My Meaning is this: No Man is oblig'd to forbear or abstain from the Practice or Use of any Thing merely upon this Account, that it is a Thing that the World, or, if you will, the wicked Men of the World, do practise or use.

This Proposition I lay down to obviate the Pretences of fome Enthusiastical Men among us, a main Article of whose Religion is, to be at as wide a Distance from the World in their way of Living as possibly they can be; for say they, the whole World lieth in Wickedness, and all the People of God are to come out of it; no further to comply with the Manners and Customs of it than what absolute Necessity doth require, for all further Compliances favour of the Wisdom of this World, which is carnal, and sensual, and devilish : And fo far have they run this Point, that it is accounted unlawful to use the same Language or Speech that is commonly used in the World, but every Thing is to be spoken, so far as may be, in the Scripture Language. And as much do they declaim against the common Ways of Behaviour and Deportment that are practised among Men. All that Expreslion of Duty to our Superiors, and of Civility and Respect to others, which is according to the Mode of the Country, whether it be by uncovering the Head, or bowing the Knee, or by giving them their just and usual Titles, or by faluting them in the common Form of Ceremony and Address; all this is exploded as an unchristian Thing. And the same War do they declare against the Habits and Garments of the World that they do against its Language and Behaviour. Whosoever gives up his Name to the Profession of Religion, muft mortify himself as to all Gaiety of Attire, and even Decency too; he must strip himself of every Thing that is rich or ornamental about him, and must wear nothing that is superfluous, nothing by which his Rank and Quality may be distinguished from that of others.

This is the Principle which one whole Sect has espoused, and which a great many who have not wholly given up themselves to that Sect, are yet unsatisfied about. But to shew the extreme Absurdity of it, there needs nothing more to be done, than only to name these following Things : for to infist largely on them in so plain a Case, would be only to mispend Time.

(1.) First of all, if this Principle be admitted, we shall never be able to fix any certain Boundaries or Measures of what is lawful to Christians, and what is sinful in them; and consequently every Man will be eternally entangled in Scruples and Perplexities, and there will be no Cure for them. It a Conformity to the Modes and Customs of the World be unlawful in all Cafes, fave only where that Conformity is absolutely


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necessary to our living in the World, then we cannot be certain but that every Day we do that which is unlawful; for we are not sure but that every Day we have complied more with the Cuftonis of the World than was barely necessary. There are a hundred Things which every Man daily doth in Compliance with the common Usages of Mankind, which are no ways needful to be done, and may, without

any Detriment to his Life and Fortunes, be as well done another way, but only that Cuftom prevails. Now, according to the aforesaid Principle, every such Action that a Man doth, must be a Sin. But,

(2.) This is a Principle which none of those who stand up for it, no not the strictest of the Quakers themselves do live up to. (Of if they did, they would be much more uncouth and ridiculous than they are.) They say we must not be conformable to the Mode of the World, as to Matter of Apparel, for Inftance : But if this be a true Rule, why do not they wear different fort of Cloaths from what they do? And since they will take their Pattern from Scripture, why do not they go in Sandals instead of Shoes? why do they not wear long loose Vestments, after the Manner of the Eastern Nations. Both these are undoubtedly more agreeable to the Practice of the Saints, not only of the Old, but of the New Testament too. Again, if it be unlawful to comply

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with the Times in the matter of Cloaths and
Dress, why is it not as much unlawful to
use the same Way of eating and drinking
that others do? How comes it to pass that
they dare use the Posture of Sitting when
they take their Meat, since that is the Way
of the World, and is quite different from
that Posture that our Saviour and the Chri-
ftians in his Time used at Meals; for their
Way then was to lean on Couches or Beds
conveniently disposed about the Table:
but this none of our Moderns do observe,
notwithstanding their Zeal and Care to ini-
tate the Saints. And a hundred other
Things there are in which Men must reform
their Manners if they will practise accord-
ing to this Principle, which yet none of
them who contend for it do; and indeed,
they are the wiser for not doing it : But
yet it is a shrewd Argument either that they
do not believe their own Doctrine, or, if
they do, they think it impracticable.

(3.) But further; This Principle that we
ought not to be conformable to this World
in any Thing where we can avoid it, is so
contradictory to the Spirit by which our
Lord Jesus and his Apostles were acted,
and according to which they practised, that
nothing can be more. As for the Apostles,
they conversed with all Men promiscuously,
and after their own Way and Mode, and one
of them was openly reproved by St. Paul, for Gal. 2. 14.
not conforming himself to the Gentile Way


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of Conversation, when he came among the Gentiles, but sticking too closely to that ftingy Principle of the Jews, who, thinking themselves more holy than the other Nations were, would not joyn with them in

the innocent Freedom of a common Table. : Cor. 9. And the same 'St. Paul declares, that he be

came all Things to all Men, that by this means he might gain more Souls. And it doth not appear that ever the Apostles, or the first Christians, made any Scruples of accommodating themselves to the Guise and Manner of the People they preached to; except only in Things which were of themselves unlawful and contrary to the Religion which they were to preach. As to our Saviour, he was a Person so far from being morose or reserved in his Carriage, or a Lover of Singularity, so far from setting up a Way of Conversation of his own making, distinct from the Way he found in the World, that he was the most free, obliging, and civil, and, if I durft use the Word, I would say, the most complaisant Person that ever perhaps appeared in the World. Both his Language and way of Converse, as also his Garb and Attire, and the whole Manner of his Carriage and Behaviour, was perfectly the same with that of the Country in which he dwelt: which Thing I wish were well confidered by those we have to deal with; for if they did seriously mind it, they would from hence rather draw an Argument that we at this Day ought to comply in these

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