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it. Too much pomp caufeth jealoufies even in good men, of a degeneration either to Jewish Ceremonies or Popish Vanities.

4. That though fuch are not to be rejected because they are ancient, fo if they become unfeafonable, they are not to be held merely because they are ancient. It is with Ceremonies as with fome other things that are fit to be changed when they are become unufeful or offenfive, as the Love Feaits, Extreme Unction, and fome other things, poffibly practifed, and fit enough, in the primitive times. Many ceremonies were at firft invented and practifed, to win over unconverted heathens; to encourage weak Chriftians, especially the Jews, who were not eafily to be drawn from their legal ceremonies: but when people become a knowing people, that fee beyond those ceremonies, and understand when, and why, and how they came in, then it were prudence to difpenfe with, or change them.

5. That they be not urged with too much rigour or feverity upon fuch as confcientioufly refufe them. Charity to a weak brother, in things indifferent in their own nature, is then to be exercifed, when my brother is offended therewith, or never: and if it be faid it is his duty to fubmit to the Church, and not the Church to him, I do think that answer will not ferve in this cafe; for furely though a child owes a duty to a father, yet his neglect thereof, especially if it be upon a conscientious account, will not excufe the neglect of a father's duty to his child: the Apostle profeiled he would abstain from things lawful rather than offend his weak brother.

6. And especially that we be careful to remember that Religion is another thing from thefe Ceremonies, These are of use, i. e. for Örnament; they are the dreffing and the trimmings of Religion at the beft, but the fear of God is of a higher extraction.

It is a pitiful thing to fee men run upon this miftake, especially in thefe latter times; one placing all

his Religion in holding the Pope to be Christ's Vicar; another placing Religion in this, to hold no Papift can be faved: one holding all Religion to confift, in holding Epifcopacy to be jure divino; another by holding Prefbytery to be jure divino; another in crying up Congregational Government; another in Anabaptifm: one in placing all Religion in the ftrict obfervation of all Ceremonies; another in a strict refufal of all: one holding a great part of Religion in putting off the hat, and bowing at the Name of Jefus ; another judging a man an idolater for it; and a third placing his Religion in putting off his hat to none: and fo like a company of boys that blow bubbles out of a wallnutfhell, every one runs after his bubble, and calls it Religion; and every one meafures the Religion or irreligion of another, by their agreeing or diffenting with them in thefe or the like matters; and at beft, while we scramble and wrangle about the pieces of the shell, the kernel is either loft, or gotten by fome that do not prize any of their contefts.

Believe it, Religion is quite another thing from all thefe matters: he that fears the Lord of Heaven and Earth, walks humbly before him, thankfully lays hold of the Meffage of Redemption by Chrift Jefus, ftrives to exprefs his thankfulness by the fincerity of his obedience, is forry with all his foul when he comes fhort of his duty, walks watchfully in the denial of himself, and holds no confederacy with any luft or known fin; if he falls in the leaft measure, is reftlefs till he hath made his peace by true repentance, is true to his promise, just in his actions; charitable to the poor, fincere in his devotions, that will not deliberately difhonour God, though with the greatest security of impunity; that hath his hope in heaven, and his converfation in heaven; that dares not do an unjust act, though ever fo much to his advantage, and all this because he fees him that is invifible, and fears him becaufe he loves him, fears him as well for his goodnefs as his greatness; such a man, whether he be an Epifcopal,


or a Prefbyterian, or an Independent, or an Anabaptift; whether he wears a Surplice, or wears none; whether he hears Organs, or hears none; whether he kneels at the Communion, or for confcience fake ftands or fits; he hath the Life of Religion in him, and that life acts in him, and will conform his foul to the image of his Saviour, and walk along with him to eternity, notwithstanding his practice or non-practice of these indifferents.

On the other fide, if a man fears not the Eternal God, dares commit any fin with prefumption, can drink exceffively, fwear vainly or falfely, commit adultery, lie, cozen, cheat, break his promifes, live loofely, though he practise every ceremony ever fo curiously, or as ftubbornly oppofe them; though he cry down Bishops, or cry down Prefbytery; though he be re-baptized every day, or though he difclaim against it as herefy; though he faft all the Lent, or feast out of pretence of avoiding fuperftition; yet notwithstanding these, and a thousand more external conformities, or zealous oppofitions of them, he wants the Life of Religion.





THE Chriftian Religion and Doctrine was, by the goodness and wisdom of God, defigned to be the common means and method to bring mankind to their chief end, namely, to know, and to serve, and obey, and glorify and everlaftingly to enjoy Almighty God, the chiefeft good.

And to that end it was given out with all the plainnefs and perfpicuity, with all evidence and certainty; a Doctrine and Religion containing precepts of all holinefs and purity, of all righteoufnefs and honefty, of all longanimity, benignity, and gentleness, fweetnefs, meekness, and charity; of all moderation and patience, of all fobriety and temperance; in brief, it is a religion that is admirably and fufficiently conftituted to make a man, what indeed he fhould be, pious towards God, juft and beneficent towards men, and temperate in himself, fitted for a life of piety, honefty, juftice, and goodness, and happiness hereafter. Such is the Chriftian Religion, and fuch the men must be that are truly conformable to it; and if any man profefling christianity, be not fuch aman, it is because he comes fo much fhort of his due conformity to Chriftian Religion, and the most excellent doctrine and precepts thereof,

The profeffion of this Religion in that which is, and for many ages hath been, commonly made by a very confiderable part of the known world, as the only true Religion given to the world by Almighty God, through his Son Jefus Chrift, wherein and whereby they may expect everlasting falvation.


But yet together with this Chriftian Religion, the profeffors thereof have in feveral ages and places chofen to themfelves various adventitious accidental fuperftructions, additions, opinions, modes, and practices, which they have as it were incorporated into the Christian Religion by them profeffed, or appendicated

unto it.

And these fuperftructions or appendixes of Chriftian Religion have been introduced and entertained by various means, and by various defigns, and to various ends. Some by the authority of great names; fome by infenfible gradations or long customs; fome by a fuppofed congruity or incongruity; fome for order or decency; fome for difcrimination of parties; fome for political ends, appearing in themselves, or fecretly carried on; fome upon emergent occafions, either continuing or now ceafing; fome by civil, fome by ecclefiaftical fanctions; fome by traditional obfervations, either continued, or interrupted and revived; fome for ornament; fome for ufe; fome as fuppofed neceffary confequents upon the Chriftian doctrine; fome to be, quafi fepta & munimenta doctrine & Religionis Evangelicæ 1, as the Jewish traditions were fuppofed to be the Sepimenta Legis 2; fome for one end, and fome for another: And although these are not truly and effentially parts of the Chriftian Religion, yet as the humours in the body are fome good, fome noxious, fome innocent, though they are no part of the true vital blood, yet they mingle with it, and run along in it; fo thefe fuperftructions, and occafions, and additions, have in various ages, fucceffions, and places, mingled with the true radical vital doctrine and Religion of Chrift, in men's opinions, and practices, and profeffions.

And yet it is visible to any man that will but attentively obferve the courfes of men profeffing Chriftian Religion, that the greateft fervour and animofity of

As it were the fences aud guards of the doctrines of the Gospel. * The fences of the Law.


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