Catholick Vnity: OR The only way to bring us all to be of one Religion.

By Rich. Baxter.

To be read by such as are offended at the diffe­rences in Religion and are willing to do their part to heal them.

JAMES 3.17.

But the Wisdom that is from above, is first Pure, then Peaceable, Gen­tle, easie to be intreated, &c.

London, Printed by R. W. for Thomas Underhill and Francis Tyton, and are to be sold at the sign of the An­chor and Bible in Pauls Church-yard, and at the three Dag­gers in Fleet-street. 1660.


To all those in the severall Parishes of these Nations, that complain of the dis­agreements in mat­ters of Religion.

Men and Brethren,

AS in the midst of all the impiety and dishonesty of the world, it is some comfort to us, that yet the Names of Pi­ety [Page 2] and Honesty are still in cre­dit, and ungodliness and disho­nesty are terms of disgrace; so that those that will be ungod­ly and dishonest, are fain to use the Mask and Vail of bet­ter names, to hide their wic­kedness; so also it is some comfort to us, in the midst of the uncharitableness and dis­cords of this age, that yet the Names of Love and Concord [...]ound so well, and are honou­red by those that are furthest from the Things: For thus we seem agreed in the main cause, and have this advantage in our debates, that whatever shall be proved to be against Love, and Unit [...], and Peace, we are all o [...] us obliged by our professions to d [...]sown. I may [Page 3] suppose that all that read these words will speak against the uncharitableness and con­tent [...]ons, and divisions of the present times as well as I. Doth it grieve my soul to hear professed Christians so censoriously condemning, and passionately reviling one ano­ther, while they are proudly justifying themselves? I sup­pose you'l say, It grieves you also? Do I mourn in secret, to see so many divisions and subdivisions? and Church set up against Church, and Pastors against Pastors, in the same Parishes; and each par­ty labouring to disgrace the other and their way, that they may promote their own? I suppose you will say, You do [Page 4] so t [...]o. Do I lament it as the Nations shame, that in Reli­gion men are of so many minds, and manage their dif­ferences so unpeaceably, that it is become the stumbling block to the ungodly, the grief of our friends, and the der [...]sion of our enemies? I know you will say, that this also is your lamentation. And is it not a wonder indeed, that such a misery should be conti­nued, which all men are against; and which cannot be continued but by our wil­full choice? Is it not strange that we are so long without so great a blessing as Unity and Peace, while all men say they love it, [...]nd desire it, and while we may have it if we will? But [Page 5] the cause is evident: while men love Unity, they hate the Holi­ness in which we must Unite: While they love Peace, they hate the necessary means by which it must be obtained and maintained: The way of Peace they have not known; or knowing it, they do abhor it. As well as they love Uni­ty and Peace, they love the Causes of discord and division much better. The drunkard, and whore-monger, and worldling say they love the salvation of their souls: But yet while they love and keep their sins, they will miss of the salvation which they say they love. And so while men love their ungodliness and di­viding wayes, we are little the [Page 6] better for their love of peace. If men love Health, and yet love Poyson, and hate both me­dicine and wholsom food, they may miss of health, notwith­standing they love it.

Where know you a Parish in England, that hath no dis­agreements in matters of Re­ligion? In this Parish where I live, we have not several Congregations, nor are we di­vided into such parties as in many other places; But we have here the great division: some are for Heaven, and some for Earth: some love a holy diligent life, and others hate it: some pray in their Fa­milies, and teath them the word and fear of God, and others do not: some [Page 7] spend the Lords Day in holy exercises, and others spend much of it in idle­ness and vanity: some take the service of God for their delight; and others are weary of it; and live in ignorance, because they will not be at the pains to learn. Some make it the principal care and business of their lives, to prepare for death, and make sure of ever­lasting life; and others will venture their souls on the wrath of God, and cheat themselves by their own pre­sumption, rather then be at this sweet and necessary la­bour to be saved. Some hate sin, and make it their dayly work to root out the relicts of it from their hearts and [Page 8] lives: and others love it and will not leave it, but hate those that reprove them, and endea­vour their salvation.

And as long as this great di­vision is unhealed, what other means can bring us to any happy Unity? It would make a mans heart bleed to consider of the folly of the ungodly rout, that think it would be a happy Union, if we could all agree to read one form of prayer, while some love, and others hate the holiness which they pray for: and if we could all agree to use the sign of the Cross in Baptism, while one half either understand not the Baptismall Covenant, or wil­fully violate it, and neglect, or hate, and scorn that mortified [Page 9] holy life, which by that so­lemn Vow and Covenant they are engaged to. They are solicitous to bring us all to unity in the gesture of recei­ving the Sacrament of the Lords Supper, while some take Christ and life, and others take their own damnation. When they should first agree in being all the faithfull ser­vants of one Master, they make a great matter of it, that the servants of Christ, and of the Devil may use the same bodily posture in that worship where their hearts are as diffe­rent as spirit and flesh. Poor people think that it is the want of Uniformity in certain Ceremonies of mans inventi­on, that is the cause of our [Page 10] great divisions and distracti­ons; When, alas, it is the want of unity in matters of great­er consequence, even of Faith, and Love, and Holiness, as I have here shewed. If once we were all children of one Father, and living members of one Christ, and all renewed by one sanctifying Spirit, and aimed at one end, and walked by one Rule (the word of God,) and had that special Love to one another which Christ hath made the mark of his Disciples, this were an Agreement to be rejoyced in indeed, which would hold us together in the most comfor­table relations, and assure us that we shall live together with Christ in everlasting [Page 11] blessedness. But, alas, if our Agreement be no better, then to sit together in the same seats, and say the same words, and use the same ge­stures and Ceremonies, our hearts will be still distant from each other, our natures will be contrary, and the malignity of ungodly hearts will be break­ing out on all occasions. And as now you hear men scorn­ing at the practice of that Religion which themselves profess, so if God prevent it not, you may shortly see ano­ther War take off their re­straint and let them loose, and then they will seek the blood of those that now they seem to be agreed with. At furthest we are sure, that very shortly [Page 12] we shall be separated as far as Heaven and Hell, if there be not now a nearer agreement then in words and outward Shews and Ceremonies.

It being then past doubt, that there is no happy lasting Unity, but in the Spirit and a holy life, What hindereth us from so safe, so sweet, so sure a Peace? Why might not all our Parishes agree on such necessary, honourable and rea­sonable terms? Why is there in most places, but here and there a Person, or a Family, that will yield to the terms of an everlasting peace, & live as men that believe they have a God to serve and please, and immortall souls to save or lose? Is not God willing that [Page 13] all should be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth, 1 Tim. 2.4. and that all should agree in so safe a path? Why then doth he invite all, and tender them his saving mer­cy, and send his messengers to command and importune them to this holy Concord? He would take them all into the bond of his Covenant: How oft would Christ have gathered all the Children of Ierusalem to him, as the Hen gathereth her Chickens under her Wings? but it was they that would not, Mat. 23.37. He would have the Gospel preached to every creature, Mar. 16.15, 16. & would have the Kingdoms of the world become the Kingdoms of [Page 14] the Lord and of his Christ.

What then is the cause of this sad division in our Parishes? Are Ministers unwilling that their people should all agree in holiness? No, it would be the greatest favor you could do them, and the great­est joy that you could bring to their hearts: They would be gladder to see such a blessed Unity, then if you gave them all that you have in the world. O how a poor Minister would boast and glory of such a Pa­rish! He would bless the day that ever he came among them; and that ever he was called to the Ministry; and that ever he was born into the world for their sakes. How easie would all his studies and [Page 15] labours be, if they were but sweetned with such success? How easily could he bear his scorns, and threatnings, and abuses, and persecutions from others, if he saw but such a holy Unity among his people to encourage him? So far are your Teachers from exclud­ing you from this happiness, that it is the end of their stu­dies, & preaching, & prayers, yea and of their lives, to bring you to partake of it. And glad would they be to preach to you, and exhort you, in hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness, in all the contempt and derision of the world, if thereby they could but bring their parishes to agree in a life of faith and holiness.

[Page 16]And sure our difference is not because the godly will not admit you to joyn with them in the waies of God; For they cannot hinder you if they would; and they would not if they could. It is their joy to see the house of God filled with guests that have o [...] the wedding garment.

We must conclude therefor [...] that it is the ungodly that a [...] the wilfull and obstinate div [...] ders. They might be unite to Christ, and reconciled [...] God, and they will not. The might be admitted into th [...] Communion of Saints, an [...] into the houshold of Go [...] and partake of the Priv [...] ledges of his children; an [...] they will not. They have lea [...] [Page 17] to Read, and pray, and medi­tate, and walk with God in a heavenly conversation, as well as any of their neighbours; but they will not. It is them­selves that are the refusers, and continue the division, to the displeasing of God, and the grief of their friends, and the gratifying of Satan, and the perdition of their own im­mortall Souls. We might all be united, and our divisions be healed, and God much ho­noured, and Ministers and good Christians be exceeding­ly comforted, and the Church and Commonwealth be deli­vered and highly honoured, and themselves be saved from everlasting misery, if we could but get the hearty consent of [Page 18] these foolish obstinate ungod­ly men.

What say you, wretched Souls, can you deny it? How long have your Teachers been labouring in vain, to bring you to the hearty Love o [...] God, and heaven, and serious holiness? How long have they been perswading you to set up Reading, and Catechizing and constant fervent prayer i [...] your families, and yet it is un­done? How long have they in vain been perswading the worldling from his worldli­ness; and the Proud person to humility, and the sensual beast from his tipling, and gluttony, and other fleshly pleasures?

And besides this, most of the disorders and divisions in [Page 19] the Churches are caused by ungodly men. I will instance in a few particulars.

1. When we ask any god­ly diligent Ministers, either in London, or the Country, why they do not unanimously ca­techize, instruct and confer with all the Inhabitants of their Parishes, man by man, to help them to try their spi­rituall state, and to prepare in health for death and judge­ment? they usually answer us, that alas their people will not consent, but many would revile them if they should at­tempt it.

2. When we ask them why they do not set up the practice of Discipline, which they so unanimously plead for? and [Page 20] why they do not call their people to Confirmation, or open profession of faith and holiness in order thereto; they tell us, that their people will not endure it; but many will rather set themselves against the Ministry, and strengthen the enemy that now endan­gereth the Churches safety, or turn to any licentious Sect, then they will thus submit to the undoubted Ordinance of Christ, which the Churches are so commonly agreed in as a duty.

3. We have an ancien [...] too-imperfect version of the Psalms, which we sing in the Congregations; & in the judg­ment of all Divines that ever I spoke with about it (of what [Page 21] side soever) it is our duty to use a better Version, and not to perform so excellent a part of the publick Worship, so lamely, and with so many blemishes. And if you ask the Ministers why they do not unanimously agree on a Re­formed corrected Version, most of them will tell you, that their people will not bear it, but proudly and turbulent­ly reproach them, as if they were changing the Word of God.

4. In many places the Sacra­ment of Baptism is ofter used in private houses, then in the publick Assemblies; and if we ask the reason of so great a disorder, the Ministers will tell us that it is the unruliness and [Page 22] wilfulness of the people, that proudly set themselves above their Guides, and instead of obeying them, must rule them, and have their humors and conceits fulfilled, even in the holy things of God, or else they will revile the Pa­stors, and make divisions in the Church: And this is done by them that in other cases do seem sufficiently to reverence the place of publick As­sembly as the house of God, and that speak against private meetings, though but for pray­er, repeating Sermons, or singing to the praise of God, while yet themselves are wil­fully bent for such private meetings as are set up in oppo­sition to the publick, and that [Page 23] for the administration of so great an Ordinance as the Sa­crament of Baptism, and in cases where there is no neces­sity of pr [...]vacy: And who knows not that our Sacra­mentall Covenant with God, and engagement to a Christian life▪ and reception into a Chri­stian state and priviledges, is fitter to be done with the most honourable solemnity, then in a conventicle, in a private house?

Too many more such instan­ces I could give you, which shew who they be that are the enemies of our Unity; Even those that cry out against di­visions while they cau [...]e them, and cry up Unity, concord and obedience, while they destroy them.

[Page 24]And shall we thus continue a division that doth prognosti­cate our Everlasting division? Is there no Remedy for so great a misery, when yet our poor ungodly neighbours m [...]y heal it if they will? What if the Ministers of the severall Parishes, should appoint one day of publick Conference with all the people of their Parishes together, and desire all th [...]t are fit to speak, to de­bate the case, and give their Reasons, why they concur not in their hearts and lives with the holy diligent servants of the Lord? and let them he [...]r the Reasons why the god­ly dare not, and cannot come over to their negligent ungod­ly course? and so try who it is [Page 25] long of among them, that they ar [...] not of One mind and way? what if the Ministers then urged it on them, to agree all before they parted, to unite on the terms which God will own, and all u [...]animously to take that course that shall be found most agreeable to his Word; and whoever doth bring the fullest proof that his course is best in reason, the rest should promise to joyn w [...]th him What if we call the people together, and be­speak them as Elijah did, 1 Kings [...]8.21. How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. [If a car [...]less, ungodly, worldly, fleshly life be best, and most [Page 26] please God, and will comfort you most at death and judge­ment, then hold on in the way that you are in, and never pur­pose hereafter to repent of it, but let us all become as sensuall as you. But if it be only the life of faith and holi­ness, and seeking first the Kingdom and Righteousness of God that God, and Scripture, and reason will justifie, and that will comfort the soul in the hour of extremity, and that you shall with a thousand times you had followed, (in everlasting misery, when wish­ing is too late) if now you con­tinue to neglect it; doth not c [...]mmon reason then require, that we all now agree to go that way which all will de­sire [Page 27] to be found in at the last?]

One would think, if a Mini­ster should treat thus with his Parishioners, and urge such a motion as this upon them, they should not have the hearts or faces, to deny, or delay such a necessary Agreement and Engagement, that would make their Parish and their souls so happy, and which nothing but the Devil and the befooled corrupted minds of sinners hath any thing to say against! And yet its likely we should either have such an answer as Elijah had, even silence, (v. 21. The people answered him not a word.) Or else some plausible promise, while we have them in a good mood, which would quickly be broken & come to [Page 28] nothing. For indeed, they are all engaged already, by their baptismall Covenant and pro­fession of Christianity, to the very same thing: and yet we see how little they regard it.

But yet because it is our du­ty to use the means for the Salvation and Concord of our people, and wait on God by prayer for the success, I have here shewed you the only way to both. Read it impar­tially, and then be your selves the Judges, on whom the blame of our greatest and most dangerous divisions will be laid; and for shame, either give over complaining that men are of so many minds, and profess your selves the enemies of Unity and Peace; or else [Page 29] give over your damning, and dividing course, and yield to the Spirit of Christ, that would Unite you to his Body, and walk in Communion with his Saints: and let not these warn­ings be hereafter a witness against you to your confusion, which are intended for your salvation, and the healing of our discords by

An unworthy servant of Jesus Christ, for the Calling and Edifying of his Members, Rich. Baxter.

The Contents.

  • THE Introduction and Explication of the Text, to p. 14
  • D [...]ct. The true Vni­ty of the Catholick Church of Christ consisteth in this, that they have all one sanctified Spirit within them, p. 14
  • Explic [...]tory Propositions, p. 16
  • Twenty Arguments to prove that Ungodliness is the great divider, and that if ever there be a Vnion, it must be by the ungodlies come­ing ov [...]r to a holy life, p. 19
  • Use 1. Shewing plainly who are the causes of our great divisions, p. 37
  • Vngodliness is all Heretical opini­ons [Page] combined and reduced to practice, p. 43, &c.
  • It is against every Article of the Creed, and every one of the Com­mandments, and every Petition of the Lords Prayer, and every Or­dinance of Worship, p 65
  • They are worse then meer Sectaries, p. 73
  • Use 2. How little cause the Papists have to glory, when they draw an ungodly man meerly into their Church, p. 80
  • Use 3. How falsly Papists and Qua­kers tell us that the ungodly per­sons are the fruit of our Mini­stery, p. 83
  • Use 4. A serious Motion for Vnity and Peace, to all that would have us of one Religion, p. 88
  • Some more undenyable Reasons to prove that there is no other way of Vnity but this one, p. 100
  • Quest. What is that Godliness that we must all unite in, p. 136
  • [Page] Quest. What the nearer an Agree­ment should we be? Do not the godly differ among themselves? p. 178
  • Use 5. How little hope of perfect Vnity on earth; And how much Vnity may be expected among the Godly, p. 195
  • Quest. Whether Vnity in the Pro­fession of one Faith, Government and Worship, may serve turn?
  • Ten discoveries of the insufficiency of a Vnion, in meer profession, p. 203
  • How much true godliness would con­duce to heal our lesser differences; and that we might do well not­withstanding them, p. 234
  • Manifested in twenty four particu­lars.
  • Quest. How then comes it to pass that there are so many differences among those that you call godly, Answered, p. 288
  • Advice to the godly, p. 308
  • [Page] Rom. 14.1. Explained, p. 313
  • Doct. It is the will of God that the Vnity of the Church should not be laid on indifferent, small or d [...]ubtfull things: but that true be­lievers that differ in such things, should yet have inward Cha­rity and outward Communion with each other not censuring, nor despising, nor dividing upon this account, p. 323
  • Convincing Reasons, p. 326
  • Several Vses or Consectaries: and an Exhortation applied to our dif­ference about Christmas Day, p. 358


PAge 90. l. 9. r. enquire: p. 91. l. 6. r. except: p. 192. l. 7. for now, r. in time: p. 275. l. 16 for or, r. as: p. 366. l. 12. for it, r. them: p. 377. l. 12. dele in.

Catholick Vnity.

EPHES. 4.3.

Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

IT seems that V­nity and Felicity are near kin, in that the world is so like affected to them both. As our Felicity is in God, and we lost it by falling from God; so our Vnity is in God, and we lost it by departing from this Cen­ter of Unity. And as all men have [Page 2] still a natural desire after Felicity in general; but God who is their Felicity, they neither know nor de­sire; so have we still a natural de­sire after Vnity in it self consider­ed; but God who is our Unity, is little known or desired by the most. And as nature can perceive the evil of Misery which is contra­ry to Felicity, and cry out against it, and yet doth cherish the cer­tain causes of it, and will not be perswaded to let them go: So Na­ture can perceive the evil of Divi­sion, which is contrary to Vnity, and cry out against it, and yet will not forbear the causes of Division. And therefore as we say of Feli­city, Nature by Philosophy seeks it, Divinity findeth it, and Reli­gion possesseth it: So may we say of true Vnity; Philosophy or Nature seeks it, Divinity findeth it, and Religion or Holiness possess­eth it. And as most of the world [Page 3] do miss of Felicity, for all their high esteem of it, and fall into mi­sery for all their hatred of it, be­cause they love not the object and way of Felicity, and hate not the Matter and Way of Misery. Even so most of the world do miss of Vnity, for all their high esteem of Unity, and fall into miserable di­stractions and Divisions for all their hatred of Division, because they love not the center and way of Vnity, and hate not the occasion and causes of Division. And as the very reason why the most are shut out of Happiness, is their own wilful refusing of the true matter and means of Happiness, and no one could undo them but them­selves, for all that they are loth to be undone: Even so the very Rea­son why the world attaineth not to Unity, is their own wilful refusing of the true Center and Means of Unity; and it is themselves that [Page 4] are the wilful causes of their own Divisions, even when they cry out against Divisions. And as there's no way to Happiness, but by Turn­ing to God from whom we fell, that in him we may be happy; and no way to God but by Iesus Christ as the Saviour, and the H [...]ly-Ghost as the Sanctifier; so there is no way to true Vnity, but by Turning to God that we may be one in him; and no way to him, but being uni­ted to Christ, and being quickned by that One most holy Spirit that animateth his members. And yet as poor souls do weary themselves in vain, in seeking Felicity in their own wayes and devices; so do they deceive themselves in seeking Vni­ty in wayes that are quite destru­ctive to Unity. One thinks we must be united in the Pope; and another, in a General Council; another saith, we shall never have Unity till the Magistrate force us [Page 5] all one way; (and yet they would not be forced from their own way.) Another turns Atheist, or Infidel, or Impious, by observing the Divisions that be among Chri­stians, and saith, [It is this Scri­pture, and Religion, and Christ, that hath set the world together by the ears; and we shall never have Unity till we all live accord­ing to Nature, and cast off their needless cares and fears of another life.] And thus the miserable de­luded world are groping in the dark after Vnity and Felicity, while both are at hand, and they wickedly reject them; and many of them become so mad, as to run away from God, from Christ, from the Spirit, as if he were the cause of Misery and Division, who is the only Center of Felicity and Vnity. And thus as it is but Few that arrive at Happiness for all their desire of it; so it is but Few [Page 6] that attain to Vnity; to such a Unity as is worth the attaining to.

I dare presume to take it for granted, that all you that hear me this day, would fain have Divisions taken away, and have Unity, and Concord, and Peace through the world. What say you? would you not have us all of one [...]i [...]d, and of one Religion? and would you not fain have an Agreement, if it might be, through all the world? I am confident you would. But you little think that its you and such as you that are the hinderers of it. All the question is, What Mind that is that all should be One in? and what Religion that is that all men s [...]ould agree in? Every man would have all men of one mind, and one Religion; but then it must be of his mind, and of his Religion; and so we are never the nearer an agreement,

[Page 7]Well! what would you give now to be certainly told the only way to Unity and Agreement? There is but One way; when you have sought about as long as you will, you must come to that One way, or you will be never the nearer it. What would you give to know un­doubtedly, which is that One way! O that the world were but willing to know it, and to follow it when they know it. Well! I dare pro­mise you from the information of the Holy-Ghost here given us in this Text that now I have read to to you, to tell you the Only way to true Unity; and blessed is he that learneth it, and walketh in it.

This Text is a Precept contain­ing the work required of us, with its double Object; the one the means to the other. The next verse is an exposition of this. As the Natural man hath One Body, and One Soul, which constitute it a [Page 8] man; so the Church which is the mystical Body of Christ, is one Bo­dy, consisting of many members united by One Spirit. Every Com­mon-wealth or Political Body hath 1. Its Constitutive causes that give it its Being and its Unity; and 2. Its Administration and preser­ving causes, as Laws, Execution, Obedience, &c. that exercise and preserve, and perfect its Being. The Constitutive cause is the Sove­raign and the Subject conjoyned in their Relation. So is it with the Church, which is a Political Body, (but of a transcendent kind of Policy.) The Constitutive Cause of the Church are Christ and the members united in One Spirit: And this is the final part of the Duty here required [To keep the Vnity of the Spirit] The Preserving cause is the Peaceable behaviour of the members: and this is the me­diate Duty here required, [In the [Page 9] bond of Peace] Our own Endea­vours are hereto required; because as every natural body must by eat­ing, and drinking, and fit exercise and usage, be a cause of its own preservation, and not forbear these under pretence of trusting the all­sufficiency of God; and as every Political Body, must by Govern­ment and Arms in case of need preserve themselves under God; so must the Body of Christ, the Church, be diligent in using their best endeavours to preserve the Be­ing and well-being of the whole. So that you see here are two causes of the Churches Unity expressed: 1. The principal Constitutive cause in which our Unity consisteth; and that is [The Spirit.] 2. The Pre­serving cause, by which our Unity is cherished, and that is [Peace] which therefore is called [the bond] of it. The fifth and sixth verses do open this Vnity of Spirit, in its [Page 10] parts, effects and ends. [There is One Hope of our Calling] that is, One Heaven or Life Eternal, which is the end of our Christianity and Church Constitution [There is one Lord] Jesus Christ; One Head, one Saviour, one Soveraign Re­deemer, to whom by this Spirit the members are all United. [There is One Faith] both one summe of ho­ly Doctrine, which all that will be saved must believe (which was used to be professed by the adult at Ba­ptism) and One internal saving Faith, which this Spirit causeth in our Spirits, and useth it as a means of our union with Christ in whom we do believe. [There is One Ba­ptism] or solemn Covenanting with God, the Father, Son and Holy-Ghost; and the same pro­mise there to be made by all. And [there is One God the Father of all] from whom we fell, and to whom we must be recovered, and who is [Page 11] the End of all, and to whom Christ and all these means are the Way. So that all these are implyed in, and conjunct with [the Vnity of the Spirit.]

The sense of the Text then briefly is this: [As all the living true members of Christ and the Church have one Spirit (and so one Faith) by which they are all united to Christ the Head, and so to the Father in and by him, which Vnion in One Spirit is your very Life, and it that constituteth you true members of Christ and his Church; so it must be your care and great endeavour to preserve this Spirit in you, and this vital Vnity which by this Spirit you have with Christ and one another: and the way to preserve it, is by the bond of Peace among your selves.] It is here evident then that all the members of Christ and his Body have One Spirit, and in that is their Union. All the question is, What [Page 12] Spirit this is? And that's left past all doubt in the Chapter: For though the common gifts of the Spirit are sometime called by that name, yet these are no further meant in the Text then as appurte­nances or additions to greater gifts: As godliness hath the pro­mise of the common mercies of this life, as well as of the special mercies of the life to come; but yet with great difference; the later being absolutely promised, and the former but limitedly (so far as God sees best for us): Even so the Spirit gave to the members of the Church both Sanctifying Grace, and common Gifts; but with great difference: giving San­ctification to all and only the members of Christ; but giving common gifts also to some others, and to them but with limitation, for sort, and season, and measure, and continuance, as God should [Page 13] see good. It is then the same Holy-Ghost as our Sanctifier into whose name we are baptized, as wel as into the name of the [...]ather and the Son, and in whom we all pro­fess to believe, that is here meant in my Text. And it is only the San­ctified that are the people United to Christ and to One another. This is proved expresly by that which fo [...]loweth, vers. 6, 7. It is those that have the One Hope, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God the Father, vers. 12. It is the Saints and body of Christ that are to be perfected by the Ministry, vers. 13, 15, 16. It is those that must come in the Vnity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God to a per­fect man, to the measure of the sta­ture of the fulness of Christ; and that grow up in all things in Christ the Head: It is the Body that is Vnited to him, and compacted in Love, and edifieth itself in Love: [Page 14] vers. 20, 21, 22, 23, 24. It is those that h [...]v [...] so le [...]rned Christ as to put off t [...]e [...]ld man th [...]t is c [...]rrupt, [...]nd are r [...]newe [...] in the Spirit of their [...]in [...]s, and put on the n [...]w man, which [...]fter God is re [...]t [...] in righte­ou [...]ne [...]s and true holiness. If there­ [...]re any words be plain, its plain t [...]at its true [...]aints only that are here spoken of, that have the Vnity of spirit which they must preserve in the bond of Peace. And therefore I shall make this Obser­vation the ground of my discourse.

Doct. The true Vnity of the Ca­tholick Church of Christ consist­eth in this, that they have all one Sanctifying spirit within them.

By the Holy-Ghost within them they are all United to Christ and to one another: By this One Spirit they are all made [...]aints, or an Ho­ly people, having One Heaven for [Page 15] the matter of their Hopes, One Christ their Head, One summe of Christian doctrine, which they be­lieve, containing all the Essentials of Christian Faith; and One living principle of Faith to believe it; One solemn Covenant with Christ; and One God the [...]ather their End and All.

It is only the Sanctified that have true Christian Vnity; and it is un­holiness or ungodliness that is the cause of the miserable Divisions of the world. Now, Sirs, you see the Only way to Vnity: Even to have One Sanctifying spirit within us, and be all an Holy People; and there is no way but this: Now you see the principal cause of Division; even unholiness, and refusing the Spirit of Grace.

In handling this point, 1. I shall give you some Propositions that are necessary for the fuller under­standing of it. 2. I shall demon­strate [Page 16] the Point to you, by fuller Evidence of Reason. 3. I shall make Application of it.

I. PRop. 1. Though it be only the Sanctified that have the true Un [...]on of Members w [...]th Chr [...]st and the Body; yet all that make Profession of Sanctification, and Null not that Pro [...]ession, have an Extr [...]nsick, Analogical Union in profession: As the wooden or dead leg is united to the body, and the dead branch to the Vine: And so even Hypocrites must not only dwell among us, but be of the same visible Church with us, as the chaff and tares are in the same corn­field. And as long as they seem Saints we must value them, and use them as Saints, and love them, and have Communion with them as Saints: Not as conceiving them [Page 17] certainly to be such, but probably, and by that humane faith, by which we are bound to believe their profession; not as we believe God, who is Infallible; but as men that are fallible: And this in several Degrees, according to the several Degrees of their Credibility, and the Probability of their Profession. So that you must not after this m [...]stake me, as if I tyed our exter­nal Church-Communion only to true Saints; for then we must have Communion with none; be­cause being not able to search the hearts, we know not what Profes­sors are sincere. But yet even this External Church-Communion be­longs only to them that make Pro­fession of Love and Holiness, as well as of Belief; and no lower Profession must serve the turn.

Prop. 2. There is a Common Vni­ty of humane Nature that we have with all men, and a common Peace [Page 18] that as much as in us lyeth we must hold with all, Rom. 12.18. But this is nothing to the Unity in que­st [...]on, which belongeth to our happiness. The Devils have a Unity of Nature, and some order and accord in Evil; for if Satan be divided, how can his kingdom stand? Mat. 12.26.

Prop. 3. The Unity of the Saints in the Spirit of Holiness, consisteth in this life with much imperfection and discord, according to the im­perfection of their Holiness. But as Grace is the seed of Glory, and the beginning of Eternal Life, for all its weakness, and the sins that accompany it (Iohn 17.3.); So the Unity of the Spirit of holiness, is the seed and beginning of the perfect Unity in Heaven, for all the differences and discord that here accompany it.

II. HAving shewed you the only bond of Unity, I come now by fuller evidence to convince you of the truth of what is said, and even to force it into your understandings, if you will but use your Reason, and believe the Word of God. It is unholi­ness and ungodliness that causeth our Discord; and it is the Spirit of Holiness that is the Vniting Prin­ciple; and there's no true Christi­an Vnity to be had with ungodly men: Never think of Vnity by any other way then Sanctification: You are as on the other side of the River, and cannot be united to the servants of Christ, till the Spirit Convert you, and pass you over. You are dead men, and unfit to be United to the living; and its the Spirit that quickneth, and this Life must be our Vnion. You madly [Page 20] rail against Division, and yet stand at a distance from Christ and his Church, and maintain the greatest division in the world. Believe it, you do but doat and dream, if you think to have true Christian Vnity on any other terms, then by the Sanctifying Spirit of Christ. And this I shall now evince as fol­loweth.

1. You know sure that there can be no Christian Unity, but in God as your Father, and the Cen­ter of Vnity: All the true mem­bers of the Catholick Church must say [Our Father] and be as his children United in him. If you will have Unity without the favour of God, it must be the Unity of Re­bels, and such a concord as is in Hell: The family of God do all Unite in him: As all the Kingdom is United in one King; so is all the Church in God. Can you think it possible to have Unity, as long as [Page 21] you will not Unite in God? Well then; there's nothing plainer in the Scripture, then that all men by nature are departed from God, and none are United to him but those that are regenerate and made new creatures, not a man is his child by Grace, and in his favour, but only those that are sanctified by his Spirit, Ioh. 3.3, 5. Mat. 18.3. 2 Cor. 5.17. Heb. 12.14. So that there's no true Vnity without S [...]n­ctification, because there's no re­conciliation with God, nor Uni­ty with him, without it.

2. There can be no true Chri­stian Vnity but in Christ the Re­deemer and Head of the Church: For how can the members be Uni­ted but in the Head? or the Schol­lars but in their Teacher? or the Subjects but in their Soveraign? You know there's no Christian Vnity but in Christ. Well then; What Unity can we have with [Page 22] those that are not in Christ? The unsanctified have indeed the name of Christians: but what is that to the nature? Some branches not bearing fruit are said to be in him the Vine, by outward profession: but they are dead and withered, and must be cut off and cast away for the fire: and so are unfit for Communion with the Vine, Iohn 15. He that is in Christ is a new creature: old things are past away, behold all things are become new. 2 Cor. 5.17. If any man have not the Spirit of Christ (which is this sanctifying Spirit) the same is none of his. I pray you mark the plain­ness of these passages. All you that are unconverted and unsan­fied, are out of Christ, and none of his, though you may talk and boast of him as long as you will. And therefore you cannot have Vnity with Christians, till you will first have Unity with Christ him­self. [Page 23] Till you are engraffed into him, you are not engraffed into the Catholick Church, but only seem to be what you are not.

3. The dead cannot be United to the living: who will be married to a dead corpse? or would be tyed to it, and carry it about? It is life that must Unite us: The unsancti­fied are dead in sin, Eph. 2.5. and the Spirit is given to quicken the dead, that they may be fit for con­verse. What Union can there be between a block and a man; or a beast that hath but a sensitive life, and a man that hath a rational Soul? So what Union between the sensual world and the sanctified Be­liever? If you could have Vnity without the Sanctifying Spirit, why are you then Baptized into the name of the Holy-Ghost as your Sanctifier? To have a Vnity of Being is common to us with the Devils; for they are Gods crea­tures, [Page 24] and so are we. To have a Vnion of Specifick Being is com­mon to us with all the damned, for they are men as well as we; and common to the Devils among themselves. But it must be a Uni­ty in the Spirit of Holiness that must prove us happy, and afford us comfort.

4. There is no possibility of ha­ving Unity with those that have not the same ultimate principal end. But the sanctified and the unsancti­fied have not the same end, nay have contrary ends. If one of you will go to York, and the other to Lon­don, how can you possibly go one way? This is the great difference that sets the world and the sancti­fied by the ears: You serve Mam­mon, and they serve God: You have one portion, and they another: Your portion is in this life, Psalm 17.14. Here you have your good things, Luke 16.25. and here you lay up [Page 25] your treasure, Mat. 6.19, 21. Your belly is your God, and you mind earthly things. Phil. 3.18. But it is the Lord that is the portion of the Saints, Psal. 16.5. They lay up a treasure in heaven, Mat. 6.20. and there they have their conversations, Phil. 3.20. Being risen with Christ, they seek the things that are above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; for they are dead, and their life is hid with Christ in God, Col. 3.1, 3, 4. The business that the Saints, and that the ungodly have in the world, is clean contrary. Their business is for Heaven; and yours is for earth; They are sowing to the spirit in hope of everlasting life, and you are sowing to the flesh, and shall reap corruption, Gal. 6.6, 7. They are making Provision for another life, that never shall have end; and you are making pro­vision for the flesh, to satisfie its de­sires, Rom. 13.14. And how is it [Page 26] possible for these to be United? What concord between light and darkness? or Christ and Belial? or righteousness with unrighteousness? 2 Cor. 6.14, 15. Can two wal [...] together except they be agreed? Amo. 3.3. We must better agree of our business in the world, and of our journeys end, before we can keep company with you. While you are for earth and we for heaven, it is not possible that we should go one way. While one is for the world and another for God, they must needs differ: For God and the world are masters that are unre­concileable. If you will cleave to one, you must despise the other.

The work of the Butcher and the Souldier is to kill: and the work of the Surgeon and Physiti­an is to cure. And do you think these will ever take one course? The Souldier studies how to wound and kill: The Surgeon stu­dies [Page 27] how to close these wounds and heal them. And surely these must go contrary wayes. Sirs, as long as your business is principally for the flesh and the world; and the business of the sanctified is against the flesh and world, and for the Spirit and the world to come, how is it possible that you should be agreed? You must bring heaven and earth together first; yea hea­ven and hell together first, before you can have a Christian Unity and Agreement between the sanctified and the unsanctified.

5. There is no Vnity to be had, but in the Gospel. The Apostle tels us, there is One Faith, Eph. 4.5. If an Angel from heaven would preach another Gospel, he must be accursed, Gal. 1.10, 11. But the unsanctified do not truly and heartily entertain this Gospel. You think and say you truly believe it, when you do not. If you truly [Page 28] believed it, your lives would shew it. He that indeed believes an everlasting Glory, will sure look after it, more then after the world or the flesh.

6. There is no Christian Unity but in the Christian Nature. Con­trary natures cannot close. Fir [...] and Water, the Woolf and the Lamb, the Bear and the Dog, wi [...] not well Unite. The sanctified hav [...] a new, divine and heavenly nature Ioh. 3.6. 2 Pet. 1.4. 2 Cor. 5.1 [...] Their Disposition is another way then it was before. But the unsan­ctified have the old corrupt fleshly nature still. One is as the fire, still bending upward; the other as the earth or stone, still bending down­ward to the earth: And how can these agree together?

7. There is no Christian Vnity to be had, where the Affections run quite contrary wayes. But so it is with the sanctified and the unsancti­fied. [Page 29] One loves God above all, and cannot live without holy Commu­nion with him, and retireth into him from the distractions of the world, and maketh him his Rest, Content and Solace: The other mentions the goodness of God, but findeth no such sweetness in him, nor desires after him. One treads the world underfoot as dirt, or valueth and useth it but as a help to heaven: And the other makes it his happiness, and sets his heart on it. One delighteth in Ho­liness, and the other hateth it, or regardeth it not. One hateth sin as a Serpent, or as death; and the other makes it his meat, and drink, and business. And how is it pos­sible for men of such contrary af­fections to be agreed? and na­tures at such enmity to Unite?

8. The sanctified and unsanctifi­ed are moved by contrary Objects: One lives by faith on things that [Page 30] are out of sight, and strives for Heaven as if he saw it, and strives against Hell as if he saw it; for his faith is the evidence of things not seen. Heb. 11.1, 7. We live by faith, and not by sight, 2 Cor. 5.7. 2 Cor. 4.18. But the unsanctified live up­on things that are seen, and things believed little move them, because they are not heartily believed.

9. The Holy and the unholy do live by contrary Laws. One liveth by the Law of God, and there ask­eth counsel what he must think, or say, or do, resolving to obey God, before his flesh, and all the world. The other will say, he will be ruled by Gods Law, till his flesh and car­nal interest contradict it, and then he will take his lusts for his Law: His Pride is a Law to him, and the pleasures and profits of the world are a Law to him, and the will of great ones, and the customs of men are his Law. And how is it possible [Page 31] for m [...]n to agree that walk by such contrary Rules as these?

10. There is no true Vnity but in the Covenant with Christ. As Marriage Vniteth man and wife; so every truly sanctified man, hath delivered up himself to Christ in a peremptory absolute Covenant, and hath quit all claim of interest in himself, and is wholly Gods. But the unsanctified will not be brought to this, any further then the lips, and therefore they cannot be well United.

11. The true members of the Church are built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Eph. 2.20, 21. But the unsanctified re­gard them not, if they cross their minds.

12. There is no true Christian Vnity, but with the Holy Catho­lick Church. The body is but one, 1 Cor. 12.12, 13. Eph. 4.4. But the unsanctified are not of the [Page 32] Holy Catholick Church, but only in the visible external Communion of it.

13. There can be no true Chri­stian Vnity with the Saints, with­out a special Love to the Saints For by this we know that we are passed from death to life, because we love the Brethren; he that lovet [...] not his brother abideth in death, 1 John 3.14. By this must all men know that we are Christs Disciples, John 13.35. Love is the bond and cement of the Church. He that doth not heartily love a godly san­ctified man, because he is such, hath no true Unity with the Church. But the ungodly love them not as such: They see no such beauty and loveliness in Holiness. Though Scripture call it Gods Image, they be not in Love with Gods Image; but think it a conceit, or hypocri­tical pretence, or a wearysom thing. Why! poor carnal wretches, [Page 33] do you hate the godly, and yet would you have Unity with them? Do you hate them, and yet cry out against Divisions, when your hearts are thus divided from God and his servants? You must learn to Love them with a special Love, and Christ in them, before you can be United with them.

14. There is no Unity to be had wi [...]hout a Love to the Body that you are United to. You must Love the Church and long for its prosperity, and the success of the Gospel, and the downfall of wickedness. Thus do the Saints: but thus do not the ungodly. Nay many of them are glad when they hear of any evil be­fall the godly.

15. There is no true Vnity without a singular respect to the special members that are the liga­ments and chief Instruments of Unity; even the Officers of the Church and most useful members. [Page 34] The Overseers of the Church must be highly esteemed in Love for their work sake, 1 Thes. 5.12. Th [...]s do the godly, but not the un­godly.

16. There must be an inward in­clination to the Communion of Saints ▪ before there can be any agreement and Unity. All that are of the Ho­ly Catholick Church, must desire the Communion of Saints. Their delight must be in them, Psal. 16.3. But the ungodly have no such de­light in their Communion.

17. If you will have Vnity and Communion with the Church, you must have a Love to the Holy Or­dinances, which are the means of Communion: as to the Word of God, heard and read, to Prayer, Sacraments, Confession, &c. But the ungodly have either a distaste of these, or but a common delight in the outside, and not in the Spirit of the Ordinance. And therefore [Page 35] they cannot agree with the Church: when you loath that which is our m [...]at and drink, and we cannot feed at one Table toge­ther, what Agreement can there be?

18. If you will Agree, you must w [...]rk in the same Vineyard, and labour in the same employment, and walk the same way as the san­ctified do: And that is in a way of holiness and righteousness, giving all diligence to make your calling and election sure, 2 Pet. 1.10. If you live to the flesh, and they live to the Spirit, (Rom. 8.5, 13.) What Unity and Agreement can there be?

19. There is no Unity to be had, unless you will joyn in a de­fensive and offensive league, and in an opposition to that which would tend to our destruction. What Common-wealth will Unite with them that defend their enemies [Page 36] and rebels? There is an enmity put in the beginning between the seed of the woman and of the Serpent, Gen. 3.15. Because we are not of the world, the world will hate us, Iohn 15.19. If you will be United to the Church and people of Christ, you must be at enmity with sin, and hate it, and joyn for the destroying of it; and you must be souldiers in Christs Army, which the Devil and his army fight against; and you must fight against the flesh, the world, and the devil, and not live in friendship with them. But this the unsanctified will not do.

20. And therefore because you will not be United to them in the state and Kingdom of Grace, you shall not be United with them, in the state and Kingdom of Glo­ry.

And thus I have made it plain to you, that none can have true [Page 37] Union with the Church of Christ, but only they that are sanctified by the Spirit.

Use I.

BY this time you may see, if you are willing to see, who it is long of that the world is all in pieces by divisions, and who are the greatest hinderers of Unity. Even unsanctified, ungodly men. And you may see how fit these men are to cry out against Divisions, that are the principal causes of them: And how wisely they deal to cry up Unity, and in the mean time resist the only ground and way of Unity: As Ioshua said to Achan, 7.25. [Why hast thou troubled us? the Lord shall trouble thee this day.] So I may say to all [Page 38] the ungodly, Why trouble you the Church, and hinder Vnity? you shall one day have trouble your selves for this. They cry out against the Ministry and others that fear God, as Ahab did to Elijah, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? But saith Elijah, It is thou and thy Fathers house that trouble Israel, in that ye have forsaken the Commandment of the Lord, 1 King. 18.17, 18. Sirs, I tell you, (and I may confi­dently tell you when I have proved it so fully), that it is the ungodly that are the great Dividers of the world. Its you that make the breach, and keep it open. We are willing to agree to any thing that is reason­able or p [...]ssible; but there is no possibility of Agreeing with the un­godly, unless they will turn. It would make any honest heart to ake, to see these wre [...]ches set all on fire, and then cry out against others as the Authors of it. [Page 39] As Nero set Rome on fire, and then persecuted the Christians for it, as if it had been done by them. They pluck up the Foundations, and hold most damnable practical errours; and when they have done, they go about reviling other men as erro­neous. I speak not in the excuse or extenuation of other mens errours. I have spoke my part against them also: But I tell you, it is the pro­phane and ignorant rabble, and all the ungodly, whether Gentlemen, Schollars, or of what rank soever, that are the great dividers, and stand at the greatest distance from Christian Unity. O what a happy Church should we have, for all the sects that trouble us so much, if it were not for ungodliness that ani­mateth some of those sects, and virtually containeth many more! Had we none but men fearing God to deal with, we should have no opposition to the Essentials of Re­ligion; [Page 40] and we should still have the comfort of agreeing with them in all things necessary to salvation. They would carry on their diffe­rences in Christian meekness, cha­rity and moderation: and at the worst our Agreement would be greater then our disagreement. But when we have to deal with haters of holiness, or at least with men that are strangers to the san­ctifying work of the Spirit, we have predominant Pride, and Sel­fishness, and Covetousness to strive against: We have radicated Infi­delity, and enmity to God and ho­liness, giving life and strength to all their errours, and making them stubborn, and wilful, and scornful, against the clearest truths that can be shewed them. There is no deal­ing effectually with a carnal heart, for any but God himself. Unless we can create light in them, as well as reveal the truth to them, what [Page 41] good can we do them? What good doth the Sun to a man that is blind? They have understandings left, and therefore they can err: but they have no heavenly light in them, and therefore they cannot choose but err: They have wills, and therefore are capable of sin: but they have no holy rectitude of them, and therefore sin they will with obstinacy. When we dispute with the godly, that err through weakness, we deal with men that have eyes in their heads, and life in their souls, and some favour and experience of the matters of God. But when we dispute with the un­godly, we deal with the blind, we talk to the dead, we offer the bread of life to men that have no appe­tite, or savour of it: yea we speak for God, to enemies of God; and for truth, to the natural enemies of such truths; and the more ob­stinate enemies, because they know [Page 42] it not. Had we nothing but mis­takes to argue against, and had we but to do with men that have the free use of their reason, we should do well enough with them. But when we must perswade the deaf, the distracted and the dead; when we must dispute with Pride, and Passion, and Enmity, and perswade a Lyon to become a Lamb, and a Serpent to lay by his venom, no wonder if we find a difficult task of it. Had we none but the Godly to deal with, we should have abun­dant advantage for success; we should deal with men that Love the truth, and are willing to use right means to discover it: They would pray with us for truth, as well as dispute; they would with meekness search the Scripture, and see whether these things be so or not: They would yield to light when it appeareth to them, and not in prison it in unrighteousness. [Page 43] And it would move us to more ten­der dealing with them, while we see and love Christ in them, and when we remember that the men that we now dispute with, we must live with in Heaven, and join with in the everlasting Praises of the Lord. I profess Sirs, I speak to you from sad experience, I have been trou­bled with Antinomians, and Ana­baptists, and other errours in well-meaning men, as much as most: And many a daies work they have made me in writing and disputing against them. But alas, this is no­thing to the trouble that the pro­fane, ungodly do put me to. I thank God, I have dealt with all these errours with so good success, that I live in peace by them; and I know not of an Anabaptist, or So­cinian, or Arminian, or Quaker, or Separatist, or any such sect in the Town where I live; except half a dozen Papists that never heard me [Page 44] But Infidels, Atheists, ungodly wretches I am pestered with still One heresie called Drunkenness that denyeth the use of reason it self, doth still walk the streets in despight of all that I can say, or all that the Magistrates will do; and none of us all are able to con­fute them. In one hours time they will fetch more arguments from the Alehouse, then all the reason in the Town can effectually answer.

And as the ungodly are most de­sperately principled of any Here­ticks in the world, both for the quality and the radication of their errours, so there are far greater numbers of them, then of all other Heresies set together. It may be we have one or two Anabaptists in a Parish, and in some Parishes none; in some few it may be twen­ty: But O that I could say, I had not twenty, and twenty, and twenty, and twice twenty more [Page 45] unsanctified ungodly persons in my Parish! though I hope there is as many better, as in any Parish I know. Alas, Sirs, into how many Parishes may you go, and find gross ignorance, profaneness, worldliness, contempt of God and heavenly things, to be their com­mon air which they breath in, and the natural complexion of the in­habitants, as blackness is to Ethio­pians. It is a blessed Parish, that of three thousand inhabitants, hath not above two thousand natural hereticks; even ungodly persons that are strangers to sanctification. And who then do you think is likest to be the cause of our distra­ctions and divisions?

Moreover, let me tell you, Pro­faneness and Ungodliness is not a single errour or heresie; but it is the summe of all the heresies in the world. You will think this strange, when you see so many that joyn [Page 46] with us in a sound profession, and some of them zealous defenders of the truth; and many of them cry out against errours: But alas, they believe not that which they think they do believe. They hold not that which they say they hold. There's much in their Creed, that was never in their Belief. Doubt­less ungodliness is the nest of all the Heresies in the world.

Will you give me leave to in­stance in some particulars. The greatest errour in the world is Atheism, when men deny the God­head it self. And do not the most of the ungodly deny him in their hearts? If he be not Just, he is not God: and they deny and hate his Justice: If he be not Holy, he is not God: and they deny in their hearts, and hate his Holiness: If he be not True, he is not God: And they commonly believe that he is not true: shew them where he [Page 47] hath said, that none but the con­verted, the sanctified, the regene­rate, the heavenly, the self-deny­ing shall be saved; and they will not believe that this will be made good, but hope its false. If he be not wise, and be not the Govern­our of the world, he is not God. And these wretches qua [...]rel with his holy Laws, as if they could tell how to mend them themselves, and were wiser to make a Law then God is; and by flat Rebellion de­ny his Government. So that we may truly say with David, Psal. 14. that these fools say in their hearts that there is no God: or else they durst not say and do in his presence as they do.

Moreover Idolatry, which is the setting up of false Gods, is a most abominable damning sin. And every ungodly man is guilty of it. Covetousness is idolatry, Eph. 5.5. and the sensual make their belly [Page 48] their God, Phil. 3.18. And Pride and Selfishness which are the heart of the old man, are nothing else but making our selves our Idols. Every unsanctified man is his own Idol; giving to himself the honour, and pleasure, and love thats due to God alone; and setting up his own will instead of Gods.

Polutheism, which is the feign­ing of many Gods, is a most dam­nable errour: And how many Gods have all that are ungodly? No man departeth from the one true God, but he makes to himself many false Gods in his stead. His wealth, and his credit, and his throat, and his recreation. [...] Rulers that are capable of h [...]rting him, are all as his Gods, and to them he gives that which is due to God on­ly.

Infidelity is one of the most damning errours in the world; when men believe not in Christ [Page 49] that bought them: But this is the case of all the unsanctified. An Opinion they have that the Gospel is true; and Christ is the only Lord and Saviour: but Infidelity is predominant in them, and there­fore should denominate them; or else they should be saved, if they were true Believers. Never did they give an hours true enter­tainment to Christ in their hearts.

To set up a false Christ, is one of the most damning sins in the world. And what else do all the ungodly, that place their hopes for pardon and salvation, either in their own good works, or carna [...] shifts, or at least, by false concepti­ons do make Christ not indeed to be Christ?

To have many Saviours, is a damnable errour. And how many do the ungodly make to them­selves, while they depart from the Lord Christ?

[Page 50] To deny the Holy-Ghost, is a damnable errour. And what el [...]e do all the ungodly in the world that will not be sanctified by him: This is the most palpable errour that they are guilty of: They are baptized into the name of the Ho­ly-Ghost as their Sanctifier, and yet they will not be sanctified by him: Nay some of them make a mock of the Spirit, and of sancti­fication. And some of them w [...] hearken to false deceiving Spirits instead of the Holy Spirit o [...] God.

Some Hereticks have denyed some parts of the Scripture, and Infidels deny it all. And what less do all ungodly men, that believe it not heartily, and will not obey it, but deny it in parts, and refuse sub­jection to it? They will not be so holy, not they, let Scripture say what it will. Are not all the ungod­ly against the Scripture? Many a [Page 51] time have I heard them, when the times more encouraged them, de­riding the Bible, and those that did but carry a Bible, or speak of the Scripture, or read it in their houses. Certainly, he that fights against Scripture in his life, is more against it, then he that only denies it with his tongue.

Moreover, the Pelagian Here­ticks denyed Original sin, and ju­stified mans Nature: And so doth profaness in a very great measure. Never were the ungodly truly humbled for their Original sin, nor saw any such matter in them­selves, as to make them abhor them­selves! And what is this but actu­ally to deny it?

The same Pelagians made light of Grace, which is Gods Image upon the soul. But in this the un­godly go quite beyond them: They make a matter of nothing of Holiness, but account it a fancy, [Page 52] or a needless thing; and many of them hate it, and if the times did but favour their malice, there were no living near them for any that fear God: In this they are De [...]h in flesh; I cannot liken them to any heresie, but Devilism, they go so far beyond the professions of them all.

One sect is against those that are their opposers, and another see against their opposers; but ungod­liness is against all that are godly of every party whatsoever: and is in open arms or secret enmity against the army of Christ, and against himself.

The Simonians, and Nicolaitan [...] and Gnosticks of old, did hold that men might do any outward action, when there is no other way to escape suffering, as long as they keep their hearts to God. So think the ungodly, as appeareth by their practice: Before they will lose their [Page 53] estates and be brought to poverty, or before they will lie in prison, or be burnt at a stake, they will say any thing, or do any thing: They would worship a piece of bread as if it were God: they would turn to Papists or any that can do them a mischief, if it were the Turks.

Alas, the particular sects among us, do play a small game in compa­rison of the ungodly; and hold but petty errours to theirs: One sect is against one Ordinance, and another sect is against another Or­dinance; but the ungodly are against all. The Sectaries are against something in the manner or out-side of the work: but the ungodly are against the Spirit and Life, and substance of the duty it self: One sect depraveth the doctrine of Faith; and another the doctrine of Repentance, and another the doctrine of Obedience: But the ungodly deprave all the doctrine [Page 54] of Godliness; yea deny it, and not only deprave it: They sweep away all before them, and go by whole­sale: They stand not to speak as other Hereticks, against this Grace or that Grace, but against all: It is Godliness it self that the ungodly are against.

The Sectaries oppose all parts of the Catholick Church saving their own: But the ungodly are against the Holy Catholick Church it self; as it is a Church, and as it is Holy, they are against it. The Church is a Society combined for holy obe­dience to Christ: and the un­godly are against that holy Obedi­ence.

The Sectaries would have no Communion of Saints, but in their own way. But the ungodly are against the Communion of Saints in it self: for they are against the Saints that hold this Communi­on.

[Page 55]The Papists and Quakers are against our Ministry, and rail at them, and labour to bring them into hatred. So do the worser sort of the ungodly: even of them that say they are Protestants, of our own Rel [...]gion. In their houses and in the Ale-houses, in their ordina­ry discourse, they are cavilling against the Ministers, or reproach­ing them: And some of them are more bitter haters and revilers of them, then almost any hereticks that we meet with: Yea some of them are glad to hear the Quakers and Anabaptists reproach them, and secretly set them on: Only they are ashamed to own these re­vilers, because they see them come off in the end with so much dis­grace. But if they were but sure that Papists, or Quakers, or any sect that is against a godly Ministry, had power in their hands to go through with their work, the mul­titude [Page 56] of the ungodly among us would soon joyn with them. How plainly did this appear in our la [...] wars? when few Ministers of no­ted diligence and piety, that de [...]i­red to have lived at home in quiet­ness, could be suffered to live among them; but the ungodly rise up against them as if they h [...]d been Turks or Jews, and drove them into Garrisons to save their lives. The Separatists, and Quakers, and other sects dispute against the Mi­nistry with cavils and railings; but the ungodly would dispute them down with halters and hatchets, with fire and sword, if the merci­ful Governour of the world did not tye their hands.

The Quakers and many Ana­baptists and Separatists are against Tythes, and all settled maintenance of the Ministry. And do I need to tell you that the ungodly covetous worldlings are of the same mind? [Page 57] What need had Ministers else to sue for their Ty [...]hes? Were it not for fear of treble damages, the Ministers in many Parishes of Eng­land should not have bread to their mouthes, nor cloathes to their backs, before they got it by suit at Law. How commonly do they think that all is woon, and is cur­rently their own, that they can but defraud the Minister of? If it were not that they are under disgrace, the Quakers would soon have dis­ciples enow upon this very ac­count, because they are against Tythes. And gladly do the ungod­ly covetous people hearken to that doctrine, and get their books, and would fain have that opinion take as Orthodox. If the Prince, and Parliament would but turn Quak­ers, and cry down Tythes, yea and Ministry too, the miserable ungod­ly multitude would quickly be of that Religion, and entertain their [Page 58] Laws with ringing of Be [...]ls, and showts, and bone-fires.

Another heresie there is (eve [...] the old sect of Anabaptists) th [...] are against a Christian Magistracy And another heresie (the Li [...]e [...] ­tines) that would have the Mag [...] ­strates give men leave to sin. An [...] are not all the Profane of the sam [...] Opinion? They dare not speak freely indeed against the Mag [...] ­strate as against the Ministry (un­less when they are up in arm against him) but their very hear [...] detest that Magistrate that take part with godliness, and promo [...]e Religion, and puts down Al [...] houses, and punisheth Swearers, and Drunkards, and Profaners [...] the Lords Day. They are com­monly for the Doctrine that [...] preacht to the Parliament, that they should let Christ alone wit [...] Reformati [...]n, and let him do [...] work himself: Or as another [Page 59] hath written, that he will never serve such a God that is not able to defend his own cause without the Magistrates sword. The wretches might as well have said [We will have no such God as cannot Go­vern us himself without a Magi­strate: or cannot defend us against enemies without wars: or cannot preserve our estates without the charge and trouble of Law-suits: or save our goods or lives, with­out punishing thieves or murder­ers: or that cannot teach the world without Ministers; or give us corn without plowing and sow­ing: we will never serve such a God as cannot preserve our lives without meat, and drink, and cloathes; and lighten the world himself without a Sun.] God can do all this! But must these dung­hill worms impose it on him, and give him a Law, and take down his creatures, and [...], and [Page 60] means, and bid him do all with­out them himself, or else he is [...] God. O wretched blasphemers Why how much of this blasphem [...] are the ungodly guilty of, that ha [...] the Magistrate or any other that executes Gods Laws, and woul [...] hinder them from sin, and driv [...] them to the means that shou [...] make them better!

The Antinomians corrupt t [...] doctrine of faith, and take it to b [...] a Believing that their sins are pa [...] ­doned, that Christ hath even re­pented and believed in their stea [...] and he that hath this belief they think is safe, and that a man cannot thus believe too much or too soon And this is just the common Faith of the ungodly: They trust in Christ to save and pardon them even without Sanctification or Convers [...]on: and trust they will let Ministers say what they can presumption is taken to be true [Page 61] believing, and by it they think to be saved. They believe that God will save them, and therefore they think they are true Be­lievers.

The Antinomians say, that no man should be discouraged from such a belief by any sin whatsoever. And this the ungodly hold and practice. The Antinomians hold that no man should stay for any Evidences of Grace in himself, be­fore he thus believe that he is a child of God, and Justified. And this the ungodly hold and practice. They believe and hope they are Ju­stified and shall be saved, when they have not a word of proof for their hopes, nor any reason why they should be saved more then the rest of the world that will be condemn­ed. Only they believe it and hope it, and that they think shall serve the turn.

The Antinomians are against [Page 62] Repenting and Grieving for sin, and Confessing it, as a means of pardon. And I am sure the un­godly are practically against it. Repent, and mourn, and turn from sin, they will not; nor confess any more but what they know not how to deny; but as much as they can they will hide it, excuse it and defend it.

The Antinomians would not have one of their believers, if he fall into the grossest sins, to make the least question of his pardon and Justified state for that. And so is it wi [...]h the ungodly: They will confess, when they swear, or are drunk, that they sin (because they cannot deny it:) but they w [...]ll not believe that they are graceless and unpardoned: but all are sin­ners; and the best have their faults, and so have they: and this is the worst they make of their sin.

[Page 63]The Pelagians say that the will of man is so free, that he can turn and become a new creature at any time. And if this were not the Opinion of the ungodly, how could they put off Conversion, and say, Its time enough hereafter? but that it seems they think they can turn at any time, as if they had the Spirit and Grace of God at their command.

And yet they hold the contrary to this. (And this is no wonder: for there is a very Babel of con­fusion in the soul of the unsancti­fied.) The Antinomians say, that man can do nothing to his own conversion, but is meerly passive: if God have Justified him before he was born, he shall be a Justified person; and if God will give him grace, well and good; if not, he cannot help it. Just so say many of the ungodly: {If we are elected we shall be saved: If not, let us [Page 64] do what we can, we cannot be sa­ved: if God will not give us grace, we cannot have it; and if we pe­rish what remedy?] As if God did deny his Grace to any of you, but those that forfeit it by wilful sin? Or as if your wilful resisting of it were no fault or forfeiture: Or as if God did predestinate any besides the sanctified to salvati­on.

Abundance more such Heresies I might reckon up, that are all comprized in ungodliness. Some Infidels question the immortality of the Soul: And so do many of the ungodly: I have heard some of them flatly deny it: and others of them do not well believe it.

Some Infidels question whether there be any Hell. And so do the ungodly in their hearts, or else they durst never so boldly venture on it, and so merrily live in the sudden danger of it.

[Page 65]Some Infidels question the Joyes of Heaven. And if the ungodly did not so in their hearts, they would not think an holy life too much ado to get it, nor would they part with it for the pleasure of a filthy sin.

There is never an Article of the Creed but some Heretick or other doth oppose it: And the ungodly are against them altogether, even while they profess to believe them all.

There is never a one of the ten Commandments, but ungod­liness is against it. There is never a Petition in the Lords Pray­er, but ungodliness is against it; for all that they are content to use the words. Instead of Hal­lowing the name of God, they dishonour it, and instead of living to the Glory of God, they seek themselves and their own honour. The Kingdom of Christ they are [Page 66] enemies to: In the Church with­out them, they love not his Go­vernment. In their hearts within, they will not endure it: and the coming of his glorious Kingdom they are afraid of. Instead of do­ing his will, they quarrel with it, and murmur at it, and disobey it, and do their own wills, and would have God do their wills too, and have all others do them. Instead of being content with daily bread to fit them for Gods service, they drown themselves in pleasures, or in worldly cares to make provision to satisfie their flesh. Instead of valuing and accepting the forgive­ness of sin, as purchased by Christ, and offered in the Gospel, they have slight apprehensions of so great a mercy, and refuse the con­ditions of it as too hard, and run deeper into debt, and wilfully sin more. Instead of avoiding Tem­p [...]ations, and flying to Christ for [Page 67] deliverance from evil, they tempt themselves, and run into Tempta­tions, and seek after them, and love the evil of sin, and are loth to leave it and be delivered from it. So that they are against every Pe­tition in the Lords Prayer, though they use the words.

They are also against every Or­dinance of God, and lick up the vomit of all sects that do oppose them. One sect is against the Lords day: and so are the ungodly against the sanctifying of it, and spend­ing it in holy worship, and delight­ing themselves thereon in God. Else what need so many Acts to restrain them from sports and other profanation of it? And all will not do.

Another sect is against Praying but by the Book, and would have Min [...]sters restrained from praying in any other words, then are com­manded him. And the ungodly [Page 68] easily receive this opinion, an [...] reproach all other prayers as [...] temporate and disorderly.

Another sect is against Church Government by any but Mag [...] ­strates; these are called Erastian And the ungodly are not onl [...] against it, but detest it, and re­proach it. Let them be called [...] Publick Repentance and Confession for any publick sin, and [...] whether they be not against th [...] discipline. I know no outward d [...] ­ty that they are more against. The will hear us Preach with some pa­tience and quietness: but when w [...] come to reprove them personally and recover them from scandalous sins by necessary discipline, they storm and rage against us, and w [...] not endure it.

Some Separatists are for the Peoples Governing of the Church by a major Vote; and Consequent­ly ruling those that God doth ca [...] [Page 69] their Rulers, and commandeth them to obey, Heb. 13.17. And so are the ungodly; they would rule their Rulers, the Ministers, and have them administer the Ordinan­ces of God according to their fan­cies; but they will not be ruled by them: Let the Minister but require them to come to him to be instruct­ed or Catechized, and they will not be ruled by him, they are too old to be Catechized: Let him call them to any necessary profession or other duty, and they will do what their list. Let him but cross any of their conceits and customs, and they will sooner revile him then be ruled by him.

The Separatists will withdraw themselves from our Churches and Gods Ordinances, if things be not suited to their mind. And so will many of the ungodly. Most Pa­rishes in England, that I hear of, where any kind of Discipline is [Page 70] exercised, have more Separatists then Communicants. The fa [...] greater part of many Parishe [...] forbear the Communion of the Church in the Lords Supper, an [...] have done many years together even because they cannot be ad­mitted without examination, or without some necessary or lawfu [...] profession, or because they cannot have the Sacrament kneeling, or put into their hands, or the like. They will separate and be without the Sacrament, or take it in a sepa­rate society, rather then they will be ruled by the Pastors of the Church in a gesture or undoubted­ly lawful thing.

Another sect of late will not sing Davids Psalms: And the un­godly will not do it heartily and reverently, but only with the voice.

Another sect (the Anabaptists) are against Baptizing Infants. And [Page 71] the ungodly do not holily and heartily devote themselves and their infants to God: they do not themselves renounce the world, the flesh and the devil, and take God for their God, and Christ for their Saviour, to heal and rule them, and the Holy-Ghost for their Sanctifier to make them ho­ly: and how then can they do this for their children, which they re­fuse themselves? When they have offered their children to God in Baptism, they bring them to the flesh, and the world, and the devil in their lives, and teach them to break the Covenant which they made. So that they are far worse then Anabaptists.

Another late sect will not Pray morning and evening in their fa­milies, nor crave Gods blessing on their meat, nor teach children and servants the duties of Religion; And so is it with the ungodly: [Page 72] How many of you that hear me [...] day, have prayerless families? th [...] let your people go about their l [...] bours as an Ox to the Yoak, without calling upon God? How fe [...] use to instruct and admonish the families, and help to prepare the [...] for death and judgement? All th [...] are about you, may see that yo [...] are guilty of this heresie.

Another sect alate is risen up that will not keep any const [...] times of prayer neither in fam [...] or in private, but only when they find themselves in a good mood, then they will pray. And so it with many of the profane.

I am aweary of mentioning these desperate errours: More of them might be mentioned; and the case made plain, that almost all the Heresies in the world are me [...] together in the ungodly and un­sanctified.

Would you see the summe of all [Page 73] my charge in order? It is this: 1. Many sects that trouble us much, do yet hold no errours but what may stand with Christianity and Salvation. But the ungodly err in the Essentials, and overthrow the very Foundation of Religion. Their errours will not consist with grace or salvation: They are damnable heresies. Yea beside all that the sects aforesaid hold, they have many damning heresies of their own. These deadly hereticks hold, that the world is rather to be sought then everlasting Glory; that the pleasure of sin is to be chosen before the Holiness of the Saints: that their flesh is to be pleased before God; that its bet­ter venture on their beloved sins, and keep them yet a little long [...]r, then presently forsake them; that the way to heaven which God commandeth, and Ch [...]st and all his Apostles we [...]t in, is [...] a [...]d [Page 74] preciseness; and godliness is mo [...] ado then needs; and that the bod [...] must have more care and diligen [...] then the soul; and the trifles [...] this world be more looked a [...] ter then the one thing necess [...] ry!

These and abundance such dam­nable Heresies do dwell in our C [...] ties and Countries, in the minds [...] those that cry out against Heresie [...] Ungodliness is the greatest Heres [...] in all the world.

2. Other Hereticks have some of them but one or two errours but the Ungodly have all these to­gether: They are the sink of al [...] errours: As all Gods Graces ma [...]e up the new creature in the sancti­fied; so all deadly errours an [...] vices go to make up the body o [...] ungodliness, when it is compleat Its name is Legion; for there are many of these evil spirits in it. The Anabaptist hath a scab; and [Page 75] the Separatist hath a wound; but the common ungodly multitude have the leprosie, and plague-sores from top to toe.

Profaneness is a hodge-podge and gally-mawfry of all the here­sies of the world in one.

3. Many other hereticks do err but in Speculation, and only the brain is infected, and they do not at the heart digest their own mi­stakes. But the Heresies of the Profane ungodly people are Pra­ctical, and have mastered the will: the Poyson is working in the heart and vital parts; so that it is far the more mortal for this.

4. Many sects at least do not Practise their errours; but the un­godly live upon them. Yea their lives are worse then their opini­ons: they say bad, and do worse. You may see more Heresie, then you can hear from them.

5. Some erring persons have [Page 76] the substance of Christian truth mixt with their errour, by which the power of the venom is abated, and they do good in the Church as well as hurt: But the ungodly do not savingly, heartily and practi­cally hold fast any the most funda­mental truth.

6. Some sects are meek and tem­perate in their way. But the ungod­ly are carried on with fury and ma­lice, against the whole body of the Holy Catholick Church.

7. And some Hereticks are so thin and few, that where we have one of them to do hurt, we have an hundred or a thous [...]nd to con­tradict them. But the unsanctified and ungodly are the greater num­ber, and think they should rule be­cause they are the most; and the flock of Christ is a little flock. And so many thousands swarming all over the world, and making up the far greatest part of the world [Page 77] is like to do more against truth and peace, then here and there a poor Sectary in a corner.

8. And lastly, the errours of some others are easier cured: but the whole nature of the ungodly is turned as it were into errour; it is rooted so at the heart, that no power on earth is able to cure it, till God Almighty by insuperable light and life of grace will do the cure.

And now I beseech you, judge impartially who they be that are the deadly and dangerous Here­ticks: and who are the hinderers of Unity in the Church. And how unfit these miserable people are to call for Vnity, and cry out against our many Religions, who are heartily of no Religion them­selves, but against the life and pra­ctice of all. To hear an ungodly man go crying out of Sects, of Separatists, of Anabaptists, and [Page 78] this and that, is as if we should hear a Blackamore scorn one for a spot on his face; or a murderer rebuke a man for an angry word; or a Souldier that kills as many as he can, cry out of the Surgeons for curing no more, or blame others for a foul word; or a com­mon whore reproach another for a wanton word, or uncomely gar­ments: Or as if a mad man should revile men for every slip he findeth in their speeches, and call them fools. O that we knew how to cast out this master Devil of Vn­godliness! this Beelzebub the Prince of Devils! and then I should not fear the rest; no not all the sects and errours in the world that are found with true godli­ness.

Yet still remember these two cautions: 1. I do not excuse the errours of the best: and I lament that they have lamentably wrong­ed [Page 79] the Church, and in some re­spects they have the greatest ag­gravations. 2. And I still confess that some of the unsanctified are so civil and Orthodox, as to be ve­ry usefull in the Church, and help­full against sects and heresies: be­cause they are right in the brain as to speculation, and right in the tongue; and their errour is kept buryed deep in the heart, and therefore they err more to them­selves then to others. I doubt not but many such are profitable Preachers and defenders of the truth; and the Church must be thankfull to God for their gifts. And yet all that I have affirmed standeth good, that Ungodliness is the transcendent Heresie and Schism.

Use 2.

BY what hath been said you may easily perceive, how little cause the Papists, or Ceremonious, or any others, have to glory in such members of their Churches as I have described. Can they expect a Unity of the Spirit with these? If they glory that they have men and multitudes on th [...]ir side; so may the Turks that have more then they: and so may the Heathens that have more then either. And yet when a Papist hath deceived a poor licentious, or ignorant man, or a proud or vitious silly woman, they glory in their Convert. Ne­ver yet did I know any Prot [...]stant turn Papist, that was not an un­godly wretch before, and without the power of the Religion which [Page 81] he professed. Do not say I speak censoriously or uncharitably in this; for I think upon considerati­on all Papists will confess it: For they teach that all that be not of their Church are void of charity, and cannot so be saved: and that all must therefore come into their Church, because there is no Cha­rity or Salvation without it. Though this be false, yet you see by it that they confess that never any but graceless unsanctified Prote­stants did turn to them: Nor can they invite any to them but un­godly people. And who ever turn­eth Papist, doth thereby confess that he was ungodly before, and that he was not an honest godly man. For in turning Papist, he professeth to go into that Church out of which there is no salvation, and consequently no Charity or saving grace. And if indeed you desire none but the ungodly to [Page 82] turn to you, take them if they will needs go, and try whether you can do any more good on them then we have done. I think we have little cause (but for their own sakes) to lament our loss of such as these: and that you have little cause to glory in your Proselites. And I have yet seen none that shew us any more Holiness since their change, then they had before. A fair Church you have, that is the common stie for all that will come to you; and that is glad of any to make up the number, that you may have that in quantity, that is wanting in quality.

Use 3.

FRom hence also let Quakers, and Papists, and all reproachers of our Churches take notice, how groundlesly they hit us in the teeth with the ungodly that live among us. [These are your Protestants, say they; These are your Churches: These are the fruit of your Mini­stry! say the Quakers.] No; these are the enemies of our Ministry and Doctrine: These are they that joyn with you, and such as you, to reproach us and revile us! These are the obstinate despisers of our Mini­stry; that instead of learning of us, do revile us; and instead of obeying our doctrine, do make a mock at it. If they are any of them brought to a sound confession, and restrained from any vice, they [Page 84] may thank the doctrine which we preach for that (unless they do it only for fear of the Laws.) But their profaneness is it that we have endeavoured to cure them of, and cannot; for they are obsti­nate.

If Papists or Quakers accuse our Doctrine as dead and weak, because it cannot cure all our hearers; What forgetful dotards are they that observe not how they condemn themselves? Do the Quakers or Papists change us all to their opinions by their books or preaching? Beyond Sea they are fain to keep men in their Church by fire and sword for fear of losing them: and here, it is but here and there an ignorant ungodly wretch, or a proud raw novice, that turns to them.

You may therefore as well hit us in the teeth with your selves that revile us and say, [We are the [Page 85] fruit of your Ministry] as with the ungodly, and tell us that [they are the fruit] of our Ministry. For though they live among us, they are not of us. And we teach men no more to be ungodly, then to be Quakers or Papists. If you say, that they are in our Churches; I answer, where Discipline is exer­cised, the most of them are out; and the rest we weed up as fast as they so discover themselves, that we may do it without danger of pulling up the Wheat with them. Many of us reject them by Disci­pline: and all of us rebuke and disown them by doctrine. If Jews and Heathens were among us, we could not preach more against them, then we do against the un­godly; nor could we labour harder to cure them. Tell us not there­fore of them: they are none of ours: they disown us, and we dis­own them: They are our persecu­tors [Page 86] as you are, that hate us when we have done our best for them, and love us least when we love them most; and cast back all our instructions in our faces, or cast it behind their backs, and tread it un­der feet. They are those against whom we shake off the dust of our feet: They are not our Disciples; but such as refuse to be Christs own Disciples.

Nay I wonder that Papists and Quakers do not to their shame ob­serve, that it is like to be some evil Spirit that sets them a work to rail against us; seeing all the Drunkards, and Whore-mongers, and covetous wretches, and un­godly malicious people in our Pa­rishes be of their mind, and rail against us as they do: Its like to be the same cause that hath the same effect. If it be the Devil that sets the Profane to rev [...]le us, judge who it is that sets these sects to [Page 67] spake the same or like words against the same persons?

And you that are Profane and ungodly, I pray you here take no­tice what a case you are in! You are so vile that a few besides your selves will own you. We disown you: You are none of ours; be­cause you will be none of Christs. And the very Quakers and other sects disown you, and hit us in the teeth with you, as if you were our shame: All these bear witness against your ungodliness: And therefore if yet you will be ungod­ly, when Quakers are against you, and all are against you almost as well as we; if you will hear nei­ther Ministers nor Sectaries, nei­ther Teachers nor Railers, how many witnesses will rise up against you, and how speechless will you be?

Use 4.

I Have been all this while but about preparatives: and now I come to the work that I intended. Do not think that I have spoken all this of the ungodly to hinder a Union and Christian Concord, but to prepare for it, by telling you the reason of our distance, and divi­sion, and what must be removed before we can be One. Truly Sirs, I come to you with Peaceable in­tentions. I come upon a treaty with you, to see whether you will become One with us, and be re­conciled or not? For the Lords sake attend me considerately and impartially, for it is a weighty bu­ness that I have to propound to you, and a most excellent motion that I have to make. As you re­gard [Page 89] the God of Unity that sends to you, and Christ the Prince of Peace, and the Spirit who is the Principle of Unity, and the Church that is the seat of Unity, and your selves that may have the blessing of Unity, hearken to the motion of Peace and Unity that I have to make to you from the Lord. Sirs, What think you! hath the world been long enough divided or not! Are our distances from one another broken into pieces enow or not? Are we cut into shreds enow, and great enough, and our spirits bit­ter enough or not? Is it not time think you to sound a retreat to our foolish wars? You call for Unity: Y [...]u talk for Unity, and against sects and divisions: Do you mean as you speak? and are you in good sadness, or are you not? Would you have us to be all of one mind and way, or not? You talk against being of so many Religions: Is it [Page 90] the true desire of your hearts that we should be all of one Religion? If it be, hold fast to this: So far we are agreed: Let us lay this as a g [...]ound-work; We must be all of One Church, One Faith, One Reli­gion, if we will be saved.

Well the [...], it lyes next before us in order to enquiry, What One Religion and Way we must be of? and what is our distance, and what course must be taken to make us One? Are you willing to lay by passion, and scorn and hatred, and bitterness, and come to a treaty about the matter? O Sirs, if you were but all truly willing to search out the business, and to be ruled by God and reason, we should soon be agreed, for all our differences. And how happy would this be for the troubled Church? How happy for the offended distracted world? how happy for your own souls? Well! what terms shall we agree [Page 91] upon? Some body must begin the motion; sitting still will not heal us. I will make a motion that never a man of you that hath the face of a Christian, can tell what justly to accept against. Let us set the Word of God before us, and take the best helps on both sides to un­derstand it, and let this decide the case with us: What say you? will you stand to the Word of God? Shall we app [...]al all to Christ, and try our differences by his revealed word? If this may carry it, we shall soon be agreed.

But if any of you have catcht the Popish perversness, and say [The Scripture is dark, and a dead letter; every sect pleads Scripture for their way; this will not serve our turn; we must have a living Judge] I answer such a one as fol­loweth. 1. Is the Scripture the Law of God or not? If you say Not, you may as well say you are [Page 92] Infidels. If you confess it is, then it must have the use of a Law. And, 2. Must not subjects understand a Law to live by it, though they be not Judges? And when estate and life depends on our obedience to the Law; if this Law now be so dark that the subjects cannot un­derstand it, then it is no Law, as not being capable of the use and ends of a Law. And so if our sal­vation or damnation lye on our obedience to Gods Word and Law, its an intolerable reproach to God and it, to say it is such as we can­not understand. 3. Must we not be judged by this Law? Undoubt­edly we must. And then should we not measure our Causes by it now? 4. May not Arbitrators make use of a Law to decide a controver­sie, before it come to the Jud [...]e? Doubtless they may. 5. What Judge would you have? There are but two in the world that pretend [Page 93] to be the Universal Infallible Judge of controversies: and that is the Pope, and a General Council. For a General Council, there is none now in the world, nor like to be to the end of the world: God for­bid we should defer our Peace till then. And its Decrees are as dark, and much more uncertain then the Word of God. And for the Pope, he is Head of a sect or party, and therefore not fit to be judge: you may well know he will judge on his own side. He must be judged by this Word of God him­self. He is too far off, of all con­science, for us to go or send to. Where Rome is, the most of you know not: A shorter journey may better dispatch our work. The Pa­pists themselves tell us that many Popes have been Murderers, Adul­terers, Simonists, perjured per­sons, and some Hereticks and In­fidels. And must such as these be [Page 94] our only Judges? They have erred oft already, and therefore they may deceive us: And if you send for the Popes Sentence, you must take the Messengers word that he was there, and that its true.

But yet if all this will not serve turn, I will make a motion that none can gainsay that hath the face of a Christian. Let us first agree in all those points that Papists and Protestants, Calvinists and Lu­therans, Arminians and Anabaptists, and Seperatists, and all parties that deserve to be called Christians, are agreed in! What say you, is not this a reasonable motion! O happy you, and happy the places where you live, if you would but stand to it!

And let us consider of this mo­tion first in the General state of our difference, and then in the parti­cular parts of it!

Truly Sirs, the main difference [Page 95] in this world is between the Godly and the Vngodly; and all other dif­ferences that are not parts of this, are nothing to this, being of lesser danger, and easier toleration or cure. The whole world is divided into two Armies: Christ is the Captain General of one, and the Saints only his true Souldiers, and the seeming Saints his seeming Souldiers: The Devil is the Ge­neral of the other, and all the un­regenerate or ungodly are his Soul­diers. An enmity is put since the beginning between the seed of the woman and of the Serpent, Gen. 3.15. and there is no middle state, nor one man on earth that is not in one of these Armies. I come not to reconcile the Commanders, Christ and Satan; for they are unreconcileable; but to reconcile you to Christ, and draw you from a deceiver. I tell you, [...]irs, this great difference between the holy [Page 96] and the unholy, is the first that must be healed. We can go no further with you, if you will not begin here at the heart of the dif­ference. When this is do [...]e, you shall see before I have done with you, that I will quickly tell you how we may do well, for all our other differences. You know if one of us believe that there is a God, and another that there is none, i [...] were foolery for us to dispute how God must be worshipped, before we are agreed that there is a God. So here; when it is the nature of ungodliness to make men false to the very truths that they do pro­fess, and heartily to be of no Re­ligion at all, it is in vain to dispute about circumstances and mode▪ with such kind of men. Who would dispute whether Infants should be baptized, with a man tha [...] knows not wh [...] Baptism is? [Ev [...]n an accepting of God for ou [...] [Page 97] God, and Christ for our Lord and Saviour, and the Holy Ghost for our S [...]nctifier; and an absolute deliver­ing up our selves to the blessed Tri­nity in these relations, by a solemn Covenant professed [...]nd sealed by water, renouncing the flesh, the world and the Devil.] O were but this much practically known, we should be all United in this one Baptism. Still I say, Unholiness is th [...] great point of difference, and the dun­g [...]on of Confusion, and puddle where all the heresies of the world are blend [...]d and made into a body that is something worse then here­sie. When you cry up Unity, and cry down Holiness, you are distra­cted and know not what you say. You talk of joyning us together, and you cast away [...]he glue and soder. You talk of building the Church in unity, and you cast away the lime and morter, the pins and nails, and all that should fasten [Page 96] [...] [Page 97] [...] [Page 98] them. You complain that the gar­ment of Christ is rent, and you throw away the needle and thred that should sow it up. You see our wounds and blood, and take on you to have pitty on the Church, and call for healing, but you hate and cast away the only salve. Do you not yet know that the Chur­ches Unity is a Unity of the Spirit, and of Holiness? and that there is no way in the world for us and you to be United, unless you will be Sanctified, and live in the Spirit, as you have done in the flesh?

Sirs, let us come nearer the mat­ter: [...] know our Towns and Coun­tries have two sorts of persons in them; some are Converted, and some Unconverted; some holy, and some unholy; some live for heaven. and some are all for earth; some are ruled by the Word of God, and some by their own flesh or wills. If ever these agree and be United, [Page 99] one party must come over to the other. Either the Godly must be­come ungodly, or the ungodly must become Saints and godly: Which must it be? which do you think in your Consciences is the way? Must we yield to you; or should you [...] away to us? (Pardon that I [...] my self with the sanctified; [...] dare not deny the mercies of God, and the priviledges of his house) Let us come fairly to debate the Case, and lay our Reasons to­gether; and I will here protest to you, if you can give us better rea­sons why we should forsake a god­ly life, I'le turn to you: and if we can give you better reasons why you should embrace an holy life, will you here promise to turn to us? and let them carry it that have the better cause, and let us be re­solved to go away United; and fall all together into that one way that shall be proved to be the best.

[Page 100]Well, let us come to a debate, and see whether we must come to you, or you to us.

1. If we ever agree and unite, you know it must be on terms that are possible. He that propoundeth Impossibilities to be agreed on, is the enemy of agreement. But it is impossible for us to come to you, and so to Unite with you. Th [...]s I now prove. 1. [...]t is Impossible to have any Vniversal Vnity but in an Vniversal Head and Center, and that is only God, the Father, Son, and Holy-Ghost. As I told you, the Army must Unite in the Gene­ral, the Kingdom in the Soveraign, the Family in the Master, the School in the School-master. In or­der of Nature, you must Unite with God in the Redeemer by the sanctifying Spirit, before you can Unite with us. But while you are unsanctified you are divided from God. Do you not feel your minds [Page 101] strange to him, your hearts draw back from him, and find by his strangeness to you that there is a division? Its impossible for us to be United to you, till Christ be United to you. For, 1. Its against Nature, seeing he is the Center, and the Head and Fountain of Life: And what good would it do you to be one with us and not with him? 2. God is against any Unity with­out him: If you will not begin with him, he will take it but as a treasonable conspiracy, and will break it. We dare not go without him, lest he be angry and destroy us: Souldiers must not make either Peace or war, not so much as treat without the General. Do you not remember how Iehosaphat had like to have sped by a friend­ship and confederacy with A­hab?

2. Moreover the Godly and un­godly are of contrary natures: I [Page 102] told you God hath put an enmi [...]y between them. You must chan [...]e your nature or we ou [...]s, before we can Unite. You may as well think else to Unite fire and water, or to build in the air, or to incorpo [...] fire and Gun-powder; or to re­concile men and serp [...]nts, and ma [...] ­ry the dog and the bear together Sirs, these [...]hings are meer impos­s [...]bilities. 2 Cor. 16.14. There is no agreement between Christ and Belial, righteousness and unrighte­ousness, light and darkness, d [...]ath and life, the members of Christ, and the members of an harlot or a drunkard, or such like: We have contrary spirits; how then can we be One? One hath the Spirit of holiness, and the other the Spir [...] of profaneness; One is led by the Spirit of God, and the o [...]her by the flesh: We live not by one Law. Gods will revealed in h [...]s Word is Our Law: and the will of [Page 103] the flesh and the course of the world is your Law. We live not on one sort of food; how then can we accord together? Christ and his heavenly truth, and holy Spirit, and Ordinances, is the meat and drink of the Saints: they cannot live without them: And the world and fleshly delights are your food; you cannot be without it. Your food would be our poyson; your worldly cares, your drunkenness, and profaneness would be a tor­ment to an honest heart. They cannot live without some Commu­nion with God in Faith and Love by Prayer and [...]editation: and your heart is against it. They have not the same [...]nd as you have. Their work is all for Heaven, and yours is all principally for earth. Their work and yours are contrary. Th [...]y go one way, and you another. So that its Impossible to be United and agree, till one side change. [Page 104] And we cannot Possibly turn to you: God holds us fast by his Love and Spirit, and will not let us go▪ nor suffer us ever to be willing to go. Do you not read Christ [...]el­ling you, that its impossible to de­ceive the Elect? that is, so far as to turn them away from Christ. We are kept by the mighty power of God through faith to salvation. 1 Pet. 1.5. And who can break away from the upholding arms of Almighty power? Christ hath such hold of us that he is resolved none shall take us out of his hands, Ioh. 10.28. So that we cannot come over again to you.

But you may come over to us if you will. God calls you, and Christ would welcome you, and the Holy Ghost would h [...]p y [...]u: the door is set open by the bl [...]od of Christ: the promise is [...]o you and to your children, that you may and shall have Christ and life if you will [Page 105] come in, and accept the offer. The Devil cannot hinder you against your wills; he holds you but in the fetters of your own wilfulness, by his meer deceits. Seeing therefore that you may come over to the san­ctified, and they cannot possibly come to you, let any reasonable man be judge on what terms we should unite and agree.

2. Moreover if we Agree, it must be on terms of wisdom and honesty. A dish [...]n [...]st Agreement is not to be desired, but abhorred. For you to l [...]ave your ungodliness, and turn to the Love and Fear of God, is an honest cours [...] of Agree­ment; for it is but to have dis­honesty it sel [...] and become honest. I hope none of you dare charge the way of God and godliness with any dishonesty: God calls you to nothing but what is holy, and just, and good: and therefore Honesty requireth you to yield.

[Page 106]But for the s [...]nctified [...] unsanctified; for the [...] b [...]come ungodly, to be one [...] you, this were the b [...]s [...]st dish [...] ­sty in the world. We know your way to be of the Devil and [...] flesh; and is it honest then to joyn with you in it? We have [...]y­ed too long already in the d [...]es o [...] our ignorance, and have found it dishonest and deceitful: and would you have us go against our own experience? We were once in the way that you are in, and were forced to renounce it, or else we had been undone body and soul for ever; and should we [...]ck up the vomit which we were forced to cast out? we were once Agreed with you, and God constrained us to break that Agreement: and shall we renew it again? Alas, your way hath cost us dear; Many a bitter repenting day, and many a sad thought, to the breaking of [Page 107] our hearts, and the very sense of Gods displeasure; a taste of Hell was cast into our consciences; ma­ny a groan, and [...]ear, and prayer it cost us, before we could recover the hurt that we c [...]t [...]ht in the way of ungodlin [...]ss; and yet we have not fully recovered it to this day. And would you have us stark mad to forget so soon our former sor­rows, and turn to a h [...]e that hath cost us so [...] already? No, we have paid too dear for it, and smarted too much for it, to go that way any more: It brought us to the very brink of Hell; and if we had but dyed in that condition, we had been damned at this hour; And would you be so unreasonable as to wish us to go back again? No; by that time you know as much of an unsanctified state as we do, you will run from it your selves as fast as you can run; as [...]he Israelites did from the cry of the [Page 108] company of Dathan and Abiram, lest the earth should swallow them up also, Numb. 16.34.

We are cer [...]in that the Lord whom we serve is the only God; and that he, and none but he should rule us; and that we have grie­vously wronged him by disobey­ing him so long. And yet would you have us again forsake him? If we should lie in tears till we die, it were too little to satis [...]e his Justice for one of the sin [...] we have already committed; and if it had not been for the wonderful [...]ave and suff [...] ­ing of the son of God, we had been lost for ever: And yet must we turn to this course again? God forbid. It was not so wise nor ho­nest a course. We our selves, saith Paul, were sometime foolish, diso­bedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another (you hear how he calls [Page 109] his former life) But after that the kindness and love of God our Savi­our toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mer­cy he s [...]ved us, by the washing of re­g [...]neration and ren [...]wing of the Holy Ghost, Tit. 3.3, 4, 5. And should Paul have turned a fool again, and be deceived and disobedient again, to Ag [...]ee with the rest of the de­ceived world? O Sirs, we have seen that which you have not seen, and tasted that which you never tasted. Had you seen and tasted the Love of God in Christ, and the delightful hopes of eternal life, and felt the comfort of his service, and the joyes of the Holy Ghost, you would never wish us to come back again to agree with you in sin, but you would abhorr your selves the very thoughts of your former fol­ly. Why, you may better perswade a man to repent that he was born, [Page 110] and [...]o go into the womb again, [...] perswade us to [...]epent tha [...] we are new-born, and return to our [...] sta [...]e of death. Dea [...]h is not so [...]weet to us; [...]or H [...]ll, [...]or the w [...]a [...] or [...] so [...], [...]or sin w [...]h [...] ple [...]sure so [...] tha [...] we should turn to them again for [...]ea [...]e with you. If we have scaped them [...], and will not take that for a warning, to come [...]here no more, we dese [...]ve to pay for it.

Why Sirs, we have made a so­lemn Covenant with God, in the face of the Congregation in our Baptism, and oft renewed it in the Lo [...]ds Supper, and vowed that we would be his, and absolutely and unreservedly his. And would you wish us to break so solemn a Cove­nant? What honesty is in such per­sidiousness? We have renounced the flesh, the world and the devil; and should we turn to them aga [...]n [Page 111] for Peace with you? O what a cur­sed Peace were that! Let me tell you, that we have not found God so [...]ad a Master, as to forsake him for the sake of you or any creature. We have tryed h [...]m, [...]nd fou [...]d him [...] to us then all [...]he wo [...]ld He hath never given us cau [...]e to for­s [...]e him. And if we should now af [...]er all [...]he tryals of his love, turn back to the way of sin and ungod­liness, the Devil himself would charge us with dishonesty. What! must the godly turn drunkards, and worldlings, and hate [...]s of godli­ness to have Peace with you? Why you may next perswade us even to turn Devils, that we may be recon­ciled to you. The God that made us, hath forbid us upon pain of his hot displeasure, to walk in your wayes. He saith to every one of us, as to Ieremy, 15.19. [Let them return unto thee, but return not thou unto them.] And should we obey [Page 112] God or men? Judge you whether. Why Sirs, are you so utterly unreasonable, as to wish us or any man living to love you better then God, or to regard you more then God, or obey you before God? Or should we be so much worse then mad, as to yield to you if you did desire it? Why what are you in comparison with the Almighty! O poor worms, that are even dying while you are speaking! that are but as bubbles ready to burst, when you are swelled to the highest in ungodly pride! That even while you are eating, and drinking, and making merry, are passing on apace to weeping and gnashing of teeth, and everlasting woes and lamenta­tions! What should we regard such dust and dirt as you are before the glorious God! It were far greater wisdom and honesty, for your children to set up a dog or a toad, and say, This is more to be [Page 113] loved and honoured then my Fa­ther. If a Traytor against an earthly Prince deserve to be hang'd drawn and quartered; certainly that man that would forsake God and his Laws to please such silly worms as you, did deserve to be hang'd in the flames of Hell, and to be tormented by infernal fiends, and ground to powder by the wrath of the Almighty! Well! if you have eyes that can see, you may see now past doubt, that we cannot turn to you that are ungodly, with any wisdom or honesty in the world, nor without the highest madness and dishonesty. But can you say so of your turning in to us? Is it contrary either to Wisdom or Honesty for you to turn unfeign­edly to God, and to become a san­cti [...]ied godly people? Me thinks you should not have such a thought in you [...] hearts. And therefore if we be not all of a mind, and go not [Page 114] all one way, it is most apparent that it is not long of us, but of you.

3. If we do Vnite and Agree, it must be upon terms of Safety. This much I hope you cannot deny us. You would not sure wish us to Agree to our own destruction, and to make a bargain with you that we may all joyn together in cutting our own throats? Do you think that this were a wise combination? How much less should we make an Agreement to go the certain way to Hell, and to joyn together in damning our own souls for ever? Sirs, if you dislike the way of Ho­liness, do but find out any other way that will safely bring a man to heaven, and we will promise you to joyn in it. But unholiness will never do it. God hath told us as plain as can be spoken, th [...]t except a man be born again, and be convert­ed, he cannot enter into the King­dom [Page 115] of heaven, Joh. 3.3.5. Mat. 18.3. an [...] that without h [...]liness no man s [...] [...] the Lord, H [...]b. 12.14. and that the righteous th [...]mselves are s [...] [...]reely s [...]rv [...]d, 1 Pet. 4.18. and that if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are past away, and all things become new, 2 Cor. 5.17. and that if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his, Rom. 8.9. So that if God know who shall be saved, it is as certain as any thing in the world, that no unsanctified man can be saved. If leaping into the water be the way to drowning, or leaping into the fire be the way to burn­ing, or leaping down from the top of a st [...]ple be the way to break your necks, as sure is an unholy life the [...]ay to everlasting torment. And would you wish us to undo our s [...]lv [...]s everlastingly for your [...]ri [...]ndship? What can you say to this now If you say that your [Page 116] way is not so dangerous, it is bu [...] our precise uncharitable conc [...]it. We have shewed you the word of God for it; and fourty times mo [...]e we could easily shew you▪ And shall we believe you or such as you before God? You are lyars; but God cannot lye. You see not what is done in another world; but God seeth it. You know not what is in Heaven or Hell: but God know­eth. And shall we not believe God that knoweth and disposeth of all. better then moles that never saw it. and ignorant souls that never knew it? God saith, that Fornicators, Adulterers, Drunkards, Covet [...]us persons, revilers, or the like, shall not inherit the Kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 6.10.11. and that they that are in the fl [...]sh cannot please God; and that if you live after the flesh ye shall [...] Rom. 8.5.6, 7, 13. And would you have us believe you that there is no danger in a fleshly life? Sirs, [Page 117] we desire heartily to be United and Agreed with you; but we are loth to buy it so dear, as the loss of God and heaven com [...]s to. We are wil­ling of Concord with you; but we are loth to be damned with you: And do you blame us for this? And, alas, if you should tell us a thousand times that you hope there is no such danger, or that you hope to scape as well as the godly, this is but poor security to us. Shall we be so [...]ad as to venture our selves on such words as these a­gainst the Word of the Ruler of the world? What s [...]curity can you give us that we shall scape damna­tion if we turn ungodly? Are you able to save us from the wrath of God? Will you undertake to stand between us and his displea­sure? What say you? if we will forsake an holy life, and live as careless worldlings do, and neglect God and our souls, and please the [Page 118] world and our flesh, w [...]ll you un­dertak [...] [...]o answer for us in Judg­m [...]nt? and will you [...] bear the punishme [...]t [...] should bear [...] you [...] [...]o save [...]s ha [...]mless, [...] will you per [...]wade [...]s to [...] do? Nay, [...]f you [...] it, he were a mad man [...] trust you, and [...] on [...] such under [...] [...] know you are not [...] ma [...]th [...] how unable w [...]ll [...] your selves? [...] an hour [...], whe [...] [...] Commission to car [...]y you [...] [...] And shall we trust [...] your [...]oa [...]g words, when [...] kn [...]w you are [...] help yo [...]r selves? Let us see [...] what yo [...] can do f [...]r our selves or us agai [...] the prefer [...] [...]and of God. [...] you keep off death, and [...] diseases, and live here in heal [...]h [Page 119] and wealth for ever, whether God will or no? How comes it to pass th [...]n that here is never a one of you near two hundred years of age? Let us see you chide back ap­proaching death, and raise the dead bodies from their graves, and heal all the diseases that out off mankind: If you cannot do these smaller matters, would you have us b [...]lieve that you can save [...]s from damnation? Why, Sirs, must your ne [...]ghbours lie some of them in poverty, and some in pain, some sick of one disease, and some of another, and you look on them and cannot cure them or relieve them, and yet must we venture our souls upon your words! You can­not make an old man young again, and can you make the word of God prove false, or save those that God hath said shall perish, and bring unsanctified men to heaven whether God will or no? Well, [Page 120] Sirs, let them that hate their souls, [...]r care not whether they are [...]aved [...]r damned, forsake the Lord and an holy life, and joyn with you, and see whether you can sa [...]e the [...]e But for my part I believe the W [...]r [...] of God, and upon th [...]s Word [...] I am resolved to build my hop [...]s▪ and venture my soul and a [...]l [...] little that I have in this [...] Trust you on what you please, [...] shall be my trust: And they [...] can find a surer ground to [...] upon, let them take the [...]r course.

But I must tell you, that if you would wish us all to cast aw [...]y God, and Christ, and heaven, to agree with you▪ you are mo [...]ite [...] and not men; and if you are s [...] cruel as to desire us to damn our souls for company, we must be so careful of our selves as to abhor your motion, and ra [...]her to ha [...]e the dearest thing or person in the [Page 121] world, as they would draw us from Christ and everlasting life, Luke 14.26.

You see than what it is that standeth in our way, to hinder us from turning back to you. But what dang [...]r would you be in if you should turn to us? Would it hurt or hazzard you to forsake your sensual ungodly lives? Is there any danger in turning to God, and living an holy heavenly life? What is the danger? Forsooth you may lose your estat [...]s or lives! A great matter indeed in comparison of eternal life: And must you not lose them shortly whether you will or not? And are they not in the pow [...]r of God? and cannot he pr [...]s [...]rve th [...]m if he please? and if it be good for them, he is liker to do it for his own, then for his ene­mies! But indeed he hath told you himself, that he th [...]t will save his life shall lose it, and he that loseth [Page 122] his life for his sake, shall find it, even in life everlasting, Mat. 16.25. & 10.39. And yet as the world now goeth in England, through the mercy of God, your lives are in no danger. It is but the scorn of ignorant miserable men that you must endure. And will you stick at this, in the cause of God and your salvation? Nay indeed you are in most dreadful danger every day and night, and hour, till you for­sake your former fleshly lives, and turn to Christ! You are all the while even within a step of death and hell, till you are Converted and made an holy people; It is but one stroak of death to put an end to your lives and hopes, and you are gone for ever. So that you have nothing to lose, but an Heaven to gain, if you joyn with the godly. There is no danger can come to to you by turning, unless it be the loss of your sins; and that is a loss [Page 123] no more to be f [...]ared, then a man should fear to lose the plague, or pox, or leprosie that hath it.

Now I beseech you Sirs, as men of Conscience or of Reason, set both together, and equally consi­der how the case stands between us. If we joyn with the unholy, we run into Hell, and lose God, and Christ, and Grace, and Salvation for evermore: But if you turn to the Godly, you get out of danger, and make the gainfullest match that ever was made by mortal men; and you can lose nothing but the sen­sual pleasures of sin, which are but exchanged for the joyes of Saints, as sickness is exchanged for health. And which now do you think in reason is the fitter, that you turn to the godly, or they to you? Tru­ly, if you make so great a matter of leaving your sins, which are viler then your dung, that you will ra­ther [Page 124] break with God and us, you must give us leave to make so great a matter of leaving Christ and h [...]s holy wayes and people, that we will much rath [...]r break with you a [...]d all the wicked in the world▪ and with o [...] carnal selves, and that which is [...]ost dear to them: And I think we have good reason for it.

4. Moreover, th [...]s must be con­sidered in our treaty, that if we agree, it is fit that our dearest frien [...] be taken into the Agreemen [...] Should we cast off them to agre [...] with adversaries, and leave our ol [...] friends in hope of new? But if we come over to you, and turn unholy we shall never have Gods consent to the Agreement, we must leave him out, and utterly lose him When, alas, we cannot live, no [...] move, nor breath without him▪ w [...] cannot have our daily bread, or one nights rest but by his gift. And [Page 125] such a friend is not to be lost for you. And we shall lose the Lord Jesus and the Holy Ghost, a [...] [...]he Communion of Saints, are the peace of our own consciences. O what a peal would conscience ring us night and day! It would open Hell to us: It would kindle the fire of Gods wrath in our bosoms; and be scorching us as we lie down and as we ris [...] up: And who would en­dure such a life as this, for all the world? [...] like it is not t [...]us with you: but that is because you know not what a case you are in, nor what a dreadful thing ungodliness is; but we know it: And therefore what shift soever you make to keep your consciences asleep, I know not how I should quiet mine, if I were in your case, and kn [...]w but what I know of it.

But now if you will joyn with Christ and us, your true fri [...]nds w [...]ll be glad of it: you should no [...] lose [Page 126] one friend in the world by it, unles [...] you take the Devil and his servants for your friends, that would de­stroy you. Judge then whether you should come to us, or we to you.

5. Moreover, this must be con­sidered in our treaty, that if we agree with you, we have some re­gard to our Honour. And what Honour is it to us to become the servants of sin and the Devil, and be forsaken of God, and return to the slavery that lately we were de­livered from? A hang-man is ten thousand times more honourable then this.

But on the other side, if you will turn to Christ, you will come out of the greatest shame, and obtain the greatest honours that you are capable of: You will be the sons of God, and heirs of heaven, co­heirs with Christ, fellow-Citizens of the Saints, and of the houshold [Page 127] of God, Iohn 1.12. Rom. 8.17. Eph. 2.19. and be built up an ha­bitation of God through the Spi­rit, Eph. 2.22.

6. Moreover, this is most con­siderable in our treaty, that if we Agree, it must be upon Vniversal terms that all will agree upon; or else it can be no Vniversal Agree­ment. If a few should Agree with you, this would not make a Unity in the world. We must have terms that are fit for all to Agree upon. And in good sadness, would you have all the world be such as you? Tell me, you that are covetous and proud, would you have all the world become proud and covetous to Agree with you? Nay if they should, when they are likest you, they would not Agree with you: [...]or the Proud will envy the Proud, and their Pride will set them toge­ther by the ears. And the covet­ous would be greedily snatching [Page 128] the prey out of one anothers jaws and their mammon would be the matter of their strife. Tell me also you that are drunkards or un­clean, would you have all the world become drunkards and un­clean for Unity with you? You that are careless about your souls, and p [...]ayerles [...] in your families, and forget the matters of eve [...] ­lasting life, would you have all the world set as light by God, and Christ, and Heaven as you? Could the worst of you all have the face to make such a motion as this? What! would you have all Holi­ness and heavenly-mindedness ba­nished out of the world, because you have banished it from your selves? Would you have all men shut their Bibles as much as you, and instruct their children and ser­vants no more then you, and love God and serve him no more then you? Is it possible that such an [Page 129] heart as this can be in the breast of the worst on earth? What! would you have all the world be drun­kards, or fornicators, or haters of godliness, or at least unsanctified, because you are so! How quickly then would earth turn Hell, and the flames of the wrath of God consume it? How certainly then would God forsake the world, as a man would be gone from roads and serpents? Can there be such cruelty in any but the Devils, as to wish all the world to be damned with you for company, or to Agree with you on such terms, that you may go hand in hand together to damnation! Or if you had such Devilish hearts within you, as to desire such an Agreement as this, can you think that all the godly would yield to it? No; let me tell you, not one of them in all the world will yield to it. If you set [...]o more by the Love of God, be [Page 130] blood of Christ, the presence and comforts of the Holy-Ghost, and the Hopes of Glory, yet they do, and will do. If you will run into Hell, you shall never get them thither with you for compa­ny.

But on the other side, there is nothing in the way of Holiness, but what is fit for all men to Agree upon. I know All will not; and therefore we expect not an Agree­ment with all. But that is their un­happiness. There is no fit means of Agreement but this.

7. Lastly, this also must be con­sidered in our treaty; that we Agree upon terms that are like to hold, and not to be repented of hereafter. For what good will it do to Agree today, and to break it or bewail it tomorrow? Why, alas Sirs, we know as sure as we breath, that if we should Agree with you in unholiness, we should [Page 131] quickly Repent it, either by Grace, or in Hell-fire. Nay we know that you will Repent of those unholy wayes and hearts your selves, ei­ther by Grace or Judgement. Nay there are even now some kind of purposes in many of you to repent. I have heard abundance of ungod­ly men profess that they hope to repent hereafter, and mend their lives, and leave their sins. And would you wish us to come and joyn with you in a way that you hope to forsake your selves, and in a way that you purpose hereafter to Repent of? I know as sure as that the Sun will set, that every ungodly soul among you, will shortly change their false opinions; and they that derid [...]d the servants of Christ, would wish then they might but be door-keepers among them: You will wish and wish a thousand times that you had done as they did, and lived as holily as [Page 132] the best on earth: You will then wish, [O that it were to do again! and that my life were again to be lived; and God would but try me on earth once more.] Those tongues that railed against Religion, will a thousand times more reproach your selves for those reproaches, and the neglect of this Religion. You will then cry out [Where was my wit and reason, when I made so mad a change, as of God for the crea­ture, Christ for sin, and Heaven for Hell] Do you think Sirs, that it were any wisdom for us to Agree with you now in that, for which you will fall out with your selves for ever? and to go with you in that loose ungodly way which you will wish your selves that you had never known?

Besides, we know that it is on­ly the Saints that we must live with for ever; and therefore you must become Saints, if you would be [Page 133] Unit [...]d to us here. What! Should we be so careful to Agree with you a while, and be separated from you eternally, or do worse by suffer­ing with you! But if you will Unite with us in Christ and Holiness, this will be a lasting Unity; which you will never have occasion to repent of. The Union between the Lord Jesus and his members, shall never be dissolved. Heartily joyn with his servants now in the wayes of Holiness, and you shall certainly joyn with them in the state of Hap­piness, and in the joyful fruition and praises of the Lord.

Well Sirs, in this much of our treaty I have layed the case plain and open before you, and shewed you, that we cannot come over to you: It is not Possible, nor Ho­nest, nor Safe; we cannot forsake an holy life without forsaking God, and our Redeemer, and our salvation, which no man that is a [Page 134] man indeed, should desire us to do nor can we do it till we first for­sake our understandings: But o [...] your side the case is o [...]herwi [...]e▪ You may turn to God and an holy life, without any hurt or wrong to you at all▪ nay it is the only way to your felicity, and if you do it not, you are undone for ever: So that the case is past all controver­sie before you, that there is no way in the world to Unity, but by Con­sent in Piety? If half the Com­mon-wealth turn Rebels, and so shall make a Division in the body, the way to Unite them is by the returning of the Rebels to their Allegiance, and not for the true and lawful subjects to turn all Re­bels and joyn with them. For without the Head there cannot be a Union. So that if the world be still divided and disagreed, it is not long of the godly, but of the ungodly: And if you would have [Page 135] an Agreement, its you that must yield, who cause the disagreement. You may do it, and must do it, or do worse; but the godly may not yield to you.

What say you now, would you have Unity or Division? Would you have Peace or no Peace? You complain that the world is of so many minds: Would you have them all reconciled and of one mind? If you would, let us see it. The work sticks with you; on your hands it lyeth, and it is you that must do it, if ever it be done. If you would have all ungodly, you deserve not to live on the earth. Shall we then without any more ado agree all upon a life of Holi­ness? O that our Towns and Pa­rishes would all joyn together in this Agreement! and it must be this or none.

But perhaps some of you will say, What need you make so many [Page 136] words about a matter that no bo [...]y doth deny? We all kn [...]w we should [...]e Holy and Godly, and n [...]ne should be ung [...]ly; who doubts of this? But the Question is, What Holin [...]ss and Godliness is? Tell us th [...]refore wh [...]t you me [...]n by it, [...]n [...] who those be that you tak [...] to be the Godly sanctified people?

Answ. If we are all agreed of the Necessity of Holiness, then those that are not yet agreed to be Holy themselves, do sin against their own consciences, and con­demn themselves in the things which they allow, and wilfully di­vide themselves from Christ and from his Church. And if any of you have been so long Baptized into the Name of the Holy-Ghost as your Sanctifier, and yet know not what Sanctification is, and who are to be accounted sanctified and godly, you shew that you have per­fidiously cast away and broak your [Page 137] Covenant with God; and made but an [...]ll use of your Baptism or any Means and Ordinances since. But if you know not who are god­ly or ungodly, I shall quickly tell you.

A godly man is one that being formerly in a state of sin and mise­ry, both strange and backward to God, and heaven, and an holy life, and prone to earthly, fles [...]ly plea­sures, is now by the powerful w [...]rk of the Word and Spirit of God, converted to unfeigned faith and repentance, broaken-hearted for his former sin and misery, flying to Christ as the only Hope an [...] Physi­tian of his soul, and so is made a new creature, having his heart set upon God and everlasting life, and contemning all the pleasures of the flesh and the things of this world in comparison of his hopes of Glo­ry; hating all known sin, and not wilfully living in any; and loving [Page 138] the highest degree of Holiness and willing to use the means that God hath appointed to destroy the remnants of sin, and bring him nearer to perfection; This is a truly godly man.

And he that is not such, is un­godly. He that yet remaineth in his Natural depraved state, and is unacquainted with this great and holy change, that hath any sin that he had rather keep then leave, and any that he wilfully liveth in, and wilfully neglecteth known duties, as one that had rather be free from them then perform them, and had rather live a fleshly life, then a sp [...] ­ritual and an holy life, and is more in love with the creature, then with God; with his life on earth in flesh and sin, then a life in heaven wi [...]h God and his [...]aints in perfect ho­liness; this man is undoubtedly a wicked and ungodly man, how e­villy or religiously soever he may [Page 139] seem to live in the world. And so I have in a few words told you, who they be that are godly, and who are the ungodly. The Question now that we are treating about, is, whe­ther we shall all agree together to be godly? Do you not believe it to be best and necessary? If not, you are blind: If you do, let us agree on it without delay. You tell us with many great complaints of the many differences and divisions that are among us: but shall we Agree so far as we are agreed? that is, shall we agree in heart and practice, so far as we are agreed in opinion and profession? O that you would make a solemn Cove­nant, that you will but Consent and go along with the Godly so far as you confess you ought to do; and would but Unite with us in faithfulness to the truths which you cannot deny. I think it will be best to call you to the tryal in some par­ticulars.

[Page 140]1. I hope we are all Agreed that there is one only God that ma [...]e us, and preserveth us, and Redeem­ed us: and therefore that we are wholly his, and should resign our selves and all that we have abso­lutely to him for his service. He is not worthy the name of a man, that denyeth this: And shall we a [...]l Agree now in the Practice of this much? Shall we wholly resign our selves and all that we have to God? and labour to know what God would have us be and do, and that let us resolve upon, whatever the flesh or the world say to the con­trary. Were but this much well re­solved on, we were in a fair way to a full agreement.

2. We are all Agreed in Opini­on or Profession, that this God is our only Happiness, and his favour is better then all the world, and that he is infinitely Wise, and Good, and Powerful; and therefore that he [Page 141] must be Loved above all things whatsoever, and must be most fear­ed, and served, and trusted, and de­pended on.

And shall we but Agree all in the Practice of this much? O that you would but heartily consent and do it! Did we but joyn toge­ther in Loving God above all, and fearing, and trusting, and serving him before all, we should quickly be of one heart and soul, and in a very fair way to a perfect agre [...] ­ment.

3. We are all Agreed (that pro­fess Christianity) that sin hath made us miserable, and brought us under the wrath and curse of God, and that the Lord Jesus Christ having Redeemed us by his blood, is the only Physitian and Remedy for our souls, and having manifested such infinite Love in our Redemption, and also pur­chased Dominion over us, we are [Page 142] strongly bound to Rejoyce in his salvation, and fly to him for Safe­ty and rest upon him, and live in the thankful admirations of his Love, and in careful Obedience to his gracious Laws.

And shall we all Agree in the Practice of this much? Will you fly to Christ with broken bleeding hearts, for safety from sin, and wrath, and Hell, and set more by him then by all the world? Will you study with all Saints to com­prehend his Love? Eph. 3.18, 19 and admire him and his mercies, and devote your selves to him and be ruled by him? O that we were but all agreed in this much?

4. We are all agreed in Opinion or Profession, that the Holy Ghost is the Sanctifier of Gods elect, or of all that shall be saved, and that except a man be born again by the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of heaven, and that [Page 143] without holiness none shall see God; and that no man is the Son of God, that hath not in him the Spirit of his Son, 1 Cor. 12.12, 13. Eph. 4.5. Ioh. 3.5, 6. Heb. 12.14. Rom. 8.9. Gal. 4.4.

Were we but all such now as we are agreed we must be, and would you but all Consent to this Sanctification and newness of life, the great difference were healed, and the work were done.

5. Moreover we are all Agreed, or seem to be so, that the holy Scripture is the word of God, and of infallible truth, and therefore must be believed and made the Rule of our Judgements and our lives.

Shall we all agree now in the practice of this? Will you appeal to the Scripture! and shall it be our Rule? If the flesh perswade you to another course, and mur­mur at the strictness of Gods [Page 144] Word; if custom be against it, and the greater number be against it; if your profits, or pleasures, or worldly honours be against it, and your former opinions and practice have been against it, will you yet believe the Scripture before all, and be ruled by it above all the world? You are agreed I hope that God is to be obeyed rather then men, or then the flesh and the Devil? Will you resolve that [...] shall be so? O if the Word of God might be the Rule, how quickly should we be agreed? For all the Popish cavils at its difficulty, and mens divers expositions, yet how soon should we be agreed?

6. We are all agreed in Opinion or Profession, that there is a hea­ven for the Sanctified, even an end­less unconceivable Glory with God, in the seeing of his face, and enjoying him in perfect Love and Joyes; and that the seeking of this [Page 145] everlasting Glory should be the main and principal business of our lives, which all things must give place to. He that will deny this, can have no pretence to call himself a Christian.

O that we might but all agree in the practising of this! and that the principal love and desire of our souls were set upon the Heavenly blessedness, and the chiefest of our care and labour might be laid out for the obtaining of it. Agree in this, and all will be agreed at last.

7. We are all Agreed in our profession, that there is an Hell, or state of endless torments, where all the finally unsanctified and ungod­ly must be for ever.

But why do we not agree in the diligent avoiding of such a dread­ful misery, and using our best en­deavours to escape it?

8. We are all agreed in Profes­sion, [Page 146] that the flesh is our enemy, and must be mortified. But will you agree in the practice of this mortification? We are agreed i [...] Profession, that the world is our enemy and must be contemned▪ and that it is a vain and worthless thing, compared with the Glory that is to come: But yet m [...]n [...] not agree to renounce the world unfeignedly, and to be stranger to it, and part with all rather th [...] with God and a good Conscience but while men sp [...]ak contemptu­ously of the world, they seek [...] far more eagerly then heaven. We are agreed that the Devil is our enemy, and yet men will not forsa [...] his service.

9. We are all agreed in profes­sion, that sin is a most hateful thing hated of God, condemned by his Word, and the only cause of the damnation of souls: And yet men love it, and live in it with delight [Page 147] Sha [...]l we agree all to deal with sin as we speak of it? Will Magi­strates, and Ministers, and people joyn together, to banish it out of Town and Countrey? Particularly we are agreed I hope, that whore­dom, and wantonness, and glutto­ny, and drunkenness, and strife, and envying, and lying, and de­ceit, and cursing, and swearing, and railing, and backbiting, and speaking against an holy life, are all gro [...]s, hateful, damning sins, which every Christian must abhor. But why do you not agree in the hate­ing, and forsaking, and beating down of these sins? But Town and Countrey swarmeth with them as a carkase doth with maggots, or a stinking pond with frogs and toads: So that Magistrates and Ministers, punishments and per­swasions, the Laws of the Land, and the Laws of God, can do but little to rid the Countrey of them; [Page 148] but the same men that confess all these to be great and grievous sins, will keep them and delight in them, as if it were in despight of God and man, or as if they bore a deadly grudge to their own im­mortal souls.

10. There is none of you that bears the face of a Christian, but must agree with us in profession, that One thing is needful, and that we must seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and la­bour most for the food that will not perish. Luke 10.41, 42. Matth. 6, 33. Iohn 6.27. and that God should be loved with all our heart, and soul, and might, and that no man can love him too much, nor serve him too carefully, nor be too diligent in the seeking of his salva­tion. Why then will you not all agree to do thus? But the very same tongues that confess all this, will yet speak against the service of [Page 149] God, and call it Puritanism and preciseness, and say its more ado then needs: Why Sirs, if you will say and unsay, there is no hold to be taken of your words, and there­fore what agreement can be with you? Will you confess that all should take more care for their souls then for their bodies, and take more care for heaven then earth, and yet will you not agree to do it, but rather speak against them that do it, when you confess that it is b [...]st? Why, if you can agree no better with your selves, how can you agree with us? If your own opinions and profession be at such odds with your wills and practices, no wonder if you be at odds with others.

More particularly, I hope you will all confess, that it is the duty of all that can, to hear the Word of God, and frequently to read it, and labour to understand it, and to [Page 150] meditate in it day and night; and for Parents daily to teach it their children at home and abroad, lying down and rising up: Deut. 6.6, 7, 8. & 11.18, 19. Psalm 1.2, 3. and to pray in their families, and in private, even alwaies or frequently to pray, and not to wax faint, but in all things to make known their requests to God, that all things might be sanctified to them by the Word and Prayer. All this is plain in the Word of God, Dan. 6.10, 11. Luke 18.1. 1 Thes. 5.17. Psalm 55.17. 1 Tim. 4.5. Phil. 4.6.

But will you all agree with us in the practice of these things? Will all the Families in Town and Coun­trey agree together to pray morn­ing and evening reverently to God, and to banish profaneness out of their doors, and to instruct their children and servants in the fear of God, and spend the Lords day in [Page 151] holy exercises, and help one ano­ther to pr [...]pare for death and judgement, and exhort one ano­ther daily while it is called to day, lest any be hardened by the deceit­fulness of sin [...] Heb. 3.13.

To what purpose should I men­tion any more particulars, till we see whether you will Unite and agree in these? All these are your own Professions. I know you can­not deny any one of them; and yet we cannot perswade you to Con­sent with us in the Practice of what: your selves profess: No, nor scarce to forbear the open oppo­sing of it: Either resolve now that you will all agree with us in these things which you confess the Lord hath made your duty, or else tell us plainly that you are the deadly enemies of Unity and Peace, that we may take you to be as you are, and troubl [...] our selves no more ab [...] you. If you are res [...]lved [Page 152] against Agreement and Vnity, tell us so, and save us the labour of any further tr [...]aties with you. Talk no more childishly about our petty differences in ceremonies and forms of Worship, about Bishops and Common-prayer Books, and Holy-daies, and such like, as long as you refuse Agreement in the main. There's a difference between you that is an hundred times great­er then these; some of you are for Heaven, and some for Earth; some of you live to the Spirit, and some to the flesh; some of you are hear­ing, reading or meditating on the Word of God, when others think it needless, and had rather have a pair of cards or dice in their hands, some of you make Gods Law your Rule, and some are Ruled by the world and the flesh; some are drunkards, gluttons, wan [...]ons, worldlings; and some are sober, temperate, chaste and heavenly; [Page 153] some think almost any thing enough in the Worship of God, and for the saving of their souls; and others think the best they can do too littl [...] ▪ and when they have done most, lament that they do no more; some Families use daily prayer, reading, and holy instru­ctions; and others use daily swear­ing, railing, ribaldry, and pe [...]haps deriding of holiness it self. In a word, some give up themselves to God and Heaven, and others to the world, the flesh and the devil; some are converted and become new creatures by the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost; and others are yet in the state of na­ture, and never knew a true con­version.

This is the great differ [...]nce of the world Sirs: Till this be heal­ed, it is in vain to talk of the heal­ing of our pet [...]y differences. And therefore once more I tell you, if [Page 154] you will not be Converted to an holy life, and Unite with us on these terms, you are the enemies of Peace and Unity, and the great In­cendaries of the world.

AND now having proceeded thus far in the treaty with you, because I will either bring you to Agreement, or leave you at least without excuse, I will here annex some further Reasons to move you, if it may be to so happy a work.

1. Consider I pray you, that if you will not agree with us in the things that you make profession of, and confess to be your duty, you are then treacherous and false to God, and to your selves, and therefore not fit for any to make Agreement with, till you change your minds. Do you know that [Page 155] God is best, and yet will you not Love him better then the world? Do you know that Heaven is the only happiness, and yet will you not seek it more then earth? Do you know that an holy life is best, and yet will you be unholy? Do you know sin is the worst and most dangerous thing in the world, and yet will you not let it go? Who will trust such men as you, that will go against their own knowledge and confessions? If you will be false to God, and false to your own souls, no wonder if you be false to us.

2. Moreover all your pretend­ed desires of Unity and Concord are base hypocrisie, as long as you refuse to Unite with us in the way and state of holiness: To take on you that you are troubled at the Divisions of the world, and to wish that we were all of one Religion, and to talk against sects and opini­ons [Page 156] as you do, is me [...]r self-con­demning, and such gross dissem­bling as exposeth you to shame. What! would you have us think you are against Divisions, when you divide from God, and Christ, and the Holy Ghost, from the Scri­pture, from the holy Catholick Church, and from the Communi­on of Saints? Can you for shame say that you are for Unity and Agre [...]ment, when you are dividing from us, and will not agree with us, unless we will be as mad as you, and damn our souls for company with you? To hear these ungodly men talk against sects and divisions in the Church, is as if we heard a man that hath the leprosie cry out against those that have the itch, or a murderer childe another for foul words.

3. And I must tell you while you remain ungodly, you are the great Hereticks and Separatists that [Page 157] trouble the Church of God, more then abundance of those that you reproach. I excuse not the least; but none of them are like you: As death is worse then sickness, as being that which all sickness tends to, and the worst that it can do; so Ungodliness is worse then sects and particular Errours or Heresies, it being the worst that any errour can do, to make a man ungodly. There are no such Separatists in the world as you. It is not only from a particular Church or Ordinance that you separate, but as I said even now, you separate from God that made you, from Christ that bought you, from the Spirit that should sanctifie you, from the Word of God that must Rule you or Con­demn you, from the body of Christ, and the holy Communion of his people. The Church would have you joyn with them in holy wor­ship; and your godly neighbours [Page 158] would have you joyn with them in prayer and holy lives, and you will not, but separate from them all. They cannot have your help against the sins of the time and place you live in: They cannot have your company in the way to heaven; but when they go one way, you go another way. You are the great troubl [...]rs of the world, and break the Peace of Church and State, and of all that you have to do with. You trouble Magistrates and make work for Lawyers; you trouble Ministers, and frustrate their labours, and make their lives grievous to them, when it is much in your hands to make them joyous. You trouble all the godly that are about you; and you will find at last that you have most of all troubled your own souls. For shame therefore before you speak any more against Sects and Separatists, or any other [Page 159] troublers of the Church, give over the ungodly separation which you continue in, and come in to the Unity of the Church your selves, and live in that Communion of Saints which you say you do be­lieve, and do not go on to trouble the Church abundance more then those that you speak a­gainst.

4. Consider also, Whether you have not as much reason to live a diligent holy life, and seek God and your salvation with all your might, as any of your neighbours have? and therefore whether your own Necessity doth not call aloud to you, to Vnite with them and to do as they do? Your Godly neigh­bours are meditating on the Word of God, when you are thinking of the world or on vanity: they are discoursing of the life to come, when you are talking of your worldly business, or pouring out a [Page 160] company of idle words. Ask your conferences now wh [...]ther you have not as much need to study the Scri­pture and prepare for the life to come as they Your godly ne [...]gh­bours are at prayer, when you are sinning and drowned in the inor­dinate cares of the wo [...]ld, and have no heart to th [...]ir em­ployment. Let conscience speak whether you have not as much need to pray as they. They abhor sin and are afraid of it, when you boldly venture on it. Let consci­ence tell you. Whether you have not as much cause to be afraid of sin as they? Yea and an hundred times more; for you are under the guilt and power of it. O wonder­ful madness of the ungodly world! that the example of the godly should not bring them to some consideration. A man that is con­verted and reconciled to God, and hath a pardon of all his sins, and is [Page 161] in a state of salvation, and walketh humbly and uprightly with God; doth yet think all too little that he can do, but fasteth, and prayeth, and watcheth against temptations, and humbl [...]th his flesh, and follow­eth after God continually, and la­menteth after all that he is so bad, & can do no more. And his neighbor that liveth by him, is an ignorant stupid sinner, unconverted, and under the guilt of his sin, and un­der the curse and wrath of God, having no assurance of salvation; nay it is certain that he would be cast into Hell the next hour if he die in that condition; and yet this man feels not any such need of prayer, and holy meditation, and conference, and so religious and str [...]ct a life. He that hath lost almost all the time of his life, and is not only quite behind-hand in know­ledge and abilities, but is an unsan­ctified miserable wretch, not sure [Page 162] to be out of Hell an hour, this man perceiveth no such necessity of an holy life, nor why he should make so much ado. As if a rich man should be put to daily labour, and a man that hath nothing should think it needless: Or as if a man that hath the tooth-ake or a slight disease, should send to the Physiti­an, and he that hath the Plague should sit still and say, What needs this trouble? Sirs, I beseech you look upon the holiest and most hea­venly neighbours you have, and bethink you whether you have not much more need to be diligent then they? Have not you immortal souls to save or lose as well as they? Are not you in danger of damna­tion as much and an hundred times more then they? Should not God be your master as well as theirs? and his Law your Rule as well as theirs? and Heaven be as dear to you as to them? Bethink your [Page 163] selves when you hear them pray­ing, or reading, or repeating Ser­mons, and Sanctifying the Lords day, and fearing to offend, [Have not I as much need to do all this as any of them?] If then you have as much cause and need to live a god­ly life as others, joyn with them in it, and let all the Town agree to­gether, and none withdraw but he that can say, I have no need of it.

5. And I pray you consider al­so, how easie it would make the way to heaven, if we would but all Vnite and Agree to go together in it. This is it that discourageth the weak, and mak [...]s it so hard a matter to be saved, because there are so few that are godly: but if one or two poor people be resolved to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righte­ousness, and to please God and save their souls, the rest do either look on and refuse to joyn with [Page 164] them, or else speak against them and make them their ordinary scorn. And thus he that will be saved, must not only go to heaven without the company of the most of his neighbours, but must go through their opposition, and re­proaches, and discouragements: And (the Lord be merciful to the miserable world) most places that one shall come into, are more agreed against holiness and salvati­on then for it; and had rather that all the Parish would agree together against a godly life (which is in­deed against Christ, and heaven, and their own souls) then for it. And some places are so miserable, that you may h [...]ar them thank God that they have not one Puri­tan in their [...]arish, or but few at most; meaning by Puritans, men that seek heav [...]n above ear [...]h, a [...]d had rather leave their sins then be damned And this d [...]s [...]ea [...]teneth [Page 165] many that have some mind to god­liness, to see almost all the Town and Parish against it.

But now if you had all but so much wit and grace, as to meet to­gether and make an Agreement, that you will All be a holy people to the Lord, and you will All joyn together in a godly life, and you will All be the sworn professed ene­mies of the way to Hell, and joyn together against your Ignorance, and Pride, and Covetousness, and Drunkenness, and Swearing, and Railing, and all Profaneness and Iniquity; and if you would All agree together, to set up prayer, and reading, and holy exercises in every house in Town and Parish, and that you will all redeem the time for your souls, especially that you will wholly spend the Lords day in the necessary delightful work of God; then what abun­dance of your difficulties would be [Page 166] removed? and how easie and plea­sant would the way to heaven be! Then there would be none to dis­courage poor ignorant souls, by deriding at a godly life; nor none to entice them to wicked courses, nor none to tempt them by their ill examples; and the number of the godly would encourage men, as the fewness of them now discou­rageth. Th [...]s troubleth men in the [...]r passage to Heaven, when we are ill-yoaked toge [...]her, and one draws backward as the oth [...]r draws for­ward: and if the husband be for God, the wife is for the world; or if the wife be for Heaven, the hus­band will needs go the way to Hell and if one neighbour be godly, the two, if not ten or twenty next him will be ungodly: And as the Israelites spies, they raise up false reports of the Land, of the state of godliness, and of the persons themselves, to discourage others: [Page 167] whereas if you would all agree to­gether, you might march on com­fortably without all this ado.

O how sweet and pleasant a life is it to see brethren dwell together in such an holy Unity as this? Psal. 133.1. Happy are they that dwell in such Towns and Parishes as these! if there be any such in the world: Where neighbours go all hand in hand together towards heaven; and take sweet counsel to­gether; and go to the house of God in company; and when others meet in Ale-houses, and about fooleries and profaneness, they will meet together to talk of their meeting in the presence of God, and the joy and praises of the Living God, and the Communion with Christ, and with Angels, and with one another, which we shall then possess: when they will pray together, and comfort one another with such words, 1 Thes. 4.18. [Page 168] And when others are talking idly or of the world, they will be ad­monishing and exhorting one ano­ther, and speaking words that are edifying to the hearers, Col. 3.16. Ephes. 4.29. and opening their cases and experiences to each other, and fai [...]hfully watching over one another, agreeing to tell one another plainly and lovingly of their sins, and to take it thankfully of those that do so, and endeavour presently to amend! What a sweet and blessed life were this, if all our Towns and Parishes would agree in it! Who would not rather live with bread and water in such a Town as this, then be a Lord or Prince among the ungodly! Well Sirs, it is much in your hands now to make your own and your neigh­bours lives thus sweet and comfort­able, and to make the way to hea­ven thus easie: Why then will you not Agree and do it?

[Page 169]6. Moreover such an Holy Uni­ty and Concord would be the highest honour to your Towns and Countries, that in this world they can possibly receive. It is the high­est glory of the Kingdoms of the world, to become the Kingdoms of the Lord and of his Christ, Rev. 11.15. You think it a great honour for your Towns to be rich and have fair buildings, and to have world­ly priviledges: bu [...], alas, these are bawbles in c [...]mparison of the other! O if it were but the Hap­piness of this Town and Parish to be brought to such an Holy Agree­ment as I mentioned, that you would all joy [...] together in a godly life, and every Family Agree to worship God with holy reverence, and all set together against p [...]o­fa [...]eness and all known sin, what an honour would it be to you of this place? How would your fame go through all the Land! All [Page 170] Countries would ring of Ked [...]r­minster, what a victory Christ had gotten there, and what an over­throw the Devil and sin had there received! and what a blessed place and people it is, where they are All agreed to be Holy and to be saved, and are all like the antient Primi­tive Believers, that were of one heart and one soul, Acts 4.32. O how the world would ring of such a Town where there is not one fa­mily that is ungodly, that serveth the Devil by worldliness, swearing, drunkenness, or any ungodly course: but all are United in Christ and Holiness, and are like to live together in Heaven! Truly neigh­bours, this would be a greater ho­nour to you, and to the Town, then if you were every man a Lord or Prince! In the eyes of God and all wise men, it would be the great­est honour in the world. And O what an excellent example would [Page 171] it be to all the Towns and Parishes in the Land! When they see your holy Unity and Peace, or hear of a place that is so happily agreed, it may shame them out of their un­godliness, and kindle in them a strong desire to be like you, and agree together as you have done. O that you would but give them such an example, and try the issue!

7. And I desire every one singly to consider, that it is the unspeak­able mercy of God, that he calleth you to this holy Union with Christ, and Communion of Saints; and that he doth not thrust you away, and forbid you coming near, but will give you leave to be of the holy Society, fellow-Citizens with the Saints, and of the houshold of God. God hath made his promise and offer so large, that you may have part in it as well as others, if you will not wilfully shut out your [Page 172] selves. The feast is prepared; all things are ready, and you are eve­ry man and woman invit [...]d! Christ hath opened to you a door of ad­mittance and access to God. And will you now re [...]use and undo your selves. The sanct [...]fied are Gods Jewels, Mal. 3.17 his treasure and pecul [...]ar people: the beloved of his soul, and his delight: and the only people in the world that shall be saved. This is true; for God hath spoken it: And you may be of this blessed number if you will. God hath not separated you from them or shut you out by for­bidding you to come among them. O do not you separate and shut out your selves. You see your godly ne [...]g [...]bours in possession of this priviledge: And may not you have it if you will? May not you study the W [...]rd of God, and call upon him in prayer, and se [...] your selves for heaven as well as they? Where [Page 173] do [...]h the [...]cripture command them to it, any mor [...] then you? or for­b [...]d y [...]u any more then them? The door [...]s open, you may come in if you will. You have the same means, and call, and offer, and [...] [...]nd leave to [...] life as th [...]y. And w [...]ll you [...] much of thediff [...]ren [...] y [...]rselves, as to be the only r [...]users? God hath done so much for you by the de [...]h of Christ, and so order [...]d the matter in the promises and offers of the Gospel, that none of you shall be able to say at [...]st, [I w [...]uld [...]uin have b [...]en [...] the bl [...]ssed [...], an [...] [...]ain h [...]v [...] liv [...]d in the Vni [...]n and Communi [...] of Saints, but I [...] n [...]t give [...]; and Christ [...]nd his Church w [...]ul [...] n [...]t r [...]ceiv [...] [...]e and entert [...]in me.] Not a man [...]r woman of you shall have this ex­cuse. And th [...]refor [...] come in and joyn with the Saints; & thank God that you may.

[Page 174]8. And consider also, that if you will not Agree with us in mat­ter of Holiness, we can never well make up the rest of our differen­ces: Our smaller Controversies will never be well agreed, if you will not agree in the main. But if this were Agreed, we should in sea­son certainly heal the rest. It would make a mans heart ake, to h [...]ar wretched sinners talk of our diffe­rences about Bishops, and Ceremo­nies, and Common-prayer, and Holy-daies, and Infant-Baptism, and the like, that are dead in their sins, and are yet disagreed from us in the very bent of heart and life. Alas Sirs, you have other mat­ters then these first to talk of, and trouble your selves with. A man that is ready to die of a Consum­ption, should not be taking care to cure the warts or freckles in his face. We have greater matters wherein we differ from you, then [Page 175] kneeling at the Sacrament, or ob­servation of daies, or other Cere­monies, or doubtful opinions in matters of doctrine. Let us first be Agreed all to serve One Master, and seek One End, and be Ruled by One Law, and hate known sin, and live a holy life, and then we shall be ready to treat with you about a further Agreement. But to talk of small matters, when we differ in the greatest matters in the world, as much as your souls are worth, and in matters which Heaven or Hell lyeth on; this is but childish trifling, and whatever we may do for the Peace of the Church with such, yet to your selves that will be small advantage.

Nay I must tell you, that it is usually but the cunning of the De­vil and the hypocrisie of your own hearts, that makes you turn your talk to these controversies, when the great breach is unhealed be­tween [Page 176] Christ and you. Its com­monly made a shift to delude and quiet a debauched conscience. Our poor people will not by any per­swasion be drawn to an holy hea­venly life, but live in worldliness, and fleshliness, [...]n swearing and drunkenness, and lying and deceit, and filthiness and pro [...]an [...]ness, and hate the Minister or Christian that doth reprove them; and then for­sooth they talk of Common-prayer Bo [...]k, and Holy-dayes, and Bi­shops, and kn [...]eling at the Sacra­ment, to mak [...] o [...]hers, and per­haps [...]heir deluded hearts believe, that this is the controversie and diff [...]rence. And so a wretched drunka [...]d or worldling peswades hims [...]lf that he is a R [...]ligious man, as if the difference between him and he godly were but about these Ceremonies or Church-Orders: When alas we differ in greater matter [...], as light and darkness, life [Page 177] and death, yea next to the diffe­rence between Heaven and Hell.

And I must tell you, that you do but wrong the party or cause that you pretend to, when you will [...]eeds engage your selves among them. What hath done more to the dishonour of the Bishops, and Common-prayer Book, and other late Orders and Ceremonies of the Church, then to see and hear the rabble of drunkards, swearers, scorners at holiness, and such like, to pl [...]ad for them, and be violent defenders of them? If you would devise how to shame these things, and bring them down, you can scarce contrive a more effectual wa [...], th [...]n [...]o set all the ungodly scandalous wretches to cry th [...]m up, and become the [...]r Patrons: For it w [...]ll make abund [...]nce of soberer people begin to question whether it be li [...]ely to be good, that hath such Defenders on one side, and [Page 178] Adversaries on the other side.

And therefore Sirs, let us begin our closure and agreement in the main, if you would be ever th [...] bet­ter for it, and have Unity indeed. And if you say, [What the ne [...]rer shall we be for Agreement in the other things? Do not the Godly still differ about Church-Government, and Orders, and Ceremonies?] I answer, 1. If we never should be Agreed in these on earth, we might bear it the more quietly, because our very hearts and souls are Uni­ted in the main, even in matters abundance greater; and in all that salvation is laid upon; and there­fore we have this comfort in th [...] midst of our differences, that we shall all shortly come to Heaven, and that perfection and blessed face of God will Unite and perfect­ly agree us in all things.

2 In the m [...]an time, we could hold a holy Communion with them [Page 179] in the substance of Gods Worship; and we have a daily Communion with them in the Spirit, and and an endeared Love to one ano­ther,

3. And the Holiness of their natures will encline them to man­nage our remaining differences with meekness, humility, self-de­nyal, moderation▪ and with great r [...]spect to the safety of the whole Church, and the honour of God and of the Gospel.

4. And yet I must add, that with such there is a far greater advan­tage to h [...]al the smallest difference that remains, then with any other. When we have one God to aw [...] us, and one Heaven to draw us, and one Christ for our Head, [...]nd one Spirit and new nature to princip [...]e us and dispose us, and one Law to Rule us, and have all one ultima [...]e End and Interest▪ he [...]e is a gre [...] advantage for healing of any par­ticular [Page 180] differences that may arise. If the liv [...]r, or spl [...]n, or stomack, or brain, or lungs be unsound, the sores that are without will hardly be cured; yea if there were none, these inward diseases may breed th [...]m: but when all is well within, the strength of nature without a medicine will do much to cure such small distempers that arise without. The life of [...]aith, the love of God, the love of Brethren, and the Churches peace and welfare, with the humility and self-d [...]nyal that is in every Christian, will do a great deal to the healing of divisions among the Godly. They will be content to meet together in Love, and pray it out, and refer the mat­ter to the holy Scripture, and they have all some special illumination of the Spirit.

But perhaps you will say, [Why are they not then more fully agreed?] I answer, 1. Because there are [Page 181] such a multitude of ungodly per­sons among them, that hinder them from opportunities and advantages for agreement. And many of these ungodly ones are hypocrites, that take on them to be godly, and so are traytors in our bosoms, and hinder peace the more by seeming to be godly when they are not. 2. Because of the remnant of sin that is yet in the sanctified, and because they are not yet perfect, and in Heaven. If they had no sin, they would have no divisions: And as their sin is healed as to the dominion of it, but not perfectly till they come to heaven; so their divisions are healed in the main, but not perfectly till they are perfectly United to God in Glo­ry.

9. Consider also I beseech you, what a joy it would be to Christ, and to the Angels of heaven, and to all good men, if you would but [Page 182] all make such an Agreement, and heartily joyn together in Holiness! The whole 15. Chapter of Luk [...] [...]s by divers Parables to tell you this, w [...]at Joy there is in heaven it self for the convers [...]on of one sinner▪ O what would there be then, if Towns and Countries would agree in Holiness! And I am certain it should be a Joy to the Princes and Rulers of the ear [...]h; for such a Unity only will [...]old, and be a bles­sing to their Dominions. Plutarch makes it Ag [...]sil [...]us his reason why the Spartans had no Walls, because the people being [...] of one minde, had no need or Walls. And Pliny tells us of a stone that will swim if it be whole, and sink if it be bro­ken. And so will Common-wealths that are broke [...] f [...]om Christ, and void of the cement of the Spi­rit that should [...]nite them.

And to the Ministers of the Gospel, and all good Christian [...], [Page 183] such an Unity as this would be an unspeakable joy. Somewhat I know of other mens hearts by mine own. Could I but prevail with this Na­tion, yea with this one Town and Parish, to meet all together and hear [...]ily Consent, Agree and Re­solve to joyn all together in an heavenly life, I should more re­joyce in it, then if I had the house full of gold and silver, yea (as to mine own interest) then if I were Lord of all the world. O what a joyful day were this, if I could this d [...]y bring you to this Holy Unity and Agreement? How comfor­tably should I spend the few re­maining dayes of my pilgrimage among you, if you would but all be brought to this? Whereas I may now say as David, Psalm 120.5. for all the godly that are among you, [Wo is me th [...]t I s [...]journ in Mesech, that I dwell in the T [...]nt [...] of Kedar! My soul [...]ath too long [Page 184] dwelt with him that hateth ▪ this holy) peace, I am for peace, but when I speak (and perswade men to it) they are for war, and con­tinuance in the dividing course [...] ungodliness Alas it grieveth us to see such divisions in all the Churches and Nations of the Chri­stian world: and O that we did know how to heal them! But when we cannot heal the most ungodly separations and divisions of one Town and Parish, it discourageth us from hoping for any great mat­ters of such large extent. Some at­tempts I have made, and more I would fain make, to further a Uni­on and Peace among the Church [...]s through the Land: But when I cannot procure the Unity of this one Town and Parish, what hope can I have to look any further? [...]l [...]s what a shame is this to you, and what a grief to us, that we cannot bring one Parish, one Village that [Page 185] ever I knew of, in all England, to be all of a mind in thos [...] great, those weighty, needful things, where it is worse th [...]n a madness for men to b [...] unresolved or dis [...]greed? As Melanthus made a je [...]t of a great man that went about to reconcile all Greece, and bring all the Prin­ces and St [...]tes to Pe [...]ce, when he could not bring h [...]s wi [...]e and her servant-maid to agreement in his own house. So with what hopes can we attempt any publick peace, when we cannot bring one Parish, one Village, y [...]a but very few [...]a­milies, to agree in that which they must agree in, or else the refusers will be certainly condemned! I beseech you [...]irs make glad the [...] of your Teachers [...]nd of all good m [...]n, by your Agreement. You owe us this Comfort: and you owe it to Christ, and the An­gels of heaven: deny us not our due, but without any more delay [Page 186] Agree toge [...]her to live as Saints. What a Joy it would be to your Pastors, you are not easily able to believe. When Gregory Thauma­tu [...]gus came first to be Bishop of Neoc [...]sarea, he found but seventeen Chr [...]stians in the City; And when he lay on his death-bed, he desired them to make enquiry how many Infidels were unconverted; and they found but just s [...]venteen In­fidels left, and all the rest were con­verted to Christianity: And though he rejoyced that he left but just as many unconverted Infidels as he found converted Christians, yet he grieved withall, that he should leave those seventeen in the power of the Devil. When I came to you, I found you all Professed Christians; But Oh that I could say that I shall leave but seventeen unconverted when I am called from you, for all that! O that there were no more th [...]t are Infidels or [Page 187] Impious under the name of Chri­stians! But I and you are unwor­thy of so great a mercy.

10. And I pray you consider this in time, that all of you that now refuse this Agreement in Ho­liness, will wish ere long that you had heartily embraced it, and joyned with the godly, and done as they. And why will you not be of the mind that you will be short­ly of? And why will you be of that way and company, that you will wish at last you had not been of? The Prodigal in Luke 15. did think it a slavery to be kept up so strictly by his Fathers eye; he must have his portion in his own possessi­on, and abroad he must be gone▪ but when smart had taught him another lesson, and misery had b [...]ought him to himself, then he is glad to be an hired servant, and casteth himself at his Fathers feet in the confession of his unworthi­ness [Page 188] to be called a son. God grant that th [...]s may prove your case. But let me tell it you for a certain truth, the [...]e is not one of you that now, [...] t [...] become so [...], and joyn your selves in the wayes of God, but [...]he time is a hand when [...] Gr [...]ce or Hell shall make you [...]i [...]h and wish [...]gain, tha [...] you might have but [...]he poore [...] lowest place in [...] which you so desp [...]sed [...] what I say to you, Sirs, in the name of God. If the Lo [...]d of Heaven do not shortly make the dullest heart, the greatest dender of godl [...]ness among you, that heareth these words, to wish and wish an hundred times, that he had lived as holy an [...] heavenly a life as the strictest of those that he fo [...]merly derided, [...]hen call me a false Prophet for ever, and spare not. Wh [...]n you feel the misery of unholy souls, and see the happines [...] of the Saints above you, then O [Page 189] that you had been but such as they, and lived as they, whatever it cost you! And as Bala [...]m you will shortly say, O that I might ill the death of the righteous, and that my last and may b [...] as his! Numb. 23.10. There is never a one of you all but would fain be among the Saints at Judgement, and receive their Sen­tence and reward; and therefore its best for you joyn with them now▪ or it will be too la [...]e to wish i [...] then.

11. If all this will not serve the turn, but you will needs stand off, and separate your selves f [...]om the servants of Christ, be it known to you, you shall ere long have se­paration enough, and be further from them then your hearts can wish. As you would not be United to them, and joyn with [...]hem in Holines [...], so you shall not be par­takers with them of their Happi­ness. One Heaven will not hold [Page 190] you both; and there is but One to hold you: and therefore an everlasting separation shall be made: Between them and you will a great gulf be set, so that they that would pass from you to them shall never be able, Luke 16.26. When they stand on the right hand, you shall be set upon the left: and when they hear [Come ye bles­sed] you shall hear [Go ye cursed] and when they go aw [...]y into lif [...] etern [...]l, you shall go [...]way into ev [...]r­lasting punishment, Mat. 25.31, 32, 41, 46. Then you shall see that [the man is blessed that walk­eth not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, n [...]r sitteth in the seat of the scornful; but his delight is in the Law of the Lord, and in his Law doth he me [...]i­tate day and night — The un­godly ar [...] [...] so; but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away: therefore the ungodly shall not stand [Page 191] in the Iudgement, nor sinners in the Congr [...]gation of the righteous: For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous, but the Way [...]f the ungod­ly shall perish, Psalm 1.] Then you will say to them that now you dif­fer from [Give us of your oyl, for our Lamps [...]re gone out.] Oh that we had part in your holiness and your hopes! but they will answer you [Not so, lest there be not enough for us and you.] We have little enough for our selves, you should have done as we did: but then it will be too late, Mat. 25.8, 9, 10. It will then make the proudest heart to shake, to hear, Depart from me, all ye that are workers of iniquity, I never knew you, Matth. 7.23. You departed from me, and would not live in the Communion of Saints, and now Christ himself of whom you boast­ed, and in whom you trusted, will not know you, but cause you to [Page 192] depart much further then you de­sired, both from his [...]aints and him. These are the true revelations of God, which may be laught at and sl [...]ghted now, but will certain­ly be made good on all that are not now United to Christ and his Church.

12. And let me tell you, to con­summate your m [...]se [...]y, when that day of everlasting separation comes, those servants of Christ wh [...]m you refused to joyn with in an holy life, will be so i [...] any wit­nesses against you to your con­demnation: As Christ tells you, Mat. 25. he will say [In as much as you [...] to one of th [...]s [...], you [...] it n [...]t me] [...]o in as much as you r [...]fused the Communion of Saints, and pe [...]haps derided them, you refu [...]ed Commun [...]on [...] Ch [...]ist h [...]mself a [...]d derided him. Then [...]hey [...] test [...]fie [...] you, [We were willing to h [...]v [...] had [Page 193] his company in the way [...]f holiness, but he refused it.] And when you see them set so far above you, then your own consciences will say, [We might have been of this bl [...]ss [...]d Society, and would not: we might have done as th [...]y, and now sp [...]l as they; we were often entreat [...]d [...] by our Teachers▪ [...]nd full glad would the godly h [...]ve been of our comp [...]y in an holy life; but we [...]estinately refused all! Wr [...]t he [...]th [...] we are▪ we refused all! W [...] th [...]ght i [...] re [...] ­l [...]ss; our h [...]arts w [...]r [...] [...]g [...]inst it, we pr [...]ferr [...]d [...], an [...] pr [...]fits, and cre [...]it, [...] [...]f the worl [...] b [...]f [...]re it an [...] [...] [...]ustly do w [...] p [...]rish in [...]ur [...] lie in yo [...]der [...]urnin [...] [...] ▪ and be separated as far as H [...]l is [...]om H [...]ven, fr [...]m th [...]se that we will­fully [...]epar [...]t [...] f [...]om on [...]arth.]

[...]eloved hearers, I were not a Believer, if I did n [...]t foresee this d [...]e [...]d [...]ul day: and I were n [...]t a [Page 194] man, if I did not desire that you might escape this misery; and therefore I could do no less then warn you, as you love your selves, and would not be separated from them for ever, that you would pre­sently be United to the Godly, and live in the true Communion of the Saints, and withdraw your selves from the wayes of the ungodly, lest you be found among them, and perish with them. I have done my part in telling you the truth, and now must leave the success to God.

Use ult.

BUT I must conclude with a word of advice to the Godly: I have made a very large ambitious motion, for the conversion of all at once: But alas, it is far from my expectation that it should prevail. I am not so unacquainted with the power of sin, and the subtilty of the Devil, and the wilfulness of blind unsanctified men, and the ordinary course of Providence in this work, as to cherish any hopes that All the Town and Parish should Consent. If many or any more do, I shall be glad. But plurima quaeras, ut pauca feras: An high motion when reasonable, may be serviceable to lower hopes. By what I have here said, you may see how little hope there is that ever the Church [Page 196] should have any such Peace on earth as we desire. If unho [...]iness be the hinderance, and the greatest part of the world are so unholy, and so our Unity is like to rise no higher then our Piety, you may see then how much Unity to look for.

But for your own parts, be sure among your selves to maintain the Unity of the Spirit in the bond of Peace. Love the Brother-hood, even Saints as Saints. And because you are not the searchers of the heart, proceed according to the Word of God. Let all that Profess themselves a sanctified people, and live so as that you cannot certainly disprove their profession, be used as Saints by you, and leave the in­fallible judgement to God. It is on­ly [...]eal Saints that have the internal special Unity of the Spirit, and sa­ving Communion; but its Profes­sors of Faith and Holiness tha [...] [Page 197] must have external Communion wi [...]h us in Ordinances, as they have a visible Union of Profession with the Church. But if they profess not Holiness, they ought not to have any Christian Communion at all.

O Christians, keep close to Christ the Cente [...] of your Unity, and the Scripture, which is the Rule of it, and cherish the [...]pirit which is the vital cause; walk evenly and uprightly in a dark generation, and give no offence to those without, nor to the Church of God. Know them that are over you in the Lord, and be at Peace among your selves, and the God of Peace shall be with you, 1 Thes. 5.12. Phil, 4.8.9.

Object. BVt may not a Profession of the same Faith pro­cure a sufficient Vnity among us, though all be not Saints, and saving­ly regenerate? Let us first be of one Religion, and then we may come to be sincere in the Practice of that Reli­gion by Degrees.

Answ. 1. For the Churches sake, we are thankful to God, when we see a common concord in Professi­on, though most are false in and to the Religion which they profess. Many wayes God doth good to his Church by unfound Professors.

1. Their Professing the same Faith doth somewhat tye their hands from persecuting it. And of the two, we can better bear Hypo­crites then Persecutors.

2. And it somewhat tyeth their tongues from reproaching the [Page 199] Faith, and arguing against it, and seducing others from it. And of the two, it would be more hurtful to the Church to have these men open enemies to the truth, and bend their wits and tongues against it, and to have the multitude as­saulting their neighbours with in­vectives and cavils against Religion, then to have them falsly pretend to be Religious.

3. And it is a great mercy to the Church, hereby to have the bene­fit of these mens common parts and interests. When they profess the same Religion with us, though unsoundly, yet it engageth them to stand for the Religion which they profess; and their illumination and conviction may lead them to do much service for the truth. By this means many hands are at work to build up the Church of Christ. And by this means the lives of ma­ny faithful Christians are preserved [Page 200] and their estates much spared. Many have skill in building, that are not true heirs of the house which they build. Many have ex­cellent gifts for preaching and ex­pounding Scripture, by which the Church may be edified, and the Truth defended against the adver­saries, when yet the same men may themselves be destitute of the Pow­er of this truth. The Church hath great cause to be thankful to God for the gifts of many an unsanctifi­ed man: Had the Church been de­nyed the Min [...]stry and Gifts of all m [...]n except Saints, it would have been confined to a narrower room, and many a soul might have be [...]n unconv [...]rted, that have been called by the Ministry of unsancti­fied men. By some such did God work Miracles themselves for the confirmation of the Christian Faith. And in times of war, if the Church had none but Saints to [Page 201] fight for them, it could not stand without a continued Miracle. And if we had not the daily help of others in civil and secular affairs, we should find by the miss of it, what a mercy we undervalued. Were every unregenerate man an open enemy to the Church, we should live as Patridges and such other birds, that must hide them­selves from every Passenger.

4. Moreover, this Profession of Hypocrites doth much restrain them from many a sin, by which God would be much dishonoured, and the Church more wronged, and the godly more grieved, and the open enemies more encou­raged.

5. And also it is some honour to the Gospel in the eyes of men, to have a multitude of Professors. Should Christs visible Church be as narrow as the mystical, and should none be Professors of the Faith, [Page 202] but those few that are sanctified Believers, the paucity of Christi­ans, and narrowness of the Church, would be a dishonour to Christ in the eyes of the world, and would hinder the Conversion of many a soul.

All this I have said, that you may see that we do not despise a Unity in Profession: and that we are not of those that would have all hypocrites and common profes­sors shut out: Yea that we take our selves bound to be very thank­ful to God for the mercy, which he vouchsafeth us by the gifts, and favour, and help, and interest of many such Professors. And such a Unity of Profession we shall en­deavour to our power heartily to promote, as knowing that the Church as visible consisteth of such professours.

2. But yet for all this, I must come closer to your objection, and [Page 203] tell you, that this Vnity of meer Profession is comparatively so poor a kind of Unity, that this will not, this must not satisfie us and serve the turn, which I desire you to ob­serve in these discoveries.

1. This Unity in meer Professi­on is properly no Christian Vnity, because you are not properly Chri­stians. If this be all, it is but in the bark and shell that we are agreed: It is but a seeming agreement, from the teeth outward: but not an hearty agreement to be Christians. What! shall we all agree to say we are Christians? when with most it is not so: For all this Agreement, you will still have one Father, and we another. You will not be United with us in Christ the Head: you will not have the same Holy Spirit, who is the Life of the New crea­ture: You will be contrary to us in Nature or Disposition. You will not have the same Intention and [Page 204] Ultimate End with us, but you will a [...]m at one thing, and we at ano­ther: You will not go the same way, nor walk by the same Rule and Law as we: It will be but a tying [...]og [...]ther the Living and the Dead. Bell [...]r [...]ine himself confes­seth that the ungodly are but dead members. It is not life that Uniteth a dead member to the living. You will b [...] stil [...] either openly or secret­ly betraying the Body to which you profess your selves United, and taking part with its deadly enemies, the flesh, the world and the Devil! Your very Hearts and ours will still be contrary: You will love the sin that we hate and set our selves against; and you will dis-relish that Holy Heavenly life, which must be our business and delight. Your Affections will go one way, and ours another. You will Live by sense, when we must live by faith; and you will be laying up a treasure [Page 205] on earth, when we are laying up a treasure in heaven: You will be asking counsel of flesh and blood, when we must advise with God and his holy Word. You will look first to your bodies, when we must look first and principally to our souls. It will be your business to feed those sins, which it is our daily work to kill. You will make and apprehend it to be your Interest to go contrary to us: And what Agreement can there be, where there are contrary Interests? Un­der all your outward Profession, you will still retain a secret enmity and hatred to the life of holiness: and will not have that hearty Love to the Saints, as beseems all those that are members of Christ, and of the holy Catholick Church. So that when you have Communion with the Saints, it will be but an exter­nal and superficial communion in some common things; but you [Page 206] will have no Communion with them in the same Head, and Spirit, and Promise, and Holy Nature, and saving Benefits of the Gospel. And shall this be called Vnity, that leaveth you at so sad a distance as this? This is but such a Union as a wooden leg hath to the body; or as the vessels of honour and dis­honour have by being in the same house together. In their highest Professions, the Lord himself saith of unsanctified Professors, that they are none of Christs, Rom. 8.9. and that they cannot be his Disciples, Luke 14.33. that they are not Is­rael, though of Israel, nor are they children of God, nor the seed of pro­mise, Rom. 9.6, 7, 8. and when they plead their highest Priviledges, at last, Christ will tell them that he knoweth them not, Mat. 7.23. & 25.12. Psalm 1.5, 6. And if in mercy to the Church God cause the Lyon and the Lambs to lie [Page 207] down together, yet will he not therefore mistake the Lyon for a Lamb. So that you see what a poor kind of Unity, and next to none it is that meer profession maketh. And therefore this will not serve our turn.

2. Moreover, if we have no other Unity, we are unlike to live in Peace together. Though it be our duty to endeavour to have peace with all men, yet we can have but little hope of it. As long as there is so much difference and contra­riety as I have mentioned; and as long as there is a secret enmity at the heart, it will be working into dissention, if God for the sake of his Church restrain it not. The godly will be crossing your carnal Interest, and hindering you in the sinful wayes of your commodity, pleasure or vain-glory! They will be calling you to self-denyal, which you cannot endure: and putting [Page 208] you upon duties of Holiness, Righteousness and Mercy, which your sinful flesh will utterly refuse. If you are scandalous, you will be called to Confession, Repentance, and Reformation, or by Church-censures be cut off from them to your shame: And the Magistrate also must trouble you by the penal­ties of the Law. The very exam­ples of a strict and holy living, which are given you by the godly, will displease you, because they are so unlike to your lives, and there­fore witness against your negli­gence and ungodliness. So that it is not possible that we should avoid offending you; for our very obedience to God will offend you, and our studying and following the Holy Scripture will offend you, and our diligent labour to save our souls will offend you; and our hateing and avoiding the Poyson of sin will offend you. And how then [Page 209] should we live in Peace with such? If you yoak a swine and a sheep together, one will be drawing to the wash-tub, when the other would be at grass: and one will be drawing to lie down in the mire, when the other would lie clean: one will be rooting in the earth, and eating dung, which the others nature is against. It is Christ, be­fore me, that calleth the wicked by the name of swine, and the godly sheep: And if you will come no nearer us then this, we are like to have but poor Agreement.

And as our wayes will displease you, so your galled malicious hearts will manifest the offence, and will be girding, and maligning, if not slandering, deriding, or openly persecuting, as far as you have power, those that thus offend you. And what Unity is this?

3. If Reason perswade you not, do but ask experience it self, Whe­ther [Page 210] in all ages, men that Profess the same Religion with zealous godly men, have not been their persecutors, and oft-times more cruel then Infidels themselves? The Arrians that called themselves Christians, were as cruel to the true Believers as the Heathens. The Pa­pists profess the same Christianity as we, and take the whole Scripture as the Word of God: And yet none of the Heathenish Persecu­tions do match or come near to their French Massacrees, and Spa­nish Inquisition, and the cruelty that in Ireland, England, and their part of the Christian world, they have exercised upon the sheep of Christ. The many Ministers that were silenced in Germany, and some imprisoned, and many Fami­lies undone, was by the Lutherans, against men that were Protestants as well as they. And they that cast out so many Learned, holy Mini­sters [Page 211] in England, and occasioned the expulsion of so many thousand persons fearing God, were Profes­sed Protestants as well as we. And that there may not be the appear­ance so much as of a difference in Ceremonies to cover their pro­ceedings, abundance of conform­able men are troubled and undone as well as others, and they gave out that [none were worse then the conformable Puritans.] It was a holy observation of the Lords day, and opposition to the abuse of it by Dancings, and it was hearing Sermons, and instructing mens fa­milies, and praying together, that were the things enquired after, that occasioned our troubles. And (who ever was in the right or wrong) you all know that the late miserable wars among us, was be­tween men that professed them­selves to be of the same Religion, not only as Christians, but as Pro­testant, [Page 212] and Reformed (in the main.) To this day you see among our selves in Towns and Coun­tries, that those that do not only dwell with us, and come to the same Ass [...]mblies with us, and pro­fess themselves of the same Pro­testant Reformed R [...]ligion, have yet many of them a s [...]cret maligni­ty against the godly, that will not be as loose and negligent as they, and will not as madly cast away their souls: And also even ma [...]y greater Hypocrites, that rank themselves with us in the same Church-order, and seem to own all Ordinances of God, and Go­vernment of the Church, yet when this Government crosseth them in their carnal wayes, and these Or­dinances open the nakedness of their miscarriages, they prove stark enemies to the Government, Offi­cers and Ordinances them­selves.

[Page 213]Indeed however we may abide together (as the clean and un­clean creatures in Noahs Ark) yet still at the heart there is so much enmity or distance, and in our Ends and Interests there is so much con­trariety, that if the Ministers and other followers of Christ, will faithfully discharge the duty that is required of them, they will certainly be persecuted by men of the same Profession in Religion; especi­ally by the Prouder and Loftyer sort of wicked men. Because some will receive the same truth better from one then from another. I will give you my assertion in the words of a man that you shall confess did speak impartially, and not out of any intemperance or singularity; who in a Prosperous University, in Peaceable times, being himself in favour, and of that Judgement and of such Learning as was likely to continue him in favour, did yet [Page 215] write thus concerning persecution: I mean Doctor Iackson, in his Book of saving Faith, sect. 2. chap. 4. pag. 185. [The Ministers of Christ may deny Christ, or mani­fest their ashamedness of his Gospel, as directly by not laying his Law as closely to the great Herods of the world, as John Baptist did (sup­pose the case be as notorious, and as well known to them) as if they had been afraid to confess him, for fear of being put out of the Synagogues, or said with those other Iews, We know that God spake with Moses, and gave authority to Magistrates; but this man we know not whence he is, nor do we care for his Counsels. Yet were John Baptists kind of preaching used in many Kingdoms, though by such as profess the same Religion with the Potentates, they should offend with their boldness, I think it would prove matter of Martyrdom in the end. That any age since Christian [Page 214] Religion was first propagated, hath wanted store of Martyrs, is more to be attributed to the Negligence, Ignorance, and Hypocrisie, or want of courage in Christs Embassadors, or appointed Pastors, then unto the sincerity, mildness or fidelity of the flock; especially of the Bell-wea­thers or chief ring-leaders. Or if Satan had not abated the edge of primitive zeal and resolution by that dishonourable peace concluded be­tween Christianity and Gentilism, after the settling of Goths and Van­dals in these parts of Christendom; had he not utterly benummed man­kind by locking up their spiritual senses in midnight darkness, and fet­tering their souls in superstition, since the time he himself was let loose: Rome Christian had seen more Martyrs, even of such as did not much dissent from her in most opini­ons held within six hundred years of Christ, in one year, then Rome [Page 216] Heathen at any time had known in ten. Even in Churches best Reform­ed, it would be much easier, I think, to find store of just matter of Mar­tyrdom, then of men fit to make Martyrs. And he that hath lived any long time in these quiet mansions, and seats of Muses, secure from Mars his broyls, or external vio­lence, hath great cause either to magnifie the tender mercies of his gracious God, or suspect himself for an Hypocrite, if he have not suf­fered some degrees of Martyrdom: But unto such as have been exercised therein, it bringeth forth the quiet fruit of Righteousness.]

Thus you see this Learned Do­ctor, though in favour with the Rulers of the age he lived in, did think that a man that would not be an Hypocrite, but faithfully dis­charge his duty, was likely to suffer Martyrdom from those of the same Profession with himself, and [Page 217] that it must be by very great mercy from God, or by hypocrisie and unfaithfulness in us, if any Minister do scape the hands of the wicked that are of his own Profession. So that you may see that meer Profes­sion will make but a poor Agree­ment or Union among us: Sin will be sin still, and the flesh will rage still after its prey in unmortified Professors; and the Word of God will still disgrace them and con­demn them, and consequently trouble them and exasperate them; So that if you come no nearer to us then a Profession of the Christi­an Protestant Religion, you will still be souldiers in the Army of the Devil, and be still flying in the fa­ces of true Believers, whenever they do but cross you in your sins.

3. Consider also, What a poor benefit comparatively it is to your selves, to be joyned with the Saints [Page 218] by a bare Profession, and no more Will it make you happy to see their faces, or live among them? So do the bruit beasts, and so do their Persecutors: Will it make you hap­py to be called by the name of Chri­stians? No more then it maketh a Picture Rational to be called by the name of a man. And what if by your parts and moral vertues, you are some way helpful to the Church? So is the wooden leg to the body, which yet is not a mem­ber, but a crutch.

4. Yea me thinks it should ra­ther double your sorrows, that you are so miserable among the happy. You live with them that have part in Christ, when you have none in him. You joyn with those that have the Spirit of God, and an holy disposition and con­versation, when you have none: You kneel by them whose Spirits are importunate with God in pray­er, [Page 219] when your hearts are dead: You sit by them that are quickned and sanctified by the Word, which to you is but a dead and empty sound. You are famished among them that are feasting upon Christ, and upon the precious promises of eternal life. You are but as car­kases among the living: Their company maketh not you alive; but your noysom conversation is grievous unto them, unless it be some of you that are embalmed and beflowered with some common graces, for the sakes of those that else would be more troubled with you. And is this so great a comfort to you, to be dead among the li­ving, and to be heirs of hell in the midst of them that are heirs of hea­ven? Methinks (till you are san­ctified) it should be a daily hor­rour to you, to look them in the faces, and think that they have Christ and grace, and you have [Page 220] none; and to hear in the holy As­semblies the mention of their hap­piness, and the name of that God, that Christ, that Heaven where they must live for ever, and in which their blessedness consisteth, when you must be turned out into everlasting misery.

That you may not think I am singular in all this, I will add here some humane testimony for con­firmation of it. Zenoras, Comment▪ in Epist. Canon. Can. 45. ex Basil. M. Epist. 2. ad Amphiloch. give [...] us this as one of the Canons of the Greek Church received from Basi [...] [If any one receiving the Name o [...] Christianity, shall be a reproach i [...] Christ (that is, saith Zonaras, by [...] wi [...]ked life) his Name or Appel­lation is no profit at all to him.] An [...] even in the Roman Ca [...]on Law this is one Canon taken out of Au­gustine, [Parvulus qui b [...]ptiz tur si ad annos rationales veniens, n [...] ­crediderit, [Page 221] nec ab illiritis abstinuerit, nihil ei prodest quod parvulus acce­pit. Decret. part 3. dist. 3. p. 1241.] that is [A Baptized Infant, if when he comes to years of discretion, doth not believe, nor abstain from things unlawful, it profiteth him nothing which he received in his in­fancy.] If it were needful after the Canons both of the Greek and Latine Church to give you the like words from particular Fathers, I could soon perform it.

5. You are so far from being Happy by your visible Church­state and outward Profession, and Communion with the Church, that you have the greater sin, and w [...]ll have the sorer punishment, because among such examples, such means, and calls, and mercies, you yet re­sist the Grace of Christ, and are void of that Holiness which your tongues Profess. The poor Indians hear not that which you daily or [Page 222] weekly hear; nor have the oppor­tunities in publick and private that you have had. If they lie in igno­rance and unbelief, they can say, it is because they never read or heard the Scripture, nor ever had a man to tell them of the blessed tidings of Redemption, or open to them the way to life: But so cannot you say for your selves. They were the less excusable, if they had seen but one of your dayes, or joyned but once in those holy Assemblies which you profane. The mouth of Christ himself hath told us concern­ing the rejecters of his Ministers and his Gospel, that it shall be easier for Sodom in the day of Judgement then for them, Mat. 10.15. You will find a hotter place in Hell, that pass thither from those seats, from this Assem­bly, from such a neighbourhood, and such a Nation, then if you had passed thither from among the Turks o [...] Indians.

[Page 223]6. Moreover, there is in some respects, less hope of your salva­tion, that have long lived uncon­verted in the outward Communion of the Church, then of other men. As a sick man is in a more desperate case that hath long used the best and only means, and all in vain, then he that never used any. I confess you have the ad­vantage of being still under the means; and that is your hope (as long as it lasteth): but then you have the dreadful symptom of frustrating these means; and that is your terrour, above those that yet remain without.

7. Moreover, if you agree with us but in Profession and outward Communion, you will be thereby more capable of doing us the greater mischief. I know God doth benefit his Church by many of the unsanctified, as I said before. But many others of them are the great­est [Page 224] plagues to it. One enemy in our own Armies, or in our Councils, may do more against us, then ten thousand open enemies abroad. False-hearted Bishops, Pastors, yea and Magistra [...]es, that have the Name and not the Nature of Chri­stians, are they that have betrayed the Church, and broken it in pieces, and made the cause of Christ a stepping-stone to their worldly ends. It was a Doeg that be­trayed David and Abimelech: It was a Iudas that betrayed Christ himself. You are now our daily hearers, and live some of you civil­ly among us, and take your selves confidently for Christians and Saints as well as others, and secr [...]t­ly scorn those that would rob you of that honour, as appropriating it unto themselves, and say as Ze­dekiah to Micaiah when he struck him, 1 King. 22.24. [Whi [...]h way went the Spirit of the Lord from me [Page 225] to speeak unto thee?] But if the times should turn, and you had but your will, at least if you were but forced or driven by Authority, we should soon find many of you to be blood-thirsty enemies, that now are so confident that you are Chri­stians and true servants of God. A little money would hire those Iu­das'es to betray Christ, and his Cause and Church, that now are our familiars, and put their hands into the same dish with the true Disciples. While they are among us, they are not of us: and there­fore when Temptations come, they will be gone from us. Its well if half this Assembly that are now hearing me, would stick to Godliness, if Godliness were but the persecuted, scorned way of the times: Yea if they would not forsake even the name it self of Christian, and for­sake these Assemblies and outward worship, if the Rulers were against [Page 226] it, and did but persecute it, so that it must cost them any thing dear to hold it.

8. Moreover, these hollow-hearted Christians, that agree with us but in the outside and the name, are capable of dishonouring Christ and the Gospel, much more then if they were open enemies. If a professed Heathen or Infidel live wickedly, this cannot be cast upon the Gospel or the Christian name, nor can Christ and his servants be hit in the teeth with it, or re­proached by it: But when those that take on them to be Christi­ans, and joyn with Christians in their publike worship, shall live like Heathens, or worse then some of them, what greater wrong can be done to Christ? will he not one day take such wretches by the throats, and (s [...]y, [If thou must have thy Pride, and Drunkenness, and Coveteousness; if thou must [Page 227] needs swear and curse and rail, or live an ungodly fleshy life, thou shouldest have kept thee out of my Church, and not have called thy self a Christian, and taken an easier place in Hell: Must thou bring thy wickedness into my house, and a­mong my servants, to dishonour me? Must I and my servants be re­proached with thy crimes?]

And this is one great cause why Christ hath appointed Discipline in his Church to admonish and Re­form, or reject the scandalous: And this is the reason (among ma­ny others) why faithful Christians, (though they would make no un­just divisions and separations) would yet have the Church of Christ kept clean, by use of holy Discipline, as he hath appointed; Because it is from such false-hear­ted Professors (usually) that the name of Christ is reproached in the world: These are they for the [Page 228] most part that make Turkes and Jewes and all other enemies say, that Christians are as bad as o­thers, because those that are as bad as others, do take on them to be Christians. When Drunkards, and Fornicators, and Covetous persons, and profane, do come to the Congregation, and say they are Christians, when in heart and deed they are not, what wonder then if Infidels and Enemies of the Church reproach us and say, You see what Christians are? How could a Papist do the Protestants a cunninger and surer mischief, then to take on him a Protestant, and then commit fornication or other horrid lewdness, or joyn with some abominable Sect, to make men think that the Prote­stants are such as these! And how can you do Christ a greater wrong then to carry the dung of the world into his Church; and to co­ver [Page 229] all the crimes of Infidels, with the name and garb of Christianity, that it may be said, All these are the crimes of Christians! And there­fore it is that Christ and his faith­ful Ministers, though they would have as many as is possible to be saved, yet are not so forward to take in all, as others be: For Christ needeth not servants, but its they that need him; and he had rather have a few that will honour him by mortifyed holy lives then a mul­titude that will but cause his name and Gospel to be reproached. It is certain from Church-history, that the holy life of some one or few persons (as Gregory Thaumatur­gus, Macarius, and many the like) hath drawn in multitudes and converted Countries to the faith: when the wickedness of whole Towns and Countries of Professed Christians, hath caused many to fall off, and caused the enemie to insult.

[Page 230]We will not for all this break our Rule, nor presume to search the hearts of men, any further then they appear in outward Evidence. We will still take all Professors of Christianity as Christians, that Null not their own Profession. Ba­sil was advised by Athanasius him­self to receive the Arrians them­selves into Communion, if they did but disown their former er­rors, and subscribe to the Nicene Creed, and seek the Communion of the Churches. And he practi­sed this, though many were offen­ded at it. But yet we must needs say, that it is better for the Church to have a few that are Ho­ly and answer the nature of their holy Calling, then to have multi­tudes that will but prove our shame, and make the Infidel world believe that Christianity is not what it is. Yea and these are they most commonly too (though they [Page 231] may proceed to a higher professi­on) that are carried about with every wind of doctrine, and that turn to Heresies, and cause and continue the Divisions of the Church: For they that are such, serve not the Lord Iesus, when they profess to serve him, Rom. 16.17. When Heresies do arise, it is such chaff as this that is carried away, that the Approved Christi­ans indeed may be made mani­fest, 1 Cor. 11.19. Abundance of proud unsanctified persons, do us as much good in the Church as fire in our thatch, or as mutinous soul­diers that are but the enemies a­gents in the Army, to set all the souldiers together by the ears, or discover their Councils, or blow up their magazins. And would you have us contented with such a kind of Agreement and Commu­nion with you as this, which you and we are like to be so little the [Page 232] better for, if not the worse?

9. Furthermore, it is not this meer Ageerment in Profession that will satisfie Christ himself, and therefore it must not satisfie us. It is not in this that he attaineth the principal ends of his Redemp­tion, nor seeth the travaile of his Soul. Alas, the blood of Christ is lost to you, and all the Ordinan­ces and means are lost, and all the labour of Ministers is but lost to you as to any pardon of sin, or life, or Heaven that ever you shall have by them, if you goe no further. And would you have us be conten­ted with such an Agreement as this?

10. Lastly, Consider that if we Agree no further then in an out­ward Profession of the Christian faith, alas, it will be but a short Agreement. We may be together here a while in the Church, as fishes good and bad in one net; but [Page 233] when it is drawn to the shore, a separation will be made. Here you may sit and kneel among us a while, and go away with the Name of Christians: But alas, it is but a little while till this Agreement will be broken, and a dreadful e­verlasting separation must be made. Dreadful to the unsanctified, but joyful to the Saints. And what great good will it do to you or us, to be tyed together a little while, by words and shews, and then to be everlastingly separated, as far as Light from darkness, Heaven from Hell, and the Greatest Joys from the Greatest sorrows. O blame us not if we motion to you, and beg of you, a far neerer Union and Agreement then this.

I think I have now sufficiently proved, that If we will be indeed of One Religion, and ever come to a right Agreement, it is The Vni­ty of the sanctifying Spirit that [Page 234] must do it. It must be a Union and Agreement in true Conversion and Holiness of life, and nothing lower will serve the turn. If God do us any good by the Profession, Gifts or Interest of Hypocrites and un­sanctified professors, we'l thank him for it, and take it as a mercy: But it is a higher Design that must be in our Hearts; and woe be to them that come no nearer the Ho­ly Catholik Church and the Unity of the Spirit and the Communion of Saints, then by an Outward profession and participation of Sa­craments, and such like outward Ordinances of Communion.

Quest. BVT suppose we should be Vnited in the Spirit, and Agree in Holiness, do you think this would heal the Divisions of the Church? Doe you not see that the most godly are all in pieces, as well as [Page 235] others? Is it not such that have been the principal causers of our late Di­visions? You promised to shew us, How we might do well, for all our other differences if we were bu [...] A­greed in Holiness; will you now shew us what Advantage that would be?

Answ. To be Agreed in Holi­ness, and to be Heartily one in the Essentials of Christianity, is an ex­ceeding advantage to us in all our disagreements about lesser things. As

1. Were we but once Vnited in the main and Sanctified by the Vni­ting Spirit of Christ, our Principal differences were healed already. We should no longer be of different minds, whether sin or holiness be best; or whether earth or heaven should be chosen for our portion; nor whether God or the flesh or world should be obeyed. You little think what abundance of differen­ces [Page 236] are at once reconciled in the very hour of a sinners conversion. Before that hour, we differed in Judgement from all wise men, from all the Saints of God, from all the holy Prophets, Apostles and Martyrs, as well as from all the Godly about us; and from all men of right Reason, and faith and experience; Yea we differed from the Holy Ghost, from Christ, from God himself; yea from none so much as him. Wicked wretches! you differ from the Godly because they Agree with God; but you differ more from God then from them. When you despise a Holy life, are his thoughts like your thoughts? when you revile his servants, and scorn his yoak and burden as too heavy, are you then of the mind of Christ? O no; Your darkness and his Light, are far more distant then you are able to conceive. Were you but once [Page 237] Reconciled to God, by conver­ting sanctifying light, you would at once be Reconciled to his ser­vants; for in the matters of chief concernment to the soul, they are all of his mind; for he is their In­structer. And then what a day of healing would that be! Oh what abundance of differences are en­ded upon the day of true Con­version? And withal what abun­dance of differences would be new made? For now you Agree with the Devil and with your fleshly desires, and with distracted wic­ked men, and all this Agreement would then be broke: For this friendship with the world is enmi­ty to God, Iam. 4.4. and such Divisions as these Christ tells us that he came to send, Luke 12.51. But you would presently be Agreed with God, with the Holy Scriptures, with all the Apostles and Servants of the Lord, and [Page 238] with all men of Spiritual wisdom and experience in the world, in the great and principal matters of your lives. And it is a multitude of particulars that is contained in this Agreement that's made when a sinner is truly sanctified.

2. If once you were united in the Spirit, and Agreed in a Holy life, you would differ in nothing that could keep you out of Heaven. And if we have some small diffe­rences on Earth, as long as they are such as cannot hinder our sal­vation, they may be the more ea­sily born. Paul and Barnabas had a little falling out: but O how sweetly are they now reconciled! Hierom and Chrysostom, Epipha­nius and Iohn of Hierusalem, Theophilus and Chrysostom, were at odds; Luther and Zuinglius had their disagreements; But Oh how happily are they now agreed! Our imperfection of Knowledge [Page 139] causeth us here to erre and differ in part: But if we are all united in Christ, and agreed in the main, how quickly shall we see that bles­sed Light that will reconcile all our controversies! Marvail not to find some contests among the most learned and most godly, unless you'l marvail that Earth is not Heaven; or that in that body we see not the face of God, which is the all-disclosing reconciling light. If we were all here together in the dark, and were of many opinions about the things before us; if one did but come in among us with a candle, it might end all our diffe­rences in a moment. When we are newly out of this obscuring flesh, and this dark deceitful earth­ly world, O what an unconceive­able reconciliation will be made by that blessed Light! There's no con­tending or quarrelling: For there are none of those errors or passi­ons [Page 240] that should occasion it. As Imperfect Holiness produceth an answerable Imperfect Unity, so perfect Holiness will prfectly U­nite. And is not this then the on­ly way to Unity, which will help us here to what is here attainable, and secure us of eternal perfect concord, in the world that we are passing to? O see that you be once Agreed in the things that are ne­cessary to salvation, and then the hour is neer at hand that will end all your differences, and agree you in the rest.

3. If once you be but Agreed in Holiness, you will have no dif­ference left, that shall destroy any Grace in you, that's necessary to sal­vation. The power of Divine faith, and Love and Hope, and Fear and Zeal, will still be safe. Your dis­eas [...]s will not destroy your vital faculties. And if the Head, the Heart, and principal parts be [Page 241] sound, you may the better bear a small distemper. The disagree­ments of the ungodly from God, from Scripture and the Saints, are mortal to them, and prove them under the power of darkness and of Satan, that leads them captive at his will, (2 Tim. 2.26. Eph. 2.23. Acts 26.18.) But the dif­ferences of the sanctified, are but as the different complexions or statures of children, or at worst but as their falling out, which will not cause the Father to turn them out of his family; so that as long as Faith, and Love, and Hope and other Graces are kept sound, we shall certainly do well for all our differences. And this is the benefit of Agreeing in Holiness.

4. Moreover, if once we were all Agreed in the Spirit, and in Holiness of Heart and Life, we should escape all Heresies, or Er­rors that effectually subvert the Es­sentials [Page 242] of the Christian faith. Mi­staken we might be; but He­retikes we could not be. I stick not upon the bare word, whether smaller errors may be called Here­sie; but taking Heresie as com­monly its taken, a sanctified person cannot (at least Habitually) be a Heretick. For should a man so hold a point inconsistent with any one Essential point of the Christian faith (at least Habitually and Pra­ctically hold it,) its as impossible that this man should be then a Christian as that contradictories should be true. And therefore certainly whosoever is a true Chri­stian, is fr [...]e from such Heresies. And therefore as, if you are sure a man so holds a Heresie, you have no reason to believe his shews of Holiness; so where you see a great appearance of real Holiness, you must long deliberate and have good evidence, before you judg [...] [Page 243] that man a Heretick: For this is the certain Priviledge of the San­ctified, that they cannot be Here­ticks, though they may have ma­ny errors (as in sensu composito all confess).

5. Morover if we were but all Agreed in true Holiness, we should be freed from most of those scanda­lous sins which are the common oc­casion of our reproaches and divisi­ons. It is sin that is the grea [...] trou­ble of the Church, and of the world (Iohn 7.25.) This breeds our quarrels This setteth all into a flame. When a Drunkard, or an unclean person, or a slanderer, or a raise [...], or any scandalous per­son, is r [...]proved, or openly admo­nished, or for impenitency reje­cted, then the Devil and sin bestir themselves, and rage against the Church and Officers and Ordinan­ces of God. It is sin within that animateth the malignant to b [...] con­tentious: [Page 244] And it is to defend and take part with sin, that they fall out with God and his Word and Servants. Now Holiness is con­trary to this sin that troubleth us. Mortification of sin is part of San­ctification. If therefore we were Agreed in Holiness, it were as rea­dy a way to procure our Peace, as quenching the fire in your thatch, is the ready way to save your house. I know there are too ma­ny scandals given by the best. But it is commonly but by the weaker worser sort of the best. And it is not a common thing with them neither. And none of them make a trade of sinning, nor have any unmortified reigning sin. If a No­ach, a Lot, a David, be once scan­dalous in all his life, this is not the case of all the godly; and it is not like the case of the ungodly that are either often, or impenitent in it. And therefore though it may [Page 245] disturbe the Church: yet not so much as the frequent and impeni­tent scandals of the ungodly. O could we but all Agree against this make-bate, this great disturber and troubler of the world, what Peace might we enjoy?

6. And also, if once we could Agree in Holiness, the matter and occasion of offences, separations and contentions would cease. What cau­sed the Donatists separation of old, but the scandals in the Church: and the receiving of such upon re­pentance into Communion or mi­nistry? And so the Novatian schism also was occasioned. And though the Donatists and Novati­ans were too blame to be against the Ordination or reception of such Penitents; yet the prevention of the sin, would have been the prevention of the breach. What hath caused so many to turn sepa­ratists in England, but seeing so [Page 246] many ungodly persons in our Churches and Communion? You that are most offended at Schisms and Private Churches, are the common occasions of it your selves. If such ungodly persons were not in our Assemblies, few godly persons would separate from them. Though I do not justifie them, yet I must needs condemn you as the cause. Were it not for you, we should be more of a mind among our selves. But when your rotten ulcers and corrupted lives have raised a stink in our As­semblies, this causeth our Divisi­on: The Separatists stop their no­ses and are gone, and will come here no more; and the rest of us think that for your sakes and the Peace of the Church, we should stay as long as well we can, like Patient Surgeons that will not for­sake their Patient because of a rot­ten stinking sore, as long as there [Page 247] is any hope of cure, or of saving the body, by cutting off the rot­ten member. And thus while some are more patient and charitable towards you, and some are more impatient of your sin, or else afraid of Gods displeasure for having communion with you, here comes our divisions among our selves, for your sakes. And therefore if we were but Agreed in Holiness, all this were ended. There would then be no habituated Drunkard, or worldling, or railer, or swearer, or other ungodly persons in our Churches; and then who could scruple communion with them? and so what should hinder but we might all be one? and yet will you not agree in this?

7. Yea if we were united in the Spirit of Holiness, the very Divi­ding unpeaceable Disposition of men would it self be healed, and so we should have Peace. For an unchari­table, [Page 248] dividing disposition is part of the old man, and of that unho­liness which we must forsake. And charity and meekness, and a peace­able healing temper, is Holiness it self. And therefore this must needs do much to heal and reconcile us. Read but Iames 3. throughout, and it will satisfie you of this, if you will be satisfied. Those that pretend to be wiser then the rest of the godly, and to have more il­lumination, if yet they have bitter envying and strife in their hearts, they Glory in vain, and lie against the truth: For this Wisdom descen­deth not from above, but is earthly, sensual and devilish. He that is tru­ly wise and endued with knowledg in the Church, must shew out of a good conversation his works with meek­ness of Wisdom. For the wisdom that is from above, is first pure, then Peaceable, gentle, easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good [Page 249] fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrsie. But where en­vying and strife is, there is confusi­on, and every evil work, James 3.13, 14, 15, 16, 17. See here what a spirit sanctification doth con­tain, and whether this be not the only healing way. It is first in­deed Pure: but next it is Peacea­ble, gentle and easy to be intreated. They that cause Divisions and offen­ces contrary to the Doctrine which is taught; do not serve the Lord Ie­sus, what ever they may pretend or think. Peace and Holiness must be followed together, Heb. 12.14. Yea Peace with all men, if it be possible, and in our power, Rom. 12.18. so that by changing the unpeaceable Disposition, and dry­ing up the fountain of our strifes, an Agreement in the Spirit would reconcile us.

8. Moreover, if we would all Agree in the spirit of Holiness, it [Page 250] would destroy that Carnal selfish di­sposition, and that end which is the dividing Interest, and take away the bone of our contentions. It is selfishness that causeth the great Divisions in Church and State, and sets the world together in wars and quarrels: Every unsanctified man is selfish: his self and selfish interest is more to him then God and his interest. And such men as these will never live with any man in peace, any longer then they may have their will and way. They will not agree with neighbours if self be but toucht by any. They will have the Magistrate when ever he would punish them. They will hate the Pastors of the Church if they faithfully discharge their of­fices, in reproving them, and cal­ling them to Repentance and such Confession as is necessary to their cure. If it were Father or Mo­ther, a selfish person cannot bear [Page 251] it, if they go against his selfish in­terest. Theres no living at peace with selfish men, if you do but cross them in their credit or profit or sensual delights: and this we must do, unless we will incur the displeasure of our Lord. We are cast upon an Impossibility of living in Peace with wicked men. For God hath commanded us to to re­buke them plainly, and not to suffer sin upon them. And if we disobey God to please men, it will cost us dearer then their favour can repay. But if we obey God and do our duty, we are as sure to be hated and reproached with the most, as that the earth is under our feet. Give a wicked selfish sinner as plain Scripture and Reason as can be gi­ven, and you shall not stir him from his selfish interest: If you punish him, or reprove him open­ly, or exercise Church-censures on him, or any way touch his carnal [Page 252] selfish interest, and when you have done go about to satisfie him with Reason, you may as well almost go Reason a hungry dog from his carrion, or Reason a Wolf into the nature of a Lamb, or Reason a Mastiff to be friends with a Bear. Many a tryal I have made; and many a time I have stopt their mouthes, and satisfied them in rea­son, that they ought to deny them­selves, and confess and forsake their sins, and yield to God (or made them confess so much at the least) But their selfish minds were no more satisfied, for all that, then if I had never spoken to them. Scripture is no Scripture, nor Rea­son is no Reason to them; nor God shall be no God to them, if self do but contradict it; and that is, when ever he contradicteth self. They can no more believe and Like, and Love that doctrine or duty or counsel or course of [Page 253] life that crosseth self, and calls them to any great self-denial, then a child can love to be corrected. So that self being so certain a Peace-breaker and disturber of the world; and yet being the Reign­ing Principle in all that are unsan­ctified, you may easily see that this is the hindrance of our Vnity and Concord; and that sanctification must needs be the Principal remedy. For sanctification is the destructi­on of selfishness, and teacheth men self-denial, and centreth all men in one Interest which is God. A­mong the unsanctified there are as many Ends and Interests as Men: For every one of them hath a self to Please: And then what Unity can there be? But the sanctified are all United in God, as their common Principle, End and All: and therefore must needs be re­conciled.

9. Moreover, if we could but [Page 254] all Agree in the Spirit of Holiness, We should then overcome that pride and self-conceitedness, that breaks our peace, and raiseth errors, and puts us into dissentions. What makes us all so hardly to Agree, and to be of so many minds and ways, but that every man naturally is proud and self-conceited, and wise in his own eyes, and confident of every fancy of his own? All his own Reasons seem strong to him: and Gods own Reasons do seem unrea­sonable to him: And can we ever agree with such men as these, that think themselves wiser then God and Scripture, and dare prefer the very folly of their own muddy brains, before the word and wis­dom of their Maker? Give these men as plain Scripture and Reason as you will, they have more wit (as they think) then to believe you; and what they want in Reason, they have in Pride and Self-conceit; and [Page 255] therefore your wisdom is folly to them. But now when the Spirit of Holiness comes, it takes them down, and abaseth and humbleth the proud and self-conceited, and makes them ashamed of the folly and weakness of their own under­standings, so that a man may speak to them now as to men of reason, and have a hearing and considerati­on of his words. A humble godly man is low in his own eyes; and therefore suspicious of his own un­derstanding, in doubtfull things; and therefore is more flexible and yielding to the truth; when others are so stiffened by Pride, that they are readier to deride the wisest that shall contradict them: If therefore we could but all Agree in Holy meekness and humility, what rea­dier way could there be in the world, to draw to an end of our differences and divisions!

10. Moreover, if we could but [Page 256] Agree in Holiness, it would free us from that uncharitableness that cau­seth our Disagreement in other things; and it would possess us with a special endeared Love one to ano­ther: And who knoweth not that Love is a uniting healing thing? Sanctification principally consisteth in Love to God and man, and this the unsanctifyed principally want. Its want of Love that makes men surmise the worst of one another, and make the worst of all that they say & do, and draw matter of con­tention from that which never gave them Cause. Love would put a bet­ter sence upon mens words and deeds, or at least would bear them far more easily. But instead of Love, there is a Natural Enmity in all that are unsanctified to all the servants and the ways of God. And can we ever be agreed with our Natural enemies? why Malice will so pervert their understandings, [Page 257] that all that we say or do will be misconstrued: and as a man that looks through a red glass thinks all things to be red that he looks up­on; so these men through the di­stemper of their malicious minds, will finde matter of quarrelling with all that we can say or do. Ill will never saith well. Our very o­bedience to the Law of God, and seeking to save our own souls, will be matter of quarrel, and taken to be our crime. If we will not run into Hell fire with them, and think there is no danger, when we know the contrary, it will be a fault sufficient for their malice to re­proach us with: so that if we should Agree with ungodly men, in all our Opinions of Religion; yet if we will not damn our souls, and make no bones of displeasing the great and dreadfull God, there is no Peace to be had with them. They have no Peace with God, and [Page 258] they have no solid Peace with themselves (for God hath professed that there is no peace to the wicked, Isa. 48.22.) And how then can we expect that they should have peace with us? But Sanctification doth beget that eff [...]ctual Love, that is as healing to a divided Church, or to disagreeing persons, as the most precious Balsom or Wound-selve is to bodily wounds. Love will not let you rest in wrath, but will keep you under smart and disquietness, till you are either at Peace, or have done your part to have procured it▪ Husband and Wife, Parents and Children, Brethren and Sisters do seldomer fall into greater dissenti­ons then strangers do: And when they do fall out they are easilier re­conciled. The Spirit of Grace doth possess unfained Christians, with as dear a love to one another, as is between the nearest Relations. For by our New birth the Saints are [Page 259] Brethren in Christ. If you saw an Army fighting, or a company of people quarrelling and scolding at one another, do you think there could be a readier way to make them all friends and end their quar­rels, then to possess them all with a dear and tender love to one ano­ther? If it were in my power to cause all contenders to Love those that they contend with as them­selves, do you think I should not soon agree them? Why, you know, if you know any thing in Christia­nity, that Sanctification causeth men to Love their Neighbors as themselves, and to Love one ano­ther with a pure heart fervently, 1 Pet. 1.22. For by this we know that we are passed from death to life, be­cause we love the Brethren: He that loveth not his Brother abideth in death, Joh. 3, 14. And therefore it is a case exceeding plain, that the readiest way in the world, to re­concile [Page 260] our lesser differences, is, to be united in the Spirit, and to A­gree upon a Holy Life.

11. Moreover, were we all uni­ted in the Spirit, We should have all one God, one Master of our Faith, and one Law-giver and Iudge of all our Controversies: And this would be an exceeding help to unity. The Principal cause of Divisions in the world, are the multitude of Rulers and Masters and Judges. For with unsanctified men, their own Con­ceits and Carnal Interest is their Counsellor and Judge. The Ru­lers of the world, that have the power of the sword, and can do them good or hurt in their estates, are the Masters of their Religion, more then God. They will follow this Man or that Man, that best plea­seth their fancies and fleshly de­sires; and so will never be of one minde. But Sanctification takes down all other Masters of our Faith, [Page 261] save Christ and those that declare his will. Let flesh and blood say what it will, let all the world say what they will, if God say the contrary, his word shall stand and be a Law to them. And can there be a readier way to Unity, then to bring us all into one School, and subject us all to one Lord and Ma­ster, and to bring us all to refer our differences to one most wise infal­lible Judge? Though we do not yet understand his will in all things, yet when we understand it in the main, and are resolved to search after the knowledge of the rest, it is a great preparative to our Agreement, when we all look but to one for the deciding of our controversies. Whereas the unsanctified have as many Judges and Guides, as per­sons; For every man is a Guid and Judge to himself.

12. Moreover, were we but once Agreed in Holiness, We should all [Page 262] have one Light for the ending of our differences: and that Light would be the true Infallible Light. For we should all have the same Holy word of God as the extrinsick Light, which is most True, as coming from the Lord of Truth: And we should all have the Spirit of Truth within, to teach us the meaning of that word without, and to help our un­derstandings, and assist us in the application, and destroy the cor­ruptions that blind us and hinder us from perceiving the Truth: Whereas the unsanctified are all in the Dark: and what wonder, if there they disagree, and are of ma­ny minds! They be not guided by the word and Spirit, and they are strangers to the Light that must Reconcile us, if ever we be recon­ciled. Its true, too true, that the godly are illuminated but in part, and therefore as yet they differ in part. But yet this imperfect illu­mination, [Page 263] doth more to a true and safe Agreement, then all the world can do besides. If you would stop your ears against the flesh, & yield all to the teachings of the word and Spirit, we should be sooner a­greed.

13. And if we were once Uni­ted in the Spirit and Holiness, We should all have the use and benefit of all the Reconciling, Healing means and Ordinances of God; which would be an exceeding great advantage to us. The unsanctified have but the outside, the sound, and shell of Or­dinances; but it is the Sanctified that have the light and life and fruit of them. Every Chapter that you read, and every Sermon that you hear, will do somewhat towards the healing of our breaches: It will further our Knowledge and our Love. The Communion of the Saints in all holy Duties, especially at the Lords Supper, when they [Page 264] partake of one Christ, will enflame their Love, and humble them for their divisions, and soder and glue their hearts together, as being all one bread and one body: And so they will be all as of one heart and soul, Acts 4.32. 1 Cor. 10.16, 17. Acts 2.42, 43, 44, 46. When we hear of the tender Love of Christ to his weakest members, how can we choose but love them if we be his Disciples! When we hear how much, and how freely he hath for­given us, how can we choose but forgive them! Mat. 18.35. When we have Communion with them in holy worship, as servants of the same Lord, as Members of the same body, how can we choose but have the affections of fellow-Members! 1 Cor. 12.26. When we joyn with them in Prayer, or holy Confe­rence, and perceive the fragrant odour of their Graces, and the holy breathings of their souls after [Page 265] God, we cannot choose but Love Christ in them. As the new Com­mandment so frequently pressed in the Gospel, is the Law of Love, (Ioh. 15.12, 17.) and the New Na­ture of the Saints is a Disposition of Love (for this they are taught of God effectually, 1 Thes. 4.9.) So the Ordinances do all of them exer­cise that Love, and engage us to it. We must leave our gift at the Al­tar, and go first and be reconciled to our Brother, if we remember he hath any thing against us, Matth. 5.23, 24. We must pray for for­giveness, but on condition that we do forgive. Differences and Divisi­ons that make a breach in Christian Charity, are so insufferable among the Saints, that they long for heal­ing, and smart as the wounded bo­dy doth, till the time of healing; and are pained as a bone out of joynt, till it be set again. And as they cannot bear it themselves [Page 266] (when they are themselves) so the Church cannot bear it, but is enga­ged to watch over them, and to set them in joynt again; so that God hath hedged in his Servants into one holy Society, that they should not straggle from him or from each other, and hath set Pastors over them for this very end, to guide them and keep them in holy Unity, Ephes. 4.11, 12, 13, 14. Now all these Uniting Healing Ordinances are effectual upon the Sanctified: for their hearts are open to them, and their New nature is suited to the new Commandment and work: But to others they are in a manner as Food or Physick to the dead: They hate the power of them; they break the holy Enclosure of Disci­pline, and proudly Rebel against their Guides: and say, Let us break their bands, and cast away their cores from us, Psal. 2.3. what must we be Ruled by such and such? It is but [Page 267] the outside of Sacraments, Praises and Prayers that they are acquain­ted with: and these have no such healing force. So that in this you see the great advantage that we should have for full agreement, if we were but once agreed in the main, and United by the Sanctify­ing Spirit.

14. Moreover, if once we were United in the Spirit, and in Holy­ness, We should manage all our dif­ferences in a holy manner, and be awakened and disposed to seek after healing in a healing way. It would put us upon enquiring after Peace, and studying the meetest terms of Peace, till we had found out the way in which we should accord. The Spirit of Love and Holiness would provoke us, to begin and seek for Peace with those that will not seek to us, and that seem averse to it; and to follow after peace, when it flyeth from us, Heb. 12, 14. and [Page 268] even to lie down at the feet of men, and deny our honour and worldly Interest, if it might procure Bro­therly love and peace. Whereas a proud unsanctifyed heart will scorn to stoop, especially to those that are below them, or have wronged them, and will scorn to ask for­giveness of those that they have wronged! When you have shewed them the plainest word of God for it, and perswaded them to it with undeniable reasons, you lose your labour, and may almost as well per­swade the fire to be cold. If you will stoop and humble your self to him, and ask him forgiveness, and give him the honour, or change your minde and be of his opinion, and say as he saith, and do as he would have you, perhaps you may have some Peace with the most un­godly man. But the servants of Christ have a spirit of Meekness and Humility and Self-denyal; and [Page 269] therefore if there be fallings out among them, they can humble themselves and seek for reconcilia­tion. If there be difference in Judgement about any weighty matters, they will go or send to one another as Brethren, and confer about it in Love and meekness, and search the Scripture, and seek after Truth, and compare their eviden­ces, and Pray together for that Light and Love that must Recon­cile them: If they fall out, they can say to one another [We are Brethren, and must not Live at a di­stance, nor suffer any wounds in our Affections, or any breach of Charity to remain: The Sun must not go down upon our wrath: Come, l [...]t us go together in private, and beg of God that he would repair our Love, and reconcile us, and prevent such breaches for the time to come.] And thus they can pray themselves friends again. I am perswaded that [Page 270] one quarter of an hours fervent Prayer, would do more to quiet our distempered minds, and re­concile us, if thus we would get together in private, then many hours debates without it. Now the Spirit of holiness, is a Spirit of Prayer; and therefore disposeth the servants of Christ, as meekly and lovingly to search for Truth, so earnestly to pray themselves into Agreement.

15. Moreover, were we once United in the Spirit, We should be under the Promise of Divine assist­ance, which the unsanctified have no part in. When we Pray for Light and Peace and Concord, we have a promise to be heard and helpt, at least, in the time and measure as shall be fittest; we have a promise of the Spirit to be our Teacher, and to lead us into Truth: We have promises for the maintaining and repairing of our healing Graces, [Page 271] and our Communion-Graces; our Love to Christ and one another; our Patience and Meekness and the rest. Aud this must needs be a great advantage to Unity and Agree­ment. For God is partly engaged for it.

16. And if we were United in the Spirit and Agreed in the main, The Great Truths which we are agreed in would very much direct us, to find out the rest which yet we dif­fer in. For these have an influence into all the rest; and the rest are all connext to these, and also linkt and knit together, that we may finde out many by the help of one. All holy Truths do befriend each other; but especially the Great and Master points which the rest depend upon, and flow from: There is no way to a right Agreement in other points, but by agreeing first in these Fun­damental Rudiments.

17. Also, if we were once A­greed [Page 272] in Holiness, we should have that continually within us and before us, that would much take us off from vain contendings, and from an over­zealous minding of sm [...]ller things. We should have so much to do with God in holy Duties, and so much to do with our own hearts in searching them, & watching them, and exciting them, and mending them, reproving and correcting them, supporting and comforting them by the application of the Pro­mises, that we should have less time for quarrelling, and less minde of it then the unsanctifyed have. We should have so many great and practical Truths to digest and live upon, that lesser and unnecessary matters, which are the common causes of Contention, would find less room: Or at least, we should allow each Truth its due proporti­on of our study and talk and zeal: and so that lesser would have com­paratively [Page 273] so small a share, and be so exceeding seldom and remissly medled with, that their would be the less danger of Conten­tions.

18. Yea, if once we were united in the Spirit, the very forethought of an Everlasting Vnion in Heaven, would have a continual influence up­on our hearts, for the healing of our breaches. We should be thinking with our selves [Shall we not short­ly be all of one mind and heart! and all be perfected with the blessed visi­on, and Reconciling Light of the face of God! There will then be no dissention or division, or unbrotherly censures, or separations. And should we now live so unlike our future life! Shall we now be so unlike to what we must be for ever! Shall we now cherish those heart-burnings and dissentions, that must not enter with us into Heaven, but be cast off among the rest of our miseries, and [Page 274] shut out with the rest of our enemies, and hated for ever by God and us? Must we there be closed in perfect Love, and be all imployed in the same holy Praise of God and our Redeemer; and does it beseem us now to be censuring, contending and separating from each other? Thus the belief of the Life to come, will be a more effectual means with the godly for Agreement, then any that unsanctified men can use.

19. Moreover, they that have the Spirit of Holiness, have a dear and special Love to Truth as well as unto Peace. And therefore they have a great advantage for the re­ceiving of it in all debates: and consequently they are fairer for a just Agreement. They are friends with the most searching spiritual truths: But the ungodly have at enmity to all that Truth that would shew them their sin and mi­sery and duty, and make them ho­ly [Page 275] and lead them up from the crea­ture unto God. And as the Pro­verb is, He that would not know, cannot understand. When you deal with a wicked graceless heart, you do not set Reason against Reason (for it that were all, we should soon have done) but you set Reason against Will and Passion and Ap­petite and fleshly Interest: and when you have convinced them, you are little the neerer prevailing with them. You may as well think to satisfie a hungry belly with Reasons, or to tame a wild beast with Reasons, or to humble the Proud, and bring the sensual per­son to self-denial, by all your Rea­sons, For they Love not the Truth, because they Love not the Duty that it would perswade them to, and because they Love the sin that it would take from them. There are two sorts of Satan in a wicked man that none but God can batter, [Page 276] so as to win them: that is, A Proud and Ignorant mind, and a Hard and sensual Heart. Many a year have I been battering them by the Word of God, from this place, and yet with many can do no good. But the sanctified heart that Lo­veth the Truth will meet it, and welcome it, and thankfully enter­tain it. Love maketh a diligent hearer, and a good schollar, and giveth us hope that informations and debates may be succesful. A godly man is so far from hating truth and flying from it, that he would give all the riches of the world to purchase it: He prayes and reads and studyeth for it: and therefore hath great advantage to attain it.

20. Moreover, if we were all Agreed in Holiness, and united in the Spirit of Christ, we should Love the Truth in a Practical manner, and we should know that every [Page 277] Truth of God hath its proper work to do upon the soul; and therefore we should Love the end of each Truth, better then the Truth it self. And therefore we could not pretend the Truth a­gainst the Ends of Truth. And therefore we should see to the se­curity of those ends in all our de­bates and controversies. We should not make havock of the Church of Christ, nor easily be guilty of divisions, nor quench our Love of God and of our Brethren, under pretence of standing for the Truth; which unsanctified men will easily do. Truth is for Holiness and Love as its proper end. Ungodly men will tread down Love and Ho­liness, or at least disadvantage it and hinder it in the world, for the exalting of their own conceits, un­der the name of truth. They will cure the Church by cutting it in pieces, or by cutting the throat of [Page 278] it, and are presently dismember­ing for every sore: But with the godly it is not so.

21. Moreover, the sanctified have a great advantage for Agree­ment, in that they have hearts that are subject to the Truth, and will be True to it when they understand it. Did they but know the right way, they would presently walk in it. Nothing is so dear to them that should not be forsaken for it, or sacrificed to it. But the wicked are false to the Truths which they are acquainted with. They hold it or imprison it in unrighteous­ness, Rom. 1.18. and therefore is wrath revealed against them. They like not to retain God in their know­ledge; and therefore God doth oft give them up to a reprobate mind, Rom. 1.28. They receive not the truth in the love of it that they might be saved: no wonder therefore if God give them up to [Page 279] strong delusions to believe a lye, that all they might be damned that belie­ved not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness, 2 Thes. 2.10, 11. When they know the Iudgement of God, that they that do such things are worthy of death; yet they do them and have pleasure in them that do them, Rom. 1.32. We may well think that God will sooner reveal his Truth to them that will obey it, then to them that will but bury it in the dunghil of a corrupted heart. And that he will rather hold the candle to his servants that will work by it, then to loyterers that will but play by it; or thieves, or fornicators, that had rather it were put out; or to enemies that would do mischief by it, and will throw away the candlesticks (the Ministers) and put the candle into the thatch. Is there not many an ungodly person that hears me this day, that is convinced in his con­science [Page 280] that a holy life is best, and yet will not follow it and obey his conscience? Are there not convi­ctions at the bottom, that the di­ligent heavenly Christian whom thou reproachest, is in a safer con­dition then thy self? and yet thou wilt not imitate such. Can you expect that God should acquaint such with his truth, that are so false to it?

22. If we were but all Agreed in true Holiness, we should have the great advantage of a tender con­science, together with an illumina­ted mind. For spiritual wisdom, with tenderness of conscience, is a great part of sanctification. And it is a great advantage in contro­versies and debates, to be wise and tende-conscienced: For wisdom makes men able to discern, and a tender conscience will make them afraid of mistaking and contradi­cting the truth: and will keep them [Page 281] from rashness, and unadvisedness, and levity; so that such an one dare not venture so easily upon new conceits, and will be more suspicious of himself, and of any thing wherein himself is much con­cerned. Especially if he see gr [...]at probabilities against it, or the judgment of the Universal Church, or of many wise and godly men against it, and see that its like to have ill effects; in all such cases a godly man will be tender-con­scienced, and therefore cautelous. But is it so with the ungodly? no: but clean contrary. None so bold as the blind. Solomons words de­scribe them exactly, Prov. 14.16. The fool rageth and is confident. If he be in an error, or entangled in any evil cause or way, you know not what to say to him for his recove­ry. The less he knows, the more he despiseth knowledge, and sets his face against his Teachers, as if [Page 282] they were but fools to him, and scorns to be Ruled by such as they whom God hath made his Rulers. Will you go to dispute or debate the case with one of these? why be sure of it, they will put you down and have the day. It would do a man good to dispute with a wise and learned or sober rational man, and to be overcome by Rea­son and by Truth: But no man will have so sure a conquest against you, as he that hath the least of sense or reason. He will go away and boast that you could not con­vince him: As if a mad man should boast that the Physicians could not all of them cure him. An obstre­perous proud selfconceited fellow, will never yield to the clearest rea­son, nor never be put down. We have a Proverb, that Ther's no gaping against an Oven, especially if it be hot. If he have passion as well as ignorance, and a tongue, [Page 283] he will have the best. He that speaks nonsence sayth nothing while he seems to speak. These men have the faculty of saying no­thing an hour or two together in abundance of words. And there's no confuting a man that saith no­thing. Nonsence is unanswera­ble, if there be but enough of it. Who would dispute against a pair of bagpipes, or against a company of boyes that whoote at him! If you will make a match at barking or biteing, a curre will be too hard for you: And if you will try your skil or strength at kicking, a horse will be too hard for you. And if you will contend with multitude of words, or by rage and confi­dence, a fool will be too hard for you (as you may see by Solomons descriptions and by daily experi­ence) But if you will dispute by equal sober Reasoning, it is only a wiser man by evidence of Truth [Page 284] that can overcome you: And to be thus overcome is better then to conquer: For you have the better if Truth overcome you; and you have the worse if you overcome the truth.

So that you may easily perceive what an exceeding hindrance to Unity and Peace it is to have to do with ungodly persons, that are blind and proud, and brazen-faced, and of feared consciences, that fear not God, and therefore dare say anything, as if they could out­face the truth, and the God of Truth. But the sanctified have Illuminated minds, and therefore are the more capable of further information; and they have tender consciences, and therefore dare not be unadvised and contentious, and strive against the light; and therefore have great advantage for Agreement.

23. And if all these Advanta­ges [Page 285] should not yet so far prevail as to bring us up to a full Agree­ment, yet if we be but united in the Spirit and a Holy life, we should be the more easily able to bear with one another under all our lesser dif­ferences, until the time of full A­greement come. We should hold our differences (as Brethren their diversity of statures and complexi­ons, or at least as common human frailties) with Love and compas­sion, and not with hatred and di­visions▪ We should Lovingly con­sult together upon Rules or terms on which we might manage our unavoidable differences, to the least disadvantage to the cause of Christ and to the common Truths that we all maintain, and to the work of God for other mens con­version, and to the least advan­tage to sin and Satan and the ma­lice of ungodly men. And I think this is a fair Agreement for Imper­fect [Page 286] persons, short of Heaven; to have Unity in the Spirit, and A­greement in things of greatest weight, and to bear with one ano­ther in smaller matters, and ma­nage our differences with meek­ness and with Peace.

24. Lastly, If all this be not enough, there is yet more for our encouragement. 1. If we are but once United in the Spirit, and Agree in an Holy heart and life, we have the infallible promise of God that we shall shortly all arrive in Heaven at the place and state of full perfection, where all our differences will be ended, and we shall be per­fectly Agreed in mind and will, being One in him that is the only Center of Universal Peace and Concord. And its a great com­fort to us in our darkness and dif­ferences, that we are in the sure and ready way to perfect light and Harmony of mind. 2. Yea and [Page 287] till we do come thither, we are still on the mending hand; and if we do but thrive in Holiness, we shall certainly thrive in Concord and in Peace. And its a comfort to a sick man, not only to be cer­tain of a full recovery, but to feel himself daily on the mending hand. 3. And in the mean time God him­self will bear with all our differen­ces, though not so far as to ap­prove or cherish them, yet so far as to own us for his children, though we are too often falling out with one another; and so far as to pitty our frailty and infirmi­ty, and to pardon us, and deal as a Father with us: And if our quar­rels cause him to use the rod, it is but to keep us in quietness after­wards; that as we had the taste of the four fruits of our contentions, so we may after have the quiet fruits of righteousness.

And thus I have given you in [Page 288] four and twenty particular disco­veries, a sufficient Proof, that A Vnity in the Spirit, and an Agree­ment in Holiness, hath abundant advantages for our further Agree­ment in lowers things; and such as all other men are destitute of; and therefore that there is no way pos­sible for a just, a safe, a durable Agreement, but that we all Agree in a Holy life, and be United in the sanctifying Spirit of Christ.

BUt perhaps you will Object; If all this be so, whence comes it to pass that there are so many diffe­rences still among those that you call the sanctified? Do we not see that they are more contentious, and divi­ded into partyes, and make more stir about Religion then any others?

Answ. 1. The differences a­mong the godly, are nothing for [Page 289] number, or greatness, or weight, in comparison of yours. I have shewed you in my Discourse of the Catholick Church, twenty great and weighty points in which they all agree together, and in which the ungodly agree not with them. What if they agree not, whe­ther Church-Government should be exercised by the Elders only, the flock consenting; or by all the flock, the Pastours Guiding? Or whether One among the Pastours should be of a superior Degree, or of a superior Order, or whether they should only be of the same Degree and Order, though cho­sen to preside and moderate for the time? What if one think that its Necessary to read the publick Prayers out of a Book; and ano­ther think its necessary to pray without book; and a third more truly thinks it is in it self indifferent whether it be within book or with­out? [Page 290] with other suchlike differen­ces as these, which will keep no man out of Heaven. Are these like our differences with ungodly men? Our differences with you are, Whether Heaven or Eath is chiefly to be loved and sought after? Whether Grace and Holiness, or sin and carelesness be the better? whe­ther it be the more sweet and desi­rable life, to be heavenly minded and live in the Love and Service of God, and to be much in holy communion with him, and medi­tating upon his Law, and upon the Life to come; or on the contrary, to live to the world and to the flesh? whether it be better to o­bey the Word of God, and his Ministers that speak it in his name; or obey our fleshly desires and the proud conceits of ignorant minds? In a word, our difference with the ungodly, though they will not confess it and speak out, is plainly [Page 291] this, whether Heaven or Earth be better? and whether God be God and shall be our God? and whether Christ be Christ and shall be our Christ? and whether the Holy Ghost shall be our sanctifier? or whether we shall live after the flesh and Rule our selves, against the Will and Word of God? and so in effect, whe­ther God be God, and man be man? and whether we should live as men or as beasts? and so whether we should choose Salvation or Damnation? If you could but understand your selves, and the depth of your de­ceitful hearts, you would see that here lyeth the difference. For though some of the unsanctified have a fair and plausible deport­ment, and will speak handsomly of the Christian Religion, because they have had ingenuous Christian education; yet all this is indeed but little more then formal com­plement, so far are they from a [Page 292] Heavenly mind and a heart that's truly set on God, as their careless lives, and carnal unsavory confe­rence sheweth, if not their scorns at a state of Holiness. So that our differences are nothing in comparison of the difference with you.

2. Moreover, the servants of God do mind the matters of Reli­gion more seriously then others do; and therefore their differen­ces are brought to light, and made more observable to the world. Their very heart is set upon these heavenly things, and therefore they cannot make light of the smallest truth of God; and this may be some occasion of their dif­ference: Whereas the ungodly differ not about Religion, because they have heartily no Religion to to differ about: They trouble not themselves about these matters, because they do not much regard [Page 293] them. And is this a Unity and peace to be desired? I had rather have the discord of the Saints, then such a concord of the wic­ked. They are so careful about their duty that they are afraid of missing it in the least particular; and this (with their Imperfect light) is the reason of their di­sputings about these matters. But you that are careless of your du­ty, can easily agree upon a way of sin, or take any thing that comes next to hand. They honour the Worship of God so much, that they would not have any thing out of order; but you set so little by it, that you will be of the Reli­gion that the King is of, let it be what it will be: And its easy to agree in such an ungodly careless course. Astronomers have many controversies about the positions and motions of the heavens▪ and all Philosophers have many con­troversies [Page 294] about the matter of their Sciences: when ignorant men have none of their contro­versies, because they understand not, and therefore regard not the things that the learned differ a­bout. And will you think ever the better of Ignorance, or ever the worse of Learning for this? The controversies of Lawyers, of Historians, Chronologers, Geo­grapherr, Physicians, and such like, do no never trouble the brains of the ignorant: But for all that, I had rather be in Controversie with the Learned, then without such controversie with you. If you scatter a handful of Gold or Diamonds in the street, perhaps men will scramble for them, and fall out about them, when swine will trample on them and quietly despise them, because they do not know their worth: will you there­fore think that swine are happier [Page 295] then men? The Living are vext with strifes and controversies, a­bout almost all the matters in the world; when the dead carkasses in the grave lie still in peace, and are not troubled with any of these differences. And will you say therefore that the dead corps is happyer then the living? Sirs, the case is very plain, if you will see, that thus it is as to the matter in hand. It is a Death in sin, and complyance with the times and carnal Interest, and a disesteem of spiritual holy things, that is the cause of the Agreement of the wicked. But the godly know the worth of the things that you set light by, and therefore make a greater matter of them then you, and therefore no wonder if they have more debates and controver­sies about them.

3. And this also is another Rea­son of the difference. It is the In­terest [Page 296] of Satan to Divide the ser­vants of Christ, but to Keep his own in Unity and Peace: and therefore he will do what he can to accomplish it. He knows that a Kingdom divided cannot stand: And therefore he will do his worst to Divide Christs Kingdom, and to keep his own from being divi­ded. By a deceitful Peace it is that he keeps his servants to him. And by casting among them the matter of contentions and divisions he hopeth to get Christs followers from him. So that the Devil him­self is the promoter of your Uni­ty and Concord, but the destroyer of ours; and therefore no won­der if you have fewer differen­ces.

4. Besides, the way that un­godly men go in, is so suited to the common corruption of nature, that it is no wonder if they be all agreed. All the world can agree [Page 297] to eat and drink and sleep: And therefore all the sensual sinners in the world may easily agree upon an overloving of meat and drink and sleep, and so of riches and honours and pleasures. And as its easy, so it is not much desirable; no more then if you should all a­gree to cast your selves headlong into the Sea: when every house is infected with the Plague, there is an Agreement among them: But had you not rather be one of those that, disagree from them? But to Agree in a holy heavenly life, is contrary to corrupted nature; and therfore no marvail if it be more difficult. When a Physician hath an hundred Patients in hand, he may easily get them all to Agree to eat and drink that which they desire: But if he require them to forbear the things that they most Love, because they will hurt them, the understanding sort will agree to [Page 298] him, but so will not the rest. In a rotten house, the fall of one bearer may occasion the fall of all the house; because their weight in­clines them downward: But if you take up one stone and cast it upward, all the rest of the stones in the heap, will not flie up­ward with it. Its easier to draw others with us down hill, then up the hill.

5. And it is considerable that the differences among the servants of Christ, are not alwayes from themselves, but from the ungodly enemies that contrive their dissen­tions, and set them together by the ears, that they may fish in troubled waters, and the better attain their wicked ends. It is the en­vious man that soweth these tares while we are asleep, and casteth in this wildfire among us.

6. Moreover, one of the grea­test causes of the troublesome [Page 299] breaches and divisions in the Church, is because there are so many unsanctified persons among us, that seem to be of us, and to be truly godly, when it is not so. You think it is the godly that have these divisions, when the most and worst of all our Divisions proceed from the ungodly that have an un­sound and unrenewed heart, un­der the cloak of piety and zeal: For if they were truly gracious persons, they durst not do as ma­ny of them do. 1. They durst not so rashly and easily venture on novelties as they do, without de­liberation and reading and hear­ing what can be said on the other side. 2. They durst not so easily make a division in the Church of Christ. 3. Nor so easily cast a stumbling­block before the weak; and mat­ter of reproach to our Christian profession before the wicked. 4. Nor durst they so easily reproach [Page 300] and condemn and cast off the una­nimous faithful Ministers of Christ. 5. Nor durst they so easily censure the universal Church in former ages, as many of them do. 6. Nor durst they sacrifice the success and honour of the Gospel and the com­mon acknowledged Truths, and the saving of mens souls thereby, to their private opinions, and ends. 7. Nor durst they make so great a breach in Charity, nor so arro­gantly condemne or slight their brethren, whose piety and sober­ness they cannot deny. These with many other evidences, do let us know that ungodly men crept in among us, are the causes of most of our most dangerous divisions. And will you lay the blame of this upon Religion, which the Devil and the secret enemies of Religion do perform? Its your d [...]shonour and not ours: For these men are of your party, though they seem [Page 301] to be of us. Satan knows well enough, that if he have not some of his followers to be spies in Christs Army, and to raise muti­nies there and betray the rest, he is like to be the more unsucces­ful in his attempts, Was Iudas more a dishonour to Christ, or to the Devil? He was among the fol­lowers of Christ indeed; but he told them beforehand of him, that he was a Devil; and he never be­trayed Christ till Satan had en­tered into him.

7. Lastly, the Saints themselves are sanctified but in part, and ma­ny in a low degree; and being Imperfect in Holiness, must needs be as Imperfect in holy Unity and Peace It is not their Holiness that causeth their contentions, but the remnants of their sin. And there­fore its but small credit to the way of sinners. Were we but perfect­ly rid of the vices which you che­rish, [Page 302] and perfectly separated from the waies that you so much delight in, and had we no remnants of your disease and sinful nature in us, we should then have perfect Unity and Peace. Do you think that its long of our Religion, that we dis­agree? No: if we were but per­fectly Religious we should be per­fectly agreed. It is because we are Holy in no greater a measure, and not because we are Holy at all. It is not because of the way of God­liness that we have chosen; but because we walk no faster, and no more carefully in that way. It is our too oft stepping out of it, and not our walking in it, that break­eth our Peace with God and man, and our own consciences. Search all the Scripture, and see where you can find, that ever God en­couraged his servants to divisions. No: but on the contrary he oft and earnestly cries them down, [Page 303] and warneth all his followers to avoid them, and the causers and fomenters of them. There was never Master so much for Unity as Christ, and never was there a Law or a Religion that did so much condemne Divisions, and com­mand brotherly Love, and Peace and concord, and forbearing and forgiving one another, as the Christian Law and Religion doth. And will you yet say that our Di­visions are long of our Religion, or of Christ the author of it? You may as wisely say, that eating is the cause of weakness, because that some are weak for all their meat. But you will find that none can live without it. Or you may say as wisely that Physicians are the causes of the diseases of the world, because they do not cure them all. I tell you there is none in all the world that have done so much for Unity and Peace, as [Page 304] Christ hath done. No: all the world set together have not done half so much for it as he. He hath preached Peace and Unity, for­giving and forbearing and Loving one another, yea Loving our ene­mies; and he hath gone before us in the perfect practice of what he taught. He hath offered himself a Sacrifice to the Justice of his Fa­ther, that by his blood he might reconcile us unto God. He is the great Peacemaker between God and man, between Jews and Gen­tiles, taking away the enmity, and becoming himself the Head of our Unity; and giving us One Spirit, one faith, one baptism, that we might be One in him who is One with the Father. So that to charge the Center of Unity with our Di­visions, and the Prince of Peace himself with our Discords, or his holy Word or waies with our Dis­agreements, is all one as to charge [Page 305] the Sun with Darkness, and to say that our Law-givers and Laws are the causes of theft and murder and Adultery, which condemne them to death that are proved guilty of them. The cause of all our disa­greements and divisions, is, be­cause we are no more Holy then we are, and because we are no more Religious. So that I may leave it now as a Proved Truth that we must Unite in the Spirit, and Agree in Holiness of Heart and life, if ever we will have true Unity and Agreement.

AND now Sirs, you have seen the only way of Unity ope­ned to you: Its plain and past all doubt before you. If yet you will divide from God and his servants, and if yet you will be numbered with the straglers or quarrellers, [Page 306] do not say but Peace was opened and offered to you. Do not say, You could not have Peace, but that you would not. Do not say any more hereafter, that there were so many Religions and so many waies that you could not tell which to joyn with! Never more pre­tend the differences of the godly as a cloak for your ungodliness. I have opened the nakedness of such pretences. You shall not be able when your lives are scan'd, to look God in the face with such an unreasonable impudent pretence. Your consciences and the world shall then be witnesses of your shame; that while you cryed out of Sects and heresies, and were of­fended at the Divisions of the Church, it was your selves that were the cause of it: It was you and such as you that were the great Dividers; and that obsti­nately proceeded in your Divisi­ons, [Page 307] when the way of Peace was opened to you; and would not be United in the Spirit to Christ, nor would not Agree in Holiness with his Church, when you were ac­quainted that there was no other way to Peace. Would you but have joyned in a firm and everla­ling Covenant to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, as your on­ly Creator, Redeemer and Sancti­fyer, as members of the Holy Ca­tholick Church, and have lived in the Communion of the Saints, you should have received the For­giveness of sins, the Resurrection of the just, and Everlasting Life: But in refusing, and obstinate re­fusing these, you refused all your hopes of Blessedness, and wilfully cast your selves on the wrath of God: and therefore must endure it for ever.

THE last Advice that I have to give, upon the ground of this Doctrine, is, To all that are United in the Spirit, and Agreed upon an Holy life. I mean to say but little to you now; but briefly to tender you these two requests.

1. I beseech you Christians but to live as Christians, in that holy Unity as your principles and pro­fession do engage you to. Hath true Christianity and Holiness such abundance of advantages against division, and yet will you be guilty of it? Against all these bonds and healing principles and helps, will you be dividers? Doth it not grieve you and even break your hearts, to hear ungodly persons say that Professors are of so many minds and partyes, that they know not which of them to follow? and [Page 309] that we had never concord since you bore sway? O do not seek by your contentious wayes, to per­swade people that Holiness is a di­viding thing, and that Religion doth but tend to set the world to­gether by the eares. Is it not a precious mercy to us of this place, that we have among us but one Church, and one Religion, and and have not Church against Church, and Christian against Christian! I charge you from the Lord that you be thankful for this benefit; and that you look upon divided places, and compare their case with yours, that if ever di­viders come amongst you, the sense of your felicity in this blessed Unity may cause you to reject them; and that you do not suffer any Dalilah to rob you of your strength and glory. Were you but once here in pieces among your selves, what a scorn would you be [Page 310] to all the ungodly? what sport would it be to them, to hear you disputing against one another, and reproaching and condemning one another, as bitterly as the wicked do reproach you all? Do you not pitty those places where divisions have made Religion to be a scorn, and the tender Love and Unity of the Saints is turned into unchari­table censures and separations? Take warning then that you come not to the like. If you should, you would be as unexcusable as any People in the world, because you have tryed and tasted so much of the sweetness and benefits of Unity as you have done: shew men by your lives, that Holiness is the most certain way to Unity, as ever you desire either to propa­gate Holiness, or to have any evi­dence of it in your selves.

2. Judge by this undoubted truth, of any doctrine that shall [Page 311] be offered you, and of the wayes of men and of your selves.

1. Suspect that doctrine that tendeth to divisions in the Church. If it be not for Unity, it is not of God, Rom, 16.17. Christ came to heal and reconcile, and is the Prince of Peace; and therefore sendeth not his servants on a con­trary errand. He will justifie your dividing from the unbelieving world; but he hateth dividing a­mong his servants. He that's for Church-division, is not (in that) for Christ or you.

2. What ever holiness they may pretend to, adhere not to those men, and think not too highly of them that are for Divisions among the Churches, or servants of the Lord. You'l see them repent, or come to shame and confusion at the last. You flie from Christ, if you flie from Unity.

3. Think not that you have any [Page 312] more of the Spirit or of Holiness, than you have of Love to the Uni­ty of the Saints. It is the spirit of Satan and not of Christ that leadeth you to Church-divisions: It is a counterfeit Holiness that maketh you not desirous of Unity with all the Saints. If you be not first pure and then peaceable, your wisdom is not from above. As you would all take that man to be an enemy to Holiness, that is an enemy to Chastity, Temperance or common honesty; So have you reason to think of him that is an enemy to the Churches Unity and Peace. Shew that you have the Spirit by the Unity of the Spirit: and shew that you are Holy by lo­ving the Union and Communion of the Saints.

Rom. 14.1.

Him that is weak in the Faith re­ceive ye, but not to doubtful Dis­putations.

I Have already proved to you in the foregoing Discourse. 1. That the true Unity of the Church of Christ is a Unity of the Spirit, and that the unsanctified are the causes of our Divisions. 2. That a Unity in meer Profession, is but a low and miserable Unity, which will not sa­tisfie nor serve the turn. 3. That a Unity in the Spirit of Holiness, is a great advantage for the healing of all our lesser differences, or that we may do well for all those differen­ces, if we are truly sanctified. I come now to the fourth and last part of my Discourse, which is to [Page 314] shew you, that It is not the will of God that the Vnity of his Church should consist in things indifferent, or in the smaller matters, or in points of doubtfull Disputation. To which end I have chosen this Text, in which Paul doth purposely and plainly lay down this point, in or­der to the reconciling of a differ­ence that was then among the Ro­mans; I shall not now stand to dis­cuss whether the weak that Paul here speaks of, were some Christi­ans tainted with a Pythagorear▪ conceit, and guilty of some exces­sive Austerities (which some have thought, 1. Because here is no men­tion of Circumcision, 2. and be­cause they are said to eat herbs on­ly) or whether it were some Con­verts of the Jews, that scrupled the forsaking of their ancient Ce­remonies (which is the common and likelier Exposition.) 1. The per­son here spoken of is [Him that i [...] [Page 315] weak in the Faith] that is, who is yet so ignorant in the Doctrine of [...]aith, as not to know that these Ceremonies are abolished, or these matters are no part of duty, which he placeth duty in; and consequent­ly, who is so weak in Conscience as that he dare not omit the observa­tion of these days and Ceremonies. The Points in which the weakness of these persons is said to be mani­fested, are, 1. In their abstaining from flesh, and eating herbs, 2. In their observation of certain days as Holy.

2. The thing commanded is, that these persons for all their weakness be Received, that is, 1. Into bro­therly internal Charity. 2. Into Christian external Communion. For it seems, that by reason of this their weakness, there grew Divisions in the Church. The weak were so self­conceited, as to censure the strong, because they did not observe their [Page 316] Ceremonies. And the strong were too contemptuous of the weak, and made light of them as a super­stitious people, unfit for their Com­munion: Paul chides them both: the weak for censuring the strong, and the strong for contemning the weak: and commandeth that for the future, the weak forbear his judging, and the strong Receive the weak whom they contemned, and so that they joyn in in­ward Love, and external Commu­nion.

3. And he addeth this caution, for the manner of their reception and behaviour, that it must not be [to doubtfull Disputations] either to the censuring of one another, or to unseasonable uncharitable con­tendings and disputes, about these smaller things. Three things Paul seemeth to suppose in the matter of their controversie. 1. That they were matter of some Indifferency. [Page 317] 2. That they were small, and of lowest consideration in Religion. 3. That to the weak they were so dark and doubtfull, as to be the matter of Disputes. But for all these, he would have no breach in their Charity or Communion.

One doubt we must not over­p [...]ss: And that is, How this will stand with what he saith in the E­pistle to the Galathians. Here he saith [Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not: One man esteem­eth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike: Let every man be fully perswaded in his own minde:] But there he saith [Ye ob­serve days and moneths, and times, and years; I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain, Gal. 4.10, 11.] And of Cir­cumcision, Gal. 5.2, 3. [Behold I Paul say unto you, If ye be Cir­cumcised, Christ shall profit you no­thing; for I testifie again to every [Page 318] man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole Law.] [...]or the understanding of this you must observe, 1. That there is a great difference between Circumcision, and the Ceremonies here spoken of. 2. And between the outward act of Circumcision, and the Sacra­ment of Circumcision as appointed by God. 3. And there is a great difference between the using it as necessary to Justification, and the using the outward part only for some lawfull end. 4. And between the time when the Gospel was but newly revealed, and the time when it was oft and fully declared to the world. 5. And between those that are ignorant for want of full infor­mation, and those that are obsti­nate after long instruction. 6. And between those that scruple the o­mission of such Ceremonies them­selves; and those that would ob­trude them as necessary upon o­thers. [Page 319] Observing these distincti­ons, you may see the difficulty plainly resolved, as followeth, 1. In this Text, Rom. 14. Paul speaketh not of Circumcision, but of meats and days only. For Cir­cumcision engaged men further to Moses Law, then these single Ce­remonies. 2. When Paul saith, he was afraid of the Galathians, be­cause of their observation of days and weeks, and moneths, he means because they still adhered to the a­brogated Law, after so long and plain Instruction. 3. And though he circumcised Timothy, Acts 16.3. and yet speak against it, Gal. 5.2, 3. the difference of the Cases is exceeding great. For 1. It was but the out­ward Circumcision of the flesh that he used with Timothy (as with one that did not intend by it any en­gagement to Moses, or necessity of it to Justification.) But it was the entire Sacrament of Circumcision [Page 320] which was pretended to continue necessary, by the false Teachers, and which he exhorted the Gala­thians to refuse. And Circumcisi­on as a Sacrament, doth signifie two principal things. 1. An Engagement to and profession of Faith in the Promised Seed, as promised and fu­ture. 2. An Engagement to Mo­ses Law (for this use it had after the Law was given.) Now when Christ was come, that man that would still be Circumcised into, and profess to expect a Messiah yet to come, and that would engage him­self to that Law, which contained the Types of a future Messiah, and was but a School-master to lead to Christ, I say that person that was thus Circumcised (as all were that received it according to the institu­tion) did plainly deny, that Christ was come, and therefore Christ could profit them nothing. But yet a man that used but the outward [Page 321] sign to avoid an impediment to the Gospel (as Paul did in the case of Timothy;) or if it were errone­ously as a meer Custom, as the A­bassines now do, might yet be saved by Christ nevertheless. 2. And when Paul used it, it was as an indifferent thing: but he condemned it as supposed necessary. 3. When he used it, it was in the beginning of the publication of the Gospel, that (as Austin speaks) he might give the Ceremonies an honourable bu­rial: But when he condemned it, it was after the full Publication of the abolition of the Law, against those that would have raked it out of the grave again. 4. He bore with it in the weak; but he con­demned it in the wilfull. 5. He bore with it in those that scrupled the forsaking it as they were Jews: but he condemned it in those that would have laid this yoke as necessary on the Gentiles.

[Page 322]Object. But it seems here that Paul is against the necessary observa­tion of the Lords day, when he is for esteeming all days alike.

Answ. If you understand the subject of the debate, you will understand his speech. It is only Jewish Holy­days that was the matter in Question, and therefore of these only is he to be under­stood. As for the Lords day, its plain in the New Testament, that Christ did not only rise upon it, and appear to his Disciples on it, and send down the Holy Ghost upon it▪ but that the Disciples presently af­ter Christs Resurrection, began their Religious Assemblies on it, and so continued them, by the guidance of the Holy Ghost; and so setled that day for the use of the Holy Assemblies of the Church, calling it the Lords day, Ioh. 21.19, 26. Act. 2.1. & 20.7. 1 Cor. 16.2. Rev. 1.10. And it is past all [Page 323] doubt in the History of the Church, that since the Apostles days till now, the Church hath constantly kept this day as thus established, by the name of the Lords day: which the Fathers called the Christian Sabbath, as they applyed the name of an Altar to the Table, and of a Sacrifice to the Supper of the Lord: so that he that will reject the obser­vation of the Lords day, must take on him to be wiser then the Holy Ghost in the Apostles, and then all the Catholick Church of Christ, from the beginning, till these con­tentious persons did arise.

The Text being thus explained, the Doctrine before mentioned is plain in it before us, viz.

Doctrine. IT is the will of God that the Vnity of the Church should not be laid upon indifferent, small, and doubtfull points: but [Page 324] that true Believers who differ in such things should notwithstanding have inward Charity and outward Com­munion with one another, not Cen­suring, nor despising, nor divi­ding from each other upon this ac­count.

In handling this point I shall briefly shew you, 1. What I mean by things indifferent; 2. What I mean by [smaller matters] 3. What by [doubtfull things or disputati­ons] And then I shall give you the Reasons of it, and then Ap­ply it.

1. For the Explication, 1. By [things indifferent] I do not mean [things hic & nunc, indifferent in the use] but [things that are not ordinarily in themselves either commanded as Duties, or forbid­den as sins, but left as Lawfull or In­different by the Scriptures, unless as some accident or circumstance [Page 325] may make them to be good or evil.

2. By [smaller matters] its none of my intent to perswade you that any thing that is but an appur­tenance to Faith or Piety is Abso­lutely small: But they are small in comparison of the far greater things, and so small that many are saved without them, and they are not of flat necessity to salvation; and the Greater matters must be preferred before them.

3. By [things doubtfull] I do not mean such as are not certainly re­vealed in the Scripture, nor yet such as perverse Heretical men do raise doubts about when they are plain in themselves: But I mean such points as are revealed certain­ly, but more darkly then the grea­ter points, and therefore cannot be so clearly known; so that the sum is this, 1. Indifferent things must not be taken to be Necessary, or [Page 326] sinful, but to be indifferent: 2. Lower and Lesser points must not be taken to be Greater or Weightier then they are. 3. Points of less certainty that are more darkly revealed; must not be taken to be more clear and certain to us, then they are. 4. And it is not on such darker smaller matters that God hath laid our salvation; or that the Churches U­nity and Peace dependeth.

II. FOr the fuller Demonstrati­on of this, let these Rea­sons be observed. 1. If our Unity were laid on these smaller matters, the multitude of them is such, that we should never Agree in all. The Essentials of Christianity are so few that all men may well be ex­pected to learn and know and en­tertain them. But the smaller points are so many that there is no hope [Page 327] of an universal Agreement in them all. You know in the Body of man or Beast, the great Master veins that are the stock of all the rest, are but a few; but follow them fur­ther, and you shall have so many Divisions, and sub-divisions, till you find them to be many hundreds or thousands. So is it with the Ar­teries, and with the Nerves. The Body of a Tree is but one, and the first division perhaps is but into two or three parts; but follow it to the very ends of the branches, and you may find many thousands. So is it in Divinity: And there­fore if none should be in Unity with the Church, but those that understand every branch of Chri­stian verity, what hope of Union could there be?

2. Moreover the smaller points are far less discernable then the greater be: and therefore there is the less hope that ever the [Page 328] Church should have Unity in these. The great armes of a Tree are easily discerned, when the ex­tremities of the branches are very small. The trunks of the master­veins are great and easily seen, but the points and capillar veins are so small, as hardly to be perceived. So God in mercy hath made very plain those few essential points of faith that salvation lyeth on: but if you follow on these generals to all the particulars and appurtenan­ces, you shall find them run so small as well as so many, as that it is impossible that Unity should consist in these.

3. Furthermore, if our Unity were laid on these, Religion would be for none but the learned, and (as the An­cients ordinarily argue against the Heathens that cavilled at the plain­ness of the Scripture) God should be then Partial, and should make a way to Heaven that poor men can­not [Page 329] go. For the poor cannot pos­sibly attain to so much Learning, and spend so much of their lives in study, as may bring them to the knowledge of all these lower dif­ficult points.

4. Yea if our Unity or Salvati­on lay on these, it is certain it would shut us out all, both from Unity and Salvation: so that there would no two be at Unity in all the world, and no One be saved. For all men on earth are Ignorant in many lesser truths, even such as are revealed to us in the Scripture, and we should endeavour to un­derstand. What man dare affirm that he understandeth every word of the Holy Scripture? Did the Pope himself think that he had at­tained to this Infallibility, he would ere this have written us an infalli­ble Commentary. If the best must say with Paul himself, we know but in part, then sure those smaller [Page 330] doubtful things which all the tru­ly sanctified know not, are not the matter of the Unity of the Church.

5. I have shewed in my Dis­course of the Catholick Church, that to shut out all from the Church and our Communion that differ from us in such lower things, is utterly against the design of Christ, and the tenour of the Gos­pel, and very dishonourable to him and to his Church: God hath more mercy then to shut out the weak: and will you dishonour him so far as to perswade the world, that he hath no such mercy. The design of the Gospel is Grace and Love! How tender was Christ even of his little ones that believe in him? How compassionate is he to them in their infirmities? And would you go about to perswade the world that he hath so little of this compassion, as that he will [Page 331] admit none to Heaven, or to the Communion of his Church but those that attain to Knowledge and Agreement in all these lesser doubtful Controversies, and in­different things? The Church is small enough already; but if you would cut off all, that do not Agree in every circumstance, you would make it small indeed. This is no better, then under pretence of Faith and Unity, to un-Church the Church, and damn your selves, and all the world.

6. The Arguments in the Text are very forcible, verse 3. [For God hath received him] As if he should say, Dare you despise or cast out him that God receiveth? ver. 4. Who art thou that judgest another mans servant? ver. 10. Why dost thou judge thy brother? or why dost thou set at naught thy bro­ther? we shall all stand before the judgement seat of Christ? The [Page 332] Church doth not censure men for small or doubtful things: nor must we condemn those that God doth not condemn.

7. The laying such stress on smaller things, doth multiply con­troversies, and fill the minds of men with scruples, and ensnare their consciences, and engage men in parties against each other to the certain breach of Charity, and ruine of the Peace of the Church, and of their souls. The fire of Contention will never go out for want of fewel, if unnecessary things be made necessary, and small things pretended to be great, & un­certain things pretended to be cer­tain. Abundance of vice will be daily set and kept at work, upon this borrowed stock.

8. And what a world of precious Time will be wasted by this means, while men are Studying and Rea­ding to maintain their own opi­nions; [Page 333] and when they must waste their hours when they are together, in Conferences and wrangling-Dis­putations, to the discomposing of their own and others minds, and certain troubling the Church of God! Oh what use have we for those precious hours, for surer, greater, and more needful things?

9. The things that our salvation and the Churches Peace are in­deed laid upon, are so great, so necessary, so pleasant, and so pro­fitable, that it leaveth us the more without excuse, to waste our time in things unnecessary. We have our great Creator to know and honour: we have the mysterie of Redemption to search into and ad­mire: we have the Nature, and Life, and Death, and Resurrecti­on, and Ascension, and Glorifica­tion, and Intercession of Christ to study and believe; and all the Love and Wisdom of God, the [Page 334] Mercy, and the Holiness, and Justice that was revealed in him: we have Judgment to prepare for; & all the Graces of the Spirit of Christ to be received, or cherished, increa­sed and exercised in our Souls. We have a Hell to scape, and a Hea­ven to obtain, and the foreseen glory of it to feed upon, for the strengthning and delighting of our Souls: we have many particular duties of Holiness and Righteous­ness to attend: And in the midst of all this great employment, should we make more work and trouble to our selves, and that a­bout unnecessary things?

10. These unnecessary or lower things, when once they are advan­ced above their ranck, do under­mine and wrong the greater mat­ters, which they pretended to be­friend. They divert the thoughts and speeches from them, and take up the affections, and will not be [Page 335] contented with their due propor­tion: but are, as the Proverb is, like a Begger on horse-back, that will never light. If men be but set upon Ceremonies, or private opinions of their own, they are upon it in all companies; and you shall sometimes have almost no­thing else from them. And that's not all; but the Interest of their unnecessary, or lower points, is ordinarily set up against the Inte­rest of that Body of Christian Verities which we are all agreed in; so that they can be contented that Christianity lose much advan­tage in the greater points, that their cause may be advantaged. If this were not so, we should not have had ceremonies & formalities have cast out such abundance of excellent Preachers heretofore: Nor private Opinions have set so many against the labours of faith­ful Ministers, as, to our grief and [Page 336] shame, we have lately seen: And the mischief is, that unnecessary things made necessary, do so involve the Imposers interest with their own, that they think they are Necessitated to drive them on, and see their Impositions obeyed, or else their wisdom or authority is [...].

[...]1. And thus they directly lead men to persecution, and occasion those that must needs have their wills, to Lord it over Gods heri­tage, (1 Pet. 5.3.) when the de­sire of being the Churches God, hath prevailed so far with any of its members, as to set them upon a course of Law-giving and domi­neering, and bringing others into a conformity to their wills; they look upon all men as sinners that disobey them, and think that their power will warrant them to force [...]edience to their commands, or [...] to deprive the Church of her [Page 337] Pastors. Many a Congregation have I known change Preachers for Ce­remonies; when as if Gods Will and Word in Necessary things to mens Salvation, had but been pre­ferred to the will and word of the Bishops, about things called Indif­ferent by themselves, the case had been altered; and they would ra­ther have let the ignorant have been without a Ceremony then a Sermon. It is the unhappy fate of almost all that are set upon unne­cessary things, that they cannot en­dure that others should have the liberty of differing from them. It is not enough to them to enjoy the freedom of their own Con­sciences, about meats, or holy­daies, or gestures or vestures, or other formalities, unless all others be compelled to do as they do. When they are but moved to com­ply with others, though plain Scri­pture and the practice of the Pri­mitive [Page 338] Cathilick Church be justly alledged for it, yet it moveth them little or nothing. But if others will not comply with them, they cry out against them as enemies to Unity and Peace; and say, It is not fit to suffer men to be of so ma­ny minds and waies. That is, It is fit all should be compelled to do as they would have them.

12. And another mischief that followeth the making unnecessary things to be Necessary, is, that it openeth a gap to so many more of the same kind, that no man knows how to stop it, nor when we have Ceremonies and inventions e­nough: But upon the same ground that these are brought in to day, the next Pope or Bishop thinks he may bring another tomorrow; and so we can never tell when we have all, nor when will be an end.

13. And then in the multitude of things unnecessary, we shall be [Page 339] in danger of losing the things that are necessary, they will be so buryed or obscured in the crowd: the sub­stance will scarce be perceived for the ceremony.

14. And me thinks it is such height of Pride for mortal men to arrogate such a power, and to de­sire and endeavour such a thing, that I wonder how they dare at­tempt it. I mean to make universal or unnecessary Laws for the Church in the matters of faith or wor­ship. Can a man that hath one spark of humility left in him, desire that his will may be a Law to all others, in doubtful or indifferent things? and proceed so far as to desire that none may have Liberty in the Church that are not of his opinion, or will not be ruled by him, in things indifferent or of no necessi­ty! Surely a man of any humility would think with himself, Am not I also imperfect in knowledge? and [Page 340] may I not be mistaken? what is my judgement that it should be a Law to the Church, and that I should be so highly conceited and confident of it, as to turn out godly Ministers or peo­ple from the Church or worship of God, for not conforming themselves to my opinion in things of such a low indifferent nature! He that would be the Law-giver to the Church, and suffer none but those of his own opinion in such points, would be the Lord of the Church, which can know the voice of none but Christ, and owneth no other Lord but him.

15. And the sin is the greater because they have so little Interest or pretence to lead them to these usurpations: They must have their will though it get them nothing. Who made them Law-givers to the Church of Christ? Cannot they allow Christ this part of the Sove­raignty, to make Laws for his [Page 341] Church? And cannot they be con­tent with a Ministerial power, to proclaim and promote the Laws of Christ, and according to these to guide his Church?

16. And hereby men are drawn to a humane kind of Religion: And they do more properly be­lieve, obey and worship these Im­posers then Jesus Christ: when they must fetch the very matter of their Religion, not from the Bi­ble, but the Canons or Decrees of men, their conscience, obedience and reward will be according thereunto.

17. And hereby the adversa­ries of the Church have occasion to insult over us, and think our Differences to be more then in­deed they are. When the Unity of the Church is laid upon things In­different or of smalest moment, there will presently be disagree­ments, and these will be the ene­mies [Page 342] matter of reproach. It is this that makes the Papists tell us of our differences among our selves, because we have made them seem something to them, when they are next to nothing. O say they, where is your Church of England now? why! what's the matter? Is the Church of England dead? Or is any thing taken down that was es­sential to the Church of England! was a Prelacy ruling by a lay-Chan­celor over many hundred Parishes, chosen and Governing without the body of the Clergy, Essential to the Church of England? I am confident the most of the sober godly Ministers in England, are for the Apostolical primitive Epis­copacy still. Was the Book of Canons, or the Book of Common Prayer, or the Ceremonies Essen­tial to the Church of England? Sure they were not; And if so, its living still. But if any say that [Page 343] these were Essential to it, we may thank them for the death of it, that made it of such a humane mortal frame, which any Prince might spurn down at his pleasure. Sure­ly the Church or Churches of Christ in England, are of a more heavenly durable frame, that may be persecuted, but hardly destroy­ed, while the men are living, of whom it doth consist.

Hence also it is that the Papists tell us that we have changed all our worship. And wherein? why we have not the same Baptism that we had; nor the same administration of the Lords Supper, nor the same publick Prayer, nor the same way of Marrying, Churching, Bury­ing, &c. And what's the diffe­rence? Is it that we say not at eve­ry time the very same words? why so you may as well say, that Paul was mutable, because he wrot not the same words in every one of his [Page 344] Epistles, nor spoke not the same words in all his Prayers, no not in publick. And so both you and we are mutable, because we preach not the same words every day in our Sermons. God hath bid us Pray; but he hath prescribed us no necessary form of words, but the Lords Prayer. If the difference be that we use not the Common Pray­er Book; doth that make a diffe­rent sort of worship? Is it not the same sort of worship if we say the same words, or words to the same sence, either on the Book or off it? If once men lay the Nature of worship and the Unity of the Church upon things unnecessary, then what changes will seem to be in our worship, when indeed theres none? Then the Papists may tell us of our divisions in worship, be­cause one man sitteth at the sing­ing of Psalms and another stands; and one readeth with spectacles [Page 345] and another without; and one weareth a cap, and another wear­eth none; and one preacheth on one Text and another upon ano­ther: But be it known to all the Papists in the world, that our Re­ligion is not changed at all: Our worship is the same whether with­in Book or without. Our Prayers are the same for matter with those in the Common Prayer Book. And if I should one day use the Com­mon Prayer Book, and another day forbear it, I should not change the worship of God. To pray is part of his worship: but whether it be on a Book or off it, is no part at all, but only a mode, or circum­stance, which may be altered as occasion serveth. I doubt not but a Book is fittest for some; but not for all. And do they think that we know not what adding and chopping and changing they have made with their Mass Book? Who [Page 346] is it then that hath changed their worship? Is it like the same Book that it was before the changes made by Gregory the great? It was so ordinary a thing to change the manner and forms of worshp, that private Bishops did it without any Synods: whence else had the world the forms that are now in use? Tell us how many of those in the Biblioth. Patrum were made by Apostle, or General Council, if you can. When Basil the great had set up a new way of singing to God, and made some other changes in worship, the Clergy of Neocesarea were offended with him for the novelty, and told him that none of that was used in Gregory's dayes: To whom he answers that neither was their own Letany known in Gregory's dayes, (who yet had lived not 140 years be­fore, and was the famous founder of their Church by miracles.) [Page 347] Basil Epist. 63. And Basil added to the Clergie of Neocesara. [But how can you tell that these things were not in use in Gregories daies, when you have kept nothing unchan­ged which he was used to?] And that you may see his mind in this, he adds [But I pardon all these things, (though God will examine all:) Only let the principal things be kept safe.] If we had changed the Sacraments as the Papists have done, viz. a Commemorative Sa­crifice into a Real Sacrifice of Christ himself; the Sacramental Body and blood of Christ into the Real Body and blood; the admi­nistration of it in both kinds, into one kind alone, defrauding the peo­ple of the cup; the Communion into a private Mass, the people only looking on the Priest, when he receiveth alone himself, &c. I say, had we made such changes as these, they might have called us [Page 348] changelings indeed, and have told us of novelties in the worship of God.

18. Moreover this laying so much upon lower or unnecessary things, doth impoverish the soul, and make it low and empty and formal, according to the matter that it hath to work upon. As the great unquestionable Truths of God, are they that sanctifie and elevate the soul, and leave their Image on it; so will contending about private opinions, or laying out our zeal in ceremonies and shaddows, depress the soul and famish it, and turn our Religion into a shaddow. We find by sad experience that people are so prone to turn all Religion into meer words and shews and customary formalityes, that when we have done our best, we cannot cure them of this mortal sin: God is a Spirit, and will have such worship­pers [Page 349] as worship him in spirit and in truth, John 4.23. We have little need to cherish this disease of hy­pocrisie & seeming histrionical out­side Religiousness, when we see so many perish by it after all that we can do for their deliverance.

19. And this making a Religion of unnecessary things, or laying the Churches Unity thereon, is a dangerous snare to delude the Ig­norant and ungodly, and make them believe that they are godly people, and in the way to Heaven as well as others. I use not this or any Argument against the profita­ble use of any forms in order to the understanding of the matter; nor against the due circumstantia­ting of the worship of God: But if profitable forms, and Gods own Ordinances are somwhat lyable to this abuse, we cannot devise how to increase the danger, and quite enthral these miserable souls more [Page 350] certainly then by multiplying un­necessary formalityes, and placing Religion and Unity in them. For they that are most ignorant, and empty of the Love and fear of God, and the bitterest enemies to a Heavenly life, will presently set in with these formalities, and make themselves a Religion of these; and then they will take themselves as godly as the best. You shall ne­ver make them believe that they are ungodly. They think the diffe­rence lyeth but in the way and manner of serving God: You serve him one way, and they another; but yet they serve him as well as you: Yea they will overdo in these Indif­ferent things, that they may make up that which is wanting in true godliness; and then they will think that they are better and righter then you. Thus did the Heathens cry out against the ancient Christi­ans with a Tollite impios, away [Page 351] with the ungodly; and killed them and cast them to wild beast to be torn by them, because they would not worship their Idols. And so many ungodly wretches now that will not be perswaded to a Holy life, will yet cry dow others as im­pious because they observe not all the Ceremonies which they ob­serve. When we have used all the means we can to bring them to the study of the Scripture, and to meditate in the Law of the Lord, and to holy conference, and ser­vent prayer; to hatred of sin, the contempt of the world, the mor­tifying of the flesh, to the Love of God above all, to a thankful admiration of the Love of Christ, and the great mystery of Redem­ption, to the believing, delightful forethoughts of everlasting life, and preparation for it, &c. I say, when we have done all to bring them to this which is godlyness in­deed, [Page 352] we lose our labour, and leave them as we find them. They can­not away with so precise a life: But yet a Religion they will have instead of it, to deceive their souls, and quiet them in the way to Hell. For instance, I must speak it with grief of heart, that I meet with no small number among us that know not who Christ is; some say he is God and not man; some say, he is man and not God; some say he was made both God and man at once: some say he is neither God nor man, but a Spirit: some say, he is not God, but the Son of God, and hath the power of God given him: Abundance say that he is God only and not man, now he is in Heaven, though he was both on earth: and very many know not what Christianity is, nor wherein the Christian Religion doth con­sist. And yet all these persons, that are Heathens rather then Christi­ans, [Page 353] are the most zealous Keepers of Christmass (as it is called,) and the bitterest condemners of those that do not; and so do make themselves believe that they are Christians as well as others. The same persons that know not who Christ is, nor what it is to be a Christian, are so much for kneel­ing at the taking of the Lords Sup­per, that they dare not be so unre­verent as to sit or stand; but will ra [...]her never receive at all: (nor are they fit till they change in a greater matter then the gesture:) And yet, poor souls, they think themselves to be very Religious, and more Re­verent then others, and that here lyeth the difference between them. It would grieve the heart of a con­siderate man, to see a multitude of miserable sinners, to live in wic­kedness, in cursing, swearing, drun­kenness, filthiness, neglect of God and a holy life, drowned in world­ly-mindedness, [Page 354] and as regardless of the life to come as if they thought they should die like the beasts: and even hating those that will not be ungodly as well as they; and yet as hot for Ceremonies, and Holy­days, and kneeling at the Sacra­ment, and the Common-prayer-Book, as if they were more de­vout then others and it seems they have made themselves believe in good earnest that they are true Christians and Godly men, because in the depth of their ungodliness they can make a stir against those that will not be of their mind, and use these Ceremonies as well as they.

If any of you say, that I am now speaking against your opinions or Ceremonies themselves, as if I could not give you leave to use them, you will but shew your selves mistaking hearers, and false re­porters. No, it is the laying too [Page 355] much stress on these matters, and making Indifferent things seem Ne­cessary, as if Gods Worship, or the Unity of the Church lay on them, which I speak against: And therefore I must needs say, that both sides may be guilty of this sin: Principally the Imposers of them, that would have all men forc't to do as they do; and next them there may be too much guilt in those that make indifferent things seem evil, or lesser evils to be much greater then they are, and so would make a Religion of avoid­ing what others make it their Re­ligion to observe. And whether your Religion lie in being for or against these points in question (such as the Apostle speaks of in my Text) is no great difference: For the Religion of both will prove but a meer shadow: yea an over hot opposing of such Middle things, doth teach those that are for them [Page 356] to believe that they are matters of very great moment, or else they think you would not make so great a matter of them. And then when you have taught them by your fierce opposition, to make a Great matter of them; and custom and their party hath taught them to think their way is best; both these set together do delude their souls, and make them think that because of their Formalities, they are god­ly men, in the depths of their ig­norance, ungodliness and mi­sery.

20. Lastly, observe how we sin against the sad experience of the Church in all Ages, by laying our Religion or Unity upon these smal­ler or unnecessary things. What hath distracted the Church so much as contendings about their Cere­monies and Orders, and preceden­cy and superiority! Heresies I know have done their part (especi­ally [Page 357] the Arrians:) but smaller matters have had two great a hand in it: what plentifull evidence could I give you of this? The la­mentable divisions of the Christian world about Easter day, which the first General Council was fain to meet about and decide, is too sad an Instance. But, alas, the present Age it self hath given us too sad and plenteous proofs of it. By a heap of Ceremonies, and unneces­sary things, the Roman Church hath almost drownd both the Do­ctrine, Worship and Discipline of Christ, and miserably torn the Church in pieces, and so continues to do. And what work this mi­stake hath made in England, I have no minde to tell you, while our smart and sufferings tell you of it more plainly then is fit for me to do. Indifferent things have shut out that which was better then In­different. Consider well these [Page 358] twenty Reasons, and then judge whether the Religion or Vnity of the Church should be placed in un­necessary things. The imposing of them I shall speak of by it self.

Vse. FRom the Text and Do­ctrine explained and con­firmed, we may see these following Consectaries arise.

1. Hence we see the tender mer­cy of God to them that are sincere in the Faith, though weak. If their understandings be dark, and their judgements in lesser things mista­ken, and their Consciences therein erroneous; yet if they be but true Believers, and right in the main, and willing to know the mind of God and to obey it, God would not have them excluded from the Com­munion of the Saints, but rather re­ceived with charity and compassi­on; [Page 359] and would have the stranger bear with their infirmities (Rom. 15.1.) He will not himself reject them; and therefore he would not have them rejected or despised by his Servants.

Vse 2. Hence also we may see, that God will bear more, and so must his Church, with smaller Er­rors, then with the uncharitable or dividing management of those er­rors. Though men should erre about meats or days or such like matters, we must yet receive them and love them as Believers: But yet if they will hereupon despise, or censure one another to the breach of Charity, and trouble of the Church, for this they must be sharply rebuked, as Paul here doth.

Vse 3. Hence also you may learn, How far men should desire [Page 380] and enjoy a Liberty in matters of Religion, and how far the Magi­strate should interpose with force, and how far not. A liberty to live in sin, or to subvert the Gospel, and the souls of others, the Magistrate should give to none: But a Tole­ration in things of a lower nature, that hazardeth not mens souls, nor the Unity of the Church, should be granted to the weak. Can we be bound with Charity to receive them, and yet to provoke the Ma­gistrate to punish them, and deal se­verelyer with them then we! This may not be desired.

Vse 4. Hence also you may see what an enemy Popery is to the Unity of the Church, and how im­possible it is that the Church should have Unity upon their terms: when they have composed a Religion of so many Ceremonies, and unneces­sary things, and new devised Ar­ticles [Page 361] and Sacraments; and none must be a Catholick Christian with them that will not be of th [...]s [...] ­gion, and vow or practise all their Novelties. So far are they [...] practising the Doctrine of my Tex [...], that they set themselves in op [...]osi­tion to it, and place their Relig [...]on and the Unity of their Church in such things as Paul here requireth us not so much as to judge one ano­ther in; or in worse then these. A Catholick Unity is impossible: on their terms.

Vse 5. To conclude, I advise all that are unfeigned friends to the Unity of the Church, to practise the wholsom Doctrine of this Text. If you have Zeal, there's sin enough in your selves and o [...]hers to lay i [...] out upon: Bear not with Infideli­ty, Sensuality, Impenitency or any ungodly course. If men be not so [Page 362] much as weak Believers, and seem not Saints at least of the lower form, receive not these into your Com­munion; but leave them under your common compassionate cha­rity. If you can prove that God receiveth them not, then do not you Receive them. But as you are Christians, take heed of cutting off or despising the Members of Christ; and of giving a Bill of divorce to any soul that is truly espoused to him: You have Drunkards, and Railers, and notorious ungodly ones enough to exercise all your Zeal, if you joyn both head and heart and hand against them: And can you find in your hearts to fall upon one another for indifferent things, or smaller matters, which the Unity of the Church doth not consist in? I speak to both sides impartially; and I beseech you so understand me. What if thy weak [Page 363] Brother pray upon a Book, darest thou therefore despise him? and what if thy Brother pray without Book, darest thou therefore judge him? Nay darest thou desire that none but such should have liberty to Preach or Worship in the Church? What if thy weak Brother dare not receive the Sacrament unless he Kneel in the act of receiving it? darest thou therefore despise him? And what if thy Brother on the other side, do rather take it in ano­ther gesture, because he is sure that Christ and his Apostles sinned not in so doing, and because he finds that our Kneeling is contrary to the practice of the ancient Church (yea ad hominem, I may say) contra­ry to General Councils, yea to the last Canon of the first General Council it self, which even the Ca­nonists say that no Provincial Council, or Bishops can repeal [Page 364] (with many other reasons;) dare you therefore judge him, because he dare not imitate you rather then Christ and his Apostles, and the Primitive Church for many hun­dred years? If any imagine that I go against this necessary Toleration my self, because all here receive the Sacrament sitting; I answer, Let them prove that ever I refused one person meerly because they would take it Kneeling, if they can. If you say, Why then are not all admitted to take it Kneeling? I answer, Soft and fair; There are greater matters then Kneeling in the way. Do but first let go your vicious courses, and agree with us in a holy life, & turn unfeignedly to God, and live in the Church Order that he hath plainly commanded; and then, if I cannot give you satisfaction, you shall have liberty to take it in the gesture that you desire, so be it you will [Page 365] grant me my liberty as I grant you yours.

One instance more, Tomorrow is the day called Christmass day, and many days called Holy days do follow it; If you will but Read and Mark this Chapter, Rom. 14. I am perswaded it may prevent a great deal of sin, that many of you on both sides may be guilty of. Is it not a wonder that after so large and plain a decision by the Holy Ghost, as here you find, there should yet be any controversie among us about this Case? Do you take the word of God for your Rule or not? If you do, why then doth it not Rule you, and end the difference? Do you not read the Apostl [...]s words, ver. 14. [One man esteemeth one day above another: ano­ther esteemeth every day alike: Let every man be fully perswaded in his [Page 366] own mind.] If you were Papists that would say the Scripture is ob­scure, and therefore you must have a General Council, you could scarce devise how a Council should speak more plain then this. But nothing will serve some men, but their own wills. Dare you on the one side, despise your weak Brother now for esteeming [...]hese days above the rest? Why perhaps it is to God that he esteemeth it: and the anci­ent custom of the Church, and pra­ctice of many godly persons, do per­swade him that it is right: And dare you on the other side con­demn or reproach them that make not this difference of days as you do? If we are contented that you have your Liberty (which truly I would not deprive you of, if it were in my power) cannot you be con­tented that we have ours? There are three opinions about these Ho­ly [Page 367] days. 1. Some think the obser­vance of them a necessary Religi­ous Duty. 2. Some think the very outward observance to be an into­lerable sin. 3. Some know that both these extreams are erroneous, and therefore they take the thing in it self to be indifferent, but as circumstances or accidents may make it Good or Evil: And these are in the right. They that are in the Middle can bear with others, but the other cannot bear with them, nor with each other. There is no proof that ever I saw, that the Church observed any of these days, of many hundred years af­ter Christ. For the Clement, the Dionysius, the Cyprian that are ci­ted for it, are known to be spuri­ous. And it is unlikely that none of these would have been mention­ed as well as the Lords day, if they had been then observed, when [Page 368] there was so much ado about the time of Easter day. Yea it is cer­tain that of divers hundred years after Christ, it was not agreed on, which was the day of Christs Na­tivity; some thought it was on Ianuary 6. and therefore called it the Epiphany, or Appearance: And of old both the birth day and Cir­cumcision of Christ were supposed to be on that same day, that is, on the sixth of Ianuary. Caessia­nus witnesseth that the Egyptians were of that mind: Collat. l. 10. c. 11. And Epiphanius witnesseth the same of the Greek and Asian and Syrian Churches. Epiphanius him­self and N [...]zianzen, and many o­thers were of this mind, that it was on Ianuary 6. and that thence it was called the Epiphanis. And Chrys [...]stom in Hom. in Natal. D [...]m. tells us that it was but ten years before he wrote it, that the [Page 369] Romans had perswaded the Church of Constantinople to change the day to December 25. And yet the Countryes about Ierusalem held to the 6. of Ianuary, as Causabon hath shewed, Exercit. 2. cap. 4. p. 170, 171. & cap. 11. p. 186, 187. Yea indeed the Day of Christs Nativity is yet unknown, as if God had kept us ignorant of purpose: Many very learned men, as Broughton, Helvicus, Scaliger, Beroaldus, think that the day was about Autumn in the beginning of October: Calvisius, Paraeus, and many more are for other times then December 25. and Iac. Cap­pellus and many others still go the old way for Ianuary 6. And Th. Lydiat out of Clem. Alexandr. is for May 20. Scultetus, Clopen­burgius and many others do shew that indeed the time is utterly un­certain. And no wonder if the [Page 370] day be uncertain when the very year is so uncertain, that there is no probability of ever comeing to a full agreement about it among the Learned in Chronologie till the last comeing of Christ agree them. Our late most Learned Chronolo­ger (Bishop Vsher) was confi­dent that we were about four years too late in our common account, as in his Annals may be seen. And what man can reveal the things that God hath purposely concea­led? For my part, I dare not judge men for keeping or not keeping such daies as these. But if any will make it a necessary thing to the Vni­versal Church, I must resist that usurpation; as Paul that had Cir­cumcised Timothy, did cry down cir­cumcision when some would have obtruded it as a necessary thing. And for this I have an Argument that sustaineth my Religion it self [Page 371] even the sufficiency of the Ho­ly Scripture. If this be not the Law of God, then farewel Chri­stianity: If it be his Law, it is sufficient in its kind, and to its ends, which is 1. To determine of all things that were then fit to be determined of: 2. And to de­termine of all that the Universal Church in all times after must be bound to. There is no Universal Law-giver but Christ. If this day be of Necessity, it was so then as well as now, and it is so to one Country as well as another: for there is the same reason for it in one age and place as in another. And therefore if Scripture be not a sufficient Rule for Universal Du­ties of Religion, then we are ut­terly at a loss; and as Popery will come first in, so Infidelity is likely to come next. I doubt not but pro re nata, upon emergent occa­sions, [Page 372] Church-Governours may appoin [...] Religious Anniversary so­lemni [...]es. For the occasion of these being 1. To some one place or Pro [...]ce only: 2. And not exi­stent [...] Scrip [...]ure times; it did not bel [...] to the Universal Law to de­termine of them. But in cas [...]s that equally belong to the Universal Church, and where the Reason and occa [...]on was existent in the Apostles daies as well as now, if there we have not their determina­tion, no others can come after them and make it universally Ne­cessary. And indeed neither Ge­neral Councils nor Apostolick Tra­dition can be pleaded for the Ne­cessity. And sure I am that the one day in seven, even the Lords-day, of his own appointment, which the Universal Church hath con­stantly observed, is a Festival for the commemoration of the whole work [Page 373] of Redemption, and therefore of the Birth of Christ, though espe­cially of the Resurrection: And therefore we are not without a Day for this use.

I speak not all this to condemne any that use these daies; but to excuse those that use them not, and by telling you a few of those many reasons which they have to give for themselves, to perswade you both to lay by the opinion of Necessity, and to forbear condem­ning those that differ from you, and be content that they have their liberty, as we are freely content that you have yours; and Lay not the Vnity and Peace of the Church upon such things as these, when the Holy Ghost hath so plainly de­cided the case. And I could hear­tily wish that the Lords own day were not most wilfully neglected [Page 374] by many that are most forward for other Holy-daies. Its a fearful self-delusion of ungodly people that no means can bring them to a New, a Holy and Heavenly life; and yet they will make themselves believe that they are Religious, by pleading for forms, and dayes and ceremonies. Alass poor soul, if thy eyes were but opened, thou wouldst see that thou hast other kind of matters first to look after! It would grieve one to hear a man contending for Kneeling and Holy­dayes, and Prayer-books, that is in a state of unregeneracy, and a stranger to sanctification, and un­der the dominion of his sins, and under the curse and wrath of God. Get first a new and holy Nature; make sure of the pardon of sin, and of Peace with God, and then the discourse of lower matters will be more seasonable and more sa­voury.

[Page 375]Is it not a shameful self-condem­ning to keep Holy-dayes for the dead Saints, and to hate and rail against the Living? Do you know what kind of men those were that are called Saints, and Holy-dayes were kept in remembrance of them? They were such as those that now are hated by the world, and took the course in a holy and diligent care of their salvation, as these do, and therefore were ha­ted by the world, as the godly now are; and when wicked men had put them to death, the godly that survived would keep a day in remembrance of their Martyr­dom, to encourage others to con­stancy for Christ. And also because the unruly multitude were so set upon their pleasure, that they kept the Idols festivals for their sport sake; therefore some Pastors of the Church did think it better to [Page 376] let them have Festivals for the Saints to take their pleasure in, to turn them off from the Idols fe­stivals. So Gregory Nyssen tells us of Gregory Thaumaturgus in his Oration of his life, that he made Holy-dayes for his neighbours of Neocesarea, when the Roman fury had Martyred many; and he used this as a pious wile to draw the li­cencious Vulgar from the Idols fe­stivals, by letting them play on the Martyrs dayes, till they could be drawn up to a holy observation of them. Whether the course were right or wrong, by this you may see the Original of such dayes. And Gregory the great of Rome, would for this very end, have all the Heathens Festivals turned into Christian Festivals. But if any of you will hate a Saint, and refuse the Communion of Saints, and will not imitate them in Holiness, [Page 377] and yet will keep Holy-dayes for them that are dead, Christ him­self hath given you your doom, Matth. 23.29, 30, 31, 32, 33. which I desire you to read.

Well Sirs, I have said enough, if enough will serve, to prove that the Unity of the Church must not be laid on things Indifferent, nor upon low or doubtful points; but it must be a Unity in the Spirit of Sanctification. It is in the few, the great, the certain and the Ne­cessary points, that we must all agree in if ever we will agree, and compassionately tolerate the differences that are tolerable.

If after all this, there be any so Proud, and selfish, and ungodly, and unmerciful, that they will set up their own Conceits and Wills against the plain Commands of [Page 378] God, the long and sad experience of the world, and against the Peace of their Brethren, and the Unity of the Church, and will have no Agreement unless all others will be conformed to their Wills, I shall now say no more to such, but that These are not the sons of Peace, nor the living compassionate mem­bers of the Church, but self-ido­lizers that God is engaged to pull down: And it is not by such as these that the Church must be hea­led and repaired: But it is by them that are sensible of their own in­firmities, and compassionate to others, that are of a Christian Catholick Spirit, and have Catho­lick Principles and Affections, and see such a beauty in the Image of Christ, that they can heartily Love a gracious person, notwithstan­ding his many tolerable infirmi­ties, and think themselves more [Page 379] unworthy to be tolerated by o­thers, then such as I have descri­bed to be tolerated by them.


This keyboarded and encoded edition of the work described above is co-owned by the institutions providing financial support to the Text Creation Partnership. This Phase I text is available for reuse, according to the terms of Creative Commons 0 1.0 Universal. The text can be copied, modified, distributed and performed, even for commercial purposes, all without asking permission.