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the obscurity of them, they mistook the sense of them, and fail of performance, by reason of their error ?

To make therefore heresy punishable, it must first be proved criminal; and to do that, it must be proved voluntary or to proceed from negligence. And then the definition of it must be, not, as it is usually put, for an error in fundamentals, but something else. However, when once men are agreed upon what are fundamentals, and lay aside human deductions, as certainly nonfundamentals; sure it is, that a great many notions, to serve a party, frequently called heresies, will be blotted out of the catalogue. A heretic that is punishable, is one that maintains doctrines contrary to the doctrines of Christ, through pride, or vain glory, or any sinister end; so that the fault of a heretic lies in the irregularity of his will, not in his understanding. God may punish such, consistent with goodness, justice, and mercy; and in such cases every inan should follow the Apostle's rule concerning heretics, Tit. iii. 10, 11. A man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject ; knowing that he that is such is subverted and sinneth, being condemned of himself. For surely such a heretic, as is before mentioned, who will presume to teach doctrines from such carnal ends, bas all the characters which the Apostle gives; he is subverted, he sins, he is selfcondemned; but as for that which generally bears the name of heresy, viz. an error in some speculations about the Trinity, or other mysteries of Christianity, a man who has carefully studied, and is only mistaken in these matters, will hardly be found to have above one of the three characters the Apostle gives of a heretic. If he be subverted, yet it will be hard to prove sin, or selfcondemnation,

upon him.

In short, heresy is not an error of the understanding, but of the will. If errors of the understanding are criminal, let all be so, and punish philosophical ones as well as theological, and take into the account all others too, and let him that is without sin amongst you cast the first stone. If this seem shocking, give but a good reason why theological errors of the understanding must be sinful and liable to punishments, and I will venture to promise to prove others to be under the same predicament. If you allow me, that heresy be an error of the will, then tell me why the man that impartially studies the Scriptures, and differs in his notions from the received hypotheses, in some mysterious speculative matters, is branded with the ignominious character of heretic? It is surprising, therefore, that a professed opinion, accompanied with charity and good nature, should become more criminal in some men's minds, than even a wicked life. If it were in my choice to appear before the great Searcher of hearts, in what manner I would, I would rather appear with a thousand errors, and what some call heresies, about me, if they were such as proceeded from real judgment, after all my industry to search out truth, and to know the will of God, than to appear as one who has been ever drunk, or unjust, or profane, without one speculative error in his head.

And yet how lightly are these passed over, and how terribly is an erroneous person, or perhaps one no more than suspected of error, hampered, persecuted, and worried ? “Anciently,” says Mr Hales, in his

Rom. xiv. 1. 66 heretical and orthodox Christians, many times, even in public holy exercise, conversed together without offence. It is noted in the ecclesiastical stories, that the Arians and right believers so communicated together in holy prayers, that you could not distinguish them till they came to the 40gooyla, the Gloria Patri, which the Arians used with some difference from other Christians. But those were times, quorum lectionem habemus, virtutem non habemus ; we read of them in our books, but we have lost the practice of their patience.” And presently afterwards, “SEVERITY against, and SEPARation from heretical companies, took its beginning from the heretics themselves.” This latter is plainly a mistake in this great man. For severity on religious accounts plainly took its beginning from the orthodox. But if you will say, what I will not at present examine or refute, that the fact was otherwise, I shall ask, whence then is it that orthodox persons are so ready to follow the evil example of heretics, and what is more, the very worst part of their example ? Whence is it, that they so readily embrace the means which were invented by erroneous persons to carry on a wrong cause? Do but consult experience and that will tell you, that since the time when force and temporal punishments were first used to propagate notions, it has been ten times, I might say ten thousand times, used to propagate errors, instead of once to propagate truth.



As to Schism, I shall only add, that from what has been said, nothing can be inferred that will encourage that; and I cannot but refer you to Mr Hale's tract upon that subject, which you cannot read without both pleasure and advantage.

If, Sir, you should think fit to make a public reply to what is here offered, I know you are too much a gentleman to catch at words, and let go my meaning. I persuade myself that you will believe me, when I assure you, that I love truth for its own sake, and am overjoyed when I find it, though it makes against me. I only allot to truth the first place in my heart; next to that, you have the preeminence in,


Your most obedient Servant.

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