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CHAP. or Office for publick Religion; whilft by InfinXVII. cerity and Hypocrify they blufh not to defile the Honour and Name of Gent. in occafionally mixing with Chriftian Prayers recommended to Heaven in the Name of the Mediator, and partaking of Sacraments built upon him, in order to grasp the Civil Offices in Chriftian Countries. One thing we are very fure of, that they are fincere in their Enmity, and therefore safe from their Flattery.
BUT notwithstanding the Beam in their Eye, should they truly hit at a Mote in ours, it would be the greatest Prudence to pull it out immediately, and take away Occafion from them that. feek it; we very well know the great Profit that is to be made of an Enemy and his Scurrility, according to the Advice of Plutarch, but more especially the fuffering Precedents and Patterns from that Treatment in Christian Annals, making us the more circumfpect to attain, and not fall short in some eminent Degree of the Religion of the End, whilft we ourselves are entrusted by God, and Man to accomplish, by our continual Befeecbings in Christ's ftead, the fame End in others, thro' our intent Miniftration of his Reafons, his Means, his Aids, his Motives to the furtherance of the fame; confidering that well known Maxim, Malus Sacerdos de Sacerdotio fuo crimen acquirit, non Dignitatem.
THE Author of Characteristicks, if he was not fo whimfically conceited* in his Mistakes about the Nturre of Things, might have known when he wrote his Advice to an Author, that the Use
* An Epithet given him by Philaleth. Lipfienf
and Neceffity of publick Preaching arofe from CHAP.
Now feeing this Knowledge of ourselves, and Examination of our State, by the Tendency of our Thoughts and Actions, and the Correction and Amendment of what is amifs, is fo gene
Charact. Vol. I. pag. 170.
+ Ibid. pag. 171.
Ibid. pag. 185.
CHAP. rally neglected, as his Advice fuppofes; inftead XVII. of fuperfeding, as he intended*, this helps to establish an Order of Preachers, and to recommend their useful Service.
FOR are they not incumbent upon that very thing in Publick, to bring Men to know, and inspect themselves, by the Help of that true Knowledge which came down from Heaven, to give them the true Infight and Emendation of themselves, as deriving from the fame Source whence came the Frame and Fabrick of their Being? And do they not in the domeftick Prefence of God, and Chrift, hold out that recognizing edifying Mirrour to the Face of the Congregation, that every one by the Reflection may fee himself for himself (not his Neighbour) what manner of Perfon he is; and instruct, reprove, correct, according to the Tenor and Directions of the fame; that every one giving their conftant Attendance, may be thoroughly furnish'd to all good Works? And do they not moreover befeech Men in Christ's ftead, the great Teacher of all Righteoufnefs, both of the Religion of the End, and of the Means; who open'd the Way to the Favour of God, and came down from Heaven to establish all the efficacious Means for furely conducting all Believers thither, to be reconciled to God and to their own Happiness; and conftantly pursue that End, in the conftant ufe of the appointed Means? Do they not labour in that very Thing, in befeeching Men in the Bowels of Love to be reconciled to God; and, as they are adopted, to become therefore obedient Children in Chrift. Thus faith the Lord, and thus echo his Labourers, have I not
* Charact. Vol. I. pag. 167, 174.
pray'd you as a Father his Sons, as a Mother her CHA P. Daughters, and a Nurfe ber Babes, that young would be my People, as I am your God, that e fhould be my Children, and I be your Father, 2 Efd. i. 28. And do they not labour in distin'guishing, directing, and applying the Means, to the accomplishing the Ends? And fhew the Sophiftry of the deluding Pleasures, Honours, Profits of this World; the Deceitfulness of Sin; the Devices of Satan; the Honefty and Simplicity of Virtue; the Integrity of fearing and loving God, and keeping his Commandments; and of believing likewife in the Mediator, and honouring him; and of doing no despite to the Spirit of Grace, but concur with his Affiftance; and faithfully perfevere to refpect those as the faithful true Friends of their infallible Happiness, pointing out to Chriftians fojourning in this World all the true Pleasures, Honours, Profits of it; and immensely greater in that which is to come?
AND if, in the nature of things, and fucceffive Experience of the World, there will always be moft need of improving and encouraging that second Degree of Wisdom, of following good Advice, which is to fupply in the Conduct of Men the (generally abfent) first Degree of Wisdom of doing always what is right and good of oneself; and if there will always be Ignorance of faving Truth and religious Obligation in the growing Generation; Miftakes about Religion in very many; Heedleffness of the great concern in multitudes; and Forgetfulness of duty in all, even the most knowing, even in Proteftant Countries; and that will continue as long as Chriftians are Men, incumber'd with Body, diverted with the
CHAP. Hurry of fecular care, and entangled with the XVII. Love, the deceitful Charms of falfe Happiness in their Pursuit of earthly Things, befides various other Hindrances of Religion; and as long as Men have, by Nature, an Appetite for, and a Relish to fome Spice of Novelty, in the En-* joyment of the most fubftantial Things that belongs to their Suftenance; I mean also of old falutary Truths, under new Lights and Reprefentations making their Addrefs in the varying Language of every Age; fo long the Neceffity of publick Preaching will continue from Generation to Generation, in the Chriftian World. If a Deuteronomy in the Mofaick Law, and a second Epiftle of an Apoftle (2 Pet. i.) were neceffary for explaining, and putting in Remembrance thofe things already known to Chriftians, in the Truth whereof they are already establish'd; the Rehearfal of thofe Scriptures, and upon that Rehearsal, bringing known Truths prefent to the Mind, explaining, enforcing, and befeeching according to Times. and Seafons, Needs and Occafions, will be perpetually neceffary to the Coming of Chrift; and this doing the Work of an Evangelift, and making full Proof of the Ministry, neceffarily requiring regular Appointment of, and Subordination in the fame, will likewise in every Country, more or lefs, continue different Orders, Degrees, and Dignities. If they are not now the fupporting Pillars of Truth, in the Houfhold of Faith and Building of God, they are at least the Pilafters of it, both Useful, and Ornamental.
I CONCLUDE this. this Head, with applicable Paffages out of the learned Dean Prideaux. As the Jews had their Synagogues in