« AnteriorContinuar »
religion consists :' and these are easily learnt and understood.' T'Yay, the moral part of religion, and the doctrine of our Saviour, which are easy to be underStood. And for the other parts of scripture, they are not of such concern to the community of mankind. And if we do not fully understand them, we are safe enough ; if so be we are brought to real goodness and virtue, and to believe in God through Jesus Christ.
7. The reformed church doth not deceive men by any ways of fraud and falshood. Those of the Romis church, that hold the doctrine of implicit faith and the doctrine of merit, and teach that masses ought to be said to relieve souls in purgatory : 'these impoftures and cheats we put upon none. Indeed we do allow implicit faith in God, where we cannot certainly understand what his meaning is, in any particular text. That is, we do believe that what the divine spirit meant by these words is true ; and when it doth appear unto us, we will receive and admit it. And this faith we allow. “ But an implicit faith in men, or in the church, this is popery. We deal honestly with men'; for we plainly declare to' men, that without personal holiness, they cannot see the face of God : according as the apostle faith, Heb. xii. 14. and Eph. iv. 24. I hat we must be renewed in the spirit of our minds. This we declare and inculcate, and admonish men about the effects of regeneration, and the motion of true godly repentance and turning from fin to God. As also put men in mind, upon all occasions, that this is a probation state, and that men are here to
be fitted and qualified for the state of glory and im mortality. And that men ought to lead christian lives, and not refer themselves to a death-bed repen tance, which is very hazardous and uncertain : for how can men get knowledge all in a moment ? Is the time of sickness a time for men to learn ? when men should come to practise, is that a time to be tąught? when men are put upon the very last nick of acting. Or to get themselves released from long and naughty habits all on a sudden ; and the faculties released from such inclinations ; when as the prophet tells us, that it is next to washing the blackmoor white, for men that have been accustomed to do evil, to do well. So that we deal honestly and uprightly with men, telling them, as they expect to, be happy hereafter, in this state to acquaint them-. selves with neceffary knowledge, and to get themselves discharged from all naughty habits, which will not be easy to do upon a fick-bed ; especially if men have long abused themselves, through iił use, custom, and practice.
8. We do resolve, that all they who do agree in the main points of religion, may look upon themfelves as members of the fame church, notwithstanding any different apprehensions in other matters. And this is a principle of peace and charity ; and this knowledge tends to the reconciliation of men, and to make them live together like christians, in love and good will. And for this I will quote you the saying of the apostle, Phil. iii. 15. Let us therefore, as many as be perfect, be thus minded; and if in any thing ye be otherwise minded, God shall reveal even this unto you. . M 3 .
· I will conclude all with that saying of a great schoolman, who spake indifferently of the state of the reformed and Romish church. 6 For men to differ - about matters of particular persuasion and opini“ on it is not inconsistent with that imperfect state « which we are in, while in the way to heaven; « when we come thither, we shall be consummat« ed, and more fully harmonize : but to differ in o« pinion, is not repugnant to peace in the way; ç though the difference shall be taken away when 6 we come home.”
Now if it be otherwise with any man that owns the reformed religion ; I must tell you that though he may profess he is of the reformed religion, he is Popish in the protestant profession. For these are matters wherein they of the protestant religion do agree : and if any man question any of those, he is fo far popish in the protestant profession.
The Deceitfulness of Sin,
HE B. iii. 13. Take heed, lest any of you be hardned through the de..
ceitfulness of sin. TIT E are in this world in a state of probation,
and have many enemies to encounter with
so that our condition is very dangerous, both from force and fraud, and from fraud the worst of the
two. For if a man be ill dealt withal, and forced, he is excused because he could not help it ; but if any man suffer from fraud, he is both laughed at, and self-condemned. Now, he is couzened and cheated, that upon any representation made to him of things without, either doth or permits what is in itself sinful or unlawful. And by this rule you may estimate all that I have to say.
I. Give you an account of the deceitfulness of sm. And,
II. Shew you the great reason we have to take heed, that we be not deceived.
I. My business shall be to, shew-you the deceitfula ness of fin, and how much thereby we are in danger. And this I will do in ten particulars.
I. Evil takes another name, though it doth always. retain its nature ; and because it must not be known by its own name, it doth adopt itself into the family of some of the virtues, as if it were like to some of them : and things that are alike do oft impose upon unwary persons. Now because a particular rule is best known by instances, I will mention several. Covetousness passeth for a thrifty temper, and good husbandry ; prodigality for being generous ;; vanity is reputed necessary remission of mind, and foolish talking to be affable conversation ; lavish expence of time, goes for exercise and recreation due to the body ; finding fault with others, is reckoned to be reproof of fin ; sharpness and severity, to be strict
ness of conscience; backbiting is accounted an endeavour for reformation ; jealousy and suspicion to be care for right and truth ; busy meddling with o- • ther mens affairs, lives, and judgments, is said to be activity for the advancement of religion ; and to controul others liberty, a care for their souls ; presumption is thought to be faith in God; curious de-. terminations beyond scripture, to be the improvenient of faith ; and inconsiderate dulness to be the denial of our reason ; mal-content to be sorrow for fin ; excessive use of the creatures, to be christian liberty ; compliance beyond measure to be good fellowship; fond imaginations to be divine inspiration ; extravagancies of passion, to be the unavoidable motion of a cholerick temper ; taking too much upon one's self, and over-bearing the company in discourse and converse, to be better improvements of the talent ; fierceness in a sect, in a particular way om mode, to be a greater care of religion ; speaking without sense, to be the fimplicity of the spirit; sheepishness to be modesty ; diffidence to be humility; affording hard measure, to be standing for one's right ; petulancy and animosity, to be generousness, courage, good mettle, and like a man of spirit; cunning craftiness, to be prudence and policy; neglect and careless omissions, to be infirmities only, the weaknesses of the saints.
Thus there are many things which pass for a due temper, and regular motion in religion, which are not the perfections they are taken for, but rather the contrary. I cannot now stand to convince these severally of deceit ; but if they be enquired