Page:Great duty of confessing Christ before men, stated and recommended.pdf/8

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ground of truth? not as supporting it, but, as the ancient pillars in the earlier perods of the Grecian history, preserved the laws and edicts from corruption and oblivion, and exposed to public view; so the church of Christ reflects his glory and exhibits his truth to the world, in her worship, her testimony, and her life. The enemies of truth may assert, that some truths are trivial and circumstantial, and may not enter into the testimony of the church; but such an assertion is made with an ill grace by the friends of God and truth. Who gave us licence to make distinction, and how far it may be carried? Christ came into the world to bear witness (John xviii. 37.) to the truth, to all the truth; and herein he was an example to us, that we should follow his steps. The church herself, and in her representatives, are to observe, and cause to be observed and kept, all the laws of Christ’s kingdom, a perfect system, containing all that Christ enjoins, for faith and obedience: these are to be enforced, not with fines or civil pains, but with the salutary discipline of his house, for the destruction of the flesh, that is, the corruptions of the individual, or of the society. If any of these laws fall into disuse, or are neglected, it is the duty of the church to revive and observe them. We are bound to “ receive and observe, and keep pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath appointed in his word.” We are not left at liberty to neglect, nor invent any thing in the worship of God; either way he is dishonoured, and the means of our fellowship with him are destroyed. Superstition and will-worship must be resisted as evils that will sooner or later waste the church and banish his gracious presence from her: God will not give his glory to another, nor his praise to graven images Christ, as King in Zion, hath left a form of government in his church, and this form we are to preserve as much as any other