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sing the Principal Mysteries revealed in the Gospel. For, is the Scriptures be True, those who do not stedfastly Believe them, will never be received into the Mansions of the Blessed.
Is it not therefore Necessary for every man to consider Seriously and Impartially, whether he does not retain the fame Good Opinion of Perverse and Professed Hereticks and Unbelievers, as if they were not Chargeable with Heresy or Infidelity, notwithstanding that such an Opinion of Them is plainly Inconsistent with the Love of God? Whether he does not Allow Them an intire Liberty of Conversing with him, and take pleasure in their Conversation, and that without the least Expectation orDesign ofReclaiming them, notwithstanding the Appointment of the Holy Spirk, that such persons should be * RejeBed; notwithstanding that the fame Holy Spirit hath given us this Direction, •f If there come any unto you, and bring not this DoBrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God
• Tit. iii, 10. \ 2 John. 10, n.
speed SERMON IV. ir?
speed. For he that bid deth him God speed, is partaker of his evil deeds; and notwithstanding that the Love of the Truth cannot Consist with taking Delight in the Open Adversaries of it? Whether he does not by his Encouragement ofThem, in any wife Embolden them to Persist in their Errors, and by Consequence contribute to their Destruction? Whether by that Encouragement he does not Advance their Reputation and Esteem, and by so doing plainly render them More Capable of spreading their Pernicious Doctrines, and of Seducing their Brethren? And, whether his being, in the least, Instrumental to the Propagation of Damnable Heresies amongst his Brethren* whereby they may bring upon themselves
.swift destruction, be not a Plain and most Dangerous Violation of Charity?
But in all Other cases, where a Good Opinion of our Neighbours is not thus Necessarily Precluded, it becomes a Necessary Part of Charity. If they are not Undeniably and Notoriously Immoral, or Unbelievers, we must not Indulge Jealousies or Suspicions that they are so; for
N Charity Charity thinkethno Evil: And where Mens Abominations are not Manifest and cannot be hid, the Rule is, In lowliness of Mind, let each efieem other better than themselves. And if mens Esteem of their Neighbour were but Equal to the Esteem they Commonly have of Themselves, he might very well depend upon their Good Opinion of him; upon their setting the Highest value on his Good Qualities and Actions; upon their pasting the most Favourable and Kind construction on those Parts of his Behaviour, which do not appear in-the Fairest Light; and, upon their making the utmost Allowance for his Miscarriages and Infirmities: All which is their Indispensable Duty.
To such Good Opinion of our Neigh • bour Charity requires that we should Add an Abhorrence of Injuring or Offending him, and an Easiness and Cheerfulness in Forgiving His Offences against us; A Gentle and Soft, a Condescending and Endearing Deportment towards him; A Sense of Satisfaction and Joy, on account of every thing, that is to him Satisfactory and Joyful; A Com1 passionate SERMON IV. 't?9
passionate Regard to him in all his Sufferings, and Studious endeavours to Remove them; Fidelity and Amity, in Reproving him for his Vices and in Exhorting him to Virtue, in Correcting his Mistakes, and Supplying the Defects of his Knowledge; Earnest Desires and Constant Labours, to Secure his Right and Redress his Wrongs, to Guard him from the Mischiefs of Calumny and to Advance his Just Character, to Sup^ port him in his Difficulties and to Relieve his Wants; and, A Readiness and Delight in Contributing, by all possible methods, to his Happiness in This and a Future State. Thus may we Testify, that we are Adorned with Charity; A Grace Superiour even unto Faith and Hope; And, in what RespeBs it is so, I shall proceed in the 'II. Second place Briefly to represent. It hath been observed, that in some Texts of Scripture, Faith denotes and implies the Intire Condition of Salvation; And there can be no Comparison, but that osEquals, betwixt True Charity and Faiths in This acceptation of it. But when N i Faith Faith is taken Strictly, in either of the other Two Significations of it, the Reasons of giving Charity the Preference to it -are very Plain.
Though a firm Assent to the Truths Revealed in the Scripture be Necessary, yet it is not Sufficient to the Attainment of Life. Those Qualifications which are Necessarily required in a Believer, do not Necessarily flow from his Belies. Faith affects a mans Understanding alone; Charity Corrects and Governs his Will and AffeBions: He may Possibly yield the most stedfast Assent to the Scriptures, without Conforming his Life unto them; But Charity renders him Conformable to the Will of God, and Useful to Men, and fills up the Measure of his Duty to Both. Faith is the Ground of all his Acceptable Obedience; Charity is the Completion of it. The Immediate advantages of a man's Assent to the Scriptures do Terminate in Himself; The Benefits of his Charity do extend to all Other men, who are within the reach of his Beneficial Influence. Faith may be found without Any Good Works at all; But Every Good