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to hear the Church. But in what Cafe? If thy Brother trespass against thee, admonish bim privately. This relates then, not to disputed speculative Opinions, but to known practical Tranfgressions against our Neighbour. If be negle et private Admonition, tell it unto the Church. Not surely the whole Catholic Church, all over the World: that is impossible: but the particular Church, to which you both belong. Now all' Sides allow, that every particular Church is fallible; and therefore to be heard no farther, than it appears to be in the Right. It follows next: And if he neglect to hear the Church; if he will not reform his injurious Behaviour on a public Warning, let him be unto thee as an Heathen Man and a Publicana :
treat him no longer with the Tenderness and Regard, that is due to a good Christian; but conSider him in the same Light with an Infidel Sinner, till hę makes Reparation. This Rule therefore by no means proves the Infallibility, even of the universal Church, and much less of the Romih, which is far from universal; but relates to a Matter intirely different. And it still remains true, that profesiing to believe in the Holy Catholic Church, is only acknowledging, that Christ hath formed the whole Number of his Followers, under him their Head, into one regular and sacred Body or Society, to last for ever: the Unity and Holiness of which is to be carefully preserved by what the latter Part of this Article specifies.
The Communion of Saints. The Word, Saints, is of the same Meaning with the Word holy: and there, fore comprehends all Christians, in the Manner which I have just explained. Having Communion, is being entitled to partake of Benefits and Kindnesses, and bound to make suitable Returns for them. And thus Christians, or Saints, have Communion or Fellowship with the Father, from whom cometh down every good and perfect Gift: with his Son Jesus Christ, through whom Forgiveness and Mercy is conveyed to us : with the Holy Ghoft, whose fanctifying Graces are conferred on such as duly Math. xviii. 15, 16, 17* "John i. 3. Jam. i. 17.
qualify their Hearts for the Reception of them. And for these Blesings we owe all thankfulness, and all Duty, in Thought, Word, and Deed. Christians have also Communion with the holy Angels; as these are miniAring Spirits, sent forth to minister for them, who shall be Heirs of Salvation Y. And undoubtedly we ought to think of what they do for us, with an inward Sense of Gratitude and Love. But as we are unacquainted with Particulars, we can make no particular Acknowledge ments: nor ought we to make any general ones, by outward Expresions of Respect ; since worshipping God alone is commanded, and worshipping Angels condemned", in Scripture.
With respect to those of our own Nature, we are bound so far to hold Communion, even with the worst of Unbelievers, as not only to do them every Kind of Justice, but sincerely to wish, and, if Occasion offer, heartily endeavour their Good, both in Body and Soul. But to all, who have obtained the like precious Faith with ourselves, we bear a still nearer Relation; as being, in a peculiar Sense, Children of the same Father, Disciples of the fame Master, animated by the fame Spirit, Members of the fame Body. And these Things oblige us to the utmost Care of preserving, by prudent Order and mutual Forbearance, as much Unity in the Church, as' possibly we can. Such indeed, as obstinately deny the fundamental Doctrines, or transgress the fundamental Precepts of Christianity, ought to be rejected from Christian Communion. But to renounce communicating with any others, who are willing to admit us to it on lawful Terms, is the Way to cut off ourselves, not them, from the Body of Christ: who yet, we doubt not, will allow those on both Sides to belong to his Church, who, through pardonable Paffions or Miftakes, will not allow one another to do so.
And as we should maintain Communion with all proper Persons, we should shew our Disposition to it in all
y Heb. i. 14.
* Matth. iv. 10.
a Col.ii. 18.
02 Pet. i. 1..
XIV. 117 :- proper Ways: attend on the public Instruction, join in
the public Worship, Sacraments and Discipline, which our Lord hath appointed ; and keep the Whole of them pure from all forbidden, or suspicious Alterations or Mixtures : avoid, with great Care, both giving and taking needless Offence, in respect to these, or any Matters; and, by all fit Means, edify one another in Love : obeying those, who are set over us ; condescending to those who are beneath us ; esteeming and honouring the wise and virtuous; teaching and admonishing the ignorant and faulty ; bearing with the weak, relieving the poor, and comforting the afflicted.
Nor have we Communion only with the Saints on Earth ; but are of one City, and one Family, with such, as are already got safe to Heaven. Doubtless they exercise that Communion towards us, by loving and praying for their Brethren, whom they have left behind them. And we are to exercise it towards them, not by addresling Petitions to them, which we are neither authorized to offer, nor have any Ground to think they can hear; but by rejoicing in their Happiness, thanking God for the Grace which he hath bestowed on them, and the Examples which they have left us ; holding their Memories in Honour, imitating their Virtues, and beseeching the Disposer of all Things, that having followed them in Holiness here, we may meet them in Happiness hereafter; and become, in the fullef Sense, Fellow-citizens with the Saints, and of the Houshold of God": having, with all those that are departed in the true Faith of his holy Name, our perfect Consummation and Bliss, both in Body and Soul, in his eternal and everlasting Glory, through Jejus Chrift our Lord. Amen.
Rom. xiv. 19. Eph. iv, 16.
• Eph. ii. 19.
e Burial Office,
L E C T U RE
C RE E D.
which all the preceding ones have been preparing the Way: a Doctrine, of the greateft Comfort to believe, and the utmost Danger to misapprehend. I shall therefore endeavour clearly to explain,
I. The Nature of Sin, its different kinds, and its Guilt.
II. The Nature and Conditions of the Forgiveness promised to it.
1. The Nature of Sin. Both Men and all other Ben ings, endued with sufficient Reason, must perceive a Difference between different Inclinations and Actions, of their own and others : in Consequence of which, they must approve fome, as right and good; and disapu prove others, as wrong and evil. Now this Distinction, which we are capable of feeing, God must see as much more clearly, as his Understanding is more perfect thah ours. Therefore he must entirely love what is good, and utterly hate what is evil: and his Will must be, that all his rational Creatures should practise the former, and avoid the latter. This he makes known to be his Will, in some Degree, to all Men, however ignorant, by na. tural Conscience; and hath more fully made known to us, by the Revelation of his holy World: wherein also, besides those Things, which we of ourselves might have known to be fit, he hath fignified his Pleasure, that we fhould observe some further Rules, which he knew to be useful and requisite, though we should otherwise not have discerned it. Now the Will and Pleasure of a IO
Person having Authority, as God hath absolute Authosity, is, when sufficiently notified, a Law. Those Laws of his, which human Reason was able to teach us, are called natural or moral Laws: those, which he hath added to them, are called positive ones. Obedience to both Sorts is our Daty; Transgression of either is Sin: whether it be by neglecting what the Law commands, which is a Sin of Omision; or doing what it forbids, which is a Sin of Commission.
Further : as God hath a Right to give us Laws, he ' must have a Right to punih us, if we break them, And we all of us feel inwardly, that Sin deserves this Punishment : which Feeling is what we call a Sense of Guilt. Some Sins have more Guilt, that is, deserve greater Punifhiment, than others: because they are either worse in their own Nature ; or accompanied with Cir. cumstances, that aggravate, instead of alleviating them. Thus if bad. Actions, known to be such, are done with previous Deliberation and Contrivance, which are called wilful or presumptuous Sins; they are very highly creo minal. But if we do amiss in some smaller Matter, through Inconsiderateness or other Weakness of Mind, or else through a sudden unforeseen Attack of Temptation; which are usually called Sins of Infirmity or Surprife: these, though real, are yet less Offences. And if
, lastly, we act wrong through invincible Ignorance, that is, have no Means of knowing better ; then the Action is not, strictly speaking, a Fault in us, though it be in itself. But if we might, with a reasonable Attention, have known our Duty, and did not attend ; we are justly blameable, even for a careless Ignorance, and full as much for a designed one, as if we had known ever so well.
Another Difference in the Kinds of Sins is this : thać though they be only in smaller Instances; yet if Persons take so little Pains to guard against them, that they live in a constant or frequent Practice of them, which are called habitual Sins : the Guilt of these may be full as heavy as that of greater Transgressions, provided they