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Tit.2. 14.

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 ?
A. When we violently contend for any

Doctrine that is erroneous, and are more earnestly concerned for the Externals of Religon, and the Instruments of Piety, than for folid and substan

Exod. 32,

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

, 19.

Law, and throw thein out of our Hands, with
Zeal to have them preserved.

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

!

Q. How far does Zeal for God extenuate and mitigate the Immorality of any Astion ?

1. Wicked Things, done out of true Zeal for
God, are damnable without Repentance, because
the Nature of wicked Actions is not altered by
our Persuasion concerning them; though it may
be fome Allay to the Fault of the Person, and
may render him more capable of the Mercy of
God by Repentance, than if he had done contrary
to his Conscience, and the clear Convictions of his
own Mind. For it is a much greater Fault to do
that which we really believe contrary to our Du-
ty, than ignorantly to transgress when we are
under the Power of an erroneous Conscience. The
first argues, we have a Will to do Evil; the other
shews our Practice to be agreeable to our Judg-
ment; and, though we break God's Law, yet it
is with a sincere Intention to serve him.

Q. How ought we to express our Zeal towards
Hereticks and Schismaticks?

A. By earnest Prayer to God for their Conver-
fion, that he would bring into the Way of Truth
all such as have erred, and are deceived. By shew-
ing such Kindness to their Persons as may dispose
them to receive the Impression of those Ar-
guments that we should offer with Meekness
for their Recovery. By abstaining from all
reproachful and bitter Reflections, which preju-
dice them against the Trub. By exercising all
Acts of Charity towards them, which is the only
Moderation due to those that diffent from us,
without impairing our own Principles by a mis-
understood Comp.cisance ; for tho St. Ignatius
advises us to be their Brethren in Kindnets and St. Ignat.
Gentleness, yet not to imitate their Ways, but Epift. ad
to be Followers of the Lord, and to their Errors Ephes. p.

23.

to

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

I.
Almighty

upon
Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the Head
Corner-stone ; grant that all Christians may be
so joined together in Unity of Spirit by their
Doctrine, that they may be made an holy Tem-
ple, acceptable unto thee, through Jesus Christ
our Lord. Amen.

For true
Piety.

II.
ORD of all Power and Might, who art the

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

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me

me in the same, through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Amen.

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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.

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IV. AL

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