The tenth Dividing Principle;* or rather vaine conceit. Every difference in Religion is a differing Religion.
VVHat do you hear more ordinary then this, How ma∣ny Religions have we now? Shall so many Religi∣ons be suffered amongst us? we cannot tell now what Religi∣on men are of; upon this apprehension they oppose such as differ from them in some few things, with all the violence they can, as men bringing up new Religions, and would take away their Religion from them; how can they possibly accord with men that are of a different Religion from them?
Page 101 Surely we are more afraid then hurt;* Though our differen∣ces be sad enough, yet they come not up to this, to make us men of different Religions. We agree in the same end, though not in the same means; they are but different wayes of oppo∣sing the common adversary. The agreeing in the same means in the same way of opposing the common enemy would be very comfortable, it would be our strength, but that cannot be expected in this world.
Livie in his story of a great Battail between Hannibal and Scipio,* sayes, That at the joyning of the Armies, the shouting of Scipio's men was farre more terrible then the shouting of Hannibal's, because Scipio's men were all Romans, their shout∣ing had all the same tone: but Hannibal's Army was made up of men of severall Countries, so that in their shouting there was variety of the tones of their voyce, wch was not account∣ed so formidable a shout as the other. It is true, our adversa∣ries do not look our opposition to them having so much di∣versity in it, so formidable as they would if we were all but one in our way of opposing them; But stil we are all shouting against the common enemy; although therefore the terrour upon our adversary would be greater, if our shout were more uniform; yet we hope the victory may be as sure.
Souldiers who march against a common enemy, all under the same Captain, who follow the same Colours in their En∣sign, and wear them upon their hats or arms, may get the day, though they be not all cloathed alike, though they differ in things of lesse concernment.
Revel. 15. 2. we read of the Saints standing upon a sea of glasse, which had fire mingled with it. Mr. Brightman inter∣prets this sea of glass, the doctrine of the Gospel, more clear, more transparent then the doctrine of the Law, which, he sayes, was resembled by the sea of brasse that Solomon made; But there is fire mingled in this sea of glasse, that is, saith hee, There are contentions & divisions in the Church, where this doctrine of the Gospel is taught: But yet mark what follows, They got the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his marke, and over the number of his name, and had the harps of God in their hands, and sang the song of Moses, &c.
Men who are in a crowd, tread one upon another, yet they Page 102 all make to the same door, they would all go the same way: Godly people are divided in their opinions and wayes, but they are united in Christ; though they may be divided from such a particular society, yet they are not divided from the Church; it is with the Saints here, as with the boughs of trees in time of a storm; you shall see the boughs one beat upon a∣nother, as if they would beat one another to pieces, as if Ar∣mies were fighting, but this is but while the wind, while the tempest lasts; stay a while and you shal see every bough stand∣ing in its own order and comeliness, why? because they are all united in one root; if any bough be rotten, the storme breaks it off, but the sound boughs come into their former place. These times of division may break off men whose spi∣rits were before unsound, they will never come in to joyne with the Saints again so as they seemed to doe in former times: but within a while when this gust is over, others may come in and shew themselves to be all united in, and receive sap from the same root.