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OF CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.
(G) 2 Thess. i. 10.-When he shall come to be glorified in his saints, and to be admired in all them that believe (because our testimony among you was believed) in that day.
(H) Rom. viii. 15.-For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.
(1) Luke i. 73-75.-The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life. 1 John iv. 18.--There is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear, because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (K) Gal. iii. 9, 14.-So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
(L) John vii. 38, 39.-He that believeth on me, as the scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water (But this spake he of the Spirit which they that believe in him should receive for the Holy Ghost was not yet given; because that Jesus was not yet glorified.) Heb. x. 19-21.-Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus. By a new and living way consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, his flesh: And having an high priest over the house of God.
2. God alone is (M) Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men (N) which are in any thing contrary to his word, or not contained in it. So that to believe such doctrines, or obey such commands out of conscience, (o) is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an (P) implicit faith, an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience and reason also.
(M) James iv. 12.-There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy; who art thou that judgest another? Rom. xiv. 4.-Who art thou that judgest another man's servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth; yea, he shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand.
(N) Acts iv. 19, 29.-But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. And now, Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word. 1 Cor. vii. 23.-Ye are bought with a price, be not ye the servants of men. Matt. xv. 9.-but in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
(0) Col. ii. 20, 22, 23.-Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Which all are to perish with the using,) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a show of wisdom in will-worship and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh. (P) 1 Cor. iii. 5.-Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? 2 Cor. i. 24.-Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy; for by faith ye stand.
3. They who upon pretence of Christian liberty do practise any sin, or cherish any sinful lust, as they do thereby pervert the main design of the grace of the gospel (9) to their own destruction, so they wholly destroy (R) the end of Christian liberty, which is, that being delivered out of the hands of all our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our lives.
(a) Rom. vi. 1, 2.-What shall we say then? shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? (R) Gal. v. 13.-For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. 2 Pet. ii. 18, 21.-For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.
OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH DAY.
1. The light of nature shews that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is just, good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and all the soul, (A) and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God, is (B) instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imagination and devices of men, nor the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representations, or (c) any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scriptures.
(A) Jer. x. 7.-Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. Mark xii. 33.-And to love him with all the heart, and with all the understanding, and with all the soul, and with all the strength, and to love his neighbour as himself, is more than all whole burnt-offerings and sacrifices.
(B) Deut. xii. 32.-What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto, nor diminish from it.
(c Exod. xx. 4, 5, 6.-Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
2. Religious worship is to be given to God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and to him (D) alone; not to angels, saints, or any other (E) creatures; and since the fall, not without a (F) mediator, nor in the mediation of any other but (G) Christ alone.
(D) Matt. iv. 9, 10.—And saith unto him, all these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. John vi. 23.-Howbeit there came other boats from Tiberias, nigh unto the place where they did eat bread, after that the Lord had given thanks.-Matt. xxviii. 19.-Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(E) Rom. i. 25. Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. Col. ii. 18. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. Rev. xix. 10. And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellow-servant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: Worship God for the testimony of Jesus is the Spirit of prophecy.
(F) John xiv. 6.—Jesus saith unto him. I am the way, and the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.
(G) 1 Tim. ii. 5-For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.
3. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one part of natural worship, is by God required of (H) all men. But that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the (1) name of the Son, by the help (K) of the Spirit, according to (L) his will; with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and when with others, in a (M) known tongue.
OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH DAY.
(H) Ps. XCV. 1-7.-O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the deep places of the earth the strength of the hills is his also. The sea is his, and he made it: and his hands formed the dry land. O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker. For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. Ps. lxv. 2.-0 thou that hearest prayer, unto thee shall all flesh come.
(1) John xiv. 13, 14.-And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If ye shall ask anything in my name, I will do it.
(K) Rom. viii. 26.-Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercessiou for us with groanings which cannot be utter d.
(L) I John v. 14.--And this is the confience that we have in him, that if we ask anything according to his will, he heareth us.
(M) 1 Cor. xiv. 16, 17.-Else, when thou shalt bless with the Spirit, how sha'l he that occupieth the room of the unlearned say Amen at thy giving of thanks, seeing he understandeth not what thou sayest? For thou verily givest thanks well, but the other is not edified.
4. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, and for all sorts of men living, (N) or that shall live hereafter; but not (o) for the dead, nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned (P) the sin unto death.
Tim. ii. 1. 2.-I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and tor all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 2 sam. vii. 29.-Therefore, now let it please thee to bless the house of thy servant, that it may continue for ever before thee: for thou, O Lord God, hast spoken it; and with thy blessing let the house of thy servant be b.essed for
(0) 2 Sam. xii. 21-23.-Then said his servants unto him, What thing is this that thou hast done? thou didst fast and weep for the child while it was alive. but when the child was dead, thou didst rise and eat bread. And he said, White the child was yet alive, I fasted and wept: for I said, Who can tell whether God will be gracious to me, that the child may live? But now he is dead, wherefore should I fast? Can I bring him back again? I shall go to him, but he shall not
return to me.
(P) 1 John v. 16.-If any man see his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.
5. The (4) reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and (R) hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to (s) the Lord; as also the administration (T) of baptism, and (v) the Lord's supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, (x) with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon (r) special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
(Q) 1 Tim. iv. 13.-Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.
(R) 2 Tim. iv. 2.-Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove rebuke, exhort, with all long suffering and doctrine. Luke viii. 18.-Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
(s) Col. iii. 16.-Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom ; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymus and spiritual songs,
OF RELIGIOUS WORSHIP AND THE SABBATH DAY.
singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Eph. v. 19.-Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.
(T) Matt. xxviii. 19, 20.-Go ye, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
(U) 1 Cor. xi. 26.-For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come.
(x) Esther iv. 16.-Go gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise, and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law and if I perish, I perish. Joel ii. 12.-Therefore also now, saith the Lord, Turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning.
(Y) Exod. xv. 1, &c.-Then sang Moses and the children of Israel this song unto the Lord, and spake saying, I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. [Read to the 19th verse, and also Ps. cvii.]
6. Neither prayer nor any other part of religious worship, is now under the gospel, tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is (z) performed, or towards which it is directed; but God is to be worshipped everywhere in spirit and in truth; as in (A 1) private families (B 1) daily, and (c 1) in secret, each one by himself so more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly nor wilfully to be (D1) neglected or forsaken, when God by his word or providence calleth thereto.
(z) John iv. 21.-Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me the hour cometh when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. Mal. i. 11.-For from the rising of the sun, even unto the going down of the same, my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts. 1 Tim. ii. 8.-I will therefore that men pray everywhere, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.
(A1) Acts x. 2.-A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
(B1) Matt. vi. 11.-Give us this day our daily bread. Ps. lv. 17.-Evening, and morning, and at noon, will I pray and cry aloud; and he shall hear my voice.
(c 1) Matt. vi. 6.--But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet; and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
(D 1) Heb. x. 25.-Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is: but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching. Acts ii. 42.-And they continued stedfastly in the apostle's doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.
7. As it is of the law of nature, that in general a proportion of time, by God's appointment, be set apart for the worship of God, so by his Word, in a positive, moral and perpetual commandment, binding all men, in all ages, he hath particularly appointed one day in seven for a (E 1) sabbath to be kept holy unto him, which from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ was the last day of the week, and from the resurrection of Christ was changed into the first day of the week, (F 1) which is called the Lord's Day: and is to be continued to the end of the world as the Christian Sabbath, the observation of the last day of the week being abolished.
(E 1) Exod. xx. 8.-Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. (F1) 1 Cor. xvi. 1, 2.-Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I have given order to the churches of Galatia, even so do ye. Upon the first day of the week
let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come. Acts xx. 7.-And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow, and continued his speech until midnight. Rev. i. 10.-I was in the spirit on the Lord's day, and heard behind me a great voice as of a trumpet.
8. The sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering their common affairs aforehand, do not only observe an holy (G 1) rest all day, from their own works, words and thoughts, about their worldly employment and recreations, but also are taken up the whole time in the public and private exercises of his worship, and in the duties (H 1) of necessity and mercy.
(G1) Isa. lviii. 13.—If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the Sabbath a delight, the holy of the Lord, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words. Neh. xiii. 15, 23.-In those days saw I in Judah some treading wine presses on the Sabbath, and bringing in sheaves, and lading asses; as also wine, grapes, and figs, and all manner of burdens, which they brought into Jerusalem on the Sabbath day: and I testified against them in the day wherein they sold victuals. In those days also saw I Jews that had married wives of Ashdod, of Ammon, and of Moab.
(H1) Matt. xii. 1, 13.-At that time Jesus went on the Sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the other.
OF LAWFUL OATHS AND VOWS.
1. A lawful oath is a part of religious worship, (A) wherein the person swearing in truth, righteousness, and judgment, solemnly calleth God to witness what he sweareth, (B) and to judge him according to the truth or falseness thereof.
(a) Exod. xx. 7.-Thou shalt 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. Deut. x. 20.-Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God; him shalt thou serve, and to him shalt thou cleave, and swear by his name. Jer. iv. 2.-And thou shalt swear, The Lord liveth in truth, in judgment, and in righteousness; and the nations shall bless themselves in him, and in him shall they glory.
(B) 2 Chron. vi. 22, 23.-If a man sin against his neighbour, and an oath be laid upon him to make him swear, and the oath come before thine altar in this house: Then hear thou from heaven, and do, and judge thy servants, by requiting the wicked, by recompensing his way upon his own head; and by justifying the righteous, by giving him according to his righteousness.
2. The name of God only is that by which men ought to swear; and therein it is to be used, with all holy fear and reverence; there fore to swear vainly or rashly by that glorious and dreadful name, or to swear at all by any other thing, is sinful, and to be (c) abhorred; yet as in matter of weight and moment, for confirmation of truth, (D) and ending all strife, an oath is warranted by the word of God; so a lawful oath being imposed (E) by lawful authority in such matters, ought to be taken.
(c) Matt. v. 34, 37.-But I say unto you, Swear not at all: neither by heaven; for it is God's throne. But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay; for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil. James v. 12.-But above all things, my brethren, swear not; neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.