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nions and Parties in Religion, and one is fa. voured by the publick Laws, and countenan, ced by the Government, all those who are of no Religion will be sure to be of, that Şide which is uppermost, which the King and Court is of, which is freest from Danger. So that all the profane, wicked, dissolute Livers will be of our Church, as long as the Doctrine of it is the Established owned Religion of the Nation : but if eyer the Tide should turn, and another Party get the upper-hand, they fhould have the Coinpany of those Men also, unless fome Worldly Interest did interfere and hinder them. Such Men of such loose Principles and feared Consciences matter not what Religion they profess, or whether any at all. But do thefe receive any Encouragement or Counte. nance amongst us? Do we boast of their God. liness? Do we account these to live answera. bly to their Profession? Do not we complain of them as well as our Adversaries? And would to God all fuch as hate to be reformed, would even leave our Church! ??would be a happy Day if all such ungodly wicked Wretches, who will not be won over by the excellent Means and Arguments of pur Religion, would also forsake that Profession which
, , . credit ; that they would be of any Party, run over to our Enemies, rather than continue to dishonour the best-fettled and purest Church in the World. Ye now who, by your Presence at these her folemn Devotions, feem concern'd
for the Glory, Preservation and Security of our Church, it is much in your power to wipe off fuch Blots and Afperfions, to answer such Reflections, and to stop the Mouths of all Opposers, by a due care and government of all your Words and Actions; and by the Innocency and Unblamableness of your Lives, your unfeigned Piety and Reverence towards God, your invincible Truth and Faithfulnels, and other remarkable Virtues, to recommend our Church even to those who are without : especially be persuaded to join all your
Endeavours against this Vice, keeping a strict Guard against it in your selves, by keeping from all appearance of it; by not suffering it in your Inferjours, or those that have any dependence upon you; by mildly and seasonably warning and reproving those of your Neighbours and Acquaintance that are guilty of this Folly. In a word, let us all observe such exact Truth in all our Chat and Discourse, be so constant to qur Promises, that at any time our Word may pass without any farther Engagement, that we may never think it necessary to assure our Credit or Faith by an Oath.
Among the Romans, the Priest of Jupiter was in no case permitted to swear, because it was not handsom, that he who was so nearly related to their great God, and charged with such Divine Matters as the Care of Religion, should be distrusted about small things. And we know among our selves, folemn formal Oaths are not in many Cases required from
Persons of Honour; their Word upon their Honour hath equal Credit with the express Oath of inferior Persons. Now such would our blessed Saviour have all his Disciples to be, so true and faithful, that there should be no need of Oaths to confirm their Speeches, but that the Holiness and Strictness of their Lives should give such undoubted Testimony to, and command fo firm a Belief of all they say, that no farther Afleveration should be able to vouch it more. I conclude all with those sayings of the wise Son of Syrach, Ecclus. 23. 9, 10, 11, 12, 13. Accustom not thy Mouth to Swearing, neither use thy self to the naming of the Holy one. For as a Servant that is continually beaten Mall not be without a blue Mark, so be that sweareth and nameth God continually jhall not be faultless. A Man that useth much Swearing shall be filled with Iniquity, and the Plague shall never depart from his House. If he shall offend, his Şin Mall be upon him; and if he acknowledg not his Sin, be maketh a double Offence. And if he fwear in vain, he mall not be innocent, but his House shall be full of Calamities. There is a Word that is clothed about with Death, God grant that it be not found in the Heritage of Jacob: for all such things shall be far from the Godly, and they shall not wallow in their Sins. Vse not thy Mouth to intemperate fwearing, for therein is the Word of sin.
But I say unto you, Swear not at all.
The Ninth SERMON.
St. MATTHEW I. 21. - And thou shalt call his Name Jesus; for be shall
save his People from their Sins.
HAT the Appearance of the Everblessed Son of God in our mortal Na
ture was upon some very great and most important Design, not otherwise at all, or at least not so happily by any other means to be accomplished; every one must needs grant at first hearing. It could not be any indifferent trivial Errand or Business that a Pere son of such infinite Honour and Dignity was employ'd about, which brought down God himself from the Regions of Glory and Light inaccessible to dwell in an earthly Tabernacle, and to veil the Splendor of his Majesty with a Body of Flesh. This was such a surprizing Condescension of him that had lived from ali Eternity in the Bofom of his Almighty Fatber; this significd such wonderful Love and Regard to that Humane Nature he assumed, that all Men cannot but reasonably promise themselves the greatest Advantages imaginable from such a gracious. UndertakingThatour forlorn Nature fhould be thus highly honoured and exalted, as to be after such an unspeakable manner united to the Divine, doth evidently assure us of God's Good will towards finful Men, that he yet entertained thoughts of Mercy towards us, and was loth that the Folly of his Creatures should prove their irrecoverable Ruin.
Had God sent a Message to us by the meanest Servant in his Heavenly Court, it had been a Favour too great for us to have expected, and for which we could never have been enough thankful. Had he commanded a Host of illustrious Angels to have flown all over the Earth, and loudly to have proclaim'd God's willingness to have been reconciled to Men, fhould we not all with mighty Joy and Wonder have regarded and adored such stupendous Grace and Goodness, crying out, Lord, what is Man that thou art thus mindful of him! or the Son of Man, that thou thus visitest him!
But that God himself should descend from his Heavenly Habitation, to be clothed with