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them. In nothing has this difpofition been more evidently manifefted, than in what regards the order and unity of the church; a fubject on which too many who profefs to be Chriftians do not seem at all to think as they ought, or to bestow on it that deep and ferious attention, which is certainly due to it due to it, both on account of its own importance, and more efpecially for the fake of the peculiar intereft always taken in it, and the conftant regard that was fhewn to it, by that adorable perfon, who is the King and Head of the church, becaufe he is the Saviour of the body diftinguished by that appellation. From a principle of gratitude to him, as well as concern for ourfelves, we ought therefore to view this matter in a juft and proper light, and not fuffer our attention to be diverted from it, or our fentiments to be fwayed by any of thofe popular errors, or loofe opinions, which fo commonly prevail with refpect to it.

Nothing is more evident from the history of our bleffed Redeemer, than his unremitted anxiety for the welfare of that myftical body of which he was appointed the glorious Head, and his earnest defire that all the members of it fhould be preferved in that holy and happy union with him, on which they must ever depend for their fpiritual health and life, both here and hereafter. This it was, which employed his thoughts during the laft, and most awful period of his life, and made the subject of that devout and dying fupplication offered up by him,


as the incarnate Son of God, to his heavenly Father, in which, as the one Mediator between God and men, he prayed, not for his apoftles alone, "but for them alfo, who fhould believe on him, through their word;-that they all may be one," fays he," as thou Father art in me, and I in thee,

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that they alfo may be one in us;"* one, not only in heart and affection, but also in an outward and vifible communion; that by feeing my followers thus united in one body- the world may believe, "that thou haft fent me." Thus the unity of his body is made an argument for the truth of his divine miffion, and is certainly one of the most obvious and fatisfactory proofs, which the world in general can receive, that God hath fent his Son to be the Saviour of it. Hence it is, that we find St. Paul, who was "chofen to be a witness unto all men," of this gracious fcheme of falvation, fo often and earnestly urging the neceffity of maintaining unity and concord among thofe who were to partake in common of its ineftimable bleffings. He therefore prays for the converted Romans, "that the God of patience "and confolation would grant them to be like mind"ed one towards another, according to Chrift Je

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fus; that they might with one mind and one mouth

glorify God." And to the Christians at Corinth, he addreffes this affectionate exhortation-"I "befeech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jefus

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Jefus Chrift, that ye all speak the fame thing, and "that there be no divifions among you, but that ye "be perfectly joined together in the fame mind, and


in the fame judgment."* And to the same purpose, he thus earnestly admonishes his Ephefian converts" I beseech you, that ye walk worthy of the "vocation wherewith ye are called; with all low"liness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep "the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace;" as a reafon for which, the apoftle immediately calls their attention to the confideration of all these powerful and endearing motives to peace and unity"There is one body, and one fpirit, even as ye are "called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one "faith, one baptifm, one God and Father of all, "who is above all, and through all, and in you "all."t

We have here a moft beautiful picture of the Christian church in that happy state of unity, which was fo vifibly difplayed in the glorious original, when mankind were invited to behold the bleffed fociety of God's faithful people, as formed into one regular body, animated by one divine fpirit, fupported by one heavenly hope, acknowledging one redeeming Lord, profeffing one holy faith, blessed with one purifying baptifm, and looking up, like dutiful children, with pious and humble truft, to that

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that one God and Father of all, who is above all by his power, through all by his providence, and in all Chriftians by the grace and influence of his fanctifying fpirit. These are principles of unity, and motives to the prefervation of it, which one would think, cannot eafily be refifted, and furely ought not to be overlooked by any who call themfelves Christians, and as members of Chrift's myftical body, fhould conftantly bear in mind, that they are to be supported in that character, not by various kinds of fuftenance fuited to their different taftes and humours, but by one and the fame fpiritual nourishment, equally conducive to the health and strength of all. For as in the natural body all the members are nourished by the one common invigorating principle derived from their ordinary fuftenance; fo the fame faith is defigned, and the fame means of grace are provided, for the growth and fupport of the whole body of Chriftians; and no perfon can truly be faid to belong to this body, who does not adhere to the one faith, and partake of the one spiritual nourishment, by which it is fo happily distinguifhed.

As this matter however is now viewed even by many of thofe who profefs to be Chriftians, it will perhaps be thought hardly poffible, that any confiderable part of mankind fhould be ever thus " perfectly joined together in the fame mind, and in "the fame judgment," and therefore unreasonable to require or expect that they fhould be fo, while

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people must neceffarily differ in fentiment on many occafions, and confider it as one of their moft valuable privileges to think and judge for themselves in matters of religion.-Yet this privilege, like all other kinds of liberty, may be carried too far, and by exceeding the bounds prescribed to it, may come at laft to defeat the very purpose, for which it was originally bestowed on man. It was at a very early period of his exiftence, that he wished to think and act for himself in regard to his religious duty, and faw no reason why he should not be the best judge of what was neceffary to his own happiness. Thus affecting to be as wife as God, he foon felt the fatal effects of his own folly: And yet there still remains in man a ftrong bias towards this original prefumption; and under a pretence of judging for himfelf, and directing his own fteps in fearch of truth, he often falls into error, and turns afide from the right way in which he ought to walk, doing perhaps that which is good in his own eyes, but without duly confidering, whether it be fo in the fight of God. If then by afferting his right to judge for himself, he departs from that obedience which he owes to the law of his Maker, he can gain nothing by fuch independence, but the liberty to make himfelf miferable; and while he thus leans to the feeble support of his own understanding, he must be ever in danger of falling into mifchief. It was great kindness in God therefore to take him by the hand, and point out to him a wifer and fafer courfe. But

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