Explains and defends the Reformers reasons for separation from Rome. Exhibits the major points of disagreement, these being the sufficiency of Scripture, the doctrines of grace (salvation), and purity of worship. Elaborates on each major area, explaining the numerous points of division specifically. Provides, for the modern reader, some excellent points to consider concerning which churches to join and which churches to leave.
Ultimately comes to the conclusion that,
"God never did require of us to join with any person or church in their sins; much less that we should sin in order to the obtaining of salvation at his hands. God's rule is, that we should not 'do evil that good may come of it.' (Rom. 3:8) And were the communion with their church never so useful, yet if it cannot be had without sinning, it must not be had at all.
If the terms and conditions of communion with them have any thing of sin in them, they had as good tell us that we should fly in the air, or count the sands on the sea-shore; and in case we did not, that then they would not receive us into their communion, or that, being in, they would cast us out. For such things as are morally impossible, (as an assent to any error, or a consent to any false worship, must needs be,) are as unreasonably required of us, as any thing that is naturally impossible could ever be.
And if on this account there be a rent from them, the fault is in them that require such things at our hands; as, being contrary to the mind and will of God, cannot be done by us. We, being innocent, nay, commendable in the forbearing of them, (as the innocent person is in the case of a divorce,) must needs be free... (i)t is sometimes necessary to forsake a visible church.
Nay more: it may be necessary to believe and act directly contrary to the authority of the present church (if we are to remain faithful to God--RB)." In this regard one more representative quotation is provided, "One would think that washing of hands, and the wearing of broad phylacteries, were matters so indifferent, as that they could not be displeasing unto God, especially when commanded by the church, and recommended too by tradition; yet our Saviour assures us, (though they thought to please God the better by them,) [that] it made all the rest of the Pharisees' worship but vain and unacceptable. (Matt. 15:9)
Worship is indeed the marriage-duty which the church of God is to pay unto none but unto Him who is married unto her; (Jer. 3:14;) and God hath declared himself to be "a jealous God," and that he will not permit any creature to partake that marriage-rite together with him. (Exod. 20:5) Hence it is that idolatry is so often called 'adultery,' and a 'going a-whoring from God.' (Ezek. 23:30)
And in this, amongst other things, to be sure they agree, that as amongst men for every fault, though heinous ones too, there cannot be a separation between man and wife, but for adultery there may; so God is pleased not to give a bill of divorce to any church or people for any sin so much as for idolatry. When once they become overspread with that sin, then it is that God says unto them, 'Lo-ammi, Ye are not my people.' (Hosea 1:9)."