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potence; and express such an intimate union and communion of the holy trinity, as the understanding of man cannot reach, and which no words can explain. For though it is and must be one God who doth all these things, yet it is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, who gave us our being, instruct and il. luminate us, lead us, speak to us, and are present with us; who give authority to the church, raise the dead, sanctify the elect, and perform every divine and spiritual operation.

This is the God revealed to us in the holy scripture ; very different from the deity so much talked of in our systematical scheme of natural divinity; which with all its wisdom, never yet thought of a Christ or an Holay Ghost, by whom nature, now fallen and blind, is to be reformed, exalted, and saved. The Bible we know to be the infallible word of God; the rule of our faith and obedience. I find this doctrine revealed in it; therefore I firmly believe and submit to it. And as the liturgy of the church of England hath affirmed the same in all its offices, and contains nothing contradictory thereto; I believe that also : and hope the God whom we serve will defend it against all attempts toward reforming Christianity out of it: that the church militant here on earth, may continue to agree in this fundamental doctrine with the church triumphant in heaven. For there the angels


rest not day and night, praising this thrice. holy, blessed and glorious trinity. They have neither time nor inclination to dispute against that glory, which they cannot stedfastly behold. And had we a little more humility and devotion, we should not abound so much with disputation. If, in such a subject as this, we trust to our own reason, and it should prove at last to have betrayed us into error, irreligion, and blasphemy; what shall we have to say in excuse for ourselves? We shall not dare to plead the dignity and strength of our rational faculties before the tribunal of him who came into the world to bring the wisdom of it to nought. And if the religion of Jesus Christ is to be corrected and softened till it becomes agreeable to the natural thoughts and imaginations of the human heart, then in vain was it said-Blessed is he whoso. ever shall not be offended in me.

As for him, who is convinced that God is wiser than himself; who believes as he ought, and as the catholic church of Christ hath given him an example from the beginning; his danger lies on the other side: and while I venture to give him warning of it, I beseech him to suffer the word of exhortation, and to take in good part the faithful wounds of a friend. Let him take care then, that while he

6 Chap. III. Art. XIX,


values his orthodoxy, he be not led unawares to overvalue it, by drawing false conclusions from it, and conceiting himself to be already perfect. If he knows and believes in the true God, he doth well : but let pot that which is an honor to him be any encouragement to dishonor God; the knowledge of whom will only serve to increase our condemnation, if we live in any lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles who knew him not. And though it be the faith of a Christian, and not his morality, that distinguishes him from the rest of mankind ; yet that faith must appear in the conduct of his life ; even as love to a friend is best witnessed by a readiness to do him service. It is true, the service is not the love, nor of equal value with it; yet the love that refuses the service will be accounted as nothing. The mystery of faith is an invaluable. treasure; but the vessel that contains it must be clean and undefiled ; it must be held in a pure conscience; as the manna, that glorious symbol of the word of faith preached to us by the gospel, was confined to the tabernacle, and preserved in a vessel of gold. A mind that is conformed to the world, and given up to its pleasures, though it repeat the creed without questioning a single article of it, will be abhorred in the sight of God, as a vessel unfit for the master's use; and unworthy, because unprepared, to stand in the most holy

place. It is the great excellence of faith, that it can produce such a transformation in the life and manners, as no other principle has any power to do ; and many are possessed of this truth without applying it to their own advantage. It is to be feared, that a consci. ousness of this damps their zeal, and creates that poor, pitiful, cowardly indifference, so much in vogue ; which if it had not by accident found the name of charity, would have been ashamed to shew its face in a Christian country. They are cold and backward to promote any religious conversation; they will not appear to be in earnest about their faith in the eyes of the world, lest they should be forced to abridge somewhat from the gaity of their lives, and to live as they speak. But let them remember, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord: no dross or impurity of this world will be suffered to continue in his sight. And in this, he is no hard master, reaping where he hath not sown, and requiring the fruit of good works without giving us strength and ability to bring them forth. He has provided for us the precious blood of the Lamb, and offered to us the assistance of his holy Spirit, that we may be enabled to serve that living God in whom we believe. If we are purged by him, we shall be clean : if he washes us, we shall be whiter than snow: and when the kingdom of God shall come, and all

his glory shall appear, we shall be prepared to behold his face in righteousness.

This, and no other, is my sincerest wish and prayer for every Christian, who shall give himself the trouble to persue these papers; in which I pretend to no merit but that of a transcriber; which I shall always esteem to be honor enough, where the word of God is my original. And if they should be any wav instrumental to promote so good an end, he will not have read, nor shall I have written, in vain.


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