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So that all the Application I shall make of the whole Discourse, shall be, to caution Men from running into extreams in Matters of Religious Duty; that they wou'd keep themselves within the Bounds of Chriftian Temper and Sobriety ; not to make the Gate and Way to Heaven ftraiter, nor the Measures of Duty, and the Terms of our Salvation more difficult than God hath made them. When the Power and Preju. dice of Enthusiasm have got the Ascendant in Men's Tempers, they naturally lead them to advance new Theories and Speculations in Religion, which they set off with the greatest Air of Assurance and Confidence, as the Dictates and Inspirations of the Holy Spirit. And that which gives them a ready and easy Reception with the Credulous and Ignorant, is the Pretence of advancing a more intimate Acquaintance, and Spiritual Correspondence with God, by living above the Love and Concerns of this World, being first dissolved, and then swallowed up in him.
How far such fanciful Flights and Hya perboles may be allowable in popular and transient Discourses, I shall not stand to enquire ; (methinks if ever, very cautiously :) yet when Men pretend to act the Part of Cafuists, and prescribe Rules for the Regulation of Christian Devotion, and the Settlement of Conscience, they ought to
be careful, not to lay down such as will not abide the Test of Truth and Experi
For tho' this Principle of Centring all out Love upon God, and not permitting the leaft Part of our Desires to run after the sensible Goods of this World, may be a sudden and well-meant Rapture of a devout Mind, and at the first Sight, carry with it a very specious Pretence ; yet in the Consequences of it, it is really pernicious to the true Spirit of Piety, and runs Men into dangerous Perplexities of Mind, and Errors of Practice. Certainly, to perswade Men that God requires what they find impossible for them to perform, what is opposite to the very Frame of their Nature, and the Happiness of their being in this Life, is to make Religion burdensome and contemptible to the prophäne, and vitious Part of Mankind; to drive the better Minded People into Dispair, by giving them occasion to Fear; that they do not love God as they ought, or ever can do; to tempt the Superftitiously Devout, to take shelter in Monasteries, and Hermitages, which very often degenerate into Schools of Laziness and Sloth, or which is worse, into Dens of Lewdness, and close Impiety.
There remains nothing now, but to add, that a true and well-grounded Love of God with all our Hearts, with all our Souls, and with all our Minds, is the only means
to bear us up in the Midst of a Stormy and Tempestuous World, to secure us from Enthusiasm, Supesticion or Dispair, to make his Glory and Praise to be exalted in the World, by constantly worshipping him in the Beauty of Holiness, by frequenting those publick Places more immediately set apart for his Worship and Service. If we thus continue to worship him, give him Thanks, put our whole Trust in him, call upon him, honour his holy Name, and his Word, and serve himn truly all the days of our Lives, it will give us the assured Hopes of a Blessed Immortality, where we shall have the Fruition of, and fing Praises unto him that sitteth upon the Throne, and unto the Lamb for evermore. Amen.
The Love of our Neighbour.
St. MATTH. xxii. 39.
TAving in the Preceeding Discourse finish
ed what I proposed to speak to, from the foregoing Words; I proceed now to these which contain the Second Commandment of the Moral, and Christian Law ; and is here said to be like unto the First. And the general Head I purpose to pursue from them, is this, viz.
To give the just Meaning, Extent, and The Gene
Obligation of this Second Commandment; of Dic
1. And here it is most certain, that this Commandment, as it is delivered, and enjoined by our Saviour Christ, hath a different Meaning, a larger Extent, and a more univerfal Obligation upon Mankind, than it ever had before, either by the Laws of Nature and Society, or by the positive Laws of the Jews : The Laws of Nature and Society, can't be supposed to extend any further, than to those of our Knowledge and Acquaintance, with whom we may have contracted Familiarity and Friendship, or have had Correspondencies and Dealings, in the Matters of Commerce and Trade. The Positive Law of the Jews, was confined to those of their own Tribe or Country, or at most; to such among the Gentiles, as became Profelites to their Religion and WorIbip: All the World besides, was to them Ali-Eph. 2. 1 2 ens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and Strangers from the Covenants of Promise.
But our Lord Jesus Christ has inlarged this Precept, and given it its proper Latitude and Force. He bath broken the Middle Wall of Par-Acts 17. tition betpeen Jew and Gentile, and bath made 26. of one Blood, all Nations of Men to dwell upon