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argument they are not one without the other 1 John iv. 20. If a man say I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar.
In matters of philofophy there are different opinions : Aristotelians, and Platonists. Copernicus for the earth's motion against the generality. Of late the new philosophy, Formerly, Scotists, and Thomifts ; in matters of divinity. In our Saviour's time Pharisees, Sadduces, and Efenes. Our Saviour was not severe, save against the hypocrisy of the Pharifees.
There are no less different capacities of mind, than constitutions of body : and no less difference in men's outward circumstances, than in either of the former.
I intend not by this the patronage of the refractory and presumptuous ; but an apology for those who are honeft in their way, but of weaker parts and flower apprehensions ; who are therefore of modest and teachable spirits ; of whom it may be verified, errare poffum, hæreticus elle nolo. I may be mistaken, but I will not be heretical. Two things a man may easily perceive, whether he be an hypocrite, whether an heretick. Not the former, if he
; not the latter if he be not wilful, but patient to be informed. In all reason it may be fafest for such as have little leisure to examine, or are less competent to judge, through want of education, to give the more advantage to their guides. I therefore caution four things.
1. Great reverence is to be given to superiors. Government is not to be disturbed upon pretence of private judgment : that is to be confined to the direction of the inferior man.
2. No disturbance must thence arise to the church of God. 1 Cor. xi. 16. If any seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
3. Suppose the worst ; 'tis safer to err in an error that is common, than in an error that is personal.
4. It becomes the modesty of particular persons, where their sentiments are fingular, to bethink themselves better : to ask themselves this sober question. How went the spirit of God from the generality of his worshippers, and determined itself to me? which being done, these good things will find place; caution and wariness : more diligence in enquiry : expectation of being further informed. These instead of conceitedness, fondness of our own opinions, self-confidence and peremptorinăss.
If we would do what becomes us, in sense of our liableness.to be mistaken, if what is due to the discerning of truth, we should not run away with an opinion, before we have submitted it to severe and impartial examination by others, and persons most competent ; and have well weighed what others can say : not. till after we ourselves have thought it again and again, day after day. We jhould doubt and deliberate, before we resolve and determine. Nothing are we so sure of, as of that which we are sure of after doubting. Where this is not
done, there are easy perswafions, credulity, lightnefs of faith : whence it comes to pass, that men are greatly possessed, ftrangely persuaded in matters where there is very good assurance that things are otherwise. Let therefore the modesty always become ing a christian fpirit, accompany private judgments, and if you would give credit to it, let good life and unblameable conversation attend upon it : think that thou mayest be mistaken, as well as others.
I have by cautions, bound up private judgment in particular persons to its good behaviour ; so that it neither extend, nor enlarge itself, to the disturbance of government, or confusion of order, or other act of unruliness in God's family · which things are in the first place to be resolved on, and secured : for rather a particular mischief, than a general inconvenience.
But I wish more were capable of the use of private judgment than there are. 'Tis a fundamental right belonging to intellectual natures : but to the exercise of it more is requisite than most men have to shew : preparation thereto, by education, consideration, and conference : for we are born only with powers and faculties ; and so with possibilities of acts and habits : we are no-bodies where we have not thought. 'Tis the lamentable condition of lapsed mortals, that, of the generality of men it may be said (through none-use, misuse and abuse of themselves) what God said of the great city of Ni
Jon. iv. II. wherein are more than an hun dred and twenty thousand persons who cannot difcern between the right hand and the left : I say,
who, in matters of reason, religion, and conscience, have no judgment of right or wrong, true and false, good and evil. And man that bath no understanding may be compared with the beasts that perish, Pfal. xlix.
He hath not honour and preminence above beasts.
Now, I say, having secured publick settlement and peace, thofe suggestions for accord, harmony, and charity notwithstanding difference of apprehenfions in certain matters, may take place : but I have here no consideration of four sorts of persons :
1. Not of atheists, whose sentiments are forced and unnatural.
2à Not of enthusiasts, who know not to day, what they shall think to morrow..
3. Not of self-flatterers, who are fondly persuaded concerning themselves; and will hardly admit that for evil in themselves, which passes for such otherwhere.
4. Not of hypocrites, who do not mean what. they pretend.. Truth with them, is not an end, but a means.
But all fair allowance for the humble, modeft, meek and ingenuous ; with great abatement for their many difadvantages, weaknesses of parts, want of lei. fure, probable ignorance :, for all which, their honeft fimplicity and sincere meaning make compenfation. Some think, that if they agree not in all things about religion, they must stand at distance from one another ; but this is a great mistake : the text faith, Whereunto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule. And 1 Cor. xiii. 7,8. Chari
ty never faileth, doth not behave itself unseemly'; bear eth all things ; endureth all things ; hopeth all things. i Pet. iv. 8. Charity covereth a multitude of fins, both of the object, and of the subject ; of him we have to do with, and also of ourselves : for to the compaffionate, God fhews compassion, and it shall be measured to us according to our own measures, Matth. vii. 1, 2.
The Frailty of HUMAN NATURE.
GENESIS iii. 19.
gentleman, Mr. Charles Bunock : à perfon taken away in his youth, and full strength and (being deeply sensible of the frailty of this life) had this text of scripture oft running in his thoughts. And for the advantage of those that should survive him, he made it his request, that it might be preached upon at his funeral."* And according to his defire, I shall offer to your consideration fomething from these words, duft'thou art, &c.
These words are part of that fentence which God passed upon our first parents Adam and Eve, after their transgreffion; which was full of disloyal