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Preached at the Church of St. Peter's Poor, on
the publick Fast-day, 1709.
ACTs vii. latter Part of Ver. 26.
Sirs, ye are Brethren, why do ye Wrong One to
HESE are the Words of Moses, by which he endeavoured to reconcile
two of his Brethren, of the Children of Israel, who were quarrelling and striving with one another. This was not the first Instance he had given them of his Regard to their true and real Interest; and of his Readiness to do his Nation the greatest Service he was capable of doing: for it was but the Day before that he had defended one of his Brethren against the Insults and Violence of a barbarous Egyptian, and delivered him out of his Hands;
by by this means giving them a Presage of that great s ERM. Deliverance which God would, e're long, bring XXI. about by Him. But Mofes, whilst he hoped they would immediately close with this friendly Design, and unanimously accept of his Advice and Proposals, met with the common Fate of almost all who pretend either to be Deliverers. of the Oppressed, or Reconcilers of the contending and quarrelling Parts of Mankind. For . the Israelites, though they were of the same Nation and Family, linked together by the Ties of the fame Religion and Profession, involved in the same common Slavery, Fellowsufferers in the same Barbarities and Cruelties, and surrounded by the same common Enemies ; yet, could not only find Time to abuse, and quarrel with, one another, but affronted and abused their best Friend and Adviser, only because he persuaded them to a mutual Love. and Concord; and to avoid those intestine, Dissensions and Quarrels which would inevitably weaken their common Interest, and obfruct all Hopes of their future Prosperity. Indeed, we do not read that, after he had completed their Deliverance, and was taken from, them, there were any amongst them so insensible of the Benefits he had conferred upon them, as to pursue his Memory with Affronts. and Indignities. Such Ingratitude was reserv,
SERM. ed for later Times. As to Moses ; after His
XXI. Death we hear of Nothing but the Celebramtion of his Praises, the most grateful Ac
knowledgments imaginable offered at every Remembrance of Him, and all but Divine Honours paid to his Name. But, as I obferved, whilst he lived amongst them, they treated him ungratefully upon every Occasion : And here, at the Beginning of his Regard to them, and whilst he was preparing them, by his good Advice, for Freedom and Happiness, the Person whom he would have persuaded to Justice and Peace, instead of thanking him for his good Offices, endeavoured to touch even his Life,
There is something in this so applicable to Ourselves, that I could not but think it proper
and seasonable for us to spend some of our serious Thoughts upon this Expoftulation of Mofes in the Text. We are divided and tor'n to pieces, by our mutual Hatreds, and inteltine Heats, by our íhameful Divisions and unchristian Tempers: Few amongst Us care to hear of Love and Friendship; but will even revile the Man that but speaks to them of Peace: whilst in the mean while all acknow. ledge that it is the want of this mutual Love, and the Hatred which flourishes in the room of it, to which we shall owe our common Ru
ine, whenever it comes upon us.
What can S ERM. one think, but that there must be a secret In- XXI. fatuation from above, upon the Minds of m Men; a fatal Blindness, to which God has given us over, when we see so much Danger from our own Animosities and Heats, and have not the Heart to consult our own Security; when we read and hear of so
Nations and Commonwealths, destroyed and laid waste by mutual Hatreds and intestine Quarrels, and yet cherish the fame Evils amongst Ourfelves, which we are sensible have haftened the Ruine of so many Nations before us? In these deplorable Circumstances no good Man, who has the least Concern for the common Welfare, can hinder his Thoughts from running out upon all the possible Methods of putting a stop to this growing Evil, and preventing the fatal and natural Consequences of it.
In speaking upon this Subject it is not my Design, at prefent, to observe what Advances might be made towards accommodating our Differences, by Perfons in the highest Stations : for I am sensible to how little purpose that might be, at this Time, and in this place. But I shall endeavour to offer such Observations and Considerations as concern every private Christian, and come within the reach of every
F f 4
SER M. Member of the Commonwealth, and that in XXI. this following Method.
First, I shall fhew what is the Duty of every Christian in those Differences, which thus distract Us.
Secondly, What are the great Hindrances to that Brotherly Love, and mutual Friendship and Agreement, which are so very necessary. And,
Thirdly, I shall urge the great and weighty Motives we have, at this Time, to pursue Peace, and Union, amongst Ourselves.
I. Let us examine what is the Duty of every Christian in those Differences which thus diftract us. And this I think
comprehended in two Particulars
First, It is the Part of every good Man to endeavour, by all the Methods of Christianity, to reconcile the contending Parties in the World; and, in the Spirit of Meekness, to convince the Judgments of those whom he imagines to be in any material Error.
material Error. No Peace or Union can be so lasting, as that which is the Confequence of Men's being of one Mind, and of one Heart; of the fame Opinions, and of the fame Sentiments, in Matters of
Concern. There is something in Human Nature which