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him but another. Others again, knowing this distinction to be vain and indefensible, and the fame for substance with the Latria and Dulia by which the Church of Rome excuses her adoration of the blessed Virgin &c, have fairly got rid of it, by denying to the perfon of Christ any divine worship or invocation at all; which is the case with our Socinian Unitarians here in England; for those of Poland are quite of another mind.
How far such differences as these must needs affect a Liturgy, it is very easy to foresee: and that it will for ever be as impossible to frame a Creed or a Service to please all those who bear the name of Christians, as to make a coat that shall fit men of all sizes. *
* Hales of Eaton, in his farcastic and malicious Tract upon Schism, proposes it as a grand Expedient for the advancing of U. nity, that we should “ consider of all the Liturgies, that are and “ever have been ; and remove from them whatever is scanda“lous to any Party, and leave nothing but what all agree on." He should have closed this sentence a little sooner; and advised us fairly and honestly to leave nothing ; for that will certainly be the event, when the objections of all parties are suffered to prevail : there being no one page of the Liturgy, wherein all, who pretend to worship God as Christians, are agreed.
Prayer and divine worship and religious confeffion, are the fruit and breath of Faith; and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketho : so that until we are agreed in matters of faith, there is neither hope nor possibility of our agreeing in any form of worship. God is the fountain-head, and religion the stream that descends from it. Our sentiments as to religion, always Aow from the opinion we have formed of the divine nature; and will be right or wrong, sweet or bitter, as the fountain is from whence they are derived. It is the having a different God, that makes a different religion. A true God produces a true religion ; a false God, a false religion. Fews, Turks, Pagans, Deifts, Ārians, Socinians, and Christians, all differ about a religion, because they differ about a God.
These few observations will be sufficient, I hope, to raise the attention of the reader; and persuade him, that a
right faith in God is a much more serious affair than fome would make it; that it is of the last concern, and hath a necessary influence upon the practice and holiness of our lives; that as no other devotion is acceptable with God, but that which is seasoned with love and charity and uniformity, the very mark and badge whereby his disciples are to be known from the men of this world, it is the principal duty of every Christian to know in whom he ought to believe, that with one mind and one mouth we may glorify God“ : for a right notion of God, will as surely be followed by a sound faith and an uniform profession in all other points; as a false faith and a discordant worship will grow from every wrong opinion of him.
All that can be known of the true God, is to be known by Revelation. The false lights indeed of reason and nature are set up and recommended, as neces
a Rom. XV.6.
fary to assist and ratify the evidence of Revelation : but enquiries of this kind, as they are now managed, generally end in the degradation of Christ and the Christian Religion t:. till it can be shewn therefore, that the scripture neither does nor can shine by a light and authority of its own, the evidence we are to rest in, must be drawn from thence; and as we all have the same scripture, without doubt we ought all to have the same opinion of God.
But here it is commonly objected, that men will be of different opinions ; that they have a right to judge for themselves; and that when the best evidence the nature of the case will admit of is collected and laid before them, they must determine upon it as it appears to them, and according to the light of their own consciences : so that if they adhere as closely to their errors after
+ You may have a proof of this from the Essay on Spirit, by comparing the Book with its title, which runs thus - The Doctrine of the Trinity considered in the Light of Reason and Nature, &c.
they have consulted the proper evidence as they did before, we are neither to wonder nor to be troubled at it.
This very moderate and benevolent way of thinking, has been studiously recommended by those, who found it necessary to the well-being of their own opinions, that not a spark of zeal should be left amongst us. And surely it is no new thing, that the advocates of any particular error, next to themselves and their own fashion, should naturally incline to those who are softest and stand least in the way. Hence it is, that however magisterial and insolent they may carry themselves in their own cause; they always take care to season their writings with the praises of this frozen indifference ; calling that Chriftian Charity, which is nothing but the absence of Christianity: and any the least appearance of earnestness for some great and valuable truth, which we are unwilling to part with, because we hope to be saved by it, is browbeaten, condemned, and cast out of their mo