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such Reasons and Arguments for the Thing that they are to be zealous about, as will, if they be declared, satisfie and convince all other rea sonable Men, as well as themselves. For it is a ridiculous. Thing to imagine, that God at this Day, doth move or impel Men in any other way, than what is agreeable to the Reason of Mankind, and the Rule of his holy Word. And if the Man's Zeal can be justified by either of these, there is no need of vouching Inspirations for it.
Thirdly, As the Zeal which is according to Knowledge, hath a good Matter for its Object, and proceeds from a right Principle; so it is also regalar as to the Measures of it. He that hath it, is careful that it doth not exceed its due Bounds, as the Ignorant Zeal often doth; but he diftinguisheth between the several Objects he is zealous for, and allows every one of them just so great a Concernment as the Thing is worth, and no more. If the Thing be but a small Matter, he is but in a small mea. sure concerned for it : If it be of greater Moment, he believes he may be allowed to be the more earneft about it. But he looks upon it as a rash and foolish Thing, and an Effect of great Ignorance or Weakness, to be hor and eager for all Things alike. We fhould account him not many Degrees removed from a Child or an Ideot, that upon the Cut of a Finger, should as passionately complain and cry out for Help, as if he had broken a Limb. Why just the same Folly and Childishness it is, to make a mighty bustle about small Matters, which are of no Consequence, in which e peither Religion nor the Publick Peace, are
much concerned; as if indeed our Lives and Souls were in Danger. It therefore becomes all prudent and sober Men to take Care, that their Zeal do not spend itself in little Things; that they be not too passionate, and earnest, and vehement for Things that are not worth much contending for. If we lay a greater Weight upon a Cause than it will bear, and fhew as much Warmth and Passion for small Matters, as if the Fundamentals of our Faith were at Stake, we are zealous indeed, but not according to Knowledge.
Fourthly, The Zoal that is according to Knows ledge, is always attended with hearty Charity It is not that bitter Zeal which the Apostle speaks of, which is accompanied with Hatred and Envy, and perverse Disputings : But it is kind, and sociable, and meek, even to Gainsayers. It is that Wisdom which is from above; that is first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be intreated. It is a Zeal that loves God and his Truth heartily, and would do all that is possible to bring Honour and Advancement to them : But at the same Time it loveth all Men. And therefore in all Things where it expresses itself
, it purely consults the Merits of the Cause before it, but lets the Persons of Men alone. It is a certain Argument of an Ignorant and ungoverned Zeal, when a Man leaves his Cause and his Concernment for God's Glory, and turns his Heat upon those that he has to deal With; when he is peevish and angry with
Men that differ from him: When he is not contented to oppose Arguments to Arguments, and to endeavour to gain his Point by calm Reasoning ; but he flies out into Rage and Fury; and when he is once transported herewith, he cares not what undecent bitter Reflexions he makes upon all those that have the Fortune to be of a different side. But in thefe Cases Men would do well to remember, that the
Wrath of Man worketh not the Righteous. neß of God, as the Apostle expresses it. An this kind of Behaviour favours of the Wisdom of this World, which is Earthly, and Sensual, and Devilish.
Fifthly, and Lastly, Another inseparable Property of Zeal according to Knowledge is, That it must pursue lawful Ends by lawful Means; must never do an ill Thing for the carrying the best Cause. This St. Paul hath laid down as a Rule to be eternally observed among Christians, when in the Third of the Romans, he declares, that their Damnation is just, who say, Let us do Evil, that Good
may come. Be therefore our Point never so good, or never so weighty, yet if we use any dishoneft, unlawful Arts, for the gaining of it; that is to say, If we do any Thing, which is either in itself Evil, and appears to be so by the natural Notices of Mankind, or which the Laws of our Holy Religion do forbid : I say, in all such Inftances, we are Transgressors. And though our Cause be very good, and our Ends very allowable; yet since the means by which we would accomplish those Ends, are unwar
rantable, the whole Action, though proceeding from never so much Zeal for God, is
very Båd. For true Zeol, as it always supposeth a right Information of Judgment, as to the Matter of it, so likewise it supposeth, that a Man should act in honest Ways, and endeavour to attain his Ends by lawful Means.
And thus have I laid before you the Proper: ties and Characters of that Zeal which is ace cording to Knowledge, which was the Third and last Thing I proposed upon this Text; and I pray God we may always remember them whenever we have Occasion to express a Zeal for any Thing, especially in Matters of Religion. All that remains now is, to make some brief Application of my Text, with reference to the Business of the Day.
These Words, as I told you, were spoke of the Jews: But the Chara&ter here given of them; doch so well fit a fost of Men, whose fiery Zeal for God and their Religion, gave Occafion to the Solemnity of this Day; that it looks as if it were made for them. It is the Bigots of the Church of Rome that I mean; to whom we must do the famę Right that St. Paul here did his Country-men. We must bear them Record, that they have a Leal of God, but not according to Knowledge.
Zealous they are sufficiently, as the Jews were, no Body doubts of it: But as for their Zeals being according to Knowledge, there is great Reason to doubt, they are as faulty in that Point, as St. Paul's Country-men were, Indeed, if you were to draw the Comparison
between the Jewill and Popillo Zealots, as to all the several Particulars that our Saviour and St. Paul take notice of, as Instances of blind Leal in the former; you would find in all those Particulars, both their Zoals to be much of a piece, not only as to the Fervour, but as to the Blindnes of them.
Was it an Instance of Ignorant Zeal in the Jews, that they set up their Traditions to the Disparagement of the Law of God? I pray, who are those that disparage the Holy Scriptures, by setting their Traditions upon an equal Foot with them?
Were the Jews to be blamed for that they were so zealous for their old Religion, as to oppofe that Reformation of it, which our Lord Jesus endeavoured to introduce among them, because they thought it was an Innovation I pray, who are those, who, upon that
very Ground, oppose all Reformation at this Day, though yet the wifest and best Men among themlelves are sufficiently sensible, that there are great Corruptions both in their Doctrine and Worship?
Was it a Fault in the Jewish Zeal, that it placed Religion too much in Ceremonies and Formalities, in washing Cups and Platters, in tything Mint and Cummin, and the like, to the Neglect of the weightier Matters of the Law, Fuftice, and Mercy, and Faith? I pray, wherein is Image-worship, Invocation of Saints, Penantes, Pilgrimages, the Use of Reliques, Holy Wuter, &c. I say, wherein are these Things better than those ? And yet we know who