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the name of all three, that man ceaseth to be a Christian that believes only in one; for faith in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, is necessary to the very constitution of a Christian; and is the principal, if not the only characteristical note whereby to distinguish a Christian from another man; yea, from a Turk; for this is the chief thing that the Turks, both in their Alcoran and other writings, upbraid Christians for, even because they believe a trinity of persons in the divine nature. For which cause they frequently say, they are people that believe God hath companions; so that take away this article of our Christian faith, and what depends upon it, and there would be but little difference betwixt a Christian and a Turk: but by this means, Turks would not turn Christians, but Christians Turks, if this fundamental article of the Christian religion was once removed; for he that doth not believe this, is no Christian upon that very account, because he doth not believe that by which a Christian is made; and whatsoever else errors a man may hold, yet if he believes in God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, I cannot, I dare not but acknowledge him to be a Christian in general, because he holds fast to the foundation of the Christian religion, though perhaps he may build upon it hay and stubble, and so his superstructure be infirm and rotten.
I shall conclude with a word of advice to all such as call themselves by the name of Christ: I suppose and believe they are all Christians, from their taking that name, and therefore I need not use any arguments to persuade them to turn Christians, for so they are already by profession; but,
seeing that they are Christians, let me desire them to consider how they come to be so; even by being baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. And if they desire to be Christians still, I must advise them to continue steadfast in that faith whereby they were made SO. Of all the errors and heresies which Satan hath sowed amongst us, let us have an especial care to avoid such as strike at the very foundation of our religion; I mean the Arians, Macedonians, Socinians, and all manner of Antitrinitarians, such as deny the most sacred Trinity.
But 1 hope we have better learned Christ than to hearken to such opinions as these are; and therefore my next advice in brief is only this, that as we excel others in the truth of our profession, so we may excel them also in the holiness of our life and conversation: let us manifest ourselves to be Christians indeed, by believing the assertions, trusting in the promises, fearing the threatenings, and obeying the precepts of Christ our master, that both infidels and heretics may be convinced of their errors, by seeing us outstripping them in our piety towards God, equity to our neighbours, charity to the poor, unity among ourselves, and love to all; for this would be a clear demonstration, that our faith is better than theirs is, when our lives are holier than theirs are; and for our encouragement thereunto, I dare engage, that if we believe thus, as Christ hath taught us, and live as he hath commanded us, we shall also obtain what he hath promised, even 'eternal happiness in the world to come;' where we shall see, enjoy, and praise that God, into whose name we are baptized, even Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, for evermore. There,
with angels and archangels, with the heavens and all the powers therein; with cherubim and seraphim, and all the blessed inhabitants of those everlasting mansions; with the glorious company of the apostles, the goodly fellowship of the prophets; the noble army of martyrs; all the company of heaven, and the holy church throughout all the world, we shall eternally laud and magnify thy sacred name, "O God, the Father of heaven; O God, the Son, Redeemer of the world; O God, the Holy Ghost, proceeding from the Father and the Son; O holy, blessed and glorious Trinity, three persons and one God, evermore prasing thee, the Father of an infinite majesty; together with thine honourable, true, and only Son; thee the King of glory, O Christ; and thee, O Holy Ghost, the Comforter; still joining with the heavenly choir, and saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts, heaven and earth are full of thy glory; glory be to thee, O Lord most high. We praise thee, we bless thee, we worship thee, we glorify thee, we give thanks to thee for thy great glory, O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty. O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, thou [who takest away the sins of the world, and sittest at the right hand of God the Father. O blessed, glorious, and eternal Spirit; for thou only art holy, thou only art the Lord; thou only, O Christ, with the Holy Ghost, art most high in the glory of God the Father for thine, O Lord, is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
'Almighty and everlasting God, who hast given unto us thy servants grace, by the confession of a true faith, to acknowledge the glory of the eternal
Trinity, and in the power of the Divine majesty to worship the Unity; we beseech thee that thou wouldst keep us steadfast in this faith, and evermore defend us from all adversities, who livest and reignest, one God, world without end. Amen."
And now having led the Christian through this first stage of his course, and instructed him in the principles of his religion, and in the great mystery of the Trinity, into which he was baptized, it may be fit to bring him into the world, and show him how he ought to demean himself in regard to the things of it.
THOUGHTS UPON WORLDLY RICHES.
He that seriously considers the constitution of the Christian religion, observing the excellency of its doctrines, the clearness of its precepts, the severity of its threatenings, together with the faithfulness of its promises, and the certainty of its principles to trust to; such a one may justly be astonished, and admire what should be the reason that they who profess this not only the most excellent, but only true religion in the world, should notwithstanding be generally as wicked, debauched, and profane, as they that never heard of it. For that they are so, is but too plain and obvious to every one that observes their actions, and compares them with the practice of Jews, Turks, and infidels. For what sin have they among them, which we have not as rife among themselves? Are they intemperate and
luxurious? Are they envious and malicious against one another? Are they uncharitable and censorious? Are they given to extortion, rapine, and oppression? So are most of those who are called Christians. Do they blaspheme the name of God, profane his sabbaths, contemn his word, despise his ordinances, and trample upon the blood of his only Son? How many have we amongst ourselves that do these things as much as they?
But how comes this about, that they who are baptized into the name of Christ, and profess the religion which he established in the world, should be no better than other people, and in some respects far worse? Is it because, though they profess the gospel, yet they do not understand it; nor know what sins are forbidden, nor what duties are enjoined in it? That none can plead, especially amongst us who have the gospel so clearly revealed, so fully interpreted, so constantly preached to us as we have. Insomuch that if there be any one person amongst us, that understands not what is necessary to be known, in order to our everlasting happiness, it is because we will not, wilfully shutting our eyes against the light.
But what then shall we impute this wonder to, that Christians are generally as bad as heathens? Does Christ in his gospel dispense with their impieties, and give them indulgencies for their sins, and licence to break the moral law? It is true, his pretended vicar at Rome doth so; but far be it from us to father our sins upon him, who came into the world on purpose to save us from them. Indeed if we repent and turn from sin, he hath both purchased and promised pardon and forgiveness to us, but not till then: but hath expressly