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anity stick not to Aling upon it; fo ill are they principled, and so unchristianly employed : which proves to me how little they are professors of the "true, « pure and undefiled religion," whatever opinion some weak and simple people may have of them. My soul pitieth their opposition, and feareth the consequence of such resistance, and desires they may fee the very vanity of their endeavours against the light, repent of them, and be converted, that God may yet heal them. Which sincere prayer is my return for all their hard speeches and ungodly sayings against us in general, and myself in particular.
General Rule of Faith and PRACTICE,
JUDGE OF CONTROVERSY.
Greatly importing all those who desire to take right Measures
of Faith, and to determine (at least to themselves) the numerous Controversies now on foot in the World.
By the same Author.
For in Christ Jesus, neither Circumcifion availeth any Thing, nor Uncircumcifion,
but a NEW Creature . And as many as walk according to THIS Rule, Peace
be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God. GAL. vi. 16. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all
Things, yea, the deep Things of God. The Things of God knoweth no Man, but the Spirit of God. He that is spiritual judgeth all things. i Cor.
ii. 10, 11, 15. But ye have an Unction from the Holy One; and ye shall know all Things.
1 JOHN ii. 20.
Published in the Year 1673:
GENERAL RULE of FAITH and PRACTICE.
VINCE there are so many faiths in the world, and
perplexed controversies about them; and that it greatly behoveth every man, if to contend for, then first to know, the true faith that overcometh the world; it may not be unnecessary to say something of the general rule of faith and life, and judge of controversy, at this time. And indeed I ain pressed from this weighty consideration, that men perish for want of it, and can no more arrive at truth without it, than the distressed mariner can gain his port, who fails without either star or compass.
I shall begin with an explanation of the terms, rule, and faith; of which we shall first treat, that we may as well express what we intenď by the one, as what we mean by the other; which will be a proper introduction to the whole discourse.
By GENERAL RULE, &c. we understand, that confant measure or standard, by which men, in all ages, have been enabled to judge of the truth or error of doctrines, and the good or evil of thoughts, words, and actions.
By FAITH, we understand, an assent of the mind, in such manner, to the discoveries made of God thereto, as to resign up to God, and have dependence upon him, as the great Creator and Saviour of his peo. ple; which is inseparable from good works.
That men, in all ages, have had a belief of God, and some knowledge of him, though not upon equal discovery, must be granted from that account that all story gives of mankind in matters of religion. Several have fully performed this; of old, Justin Martyr, Clemens Alexandrinus, Augustine, and others; of latter times, Du Plesly, Grotius, Amiraldus, L. Herbert, and above all Dr. Cudworth: and indeed the relicks we have of the most ancient historians and authors, are á demonftration in the point. Now the scripture tells us, that « no man knows the Father " but the Son, and he to whom the Son reveals " him :” and “as none know the things of man,
save the spirit of man; so the things of God knows « no man, but the Spirit of God." Hence we may safely conclude, that the creating Word that was with God, and was God, in whom was life, and that life the light of men, and who is the quickening Spirit, was be by whom God in all ages hath revealed him. self; consequently, that light or fpirit must have been the general rule of mens knowledge, faith, and obedience, with respect to God. And thus much Pythagoras, who lived about fix hundred years before those words were spoke or writ, laid down for a maxim, viz. "That no man can know what is agreeable to « God, except a man bear God himself,' and that must be within ; for that was his doctrine. To which the apostle and prophet thus agree: 1. In that “ whatever « makes manifest is light.c” 2. That « whatever 66 might be known of God was made manifest withbi in; for God (who is light, i John i. 5.) had shewn it unto them: and, “ God hath shewn unto thee, O * man, what is good, and what God requireth of " thee, d” &c. Which could not be without the light of his Son shining in man's conscience: therefore the light of Christ in the conscience must needs have been the general rule, &c. It was by this law that Enoch,
• Mat. xi. 17.
1 Cor. ii. 11. Eph. v. 13. Rom. i. 19. & Mic. vi. 8. .