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XII.

l

SERM. and his holy Doctrines set at naught ; will

it not be some Comfort to those who profess
themselves his Disciples, and Believers in him,
to reflect a little that all such Reproaches, up-
on our Religion and it's Author, conduce in
the End to the Advancement of the one, and
the Glory of the other ? And that by how
much the Opposition is more malicious and
fierce, by so much the Truth will come out
at last more splendid and bright? To give you
then this Consolation at least, under that De-
luge of Infidelity now broke in fo violently
upon us, I shall take Occasion from the Words
of my Text to shew

I. FIRST, How unreasonable it is to expect any otherwise than that Heresies, or Oppositions to our Faith, should arise : And

II. SECONDLY, That when they do arise, they are always of Use and Benefit to the Church. And

1. FIRST, That it is unreasonable to expect otherwise than that Herefies should arise in the Church, St. Paul plainly hints by faying, they must be : There must (faith he) also be Herepes among you.

And that he means, by Herepes, Do&trines opposite to fundamental

Articles

XII.

Articles of our Faith, is evident, because he SRRM. had spoken of their Schisms, or Divisions about lesser Points before : For in the Verse immediately preceding, First of all (faith he) when ye come together in the Church, I bear that there be Divisions, or, as the Greek expresses it, Schisms amongst you, and I partly believe it: Now these Schisms or Divifons, as the remaining Part of the Chapter Thews, were about the Manner of their receiving the Communion of our Saviour's Body and Blood. He had heard of their Disorders, Confusions and Divisions relating to this Case, and in part he believed it : For there must also (faith he) be Heresies; or as the Words may be tranlated (Δεϊ γαρ και αιρέσεις) There muff even be Heresies among you, i. e. Oppositions to the principal Articles of your Religion (as the Word generally signifies in the Holy Scriptures) and therefore it is not incredible that Dissenfons and Divisions or Schisms should arise about Ceremonies and Things of less Importance. It is what the Logicians call Argumentum a Majore, an Argument where a less Thing is inferred from a greater. So that it is plain, the Apostle mentions Scbifms in one Verse, and Heresies in the other, the Word Hereses must signify not only some

thing

2

XII.

SERM. thing different from Schism, but also some

thing more pernicious and poisonous to the Church.

And such Heresies (says the Apostle) must be among you : The Words are stronger in the Greek, than they are in the Translation: Δεϊ γαρ και αιρέσεις εν υμίν είναι : It behoves, it is fit, it is necesary that there should be even Hereses amongst you : They must be through the Obstinacy and Perverseness of Men; and they must be for the Trial and Exercise of the Church. The former of these Causes belongs to my present Head, the other will properly introduce me to the next.

And in the first Place, I suppose the Apostle to assert the Necessity of Heresies in the fame Sense that our Saviour asserts the Necesity of Offences. It must needs be (faith he) that Offences come, Mat. xviii.

7.

i... Confidering the natural Dispositions and Tempers of Men, they cannot but arise: It is imposible (as it is expressed by another Evangelist) but that they will come, Luke xvii. 1. Not that the Necessity of such Offences is absolute, or to be imputed to any Compulsion upon Men from God: No, surely: For then our Lord would not so immediately have subjoined, But wo to that Man by whom the Offence cometh.

XII.

The Necesity of Offences therefore is only SER M.
conditional, and upon Supposition of the un-
reftrained Wickedness and Opposition of Men,
which, unless kept in by a Force which God
will never use, will naturally and necessarily
caufe Offences in the World. And just so it
is in the Case before us: The Necessity of He-
rehes does not arise from

any Act of God's
ordaining, but from the Pride, Vain-glory,
Envyings and Contentions which will always
be in the Minds of Men, and from God's
Permiflion' that Men so affected should act
according to the corrupt Inclinations and Dif-
positions of their Hearts: Just as Diseases will
arise necessarily in the Body, whilst Men are
guilty of Intemperance and Debauchery which
are the Sources of them. The common
Frailties therefore and Corruptions of human
Nature must neceffarily make way for Here-
fies in a Society composed of Men: For [to
borrow the Reasonings of a beauteous Preach-
er * on this very Text] “ Christianity, though
“ it prescribes the best Rules for the Govern-

ment of our Passions, and has provided the
“ noblest Support to our Infirmities ; yet
“ does not intend to force or constrain our

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* Dr. Rogers's A& Sermon, p. 4, &6. VOL. II.

R (6 Obedience

XII.

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SERM.« Obedience to it's Laws, or to over-rule

our Liberty of transgressing them. And “ whenever the Want of Humility happens

to be the defective Part of a Man's Temper or Virtue, a Person eminent in other

Respects for his Graces and Abilities, may « be the Occasion of this Evil to the Church. “. A superior Knowledge, unless corrected with « a due Proportion of Modesty, is apt to elate “ and puff up; to render us less capable of “ Instruction, and less submissive to Autho

rity, than the Peace and Order of the “ Church requires. It cannot but be observed " that of all Parts of our Knowledge, we are cc inclined to be fondest of those in which we " differ from other Men. Obvious and in

disputable Truths are generally regarded “ with Indifference: 'Tis the Singularity " and Distinction of our Knowledge, the

discovering something that others have " overlooked, which strikes us with Vanity " and affects us with Pleasure. This we la« bour to support with Arguments, and a“ dorn with all our Eloquence, as an Ac

quisition of our own, and in which we imagine ourselves to have a sort of Proper

ty, exclusive of all the rest of Mankind. “And so long as this Ambition is confined

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