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Now let reafon and confcience fay, Who is most likely to be the hypocrite; the man that calls himself a Christian, and under that profeffion wallows in all profaneness, not once cenfuring himself for it; or he that lives foberly and godly, against whom malice itself can produce nothing but fuch inconfiderable trifies as thefe? Is not this the very cafe, which Chrift hath determined to our hands, and made fuch cenfurers, the hypocrites? Matth. vii. 3. "And why beholdeft thou the mote "that is in thy brother's eye, but confidereft not the beam that "is in thine own eye?" Is was but one blemish, and that a very fmall one too, but a mote; however this you can quickly fpy, and as rafhly cenfure. But mean while there is a beam, an horrid flagitious wickednets in yourselves; but it is too near your own eyes, to be difcerned by you. Which of these two (think you) is the hypocrite?

2. But what if this mote that you difcern, be but a fancy, a mere imagination of your own; how will that aggravate your fin, and evince both your malice and hypocrify together? You fay, their tones and geftures in religious duties, are ridiculous, and fcenical. This you take up lightly against fome few of them, and as unjustly apply unto the afperfing of the whole party; which your own reafon must, and will immediately condemn. For there are multitudes of that party, whofe countenances, tones and gestures, are as decorous, grave, and becoming the prefence of that God with whom they have to do, as any men in the world.

4. And as for those few whom you thus blemish for their indecent tones and geftures; what if those tones you speak of, amount to no more but natural defects, and unavoidable infirmities, which they would, but cannot help? Do they for this, and no worse than this, deferve to be cenfured, and con. demned for hypocrites? Or, what if they be insensible actions, occafioned by the greater intention of their spirits in the fervice of God? May not thefe very things, which you profanely flout, cenfure, and fcoff at, either not at all be noted as blemishes to their devotion by the eye of God, or noted with approbation and delight, as the effects of fpiritual fervency in his fervice? Certainly, gentlemen, you are no good maken, that neither draw the right arrow, nor level at the true mark.

4. and were not this a vain and empty pretence, to cover your own malice againft godlinefs; how comes it to pafs, hat more scenical habits, words, and geftures, should pafs as ornaments in others, whom you affect? Whether this be not

399 partiality unworthy of a man, let reafon and confcience freely judge.

In a word; What commiffion or authority can you produce, thus to afcend the throne of God, and draw your bittereft cenfures through the very hearts of God's people, for such pitiful trifles as thefe; first condemning them as hypocrites, which is a most unwarrantable presumption; and then perfecute them as far as you can, for their prefumed hypocrify? Have a care what you do; be not mockers, left your bands be made strong. This is a fin which haftens national defolation; 2 Chron. xxxvi. 16, 17. "They mocked the meffengers of God, and "defpifed his word, and mifufed his prophets; until the wrath. ❝of the Lord arose against his people, till there was no remedy. "Therefore he brought upon them the king of the Chaldees, "who flew their young men with the fword," &c.

Plea 2. You fay, It is not godliness you hate, and would perfecute; but they are a fort of perfons, who under a pretence. of zeal for religion and reformation, defign nothing else but fedition and rebellion, that the nation will never be quiet, whilft fuch vipers are fuffered to live in it: And to fortify this plea, you add, that both their hypocrisy and sedition have been. made fufficiently evident to the world in many instances.

Zeal for the laws, and fecurity of the government, if rightly tempered and qualified, is higly commendable; and wherever fincerity animates, and prudence governs it, it ought by no means to be difcouraged. But there are too many grounds and causes of fufpicion, that both these will be found wholly wanting, or extremely defective, in many high pretenders to it, when it comes to be fifted to its bottom principles, and weighed in the juft balance of found reason.

For if


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be inflamed with a pure zeal for the laws and government you live under; then you will find yourselves obliged, for your own vindication, to fatisfy the juft expectation of your own, and other mens reafons and confciences, in the following particulars :

Expectation 1. First, Reason and confcience, in yourselves and others, will expect it from you, that you, of all men living, fhould be most precisely and punctually obedient to all thofe juft and good laws you live under; fince your zeal burns fo hot against thofe that comply not punctually with them. For te that make fo much confcience (as you feem to do, of other mens offences against the laws, must be presumed (if your profeffion be fincere) to make at leaft as much confcience of breaking any of them in your own perfons; elfe neither

reafon nor confcience will ever admit this plea of yours for found and good.

Now the laws fometimes appoint punishments for nonconformity to the rites and ceremonies, affixed to the public na tional worship; and so they do always for convicted swearing, drunkenness, and adultery. All thefe laws have the very fame fanction, by the authority we live under. They forbid, and punith, the one as well as the other. And if there be any difference, it lies in this, that these latter are exprefly forbidden and threatned by God, antecedently to the magiftrate's prohibition of them, which hath no fmall weight in the matter under confideration.

Now, if any man fhall pretend zeal and confcience, against diffent in judgment or practice, from the church, but makes no confcience at all to curfe and swear, be drunk or unclean; he will find it a difficult task to perfuade his own, or other mens reafons or confciences, that this his zeal, for the laws and government, is fincere and pure. For were it fo, it could never allow him to live in the notorious violation of the laws himself, which he is fo fierce and bitter against others for.

Expectation 2. Secondly, If your zeal be fincere, it will con. tain itfelf within the bounds and limits of the offence, and not lay hold upon the innocent, as well as upon the guilty; and make you hate and perfecute them that were never turbulent and feditious, equally with the greatest criminals. If you will hug this principle as things ftand now, reason will tell you, it is as juft at all other times, as it is at this.

Would you not think it an unreasonable and most injuri ous thing, to be plucked out of your fhops, or houses, and hurried away to the goal; because two or three diffolute fellows in the city or town where you live, have been riotous or feditious, though you poffibly know not the men, nor can be fo much as juftly fufpected of any confederacy with them? True zeal for the laws and government, is content to wait, and suspend its revenge, till a fair conviction have paffed upon the guilty. And when it falls upon them, it is careful that it touch none befides them: but fuffers a man to retain, in the very height of it, due love and honour for all that are innocent.

If Chriftians be firft denominated by general titles and terms of distinction, which they cannot help, and then the crimes of any particular perfon, that the world pleases to denominate as one of the fame party, must be charged and imputed to the whole; what muft the confequence of this be, but that the

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whole community become obnoxious to punishment, and the verygovernment itself thereupon be diffolved?

For I take it to be paft denial or doubt, that some of each denomination have been, are, or may be guilty of feditious practices. Some hypocrites will lurk among thofe vaft bodies of people, under the moft ftrict and watchful government; but God forbid their guilt fhould affect the whole body, under whofe names they fhelter themselves. God, reason, and confcience, do all command the hottest zeal, to make its pause and just distinction here. Let the guilty be brought to condign punishment, upon fair trial and conviction. This difcourfe defigns no favour for fuch. But let not those who abhor their wickednefs, and are as pure from their crimes as yourselves, fuffer with them, or for them: For then your reafon will tell you, yourselves are as liable to fufferings as they; and that your zeal is not kindled by love to juftice, but the ha tred of a party.

It is not in the body politic, as in the body natural: If the hand steal, the feet are juftly laid in irons, and the neck put into an halter; because all the members of the body natural are animated, and governed but by one foul. But in the body politic, every individual hath a distinct foul of his own; and therefore that member only that offends ought to be punished, and all the reft to enjoy their full liberty and honour as before. Away therefore forever with this church and ftate destroying fynechdoche.

Expectation 3. Thirdly, If there be a change made upon the laws, and they fhall at any time tolerate and protect that party and practice which once they made criminal; then your reafon, and every man's elfe, will expect from you (if your zeal for the laws and government be fincere and unfeigned) that your countenance and carriage to that people be changed and altered, according to the different aspect of the laws and government upon them: That your envy and hatred cease with the offence; and that you be as ready to affift and encourage them, when they act according to law, as you formerly were to inflict and profecute them for acting contrary to law: Elfe, pretend what you will, it is plain enough, that it was not zeal for the laws and government, but fomewhat. elfe, (which every body may guess at) that inflamed your rage against


For whenfoever the wisdom of the government finds it ne-
ceffary, by toleration, to take away the crime and offence, it

muft neceffarily take away this very plea for hatred and perfecution with it: Otherwife it would be all one, to act for law, and against law; to punish them that are offenders, and them that offend no more than yourselves; to turn the edge of your rage and fury, against those that undermine the government, and thofe that are as zealous as yourselves, to fupport and defend it, by their perfons and puries.

Expectation 4. Fourthly, Your reafon will justly expect it from you, that when, or wherefoever you fhall fee eminent piety meeting with punctual conformity in one man, that man fhall be your very darling; and that both thefe qualifications fhould recommend him to your dearest affection, the more flrictly godly he is, the more conformable he is to the laws of God; as well as by his punctal compliance with enjoined rules and rites of worship, to the laws of men. If he be a man of catholic charity to all of every persuasion, whom he judges to fear God, and be truly confcientious; if he boldly and impartially reproves fin, wherever he finds it, though it be in his own patron, or men of his own profeffion; you will still love him the more for that. For if fincerity and conformity (as you pretend) be the very things which you make fuch a noife and buftle for in the world, here you have them both in conjunction. This is the man you feem to feek (by these pleas of yours) for a pattern and ftandard to reduce other

men to.

And is it really fo, gentlemen, with you ? Do you heartily affect and prize a strict and serious conformift, that fears not to expofe the odious fhamefulness and wickedness of profane fwearing, curfing, drunkennefs and uncleannefs, without refpect of perfons, both in his pulpit and private converfes? Do you love him the better, for his plain dealing with your confciences, in detecting the grand cheat of formality in religion; for his clofe cutting convictions of the infufficiency of mere civility to your falvation, and the indifpenfible neceffity of regeneration? Do you heartily love and honour him, for thundering you out of ale-houses and taverns, unto your family and clofet-duties? For telling you plainly, your


love must not be confined to your own party, but extended to all that fear God, however they be externally diftinguished among men? Nay, for convincing you plainly, that religi< on lies not in external modes and rites, in ftanding, kneeling,


or refponfes? That the name and cry of the church, the church, will as little avail to your falvation, as the cry of the fuperftitious and profane Jews, The temple.of the Lord,

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