Page images

duty ? It is very possible for a man who hathi
the appearance of religion, and is a great pre-
tender to conscience, to be wicked and a hypo-
crite ; but it is impossible for a man who openly
declares against religion, to give any reasonable
security that he will not be false, and cruel, and
corrupt, whenever a temptation offers, which he
values more than he does the power wherewith
he was trusted. And if such a man doth not be-
tray his cause and his master, it is only because
the temptation was not properly offered, or the
profit was too small, or the danger too great.
And hence it is, that we find so little truth or
justice among us, because there are so very few,
who, either in the service of the public, or in
common dealings with each other, do ever look far-
ther than their own advantage, and how to guard
themselves against the laws of the country, which
a man may do by favour, by fecrecy, or by cun-
ning, though he breaks almost every law of God.

Therefore, to conclude: It plainly appears, that unless men are guided by the advice and judgment of conscience, founded on religion, they can give no security that they will be either good subjects, faithful servants of the public, or honest in their mutual dealings; fince there is no other tie, through which the pride, or luft, or avarice, or ambition of mankind, will not certainly break, one time or other. :

Consider what has been said, &c. *** In this moral essay, (for I can scarce call it a fermon) the author inserts fome very striking observations upon fuch falfe noVol. II.


[ocr errors]

tions of honour, as are too prevalent in the world. (Here the particular passage is quoted, beginning thus, “ The other false “ principle, which some men set up in the place of conscience,” Gc. p. 162. I. 10. and ending thus,“ in order to revenge it by the “ death of an adversary," p. 163. 1. 6.) But you must be weary of quotations : and, in excuse of those already made, I can only offer, that in comments upon original authors, quotations are often the best, and perhaps the only explanations that can fully answer the end proposed. I mean, that the original spirit is so volatile, as not to admit of the least transfusion. In ordinary compositions, the eíTence may be extracted, and the subtileft parts distilled : but Swift's sermons appeared a chymical preparation of fo extraordinary and penetrating a nature, that I was resolved to send you as much of the ethereal spirit as might be safely conveyed by the polt. ORR ERY.



Heb. xiii. 1. .
Let brotherly love continue.

TN the early times of the gospel, the Christians 1 were very much distinguished from all other bodies of men, by the great and constant love they bore to each other; which, although it was done in obedience to the frequent injunctions of our Saviour and his apostles, yet, I confess, there seemeth to have been likewise a natural reason, that very much promoted it. For the Christians then were few and scattered, living under perfecution by the Heathens round about them, in whose hands was all the civil and military power ;


[ocr errors]

This fermon is not in the fut Dublin edition,

and there is nothing so apt to unite the minds and hearts of men, or to beget love and tenderness, as a general distress. The first diffentions between Christians, took their beginning from the errors and heresies that arose among them ; many of those heresies, sometimes extinguished, and fometimes reviving, or succeeded by others, remain to this day; and, having been made instruments to the pride, avarice, or ambition of ill-designing men, by extinguishing brotherly love, have been the cause of infinite calamities, as well as corruptions of faith and manners, in the Christian world. · The last legacy of Christ, was peace and mutual love ; but then he foretold, that he came to send a sword upon the earth. The primitive Christians accepted the legacy; and their successors, down to the present age, have been largely fulfilling his prophecy. But whatever the practice of mankind hath been, or still continues, there is no duty more incumbent upon those who profess the gospel, than that of brotherly love ; which, whoever could restore in any degree among men, would be an instrument of more good to human fociety, than ever was, or will be done by all the statesmen and politicians in the world.

It is upon this subject of brotherly love, that I intend to discourse at present; and the method I observe, shall be as follows.

1. I will inquire into the causes of this great want of brotherly love among us. .

P 2

2. I will 2. I will lay open the sad effects and confe- quences which our animosițies and mutual hatred have produced.

3. I will use some motives and exhortations that may perfuade you to embrace brotherly love, and continue in it.

I. I shall inquire into the causes of this great want of brotherly love among us.

This nation of ours, hath, for an hundred years past, been infested by two enemies, the Papists and Fanatics; who, each in their turns, filled it with blood and slaughter, and, for a time, destroyed both the church and government. The memory of these events, hath put all true Protestants equally upon their gaurd against both these adversaries; who, by consequence, do equally hate us. The Fanatics revile us, as too nearly approaching to Popery; and the Papists condemn us, as bordering too much on Fanaticism. The Papists, God be praised, are, by the wisdom of our laws, put out of all visible possibility of hurting us; besides, their religion is fo generally abhorred, that they have no advocates or abettors among protestants to assist them. But the Fanatics are to be considered in another light; they have had, of late years, the power, the luck, or the cunning, to divide us among ourselves ; they have endeavoured to represent all those who have been so bold as to oppose their errors and designs, under the character of persons disaffected to the government; and they have fo far fucceed

edy ed, that, now-a-days, if a clergyman happens to preach with any zeal and vehemence against the Gn or danger of schism, there will not want too many in his congregation ready enough to censure him, as hot and high-flying, an inflamer of mens minds, an enemy to moderation, and disloyal to his prince. This hath produced a formed and settled division between those who profess the same doctrine and discipline ; while they who call themselves moderate, are forced to widen their bottom, by facrificing their principles and their brethren to the encroachments and insolence of difsenters; who are therefore answerable, as a principal cause of all that hatred and animosity now reigning among us:

Another cause of the great want of brotherly love, is the weakness and folly of too many among you of the lower fort, who are made the tools and instruments of your betters, to work their designs, wherein you have no concern. Your numbers make you of use; and cunning men take the advantage, by putting words into your mouths which you do not understand; then they fix good or ill characters to those words, as it best serves their purposes, and thus you are taught to love or hate, you know not what or why; you often suspect your best friends and nearest neighbours, even your teacher himself, without any reason, if your leaders once taught you to call him by a name, which they tell you signifieth some very bad thing. A third cause of our great want of brotherly

P 3


« PreviousContinue »