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romances, plays, masks, gaming, fiddlers, &c. the entertainments that most delight you ? Had you the spirit of Christianity indeed, could you consume your most precious little time in so many unnecessary visits, games, and pastimes; in your vain compliments, courtships, feigned stories, Aatteries, and fruitless novelties, and what not? invented and used to your diversion, to make you easy in your forgetfulness of God: which never was the Chriftian way of living, but entertainment of the Heathens that knew not God. Oh, were you truly touched with a sense of your fins, and in any measure born again; did you take up the cross of Jesus, and live under it, these things (which so much please your wanton and sensual nature) would find no place with you! This is not seeking the things that are above, to have the heart thus set on things that are below; nor, 'working out your own salvation with fear " and trembling,' to spend your days in vanity. This is not crying with Elihu, “I know not to give flattering " titles to men; for in so doing my Maker would soon (take me away :' this is not to deny felf, and lay up a more hidden and enduring substance, an eternal inheritance in the heavens, that will not pass away. Well, my friends, whatever you think, your plea of custom will find no place at God's tribunal: the light of Christ in your own hearts will over-rule it, and this Spirit, against which we testify, shall then appear to be what we say it is. Say not, I am serious about night things : but beware you of levity and rashness in serious things.
$. X. Before I close, I shall add a few testimonies from men of general credit, in favour of our non-conformity to the world in this particular.
Luther, the great reformer, (whose sayings were oracles with the age he lived in, and of no less reputation now, with many that object against us) was so far from condemning our plain speech, that, in his Ludus, he sports himself with You to a single person, as an incongruous and ridiculous speech, viz. Magister, vos eftis iratus?
i Col, üi. 1.
Master, Master, are You angry? as absurd with him in Latin, as, My Masters, art Thou angry? is in English. Erasmus, a learned man, and an exact critick in speech, (than whom, I know not any we may. so properly refer the grammar of the matter to) not only derides it, but bestows a whole discourse upon rendering it abfurd : plainly manifesting, that it is impossible to preserve numbers, if You, the only word for more than One, be used to express One: as also, that the original of this corruption, was the corruption of Aattery. Lipsius affirms of the ancient Romans, that the manner of greeting, now in vogue, was not in use amongst them. To conclude: Howell, in his History of France, gives us an ingenious account of its original; where he not only assures us, that anciently the peasants Thou'd their kings, but that pride and Aattery first put inferiors upon paying a plural respect to the single person of . every superior, and superiors upon receiving it. And though we had not the practice of God and man so undeniably to justify our plain and homely speech, yet, since we are persuaded that its original was from pride and Aattery, we cannot in conscience use it. And however we may be censured as singular, by those loose and airy minds, that, through the continual love of earthly pleasures, consider not the true rise and tendency of words and things, yet, to us, whom God has convinced, by his Light and Spirit in our hearts, of the folly and evil of such courses, and brought into a spiritual discerning of the nature and ground of the world's fashions, they appear to be fruits of pride and flattery, and we dare not continue in such vain compliances to earthly minds, left we offend God, and burden our own consciences. But having been sincerely affected with the reproofs of instruction, and our hearts being brought into a watchful subjection to the righteous law of Jesus, so as to bring our deeds to the light", to see in whom they are wrought, if in God, or not; we cannot, we dare not conform ourselves to the fashions
of the world, that pass away; knowing assuredly, that < for every idle word that men speak, they shall give ( an account in the day of judgment'.'
S. XI. Wherefore, reader, whether thou art a nightwalking Nicodemus, or a scoffing scribe; one that would visit the blessed Messiah, but in the dark customs of the world, that thou mightest pass as undiscerned, for fear of bearing his reproachful cross; or else a favourer of Haman's pride, and countest these testimonies but a foolish singularity ; I must say, divine love enjoins me to be a messenger of truth to thee, and a faithful witness against the evil of this degenerate world, as in other, so in these things; in which the spirit of vanity and luft hath got so great an head, and lived so long uncontrouled, that it hath impudence enough to term its darkness light, and to call its evil off-spring by the names due to a better nature, the more easily to deceive people into the practice of them. And truly, so very blind and insensible are most, of what spirit they are, and ignorant of the meek and self-denying life of holy Jesus, whose name they profess, that to call each other Rabbi, that is, Master; to bow to men, (which I call worship) and to greet with flattering titles; and do their fellowcreatures homage : to scorn that language to themselves that they give to God, and to spend their time and estate to gratify their wanton minds; (the customs of the Gentiles, that knew not God) pass with them for civility, good breeding, decency, recreation, accomplishments, &c. O that man would consider, since there are but two spirits, one good, the other evil, which of them it is that inclines the world to these things ! and whether it be Nicodemus or Mordecai in thee, that doth befriend these despised Christians, which makes thee ashamed to disown that openly in conversation with the world, which the true light hath made vanity and fin to thee in secret? Or, if thou art a despiser, tell me, I pray thee, which dost thou think thy mockery, anger, or contempt do most resemble, proud Haman,
Mat. xii. 36.
or good Mordecai? My friend, know, that no man hath more delighted in, or been prodigal of those vanities called civilities; than myself; and could I have covered my conscience under the fashions of the world, truly I had found a shelter from showers of reproach that have fallen very often and chick upon me; but had I, with Joseph, conformed to Ægypt's customs, I had finned against my God, and lost my peace. But I would not have thee think it is a mere Thou or Title, fimply or nakedly in themselves, we boggle at, or that we would beget or set up any form inconsistent with fincerity or true civility: there is but too much of that: but the esteem and value the vain minds of men do put upon them, that ought to be crossed and stripped of their delights, constrains us to testify so steadily against them. And this know, from the sense God's Holy Spirit hath begotten in us, that that which requires these customs, and begets fear to leave them, and pleads for them, and is displeased if not used and paid, is the spirit of pride and Aattery in the ground, though frequency, use, or generosity, may have abated its strength in some: and this being discovered by the light that now shines from heaven, in the hearts of the despised Christians I have communion with, necessitates them to this testimony, and myself, as one of them, and for them, in a reproof of the unfaithful, who would walk undiscerned, though convinced to the contrary; and for an allay to the proud despisers, who scorn us as a people guilty of affectation and fingularity. For the eternal God, who is great amongst us, and on his way in the earth to make his power known, 'will root up every (plant that his right hand hath not planted.' Wherefore let me beseech thee, reader, to consider the foregoing reasons, which were mostly given me from the Lord, in that time, when my condescension to these fashions would have been purchased at almost any rate; but the certain sense I had of their contrariety to the meek and self-denying life of holy Jesus, required of me my disuse of them, and faithful testimony against them. I speak the truth in Christ; I lye not; I
God, woh affectation and pilers, who fc
would not have brought myself under censure and disdain for them, could I, with peace of conscience, have kept my belief under a worldly behaviour. It was extreme irksome to me, to decline and expose myself: but having an assured and repeated sense of the original of these vain customs, that they rise from pride, felf-love, and Aattery, I dared not gratify that mind in myself or, others. And for this reason it is, that I am earnest with my readers to be cautious how they reprove us on this occasion; and do once more intreat them, that they would seriously weigh in themselves, whether it be the spirit of the world, or of the Father, that is so angry with our honest, plain, and harmless Thou and Thee : that so every plant that God, our heavenly Father, hath not planted in the sons and daughters of men, may be rooted up.
$. 1. Pride leads people to an excessive value of their
persons. §. 2. It is plain from the racket that is made about blood and families : also in the case of shape and beauty. $. 3. Blood no nobility, but virtue.
. 4. Virtue no upitart: antiquity, no nobility without it, else age and blood would bar virtue in the present age. 5. 5. God reaches the true sense of. nobility, who made of one blood all nations: there is the original of all blood. $. 6. These men of blood, out of their feathers, look like other men. §. 7. This is not said to reject, but humble the gentleman: the advantages of that condition above others. An exhortation to recover their loft economy in families, out of interest and credit. $. 8. But the author has a higher motive; the gospel, and the excellencies of it, which they profess. f. 9. The pride of persons, respecting shape and beauty : the washes, patches, paintings, dressings, &c. This excess would keep the poor : the mischiefs that attend it. $. 10. But pride in the old, and homely,