John Collinges on hypocritical zeal

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
It is a noble temper to be afraid of sin. If a person pretends conscience for a particular opinion and practice, and in the mean time be a common drunkard, swearer, liar, blasphemer, unclean person, one that lives as it were without God in the World, making no conscience of reading the Scripture, praying, bringing up and governing his Family in the nurture and fear of the Lord, only pretends conscience as to baptizing of Children, keeping the Seventh day Sabbath; this man is an hypocrite, and dissembles with God and men for there is an uniformity in conscience, and it would certainly oblige him to avoid known and confessed sins, as much as what he doth fancy is a sin, and as much oblige him to all, as to any known duty.

But where I see a Christian walking close with God in the general of his conversation, and differing from me in this or that point, because he thinks he cannot without sin believe and practise what I do; I cannot but love and honour him, and be very far from their Religion who think it the best and most Gospel way to cudgel him into my Persuasion: A Gaol, or a Fire and Faggots never yet cured an erring Conscience. Such Brethren though overtaken with a fault are certainly (according to the Apostle's counsel) to be restored in the spirit of meekness, and to be dealt with, (like rational Creatures) argued, and treated, and persuaded out of their mistakes, not cudgelled out of them.

For the reference, see John Collinges on hypocritical zeal.

P.S. This post is convicting for me personally. Why I am more zealous at avoiding participating in unauthorised worship and Sabbath profanation than I am in certain other sins?


Unshaven and anonymous
Staff member
Very good words, Daniel. Everyone's conscience inevitably specializes a little bit in the areas they have studied most. But it is easy to forget that if you've studied anger you might still be oblivious to envy. Or that 3 weeks ago you were not as sensitive to these issues as you are now.
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