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Full text of "An Essay concerning truth and charity ..."









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E SSA 'Y;. 

CON C E R N I N G ; 


In Two Parts.' 
C O NT A I N I N G, 

I. An Enquiry concerning Fundamental Arti- 
cles of Faith^ and the NeccfTity of adhering to 
them, in Order loXhurch-Communioh. 

II. ^Some Hiftorical Remarks on tfie" Behaviour 
of the Jews and Primitive Chriftiansy towards 

, thofe who had either departed iromthe Faith, 
or by any other Offences rendered themfelves 
hable to Excommunication. 


What is that Uncharitablenefs which difcovers it 
felf in the Conduft of Men towards one another 


L O N D O N; 

Printed for John Clark, at the Bible ^;^i Crown 
in the ?o\x\tr^nearCheapfide. M.DCC.XXI. 

[Price One ShiJling.] 


A N 



Fundamental Articles 

O F 

FAITH. &c. 

RUTH and Charity are no lefs ef- 
fcntial to a Chriftian^ than Reafon is 
to a Man : The former is claim'd by 
all, how widely foever they differ 
among themfelves 5 the latter is fomc- 
times not only pretended to, but as it were in- 
grofs'd by many, who, from the manner of their 
treating thofe who differ from them, give the 
Standers by occafion to conclude, that if weigh'd 
in a juft Balance, they alfo would be found want- 
ing. But my Defign in the following Pages is to 
enquire into the Nature of thefe excellent Endow- 
A 1 ments 

'( 4 ) 

ments, rather than the Juftice of Men's Pretv'^n- 
fions unto 'em j and that we may confine our 
Thoughts within a narrow Compafs, we ihall 
conlider Charity^ not as compriung all thofe Offi- 
ces of Kindnefs which we owe to Mankind in 
general^ as it is the Sumni of the fecond Table of 
the Moral Law j but principally as it refpeds 
our Sentiments of Men, embracing a fett of No- 
tions in Religion, which we call true or falfe j 
and therefore we ihali not couddQ^Trutb as hav- 
ing all T'hi'ngs founded on jtifi Evidence iax .its 
Object •, but as depending on a 'Divi?ie I'ejlimony^ 
and. as having a Referehce to, and Connexion 
with. Salvation. We have therefore in this Ar- 
gument no.irnmediate Concern with thofe who 
deny divine Revelation, or others who fet human 
Authority on a Level with it, and therefore take 
it for granted, 

J . ■. ■ ■' . § I. . 

That the Scripture is the Foundation and 
Rule of T'ruth^ the Standard by which 'tis to be 
tried, and the Trcafurv in which 'tis contain'd. 
That indeed which pai-.lcular Perfons judge true 
may not be fo, and the only Reafon is, becaufe 'tis 
not an exprefs T'ext of Scripture^ or a jull Deduc- 
tion from it : However, that fome Scripture Con- 
fequences are juH, is no hard Matter to prove j 
but it is not our Bufinefs at prefent to determine 
what are fo, nor do we reckon 'emfo becaufethey 
. are <?//rj, but we mufb. fuppofe that Ibme are fo j 
. for if no Man ever drew a juil Confequence from 
Scripture, it has hitherto been of no Ufe to thofe- 
that have enquired into the Senfethereofj and then 
no Dowirincs deliver'd from the Pulpits, fince the 
, Apoftles Time, are to be depended on, otherwife 
then as probable^ but having no Foundation of 
Pertai?ity j and then our Religion would be brought 
into very narrow Limits 5^ and 'tis v^rell, if while 

I >ve 

■( 5 ) 

we guard (as doubtlefs we ought to do) agaiaft 
every Thing that has the leaft Tendency to efta- 
bhlli the IntaUibility of Man's Reafoning, we do 
not fet aiide thofe Confequences which are felf-e- 
vident, and by that means open a Door to Seep- 
ticifm, and deny them > though equally juft with 
that Method ot" Reafoning, by which we prove 
the Scriptures to be the Word of God, or any 
other Principle of Rehgion deduced from thence 5 
which we cannot fafely do, though not contain'd 
in exprefs Words therein^ and whatever Confeg^en- 
cesaie julljare to be beheved, becaufe they are fo, 
without Regard to the Authority of him that 
infers 'em. 

This Argument might be maintained without 
much Difficulty > but a Reverend * Brother has 
judicioufly manag'd it, and is able to maintain 
what he has advanc'd, when a Reply thereunto 
fhall render it neceffary. All that I fhall infer 
from thence is. That whatever Do6brine contains 
a jufl or true Senfe of Scripture, is Scripture, and 
ought to be deem'd fo, not only by him who 
makes the Deduction, but by all Men. 

§ II. 

Every Part of Scripture has one determi- 
nate Senfe^ or no Scripture contains two contrary 
Senfes j 'tis true, many of the Words us'd therein 
will admit of various, and fometimes contrary Sen- 
fes, as is common in all Languages 5 but that the 
Mind of the Holy Ghoft, conveyed by every Word, 
is to be taken but in one determinate Senfe (which 
we are often at a Lofs to know 5 from whence 
arife various Conjedlures, according to the various 
Sentiments of Expofitors) is very obvious j for o- 


* Mr. Cumm'm^'s DifTert concerning Scripture Confequences, 

therwife two contrary Ideas, contained in the fame 
Word, or two contrary Propofitions, contained in 
the fame Sentence, muft be both true. Certain- 
ly if Simplicity andPlainnefsof Style be the Beau- 
ty of an human Compofure, and the contrary de- 
tracts from its Ufefulnefs, and argues a Defe6t of 
Wifdom, Goodnefs and Faithfulnefs in it*s Author, 
we ought by no means to aflert any Thing which 
would caft the like Blemiih on the Sacred Oracles^ 
or contain an unworthy Charge againft a holy, 
wife and gracious God, and which would bring 
the Scriptures into Contempt, and render them 
like the Trumpet *which gives an uncertain Sound, 
§ III. 
Though the 'Truth and Authority of eve- 
ry Part of Scripture be the fame, inafmuch as 'tis 
equally infpir'd by the fame infallible Spirit j yet 
its Ufefulnefs^ or immediate Subferviency to Sal* 
vation^ which we call the Importance thereof, can- 
not be fuppos'd to be the fame, as to all the Do- 
ctrines or Hiflorical Narrations which it contains. 
Thus the Order and Time in which this lower 
World was fram'd, the Genealogies interfpers'd thro' 
many parts of Scripture, the M^ars of Judah and 
Ifrael^ and the Hiftory of the Affairs of other Na- 
tions, with which they had to do, and many o- 
ther Things related, concerning the Providence of 
God to his Church > though they are not only 
infallibly true^ but exceedingly delightful and ufe- 
ful to anfwer many Ends, far more valuale than 
any that can be attain'd by the beft Hiftories of 
human Compofure j yet thefe cannot be fuppos'd 
to be of equal Importance with other parts of 
Scripture, containing the Hiilory of the Life and 
Death of our Blefj'ed Saviour > the fame may be 
obferv'd concerning many other Doctrines con- 
tained in Scripture. Butbecaufe this Head is prin- 
cipally to be conlider'd in our prefent Argument^ 
we ought to be more particular in the Proof there- 
of : 


oi : And this I fhali chufe to do, not by an In- 
du6tion of all the particular Doctrines, that may 
be concluded to be of the higheft Importance j 
but by laying down a general Rule^ whereby wc 
may judge of the Importance of a DoElrine^ which 
when duly confider'd, 'twill eafily appear that one 
Do6trine is of far greater Importance than ano^ 
ther 5 the Rule I wou'd lay down, is, that every 
Dodrine is of greater or Icfs Importance, accor- 
ding to its Tendency, to anfwer the great End, 
for which the Scripture was given, 'viz. the pro^ 
moting true Religion^ which confifts in our advan- 
cing, and having becoming Thoughts of the di- 
vine Perfeftions, and worfhipping God agreea- 
bly thereunto, as thofe who expeft the End of 
their Faith^ even the Salvation of their Souls. That 
thefe things are of the lafl Importance^ I need not 
prove J and 'tis as evident, that they are fo con- 
nefted, that one cannot be attained without the 
other ; and that every Do6trine contain'd in Scrip- 
ture, has not an equal Tendency to anfwer thefe 
Ends will be allow'd. But if it be enquired, what 
kind of Do&ines thofe are ? It might be anfwer'd. 
Such as are fuppofed in, and are the very Bafisand 
Foundation of, all religious Worfhip. Of this kind 
are thofe which truly fix and determine the OhjeEi 
thereof, and direft us to give it to no other but 
a Divine Perfon^ who only can have a Right to 
it, as having all divine Perfeftions j and that there 
are more than one Divine Perfon who have thefe 
Perfeftions, on which this Right to Worihip is 
founded 5 and as to the Mode of IVorfhip^ that 
finful Man is to have Accefs to God, and may 
hope for Acceptance with him, in and thro' a 
Mediator^ who is both God and Man, of which 
we have fo plain and large an Account in Scrip- 
ture J alfo that this Accefs is the Refult of the 
Divine JJJiftancey and particularly, 'tis by one S^^ 

'[ rit 

(8 ) 

rit yjc are to obtain it. That thefe Doftrines arc 
of the high eft Importance^ and abfolutely neceflary. 
to be behev'd, is plain fromthe Account wchave 
in vScripture, of the Nature of inilituted Wor- 
fhip y fo that without it, the Foundation of re- 
vcal'd Religion is fapp'd, and a full Stop put to it 
in the Chrillian World, which profefles to be 
btult upon the Foundation of the Apoftles and Fro- 
fhets^ Jesus Christ himfelf being the chief 
Corner Stone. And that a Diredory for true Re- 
ligion is to be found no where elfe, thofe who 
own the Necefiity, as well as the Sufficiency and 
Authority thereof, will allow. Several other Doc- 
trines fubfervient to Religion, and involved in it, 
might have been inftanc'd in j but what has been 
(aid is fufficient to prove the general Pofition laid 
down, that fome Do£trines are of greater Impor- 
tance than others. 

§ IV. 

Tho' every thing aiTerted contrary to the 
genuine Senfe of Scripture is an Error > yet eve- 
ry Error of that Nature is not linful. In confi- 
dering the Inmcency or Sinfulnefs of Error, we 
have nothing to do in our prefent Argument with 
that which is in^vincihle^ ariling more efpecially 
fromthe want of Divine Revelation j for wefup- 
pofe a Perfon enquiring into, and miflaken about 
•the Senfe of Scripture -, now to underftand the 
■Senfe of Scripture, is either to have -^perfedl and 
adequate Conception of a Do6lrine contained there- 
in, or elfe to have ^juft Idea of it, fo far as it may 
be comprehended by us : In the former Senfe, 
there are fome Doftrines which the Wifdom of 
.Men or Angels can never fully attain to : In 
particular thofe that relate to the incommunicable 
Perfections of God, whom by fearching none can 
find out to FerfeClion^ Job xi. 7. This Defecl of 
Underftanding argues us finite^ but not ftnful^ and 


proceeds from the Difproportion that there is be^ 
tween the Objcd- and the Faculty, v/hich is conver- 
fant about it. Our Enquiries indeed concerning thcfe 
divine My/Jeries^may be fo circumftantiated,as to ren- 
der them linfulj as when they are attended with a 
vain Conceit^ that what is immenfe may be brought 
within the Compafsof a finite Mind-, or with a 
bold Curiofity in learchinginto what belongs not to 
us to know, nor indeed is poflibletobeknown. 

Error, in the latter Senfe, as ret'er'd 
to Scripture Do61:rines, which come within the 
Reach of our Conceptions, or may in a con- 
fiderable Degree be comprehended by us, is our 
not taking in the true Senfe of what is reveard^ 
arifing from our not rightly underflanding the 
Propriety of the Languages, in which the Scrip- 
tures were wrote 5 the Import of the Phrafesufed 
by the Holy Ghoft therein, or from a Defe^ in our 
arguing^ as when we infer Confequences that are 
not juil from Scripture Premifles j now though 
this be a DsfeB^ it cannot in every Inftance be 
reckon'd ftnful 5 for though two contridi6tory 
Proportions can't be both true, yet differing Per- 
fons m.ay aflert what is contradictory to each other 5 
in which Cafe one mufl err, who, notwithftand- 
ing at the fame Time, may not be chargeable with 
Sin 5 as in thofe Inftances, in which the Obje6t 
or Mode of Worfhipis not immediately concerned, 
the Foundation of it weaken'd, nor the Error in 
the leafl fubverfive thereof,nor of what is immediate- 
ly fubfervient thereunto. Thus if I think that 
Melchizedeck^ mention'd in Gen. xiv. was Christ 
afTuming the Form or Likenefs of the human Na- 
ture, to anfwer that prcfent Occafion, and to give 
an Emblem of his future Incarnation, as he did 
in various other Inflances j and another thinks 
that he was an Inhabitant of the Land of C^^^^^^^ha- 
ving the Charader and Dignity of a Prieft and 

B King^ 

King^ we can't both be free from Error 5 but I 
hope we are neither of us to be charg'd with Sin : Or 
if with a becoming Humility and Reverence, agreea- 
ble to the Greatnefs of the Myilery, I conceive 
thofe Scriptures, which fpeak of a Subordination 
of the Son to the Father, are better underftood, 
and may be vindicated more confiftently with his 
divine Glory, as a fclf exilHng Being, by fuppo- 
fing that they all refer to him as Mediator j in 
which fenfe he is not only fubordinate, but a Sub- 
je6t 'y and another, tho' allowing this to be true 
in many Inltances, yet thinks, that fome of thofe 
Scriptures may as well be accounted for, by affert- 
ing, that the Son is fubordinate to the Father, as 
begotten by a necefTary Communication of the di- 
vine EfTence, in which Refpecl, the Father is the 
fountain of the Deity^ or of the 'Trinity : One of 
us is doubtlefs miftaken, as to the Senfe of thofe 
Scriptures, from which our differing Sentiments 
are deduc'd j but we have both a Defign to fee 
forth the Glory of the Son, as God, equal with 
the Father, and as having adiftindt Perfonality from 
him 5 we both defire to honour the Son as we ho- 
now the Father^ and neither of our Sentiments are 
fubverfive hereof \ therefore neither of us is guil- 
ty of a finful, much lefs of a dangerous Miftake j 
but to pafs by other Inflances that might be men- 

§ V. 

The Sinfulnefs of Error confifls principally in 
its EffeBs and Confequences -y and thefeare either the 
begetting in the Mind unwarrantable and unbe- 
coming Thoughts of God and divine Things, 
or incapacitating us for his Service. Not to have 
right Conceptions of the great God contains not 
only an Abfu) dity in it felf, bur hereby an Injury 
is offer'd, and a Refle6lion caft upon him 5 and if 
fo, whatever is an Inducement thereunto, or the 


Spring from whence it proceeds ; much more that 
which renders thefe unworthy Thoughts of him 
in fome CenCe neceflary, niuft be reckon'd finful. 

That Error aifo is finful, which renders a Perfon 
altogether unfit, rightly to perform that religious 
Worjhip^ or other Ads of Duty which we owe to 
G OD ; for whatfoever is indifpenfably our Duty, 
the bare Nori-performance of it is culpable or 
criminal, for thereby we deny him the Glory due 
to his Name j and if this is occafion'd by Error, 
that cannot be altogether clear from the like 

§ VI. 

Errors fubverfive of the fundamental Ar^ 
tides of Faith^ or fuch as contain a Denial of thofe 
Truths which are of the higheil Importance, are 
inconfiftent with the divine Favour, and a Right 
and Title to eternal Life, as well as UnhoUnefs and 
Immorality in Pra6t:ice. They who make no Pre- 
tenfions to Religion, will fcarce deny its Neceffity 
to Salvation 5 and therefore 'tis reckon'd n^) Inftance 
of Uncharitablenefs to aifert that Irreligion ex- 
cludes from it ', and this is applicable, not only to 
the outward and more grofs A6ls of Immorality 
and Prophanenefs, but to the Habits and Princi- 
ples from whence they proceed, which are alfo 
the Obje6b of divine Difpleafure j this, I think, 
needs no Proof, for though human Judicature takes 
no Cognifance of any other but overt A6ls, be- 
caufe none can judge beyond what is apparent to 
him j the Gafe is otherwife, when we have to do 
w^ith the Searcher of Hearts. Let me alfo add, 
that the total Sufpenfion of internal Rehgion, 
when a Perfon has nothing more than what is 
contained in the outward Form thereof, which 
hardly deferves the Name of Religion, is difp lea- 
fing to God, and difqualifies for Salvation, as 
well as Irreligion in the more notorious Inftances 
B 2. thereof i 

( ^o 

thereof -<, for this is in Effcd to deny the Allegi- 
ance due from us, as Subjefts, and neglecting 
to pay the Debt we owe him as Creatures -, and 
fuch an one may truly be faid XoMve '-ivitbout G o u 
in the IVorld^ and tlierefore without Hope j as wxU 
as another, whofe Oppofition to the divine Laws, 
is a more vifible Argument that he does fo, and 
confequently that he has no Right to eternal Life. 
This, I preiiime, willalfo be allowed, and therefore 
the 'l^hmg that I am. to evince, is that the deny- 
ing the moil irnportant ox fundamental Articles of 
Faith (which how they may be known, has been 
before confider'd) is pernicious in its Confequen- 
ces, as well as Irrehgion or Unholinefs of Heart 
and Life j though I don't fay that they are equal- 
ly aggravated, or alike difplealing to God> which 
that i may do, I need only prove that there is 
foiViCthing in the one, which renders a Perfon un- 
jneet for the Fruition of God, and the heavenly 
Stare, as well as the other. That this may appear, 
let us confider that finful A6t:ions, or even a Sul- 
penfion of good ones, which, \ve fuppofe, dif- 
plealing to God, arife from, and are refer'd to 
the erroneous Di6latcs of the Mind, as notaflent- 
ing to, or diil)dieving divine Truths > fo that the 
firil DeFecl: is in the U rider fiandingy and this leads 
to Irreligion and Immorality, which are feared in 
.the Will^ which a6ts under' the Conduct and Di- 
redion rhereof ^ if therefore the Didares of the 
Utide^ftanding lead to fmful Actions, they are not 
excufable from the Guilt and Confequence there- 
pf Thus if Idolatry be a Sin, then the Mind 
that prefents a wrong Objccl:, is involv'd in Guilt, 
and irs erroneous Dictates chargeable, as well as 
the Will, which is more dircdly and immediate- 
ly fo-, and if the bare Sufpcnfon of Religion might- 
be ab If rafted from thofe a&s" of Irreligion^ ^^^^^^^^^^ 
arc DofiCive, which is, as has been coniidcr'd, 'dif- 
^ - -^pleafing 

( 13 ) 

pleafing to God 5 or if the not ivorjhippinga Di- 
'vine Perfon^ who has a Right to wodhip, be a 
Crime, becaufe a Negled to pay the juft Debt we 
owe Him -, then an erroneous Mind, fo far as it is 
concern'd herein, muft be chargeable with the 
Crime and its Confequents. 'Tis for this Reafon 
doLibrlefs, that the Scripture fo often reprefents it 
as a Matter of the lall Importance, to know God 
and divine Things immediately fubfervient to Re- 
ligion 'y and denounces the fevereil: Threatnings a- 
gainft thofe who -ayc ignorant thereof: Thus we are 
told that 'tis Life Eternal^ that is abfolutely necefTary 
thereunto, to know the only true God, and Jesus 
Christ whom he hath fent. And on the other 
Hand, there are the highefl Inftances of Divine 
Difpleafure, exprefs'd by the pouring forth of his 
Wrath, and his taking Vengeance on them, 
who know hi?n not^ as well as thofe who obey not 
the Go/pel', and the Reafon is evident, becaufe the 
one neceflarily flows from the other. Our Saviour 
alfo tells the Jews.^ If ye believe not that I am He^ 
that is, that I am the owv, or the I Am, or felf- 
exilling Being, or He whofe Name alone is Jeho^ 
iiah 5 or elfe if you believe not that I am the Mef- 
Jiah^ He that was expe6ted before, to come into 
the World with that Chara6t;er, and as fuch to 
bring about the great Work of Redemption, which 
you are fo immediately concern'd to know and be- 
lieve, you fhall dye in your Sins. 

Several things of the like Nature might 
be colle6led from Scripture, which we pals over, 
and ihall only add, that if fome Dodrines contain'd 
therein, are not neceffary to be known to Salva- 
tion, then divine Revelation it felf would not be 
neceflary, and the Principles of natural Religion 
••would be fufficient, though the Scripture were 
loft J but this is very contrary tothe Apoftle Paul's 
Method of arguing, Ro7n, x. 13. where he afTerts 

a Con- 


a Connexion between the Exercile of Religion, 
or calling upon the Name of the Lord, and Salva- 
tion^ which will more eafily be allow'd > and then 
he ailerts theNeceflity of /yj/V/:? to Religion5or call- 
ing on God, and in Order to that, the Ncceflity 
of- hearings 'which cometh by the Word of God y 
therefore the Word of God is necefTary to Sal- 
vation, which it can't be, if its mofl: important 
Dodnnes are not neceflary to be known and be- 
lieved in order thereunto. I might add, which 
"Will filencc, if it does not convmce, that they 
who deny the Neceffity of believing Scripture Doc- 
trines unto Salvation, allow, as apprehending it 
does not concern themfelves, that it is neceffary to 
Salvation to believe there is a G o d, and confe- 
quently that Speculative Jtheifm excludes from his 
Favour > and what is the Reafon that this is of 
fo dangerous a Tendency, but becaufe all Religi- 
on is hereby excluded ? Therefore I might hence 
infer, that the denying Scripture Revelation, and 
particularly the moil miportant Articles of Faith, 
or perverting them, which is in Effcft the fame, 
as much excludes true Religion, as Atheifm does 
Religion in 2;eneral > and what is Religion if it be 
not true ? Therefore if the one be allow'd to be 
important, -cWid the Difbelief thereof pernicious, 
"why ihoLild the fame be denied with refped to the 
other ? 

I F it be obje^led, that Atheifm is contrary to 
the Dictates of Nature, and is a Denial of what 
is manifell to any one, who makes ufe of his rea- . 
foning Faculty 5 to this it may be anfwer'd. That 
the Method by which a Dodrinc may be known, 
whether it be more or Icfs obvious, does not make 
the Doctrine it felf of greater or lefs Importance, 
,and makes no Alteration as, to its Tendency, to an- 
fwer certain Ends to which it is fubfervient, there- 
fore that adds ao weight to the objection : Bat 


our Bufinefs is only to enquire, what Influence fpe^- 
culative Atheifm^ or the Denial of the mofl: impor^ 
tant Articles of Faith^ contained in Scripture, have 
on Religion ? And if they are equally inconfiftent 
with the true Religion or Worfhipof God, then 
if onebeallow'd to be of a dangerous Confequence, 
the other muft not be denied to be fo. 

I F the Diftinction concerning Religion in gene^ 
ralj and the true Religion^ be fuppos'd not to have 
any relation to Salvation > let me add, that what- 
ever Perfons may call the true Religion, agreeable 
to their different way of underftanding Scripture 5 
yet certainly there is fuch a Thing, which may 
julHy be fo call'd ; and if to worfhip God, as 
God, deferves that Chara61:er, then that is as ne- 
cefTary as any one can fuppofe Religion in general 
to bcj and indeed all Worfhip without it has no- 
thing more than the Name j and if none can wor- 
iliip God aright, without his own Prefcription, 
and that rightly underftood, efpecially as to what 
concerns the EfTentials thereof, and in particular 
the divine Glory of its Objed j then the denying 
thofe Scripture Do<5lrines, which are neceflarily 
fubfervient thereunto, are equally dangerous with, 
fpeculative Atheifm, which is allow'd to excludc- 
from the Favour of God. 

I F this be reckon'd an hard Saying, bordering 
on Uncharitablenefs, let it be confider'd that it ra- 
ther refpecls the Do5lrines themJelves, than the 
Perfons that hold 'em. But if it befaid that thefe 
two are not to be feparated, but he that holds per- 
nicious Doctrines, mufl be in danger of perifhing. 
I pretend not to fet Bounds to the Mercy which 
God may have in Store not only for thofe who 
deny the mofl: important Articles of Faith, but 
even for Atheifls and immoral Perfons : 'Tis not 
for us to pretend to determine the final Eflate 
of Perfons, to whom a compaffionate God 
I is 


is able to give Repentance to the Ackno'wledgment of 
the Truth > neverthelefs we are bound, unlefs the 
Arguments alledg'd appear inconclufive, to afTert 
fome Doctrines to be of a danj^erous Tendency j 
not as expreiling any Hatred againir thofe that hold 
'em, but as a Motive which we defire to be in- 
fluenc'd by, to acknowledge the Kindncls of Pro- 
vidence, if we are led into the Knowledge of the 
contrary Truth 3 or to excite us to a more diligent 
fearch of Scripture, that we may attain the Know- 
ledge thereof, and be further eftablifn'd therein. 

§ VII. 

A s the moil fincere diftnterefted Inquiry after 
Truth don't render him who denies it lefs errone- 
■ ous^ fo it does not render the Truth it felt lefs ne- 
cejjary to be known or believed by him •, the for-^ 
mer of thefe none ^ill deny, fince Millakes don't 
take their Denomination from (however they may 
be fometimes occafion'd by) a Defe^lof Diligence 
or Impartiality in our Inquiries after Truth, but 
from their Contrariety and Oppofition to it 5 and 
as for the latter^ fince the Importance of a Doc- 
trine, as has been before conlidered, confills in its 
Subferviency to Religion and Salvation-, there is no 
rcufon to fuppofe that the fame Truth may be of 
Importance or necefiary to Salvation to one, and 
not fo to another. It will be hard to prove, that 
the fincere Inquirer after it may be religious, and 
fo have a Right to eternal Life, without rightly 
underilanding or believing thofe Dodrines which 
are fubfcrvient to Religion, and neceiTary to be 
knov/n to Salvation, fo that no Man's 
State "is to be reckon'd defperate, but his w^ho 
through a fupine Negligence omits to enquire af- 
ter it, or is prepofieiled with Prejudice in favour of 
one fide, or partial in his Enquiries. 

W E are in order to our evincing the Truth of 
thisPropoiition 3 to confider what it is that jiffefts 

a Man's 

( 17 ) 

a Man's State fo far as to render him the Obje<9: 
of divine Difpleafure j and to prove that it is the 
denying, or not beheving thofe Articles of Faith, 
which we call the moft important, and not meer- 
ly his not ufing thofe fincere Endeavours to know 
them, which he ought to have done, that brings 
him under this Inconvenience. We muft there- 
fore afTert, thatthofe Errors are pernicious which 
are fubverlive of Rehgion, asdire6led by, andcon- 
tain'd in, divine Revelation, whatever be the 
Spring or fuperadded Aggravation of them. If this 
be not true, then 'twill follov/ either that a Man 
may be faved without Religion, or elfe, be rehgi- 
ous without knowing thofe Things which are di- 
rectly and immediately fubfervient thereunto -, and 
that he may be faved without worfnipping aright, 
or elfe may worfhip aright, without having juft 
Ideas of the Objeft and Rule thereof, as contain'd 
in Scripture j but this muft be allow'd to be pre- 
pofterous, by all who own the NecefHty of, and 
pay a due Regard to, divine Revelation. 

However, the contrary is maintained by ma- 
ny, who argue, that nothing renders a Perfon the 
Object of divine Difpleafure, but what is in our 
Power to avoid : Or, that Sin, which is a Tranf- 
grelTion of the divine Law, has not itsRefidence 
in the Underftanding, but the Will j and there- 
fore the divine Refentment refpeds not what we 
think agreeably to the Evidence that prefents it 
felf to us, but what we do > from whence it will 
follow, that all Errors, abftra61:ed from the Wil- 
fulnefs which may attend them, are equally inno- 
cent, and have none of them a pernicious Ten- 

T o this it may be reply'd, that this Method of 
arguing, fuppofes fome Things which are not to be 
allowed, viz. that it is poflible for the Mind to be 
perverted, as to its Ideas about divine Truth, and 
^ C the 

( i8 ) 

the mofl important Articles thereof 5 and yet the 
Will, at the lame Time, not to be in the leall: af- 
£ed:ed therewith, which never was nor can be true 
in F:\d: : Thus it is impoflible for a Man to be 
miftaken about the Nature of Good or Evil, with 
a particular Application thereof to himfclf 5 or a- 
bout what is neceflliry to Salvation, or w^ho is the 
Obje6t of religious Worfhip, and how we are to 
perform it, but the Will mufl be fome way or 
other affefted with it, fo that hereby a good or a 
iinful Aftion is introduced 5 thus if an erroneous 
Mind fuggefts that the Son and Spirif are not to 
be worshipped as God j can the Will be altoge- 
ther unaftecled hereby ? If it refoives to worfhip 
notwith (landing, then it is guilty of Prefumption, 
and confequential Idolatry j and if it refufes to 
worfhip them, it denies them the Glory that is 
really, though not apprehended to be, their due, 
which neceilarily incurs divine Difplealure. 

Again, that fuppofition, that nothing is dif- 
pleafing to God, but what is in our Power to 
avoid, is not to be allow^ed of, unlefs it can be 
proved, that the habitual Inclination of fallen and 
depraved Nature, to Sin, which is unavoidable, 
is not difpleafing to Him. 

And when it is afferted, that fome Errors, 
which w^e call dangerous or difpkaftng to God, 
are not really fo, becaufe unavoidable to the Per- 
fon that holds them j this cannot be allow'd, be- 
caufe falfe Reafonings may be unavoidable to par- 
ticular Perfons, who cannot fee the Force of the 
Premifles, from whence other Conclulions ought 
to be deduced, and yet the Perfon herein be cul- 
pable. This was the Cafe of thofe with whom the 
Apoftle Paul difputed, who could not help think- 
ing Chriflianity Foolijhnefs > becaufe they could 
not fee the Force of his Arguments, to evince the 
Truth thereof 3 yet this is reckoned a pernicious 

# grrc^i? 

( 19 ) 

Error in them, for they arediftinguirti'd frbmthofd 
ivho are faved^ and charadterized as them that p- 
riJJo^ I Cor. i. i8. 

I T remains therefore, that fome mental Errors 
render Men the Obje6t of divine Difpleafure j 
and if any, then fuch are included, as have been 
before dcfcrib^d. It muft therefore be concluded 
by thofe who fuppofe that the Sincerity of their 
Enquiries after Truth, exempts them, who hap- 
pen to fall into the greatefl: Errors, from the di- 
vine Difpleafure 5 that the Sin which adheres to 
thefe Errors is difpenfed with, becaufe of the Sin- 
cerity of their Enquiry after Truth. This is afTeit- 
cd by many, with fo much AfTurance, that the vi'- 
left Abfurdities are charged on the Denial of it, as 
though it contained an Impeachment of the di- 
vine Goodnefs, and argued a Defedinhis Govern'- 
ment, and reprefented him as dealing with us, iri 
fuch a way, as we wou'd not, nay ought not, to 
deal with any whom we have a Right to give 
Laws to. 

This Method of arguing is reducible to one 
general Headj viz. th2.tii\M^n u/es his bej^ Endea* 
^ours to avoid any Error^ it lliall not be imputed 
to him, fo as to involve him in Guilt and Punifh- 
ment. But if this Propofition be true, it will from 
hence follow, that the moral Impotency of the 
Will to perform thofe Ads, which are good in 
all their Circumftances, exempts from Punifliment 
otherwife due to the Non-performance thereof 5 
and then Difobedience to the divine Law, fo far as 
the contrary is out of our Power, is no Crime. 
But this fuppofes, either that there is no fuch 
Thing 2iS moral Mpotency in M^n to what is good, 
or elfc that God's Right of commanding, or 
efpecially of puniihing, in cafe of Default of Obedi- 
ence, mud (land or fall with our Power to perform 

C z But 


B i; T not to inlift on the Abfurdlty of this Po- 
fition, or its openuig a Door to Licentioufnefs j I 
fhall only obierve from hence, that if a Defect of 
Knowledge of divine Truth, or the Minds being 
perverted in fuch a Manner, as is before difcribed, 
has been proved to be difpleafing to God, which 
Argument we fhall not now reaiTume j 'twill then 
follow, that though the Sincerity of our Enquiry 
after Truth extenuate, yet it don't render it no 
Crime, and confequently not punifhable by God, 
in Proportion to its Aggravation, and the Impor- 
tance of the Truth denied. 

But if it be farther objected, that God's 
Right to puniili, don't neceflarily infer the Exer- 
cife thereof, for then who could be flived ? 

I A N s w E R, that his Right to punifh, and the 
Exercife of that Right^ are not to be feparated m 
thofe Inflances, where the Crime and the Punifh- 
ment are infeparably conne6led, in the Nature of 
the Thing. Thus, if to knoiv the only true God, and 
Jesus Christ whom he hath fent^ be infepa- 
rably conne6ted with the Fruition of God, in and 
through a Mediator j and by Confequence the not 
knowing this, infeparably conne6led with Non-frui" 
tion^ then fo far as not to enjoy, is not to be hap- 
py, or not to obtain eternal Life j there is from 
the Nature of the Thing, fuch a Connexion be- 
tween the Defe^ not knowing, (^c. and the Pu- 
nijhment not enjoying, which is impofHble to be 
difTolved •, therefore if you fuppofe a Perfon not to 
know God and Jesus Christ, (^c. God 
has not only a Right to debar him from the Frui- 
tion of himfelf, but from the Nature of the 
thing, he cannot but punifh the Perfon, fo far 
as Exclufion from this Favour, contains in it the Na- 
ture of Punifhment -, it is therefore no Ground of 
Exemption from it, ^ for any one to alledgc, that 
he has endeavoured after this Knowledge, tho' with- 

out Succefs, fince the Bleffing connefted with it, 
depends not on the Endeavouring after, but the 
actual attaining of it. 

If this reafoning^ be jufl, 'twill follow from 
hence, that fuch Errors as we are confidering, are 
puniihable : But what degree of Punifhment, be- 
iides what arifes from the Nature of the Thing 
God will inflidl, I pretend not to know 5 nei- 
ther does it concern our prefent Argument. 

But iiippofe it fhou'd be granted, that Sincerity 
in fome Inltances thereof, entitles to, or is connect- 
ed with the di'vine Favour^ and exempts from Pu- 
nifhment j yet fincere or difinterefted Endeavours 
to know the Truth, are the loweft Degree o£ Sin^ 
cerity that can be fuppos'd -, for in this Cafe there's 
no Temptation to Hypocrify j for what Advantage 
can any one propofe to himfelf, by diffembling in 
his Enquiries after Truth? Or what remarkable In- 
fiance of Virtue is there in a Man's endeavouring 
not to impofe upon himfelf ? And {hall this entitle 
to Salvation, fo far as knowing the Truth is fub- 
iervient thereunto ? 

And fuppofe farther, that we are ever fo fincere ia 
our Enquiries after the Theory of divine Truth, 
are there not fome Referves of Sovereignty ia 
God to be allow'd of, fo that he may deny Suc- 
cefs to us if he pleafes ? If not, why is his hading 
into all ^riith^ or giving us the Knowledge there- 
of, mention'd in feveral Places of Scripture, as an 
Inftance of fpecial Favour ? 

B u T if even this will not be allow'd, may not 
the Jincere Enquirer ^^icv Ti'uth^ be a vile Perfof$ 
in many other Refpe6ts, and fo forfeit the Favour 
pleaded for, by thofe v/ho fuppofe Salvation conneft-*. 
ed with it ? Is there not fiich a Thing as judicial 
Blindfiefs^ ftrong Deluftons^ or being left, not forc'd ^ 
hy Go jy to believe a Lie^ as the Apoflle intimates ? 
And may not this happen to one, who does notde- 


( ^o 

fire to deceive himfclf ? and may not this beaPu- 
nifhment for other Sins, which Men are chargea- 
ble with, notwithftanding the Sincerity of their 
Endeavours to know the Truth ? 

To what has been fuggefted under this Head, 
I muft not omit to mention one Scripture, which, 
if duly confider'd, will fupport our prefent Argu- 
ment, tho' often brought as an Objedion againll 
it, viz. 'Titus iii. lo, ii. Where the Apoftlc 
fpeaks o^ an Heretick^vj\\o(c Sentiments are charge- 
able with Sin, and for them he is to be rejedfed 
by thofe who are Members of aChriilian Church. 
'Tis thought indeed by many, that the Perfon here 
fpoke of, is one who pretends to believe one Doc- 
trine, viz. that which is of a moft de{l:ru6tive 
Tendency, but really believes another, and there- 
fore is rejeded ; not for his Sentiments^ but his In- 
Jincerity^ which many fuppofe to be the true and 
only Charader of an Heretick ; and therefore the 
only Reafon why he is faid herein to fin, is be- 
caufe he is mroy^ardyi^r^ felf-condemned^ that is, 
as is fuppofed, becauie he knows in his own Con- 
fcience, that what he maintains for Truth, is an 

B u T to this it may be reply'd, that though all 
niuft grant, that there may be fome in the World 
who think to find their Account, by gaining po- 
pular Applaufe, or that they may fome way or o- 
rher ferve their worldly Intereft, by propagating 
an Error which they don't really believe j yet I 
humbly conceive, thefe can't be the Perfons in- 
tended by the Apoftle in this Scripture, for the 
Heretick is there reprefented as inconfillent with 
himfclf j and the Inconfiftency or Contrariety of 
his Sentiments is fupposM to be known, and is 
alledg'd as an Aggravation of the Charge, on which 
his Reje5fion or Expulfion from that religious Socie- 
ty is founded. But did ever any Man propagate 


( ^3 ) 

one Dodrine, and tell the World he believ'd ano- 
ther, fo that he might in this Senfe be convicted 
as an Hypocrite ? Therefore if the World can't be 
fiippos'd to know this by his own Confellion, and 
the Church cou'd not cenfure him for it, but up- 
on fufficient Evidence-, or if they can't be fuppos'd 
to know it, but by divine Infpiration, which 'tis 
true they were favour'd with in that Age, in which 
among other extraordinary Gifts, they had that of 
difcerning of Spirits > yet 'tis greatly to be quefli- 
on'd, whether ever they proceeded againftany one 
by fuch<«xtraordinary Intimations, without fome 
apparent matter of Accufation, which was known 
by thofe who had not this extraordinary Gift. 
For if they had had a Liberty to proceed agiinil 
Perfons in fuch a way, why did not our Saviour 
reje61: Judas^ who was one of that Society which 
attended on his Miniftry, when he knew that he 
was felf'condemned in a moil notorious Degree ? 
Yet we find he did not, and the Reafon doubtlefs 
was, becaufe he defign'd that his Church in fuc- 
ceeding Ages, fhou'd in all their judicial Procee- 
dings, lay hold of other Evidence, which might 
be eafily known by all, when they expell'd any 
one from their Communion. 

Besides, if this be fenfe of the T'ext^ and the 
Ground on which Perfons are to be rejected, then 
no one can be known to be felf- condemn' d now 5 
for we have no fuch extraordinary Intimations 
thereof, fince miraculous Gifts are ceafed, and is 
there any thing inftituted as an EfTential in the Go- 
vernment of the Church, which could not be put 
in Pradice, except in the JpofioUc Age ? If fo, 
then having Recourfe to cxtr^oi-dinmy difcerning of 
Spirits^ as a Foundation of this Procedure, will 
not ferve the Purpofe for which 'tis alledg'd. 

I T muft therefore be concluded, that the Per- 
fon here faid to hcfelf-condemnd^ was not deem'd 

( M ) ■ 

fb, becaufe he pretended to hold that Faith which 
he really deny'd > but becaufe his prefent profefTed 
Sentiments contradicted, what he had before pre- 
tended to hold, which was a Term on which he 
was admitted into the Church, and therefore they 
took Cognifance of his Self-condemnation ^ in as 
much as his prefent Errors contain'd a Contradic- 
tion to that Faith which he once profeflcd in com- 
mon, with the reft of that Society, when he was 
£rft admitted a Member of it. 

§ VIII. 

Since every particular Church or Society of 
Chriftians^ is oblig'd to adhere to the mofl impor- 
tant ox fundamental Articles of Faith^ the denying 
or not believing of them, difqualifies for Church-^ 
Communion. In civil Societies every difbinct Body 
is govern'd by its own Laws, which are fometimes 
arbitrarily agreed on 3 in which Cafe they may 
be alter'd at Pleafure, and an Aflent to, or Com- 
pliance therewith, is fofar a Term of Communion, 
as it is infifted on, or difpens'd with 3 in this Cafe 
it is not neccflary that all the Members ihould a- 
gree in their Sentiments, 'tis fufficient if their Ac- 
tions don't tend to fubvert the Order, fix'd on 
and agreed to by the Body. But 'tis farotherwife 
in a religious Society, for that is not only to con-, 
form it felf to the Laws of Society^ contain'd in 
the Law of Nature^ whereby the Liberty and 
Rights of Mankind are fccur'd : But the higheil 
and mod valuable Ends are defign'd thereby, and a, 
peculiar Glory is put upon it, in which Refpedt^^ 
it is diilinguirti'd from all other Societies -, and thofe 
Methods of Government wherein it differs from 
them, are to be found only in divine Revelation y 
from whence we learn, that the diflinguilhing 
Chara61:er of every Member thereof, is his profef- 
fed SuhjeUion to Christ, and Confent to be go- 
yern'd by his Lazvs contain'd therein 5 this renders 


( M ) 

it a Church of C h r i s t, without which it would 
not be own'd by him, much lefs entitled to his 
fpecial Care and Prefence. Thefe Laws which 
have a higher Sanftion than what is merely human, 
are fuchasMen can neither alter nor difpenfe with, 
by admitting any into that Society, without infift- 
ing on a profefTed Compliance therewith, as a Term 
of Communion. And they are, in general, fuch as 
tend to advance the Mediator's Glory, as fit to be 
their King and Lord^ who has an abfolute Sove- 
reignty over the Confciences of Men \ this divine 
Glory was afcrib'd to our Saviour by Peter in his 
Confeffion, "Thou ^r^ Christ, the Son of tht 
living God 5 and this, not the Perfon ofPeter^ as 
Proteftants generally maintain againft the Papifts, 
is that Rock on which, as our Saviour fays, the 
Church is built. 

Moreover, thofe Laws which are immedi- 
ately fubfervient to Divine JVorJhip^ which deter- 
mine the ObjeEi and Manner how it is to be per- 
form'd, in Comphance wherewith Salvation and 
all divine Privileges are to be expefted, they are to 
be fubmitted to, and whatever Do6trines are necef- 
fary thereunto, are to be known and believed, or 
the End of the Inftitution of fuch Religious So- 
cieties cannot be attained. This a Church is fuppos'd 
to do, or it forfeits its Relation to, and Interefl in 
Christ, and all the Glory which is put upon it, 
as a Chriftian or Religious Society. 

A N D if the whole Church is oblig'd to embrace 
that which is profeffedly the common Faith^ then 
every Member is oblig'd. This is obvious, for in all 
Societies, efpecially whereaio Difpenfation is given 
to particular Perfons, that which is a Term of 
Communion to one, is fo to another, whether the 
qualifying Condition be arbitrarily or necejfarily 
imposed. If there be certain Pa5la convent a efta- 
bliih'd by Confent, as in civil Societies^ or if fome 
D things 


things are cnjoin'd by the Will of a LegiJIafor j 
thefc are equally Terms of Communion to all. 

And that this holds good in a Religious Society,, 
is plain, fince that is to be governed by certain 
Laws which Christ has eftabliih'd, as neceflary 
to attain the moft valuable Ends of Church-Com- 
munion. Thefe Laws are profefledly comply'd with 
by every Member thereof > and indeed, his Relati- 
on to the Society, is an implicit Declaration of his 
Compliance therewith. He is therefore fuppofed, 
and does, as it were, profefs to believe, thole Doc- 
trines on which the Church is built, which we 
call Fundamental Articles of Faith^ and are necefla- 
ry to the right Performance of that Worfhip, which 
is the higheft End of Church-Communion. If 
therefore he fhould appear to deny or difbelieve 
thofe Dodrines, which he is fuppofed, or pretends 
to embrace, he would incur the Guilt of Infince- 
rityj and the Church at the fame time, in allowr 
ing him to remain in the fame Relation to it as be- 
fore, would not be altogether Guiltlefs. 

Ohj. I T will be obje&ed that a Church,or religious 
Society, may difpenfe with the Denial of fome 
Do6i:rines in particular Perfons, which the greater 
Number of them embrace: Therefore that which 
is a Term of Communion to one, may not be fo 
to another 5 and therefore there is no Infincehty or 
Guilt contracted on either fide. And that there 
mull be a Difpenfation allowed to fome for Diffe- 
rence in Sentiments, is plain, becaufc otherwife all 
mud be fuppofed to be of a Mind, which can hard- 
ly be faid of any two Perfons in the World. 

Answer, To this it may be reply'd. That 
tho' it be granted that the Members of a Society 
can't in all things be of the fam^ Mind, fince Men's 
Sentiments differ as much as their Countenances j 
yet this don't ov^erthrow what we contend for, 
mlz. That there ought to be an Harmony or A- 

4- greemenc 

'(^7 ) 

greement in all things which are profefledly Terms 
of Cvmmunwn. Now my having in all Refpeds 
the fame Sentiments with every Member of the 
religious Society to which I ftand related^ can't 
be a Term of Communion, fince it is an impoifi- 
ble Condition j nehher is there aiay ProfefHon made 
of fuch an Agreement, nor is it abfolutely necefla- 
ry to attain the Ends of Church Communion , as 
diat Agreement in thofe Doftrines which we have 
been confidering is fuppofed to be. The Laws to 
be fubmitted to, and Do6brines to be embrac'd, 
are fuch as are not arbitrarily impos'd by the Will 
of the Society 5 in which Cafe they might be dif- 
pens'd with as to particular Peifons : But fuch as are 
epjoin'd by the Authority aud Will of the Divine" 
jLegiJlator'^ which therefore none can difpcnfe with, 
unlefs you fuppofe that He can. And that He can- 
not difpenfe with thofe things which are efTential 
to it, as a Religious Society^ appears from their ne- 
ceflary Tendency to anfwer the great Ends there- 
of, which cannot be anfwer'd any other way, or 
at leaft we know not of any j and therefore we 
cannot determine what he may or will difpenfe with 
as to what relates to thofe Laws which are fubfer- 
vent to religious Worfhip. Thus if our owning, 
admiring, and adoring the divine Glory, as difco- 
vered in Scripture, and attaining Salvation in the 
Way therein prefcrib'd, be the great Reafon of the 
Inftitution of Religious Societies , thefe Ends can't 
be attained but by our knowing and believing thofe 
Dodrines which are fubfervient thereunto. Arid 
then the Denial or Difbelief thereof can't be dif- 
p^ns'd with 5 not by Men^ for they are not Lords 
of the Divine Law 5 nor by C h r i s t himfelf, for 
he cannot detra6t from his own Glory. 

But this will farther appear, if we confider a 

Church as a worjhipping AJfembly. All facial IVorfhip 

is fuppos'd to be uniform^ efpecially as to what con- 

D 2 ccrn^ 

( ^8 ) 

cerns the EJfentiah thereof. For if a Society is not a- 
greed herein, and in particular as to the Perlon whom 
they worfhip, or how and by what Rule it is to be 
performed, it is the Seat of Confufion, and a&not 
as a Body of Chriftians who approve themfelves 
to God, who fearches the Heart 3 to whofe all-fee- 
ingEye the Confufion and Contradidion that is in his 
Worihip, plainly appears, how much foever con- 
cealed the Sentiments of fome may be from Men. 
And how Httle this deferves the Name of Religi- 
on, will eadly be obferv'd j for what a Reproach 
muft it be to a Religious Society^ if we confiderthe 
Confequence of differing Sentiments, with refpeft 
to Fundamental Articles of Faith^ and the Influence 
they have on the JVorJhip perform'd, when one ad- 
vances the Glory of God, and another at the fame 
time dethrones and cafts Contempt on Him 5 one 
worfhips the Son and Spirit^ as fuppofing the fame 
divine Glory is due to each of the Perfons in the 
Godhead 'y another, as the juft Confequence of his 
denying their Divinity, while pretending to join 
in the fame Worship, has a fecret Abhorrence of 
what they who differ from him are doing, as fup- 
pofing them guilty of Idolatry. Or if a Church think 
fit to profefs their Faith, as the Church of England- 
dots^ in a Form of Words which they apprehend 
confonant to Scripture, as fuppofe it be in the 
Words of the Nicene or Athanafian Creed \ one 
underftands it without the Help of Criticifm, in 
the moft known Senfe thereof 5 but another, who 
denies the Faith contained therein, as much as he 
abhors the Name of a Creed^ is forc'd to ufe abun- 
dance of Evafions, and diftinguifh away the Senfe 
of the Words j fo that while he confeffes the fame 
Faith in Words, his Senfe of them is not only con- 
tradiftory to the refl of the Affembly, but to 
the common Senfe of Chriftigns ufing the fame 

C ^9 ) 

. Again, fuppofe one Member of a Religious 
Society owns Christ, in worihipping him as a 
Surety^ and to have niade Satisfaftion to divine 
Juftice for the Sins of Men, and acknowledges him 
the Lord of our Righteoufnefs ; from whofe infinite 
Merit he expefts to obtain Remiffion of Sins, and 
adores him with the greateft Thankfulnefs, as hav- 
ing done this for him : But another kcs no Ne- 
ceifity of expefting RemifEon of Sins, and Salvati- 
on this way, or of owning him under that Cha- 
radter. Or if, while one prays for the divine Pow- 
er of the Holy Ghoft to be exerted as acknowledg- 
ing him to be the Author of San6iification^ and a- 
nocher thinks there is no need of it, fince there is 
nothing fupernatural in this Work which requires 
his Agency 5 or fuppofe one thinks that Divine 
Revelation is the only Rule of Worfhip, and ano- 
ther that natural Religion is fufficient, and therefore 
that he is not oblig'd to thank God for his great 
Favour in giving him the Scripture, how difplea- 
fing wou'd fuch Worfhip be to God! How void 
of Harmony ! as tho' there was nothing certain or 
determinate in Religion, which muft be infifted on 
as a Term of Chriftian Communion in thofe Afts 
of Worfhip j or as tho' Perfons who pretend to 
have Communion with one another , and as fuch 
worfhip God together, may fo widely differ in 
thofe things in which divine Worfhip is fb much con- 
cerned J and yet their Worfhip be irrcprovable, and 
the Religious Society that joins together in itj blame- 

The refujtng to admits or excluding one who denies 
the moft important Articles of Faith ^ from Church 
Communion, is not to he reckoned inimious Treatment 
nor charged on the Church as a Crime, A real Inju^ 
ry^ which is founded in Injuftice^ does not confifl 
'^ denying a Perfon that which is reckoned a Pri- 


vilegc, but in denying or taking it away, fuppo- 
fing him to have a Right to it. Now 'tis cer- 
tain, that no one has a Right to the Privileges of 
a Religious Society^ but thole who have a Warrant- 
to claim them from Christ, the Lord and Head 
thereof: And we muft not fuppofe that he will 
give fuch a Warrant or Right to any who are un- 
qualify'd for them. Since therefore the denying Fun- 
damental Articles of Faith^ difturbs the Harmony, 
confounds the Worfhip, fuUies the Beauty, and 
cafts a Reproach on a Religious Society^ and pre- 
vents the Perfons attaining the End of focial Wor- 
fhip, it mufi; needs difqualify him for Communi- 
on, and argue that he has no Warrant from Christ 
to claim this Privilege. And therefore, as it would 
be Unfaithfulnefs to him to grant it : So the De- 
nial thereof does not in the lead invade the Right 
or Property of the unqualified Perfon, and by 
Confequence has not the leaft Appearance of In-^ 
juilice, nor ought to be deem'd an Injury, howe-^ 
ver 'tis often refented as fuch. 

As for Ex flujion from Church Communion^ this 
may be confider'd as defign'd to reclaim him who 
is thus dealt with, as well as to aflert the Honour 
of C H R I s T, whofe divine Glory he denies -y and 
therefore 'tis an Inftance of Love to him who is 
turn'd afide from the Faith which he once pro- 
fefs'd. Or if it be confidered as an A6k ofjujiice^ 
'tis no other than denying him a forfeited Right, 
which cannot contain in it any thing criminal, for 
by the fame Reafon a Religious Society is chargeable 
with a Crime, when it excludes any one from its 
Communion for the vileji PraBkes^ : For tho' the 
Caufes of Exclufion are various, and one more ag- 
gravated than another, yet they all agree in this, 
that they denominate a Perfon to have no Right 
or Claim to what he is depriv'd of, as being for- 
feited by him : If therefore denying the Fundamen- 

r3x ). . 

tal Articles of Faith contains in it fuch a Forfei- 
ture, as has been already proved, this Proceedure 
againil him is not to be reckon'd injurious. And that 
it don't neceflarily contain in it an Inftance of Un- 
charitablenefs^ will further appear, if we confider 
that a Perfon's Welfare in this, and the other 
World, don't confift in, or abfolutely depend on 
his Relation to a Church j there is an higher Tri- 
bunal, at which he is to be tried, and a Righteous 
Judge to whom an Appeal may be made, by whofe 
Sentence he {lands or falls. As to what relpefts 
human Cenfures, they don't render a Perfon far- 
ther from the Mercy and Favour ;of God than he 
was before •, they carry m them, indeed, the Na- 
ture of a Reproof: Now Reproofs don't increafe 
a Perfon's Guilt or Mifery, as he is an Offender a- 
gainft the Almighty^ but are rather a Means to ex- 
tricate him from it. And as fuch Dealings ought 
to proceed with the greateftTendernefs andCom- 
paflion, without Cenforioufnels in faftning Crimes 
on him deilitute of Proof 3 nor with Malice and Re- 
venge, as tho' 'twas not the Caufe of G o d that 
was herein pleaded 5 but with a Spirit of Love and 
Meeknefs, as deliring nothing more than his Good ; 
and if fo managed they ought not to be deem'd 
Uncharitable^ nor exafperate or draw forth the Pafli- 
ons of thofe who fall under them. 




O N T H E 

Behaviour of the y^^^, 





And {hewing what is UncharitablenefSy S'c. 

PART 11. 

AVING in the firfi Par t^ laid dowa 
fome Propojttions relating to thofe ^r- 
ticks of Faith which are lubfervienc 
to divine Worjhip-y and fhewn how the 
contrary Errors, fubverfive thereof, dif- 
qualifie for Church Communion : We proceed to 
E confider 

( 34 ) 

confider the Behaviour of Men towards one ano- 
ther, as conform'd to, or difTonant from, the Rules 
of Juflice and Moderation, whereby we may fix a 
iuft Idea of Charity^ and determine who may tru- 
ly be charg'd with making a Breach upon it. 

The fir ft Debt we owe, as Chriftians, is to 
Truths whereby we proclaim His Glory, and telH- 
fy our Subje6l:ion to Him, whofe revealed Will is 
the Standard thereof. The next is to Mankind^ 
who have an equal Right to claim the Duties of 
Charity, Meeknefs, and Forbearance from us, as 
we have to expert 'em from them. 

And fince Men maybe eonlider'd under a two- 
fold Capacity j either as Members of a Religious 
Society -y or as united by the common Bond of Hiima- 
mity , hence arifes a twofold Idea of Charity^ both 
of which will come under our prefent Confidera- 

W E begin therefore to confider it as exercis'd 
or neglefted by Religious Bodies of Men. Thefe are 
fuppofed to embrace the fame Faith, and to be car- 
rying on the fame Defign, 'viz. the propagating 
the Name and Intereft of God in the World and 
their common Salvation 5 and therefore they ought 
to maintain an Unity of Affe61:ion5 thereby to 
ftrengthen the Hands of each other, and fo an- 
fwer the End of their mutual Relation. 

B u T when we confider the Corruption of hu- 
man Nature, we can hardly fuppofe a Religious So- 
ciety^ but we mufl: allow that there may be Offen^ 
C ^^ given by fome of its Members j and we can 
^ijjrcarce conceive of Men as defective in Knowledge, 
as well as often byafs'd by Paflion and Prejudice, 
but v/e mud withal fuppofe that there is a Liable- 
nefs to misjudging, or taking Offence where 'tis 
not really given. 

And lince we mufl: allow the Church a Right 
to judge of the Qualification of its Members for 


r35 ) 

that Rektioiy 'it will alfo follow, that they may 
be miflaken in judging about Perfons offending, 
whom they apprehend to deferve Exclufion from' 
their Communion 5 which is the main Ground and 
Reafon of that Uncharitablenefs which is often found 
in Religious Societies. 

This is more notorious, when they pretend to 
determine a Man's future State by his prefent Sen- 
timents and Behaviour, and at the fame time to fhut 
the Door of the Church, and Heaven it felf againll 
him. This is to deal with Men as tho' they infal- 
libly knew the fecret Counfels of God, and who 
are eventually excluded from his Mercy, which is 
certainly beyond our Province to do, feeing He 
gives no Account of his Matters to any one ^ and it 
is at the fame time to preclude all thofe Methods 
which are to be us'd to reclaim, as what muft ne- 
cefTarily be vain and fruitlefs, which is contrary to 
the Apoftle's Advice, z 'Tim. ii. 2f. In Meeknefs in- 
firu6iing thofe that oppofe themfelves^ //God, per ad- 
venture^ will give them Repentance^ to the acknozv- 
ledging of the Truth. Mull we conclude that be- 
caufe God will not lave a Perfon whilil led away 
by pernicious Errors or Pra6tices, that therefore he 
will not deliver him from them ? Or is there no 
Difference between what we apprehend to be at 
prefent very dangerous^ and what is altogether de- 
[per ate and irretrievable ? 

The more common Inftances of this Temper, 
as difcovering it felf in the private Refentment of 
particular Perfons, not pretending to a divine Au- 
thority for it, will be confider'd v/hen we havefirft 
taken a View of it as ullier'd in with awful Solemni- 
ty, and enforced with a terrible Sanation, as the 
deliberate A61: of a Church dealing with thofe who 
offend either by corrupt Do6i:rines or Practices. 

That fome Inllances of Refentment are to be 

exprefs'd againll fuch, and particularly that they 

E 2. are 

are to be excluded from Church Communion^ has 
been before prov'd > it being the undoubted Right 
of every Religious Society to ufe all proper Methods 
to keep it felf uncorrupt : But that which is charge- 
able with Uncharitablenefs is the Abufe hereof, by 
thofe who, as it were, fet themfelves in the Room 
of Christ, take the Scepter out of his Hand, 
or aft as tho' they had the Difpofal of the State 
,of Men in both Worlds. 

The Scriptures that are alledg'd to give Coun- 
tenance to this Temper are fuch asfpeakof God's 
binding or loofing in Heaven^ that "which is hound or 
loosed on Earth \ or remitting or retaining Sin^ agree- 
ably to the Sentence of the Church: SeeiV/^2^.xvi. 
ip, and Chap.iLvm. i8. znAJohn xx.z\. Which 
V^exts^ if we fuppofe they refer to the Sentence 
of Excommunication^ yet they give no Countenance 
to the Opinion, or Practice founded thereon, of 
thofe who aflert the InfaUihility of the Churchy in 
their Determinations concerning them who offend j 
or that G o D is oblig'd to a£l agreeably to what is 
done on Earth, whether juft or unjuftj which 
wou'd diveil him of his Sovereignty, and argue 
him to be under an Obligation to approve of what 
may be mofl vile, or fometimes to punilb what i% 
agreeable to his own Will, tho' not apprehended 
fo by the Judgment of the Church. ThisMiftake 
has led many into unwarrantable Excefles in their 
Proceedings againft Men charg'd with pei'verfe 
Do6trines or Praftices. The Church of Rome have 
firft injurioufly made Men Offenders, and pretend- 
ed them to be avow'd Enemies to Religion, while 
they have been pleading its Caufe according toTruth, 
and then dealt with them as fuch 5 and when in o- 
ther Cafes the Crimes have been fuch as that any 
Society pretending to Religion might juftly with- 
draw from the Perfons charg'd therewith, they 
have notwithilanding gone beyond their Line, as 

I main- 


maintaining that none whodieoutoftheEncloiure 
of the vifihle Church can be faved, and concluding 
that God will certainly pafs a Sentence agreeable 
to theirs. And if the Offender has not been ex- 
eluded in a formal Procefs out of the Church while 
livings they excommunicate him when dead^ as in 
the Inftance of Bucer and Fagius in England > which 
Abufe crept into the Church about the middle of 
the Jixth Century^ being eilabliih'd by the fecond 
Council at Conftantinople^ and was two or three 
Centuries before that, a difputable Point among par- 
ticular Perfons > therefore Chryfoftom * argues a- 
gainft it, and that with juft Reafon, alledging, that 
to their own Mafter they ftand or fall > for what 
has a Church to do with thofe who are no longer 
its Members, nor under itsJurifdi61:ion? 

But paffing by this, which is fo notorious a 
Corruption of CI arch Diicipline, we find in the 
earlier Ages of the Church, that ilie has endea- 
voured to render this Sentence formidable by the 
Anathemas annexed thereunto, either taken from 
the Jewijh Form of Excommunication^ or from 
thofe two Places in the New Ttefiawent^ Gal. i. 8. 
I Cor. xvi. 22,. where the Word Anathema isufed, 
'ui%. in the one againfl thofe who preach another 
Gofpel^ and in the other, againfl thofe who love not 
the Lordjefus-y to the latter of which Marana- 
tha is added, to put the Pcrfon in Mind of the 
Lord's comings when the Threatning contain'd there- 
in fhall be fully executed. 

But that we may be a little more particular in 
eur Enquiries about the Origin thereof, before we 
come to confider how 'twas abufed by the Chrifii- 
an Churchy we may obferve that 'tis doubted by 
fome, whether Excommunication was pradtifed by 

* Tom. V. De Anath. Sermo. 


■ (38) 

the Church before the Bahylonijlo Captivity^ and 
thefe fuppofe that 'twas then us'd as a neceflary 
Expedient to punifh thofe whom they cou'd not 
try and condemn as they had done before, by the 
Authority of the civil Magiftrate 5 whereas in fore- 
going Ages, when they were in their own Land, 
and their civil and religious Polity remained unbro- 
ken, their Ecclefiaftick and forenfick Laws were 
fo interwoven, and the fame Perfons oftentimes be- 
ing Judges of both, that there was no need of 
any Ecclefiaftical Punishments diftinct from the 

But tho' this be allow'd, yet there are fome 
Expreflions in the Books of Mofes^ relating to the 
Government of the Church before the Captivity, 
which feem to import, that befides the Puniih- 
ments inflided by the civil Magiftrate, for Crimes 
that were againft the moral Law, or contain'd in 
them a Breach made upon the civil Conilitution, 
which were principally corporal 3 there was ano- 
ther fort of Punifhment inflided, by which Per- 
fons were depriv'd of thofe Privileges which were 
more efpecially Religious , which they were fa- 
voured with as a Church under the fpecial Care of 
God, as his pecuhar People. This was inflided 
for their negleding to adhere to thofe Ordinances 
by which they were, in an eminent Degree, diilin- 
guiih'd from the World . 

The moll general Exprcffion by which the great- 
eft Punifhments, whether Civil or Eccleliaftical, are 
denoted is cutting off^ which is to be taken in va- 
rious Senfes. Thus fomctimcs God threatens to 
do it immediately himfelf, and that with fome ex- 
traordinary Indications of his Difpleafurej Eating 
of Blood has this Threatning denounc'd againft it, 
Lzv. xvii. 10. / "jjill e'ven fet my Face againft that 
Soul that eateth Bloody and will cut hi?n off from a- 
mong his People, And as for thofe that ganje their 



Seed to Molechj who were puniih'd with Death, 
and the People were to fione them with Stones j yet 
befides this 'tis added, ril fet my Face againft that 
Man^ and cut him off from amongft his People 5 and 
the fame is faid of thofe that turn'd after fuch as 
had familiar Spirits and Wizards^ which was a Crime 
that deferv'd Death > and God threatens to infli6fc 
it himfelf, to wit, if the Magiftrate was neghgent 
in performing his Duty, by putting the Laws in 
Execution againft them. See Levit. xx. 2, 6. la 
this God condefcends to difplay his Glory in a 
miraculous Way, agreeably to that Form of Go- 
vernment which ^-s&Theocratical'y and as iom^Jew 
ijh Writers think, he often cut ofF Perfons by his 
own immediate Hand, for many other Crimes 
which in their own Nature deferv'd Death, when 
there was not fo full a Proof thereof, as to be pu- 
nifhable by Men. 

Again, when it is faid, I'hat Soul fh all be cut 
off from among his People^ as it often implies a Di- 
rection given to the civil Magiftrate, in dealing 
with Offenders which deferv'd Death : So, I hum- 
bly conceive, it is fometimes to be underftood, as 
containing G o d's Warrant and Law given to that 
Churchy to feparate Perfons from their Communion^ 
in Cafes where Death was not inflifted by the Hands 
of the civil Magiftrate j and it is more efpecially to be 
underftood in this Senfe, when 'tis threatned as a 
Puniihment for the Negle6t of feme Act of divine 
Worftiip, or not duly obfei*viiag fome Rites or Ce- 
remonies which were neceflary to the right Per- 
formance thereof^ this was doubtlefs a Sin, and 
w^as fufficient to forfeit the Privilege of being a 
Member of that Religious Society^ fince every one 
who had a Right to attend on their Worfhip, mufl 
perform it according to the divine Prefcription, 
or elfe be excluded from it. Accordingly when 
being cut off^ is threatned for fuch an Offence (e- 



fpccially if not committed pefumptmujlf^ and in 
Contempt of God's Inftitution > in which Cafefome- 
times Death was inflided by the Hand of the civil 
MagiftratCjas mNumb.yiv. :5o',to 3 5-. ) then the Mean- 
ing thereof is, that he fhall htjeparatedfrom the 
Congregation by Excommumcation^ or declared inca- 
pable of joining in thofe rehgious Duties which 
were perform'd by them as a Churchy under the 
immediate Government and Proteftion of the Jl- 
mighty^ inafmuch as he refufes to perform them in 
the way which was prefcrib'd by God, and prac- 
tifed by the Church. In this Senfe I conceive it is 
to be taken in Ge;^.xvii. 14. The uncircumci fed Man- 
child^ i^c. JJjall he cut off from his People^ he has 
broken my Co'venant. They who fuppofe that the 
Punishment here threatned is Deaths are obhg'dto 
conclude, that the Man-Child here fpoke of is one 
that is adult J and if fuch a one did not wiUingly 
fubmit to this Ordinance, he was to be cut <?/ithat 
is, flain. But 'twill be hard to prove, that fince 
the Man-Child fpoke of, -z;. 12. who was to becir- 
cumcifed, was one of eight Days old, that in this 
14;^^ V. it fliould only fignify one that is adult. Many 
there are who being fenfible of this Inconveni- 
ence, in explaining this Scripture, apprehend that 
the Punilbment o^ cutting offw^s not to be inflid- 
^d on the Child being but eight Days old, but on 
the Parent •, which mull be fuppos'd, if by it wx 
are to underftand Death: But if otherwife, wcun- 
derftand by it a declaring the uncircumcifed Child 
deprived of the Privileges of an Ifraelite^ which 
it was to be admitted to by Circumci{i->n, then 'tis 
not abfurd to fuppofe, that it may be the unhap- 
py Subjed thereof, in whom there is an Inllance 
of a Breach made upon God's Covenant, thro' 
its Parent's Default, who is, at the fame time,^ 
chargeable with Guilt, as being the Occafion of 




Moreover, there are other Inftances of Per* 
fons being liable to be cut off^ from the Church for 
not obferving the Laws which were annexed to 
fome parts of divine Worihipj as if any one did 
eat leavened Bread during the Week in which the 
FefHval of the Pajover was celebrated, Exod. xu. ip. 
'Tis alfo threatned, in cafe they attended on any 
holy Ordinances, and in particular on the Sacrifice 
of Peace-offerings^ and eat the Flefh thereof, being 
unclean. Lev. vii. 20, ii. In which, and [ome o^ 
ther Inftances that might be mentioned, I humbly 
conceive, that, by a Perfon's being cut off, we are 
to underftand his being denied the Privileges claim'd 
by the Members of that Church j as, in fome refpeds, 
every unclean Perfon was, while his Uncleannefs re- 

main'd upon him. . 

T M I G H T further argue, that if aPerfon s bemg 
cut off, always fignified his being punifh'd with 
Death by the Hands of the Civil MagiftratCj then 
the Apoftle Paul, who ufes the Jewijh Mode of 
fpeaking, (and the fame Word, which we are con- 
fidering, fo frequently us'd in the Old Teftament) 
Gal V. 12. Iwou'd they were even cut off whkh 
trouble you, he muft be fuppos'd to defire, or ra- 
ther advife, that they jhould he cut off by Death % 
which Advice, at that time, was impradicable, con- 
fidering the pofturc of Affairs, when the Civil 
Magiftrate would not, and the Church could not, 
inflia corporal Punifhments on thofe that troubled 
them 5 therefore the Words contain a Diredion 
to them to cut off or feparate from their Commu-^ 
nion thofe who dillurbed the Peace or Purity 
thereof. This therefore is fometimes the Senfe of 
that Word in the Books of Mofes 5 and from hence 
it evidently appears, that the Jewijh Church 
pradis'd Excommunication againft thofe who deferv d 
it, before the Babylonijh Capivity, tho' free from 
thofe many Abufes thereof, which according to 

( 4^ ) 

the account of Jewijlo Writers were introduce by 
that Church in after Times. 

A s to their Government during the Captivity ^ 
lb little is faid of it, that I think it can't be deter- 
mined whether they then praftis'd Excommunica- 
tion or not. Indeed, in Ezra's Time, after their 
return from Babylon^ we read of it with an addi- 
tional Circumftance, not mentioned any where elfc 
in Scripture, of Confifcation of Goods attending it j 
thus it was proclaimed, Ezr. x. 8. that whofoe- 
ver wou'd not come to Jerufakm to teftify his 
Confent to put away the ftrange Wives, that ma- 
ny of 'em had married, within three Days, all his 
Suhftance pjould be forfeited^ and He feparated from 
the Congregation of thofe that had been carried away : 
This indeed feem'd a new Law, and carried in it 
the Appearance of Severity > but 'tis fufficiently 
plain, that this Conduit may be juftified in Ezra^ 
tho' it don't follow, that Countenance is hereby 
given to the Praftice of thofe who took Umbrage 
from it in folloiving Ages , when adding corporal 
Punifhments to Excommunication^^ for there was 
fomething peculiar in this Cafe, and he might po{^ 
fibly be warranted herein, by forne immediate di- 
vine Intimation relating thereunto. But without 
having recourfeto that, which is not diredly mcn- 
tion'd in the Text, we may confider, that there 
was an exprefs Law of G o d, which forbad the 
Jfraelites to join in Affinity with foreign and idola- 
trous Nations, Deut, vii. 3. ^hou Jhalt not make 
Marriages with them^ thy Daughter thou jhalt not 
give unto his Son^ nor his Daughter fhalt thou take 
unto thy Son: This was the particular Grievance 
complain'd of at that time, and was like to have 
a fatal Tendency to introduce Idolatry into their 
Worihip, as Nehemiah obierves it had done in So» 
lornon\ time, occafion'd by his marrying many 
(irange Wives ^ Chap. xiii. zf, z6. And 'tis ob* 

I ferv'd. 

r 43 ) 

fervid, that they had not only been guilty of this 
Sin, when their Temptation to ic was greater, 
while in Babylon ; but even fince they return'd 
from thence. Thus Ezra in his Prayer confefles 
it as an Iniquity that abounded at that time, after 
they had been blefs'd with fo eminent a Deliverance, 
and feems jealous of the People's Inclination to 
continue in it. Chap, ix, iq, 13, 14. Befldcsthis, 
we may confider that He had a very extenfivc 
Coipmiflion from Jtrtaxerxes, to inflio: fuch like 
Punifhments on thofe who obftrufted the Work 
of Reformation which he was ingag'd in. Chap. 
vii. 2(5. Whofoever will not do the Law of thy God, 
and the Law of the King^ let Judgment he executed 
fpeedily upon him 5 whether it be unto Death^ or to 
Banijhment^ or to Confifcation of Goods^ or to Impri-^ 
fonment j the Law of God, which was to be ob- 
ferved, it's call'd the Kin^s Law^ becaufe its Ob- 
ligation Was to be farther enforc'd by his Autho- 
rity > and Ezra was to vindicate the Honour there- 
of, by various Methods of infli&ing corporal 
Punifhments, among which, this of Confifcation of 
Goods was one, (o that herein he did no more than 
fulfil his Commifljon, The Puniihment indeed 
may feem hard, but the thing enforc'd hereby was 
fuch, as milder Arguments probably might not 
have perfuaded them to comply with j and then 
God's Judgments would have foUow'd, till he 
had confum'd 'em, fo that there floould be no Rem- 
nant nor efcaping. Befides, the People had before 
this Proclamation was ifTued out, covenanted^nd a- 
greed by Oath, that they would put away their 
Itrange Wives 5 Ezrax. 3, f. Therefore when he 
faw them, no twith (landing this, backward there- 
unto, being invefted with the Authority of a Ma- 
giiirate, v. 4. he takes Courage, and ifTues forth 
this Order. 'Tis plain from hence, that this was 
Hn extraordinary Cafe, and therefore when the fame 

F z was 


was pra£tis'd in following Ages, without the like 
Warrant and Occafion, 'twould be very hard to 
vindicate the Juflice thereof. 

And this may lead us to confider the Praftice 
of Excommunication among the Jews after Ezra's 
Time, as we have an Account of it from their own 
Writers. We find that there were various kinds 
or degrees thereof 5 ^ One of which only abridg'd 
the Perfon who fell under it of fome Privileges 
which that Church enjoy'd, but not of all j and 
this was little more than what the Chriftian Church 
calPd a(pogio-/xor, Separation Ah^entio^ &C. This 
was inflifted for fome Offences which can hardly 
be call'd Crimes, but as they were deem'd fo by 
the Pride, Caprice, and undue Refentment of a . 
degenerate , and at that time, in many refpefts, ill 
govern'd Church. 

They had alfo another Degree of Ex communis 
cation "f, which carried in it more of Terror, by 
reafon of the many Anathemas annexed to it, con- 

*This they call ^ll^ Nid- denouncing m^ny Cur/es againfl: 

i) u I i fee Lightfoot, Hor. Heb, him, as tho' they defign'd to 

^ Taim. in i Cor. v. f. where make Anathemas cheap and 

he affigns from Rabb'micd VM- contemptible with Men lefs in- 

t&rs, twenty four Reafons for clin'd to Bigotry than the moft 

infii£ting this Cenfure , many of 'em were. See a particular 

of which are trifling, and hard- Account hereof in that Chapter 

ly deferve a Recital j and, as of Lightfoot now referr'd to, 

that learned Author obferves , where other things are menti- 

it was to remain in Force thirty on'd, that argue a great degree 

Bays, during which time, if of Deteftation, as not only that 

the Perfon repented not, 'twas they are forbidden to eat or 

to be kid on him thirty Days drink with him, but to come 

more ; and after that, in cafe of within four Cubits of him, who 

Obftinacy, another thirty Days, fell under this Cenfure. 

and then they proceeded to a- f This they call CD"^n Che- 

nother degree of Excommunication, rem , the fame which in the 

which they apprehended would Chrijiian Church is call'd Ana- 

terrify him witha Witnefs, by thema. And fome, who treat of 



taininga great Abufe and Perverfion of the Defiga 
of that Law, relating to the Curfes that were to be 
denounc'd on Mount Ebal^ mentioned in Deut, 
XXV ii. which was not defign'd as a Form to be us'd in 
Excommunication^ but as an Expedient to prevent 
thofe Sins which expos'd to the divine Wrath. 
And tho* they pretend to have a Warrant for this, 
taken from Deborah and Barak's curfing MeroZy 
Judg. V. 23. or from Jojhua's denouncing a Curfe 
on him that ihould rebuild Jericho-, Jojh. vi. 25. 
yet this does not give Countenance to their Pro- 
ceedings j for certainly we mufl: diftinguifh be- 
tween Anathemas denounc'd by immediate divine 
Direction, by thofe who had the Spirit of Pro- 
phecy 3 and iuch as were denounc'd by them who 
were altogether deftitute thereof 

That they pradic'd this Method of ExcommU" 
mcation^ by denouncing Curfes againft thofe who 
were ftruck with it, is very obvious to all that 
are converfant in their JVritings-j and alfo that 
thefe Execrations were not only denounc'd againft 
thofe who had committed the vileft Crimes^ fuch 
as open Blafphemy, or Idolatry, (^c. but even for 
Ohftinacy^ or Contempt of the le£er Excommunica- 
tion before defcrib'd, which was often inflifted for 

this Matter, fuppofe that they Schammatha is deriv'd from 

had yet a third degree of Excom- Schamath feparavit j and fo it 

munication call'd fi^nOti? Sch am- is the fame with the firji Degree^ 

MATHA, which they think is call'd, as was before hinted, 

the fame with Maranatha. Niddui j and therefore the 

Where this Sentence was pafs'd whole of this Matter is cotL- 

the Perfon was deem'd liable to tain'd in what the Chrifiian 

temporal and eternal Punifli- Church c^Ms Excoinmunicatio Mor* 

ments. But the other, ory^- y<9^ and Minor. But this may 

€ond Degree of Excommunication be \dt to the Diibuiiition of 

is fo full of Curfing, that little thoie Criticks who"" are pleas'd 

more can be added to it ; there- with Diiputes about things q£ 

fore fome think the Word no Moment. 


C 46 ) 

veiy fmall ones^y as for offering an Affront to a 
Wife-man "f, or Do6ior of the Law > or for fpeak- 
ing difrefpe6lfully of Him when dead > or fornot 
appearing when fummon'd to anfwer to any Ac- 
cufation before an Ecclefiaftical Court of Judica- 
ture 5 or even for not paying pecuniary Debts after 
a formal Procefs in Lawf"!". 

The Curfes they denounced * contained a horrid 
Wifli, that every thing that is terrible and detef- 
ted by Men, or which is reckoned an uncommon 
Mark of di'uine Vengeance^ might fall upon them : 
They load 'em with all the Anathemas which Mofes^ 
Barakj Elifha^ and others, have laid on thofe 
who moft deferv'd ^emj and make mention of 
thofe Names and Attributes of God^ which might 
ftrike the greatefl Terror into the Minds of Sin? 
nets J and they delivered the Perfonupto he curfed 
by all the Angels^ whom they fuperllitioufly fup-? 
pos'd to have the Governnient of the various 
Times and Seafons, Days and Months of the Year j 
that fo, by their means, he might never fee an hap- 
py Day in this World : And they yet go further, 
and give him up as one who is to have no part in the 

^ Thus the Sanhedrim ex- as having wrought this Mira- 

communicated the Man, whofe dtyVerfe i6. ^cc Cocceius zd 

"Eyes our Saz'iour had open'd, for Excerpt. Gem, Sanhedrim,^. IX. 

fpeaking without that juft De- ff See Vitr'mga de Synagoga 

corum and Refpeft to 'em Vet. pag. 745-. 

which they expeded, John ix. * See the Form or Inilru- 

27, 34. For it was not becaufe me^it us'd when a Pcrfon was 

he confefs'd our Saviour to be thus Excommunicated and Ana^ 

Christ, purfuant to the Order thematiz^'d , in Seld. de Jarey 

that they had made amongft Nat. ^ Gent. lib. 4. chap. 7, 

themfelves, v. 22. forhefeems and Buxtorf Lex. Talm. in voce 

as yet to have been a Stranger Cherem, /int fuper ipfum plaga 

to him under that Charafter; magnA ^ fideles Tncrbi magm 

Qnly he had a Refpe<St for him, (^ honibiles, 



Refurredtlon of the Juft in the next. To this 
height of vile Uncharitahlenefs^ yea, furious Rage 
and Revenge, was that wretched Generation of 
Men arriv'd, if Credit may be given to their own 
Writers^ that give an Account hereof. 

And as ih^iv Execrations were void of all Cha^ 
rity and Humanity j fo their Behaviour towards 
thofc who fell under 'em was little better. An 
Inftance of which we have in that irreconcileablc 
Hatred they exprefs'd from Generation to Gene- 
ration againft the Samaritans'^^ who, zsRabbini^ 
cal Writers tell us, were formally excommunica- 
ted and anathematiz'd for their malicious Oppo- 
fition to the Jews in Nehemiah's Time, and their 
Separation from them, when fetting up another 
Temple on Mount Gerizim^ and eftabhming ano- 
ther Priefthood to minifter in it. That this Ha- 
tred between 'em continu'd to our Saviour's time, 
appears from the Woman of Samaria's Anfwer to 
Him, when defiring her to give him to drink j 
(whereby it appears, that he did not approve of this 
unwarrantable Behaviour of the Jews towards 
them) fhe refers to the morofe Treatment which 
the Samaritans generally met withfrom the JewSy 
who would have no Dealings with 'em, efpecially 
in any Inftances in which the leaft degree of Friend- 
fhip or Obligation were contained, John iv. p. 
How is it. that thou being a Jew^ afkeft Drink of me^ 

• See an Account of the gion; and, which is more, ex- 
Manner of their Excommunica- eluding them from any Part in 
tion, by founding three hundred the Reflirredlion of the Juft, 
Trumpets, and bringing forth in Lightfoot's Harmony of the four 
as many Copies of the Lawj 'Evan. Part III, on John iv. 6. 
and how all were prohibited ^Xidfofephus's Account of the 
from converiing with them, firft Rife and Occalion thereof, 
admitting any of them there infcrted. 

to be Profelytes to their Reli- 



*lvho am a Woman of Samaria, for the Jews bavt 
no Dealings with the Samaritans '\ ? 

And after Chriftianity took place in the World, 
they turn'd their Artillery upon our Saviour and 
his Followers 'y to this the Apoftle feems to refer, 
when in i Cor. xii. 3. he fpeaks of fome who 
pretended to fpeak by the Spirit of God, and yet 
caird Jesus accurfed\ and that they made it their 
conftant Pra6tice to curfe the Chriftians m their 
Prayers, as well as common Converfation, is fujffi- 
ciently evident*. 

Thus concerning Excommunication^ as it was 
praftis'd in the corrupt Ages of the JewifJj Church, 
To this let me add, that there was another fort 
of Pradlitioners in this Art of Curftng^ tho' much 
inferior to the former, and thefe were the Hea- 
then 5 whether the Jews borrowed it from them, 
or they from the y^w J, I will not difpute: That 
the Heathen had Excommunication among them is 
very obvious, and not at all ftrange, fince the Law 
of Nature fuggefts as much, if abftraded from the 
Abufe thereof j which we find alfo among them, 
as appears by the various Methods of Execration 
annexed to it, as is obferv'd by fome of their own 
Writers "fi", who occafionally takes notice of it. 

Thus much concerning the Origin and ancient 
Pra6lice of Excommunication^ before it was received 


t How hr this Rule cxten- f j Thus C&far th Bel. Gal. 

ded it felf, fee Lightfoot Hor. gives an Account how in the 

Heo. and Talm.'mjohniyr, 8,9. Adminiftration of religious Af- 

* See Buxtorf. Lex. Talm. in fairs by the Druids, among the 

loce MiN. Aternum exitium illis ancient Gauls , they excluded 

imprecantur qui a lege Judaica thofe who rctus'd to confornr 

deficmnt ad Chriftianos, and Juf- to their religious Conftitution, 

tin Martyr, Dial, cum Tryph. from the publick Exercife of 

'A^xxLxTuq Kxrx^ci^s ?^ civr^ their Worfhip, and particularly 

sxM>a> j^ roTi kTs MurS, from attending on their Sacri- 


( 49 ) 

in the like Form, by the Chriftian Churchy which 
we are now to confider •, and one would think 
that this was but a very indifferent Precedent for 
them to follow, which not with {landing they did, 
as will appear from what we fhall take occafion 
further to Remark, concerning the Ahufc of Ex- 
communication in the early Ages thereof. It mufl in- 
deed be allowed, that their Zeal in Defence of the 
Truth and Purity of Religion is in many other In- 
ftances to be commended: But this Practice of 
affixing Anathemas to Excommunication cannot be 
reckoned an Excellency in them > and indeed fome 

fices, as thofe who were reck- 
oned among the viler Part of 
Mankind j and others were pro- 
hibited from entiing into their 
Hou fes, or exchanging a Word 
with 'era, for fear of being de- 
fii'dj neither were they allow'd 
the Benefit of the Law, nor 
the common Inftances of Re- 
ipedt , which others had a Right 
to. 6*/ c^u'is aut frtvatus aut pub- 
I'tcus eorum decreto non ftet'it facr'i- 
ficits interdicunt y ^c.L{h.6.\.\^. 
That this was alfb pradis'd 
among the Grecians, may bein- 
ferr'd from what we read in 
Sophocles, in O I A T n T T P, lin. 
243. C^ Seq. where he intro- 
duces Oedipus, pronouncing this 
Sentence againft any one who 
fhould refiife to difcover his 
Father's Murtherer, not know- 
ing then that himfelf was the 
unhappy Manj that no one 
fhould entertain or converfe 
with fuch an one, or have Com- 
munion with him, in Prayer 
or Sacrifices, nor ihould ad- 
mit him to ufe thofe Luftrati- 

ons that were obferv'd in reIf-» 
gious Worfliipj and he proceeds 
to denounce Curfes againft him 
as a wicked and excommunica- 
ted Perfon , and againft thofe 
who fhould entertain or conceal 

Toy xva^' oiTtccvou 1 ■ 

MiiT h Qiuv iv^aXci fjuitrt B-vf/zXtrt 
Koivoy TToiit^ f/jyiTi ^i^vkQcc<i nf//ii)f 
'^6iiy ^' mtt' oI'kuv %u,vrxii. 

Another Inftance of this we 
have in Juftm, Hiji. Lib, v. 
cap. I. who gives an Account 
of Alcibiades's being accus'd for 
divulging the Myjieries of Ceres, 
and that for this he fell under 
the Difpleafure of thofe who 
had the Management of the 
Affairs of Religion, and accord- 
ingly 'tis faid, Inde non dam' 
natum fe tantum verum etiam 
Diris per omnium facer dotum Ke- 
ligiones devotum cognoojit. 


C 50 ) 

df the Fat beys J who had more Mildnefs iii their 
Temper, feem to blame it, efpecially as containing 
too much Severity and Injultice in its AppUcation. 
Thus Chryfoftom ^ obierves, that it ought 
rather to be affixed to Do5irines than PerfonSy or 
at leaft the Perfon mufl be fuppos'd finally impe- 
nitent, or never difpos'd to embrace the Faith of 
the Gofpel 5 and therefore they cannot be excused 
from Uncharitablenefs^ who have often us'd it with- 
out due Regard had thereunto. Thus 'tis obferv'd 
by Socrates'^ ^ that 'twas commonly us'd by the 
Church, in the Form oi Excommunication ^ and to 
render the Sentence more dreaded, as determining 
a Man's State to be hopelefs, if he happen'd to 
die under the Weight thereof (without confider- 
ing the Fallibility of thofe who pronounc'd it, and 
the Poflibility of its being mifapplied) fome have 
explain'd it in fuch a way, as tho' the fame Re- 
gard was to be paid to it as to a divine Oracle ad- 
judging Men to cverlailing Deilrudion > and 'twas 
to be entertain'd with equal Dread and Confufion. 
Thus 'Tertullian% calls it, an Anticipation of the fu- 
ture Judgment j and Cyprian \ fuppofes fuch an one 
far from a fiat e of Salvation. 

And fome have fuppofed, that the Perfon when 

excommunicated^ was pojfeffcd by Satan^ which 

they conclude to be the Senfe of the Apofile when 

■ he {peaks of delivering fuch an one unto Satan^ in 

I Cor. v. f. Of this Opinion is the learned Cave\\^ 

f In locofupr. chat. § Apol.froChr. cap. 59. Sum- 

* Speaking concerning the mionfuturi Jtul'icij pr&JHdicium, 

Church's pronouncing an Afid- -i^ De Orat. Dom. Timendum 

thema againft Ncjiorius, ' for his eji O" orandum ne dum quis ab- 

Herefy, fays, that this was the Jhntus feparatur a Chrijii corpore 

ufual Form o^Exco'/'ajnunication-^ procul remaneat a falute. 

in like cafes kv'.^ifx,oirKrocv ^ru || Prtmithe Chrijiianity, Part 

yufi ol ^^is'iocvot x,x?iZiv ucJB-oi^iv III, Ch^p. j. 


( 5^ ) 

who argues 5' that fi nee the Apo flies had a Power 
to infliS: extraordinary corporal Punifhments for 
fome notorious Offences, as when Peter flruck 
Ananias and Sappbira dead, and Paul fmote Ely mas 
the Sorcerer with Blindnefs 5 therefore it may be 
concluded, that they had a Power to dehver Men 
over into the Hands of Satan^ that he might ac- 
tually fiezeand take PofTefTion of them 5 and there- 
by a mighty Terror might be flruckinto the Minds 
of Men, who would be afraid to commit thofe 
Crimes whereby they would incur this Cenfure. 
And he further argues, that it was more needed 
at that Time, feeing there was a Defed of civil 
ccerci've Powers therefore fi nee the Magi flrate took 
no Care to defend the Churchy God was plcafed to 
do it in this Method, by granting the Apoflles 
this extraordinary Gift. 

But I humbly conceive, that there never was 
fuch a Power granted to the Churchy how much 
foever the Neceflity of Affairs feem'd to require 
it. That there was no fuch thing after the Apo- 
flolic Age^ feems highly probable, which alfo that 
excellent Author abovemention'd allows 5 for cer- 
tainly if there \\2A^Juftin Martyr^ who liv'd in the 
middle of xh^fecond Century^ or 'Tertullian^ in the 
End of it^ ox Origen^ who liv'd in tht heginningoi 
the Thirds or Cyprian^ who flouriHi'd in the mid- 
dle of that Century^ would have taken fome notice 
of this extraordinary itiiraculous Punifhment at- 
tending Excommunication 'y but they are altogether 
filent about it , which they would hardly have 
been, had they known any thing of it, fince fome 
of them fpeak in fo awful a Manner concerning 
the Church's proceeding againfl thofe whom they 
apprehended to deferve it. And fome * of them 

G z take 

* Jtijlin Martyr, in Collo^* cum Tryph. tells the j^ews, that the 
. ^ ' Church 

( jO 

take notice of Her being favour'd with extraordi- 
nary Inflances of Miracles, which, it feems, were 
not wholly ceafed in their Time, and affign it as 
a confirming Evidence of the Truth of the Chri- 
ftian Religion againft the Heathen^ laying their 
Lives at Stake upon it, that they ihould be ena- 
bled pubHckly to caft out Devils^ whom their Ene- 
mies worfhipped as Gods, and force 'em to con- 
fefs themfelves impure Spirits, who were ready to 
quit their Pofleflion at the Chriilians Command, in 
the Name of the true God. Thus then it is 
fufficiently evident, that this extraordinary Pu- 
nifhment did not attend Ex coynmnni cation in the 
jiges immediately following the Apftles Time. And 

church in his Time had the 
Gift of Prophecy j which £«- 
[eb'ms in H//?. EccU L. \sr.z, 17. 
takes Notice of; and therefore 
doubtlefs believ'd it to be true 
in Fad (tho' it \% very much 
to be queftioned, whether there 
was any fuch thing in the 
fourth Century, in which he 
liv'd) So Gregory Nyjfen, and Bafily 
who liv'd a httle after Eufebius, 
alTert that there were many Mi- 
racles wrought in the third Cen- 
tury by Gregory of Neo-C'S.fcirea, 
for which Reafon he is call'd 
Thaumaturgus j tho' 'tis not im- 
probable that they may be im- 
pos'd on in fome things which 
they relate concerning him, e- 
fpecially when they compare 
him with the Apoftles and an- 
cient Prophets, not excepting 
Mofes himfelf, in this refpeft; 
and 'tis certain , many things 
are related of his Miracles, which 
feem too fabulous to obtain Cre- 
dit ; yet there is Ground enough 
from all that they fay, to fup- 

pofe that he wrought fome; 
and that therefore in his Time 
they werfe not wholly ceas'd. 
See Greg. Nyjf. in Vtt. Greg. 
Thaum. and Bcifil de Sp. Sanclo, 
cap. 2.9. andOrigen affirms that 
in his Time the Cliriftians had 
a Power to perform many Mi- 
raculous Curesy and to foretel 
Things to come. See L. i . con- 
tra, Celfs. Katj Wi ly^vn rS dynf 

(ruTircci ihTToCOiicri occiUiovcc^ tccci 

nvcc Kecrcc ro Cs/A>3|U/6t rS Aeyj< 
TTfpt fj^iXXoyrm, If this had not 
hQ(in true, CelfuSy who wanted 
neither Malice nor Opportuni- 
ty, would certainly have detec' 
ted the Fallacy. And had there 
not been fuch a Difpenfation 
of Miracles in Tertullian's Time, 
he would never have appeal'd 
to it, and affign'd it as a Proof 
of the Truth of the Chrijlian 
Religion. See his Apologet. adv., 
Genfes, cap, 23. 


( 53 ) 

indeed it does not appear to me, that there was 
any fuch thing in the Church in their Time-y for 
it don't follow, that becaufe in two or three In- 
ftances corporal Punifhments were inflifted by 
them for notorious Crimes, in which we have 
no mention of Excomrnunkatioyi preceding, that 
therefore it commonly attended that Eccleliaftical 

We muft therefore enquire, whether there 
may not be fome other Reafon allign'd, why the 
Apoftle orders that the Perfon in the Church at 
Corinth^ who had been guilty of Inceft^ fhouldJDC 
deli'ver d to Satan^ when he gives Infiru6tion con- 
cerning his Excommunication. I am inclined to ac- 
quiefce in the more common Senfe given of that 
Textj viz. That the Perfon who had committed 
this notorious Crime, who was to be caft out of 
the Church, was faid to be delivered to Satan in 
as much as he was left in^ or confign'd over to^ Sa^ 
tan's Kingdom : Such a figurative way of fpeaking 
is not uncommon either in facred or prophanc 
Writers. Moreover , Satan's Kingdom is fome- 
times oppos'd to C h r i s t's 3 and therefore as 
Christ is Lord of his Churchy they who arc 
within its Enclofure, are entituled to His fpecial 
Care and Proteftion, as well as governed by the 
Laws which he has prefcrib'd. So Satan is de- 
fer ib'd *, as the Prince of the Power of the Air^ 
the Spirit that worketh in the Children of Difohe^ 
dience-y the Prince of this World y and the God of this 
World 'y his Empire is calPd the Power of Dark- 
nefs^ which we are faid to be deliver' d from^ when 
tranflated into the Kingdom of Christ. Now then, 
if Christ's Kingdom and Satan's are thus oppos'd 
to each other 3 if Christ is faid to reign in his 

* ^}h. n, 1. Jofj. xii. 31. and xiv. 30. zCor, h. 4, 


( h) 

Churchy and Safan^ by divine Permiflion, to reiga 
over thofe who are out of the Churchy and much 
inore over thofe who are cajl out of it, for Crimes 
containing an open RebeUion againft the Laws of 
Christ -, then it is no Impropriety of Speech to 
fay, that fuch an one, when call out of the Church, 
is delivered to Satan 5 that iiy his Relation to it be- 
ing difTolved, he is left in the World or Satan's 
Kingdom J and whereas fome fuppofe,that there were 
other Confequences which attended this Exdujion^ 
1^/2;. that fuch might be exposed to a more than ordi- 
nary Degree of Temptationj and many of them 
given up to the Terrors of their own Mind, un- 
der a Senfe of Guilt improv'd by Satan againft 'em, 
'till God was pleas'd to interpofe with his reftor- 
ing Grace, over-ruling this for their Good : I 
will not deny it, provided it be not extended fo 
far as to contain any thing extraordinary or mi- 
raculous in it. This I humbly conceive to be the 
Senfe of the Words in this Scripture > and as fo 
coniider'd, it has a more dired Tendency to anfwer 
the End there aflign'dj viz. The DeflruUion of 
the FleJJo^ that the Sprit may he fa-v'd in the Day 
of the Lord Jefus^ than to fuppofe a Perfon corpo" 
rally pojfcfs'd by the Devil, which if the more im- 
mediate EfFecl thereof be Lunacy^ is inconfiftent 
with the aftings of Graces or than to fuppofe 
that the Perfon thus delivered to Satan^ was filPd 
with a great degree of Malice and Enmity fugge- 
iled by him^ which can hardly be reckon'd a 
Means conducive to Salvation, as the Apoftle fays 
this Deli'very over to Satan was to be look'd upon 
and improv'd as fuch. 

But tho' the Church had no Power to deliver 
any up to be corporally poflefTed by Satan^ who 
rendred themfclves liable to its Cenfures^ yet they 
endeavoured, as was before hinted, to make the-m 
as much dreaded as was pofllble > (0 that they fliould 



conclude their Condition as bad or worfe than if 
this Evil had befallen them -, fince 'twas generally 
fuppofed that there was little or no hope of Salva- 
tion till they had obtained Peace with the Church. 
This made them willing to fubmit to any Condi- 
tions of Humiliation, rather than have this Bond 
( for fo 'tis calPd ) remain upon them. What but 
this could have mov'd them to appear before them 
"in filthy Garments, with Sackcloth and Aihes, fal- 
ling down at the Feet of the Bijbop or Pre/by- 
terSj and kneeling to the very Laity defiring their 
Prayers > and this done not only by the common 
People, but Kings and Emperors muft fubmit to it ? 
The Story of Theodofius the Great is well known, 
who after he was excommunicated for having carri- 
ed his Refentment beyond all the Bounds of Rea- 
fon and Juftice againft the Inhabitants of 'Thejpi- 
lonica^ for killing one of his General Officers in a 
Tumultjby giving them up to be murdered and plun- 
dered at Difcretion by the Soldiery, was forc'd to 
fubmit to this Difcipline with uncommon Expref- 
fions of Sorrow, and Plenty of Tears j firft, im- 
muring himfelf in his Palace, and after that, fuf- 
fering one of his Courtiers, who offer'd his Service, 
to go and intercede in his Behalf for the Church's 
Reconciliation^ and his Re-admiffion into its Commu-- 
nion^ but to no Purpofe, till he came in Perfon and 
humbled himfelf to fuch a Degree as tho' he had 
immediately to do with God rather than Men-^ 
and this he did, as concluding that fo long as the 
Doors of the Church were fhut againil him, he 
was inevitably JJmt out of Heaven^ calling to mind 
that Scripture, Whomfoe'ver ye floall hind on Earthy 
JJoall be bound in Heaven ^. And Eufebiu s giwts an In- 
ilance of the like Humiliation, in order to obtain 

* Thee J. Hift. Eccl. //^. v, cap. 17. 

4- the 

( yO 

the Church's Reconciliation^ tho' in a Perfon much 
inferior to the former ^ which, as he fays, was 
after all obtain'd with great Difficulty **. 
. . If therefore Excommunication ftruck fuch a Ter- 
ror into the Minds of Men, it will naturally lead 
/ us to enquire whether 'twas ever inflidted unlcfs 
for the 'ullefi Crimes^ fuch as were inconfiftent with 
the Profeilion of Chriflianity, or a Right to the 
Favour of G o d and eternal Life. 

In anfwer to which it mufl be conlidered,that 
fometimes they pafs'd this Sentence for Offences 
which could hardly be caWd Crimes, even for 
what fcarce deferv'd a Reproof, as will appear 
to any one who confults the Canons of the Coun^ 
cils of the antlent Church, wherein they not only 
fufpended from Church Communion, but did it with 
the Addition of an Anathema, for fome things 
that were below the Church's Notice, and much 
lefs defervcd fo fevere a Cenfure -jr. This is fuch a 


** 'Enpb. Hifl. Eccl. Itb. v. as long a time as the Bifhop of 

Ca^. tilt, the Church to which he belonged 

t A Sufpenjion of Pcrfons plcas'di which Decree they pre- 

ft oin Church Communio'o, whe- tend to be given by the fpecia! 

ther for a Hmited time, or not. Dictate of the Holy Ghoft. This 

was often inflicted for very is an indefenfible Inftance of 

fmall Crimes : Thus the Conndl Pride and Prophancncfs, as well 

^t El ibert in Can. fo. fufpended as uncharitable and ludicrous i 

any one who fhould cat with a but 'tis not to be wonder'd at, 

yew -y and one of the GalUcan v/hen we confider that 'tw^s in 

Councils in thefixfh Ce?2turyy vtz. a very corrupt Age of the 

Cone. Matifconepf. II. In Can. 1 5-. Church. 

determine, that if any Lay-man And as Perfons were often 

meeting a Clergy-man upon the fufpended, Co fometimes they 

Road, did not pull off his Hat were anathematisi'd for very 

and bow to him with the great- fmall Offences : Thus the Council 

eft Degree of Reverence, or if held at Ga'igra, in the fourth 

being on Horfeback, did not a- Century, made 20 Canons, to e- 

light off from his Horfe to pay very one of which an Annthe- 

that Refpeft to him, he was to ma is affixed j and in fome of 

he fufpended from Communion iov 'em \yhat they were difpleas'd 



vile Proftitution of a tVord^ than which nothing 
is more awtuias 'tis ufed in Scripture^ fo thatfome 
have thought they divefted it of its common Idea^ 
and made it fignify no more than a bare Sufien- 
Jion or Exdufton from the Commmiion of the Church , 
which is the moil favourable Conflru6lion that can 
be put upon it j and one would be enclin'd to think 
fo, were it only usM occafionally, in which Cafe it 
might be thought, not to be fo well underllood as 
when it is fo often ufed : But when we find it fome- 
times joined with a7t Execration^ and generally an- 
nexed to Cenfures denounced for the moft heinous 
Crimes, in which Cafe the Form is, let him be ex- 
communicate and anathe?natiz'd^ how can we other- 
wife conclude than that it contains the worft that 
the Church can do againft an Offender? 'Tis true, 
Socrates the Church Hiilorian, as has been before 
obferved, fays, that tht Sentence of Excommunicatio7i 
is commonly called Anathema > but he adds, that 
'tis fo called, that is to fay, an Anathema was 
annexed to it when denounced againft the firfi 
Author or Propagator of fame hlajphemous Here- 
fy. And ^ Theodoret^ "who explains it as importing, 
that a Perfon is a?i Alien from the common Body of 
the Church j yet he applies this Explication of ic 
to the Senfe of that Scripture where the Apoftle 

with and prohibited, can hardly the Lord's Day j and the fourth 

be prov'd to be contrary to the Council at Carthage, held in the 

moral Law or Rule of the Gof- fifth Century in Can. 64. declare 

pelj and other things, tho' lin- a Peffbn who does fo no Catho- 

ful, don't deferve Excommuni- lick, which is little better than 

catioriy much lefs fuch an one. to anathematize him. 'Twere 

An Inftance among others of endlefs togive Inftances of this 

their denouncing an Anathema Mature, all which tend rather 

for an Offence that did not de- to cxpofe and make the Cen- 

ferve it, may be feen in C<^n. fm?s of the Church contemn'd 

18. of that Council^ where they than anfwer any valuable End. 

anathematize thofe xhaxfafi on -^ In Comment, ini Cor. y:vu^2. 

H Taysj 

C 58 ) 

fays 5 Let him that loveth not the Lord Jefus he 
Anathema Maranatha 5 which is as much as to fay, 
that it imports fomcthing which carries in it a be- 
ing thruft out of the Church with fome uncom- 
mon Marks of Infamy and Difpleafure. To this 
it may be added, that 'tis fufSciently evident that 
the tJfe hereof in Excommunication^ was derived 
from the Cuftom of the Jews^ and that it anfwers 
to the Word C h e R e m ufed by them in the hke 
Cafe y and what a terrible Idea they had of it will 
be eaiily obfcrvcd from what has been before fug- 
gefled. And to all this let me add, that 'twas ne- 
ver ufed in that which is called the lejfer Excom- 
munication^ which was infli6ted for a certain limit- 
ed Time, and when that 'twas expired the Perfon 
might be re-admitted into the Church with much 
iefs Difficulty. If therefore it carries in it the 
Severity of thofe Ecclefiaflick Cenfures^ which were 
entertain'd with the greatefl Dread and Horror, 
and yet was denounced £orfmaIl Offences^ what can 
"we call this but a great Degree of Uncharitable- 

And indeed it can hardly be deem'dany other, 
if we conGder the Occafion^ tho' the Anathema be 
left out, and only the lejfer Excommunication de- 
nounced, if VN^e confider how awful a thing 'twas 
reckoned by moll in the third and fourth Centuries 
to be feparated from the Church in what Form 
foevcr it was done, as has been before obferved. 

Another Reafon of Perfons being cut off 
from the Communion of the Churchy was their re- 
fufing to give an AfTent to all things that were de- 
creed in fome foregoing Councils -y ni which many 
things were expreffed in fuch a way, that 'twas 
difficult to underlland their Meanings and many 
C-^niurcs were pafied by them on Perfons andThings, 
without a due Regard had to Jullice, or the Me- 
rits of theCaufe. And \vhereas they condemned 

I many 


many as Hereticks^ for holding Sentiments far from 
being fubverfive oi^ny fundamental Article of Faith j 
yet he that cou'd not join with 'em herein was e- 
qually cenfur'd^. 

But fuppofe the Crimes real and notorioufly 
great, which defervedly exclude a Perfon from a 
Religious Society^ fuch as fcandalous Immoralities 
or Herefies fubverfive of the Foundation of our 
Faith 'y yet it was an unjuftifiable Extream, and 
contrary to the Laws of a Religious Society^ and the 
good Ends that fhould be anfwer'd by fuch Cen- 
fures^ when they depriv'd the Perfon excommuni- 
cated of the Ordinances or Means of Gr^^^, which 
fhould be ufed for his Recovery, as they feem in 
fome Inflances to have done. ¥he Lord's Supper^ 
indeed is an Ordinance which thofe who deferve 
to be feparate from the Communion of the Church, 
muft be fuppofed to be unqualified for, as being 
unable to attain the Advantages defigned thereby : 
And it being an Ordinance in which there is Com- 
munion, it fuppofes a Perfon united to that Soci- 
ety wherewith he communicates 5 therefore they 
were not to blame for prohibiting an excommuni- 
cate Perfon from partaking of it. But their Cen- 
fure reach'd farther than this, for they wou'd not 
admit him to join with them in Prayer nor hear- 
ing the IVord \ > the former none are to be ex- 

* Vid. Com. Lateran. A. D. Frujlrd jam du^ltat in c&teris 
649. Can. 16. and 17. quoque con/entire els ^ particeps 

t Thus Firmilian, in his E- ejje-j ut ^ fimul cum eis conve- 
piftle to Cyprian, having com- niat- (^orationespariter cumiifdem 
plain'd of Stephn^ Bilhop of mifceat, vid. M^ EpiJi.Cyp. y^'^"*, 
Rome his admitting Hereticks to ^Tertullian mApol. 39. ipeak- 
Baptifm, fays, that he might ing concerning Per/on s excom- 
even as well communicate with municated fays, that they not 
them in other Parts of Wor- onlj refused to admit 'em to 
ihip^ and particularly in Frayety join with the Church in Trayer, 
H a ^ but 

( ^o ) 

eluded from but fuch as have committed the Sift 
unto Death^ which it is an hard Matter, if not im- 
poflible, for any to determine who have not, as the 
Church had in the ^ry^ v^^^ thereof, an extraordinary 
difcerning of Spirits y the latter none are to be ex- 
cluded from, for the Heathen were admitted to come 
into the AfFembHes of the Church, to hear the fVord 
in the ApolUes time 5 for fuch were they who are 
called unlearned^ i Cor. xiv. 23, 24. 

But there was another Inilance o^ Uncharitable' 
nefs in their Behaviour towards thofe who are 
excommunicated^ which is beyond all the reil, in 
that fome have determin'd that they fhould not, if 

but that they wou'd have no- form'd) in the Habit and Poflure 
thing to do with them in what oi Mourners •■> this they were en- 
related to holy Things. And in join d to do for a certain limited 
the 4jth of the CanoJis, h\^y time,x'/;::.a Year or more, accord- 
attributed to the ^poflUs, -which, ing to the Nature of the Offence, 
tho' fpurious, contain doubtlefs Thefe were cail'd ^poo-;iA«;svrf5, 
the Senfe of feveral Coanc'ds in Mourners. Then they were ad- 
the third anci fourth Centuries j admitted to hear the Word with 
the Compilers thereof depofe the Catechumens^ and from that 
and condemn thofe Bifhops, time they were call d «s«f«iiy/>«/£vo* 
Presbyters, or Deacons who Hearers -^ and when they had 
pray'd with an Heretick\ and in continu'd fome time in this 
the nth Canon, they are threat- Clafs, they were admitted to 
ned with 2x communication who join with the Church in Prayer 
pray'd with an excommunicate and Singing, and after that to 
Perfon, or fo much as /pake to partake of the Lord's Supper : 
him in his own Houfe. This State of Tryal continu'd 
It will farther appear that fometimt s feveral Months, zs The- 
thofe v/ho wcTC excommunicated oJo//us the Great fubmitted to it 
were excluded from, all Religious for etght Months, which State of 
Jf^r;^//' perform d in the Church, Tryal, and Time of Exclufion, 
if we conficler the Methods us'd, was much fliorter than what 
and the various Steps that were many v/ere oblig'd tofubmitto 
taken in order to its being re- who were very often kept out 
concil'd to thofepwho were cafi: of the Cliurch for five or ten 
out of its Communion. At firfl Years, moreor lefs, according as 
they were oblig'd to /iand rcith- the Governors thereof deter- 
out the Church-Doors ( while min'd. See Theod. Hift. Eccl. in 
the Worfliip of God was per- Loc. fnpr. citat, 


( <JI ) 

the Crime was of an extraordinary Nature, be re-^ 
admitted into the Churchy tho' they repented of 
their Sin, but muft live and die under the Weight 
of this Cenfure * ; But this was counted very fc- 
verc, and therefore 'twas thought fit afterwards a 
little to relax it f . 

Thus we have confidered fome Inftances of the 
Rigour and Severity in the Difcipline of the and" 
ent Churchy which notwithftanding in other Re- 
fpe6ts was much preferable to any other Religious 
Societies in following Ages in their afTerting and de- 
fend ing the Truth of the Chriftian Religion, and 
the Divinity of its Author, againft a great Vari- 
ety of Enemies; and many have done this with 
uncommon Learning and Judgment 5 the Steadi- 
ne{s and invincible Courage of its Martyrs and 
Confejfors in fufFering Reproach and Death for it ; 
and their mutual Love, where this Occafion did 
not excite their Zeal to fuch a Degree as tended 
to abate it, was uncommon. 

W E might have proceeded much farther to con- 
fider the many corporal Punijhments infli6tcd on Of- 
fenders in following Ages^ when the Chui'ch grew 

* Thus the Tlibmm Coun- fuppofe that the Church thought 
clU which was conven'd a- it neceilary to deny them a /ler- 
bout the Year 30 j*, in feve- fe^ Recmciliatm Sitthzt timCt to 
ral of their Canons, determine deter others from committing 
that for fome Crimes Men the like Crimes, but that they 
fhould not be admitted to the did not intend hereby to ex- 
Communion of the Church in elude them from the divine Mer- 
the end of their Lives. Some cyj which whether theyfhou'd 
indeed have excused th's rigo- obtain or no, remain'd a Secret 
rous Sentence, by fuppofing that that they did not pretend to de- 
they intended no more hereby termine. Thus Forces. Infiru5i. 
but to determine that they HiJi.Theol.LiS. ii. Cap. ■^, §.iS. 
^ou'd be ftill excluded from the f This was done in the fa- 
Lord's Supper, tho' net from the mous Council at Nice mConfian- 
Church's Abfblution, if defir'd. tine's Time. See Can, 12. and 
See Cave's Prim. ChiJiia?iity,P.trt Cone. Car rhag. iv. Can. 7(5. and 
3. Chap. J. Fag. 3 7 J. Others Cone. Araujiac. Can. 3. 



more degenerate, and To gone through the many 
Scenes of Perfecution pra6tic'd in the Papacy^ to the 
great Scandal of the ChrilHan Rehgion : But I 
•fhall proceed no farther in my Hiftorical Remarks 
on the Uncharitahlenefs of religious Bodies of Men. 

I0/Uncharitablenefs m the ConduB of 
Men towards one another. 

HAVING confider'd that 'there are fome 
Errors in DoUrine^ which difqualify for 
Church Coynmunion^ and how we may judge of 
them J and that, when difcovered, a Church; may 
exclude thofewho hold them from its Communion^ 
without being guilty of Uncharitabknefs -^ and 
iaftly^ what Breaches have been, or may be made 
upon the Laws of Love and Charity, in the Man- 
Tier or Occafion of excluding Perfons from Church 
Communion : We now come to confider this Vice^ 
as difcovering its felf in the Behaviour of particular 
Perfons towards each other in the more common 
Inftances thereof. And bccaufe the Sentiments^ as 
well as the Anions of Men are liable to Cenfure j 
and 'tis no lefs offenfive to be deem'd an Heretick^ 
than to be charg'd with Prophanenefs or Immorality 
in Converfation 5 we fhall have fome Regard to 
both, and lay down feveral Propofitions^ whereby 
we may be better able to determine, what may or 
ought not to be deem'd Uncharitahlenefs, 

§. I. 

Uncharttableness fuppofesa Perfon charg'3 
with what is reckoned Criminal^ for it is a tacit 
Accufation brought in againft another, which oc- 
^^afions an Alienation of AfFedion, and tends to dif- 


foive the Bands by which Men are united, and o- 
blig'd to do thofe Services to each other , which 
the Laws of Nature and Chriftianity dircd:. There 
are fome pecuHar Endowments, which we either 
are^ or ought to be poflefled of, as Men or Chrifti^ 
ans^ that entitle to fuch a Degree of Love as the 
Nature of the Thing requires j and to be deftitute 
of them is attended with Dijhonour^ and in fome 
Inftances reckoned a Crime -y and to difown our 
Right or Claim to them, efpecially without juft 
Reafon^ is properly Uncharitahlenefs. It will hence 
follow, that if the Thing we are fuppofed to want, 
either has in it no Excellency^ or to be deftitute of 
it, is no Reproach j or if it be what we neither 
pretend to^ nor belongs to our Chara5ier^ then 'tis 
no Breach of Charity in any one who will not al- 
low us to have it. Thus, fince 'tis no Difparage- 
ment to a Phyfician^ that he has never read the 
polemical Writings of the School-men^ nor to a 
Divine that he is not vers'd in the Writings of 
Galen and Hippocrates j nor to one who underllands 
many other Branches of ufeful Learning, but pre- 
tends not to any Skill in the Mathematicks^ that he 
is not able to demonftrate one Proportion in Euclid^ 
'tis no defeft of Charity to conclude fo. As to re-' 
ligious Matters^ there are fome Sentiments or Opi* 
nions which have fuch Ideas annexed to 'em, as 
carry the Appearance of Reproach > and all ground- 
lefs Infinuations that any one embraces them, are 
an Inftance of Uncharitahlenefs : But if it be no 
Difionour either to afHrm or deny a Doftrine, then 
Charity has nothing to do with a Man's Opinion 
about it : Or if it be reckon'd an Honour to affirm 
what generally palTes for Truth, tis not dcem'd 
uncharitable to conclude that he is on the repu- 
table fide of the Queftion > tho' perhaps he be not 
on the right fide thereof. Therefore in Popijh 
Countries tis not reckon'd uncharitable to con- 

elude, that a Perfon believes thcDoftrlnc ofTran* 
fubftantiation^ or other Do6trines of the Romijh 
Churchy how abfurd foever they appear to thofe of 
the Reformed Religion j tho' twould be refented 
as a Crime to charge any with the Belief thereof 
where that prevails. And if Arianifm were the 
prevailing Opinion, 'twould be reckon'd no Re- 
proach to deny the Divinity of our Saviour^ and 
therefore no Breach of Charity to charge Men 
with itjhowdeteflable foever the Error be initfelf. 
So that Uncharitahhnefs^ as confidered under this 
Limitation, is a thinking, without fufficient Evi- 
dence^ that a Man believes what it is 2iDiJhonour to 
be thought to believe, who therefore conceals his 
Sentiments till a more favourable Opportunity 

A N D as for what concerns a Man's moral Cha- 
ra5ier^ 'tis no Uncharitahlenefs to think him viJe^ 
who makes no Pretentions to the leaft Degree of 
Virtue or common Honcfty : But if Men of the ^^7^ 
Chara5ler Tind flri6left Morals, lliould reproach one 
another with thofe Indecencies of Exprefiion, 
which one would rather have look'd for among 
thofe who bid Defiance to the more polite Me- 
thods of Raillery -, this can hardly be excus'd from 
Uncharitablenefs^ tho' want of Charity be ofttimes 
the grand Pretence for their taking fuch a Liberty. 

§. 11. 
When an Accufation is brought in againfl a* 
ny one, 'tis either lod^d in our own Breaft^ or dij^ 
covered toothers 'y and if difcover'd^ the Perfon's Z)^- 
Jign in reporting it, and the real Detriment re- 
ceiv'd thereby, is to be confider'd as what will 
render the Guilt of Uncharitablenefs much 
greater. The leaft Degree thereof is indeed a 
Crime^ tho' no prefcnt, real, or fenfible Difadvan- 
tage may accrue thereby , as it can hardly be fup- 


' ( ^5 ) 

posM to do when our Refentments are lock'd up 
in our own Bread 5 fince'tis inconfiftent with that 
Love which is due to others : And how Uttle Pre- 
jiidice foever they may receive from it 5 yet^ if our 
railions be not under a due Government, it may 
lead us to further Inftances of injurious Behaviour 
towards them. When the Mind of Man is over- 
charge with Refentment, it is not only filPd with 
perpetual Uneafinefs^ and proves its own Tormenter j- 
but 'tis hard to know where this will end, whe- 
ther it may not grow up to a perfe6t Enmity^ and 
prompt Men to attempt any thing that is injuri- 
ous and unwotthy, againft the good Name and 
Welfare of him whom they hate. And was this 
univerfal, how would the Peace and Happinefs of 
fhis lower World be difturb'd, and Men but one 
Remove from the moil envious and miferable Part 
of the Creation ! 

§. Hi. 
We are accountable to Got), with refpeft 
to the Juftice of our Sentiments concerning Men, 
as fuppos'd to embrace or deny the greateft and 
moft important Articles of the Chriftian Faith* 
'Tis almoft impoffible but, fo far as we know Men, 
we muft determine fomething concerning them, 
which is either attended with Pkafure or Dijlike^^ 
and this is either Good or Evil^ as it is agreeable to^ 
or recedes from^ the Rules of Juftice. Therefore 
^tis not an Inftance of Uncharitahlenefs to think 
that a Perfon is departed from the Faith^ no more 
than to fay that he is guilty of any Aftion that is 
fcandalous and vile > provided our Conclufions re- 
lating to this Matter are ftri^ly juft^ and founded 
on fufficient Evidence > this is the only thing that 
will keep us free from the Guilt of Cenforioufnefs 
or evil Surmifing, in this, or any other Caie, 
where things of a criminal Nature are conceiv'd 
againft others in our Thoughts. 

1 He 


He is therefore chargeable therewith who con^ 
eludes a Perfon vile, lays Crimes or Herefies 
to his Charge which he pretends not to prove^ and 
which he would never have thought of, had he 
not been his Enemy j this Charge is tl^erefore 
founded in Malice^ and reflects a greater Difho- 
nour on him that firft invented, and refolves, right 
or wrong, to maintain it, than it does, on the Per- 
fon accufed. 

There are alfo other Charges^ founded not fb 
much in Malice as Bigotry^ which carry in them 
a great deal of Uncharitablenefs ; as if a Perfon is 
not of that Party to which we adhere either in 
civil or religious Matters, then we are ready to 
faften Crimes upon him which have no Foundati- 
on but in our own Imagination. This is what 
has divided whole Nations, embarrafs'd their Af- 
fairs, and put them into the. utmoft Confufion j 
it has occaiion'd Schifms in Churches, and ExceiTes 
of Paflion and Refentment in thofe who are more 
attached to their peculiar Humour, or rather un- 
der the Influence of others, than inquifitive after 
the Reafon of Things. This, next to fecular In- 
tereft, has been the main Support of the Romijh 
Churchy the Cement that has held them together 
for fo many Ages. They knew well enough what 
they did when they perfuaded the People to put 
out their Eyes, and believe as the Church believes^ 
without being obliged to render a Reafon of their 
Faith j for if they fhould be too inquifitive about 
that Matter, 'twould be the ready way to make 
them caft it off j fo that nothing more is required 
but that a Man be a Bigot to that Party. And 
the Confequence hereof is the fame as in all other 
Inftances of Bigotry^ it makes Men ready, when 
the V/ord of Command is given, to cenfure and 
condemn all others, and to fpend their Shot on 
thofe whofe Faith they are Strangers to, which 

I they 

(^7 ) 

they may cafily be fuppos'd to be, fincc they arc 
fo to their own. 

This has broke the Harmony of the moll re- 
formed Churches in the World j tho' alas ! 'tis no new 
thing, fince the Apoftle Paul faw it fpring up 
when the Church was in a better Condition than 
now 5 and reproves their Party-zeal, which 
produced, as he obferves in i Cor. iii. Envying^ 
Strife^ and Divifions^ tho' without Reafon, fince 
Paul^ Apollos^ and Cephas were carrying on the 
fame Defign, and preaching the fame Gofpel, as 
Minifters ^/Christ, by whom^theyMieved > yet 
each of them, it feems, had his refpedive Admir- 
ers, who could hardly allow common Civility to 
any other. I might further confider, that this has, 
in all Ages, made fome confiderable Numbers of 
Men give in to new broach'd Errors -^ fo that there 
fcarce ever was any new Do6lrine advanced, but 
fome have been ready to adhere to it 5 and then a 
Flame is kindled, and Reproach mutually diftribu- 
ted till the Peace of the Church is broken -, and all 
this arifes from Mens being firft inclined to believe 
whatfoever they are taught, and then to follow 
the Example and Dire6lion of their Leaders, as to 
Temper and Condud, towards thofe who differ 
from them ; tho' they have nothing to fay in the 
Behalf of the Caufe or Party tliey adhere to. This 
difpofes them, on all occasions, to declare againfl 
thofe who cannot think as they do, even in the 
fmalleft Matters of Religion 3 and all this arifes from 
a rafhand precipitate Judgment of Men and Things 
not founded in Juftice j for which an Account is 
to be given to Him who judges according to Truth. 

§. IV. 
Where it is morally impoflible, that we can 
h-Avefufficient Evidence to fupport an Accufation^ 
Juftice and Charity oblige us to exercife a Sufpenfe 

I 2. of 

( ^8 ) 

of Judgment^ and not pretend to aflcrt what we 
cannot prove. No one who is tender of his own 
Reputation, would in any other Inilance advance 
an Argument which he knows he cannot maintain \ 
for this is to trifle with Mankind, and betray the 
Truth : Much lefs ought any one who attacks the 
Honour or good Name of another, to load him 
v/ith Charges which be can't make good, which is 
to defame and hearfalfe Witnefs againll him. This 
may be fo commonly obfei^v'd in Converfation, 
that where one thing furmis'd or reported concern-' 
ing another is true in all its Circumftances, an hun- 
dred are (if not altogether falfe and groundlefs) 
To perverted, that 'tis difficult to depend on any 
thing related to the Prejudice of another, efpeci- 
ally if he who relates it, foems to wifi it were 
true, if it be not fo. 

When this fort of Treatment extends it felf 
to Mens moral Cbara^er^ then they are fometimes 
charg'd with any thing that is Ipofe and vile^ and 
that, on no other Ground than uncertain Hear-fay^ 
which feldom gives a true Report of Things, 
when it induftrioufly propagates what makes to 
their Difadvantage. And to make a greater Im- 
provement on this Subject, how often are themofl: 
fecret D^efigiis of Men pretended to be known, 
and even the Sincerity or Hypocrify that is in their 
Hearts ? Have thefe Men an extraordinary difcern- 
ing of Spirits^ or are they like the Prophet^ who 
could tell the King of tfrael what his Adverfary 
the King of Syria fpoke in his Bed-chamber ? Or 
have they a greater Penetration into the Defigns 
of Men, than they have themfelves? who know 
nothing of the Matter, till their Thoughts are 
confidently told by thofe who pretend to this ex- 
quiiite Knowledge of Things j and they wont ftick 
to tell what Men will do for the future when they 
can't tell themfelves. 


( ^9) 

As to Mens Sentiments about important Articles 
of Faith^ thefc cannot always be known, and then 
we are not proper Judges concerning them, efpe- 
cially when for Reafons beft known to themfelves, 
they induftrioufly conceal them, and complain of 
Impofition and rude Treatment, if any one defires 
to be inform'd about them. In this Cafe, to avoid 
Uncharitahknefs^ we muft not offer Violence to 
their Inclination, by needlcfs Importunity to obtain 
that Satisfaction which is not to be allow'd j and 
therefore we are not to determine beyond our E- 
vidence. How far we are bound to enquire into 
the Reafon of Mens being thus cautious, and on 
the referve, when the Honour ofG o d in the World 
requires a publick Profejjion of their Faith, or we 
are more immediately concern'd to know it, I fliall 
, not enquire. 

I M I G H T under this Head of pajjlng a Judgment 
on Mens Sentiments without fufficient Evidence^ take 
notice of the raib and inconclufive Determinations 
of fome that profeis themfelves to be in the new 
Scheme^ who take a Liberty to aflert what I pre- 
fume they cannot prove, that all the Men of Senfe 
among th^DiJfenting Minifters^ are ont\\G Non-fuh- 
fcrihing Side, and that thefe, for the moft part, give 
in to that Scheme^ tho' they want Courage to own 
it publickly. This is but a very indifferent Spe^ 
cimen of Charity^ in thofe who talk fo much of itj 
and were there Ground for thisfurmife, 'twould 
give a verymelancholly View of things. But Af^ 
fertions without Proof deferve no regard, neither 
is there Ground tofuppofe this meerly becaufe they 
are claimM by them j and tho' lam not authorized 
to give the Senfe of others, I might be bold to 
affirm, that to the beft of my Oblervation, there 
are none of thofe who fubfcrib'd to the Do5irine 
of the I'rinity in the Words of the firji Article 
of the Church of England^ &p. how fmall a Scant- 


ling foevcr of Charity will be allowM 'em, but would 
receive the latter part of the Infinuation with 
Indigaation, fince there is a vafl difference between 
not declaring their Faith in the DoUrine of the 
Trmityy^nd denying it. And if itbeprefum'd, that 
a fmall Number of them have too favourable 
Thoughts of the New Scheme^ does it follow that 
the greater or'beft part have fo ? Thefe are Inftan- 
ces of Infujiice to Mens Chara6ters in aflerting 
Things deft itute of Evidence, in a Cafe wherein 
Sufpenfe of Judgment is the mofl that fhould be 
pretended to. 

§, V. 
Ira Perfon holds any Do&rines contrary to the 
mofi important Articles of Faith laid down in Scrip- 
ture^ the neceffary Confequences of his Errors may, 
without Uncharitablenefs, be charg'd upon him, 
If mt difown'd by himj znd if they l;e^ thefe Con- 
fequences are notwithftanding to be charged on 
thofe Sentiments, abftradling from their being /:?/;,. 
and he is not altogether free from the Imputation 
of a Crime. Every Pofition, whether true orfalfe, 
has iisjuft Confequences deducible from it 3 thefe in- 
deed may not be equally evident to every one, for 
all do not reafon alike, and many can't fee the 
Conne£t:ion and Dependance of Things, which are 
eafily apprehended by others. In this Cafe, 'tis 
unjuil to fay a Perfon holds that which he declares 
he does not 3 for if we fuppofe him not to pre- 
varicate (which Charity obliges us to do, unlefs 
there arefomeCircumftances which give Ground to 
fufped his Integrity) we have no other way to 
judge of his Sentiments, but by the Difcovery he 
makes thereof himfelf: But if he denies the Confe- 
quence, which ought with the greateft Reafon to 
bededuc'd from what he affertsj while I am bound 
to fay, that he argues injudicioufly, I cannot but 
conclude alfo, that his falfe Reafoning may he 


( 71 ) 

deem'd more or lefi culpable, as It more or lefsaf- 
fe£ts Religion, or detrafts from the Glory of G o d, 
'Tis true, a Perfon may infer ahfurd Confifmmn 
which argue no more than a Defe<2: of Judg- 
ment, or a confus'd way of Thinking, as when 
they relate to Do6irines of no great Moment -^ but 
if they relate to thofe which he of thcgreaieft Im- 
portance^ 'tis no indifferent Matter how he argues 
about them 5 for even his falfe Reafoning may 
in fome Cafes be imputed to him as a Crime-, 
and that either when his Premifes are true, and his 
Conclufion de{lru(5bive of Religion, or when the 
Premifes from whence he argues are pernicious, and 
yet the Conclufion he infers from them contains 
an undoubted Truth . In the former of thefe Cafes, 
fuppofe the Premifes true^ and the Conclufion fah- 
'uerfive of Religion^ this way of arguing mull be 
charg'd on him as a Crime. Thus, if he afTerts 
that God is merciful^ and infers from thence, that 
He is not Jufi j or Jufi'y and therefore concludes that 
He is not Merciful -^ or as Jonah argues, he knew 
that G o D was Merciful and ready to forgive the 
Sin of the Nine^ites^ therefore 'twas his wiieft 
way to refufe to obey his Commiilion to preach to 
'em whatever it might cofl him : Or fuppofe a 
Perfon aflerts that C h r i s t /i G o d, but yet con- 
cludes, if we may call it a Conclufion, that He is 
not to he worfhipdy certainly, in fuch like Cafes, 
Mens falfe Reafoning don't excufe them from the 
Charge of Guilt that attends thefe Confequcncesj 
this I fuppofe will, without Difficulty, be allowed. 
But fuppofe his Premifes falfe and pernicious, 
and the Conclufion illogically deduc'd from 'em, if 
I may fo fpeak, to be true, and tending to eflablifh 
Religion, yet his Reafoning may be reckoned cri- 
^ minal j efpecially if he be capable of taking in aa 
Argument : Thus, if a Perfon fhould afTerr, that 
iho, Univerfie^ or Frame of Nature // God, and 



conclude from thence, that God is Omniprefenf^ 
or that the divine Perfections may he comprehended^ 
and therefore that he is to be lov'd and worflnp d 
by us > or that the Son and Spirit -xx^ inferior Gods, 
dependent on another divine Being, wz. the Fa^ 
ther^ therefore there is hut one divine Being -y or that 
they have divine Perfections^ arbitrarily commiinica^ 
ted to 'em, therefore they are to he ivorjloifd^ tho' 
divine Worfhip is an afcribing infinite Perfection 
to its ObjecS):: The Conclufion in thefe Inftances 
is true^ but not juftly deduc'd from the Premifes 
which are falfe. And is this Man to be excus'd 
who thus argues, becaufe in his way of Reafon- j 
ing a Truth is deduc'd ? this is as tho' Religion fhould 
be prefs'd or enforced by a wrong Motive^ or a falfe 
Principle laid down as the Ground of a true one. 
He who thus reafons can not be excus'd from a 
Crime, tho' what he affirms is true 5 for in this 
Gale h\s Ideas of Truth are accidental, ungrounded 
and irrational, which therefore differ but little 
from Error 5 and therefore tho' the pernicious 
Confequence of an Error is not to be fo reckon'd 
his^ as that he muft be charg'd with holding ir, 
yet in many Cafes he is far from being guiltlefs, fo 
far as Religion is herein concern'd j in that he does 
not improve his reafoning Faculty to the beft Ad- 
vantage, in deducing thoie Confequences which he 
ought, that tend to advance the Name and Glory 
of God. 

Ohj. A Perfon can't help his own Reafoning. 

Answer, True, and if a Perfon fhould fiy 
he can't help committing Sin, fhall he for that 
Reafon be difcharg'd from the Guilt thereof? buC 
this I need not enlarge on. See Part I. 

§. VI. 

We are not to entertain Thoughts of Mens . 
having departed from the Faith with any other I 


( 73 ) 

Terppcr of Mind than what Chriflianity fuggefls i 
and that teacheth us to pity the Perfon whole Er" 
rors we dcteft, and not to exprefs our Refentment 
by endeavouring his Ruin. In this Cafe wefuppofe 
a War is indeed commenc'd, fome falling, and each 
fide thinking it (elf obliged to contend earneftlyforthe 
Faith : But how is this Contention to be managed ? 
not by im'entingznd reporting what may tend to ren- 
der our A ntagonifl odious, nor by receiving any Re- 
port of that Nature with an Jir of Pleafure^ as 
concluding that thereby his Caufe is weakened, 
and if he maintains it with the greateft Strength of 
Argument, yet all he fays ought to be treated like 
himfelf with Negleft or Contempt : How mean a 
Way is this of engaging againll: the Defenders or 
Oppofers of Truth ! But alas ! 'tis too common with 
many who have no better Arguments to produce. 
If he, who is on the other fide of the Queftion, 
be in "x public k Station^ and therein y^^ for the De^ 
fence of the Gofpel^ how plcafing a thing it is among 
thofe who are Mafhers of this way of arguing, to 
have fome Reproach ready at Hand to load hira 
with ! *Tis no great Matter whether it be true or 
falfe, *twill anfwer their End if it be but credited, 
which no doubt it will be by fome, and fo aa 
end will be put to the Difpute, and he will be 
obliged to turn his Weapons in his own Defence, 
This is an Expedient for a weak Adverfary to make 
good his Retreat, without acknowledging that he 
is no longer able to maintain his Ground ^ but 'tis 
a very diihonourable way whether itbeus'dinPrint 
or Converfation. The Prefs is no Stranger to this 
Temper: If any one dares venture to appear in 
publick, he mull be prepared to run the Gantlope 
of Reproach and Cenfure , if he happens to imbark 
in a Caufe that meets with Oppohtion 5 let him 
but make one remarkable Blunder, ( and he's a happy 
Man that don't) if one of his Arguments i$ weak, 

K pd 


and apparently inconclufive, then his whole Per- 
formance is exposed, and as it were hifs'd out of 
the World j and then let him fay what he will in its 
Defence, the Caufe he pleads mult fall to the Ground, 
Jic conduditur contra^ &c. And fometimes the Mind 
is poflefs'd with Prejudice, and the Argument muft 
needs be unworthy of Regard, becaufe it is ma- 
naged by one who is of a differing Party j for it 
feems the whole World is divided into Parties > 
Thus if one pleads, with Juftice and Strength of 
Argument, in the Behalf of Liberty^ he can fay no- 
thing to the Purpofe, unlefs he extends his Ideas 
to the very Borders of Free-fhinking and Seep- 
ticifm^ banters the Word Orthodoxy^ and main- 
tains, without any Exception, the Innocency of 
Error, and that a Man may lampoon and laty- 
rize the Do5lrme of the hie [fed 'Trinity with Impu- 
nity. Or if any one is branded, tho' unjuilly, with 
the Charafter of an Impofer or a Creed-maker^ which, 
as that Word has been explained of late, is one 
who pretends to tell others that they mull: believe as 
he does, it is in vain for him to attempt any thing 
on the Head of Charity -y the Anfwer is ready at 
Hand, it maybe, before they know what he has to 
fay for it, as Jehu rcply'd to the King of IfraeV^ 
Mefiengers, What haft thou to do ivith Peace ? 
as tho' it was impoffible to enter into the State of 
the Quellion, without extending the Idea i?/ Cha- 
rity to whatever length they who pretend to be 
on the charitable Side think fit. And let a Man 
defend the Dodrine of the Trinity in any other 
way than what is done by thofe who give in to the 
new Scheme^ and immediately he is a SaheUianj and 
only for a Trinity of Names -y or if he maintains a 
Trinity cf Perfons^ then he is a Trithcift. Or if a 
Man is but once fufpe6led of Arianifm^ then let 
him ufe what Doxologies he will, and produce the 
commonly receiv'd Arguments to prove the Divi- 
4, nity 

C 75 ) 

nity of the Son and Holy Ghoft^ yet he has fbme 
fecret Referve, and is an Arian in his Hearty thefe 
are the various Ways in which Uncharitablenefe 
difplays it felf. 

The common Topicks infifted on to this pur- 
pofe, are want of Senfe or Learning j and therefore 
he is not worthy to be difputed with, or elfe he 
manages his Argument with too much Warmth 
and Uncharitabknefs 5 his Paflion indifpofes him to 
receive Convidion, therefore 'tis to no purpofe to 
difpute with him, or elie he is deftitute of common 
Morality^ and therefore not fit to beconvers'dwith. 
Thus fome Men are difpos'd to contemn their Ad- 
verfary when they cannot anfwer his Arguments, and 
plentifully to deal forth Slander, being ready to re- 
ceive any Report, how groundlefs foever it be, 
which may furnifh him with Matter for that Purpofe. 

This Temper is the Reverfeof what is a part 
of that Defcription of Charity given by the great 
Apoftlc, I Cor. xiii. 6. // rejoiceth not in Iniquity^ 
but rejoiceth in the 'Truth *. ^. d. If he happen to 


* I am fenfible that many for that which is contrary to it, 
fuppofe the Apoftle, by Truthy viz. a doing Injuftice to the 
intends no more than common Name of God, a having unwor- 
Jujiice between Man and Man? thy Thoughts of his Perfedions 
yet fince in the New Teflament as difplay'd in the Gofpel: This 
this Word is often taken for is fometimcs called in Scripture 
the Gofpel, as 3 JEpi/i. John ver. a, Lye, and that particularly as 
3, 4. and 2 Thejf. ii. 10. zTim. oppos'd to Gofpel Truth: Thus 
ii. 18. and c. iii. 7. and in di- the Apoftle, in Eph. iv. i^-. ex^ 
vers other Places j therefore I hons ? tiions to fpeak the Truth i 
fee no Reafon to conclude that this Truth is that which they 
it (hou'd not befo taken in this have been taught by htm, and as 
Place. If therefore Truth is it is in f efus, wcr, zi. This they 
taken for the great important are again exhorted toy^^«^, or de- 
Dpftrines of the Gofpel, in the clare , and accordingly to put 
Succefs and Spread whereof away lying, ver. 2f. that is, to 
Charity rejoiceth, then when on affert nothing that is contrary 
the other Hand 'tis faid not to thereunto. See alfo 1 John ii. 
rewce in Iniquity, k^ifcU is put 22. ffho is a lyar, but he that 
K 2 <Jf»irtp 

hear that any of his Friends are departed from the 
Faith which they once embrac'd, or if it fhould 
be infinuated that the greatell; part of thofe who 
ftand upon advanced Ground are departed from it, 
he is far from being pleas'd with the Report 5 if ill- 
grounded, he deteils it as the vilcll Reproach > or 
if there be too much Reafon for this Iniinuation, 
his Soul is griev'd to think that Chrid's Interefh 
ihould be defcrted, and the Hands of thofe that 
ftand up for it weakened. 

And on the other Hand, with what Delight 
does he behold Truth defended at the Expence 
of all that is dear to them who are truly valiant- 
for it ! This endears them to him the more, and 
as unwilling that they ihould fufFer alone, and think 
themfelves deferred when they are reckoned Fools, 
or what is worfe, for Chris t's fake he readily 
hazards his own Reputation, and is content to fall 
>j(/ith them : This is a difficult, but a truly noble 
Inllance of Charity, as rejoicing in opprefled 

But its Way is fometimes more eaiy and grate- 
ful v/hen it rcjoiceth in the Triumphs and Succefs 
of Truth, when its Enemies are filenc'd, if not 
convinc'd by the Brightncfs of its Evidence, ita 
Defenders encourag'd, and the Infe<5l:ion of perni- 
cious Errors abated. This is the Concern of Cha-* 
rity^ with refpefl to ^ruth j and the Reverfe here- 
of is highly criminal, and very contrary to a Chri- 
flian Temper. 

Jenkth that *}([hs h the Chr'iji^ Minds, and Co they apoftatize 

So z Thejf. ii. lo, ii. They from the Truth ; 'tis this that 

who receive not the Love of the Chanty takes no Delight to think 

Truth, u e. the Gofpej with Love of, and ib rejoiceth not in Ini- 

are given u^pto believe a Ly^that quity. 
is left to the Error of tijeir owj) 

S.vn. Ch4- 

( 77 ) . 

§. VII. 

CtiARiTY is not to be extended to, or with- 
held from Perfons at Pleafure, as tho' it were a pre- 
carious Virtue, or to be difpens^d in away of Sti* 
fulation^ upon the Performance of certain Condi- 
tions which the Perfon that exercifes it thinks fit 
to acquiefce in : This would fuppofe it not to be 
founded in Juftice^ but in our arbitrary JVill^ and 
not to be reckoned as a Debt due to Mankind,- 
which we are unjuft and guilty in the Sight of God 
if we withhold J but as an Ao: of common Favour,, 
to be extended to whom and *in what way we our 
felves judge convenient. 

They who are Witnefles to thofe Parts of 
Converfation which are much difreliih'd by Men 
of Temper andjuftice, will often hear Men, whofe 
Talent lies that way, charging one another with 
Crimes they never thought of before : But a Defire 
of making Reprifals renders the Invention fruit- 
ful and flowingv fbthat if one produces, out of his 
Store of Scandal, fome ill-natur'd Compliment, the 
other will immediately return it upon him, other- 
wife he is outdone, baffled, and put to Silence, 
which he refolves not to be: This is to aft hke 
him whom Solomon defcribcs as C2&m^Fire'hrands^ 
Arrows^ and Death ^ and faith^ Am I not in Sport ? 
and this he does not becaufe the Perfon defervcs 
it, but becaufe he provokes to it, which is as much 
as to fay, if you have a bad Opinion of me, I am 
refolv'd to have the fame of you, whether you de- 
ferve it or no : But if his Behaviour is kind and 
obliging, then he ihall have the like Treatment, 
and be entitled to that Charity which he purchafes 
tohimfelf thereby. 

W E need not go far for Inftanccs of this Na- 
ture, 'tis too well known that fome Men have 
cntertain'd a Quarrel with each other on the Foot 
p£dalari»g^ or refufmg to declare their Faith in 


the DoElrme of the hlcjjed Trinity^ and Reproaches 
have been diftributed on each Side ^ Arianifm on 
the one Hand, and Impofttion^ Perfecution^ and de- 
nying the Sufficiency of Scripture^ in determining 
important Articles of Faith on the other^ have 
been, and are ftill reciprocally charg'd. By fomc 
the Charge is founded on the Gonditci of each Side, 
but others affign no other Reafon but what is ve- 
ry weak, viz, your Side have faflned an unjuffc 
Charge on us, therefore they muft not take it a- 
mifs if we make Reprifals of that Nature upon 
you : What is this but to refolve to be uncharita- 
ble^ that is, unjullto the Characters of Men, if they 
are fo to us. 

But if we (iippofe on the other Hand^ that Per- 
forms grow weary of this Temper, and what may 
not Time produce, or rather the good Hand of 
that Providence which rcftrains thofe Remainders 
of Wrath which he does not defign to over-rule 
to his own Glory? We will therefore fuppofe Men 
refolv'd to enter into pacifck Meafures 5 and, if fo, 
thefe muft be fuch as the Nature of the thmgs in 
Debate require, confifting principally in a Demand of 
Ttioral Evidence that the Charges are unjuft on ei- 
ther Side 5 and in order thereunto, 'tis prepofte- 
rous to alTert that there ought to be a Stipulation 
or Agreement to thisPurpofej that one declare that 
he will not lay any thing to the Charge of the o- 
ther, provided he may have the fame Treatment 
from him : This indeed might without any Diffi- 
culty be comply'd with, were there not other Cir- 
cumftances attending the Charge on each Side, 
which render it neceflary that the Juftice thereof 
be confider'd, fince the Honour of G o d, and Sa- 
tisfaftion ,of the World is concerned therein. And 
bcfides, this renders that conditional which is an 
ahfolute Duty, for I am bound, fo far as in me lieSj 
to live peaceably with allMen^ whether they will or no. 


(79 ) 

If therefore fome kind Friend would propofe 
an Expedient for Peace, 'tis not enough for him 
to advife one Side to allow their offended Brethren 
to be no j^rians^ merely for not declaring their 
Faith in the Do6lrine of the blejfed trinity in thofe 
Words which they thought well chofen, for that 
will give Occafion to fome uncharitable Standers- 
by to think them fo for fome other latent Rea^ 
fon, which the Word Merely is fo far from 
guarding againft, that it may be underftood to 
contain an Infinuation of that Nature > therefore 
this Expedient, as I humbly conceive, with Sub- 
miflion to better Judgments, would do more hurt 
than good. And on the other Hand, to acquit 
Perfons from the Charge of denying the Sufficiency 
of Scripture to determine Articles of Faith ^ merely 
iox fubfcrihing to the Do^rine of the 'Trinity in other 
than Scripture Words, may give Occafion to fome 
to think that they deny its Sufficiency for other 
Reafons > efpecially fince 'tis generally allow 'd by 
'em that Articles of Faith may be determin'd by 
juft Scripture Confequences. From hence it may be 
concluded, that to refufe to give in to fuch a Pro- 
pofal ought not to be deem'd on either Side an In- 
Itance of Uncharitabknefs. 

But if it were proposed that both Sides fhould 
communicate their Sentiments in a private and 
friendly Converfation, (which I hope is not op- 
pos'd by their Arguments who fo ftrenuoufly dif- 
pute againft, declaring their Faith in any other than 
Scripture Words ) if to confer together about the 
Do6frine of the Trinity is not by them reckon'd an 
Offence^ or to propofe it as the Subjed of Conver- 
fation an Impofition^ and if Perfons will let one ano- 
ther know their Sentiments plainly, which is no 
gi'eater Hardfliip to one Side than the other, and 
'tis no more than what moft Perfons would do, if 
ioxii^ Qth^vJrticks of Faith^ which few or nonede^ 

( 8o) 

ny were made the Subjc6b of Converlation 5 I fay, 
if this were done, and 'twas happily found that 
each of them agree in thofe things in which they 
were thought to do before the Quarrel began, or 
if the Difference appears to be only about fome 
Modes of Explication^ Vv^hich have no Tendency ro 
overthrow the Subjiance of the Do^rine^ then let 
him have the Brand of Uncharitabknefs put upon 
him who is not heartily wiUing to lay afide all 
former Prejudices, and purfue thofe Methods which 
make for Peace, and the rolling away the common 
Reproach, and let him be reckon'd criminal who 
fo much as negle6ts to give a Check to the leall In- 
finuation againil another, as tho' he was departed 
from the Faith, when he is fufficiently furniili'dto 
confute it from what he knows to the contrary. 
Without this, all that any one can reply to fuch a 
Charge can be no other than this, I hope you are 
miftaken, or I fhou'd be very glad, were I able, to 
tell you I am fure you are fo. 

D I D I thus know a Man to be free from the 
leaft Sufpicion of having departed from the Faith, 
I ought to be reckon'd uncharitable if I did not put 
a Stop, as far as it lies in my Power, to any Accu* 
fation of that Nature againil him, tho' I had Rca- 
fon to conclude that the Perfon whom I plead for, 
through his Miilake of me, rather than his having 
ground for it, were mine Enemy > for I am oblig'd 
by the Laws of Chriliianity to do juilice to thofe 
that efpoufe the Caufe of Truth, not becaufc they 
are my Friends^ nor as expe6ting that they fliou'd 
do the fame by me, but becaufe the Honour of G o t> 
and Religion is concern'd herein, which ought to 
give Law^ to my Condu6i; in this Matter, 

§. VIII, 

Charity is not inconnflent with Zeal for 
fruth^ tho' often reckon'd fo by thofe v/ho areun- 
eafy at the Defence thereofj or any Oppoiition 

made . 


iiiade, how juft foever it may be, to the contraif 
Errors. I don't intend, by Zeal^ thofe furious Ex- 
CefTes of Paffion which difturb the Mind, enflame 
the Spirits^ and degenerate into Hatred and Fury % 
which Temper is indeed included in the general 
Idea of the Word, but it don't comprife the whole 
Nature thereof, for it is fometimes oppos'd to Luke- 
warmnefs and Indifferency^ which the [acred Writ-^ 
ings every where condemn ^ and under this Noti- 
on we confider it, and in particular as having 
Truth for its Objed, and fuppofe it to be kept 
within its due Bounds : This is certainly confident 
with Love and Meeknefs j for our Saviour did not. 
tranfgrefs the Bounds of Charity when the Zeal of 
his Houfe tranfported him in an uncommon X)(?^r^^; 
neither could the Scribes and Pharifees difcover the 
leaft Exorbitancy of Paflion in himj when he fo 
often caird them Hypocrites^ and reprov'd them 
with a Warmth which the Nature of the thing 
requir'd. Nor was the Apoftle Paul to blame when 
he addrefTes himfelf to Elymas in fuch Expreflions 
as xhtk^j^dis xiii. lo. O full of all Subtilty and all 
Mifchief^ thou Child of the Devil^ thou Enemy of all 
Righteoufnefs-^ when milder Terms would not have 
reach'd hisCafe. But as for us, we linov/ fo lit- 
tle of Men, that to be too free in giving fuch 
Charafters might be unwarrantable j notwithiland- 
ing there is a Zeal which may be expreffed, while 
we are fparing in our Reflexions on Men whom 
we have to do with : This is what I call Zeal for 
Truths abftradiing from the Perfons who have de- 
parted from it j and it coniifts in an argumentative 
Way of defending it, or expofmg the Abfurdities 
of the contrary Errors. This, no doubt, might be 
done, if there were not a Man upon Earth who 
efpoufed 'em j and this does not neceflarily infer a 
Defigri to expofe particular Perfons, what Con- 
ftru&ions foever ill-natur'd Cenfure mnv put upod 

L it: 

it : Or iF my Arguments are more direftly levcU'd at 
particular Perlbns, yet while I oppole 'em only as. 
imbibing thole Errors, and am willing to grant 'em 
whatever is praife- worthy in their Charader, lam 
far from having any Hatred redounding to them 
whom I oppole J or if I expofe the Confequence 
of their Scnriments, I cannot bereafonably fuppos'd 
from hence to deiire, that whatlbever Evil they con- 
tain may fill upon them. Thus I may aflert an 
Argument to be pernicious in its Confequences, and 
yet attempt and hope for the Convidion and Sal- 
vation of him that maintains it, or that aDo<5lrine 
leads to Licentioufnefs^ and would have that Effecl 
on fome others if holding it, and yet at the fame 
time conclude that many, who fee not that Con- 
fequence attending it, and w^hofe Converfation 
evinces the fmie, are far from deferving the 
Charafter of licentious or profligate Perfons, efpe- 
cially if the Confequence be not neceifary, (elf- 
evident, and plainly fubverfive oF all MoraUty. 

This 1 the rather take Notice of, becaufe 
Men are not inclin'd, as they ought, to do one a- 
nothcr Jullice in what relates to Zt'^/, fmce many 
think that 'tis almofl impoHible for any one to op- 
pofe an Error, but he muil reflect upon fome who 
are known to maintain it, which is imm.ediatcly 
cenfur'd as a kind of Rudencfs, not to let People a- 
lone who deiire to be undifturb'd. And if fome 
Errors are diflinguiili'd from others, as being of a 
very dangerous Nature, fuch as are inconfiltent with 
true Religion under the Direclion of diijine Rez'c- 
Icition^ or having fuch an Influence as renders our 
Faitb^ in its various Branches, Tain and fruitlcfs^ as 
the Apoflle Paul fays concerning the denying the 
RefurreBion of the dead in general , and that of 
Christ in particular 5 or if we confider them 
as being of fuch a Nature that they reflet on^ and 
tend to defame the Nam.e and Glory of the great 

H- God 

r 83 ) 

God ouv Saviour j which is infinitely preferable 
to all created Glory, and take the Crown from his 
Head, and argue Him not fit to govern the World 
who is its rightful King 3 this is fappos'd by fomc 
to be intolerably warm, and little lefs than to 
revile Perfons whofe Notions and Temper are bet- 
ter than our own. And if w^e lament the unhap- 
py Spread of Jrianifm in a Quarter where 'twas 
leaft expected, and with it the Growth of Deijm-y 
then we affli(^ our fclves with ncedlefs Fears and 
Jealoufies, and at the fame time endeavour to make 
others uncafy as well as our felves. 

If Minillers bring this Matter into the Pulpit, 
their Zeal^ how well qualified foever it be, is re- 
proach'd as inconfiftent with Charity^ and their 
Warmth prejudicial to the Church's Peace > which 
"wou'd be eaiie enough, were it not for theDiftur- 
bance it receives from fuch a Method of preach- 
ing 3 and' if the Word Hcrefy is but once nam'd, 
much more if we fpeak of Men's hiyigingin dam- 
nahJe Hcrcfies in the Apoftle Peter's Words, con- 
fiiling in denying the Lord that bought ''em : This 
tries their Temper, and puts 'em into a Rage, be- 
caufewe have no more Charity % and if, in the fame 
Apollle's Words, we call the Propagators of thcfe 
Herefies falfe Prophets^ and falfe Teachers^ and hap- 
pen not to fubjoin fome note of Exception, then 
we mud: needs mean fome of our Brethren who dif- 
fer from us in Matters of Conduct. Or if we fay, 
according to the Apoftle PauPs Prediction, that 
fome have departed from the Faith^ giving heed to 
feducing Spirits^ and Do6iri'nes of Devils^ then we 
mark out particular Perfons, and give 'cm hard 
Names J thefe are the Conftru(^l:ions which are of- 
ten made of the moll warrantable Zeal for Truth. 
That there may be juilReafonto blame the impru- 
dent, intemperate,and groundlefs Zeal of fome, I will 
not deny : But certainly it is very pollible for Men 

L 2. to 

( 84 ) 

to exprefs thfeir Zeal, on this Occafion, without giv- 
ing juft Reafon for Difguft. Why may not this be 
allow'd ? lince true Zeal is acknowledge by all to 
be very conlillient with Charity or Love to Man- 
kind, when any onebearsaTeilimony againilVlce^ 
which wc may do, with the greateil Warmth, and 
at the fame time not be fufpefted of being guilty 
of the Breach of Charity^ or the leaft Degree of 
Mahce againfl thofe whom we think it our Duty 
to reprove. 

§. IX. 
LuKEWARMNESs, or waut of Zeal for the great 
Do5irines of the Gofpel^ is no neceflary Ingredient in 
true Charity. Here we might take Occafion to 
confider the Behaviour of fome,whofe natural Tem- 
per enclines them to nothing but Peace^ Love^ and 
Unity y among Men of all Denominations 5 this is their 
conftant Theme, and it Teems to be the greateft 
part of their Religion 5 fothat they are not much 
concern'd, tho' 'Truth in its moil important Articles 
be in the utmotl: Danger, or fuffer Shipwrack, if 
this remains fafe and entn-e. Thefe are Men who 
cannot breath in any other but a calm and tem- 
perate Air ^ their PaiHons are not often ruffled, nor 
their Peace didurb'd by religious Jarrs and Conten- 
tions, than which there is nothing they fly from 
with greater Abhorrence. Happy Temper indeed ! 
and niuch to be defired, were it not, at the fame 
time, p^njuft to Truth^ and did it not niake Infringe- 
ments on that Zeal and Concern which every one 
ought to have for it : But this is certainly a great 
Abatement of its Excellency j and, as fo qualified, 
we can call it no other than Lukewarmnefs^ as to 
that which has an higher Title to our Efteem, 
fince divine 'Truth is a Beam of His Glory who is 
the higheft Objecb of oiir Love, Were thefe Men 
caird in as Mediators to reconcile the various con- 
tending Parties, their Advice w^ould be to lay afide 

( 8j ) 

all Difputes, without theleaft Regard had to the Imr 
portance of the things in Debate , all are good Men 
in their Opinion, therefore what if there be fonie 
httle Miftakes in fome Men's Sentiments about the 
J^ivinity of our Saviour and tioe Holy Ghoft 5 or if 
fome fay that they have the fame divine Nature 
with the Father^ and others think that they are a 
little inferior to Him^ or that they deriv'd their 
Being and Perfections from him, what doth all thi^ 
avail, fince all acknowledge that they are God, 
and that the Son muft be worihipped? that is, we 
mufl acknowledge his Kindnefs, in what he did 
and fuffer'd for us, and the Spirit may be wor- 
ihipped, tho' there be no Example or Command 
for it in Scripture, if fo be we afcribe to him the 
Honour that is his due for the kind Offices he 
performs to the Church. And fuppofe you 
don't know one another's Meaning of thofe 
Scriptures, which afcribe Divinity to thefe 
three Perfons^ it is enough if you do but agree 
in Words^ and it is beyond Difpute, that both Sides 
arewilhng to give their Affent to thofe Scriptures, 
in which this Doctrine is contain'd, as infallibly 
true. Thus we may (iippofe thefe Men giving Ad- 
vices for Peace, and as a farther Motive to it, they 
will tell us th'^it Errors in Judgment^ whatever they 
be, excepting fuch as deny the Being of a God, 
are not of fo bad a Tendency as want of Love to 
one another -, therefore we muft contend at no rate, 
tho' many think there is the greatcft Reafon for it. 
Were any ^exts of^Sf ripture to be given up as fpu- 
rious, and fuch as they could readily part with, 
they Ihould be, in their Opinion, thofe thatadvife 
to contend earneftly for the Faith once delivered to the 
Saints J or to ftrive together for the Faith of the Gof- 
pel^ &c. and they are apt to call Zeal^ whatever be 
the Occafion of it, and tho' mixed with Love and 
^ompajjion to Mens Perfons, an angry Temper ^ which 
■ • '• ■ we 


we are, by all means, to layafide. This is like the 
Advice of fome good hiimour'd Men, in Matters 
of common Right and Juilice, who without con- 
jfidering the Merits of the Caufe, would have no 
Man ever go to Law with another, whatever he 
may fuffer by it : But were the Caufe their own, 
they would hardly lofc an Eftate, which they have 
an apparent Title to, for want of pafling through 
thofe ul'ual Methods by w^hich it might be tried and 
determined. This Advice hath its Weight only in 
trifling Matters, which no wife Man would be at 
the Trouble to conteft •, or if Refpect was only 
had to the Temper with which things ought to 
be contcfted, every one muft allow that \vhatever 
the Caufe be, whether in religious or civil Matters^ 
it ought to be managed with a due Temper of Mind, 
difcharged from that Malice and Rancour which the 
corrupt Nature of Man fometimes prompts him 
to, as being impatient of Contradiction. 

As for the Docirines that we are to contend for^ 
which, ufing the Apoftle's Words, we may call the 
prefent Truths they are far from being mere I'rifleSj 
fuch as may be received or rejected, and our State 
as Chriilians not affected thereby y but, as has been 
before confidered, they are fuch as fupport the 
whole -Fabric k of Religion-, and to be only '\Scep- 
tick in them, is to lay the Foundation of perpetu- 
al Uneafinefs, and to be at a Lofs as to what de- 
ferves tlie Name of Religion. Can we therefore 
exprefs a greater Tnllance of our Love to others 
than to attempt their Convi^ion^ If denying thofe 
jyoctrincs^ oY Eflab/ifljment^ if embracing them, e- 
fpccially when there is the leaft Danger of their 
being turn'd afidefrom them> (in which Cafe it is 
hard that any one lliould be charg'd withUnkind- 
nefs who warns them of it) he is therefore no 
Friend to Mankind who thinks it needlefs, and 
advifes Men not to be at the Trouble, to fearcb after 


( 87 ) 

Tritth^ or who entertains hard Thoughts of any 
who endeavour to enforce it by the jufteft Methods . 
of arguing. To call this a delighting in War and 
Contention-, and to exclaim as much againft it as 
one would do againfl thofc Excellcs of Paflionand 
Prejudice which affc6t Men's Perfons, as though 
theie two could never be feparated, is to perfuade 
Men to put out their Eyes while the Enemy is 
upon them, or to lay afide their Weapons in a 
Time of War. What may Pollerity expe<51: from 
this? our Charity to them will not be much feen 
while we are indifferent as to thofe Truths which 
they may, by our Example, be tempted not only to 
difregard, but alfo to deny and wholly to reje6t. 
T he Conclufion therefore that may be drawn from 
hence, is evident, 'viz. that 'Truth and Loi^e fhould 
not be feparated ^ fo that we are not to be indif- 
ferent as to the one, while we are zealous for the 
other. I might fhcw that there is a great Diffe- 
rence between unwarrantable Z^^j/ for Truth, which 
is for the molt part attended with Hatred to Men* s 
Perfons -, and a Jlupid Indolence and Lukewarmnefs 
in the Caufe thereof, joined with a fpecious Pre- 
tence of our lovina: all Men: The M^r////;;^ between 
them con(ilb in our doing what in us lies, as here- 
unto moved by the Law of Love, to prefervc thofe, 
who are in Danger of turning afide from the Faith, 
from this Apollafy, and the lad Confequcnces there- 
of It is Lo've that is the Motive inducing us here- 
unto, and that lliould exprels it felf with Tender- 
nefs and Compallion towards them who are led 
afidcj fince it is not their Perfons but their Senti- 
ments that we militate againll, which we are oblig'd 
to do to prevent the fpreading thereof j and there- 
by, as much as in us lies, to guard againfl: the In- 
convenicncics which others may fuitain thereby: 
By this means we exprels a due Regard to truths 

■ and 

( 88 ) 

and a Love to thofe who are, or may be, inclined 
to depart from it^ at the fame time. 
§. X. 

■ There may be Uncharitahlenefs not only in 
their Temper who make it their Bufinefs to re- 
commend univerfal Charity }, but this is often dif- 
cernable in the Manner of their pleading for it. 
That they, who would have us conclude that in 
religious Matters they are entirely Mailers of their 
Paflions, are not always calm and undifturb'd when 
treating of 'em, is too obvious to require Proof: 
And tho' it be no delightful Thing to expofe hu- 
man Frailty in thofe Inllances in which all are lia- 
ble to it, yet §uis tulerit Graccos^^z. We need 
look no farther to furnifh us with Matter under this 
Head than fome late Pamphlets^ in many of which 
the Authors conceal their Names, probably becaufe 
they can't conceal their Temper \ and one wou'd 
be tempted to conclude that their Stile is a Satyr 
on their Argument, which fo often recommends 
and urges that which they themfelves at the fame 
time exprefs fo little of. 

But, not toinfifl any farther on this Head, let 
us enquire what they mean by univerfal Charity^ is 
it only this, that we are to perform thofe Offices 
of Kindnefs which we owe to one another as 
Men, defiring for them the bed of Bleffings, and 
doing what is in our Power that they may attain 
them? In this all are or ought to be agreed, in as 
much as it is, without doubt, a moral Duty 5 but 
that which they feem to contend for, under this 
glorious Chara6ler, is, that we fhould think alike 
of all Men, tho' one embraces what one calls an im- 
portant Truth , and another denies it as an Error 5 
and that we fhould do this more efpecially with 
refpe6t to what concerns their Right to eternal Life^ 
Or at leaft to the peculiar Privileges vMch the Church 


joys as a tledge thereof 5 or more particularly that 
\ve fhould thinic an ^rian who fincercly enquires 
after Truth is in as fair a Way for eternal Life as 
he who hath what we call the jufteil Notions of 
it ', and that tlpprefore we mud, if we would be 
duly charitable, conclude that he who calls the 
Dodirine of the Trinity an unreafonable Dodrine, a 
Fiction of Mens Invention, and therefore he can- 
not worihip thefe three divine Perfons as we do^ 
by giving them equal Honour, yet we muft fup- 
pofe that he has as good a Right to the Privileges 
of a Worfhipper as any other: This Idea of Cha- 
rity we mull; be exCus'd from entertaining, and at 
the fame time hope not with (landing that we are 
not defedive as to what may truly be call'dfoj 
for it is a Charity for Mens Perfons^ rather than 
their Notions^ that the Gofpel obliges us to : And 
as our Love to Men takes its Motive from what is 
moft excellent or amiable in them, they have cer- 
tainly the greateft Right to it who walk in the 
Truth ^ as it is in Jefus. 

If the Example of thofe whom we contend 
with about this Matter may be of any Significan- 
cy, or any Regard is to be had to an Argument 
turn ad hominem^ we may, by comparing their 
Charity with ours^ eafily fee who hasmoft Reafon 
to bring in the Charge of Uncharitahlenefs, No- 
thing is more common with them than to declare, 
and their Pradice vifibly correfponds to it, that 
they have Charity for all^ but thofe who have no 
Charity •, that is, for all but thofe who oppofe their 
own Scheme of Do6irine j or if they mean by it 
that they hope all may be faved in any Religion^ 
this is to extend their Charity too far in one 
Refpeftj while, by excluding thofe from it who 
abhor and condemn their Notions, they contract 
it too much in the other: But if they intend here- 
by that they are ready to exprefs their Love in 
M the 


the tmefl Inftanccs thereof to the Ferfons of all 
Men, but fuch whom they brand v/ith the Cha- 
ra£i:cr of Uncharitablenefs^ then we may boaft that 
our Charity far exceeds theirs, for m this Refpe61: 
it does or ought to extend it feif to al, without Ex- 
ception, even to thofe who have none for us, tho' 
we are not allow'd to have the leail Degree thereof. 
And this may kad us to enquire whether, when 
they condemn the UncharitaMenefs of others, they 
don't herein convi6t themfelves : Are w^e warm in 
our Temper to a Fault ? fo are they 5 other wife, 
what means their charging our Faith as being un- 
reafonable, when we adore, and think with Hu- 
mihty and Reverence on what we cannot compre- 
hend. If their Ch ARiT Y fo far exceeds ours, 
what means that intuiting Sneer which is fome- 
times obferved when the Dotlrine ofthel'r'mity^ox any 
other Doftrine wherein we differ, is publickly af- 
ferted and attempted to be prov'd, as tho' the 
Mufcles of the Face could fupply the Defe6ls of 
the Brain,, which is a new Method of anfwering 
Arguments? Or what that farcaflical Banter on the 
Word Orthodoocy^ as tho' there was nothing cer- 
tain in revealed Religion ? or if it be our Orthodoxy 
which they intend to expofe thereby, as fuppofing 
that we have no more Right to that Word than 
we have to Charity^ all that I lliall fay to that is, 
let not him that girdeth on his Ilarnefs boafi as he that 
pitteth it off. 

But paffing this by, as what muft be expected 
and fubmitted to from thofe who have no otha* 
Conditions of Peace to offer, but our denying the 
Faith which wt profefs, or ceafing to maintain it^ 
I cannot conclude this^E^jv without -4'eflc6ting, 
with fome Concern, on our unhappy Circumllan- 
ces, as having not yet foimd out the %vay of Peace 
with our Brethren^ v/ho profefs themfelves to be 



with us in the Do6lrine of the ever hlejfed trinity 5 and 
many of them, I prefume, have a juft Regard 
to it as a Do6trine of Importance ; there is Hill a 
mutual Charge of Uncharitablenefs advanced, and a 
Refervednefs of Temper agreehig thereunto. 
Whether this proceeds from a remaining Diflike 
of former ConduU in what relates to thofe things 
that firil occafioned the Divifion, ox fome thing new 
has offer'd, I pretend not to determine-, every one 
is Judge of the Matter of his own Refentment, 
and it may be, one fees thofe Occaiions forEflrange- 
ment that another knows nothing of, for the Quar- 
rel is now lodg'd in private Hands, and ceafes to 
be the A6t of any Body of Minifiers^yct 'tis perpe- 
tuated in fuch a way that fome fpeak on this Sub- 
J€6l as tho' they were the Reprefentatives of the 
reft. And upon the whole, we have but a very 
melancholly Scene of Affiiirs, efpecially when things 
proceed fo far that common Civilities are almoil 
laid afide, and Party-Zeal, Uke a Torrent, carries 
down all before it. This indeed is no new thing, for 
we find that the fame Temper was complain'd of 
in Cyprian's Time, in Words too well adapted, as 
it happens to ours^ tho' upon a very differing and 
lefs momentous Occafion"^. 

I F I am afk'd what Occafion there is for our 
prefent Contentions, it might be eafily anfwered 
that there can be no juft Reafon for them, fo far 
a-s they are managed with cenforious Inftnuations^ 
deftitute of that Proof which one would expe61-, 
nor for fhunning all friendly Converfation, or be- 
ing forc'd to be upon the Guard therein, as tho' 

* Vident [/a/ Angel't] diver- divifis ab inviccm nee confabu- 
fas quorundam mentes, &: fcifTas latio jam poflit cKc^ aut fermo 
voluntates, quail non tantum communis, tinml^ Cyprimo in 
unum, 8c eundem Dominum Ep'tfi. 75-. 
fimul invocent, 8c feparatis 8c 

Pag. 7f. Lin. 17. for him, read tl^tn, 

M z wc 


we look'd for nothing elfe but that it fhould be 
perverted to our Difadvantage > that part of the 
Controverfy which difcovers it felf in Pajfion and 
Prejudice can never be vindicated : But if theQue- 
ftion be ftill urged upon us by thofe who defireto 
be fatisfied what it is that we really contend about, 
whether it be mere Trifles and groundlefs Reports 
which we will not be at the Trouble either to 
confute or receive Satisfa6tion whether they are 
true or falfe, but chufe to believe them true, rather 
than demand a Proof that they are fo : If this be 
the Ground of all 5 then that Wifdom and Juftice, 
by which our Temper fhou'd be govern'd, will be 
very much call'd in Queilion : But many, rather 
than think that there is anyDefed in thisRefpeft, 
will be apt to conclude that there is fomething 
of greater Importance that lies at the Bottom which 
we are not willing to own : And for their Satif- 
fa£tion, 'tis pity the thing were not truly ftated in 
Converfation, that neither Side may be reckoned 
to be what their Soul abhors. There is an eafy 
Way to prevent the bad Influence o^ falfe Reports^ 
without calling a Synod to cenfure thofe to whom 
they owe their Original, fince thefe, with Men 
of Temper and Jullice, appear and die at the 
fame time. If therefore our Contentions proceed 
from this Spring, one would think 'twere not dif- 
licult to compremife them: And if fo fmall a 
Matter as Mens knowing one another, and diftin- 
guifhing between what is merely furmifed^ and 
what is triie^ would heal the Wound, there is no 
one but owes fo much to the Caufe of Peace, as 
that he fliould readily contribute his part to it. If 
the Servants of that angry Courtier mentioned in 
Scripture cou'd give an happy Turn to his Rage 
by telling him, x}:\'Mif the Prophet had bid him do 
fgr^e great thing to obtain what he came to him 
fori he would have done it^ v/hy may not this fmall 



Condefcenfion be us'd to obtain Co valuable an End 
as what we defire, and allay the Heats that are a- 
mong us. But if Providence has not at prefent a 
Defign to grant us this Favour, let the Blame lie 
at his Door who refufes it, and the whole Body, 
fome few excepted, be guiltlefs, 

I might infill on a far more weighty Argument 
to induce us hereunto, than w^hat is taken from 
the fecuring the Reputation of particular Perfons, 
who apprehend themfelves injurioufly accufed and 
reproached, fince it would tend to the Satisfa6tion 
of Multitudes who wifh well to the Intereft of 
Religion in general, and may probably be further 
eftablifh'd in the Truth hereby. Some are ready 
to think that whatever Complaints might have 
been made at firft of Impofition and Perfecutioriy 
tho' I am perfuaded nothing lefs was defign'd, yet, 
if inftead of putting the worft Conftru6tion oq 
the mofl: innocent A6tions, both Sides had joined 
together againft the common Oppofers of the Faith 
we profefs, as it would not have tended fo much to 
their Difhonour as to be dif-united in a time of 
common Danger, fo it might have been well ac- 
cepted by Him, whofe divine Glory is called in 
Queftion > and they who have fuch low Thoughts 
of Him, would have lefs Reafon to boaft of the 
valt Additions made to their Party, which 'tis to 
be hop'd no twith (landing are not fo great as they 
imagine who arefo fanguine upon the Matter : And 
if the Moderation of one Side had not fb much de- 
clined the Zeal of the other , the common Inte- 
reft of Religion would have been more pro- 
moted. . • 

But is there no Hope that 'twill be otherwife? 
Shall Contentions have no End ? Will Men bite 
and devour one another till they are confumed one 
o'^ another? Shall not frut^j and Peace have a freih 
Luftre put upon them, and prevail in our Day : 



This is only known to Him who JIllls the raging 
of the Sea^ and commands a Calm. But we may 
conclude that things will have a better Afpe6t 
when Men are brought to a better Temper j when 
groundlefs Surmifes are not entertain'd to any one's 
Difadvantage > when Accufations are not depended 
on as true, without the leaft Attempt to prove 
them fo 5 and when, in particular, to lament the De- 
fe5lion of many from the Faith^ and warn People 
of the Danger of Apoflacy, without the leall Sha- 
dow of Refleftion on thofe who fuppofe them- 
felves aggriev'd thereby, is not call'd a Faflingfor 
Strife^ or with a Defign to keep up the Difference. 
When Perfons no longer bring Charges of this Na- 
ture, without pretending to make them good 5 or 
when the Imprudence of fingle Perfons in Con- 
verfation fhall not be imputed to the whole Body, 
or unwary Expreffions or A6lions done with no ill 
Defign fhall be no longer mifreprefented, fo as to 
be made to fignify more than what was ever in- 
tended by them. In fine, when Perfons can fee a 
Neceflity of coming into fome Meafures to pre- 
vent the Growth of Error among thofe who are 
iirll inclined to conclude that there is not fo great 
Weight in thofe Truths which we contend for, 
and then are led to deny 'em, and afterwards dif- 
cover fuch a Warmth of Temper as not to be eafy, 
or upon good Terms with thofe by whom they 
are defended : And when the common Intcrell of 
Religion has the higheft Place in our Affc6lions, 
and bears down all Rcfentments of perfonal Inju- 
ries, look'd upon thro' a Magnifying-Glafs, and 
aggravated to fuch a Degree as tho' 'twere hard to 
invent a Punifhment equal to the Crime 3 or to 
afperfe and give an unjuft Reprefentation of our 
Sentiments , which indeed is vile, and not in the 
lead to be vindicated, deferv'd an Exclufion from 
that Charity and Degree of Friendihip which they 


(95 ) 

are admitted to who blafpheme that worthy Name 
by 'which we are called-^ and when Abatements are 
made for human Frailty in others, which fome- 
times we cannot but confefs we Hand in need of 
our felvesj when this Temper prevails among us, 
we may hope to fee the Revival of that Intereft 
which is infinitely preferable to all that Honour and 
Efteem which, by falfe Suggeftions, we are capa- 
ble of being robb'd and plundered of. 

B u T if this is too great a Bleffing to be ex- 
peded, if we muft yet dwell in the Flames, and 
ftruggle with unfurmountable Difficulties, and 
have things laid to our Charge which we know 
nothing of j if we muft ftand alone, and bear the 
Shot of Friends and Enemies j if we muft either 
ceafe to bear our Teftimony againft the growing 
Error of the Day, or elfe be reckoned uncharita^ 
hle^ and charg'd with reviling thofe whofe Senti- 
ments we are Strangers to, and therefore can't 
reafonably be fuppos'd to intend : If we muft be 
mark'd out as exercifing intemperate Zeal, be- 
yond all Bounds of Reafon and Charity , we can 
only commit our Caufe to Him ivhofe Judgment 
is according to "fruth ; he knows whether any of 
us deferve that Cenfure, or whether we have not 
too much Reafon to blame our felvcs for want of 
Zealy confidering the Occafion there is for it, and 
the Glory of that Caufe which we are called to 
maintain, whilft many of us can fay we know no- 
thing by our fel'Ves^ with refpeft to want of true 
Charity to the Perfons of all Men : And whatever 
hard Thoughts any may entertain of our Temper 
and Condu6l, I am perluaded that every one who 
wifheswellto the Intereft of Christ will re- 
joice, when it farther appears, as it does now in 
many Inftances, that a cenforious World is as much 
miftaken in their Sentiments o£ our Brethren^ v/hcn 
it charges them with having departed from the 



common Faith^ as they who are thus chargeJ arc 
miftakeii in us when they think we are Enemies 
to Peace 5 which I hope we are defirous to cul- 
tivate and maintain upon iht juft eft Grounds^ and by 
our Love to them in the fruth^ to approve our felves 
His Difciples^ who is the wonderful Counfeller^ the 
mighty Godj the everlafting Father^ the Prince of 


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