The remaining discourses, on the attributes of God Viz. his Goodness. His mercy. His patience. His long-suffering. His power. His spirituality. His immensity. His eternity. His incomprehensibleness. God the first cause, and last end. By the most reverend Dr. John Tillotson, late Lord Arch-Bishop of Canterbury. Being the seventh volume; published from the originals, by Ralph Barker, D.D. chaplain to his Grace.
Tillotson, John, 1630-1694., Barker, Ralph, 1648-1708, publisher.
Page  299

SERMON XI.* The Spirituality of the Di∣vine Nature.


JOHN. IV.24.

God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in truth.

THese are the words of our Sa∣viour to the Woman of Sama∣ria, who was speaking to him of the difference between the Samari∣tans and the Jews concerning Religi∣on; v. 20. Our Fathers worshipped in this mountain, but ye say, that in Jerusa∣lem is the place where men ought to wor∣ship. Christ tells her, The time was coming, when the worshippers of God should neither be confined to that mountain, Page  300 nor to Jerusalem; but men should worship the Father in spirit and in truth, when this carnal, and ceremonial, and typi∣cal Worship of God should be exalted into a more spiritual, a more real, and true, and substantial Religion, which should not be confined to one Temple, but should be universally diffused through the World. Now such a Worship as this, is most agreeable to the Nature of God; for he is a spirit, and those who worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth. In the words we have,

First, A Proposition laid down, God is a spirit.

Secondly, A Corollary or Inference de∣duced from it, they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in truth. I shall speak of the Proposition, as that which concerns my present Design; and after∣ward speak something to the Corolla∣ry or Inference deduced from it, toge∣ther with some other Inferences drawn from this truth, by way of Applica∣tion.

Page  301First, That God is a spirit. This expression is singular, and not to be parallell'd again in the Scripture; in∣deed we have often mention made in Scripture of the spirit of God, and the spirit of the Lord, which signifies a Divine Power and Energy; and of the holy Spirit, signifying the third Person in the Trinity; God is call'd the God of the Spirits of all flesh; Numb. 16.22.27.16. much in the same Sense, as he is call'd the Father of Spirits, Heb. 12.9. that is, the Creator of the Souls of Men; but we no where meet with this expression, or any other e∣quivalent to it, that God is a spirit, but only in this place; nor had it been u∣sed here, but to prove that the best Worship of God, that which is most proper to him, is spiritual; so that the thing which our Saviour here intends, is not to prove the Spiritual Nature of God, but that his Worship ought to be spiritual; nor indeed is there any necessity that it should have been any where said in Scripture, that God is a spirit, it being the natural Notion of a God; no more than it is necessary Page  302 that it should be told us, that God is good, or that he is infinite, and eter∣nal, and the like; or that the Scrip∣ture should prove to us the Being of a God. All these are manifest by the Light of Nature, and if the Scripture mention them, it is ex abundanti, and it is usually in order to some further purpose.

For we are to know, that the Scrip∣ture supposeth us to be Men, and to partake of the common Notions of Human Nature, and therefore doth not teach us Philosophy, nor solici∣tously instruct us in those things which are born with us, but supposeth the knowledge of these, and makes use of these common Principles and No∣tions which are in us concerning God, and the immortality of our Souls, and the Life to come, to excite us to our Duty, and quicken our En∣deavours after Happiness. For I do not find that the Doctrine of the immortality of the Soul, is any where expresly delivered in Scripture, but taken for granted; in like manner that the Scripture doth not solicitously in∣struct Page  303 us in the natural Notions which we have of God, but supposeth them known to us; and if it mention them, it is not so much in order to know∣ledge as to practice; and therefore we need not wonder that this expres∣sion, which doth set forth to us the Nature of God, is but once used in Scripture, and that brought in upon occasion, and for another purpose; because it is a thing naturally known. Plato says, that God is 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, without Body. In like manner Tully, Nec enim deus ipse qui intelligitur a nobis alio modo intelligi potest, nisi mens quae∣dam soluta & libera, segregata ab omni concretione mortali; we cannot conceive of God, but as of a pure Mind, intirely free from all mortal composition or mixture. And Plutarch after him, 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, God is a Mind, an abstract being, pure from all matter, and disintangled from whatever is passible or capable of suffer∣ing. So that Natural Light inform∣ing us that God is a Spirit, there was no need why the Scripture should incul∣cate this; it is an excellent medium or Page  304 argument to prove that the Worship of God should chiefly be spiritual; and altho it was not necessary that it should have been mention'd for it self, that is, to inform us of a thing which we could not otherwise know, yet the Wisdom of God, by the express mention of this, seems to have pro∣vided against an Error which some weaker and grosser Spirits might be subject to. You know God is pleased, by way of condescention and accom∣modation of himself to our capacity, to represent himself to us in Scripture by human Imperfections, and gives such descriptions of himself, as if he had a Body, and bodily Members; now to prevent any error or mistake that might be occasion'd hereby, it seems very becoming the Wisdom of God, somewhere in Scripture expresly to declare the spiritual Nature of God, that none through weakness or wil∣fulness might entertain gross appre∣hensions of him. In speaking to this Proposition, I shall,

I. Explain what is meant by a Spirit.

Page  305II. Endeavour to prove to you, that God is a spirit.

III. Answer an Objection or two.

IV. Draw some Inferences or Co∣rollaries from the whole.

I. For the explication of the Noti∣on of a Spirit. I shall not trouble you with the strict Philosophical Notion of it, as that it is such a substance as is penetrable, that is, may be in the same place with a Body, and neither keep out the Body nor be kept out by it; and that the parts which we imagine in it cannot be divided, that is really seperated and torn from one another, as the parts of a Body: but I will give you a negative descripti∣on of it. A Spirit is not Matter, it doth not fall under any of our Sen∣ses, it is that which we cannot see nor touch; it is not a Body, not Flesh, and Blood, and Bones; for so we find Spirit in Scripture opposed to Flesh and Body; Isa. 31.3. Their horses are flesh, and not spirit. So Luke 24. Page  306 when Christ appeared to his Di∣sciples after his Resurrection, they were terrified, and supposed it had been a spirit, v. 39. But he said, Behold my hands and my feet, that it is I my self; handle me, and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye see me have. The most usual description of a Spirit is by these Negatives, it is not a Body, hath not Flesh and Bones, doth not consist of Matter, or of any thing that falls under our Senses, that we can see or touch.

II. For the proof of this Propositi∣on, that God is a spirit. This is not to be proved by way of demonstration, for there is nothing before God, or which can be a cause of him; but by way of conviction, by shewing the ab∣surdity of the contrary. The first and most natural Notion that we have of God, is, that he is a Being every way perfect, and from this Notion we must argue concerning the properties which are attributed to God, and govern all our Reasonings concern∣ing God by this; so that when a∣ny thing is said of God, the best Page  307 way to know whether it be to be attributed to him, is to enquire whe∣ther it be a Perfection or not; if it be, it belongs to him; if it be not, it is to be removed from him; and if any Man ask, why I say God is so, or so, a Spirit, or Good, or Just; the best reason that can be given, is, because these are Perfections, and the contrary to these are Imperfecti∣ons. So that if I shew that it would be an Imperfection for God to be imagined to be a Body, or Matter, I prove that he is a Spirit, because it is an imperfection, that is, an absurdi∣ty to imagine him any thing else. To imagine God to be a Body, or Matter, doth evidently codtradict four great Perfections of God.

1. His Infiniteness, or the immen∣sity of his Being. Grant me but these two things, that there is something in the World besides God, some other matter, as the Heavens, the Air, the Earth, and all those things which we see; and grant me that two Bodies cannot be in the same place at once, and then it will evidently follow, Page  308 that where-ever these are, God is shut out; and consequently God should not be infinite, nor in all places; and so much as there is of another mat∣ter in the World besides God, so ma∣ny breaches there would be in the Divine Nature, so many Hiatus.

2. The Knowledge and Wisdom of God. It cannot be imagined how mere Matter can understand, how it can distinctly comprehend such va∣riety of Objects, and at one view take in past, present, and to come. Tully speaking of Spirits, saith, Ani∣morum nulla in terris origo inveniri potest; their original cannot be found up∣on Earth; for, saith he, there is no material or bodily thing, Quod vim me∣moriae, mentis, cogitationis habeat, quod & praeterita teneat, & futura provideat, & complecti possit praesentia; quae sola divina sunt; which hath the power of Memory, of Ʋnderstanding, of Thought; which can retain things past, forsee things future, and comprehend things present; all which Powers are purely Divine.

Page  3093. Freedom and Liberty. For the Laws of matter are necessary, nor can we imagine any 〈 in non-Latin alphabet 〉, any ar∣bitrary Principle in it. This puzled the Epicureans, as we see in Lucre∣tius, For if (saith he) all things move by certain and necessary Laws, and there be a connexion of the parts of matter unto each other, so that if you move this, that must necessarily be moved; whence, saith he, is Liberty? Ʋnde est hec inquam fatis avulsa voluntas; Whence is this Principle of Will, whose motions are not under any law of necessity.

4. Goodness. This follows from the former; for he is not good who does not know what he does, nor does it freely; so that take away Understanding and Liberty, and you take away Goodness; now take a∣way from God Infiniteness, and Know∣ledge, and Liberty, and Goodness, and you divest him of his Glory; you take away his most essential Per∣fections. So that these great absur∣dities following from the supposing of God to be mere Matter or Body,Page  310 we are to conceive of him as another kind of substance, that is, a Spirit. So that I wonder that the Author of the Leviathan, who doth more than once expresly affirm, that there can be nothing in the World, but what is material and corporeal, did not see that the necessary consequence of this Position, is to banish God out of the World. I would not be uncharitable, but I doubt he did see it, and was content with the consequence, and willing the World should entertain it; for it is so evident, that by sup∣posing the Divine Essence to consist of Matter, the immensity of the Di∣vine Nature is taken away; and it is also so utterly unimaginable how mere Matter should understand, and be endowed with liberty, and conse∣quently with goodness, that I can∣not but vehemently suspect the Man who denies God to be a Spirit, ei∣ther to have a gross and faulty under∣standing, or a very ill will against God, and an evil design to root out of the Minds of Men the belief of a God. I come in the

Page  311III. Place, to consider the Objecti∣ons.

1 Obj. Why then is God represented to us so often in Scripture by the Parts and Members of Mens Bodies? Ans. I shall only say at present, that all these descriptions and represen∣tations of God, are plainly made to comply with our weakness, by way of condescention and accomodation to our capacities.

2 Obj. How is it said that Man was made after the the Image of God, If God be a Spirit, of which there can be no likeness nor resemblance. Ans. Man is not said to be made after the image of God, in respect of the outward Shape and Features of his Body; but in respect of the Quali∣ties of his Mind, as Holiness and Righteousness; or of his Faculties, as Understanding and Will; or which the Text seems most to favour, in respect of his Dominion and Sove∣raignty over the Creatures; for in the two former respects the Angels are made after the Image of God. Now this seems to be spoken peculiar∣ly Page  312 of Men; Gen. 1.26. Let us make man in our own image, after our own likeness, and let them have dominion o∣ver the fish of the sea, and the fowls of the air, &c.

IV. I come now to draw some Inferences or Corollaries from hence, and they shall be partly speculative, partly practical.

First, Speculative Inferences.

1. That God is invisible. The proper Object of sight is Colour, and that ariseth from the various dispo∣sitions of the parts of Matter which cause several reflections of Light; now a Spirit hath no Parts nor Mat∣ter, and therefore is invisible; 1 Tim. 1.17. Ʋnto the eternal, immortal, in∣visible, the only wise God. Heb. 11.27. He endured, as seeing him who is invisible; as seeing him by an Eye of Faith, who is invisible by an Eye of Sense. 1 Tim. 6.16. Whom no Man hath seen, nor can see.

Page  313When Moses and the Elders of Is∣rael are said to have seen God, and Ja∣cob to have seen him face to face, Exod. 2.9. Gen. 32.30. it is meant of an Angel covered with divine Glory and Majesty, as we shall see if we com∣pare these with other Texts. When Moses is said to have spoken to him face to face, that is familiarly; and so Mi∣caiah, 1 Kings 22.19. is said to have seen God upon his throne, and all Israel scattered up and down; this was in a Vision. And it is promised, that in Heaven we shall see God, that is, have a more perfect knowledge of him and full enjoyment; as to see good days, is to enjoy them. Those Texts where it is said, No man can see God and live, Exod. 33.20. and John 1.18. No man hath seen God at any time, do not intimate that God is visible, tho' we cannot see him; but seeing is me∣taphorically used for knowing, and the meaning is, that in this Life we are not capable of a perfect knowledge of God. A clear discovery of God to our Understanding would let in joys into our Souls, and create desires in Page  314 us too great for frail Mortality to bear.

2. That he is the living God. Spi∣rit and Life are often put together in Scripture.

3. That God is immortal. This the Scripture attributes to him, 1 Tim. 1.17. To the King immortal, invisi∣ble. 1 Tim. 6.16. Who only hath im∣mortality. This also flows from God's Spirituality; a Spiritual Nature hath no principles of Corruption in it, no∣thing that is liable to perish, or de∣cay, or dye. Now this doth so emi∣nently agree to God, either because he is purely spiritual, and immate∣rial, as possibly no Creature is; or else because he is not only immortal in his own Nature, but is not liable to be reduced to nothing by any o∣ther, because he hath an original and independent Immortality, and there∣fore the Apostle doth attribute it to him in such a singular and pecu∣liar manner; Who only hath Immorta∣lity.

Page  315Secondly, Practical Inferences.

1. We are not to conceive of God as having a Body, or any corporeal Shape or Members. This was the gross conceit of the Anthropomorphites of old, and of some Socinians of late, which they ground upon the gross and literal Interpretation of many figura∣tive Speeches in Scripture concerning God, as where it speaks of his Face, and Hand, and Arm, &c. But we are very unthankful to God, who condescends to represent himself to us according to our Capacities, if we abuse this condescention to the ble∣mish and reproach of the Divine Na∣ture. If God be pleased to stoop to our weakness, we must not therefore level him to our Infirmities.

2. If God be a Spirit, we are not to worship God by any Image or sen∣sible representation. Because God is a Spirit, we are not to liken him to any thing that is corporeal; we are not to represent him by the likeness of any thing that is in Heaven above,Page  316 that is, of any Birds; or in the earth beneath, that is, of any Beast; or in the waters under the earth, that is, of any Fish; as it is in the second Command∣ment. For, as the Prophet tells us, there is nothing that we can liken God to; Isa. 40:18. To whom will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare to him? We debase his Spi∣ritual and Incorruptible Nature, when we compare him to corruptible Crea∣tures; Rom. 1.22, 23. Speaking of the Heathen Idolatry, Who professing them∣selves wise, became fools, and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and to fourfooted Beasts, and creeping things. They became Fools; this is the folly of Idolatry, to liken a Spirit, which hath no bodily shape, to things that are corporeal and cor∣ruptible. So that however some are pleased to mince the matter, I can∣not see how the Church of Rome, which worships God by or toward some Image or sensible representati∣on, can be excused from Idolatry; and the Church of England doth not without very just cause challenge the Page  317 Romish Church with it, and make it a ground of separation from her.

3. If God be a Spirit, then we should worship him in spirit and in truth. This is the Inference of the Text, and therefore I shall speak a little more largely of it; only I must explain what is meant by worshiping in spirit and in truth, and shew you the force of this Consequence, how it follows, that because God is a Spirit, there∣fore he must be worship'd in spirit and in truth.

1st. For the explication of it. This word Spirit is sometimes apply'd to the Doctrine of the Gospel, and so it is opposed to Letter, by which Name the Doctrine of Moses is cal∣led; 2 Cor. 3.6. Who hath made us able Ministers of the new Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit; not of the Law which was written in Ta∣bles of Stone, but which Christ by his Spirit writes in the Hearts of Be∣lievers. Sometimes to the worship of the Gospel; and so it is opposed to the Flesh, Gal. 3.3. Having begun Page  318 in the spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? that is by the works of the ceremonial Law, which is therefore call'd Flesh, because the principal ce∣remony of it, Circumcision, was made in the Flesh, and because their Sacri∣fices, a chief part of their Worship, were of the Flesh of Beasts; and be∣cause the greatest part of their Ordi∣nances, as washing, and the like, re∣lated to the Body. Hence it is the A∣postle calls the worship of the Jews, the law of a carnal commandment, Heb. 7.16. and Heb. 9.10. Carnal Ordinan∣ces, speaking of the Service of the Law, which, saith he, stood in meats, and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances. Now in oppositi∣on to this carnal and ceremonial Wor∣ship, we are to worship God in the Spi∣rit. The Worship of the Jews was most a bodily service; but we are to give God a reasonable service, to serve him with the spirit of our minds, as the Apostle speaks; instead of offering the flesh of bulls and goats, we are to con∣secrate our selves to the service of God; this is a holy and acceptable sacrifice, or reasonable service.

Page  319And in truth. Either in opposition to the false Worship of the Samaritans (as in spirit is opposed to the Wor∣ship of the Jews) as our Saviour tells the Woman, that they worship'd they knew not what; or (which I rather think) in opposition to the shadows of the Law; and so it is opposed, John 1.17. The Law was given by Moses: but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

Not that the external Service of God is here excluded, not that we are to show no outward reverence to him: but that as under the Law, the Service of God was chiefly external and corporeal, so now it should chiefly be inward and spiritual; the Wor∣ship of God under the Gospel should chiefly be spiritual and substantial, not a carnal, and bodily, and cere∣monious Devotion.

2dly. For the force of the Conse∣quence, it doth not lie in this, that just such as God is, such must our Worship of him be; for this would exclude all bodily and outward wor∣ship; Page  320 our Worship of God must there∣fore be invisible, eternal, &c. for so is he; and besides the Will of God seems rather to be the rule of his Worship, than his Nature: but the force of it is this, God is of a spi∣ritual Nature, and this is to be suppo∣sed to be his Will, that our Wor∣ship should be as agreable to the Ob∣ject of it, as the nature of the Crea∣ture who is to give it will bear; now saith Christ to the Woman, the Jews and the Samaritans they limit their Worship to a certain place, and it consists chiefly in certain carnal Rites and Ordinances; but, saith he, tho' God have permitted this for a time, because of the carnality and hardness of their hearts, yet the time is coming, when a more spiritual, and solid, and substantial Worship of God is to be introduced, which will be free from all particular Places and Rites, not tyed to the Temple, or to such external Ceremonies, but con∣sisting in the devotion of our Spirits, even the inward frame and temper of our Hearts; all outward Circum∣stances (excepting those of the two Page  321 Sacraments which are positive) being left by the Gospel to as great a liber∣ty, as natural necessity and decency will permit.

We must worship God, and there∣fore it is naturally necessary that we should do it somewhere, in some place; now seeing some body must determine this, it is most conveni∣ent that Authority should determine it, according to the conveniency of cohabitation. We must not be rude, nor do any thing that is naturally undecent in the Worship of God; this Authority should restrain; but further than this, I doubt not but the Gospel hath left us free; and to this end, that the less we are tied to external Observances, the more intent we should be upon the spiritual and substantial parts of Religion, the con∣forming of our selves to the Mind and Will of God, endeavouring to be like God, and to have our Souls and Spi∣rits ingaged in those Duties we per∣form to him. So that our Saviour's argument is this; God is a Spirit, that is, the most excellent Nature and Page  322 Being, and therefore must be served with the best. We consist of Body and Soul, 'tis true, and we must serve him with our whole Man; but princi∣pally with our Souls, which are the most excellent Part of our selves; the Service of our Mind and Spirit is the best we can perform, and therefore most agreeable to God who is a Spirit, and the best and most perfect Be∣ing.

So that the Inference is this, that if God be a Spirit, we must worship him in spirit and in truth; our Religion must be real, and inward, and sin∣cere, and substantial; we must not think to put off God with external ob∣servances, and with bodily reverence and attendance; this we must give him, but we must principally regard that our Service of him be reasonable, that is, directed by our Understand∣ings, and accompanied with our Af∣fections. Our Religion must consist principally in a sincere love and af∣fection to God, which expresseth it self in a real conformity of our lives and actions to his Will; and when Page  323 we make our solemn approaches to him, in the Duties of his Worship and Service, we must perform all acts of out∣ward Worship to God with a pure and sincere Mind; whatever we do in the Service of God, we must do it heartily as to the Lord. God is a pure Spirit, present to our Spirits, inti∣mate to our Souls, and conscious to the most secret and retired motions of our Hearts; now because we serve the Searcher of Hearts, we must serve him with our Hearts.

Indeed if we did worship God on∣ly to be seen of Men, a pompous and external Worship would be very sui∣table to such an end; but Religion is not intended to please Men, but God, and therefore it must be spiri∣tual, and inward, and real.

And where-ever the external part of Religion is principally regarded, and Men are more careful to wor∣ship God with outward pomp and ceremony, than in spirit and in truth, Religion degenerates into Superstiti∣on, and Men embrace the shadow of Religion, and let go the substance. Page  324 And this the Church of Rome hath done almost to the utter ruin of Christianity; she hath clogged Re∣ligion, and the Worship of God, with so many Rites and Ceremonies, un∣der one Pretence or other, that the Yoke of Christ is become heavier than that of Moses; and they have made the Gospel a more carnal Command∣ment than the Law; and whatever Christians or Churches are intent up∣on external Rites and Observances, to the neglect of the weightier Parts of Religion, regarding meats and drinks, &c. to the prejudice of righteousness and peace, wherein the kingdom of God consists, they advance a Religion as contrary to the Nature of God, and as unsuitable to the genius and tem∣per of the Gospel, as can be imagi∣ned.

It is an Observation of Sir Edwin Sands, that as Children are pleas'd with Toys, so, saith he, it is a pi∣tiful and childish Spirit that is pre∣dominant in the contrivers and zea∣lots of a ceremonious Religion. I deny not but that very honest and de∣vout Page  325 Men may be this way addicted; but the wiser any Man is, the better he understands the Nature of God and of Religion, the further he will be from this temper.

A Religion that consists in external and little things, doth most easily gain upon and possess the weakest Minds, and whoever entertain it, it will enfeeble their Spirits, and unfit them for the more generous and ex∣cellent Duties of Christianity. We have but a finite heat, and zeal, and acti∣vity, and if we let out much of it up∣on small things, there will be too lit∣tle left for those parts of Religion which are of greatest moment and concernment; if our heat evaporate in externals, the heart and vitals of Religion will insensibly cool and de∣cline.

How should we blush who are Chri∣stians, that we have not learnt this easie truth from the Gospel, which even the Light of Nature taught the Heathen; Cultus autem deorum est o∣ptimus itemque sanctissimus atque castissi∣mus, Page  326 plenissimusque pietatis, ut eos sem∣per purâ integrâ & incorruptâ mente & voce veneremur, Tully. The best, the surest, the most chast, and most devout worship of the Gods, is that which is pay'd them with a pure, sincere, and uncorrupt Mind, and words truly repre∣senting the thoughts of the Heart. Com∣positum jus fasque animi, &c. Serve God with a pure, honest, holy frame of Spirit, bring him a heart that is but generously honest, and he will accept of the plainest Sacrifice.

And let me tell you, that the cere∣monious Worship of the Jews was never a thing in it self acceptable to God, or which he did delight in; and tho' God was pleased with their obedience to the ceremonial Law af∣ter it was commanded, yet antece∣dently he did not desire it; but that which our Saviour saith concerning the Law of Divorce, is true likewise of the ceremonial, that it was per∣mitted to the Jews for the hardness of their hearts, and for their prone∣ness to Idolatry. God did not com∣mand it so much by way of appro∣bation, Page  327 as by way of condescension to their weakness; it was because of the hardness of their carnal hearts that God brought them under the Law of a carnal Commandment, as the Apostle calls it. See Psal. 51.16, 17. Jer. 7.21.

The reason why I have insisted so long upon this, is to let you under∣stand, what is the true nature of Christ's Religion, and to abate the intempe∣rate heat and zeal which Men are apt to have for external and indif∣ferent things in Religion. The Sa∣crifices and Rites of the Jews were very unagreeable and unsuitable to the Nature of God; Psal. 50.13. Will I eat the flesh of bulls, or drink the blood of goats? Spirits neither eat nor drink; it was a very unsuitable way of service to kill Oxen and Sheep for God; and there's the same reason of all other Rites which either natural neces∣sity or decency doth not require. Can any Man in earnest think, that God who is a Spirit is pleased with the pompous bravery and pagean∣try which affects our Senses? So Page  328 little doth God value indifferent Rites, that even the necessary ex∣ternal Service of God, and outward Reverence, where they are separated from spirit and truth, from real ho∣liness and obedience to the indis∣pensable Laws of Christ, are so far from being acceptable to God, that they are abominable; nay, if they be used for a Cloak of Sin, or in opposition to real Religion, and with a design to undermine it, God ac∣counts such Service in the number of the most heinous Sins.

You who spend the strength and vigour of your Spirits about exter∣nal things, whose zeal for or against Ceremonies is ready to eat you up, you who hate and persecute one a∣nother because of these things, and break the necessary and indispensa∣ble Commands of Love, as an in∣different and unnecessary Ceremo∣ny, go and learn what that means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, which our Saviour doth so often inculcate, and that Rom. 14.17. The kingdom of God is not meat and Page  329 drink, &c. And study the meaning of this, God is a Spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in Spirit and in truth.