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Promises in all Ages of the World, from the first Man born, even unto this Day: And has wonderfully prefero'd his miraculous Providences amidst all her Enemies; has affir'd her of a final Victory over them; and eternal Triumph, and Jubilee in Hea
This is an invincible Argument for the Truth of the Gospel, when it is shem'd, that the same Peculium which Christ has set up in His Church, had been deducid through several Oeconomies, from the Beginning of the World. And foretold by all the Prophets, from that time to the Coming of the Messiah. And that. Fold of the Sheep being finally separated from the Goats, makes up the two eternal States of Heaven and Hell.
It is likewise the most Forceable Persuasive that can be to the restoring of a Catholick Cominunion and Unity among
all Christan Churches, the Members of this one Body.
And also it is the truest Light and Rule phereby to govern the Discipline of every particular Church within her self, all with due Respect to the preserving and supporting the true Notion and Prerogatives of the Peculium.
Among which, this of Marriage is a principal Part, which has been forgotten and neglected amongst Vs and other Commu. nions, contrary to both Their and Our Principles.
At first View, this Attempt may seem as tending to the Widening of our Differences, and keeping us at greater Litence,
But when duly confider'd, it wili uvę the quite contrary Effect. For they who wire in Earnest with their Religion, will by this fensible Motive, be brought to consider the more Spiritual and Eternal Consequences of being within the true Peculium; and will not, for small and indifferent Things, make a Schism in the Church of which they are Members; And, for Pride or Peevishness; throw themselves out of the Fold of Christ's Church, and set up another of their own Contrivance.
And it will discover the Hypocrisie of those loose Professors, who cannot abstain from Marriage, for the fame Reasons which they think sufficient to divorce themselves from the Church, which is the Body of Christ, and to tear it in Pieces by their Schism.
It will beget a higher Regard of Religion, and it is to be hop'd, when other Arguments fail; that many may be per
, suaded to leave their Schism, when they cannot otherwise compass a rich Match, or oxe whom they Love: And this may be fupposd a Guard which God has put for the Security of his Religion.
And, as it may rednce many, so it will cement those that are in the Peculium much
more firmly, when they consider, by what a holy and strict Tye they are united into one Body under Christ the Head.
Let me go on then a little in this Preface, to pave the Way towards the ensuing Discourse,
Ther are two things to be consider'd in this Matter of Marriage into different Communions ; First, as to the Inconvenience of it, the Prejudice and Hurt to Families, as well in their Spiritual ąs Temporal Concerns. And secondly, as to the Lawfulness of it, which is the chief and great Point, and mainly to be consider'd.
I will therefor only touch upon the First; because the Reasons are obvious to any one, and the Examples frequent, and daily Complaints are heard, and the miserable Inconveniences seen, felt, and underftcod.
It is a common Theam, how little the Promises in Courtship, or Contracts upon Marriage, as to giving full Liberty in Religion, are regarded? And indeed they ought not to be regarded, and oblige only to Repentance, as being unlawful Oaths or Promises. Can I Covenant (or ought I to keep it) to suffer my Wife to go on in ayhat I am persuaded is a great Sin, to continue all her Life in an idolatrous Worship, or in open and notorious Schism, without so much as once interposing even my vice, or attempting to satisfie
. her Scruples,
or convince her Reason? Will not the Blood of her Soul be requir'd at my Hand? Shall I be oblig'd to that Hardness of Heart towards her, which wou'd be a Sin in
me towards a Stranger ? It is Written, Lev.xix. 17. Thou shalt not hate thy Brother in thine Heart: Thou shalt in any wise rebuke thy Neighbour, and not suffer Sin upon him. Or, as our Margin reads it, Suffer Sin for him: That is, I shall anSwer for his Sin, if I do not reprove it. And can I tye my self up from this Duty towards
my Wife? Is not this hating her. in my Heart? Is it not saying, Let me have your Person or Estate, and I care not what becomes of your Soul? And shall not I answer for this to God ? If I suffer Sin upon her, without rebuking of it, shall not I suffer Sin for her?
Then again, What Security can I have of her not tampering with her Children? If I be so hard-hearted towards her, as to let her
go freely (as I think) to the Devil : And whether I think truly or not, the Kindness is the same ; nay, and the Sin too in a great Measure, because I go on in that which I think to be a Sin and Provocation to God, which is Provoking of Him to his Face : I say, tho' I shou'd be so insensible of my Duty to God or Man, as to suffer this in my Wife, without Reproof; yet the may
be better natur'd, and have not only more Sense of God, but Bowels for her Children, than
to see them perila (as She believes) both Soul and Body, for want of ber Advice and Inftru&ion. And if the Husband bę likewise religious, and make the Same Con science of educating bis Children, then will some of them speak the Language of Israel, and some the Speech of Aldod; or, which is marse, diffemble it, for fear of offending, till they come to be their own Masters, And then ther is another Family corrupted, and the Infection gone to my Grand-Children, and whole Pofterity.
Ther are Agreements made in some of these Marriages, that the Father shall have the Education of the Sons in His Religion ; and the Mother of the Daughters in Hers: Or the Father of the first Child, the Mother of the second, &c.
That is, I give up some of my Children to what I think a false Religion, and wherein I dare not venture my own Soul to have the Privilege of bringing others of them up in the true Religion : This is, if We are in earnest with Religion, ta damn one (as far as in us lies) to save another : A sad Bargain for our Children !
Especially considering, that those I give up are certainly lost if I keep my Engagement : And I have no Asurance that Faith will be kept with me, as to my Share of my Children; so that I deliver some of them to certain Ruin, for the Hazard of saving others,