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a Cause of Faith and Charity, so it be done according to the Prophet's Teaching, in Justice, Judgment, and Truth.

* Matt. v. 34, &c. I fay unto you, Swear not at all ; neither by Heaven, for it is God's Throne: Nor by the Earth, for it is his Footstool: Nor by Jerufalem, for it is the City of the great King: Neither halt thou fwear by thy Head, because thou canst not make one Hair white or black: But let your Communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatfoever is more than these, cometh of Evil. James v. 12. Above all Things, my Brethren, fwear not, neither by the Heaven, nor by the Earth, nor by any other Oath: But let your yea be yea, and your nay, nay; left ye fall into Condemnation. Exod. xx. 7. Thou halt not take the Name of the Lord thy GOD in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his Name in vain.

2 Deut. vi. 13. Thou fhalt fear the Lord thy God, and ferve Him, and fhalt fwear by his Name. I Sam. xxiv. 21. Swear now therefore unto me by the Lord, that thou wilt not cut off my Seed after me, and that thou wilt not deftroy my Name out of my Father's House: And David fware unto Saul. Heb. vi. 15. For Men verily fwear by the greater, and an Oath for Confirmation, is to them an End of all Strife.

3 Jer. iv. 2. And thou fhalt fwear the Lord liveth, in Truth, in Judgment, and in Righteousness.




AVING now performed the Task which I undertook, and having, I trust, to all candid and reasonable Minds, fhewn the exact Agreement of our Articles with the holy Scriptures, I fhould hope that many, who have hitherto fuppofed thofe Breviates of the Chriftian Faith, to be only the "Words of fallible Men," will now see, that whatever the Words may be, their Meanings are ftrictly fcriptural, and hold forth to us, as the Glory of our Church and Nation, the Faith which was once delivered to the Saints.

As this is the Cafe, it is no marvel that the Articles have met with the fame Fate as the Scriptures themselves have done; and that while fome believe, others contradict and blafpheme, Acts xviii. 6. But God forbid that ever the Truth fhould be given up, or one Particle of it receded from, in order to gratify an unbelieving World. The Prophet Ezekiel was commanded to speak God's Truth to the People, whether they would hear, or whether they would forbear, Ezek. ii. 7. The falfe Prophets accommodated their Difcourfes to fuit the Temper and Opinions of their depraved Hearers. Reformers have nobly imitated the former, Woe be to those who imitate the latter. But Woe, yea, a thousand Woes to this Land, if the Depravers and Corrupters of our common Faith, have the



Sanction, or even the Toleration, of Government for their Support!

As to the Dominion of private Judgment and Confcience, it belongs to the Searcher of Hearts alone, and is fubject to no Controul but His, before whofe Judgment-feat we must all appear; whatever interferes with this facred Prerogative, is an unlawful Ufurpation on the Province of the Almighty. We therefore find an inspired Apostle renouncing this in the moft explicit Manner. 2 Cor. i. 24. Not that we have Dominion over your Faith, &c. If Subscription to our Articles was required of all Perfons whatsoever, none fhould hesitate to declare against it, and I hope there are not many to be found amongst us, who would not chearfully fign an hundred Petitions to Parlia ment, were they neceffary, against fo flagrant an Invafion of religious Liberty.

On the other Hand, it appears to be equally certain, that the Church of England has a Right, as all Societies must have, to propose, nay to infift upon, her own Terms of Communion and Fellowfhip. In publishing the Thirty-nine Articles, &c. fhe has declared her Interpretation of the Scriptures, to thefe her Members are fuppofed to accede, to thefe her Minifters are required to fubfcribe. This has met with the Sanction of the State, doubtlefs for the fame wife Reasons 'for which our Confeffions were compiled, published, and made the Terms of Communion, "For the avoiding of Di"verfities of Opinions, and for the ftablishing of Con

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Jent touching true Religion." That our Jerufalem might be as a City that is at Unity in itself, Pf. cxxii. 3. and not be torn and diftracted with Divifions and Controverfies. For this fhe has many apoftolic Injunctions, amongst others that very

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plain one, 1 Cor. i. 10. Now I beseech you, Brethren, by the Name of our Lord Jefus Chrift, that ye all fpeak the fame Thing, and that there be no Divifions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined toge ther in the fame Mind, and in the fame Judgment. Another Apostle, James iii. 16. lays it down as a certain-Rule," that where Envying and Strife is, "there is Confufion, and every evil Work." When therefore the established Church requires Subfcription to her Liturgy and Articles, it is with refpect to thofe, who, if not like-minded with them, might have it in their Power to introduce Confufion, not only in Point of Form, but in Matters of Faith alfo, and in fo doing the acts a wife, confiftent, and charitable Part; her Well-being, yea, her very Being, as a vifible Church of Chrift, depends upon it; for faying this, I appeal to the Tranfactions of the last Century, when Liturgy, Articles, Bifhops, and the whole Fabric of our ecclefiaftical as well as civil Government was fubverted. What was the Confequence? The Confequence was, that the Land was over-run by Error, Herefy, and Hypocrify, the visible Church was buried in her own Ruins, and the very People who had brought about the grand Subverfion of all Rule and Order, chose rather to restore the imaginary Evils which they had complained of, than endure any longer those real ones of Anarchy and Confufion under which they groaned.

As to the bloody Superftition of Rome, I should hope that no Man, who calls himfelf a Proteftant, will blame our Subscriptions, and brand them with the Name of Perfecution, because they are meant to exclude a Syftem of Religion and Politics, which are fo far from being confiftent with Liberty, as to


be utterly inconfiftent with the common Rights of Mankind.

But there are three Sorts of People, who avow. themselves to be found Proteftants, and yet, though. not Minifters in the Establishment, are yet forced to fubfcribe: This has been called Perfecution, and the Art of Toleration been blamed for not releafing thefe from all Obligation to Subscription.

Firft, Diffenting Teachers.-Thefe are released in Point of Form, but ftill are obliged to fubfcribe the doctrinal Articles; this has been thought hard.; In Anfwer to which, I would obferve, that though, every Man's Principles are fubject (under GoD). to his own Cognizance only, while he keeps them, to himself, yet when he would obtrude them upon others, the Public are concerned; and though it be inconfiftent with Chriftian Liberty to deprive People of all public Worship, unless in a particu-¿ lar Form, yet no Chriftian State can, or ought to tolerate Antichriftian Doctrines; therefore the Legislature has moft wifely extended its Care to the Souls of Men, by endeavouring to prevent Popish, Arian, Socinian, Pelagian, or other infidel Teachers, from corrupting the Minds of Men with their Abominations. Such Teachers come under the Predicament of thofe mentioned, Tit. i. 11. Whofe Mouths (faith the Apoftle) must be stopped.

Secondly, Doctors of the Civil Law.-Why should these be compelled to fubfcribe? Because of these are the Advocates and Judges of the Ecclefiaftical Courts, where, on Libels for Heresy and the like, our Articles are to be the Rule of Judgment and Determination; therefore the Propriety of a Civilian's Subfcription is apparent, as admitting Men to thefe Offices who don't agree with the Doctrines of the Church, would be like fetting a Rebel to


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