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arises necessarily from the nature and conditions of the Christian religion ; where unity is so conspicuous in all its rites and doctrines. We have one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one spirit to animate us; one hope of our calling: and, in the sacrament of the Lord's supper, we all partake of one bread, and thereby become one body. Thus we are called to unity and love, by all the terms of our faith and worship:
God hath made us one, as members of his Church : and so far charity is his gift. How it is to be preserved, we are taught at large in the chapter from whence the text is taken. There it appears, that Christians, who are called to a state of unity, are to keep themselves in it, by kindness and long suffering ; by bearing with one another's imperfections and weaknesses ; by putting away all envy and opposition, all that carnal vanity, which makes us desire to be distinguished in the sight of men, rather than in the favour of Cod ; by bearing with things that may be disagreeable to us ; hoping that things are not so bad as they may seem ; and that what is bad will be better; by lamenting the offences of our breihren; not rejoicing at their miscarriages: in short, by serving others and reducing ourselves : for thus did the son of man
come to take upon him the form of a servant, and to minister to the wants of all, rather than to be magnified and ministered to by any. He, who can follow this example, will be a charitable man, and shall inherit the rewards of charity, in that blessed place from whence it cometh. His faith may remove mountains ; his hope may lift him above the world; but his charity alone will carry him to heaven.
MY HOUSE SHALL BE CALLED THE HOUSE OF
PRAYER. MATTH. xxi. 13.
ABOUT four hundred years ago, when the corruptions of Popery had overspread this kingdom, and were becoře insupportable, the office of preaching was almost totally neglected in country parishes: and there were indeed but few of the clergy who were qualified to preach, so that the ministerial duty was reduced in a manner to the offices of baptizing, confessing, praying and administering the sacrifice of the
Such gross errors were mixed with the doctrines of the church, and so many abuses were practised in the discipline of that time to supply the avarice of the bishop of Rome,
and render the priesthood at home a more profitable trade, that it was thought more adviseable to keep the common people in ignorance ; who were therefore but meanly provided with preachers. But when the eyes of men began to be opened by the remonstrances of the Reformers, the clergy themselves became sensible of the defect, and preaching was again in fashion. As the people grew more enlightened, their inclination to preaching increased, and the clergy found it their interest, as well as their duty, to gratify it, and to adorn their preaching with a proper degree of learning and eloquence.
But such is the weakness of mankind, that they are always prone to correct one error by tunning into another. Religion, which in one age had little or no preaching, in the next had scarcely any thing else. Men of seditious inclinations, who were poisoned with foreign prejudices, took advantage of this humour of the people to inflame them against their governors, and turn their hearts from the apostolical constitution of the Church. In the days of Elizabeth, this spirit wrought furiously, but was kept under by authority, and prevented at that time from doing the mischief it meditated. In the next reign, it was reasoning and plotting,
but the nation was not enough prepared till the days of Charles the First; when the combustible materials, which had been gradually introduced, and laid
in store for many years past; by artful and insinuating preachers, took fire at last, and spread a flame over the land, which devoured both Church and State, and was visible to all the western parts of Christendom. Then there was nothing but preaching. The ears of all orders of men, from the highest the lowest, were filled with it. When one preacher had finished his sermon, another goť up into the same pulpit, and then another ; so that on great days there was no intermission from morning till night. The people, however, awaking at length from the delusion which had seized upon them, and feeling the misery and oppression with which they had been loaded by their new masters, were surfeited with that preaching which had deceived their understandings, and driven them upon their own ruin, instead of leading them to true Christian godliness. They discovered that there was a great difference betwixt walling with God, and talking with him : the former was the profession of their leaders, but the latter was their practice ; and the freedom and sauciness of their language was often but