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At first View, this Attempt may seem as tending to the Widening of our Differences, and keeping us at greater Lite ce,
But when duly confider'd, it wili uve 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 Clirist'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 same 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 persuaded to leave their Schism, when they cannot otherwise compass a rich Match, or one whom they Love: And this
may be fupposd a Guard which God has put for the Security of his Religion.
And, as it may reduce 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 perilh (as She believes) both Soul and Body, for want of her Advice and Inftruâion. And if the Husband be likepile religious, and make the same Conscience of educating bis Children, then will
, some of them Ipeak the Language of Israel, and some the Speech of Andod; or, which is marse, dillemble 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 bave 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 à 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 toe 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 Assurance 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,
Let us add to this the drawing in of Factions and Parties among the Children and Servants, on Account of the Difference of Religions practis'd
in the Family, and so breeding Divisions and Disturbance to the Peace and good Government of the Family, and wear, ing out, by degrees, that Love and mutual Confidence and Trust ther ought to be betwixt Man and Wife, while they are oblig'd ta keep perpetual watch npon each other, for fear of their Children and Servants, for whose Religion (I mean of the Servants as well as Children) the Masters of Families are Chargeable before God: Hom little Soever that be now thought of ; but Men use the Service of Mankind as of Beasts, with out other Confideration than feeding of their Bodies, which they do for their own Advantage) I say, Masters are answerable for the Religion of their Servants as far as Instruction goes, and the Exercise of a just and equitable Authority: And it being a Truth even to a Proverb, that Men (especially Children) are more drawn by Example than Precept, this greatest of Temptations can never be wanting in Hat Family where Man and Wife are of different Com
Ther is but one thing that can be said to this, and it is common with those concern'd; that is, that there are good and bad of all Communions, and if Men live justly and virtuously in any Communion, they may