A SUM OF RELIGION.
Written by Judge Hale, Lord Chief Justice of England which was found in a closet amongst his other papers after his decease.
He that fears the Lord of Heaven and Earth, walks humbly before Him, thankfully lays hold of the message of redemption by Jesus Christ, and strives to express his thankfulness by the sincerity of his obedience. He is sorry with all his soul, when he comes short of his duty. He walks watchfully, in the denial of himself and holds no confederacy with any lust; or known sin; if he fails in the least measure he is restless till he has made his peace by true repentance. He is true to his promises, just in his dealings, charitable to the poor, sincere in his devotion. He will not deliberately dishonour God although secure of impunity. He hath his hopes and his conversation in Heaven, and dares not to do anything unjustly be it ever so much his advantage; and all this, because he sees Him that is invisible, and fears Him because he loves Him; fears Him as well for his goodness as his greatness. Such a man, whether he be an Episcopalian or a Presbyterian, an Independent or Anabaptist, whether he wears a surplice, or wears non; whether he hears Organs, or whether he hears none; whether he kneels at the cummunion, or for conscience sake stands or sits, he hath the life of religion in him, and that life acts in him; and will conform his soul to the image of his Saviour, and go along with him to eternity, notwithstanding his practice, or non-practice of things indifferent. On the other side, if he fears not the Eternal God, he can commit sin with presumption, drink excessively, swear vainly or falsely, commit adultery, lie coxen, cheat, his break promise, live loosely, though at the same time he may be studious to practice every ceremony, even to a scrupulous exactness, or may perhaps as stubbornly oppose them: though such as one should cry down Bishops, or Presbytery, though he should be rebaptised every day, or declaim against it as heresy; and though he fast all the Lent, or feast out of pretence of avoiding superstition; yet notwithstanding these, and a thousand external conformities, or zealous opposition of them, he wants the life of religion.