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CHA P. or Office for publick Religion; whilft by Insin-
the Honour and Name of Gent. in occasionally
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 Occasion from them that seek its 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 suffering Precedents and Patterns from that Treatment in Christian Annals, making us the more circumspect to attain, and not fall short in fome eminent Degree of the Religion of the End, whilst we ourselves are entrusted by God, and Man to accomplish, by our continual Beseechings in Christ's stead, the faine End in others, thro' our intent Ministration of his Reafons, his Means, his Aids, his Motives to the furtherance of the same ; considering that well known Maxim, Malus Sacerdos de Sacerdotio suo crimen acquirit, non Dignitatem.
The Author of CharaEteristicks, if he was not so whimsically 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 Pbilaleth, Lipsiens
and Neceflity of publick Preaching arose from CH A P. the general Neglect of Mens recognizing them- XVII. selves *, and considering their main Scope, and End in the Occurrences of their Lives ; for want of fome proper impartial Person to hold out the Looking-Glass to give them the inward View of themselves t, and shew themselves to themfelves as they stand accountable to their Maker and Redeemer; and to form the bome Acquaintance with their Hearts, what manner of Persons they are, and ought to be; and to remove the Interest of Ambition, Avarice, Corruption, and every Ny insinuating Vice as prevents this Interview f, and to inspect and audit the false Opinions and Fancies that arise to the shaking the Constancy of the Will || ; that by observing them, in time, they may gain a will, and insure themselves a certain Resolution ; by which they fall know where to find themselves; be sure of their own Meaning and Design; and as to all their Desires, Opinions, and Inclinations, be warranted one and the same Person to-day as yesterday, and to-morrow as to-day: And that Appetite, the elder Brother of Reason, on every Contest, may not take the Advantage of drawing all to his own Side t, seeing the Imaginations and Fancies on bis Side discover themselves mere Sophisters and Impostors, who have not the least to do with the Party of Reason, and good Sense *
Now seeing this Knowledge of ourselves, and Examination of our State, by the Tendency of our Thoughts and Actions, and the Correction and mendment of what is amifs, is so gene
* Charact. Vol. I. pag. 170.
+ Ibid. pag. 171. # Ibid. pag. 172, 173.
'Ibid. pag. 185 pag. 187 Ibid. pag. 188.
CHA P.rally neglected, as his Advice supposes; instead 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 Insight 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 domestick Presence of God, and Christ, hold out that recognizing edifying Mirrour to the Face of the Congregation, that every one by the Reflection may see himself for himself (not his Neighbour) what manner of Person he is; and instruct, reprove, correct, according to the Tenor and Directions of the same; that every one giving their constant Attendance, may be thoroughly furnish'd to all good Works? And do they not moreover beseech Men in Cbrist's stead, the great Teacher of all Righteousness, 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 surely conducting all Believers thither, to be reconciled to God and to their own Happiness; and constantly pursue that End, in the constant ufe of the appointed Means? Do they not labour in that very Thing, in beseeching Men in the Bowels of Love to be reconciled to God; and, as they are adopted, to become therefore obedient Children in Christ. Thus faith the Lord, and thus echo his Labourers, have I not
* Charact. Vol. I. pag. 167, 174.
pray'd pray'd you as a Father his Sons, as a Mother ber CH A P. Daughters, and a Nurse her
XVII. would be my People, as I am your God, that we fbould be my Children, and I be your Father, 2 Erd. i. 28. And do they not labour in distinguishing, directing, and applying the Means, to the accomplishing the Ends? And shew the Sophistry of the deluding Pleasures, Honours, Profits of this World ; the Deceitfulness of Sin; the Devices of Satan; the Honesty and Simplicity of Virtue ; the Integrity of fearing and loving God, and keeping his Commandments ; and of believing likewise in the Mediator, and honouring him; and of doing no despite to the Spirit of Grace, but concur with his Affistance ; and faithfully persevere to respect those as the faithful true Friends of their infallible Happiness, pointing out to Christians sojourning 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 molt need of improving and encouraging that second Degree of Wisdom, of following good Advice, which is to supply in the Conduct of Men the (generally absent) first Degree of Wisdom of doing always what is right and good of oneself; and if there will always be Ignorance of saving Truth and religious Obligation in the growing Generation; Mistakes about Religion in very many ; Heedlessness of the great concern in multitudes ; and Forgetfulness of duty in all, even the most knowing, even in Protestant Countries and that will continue as long as Christians are Men, incumber'd with Body, diverted with the
CHA P. Hurry of secular care, and entangled with the XVII. Love, the deceitful Charms of false Happiness
in their Pursuit of earthly Things, besides various other Hindrances of Religion, and as long as Men have, by Nature, an Appetite for, and a Relish to some Spice of Novelty, in the Enjoyment of the most fubftantial Things that belongs to their Sustenance; I mean also of old falutary Truths, under new Lights and Representations making their Address in the varying Language of every Age; fo long the Necesity of publick Preaching will continue from Generation to Generation, in the Christian World. If a Deuteronomy in the Mosaick Law, and a second Epiftle of an Apostle (2 Pet. i.) were necessary for explaining, and putting in Remembrance those things already known to Christians, in the Truth whereof they are already establish'd; the Rehearsal of those Scriptures, and upon that Rehearsal, bringing known Truths present to the Mind, explaining, enforcing, and beseeching according to Times, and Seasons, Needs and Occasions, will be perpetually necessary to the Coming of Chrift, and this doing the Work of an Evangelist, and making full Proof of the Ministry, neceffarily requiring regular Appointment of, and Subordi. nation in the same, will likewise in every Country, more or less, continue different Orders, Degrees, and Dignities. If they are not now the supporting Pillars of Truth, in the Houshold of Faith and
Building of God, they are at least the Pilasters of it, both Useful, and Ornamental.
I CONCLUDE this : Head, with applicable Passages out of the learned Dean Prideaux. “As the Jews had their Synagogues in