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S E R M O N - XXII.
and will soon be Published,
Never before PRINTED.
By BENJAMIN, Lord Bishop of Winchester.
which the Christian Religion bath been made
Preached at St. Swithin's Church, in 1702.
St. MATTHEW X. 34.
I came not to send peace, but a sword.
I tell you, Nay, but rather Division.
- You may
HE full meaning of these Words, SERM. (spoken by our Lord to his
Lord to his Apostles, when he was giving them Commission to preach his Religion to the World) we Thall find to be this; if we consider the foregoing, and following Verses.
imagine, perhaps, that the Excellence of my Religion, and the Evidence that accom
panies it, will effectually recommend it to “ the Understanding, and the Affections of " Mankind; that the Humility, and Meek
SERM.“ ness, which it commands, will influence
" the World; and that such an Institution
as this will breath Peace, and an univer“ fal Calmness, into the Minds of Men. But " it will not be fo. How excellent foever “ it is in it felf; how much Evidence foever
accompanies it; it will not be received as
you would expect: nor will it effectually “ contribute to the Peace and Quiet of the “ World; though it tends very much in its « own Nature to do so. Nay, This very
Religion, which I came into the World to
plant and propagate, (I foresee, and fore-
Nation, of the fame Blood, of the same
Family; amongst Men who have the Ties “ of Nature, Friendship, Alliance, Interest, “ to make them good, kind, and beneficent, " to one another. Think not that I am come " to send Peace on earth, that is, Think not “ that the Consequence of my coming into “ the World, and preaching a new Religion " in it, will be this, that Men will fincerely
“ .embrace it; or that it will tame the Paffi- SÉRM. "ons of those who shall pretend to embrace “ it; or that the World will follow the Pre
cepts of Humanity and good Nature, laid “ down in it. No, I came not to send Peace, “ but a Sword, that is, The consequence of
my coming into the World, and promul"gating this Religion, will not be Peace on
Earth, and Good-will amongst Men : but this
very Religion, this holy and peaceable In“ stitution, will (through the Perverseness of
Mankind) be often made a Cover and « Pretence for the greatest Barbarities; and “ often prove the Occasion of Disorder, and “ Passion, and Malice, and Violence, and of “ all the Evils you can imagine.”
We must observe, that our Lord, in the Text, doth not speak of his Design in coming into the World: for it is very plain that He came with design to send Peace and good Nature upon Earth ; and to plant the noblest and most extensive Charity in the Hearts of Men. But he speaks of a most unhappy Consequence of his appearing, and instituting his Religion: that it should be turned, by the Contrivances of the Wicked part of God's Creatures, to very bad Purposes, and ill Uses; to the Disturbance of that World, which it was designed to com
SER M. pose and make happy. And because much
of this hath been seen in all Ages, and all Nations, in which the Sound of the Gospel hath been heard; and a great deal of it is still to be seen in our own Age and Nation; and because many have been offended at Christ, and his Doctrine, on this unhappy Account, and have blamed Christianity for the sake of this, which it hath unwillingly been the Occasion of: therefore, it
be proper and useful to make some Observations upon this Subject. And what I design upon it, is,
I. To observe the Truth of what was here predicted by our Lord: that Christianity hath been made the Occasion of much Disturbance; and of many fatal Divisions, Hatreds, and Persecutions, in the World.
II. To vindicate Christianity from the Guilt and Blame of this Unhappiness.
III. To consider whence it hath proceded.
IV. To make some proper Observations, and draw some useful Inferences, from what I shall have said
this Subject. I. I shall observe the Truth of what is here predicted by our Lord: that the Christian Religion hath been made the Occasion of much Disturbance; of many fad Divisions, Hatreds, and Persecutions in the World.