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Let us add to this the drawing in of Factions and Parties among the Children and Servants, on Account of the Difference of Religions practis d in the Family, and so breeding Divisions and Disturbance to the Peace and good Government of the Family, and wearing out, by degrees, that Love and mutual Confidence and Trustther ought to be betwixt Man and Wife, while they are oblig'd to keep perpetual watch upon each other, for fear of their Children and Servants, for whose Religion (I mean of the Servants as well as Children) the Masters of Families are Chargeable before God: Hom little Soever that be now thought of ; but Men use the Service of Mankind as of Beasts, with out other Confideration than feeding of their Bodies, which they do for their own Advantage) I say, Masters are answerable for the Religion of their Servants as far as Instruction goes, and the Exercise of a just and equitable Authority: And it being a Truth even to a Proverb, that Men respe= cially Children) are more drawn by Example than Precept, this greatest of Temptations can never be wanting in that Family phere Man and Wife are of different Communions.
Ther is but one thing that can be said to this, and it is common with those concernd; that is, that there are good and bad of all Communions, and if Men live juftly and virtuoully in any Communion, they may
go to Heaven ;, therefor what need they trouble one another about this or that Communion, so they be all Christian ? That ther is good sound Doctrine taught in all, enough to save our Souls, if we dnly follow and practise it: That the things wherein they differ are not Effential, but only Matters of Speculation, that may be this way or that way, and no great harm done : And if any be in such Errors, they are but venial, and will not be imputed to honest wellmeaning People, tho' in Ignorance, since it is not malicious, but only out of Weakness of Judgment, &c.
These are the Topicks by which Men of all Communions amongst us do satisfie themselves, not to Baulk their Fancie or Interest in a good Match when it comes in their Way.
And I wish with all my Heart that they did believe themselves, while they thus seek to impose upon themselves, to gratifie a Pasfion, whether of Love, Ambition, or Covetousness.
For if the Differences amongst us be fo small, as not to hinder Marriage, much less good Neiglibourhood: How then come they, through the other end of the Glass, to appear so mountainous, as to be a sufficient Ground for Schism, for breaking the Unity of the Church, and tearing Christ's Body in Pieces ! . And not only for suffering Persecution, even to Death, our selves; but they have been thought sufficient to dissolve
our Oaths of Allegiance, to justifie Rebellion, and to fill the World with Blood, Slaughter, and Desolation. Men have been ill look'd upon, and lost their Employments, for keeping Company with Malignants: And is ther no Offence in marrying with them! Come out from among them, and touch not the Unclean, has been often press’d; and separate your selves which is the Ground of all our Separations: And after all, may we join with them in Marriage, tho' in nothing else! Is Marriage the lealt, the most inconsiderable of all Ties! Is ther less. Temptation in that, than in common Acquaintance and Conversation
Ör upon the whole, is this the Truth, That our Pretences to Religion, tender Consciences, &c. are all Jeft and Banter, to carry on other Designs, and inviegle the ignorant People to our Side ? And so we can keep them out of the opposite Interest, not to touch there, We care not tho' they marry opith their Religion, with the Daughter of a strange God?
If the poor mil-led Populace wou'd con, sider duly of this, it might serve as an Amulet, to disolve that Charm with which they have been bewitched : And let them see, That it was not the Interest of Religion, but their own, which induc'd their Leaders to seduce them from their Duty, and out of the Bofom of the Church, that they might ulurp upon the State
And to fuch of them as are trnly confcientious (for no doubt such ther are com mong all our Diffenters) ther is no Medium, but either to return from their Schism; or otherwise, to abstain from Marriages with those who are of a different Communion.
And the same Obligation lies upon others not to mix with them. But if any will say, That the Differences betwixt our opposite Communions are so small, as not to binder worldly Marriage; we must certainly conclude, That they are not sufficient to diffolve that far more Holy and Spiritual Marriage by which we are made Members of the Church, and so of Christ, the Head of it: That they cannot be sufficient to warfant our forsaking the publick Assemblies of the Church, and making a Breach in Her Communion ; upon which the heaviest Curse is pronounc'd that ever came out of the Mouth of God, Heb. x. 25. &c.
Let me add, That all those Objections, upon which our Diffenters have broke off from the Church, are easily overcome, when Interest stands in the Way. How frequently do they come to the Holy Sacrament, according to all the Rites and Ceremonies of the Church of England, in Obedience to the Sacramental-Test, to qualifie themselves for Offices and Employments in the Government ? And those of them that are Rich, and have good Settlements upon
Marriage, do marry by the Common-Prayer, 1. and the Episcopal eftablish'd Clergy, to pre* vent any Disputes in Law that might arife
for their marrying otherwise : And this is 2; common with the beft and most zealous of es them.
Now I won'd, befeech them, to lay their Hand
upon their Heart and confider, That r if ther be Sin in these things, they ought not
to comply with it upon any Account. And if ther be no Sin, Home will they justifie their Separation? Since all of us do agrée, That nothing less than Sin can justifie Separation; because Schism is a great Sin allom'd on all Hands : And therefor nothing can excuse it, but where something that is as plainly and directly a Sin as Schism is, is requir’d from us. And in that Cafe, becanse no Man must Sin, our Separation is no Schism; but we are thrust out of Conmunion for not: committing of a Sin: And therefor the Schism lies at their Door who impose the Sin, as a Condition of their communion.
The Inconveniences of these Marriages has been touch'd upon; and from thence the Unlawfulness has been inferr’d, as being a running onr selves into a Temptation. But the full Proof must be from the Holy Scriptures ; these must determine us ; therefor let us enquire what we find said of it there.
And I will take my Rise from a remarkable Place, from whence my Scruples first arose; and therefore I have chosen it for my