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William Penn. (1644–1718). Fruits of Solitude.
The Harvard Classics. 1909–14.

Part II

Of the Mean Notion we Have of God

174. Nothing more shews the low Condition Man is fallen into, than the unsuitable Notion we must have of God, by the Ways we take to please him.

175. As if it availed any Thing to him that we performed so many Ceremonies and external Forms of Devotion, who never meant more by them, than to try our Obedience, and, through them, to shew us something more Excellent and Durable beyond them.

176. Doing, while we are Undoing, is good for nothing.

177. Of what Benefit is it to say our Prayers regularly, go to Church, receive the Sacraments, and may be go to Confessions too; ay, Feast the Priest, and give Alms to the Poor, and yet Lye, Swear, Curse, be Drunk, Covetous, Unclean, Proud, Revengeful, Vain and Idle at the same Time?

178. Can one excuse or ballance the other? Or will God think himself well served, where his Law is Violated? Or well used, where there is so much more Shew than Substance?

179. ’T is a most dangerous Error for a Man to think to excuse himself in the Breach of a Moral Duty, by a Formal Performance of Positive Worship; and less when of Human Invention.

180. Our Blessed Saviour most rightly and clearly distinguished and determined this Case, when he told the Jews, that they were his Mother, his Brethren and Sisters, who did the Will of his Father.