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S E R M O N - XXII.

In the PRESS,

and will soon be Published,
TWENTY SERMONS

Never before PRINTED.
The firft Nine of them Preach'd before the King in Lent.

By BENJAMIN, Lord Bishop of Winchester.

which the Christian Religion bath been made
the Occasion.

SERMON I.

Preached at St. Swithin's Church, in 1702.

St. MATTHEW X. 34.
Think not that I am come to send peace on earth:

I came not to send peace, but a sword.
Or, as it is in St. Luk E, Chap. xii. 51.
Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth?

I tell you, Nay, but rather Division.

T

1.

- 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

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ness,

I.

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-
“ warn you of it) will be made the Occa-
“ fion, and prove the Cause, of much Divi-
“ lion and Strife; of the strongest Passions,
“ Hatreds, and Animosities; nay, of the ut-
" moft Pitch of Malice and Persecution ;
" and of the greatest Barbarities, and Cruel-
“ ties: and this, amongst Men of the fame.

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

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I.

“ .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

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pose

1.

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

may

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

upon

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.

It

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