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tations, and to give allowance ; to make candid construction of mens actions ; to afford civil and cours teous behaviour, to be conversant and complacent. These things tend to maintain love and good-will among men ; than which there is nothing more creditable to the christian religion ; nor any thing more subservient to the great end of mutual edification. So that this argument doth extend itself to all persons : and a man may be transcendently charitable, as to the most sublime acts thereof, tho' he have not one penny ; if he be a man of a fair carriage, one that affords equal and candid construction, and takes things in good part ; is affable, courteous, in all things accountable, and ready to give satisfaction ; and one that does all that lies in him, to maintain love, and good-will in the world. This man is of a most christian temper, and charitable in the most excellent sense.
You see how many arguments I have suggested, to engage men to humanity, courtesy, and universal charity ; so as if it were possible, to promote a general reconciliation in the whole creation of God.Now by humanity, fair carriage, and suitableness of disposition, a man doth gain a general interest ; and this is an argument to a man's self. Also, in acting thus, he doth act according to the true genius of human nature. For, there is in man, a secret genius to humanity; a biass that inclines him to a regard of all of his own kind. For, whatsoever fome have faid, man's nature is not such an untoward thing (unless it be abused,) but that there is a secret fympathy in human nature, with virtue and honesty ;
with fairness and good behaviour ; which gives a man an interest even in bad men ; and whereby they are even before they are aware, inclined to reverence and honour such a person. And tho' through paffion, and interest, and bad custom, they are put off from the practice of it ; yet they cannot but approve it, and them that practise it ; upon which account, it is observed by the wise man, that they who retain their innocency, and live according to the principles of human nature, they are justified in the judgment of such persons, from whose humour, and practice, they do altogether depart. Wherefore, we may detest and reject that doctrine which faith, that God made man in a state of war. Undoubtedly, man, if he have not abused himself, is the mildest creature under heaven. Man is a sociable creature, delights in company and converse : and, by conception of notions, and power of utterance, is fitted for converfation. It is delightful for one man to see the face of another ; for, a man sees another lelf, another of the same kind, (all being made by the same exemplar ; after the image of God :) and, a man would not, on any terms, be in the world, with creatures below him ; which would be presence, but not converse. It is not more pleasurable to see the sun, after a cold dark night; than it is chearing and reviving, 'in the darkness and confusion of our thoughts, to refresh our mind by presence and enjoyment of a person we love. But, nothing spoils the nature of man, as to converse, more than false zeal. What can we think of the uncharitable, envious, malicious, spiteful ? Of those who are quarrelsome, contentious, litigious ?
of those who are revengeful, implacable ? cruel, burdensome, intolerable ? selfish ; who care for no body besides themselves ? given up to passion ; wrathful, furious ? traducers, defamers of others, backbiters ? who plot, contrive to destroy for religion's fake ; are barbarous, inhuman, bloody, to serve ends of religion ? Tantum, religio! &c. Is this the religion of Christ? Is such a religion worth having ? Is not good nature which a man is born to, a better thing? Is not the virtue heathens have applauded and practised, far more valuable ? Yet some who pretend to religion, are such. But they must change their nature, or lay aside the profeffion. If this be religion ; what is worse?
Common good nature makes men innocent, harmless, inoffenfive, conversable. If the party's religion doth not this, at least; it is something else in the place of religion. We say it of some, that they are the worse for their religion ; otherwise, good natur'd persons. How strange is it, that any should be so mistaken, as in pursuit of their religion, to do such things as reason is against, and nature startles at ?
Now to draw up all in a conclusion. We are all of us, in respect of one another, free, absolute and independent; having our own proper employment, and concernment, both for time, and for eternity : and it may be said of us all, in this respect, we are our own masters ; and must stand or fall by our own actions : but we have not liberty to judge, and pass sentence upon our fellow-fervants, Rom. xiv. 4. neither have we ought to do with each other, save only to do for one another all the good we can ; and to
receive from each other, what good we may.
-By administring comfort, and encour-
But, to do one another harm; and, to receive harm from each other, in any kind whatsoever ; I say this ;
it is violent, and unnatural, in respect of the purpose and intention of God's creation. For, the apostle tells us, that God made, of one blood, all the nations of the earth, Acts xvii. 26. We are as members of one family ; and proceed from one stock. And from hencethere is a foundation laid, of mutual good offices ; and to do otherwise, is violent, monstrous, and unnatural. It is to break through, and cast off the fuperadded obligation that is laid upon us, by the christian religion. It is to make the world less tolerable, habitable, and passable, than it is of itself. For, do we the best we can ; the world is bad enough. And we shall contribute to make times and places worse ; if we do not discharge ourselves in mutual good offices one towards another; or, at least if we be grievous one to another.
From this which I have now superadded to all that went before, you may understand that it is with very great reason that the apostle doth call upon us, to be kind; full of bowels and compassion ; ready to gratify and forgive ; that so we may be mutually helpful one to another ; and, by the comfort that we afford to each other, make the times and places we live in, the better.
Now, could I persuade to this; it would be as new Jerusalem coming down from heaven ; and the very angels descending among us ; even those blessed spirits that give God thanks for his grace and goodness towards men ; and cry continually, glory to God on high, peace on earth, good will to the fons of men, O blessed spirits that are free from that canker of enwy and malice! Who, tho' they fee man's nature ad