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in the Honour of God and the Salvation of Mens Souls are concerned, as when St. Paul tells the Corinthians, that their Zeal had provoked very 2 Cor, 9. many; and that Christ gave himself for us, to pec-2 rify to himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works; and that he was zealous of the Corinthians, 2 Cor. 11° with a godly Zeal. But in a bad Sense when ap-2. plied to a furious Spirit of Persecution, and to such Contentions and Divisions as produce Wrath and ungovernable Passions. Thus it is said the Jews were filled with Envy (in the Original, Zeal) Acts 13. and spake against those things that were jpoken by 45. St. Paul, contradicting and blaspheming : and that the Jews that believed, moved with Envy, (in the A&$17.5. Original, Zeal) set all the City in an Uproar. The Gal. s.
&c. Works of the Flesh are manifest, Hatred, Variance, Rom. io. Zeal, &c. a Zeal for God, but not according to 2. Knowledge.
Q. What is necessary to qualify our Zeal, that it may become a Chriftian Virtue?
A. That it be right in respect of its Obje£t ; that what we contend for be certainly and considerably good, and that what we oppose be certainly and considerably evil. That the Measure and Degree of it be proportioned to the good or evil of Things about which it is conversant. And that it be always persued and prosecuted by lawful and warrantable Means ; since no Zeal for God and his Glory, for his true Church and Religion, will justify the doing of that which is morally and in itself evil.
Q. Wben does our Zeal become criminal ?
Doctrine that is erroneous, and are more earnestly concerned for the Externals of Religon, and the Instruments of Piety, than for folid and substan
tial Goodness which they are designed to work in us; when it betrays us to the Breach of any of God's Laws in order to promote his Glory, and creates Divisions and Schisms in the Church of Christ. And when we prosecute even Truth itself without that Meekness and Charity which are essential to the Character of a true Christian ;
and we have the more reason to take Care how Pfal. 106.
we govern our Zeal, because Moses himself,
eminent for his Meekness, when zealous for God, 32, 33.
at the Waters of Meribah, was fo provoked, that he spake unadvisedly with his Lips ; so that if our Zeal for God be not well tempered, we may with that great Prophet break the Tables of the
Law, and throw thein out of our Hands, with
Q. What Considerations are proper to excite our Zeal in the Service of God?
1. The Excellency of the Divine Nature, and the infinite Bounty and Goodness of God towards us. The wonderful Condescension of the Son of God; who stooped so low to re
deem us, and suffered so much to purify to Tit. 2.14.
himself a peculiar People zealous of good Works ; The great Importance of working out our Salvation, and the Neceflity of striving, if we will enter in at the strait Gate. That it is true Wisdom to employ our chief Concern upon Things that are most valuable ; and that such is the Weakness of our Nature, and the Strength of Temptations, that without constant Application of Mind, we shall never be able to attain thein. That if we be stedfaft, unmoveable, and always abounding in the Work of the Lord, our Labour shall not be in vain in the Lord,
Q. How far does Zeal for God extenuate and mitigate the Immorality of any Astion ?
1. Wicked Things, done out of true Zeal for
Q. How ought we to express our Zeal towards
A. By earnest Prayer to God for their Conver-
to oppoje Firmness in the Faith. But when they lie under the Censures of the Church, we should keep at a Distance from their Conversation, which is but reasonable, that when all Methods have been used for their Recovery, we may be careful to avoid any Infeflion ourselves. As for
As for great Corporal Punishments and Infliction of Death upon these Accounts, they appear to me contrary to the Genius of the Christian Religion, and inconsistent with many of the chief Principles of it. For the Gospel of our Saviour engages us to shew Meekness to all Men, and universal Love and Good-will even to our Enemies; from whence it must follow, that no Difference of Religion, no Pretence of Zeal for God, can justify a herce, vindictive and exterminating Spirit.
The PRA Y ER S.
ForUnity. Oupon the Foundation of the Apostles and
Author and Giver of all good Things ; gratt in my Heart the Love of thy Name, increase in me true Religion, nourish me with all Goodness, and of thy great Mercy keep
me in the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
III. Racious God, who haft endowed me with For true an immortal Soul, grant that I may ap - Zeala
Christian ply my most serious Thoughts to work out my own Salvation with Fear and Trembling. Enlighten my Understanding, that I may see the wondrous Things of y Law; rectify my Will, that I may follow the lo: Rules of Good, and eschew the Ways of Evil; and in all my Actions, fix my Heart entirely upon thy Glory. Let my devout Prayers be offered in Retirements where thine All-feeing Eye only enters. Let my Works of Mercy and Charity be often unknown to be mine, even to those that receive the Benefit of them. Make me to consider that the Praise of Men is but a Smoke which vanisheth away, and that thy Favour only is better than Life, and endureth for ever.
Teach me heartily to strive that I may enter in at the strait Gate, to fight the good Fight of Faith, and to destroy the whole Body of Sin. Grant I may be always upon my Guard against my potent and malicious Enemies; and that the short Time I have to work, may make me careful to improve it to the best' Purposes; and the Uncertainty of all Things here below may call off my Mind from the Objects of secular Happiness; that applying myself entirely to Devotion and Charity, Justice and Sobriety, I may be prepared in the Temper and Disposition of my Mind, for that Happiness which thou hast promised through the Merits of thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.