CHAP. II. What's to be done when Examples of Godly men are contrary?
IF you say, What should we do when we have contrary exam∣ples, and both sides godly men; ye very godly men whose Con∣versation is in Heaven, some go one way, and others as godly as they go another way? what shall people do then, when they see that either way holy men go in?
Ans. To that I answer only these two things.
First, God by this means puts you to more strict exami∣nation of things, and doth teach you by this, that every Christian though never so weak, yet should have a bottom and ground for their faith, and practice out of the Word themselves, and never did God teach this lesson more strongly than now he doth, that we should all of us, not satisfie our selves in any point of Religion, nor in any pra∣ctice of Religion, but what we can our selves find and feel footing for out of the Word. In former times Christians were very much led by examples, and a few examplary godly professors would carry all the well affected in those places with them, all that did pretend towards godliness would be very loth to go in a different way to some emi∣nent godly men, but though perhaps their affections were good, and God may accept of their good affections, yet certainly they were not so grounded and established in the truth as God would have them; but now the Lord seems to go another way with his people, and puts every one, the weakest, the meanest servant, to search and to find out the truth themselves, and to have the knowledge of it themselves, and we hope the time is at hand for the fulfil∣ling of that promise, That all the people shall be taught of God, shall be taught to understand themselves what are the rea∣sons and grounds of the practice of Religion, and those Page 98 tenents and opinions which they hold, and when peo∣ple come to understand the grounds themselves, they have a great deal more strength, and they will come to be esta∣blished more than formerly they have been, this good will come of it.
Secondly, When you see examples on both sides go con∣trary one unto the other, and both godly, yet examine but this, Which way hath most earthly inducements, for that way that hath most earthly inducements to draw or bias the heart, that way lies under the most suspision; for men that are godly, yet they are but godly in part, and though they may be as godly as other men in some other things, yet there may be a temptation, the temptation for Earthly contentment if it lies more one way than the o∣ther, you are to be more wary of one than the other. But that we may passe this point, because it is but from the co∣herance, by way of use but in a word or two.