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ing, there can be little doubt but that, if those persons who, having studied this subject, have been convinced that Christ is not God, and ought not to be worshipped as God, had openly avowed their opinion, and had had recourse to no mean subterfuge or equivocation, this fundamental article of true and rational christianity had long ago been the prevailing belief; and our religion appearing more worthy of its divine author, there would have beeri, at this time, fewer unbelievers in all christian countries, and many more converts made to it from other religions. And, compared with this glorious advantage, what has been gained by all the arts and sophistry of ministers, who have concealed their real meaning under ambiguous expressions, left, as they prétend, they should too much shock the prejudices of their hearers ?
That some regard should be paid to the prejudices of the weak is allowed ; but let not this lead men to criminal diffimulation, or extend to things of so much importance as this, respecting the unity of God. In this case, let us keep at the greatest distance from every thing that is disingenuous; let the truth be spoken in the most explicit manner, and let the consequences be left to the power of truth, and the God of truth. Besides, it is impoffible that while men retain depraved and unworthy notions of God, their devotion should be such as God requires ; so that this pretended tenderness
injures those who are the objects of it, as well as bears an unfavourable aspect on the interests of christianity more at large. Such are the effects of the wisdom of this world, when it is put in the place of fincerity, and a regard to the plain truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ!
Professing the purity of the christian faith, let us be careful, my brethren, to adorn it by a blameless and exemplary life. More especially let us beware that we do not wear the form of godliness, when our hearts are destitute of the power of it ; and that we indulge no secret hope, that by any peculiar strictness and austerity of life, by frequent or long prayers, or by attending on much preaching, and using other means of religion, we shall atone for a neglect of the weightier matters of the law, righteousness, mercy, and truth. Let the integrity of our hearts appear in the chearfulness of our countenances ; and let us shew that we love God whom we have not seen, by loving our brethren whom we da fee, and by being always ready to do them every kind office in our power.
Tojudge of our love to God, or of our love to Christ, directly, by what we feel when we think of them, especially when we are excluded from the world, as is the custom with many, is to expose ourselves to the grossest and most dangerous delufions. We find in the scriptures a much plainer, and safer method of judging in both these cases.
This, says the apostle John, is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. If ye love me, says our Lord, keep my commandments. re are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you ; and this is my commandment, that ye love one another. By this mall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one for another.
Remember that true christian charity is humble, modest, and diffident; and that he is pronounced to be happy, who feareth always, so as to be circumspect in thought, word, and deed; and that, for this purpose, we are to put on the whole armour of God, that we may withstand the temptations of the world.
Rather than indulge a pharifaical pride, in recounting your experiences, boasting how vile you have once been, or thought yourselves to be, in order to make others believe how holy and fanctified you are now, content yourselves with the language and practice of the humble publican, who, speaking to God and his own heart only, cried, God be merciful to me a finner.
Rejoice in all the real good you see done by others, whatever may be their ill-will, or oppofition to you ; and be especially upon your guard, left your juft aversion to what is corrupt in the principles or practices of others lead you to dislike what is good in them. Let not the pharisaical rigour of some throw you into the opposite extreme of levity; and let not their laying an undue stress
upon uponi praying, preaching, and other means of reli: gion, make you neglect them, as we are too apt to do with respect to any thing that has been much abused.
Having enough to do with our own hearts, let us be particularly upon our guard against that fpirit of censoriousness, which many professing christians indulge with too little restraint. Let us remember that the true christian beareth all things, and hopeth all things; and let us 'never forget the awful warning of our Lord, Judge not that ye be not judged : for with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged; and with what measure ye mete, it mall be measured to you again.
Be not moved, my brethren, by the rash censures and reproaches of others. Persecution, of some kind, is what all who live godlily in Christ Jesus must expect to suffer in this world. To their wrath, anger, clamour, evil-speaking, and malice, answer with the wisdom that is from above; which is pure, peaceable, gentle, and easy to be inttreated; full of mercy, and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrify. Let us even rejoice that we are counted worthy to suffer shame, and infult, for the fake of Christ, though our sufferings come not from the professed enemies of Christ, but from false brethren; and let us not be concerned at being counted deceivers, if we be conscious to ourselves that we truly love the gospel, and that we labour to promote and adorn it,
. You will be called arminians and socinians by your adverfarics, or something else that shall express more of their hatred and dislike. But let not this offend you. If there be any proper meaning in those epithets, it can only be that you hold certain opinions which they deem to be falfe, but which you cherish as the only genuine doctrines of the gospel. If nothing more is meant by those terms, besides mere reproach and abuse, think yourselves happy, as being reproached for. t'e name of Christ. 1 Peter iv. 14.. With many the appellation of Lutheran or Calvinist is reproachful, and with many also that of Christian is much more so. Besides, both Armiņius and Socinus were men who loved the gospel, and who suffered more for their adherence to it, than most others of the reformers, especially Socinus. :
If we be christians indeed, we shall consider ourselves as not of this world, but as citizens of heaven. The friendship of this world, therefore, together with popularity, and success in it, ought not to be considered as any object for us. If we abide in Christ, and walk even as he also walked, not being conformed to this world, but being transformed by the renewing of our minds, we are heirs of a far nobler inheritance, an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for us ; and when Christ, who is our life, and for whom we.. suffer reproach, shall appear, we also mall appear with him in glory. E 2