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them for heretics who do not believe them."* It is not the same thing to reject the sacred text, and to mistake its sense. St Augustine says something to the same purpose; that " it could hardly, if at all, be determined what made one a heretic.”+ And surely it can as little be determined now, by a wise man, though fools are hasty. And therefore what he said elsewhere is very rational, and worth considering by those who are fierce and rash in their charge of heresy, Sæviant illi, &c. “Let them be fierce and cruel, who know not how easy it is to err."
If such things were duly considered by hasty zealots, they would not be so prodigal of their anathemas; but would find the matter of heresy among conscientious Christians so very hard, and the precepts of love, peace, meekness and forbearance towards them who differ, so very easy, and plain to be discerned, that if an ill temper did not bias them more to what is cruel, and unkind, one would think none could be so bad a casuist, as not to determine on the plainest and most pleasant side of the question; and so “let brotherly love still continue.” At least it would make any good natured man speak with Salvian, Errant, sed bono animo errant; apud nos hæretici sunt, apud se
* Sherlock's Vindication of Protestant Principles about Church Government, p. 31.
+ Quid vero faciat Hæreticum, regulari quadam definitione comprehendi aut omnino non potest, aut difficulter potest. Præfat. de Heresibus.
non sunt, &c. “They do not think themselves heretics, though we do; they err, but it is with an honest mind; and how it will go with them at the great day, none but the Judge himself can tell.'
This is more Christian, and becoming a modest sense of our darkness and difficulties, than to pronounce honest minded men odious to God, and to render them odious to ignorant men, by charging them with, and anathematising them for damnable heresies ; and that usually by rote as we have been taught, without knowing what, or how to answer, what they have to say for themselves, and which perhaps we are afraid should be known to others.
* De Guber. I. v.