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SECT. IX. They profess and teach the Christian doctrine in the purest manner of all, who propose those things only as necessary to be believed, practised, or hoped for, which Christians are agreed in.

TO pass by these things, therefore, and return to the choice of our opinion amongst the different sects of Christians; nothing seems possible to be done more safe and wise, in this state of affairs, than for us to join ourselves with that sect of Christians which acknowledges the New Testament only for the rule of their faith, without any mixture of human decrees; and who think it sufficient that every one should learn their form of faith from thence, conform their lives to its precepts, and expect the promises which are there made. Which if it be done sincerely, and without any dissimulation, the end of such a search will be that very form of sound words, which we have made appear to have remained the same, amidst so many and so great storms of errors and dissensions, during the passing of so many ages, and the changes of kingdoms and cities. In it are contained all things that are necessary to faith and practice; to which if any one would have any other things added it may lawfully be done, according to the circumstances of time and place; provided they be not imposed as necessary, (which belongs only to the supreme Lawgiver),893893   See what Paul says upon this matter, Rom. xiv. 1. and so on, where he speaks of those who impose rites on others; or who condemn those that observe them which right he declares to belong to Christ only. And to this may be referred what St. James says, chap. iv.12. “There is but one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.” nor contrary doctrines to these obtruded.


Christians disposed in the manner we have been speaking of, ought not to submit their neck to the yoke of human opinions, nor to profess they believe what they do not believe: nor to do that which they cannot approve in their own minds, because they think in contrary to the precepts of Christ. Therefore, wherever that Christian liberty, which I have now mentioned, is not allowed, they must of necessity depart thence; not as if they condemned all that are of a different opinion from themselves, but because every one is absolutely obliged to follow the light of his own mind, and not that of another’s; and to do that which he judges best to be done, and to avoid that which he thinks to be evil.

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