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SECT. III. They are most worthy the name of Christians who, in the purest manner of all, profess the doctrine the truth of which hath been proved by Grotius.

BUT it is a question of no small importance, and not easily to be resolved, who of all the societies of the present Christians have the truest opinions, and are most worthy of that name by which they are called. All the Christian 255churches, as well those who have long since separated from the Romish church, as the Romish church itself, do every one of them claim this to themselves; and if we lay aside all the reasons we ought no more to give credit to the one than to the other; for it wore a very foolish thing to suffer such a choice to be determined by chance, and to decide all controversies as it were by the cast of a die.879879   See note the 9th, on Section ii.

Now since Grotius has not proved the truth of the particular opinions of any present sect of Christians, but only of that religion which was taught mankind by Christ and his apostles; it follows, that that sect of Christians is to be preferred before all others, which does most of all defend those things which Christ and his apostles taught. In a word, that is in every particular truly the Christian religion, which, without any mixture of human invention, may be wholly ascribed to Christ as the author. To this agree all those arguments of truth, which are laid down in the second book Of the Truth of the Christian Religion; nor do they agree to any other any further than it agrees with that.

If any one adds to, or diminishes from, the doctrine delivered by Christ, the more he adds or diminishes, so much the farther he goes from the truth. Now when I speak of the doctrine of Christ, I mean by it, the doctrine which all Christians are clearly agreed upon to be the doctrine of Christ, that is, which, according to the judgment of all Christians, is either expressly to be found in the books of the New Testament. or is by necessary consequence to be deduced from them only. As to those opinions, which, as some Christians think, were delivered by word of mouth, by Christ and his apostles, and derived to posterity in a different method, namely, either by tradition, which was done by speaking only; or which were preserved by some rite, as they imagine, and not set down in writing till a great while after; I shall pass no other judgment upon them here, but only this, that all Christians are not agreed upon them, as they are upon the books of the New Testament. I will not say they are false, unless they256are repugnant to right reason and revelation; but only that they are not agreed about the original of them, and therefore they are controverted amongst Christians, who in other respects agree in those opinions, the truth of which Grotius has demonstrated: for no wise man will allow us to depend upon a thing as certain, so long as it appears uncertain to us; especially if it be a matter of great moment.880880   This is the very thing St. Paul means, Rom. xiv. 23. where he teaches us that “whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” On which place we have quoted the wards of Philo, out of his book concerning fugitives, ed. Paris, p. 469. “The best sacrifice is being quiet, and not meddling in those things which we are not persuaded of.” And a little after; “To be quiet in the dark is most safe;” that is, where we are not agreed what is to be done.

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