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JOHN SYMINGTON & CO.
TO THE READER.
SAMUEL RUTHERFORD, Professor of Divinity in the University of St. Andrews, wrote a book in 1649, “ Against pretended Liberty of Conscience,” containing many pertinent remarks touching unity; in page 332 of which, the learned Professor thus dis. courseth,—“And what is the quarrell, but divers religions and waies of worship about Christ? St. Paul exhorteth to christian peace, indeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, not because of contrary religions and many sectaries, called the holy partie, that are to bee tolerated in meeknesse and mutuall forbearance: but because there is but one Lord, one faith, one baptisme, and but one religion, whether Presbyteriall or Independent, and since the apostles and Christ in the New Testament so often recommend peace, and never once insinuate forbearance in diversitie of religion, and all the apostles and apostolike church had but one religion; toleration of many religions not being a part of the New Testament liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, as is the libertie from ceremonies and righteousnesse by the law, that the foolish Galatians affected, Gal. v. 1, 2; we conclude there is a law against Toleration of many religions, not any repeating of that law in the New Testament, but divers religions expressly forbidden as contrary to peace, and foretold to fall out as sad judgments.” Doubtless our Professor was a wise man in his generation, and a learned, but his censure anent Toleration is rather strong meat for weak stomachs, and difficult of digestion in these days of civil and religious liberty; it savours, too, somewhat of the Vatican. But his commendations of unity are right wholesome and highly to be praised. Wherefore, reader, if you be an admirer of that luminary of the Universall Kirke, you will not fall out with the exhortations to unity contained in this little book. That all may be persuaded to peace and unity, not by the sword of intolerance but by the sword of the Spirit, is the earnest prayer of the author.
WERE a christian traveller journeying in the east, where once flourished the churches founded by St. Paul, to discover in some depopulated regions the ruins of a noble temple of the Lord of Hosts, melancholy musings would fill his mind as he surveyed the wreck of the sacred edifice, where the faithful in the olden time had worshipped the Triune God; and in the mouldering fragments which lay upon the ground, he would see the accomplishment of the threat denounced by the Spirit to the angel of the church of Ephesus,—“ Repent and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” And can the christian pilgrim, in this his native land, witness without heartfelt emotions the decay of pure religion, the wreck and ruin of the holy and united household of faith, so beautifully described by St. Paul to the Ephesians. “ Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and of the household of God, and