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SECT. XI. The conclusion to the Christians; who are admonished of their duty upon occasion of the foregoing things.
HAVING finished this last dispute, I come now to the conclusion, which regards not strangers but Christians of all sorts and conditions: briefly shewing the use of those things which have been hitherto said; that those which are right may be done, and those which are wrong may be avoided. First, that they lift up undefiled hands800800 1 Tim. ii. James iv. 8. Tertullian in his Apology: “Thither the Christians direct their eyes, with hands extended, because innocent; with head uncovered, because we are not ashamed; without any instructor, because from our heart we pray for all emperors, that they may enjoy a long life, a secure government, a safe house, courageous armies, a faithful senate, an honest people, and a peaceful land.” to that God who made all things, visible and invisible, out of nothing;801801 Coloss. i. 16. Heb. xi. 3. Acts iv. 24. 2 Mac. vii. 28. with a firm persuasion that he takes care of mankind,802802 1 Pet. iii. 12. v. 7. since not a sparrow falls to the ground without his leave:803803 Matt. x. 29. and that they do not fear them who can only hurt the body,804804 Matt. x. 28. Luke xii. 4. before him who hath an equal power over both body and soul: that they should trust not only on God the Father, but also on Jesus,805805 John xiv. 1. Heb. xiv. 15, 16. Ephes. iii. 12. and 17. since there is none other name on earth by which we can be saved:806806 Acts iv. 12. which they will rightly perform,807807 John viii. 41. and following. Matt. vii. 21. John iv. 14. 1 John ii. 3, 4. if they consider that not they, who call one by the name of Father, and the other by the name of 242Lord shall live eternally; but they who conform their lives to his will. They are moreover exhorted carefully to preserve the holy doctrine of Christ, as a most valuable treasure;808808 Matt. xiii. 44, 45. 1 Cor. iv. 7. 1 Tim. vi. 20. 2 Tim. i. 14. and to that end, often to read the sacred writings;809809 Colos. iv. 16. 1 Thess. v. 27. Rev. i. 3. by which no one can possibly be deceived, who has not first deceived himself. For the authors of them were more faithful,810810 Tertullian speaks thus concerning the heretics in his prescription: “They were wont to say, that the apostles did not know all things; being actuated by the same madness, by which they again change, and say that the apostles did, indeed, know all things, but did not deliver all things to all men; in both of which they make Christ subject to reproach; who sent apostles either nut well instructed or not very honest.” See what there follows, which is very useful. and more full of the divine influence, than either willingly to deceive us in any necessary truth, or to hide it in obscurity; but we must bring a mind prepared to obey,811811 John vii. 17. v. 44. Matt. xi. 25. Philip. iii. 15. 2 Pet. iii. l6. Hosea xiv. 9. which if we do, none of those things will escape us, which we are to believe, hope, or do;812812 2 Tim. ii. 15, 16. John xx. 31. 1 Pet. i. 23. and by this means, that spirit will be cherished and excited in us,813813 2 Tim. i. 6. 1 Thess. v. 19. which is given us as a pledge of future happiness.814814 Ephes. i. 14. 2 Cor. i. 22. v. 5. Further, they are to be deterred from imitating the heathen; first, in the worship of false gods,815815 1 Cor. viii. 5, 6. which are nothing but empty names;816816 In the same, ver. 4. x. 19. which evil angels make use of817817 1 Cor. x. 20. Rev. ix. 20. to turn us from the worship of the true God;818818 Ephes. ii. 2. Rev. ix. 20. 2 Thess. ii. 9. wherefore, we cannot partake of their rites,819819 1 Cor. x. 20. and at the same time be profited by the sacrifice 243of Christ. Secondly, in a licentious way of living.820820 Ephes. ii. 3. Tit. ii. 12. having no other law but what lust dictates, which Christians ought to be the furthest from;821821 2 Cor. vi. 15. because they ought not only far to exceed the heathen,822822 Matt. v. 47. vi. 7, 32. but also the scribes and pharisees among the Jews;823823 Matt. v. 20. xxiii. 23. Rom. iii. 20. Gal. ii. 16. whose righteousness, which consisted in certain external acts, was not sufficient to secure them a heavenly kingdom. The circumcision made with hands availeth nothing now,824824 1 Cor. vii. 19. Gal. v. 6. vi. 15. Philip. iii. 3. Ephes. ii. 11. Coloss. ii. 11. Rom. ii. 29. but that other internal circumcision of the heart, obedience to the commands of God,825825 1 Cor. vii. 19. a new creature,826826 Gal. vi. 15. faith which is effectual by love,827827 Gal. v. 6. by which the true Israelites are distinguished,828828 Rom. ix. 6. 1 Cor. x. 18. Gal. vi. 16. John i. 47. the mystical Jews, that is, such as praise God.829829 Rom. ii. 29. Philo, concerning allegories: “Judas was a symbol of him that professes (God).” The differences of meats,830830 Acts x. 13, 14, 15. xv. 19, 20. 1 Cor. x. 25. Coloss. ii. 16, 21. sabbaths,831831 In the fore-cited place of the Colossians. festival days,832832 In the same place, and Rom. xiv. 5. were the shadows of things, which really are in Christ and Christians.833833 Coloss. ii. 17. Heb. x. 1. Mahometanism gave occasion for mentioning the following admonitions: it was foretold by our Lord Jesus, that alter his time there should come some who should falsely say they were sent of God;834834 John v. 43. 2 Thess. ii. 9. Matt. vii. 15. xxiv.11. Mark xiii. 22. 1 John iv. 1. but though an 244angel should come from heaven,835835 Gal. i. 8. we are not to receive any other doctrine than that of Christ, confirmed by so many testimonies.836836 1 John v. 7, 8. Heb. ii. 4. xii. 1. John i. 7, 32. v. 32, 37, 39, 46. Luke xiv. 27. Acts ii. 22, 32. x. 43. In times past, indeed, God spake in many and various manners to the pious men that then were;837837 Heb. i. 2. but last of all he was pleased to call us by his Son, the Lord of all things,838838 1 Cor. xv. 27. Heb. ii. 5. the brightness of his Father’s glory,839839 Heb. i. 3. and the express image of his substance; by whom all things were made,840840 In the same chap. Col. i. 16. which were or shall be; who acts and upholds all things by his power;841841 Heb. i. 3. Rev. i. 5. and who having made atonement for our sins,842842 Heb. i. 3. ix. 12. Matt. xx. 28. 1 John ii. 2. iv. 10. Matt. xxvi. 64. Mark xvi. 19. Acts ii. 33, 34. vii. 55, 56. Rom. viii. 34. Ephes. i. 20. Coloss. iii. 1. Heb. viii. 1. x. 12. xii. 2. is advanced to the right hand of God, having obtained a higher dignity than the angels;843843 1 Pet. iii. 22. Heb. i. 13. Ephes. i. 21. and therefore nothing more noble can be expected than such a lawgiver.844844 Heb. ii. 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8. iii. 3, 4, 5, 6. They may also take occasion from hence to remember, that the weapons appointed for the soldiers of Christ are not such as Mahomet depends upon, but proper to the Spirit,845845 Rom. xiii. 12. 2 Cor. vi. 7. x. 4. Ephes. vi. 11, 12, 13, 14, 15,16, 17, 18. fitted for the pulling down of strong holds, erected against the knowledge of God, the shield of faith,846846 See, beside the afore-cited place to the Ephes. 1 Thess. v. 8. which may repel the fiery darts of the devil; the breastplate of righteousness, or holiness of life; for a helmet which covers the weakest part, the hope of eternal salvation; 245and for a sword, the word delivered by the Sprit,847847 See, beside the fore-mentioned place, Ephes. vi. 17. Heb. iv. 12. Rev. i. 16. which can enter into the innermost parts of the mind. Next follows an exhortation to mutual agreement,848848 John xiv. 27. xiii. 34, 35. xv. 12, 17. xvii. 20. and following; xx. 19, 26. 1 John iii. 23. Also Ephes. iii. 14. and following; iv. 16. Heb. xiii. 20. Matt. v. 9. which Christ seriously commended to his disciples when he was about to leave them: we ought not to have amongst us many masters, but only Jesus Christ:849849 Matt. xxiii. 8. James iii. 1. all Christians were baptized into the same name,850850 Rom. vi. 3, 4. 1 Cor. 13, 12. Gal. iii. 57. Ephes. iv. 5. Coloss. ii. 12. therefore there ought to be no sects or divisions amongst them:851851 1 Cor. i. 10. xi. 18. xii. 25. to which that there may be some remedy applied, those words of the apostle are suggested, to be temperate in our wisdom,852852 Rom. xii. 3, 16. 1 Cor. iv. 6. according to the measure of the knowledge God has afforded us:853853 In the fore-cited place to the Romans, and xii. 6. 2 Cor. x. 13. Ephes. iv. 7, 15, 16. if any have not so good an understanding of all things,854854 Rom. xiv. xv. 2. 1 Cor. viii. 7. that we bear with their infirmities, that they may quietly, and without quarrelling, unite with us:855855 Rom. xiv. 1. 2 Cor. xii. 20. Gal. v. 20. Philip. i. 16. ii. 3, 15. 1 Cor. xi. 16. if any exceed the rest in understanding, it is reasonable he should exceed in goodwill towards them:856856 Rom. viii. 1, 2, 3, 9. xii. 8. xiii. 3, 14, 16. 1 Cor. xiii. 2. 2 Cor. vi. 6. viii. 7. 2 Pet. i. 5, 6. and as to those who in some things think otherwise than we do,857857 Philip. iii. 15. Ephes. iv. 2. 1 Cor. xiii. 4, 7. 1 Thess. v. 14. 2 Cor. vi. 6. Gal. v. 22. Coloss. iii. 11. 2 Tim. iv. 2. Luke ix. 54, 55. we are to wait till 246God shall make the hidden truth manifest unto them: in the mean time, we are to hold fast, and fulfil those things We are agreed in.858858 Philip. iii. 16. James i. 22, 23, 24, 25. Now we know in part;859859 1 Cor. xiii. 9, 12. the time will come when all things shall be most certainly known.860860 1 Cor xiii. 10, 12. 1 John. iii. 2. Matt. v. 9. But this is required of every one, that they do not unprofitably keep by them the talent committed to their charge,861861 Matt. xxv. 15. and following. but use their utmost endeavours to gain others unto Christ;862862 1 Cor. ix. 19, 20, 21, 22. in order whereunto, we are not only to give them good and wholesome advice,863863 Gal. vi. 6. Ephes. iv. 29. 2 Tim. i. 13. Titus ii. 8. but to set before them an example of reformation of life;864864 1 Pet. iii. 1, 16. Ephes. vi. 6. 2 Tim. ii. 24. 1 Pet. ii. 12. Ephes. iv. 1. Phil. i. 27. that men may judge of the goodness of the master by the servant, and of the purity of the law by their actions. In the last place, we direct our discourse, as we did in the beginning, to common readers, beseeching them to give God the glory, if they receive any good from what has been said;865865 James i. 17. 2 Thess. i. 3. 1 Cor. i. 4. and if there be any thing they dislike,866866 James iii. Gal. vi. 1, 2. let them impute it to the errors all mankind are prone to fall into; and to the place and time in which this was delivered, more according to truth than elaborately.867867 Because this very excellent and learned man was kept in Lipstadt prison, to which he was condemned for life; at which time, and in which place, he could never have taken so great pains in accomplishing so many pieces remarkable for great learning, accurate judgment, and singular brightness, without incredible firmness and constancy of mind, and unshaken faith in Cod; for which endowments bestowed upon him by God, for the benefit of all Christendom, let every one who reads his other works, or this, with a mind intent upon truth, give thanks to God, as I do from the bottom of my heart. Le Clerc.247
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