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A Hind Let Loose by Alexander Shields

That if to eat of things consecrated to idols be idolatry


covenants; 'and that the true

and right zeal of God should and would not only inspire all with an unanimous aversion against the profane intruding curates, but animate us as one man to drive away these wolves and thieves, and to eradicate these plants which our heavenly Father never planted,' Naph. Prior edit. pag. 108. The least duty that can be inferred is that of the apostles, flee from idolatry, 1 Cor. x. 14. which idolatry, there mentioned to be avoided, is to eat of the sacrifices offered to idols: whence we infer, that if to eat of things consecrated to idols be idolatry, then also to partake of sacred things consecrated by idols must be idolatry; as the curates dispensing of ordinances is consecrated by, and hath all its sanction from an idol of Diocesan Erastian prelacy; but we see the apostle expresses the former: therefore we may infer the latter. Further, It will also infer a declining from, and denying a necessary testimony, in the case circumstantiated. Even the smallest matter is great, when a testimony is concerned in it, were it but the circumstance of an open window; Daniel durst not omit it upon the greatest hazard. And now this is clearly come to a case of confession, when there is no other way to exoner our 'consciences before God and the world, and declare our non-conformity to this course of backsliding, no getting of wrongs redressed, or corruptions in the ministry removed, but by this practice; and certainly some way we must give public testimony against these courses, and there is
no other way so harmless and innocent as this, though suffering follow upon it,' Apol. Relat. Sect. 14. 272, 273. And now there is no other way apparent, whereby the difference shall be kept up betwixt such as honestly mind the covenanted work of reformation, and the corrupt prelatical and malignant enemies; but this argument also will infer the expediency of withdrawing from all ministers, with whom our circumstantiate joining would involve us in a participation with their defections.

IX. As we would endeavour to avoid sin in ourselves; so we must have a care to give no occasion of others sinning, by our taking liberty in a promiscuous joining in church communion, whereby we may offend and stumble the conscience of others: for to that, in this as well as in other things, we must have a special respect, and forbear things, not only for our own unclearness, but for the sake of others also. If therefore the hearing of curates be a scandal, we must refuse it, be the hazard what will: for 'whoso shall offend one of Christ's little ones, it were better for him that a milstone were hanged about his neck,' Matth. xviii. 6. 'No man must put a stumbling block, or an occasion to fall in his brother's way,' Rom. xiv. 13. They that 'sin so against the brethren, and wound their weak conscience, they sin against Christ,' 1 Cor. viii. 12. we must forbear some things for conscience sake. Conscience, I say, not our own, but of others, giving none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God,' 1 Cor. x. 28, 29, 32. and so 'cut off all occasion from them that desire occasion,' 2 Cor. xi. 12. 'These commands discharge whatever practice gives occasion of our brother's sinning, of calling truth in question, of acting with a doubting conscience, or which weakens his plerophory or assurance;


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