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SUBJECTS and OCCASIONS,
By the most Reverend
Dr. JOHN TILLOTSON,
Lord Archbishop of Canterbury.
VOLUME the FIFTH.
Printed for C. Hitch and L. Hawes, J. Hodges, A. Millar, J. and
J. Fletcher, J. Ward, R. Baldwin, W. Johnson,"
S. Crowder and H. Woodgate, M. and T. Longman,
Of Conftancy in the Profeffion of the true Religion.
HE B. X. 23.
Let us hold faft the profeffion of our faith without wavering; for he is faithful that promifed.
Have already made entrance into these words, S ERM. which I told you do contain in them, Firft, An exhortation to hold faft the profef- The fe"fion of our faith without wavering." Secondly, An argument or encouragement thereto; "because he is faithful that promised." If we continue stedfast and faithful to GOD, we fhall find him faithful to us, in making good all the promifes which he hath made to us, whether of aid and fupport, or of recompence and reward of our fidelity to him.
I have begun to handle the first part of the text, viz. the apostle's exhortation to Chriftians to be conftant and steady in their religion: "Let us "hold faft the profeffion of our faith without wa"vering." The word ax, which we render without wavering, fignifies inflexible and unmoveable, not apt to waver, and to be fhaken with every wind of contrary doctrine, nor by the blafts and ftorms of perfecution. And that we might the better comprehend the full and true meaning of VOL. V. A 2 this
SERM. this exhortation, I propounded to do these two
I. To fhew negatively, wherein this conftancy and steadiness in the profeffion of the true religion doth not confift. And,
II. To fhew pofitively, what is implied and intended here by the apostle, in holding faft the "profeffion of our faith without wavering."
1. To fhow negatively, wherein this conftancy and steadiness in the profeffion of the true religion doth not confift. This I fpake to the last day; and fhewed at large, that there are two things which are not contained and intended in this exhortation,
1. That men fhould not have the liberty to examine their religion, and to enquire into the grounds and reasons of it; fuch I mean as are capable of this examination and enquiry; which fome, I fhewed, are not; as children, who while they are in that ftate, are only fit to learn and believe what is taught them by their parents and teachers and likewife fuch grown perfons, as either by the natural weaknefs of their faculties, or by fome great difadvantage of education, are of a very low and mean capacity and improvement of understanding. Thefe are to be confidered as in the condition of children and learners; and therefore muft of neceffity truft and rely upon the judgment of others,
2. "This holding faft the profeffion of our
faith without wavering," does not imply, that when men upon examination and enquiry are fettled, as they think and verily believe, in the true religion, they fhould obftinately refuse to hear any reason that çan be offered against them. Both these principles I fhewed to be unreafonable, and arguments of a bad cause and religion,