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now it is, when, like wild beasts, they vex and per- SERM. secute, worry and devour each other. How not only philosophy hath placed the supreme pitch of happiness in a calmness of mind, and tranquillity of life, void of care and trouble, of irregular passions and perturbations; but that holy scripture itself in that one term of peace most usually comprehends all joy and content, all felicity and prosperity: so that the heavenly consort of angels, when they agree most highly to bless, and to wish the greatest happiness to mankind, could not better express their sense, than by saying, Be on earth peace, and good will among Luke ii. 14.
2. That as nothing is more sweet and delightful, so nothing more comely and agreeable to human nature than peaceable living, it being, as Solomon saith, an honour to a man to cease from strife; and con- Prov. xx. 3. sequently also a disgrace to him to continue therein: that rage and fury may be the excellencies of beasts, and the exerting their natural animosity in strife and combat may become them; but reason and discretion are the singular eminences of men, and the use of these the most natural and commendable method of deciding controversies among them: and that it extremely misbecomes them that are endowed with those excellent faculties so to abuse them, as not to apprehend each others' meanings, but to ground - vexatious quarrels upon the mistake of them; not to be able by reasonable expedients to compound differences, but with mutual damage and inconvenience to prorogue and increase them: not to discern how exceedingly better it is to be helpful and beneficial, than to be mischievous and troublesome to one another. How foolishly and unskilfully they judge,
SERM. that think by unkind speech and harsh dealing to XXXI. allay men's distempers, alter their opinions, or re
move their prejudices; as if they should attempt to kill by ministering nourishment, or to extinguish a flame by pouring oil upon it. How childish a thing it is eagerly to contend about trifles, for the superiority in some impertinent contest, for the satisfaction of some petty humour, for the possession of some inconsiderable toy; yea, how barbarous and brutish a thing it is, to be fierce and impetuous in the pursuit of things that please us, snarling at, biting, and tearing all competitors of our game, or opposers of our undertaking. But how divine and amiable, how worthy of human nature, of civil breeding, of prudent consideration it is, to restrain partial desires, to condescend to equal terms, to abate from rigorous pretences, to appease discords, and vanquish enmities by courtesy and discretion; like the best and wisest commanders, who by skilful conduct, and patient attendance upon opportunity, without striking of stroke, or shedding of blood, subdue their enemy.
3. How that peace with its near alliance and concomitants, its causes and effects, love, meekness, gentleness, and patience, are in sacred writ reputed the genuine fruits of the Holy Spirit, issues of divine grace, and offsprings of heavenly wisdom; producing like themselves a goodly progeny of righteous deeds. But that emulation, hatred, wrath, variance, and strife derive their extraction from fleshly lust, hellish craft, or beastly folly; propagating them
selves also into a like ugly brood of wicked works. Jam. iii. 14 For so saith St. James, If ye have bitter zeal and
-18. iv. I.
Kai un strife in your hearts, glory not, nor be deceived
untruly: This wisdom descendeth not from above,
19. xviii. 6.
but is earthly, sensual, and devilish: For where SERM. emulation and strife are, there is tumult, and XXX. every naughty thing: but the wisdom that is from 'Axaraabove is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, obse- confusion. quious, full of mercy (or beneficence) and of good rężyna. fruits, without partiality and dissimulation: And Erubs. the fruit of righteousness is sowed in peace to those that make peace; And from whence are wars and quarrels among you? Are they not hence, even from your lusts, that war in your members? Likewise, He loveth transgression that Prov. xvii. loveth strife; and, A fool's lips enter into con- Qui posuit tention, and his mouth calleth for strokes, saith bellum, in Solomon. That the most wicked and miserable of paradiso fraudem, creatures is described by titles denoting enmity and odium inter discord: the hater (Satan), the enemy (ô èx¤pòs äv0pw- tres. Aug. πos), the accuser (ó Kaτýyopos), the slanderer (ó diáßo- 28. "ANTI20s), the destroyer (ó ároλλówv), the furious dragon, A δίκος, 1 Pet. and mischievously treacherous snake: and how sad murderer, it is to imitate him in his practices, to resemble him 44. in his qualities. But that the best, most excellent, 1. Philip. and most happy of Beings delights to be styled, and Thess. v. accordingly to express himself, The God of love, 23. 2 Thes. mercy, and peace; and his blessed Son to be called, vii. Luke i. and to be, The Prince of peace, the great Me-xaigu ye diator, Reconciler, and Peacemaker; who is also said from on high to have visited us, to give light toni ixTTIἐκτρέπει them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of as the dicedeath; and to guide our feet in the ways of peace. Orig. c. That, lastly, no devotion is pleasing, no oblation ac-p. 424. ceptable to God, conjoined with hatred, or proceeding from an unreconciled mind: for, If thou bring Matt. v. 23, thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that 24. thy brother hath aught against thee; leave there
2 Cor. xiii.
τῇ συμφωνίᾳ λογικῶν τῶν ζώων ὁ Θεὸς,
SERM. thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be XXX. reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift, saith our Saviour.
I close up all with this corollary: that if we must live lovingly and peaceably with all men, then much more are we obliged to do so with all Christians: to whom by nearer and firmer bands of holy alliance we are related; by more precious communions in faith and devotion we are endeared; by more peculiar and powerful obligations of divine commands, sacramental vows, and formal professions we are engaged our spiritual brethren, members of the same mystical body, temples of the same Holy Spirit, servants of the same Lord, subjects of the same Prince, professors of the same truth, partakers of the same hope, heirs of the same promise, and candidates of the same everlasting happiness.
Now Almighty God, the most good and beneficent Maker, gracious Lord, and merciful Preserver of all things, infuse into our hearts those heavenly graces of meekness, patience, and benignity, grant us and his whole church, and all his creation to serve him quietly here, and in a blissful rest to praise and magnify him for ever: to whom, with his blessed Son, the great Mediator and Prince of peace, and with his holy Spirit, the everflowing spring of all love, joy, comfort, and peace, be all honour, glory, and praise. And,
The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge 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 for ever. Amen.
THE DUTY AND REWARD OF BOUNTY TO
PSALM CXii. 9.
He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor; his righteousness endureth for ever, his horn shall be exalted with honour.
As this whole Psalm appears to have a double in- SERM. tent; one to describe the proper actions and affec- XXXI. tions of a truly religious or pious man; (of a man who feareth the Lord, and delighteth greatly in Verse 1. his commandments;) the other to declare the happiness of such a man's state, consequent upon those his affections and actions, whether in way of natural result, or of gracious recompense from God: so doth this verse particularly contain both a good part of a pious man's character, and some considerable instances of his felicity. The first words (He hath dispersed, he hath given to the poor) express part of his character; the latter (his righteousness endureth for ever, his horn shall be exalted with honour) assign instances of his felicity. So that our text hath two parts, one affording us good information concerning our duty, the other yielding great
* This Sermon was preached at the Spital upon Wednesday in Easter-week, A. D. 1671.