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are proud, arrogant and untractable, unwilling to fubmit or be taught by your Betters, if you are cenforious, falfe, and unjust to one another, be not deceiv'd, you are not mov'd to these things by the Holy Spirit of God, but by the evil Spirit that rules in the Hearts of the Children of Difobedience. In fhort, the good Spirit is but one, tho the evil Spirits are many; the former guides into the Ways of Truth and Peace, the latter into the Paths of Error and Diffenfion.
3. From the Unity of Faith, and the one Hope of our Chriftian Calling, we may learn to unite and go hand in hand together in it, without differing or falling out about inferiour matters: for whilft we adhere and hold to the fame Faith, and expect the fame End of it, even the Salvation of our Souls, no leffer things can juftify a Contention, or much less warrant a Separation. We are bid to contend earnestly for the Faith, and to continue ftedfast in the Profeffion of it, but for the leffer Matters of Order and Decency, we are bid to fubmit, and fhew all lawful Compliance, which is abfolutely neceffary to preferve Unity.
4. From the one Lord, or the Unity of the Head, we may eafily learn this Compliance, for the Head is the Seat of Wisdom and Power, to direct and command the other Members and this may in the most eminent manner be affirm'd of this myftical Head, in whom are hid all the Treafures of Wisdom and Knowledg, and who hath the fole Right to guide and govern his whole Body. Befide, as the Head conveys down animal Spirits, Heat, and Vigour to the other Members, by which they live, move, and have their being; fo Chrift, the myftical Head of the Church, fends down the kindly Influences of his Grace and Holy Spirit upon his Members, to quicken and excite all their Operations which may teach us to live, to unite, and to abide in his Body; for as the Branches cannot live or bring forth any Fruit, except they abide in the Vine, fo neither can we, except we are united to and abide in him.
5. From the Unity of the Sacraments, let us learn to keep the Unity of the Spirit in the Bond of Peace; for thefe are as the Ligaments and Arteries to hold all the Parts together. 'Tis by one Baptifm that we are all initiated into Chrift's Church, and by one Communion that we are all confirm'd and continu'd in it: fo vain and foolifh are they who think they belong to Chrift without the initiating Ordinance of Baptifm, and fo profane and prefumptuous are
all fuch as expect any Benefit from him, without the confirming Ordinance of the holy Communion. Thefe are the Seals of the new Covenant, without which we can lay no claim to the Title or Privileges of Chriftians.
Laftly, From the one God and Father of all, let us be perfuaded with one Mind and one Mouth to glorify our great Creator; fo fhall we, by preferving Peace and Unity on Earth, arrive at laft to the Unity of the Church in Heaven, and come to the measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Chrift to which, God of his infinite Mercy bring us all, for the Merits of his Son, and our ever-bleffed Saviour and Redeemer. Amen.
The GOSPEL for the Seventeenth Sunday after
St. Luke xiv. III.
It came to pass as Jefus went into the House of one of the chief Pharifees, to eat Bread on the Sabbath-day, that they watch'd him. And behold there was a certain Man before him that had the Dropfy, &c.
N this Gospel for the Day, there are four obfervable things to be confider'd and spoken to: And they are,
Firft, Our Saviour's Freedom of Converfation, He went into the Houfe of one of the chief Pharifees to eat Bread: together with the Circumftance of Time, when it was; 'twas on the Sabbath Day.
Secondly, The infidious Falfhood and Treachery of the Pharifees in entertaining him; instead of welcoming, they only watched him, to find fome Occafion to traduce and accufe him.
Thirdly, Our Saviour's great Wisdom in putting them to
filence, and thereby preventing and fruftrating their wicked Purpose.
Fourthly, Our Saviour's checking their Pride and Vanity, in affecting Precedence and Preheminence above others. These things contain the Subftance of this Gofpel, and muft therefore be the Subject of the following Difcourfe.
And, First, Of the Freedom of his Converfation, He went into the Houfe of one of the Pharifees to eat Bread. Whether he went in upon an Invitation, or only made an accidental or occafional Vifit, is not here exprefs'd, nor is it much material to enquire: we find him, as Opportunity offer'd, ready enough to do both. When St. Matthew a Publican invited him to a Feaft, he freely went, and entertain'd the Company with Difcourfe that far exceeded all the other Entertainment. In his paffing through Jericho he faw Zacheus, another Publican, climbing a Sicamore Tree, with a Defire to fee him: Jefus looking up and feeing him, faid unto him, Zacheus make hafte and come down, for to day I must abide at thy Houfe; who immediately haften'd and came down, and receiv'd him joyfully; and well he might, for he brought Salvation with him; Luke 19. 5,6,9.
The Pharifees indeed blam'd this Freedom, faying to his Difciples, Why eateth and drinketh thy Mafter with Publicans and Sinners? They thought it unbecoming fo Divine and Holy a Perfon as Jefus appear'd to be, to converfe fo familiarly with the worst of Men; for fo they took the Publicans to be. But Chrift knowing their Hearts, reply'd to them, The whole have no need of a Physician, but they that are fick meaning, that they who were found and holy in their own opinion, had not fo much need of his Company, as they that found themfelves fick, and labour'd under their Infirmities: for he came not to call the Righteous, that is, fuch as were fo in their own eyes, but Sinners to Repentance; that is, fuch as were fenfible of their Sins, and felt the Burden of their Iniquities. This was the Defign of his coming and converfing in the World, to take Men off from the Love and Practice of Sin, and to reduce them to a better State and Courfe of Life. And this is more eafily done upon modeft and humble Sinners, than upon thofe that are proudly conceited of their own Righteouf nefs. And therefore the Pharifees might as well blame the Phyfician of the Body, for vifiting Hofpitals and fick Patients, as the great Phyfician of the Soul, for vifiting fuch
as labour'd under: worfe Diftempers. However, our Saviour did not wholly decline the civil Society of thefe proud Preciffans, for we read here that he went into the House of one of the chief Pharifees to eat Bread; he join'd with them in the common Actions of human Life, tho he had little hopes of bringing them to a better for they were his greatest Enemies, and oppos'd all his Designs of Good, both to themselves and others. They kept a Distance from others, as Men of the Earth, and not worthy of the Converfation of fuch heavenly Perfons as they now our Saviour fought both by his Difcourfe and Example to cure this fupercilious and difdainful Carriage, and to render them more affable, courteous and condescending to other Men. There was nothing four, morofe or crabbed in him; but he was marvelously free and converfable with all Mankind, and would have them be fo too.
But this incorrigible Sect, inftead of mending their own Faults, endeavour'd to find all the Faults they could in him. To that end, our Saviour coming on the Sabbath-day to the House of this chief Pharifee, one of the beft Quality, and a Ruler among them; 'tis faid, They watch'd him, and fought to take all Advantages against him. And this will lead me to the
Second Thing propounded, viz. the infidious and treacherous Carriage of thefe Pharifees towards him who contrary to all the Laws of Hofpitality, inftead of welcoming, watched all Opportunities against him.
This was generally the Practice and Behaviour of the Lawyers and Pharifees towards him; for fometimes they came to him on purpose: to tempt and entangle him in his Talk, as we read, Luke 10.25. At other times they came to him with glozing and flattering Speeches, as in the Cafe of Tribute-mony, faying, Mafter, we know that thou art true, and teacheft the Way of God in Truth, neither regardeft the Perfon of any Man tell us therefore what thinkeft thou, Is it lawful to give Tribute unto Cefar or not? Which Question proceeded not from any fincere Defire of being inform'd in the Truth of the Matter, but merely to expofe him to the Rage either of the Jews or the Romans, which made him, knowing their Wickedness, fay, Why tempt ye me, ye Hypocrites? Mat. 22. 16, 17, &c. And here this chief Pharifee, and thofe about him, watch'd all our Saviour's Words and Actions, only to find fomething
wherewith to charge and accufe him. Indeed, fome Mens Talk and Converfation are no better than Gins and Traps, defign'd not fo much to please or inform, as to enfnare and entangle those they converfe with. And fuch was that of the Pharifee in the Text, who upon Chrift's coming to him. on the Sabbath-day, hop'd to find him faying or doing fomething in Dérogation of the Honour of that Day, which they held in great Eltimation: Accordingly an Object being then prefented before him, of a certain Man who had the Droply, they concluded that that might adminifter fome Matter of Accufation against him, which our Saviour wifely forefaw and prevented. And that will lead us to the next thing here to be confider'd, viz.
Thirdly, Chrift's great Wifdom in putting them to. filence, and thereby defeating their wicked Defigns. The Advantage they thought to take against him, was about his curing this fick Man on the Sabbath-day: for the Jews, and efpecially the Pharifees, were ftrict and fuperftitious Obfervers of that Day, in which they would do no manner of Work, no not the common Offices of Humanity and Charity; yea, they abitain'd from the ordinary and neceffary Actions of human Life: for they would fcarce eat or drink, or defend themselves, if fet upon on that day, which made them twice a Prey to their Enemies; once to Antiochus, and another time to Pompey. They blam'd the Disciples for plucking a few Ears of Corn on the Sabbath-day, tho warranted by Neceffity, and the Exigence of a great Hunger, as we read, Mat. 12. They accus'd our Saviour for curing one that had a wither'd Hand on that Day, and fought to destroy him, as we read in the fame Chapter. St. Luke tells us, that the Ruler of the Synagogue was mov'd with great Indignation against him for healing a Woman on that Day, who labour'd under a Spirit of Infirmity eighteen Years, faying to the People, There are fix Days in which Men ought to work, on them therefore come and be healed, and not on the Sabbath-day; Luke 13. 11, &c.
And here the chief Pharifee in the Text watched whether he would heal this fick Man of his Dropfy on that day, that they might have wherewith to accufe him. But Chrift knew their Hearts, and was able to fruftrate their Design, and therefore he began with them, putting the Queftion to him, Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath-day? St. Mark puts the Queftion farther, Is it lawful to do Good on the Sabbath