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ports of peace which he that refuses to obey, is so SERM. far from living peaceably with all men, that he may reasonably be presumed unwilling to have peace with any man; since in a manner he defies all mankind, vilifies its most solemn judgments, endeavours to dissolve those sacred bands by which its union is contained, and to subvert the only foundations of public tranquillity. He declares himself either to affect an universal tyranny over, or an abhorrency from society with, other men, to be unwilling to live with them upon equal terms, or to submit to any fair arbitration, to desire that strifes should be endless, and controversies never decided, who declines the verdict of law, the most solemn issue of deliberate advice, proceeding from the most honourable, most wise, most worthy and select persons, and involving in it the consent of the whole commonwealth. St. Paul, directing that prayers should be made for princes and those in authority, assigns the reason, that we may 1 Tim. ii. 2. lead a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty and certainly if we are to pray for, we are also obliged to obey them in order to the same end, which to do is absolutely in our power, and more immediately requisite to that purpose. For as no peace can be preserved without the influence of authority; so no authority can subsist without obedience to its sanctions. He that is desirous to enjoy the privileges of this happy estate of peace, must in reason be content to perform the duties enjoined, and bear the common burdens imposed by those who are the protectors of it.
Thus, as plainly as I could, have I described what it is to live peaceably, and what the means are that principally conduce thereto : I should now proceed
SERM. to consider the object of the duty, and the reasons XXIX. why it respects all men; as also whence it comes,
that sometimes we may fail in our endeavour of attaining this desirable condition: and lastly, to propound some inducements persuasive of its practice. But I must not further encroach on your patience, and shall therefore reserve these things to the next opportunity.
Now the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in the knowledge and love of God, and of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord; and the blessing of God Almighty, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, be among you, and remain with you always. Amen.
OF A PEACEABLE TEMPER AND CARRIAGE.
ROM. xii. 18.
If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.
I HAVE very lately considered what it is to live peaceably, and what are the duties included therein; XXX. and what means conduce thereto.
II. I proceed now to consider the object thereof, and why the duty of living peaceably extends to all men, that is, why we are bound to bear good-will, and do good offices, and shew civil respects to all men; and to endeavour that all men reciprocally be well-affected toward us. For it might with some colour of reason be objected, and said, Why should I be obliged heartily to love those, that desperately hate me; to treat them kindly, that use me despitefully; to help them, that would hinder me; to relieve them, that would plunge me into utter distress; to comfort them, that delight in my affliction; to be respective to, and tender of, their reputation, who despise, defame, and reproach me; to be indulgent and favourable to them, who are harsh and rigorous in their dealings with me; to spare and pardon them, who with implacable malice persecute me? Why should I seek their friendship, who disdainfully reject
SERM. mine? why prize their favour, who scorn mine? why XXX. strive to please them, who purposely offend me? Or
why should I have any regard to men, void of all faith, goodness, or desert? And most of all, why should I be bound to maintain amicable correspondence with those, who are professed enemies to piety and virtue, who oppugn truth, and disturb peace, and countenance vice, error, and faction? How can any love, consent of mind, or communion of good offices, intercede between persons so contrarily disposed? I answer, they may, and ought, and that because the obligation to these ordinary performances is not grounded upon any peculiar respects, special qualifications, or singular actions of men, (which are contingent and variable,) but upon the indefectible score of common humanity. We owe them (as the philosopher alleged, when he dispensed his alms to an unworthy person) οὐ τῷ ἀνθρώπῳ, ἀλλὰ To avoρwivw not to the men, but to human nature resident in them. There be indeed divers other sorts of love, in nature and object more restrained, built upon narrower foundations, and requiring more extraordinary acts of duty and respect, not competent to all men; as a love of friendship, founded upon long acquaintance, suitableness of disposition, and frequent exchanges of mutual kindness; a love of gratitude, due to the reception of valuable benefits; a love of esteem, belonging to persons endued with worth and virtue; a love of relation, resulting from kindred, affinity, neighbourhood, and other common engagements. But the love of benevolence, (which is precedent to these, and more deeply rooted in nature, more ancient, more unconfined, and more immutable,) and the duties mentioned consequent on
it, are grounded upon the natural constitution, ne- SERM. cessary properties, and unalterable condition of humanity, and are upon several accounts due thereto. 1. Upon account of universal cognation, agreement, and similitude of nature. For oikeiov άñas ävθρωπος ἀνθρώπῳ καὶ φίλον· All men naturally are of kin and friends to each other, saith Aristotle. Et 8. Eth. cap. \ fratres etiam vestri sumus jure naturæ matris
unius; We are also your brethren in the right of nature, our common mother, saith Tertullian of old, In Apolog. in the name of the Christians to the heathens. We are but several streams issuing from one primitive source; several branches sprouting from the same stock; several stones hewed out of the same quarry : one substance, by miraculous efficacy of the divine benediction diffused and multiplied. One element affords us matter, and one fire actuates it, kindled at first by the breath of God. One blood flows in all Acts xvii. our veins; one nourishment repairs our decayed bodies, and one common air refreshes our languishing spirits. We are cohabitants of the same earth, and fellow-citizens of the same great commonwealth; Unam remp. omnium agnoscimus mundum, said the fore-mentioned apologist for Christianity. We were all fashioned according to the same original idea, (resembling God our common Father,) all endowed with the same faculties, inclinations, and affections; all conspire in the essential and more
1 ̓Ανδράποδον οὐκ ἀνέξῃ τοῦ ἀδελφοῦ τοῦ σαυτοῦ ὃς ἔχει τὸν Δία πρόγονον· ὥσπερ υἱὸς ἐκ τῶν αὐτῶν σπερμάτων γέγονε, καὶ τῆς αὐτῆς ἄνωθεν καταBas, &c. Epict. i. 13.
Nemo est in genere humano, cui non dilectio, etsi non pro mutua charitate,pro ipsa tamen communis naturæ societate debeatur. Aug. Ep. 121. ad Probam.