv'd of that Church, which by the Confession of Christians them­selves, was made up of Ignorant and Impious Persons?

[Page 4] Hence it is that St. Paul, as a faithful Minister of Christ, and one who regarded the Salvation of Both Parties, earnestly exhorts them, in the first place, to a mutual Forbearance: V. 5, 10, 12, 13. Let every Man (says he) be fully perswaded in his own Mind: But why dost thou judge thy Brother? or why dost thou set at nought thy Brother? every one of us shall give account of himself to God; let us not therefore judge one another any more. Then he perswades those, who had a right Notion of Christian Liberty, not to put it on as a Cloak of Maliciousness, but as the Servants of God so to temper it with Charity, that dis­regarding Matters of lesser Moment, they would chiefly mind those things that promote the Glory of God, and the good of Souls. After this he tells them, that by these Means the Church would gain to it self Protection from God, and Good-will from Men. V. 16, 17. 18. Let not then (says he) your Good be evil spoken of; for the Kingdom of God is not Meat and Drink, but Righteousness and Peace, and Joy in the Holy Ghost; For he that in these things serveth Christ is acceptable to God, and approved of Men. And then he subjoins the Admonition here in the Text, Let us therefore follow after the things which make for Peace, and things wherewith one may edifie ano­ther.

The Christian Religion, through the Goodness of God, was planted very early in these British Islands; And the same good hand of Divine Providence (to the Glory of God be it spoken) has convey'd it down to us, Reform'd in the last Age, rescued from imminent Danger in our Times, and at present establish'd, and in a flourishing Condition. These are such Instances of the Divine Favour as cannot be sufficiently acknowledg'd or proclaim'd. However, the present state of our Church is not so much better, than that of the Roman in the [Page 5] Primitive Times, but that this Advice of the Apostle may be as applicable to Us, as it was to those Romans. The Church of Rome has so far departed from the An­cient Doctrine of St. Paul, that having trampled under foot that true Faith, for which that Church was for­merly so famous throughout the whole World, it is now become the bitterest Enemy of our Pure and Primitive Religion; Heathen Rome it self not being more invete­rate against the First Christians, than Christian Rome (with Shame be it spoken!) is at present against the modern Asserters and Maintainers of that Ancient Faith. It seems to be the sole End and Design of the Abetters of that Tyrannical See, either to reduce the Purer Churches of Christ to Slavery and Error, or else to ex­tirpate them by Conspiracies, War and Bloodshed. In the mean time, into how many Sects and Parties are We Protestants crumbled, too secure, alas! under all those Dangers that hang over our Heads? With how many Contests and Disputes (many of which are of the same nature with those treated of by St. Paul in this Epistle) are we constantly perplexed? And all this while, the E­nemies both of the Christian and Reformed Religion tri­umph openly; the One railing against Religion it self, as the Source of Contentions; and the Others arming Pro­testants against one another, that so all of them in their turn may at last (without the Interposition of Provi­dence) fall a Sacrifice to Roman Cruelty.

Not One of us therefore singly can imploy his private Thoughts and Endeavours better; nor can All of us to­gether, who are met in this Venerable Synod, direct our joint Wishes and Counsels to a nobler End, than the following those things which make for Peace and mutual Edification. If we neglect the Latter, we shall have a Corrupt Church: and if we take no Care of the For­mer, [Page 6] we shall have a Divided and Weak One, or perhaps None at all.

Wherefore my main Design at present is to lay be­fore you, Fathers and Brethren, these things, which are more especially necessary, being recommended by the Au­thority of the Great Apostle; that upon a thorough View of their Weight and Value in the Church, we may all of us be constantly so far concerned for them, as to seek them with our Prayers, promote them by our Counsels, and prosecute them by our Endeavours. And to this End, I shall make use only of such Arguments as occur to my Thoughts, upon considering the Nature of the Things themselves, and the present State of the Refor­med Church. I shall speak first of those that relate to Peace; and Secondly, of such as belong to Edifica­tion.

I. In discoursing of Peace, these two Things deserve our particular Enquiry. 1. What sort of Peace that is, which we ought to follow. 2. Of what Moment such a Peace is, our present Circumstances consider'd.

I. First, for the right understanding what sort of Peace that is, which we ought to follow, we must di­stinctly consider with whom it is to be made; because the Bonds or Obligations of Peace vary according to the Variety of the Persons with whom we are to make it. For by how much the closer Men are apt to be uni­ted by having the same Countrey, or Faith, or Disci­pline; so much the more intimate ought to be their U­nion, who have all these things in common; provided always, that we take care, if we meet with any with whom we cannot agree in all things, yet we be still rea­dy to agree with them as far as we can; following [Page 7] herein the Apostle's Rule, Phil. 3. 16. Nevertheless whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same Rule; let us mind the same thing: And then 'tis to be hoped, that at last, if in any thing we be otherwise minded, God shall even reveal this unto us.

That there are some, even among those who call themselves Christians, unworthy of Peace, the Holy Scriptures inform us: And these the Apostle, both by Precept and Example, orders to be cast out of the Church. Such, for Instance, are they who deny the Fundamental Articles of our Faith, or who openly allow of Practices contrary to the Christian Profession. Of the former kind, were Hymeneus and Alexander, 2 Tim. 2. 18. who opposed the Doctrine of the Resurrection; and whom St. Paul himself delivered unto Satan, 1 Tim. 1. 20. that by being cha­stiz'd, they might learn not to blaspheme. Of the Latter, was that Corinthian Teacher, who was guilty of Incest, whom the Apostle ordered to be punished after the same manner. 1 Cor. 5. 5. 13. Let such an one (I say) be delivered unto Satan for the destruction of the Flesh, that the Spirit may be saved in the Day of the Lord Jesus; therefore put away from among your selves that wicked Person.

We have too many of such Christians, falsely so called, among our selves who not only deny the Resurrection of the Flesh but even that Christ is come in the Flesh: who do not acknowledge Father, Son and Holy Ghost, the One True God of the Christians, in whose Name we were bap­tized. Some we have, who take away the Merits and Satisfaction of our Saviour: and others, who pretend their own are equal to his. On one side we meet with those that reject the Authority of the Scriptures; on the other, with those that make their own Traditions equal with them, and impose upon us their private Fictions of Purgatory, worshipping of Saints and I­mages, [Page 8] and the Infallibility of the Pope, as Articles of Faith necessary to Salvation. Nor is it any Wonder, that the Manners of these Men are like their Doctrines. Hence it is, that the Church of God has been either rent into Factions, or oppress'd by a Tyrannical Power; That Magistrates have been divested of their Authori­ty, tho' deriv'd to them from God himself: That the Innocent have been exil'd, tortur'd and put to death: And lastly, that at the Will and Pleasure of the Bishop of Rome, Kings have been depos'd, the People robb'd of their Laws and Estates, and at last massacred. But such Doctrines and such Practices can never belong to the Church of God: Nor can any Peace be observed with those who teach and avow such things; but the utmost Care ought to be taken, that the Peace of the Church be not destroyed by their Contrivan­ces.

I own indeed, that a Christian Charity is to be ex­ercis'd even towards these Men, how little soever they may deserve it: and that all Methods ought to be us'd to bring them to a better Mind. 'Tis the part of a good-natur'd Man, and a Christian Pastor, to convince such Persons of their Error, to represent the Danger they are in, and to admonish, exhort and beseech them to return into the right way. And such of them, who through an invincible Ignorance, or the Prejudice of Education, or the Craftiness of their Teachers, have been so far seduc'd, as to do they know not what, may lay claim to a gentler sort of Usage. Herein we fol­low the Rule prescribed us by St. Jude, while Jud. v. 23. we save them with Fear, plucking them out of the Fire, tho' hating even the Garment spotted by the Flesh. Nor is it to be denied, but that a Man, who is a true Christi­an, may in some Cases act in Conjunction with the Ene­mies [Page 9] of his Religion: as for Instance, in Trade, Civil Offices, the Defence of ones Countrey, and the like: Neither will it be unbecoming us to carry our selves peaceably towards them in common Conversation and the Affairs of this Life; for this will make them sensi­ble, that the Reason why we differ from them in Mat­ters of Religion, is the Obligation of Conscience, and not a Humour of Opposition. However, they are to be excluded from the Communion of our Church, from partaking with us in our Sacraments, and from joining with us in our Publick Prayers; For neither our Temples, nor the Worship of God, are to be prophaned by the Enemies of our Religion: According to that Precept of the Apostle, 2 Cor. 6. 14. 15. Be ye not unequally yok'd toge­ther with Unbelievers: for what Fellowship hath Righte­ousness with Unrighteousness? and what Communion hath Light with Darkness? And what Concord hath Christ with Belial? Or what part hath he that believeth with an Infidel?

The Apostle therefore does not admonish us to follow Peace with those that subvert either the Faith or Man­ners of Christians; but with such, who, agreeing with Us in the Fundamentals of Religion, are of different Opinions from us in other Matters of lesser moment. With these he perswades us to maintain as strict an U­nion as possible, and not to divide into Parties, but to stand by one another in a mutual Defence against the common Enemies of Christianity. He informs us, that such weak Persons as these, are to be esteemed as Bre­thren; and that provided the Substance of Religion be secured, we should not give way to Passion and Dissen­tion, upon the Account of some trivial Differences in Opinions.

[Page 10] But because (as was hinted before) in the same Church, some may happen to be united to others with more and closer Ties than ordinary, we are to consider what sort of Peace is to be kept, according to the Va­riety of the several Persons, with whom it is to be maintained.

1. In the first place then, it certainly becomes Us, who are Pastors of the same Flock, and Ministers attending at the same Altar, not only to be united together by the Bonds of Peace, but by the closest Ties of Love and Affection. By this means we shall be the more firm and constant in opposing the Enemies of our Religion and Function; and teach our respective Flocks to demean themselves after the same manner towards All of us, as we behave our selves towards one another. For what Thoughts would an Atheist, or an Infidel, or a weaker Christian have of the whole Body of the Clergy, if there should scarce be found one among them famous for his Writings, his Dignity, or the Post he holds in the Church, whom some of his Equals do not charge with Ignorance, Craft, or Impiety? And how can it be ex­pected that the People should esteem us as Pious and Faithful Ministers of Christ, unless we our selves, who, 'tis reasonable to suppose, should know one another best, testifie to the World, both by Word and Deed, that we have really the same Thoughts of one another.

The Church of England, by the special Providence of God, has a double Advantage, which the Unhappiness of the Times in the Beginning of the Reformation, de­nied to many of our Neighbours. The One, that Epis­copacy is preserved among us; the Other, that our Or­dination is in all respects perfect, and handed down to us from the Apostles themselves. To testifie how much [Page 11] we prize the former Advantage, let us honour, respect, and obey our Bishops; and that they may govern and protect us with the Affection of Fathers, let us behave our selves towards them with the Affection and Duty of Sons. If (as it sometimes happens in Human Affairs) we should engage in any Controversie with them, let us beware, lest by any undecent Reflections on their Per­sons, we vilifie their Order; bearing all due Respect to the Dignity of their Station, and being fully perswa­ded, that whatever Disgrace is cast upon the Fathers, will reflect upon the Sons.

And that the Christian World may perceive how high­ly we value our Ordination, let us honour and esteem all those, who have received the same Holy Orders with our selves: Let us imitate our Ancestors, on whom the Apostles laid their Hands; and let us be animated by the same Spirit of mutual Love with which they were, Rom. 12. 10. being kindly affectionate one to another with brotherly Love, in honour preferring one another, as St. Paul expres­ses himself. So long as we all preach sound Doctrine, let us neither envy nor censure those, who do it either more or less dexterously than our selves: Nor let us ac­count him as an Enemy, who, when his Belief of what God has revealed to us, be the same with ours, yet is not so happy as to explain himself exactly in the same Terms with us. But above all things, this Caution is more especially necessary, That when we engage in any Controversie in Divinity, we do not come to it with exas­perated Minds: If any Doubts arise, let them be seriously weighed, accurately discussed, solidly handled; and let Truth be established by Dint of Argument, not by opprobrious Language. But in case (as it often happens) that neither Party can be convinc'd by the force of the Arguments on the other side, it will become them [Page 12] Both to consider, that being Members of a well regu­lated Church, they ought to lay aside all Contention and Reflections, and leave the Point in question to be examined and determined by their Superiours. In do­ing thus, we shall follow the Apostle's Advice: Eph. 4. 29. 31. Let no Corrupt Communication proceed out of your Mouth, but that which is good to the use of Edifying.—And again, Let all Bitterness, and Wrath, and Clamour, and Evil­speaking be put away from you, with all Malice.

2. For the maintaining sincere Peace among all those, who profess themselves Sons of our Church, it is necessa­ry that they, as Members of the same Body, should be so intimately united, as both to join with their Pa­stors, and with one another, as well in the Publick Worship, as in Brotherly Love. True it is, that the Variety of Customs, the several Ways of Living, the particular Constitution of our Bodies, and the like, do occasion Variety of Opinions, and different Modes of Acting in divers Instances. One is for leading a Life of Austerity, whilst another thinks, that he may take his Freedom in those things that are innocent. Some are for the Exercise of a severer Discipline towards Offenders, whilst others would have gentler Methods to be applied. Some are of Opinion, that it would be best for the Security of the Church, if those things that are esta­blished already, remain as they are; and those Persons be kept at a distance from her, who are not fully satis­fied in every Particular: Whilst others, on the contrary, think it more adviseable, that things should be varied, according to the Diversity of Times and Occasions; That some Allowances should be made to Mens Prejudi­ces; and that the Terms of Communion should be enlar­ged for the Reception of Weaker Brethren into the Bosom [Page 13] of the Church. But in these and such like Instances which are Matters of Prudence, rather than Religion, we may easily bear with one another, whilst we all hold the same Faith, and all make use of the same Prayers, Sacraments, Worship, and Discipline. The Church is but little beholden to those Men, who are for excluding out of it All, that cannot in every thing think as they do; and look upon them as Enemies, who are not Friends just in their own way. Besides, there are many things, which God has not been pleas'd to reveal to us: Several others, which perhaps it is our Interest to be Ignorant of; and some still, wherein we have no Concern on which side the Truth lies. In such cases, if Men differ in their Opinions, it is not to be won­der'd at, nor ought any Offence to be taken from thence. Such Varieties of Opinions should not divide us into Sects and Parties; for the Church suffers no real detriment by them. They seem to be too fond of Quar­relling, who upon the Account of such trivial Matters, violate Brotherly Love and Christian Communion.

3. There are many Protestant Churches Abroad, who hold the same Fundamental Articles of Faith as we do, tho' they make use of different Ceremonies and Disci­pline: It were to be wish'd, that they were better united among themselves, and that All of them were in a closer Union with the Church of England, than hither­to they have been; that so, tho' distant one from ano­ther in Place, and differing in some things, yet they might be truly joyn'd together in Christian Peace and Communion. It is indeed to be own'd, that some of these might rectifie their Sentiments in particular In­stances; and 'tis matter of great concern, that some others of them are so unhappy as to want that Eccle­siastical [Page 14] Hierarchy, which has flourish'd down from the Apostle's Times: Hence it comes to pass, that they commonly decline Communion with one another, and if at any time the Members of those Churches happen, in the same Places, to meet with the Members of our Church, they do not, without some Difficulty, join to­gether in the same External Worship. And hence arises that Alienation of Affections, that Disunion of Strength, and that unsteady Friendship which is to be observed among Protestants. It would certainly be worth our while, and perhaps not unworthy the Thoughts of this Holy Synod, to consider how we might all become One Body. But by what Means this might be effected, what Abatements or Allowances in order thereunto might be made on either Side, is not Mine, nor any private Man's Province to determine; only thus much we may be allow'd to wish, that for the Honour of the Christian, and the safety of the Reform'd Religion, such an Union may some time be brought about, and that God in his Mercy would teach all the Protestant Churches in general, Luk. xix. 42. to know at least in this their Day, the things that belong to their mutual Peace before they be hid from their Eyes; that so at length that Reproach may be remov'd, which is so often cast upon us by the Romanists, of our not being the Sons of Peace, who cannot tell how to agree even among our selves; and that other Means proving ineffectual, we may at last be instructed by our Misfortunes, with Brotherly Love, and united Force to defend one ano­ther against the Subtilty and Power of the Common Enemy; or if at any time (which God prevent) the same Calamity should overtake any other of the Refor­med Churches, which has in our days befal'n the French, that in such case the Dispers'd and Exil'd Brethren, [Page 15] may, by a Communion both in Temporals and Spiri­tuals, find their own Country and Church in every Protestant Region into which they come.

4. But the most difficult Question is still behind, viz. What sort of Peace is to be maintain'd with those, who having the same Country, Laws, and Religion in com­mon with us, yet for some Reasons (not proper to be enquired into at present) are dissatisfied with our Disci­pline or our Liturgy, and upon that account divide into Parties, choose themselves Pastors, and form themselves into separate Communions. Their Case is different from that of the Foreign Protestants; these Latter would have been glad of our Church Government, if they could have had it; at least they do not condemn it; they are at liberty to use their own Customs and Ceremo­nies; whilst the Former withdraw themselves from the Pastors of their own Church, and oppose that Disci­pline which is established by Lawful Authority.

We do indeed maintain some sort of Peace with these; for no open War or Persecution is carry'd on against them: And herein the truly laudable Charity and Moderation of the Church of England, is made ma­nifest to the Christian World; that constant Pains are taken, by Preaching, Writing, and Conference, to sa­tisfie the Weaker of them: And Matters are manag'd with so much Gentleness towards our Dissenting Brethren that without exasperating their Minds, we chuse rather to gain them over into a willing Compliance with the Meekness of Wisdom; and yet there are still remain­ing separate Congregations, distinct Pastors, and a dif­ferent sort of Discipline. However, it does not seem adviseable, or Christian-like, to cast off so great a Body of our People, as lost and undone: That they are not [Page 16] as yet past reclaiming, is the Opinion of Many good Men, and that they may be reclaim'd is the hearty de­sire of All. Let us therefore put up our Constant Pe­titions to the Father of Lights, that he would at last vouchsafe to open their Eyes, that they may see what a gross Error they lie under, with what a deep Wound they tear and weaken the Church, and what encou­ragement they give to our Common Enemies, by their Separation.

Nor ought we to despair, but still to add our farther Endeavours, that, at one time or other, this so Pious and Beneficial a Design may be accomplish'd: The happy Day may come, which may produce what an Age has deny'd us; and at last a Way be open'd to us, whereby we may satisfie the Scruples of the Dissenters, without prejudicing the Doctrine, Authority, or Discipline of the Church; and they may return into the Bosom of their Mother, after too long an Alienation from her: Than which, nothing certainly could be more desirable to a Christian, or more fortunate to this Church: Then we should have perfect and entire Peace among our selves, which is at present so lamentably broken and disturb'd by separate Assemblies, and mutual Jealou­sies.

It is not my present Business to enquire, by what Methods this most desirable Peace may be obtain'd: This is to be left to the Piety and Prudence of this Venerable Synod, under the Divine Conduct of the Spirit of Peace, and the Author of Concord, when­ever they shall think fit to enter upon the Considera­tion of these weighty Concerns. Having thus shewn what sort of Peace is to be follow'd, and with whom; all that remains under this Head, is to excite you to [Page 17] a vigorous Prosecution of it: which I cannot do better, than by desiring you, according to my proposed Me­thod,

II. To observe of what great Moment this Peace is to us, our present Circumstances consider'd. Now 'tis of so great Moment, that almost the Whole of Reli­gion depends upon it; nor can it rationally be ex­pected, according to the present State of Affairs, that we should long have any Church at all, but by the means of Unity and Peace. For the confirmation of this, among many other Arguments, which the time does not permit me to run through, I shall only pro­duce these Four.

1. The Church of Rome, most implacable to Prote­stants, has never shewn her self more eager, in con­triving our Ruin, both by secret Conspiracies, and open Force, than at this time. I need not tell you what Fury it has exercis'd against Some, nor what Arts it makes use of against Others of the Reformed Churches; these things are but too manifest to every one who reads any thing of the Transactions of Europe. In France, in Bearne, and in Piedmont, the very Name of Prote­stant is almost extinct; every Day we hear of many in those Places condemn'd to Prisons, to Gallies, and to Tortures; the rest who have made their Escape, are reduc'd to live upon Charity, and compell'd to seek new Places of Abode, either here or elsewhere. Nor are we ignorant of the Danger which threatens the Pro­testants of the Palatinate, Hungary, and Transylvania: By these Disasters we have lost Some of the Reformed Churches, and from these Dangers we are in fear for Others. And if once the Ruin of those Remoter [Page 18] Churches shall be totally accomplish'd, This of ours will become an easie Prey to the Tyranny of Rome: Nor can we otherwise be safe, unless with united Force we make so vigorous an Opposition, as to let our Ene­mies know, that, whilst they exercise their Cruelty to­wards our Brethren, we look upon it as if done to our selves.

That such a Peace and intimate Union among Prote­stants is highly necessary, is what hardly any one can be insensible of; but some perhaps will be apt to su­spect, that now 'tis too late: and so it is to be fear'd it will be, if in such a weighty Concern we do not take some early Care. Let us then be prevail'd upon, with­out delay, to do our Part towards the attaining of this End, that by being at Peace among our selves, we may open a Way to an Universal Peace. If ever, by the Providence of God, the Churches Abroad should unite, one may very fairly suppose, that such a Thing would hardly be done, but by the Mediation of the Church of England; but how shall others make use of our Coun­sels for the Composing their Differences, if we can find out no Remedy to our own? Gal. v. 14, 15. All the Law, as the Apostle speaks, and all our Safety, is fulfilled in one Word, Thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self: but if, instead of mutual Love, we bite and devour one another, let us take heed, that we be not consumed one of another, and all of us together by our Common Enemy. Matt. xii. 25. For every Kingdom divided against it self, is brought to Deso­lation; and every City or House divided against it self shall not stand.

2. The Faith it self is endanger'd by mutual Conten­tions; and whilst warm Debates, and angry Disputes are carry'd on among Brethren about the Punctilio's of [Page 19] Religion, the Blow really, tho' not designedly, falls up­on Religion it self. It often happens, that they who believe one and the same Article of Faith, do differ in their manner of explaining it; and whilst Both are pleas'd with their own Explanation, One contends that it cannot be True in the others way of Expressing it, and the other, that it must be true his way or not at all; in the mean time, the Enemies of Religion, bor­rowing Arguments from each Party, do infer, that it must be certainly False, and cannot be at all. Thus whilst some contend about the Shadow, they occasion others to lose the Substance. It would certainly be much better, when the Substance of our Doctrine is the same, to be less solicitous about other Matters; for whilst we are agreed in those things, which God himself teaches, it is not becoming either a Modest Man, or a Christian, to contend eagerly about his own Illustrations. Let the Enemies of our Faith rather perceive, that we aim not at our Own, but at the Glory of God; and that we never fall out with those, who, together with our selves, embrace the Scripture Revelation, upon the ac­count of our own private Opinions.

But from these Contentions, if they happen among Pastors themselves, a farther danger arises to the Faith: For we know that Religion is planted, increases, and flourishes by their Care and Labours; and that the greater esteem Men have for them, the more easily will they be perswaded by them: Now if they them­selves charge each other with Ignorance and Error, what else can be the Issue, but that the People mov'd by these Reflections, will despise or hate them, and by degrees fall from despising the Pastor, to contemn Re­ligion it self? It would certainly be more adviseable, for Both Sides to consult their Mutual Honour and Re­putation; [Page 20] and if there should be a Mistake in any case, to conceal it rather, than by exposing the Weakness of particular Persons, to frustrate the Success of their com­mon Endeavours.

3. Unless we maintain Peace, farewel to Discipline and Good-Manners, without which the Church can­not stand long; for whilst Factions prevail, Justice, for fear it should seem to be severer on one side than the other, is apt to proceed too timerously; and ill Men either conceal their Vices in the Mist of Contention, or if they be too manifest to be conceal'd, then they shel­ter 'em by their Zeal for one of the contending Parties. Whilst the Quarrel on both Sides is manag'd with an immoderate Heat, neither Party examines of what Life or Faith the Men of their own Side are, but only how they stand affected towards the Party: Nor is there any concern, whether they be Good Men or no, but only whether they be on our Side. But if these Con­tentions are heighten'd into Schisms, the Case is still worse, for then the worst of Men, even the Corrupters of our Faith and Manners, by leaving one Communion for another, as occasion serves, equally escape the Cen­sure of all. But what sort of Manners can we expect where there is no Discipline? and what sort of Face is the Church like to have, when 'tis stain'd with corrupt Manners? How valuable soever a pure Faith is, yet a pure Life will be always brighter, and more esteem'd. Vices pollute the Soil in which they grow, nor will any Church preserve its Honour, whose Members are Christians by Name, but Infidels in Practice. Peace therefore is to be follow'd, that we may prosecute Vice; and Friendship maintain'd among Good Men, that we may turn our whole Force against Impiety, an Enemy [Page 21] both to the Salvation of our Souls, and to the Peace of the Church. For neither can a Church flourish or be secure, unless Care be taken of Mens Manners, nor can there be any Regulation of Manners, unless Peace be pre­serv'd.

4. By the Loss of Peace, we, together with it, lose Edification: For there is no room for Perswasion in the midst of Heat and Passion: Nor do those, whose Minds are possest with the Prejudices of contending Parties, easily attend to him that preaches Faith in Christ, or Piety towards God, or the Love of Vertue. When Passion is laid, the Understanding is more apt to re­ceive the Truth, and the Will is the more easily moved by the weight of Arguments. If one side is angry, so is the other; nor does either of them consider what becomes Themselves, but what may prejudice their Ad­versaries. There is therefore need of Peace, both for the Planting Faith in our Minds, and also for promo­ting the Fruits of Faith, Integrity of Life, and the Care of our Souls. Conformable to this, is what we meet with in Scripture, Act. ix. 31. Then had the Churches rest throughout all Judea, and Galilee, and Samaria, and were edified, and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost were multiplied. Whilst we enjoy the Gentle Gale of Peace, Unbelievers are easily perswaded to embark in the same Bottom with us; if we are driven to and fro by our Differen­ces, they had rather be at quiet in their own Errors, than be toss'd about by our Contentions. Nor can the Church it self, in the midst of perpetual Storms, hold out always against the Violence of the Waves: It must sometimes come into Port to refit; it will want frequent Repair, to secure it from Shipwreck; and the Care and Vigilance of the Builder must be constantly [Page 22] employed for its Safety and Preservation. And this brings me to the other General Head of my Dis­course, viz. To treat of the Edification of the Church.

II. This Edification has a regard to two things, Faith and Manners, both of them absolutely necessary to our Salvation. We have already seen, that whilst we follow Peace, we take the wisest Course to secure both our Faith and Manners; but it still remains un­der this Head of Edification, that we enquire, how much it is our Interest to take care of these things, and by what other Methods they may be preserv'd and maintained.

I. As to Faith, the more it is in Danger, the great­er Care ought to be taken of it: But hardly, in any Age of the Church have we heard of more Shipwrecks made of the Faith, than are to be seen in our Days. To call in question the Doctrines of the Gospel, to throw aside all Revelation as a Cheat; nay, to deny the Existence of God, or, which amounts to the same thing, to disown his Providence; is grown so fashiona­ble, that those who openly do so, are no longer (as for­merly they were) looked upon as Monsters. That on­ly is reckoned Liberty, to think, not what is most pro­bable, but what every one has the most mind to. E­very Man sets up his own private Opinion for his Reli­gion; and 'tis reckoned a Meanness of Spirit to suffer ones self to be directed by the Word of God, and the Light of Revelation.

[...]n so corrupt a State of things, it is somewhat Heroical to be inspired with the Warmth of Elijah; and while almost all the House of Israel follow after [Page 23] Baal, to be very jealous for the Lord God of Hosts. 1 Kin. 19. 10. Pa­tiently to suffer so many Souls in Danger, To be faint-hearted, or to permit the Lord's Vineyard to be trodden under Foot of wild Beasts; this, I say, is a false way of following Peace. Our Force and Cou­rage is rather to be rallied under such an imminent Danger; and it will be our Duty, as becomes the Soldiers of Christ, to find out, attempt, and execute, to the utmost of our Power, whatever may reduce Men to a sounder Mind, and to the Communion of the Church.

For the more remiss we are in defending the Faith, the more will the Enemies and Corrupters of our Re­ligion exalt themselves; the more securely will Satan, the Betrayer of Man's Salvation, sow his Tares in the Field of Christ; and it may be at last just with God, in Judgment to take away from us that Faith, which we have been so negligent in keeping; and the Light of the Gospel being removed, to suffer this ungrateful Nation to fall back again into the Darkness of Infide­lity or Popery.

But that we may escape such an unspeakable Calami­ty, having called upon God for his Assistance, that he would be pleased to enlighten those who are in Error, with the Grace of his Holy Spirit,

1. In the first place, we must endeavour by Confe­rence, by Perswasion, 2 Tim. 4. 2. by preaching the Word, by being instant in season, out of season; by reproving, rebuking, ex­horting, with all long-suffering and Doctrine, to con­vince the Erroneous, and reclaim them to the Truth.

[Page 24] 2. We must endeavour to return such Answers to the Corrupt Books which wicked Men disperse a­broad, as may at once shew our Temper and their Fallacies, detect their Errors, instruct our Flock, and defend Religion. How successfully this was done in the late Times, when Popery was growing upon us, and upon other Occasions, we have found by Expe­rience, to the great Honour of our Clergy, and to the Good of the Church.

3. We should very plainly and clearly in our Dis­courses from the Pulpit explain the Articles of our Faith to the People, prove them out of the Scriptures themselves, and constantly teach of what use these Do­ctrines are in this, and how much they conduce to the Happiness of the other Life.

4. We should take care, as far as in us lies, to encou­rage the setting up of Schools, wherein the Poorer Youth may be taught to read the Bible, and to un­derstand the first Rudiments of Religion, and to retain them in their Memory.

5. That those of riper Years be more fully instru­cted, in order to their being confirmed by the Benedi­ction of the Bishop, 1 Pet. 3. 15. That they may be ready always to give an Answer to every Man that asketh them a Rea­son of the Hope that is in them: And that they may not for want of a solid Foundation, be born down by the Attempts of Deceivers, Eph. 4. 14. nor be any more Children tossed to and fro, and carried about with every Wind of Do­ctrine, by the slight of Men, and cunning Craftiness, where­by they lie in wait to deceive.

[Page 25] And all these things, by the Blessing of God, are generally practised among us, both to the Good of Souls, and the Honour of this Church. One thing is still to be wish'd (and how it might be obtained, I leave to the Judgment and Prudence of my Superi­ours,) viz. that some Method may be found out, whereby all those who are Eminent for their Birth, Station or Wealth, may be obliged to instill betimes these important Matters into the Minds of their Chil­dren, and to instruct them throughly, as they grow up, in the Christian Religion; to teach them what the Articles of our Faith are, on what Foundations they are built, and by what Arguments defended a­gainst Atheists, Hereticks and Infidels. For the Rise and Growth of our Misfortune is chiefly owing to this, that these young Gentlemen (except some few, on whom the Care of their Parents, or the Discipline of an University, bestow a more happy Education) neg­lecting the Business of Religion, conform themselves to the Manners of the Age; and being furnished with a little humane Learning, or rendred more confident by a Smattering in Philosophy, think it genteel to doubt of Sacred Truths, to laugh at Reve­lation, and to form each for himself a new, or no Reli­gion, as the Fancy takes him. From these the Infe­ction descends to the People; for they are the Per­sons, whom when young, those of the same Age imitate, and whom when grown up, All Men make their court to. God grant that some suitable Remedy may be applied to this Unhappiness; that Religion may not be run down chiefly by those, who are more indebted to God than others, by whose Authority the Vulgar ought to [Page 26] be kept within the Bounds of their Duty, and by whose Example they should be taught to lead regu­lar Lives, and to reverence things Sacred.

II. The Second, and withal the most necessary Part of Edification, is that which relates to Manners. For let our Faith be never so Sound and Orthodox, if in our Manners we act counter thereto, our Church will never be esteemed as truly Christian. All Men cannot pretend to judge of Opinions; but all may be Judges of our Lives. The wiser sort may perhaps come over to us for the sake of Truth; but to win over the Vulgar, we must adorn the Purity of our Doctrine by Integrity of Life. 'Tis true indeed, in the Reformation of Manners, we are to struggle with a very corrupt Age: But the more corrupt the Age is, the more Occasion is there for us to endeavour in the first Place, that things may not grow worse; and then, that they may alter for the better. Nor can we bestow our Pains on a Work more accepta­ble to God, more becoming our selves, or more be­neficial to our Flocks. The Church of England was reformed by our Ancestors from the Corruptions of Popery in Matters of Faith. How much will it be for our Glory, to be instrumental in transmitting it down to Posterity, purg'd at last from a Practice un­suitable to its Doctrine!

But that these our Attempts may meet with a happy Issue, Endeavours ought to be used,

1. That Ecclesiastical Discipline may be restored; that we may obtain this Favour at least of the Se­cular [Page 27] Power, that they would not weaken, but ra­ther strengthen our Hands, whilst they are employed in promoting the Publick Safety. For the Corrupti­on which we labour under, both in Faith and Man­ners, is to be imputed to the Loss of our Disci­pline.

2. That we procure as far as may be, good Laws to be enacted against publick and scandalous Vices especially; and that such Men may be afraid of the Civil Sword, who do not stand in awe of the Cen­sure of the Church.

3. That Magistrates be excited to add Life to the Laws already in force against ill Manners, by put­ting them into Execution; that they may not by their Remissness suffer Vice to grow headstrong, whilst the Remedy grows weak.

4. That we constantly shew the People the Necessi­ty of a Holy Life, in our Discourses, Writings, and Preaching; and fully convince them, that there is no hope of Pardon without a sincere Repentance; nor any way to Salvation, but by Holiness of Life.

I shall add only this one thing more, which is of the highest Importance; That the Clergy would by their Examples give Life and Strength to all these things, and stir up the People committed to their Charge, by shewing, that themselves are concerned for these weighty Matters, not only in their Preach­ing, but in their Hearts and Practice. Nothing will [Page 28] have a greater Influence upon the Common People to incline them to perform all the Parts of a good Life, Piety towards God, Obedience towards the King, Justice and Charity towards their Neighbours, and Sobriety and Modesty towards themselves, than the perceiving that all these Duties are not only re­commended by the Discourses of their Pastors, but visibly proposed to our Imitation in their Lives and A­ctions.

Let me therefore, Reverend Fathers and Brethren, Exhort you, I do not say, to do these things, for I am fully perswaded that this is your constant Practice; and I make no question but your Flocks will readily acknowledge it: but rather that you would be earnest in your Prayers to God, that all these things may be constantly and stedfastly per­formed both by our selves, and, through the Influ­ence of our Example, by the whole Body of the Clergy.

1. That our Piety may be eminently conspicuous to our Flocks, through all the Parts of the Sacred Mini­stry; that in celebrating the Publick Prayers, in the Administration of the Sacraments, in preaching the Word of God, and in all the other Divine Offices we may demean our selves with so much Care, Gravity, and Diligence, as may make it appear that we have al­ways God in our view, that we make his Glory our only Aim, and that as becomes faithful Ministers of Christ, we look upon no Labour and Vigilancy too much, that is bestowed in the taking care of Souls.

[Page 29] 2. That we still may preserve that Reputation of Loyalty towards our King, for which the Church of England has been so famous throughout the whole World. We do not find in all our History, that God ever bless'd us before with a Prince, who deserv'd more of the Reform'd Religion in General, and of our Church in Particular. May there not be met with in the Annals of Posterity, any Instance of a more grate­ful and Dutiful Clergy. We are sufficiently sensible of the Envy of ill Men, and have found by Experience, that there are some who would have us pass for su­spected Persons, and such as have not a steady affection for the Government: Let us, by an open-hearted Loy­alty and Obedience, stop the Mouths of these Malici­ous Persons, and let it appear, that they are only the Enemies of Religion it self, who calumniate the Mini­sters of our Religion, as defective in their Love, Af­fection, and Duty to their Prince.

3. That we may recommend Justice and Mutual Love to our People, it is to be wish'd, that we may always demean our selves justly and affectionately one towards another; that we who are Sons, may be ready to pay all due Obedience and Honour to our Fathers in Christ; and that the Fathers themselves may not oppress those who are under them, but govern them with Kindness and Lenity, 1 Pet. v. 3. Not as being Lords over God's Heritage, but being ensamples to the Flock: That if at any time it shall happen, that we meet and consult together in one Body, Matters may be discussed calmly and de­liberately, without Noise or Clamour; and that it may be evident, that the sole Good of the Church, not [Page 30] any private disgust, does influence our Debates. And that whilst we act separately in our ordinary Stations, we may always be so far united in mutual Kindness, Affection, and Assistance, that our Hearts may conspire in finding out, and our Hands be ready to join in executing, whatever conduces to the Honour of God, and the Salvation of Souls.

4. Lastly, Let us beseech God, that he would vouch­safe to grant us All the special Grace of his Holy Spi­rit, that Sobriety, Modesty, Temperance, and the Contempt of Worldly Things may shine forth in us; that our Flocks may be convinced, that we are heartily solicitous about our own Souls, and are not over-fond of this World, whilst we preach to them of another to come, but that 1 Cor. 9. 27. We bring into Sub­jection our Bodies and Desires lest that by any Means when we have preached to others, we our selves should be Cast-aways. Let us walk before them with such uprightness of Manners, and Sanctity of Life, that they may say, that God is in us of a Truth. Such Manners will give weight to our Sermons and Counsels. By this Means, whatever we jointly decree, will carry its Authority; what-ever we pub­lickly Preach, will have its Force; and whatever private Admonitions we give, will be accompanied with a pleasing sort of Command over the Minds of Men. By such an Example as This, we shall truly edifie the Church, render it flourishing in our Times, and durable to after-Ages; and every one of us, after the finishing of his Pious Labours in the Lord's Vineyard, shall close his Days with the same Consolation wherewith our Holy Apostle St. Paul [Page 31] says, that he supported himself: 2 Tim. 4. 7, 1. I have fought a good Fight, I have finish'd my Course, I have kept the Faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge shall give me at that Day:

To whom with the Father and the Holy Ghost, The One True and Eternal God, be Praise and Glory for ever and ever. Amen.


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