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while you profess obedience to the Lord ? and why do you take on you to believe a heaven and bell hereafter, and to give up your selves in Covenant to God, aod live so contrary to that profest belief and Covenant ?
Quest. 7. Do you not feel that it is partly malice, and partly the recriminations of a guilty galled conscienec, that fain would steal a little peace by thinking others to be as bad as you?
I shall dismiss this unhappy fort of men with these two requests. 1. You are the men that of all others have the most notable ad. vantage for your conviction of the misery of your present state : and therefore I beseech you take that advantage. One would think it should be the easiest matter in the world, for such as you to know that you are ungodly, that hate godliness and oppose it? you have
no plausible pretence for self-fattery or self-deceit. And therefore confess your misery, and look our to Christ, for help and pardon, while there is hope and time.
2. For the time to come, will you but try a serious holy life before you speak against it any more? For Thame speak not evil of the things you know not, as those bruits described, Jud. 10. And holiness was never well known but by experience. O that you would be intreated but to yeild to this most equal motion. Away with your worldly fleshly lives, and live in faith and holiness, a juft, a fpiritual and heavenly life, but one year, or one quarter, or one moneth, and then if by experience you find just cause for it, 'reproach a holy life, and spare not.
Il O the fecond fort, (that
speak evil of men upon differences of opinion, especially while they profess: the fame Religion, in all the essential necessary parts,) I shall propose these aggravations of their fin; for their humiliation,
1. Consider, can you think it agreeable to the Law of Christ, to reproach men behind their backs, and unheard, for that which
you never soberly and Christianly told them of to their faces? Did you lovingly first admonish them, and impartially hear what they can say for themselves? what is your end in speaking against your brother? Is it to do him hart, or good? If hurt, be sure you do him Justice; and backbiting is not the way of Justice. If good, you cross your own intention. For what good
can it do him, that another hears him evil spoken of ?
2. If you are Chrifts Disciples, it must be known to all men by your Special love to one another, Joh. 13. 35. And is reproach and evilspeaking the fruit or evidence of such love ? can you talk so of the friends that are most dear to you, or that you love indeed ? how do our hearts rise against that man, that speaks reproachfully of our dearest friends? Love would scarce suffer you to endure such abufe of Christians in another, without a serious reprehension : much less to be the abuser of them your selves.
3. Your evil speaking of your brethren destroyeth love in others, as it proves the want of it in your selves. And to destroy their love,is to destroy their souls. You do your worit co quench the love, both of him chat you speak evil of, and of
The vain Religion of them to whom you speak it. Good is the object of love: and therefore to speak of men, and manifest them to be lovely, is the only way to make them loved. Evil is the object of hatred : and therefore to speak evil of them, is to make them seem hateful, and draw men to the guilt of hating them. To praise a man will do more to make him loved, then if you only intreat another to love him. And to difpraise a man will do more to make him hated, then if you dire&ly per/Wade another to hate him. And what service you do the Devil, and what disservice unto Chrift, by deftroying love, and fowing hatred among his servants, were you impartial, you might eafily discern,
4. Is it not shame and pitcy, that the followers of Christ should imitate the Devil , and ungodly men, as by detraction and reviling