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have diseases and distempers, he seeketh in tenderness to cure them, and not in wrath to hurt or vex them. He turneth not the infants or sick persons from the family, because they cry, or are unquiet, unclean, infirm, and troublesome; but he exerciseth his love and pity upon their weaknesses. If they mistake their way, or are ignorant, and peevish, and froward in their mistakes, he seeketh not to undo them, but gently to reduce them. If they censure him, and call him erroneous, heretical, antichristian, idolatrous, because he concurreth not with them in their mistakes, he beareth it with love and patience, as he would do the peevish chidings of a child, or the frowardness of the sick. He doth not lose his charity, and set his wit against a child, and aggravate the crimes, and being reviled revile again; and say, 'You are schismatics, hypocrites, obstinate, and fit to be severely dealt with.' But he overcometh them with love and patience, which is the conquest of a saint, and the happiest victory both for himself and them. It is a "small matter to him to be judged of man;" 1 Cor. iv. 3, 4. He is more troubled for the weakness and disease of the censorious, than for his own being wronged by their censures; Phil. i. 16-18. Rom. xv. 1-3. xiv. 2, 3.

2. But the weak Christian is more ready to censure others, than patiently to bear a censure himself. Either he stormeth against the censurers, as if they did him some unsuffer able wrong (through the over-great esteem of himself and his reputation), or else, to escape the fangs of censure, and keep up his repute with them, he complieth with the censorious, and overruns his judgment and conscience to be wellspoken of, and counted a sincere and steadfast man; Gal. ii. 12-14.

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3. But the seeming Christian is so proud and selfish, and wanteth charity and tenderness to the weak, that he is impatient of their provocations; and would cure the diseases of the servants of Christ, by cutting their throats, or ridding the country of them. If a child do but wrangle with with him, he crieth, Away with him, he is a troubler of the world.' He taketh more notice of one of their infirmities, than of all their graces; yea, he can see nothing but obstinacy and hypocrisy in them, if they do but cross him in his opinions, or reputation, or worldly ends. Selfishness can turn his hypocrisy into malignity and cruelty, if once he

take them to be against his interest. Indeed his interest can make him patient: he can bear with them that he looketh to gain by, but not with them that seem to be against him. The radical enmity against sincerity, that was not mortified, but covered in his heart, will easily be again uncovered; Mark vi. 18.20-22. Phil. i. 15, 16. 3 John 9.

LII. 1. A Christian indeed is a great esteemer of the unity of the church, and greatly averse to all divisions among believers. As there is in the natural body an abhorring of dismembering or separating any part from the whole; so there is in the mystical body of Christ. The members that have life, cannot but feel the smart of any distempering attempt; for abscission is destruction: the members die that are separated from the body. And if there be but any obstruction or hindrance of communion, they will be painful or unuseful. He feeleth in himself the reason of all those strict commands, and earnest exhortations: "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind, and in the same judgment;" 1 Cor. i. 10. "If there be any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through strife or vain-glory; but in lowliness of mind, let each esteem other better than themselves. Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others;" Phil. ii. 1—4. "I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace. There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. But unto every one of us is given grace, according to the measure of the gift of Christ:" Ephes. iv. 2-7. Read also chap. iv. 12--16. 1 Cor. xii. throughout. He looketh at uncharitablenes, and divisions, with more abhorrence than weak Christians do at drunkenness or whoredom, or such other heinous sin. He

feareth such dreadful warnings, as Acts xx. 29, 30." For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your ownselves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them." And he cannot slight such a vehement exhortation, as Rom. xvi. 17, 18. "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences, contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned, and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by good words, and fair speeches, deceive the hearts of the simple." Therefore he is so far from being a divider himself, that when he seeth any one making divisions among Christians, he looketh on him as one that is slashing and mangling the body of his dearest friend, or as one that is setting fire on his house, and therefore doth all that he can to quench it; as knowing the confusion and calamity to which it tendeth. He is of a Christian, and therefore of a truly catholic spirit; that is, he maketh not himself a member of a divided party, or a sect; he regardeth the interest and welfare of the body, the universal church, above the interest or prosperity of any party whatsoever; and he will do nothing for a party which is injurious to the whole, or to the Christian cause. The very names of sects and parties are displeasing to him; and he could wish that there were no name but that of Christians among us, save only the necessary names of the criminal, such as that of the Nicolaitans; Rev. ii. 6. 15. By which those that are to be avoided by Christians must be known. Christianity is confined to so narrow a compass in the world, that he is unwilling to contract it yet into a narrower. The greatest party of divided Christians, whether it be the Greeks or Papists, is too small a body for him to take for the catholic, or universal church. He admireth at the blindness and cruelty of faction, that can make men damn all the rest of the church for the interest of their proper sect; and take all those as no Christians that are better Christians than themselves. Especially the Papists, who unchurch all the church of Christ, except their sect, and make it as necessary to salvation to be a subject of the pope, as to be a Christian. And when, by their great corruption and abuses of Christianity, they have more need of charitable censures themselves than almost any sort of Christians, yet are they

the boldest condemners of all others.

The confirmed Chris

tian can difference between the strong and weak, the sound and unsound members of the church, without dismembering any, and without unwarrantable separations from any. He will worship God in the purest manner he can, and locally join with those assemblies, where, all things considered, he may most honour God, and receive most edification; and will not sin for communion with any. He will sufficiently difference between a holy, orderly assembly, and a corrupt, disordered one; and between an able, faithful pastor, and an ignorant or worldly hireling. And he desireth that the pastors of the church may make that due separation by the holy discipline of Christ, which may prevent the people's disorderly separation. But for all this, he will not deny his presence upon just occasion, to any Christian congregation that worshippeth God in truth, though with many modal imperfections, so be it, they impose no sin upon him as necessary to his communion with them. Nor will he deny the spiritual communion of faith and love to those that he holdeth not local communion with. He knows that all our worship of God is sinfully imperfect, and that it is a dividing principle to hold, that we may join with none that worship God in a faulty manner; for then we must join with none on earth. He knoweth that his presence in the worship of God, is no sign of his approbation of all the failings of pastors or people, in their personal or modal imperfections, as long as he joineth not in a worship so corrupt as to be itself unacceptable to God. While men who are all imperfect and corrupt, are the worshippers, the manner of their worship will be such as they, in some degree, imperfect and corrupt. The solid Christian hath his eye upon all the churches in the world, in the determining of such questions; he considereth what worship is offered to God in the churches of the several parties of Christians, the Greeks, Armenians, Abassines, Lutherans, &c. as well as what is done in the country where he liveth; and he considereth whether God disown and reject the worship of almost all the churches in the world, or not; for he dare no further reject them than God rejecteth them. Nor will he voluntarily separate from those assemblies where the presence of Christ, in his Spirit and acceptance, yet remaineth. And his fuller acquaintance with the gracious nature, office, and tenderness of

Christ, together with greater love to his brethren, doth cause him in this to judge more gently than young censorious Christians do. And his humble acquaintance with his own infirmities, maketh him the more compassionate to others. If he should think that God would reject all that order not, and word, not their prayers aright, he would be afraid of being rejected himself, who is still conscious of greater faultiness in his own prayers, than a mere defect in words and order; even of a great defectiveness in that faith, and desire, and love, and zeal, and reverence which should be manifested in prayer. Though he be more apprehensive than others, of the excellency and necessity of the holiness and spirituality of the soul in worship; yet withal he is more judicious and charitable than the peevish and passionate infant Christians, who think that God doth judge as they do, and seeth no grace where they see none; and taketh all to be superstitious or fanatical, that differ from their opinions or manner of worship; or that he is as ready to call every error, in the method or the words of prayer, idolatry or will-worship, as those are that speak not what they know, but what they have heard some teachers whom they reverence, say before them. "He that dwelleth in love, doth dwell in God, and God in him." And he that dwelleth in God, is liker to be best acquainted with his mind, concerning his children and his worship, than he that dwelleth in wrath, and pride, and partiality.

2. But the weak Christian (though so far as he hath grace, he is of the same mind, and abhorreth discord and division among the flock of Christ, yet) being more dark, and selfish, and distempered, he is much more prone to unwarrantable separations and divisions than the stronger Christian is. He is narrower sighted, and looketh little further than his own acquaintance, and the country where he liveth; and mindeth not sufficiently the general state of the churches through the world, nor understandeth well the interest of Christ and Christianity in the earth. His knowledge and experience being small, his charity also is but small; and a little thing tempteth him to condemn another, and aggravate his faults, and think him unworthy of the communion of the saints. He is much more sensible of the judgment, and affections, and concernments of those few with whom he doth converse, and that are of his opinion,

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