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move peaceably on from one Degree of Serme Happiness to another, till at last we slide

V. infenfibly into that Infinitude of Happiness and Pleasure which is at God's Right-Hand for evermore, Which God of his infinite Mercy grant

unto us all for the sake of his Son
Jesus Christ our Lord.

To whom,
with the Father and Holy Ghost,
be ascribed all Honour, Glory,
Might, Majesty, and Dominion,
benceforth, and for evermore,

SER

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MATT. X. 34.
Think not that I am come to send

Peace on Earth ; I came not
to send Peace, but a Sword.

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SERM.

F it were reasonable to judge of
VI.

the Christian Religion by the ill
Use that has been made of it, we

should be forc'd to acknowledge
thefe Words to be true in their obvious and
literal Meaning. For the Practices of too
many of its Profeffors have in all Ages of
the World, from the Beginning of Christi-
anity to this Time, been agreeable to this
Interpretation.

But muft it come to this at last, after all the Assurances we have, that the whole Delign of our blessed Saviour's Coming into the World was to make us at Peace with God, and with one another; that Peace

was

was the glad Tidings he brought with him SERM. into the World, and the laft Legacy he VI. left behind him when he went out of it : Muft it, after all, I say, come to this a laft, that he came not to lend Peace but a Sword ?

We know that our Saviour's Doctrine teaches People to live better Lives than they were taught to do by any Rules they had before ; and, in particular, to fhew more Love and Benevolence to one another, than the Law of Nature, or that of Moses requir'd them to do. And indeed if it does not teach us this,' what does it teach us? Now, will it not be thought a surprizing Thing, after all this, to find, in the Words.

immediately following the Text, that our 2 Saviour says, he came to set a Man against his Father, and the Daughter against the MotherWhat? Did not People know how to fall out, and be at Variance with one another," without any Directions for so doing? They knew this too well of them. Telves certainly to need any

Instructions bout it : And therefore, if this is the Doctrine which the Gospel teaches, it destroys all Religion in the World, even the Rem ligion of Nature itself.

But

SERM. But how shocking and inconsistent foever
VI. these Words may appear at firft Sight, yet

a little Consideration will give them another
Countenance, and shew that they contain as
great a Truth as any in the Scripture, which
our perverse Paffions will easily tell us how
to explain.
= For tho' without all Dispute our Saviout
came to send Peace upon Earth, and good
Will towards Men, yet, as the best Things
are most liable to be abus'd, that peaceable
and benevolent Spirit has, through the
Wickedness of Mankind, been abus'd into
à turbulent évil Spirit of Hatred and Dif-
cord. Not that this is, or can be, the Effe&
of a peaceable Spirit, but of such a Spirit
abus'd, and misunderstood. So that, tho' it
be never so good of itself, it may by acci-
dent occafion a great deal of Evil. And as
long as the Passions of Men are suffer'd to
controul their Reason and Religion, fo long
will there be too much Truth in our Sa-
viour's Words, that he came not to ferid
Peace, but a Sword, i. e. Tho' the Intent
and Design of our Saviour's Coming into
the World was not to promote Discord, but
Peace, yet, by means of the Perverseness of
Mankind, it would be made an Occasion of
Hatred and Discord, and so would be the

fame

fame, in Effect, as if it had proceeded from SERM.

VI. a quite contrary Spirit, and as if he had come not to send Peace iipon Earth, but a Szeord.

From the Words of the Text I shall

I. Prove the Truth of our blessed Saviour's Prediction, and shew that Christianity, tho' it be the most peaceable Religion in the World, has, by the Wickedness of Men, been made to propagate Hatred, Difçord, and all manner of Cruelty.

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II. I shall, shew the dangerous Consequence of abusing Christianity to fuch wicked Purposes.

III. That we ought all of us, who have any

Value or Efteem for the Christian Religion, to use our best Endeavours, in our several Stations, to restore it to its primitive Beauty and Comeliness, and make it appear to be, as it is in itself, a Religion of Peace and Love.

First, then, I am to prove the Truth of our blessed Saviour's Prediction, and shew that Christianity, tho' it be the most peaceable Religion in the World, has, by the Wickedness of Men, been made to propaO

gate

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