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can never know it aright, though thou teach him ever so much.

7. And lastly, When, in many inconsiderable points of religion, we cannot agree with many that are truly faithful, nor they with us; let us, according to Paul's rule, leave the final judgment of these things to the due time appointed of God; as Paul hath said, Judge nothing before the time: And if you ask, what time this is? Christ hath told us, saying, If any one hear my word, and believe not, I judge him not: but the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him at the last day. For the things of God are so far beyond the sense, reason, knowledge, judgment, and discerning of all the men in the world, that many times the purest things are reckoned vile, and the most spiritual things, carnal; and the very highest things of the mystery of God and Christ, but conceits or errors; and therefore it is fit that the judgment of these things, which are so far beyond human comprehension, should be deferred to the last day; God's judgment being better in his own time, than in ours.

Now in case the doctrine, wherein we differ, be such as is absolutely necessary to salvation, and without believing which, men can have no interest in Christ; yet even in this case,

1. Hear them speak, and be rather confident that the truth of God will prevail over their error, than fearful, that their error will prevail against the truth: and so strive not for secular power to shut up mens mouths, and to restrain mens writings, though they speak and print things that seem ever so contrary to the truth of God, and doctrine of the gospel: For if men have not liberty to divulge their doctrines publicly, they will spread them privately, to infect and corrupt many, ere it can be known or prevented; and if men vent errors publicly, if there be as public liberty to preach the truth, I

doubt not the success of the truth against it at any time, with all that belong to God. And it is the only gospel way, to conquer error by the truth, and all human, yea, and devilish doctrines, by the gospel; which is the ministration of the Spirit, and therefore so mighty, that all false teachers and false doctrines must needs fall down before it; seeing, stronger is that Spirit that is in it, than that Spirit that is in the world, which is its own spirit, and the devil's. And if the gospel of Christ have given already such proof of its power in former times, when the whole world lay in horrible ignorance and error, d darkness covered the earth and gross darkness the people; and yet the gospel alone, without any conjunction of earthly power, of states and kingdoms with it, did bind the devil, and cast him out of his possessions and dominions, and overthrew all false religions which men had received from their fore-fathers, through many generations; and changed the manners, customs, opinions, religions, and very natures of men, and utterly dispelled errors and heresies of all sorts; I say, seeing the gospel hath already given such large testimony of its power, and made so great a conquest of the world, when it was wholly under the power of the devil; I see no reason that we should now so doubt the power of it, as to suffer no man to say any thing but what likes us, or what is indeed agreeable to the word; as if error should have now gotten more power to make void the word, than the word power to make void error. Wherefore, if the word be suffered to have free passage, I dare rest on that alone (and so dare all that have felt the power of it in their own hearts) for the conquering and destroying all errors and heresies whatsoever, in the true church of God. And now it would be profitable to hear what some other men, who have walked in the same light and spirit, have said in this matter.

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Zuinglius (in his book, quoted in the margin (ƒ), speaks thus, Hæc unica, eaque sola viaest, qua ad concordiam proxime perveniri potest, &c. that is, "This is the one and only

way, whereby we may most suddenly attain to con"cord; if whatsoever things may be, or are commonly "said for any opinion, or against it, be freely propound"ed in the churches, so that the people be allowed free judgment in all these things. For God, who is not "the God of discord, but of peace, never suffers those "who are gathered together in his Spirit, to err or be "deceived. And if this way were observed, we should shortly see the churches of Christ enjoying sweet peace "and concord. But now, as often as there are some princes and cities, that would have the doctrine of the "gospel free to all, presently there are others that would

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stop and hinder the course of it; and so long there "must needs arise great discords and dissentions. And "hence I would have you judge, whether you or we are

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departed from the church of God, and the doctrine of "it. For we suffer those writings that proceed as well "from you, as from the papists, to be openly and freely "read, and read again; and the evils which are taught "in them, we slay by the sword of the Spirit, which is "the word of God: but you think all this business may "be dispatched with PUBLIC EDICTS AND COMMANDS. "And therefore do you be judge, whose cause is most "to be suspected; ours, who suffer the doctrine of our "adversaries to be published in our churches, and over. "throw them by the word; or yours, who reproach our "doctrine before the simple people, as heretical; in the mean time, by your good will, neither suffering them "to read it, nor understand it." Thus far he.

Luther also, in his epistle to Frederick and John, dukes of Saxony, speaking against that spirit which he calls Spi(f) Zuingl. respon. ad libel. Strethionis, tom. 2. f. 302.

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ritus Alstetinus, a proud, haughty, enthusiastical spirit, that despised faith, and love, and the cross, and the whole scriptures, as low things, not worth their minding, and gloried in strange revelations, and superlative holiness, which they had above other believers: and these enemies of the gospel, especially, were gathered together in Alsteta; and Luther writes to the dukes, in whose pro. vince this town was, to this purpose, touching them: Quod vero præsentis, interest negotii, nolim ab illustrissimis D. V. prædicandi officium præcludi cuiquam (g), That is, "But for what pertains to our present business, I would not that the office of preaching should be denied to any, by your most illustrious lordships; but let there be granted to them free liberty to preach, and let them exhibit the best proof of their learning. For I said, by the testimony of Paul, It must needs be, that there must be sects; and the word of God must strive, and wage war in camps. And therefore it is evident in Psal. Ixvii. that the evangelists are called armies, and that Christ, in the Psalms, is called more than once, the king of armies. Now if their spirit be a right and approved spirit, it will easily subsist before us without all fear and so if our spirit be right, as we hope it is, it will fear neither them, nor any body else, but if they transgress the bounds of the gospel, and will not contain their hands, but will do their work with violence, it is the duty of your most illustrious lordships, when they grow fierce and seditious, to repress them, or to banish them out of your dominions; saying, we will easily grant to you, to fight with the word, for the proving and examining which, is true doctrine: but we will restrain the fierceness of your spirits, and contain your hands; for these things belong to our magistracy. And therefore they that will not herein obey, let them depart the country For, saith he, we who are ministers of the word, may preach, but we must do no violence; and (g) Luther. Farrag. epistol. tom. 7. f. 509.

Daniel hath witnessed, that Antichrist should be destroyed without hands: And Isaiah saith, that Christ shall fight in his kingdom, with the Spirit of his mouth and the rod of his lips, &c."

Also Albertus, duke of Borussia, when the great controversy fell out between Andreas Osiander, and Morlinus, and other ministers, touching the righteousness whereby a christian is made righteous before God, he would not forbid either side, either the pulpit or press; but left them free to both alike, and desired them to forbear reproaches one against another, and to debate the business quietly by the word of God.

Likewise the Bohemians, in a certain exhortation of theirs to kings and princes, to stir them up to the zeal of the gospel, subscribed by Procopius and Conradus, and other captains of the Bohemians, have these words; "They say (that is the Papists) it ought not to be suffered, that we should be heard, in confessing our faith (h). Now, how may they be proved by the holy scripture, since Christ heard the devil, as it is written, Matt. iv.? And they are not better than Christ, nor we worse than the devil. If they be righteous, and have the truth with them, as they say they have, and we be unrighteous, why do they fear? since the truth ought not to be afraid of falsehood; and Zorobabel declared, That truth is, of all things, the most mighty, and overcometh all things. 2 Esd. iii. For Christ is the truth. John xiv. I am the way, the truth; and the devil is the father of lies. John viii. Therefore if the Pope and his priests have the truth, let them overcome us with the word of God: but if they have lies, then they cannot long abide, in all their presumption. Wherefore, we exhort and beseech all the imperial cities, all kings, princes, noblemen, rich, poor, for God's sake, and for his righ

(h) Fox Martyrolog. vol. 1. p. 858.

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