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“ And greater
pray with any importunity for their conversion. Is this men's love to mankind ? Is this their love to the kingdom of Christ? or to God and godliness ? Is God of as narrow a mind as you? Are you and your party all the world, or all the church, or all that is to be regarded and prayed for?
Direct. 2. Do not only pray for them, but study what is within the reach of your power to do for their conversion.' For though private men can do little in comparison of what Christian princes might do (who must not be told their duty by such as I). Yet somewhat might be done by merchants and their chaplains, if skill and zeal were well united; and somewhat might be done by writing and translating such books as are fittest for this use: matters might be done, by training up some scholars in the Persian, Indostan, Tartarian, and such other languages, who are for mind and body fitted for that work, and willing with due encouragement to give up themselves thereto. Were such a college erected, natives might be got to teach the languages : and no doubt but God would put it into the hearts of many young men, to devote themselves to so excellent a service; and of many rich men, to settle lands sufficient to maintain them; and many merchants would help them in their expedition.” But whether those that God will so much honour, be yet born, I know not.
Direct. 3. Pray and labour for the reformation and concord of all the Christian churches; as the most probable means to win to Christ the world of heathens and unbelievers.' If the Protestant churches were more pure
peaceable, more holy, and more unanimous and charitable to each other, it would do much to win the Papists that are near them : and if the Papists, and Greeks, and Armenians, and Abassines were more reformed, wise and holy, it would do much to win the Heathens and Mahometans round about them. They would be the salt of the earth, and the lights of the world, and the leaven which must leaven the whole lump: the neighbouring Mahometans, and Heathens, would see their good works, and glorify God; Matt. v. 16. A holy, harmless, loving conversation, is a sermon which men of all languages can understand: thus as apostles we might preach to men of several tongues, though we have but one.
O that the sanctifying Spirit would teach Christians this art, and reform and unite the churches of Christ, that they might be no longer a scandal, to hinder the saving of the world about them! It is the sense of Christ's prayer before his death, (John xvii. 21–23. 25.) that " they all may be one, as thou Father art in me, and I iu thee, that the world may believe that thou hast sent me in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that thou hast sent me; and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
Direct. 4. · Be sure at least that your holy, loving and blameless lives, be an example to those that are about you.' If you cannot convert kingdoms, nor get other men to do their duty towards it, be sure that you do your part within your reach : and believe that your lives must be the best part of your labours, and that good works, and love, and good example must be the first part of your doctrine.
Direct. 6, 'When you see that the world lieth still in wickedness, and there seemeth to be no possibility of a cure, yet search the Scripture, and so far as you can find any prophecy or promise of their conversion, believe that God in his time will make it good.'
Direct. 6. • But take heed that on this pretence, you plunge not yourselves into any inordinate studies, or conceited expositions of the Revelations, and other Scripture prophecies, as many have done, to the great wrong of themselves, and the church of God.
By inordinate studies, I mean, 1. When you begin there where you should end, and before you have digested the necessary greater truths in theology, you go to those that should come after them. 2. When an undue proportion of your zeal, and time, and study, and talk, is bestowed upon these prophecies, in comparison of other things. 3. When you are proudly and causelessly-conceited of your singular expositions : That when of ten of the most learned and hardest studied expositors of the Revelation, perhaps in many things scarce two are of a mind; yet when you differ from them all, or all save one, you can be as peremptory and confident in your opinion, as if you were far wiser, or more infallible than they. 4. When you place a greater necessity in it than there is; as if salvation, or churchcommunion lay upon your conceits. Whereas God hath
made the points that are of necessity to salvation, to be few and plain.
Direct. 7. When you look on the sin and misery of the world, and see small hope of its recovery, look up by faith to that better world, where all is light, and love, and peace.' And pray for the coming of Christ, when all this sin shall be brought to judgment, and wisdom and godliness be fully justified before all the world. Let the badness of this world drive up your hearts to that above, where all is better than you can wish.
Direct. 8. When you are ready to stumble at the consideration of God's desertion of so great a part of the world, quiet your minds in the implicit submission to his infinite wisdom and goodness.' Dare you think that you are more gracious and merciful than God? Or that it is meet you should know all the secrets of his providence, who must not know the mysteries of government, in the state or kingdom where you live? He that cannot rest in the wisdom, will, and mercies of Infinite Goodness itself, but must have all his own expectations satisfied, shall have no rest.
And think withal, how little a spot of God's creation this earthly world is; and how incomprehensibly vast the superior regions are in comparison of it. And if all the upper parts of the world be possessed with none but holy spirits, and even this lower earth, have also many millions of saints, prepared here for the things above, we have no more reason to judge God to be unmerciful, because this lower world is so bad, than we have to judge the king unmerciful, when we look into the common gaol ; nor to judge of his government by the rogues in a gaol, but by his court, and all the subjects of his kingdom.
If God should forsake no place but hell, of all his creation, you could not grudge at him as unmerciful. And it is a very hard question whether this earth, and the air about it, be not the place of hell ; when you consider that the devils are cast down from heaven, and yet that they dwell and rule in the air, and compass the earth, and tempt the wicked, and“ work in the children of disobedience;" Ephes. ii. 1, 2. Job i. 2 Tim. ii. 26. And that Satan is called, the God and “prince of this world;" John xii. 31, xiv. 30. xvi. 11. 2 Cor. iv. 4. Ephes. vi. 12.
But if it be not the place of final execution, it is the
place where they are kept in prison till the Great Assizes, and where they are reserved in chains of darkness, to the judgment of the great day, and where they are tormented before the time; 2 Pet. ii. 4. Jude 6. Matt. viii. 29.
Look then from this dungeon, to the glorious incomprehensible mansions of the holy ones ; and judge by them and not by this prison, of the goodness and infinite benignity of God. And if he will give so many obstinate despisers of his grace, a place with those devils that did seduce and rule them, think not God to be therefore unmerciful; but behold his mercy in the innumerable vessels of honour and mercy, that shall possess the higher mansions for ever.
How to live by Faith in the Love of one another, against
Direct. 1. •Let faith first employ you in the knowledge of God: and when you know him who is love itself, you will best learn of him to love. You will see that that is best, which is most like unto God; and that is worst, which is most unlike him. And when you consider how universally, though variously, he loveth his creatures, and how he expresseth it, and how he loveth benevolently, because he is good, and loveth complacentially, because also the thing is good which he loveth, you will learn the art of love from God; Rom. ix. 13. Deut. iv.37. vii. 8. xxiii. 5. xxxiii. 3. 1 John iii. 16, 17. iv. 7.9. 11, 12. 19-21.
Direct. 2. 'Study Jesus Christ aright, and you will also learn to love him.' There you will see self-denying Love; which stooped to earth, to reproach, to sufferings, to labours, to death, and spared not life or any thing to do good. It is the chief lesson which you go to school to Christ to learn: and it is as proper to go to him to learn to love, as it is to go to the sun for light; Rom. v. 8. John xiii. 34. 1 Thess. iv. 9. John xi. 5. 36. xiii. 1. xv. 9. Ephes. v. 2. 25. John xv. 12.
Direct. 3. “Know God in his works and image, and then you will see him in his natural image, in all men as rational, and in his moral image in all his saints; and then you will
see what to love, and why. He that cannot see God in a glass in this world, cannot see him at all, and cannot love him. Remember that it is in his servants and creatures, that he exposeth himself to be seen, and known, and loved; 1 John ii. 10. iii. 10. 14. iv. 7, 8, 20, 21. v. 1. Matt. xxv. 40.
Direct. 4. · Abhor that proud malignant censoriousness, which is apt to make the worst of others, and to deny, and extenuate, and overlook God's graces in them (as the devil did by Job): and which can see no goodness in them that are not eminently good.' For this is but the devil's artifice, to kill men's love to one another. Though he pretend the honour of godliness, and the hatred of sin, when he telleth you,
,-such an one is an hypocrite, and such an one hath nothing but a form, and no power of godliness; I can see nothing of God in him; alas, they are poor carnal people : all is but to destroy your love. And thus he mightily prospereth in the malignant spirit of separation; by which he can make you unchurch whole churches, and unchristian whole towns and parishes, and all because that you that are strangers to them, see not their godliness, or hear of nothing eminent in them. But the world of dividers will take no warning, any more than the world of the profane. Satan doth deceive them all.
Direct. 5. • Abhor therefore the sin of backbiting and evil-speaking; and when you hear a malignant censurer thus unchristian and unchurch men without proof, behind their backs, if gentler reproofs will not serve the turn, frown them away,
say, L “ Get thee behind me Satan." The accuser of the brethren and the spirit of hatred, maketh it his work in the world to destroy men's love to one another; and he hath no such way to do it, as by making them seem unlovely to one another : and he that persuadeth me that my neighbour is not good, persuadeth me that he is not lovely, and so persuadeth me from loving him; Prov. xxv. 23. Rom. i. 30. Psal. xv. 3. 2 Cor. xii. 20. Rom. xiv. 3, 4. 10. 13. James iv. 11, 12. Matt. vii. 1, 2. 1 Cor. iv. 5.
Direct. 6. 'Above all, seek to mortify selfishness, which is the great enemy of love to God and man.' A selfish man can faithfully love none but himself; for he loveth all others but for himself; his own opinions, interests and ends, are the disposers of his love. Therefore he never heartily loveth