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15tas rarotkowow, oire Sta\écrop rive trapmMAayuérn xpovrat, otre Biov trapáonuov &axoVaiv-karotkowvres 5& td.Xeus "EXAmvikás re kai Baps3ápovs, os éxarros éxAmpô0m, v rois owplots 86eavy &xoMov600 wres, &c. “The Christians neither in dwelling, language, or customs differ from the rest of men; they neither inhabit towns proper to themselves, nor use any peculiar dialect, nor exercise an uncouth manner of living; but, as by chance it is allotted to them, inhabiting cities belonging both to Greeks and Barbarians, comply with the customs of the country.’ And much more hath he there; and much Tertullian likewise in his Apologetic, to the same purpose. Neither do we find in the life of our Saviour, that exact pattern of wisdom and goodness, that in anything he did affect to differ from the received customs of his time and country, except such as were grounded on vain conceits, extremely prejudicial to piety, or directly repugnant thereto. And I cannot except from this rule the compliance with religious customs used in the worship and service of God: since a wilful discrepancy from them doth much more destroy peace and kindle the flame of contention, inasmuch as men are apt to apprehend themselves much more slighted and more condemned by a disagreement in those, than in matters of lesser concernment. And it cannot reasonably be imagined that the God of love and peace, who questionless delights to see men converse in peace and amity, and who therefore in general terms enjoins us to pursue the things that make for peace, (whereof certainly in reason and to experience, following indifferent and harmless customs, not expressly repugnant to his law, nor to the dictates of natural reason, is one thing, and not the least,) in our addresses to himself (partly designed and mainly serving more strictly to unite, not to dissociate men in affection) should dislike or disapprove the use of this course so expedient and conducible to peace : especially since he infinitely more regards the substance of the duty, and the devotion of the heart therein, than the manner, or any circumstantial appendages thereof: it is certain however that St. Paul intimates a wilful departure from ordinary practice in such cases, to proceed from a contentious disposition: “But if any man,’ saith he, “have a mind to be contentious, (so Šokei pixóveikos elva, imports,) we have no such custom, nor the churches of God.” But yet much more is peaceable conversation impeached by disobedience to established laws, those great bulwarks of society, fences of order, and supports of peace: which he that refuses to obey, is so far from living peaceably with all men, that he may reasonably be presumed unwilling to have peace with any man; since in a manner he defies all mankind, vilifies its most solemn judgments, endeavors to dissolve those sacred bands by which its union is contained, and to subvert the only foundations of public tranquillity. He declares himself either to affect an universal tyranny over, or an abhorrency from society with, other men, to be unwilling to live with them on equal terms, or to submit to any fair arbitration, to desire that strifes should be endless, and controversies never decided, who declines the verdict of law, the most solemn issue of deliberate advice, proceeding from the most honorable, most wise, most worthy and select persons, and involving in it the consent of the whole commonwealth. St. Paul, directing that prayers should be made for princes and those in authority, assigns the reason, ‘ that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty :’ and certainly if we are to pray for, we are also obliged to obey them in order to the same end, which to do is absolutely in our power, and more immediately requisite to that purpose. For as no peace can be preserved without the influence of authority; so no authority can subsist without obedience to its sanctions. He that is desirous to enjoy the privileges of this happy estate of peace, must in reason be content to perform the duties enjoined, and bear the common burdens imposed by those who are the protectors of it. Thus, as plainly as I could, have I described what it is to live peaceably, and what the means are that principally conduce thereto: I should now proceed to consider the object of the duty, and the reasons why it respects all men; as also whence it comes, that sometimes we may fail in our endeavor of attaining this desirable condition: and, lastly, to propound some inducements persuasive of its practice. But I must not farther
encroach on your patience, and shall therefore reserve these things to the next opportunity. Now the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowlege and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.
SUMMARY OF SERMON XXX.
ROMANS, CHAP. XII.-VERSE 18.
It having been already considered what it is to live peaceably; also what are duties included therein, and the means that conduce thereto; it is next considered,
II. What is the object thereof, and why the duty of living peaceably extends to all men; that is, why we are bound to bear good-will, and do good offices, and show civil respects to all men; and to endeavor that all men should be reciprocally well-affected towards us: for it might be said, why should I be obliged to love those that hate me, to help them that would hinder me, or strive to please them that scorn and would offend me? Or why should I be bound to maintain amicable correspondence with those who are professed enemies to piety and virtue; or how can any love or communion of good offices take place between persons so contrarily disposed ? To this it may be answered, such good offices may, and ought to take place; and that, because the obligation is not grounded on any peculiar respects or special qualifications, but on the indefectible score of common humanity: we owe it, not to the men, but to human nature resident in them. There are various other sorts of love; but the love of benevolence, (which is precedent to these,) and the duties consequent on it, are grounded on the natural constitution, necessary properties, and unalterable condition of humanity, and are on several accounts due to it.
1. On account of universal cognation, agreement, and similitude of nature. We are but streams issuing from one primitive source, branches sprouting from the same stock; one substance, by the miraculous efficacy of the divine benediction, diffused and multiplied: this point enlarged on. 2. We are indispensably obliged to these duties, because the best of our natural inclinations prompt us to the performance of them; especially those of pity and benignity, which are manifestly discernible in all, but most powerful and vigorous in the best natures; and which questionless by the wise and good author of our being were implanted in us, to direct and excite us in the performance of our duty. 3. We are obliged on account of common equity. We have all implanted in us a natural ambition and a desire of being loved and respected; and are disposed in our need to require assistance and relief: therefore in all reason and equity we should pay to others the same respect, aid, and comfort, which we expect from them. 4. We are obliged on account of common interest, benefit, and advantage; since the welfare and safety, the honor and reputation, the pleasure and quiet of our lives, are concerned in our maintaining a loving correspondence with all men. 5. We are obliged by a tacit compact and fundamental constitution of mankind, in pursuance of those principal designs for which men were incorporated and are still contained in civil society. 6. We are, by observing these rules, to oblige and render others well-affected to us; because the being on such terms with men, conduces to our living, not only delightfully and quietly, but honestly and religiously in the world. How peace and edification, spiritual comfort and temporal quiet, concur and co-operate, is intimated in Acts iz. 31. &c. 7. We are obliged to perform these duties of humanity, because by so doing we become more capable of promoting good