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SERM. as would violently or fraudulently encroach upon XXX. them. Nor are we in the administration of justice, distribution of rewards, or arbitration of controversies, to respect the particular favour of any, but the merits only of the cause, or the worth of the persons concerned. Nor are we by feeding men's distempered humours, or gratifying their abused fancies, to prejudice or neglect their real good; to encourage them in bad practices, to foment their irregular passions, to applaud their unjust or uncharitable censures, or to puff up their minds with vain conceit by servile flattery: but rather, like faithful physicians, to administer wholesome, though unsavoury advice; to reveal to them their mistakes, to check their intended progress in bad courses, to reprove their faults seasonably, and when it may probably do them good, though possibly thereby we may provoke their anger and procure their ill-will, Gal. iv. 16. and, as St. Paul saith, become their enemies, for telling them the truth. Nor are we ever explicitly to assent to falsehoods, (so apprehended by us,) to belie our consciences, or contradict our real judgments; (though we may sometimes for peace sake prudently conceal them ;) nor to deny the truth our defence and patronage, when in order to some good purpose it needs and requires them, though thereby we may incur the dislike, and forfeit the good-will of some men. Nor are we by entertaining any extraordinary friendship, intimate familiarity, or frequent converse with persons notoriously dissolute in their manners, disorderly in their behaviour, or erroneous in weighty points of opinion, to countenance their misdemeanours, dishonour our profession, render ourselves justly suspected, run the hazard of
contagion, or hinder their reformation. And espe- SERM. cially we are warily to decline the particular acquaintance of men of contentious dispositions, mischievous principles, and factious designs; a bare keeping company with whom looks like a conspiracy, an approving or abetting their proceedings; the refusing any encouragement, signification of esteem, or vouchsafing any peculiar respect to such, we owe to the honour of virtue, which they disgrace, to the love of truth, which they oppugn, to the peace of the world, which they disturb, and to the general good of mankind, which they impeach. And so St. Paul warns us not to mingle or consort, not to diet or common (μὴ συναναμίγνυσθαι, and μὴ 1 Cor. v.1. σVVEσiew) with men of a dissolute and disorderly περίπο conversation: and, to mark them which cause sedi- Rom. xvi. tions, and scandals, contrary to Christian doc- Tit. iii. 10. trine, and to shun or decline them, (EKKλveiv åπt' (ἐκκλίνειν ἀπ ̓ avtav,) and to repudiate, deprecate the familiarity of heretics (aipetikòv äv0pwπov пapaiтetola). And St. John 2 John 10. forbids us to wish joy, or to allow the ordinary respects of civil salutation to apostates and impostors ; lest (by such demonstration of favour) we communicate with them in their wicked works. None of which precepts are intended to interdict to us, or to disoblige us from bearing real good-will, or dispensing needful benefits to any, but to deter us from yielding any signal countenance to vice and impiety; and to excite us to declare such dislike and detestation of those heinous enormities, as may confer to the reclaiming of these, and prevent the seduction of others. So St. Paul expressly, But if 2 Thess. iii. any man obeyeth not our injunction by epistle, do not consort with him, that he may by shame be
BARROW, VOL. II.
SERM. reclaimed (iva èvтpany): and, Account him not an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. Nor ought, lastly, the love of peace, and desire of friendly correspondence with any men, avert us from an honest zeal (proportionable to our abilities and opportunities) of promoting the concernments of truth and goodness, though against powerful and dangerous opposition; I say an honest zeal, meaning thereby not that blind, heady passion, or inflammation of spirit, transporting men beyond the bounds of reason and discretion, upon some superficially plausible pretences, to violent and irregular practices; but a considerate and steady resolution of mind, effectually animating a man by warrantable and decent means vigorously to prosecute commendable designs; like that St. Jude mentions, of striving earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. For this zeal may be very consistent with, yea, greatly conducible to, the designs of peace. And 'tis not a drowsiness, a slack remissness, a heartless diffidence, or a cowardly flinching from the face of danger and opposition, we discourse about, or plead for; but a wise and wary declining the occasions of needless and unprofitable disturbance to ourselves and others.
To conclude this point, (which, if time would have permitted, I should have handled more fully and distinctly,) though to preserve peace, and purchase the good-will of men, we may and ought to quit much of our private interest and satisfaction, yet ought we not to sacrifice to them what is not our own, nor committed absolutely to our disposal, and which in value incomparably transcends them, the maintenance of truth, the advancement of justice, the practice of virtue, the quiet of our conscience, the favour of
Almighty God. And if, for being dutiful to God, SERM. and faithful to ourselves in these particulars, any men will hate, vex, and despite us; frustrate our desires, and defeat our purposes of living peaceably with all men in this world; we may comfort ourselves in the enjoyment of eternal peace and satisfaction of mind, in the assurance of the divine favour, in the hopes of eternal rest and tranquillity in the world to come.
Now briefly to induce us to the practice of this duty of living peaceably, we may consider,
1. How good and pleasant a thing it is, as David Ps. cxxxiii. saith, for brethren (and so we are all at least by nature) to live together in unity. How that, as Solomon saith, better is a dry morsel and quietness there- Prov. xvii. with, than a house full of sacrifices with strife." How delicious that conversation is, which is accompanied with a mutual confidence, freedom, courtesy, and complacence: how calm the mind, how composed the affections, how serene the countenance, how melodious the voice, how sweet the sleep, how contentful the whole life is of him, that neither deviseth mischief against others, nor suspects any to be contrived against himself; and contrariwise, how ingrateful and loathsome a thing it is to abide in a state of enmity, wrath, dissension; having the thoughts distracted with solicitous care, anxious suspicion, envious regret; the heart boiling with choler, the face overclouded with discontent, the tongue jarring and out of tune, the ears filled with discordant noises of contradiction, clamour, and reproach; the whole frame of body and soul distempered and disturbed with the worst of passions. How much more comfortable it is to walk in smooth and even paths, than to wander
SERM. in rugged ways overgrown with briers, obstructed XXX. with rubs, and beset with snares; to sail steadily in
a quiet, than to be tossed in a tempestuous sea; to behold the lovely face of heaven smiling with a cheerful serenity, than to see it frowning with clouds, or raging with storms; to hear harmonious consents, than dissonant janglings; to see objects correspondent in graceful symmetry, than lying disorderly in confused heaps; to be in health, and have the natural humours consent in moderate temper, than (as it happens in diseases) agitated with tumultuous commotions: how all senses and faculties of man unanimously rejoice in those emblems of peace, order, harmony, and proportion; yea, how nature universally delights in a quiet stability, or undisturbed progress of motion; the beauty, strength, and vigour of every thing requires a concurrence of force, cooperation, Vid. Clemn. and contribution of help; all things thrive and ad Cor. P. flourish by communicating reciprocal aid, and the
world subsists by a friendly conspiracy of its parts; and especially that political society of men chiefly aims at peace as its end, depends on it as its cause, relies on it as its support. How much a peaceful Rev. xxi. state resembles heaven, into which neither complaint, pain, nor clamour (οὔτε πένθος, οὔτε πόνος, οὔτε κραυγή, as it is in the Apocalypse) do ever enter; but blessed souls converse together in perfect love, and in perpetual concord: and how a condition of enmity represents the state of hell, that black and dismal region of dark hatred, fiery wrath, and horrible dinner of tumult. How like a paradise the world would be,
Better is a
love is, than flourishing in joy and rest, if men would cheerfully
a stalled ox
and hatred conspire in affection, and helpfully contribute to each therewith. other's content: and how like a savage wilderness