Thirdly, before their sermons, their prayer was or seemed to be extempore, which they pretended to be dictated by the spirit of God within them, and many of the people believed or seemed to believe it. For any man might see, that had judgment, that they did not take care beforehand what they should say in their prayers. And from hence came a dislike of the common-prayer-book, which is a set form, premeditated, that men might see to what they were to say Amen.
Fourthly, they did never in their sermons, or but lightly, inveigh against the lucrative vices of men of trade or handicraft; such as are feigning, lying, cozening, hypocrisy, or other uncharitableness, except want of charity to their pastors and to the faithful: which was a great ease to the generality of citizens and the inhabitants of market-towns, and no little profit to themselves.
Fifthly, by preaching up an opinion that men were to be assured of their salvation by the testimony of their own private spirit, meaning the Holy Ghost dwelling within them. And from this opinion the people that found in themselves a sufficient hatred towards the Papists, and an ability to repeat the sermons of these men at their coming home, made no doubt but that they had all that was necessary, how fraudulently and spitefully soever they behaved themselves to their neighbours that were not reckoned amongst the Saints, and sometimes to those also.
Sixthly, they did, indeed, with great earnestness and severity, inveigh often against two sins, carnal lusts and vain swearing; which, without question, was very well done. But the common people were thereby inclined to believe, that nothing else was sin, but that which was forbidden in the third and seventh commandments (for few men do understand by the name of lust any other concupiscence, than that which is forbidden in that seventh commandment; for men are not ordinarily said to lust after another man’s cattle, or other goods or possessions): and therefore never made much scruple of the acts of fraud and malice, but