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the Peace of his own Mind, would for any Consideration leave the Publick Communion, and espouse the Cause of a separate Intereft. But there are worse Consequences than there, and I pray God we may never feel them.
And now I have done with my Exhortation. And I have spoke my Thoughts very. freely to you. And I hope you will receive what I have said with the same Kindness that I meant it. And truly, I have no Reason to doubt of it, after so long an Experience as I have had of your Civility and Candor. Indeed, during all the Time I have been among you (which hath been now near Sixteen Years) Ì have been so kindly treated by you, and have received so many Testimonies of your Good-will, that I cannot but take this Opportunity of Publickly acknowledging my Obligations to you, and returning you my solemn Thanks for them. I cannot, indeed, say, that I have done
my Duty as I ought; and I heartily beg of God to forgive all my Defects. But I have this Satisfaction, that I have sincerely endeavoured in all my Preaching, to instruct you in the true Doctrine of the Gospel, and to teach you the right way that leads to Salvation. And I am so certain, that I have not been mistaken myself, nor misled you in that Matter, that I dare with Confidence address myself to you in some of the Words of the Apostle, which do immediately follow after my Text; Viz. Those Things which you have learned and received,
and heard from me, do; and the God of Peace shall
be with you.
I shall ever Bless God for that Providence of his which placed me among you; and as I shall always and do earnestly desire all your Prayers fór me; fo I shall always heartily Pray for you ; that God would guide and prosper you, that his good Providence would always watch over you for Good; that he would bestow upon you, and your Children after you, all sorts of Blessings needful and convenient for you ; and especially, that he would deliver you from every evil Work, and preserve you to his Heavenly Kingdom.
This, God of his infinite Mercy, grant, &co
Preached before the
Lords Spiritual and Temporal
Abbey-Church at Westminster,
On the 5th of NOVEMBER, 1691.
Rom. X. 2. For I bear them Record, that they
have a Zeal of God, but not according to Knowledge,
HESE are St. Paul's Words, and he
spoke them of the Jews, those unbeT lieving Jews, that were fotenacious
of the Traditions of their Fathers,
and fo utterly averse to any Reformation of Religion; that though it appeared by undeniable Evidence, that Christ Jesus was by God sent into the World for that Purpose; yet did they, to the last, stand out in their Opposition of him and his Gospel, even to the final Rejection of their Nation,
To these People doth St. Paul in this Chapter express a great Compassion, heartily
wishing and praying for their Conversion. Brethren, (faith he in the First Verse) my hearty Defire and Prayer to God for Israel is, that they may
be saved: that is, that they may come to the Knowledge of the Truth in Christ Jesus, and by that Means obtain everlasting Sal. vation. And one Reason why he was thus concerned for them, he gives in the Words following, which are the Words I have read unto you. For I bear them Record (faith he) that they have a Leal of God, but not according to Knowledge. It was a great Motive to him, to be concerned for their Happiness, that they were Zealous for Religion ; though he knew at the fame Time, that the Religion they were then fo Zealous of, was not the right Religion; nor did the Zeal they shewed for it, proceed from right Principles.
According to the account I have now given of this Passage, Three Things we may take Notice of from it, viz. 1. The Apostle's approving, and tacitly com
mending that Zeal which his Countrymen
expressed for Religion. II. His meek and charitable Behaviour to.
wards them, even when their Zeal for
Religion was very faulty and blameable. III. His Discovery of the Faultiness of their
Zeal, which lay in this, that it was not according to Knowledge.
These Three Things I shall take for the Heads of my following Discourse upon this Text, and shall afterwards make such Application of it, as the Business of this Day calls for.
1. First, I desire it may be observed, That Zeal of God in General, that is, a hearty and passionate Concernment for Religion, the Apoftle here finds no fault with : On the contrary, he approves it as a commendable Thing ; For you see he represents it, as a piece of Vertue in his Country-Men, and speaks it to their Commendation, that they had a' Zeal of God; I bear them Record (faith he) that they bave a Zeal of God. As much as to say, that he owned, they had that good Quality, and they were to be commended for it; and for that Reason, he both wisheth them well, and affectionately prayeth for them.
That which I would from hence take Occasion to put you in mind of, is this; That Indifference and Inconcernedneß for Religion is not to have a Place among any one's Vertues and good Qualities; it is rather a very great Fault; howsoever, it may sometimes pass for an Inftance of Wisdom and Prudence.
If, indeed, Men had no Paffions, or had so mortified their Passions, that they were rarely earnest or zealous about any Thing; their Unconcernedness for Religion, and the Things of God, might be the less reprovable. But when Zeal and Paffion is more or less wrought in
every Man’s Temper, and the calmest Men may be observed, on sundry Occasions, not to be without it; it is an inexcusable Fault, to have no Passion, no Leal for God and his Cause.
How can a Man answer it to his own Conscience, to be heartily Angry when an Af