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I. The want of common honefty and integrity aSo indeed it ufed to be called, common mong men. honesty, but it grows fo rare now, that it is like to lofe that name. Righteousness, truth, and faithfulness, are almost failed from among the children of men; all ranks of men have corrupted themselves in this kind; this is grown almost an univerfal depravation, there is hardly any trade or profeffion which hath not fomething of knavery and falfhood woven into the very mystery of it, and is become almost a neceffary part of it. Where is the generous honefty and uprightnefs which did heretofore poffefs the fpirits of men, and which is an infeparable companion of true courage? but we are now paffing apace into foreign manners and vices, and any form of religion will ferve, when juftice and integrity are gone.

II. The want of peace and love. How full of factions and divifions are we? and thefe managed with all imaginable heat and animofity one toward another; as if the badge of Chriftianity were changed, and our Saviour had faid, Hereby fhall all men know that ye are my difciples, if ye hate one another.

All the differences among Chriftians, of what denomination foever, are fadly to be lamented; but I almolt defpair as to the difference between us and the church of Rome, because the reconciliation is impossible, unless they renounce their principles. They cannot come over to us, because they think they are infallible; and we cannot pafs over to them, because we know they are deceived; fo that there is a great gulf between us and them. We must not only renounce the fcriptures, but our reafon and our fenfes, to be of their mind. We cannot communicate with them in the facrament, because they have taken away one half of it, which is as plainly inftituted and commanded, as the other part, which is left. We cannot worship the virgin Mary, and the faints, much lefs their images, because it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only fhalt thou ferve. Thou shalt not make to thyself any graven image, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the water under the earth; thou shalt not bow down to them, nor worship them; for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God. In fhort,

feveral of their articles of faith are fuch as no credulity can fwallow; and several parts of their worship are fuch, as no piety can join with.

But this we bewail, that thofe who agree in the fame effentials of faith and worship fhould be fo forward to divide and separate from one another, merely upon forms of government, and circumftances of worship. What can justify the breach of communion and peace, upon fuch terms? Either church-government is of divine right, or it is not. If it be, why do not men fubmit to the form which is established by authority? If it be not, what kind of government can contend for that right, with any equality of advantage, againit that which cannot be denied to have almoft univerfally obtained in most ages and parts of the Chriftian world?

As for the circumstances of worship, there is fcarce any man hath the face to contend, that any of thofe ufed in our church are clearly condemned by the word of God; and what else can make them unlawful? One of the chief caufes of feparation, is a form of prayer; the lawfulness of which our Saviour hath abundantly juftified, and I do not think was ever queftioned by any writer in the Chriftian church, for near upon fixteen hundred years; and is it worth while to break the peace of the church, and violate one of the greateft precepts of Chriftianity, upon little and flight pretences of unlawfulness, and doubtful reasons of convenience and expe dience; and about fuch things as are no more reasonable grounds of quarrels among Chriftians, than the differences of mens flature and faces would be a just ground for mankind to make war upon one another?

Where is the power of religion, when the peace and unity of Chriftians is violated upon these terms? It is a fign that the life and fubftance of religion is little regarded by us, when men can afford to employ fo much zeal about these things.

And that men may be effectually perfuaded to mind the fubitance of religion more, let me defire them to imprint these three confiderations upon their minds.

I. That the parts of religion are fubordinate to one another, and are to be minded each in their due place. The means of religion are lefs worth than the end, and VOL. IX.



Ser. 206. therefore deserve our regard chiefly in order to that. The circumstances of religion are lefs confiderable than the means and inftruments of it, and therefore are to be fubordinated to them. Faith is in order to the pratice of a good life, and fignifies nothing, unless it produces that. So that the iffue, and upfhot of all, is a holy and virtuous life, To deny ungodliness and worldly lufts, and to live foberly, and righteously, and godly in this prefent world; to love God and our neighbour; to deal juftly, and to be kind, and peaceable, and charitable towards all men.

II. Confider that religion confifts in an entire and univerfal obedience to the will of God, in a respect to all his commandments, and hating. every evil way. Here the power of godliness confifts in being holy in all manner of converfation.

III. Confider that religion chiefly refpects God, and another world. A form of religion, if it were artificially contrived, might poffibly ferve to cheat men, and be ufeful enough to all the interefts and advantages of this world: but we are to do all things in reference to God, who cannot be impofed upon with fhews and pretences; and with regard to another world, where no form of religion will be current, without the power of it. Yea, and in reference to this world, if there be any advantage in feeming religious, certainly the beft way to feem to be fo, is to be fo indeed.




Of the neceffity of good works.

TIT. iii. 8.

This is a faithful faying, and these things I will that thou affirm conftantly, that they which have believed in God, might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.



The firft fermon on this text.

His epiftle of St. Paul to Titus, whom he had inade Bishop of Crete, contains directions how he ought to demean himself in that great

1. By appointing in every city Bishops or elders, to teach and govern thofe that were already, or fhould afterwards by their means be converted to the faith of Christ and to be very careful to make choice of worthy and fit perfons into this high office; men of found doctrine and unblameable lives, chap. i. from ver. 5. to the end.

2. By his own doctrine and converfation among them. And this is the fubject of the two following chapters, in which he gives him a strict charge, to be very careful both of his doctrine and his life. Of his doctrine, that it be according to the foundnefs and purity of the gofpel; not fuch corrupt and adulterate ftuff, as the falfe Apostles and teachers were wont to vend among them, chap. ii. 1. But fpeak thou the things which become found doctrine; which he elfewhere calls the doEtrine of truth which is according to godliness, fuch a doctrine as tends to reform the lives of men, to make them better, and more like to God. And then he should be careful likewife, that his life and converfation be exemplary in all virtue and goodness; without which the

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beft words will be of little weight, and the wifest doctrines and councils of fmall efficacy and force to perfuade others to the practice of them, ver. 7. In all things fhewing thy felf a pattern of good works. When found doctrine is feconded by the good life of the teacher, it must have great authority and force of perfuafion, ver: 15. These things fpeak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority; let no man defpife thee. If the minifter of God do but fo preach and fo live, this will give him authority, and fet him above contempt; let men defpife fuch an one if they can.

More particularly, as he would have him inftruct men in general in all the virtues of a good life; fo more efpecially, the feveral ages and conditions of men in the duties and virtues refpectively belonging to them; to young and old, men and women.

And because great fcandal had been brought upon the Chriftian religion, by the undutiful carriage of fervants and fubjects towards their mafters and magiftrates, upon a falfe notion of Chriftian liberty, advanced and propagated by the falfe Apoftles and Gnoftic Libertines, he gives Titus, in particular, charge to put Chriftians in mind of their duty in this particular, and to inculcate it earnestly upon them, that the Christian religion might not be flandered upon this account, chap. ii. ver. 9. 10. Exhort fervants to be obedient to their masters, &c. that they may adorn the doctrine of God our Saviour in all things. Chap. iii. 1. Put them in mind to be fubject to principalities and powers, and to be ready to every good work; that is, in fhort, to endeavour to be good in all relations, and in all forts and kinds of goodness.

And then, ver. 8. he lays great ftrefs and weight upon this matter, that Christians should conftantly and upon all occafions be taught the great neceflity of the virtues of a good life. This is a faithful faying, &c. By which folemn and vehement kind of expreffion, the Apoftle feems to infinuate, that the falfe Apoftles did exalt the virtue of faith, to the prejudice and neglect of a good life; as if by a mere fpeculative belief and profeffion of the Chriftain religion, men were dif charged and released from the practice of all virtue and goodness. And this is very probable, because we find


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