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Skh u. Romish DoBrine of Persecution', by which all the Authority, wherewith God has in<-'^*SJ vested men for the Incouragement of Virtue and 'Punishment of Vice, has been wickedly and perversely imployed in forcing a violent and hypocritical Pretense of* Unity of Opinion, in matters generally of doubtful Speculation, and oft-times of Ungodly Practise too; to the entire Subverjion both of Truth and Charity.
Lastly; With regard to erroneous Notions concerning every man's own private Duty in the Government of Himself: Every Opinion that gives Licence to Any Sort of Debauchery; that gives men Incouragement to fin, in hopes that Grace may abound; turning the Grace of God into Laschiousness, as the Apostle expresses it, and making Christ the Mini~ j Jler of Sin; Every such opinion, I fay, 1 is a Root of Bitterness, and brings forth Fruit unto Death. Of This Sort is That desperate Notion which has prevailed so I much in the Church of Rome; a relying upon repeated Confessions and Absolutions for the Pardon of Sins, in the Practice of \ which they still however continue. And I of the fame Kind is That dangerous expectation
pectation even among F rote slants too; S E R M. when Men of loose and debauched Lives ^' flatter themselves, that, without Any re-^"^^ al Virtue or Holiness, they shall be accepted of God, upon their performing, on a Bed of Sickness and at the Approach of Death, some of those external Duties, which were instituted on purpose to be Obligations and Assistances to Holiness of Life. But our Rule is One, and Plain: \ He that doth Righteou/he/s, is Righteous. I Which is the literal Meaning of the Ft- ( gure in the Text: Every Tree is known by ( his own Fruit: For of Thorns men do not j gather Figs, nor of a Bramble-bush gather they Grapes.
The Nature os Religious Truths.
2 Tim. ii. 25.
In Meekness instruEling those that
S Light isnecessarilyand eslen-Sedh.
guish That difference; so, notwithstanding the Weakness and Blindi Vol. III. L ness
S E R M.ncss of men's Understandings, and the much worse Confusion arising from die
*"/"V~^ Corruption and Perverseness of their Wills; yet Truth is still, in the Nature of Things, always Real and Invariable, and, for the most part, dijlinguijhabk also from Error. In some kinds of things, 'tis indeed very difficult for Us to discover where the Truth lies 3 the Causes of things, being abstruse; the Ends and Designs of them, remote > the things themselves, often intricate; the Manner how they may possibly be, diverse and various; and our Underjhnding, in itself finite and fallible. But This difficulty of finding out the Truth, is generally in things of That nature only; which are of no great importance for us to know. As the Eyes of our Body, are fitted only to discern things within the reach of iitch a distance.- as 'tis of Use to us in Life to comprehend within our View; so our Understanding, which is the Eye of the Mind, can ver^ difficultly search into the Truth of/jiumberless things, which it does not concern us distinctly to know. But in All things of importance, in, all things of great and .'.' '■' 'and