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love, seemeth to be, that this duty is not so often insisted on from the pulpit, as it ought to be, in fuch times as these: on the contrary, it is to be doubted, whether doctrines are not sometimes delivered by an ungoverned zeal, a desire to be diflinguished, or a view of interest, which produce quite different effects; when, upon occafions set apart to return thanks to God for some public blessing, the, time is employed in stirring up one part of the congregation against the other, by representations of things and persons, which God in his mercy forgive those who are guilty of.
The last cause I shall mention of the want of brotherly love, is that unhappy disposition towards politics among the trading people, which hath been industriously instilled into them. In former times, the middle and lower sort of mankind seldom gained or lost by the factions of the kingdom; and therefore, were little concerned in them, further than as matter of talk and amusement: but now, the meanest dealer will expect to turn the penny by the merits of his party. He can represent his neighbour as a man of dangerous principle ; can bring a railing accusation against him, perhaps a criminal one ; and so rob him of his livelihood, and find his own account by that, much more than if he had disparaged his neighbouris goods, or defamed him as a cheat. For so it happens, that instead of inquiring into the skill or honesty of those kinds of people, the manner is now to inquire into their party, and to reject or encourage them accordingly; whicla
proceeding, hath made our people, in general, such able politicians, that all the artifice, flattery, disli. mulation, diligence, and dexterity, in undermining each other, which the satirical wit of men hath charged upon courts ; together with all the rage and violence, cruelty and injustice, which have been ever imputed to public assemblies; are with us (so polite are we grown) to be seen among our meanest traders and artificers in the greatest perfection. All which, as it may be matter of some humiliation to the wise and mighty of this world, so the effects thereof may, perhaps, in time, prove very different from what, I hope in charity, were ever foreseen or intended.
II. I will therefore now, in the second place, lay open some of the fad effects and confequences which our animosities and inutual hatred have produced.
And the first ill consequence is, that our want of brotherly love hath almost driven out all senfe of religion from among us; which cannot well be otherwise : for since our Saviour laid so much weight upon his disciples loving one another, that he gave it among his last instructions; and since the primitive Christians are allowed to have chiefly propagated the faith, by the strict obfervance of that instruction; it must follow, that, in proportion as brotherly love declineth, Christianity will do fo too. The little religion there is in the world, hath been observed to reside chiefly among the middle and lower fort of
people, people, who are neither tempted to pride and luxury by great riches, nor to desperate courses by extreme poverty: and truly I, upon that account, have thought it a happiness, that those who are under my immediate care are generally of that condition. But where party hath once made entrance, with all its consequences, of hatred, envy, partiality, and virulence, religion cannot long keep its hold in any state or degree of life whatsoever. For if the great men of the world have been censured in all ages for mingling too little religion with their politics, what a havock of principles must they needs make in unlearned and irregular heads ? of which, indeed, the effects are already too visible and melancholy all over the kingdom.
Another ill consequence, from our want of .brotherly love, is, that it increaseth the infolence of the Fanatics. And this partly ariseth from a mistaken meaning of the word moderation ; a word which hath been much abused, and handed about for several years past. There are too many people indifferent enough to all religion ; there are many others who dislike the clergy, and would have them live in poverty and dependence. Both these forts are much commended by the Fanatics for moderate men, ready to put an end to our divisions, and to make a general union among Protestants. Many ignorant wellmeaning people are deceived by these appearances, strengthened with great pretences to loyalty; and these occasions, the Fanatics lay hold.on, to revile the doctrine and discipline of the church, and even insult and oppress the clergy, where, ever their numbers or favourers will bear them out; insomuch, that one wilful refractory Fanatic hath been able to disturb a whole parish for many years together. But the most moderate and favoured divines dare not own, that the word moderation, with respect to the diffenters, can be at all applied to their religion, but is purely person. al or prudential. No good man repineth at the liberty of conscience they enjoy; and perhaps a very moderate divine may think better of their loyalty than others do; or, to speak after the manner of men, may think it necessary, that all Protestants should be united against the common enemy; or, out of discretion, or other reasons best known to himself, be tender of mentioning them at all. But still the errors of the diffenters are all fixed and determined ; and must, upon demand, be acknowledged by all the divines of our church, whether they be called, in party-phrase, high or low, moderate or violent. And further, I believe it would be hard to find many moderate divines, who, if their opinion were asked, whether diffenters should be trusted with power, could, according to their consciences, answer in the affirmative: from whence it is plain, that all the stir which the Fanatics have made with this word moderation, was only meant to increase our divisions, and widen them, so far as to make room for themselves to get in between. And this is the only scheme they ever had (except that of
I shall mention but one ill confequence more, which attends our want of brotherly love ; that it hath put an end to all hospitality and friendship, all good correspondence and commerce between mankind. There are, indeed, such things as leagues and confederacies among those of the fame party ; but surely, God never intended, that men should be so limited in the choice of their friends : however, so it is in town and country, in every parish and street; the pastor is divided from his flock, the father from his son, and the house often divided against itself. Mens very natures are foured, and their pafsions inflamed, when they meet in partyclubs, and spend their time in nothing else bat railing at the opposite side: thus every man alive among us is encompaffed with a million of enemies of his own country, among which his oldest acquaintance, and friends, and kindred themfelves, are often of the number. Neither can people of different parties mix together, without constraint, suspicion, and jealousy; watching every word they speak, for fear of giving offence, or else falling into rudeness and reproaches : and so leaving themselves open to the malice and corruption of informers, who were never more numerous or expert in their trade. And, as a further addition to this evil, those very few, who, by the goodness and generosity of their nature, do in their own hearts despise this narrow prin