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* of virtue,’ as Heathen Plutarch calls it, will afford you to judge us by. It has been man's venturing to wade into the holy scriptures without this divine principle, that has caused so many fearful miscarriages about religion. Something in man prompts him to religion; but man, being not wholly guided by that which so inspires him with religious desires, hastily spoils all with the intermixture of his own fancies and conceits: and because he is assured that what first inclined him was right, he sticks not to stile his own inventions orthodox; and then, impatient of contradićtion, with a fury as great as his ignorance, endeavours the overthrow of whatever stands in his way, and refuses to receive his mark in his forehead, or in his right hand. This has occafioned so much trumpery in religion; ceremonies, shew, and mere formality, have swallowed up the greatest part of it: now were men brought to God's heavenly gift in themselves, it would reclaim and leaven the mind, chain the affeótions, and bring religion into holy and self-denying living, and erečt an holy regimen in the heart and soul, by which the heavenly image would be renewed, and man become as one born again; without which translation, there can be no entering into God's heavenly kingdom. This the first Protestants made to be the reason of their revolt from Rome: for though it is true, that they charged the Papists with making God's tradition (the holy scriptures) void by their numerous dark traditions; yet that which begot that holy loathing of Rome's superstitions, idolatries, and will-worship, was God’s GRAce in their hearts; and their best argument against Rome's assaults was this, ‘The scripture, which • I believe from the testimony of the Spirit of God in • me, and which I can only understand from the illu• mination thereof, owns no such thing, and therefore • I rejećt it.” Such as converse with Luther and his followers, Zuinglius and his followers, will find this to have been the foundation of their whole work. And our

own martyrology is full to our purpose, particularly Tindal, Tims, and Philpot. I omit to mention a whole cloud of witnesses, because 1 intend not to dwell here; only this I would be at, and I entreat you all to weigh it, whether any thing can give to understand aright, and enable to practise those things of God, which it is necessary for man both to know and do, but God’s light, grace, or word in the heart: what else can give us to relish the divine authority of the scriptures themselves, or to believe the things therein treated of to be undeniable truths: Indeed, the want of this has been a great occasion of Atheism; man making, practising, and enaćting that for religion, of which people have had no assurance in themselves: but if they should speak their hearts, it is more probable they do not believe it; but instead thereof deride it, and so, under a shew of religion, live as men without God in the world. To prevent which, and to bring men to the true understanding of what God expects from them, in order to that great account they are to give unto him at the revelation of his righteous judgments, “when “he will judge the secrets of all men by Jesus Christ,” we do exhort all to Christ's pure, unerring light in the conscience, (John viii. 12. 1 John i. 5, 6, 7.) which is sufficient to daily understanding and duty; that what they believe and profess in matters of so high importance, they may be convinced in their very conscience, by the good understanding the inspiration of the Almighty gives, of the truth and necessity thereof; and not suffer themselves to be carried away with the torrent of fathers, councils, synods, doors, scholars, national constitutions, &c. (big, and most times untrue, and too often empty o without that inward convićtion and testimony of God's good Spirit in your own consciences; the old protestant, and only primitive ground of true faith 2nd obedience. I know, and shall always acknowiec ge, that in the time of ignorance the Almighty win.ed, and that in every age he has expressed his regard to those under Vol. III. H the



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