The Necessity of holding fast the Truth represented in Three SERMONS on Rev. iii. 3. Preached at New-York, April 1742.

With an Appendix Relating to ERRORS lately vented by some Moravians in those Parts.

To which are added, A Sermon on the Priestly-Office of Christ, And another, On the Virtue of Charity.

T [...]er with A Sermon of a Dutch [...] on taking the little Foxes; faithful [...] [...]anslated.

By GILBERT TENNENT, M. A. Minister of the Gospel at New-Brunswick, in New-Jersey.

Jude verse 3.

Beloved, when I gave all Diligence to write unto you of the common Salvation: It was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you, that you should earnestly con­tend for the Faith which was once delivered unto the Saints.

BOSTON: Printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN in Queen-Street, over against the Prison. MDCCXLIII.



WHILE we grieve there should be Occasion given for the following Sermons and Appendix, by the Ar­rival of the Moravian Bre­thren in these American Regions; of [Page ii] whose emerging out of the Darkness and Errors of Popery we had heard with Joy in Years past; yet we cannot but rejoice that God has animated his Ser­vant, our dear and honoured Brother Mr. Tennent, to appear as he here does in Defence of the great and important Doctrines of the Gospel, long since asserted in the publick Confessions of the reformed Churches of Great-Britain, France and Holland; and which have been from Time to Time vindicated in the Writings of their most pious and learned Divines.

We heartily wish that the Honoura­ble Count Zinzendorf, and the Bre­thren who have attended him hither, had but given a due Attention to the Light of Gospel Truth held forth to 'em in these united Declarations: But if they are covertly or openly bringing [Page iii] in dangerous Heresies, subverting the Souls of our People; they must not wonder if we freely withstand them to their Face, altho' they come Strangers among us, and also with a Face of Meekness and Love.

We hope we have learnt the Aposto­lical Injunctions to us, on the one Hand and on the other; and there is cer­tainly a blessed and perfect Consistency between them; * ‘Let brotherly Love continue: Be not forgetful to enter­tain Strangers; but remember them that are in Bonds as bound with them:’‘Hold fast the faithful Word as thou hast been taught; that you may be able by sound Doctrine both to exhort and convince. Gain­sayers; [Page iv] for there are many unruly and vain Talkers and Seducers, whose Mouths must be stopped from sub­verting whole Houses, teaching Things which they ought not; — wherefore rebuke them sharply that they may be sound in the Faith.’

May the LORD bless to these Bre­thren Strangers, and also to the more immediately endanger'd Flocks in the Jersies and Pennsylvania, this Labour of Love, and Effort of holy Zeal; for the Conviction of the One, and for the Preservation of the other, from the wild and frightful Errors, which are here testified against and refuted with the Fervour of One that has learnt to contend earnestly for the Faith once de­livered to the Saints; and with the Light of a wise Master-builder on the [Page v] Foundation which CHRIST and his Apo­stles have laid.

When this our dear BROTHER, whose Praise is in our Churches thro' the Provinces, visited us at Boston two Years ago, and in the Spirit of the Re­verend Mr. WHITEFIELD enter'd into his Labours here; it pleased GOD in a wonderful Manner to crown his abun­dant Services with Success, in the Con­viction and (we trust) Conversion of many Souls: As therefore the Name of Mr. Tennent is greatly endeared to us, so we beseech our ascended SAVIOUR, the HEAD of the Church, long to con­tinue Him for a burning Light and extensive Blessing to our Provinces; and in particular to use this faithful, judicious and seasonable Endeavour of his Servant, for a Guard and Defence about his own sacred Truths and his [Page vi] glorious Work in the Midst of us, which too many are ready to speak evil of and oppose.

  • Benjamin Colman.
  • Thomas Prince.
  • John Webb.
  • William Cooper.
  • Thomas Foxcroft.
  • Joshua Gee.
[Page 1]

The Necessity of holding fast the Truth.


Remember therefore, how thou hast heard, and received, and hold fast.

VERY dear Friends and Brethren! You may remember that the Builders of the Wall of Jerusalem, after the Babylonian Captivity, were obliged because of Oppo­sition, to carry a Sword in one Hand to protect, as well as a Trowel in the other to build; and thus must Zion's Builders do, now in this Time of Opposition, and Temptation. We are told in the Prophecy of Ezekiel, Chap. 33. that if the Watchman sees the Sword coming on a Land, blows the Trumpet, and warns the People, however insuccess­ful his Labours may prove to some, he will nevertheless de­liver his own Soul: But that if he does not give seasonable Warning, the Blood of those that perish will be required at the Watchman's Hand.

My dear Friends! to prevent unreasonable Prejudice a­gainst this Performance, because of my opposing some Persons in it, who make a fair Shew in the Flesh, I may observe and [Page 2] assure you, that Conscience inform'd by the Word of God, constrain'd me to do what I have done, in detecting and op­posing the erronious Notions, of a pernicious new Sect of Peo­ple, called Moravian Brethren, or Hezenhouters, who have lately come from Germany into this Country. Love to God, and his dear and precious Truths, which are secretly under­min'd by the extraordinary sly concealing Arts of the Mora­vians, obliges me to speak out expresly, in order, as far as it shall please the God of Truth to bless the same, to give Check to the Spread of that Plague of Leprosy.

I stand here in this Desk in the Name of the great and dreadful God, and in the Room of our Lord Jesus Christ, to sound the Alarm-Trumpet, and give fair Warning to this dear Flock in particular, and to the Inhabitants of the Land in general; by informing and assuring them, that a Spirit of Error and Delusion is gone forth to deceive the World. He that hath Ears to hear, let him hear. I freely venture my Cha­racter, and am ready, God assisting, to sacrifice my Liber­ty, and my Life, in Defence of the blessed Truths of the Re­formation, and in detecting the Erronious.

If any out of a childish Credulity, or peevish Obstinacy, will not take the Warning given; my Soul shall weep in se­cret Places for their Pride!

I cannot stand as an unconcern'd Spectator, to behold the Moravian Tragedy; my Heart bleeds within me to see the precious Truths of Christ opposed, slighted and trodden un­der Foot, by our new Reformers; and that under a Pretext of extraordinary Sanctity, Love and Meekness! My Soul, come not into their Secret; unto their Assembly, mine Honour, be thou not united! It is enough to make a Heart of Iron bleed, to see Foxes, little Foxes, slily creeping into God's Vineyard, and spoiling the Vines, and tender Grapes, i. e. young Christians, with Enthusiasm, Pride, Error, and Nonsense!

But I hasten to consider the Words of our Text, which is an important Counsel, given by our Lord to the Church of Sardis, to reflect upon and call to Mind, the Truths they had formerly heard, as well as the affectionate Dispositions with which they heard them; and that they would use all proper Means to preserve and retain them; a Counsel very [Page 3] proper for the perilous Times in which we live. The Di­rection our Lord gave in Respect of hearing the Word else­where, strengthens in my Opinion the aforesaid Explica­tion; in one Place he says, Take heed what ye hear, and in another, Take heed how ye hear; and indeed in the Nature of Things the Manner of doing a Duty, supposes the Matter without which it cannot exist.

In discoursing upon this Subject, I shall endeavour to speak to the following Heads.

  • I. Shew what Truths we should more particularly remember and hold fast.
  • II. Shew what is supposed by and implied in our remember­ing them and holding of them fast.
  • III. Why we should remember them and hold them fast.

And then improve the whole.

I. One Head of Discourse, is to show, What Truths we should more particularly remember and hold fast.

To what I would offer under this Head more directly, I would beg Leave to premise a few Words, concerning the Nature and Kinds of Truth. Here I may observe that Truth in it's general Nature, consists in Agreement, and is threefold, viz. metaphisical, logical, and ethical; the first is the Agreement between the Appearance of a Thing, and the Thing itself represented by it; the second consists in the Agreement, between the Mind and the Thing it conceives of; i. e. when the Mind conceives of any Thing, really as it is; the third consists in an Agreement between our Words and Minds; i. e. when we speak what we think; the first Truth is opposed to Paint and Varnish, the second to Error and Falshood, and the third to Lying; which consists in go­ing against the Mind.

Now my dear Brethren! There are these Truths follow­ing more especially, which ye should hold fast to the Death; namely,

1. The Doctrine of CONVICTION by the Law of God, whereby the Sinner is made sensible of his Sin and Misery, before he obtain converting Grace; if we let this precious Truth go with the Moravians; or in Compliance to a noted Person among them, (who asserted in New-Brunswick, that [Page 4] Conviction is not necessary to Conversion, but hurtful; and that the Presbyterian Doctrine, respecting preaching of the Law is false) I say if we drop the Doctrine of Conviction; I see no Ground of Hope, that ever a secure World will be alarm'd. And truly those suppos'd Conversions, which are not preceeded by a Work of the Law, are either in general, strong Work­ings of the Fancy and Affections, mov'd in a natural Way, as in Tragedies; or the common Workings of the Spirit as in time Believers, and stony Ground Hearers, or a Delusion of Satan!

Does not Scripture and Reason hold forth the aforesaid precious Truth; our Lord promis'd the Spirit to convince Men of Sin, of Righteousness and Judgment, John 16.8, 9. He invites the Weary and Heavy-laden to come to him, and promises them Rest, upon their so doing, Mat. 11.28. He farther informs us, that he came not to call the Righteous, but Sinners to Repentance. That the whole need no Physi­cian, but the Sick. Was not the Prodigal made to see first that he was perishing, before he came to his Father? Luke 15. Have we not three thousand Examples of this at one View? Acts 2.37. I might add the Example of the Jaylor, who said trembling, What must I do to be saved? Acts 16. and of Paul, who being convinced in his Way to Damascus, said, Lord what would thou have me to do?

Now that the Law is the usual Mean of Conviction, ap­pears from these following Places of Scripture, Rom. 8.15. For ye have not received the Spirit of Bondage again to fear, but the Spirit of Adoption, whereby we cry Abba Father. Observe here, that these Gentile Christians of the Roman Nation, had the Spirit of Bondage first; and whence had they this, by the Preaching of the Gospel? no surely, but of the Law. Hence the Apostle saith, that by the Law is the Knowledge of Sin, Rom. 3.20. and that before the Law came he was alive, (i. e. in his own Apprehension) but when the Law came, Sin revived and he died, Rom. 7.9. i. e. when the Law was bro't powerfully home to his Heart by the Holy Ghost, he saw his dead State; this is further confirmed, Gal. 2.19. For I thro' the Law am dead to the Law, that I might live unto God; i. e. I thro' the Law, as an Instrument apply'd, am dead [Page 5] to the Law considered as a Covenant of Works; or dead to all Dependance upon Law-Righteousness for Justification.

The Apostle proposeth this Question, Gal. 3.19. Where­fore then serveth the Law? he answereth, that it was added because of Transgressions; i. e. it was added as an Appendix to the Covenant of Grace, to convince Men of their Trans­gressions. Hence the same Apostle saith, Rom. 5.20. More­over the Law entered that the Offence might abound; and in­deed the Case is really so, the Law as a Sword must enter our Consciences, before Sin will abound in our Apprehension sensibly: Is the Law then against the Promise, (saith the Apostle, Rom. 3.21.) God forbid. No the Law is good, if it be used lawfully, if it be preached not as a Covenant of Works for Justification; but as a Mean to convince Sinners of their Guilt and Misery, their Inability to fulfil it, and so of their absolute Need of Christ, and the Mercies of the New Covenant thro' him. And thus instead of opposing Christ and the Covenant of Grace, it is the most effectual Mean of promoting our Esteem of and Complyance with both. The Law was our School-Master to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by Faith, Gal. 3.24. And that altho' Believers are now under a milder Dispensation, of the Gospel, than the Jewish Church was; being freed from the Yoke of the ceremonial Law entirely, and from the frequent and terrible Inculcations of the moral. Hence is that of the Apostle, Heb. 12.18. We are not come to the Mount that might be touched, and that burned with Fire. — But to Mount Zion the City of the living God.

The Gospel Church being come to her full Age, is treat­ed as such, and hath more Knowledge of her Priviledges than the Jewish, who was but in an infant State; yet Unbe­lievers are in the same Condition now as then. Mark 16.16. John 3.36.

It would be no Priviledge, but a great Loss to the Gospel Church, to be depriv'd of this twofold Use of the Law; namely, to convince Sinners & direct Saints. Do we make void the Law by Faith, says the Apostle; nay we establish the Law.

Reason it self will instruct us, that until poor Souls be alarmed out of the deep Sleep of Sin, they are not disposed [Page 6] to value Mercy thro' Christ much, nor to desire after it, and labour for it, with due Earnestness and Importunity: And until they feel a Work of the Law discovering and humbling of them, they are neither disposed to bow before a sover [...] God, nor to give him the Glory of his Grace, both which are necessary Duties. To talk of using the Gospel as the only or principal Mean of the Conviction of Sinners, is very ignorant and foolish, and shews little Knowledge of divine Things; it's just like putting the Plow before the Oxen. To offer a Remedy before the Disease and Danger is open­ed, is but to please and deceive a wicked World, and make them sleep the faster in their dangerous Security! Does not the Experience of good Men, confirm this Truth of Convic­tion? Methinks dear Brethren! we should be willing to part with the last Drop of Blood out of our Veins, before we part with it, Remember therefore how thou hast heard and hold fast.

2. Ye have heard FAITH explained, as consisting (prin­cipally) in our receiving Christ Jesus, in all his Offices, and upon his own Terms; namely, those of taking up the Cross, Self-denial, and following of him, and that with Humility, Deli­beration, Readiness, and Resolution. This the holy Scrip­tures expresly assert, John 1.12. Col. 2.6. Mat. 16.24. Luke 14.28. Luke 19.5. 2 Tim. 3.12. Hold fast this pre­cious Truth, my dear Brethren! against the pernicious Doctrine of the Moravians; who hold that Faith consists in a Perswasion that our Sins are pardoned, and that Christ died for us; this Notion wants a scriptural Foundation, and is contrary to Reason. Assurance is a Fruit of Faith, and therefore it's distinct from its Nature, and so separable: The Apostle Paul observes, Ephe. 1.13. that the Ephesian Christians were sealed with the Holy Spirit of Promise, after they believed. Here you may see that they had Faith before they attained to the comfortable Knowledge of it: The Apostle John also speaks to the same Purpose, 1 John 5.13. These Things have I written unto you, that believe on the Name of the Son of God, that ye may know▪ that ye have eternal Life. It is also evident from the Nature of Things, that a Thing must be before it be known to be.

[Page 7]If the Essence of Faith consisted in the aforesaid Perswa­sion, then the Loss thereof would destroy the very Being of Faith, and so prove a false and perverse Doctrine to be true, namely the falling away of the Saints. For we find according to the holy Scriptures, that the Saints of God are exposed to long Desertions, distressing Doubts and Fears, yea to Despair itself. Isa. 50.10. Who is among you, that feareth the Lord, and obeyeth the Voice of his Servant? and walketh in Darkness, and seeth no Light, let him trust in the Name of the Lord, and stay himself upon his God. See also the distressing Case of the Psalmist, Psal. 77. he refused to be comforted, remember'd God and was troubled.— his Spirit was overwhelmed. And of Heman, Psal. 88. I am as a Man that hath no Strength, like the slain that lie in the Grave, whom thou remembrest no more; thou hast laid me in the lowest Pit, in Darkness, in the Deeps, thy Wrath lieth hard upon me, and thou hast afflicted me with all thy Waves. I hope you will not reject these Proofs, because they are produced out of the Old Testament, after the Example of the Moravians. Truly if the Old Testament be rejected, I can see no sufficient Rea­son, why the New should be received; for the latter is but a Fulfilment of the former, and a Superstructure built upon that Foundation; and if the Foundation is overset, the whole Fabrick is ruined. But to return,

If the Nature of Faith consists in the aforesaid Perswasion, then upon the Supposition that universal Redemption is a false Doctrine, (which I shall afterwards prove) and that it is every Man's Duty to believe; it will follow according to this Scheme, that some are obliged by the Command of God to be­lieve also, that Christ has died for them, when the Case is not so.

If there be such a Thing as Presumption, namely, a believing that our Sins are forgiven, when they are not forgiven, (which I shall afterwards prove) and that this Presumption is sinful, then according to the Moravian Notion of Faith, (which is the same with the Antinomians) God himself has obliged natural Men by his own Precept, to commit Iniquity, which is a monstrous Blasphemy! In short this Antinomian Moravian Faith, looks more like a strong Pre­sumption, [Page 8] than the Faith of God's Elect. In the Parable of the Sower, our Lord informs us, that some Seed fell upon stony Places, and forthwith it sprung up, because it had no Deepness of Earth; and in his Explication thereof, he saith, but he that received the Seed into stony Places, the same is he that heareth the Word, and anon with Joy receiveth it, yet he hath not Root in himself. (Mat. 13.) but the good Ground is said to bring forth Fruit with Patience. Luke 8.15. The poor Man that believ'd in the Gospel, cry'd with Tears, Lord I believe, help my Unbelief. Our Saviour re­proved his Disciples sharply for the Weakness of their Faith, for their Slowness to believe, Luk. 24.25. Then he said unto them, O Fools and slow of Heart to believe! True Faith is certainly opposed by our corrupt Nature, and by Satan. Hence we are bid to fight the Fight of Faith, 1 Tim. 6.12. and said to wrestle with Principalities and Powers, Eph. 6.12. True Faith grows from small Beginnings to greater Strength; hence the Faith of the Thessalonians is said to grow exceed­ingly, 2 Thes. 1.3. What then can we reasonably suppose that Faith to be, which has no humbling Preparatives, no after Conflicts and Troubles, and consists not in a receiving of Christ, or entire resting upon him for Salvation? What is it but a sorry Mushroom of a Night's Growth, unworthy of the Name of Faith.

In the mean Time, I will not pretend to limit Omnipo­tency; the great Lord of the Universe may in his absolute Sovereignty, possibly in some few Instances vouchsafe his Grace in an extraordinary Manner; but the general Course of his Proceedings, if we believe the Scriptures is agreable to the aforesaid Representation. Possibly some few Persons have a full Assurance at their first Closure with Christ; but that this is not general, is evident from what has been already offered.

If it be urged in Favour of the Moravians, That if the aforesaid Notion of Faith be a Mistake, it is but what many of great Note, among the first Reformers maintain'd.

A. Supposing it were so, it would not alter the Nature of Error, because some good Men were guilty of it. We are to follow the best of Men, no farther than they follow Christ; [Page 9] will it excuse the horrible Crimes of Murder and Adultery, because David was guilty of them?

But the Truth is, I know of none of the Divines properly call'd reformed, who have maintain'd upon the Moravian Plan, that Faith consists in a Perswasion that Christ died for us. If any of them have professed that Assurance was in­cluded in the Nature of Faith, yet it ought to be considered that they did not at the same Time hold universal Redempti­on; which much alters the Case, for when a Person believes that Christ died for every one, it must needs be very easy and natural to believe, that he died for him; for the Latter is necessarily included in the Former: But it is not so easy to believe that Christ died for us upon the Scheme of particular Redemption.

Besides some of the reformed Divines who have given into the aforesaid Notion of Assurance, have distinguish'd it into different Degrees, and thereby signify'd that it was not their Opinion, that all who believed had the highest Degree of Assurance, which seems to be the Moravian Notion.

Not to say that it is more excusable that some in the Dawn of the Reformation, thro' the Heat of Debate with the Papists, (who believe that Assurance is not attainable) should be drawn into another Extream, than that so long after the Light of the Reformation had shone, in its meridian Glory, a new Sect who profess a singular Sanctity should embrace the aforesaid pernicious Error; which tends so much to dis­tress many of the poor Saints of God, without just Cause, who ought to be comforted, and so to embarress their Way to their Father's Kingdom.

If it be again objected, That to say that Assurance is not included in the Nature of Faith, or necessarily annexed to it, is to encourage Presumers.

A. No, by no Means! For tho' a Person may have true Faith, and not know that he hath it, yet he must needs know the Actings of his own Soul. Ordinarily he can remember that he has been made sensible of his total Want of Faith, John 16.8, 9. his Inability to believe, as well as the Opposition made against his Faith; his affecting Apprehen­sion of Christ's All-sufficiency and Willin [...]ness to save; and [Page 10] his Dependance upon Christ's Righteousness alone for Ac­ceptance, under a Sense of the Insufficiency of his own. He must also be sensible of some Change wrought upon his Will, Affections, and Practice; tho' he may question whether they be of a saving Kind.

Now if a Person imagines that he hath Faith, and has not found the aforesaid Experiences, he deceiveth himself. Such Persons as do rest securely upon this Ground, viz. That Persons may have Faith and not know it, and neither press after Assurance, nor bewail the Want of it, and are Stran­gers to the Experience of a Work of the Law and Gospel upon their Hearts, are miserable Hypocrites!

I think that the Command of God to examine ourselves, and make our Calling and Election sure, plainly supposes the Uncertainty of our Knowledge about them, before the Use of these Means.

My dear Brethren! Let us hold fast this precious Truth, against all Opposition whatsoever.

3. Ye have heard, that FAITH is the MEANS of JUS­TIFICATION, and of absolute NECESSITY to eternal Salva­tion. These Things, the Scriptures of Truth fully assert, Rom. 3.28. Therefore we conclude that a Man is justified by Faith without the Deeds of the Law; and Mark 16.16. He that believeth shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. Let us hold fast these important Truths, my dear Brethren! against the perilous and pernicious Doctrines of the Antinomians and Moravians, namely, That those who are justify'd, are justify'd from Eternity in the Sight of God, and actually from the Time of Christ's Death, and that Faith is not necessary to Salvation.

Now because that eternal Justification, is the proton pseudos, the first and fertile Falshood of all the Antinomian Abomina­tions, the fatal Fountain from which those poisonous Streams do flow, which dishonour the Religion of Christ, contradict its grand Design (which is Holiness,) and sap its very Foun­dations; I think it needful to offer a few Considerations, to overset this Monster of Impiety. And here let me observe, that the Doctrine of eternal Justification, contradicts the holy [Page 11] Scriptures, which inform us that we are justify'd by Faith. Rom. 3.28.

Now if we are justify'd from Eternity, we are justify'd before Faith, (for Faith is wrought in the Elect in Time, Eph. 1.13.) and then must not those Scriptures, according to this Plan be false, which assert our Justification by Faith? For is it pos­sible fairly to reconcile a Justification from Eternity, and a Justification in Time together, a Justification before Faith, and after Faith together? I see not how it can be done, un­til Time and Eternity, before and after, be proved the same.

The sacred Scriptures inform us, that all the Elect as well as others, are by Nature Children of Wrath, under the Curse of the Law, under the Condemnation of the Gospel, and guilty before God, Eph. 2.1. Gal. 3.10. John 3.18, 36. Rom. 3.19. Now to say that those were justified from Eternity, is to assert the greatest and most irreconcilable Contradictions: it is in Effect to say, that the Elect are freed entirely from the Guilt of Sin, but are notwithstanding under the full Weight of it; that they are cursed and blessed at the same Time; under Wrath, and Heirs of the Promise; Chil­dren of God and of the Devil at the same Instant; condem­ned and justified at once. Now can any living Man recon­cile those contradictory Propositions, without overthrowing the Nature of Things, and blending Light with Darkness? Supposing this impossible Chimera to be true, viz. That a Man should be in the aforesaid contrary States at one Time, and bro't to the Confines of the Grave, where must his Soul go at its Exit? not to Heaven, for he is under the Curse of the Law, the Condemnation of the Gospel; not to Hell! for he is freed from the Guilt of Sin, and has a Title to eter­nal Glory; where must it go then, but to the feign'd Purga­tory of the Papists? Do not therefore wonder, that some of the Moravians, and Long-Beards, who are their Brethren (in Respect of their Spirit and main Principles) should stumble into the ridiculous Notion of turning Hell it self into a Purga­tory, by believing that the Torments of the Damned there, are but for a certain Space of Time: However this Notion is so gross and scandalous, that some of the Moravians are ashamed to own it.

[Page 12]This Fancy of turning Hell into a Purgatory, is worse than the Notion of the Papists, because they believe the Eternity of Hell Torments as to some. — It oversets one of the prin­cipal Barriers against Vice and Incentives to Religion and Vertue, it tends to disband the World, and open the Flood-Gates to all Immorality and Anarchy.

It is vain for the Patrons of the aforesaid perilous Figment, to urge in Defence thereof, this Plea, that the original Word for Eternity, signifies but an Age, or some Ages, for the same Word is apply'd to God and to the Happiness of the Blessed, and therefore they may from hence as justly argue, that the Happiness of the Blessed, yea that the Being of God himself, shall last but for a few Ages, which is damnable Blasphemy! In the 25th Chapter of Matthew and last Verse, the Happiness of the Saved, and the Miseries of the Damned are set in a direct Antithesis or Opposition, and the same ori­ginal Word is apply'd to both; therefore they may as well conclude, that the Former will be temporary as the Latter.

It is notoriously derogatory to the Satisfaction of Christ, and to the infinite Justice of God provoked by Sin, to ima­gine that Creatures can make Atonement for it, and so pay the utmost F [...]thing. The Damned being covered with Wrath, and unable either to bear the Load, or escape from under it, will be filled with Rage and Blasphemy against God, and so will increase their Guilt instead of atoning for it. But to return from this Digression.

The sacred Scriptures represent Justification, as an Act, or Sentence passed in Time coming, therefore it cannot be from Eternity; see Gal. 3.8. The Scriptures foreseeing that God would justify the Heathen thro' Faith, preached be­fore the Gospel unto Abraham. See, Faith must be preach­ed before the Heathens Justification, how then could they be justified from Eternity, was Faith preached from Eternity? Gal. 2.16. Even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the Faith of Christ. Rom. 4.23, 24. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him, but for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe in him. Isa. 53.11. By his Knowledge shall my righteous Ser­vant justify many. Isa. 45.2, 5. In the Lord all the Seed of [Page 13] Israel shall be justified. Rom. 3.30. Seeing it is one God, who shall justify the Circumcision by Faith, and the Uncircumcision thro' Faith. The Order in which our Justification is plac'd, is set in a strong Light, Rom. 8.33. Moreover, whom he did predestinate, them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified, and whom he justified, them he also glorified. Ex­cellent Mr. Flavel observes, ‘That it is absurd to place Vocation before Predestination, or Glorification before Justification; sure then (says he) it must be absurd also, to place Justification before Vocation; the one as well as the other, confounds and breaks the Scripture Order; you may as well say Men shall be glorified that were never justified, as say they may be justified before they believed or existed.’

How irrational and unaccountable it is, to believe that any should be justified from Eternity, will appear, if we con­sider a little the Nature of Justification; which is an actual freeing of Persons from the Guilt of Sin, and giving them a Right to Salvation.

Now how can any be freed from the Guilt of Sin from Eternity, unless we suppose them actually guilty of Sin from Eternity. But how can Creatures act, before they are, or exist? Every Creature is the Birth of Time, before he is conceiv'd in Time, he is subject to no Law; and where there is no Law, there is no Transgression actual, and where there is no Transgression either actual or virtual, there can be no Guilt; for that is an Obligation to endure Punishment for Sin, thro' the Force and Virtue of the Threatnings annexed to the Breach of the Law; and where there is neither Guilt, nor Sin, nor Punishment, there can be no Justification, which is a Freedom therefrom.

To say that the Elect are justify'd from Eternity, is in Ef­fect to say, that nothing sinn'd from all Eternity, and that nothing was justify'd, which is absurd! for the Elect before they exist are nothing in Respect of actual Sin.

If it be objected, that what has been said will oppose the D [...]rees of God. I answer no, by no Means! for the De­cree considers future Beings and future Actions, Eph. 1.4. But Justification respects Persons present or existing, and [Page 14] Actions past. It is a real or actual Change of the State, and respects a Sinner as actually ungodly, Rom. 4.5. But can that which is not, be really and actually changed? Can a Per­son be ungodly before he is at all in Being? Besides I see not how this Difficulty can be removed that lies in the Way of eternal Justification, viz. It will suppose that the Sin of Mankind, and their Justification from it, bore an equal Date; both being eternal, for in Eternity there is no before or after. Now this is impossible in the Nature of Things, that actual Freedom from Sin, should be parrallel in Duration with Sin itself, for the latter in the Order of Nature and Time goes before the former.

It is very shocking to consider, what Dishonour this Doc­trine of eternal Justification, reflects upon our Lord Jesus Christ, and how it saps the very Foundations of his Gospel.

It is a Branch of the Redeemer's Glory, that he has satis­fied divine Justice for his People's Sins, and paid their Debts by his Blood and Obedience. Gal. 3.13, 14. 2 Cor. 5.18—21. Phil. 2.8. But according to the Plan of eternal Justification, there was no Sin to be satisfied for, no Debt to pay; for can it be supposed, that a Creature can sin before Eternity, or that after he is justified from Sin, he is notwithstanding in Debt by it to divine Justice? this would be a Justification, and no Justification! Well, if there be no Debt to pay, Christ's Satisfaction is destroyed; for it is hereby rendered needless and useless. And thus you see a Foundation Truth, namely the Satisfaction of Christ destroyed, by this Antino­mian Moravian Doctrine of eternal Justification! Luther justly observed respecting Justification, That it was the Arti­cle of a standing or falling Church; now when it is judged to be eternal, it is made null and void as has been observed.

If the Elect are justified from Eternity, then how can our Lord be said to be their Saviour? seeing that according to this Scheme, they were never liable to Destruction. If it be said, that the Elect were not justified till the Time of Christ's Death, then what became of those that died before it? Could those be saved who were not justified? How un­justifiable and uncharitable must it be, to condemn to the [Page 15] Flames in Effect, all those that died before the Coming of our Saviour?

The Doctrine of eternal Justification renders Faith unne­cessary, (in an absolute Sense) for according to that, the Elect are justified before it. And by the same Argument it strikes down the Foundations of Repentance, it represents Sin as a meer Trifle, not worthy of our Fear or Sorrow, by signifi­ing that God is at Peace with those that are under its Do­minion! it takes away all Arguments of Terror, by which a secure World should be alarmed, and opens deadly Avenues to all Manner of Licenciousness; and thus it tears up by the Roots all natural and reveal'd Religion!

If it be objected that Christ was a publick Person, and therefore that what he did and suffered, is to be looked upon as done and suffered by those he represented.

A. As none are guilty of Adam's Sin, tho' he was a publick Head of the Covenant of Works, till united to him by a Participation of the same Nature with him, so none are justified by the Righteousness of Christ the second Adam, un­til by Faith they receive it, and are thereby united to him.

It will not avail to say, that because God's Nature and Love are unchangeable, that therefore the Elect were justi­fied from Eternity. A. It will not follow, tho' God is not changeable, we are, and there is a manifest Difference be­tween God's Purposes and the Execution of them; the afore­said Reasoning would conclude the World and all the Crea­tures in it to be made from Eternity, because there was a Purpose concerning their Production from Eternity. But this is false, therefore the other is so, which is built upon the same Plan of Reasoning. As to what the Scriptures say concerning the everlasting Love of God to his Elect, I think that usual Distinction which is observed by sound Divines, helps to remove the Difficulty, viz. That there is a Love of Benevolence, and Complacence, the former signifies the gracious Purpose of God towards his Elect, and the latter the Delight he takes in them when converted, Cant. 2.14. it is only in the former Sense the Lord is said to love his Elect before their Conversion. Besides it cannot be truly said of God that there is any proper Passion in him. If any by the everlasting [Page 16] Love of God to his Elect, imagine that the Guilt of Sin is re­moved from them actually, before they exist or believe, which is the Point in Question, they expresly contradict both Scripture and Reason. Joh. 3.18. Reason teaches that (non entis nulla sunt accidentia) that which is not, cannot be either justified or condemned; where there is no Guilt it cannot be removed.

Not to add that to set forth God's Love, as in every Re­spect the same to those who are under the Dominion of Sin, and to those who are freed from it; is to cross the Current of Scripture, which represents the blessed God as angry with Sinners, and pleased with his sincere Servants thro' his Son. It also tends to make us look upon Sin as a very Trifle, which we need not be much concerned about any Way.

Behold my dear Brethren! what a dismal Foundation is here laid for all Manner of Impiety, and that under the speci­ous Umb [...]age of Gospel Knowledge and Sanctity! These Passages of Scripture, viz. where Christ is said to be the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World; and that God was reconciling the World to himself, not imputing their Trespasses to them, 2 Cor. 5.19. and that Christ has made Peace thro' the Blood of his Cross, Col. 1.20. and Rom. 5.9, 10. and that the Grace of God in Christ was given us before the World began; can consistently with the Current of Scripture, the Analogy of Faith, and Dictates of right Reason, be supposed to mean no more than these Things following, namely, (1) That there was a gracious Purpose in God from Eternity, to vouchsafe Blessings on his People in Time. (2) That there was a sufficient Foundation laid by the Sufferings and Obedience of Christ, for the actual Reconciliation of the Elect to God in Time. (3) That there was and is a Sufficiency of Grace treasured up in Christ as Mediator, Head of his Church, and Fountain of Influence, to be communicated to the Elect upon their Closure with him. Which in some Places of Scripture is represented by the Time past, to shew the Certainty of the Event. For the same Reason the Coming of our Lord to Judgment is represented as present tho' it be future. Rev. 1.7.

[Page 17]If this Distinction be offered to paliate the Antinomian Doc­trine, which I am opposing, namely that the Elect are jus­tified from Eternity as considered in Christ, but not as con­sidered in themselves: I answer, that it is impossible to recon­cile two contradictory Propositions, or to blend Light and Darkness together: the plain English of the aforesaid Dis­tinction is just this, that the Elect in different Respects, are in contrary States at one Time, at once they are both justi­fied and condemned, this is in the Nature of Things impossi­ble; for if they are justified they can't at the same Time be condemned, because Justification is a Freedom from it: we may say with as great Reason that the Elect (as considered in the Decree) were effectually called, sanctified, and saved from Eternity actually, which is false and absurd, or that we our selves in the aforesaid Respect, existed and acted from all Eternity, which you know is ridiculous!

If it be again objected, That Things to come are present with God, that one Day is with the Lord as a thousand Years— therefore the Elect are justified from Eternity, in the Sight of God: I deny the Consequence, for by this Way of Rea­soning the World would have been actually made from Eter­nity, in the Sight of God; which is false. Jehovah who is all Eye, looks not on Things in a false Light. If it be reply'd, that the Elect had a Representative from all Eternity, but the World had none, and therefore that the Case is different; to answer this I offer these two Things, (1.) That accord­ing to the Antinomian Moravian Scheme of eternal Justifica­tion, there was no need of a Representative at all, there be­ing nothing to pay. And (2.) As to the World, it had all the Representative it was capable of, and there was any Ne­cessity for, namely the Decree of God, that Pattern in the Mount, according to which, this spacious and magnificent Structure was exactly form'd.

Again may we not say, that Things past are present with God, as well as Things to come. And hence may we not argue after the aforesaid Manner thus, viz. That the World is still a creating in the Sight of God, that the Flood now co­vers it, that the Cities of the Plain, viz. Sodom and Gomor­rah, &c. are now a Fire, that Israel is passing thro' the Red [Page 18] Sea, fighting with Og King of Bashan, and Sihon King of Heshbon. What mad Work would it be to form our Prayers according to this Scheme, namely, to pray for the Protection of Adam in the Garden, of Noah in the Flood, of Lot in Sodom, and of Israel among their Enemies? May we not conceive of a Debt's being fully paid by a Surety, and yet such a Plan laid previous to it, that the Debtor shall have no actual Interest therein, or actual Benefit thereby, until he be enabled to come up to such honourable Terms, as shall ex­press his Sense of the Benefit, and Gratitude to his Benefac­tor.

4. Ye have heard, that unconverted Persons are under the LAW, and that the LAW is a Rule of Life to Believers. And does not the Scripture say so? Rom. 3.19. Whatsoever the Law says, it says to those that are under the Law, that every Mouth might be stopped, and the whole World become guilty before God. Here observe, that some, yea that all are, while in a State of Nature, under the Law, and guilty before God. Take Notice that the Apostle spake these Words to the Ro­man Gentiles, who enjoyed the Gospel Dispensation; and does not the same Apostle tell the Galatians, Gal. 3.10. That every one is cursed, that continueth not in all Things that are written in the Book of the Law to do them. But why should the Apostle speak of the Law at all to the Galatian Gentiles, if it belong'd to none but the Jews, as the Moravians dream?

Does not the Apostle pronounce Peace upon those, who walk according to this Rule, and has not our Saviour assured us, that he came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfil it? Let us hold fast this precious Truth, my dear Brethren! against the dangerous and detestable Doctrines of the Moravians, one of whom asserted in New-Brunswick, that the unconverted Gentiles were not under the Law, and that the Law was not a Rule of Life to Believers. O my dear Brethren, do not these Notions tend to dreadful Security, and Licenciousness? for if there be no Law, there is no Transgression. Accord­ing to this Notion the vilest Wickedness would be no Sin, and so there would be no Cause of Sorrow for it. Seeing the moral Law is grounded upon the unalterable Natures, Rela­tions, and Reason of Things, and consequently invariably [Page 19] holy, just, and good; the Transcript of the moral Excellen­cies of the divine Nature; and thus the very Standard and Scale of Goodness, which is but a Conformity to the supream Being. It cannot therefore be changed. It must then be exceeding dishonourable to the most high Jehovah, and wounding to the true Interests of his Kingdom, to speak di­minitively of his blessed Law! This, this, oversets the very Foundations of Religion, and rends in Pieces all the Barriers between Virtue and Vice, this leaves us without a Rule of Action, and so exposes us as an easy Prey to the Wiles of enthu­siastical Delusion. And how can it with Reason be supposed, that natural Men should be freed from the Law, as a Cove­nant of Works, which they have broken, until they be made sensible hereof, and comply with the Terms of the new Covenant? Can a Person have any Interest in the Benefits of a conditional Contract, until he complys with the Terms or Condition, upon which a Right to the Benefits is suspended? Although there be no proper Conditions in the Covenant of Grace, yet there are Terms, or Conditions improperly so called, which have a suspending Virtue thus far, viz. that we have no Right to the Blessings of the new Covenant, till we are enabled to comply with them. Until Faith be formed in us, we are under Condemnation: it is true we have no Power to believe of our selves, neither is there any Merit in any Act of ours, to deserve a Blessing: But God who is ab­solute Sovereign of the World, and Lord of his own Trea­sures, has been pleased to constitute this Method, for the Conveyance of his Benefits; which reflects Honour upon his Wisdom. This represents the State of Sinners in such a Dress of Terror, as has a Tendency to affect and alarm them, and so prepare them for the dear Redeemer. This opens the Aggravations of Sin, and in a Glass presents to our View its malignant Nature and crimson Aggravations, in a strong and affecting Light; which nobly tends to raise our Indignation against it: And this points to an unerring Director of our Way, which is worthy of our Esteem and Reverence, and most conscientious Observance!

If any should object, That some Passages of Paul's Epis­tles seem to speak slightly of the Law, it ought to be consi­dered, [Page 20] that some in his Day, as well as in other Ages, de­pended upon the Works of the Law for Justification, Rom. 10.2, 3. and some laboured to introduce the Observation of the ceremonial Law. These Things the Apostle opposes: in the Passages refer'd to, he speaks not of the moral Law, ab­solutely and in it self considered, but respectively as pointing to the aforesaid Abuse of it, which some were guilty of. If the Apostle had spoke slightily of the mor [...] Law considered absolutely, he would have contradicted himself, for elsewhere he gives it high and honourable Epithets and Encomiums, by calling it holy, just and good.

Neither does he speak slightily of the Ceremonial consi­dered in it self, as introductory to a brighter Dispensation of the Gospel, for in that Respect it was worthy of Esteem; but comparatively, as being obscure and inferiour, when com­pared with the more spiritual and more clear Dispensation of the Gospel since the Coming of our Lord, and as unnecessa­ry to be observed, after the Advent of the Antitype.

If any do farther object, in Favour of the Antinomians and Moravians, that Luther the famous Reformer in Germany, was of their Opinion respecting the Law, as appears by many diminitive Expressions of his in Relation to it, in his Expli­cation of the Epistle to the Galatians, and elsewhere.

A. No, by no Means! Luther was far from being an Antinomian, he has wrote expresly and pungently against their pestilent Notions. If it would not swell this Essay to too great a Bulk, I would transcribe a Letter of his against them, in which he stings them with a poignant Style and brands them with the most contemptible Epithets. He ex­presly says, that they were one of the Blasts, which the Devil had blown at him. He did by his Reasoning put to Silence one of the Heads of that Party, who kept still during Luther's Life; but afterwards blaz'd abroad his own Shame. Where Luther speaks severely of the Law, it is only in Respect of the following Abuse of it, namely, when Believers under Temptation and inward Distress, apply it to their Terror and Condemnation. For elsewhere he speaks honourably of it, asserts its Necessity, and describes its Use, in preparing Per­sons for Christ, and in directing Believers. If any desire more [Page 21] full Satisfaction about this, let them read that excellent Book of famous Rutherford, entitled, A Survey of Antinomianism; where he has largely vindicated Luther from the Aspersions of the Antinomians. It ought also to be considered that Luther was a Man of strong Passions, and therefore whatever he express'd, he set in a strong Light.

5. Ye have heard much of the Danger of PRESUMPTION, and our Inclination to it naturally. This is agreable to the Word of God. Solomon observes, that There is a Way which seemeth right unto a Man, but the End thereof is the Way of Death. Prov. 14.12. and 16.25; and elsewhere he saith, There is that maketh himself rich, and yet is poor. The Prophet Jeremiah observes, That the Heart of Man is deceitful, and desperately wicked, who can know it? Jer. 17.9. What our Lord charges upon the Church of Laodicea, may be apply'd to the natural Disposition of all Mankind; all are inclin'd by Nature to think themselves rich, and encreased with Goods, while in the mean Time they are poor, and miserable, and blind, and naked. Rev. 3.17. If we were not inclined na­turally to deceive our selves, what Need would there be of so many Commands in Scripture, To examine our selves, whe­ther we be in the Faith; and that we be careful, that we don't deceive ourselves: And what Need of such a Description of the uncomfortable and dangerous State of the Deceived, as is mentioned, Isa. 44.20. He feedeth upon Ashes, a deceived Heart hath turned him aside, that he cannot deliver his Soul, nor say is there not a Lie in my right Hand?

Does not the Ignorance of God, and our selves, which is natural to us, as well as our native Arrogance, and immode­rate Self-Love, dispose us to think better of our selves, and our State towards God, than we have Reason? And if we think our State is good, when it is bad, are we like to be dis­tressed about its Danger, and use earnest Labour for Delive­rance? No surely! Danger unperceived how great soever it be, will not excite to any valuable Purpose, our Fear, Sorrow, or Labour. And may the Unconverted expect Mercy from God, without the Use of those appointed Means? No surely! those that would obtain the heavenly Inheritance, must strive to enter in at the strait Gate. Let us therefore [Page 22] hold fast this precious Truth, my dear Brethren! against the corrupt Doctrine of the Moravians, one of whom assert­ed in New-Brunswick, that there was no such Thing as spi­ritual Presumption. Dear B [...]hren! how horrible is this Position, and damning to the Souls of Men! can any Thing be invented of worse Tendency, to delude the World!

6. Ye have heard that Redemption is PARTICULAR, or that Christ has not died for every Child of Adam (Head for Head) but only for a certain Number. And thus speaks the Scripture. Jesus tells us that he laid down his Life for his Sheep, (in Contradistinction to the Goats) Joh. 10.14, 15. I am the good Shepherd, and know my Sheep, and am known of mine. — And I lay down my Life for my Sheep. By the Term Sheep, it appears by the 14th Verse, we are to un­derstand the Elect, because they know Christ, and are known of him. This farther appears from these following Scrip­tures, Joh. 10.26, 27, 28. Ye believe not because ye are not of my Sheep, as I said unto you; my Sheep hear my Voice, and I know them, and they follow me, and I give unto them eternal Life, and they shall never perish. Our Lord in those Verses informs us, that the Reason why some believ'd not on him; was because they were not his Sheep: That is, were not eternally elected. He also farther informs us, t [...] all his Sheep are converted in Time, and saved after [...] so that Conversion and Salvation extends, as far as the Death of Christ.

Our Lord also assures us, that he prays not for the World, Joh. 17.6, 9. I have manifested thy Name to the Men thou gavest me out of the World, thine they were, and thou gavest them me: I pray for them, I pray not for the World, but for them which thou hast given me, for they are thine. Can you think that Jesus would lay down his Life, his Blood, for those he would not spend his Breath in Prayer for? Did not our dear Redeemer thank his Father, that he hid these Things, (meaning the special Knowledge of the Things that concern Salvation) from the Wise and Prudent, and reveal'd them to Babes, and that because it so seemed good in his Sight. Math. 11.25, 26.

[Page 23]Altho' the Ransom that our Lord paid, by his Death and Obedience, was, consider'd in it self, sufficient in Value, to have redeem'd the whole World; yet its Efficacy depended upon the Father's Destination, and the Redeemer's Intention. He died (as I have observed) for his Sheep, the Goats being excluded, Math. 25.32.— He died for his People, Tit. 2.14. Mat. 1.21. For his Church, Act. 20.28. Eph. 5.25. For his Children, Heb. 2.3, 14, 15. For his Seed, Isai. 53.10. For those the Father gave him to be redeemed, Joh. 17.2.9. Joh. 6.65. Joh. 17.24. Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me be with me, where I am, that they may behold my Glory. Now we are told, that him the Father always heareth; if so, then Christ has died only for those that are sav'd.

To suppose that Christ died for every Man (Head for Head) is attended with many Absurdities, particularly with these following.

According to the universal Scheme, our Lord must have died for those that were actually damned before his Death, which is ridiculous!

And seeing these Universalists, whether Jesuits, Socinians, Remonstrants, Moravians, and all the Tribe of Enthusiasts, who sincerely hate the Doctrine of particular Redemption; I say, seeing they own that the greater Part of Mankind will be damned at last according to the Scriptures, which inform us, that strait is the Gate and narrow the Way, which leads to Life, and few there be that find it; that Christ's Flock is a little, little Flock, a few Jewels, a Remnant, a few Ber­ries, upon the uppermost Bows, (comparatively considered) I say, seeing they own these Things, they are unavoidably led to this Dilemma, namely, either to invalidate the Suffi­ciency of Christ's Satisfaction, or to charge God the Father with Injustice, in requiring a double Satisfaction for the same Offences; once by Christ on the Cross, as their Surety and Representative, and again of their own Persons in Hell. I see not how it is possible, for any Universalist fairly to re­move this Difficulty. Besides, it appears to me, that Free-will is necessarily implied in the Doctrine of universal Re­demption; without this it cannot be held consistently, as may appear thus;

[Page 24]If the Application of this supposed universal Redemption, be made only to some, and that not of Works done by the Creature, but by Way of absolute Sovereignty and pure Grace, as the Calvinists maintain according to the Scriptures; For it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth Mercy; Then to what Purpose does the Doctrine of universal Redemption signify, but to amuse; for it turns to the same Issue, with particular Redemption upon this Plan; and allows no greater Priviledge to Man­kind in the least Degree, only it's not consistent with itself, for it is a Redemption and no Redemption. If Redemption be supposed to extend farther than Election, and be of any avail to Mankind, then the turning Point must be the Free-will of the Creature, and not the Will or Grace of God. This the Jesuits and Arminians are sensible of, and therefore maintain the Doctrine of Free-will, tho' falsely yet consist­ently with their Scheme. Yet they try to cloak their foul Opinion with fair Language. For my own Part, I can't but suspect the Moravians or some of them at least, to be guilty here, viz. of holding the Doctrine of Free-will, tho' they do disclaim it in Word, because the Doctrine of uni­versal Redemption leads so directly to it.

But in what strong Terms does the Word of God disclaim all Pretence to a Free-will in Man, by assuring us that we are while in a State of Nature, dead in Trespasses and Sins, Eph. 2.1. That we can neither do, nor will, nor think Good, as of our selves, Phil. 2.13. 2 Cor. 3.5. That none can come to Christ, except the Father draws them, Joh. 6.44. That God hath Mercy upon whom he will have Mercy. So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth Mercy. Rom. 9.15, 16.

If Christ died for the whole human Race Head for Head, it may be asked, whether God the Father and our Lord Redeemer intended, they should be all saved yea or not? If he did not intend it, then to what Purpose is the Death of Christ, to all those who were not designed for Salvation? does not this look like Mockery and Illusion. But if it be sup­posed, that God did intend the Salvation of all the human Race by the Redeemer's Death; altho' but a few of them [Page 25] attain the same; then will it not follow, that something like either Ignorance, Weakness, and Changeableness, must be charged upon the Almighty.

If he intended the Salvation of all by the Redeemer's Death, and knew not in the mean Time, that the most would not attain it; then is not the Knowledge of the Al­mighty finite and imperfect. Now the Knowledge of God is not like the Knowledge of Creatures, namely, something distinct from the Faculty receiving, but his very Being, (for he is as the Schoolmen say justly, simplex actus, a simple Act) then is his Being finite and imperfect, and so by Consequence he is no God.

But if God knew, when he is supposed to have designed the Salvation of all, that the most would never attain it, would not this be a great Weakness and Vanity, to intend a Thing which he knew would never come to pass?

If the Lord intended the Salvation of all, must it not argue great Impotency, and Dependance on Creatures, to fail of compassing his Designs? Must not Jehovah upon this Plan, be almost as unhappy as any of his Creatures, because of a continual Succession of Disappointments? And does it not suppose a Change in his Being, when he is supposed to will the Salvation of a Creature at one Time, and it's Damna­tion at another. For is not his Will himself or his Being? If the Almighty were compounded of different Things, as Creatures are, some Agent must exist before him, to make the Composition, and there might be a Dissolution of it into it's constituent Parts. Now both these apply'd to the Deity are blasphemous.

But does not the Scripture represent him, to be far from the Shadow of Change? And don't Reason teach us, that if he changes he must change for the better or worse, or into an equal State to what he was before; but either Way he must be supposed imperfect, before or after the Change; and so no God: For the Idea of a God essentially includes in it, the highest Perfection.

How can it be, that Christ should die for all, seeing the inseperable Consequences and Benefits of his Death do not belong to all? our Adversaries themselves being Judges. [Page 26] The Benefits I mean are such as the Freedom from Condem­nation, Rom. 8.34. Reconciliation to God, Rom. 5.10. Effectual Calling, Ephes. 1.13. Remission of Sins, Mat. 26.28. Sanctification, Joh. 17.19. The Love of God, Joh. 15.13.

If it be objected, that in many Places of Scripture our Lord is said to die for all. It may be replied,

(1) That our Lord is said in no Place to die for all, and singular, which is the only Thing in Question.

(2) This Note of Universality, all, frequently in Scrip­ture, excludes Distinction, but not Exception. See Rom. 10.11, 12. Gal. 3.26, 27, 28. Rom. 11.32. He con­cluded all under Unbelief, that he might have Mercy upon all. Here the Word all seems only to remove the Difference between Jews and Gentiles, Ephes. 2.14, 15, 16. Rom. 3.29. and alludes to the Promise made of old to Abraham, viz. that in him all the Families of the Earth should be blessed, Gen. 22.18. Whence he is called the Heir of the World, Rom. 4.13. Which is notwithstanding expresly restrain'd, Gen. 21.12. Rom. 9.6, 7.

May the GOD of Truth succeed with his Blessing, what has been offer'd. I add no more at present.

[Page 27]


REV. III. 3.

Remember therefore how thou hast heard, and received, and hold fast.—

MY dear Brethren! You may remember, that in treating upon this Subject, I proposed the following Method, namely, 1. To shew what Truths we should more particularly remem­ber and hold fast. 2. Shew what is supposed by and implied in our remembering them and hold­ing of them fast. 3. Offer the Reasons Why we should remem­ber them and hold them fast. And then improve the whole.

In Pursuance of the Method aforesaid, I had gone no far­ther in the preceeding Sermon, than the first Head of Dis­course; in treating upon which, the last Truth which I mentioned, was that of particular Redemption. The last Ob­jection against the aforesaid Truth then observed, was that in many Places of Scripture Christ is said to die for all. In Answer to this Objection, two Particulars were then offered, which I shall not now resun [...]; but shall proceed to observe,

(3.) That the Word all does not constantly signify the Singulars of every Kind b [...] only the Kinds of Singulars. Rev. 5.9. Rom. 14.2. Mat. 4.23. and 12.31.

(4.) Sometimes the Word all, signifies only a considera­ble Number: Thus all Creatures are said to go into the Ark to Noah; whereas it was only some of every Kind: Again [Page 28] we are told that all Men followed Christ, whereas it was only some in Judea. We also read of all the World's being taxed in our Saviour's Time, whereas it was only the Roman Em­pire: Yea the Phrase every Man, is not taken in a univer­sal Sense always. See 1 Cor. 4.5. there it is said, that at the Coming of our Lord, then shall every Man have Praise of God; whereas it only intends every good Man.

If it be further objected, that Christ is frequently said to have died for the World, Joh. 1.29. and for the whole World, 1 Joh. 2.2.

The second Answer to the preceeding Objection may with some Alteration be easily applied here, [...]iz. that by the World we are to understand whatever is contradistinguish'd from the Jewish Church, namely the Gentiles. Rom. 4.13. For the Promise, that he should be the Heir of the World. Rom. 11.12. Now if the Fall of them be the Riches of the World, and the diminishing of them the Riches of the Gentiles, how much more their Fulness? So that the Sense of the Places objected, is that Christ did not only die for the Jews, but for the Gentiles. And indeed this Doctrine of the Partition Wall's being broken down, was somewhat difficult for the Jewish Church to receive at first, as appears by Peter's Vision and Defence, before the Brethren at Jerusalem.

Some do object▪ that Place of Scripture, Heb. 10.29. that there Christ is said to die for them, that trampled under Foot the Blood of the Covenant, whereby they were sanctified, and called it an unholy Thing.

Ans. The Thing it self speaks, how ca [...] one be sanctified really, and yet trample under Foot the Blood of the Cove­nant, and so commit the unpardonable Sin? Surely he that is born of God cannot sin in this wise, 1 Joh. 5.18. But by the Blood of the Covenant by which he was sanctified, the Apostle intends the Son of God; he himself being Interpre­ter, Heb. 2.10, 11.

Some do object the following Places of Scripture, viz. that Christ is said to die for them that perish. 1 Cor. 8. Rom. 14.15.20.

Ans. The Apostle, as appears by the Context, in those Places referred to, adviseth to avoid the Use of indifferent [Page 29] Things, such as Meat [...] and Drinks, least that our Brother should be offended and sin, and so if possible perish. Mat. 24.24. or least that our Brother (for whom in a Judgment of Charity Christ died) should sin, and perish.

Some object the following Place of Scripture, 2 Pet. 2.1. where Christ is said to die for false Prophets, that denied him.

Ans. Some apply this to God the Father, because that the Word despotes, which is translated Lord, is never apply'd to our Saviour, but to God the Father, Luk. 2.29. Jude 4. It is farther observed, that the Word agoradzein signifies not here to acquire by the Price of Blood, but to acquire simply, Isai. 55.1. So that the Sense of the Place i [...] that God Almighty brought the false Prophets by the prea [...] of the Word, to the external Communion of the Church, in which they acknowledged God to be their Lord, and Governour. Others apply this Place to Christ, and offer this Gloss upon it, viz. that Christ may be said in some Sense to buy even those that perish; in as much as they enjoy the Forbearance of God, and many other temporal and spiritual Benefits by the Death of Christ; by an earnest Endeavour to improve which, they may have much Comfort in this World, much Sin may be prevented here, and their Miseries lessened in the next Life. Others put this Sense upon the Place, that some did deny the Lord Christ, for whom in a Judgment of Charity he died.

Dr. Whitby charges the following Absurdity upon parti­cular Redemption, viz. that it is inconsistent with the Com­mand to believe to the saving of the Soul.

Ans. This Objection is grounded upon a false Notion of Faith, as tho' it consisted in a Belief, that Christ died for us in particular, which has before been confuted. All to whom the Gospel comes, are obliged to believe in Christ, that is, to receive him by a living Faith, Joh. 1.12. and this being done, and not before, they are obliged hence, to conclude that Christ died for them. Some there be who ima­gine, that the Doctrine of particular Redemption, is incon­sistent with preaching the Gospel; which is called a Door of Hope, a Day of Grace; and that it is a meer mocking of Sinners to offer Salvation to them upon this Plan. I will [Page 30] beg Leave to offer the Sum of Dr. Ridgeley's Answer, "Here let it be considered, (saith he) by a Day of Grace,

1. That we don't hereby intend, such a Dispensation in which all Men might repent and believe, and so obtain Salvation by their own Power; this would be to ascribe to Man, what is peculiar to God. Nor that God will give special Grace to all that sit under the Gospel. As for the Hope of the Gospel, we cannot understand any Thing else thereby, but that all without Distinction are commanded and encouraged to wait on God, in his insti­tuted Means of Grace, with a Peradventure that he will be gracious; this being the ordinary Way in which he works Grace. And if there be any Conviction of Sin, this gives farther Ground of Hope.

2. As to preaching of the Gospel, the Doctrine of particular Redemption, hinders not Christ's being offered to the Chief of Sinners: and the Proclamation of Grace being made publick, to all without Distinction. This will appear if we consider what is done, when Christ is offered to Sinners, here let it be observed.

1. That God has given us no Warrant to enter into his secret Determinations, respecting the Event of Things: or to give any Person Ground to conclude, that they are redeemed, and have a Warrant to apply to themselves the Promise of Salvation, while in an unconverted Estate.

2. When Christ is said to be offered to Sinners, in the Preaching of the Gospel, that which is intended thereby is his being set forth therein, as a most desirable Object, and that he will certainly save all whom he effectually calls, inasmuch as he has purchased Salvation for them.

3. It includes in it an informing of Sinners, that it is their indispensible Duty and Interest to believe in Christ; and in Order thereto, that they are commanded and en­couraged to wait on him, for that Grace which can ena­ble them thereunto. And as a farther Encouragement to let them know, that there is a certain Connection between Grace and Salvation: So that none who are enabled to come to Christ by Faith, shall be rejected. This is the Preaching and Hope of the Gospel, which is not in the [Page 31] least inconsistent with particular Redemption.

Thus far he.

As to that Method of preaching the Gospel, which some modern Enthusiasts are guilty of; namely using Means to cure and comfort, by speaking much of Christ's Sufferings, and his Love, before they try to convince of Sin, and Dan­ger by the Law; it serves only to amuse the Ignorant and Inconsiderate, and to prevent their Conversion to God, by the natural and childish Working of their Passions, moved by soft Expressions, which they are apt to depend upon in the Room of it. It is a daubing with [...]ntemper'd Mortar, a setting the Cart before the Oxen, such a Kind of Preaching by soft Methods of Address, may make a Show upon weak Minds, but is never like to do real Good.

To assert universal Redemption, and then to tell us, that Faith consists in a Belief that Christ died for us in particular, has as dreadful a Tendency to flatter and please a carnal World, to fix them in a miserable Security, and to delude them to Damnation in Multitude [...], as almost any Scheme that has ever appeared on the Stage of the World. Every pious Bosom should beat with burning Indignation against such a horrid Scene!

As to the preceeding Objection, concerning the Day of Grace, the Door of Hope, and Offers of Salvation, as tho' they were inconsistent with particular Redemption; I shall beg Leave to offer one Particular more by Way of Retorsion, thus,— Is there not as great an apparent Inconsistency be­tween the certain Fore-knowledge of God, and those Things now mentioned, as in the Case of particular Redemption? If the Jesuits, Arminians, Remonstrants, and Moravians, do not acknowledge God's infinite and certain Fore-know­ledge, do they not in Effect deny his Being, for is not his Being and Knowledge the same? But if they do own it, let them reconcile it with the Day of Grace, Offers of Mercy, &c. and that will sufficiently answer the aforesaid Objection.

I may add to what has been before observed, this Particular, viz. That many of God's Children know the Falshood of universal Redemption, by their own Experience; being at Times made sensible thro' the Operations of God's blessed [Page 32] Spirit, of the transcendant Sweetness of distinguishing Grace! That which stirs up the Spleen and Rancour of many natural Men, (because of their Blindness, Pride, and Selfishness,) viz. That God should chuse some and pass by others, trans­ports their Souls with humble Admiration, Love, and Gra­titude; and in this they imitate their dearest Lord, Mat. 11.25. O 'tis a doleful Spectacle to see any grow indifferent and lukewarm about this precious, precious Truth, which has been sealed to their Souls by the Holy Ghost, because of the fair Appearances of some stragling Strangers.

To talk of holding particular Election and universal Re­demption together, is Nonsense and Jargon. To reconcile them is as impossible, as to make a Rope of Sand. If this be the Moravian Simplicity, to believe Nonsense and Con­tradiction, may the good God deliver my Soul from their de­testable Mysteries. Remember therefore how ye have heard and received, my dear Brethren! and hold fast this precious and valuable Truth of particular Redemption, against all false Apostles, and seducing Spirits, to the Death.

It is contrary to my intended Brevity, to speak any longer upon this Head; any that would desire to see this Subject more fully handled, let them read judicious Dr. Ridgeley's Discourse upon it, in his late Body of Divinity.

7. Ye have heard of the IMPERFECTION of the best of God's People on Earth. And thus speaks the Scriptures of Truth, Eccles. 7.20. For there is not a just Man upon Earth, who doeth Good and sinneth not, says Solomon. If thou Lord shouldst mark Iniquity, O Lord, who shall stand, says the Psal­mist, Psal. 130.3. In many Things we all offend, says the Apostle, J [...]. 3.2. If we say we have no Sin, we deceive ourselves, and the Truth is not in us, says the Apostle John, [...] Joh. 1.8. All the Blunders of the Servants of God re­corded in the old and new Testament, are so many Proofs of this sad Truth! See the Examples of Abraham's Equivocati­on, Sarah's Unbelief and Lying, Noah's Drunkenness, and Lott's incestuous Uncleanness, Worldliness, and ill Manners in chusing the most fertile Country, before the more honour­able Person Abraham had his Choice; Jacob's Deceitfulness in the Affair of the Birth-right; and the Cruelty of a Num­ber [Page 33] of the Patriarchs in the Matter of Shechem. Moses his Unbelief and Murmuring at the Waters of Meribah. Job's Impatience and cursing the Day of his Birth. Jeremiah's Fall into the same Iniquities. Elijah's Murmuring under the Juniper Tree. David's Murder and Adultery. Solomon's Uncleanness and Idolatry. Jonah's Pride and Peevishness in the Affair of Nineveh. Peter's Denial of his Master with Curses, and equivocating. And does not the blessed Apostle Paul call himself a wretched Man, because of his indwelling Corruptions? Rom. 7.

And indeed the Wisdom of God appears in suffering Cor­ruptions to infest his People, in this militant State, as the Amorites and other Heathen Nations did his People Israel, who were as Goads in their Sides, and Thorns in their Eyes. For hereby a necessary Occasion is presented for the Exercise of their various Graces. Hereby they have continual Occa­sion for the deepest Humiliation, and most painful Labour: Hereby their Esteem of Christ is heightned, and their Self-Diffidence increased: Hereby their Affections are gradually weaned from the Things of Time, and set upon more suita­ble, noble, undecaying, invariable, and satisfactory Enjoy­ments: Hereby the frightful Gloom of Death is in a Mea­sure changed, to a believing Eye, and it puts on an Angel's Form; because thro' this the devout Soul, pained and wea­ried with its incessant Corruptions, wings its Way to God, to th [...] Kingdom of the Blessed, where unmix'd Light, un­allay'd Beauty, unstain'd Purity, and transcendant Love, have their perpetual Residence.

If that Passage in the Epistle of John be objected, where it is said, that He that is born of God sinneth not, neither can he sin.

Ans. If we take that Place in a Consistency with those before mentioned, (and surely the Scripture is harmonious) it can intend no more than one or both of these following Particu­lars, namely, (1.) That they can't commit the unpardon­able Sin. Or (2.) That those who are born of God cannot go on (ordinarily) in a Course of Sin against Light, because the Seed of God, i. e. a divine Principle of Life is in them, and therefore disposes them to a contrary Temper and Course.

[Page 34]But Paul the Apostle speaks of some that were perfect in his Time, Phil. 3.15.

Ans. Sometimes this Word only signifies Sincerity; thus it is said of Job, that he was a perfect and upright Man: Here by the Figure Hendiadis, one Thing is expressed by two Words. This Kind of Perfection every good Man hath. Sometimes this Word signifies a Perfection of Degrees, i. e. when all Corruption is entirely rooted out of the Soul, and a Man is advanced to the highest Degree of Goodness. This the Apostle Paul disclaims in the 12th Verse of this Chapter, Not as tho' I had already attained, or were already perfect, but I follow after. Sometimes the Word perfect, signifies a greater Degree of confirmed Goodness than many others have attained to: Hence the Apostle John speaks of Babes, young Men, and Fathers in Christ. It is in this Sense that I believe the aforesaid Text is to be taken; for while the Apostle rejects any Pretence to a Perfection of Degrees, he acknow­leges this comparative Perfection, as in the Text before cited.

But are we not commanded to be perfect as our heavenly Father is perfect? and does not this shew that a Perfection of Degrees is attainable in this Life?

Ans. No, it does not; for the Command is not the Mea­sure of our Ability, but of our Duty. The blessed God indeed gave our first Parents, and us in them, before the Breach of the Covenant of Works, an Ability to do what was required of us; but they lost this for themselv [...] [...]d us, by Transgression. Hence we are told that all have sinned and come short of the Glory of God. Now can it be sup­posed with any Reason, that the Creatures Trespass should lessen the Creator's Claim of Right to their Obedience; or that he should be obliged to model his Laws, which are grounded upon the unalterable Nature of Things, according to the Measure of their contracted Weakness? No surely. If a Per­son should lend another a Sum of Money, and he should play the wilful Bankrupt with it, might not full Payment be legally demanded, and in Case of Failure, Imprisonment in­flicted?

But tho' we cannot attain to a Perfection absolute and personal, yet thro' divine Assistance, we may obtain gradual [Page 35] Advances in Grace and Holiness, and so greater Nearness to it; and is not this a sufficient Incitement to religious La­bour? And thro' Faith in the Redeemer we may obtain an absolute imputed Perfection. Hence Believers are said to be compleat in him, and he is said to be made to them Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption, [...] Cor. 1.30.

Our insisting upon the Imperfection of the Saints, in pub­lick Discourses, instead of being an Encouragement to Im­piety, is a strong Inducement to Holiness; for it serves to preserve Hope, which is the Spring of Motion, and Foun­tain of Action, in the Bosoms of gracious Persons, who are deeply sensible of their Defects. Those dear Mourners in Zion, are ready to be discouraged sometimes, because of the Sight and Sense they have of their Corruptions: for this they sometimes reject their State, and say in themselves, O! can it be possible that such Corruption can consist with the Grace of God? O was there ever on the Earth such a mon­strous bruitish Creature as I am! For this their Hands hang down, and their Knees are feeble, for this (or on this Ac­count) they are in the utmost Agonies, sometimes can hardly swallow their Spittle, and would chuse Strangling and Death rather than Life. Now to preach up Perfection to such poor humble Souls, who have a View of the spiritual Extent of the Law, and especially to signify that Conversion consists therein, this adds Affliction to the Afflicted: This makes those sorrowful whom God would have made glad: This strengthens Satan's Temptations, whereby he labours to per­swade them that they have no Grace: This dispirits them in Obedience. Whereas the contrary Doctrine builds up their Hope, and so excites their Admiration, their Love, and their Contrition. O it melts their Hearts like Wax, and fills their Souls with Amazement! to think that so great, so holy a God should take any favourable Notice of such sinful, ungrateful, and backsliding Worms as they. This, this fires and enflames their Souls with strong Emotions of affectionate Love and Gratitude! O what shall I do for this gracious blessed God who is so good to me? O the surprising Riches, and amazing Glories of his pure, pure Grace! This strengthens the feeble Knees, and says to those of a fearful [Page 36] Heart, be strong. This endears the blessed Jesus to their Souls, and makes them see their absolute Need of him. And thus, my dear Brethren, it encourages and excites to walk in the Ways of religious Obedience. Therefore let us hold fast this precious Truth, against the detestable Doctrine of the Moravians, and other Enthusiasts, who assert Perfection.

One of principal Note among the Moravians, spake to this Purpose in New-Brunswick, and two of that Sect, who were in Company with him, asserted that they had been without Sin for several Years; both which Particulars you may see in the annexed Appendix. Well then; shall we believe the Apostle John or not, that they are Liars, and that the Truth is not in them? We think we may safely apply to ourselves, what is said of the Church of Ephesus, Rev. 2.2. that we have tried them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and found them to be Liars.

For my own Part, I must declare to the World, that I think the Moravians, at least some of them, are not so candid as to this Point, and many others, as the Generality of other modern Enthusiasts, who own the Doctrine of Perfection expresly and openly, while some of the Moravians labour to hide their Opinion, and tho' they own it in Fact and Reality in other Words, yet some of them don't like to own it in so many Words expresly. If they use this Art, to prevent the Odium, which would justly come upon their Sect, by their false Doctrine; and to impose upon the Ignorant and Credu­lous, and so to encrease their Party, it is exceeding base in­deed. If this be their Simplicity, may the good Lord deliver us from it!

8. Ye have heard that CONVERSION consists in the Infu­sion of a divine Principle of Life. And thus speaks the Scrip­ture, Eph. 2.1. Joh. 5.40. Joh. 10.16. Joh. 5.25. Let us hold fast this precious Truth, against the pernicious Doc­trine of the Moravians; one of principal Note among whom asserted in New-Brunswick, that a Man was converted when he had an abiding Sense of his Sin and Misery. At this Rate, Cain, Ahab, and Judas, were converted Persons. And in the mean Time he condemned the State of David when he committed Adultery, of Peter when he denied his [Page 37] Master, and of Paul as described in the 7th of the Romans: What dreadful Work is this!

Dat veniam Corvis, vexat censura columbas; this Censure approves the Ravens and condemns the Doves. According to the aforesaid Notion, Men would be converted first, and convinced afterwards; which directly contradicts all that has been said before concerning the Necessity of a preparatory Law-Work, and is real Nonsense.

9. Ye have heard that the Guilt of Adam's Sin is IMPUT­ED to all his Offspring, Christ excepted; whose Conception was extraordinary and miraculous, by the Power of the Holy Ghost. Hereby he was freed from the Stain of original Transgression, which infects all those, who are propogated by natural Generation.

Our Lord not descending from Adam, in a natural Way, was not numbered in him; and for this Reason as well as on the Account of his being God-Man, he did not, and I may say could not, break the Covenant of Nature. If he had broken the first Covenant, he could not have been the Head of the second.

Our Lord was born, not by Virtue of that primitive Bene­diction. Gen. 1.28. Grow and multiply: But by Virtue of that gracious Promise. Gen. 3.15. And I will put Enmity between thee and the Woman, and between thy Seed and her Seed, it shall bruise thy Head, and thou shall bruise his Heel.

Now that the Sin of Adam in eating the forbidden Fruit, is imputed to his Posterity, is evident from the following Places of Scripture, Rom. 5. [...]2, [...]4, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, Wherefore as by one Man Sin entred into the World, and Death by Sin, and so Death passed upon all Me [...] for that all have sin­ned. Nevertheless Death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those that had not sinned, after t [...]e Similitude of Adam's Transgression, who is the Figure of him that was to come. By the Offence of one Judgment came upon all Men to Condemnation. Eph. 2.3. And were by Nature Children of Wrath even as others. Whence is it that Jews and Gentiles should be by Nature Children of Wrath, or have Wrath for their Inheri­tance, if there was no natural and common Guilt? Is there not a plain Difference between Nature and Practice? Rom. [Page 38] 3.19. Whatsoever the Law says, it says to those that are under the Law, that every Mouth may be stopped, and the whole World become guilty before God.

Now if Jews and Gentiles are by Nature Children of Wrath, and if all the World be under the Law, and guilty before God, while in a State of Nature, then Infants are guilty of original Sin, before they be capable to commit actual; for they have the human Nature, and are a Part of the World: and indeed this appears the more evident, from their Liableness to Death, which the Apostle represents to be the Wages of Sin, and brought into the World thereby, Rom. 6.23. Rom. 5.12.

The Ground of the Imputation of Adam's Guilt to us, is not so much in the Nature which we derive from him, (he could not communicate a better than he had, and the second Adam has derived the humane Nature from our first Parents) as in the Covenant made with him, and his Posterity after him, of which we have an Account in the following Places of Scripture, Gen. 2.16, 17. In this Covenant, the great God contracts with his Creature as with a Servant, by Way of sovereign Empire; prescribing to him what Terms he pleased. In the threatning of Death in Case of Disobedi­ence, is doubtless imply'd a Promise of Life in Case of Obe­dience; and hence it is expresly call'd a Covenant, Hos. 6.7. But they like Adam, have transgressed the Covenant.

That Adam's whole Posterity was involved in his Guilt, in eating of the forbidden Fruit, and in the Miseries consequent thereupon, is written as with a Sun-Beam in that famous Scripture, Rom. 5.12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19. there Death is said to pass upon all, and that because all had sinned.

Now it can't be in Reason supposed, that they could sin actually and personally before they had a Being, therefore it must be by Imputation.

Does not the universal Experience of all Adam's Posterity, loudly proclaim the aforesaid Truth? If his Transgression was not imputed to them, whence should spring their early Propensity or Inclination to Vice, before they have Time to contract it by Practice and Example? Can a Stream flow without a Fountain, a Branch grow without a Tree? Does [Page 39] not Mankind by some Kind of actual Imitation, approve the original Trespass, and so transfer its Guilt upon themselves? Whence should come that Train of Miseries, that Compli­cation of Calamities, that make all the Creation groan, and infest the whole humane Race, if the Sin of Adam be not imputed?

How is it that tender Infants, before they become capable of actual Offences, should be exposed to Death it self, in its most hideous Form, and to all those Diseases which are the Ushers of it? Will not the Judge of all the Earth do right? Will the just God inflict capital Punishment where there is no Transgression, either imputed or inherent? Does the Almighty afflict willingly, or grieve the Children of Men? No surely! Shall the Wages of Sin be paid without any Re­lation to the Work? Yea the Apostle asserts, 1 Cor. 15.22. That in Adam all die. Now seeing that Death is the proper Wages of Sin, by divine Ordination, it must be supposed that all sinned: but Persons not existing, could not sin any other Way than by the Imputation of the first Transgression.

It is evident from the Parrallel drawn by the Apostle Paul, between the first and second Adam, that the first was a pub­lick Person as well as the second; see Rom. 5. 1 Cor. 15. They are spoken of, as if there were but these two Persons in the World, because they were Heads of different Covenants, viz. of Works, and Grace; and Representa­tives of different Posterities, viz. natural and spiritual. Yea Adam is expresly said to be the Figure of him that was to come.

The History of the first Man gives farther Confirmation to the aforesaid Truth, where we read that all the Good and Evil that befell him, were ascrib'd to him, as a publick Per­son; who was to be the Example and Pledge of his Posterity. Before the Fall the original Righteousness he possess'd, and Empire over the Creatures, as well as his Marriage and Blessing, respected all; and after the Fall the Miseries which befel him, respected not only himself, but all his Posterity.

Most certainly we sinned after the same Manner in Adam, as we are justify'd in Christ; namely by Imputation: and if the first be deny'd, why not the latter? and then the Foundation of the Gospel is overset, and nothing left in the [Page 40] Room of it, but a System of moral Virtue. And it may be observed in Confirmation of what has been now offered, that the Denial of original Sin imputed, naturally leads to, and often issues in, the Denial of the Saviour's imputed Righte­ousness to Justification.

I cannot see any Unreasonableness in the Assertion, of the first Man's representing his whole Race, seeing that the Be­nefits of his Obedience, if he had stood, would have re­dounded to his Posterity, as really as if they had personally kept the Covenant. Now by a Parity of Reason, it is but just that they should be exposed to the Disadvantages of his Fall.

The Situation of Mankind in having one common Repre­sentative, was better than if every Man had stood for him­self, Head for Head: which appears thus; Adam had not only as great a Capacity to stand, considered in a private Character, as any other could be supposed to have, being made upright, as Solomon observes: He had a perfect Know­lege of the divine Mind, so far as concerned his Duty and Happiness; a universal Rectitude which spread through his whole Soul, and governed all his Powers and Passions.

But besides this, he had the Consideration of thereby se­curing the Happiness of his whole Offspring, to incite him to stand, and the Ruin of his whole Race to deter him from the contrary: And are not these important Motives to ge­nerous Minds? Now if every Man had stood for himself, without any publick Representative, they could not have had those Incentives to Perseverance in Goodness, and con­sequently there would not have been such a great Probability of their Standing. Besides Adam being newly form'd, had a fresh Sense of creating Goodness, which must needs offer additional Influence to his Love and Obedience. By these Considerations it appears that Man's Condition in having a federal Head, was better than if it had been otherwise.

God Almighty undoubtedly foresaw, that all Adam's Pos­terity, would have yielded to the same satanical Temptation with him, had they been thereto exposed; and therefore see­ing that that was certainly future, it might possibly in some Sense, be esteemed as committed.

[Page 41]Again, it is certain that the whole World of Mankind then existing, did sin, and that thereby the Friendship of God with the whole World perished, and consequently with their Posterity, seeing that Children are but Parts or Pieces of their Parents.

It must be confessed that God is the Sovereign of the Uni­verse, the great Potter, and we but Clay in his Hands; that he has an absolute Right to do with his own as he pleases.

It is indeed a marvellous Instance of divine Goodness & Con­descension, that the great Lord of the Universe, should stoop so low, as to enter into any Covenant with his Creatures at all, and much more so when in the Manner before related!

To have Representatives, is not unusual in civil Affairs. Do not Embassadors represent the Prince and Nation that sends them to a foreign State, and are not their Speeches and Actions interpretatively the Speeches and Actions of all their Constituents?

Do not Parents personate and oblige their Children un­born, by their civil Transactions respecting them; and when they covenant for their Benefit, who does or who justly can blame the Practice?

And seeing that to have a federal Head, or common Re­presentative, by Way of Covenant, was as has been observed, the best Situation that Man could be in, respecting the pri­mitive Covenant Transaction, if they had had their own Choice, whom could they have chosen, that was so fit to occupy that Place, that important Province, as him who was the Parent and Original of the whole humane Race, and otherwise so qualified, as has been before hinted.

The Pelagians, Socinians, Jesuits, Arminians, Remomstrants, Moravians, and all other Enthusiasts, so far as I know, do oppose the aforesaid momentuous Truth, which has so direct and noble a Tendency to humble the Pride of Man, to make him sensible of his Misery, and so to prepare him for the dear Redeemer. Some of the Objections that are bro't by the aforesaid Adversaries, are such as these following,

1. They say, we did not exist or consent, when our first Parents sinned.

Ans. Tho' we did not exist or consent actually, yet we [Page 42] did exist, consent, and have sinned virtually, interpretatively, or in our Cause, in one Adam. Rom. 5.12.

2. They say that it is unreasonable to imagine, that that Sin which was pardoned in Adam, and so does not exist, should be imputed to his Offspring.

Ans. Tho' that first Sin does not exist physically, yet it does ethically, or morally; the Pardon of Sin does not take away its Being, but only its binding Power, from those to whom it is apply'd.

3. They object, that it is inconsistent with the Omnisci­ence and Truth of God, to reckon him to have sinned, who has not sinned, and with his Justice to punish him.

Ans. It's true, it is inconsistent with God's Omniscience, to reckon him to have sinned actually, who has not sinned actually; but it is not inconsistent with his Omniscience, to reckon him to have sinned virtually, or in the Cause, who has not sinned actually, or in his own Person: Neither is it unjust to punish him, who has only sinned virtually, as we see in the Case of Infants, who feel the Force of Death. We may reasonably argue from Fact to Right in Respect of God. We are sure that whatever he does he has a Right to do; for as his Wisdom is infallible, so his Holiness is invio­lable: He is a Rock, his Ways are perfect, a God of Truth, and without Iniquity, just and right is he.

4. Christ denies that the Parents of the blind Man sinned.

Ans. That intends no more than this, viz. That neither his ow [...] nor his Parents Sin was the Cause procuring of that particular precise Calamity, with which he was afflicted: But that the principal Design hereof, was that the Works of God might be made manifest in him!

5. Some object this Saying of our Lord, concerning little Children, that of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mar. 10.44. and it is elsewhere said, that they are holy, 1 Cor. 7.14. and we are told that we must be like them.

Ans. They are not so by Nature, but by Grace in Christ who has received them. Ephes. 2.1, 3. It is only in Respect of Humility and Freedom from Malice, that we are enjoyn'd to imitate them; in Malice we should be Children, but in Understanding Men.

[Page 43]6. Some object that Place in Ezek. 18.4, 20. where it is said, that the Son shall not bear the Iniquities of the Father.

Ans. The Place speaks concerning the personal Sins of private Parents, that these are not imputed to their Offspring if they make not themselves Partakers of them, and not con­cerning the Transgression of our common Pa [...]nt, in whom all sinned. Rom. 5.12.

The Semi-pelagians, and Jesuits, do after a Sort acknowlege that there is such a Thing as original Sin, but believe that it is wholly taken away by Baptism. But the Ridiculousness of this will appear if we consider that Baptism is but an outward Or­dinance, which can be of no saving Service to us, unless the Thing signify'd by this external Symbol, be confer'd. Thus speaks the Apostle, Gal. 6.15. that neither Circumcision availeth any Thing, nor Uncircumcision, but the new Creature: And elsewhere he tells us, that Circumcision is nothing, and Uncircumcision is nothing, but the keeping of the Commandments of God. Was not Simon Magus baptiz'd? and yet he re­main'd in the Gall of Bitterness notwithstanding. It is a vain Thing for any to depend on lying Words, saying, The Temple of the Lord, the Temple of the Lord are these; for with­out Conversion there is no Salvation.

The Arminians and Moravians, imagine that the Guilt of original Sin is taken away from all an [...] [...]gular, by the Death of Christ; and some to prove this, [...]duce that Place of Scripture, John 1.29. Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the Sin of the World.

Ans. It is true, Jesus Christ does take away the Sin of the World; by his Blood he removes its Guilt, and by his Spirit its Dominion: but is it not contrary to both Scripture and Reason to imagine, that Guilt should be taken away before Faith? Rom. 3 28. Joh. 3.36. Or that the Guilt of Sin should be remov'd, and its Power remain? Surely those that are justify'd are also called. Rom. 8. Or that the Guilt of original Sin should be remov'd, and that of actual remain? Are we not informed that the Blood of Christ cleans­eth from all Sin? Can any Sin be pardoned, till a Person be ingrafted into Christ, and hear his Voice? And does not our Saviour assure us, that to all such he gives eternal Life, and [Page 44] that they shall never perish? Joh. 10. Then i [...] the Guilt of original Sin was removed from all, by Consequence all would be saved; but this is contrary to many express Declarations of Scripture, which inform us, that strait is the Gate, and narrow the Way that leadeth unto Life, and but few find it.

To say that the Guilt of original Sin is removed, and that the Guilt of actual remains; is in Effect to say, that a Person is at once half justify'd and half condemn'd; in Christ, and without him; alive, and dead; Children of God, and of the Devil, at the same Time: and pray where shall such mongrel Monsters go at Death? Mr. Pool justly observes in his Sy­nopsis, that the Word Sin in the Text aforesaid, is put col­lectively or synechdochically, for all Sin; and that the Word World, as before observed, intends both Jews and Gentiles. What can be the Meaning of the aforesaid Notion, but to set fallen Man on his Legs again in his own Conceit? and secretly to establish the darling Idol of Free-will, to the Dishonour of Free-Grace, and the Disparagement of the divine Sovereignty!

It is but to little Avail to acknowledge hereditary Corrup­tion, and in the mean Time to deny the Imputation of its Guilt; for then it is but an Infelicity or Unhappiness, and no Fault. The Tendency of this seems to be only to amuse Mankind, and not to humble them at all. Persons are apt to be more easily dec [...]d with such sort of People; while they express in strong [...]erms the Corruption of Nature, one would think they were sound, as to the Doctrine of original Sin. I was thus imposed upon my self by one of Note among the Moravians for a Time, until I searched him more closely, and then I found him tardy; he possitively deny'd the Imputation of the Guilt of the first Sin, and endeavoured to baffle all the Arguments I offered in Confirmation of it.

But pray how can those Moravians, and their Arminian Brethren, account for a Conveyance of original Corruption, without any Imputation of Guilt? I know of nothing in Scrip­ture or Reason to support it; if they do let them produce it.

Now is it any Wonder that the Moravian Sect are easy, when such stupifying damnable Doctrines are advanced among them? When we seriously consider the gross Ignorance of a principal Person of their Party, as to many of the fundamen­tal [Page 45] and most important Doctrines of Christianity, viz. Con­viction, Conversion, Faith, Justification, &c. which we may reasonably suppose, has Influence upon many of that Sect; together with their slighty Experiences, (for the most Part) without a prepa [...]atory Work of the Law; and having generally, (so far as I can learn) no Complaints about their Corruptions, and the Weakness of their Faith: as also their schismatical, sly, inconsistent, and jugling Practices, in pro­selyting Persons to their Party, and drawing them away from the precious Truths and true Fold of Christ, to their detesta­ble Jargon; It will take a large Stretch of Charity, to con­clude that there is the least Measure of saving Grace in them, notwithstanding of all their great Appearances.

Once more, If it should be objected, (more generally) by any that favour the Moravian Sect, as it has been done by Dr. Whitby, Whiston, and other Patrons of Arminianism, that the peculiar Doctrines of Calvinism, were unknown in the Church till the Time of Austin, which was in the latter End of the fourth and Beginning of the fifth Century. I shall beg Leave to offer learned and pious Dr. John Ed­wards's Answer to this Cavil, (in his Book upon the Defects of human Learning,) which is as follows, viz.

‘St. Augustine, in his Book of the Good of Perseverance, Chap. 15. quotes some Authors who were before him, for the Doctrine of Predestination; it is not to be doubted, saith he, but that they knew Predestination; and as for other Points, which go along with Predestination, as ori­ginal Sin, &c. this Father produces the Testimony of Justin Martyr, Ireneus, Cyprian, Hilary, and others, to confirm what he had said on those Heads.’

Before the Time of infamous Pelagius, the Founder of those unhappy Principles, from which as Fountains the tainted Streams of Arminianism have and do flow; we have no Ac­count of any Controversy among the Ancients, respecting those Points, which were the Subjects of Debate between Austin and Pelagius. Probably this was the Occasion, why some of the Fathers do not write so distinctly, correctly, and consistently, about these Points, as after the Time of Austin.

[Page 46]But having the express Testimony of Scripture and Reason upon our Side, we think it the best and surest Antiquity!

But I hasten to consider another Thing proposed, which was, II. To shew what is supposed by, and implied in, our remem­bering and holding fast the Truths of Christ. And,

1. I think it naturally and necessarily supposes, our Lia­bleness to forget and loose Truths which we have once re­ceived, (and perhaps with sensible Complacence) in Judg­ment, Affection and Practice. Thro' our Ignorance, Cor­ruption, Credulity, and the plausible Arts of Seducers, who lye in wait to deceive, there be so many doleful Instances of this, in Writings both sacred and prophane, that it is need­less to say any Thing farther in Confirmation of it: Only this may be added, that the Command in our Text is ground­ed thereupon. There would be no Need of enjoining us to remember and hold fast, if we were not inclined naturally to let the precious Truths of Christ slip out of our treache­rous Memories, and to turn from them to Error and Vanity, in our corrupt Affections!

Since we have fallen from the God of Truth by the Breach of the first Covenant, Error is co-natural to us, our Hearts are a fit Soil to hatch and cherish that Cockatrice, and be­cause many Errors do either more openly or covertly befriend Sin and Security, therefore we are naturally inclin'd to re­ceive them, and revolt from the Doctrines of Truth to them!

Besides the Devil who is the Father of Lies and Errors, has in our fallen State an unhappy Access to our Souls, and if permitted, can easily represent Things in such a false Light, as to raise a Prejudice in our Minds against Truth; and so endanger our Apostacy therefrom. Hence Satan is justly call'd a Spirit of Error, a seducing Spirit. But,

2. The Command in our Text supposes the dangerous Consequences of forgetting the Truth, and letting it go, otherwise the contrary Duty would not be therein, with so much Earnestness pressed.

When the Eye of the Body is blinded, one walks in con­tinual Danger, and knows not whither he goes; Persons may be then led any where to their Hurt; they may be conducted [Page 47] contrary to their Expectation, to the Camp of their Enemies, instead of Friends, as the Syrians to Damascus.

And how much more dreadful is it, when the Eye of the Soul is blinded, I mean that leading Power, the Understand­ing! When false Teachers, by their bewitching Charms, and jugling Arts, do blind Men's Minds, they may then tri­umph over them, as the Philistines over poor Samson, when they had pluck'd out his Eyes.

As Truth has great Power to excite to Holiness, so Error to Sin, either open or secret, of Heart or Practice. How strangely does it elate the Mind with Pride, in Respect of Men's own Attainments, and possess it with Prejudice against the Sons of Truth! Error disconforms the Mind to the God of Truth, it often turns Zeal into a wrong Channel, and separates chief Friends. Hereby Churches and Families are torn in Pieces, with Breaches wide as the Sea. Some otherwise valuable Persons being poisoned with Error, have made it their Business to pull down with great Industry, that Good which they once laboured to build up. Error in the Mind is the Fountain from which springs Error in Prac­tice; and indeed the former is generally more difficultly cured than the latter, because Persons have more Excuses for the one than the other. Mistakes in Opinion are not so easy to be discern'd, as in Practice. But,

3. The Command in our Text implies, that there are proper Means to be used to prevent the aforesaid Evil, and Loss consequent upon it: Otherwise to what valuable Pur­pose would the Command serve? Now the Means are such as these following.

1. Humility. The God of Truth dwells with the Hum­ble; whereas spiritual Pride (more especially) is often the Fore-runner of a Fall in Doctrine or Practice; and indeed this Pride is sometimes much disguis'd with a Kind of Zeal, and Appearance of Humility, which is perhaps undiscern'd by the Person that has it.

But in my Opinion a Disposition to separate from a true Church, because many of her Members are unconverted, and some are under Deadness, is a Sign of a proud Spirit: Were not the Pharisees of old proud Separatists?

[Page 48]Our Lord allows the Wheat and Tares to grow together till Harvest. But some rash Zealots are for parting them, or plucking them up directly, altho' they thereby risque the Safety of the Wheat.

It is also an Instance of Pride to despise and sligh [...] Ministers or People that are unconverted, or supposed to be so. Is not the Language of such a Practice, as the Prophet Isaiah describes it, Stand off, for I am holier than thou? Any that are unconverted, are Objects of Pity, and not of Contempt; neither does our Opinion of Men's inward States, which is an uncertain Thing, dissolve our Obligation to express that Honour, which is due to their different Stations.

But on the contray those that walk humbly, walk safely, and none but they.

2. Earnest Labour, (by reading the Scriptures, Medita­tion on them, comparing Scripture with Scripture, hearing the Word preached) in order to understand the Truths of Christ more thoroughly, and in their Connection.

It is also exceeding necessary to be well acquainted with the Catechisms of the reformed Churches, which give a sum­mary View of the Principles of Religion; and with those approved Books which do explain them. In particular, I would earnestly recommend to your Perusal, Mr. Vincent's Explication of the Assembly's Catechism, which is a most valuable precious Performance.

And here I must take Leave to observe, that the Practice of staying at Home, rather than going to hear such Ministers, (sound in Principle and regular in Practice) as are judg'd by some to be unconverted, is unscriptural and of dangerous Tendency (in my Opinion,) for it hangs the whole Weight of the publick Worship of God, upon the uncertain Judgment of Men. Tho' unconverted Ministers are not likely to do so much Good as others, yet seeing that many of them, doubt­less, do preach the same Word of God, which others do; why may not the sovereign God, who permits them by his Providence to come into the Ministry, bless his Word deli­vered by them, for the Good of Mankind?

Besides, the aforesaid Practice of staying at Home, &c. opens a Door to Delusion by false Teachers, as well as to Con­fusions [Page 49] and Schisms in the Church of God. People are natu­rally inclined to Extreams about Ministers, either to make no Difference at all, or to make too much. Certainly the Corin­thian Disease is dangerous, when one says, he is of Paul, and another of Apollos. Surely Ministers should neither be slighted, nor idoliz'd!

I must declare to the World, that I dread the Tho'ts of Schisms & Separations in the Church of God; because of the dismal Handle that is hereby given to Seducers, to promote their erroneous Tenets; and also because of the Dishonour that is hereby cast on God's Name, Ways and People: hereby wicked Men are strengthned in their Prejudices against Re­ligion; hereby Professors are diverted from promoting God's Work, to personal trifling Controversies of no Moment. Therefore when the Case so happens, that People are dissa­tisfied with their Minister, and cannot get Edification by his Ministrations, after long and impartial Labours to this End; it seems most adviseable for them humbly and peaceably (in a regular Manner) to seek to get an Assistant with him, if the Place be able to support two; but if not, to ask Leave of their Pastor and other Church Officers, to go where they are more edifyed: in the mean Time laying aside all rash Censures. And should not Ministers also for Peace sake, deny them­selves, and consent to the reasonable Proposals of their People, waving all exasperating Reflections upon their dissatisfyed People, and more especially in their publick Performances? O may the God of Peace, incline us to study and pursue, the Things that are for Peace!

3d. Means, is humble importunate Supplication to almighty God, the God of Truth, for Instruction in the Knowlege of Truth, and Establishment therein; and that under a deep Sense of our Ignorance and Foolishness: If any Man lack Wisdom let him ask it of God; who gives liberally and upbraids not. It is with believing Expectations, that we should ask these Blessings from God: thereby God is glori­fied, and engaged by Promise to help his People.

But the Time is elapsed, and I must add no more at present.

[Page 50]


REV. III. 3.

Remember therefore how thou hast heard, and received, and hold fast.—

SEEING the Truths of Christ are a most valua­ble and sacred Depositum, transmitted to us thro' much Expence of Labour and of Blood; it would be base, ignoble, and ungrateful in us to lose them, thro' sordid Negligence and Indiffe­rency; or to suffer them, thro' Cowardise, to be betray'd and undermined by Impostors; without signifying our Sorrow for the Injury, and attempting to make some Defence.

Forasmuch as the Church of Christ is begirt with nume­rous Enemies, of various Forms; Enemies open and secret, who labour almost incessantly, either by Force or Fraud, to corrupt her in her Principles, it is of the last Necessity, to be constantly upon our Guard, and especially in a Time of publick and epidemical Infection; lest we be betrayed into the Labyrinths of Error and Mistake, by the plausible Pre­tences of Seducers.

To this End, it is exceeding needful to use those Means, which tend to our common Security. In the last Sermon, under the second general Head proposed, I made mention of three Means, which I judge proper to help us to retain the Truths of Christ; to which I would now add, these follow­ing, namely, in the

[Page 51]4. Place, It is also exceeding necessary, to implore the God of all Grace, that he would please of his infinite Mercy to give us to feel the special and powerful Influence of Truth upon our Minds and Hearts, that so we may be moulded into the Image thereof, and thus transformed from Glory to Glory.

Altho' the bare doctrinal Knowlege of a true System of religious Principles, be a valuable Privilege, in as much as it is a needful Preparative to that which is of a saving Kind; yet it is dangerous and destructive, to rest satisfied with it, without the Experience of its Power and Influence. Rom. 2.17,—20.

A hearty and enduring Endeavour, with all Humility, to conform in Practice to the Truths we know, is a necessary Mean to obtain Establishment in the Truth, and farther In­struction. If any (saith our Lord) doth the Will of God, he shall know of the Truth whither it be of God. Perseverance in the Acknowledgement of the Truth, is God's free Gift, without which we cannot stand. Now if we are not faith­ful in acting according to what we know, God's Spirit will be grieved, and we are in Danger of being given up to a Spirit of Error and Delusion. Rom. 1.21. 2 Thes. 1.10, 11, 12.

5. If we would hold fast the Truths of Christ, we must avoid unnecessary Conversation with Persons grosly and funda­mentally erroneous. Those that bring not the Doctrine of Christ with them, we must not receive them into our Houses, or bid them God Speed; for if we do we are Partakers of their evil Deeds. See 2 Epist. of Joh. 8.9, 10. Look to your selves therefore, that we lose not those Things we have wrought. We are commanded to mark those that cause Divisions, and to avoid them. Now Persons may be said to cause Divisions, when by false Doctrine (and especially about important Points) they alienate the Affections of good Men from each other, and break them into different Parties. Rom. 16.17. Now I beseech you, Brethren, mark those which cause Divisions and Offences, contrary to the Doctrine which ye have received, and avoid them; for they that are such, serve not our Lord Jesus, but their own Belly, and by good Words and fair Speeches, deceive the Hearts of the simple.

[Page 52]Our Lord directs us to pray that we may not be led into Temptation. Now if we are fond of erroneous Strangers, and needlesly rush into their Conversation, do we not con­tradict our Prayers by our Practice? There seems to be a bewitching Power that sometimes attends (thro' the just Judg­ment of God) the Conversation and Labours of false Tea­chers. How affectionately does the Apostle Paul speak about this, to the erring Galatians, Gal. 3.1. O foolish Galatians! who hath bewitched you that you should not obey the Truth?

It is storied of the Labadists, an enthusiastical Sect that sometime since appeared in Holland, but is now happily evanished, that such bewitching Charms attended their Conversation, that few who conversed much with them escaped th [...] Infection; and therefore that the Reverend Messieurs Bracel and Coleman, eminent Ministers who wrote against them, would not run the Risque of much Conversa­tion with them, especially in their Society.

6. In order to hold fast Christ's precious Truths, it is needful to wave a positive Conclusion respecting the good State of Strangers, wh [...] we have not [...]ufficient Evidences for it, in respect of their Principles, Experiences, and Practice. Rash judging either Way is certainly u [...]easonable and prejudicial; when Persons do speedily, without sufficient Grounds, conclude Strangers, who come among them, to be pious, and per­haps eminently so, because of their fair Appearances in Be­haviour, without examining their Principles. By this rash Method of proceeding, their Affections are apt to be un­reasonably engaged in their Favour; and these being in­flamed, do give a secret wrong Byass to their Judgment: and thus they lay themselves open to all Manner of Delusion: thus they lay a dangerous Train to blow up their own sound Principles, before they are aware. Their foolish Love makes them turn Advocates for Seducers: And in the mean Time while they extol their apparent Piety to others, and put fa­vourable Glosses on their damnable Errors (by which they strengthen their Party, and become Partakers with them in their Wickedness) they themselves by Degrees drink them in. Some unhappy Effects of this Practice have appeared [Page 53] already, and more probably will by and by follow [...] [...]his fair Warning is not taken.

7. It is necessary in order to hold fast the pre [...] [...]hs of Christ, to distinguish between Men's States and [...]s. Supposing Men's States towards God were good, [...]ould that make false Principles true? o [...] should it induce us to receive them? If good Men are doing that which is bad, should not they be opposed, with a Zeal equal to the Importance of their Errors? Did not the Apostle Paul withstand the Apostle Peter to the Face, because he was to be blamed?

8. In order to hold fast the precious Truths of Christ, a godly Jealousy of Strangers, who conceal their Principles, is but reasonable and necessary. Hiding of religious Principles looks like a Consciousness of Guilt; it is so far from scriptural Simplicity, that it looks like Trick and evil Design. On the contrary, it is said of our Lord, that he spoke nothing in secret, i. e. he used the most publick Methods of communi­cating his Doctrines to the World. The Coming of the Son of Man is represented by the Light's shining from the East to the West; which is open and conspicuous. As Truth needs no Corners or lurking Places, so it seeks them not; but is willing to be publish'd on House-Tops, that it may be known of all. But false Teachers are won't to use private sculking Methods; they creep into Houses, and lead Captive silly Women; and often by them their Husbands, and others are corrupted.

9. In order to preserve our selves and our Posterity from the Infection of Error, I think it is needful to use (in our proper Spheres) all suitable Means to obtain a godly, learned, and regular Ministry. In ordinary Cases, when any of these Qualifications is wanting, the Churches Safety is indangered in a greater or lesser Degree. Surely the Ministry should be committed to able, as well as faithful Men; Men that are apt to teach, and able to divide the Word aright, as well as convince Gainsayers, or stop their Mouths. When ignorant Novices are admitted into the ministerial Order, they are apt to be puff'd up, to the Churches great Prejudice, as well as their own; and to spread Error, when they know it not. To say, that these Qualifications may be ordinarily attained [Page 54] without humane Learning, is notoriously enthusiastical and foolish. For it is an Expectation of an End in ordinary Cases, without the Use of proper Means tending thereto. Instead of trusting in God, this is a tempting of him. He who ac­knowleges, that the Scriptures, which are the Rule of our Faith and Practice, were originally written in other Tongues than are now Vulgar, must have a weak Mind, an enthu­siastical Heart, or a hard Forehead, if he denies the Necessity of humane Learning. In short, either humane Learning is necessary, or there must be Inspiration, to supply the want thereof. Do not therefore wonder at the enthusiastical Talk of the Moravians, viz. ‘That Persons must speak no more in religious Matters, then God has wro't in their Hearts. This I take to be Inspiration, in other Words; especially when it is consider'd in Connection with their Advice against preparatory Studies. Methinks, it is in a manner Self-evident, that all those who deny the Necessity of hu­mane Learning, in ordinary Cases, to prepare Persons for the Ministry, are Enthusiasts.

Whatsoever good Appearance, thrusting out ignorant Per­sons (how pious soever) into the Ministry may have, yet it is a dangerous Practice, tending directly to divide and cor­rupt the Church of God, and bring the Ministry thereof into Contempt. Besides, when Persons intrude into the mini­sterial Work, without any previous Trial and Licence, from those who by Virtue of their Office are constituted Judges in such Cases, it is doubtless our Duty to discountenance them, let them pretend what they will. None should take this Honour to himself; but wait for God's Call and Appoint­ment. If any irregularly assume the Posts of Officers, in the State or Army, it turns all into Confusion; and thus it is in the Church of God. Therefore all proper Care should be taken to prevent Intrusions, which are pregnant with mischievous Consequences.

10. Another Mean to hold fast Christ's precious Truths, is to confer with our spiritual Guides, about Points that are controverted; to hear patiently, and consider calmly their Reasonings; and to take Care, that we do not entertain un­reasonable Prejudice against them. When the Spouse inquired [Page 55] where her Beloved fed, and made his Flooks to rest at Noon, she was bid to go forth by the Footsteps of the Flock, and feed her Kids beside the Shepherds Tents.

Now, we should frequently and feelingly reflect upon the Truths which we have heard, and remember with what Affection we have heard them.

And it is our Duty to hold them fast, in the following Respects; namely,

1. In the Judgment and Assent of our Minds. We should esteem and approve of them, and judge them worthy of all Acceptance; more valuable than the finest Gold, and sweeter than Honey and the Honey-Comb; right, equal, holy, just, and good; worthy of our Labour and Purchase; but not to be parted with at any Rate. Hence is that In­junction, Prov. 23.23. Buy the Truth and sell it not.

2. We should hold fast the Truths of Christ in our Affections. As Truth should be high in our Esteem, so our Affections should be fixed upon it. Hence the Apostle pray'd Night and Day for the Thessalonians, that they might be filled with the Knowlege of his Will, in all Wisdom and spiritual Understanding. The Apostle John speaks of his loving an honourable Lady in the Truth, i. e. because of the Truth; as he himself explains the Phrase in the following Verse, namely the 2d Verse of his second Epistle.

3. We should hold fast the Truth in our Profession. If we will not confess Christ before Men, he will not confess us before his heavenly Father. And indeed if we will not pro­fess the dear and precious Truths of the Redeemer, we are not worthy to be called his Disciples. If we are ashamed of him and of his Truths in the midst of a froward and adul­terous Generation, of us will the Son of Man be ashamed, when he comes in the Glory of his Father, with the holy Angels.

4. We should hold fast the Truths of Christ in our Prac­tice. Hence we are commanded to adorn the Doctrine of God our Saviour in all Things. We should walk as Lights in the World, that those who seek to accuse our good Conversation in Christ may be ashamed. We should hold forth the Word of Truth in our Practice, that thereby the Ignorance of foolish Men [Page 56] may be put to Silence. O it is to be lamented, if possible with Tears of Blood! when the Enemies of Truth get seem­ing Occasion of Reproach and Triumph, by Blunders in the Lives of the Professors of it. O let us be careful that the Interests of Truth suffer not, thro' our Misconduct! let us endeavour to remove Occasion from those who seek Oc­casion!

By our Practice, we should shew to the World our Ab­horrence of Deceivers, and fundamentally erronious Persons, as we would do of Persons that have Plague Sores upon them; unless it be to convince, reclaim, oppose and confute them. It is an inconsistent, unjustifiable Weakness, to pretend to hate Error, and yet court the Company of Schismaticks, En­thusiasts, Seducers, and Hereticks. No Love to Persons should equal our Love to the dear and precious Truths of Christ. Those Persons who dare presumptuously and need­lesly rush into the Company of Errorists, seem to have either little Love to Truth, or little Sense of their own Weakness. I am apt to think that such Persons would take more Care of their Bodies in a Time of Infection, than they do of their poor Souls. But I proceed to consider the last Thing pro­pos'd, III. To shew why we should hold fast the Truths of Christ.’ And,

1. We ought to do so, because it is the Command of God, in the Text, which I am now considering: And elsewhere, the Lord enjoins us by his sovereign Authority, to hold fast the Form of sound Words, 2 Tim. 1.3. To contend ear­nestly for the Faith which was once delivered to the Saints, Jud. 3. To catch the Foxes, the little Foxes that spoil the Vines, be­cause the Vines have tender Grapes, Cant. 2.15. To beware of false Prophets, and Wolves in Sheeps cloathing, Mat. 7.15. To beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees, Math. 16.6.

2. Truth is the Foundation of all practical Goodness. It is the Mean (1) of our Illumination: the Psalmist observed that God's Word was a Light to his Feet and a Lamp to his Path. (2) of our Sanctification: Sanctify them thro' thy Truth, thy Word is Truth. 1 Pet. 1.22. Seeing ye have purifyed your Souls in obeying the Truth, thro' the Spirit. [Page 57] (3) of our Consolation. Psal. 119.50. This is my Comfort in my Affliction, for thy Word hath quickned me. The sweet Truths of God's Word are the Fountain of our Comfort, and Foundation of our Hopes. Persons do grow in Grace just as in the Knowlege of Truth; and hence we are bid to grow in Grace, and in the Knowlege of our Lord Jesus Christ. Whatever Persons may imagine or pretend, in Respect of their Frames and Comforts, if they grow more dark and ignorant as to the Knowlege of Truth, we have no Reason to think, if they have any Grace, that they grow in it; but rather that they go backward: and if their Errors be many and fundamental, its probable they are under a Delu­sion of the Devil.

3. We should remember and hold fast the Truths of Christ, because of their Author and Tendency. God the Fa­ther is the God of Truth: The Son of God is the Way, the Truth and the Life: The holy Spirit is a Spirit of Truth: The Law of God is Truth and Righteousness: The Gospel is a Gospel of Truth, it is stil'd emphatically the Truth. The Children of God are Children of Truth; Children that won't Lie: The Promises and Threatnings of the Word are true as Truth it self; they are harmonious, firm and stedfast. Now the Tendency of Truth is to conform us to the God of Truth, who is its Parent and great Original. And is not this our highest Honour, and our greatest Interest?

4. Such as do not love the Truth, are in Danger of De­lusion and Damnation. 2 Thes. 2.9, 10, 11, 12. Even him whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all Power and Signs and lying Wonders, and with all deceivableness of Unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the Love of the Truth that they might be saved; and for this Cause God shall send them strong Delusion, that they should believe a Lie, that they all might be damned, who believed not the Truth, but had Pleasure in Unrighteousness. Observe, my dear Bre­thren, that when Satan the Father of Error and Lies, draws People from the Truth, there is a Power attends his Work­ings, and that his Instruments carry on the Affairs of his Kingdom with great Deceit.

[Page 58]5. We should hold fast the Truth, because it is a Fruit of the Spirit, Eph. 5.5. It is mentioned to the Reproach of some, that they made Ship-wreck of Faith, and turned from the Truth to Fables, 1 Tim. 1.19. 1 Tim. 1.4, 6.

When Persons fall from the Truths of Christ, they shew a childish Weakness and Fickleness. Children are fond of new Things, of Things that look bright, tho' they be of little Value; their Tinsels and Toys, are in their Opinion great Riches. Thus young Novices in Christianity, who are just beginning the Christian Course, ignorant in a great Mea­sure as to Christian Principles, but full of Affection and Self-conceit, when a Moravian comes among them, sets down a while, and looks very harmless and innocent and sober, gives some Smiles, and talks about the Blood of Christ, in their mystical Way; and of Love, Love!— O brave! How are they taken with it directly, as a Child with a Rattle! His very simple loving Looks, make them think he is almost an Angel. O what a fine Man is this! O the reformed Chur­ches are not fit to be mentioned in the same Day with this fine new Sect! They grow weary of the old stale Truths of the Reformation, they want to change their Principles almost as fast as their Almanacks; with the Athenians they must have something new.

Such who change their Principles for the worse, bring great Dishonour upon God's Name, as well as Grief to his People, and Injury to his Kingdom. O it causes the holy Name of God to be blasphemed, when Persons who are either really or apparently religious, turn with every Blast, and soon suffer themselves to be smil'd out of their Religion! And those who are enabled of pure Grace to adhere to the dear and precious Truths of Christ in a Time of Tempta­tion and Apostacy, O it covers their Faces with Shame, and fills their Hearts with Grief, to behold those with whom they were won't to take sweet Counsel, herding with Hereticks and Enthusiasticks, and turning Fugitives from the Truths and Camp of Christ! Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the Streets of Askelon, lest the Daughters of the Philistines rejoyce, the Daughters of the Uncircumcised triumph, and [Page 59] say, thus would we have it? Saints are hereby stumbled, and Sinners prejudiced, and the Ways of Zion mourn.

6. By holding fast the Truths of Christ, we shall prove that we are living Members of the Church militant; which is called the Pillar and Ground of Truth, 1 Tim. 3.15. And elsewhere it is said concerning some, who lived in the aposto­lick Times, that they went out from them, because they were not of them. And hence it is said that Heresies must needs come, that those that are approved may be made manifest. For indeed it shews a weak Head, or a false Heart, or violent Temptations of the Devil, to be suddenly tossed about with every Wind of Doctrine, by the Slight and Craftiness of those that lie in wait to deceive. By speaking the Truth from our Hearts, we shew our selves to be Members of the Church triumphant. Psal. 15.2. By cleaving to the Truths of God, we shew our selves to be guided by the Spirit of God; for he is promised to lead the People of God into all Truth: And hence he is called the Spirit of Truth, Joh. 14.17.

7. Methinks the Sufferings and Blood af the innumerable Army of Martyrs, in Testimony to Truth, should inspire us with a holy Magnanimity and unshaken Stedfastness of Resolution, to suffer the Loss of every Thing that is natu­rally dear to us, rather than forsake the dear and precious Truths of the blessed Jesus. Let us behold the Cloud of Witnesses, that have gone before us; those heroick brave and gallant Souls, in Defence of precious, precious, precious Truth, have swam thro' a Sea of Sorrows, of Sufferings, and of Blood, to their Father's Kingdom. Away, away then with that accursed Indifferency, and Lukewarmness, about Christ's precious Truths, which some do falsely call Charity and Catholicism! Let us rise up and plead the Cause of Truth, and defend it to our dying Breath. The more others do trample upon Truth, the more let us esteem and value it; the more dear let it be to our very Souls. O let us stoop down, and with the humblest Reverence, and most passionate affectionate Affection, let us take this in­estimably valuable Jewel out of the Dirt, and put it in our inmost Bosoms!

[Page 60]


From what has been said we should be induced to examine our selves, as to our Respect to Truth, and the Influence it has upon us. It signifies little, my Brethren, to profess Regard and Love to Holiness, while Truth, preci­ous Truth is slighted. It is a childish Weakness, to call it no worse; it is a beginning at the wrong End of Religion; it is just as if a Man should shew great Regard to the Super­structure of a House, and neglect the Foundation. What signify fair Shews of Love and Holiness, without Truth for their Foundation? They are only Blinds to deceive the Simple, Rattles to please Children.

It is a plain Sign of an enthusiastical and deluding Spirit, to slight that precious System of Truths, which we have laid before us, in a most plain consistent and excellent Man­ner, in our Westminster-Confession of Faith, and Catechisms; among which we see a strong Connection, and charming Harmony; and in which, if we are not blinded with Ig­norance or Prejudice, we may perceive a transcendent Beauty, a direct Tendency to exalt all the Honours of the divine Attributes, to humble the Pride of Man, and conform him to the Deity, in universal Goodness and Holiness: There Vice, of every Kind & Form, is justly represented in its own native Dress of Horror and Meanness: There sincere Holi­ness is fix'd upon it's proper and impregnable Basis; and open'd in it's vast Extent and attractive Magnificence, and encourag'd with all proper pertinent and powerful Incen­tives: There the Creatures Crown is cast at the dear Re­deemer's Feet, and all the Glory of it's Happiness, ascrib'd to the Mediation of our great Immanuel: There the asto­nishing Beauties of the pure, free, sovereign, rich, inex­haustible and glorious Grace of God, are unvail'd, in a consistency with the Creatures Duty; so as hereby to estab­lish the Interests of Vertue and Piety, upon the most pre­vailing and ingenuous Motives! Now I say to slight such a blessed Self-consistent System of Principles, and in the Room thereof, under a Pretence of Holiness in a superior Degree, to introduce a Bundle of inconsistent Jargon, Con­tradictions, [Page 61] Nonsense, and damnable Errors; Errors that affect the very Foundations of Religion, both in Doctrine and Practice;— is it not vile Enthusiasm, and detestable De­lusion?

Certainly the Case of such who have known the Truths of Christ, and turn from them to Vanity, Lies, and Non­sense, is more inexcusable, than of those who have been breed up in Ignorance. O what a foolish Choice do they make, in bartering away the finest Gold for the basest Dross? What unaccountable Ingratitude do such express to the great and good God, for all the religious Privileges & Means of Improvement they have had? They turn their Backs upon the unsullied Snow, and sacred Sweets of Lebanon, and pursue after poisonous Streams and muddy Waters.

To pretend to introduce into one Communion, all that have an Appearance of Experience, Affection, and Piety, with­out searching into their main Principles, without a Concur­rence in them (as I have Reason to think the Moravians do) is to build Babel over again, and promote the Confusion of Languages.

It cannot be reasonably expected, that such a confus'd Medley, such a heterogeneous Mixture will stand long, for it has no solid Foundation to stand upon. To pretend to promote Love and Union, by concealing our Principles and lessening our Regard to Truth, is to do Evil that Good may come. Indeed it is the direct Road to Division and Con­tention; and this the Event proves. To love Persons in a general View as Christians, without due Respect had to their main peculiar Principles, is an unreasonable childish Passion, more sit for Children and Simpletons, than for Men of Un­derstanding. For, as Solomon observes, the simple Man be­lieves every Word, Prov. 14.15. A pretended Union with­out a System of Principles acknowledged, is rather a Confe­deracy, than a scriptural Union. It is infinitely more can­did, to let others freely know our Scheme of Principles, that so they may judge of them; and in Things of smaller Mo­ment, to use Moderation and Forbearance; and to make no more Terms of Communion, than Christ himself has [Page 62] fixed. Any other Union is neither rational, nor desirable, and deserves not the Name of Union.

But the Moravian Concealment of their pernicious Prin­ciples, seems to be a Fulfilment of St. Peter's Prophesy, con­cerning false Teachers, that they should privily (or covertly) bring in damnable Heresies. Plutarch's Story of a Boy that carried something under his Cloak, may be applied to them. The Boy was asked by a Stranger, What it was he carried so closely under his Cloak? To whom the Boy answered, you may well know, that it is something I don't intend you shall know, by so carrying it. All Religion that is worth a rea­sonable Man's Choice is gone, when Truth is gone. All that is left is childish Fancy, enthusiastical Folly, and painted Pageantry.

For any Men to pretend to know certainly who are graci­ous, as one of the Moravians did in my hearing, is to assume an incommunicable Prerogative of God: and to run upon this false Plan in Church-Matters, is to turn all into the wildest Disorder and Confusion.

Methinks the Consideration of the Truths of God, may justly alarm the Secure and Impenitent, and excite them to fly from Sin to God, and humble themselves before him, and seek his Favour; seeing that all the Threats of God are pointed at them like so many burning Thunderbolts, which the Truth of God will oblige him to discharge at them, ex­cept Repentance intercept the falling Blow. All the Exam­ples of the divine Severity against the Impenitent, which are recorded in both the Testaments, are shocking Momentos to a secure World!

But let all devout Souls, who have felt the proper Influence of Truth upon their own Hearts and Practices, and still re­tain a Regard thereto, Rejoyce. Go on, my dear Brethren, in the blessed V [...] of Truth, and ye shall receive a Crown at last! The Consideration of God's blessed Truths may support you, in all Manner of Distresses, whither it be by Persecution from open or covert Enemies, or misguided Friends. The God of Truth, whose Cause you plead, will sooner or later comfort your Hearts, and crown you with Protection, and Songs of Deliverance.

[Page 63]It is true, Enthusiasts and Errorists themselves will talk of Persecution; but it is not the Punishment, but the Cause that makes a Martyr. Those that suffer for Error, suffer for Sin, and not for God. Blessed be Jehovah, that so many in the Land, have a Regard to the dear and precious Truths of Christ! O may God increase their Number, their Zeal, and their Love!

The Consideration of the Truths of Christ, yields sweet Support under Temptation, Desertion, and every other Cala­mity. God is faithful who has promised to relieve his Peo­ple, and able also, as well as willing and gracious. He has given many Examples of his Kindness this Way in Times past; yea, he has confirmed the Truth of his Promises, by an Oath, that we might have strong Consolation. The Truths of God are firmer than the Foundations of Mountains. They are try'd in the Fire seven Times. The Heavens and Earth may and shall pass away, but the Truths of God shall stand stedfast to all Generations. We may lean the Weight of our everlasting Salvation upon the Truth of the least Pro­mise of God. Indeed Brethren, it will never fail us.

He that hath an Ear to hear, let him hear the Command of our Lord, viz. to beware of false Prophets, who shall come unto you in Sheep's cloathing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves. This Scripture (in my Opinion) is justly applicable to the Moravian Brethren. They have a Sheep's Coat on, they seem to be mighty mild, harmless and innocent in their Looks, but inwardly they hold dividing dangerous [...] Princi­ples: You may know them by their Fruits, like Wolves they cruelly scatter the poor Sheep of Christ, by their damnable Doctrines. Beware, my dear Brethren, of the Leaven, the false infectious Doctrine of those Moravians, who like the Pharisees of old, are proud Seperatists, make broad Philacteries, and compass Sea and Land to make Proselytes. Some of which, become seven-fold worse, if possible, than themselves.

Beware of the Depths of Satan, Rev. 2.24. Observe (says Mr. Henry) that these Seducers, call'd their Doctrines Depths, Mysteries, perswading the People that they had a deeper Insight into the Mysteries of Religion than others, [Page 64] but Christ calls them Depths of Satan, a Mystery of Iniquity. To talk of increasing Love to Christ, in uncouth Terms, res­pecting his Wounds, while Truth is abandoned as a Fugi­tive, is ridiculous Giberish; for Christ is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. To talk of a Simplicity, which consists in real Folly, in believing Contradictions, in tamely yielding up Christ's precious Truths, because of the superficial Ap­pearances of seducing Strangers, is very unaccountable: What is this Simplicity, but the detestable Doctrine of the Roman Catholicks, new vaump'd by the Moravians? who are as subtle a Sect of People, and that under a Pretence of Simplicity, as has appeared on the Stage of the World for many Years.

I can't but think, and that from some particular Know­lege of the Conduct of some of them, that they fall far short of many other Enthusiasts, in Candor and Honesty. Watch therefore, my dear Brethren, stand fast in the Faith, quite you like Men, be strong. O be not as Children tossed to and fro with every Wind of Doctrine, by the Craftiness of those who lie in wait to deceive. Away with those sorry Shews of Zeal, Piety and Meekness, which have not Truth and Humility for their Foundation. May the God of Truth graciously baffle all the crafty Schemes, and coloured Intrigues, of all schismatical, enthusiastical and deceitful Babel-builders! who under the Mask of Humility and Love, declare their Pride and Enmity in separating from the Protestant reformed Churches, and in despising and tearing of them in Pieces, as far and as fast as they can. Who that has got the least Spark of Love to the God of Truth, can be altogether tame and silent upon so mournful an Occasion, and patiently suffer the carved Work of the Temple to be pull'd down by proud Seperatists? Was not Meroz cursed, because he did not come up to the Help of the Lord against the Mighty? What, my Brethren, shall we thro' base Indifferency, let those dear and amiable Truths, which have cost our Ancestors Blood, slip away by Moravian Hands? God forbid! Let us awake, my Brethren, out of stupid Indolence, and sor­did Lukewarmness, and with humble, impregnable Forti­tude, contend for the Faith once delivered to the Saints!

[Page 65]But pray, why do any esteem this new upstart Moravian Sect? Is it,

1. For their Shew of Meekness and Harmlessness? But may not Persons, under this Guise, have cruel Designs and Dispositions? Don't our Lord tell us, that Wolves shall come in Sheeps Cloathing? And what is this Sheeps Cloathing, but a Covert of Meekness and Harmlessness? But what Evidence have we that the Moravians are really meek, when we see them not exposed to Temptations? They generally shun Debate, which would try their Meekness: but if any of them happen to be try'd a little, they shew their Weakness as much as other People. Besides, it ought to be considered, that there is a threefold Meekness, viz. 1. Natural; springing from a natural Temper of a milder Mould. 2. Moral; proceeding principally from selfish Con­siderations; these two are of little Moment. And 3. There is a sinful Meekness; that is, when Persons are Lukewarm about God's Truths, as the Moravians are. But while the Moravians cover themselves with a Sheep-Skin, like cruel Wolves they scatter the poor Sheep of Christ. Like Foxes they craftily and sneakingly creep into the Vineyard, and spoil the tender Grapes with their detestable Delusions. How very different are the Fruits of their coming into this Country, from the Reverend Mr. WHITEFIELD'S? His plain and pungent Preaching of the Truths of the Reforma­tion, united generally the Hearts of good Men thro' the Land. But the Moravians where-ever they have any Influ­ence, divide the People of God, and set them a jangling.

How very different are these Men from the Spirit of Lu­ther, whom they pretend a Respect to. He was so zealous for Truth, that he expressed himself thus, respecting it, viz. That Madness was better than Mildness in the Cause of God: Rather, said he, let Heaven and Earth rush together, than one Crumb of Truth should perish. Potius Caelum et Terra ruerent, quam una mica veritatis periret. Or,

2. Is it because they smile generally, and appear loving? But, Brethren, is not this Judas-like, to betray us with a Kiss? For while they shew such Love, they draw pious People into Error, and so set them a quarelling with one [Page 66] another. If this be their Love, may the good Lord deliver us from it! Shall we suffer them to smile us out of our Prin­ciples? Then I'm sure we are poorly grounded in them. Away, away with such sordid Complyance!

3. Is it because they profess they are Catholick, or against all Sectarianism? This is indeed a most subtle Devise: for while they talk so, they are busily making a new Sect; and those that join with it, how ever ignorant, erroneous, or dark in Ex­perience they be, they are presently esteemed and caressed, while all others who will not join with them, how knowing and experienced soever they be in Christianity, are despised. Besides, as I am informed, they will join with no Church but their own. Or,

4. Is it because of their Shew of Humility, while in the mean Time they undervalue all but themselves? Some of the Heads of that Party, have spoken most reproachfully in New-Brunswick of all the Protestant reformed Churches. One of them in my hearing compared them to Babel. Is this Humility, to imagine themselves more advanced in Grace, than all the World besides? I'm sure, it's of a different Stamp from that of the Apostle Paul, who look'd upon him­self to be less than the least of all Saints. And those whom they proselyte, in the midst of their ignorant Zeal, betray horrible Arrogance, in proudly disdaining all the Churches of Christ when compared with their Sect.

5. Is it because they have the Appearance of great Mor­tification? I answer, their Mortification is not agreable to the Scriptures; because they are ignorant of a preparatory Work of the Law. If we may believe Count Zinzendorf, when they are converted in their Way, they are free from Complaints of Sin and Struggles with it, and so get into a Sleep. What is this but the Fruit of Blindness & Delusion? To the Law and to the Testimony: if they speak not according thereto, it is because there is no Light in them. Or,

6. Is it because they say they have Communion with God, and in Consequence hereof Joy and Sweetness? I answer; When we consider the Antinomian Principles they hold, con­cerning Faith and Justification, as well as the proud Effects of their pretended good Frames, and that under a Mask of [Page 67] Humility; as also their denial of a Law-Work; We have great Reason to suspect their Communion to be but a Delusion of the grand Enemy, and their Joys to be the Joys of Time-Believers, and Stony-Ground Hearers. See Heb. 6.4. True Communion with God does certainly humble the Soul. Isai. 6.4. Job 42.5, 6. It's no new Thing for Antinomians and Enthusiasts to talk of Joys and Comforts. The old Antinomians were won't to commend their Princi­ples to others by this, that they were an experienced Cure to all Soul-Trouble. And it's true enough, they are a Cure, but a false one.

The Moravians, with their Brethren the Antinomians, and other Enthusiasts, seem to forget both the Doctrine and Practice of Repentance. I don't remember to find any thing of it in the Count's Sermons, neither can I perceive any thing of it in their Practice. But why should they repent, while they pretend to Perfection? No, no; they have got above that in their own Conceit. Now seeing their Com­forts don't come after the Exercise of Repentance for Sin, have we not Reason to suspect them?

7. Is it because they travel and take great Pains? I answer, Did not the Pharisees of old compass Sea and Land, to make one Proselyte; and when he was made, was he not twofold more a Child of Hell than themselves? And do not Jesuits, and many other Enthusiasts, travel still? But what Good do the Moravians do by their travelling, unless it be good, to sow Tares, to corrupt and divide religious People? Or what Good can reasonably be expected from Persons, who reject the [...]aw of God, and think it not their Duty to make Application to unconverted Persons in a State of Security, either to alarm or direct them. See the Count's Sermons, Pages 69, 70.

But they are deny'd to the World. Ans. So was Diogenes in his Time. So were the false Teachers in Paul's Time, who try'd to Reproach him. 2 Cor. 11.12. And do not the begging Friars among the Papists, as also their Monks and Nuns, give up all their worldly Goods? Peter seems to boast of their leaving all for Christ, Mat. 19.27. But did not Judas do this, as well as the rest? Did not Ananias [Page 68] and Saphira put the chief of their Estate into a common Treasury, for the Maintenance of others? Acts 5. And this they did freely, for there was no Necessity laid on them to sell their Possession. Acts 5.4.

Plato and Josephus relate of the Essenes, a superstitious Sect among the Jews, not much better than the Pagans, that they contemned the World; they were not only ex­ceeding abstemious as to sensual Pleasures, but so far des­pis'd Riches, that none was admitted into their Society till he had parted with all his Possessions.

Yea, many of the Pagans contemned Wealth, particu­larly among the Lacedemonians. It is reported of Phocion, who was forty five Times chosen Governour of Athens, and had thereby the greatest Opportunity to enrich himself, that he lived in a State of voluntary Poverty: when Alexander offered him a Donation of nineteen Thousand Pounds value, and besides his Choice of one of the four Cities of Asia, for his constant Support, he refused both. Epaminondas, the brave Theban General, in the midst of Opportunities to en­rich himself, liv'd so meanly, that he had but one Coat; so that when that was sent to the Fullers, he was oblig'd to keep at Home till it was brought back. Many more In­stances of the like Nature, might be added; but these at present may suffice.

But methinks, my dear Brethren; the Consideration of that glorious State, which the Sons of Truth shall be intro­duced into, after a few Moments expire; should invite them to be earnest in Defence thereof against all Seducers, and patient in enduring their unjust Reproaches. After a few Moments more are elapsed, the Children of Truth shall walk with God in White, in a Robe of Honour, in a State of Blessedness. I say, they shall walk in the Galleries of Paradise, and drink the Streams of Nectar and Ambrosia. There all Sighing and Sorrow will for ever expire; and in Place thereof shall succeed the greatest, sweetest, surest, most satisfactory, and sinless Joys. There Reproach, Error and Contest will be for ever banished; and pure Truth, unfading. Honour, and uninterrupted Rest, take Place thereof!

[Page 69]The Children of Truth (such who have experienced its Energy, and walk'd according to its Direction) shall carry Crowns of Victory upon their Heads, and Palms of Honour in their Hands!

There Impurity and Sin will not be so much as men­tioned!

There the eternal God will be beheld, in all the dazling Glory of his Attributes, in all the shining Charms of his Word and Works!

There the dear Redeemer will be admir'd, and adored, by all the Hosts of Heaven; while they attentively view his mediatorial orient transcendent Excellency!

There the Understanding will be pleas'd, with the noblest Entertainments, of the sublimest Knowlege, attain'd with Ease, and to the utmost Perfection!

There the pure Springs of Truth will be fully open'd and run in liquid and incessant Rivulets, thro' all the Paradise of God: The Understanding shall no more be clouded with Ignorance, or tainted with Mistake!

There the Will shall be satisfy'd, with enjoying the su­pream Good!

There the noble Soul of Man in all-its Powers, will be freed from its present Clogs and Incumbrances, which ob­scure its Views, obstruct its Peace, and retard its Motions!

There it will expand all its Wings, and embrace a Good suited to its spiritual Nature, noble Original, vast Desires, and incessant Duration!

There the eternal God will be worshipped in the per­fection of Beauty, without Sin and without Uneasiness: No discording Sound shall ever be heard from the Harps of those heavenly Choristers!

There the inferiour Passions of the Soul, shall ever keep their proper Channel, and observe due Degrees of Motion!

There the original Beauty, and ancient Harmony, that adorn'd the Soul, before its fatal Fall from God, shall be restor'd to the highest Perfection; and that which is in Part shall be done away.

There no Fear of any impending Evil or Calamity, shall ever perplex, disturb or distress the pious Bosom: No, they [Page 70] shall be fully assur'd of the perpetual Continuance of the divine Favour; a pleasing Calm and undisturbed Serenity, shall still possess the Soul, without Murmur or Uneasiness!

There no erroneous Sentiments, no ungenerous Jealousies, shall stain the Beauty, interrupt the Pleasure, or mar the Harmony of Society; neither of these shall have any Access to, or Residence in that Seat of Truth and Purity, of Love and Peace!

There Temptations shall come to a perpetual End; that envious and malignant Spirit shall no more sully our Inno­cence, or disturb our Peace, by his Temptations which will then cease for evermore: What amazing Sweetness, must issue from the View of the divine Attributes? When the Vail which now intercepts our Sight is removed, and they appear in their native Charms, their open'd Oriency and Lustre! If the smallest Glimpse of one of the divine Perfections, sometimes transports the Soul into Extasy and Ravishment, what will the immediate uninterrupted and united View of them all, effect! O the inexpressible Blessedness of the Glorify'd!

What endearing Sentiments of Soul must inspire the Chil­dren of Truth, while they behold the enthroned Jesus array'd with the brightest Majesty, and most awful Glory; while they see the Signatures of his dying Love, and recount the Labours of his Life, and Sorrows of his Soul for them!

O when they revolve in their Minds the humble and asto­nishing Stoop of condescending Majesty, in the whole of our Lord's Humiliation, with the gracious Design thereof, how deeply will it affect their Hearts, that he who was the Sovereign of the World, should come in the Form of a Ser­vant, that we might be made the Sons of God; that he who was Rich should become Poor, that we thro' his Poverty might be made Rich; that the Chastisement of our Peace was laid upon him, that thro' his Stripes we might be healed!

There the Contrivance of the gracious Covenant will be perfectly laid open, wherein the harmonious Display of God's venerable Attributes has appeared to the Astonishment of the angelick Throng, who stoop down to behold the un­searchable [Page 71] Depths of divine Grace in the Redemption of Mankind by the Blood and Obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ! Herein Wisdom devis'd a Way to satisfy divine Justice, and yet save the guilty Criminals from merited De­struction. So that Justice can demand no more, and Mercy is cloathed with a Coat of Arras, vested with stately Charms, and attractive Magnificence.

There the Works of Nature and Depths of Providence will be fully unfolded, to the equal Astonishment and Delight of all the Inhabitants of Heaven. The secret Springs, the strong Connection, and sweet Relation of Providences, with their Conduciveness to compass one uniform noble Design, namely, the manifestative Glory of God, and in subordina­tion thereto, the special and enduring Good of his People, will be discovered!

Here sometimes the great God makes Darkness his Pavi­lion, and hides the Face of his Throne; his Footsteps are in the great Deep, and we cannot sound the Depths of his providential Actings by the Line of our shallow Reason but the End will crown the Scene, beautify the whole Piece, and magnify the Glory of it's Author.

There will be no Objects of Misery, on Account of Error in Principle, or Impiety in Practice, to invite our sympa­thetick Tears and Sorrows; no Allay of Grief or Pain to disturb our incessant Felicity!

There our Father's Face will never be hid from us any more, by a gloomy Desertion; but we shall without Inter­ruption and Period, enjoy the bright Meridian of his Love, which is better than Life it self!

There no Diversity of Sentiment shall mar the Sweets of social Worship, but unallay'd Harmony and inimitable Beauty, shall ever adorn the Courts above, and bless those calm Regions of Light, of Life, of Day!

But indeed all Words and Images of Thought, even of the boldest and most exalted Kind, saint before the Paradise of God, and cannot convey sufficient Ideas of it.

[Page 72]O may the great and gracious God, the God of Truth, direct us into the Paths of Truth and Holiness, and keep us by his Grace in them here, until our destin'd Time is elaps'd, and then translate us into his own Kingdom of Glory and Blessedness, thro' Jesus Christ our Lord,

[Page 73]


I Think it necessary to annex an Account, of some of the Errors which Count Zinzendorf not long since expressed in New-Brunswick: some of which I heard him assert my self, and the rest were heard by Mr. Henerick Visher, a Person of good Intelligence and Probity. The Count not giving Liberty for two to be present with him at one Time, when Questions were ask'd about religi­ous Matters, there was no Room left for a joint Testimony to all the following Articles.

The mischievous Effects of the Moravian Conversation, in some Places in this Part of America, in corrupting reli­gious Persons with false Notions of divine Things, and in making unhappy Divisions among them; together with their extraordinary Method of concealing (generally) their perni­cious Principles, is I think a sufficient Apology for the pre­sent Essay to discover them to the World, in the Manner I have now taken. Now the Particulars are these following:

1. That it is not needful to preach the Law, but hurtful, under the Gospel Dispensation.

2. That the Law is not a Rule of Life to a Believer.

3. That the Unconverted are not under the Law, under the Gospel Dispensation.

4. That the moral Law belongs only to the Jews.

5. That Conviction is not necessary to Conversion, but very hurtful: and that the Presbyterian Doctrine respecting preaching of the Law, is false.

[Page]6. That those who are justified, are justified from Eter­nity in the Sight of God, and actually at the Time of the Crucifixion of our Lord.

7. That Faith is not a Mean or Instrument of Justification.

8. That Faith is only a Mean of the comfortable enjoy­ment of Justification.

9. That Faith is not necessary to Justification or Salvation.

10. That the Nature of Faith consists in a Perswasion or Belief, that our Sins are pardoned, and that Christ died for us. It being objected, that if the Nature of Faith consists in the aforesaid Perswasion, then when it was gone, Faith would be lost: He re­ply'd, 'That the Nature of Faith might be lost, but not the Thing it self or Being of it.

11. That there is no such Thing as spiritual Presumption.

12. That no graceless Creatures had historical Faith, 'but the Devils.

13. That the Guilt of Adam's Sin was removed from all, by the Death of Christ; that his Cross was the Period or End of it.

14. That a Man is converted as soon as he has an abi­ding Sense of his Sin and Danger: for he asserted that the Sense aforesaid, flows from a Principle of divine Life.

15. That the Conversion of the reformed Church, by a preparatory Law-Work, was only a Delusion: and that there was none of the Moravian Brethren converted that Way, that he knew of.

16. That the exercising of Reason in the Apprehension of any Danger, was not necessary to Conversion; because he said it was done in the twinkling of an Eye, without preceeding Preparatives.

17. That a converted Person cannot sin against Light, and that if they sinn'd, they tho't what they did was good.

18. That David was unconverted when he committed Adultery; and Peter when he denied his Master; and that Paul speaks of himself as unconverted, in the whole seventh Chapter to the Romans: That he [Page 75] himself was a Sinner, and would be so to Eternity, and that we shall need Christ as much then as now. The Count being asked, whether a converted Person could Sin? He said, that he could if the Lord Jesus left him, but that he was sure he would not.

19. That old Testament Instances might be brought for Illustration, but not for Proof.

20. That Christ laid down his Life for all the Offspring of Adam: nevertheless that there was a certain Election, but no Reprobation.

The aforesaid Particulars are not Consequences drawn from the Count's Words, but his own express Declarations, and that for the most Part in answer to Questions ask'd of him; several of which he reasoned a little upon.

Here I shall beg Leave to subjoin the Extract of a Letter from Mr. John Stockers, Merchant of Amsterdam, (a Person of good Character) dated August 1741, to Mr. George Brinkerhoff Merchant of New-York, relating to the Mora­vians or Herenhouters, translated from the Dutch.

As to the Herenhouters, much might be said, beyond the Bounds of a Letter. The pastoral Letter is a lively Representation of them. Mr. Kulencamp the Author of that Letter, has wrote two other small Tracts against them; and also the Reverend Mr. Knypers; and three Professors; viz. the Reverend Messieurs Honert, Voget, and Gelders, have wrote against them.

I account them a mischievous People, worse than ever the Labadists appeared to be, who were orthodox in the Point of Justification: but these People have a Mixture of many Errors, I shall mention some of the chief.

That Man is Part of the divine Being.

They hold the Perfection of the Saints in this Life.

They believe that Saints may fall away; and likewise that one may be saved in the Profession of the Pagan and Jewish-Religion.

[Page 76]They believe that all Men, yea and even the very De­vils ill be saved.

Who will not be astonished at such Propositions, from Men who give themselves out for absolved Christians, who are bought by the Price of the Blood of the Lamb! and who are simple and harmless, while they are full of Sub­tlety, and cherish a Complication of Errors.

They are also insincere and inconsistent with themselves, proposing that at one Time, which at another Time they will deny; going about with Untruths; having no Regard for the Truths and the written Word, pretending that they have Christ within them, to be a living Bible; and such like Things as these.

Their Meetings are no more suffered amongst us, be­ing neither instructive nor profitable. They will read a Chapter out of the Bible, particularly out of the new Testament; upon which they speak in some confused Manner; sing some of their Hymns; and it may be they will pray, which has but little in it. See here in brief something of them.

They were treated in a mild and in a friendly Manner, but would not suffer themselves to be examined. Its true they don't belong to the reformed Church, but they pretend to go between the Lutheran and the reformed Church, and that they are neither of the one nor of the other, but that they come nearest the Lutheran. The Lord be praised, they have not triumph'd, for by that Means all Religion would have been in Confusion, and the fun­damental Truths taken away; by which the Church must either stand or fall. Therefore away with such! Or as the Apostle expresses it, from such turn away. Thus far with Respect to the Herenhouters.

Mr. Samuel Finley, a Preacher of the Gospel, informs me, in a Letter from Philadelphia, bearing Date, February 15. 1742.

That he had some Discourse with Count Zinzendorf by an Interpreter, (he refusing to discourse with him in Latin, because he was a Presbyterian) the Sum of which was as follows:

[Page 77]

1. The Count being asked, whether the Apostle spake of himself as unconverted, thro' the whole seventh Chap­ter of his Epistle to the Romans? He answered in English; Yes; doubtless as unconverted.

2. Respecting Perfection. The Count would seem to grant that true Christians had Sin; and yet when I la­boured to prove this, he would again set up against me: this was just the Case.

3. I inquired whether David was graceless when he committed Adultery? He answered, Yes. And all the Distinction he used respecting this, was that there was Grace in Store for David, but that he had not then re­ceived it.

4. I inquired about Justification, whether it was eter­nal? He answered yes.

5. I ask'd of what Use Faith was in Justification? He answered, that it was a Manifestation of it.

6. I inquired, Whether one that had Justification mani­fested clearly to his Conscience, could ever doubt of it? He answered, that he might afterwards doubt of it.

Lastly, I inquired, whether the Saints would have need of Faith to all Eternity? He answered, Yes; and insisted on it: But by this Time it was nine of the Clock at Night, and our Conversation ended.

Here I shall add some Extracts, out of a Moravian Book, thus Intitled; ‘Sixteen Discourses on the Redemption of Man by the Death of Christ, preach'd at Berlin, by the right Reverend and most Illustrious Count Zin­zendorf, Bishop of the ancient Moravian Church, translated from the high Dutch, with a Dedica­tion to the Arch-Bishops, Bishops and Clergy, giving some Account of the Moravian Brethren. London Printed for James Hutton, 1740. This Book is prefaced and signed by Ludovicus de Zinzendorf.

[Page 78]For the Reader's Ease, I will set the Count's Words in one Column, and my own Remarks on them, in another.

Here the Count asserts, that the Saints are poor and needy in Heaven.

Here Perfection is asserted. It's like­wise suppos'd in this Paragraph, that God is not the Author of that Holiness which is in his People.

Here Perfection is deny'd. A new Purgatory discover'd. And Sin asserted to be something mate­rial.

Perfection asserted.

[Page 79]Perfection.

Persons not rejected for Sin, but Unbelief: Here its insinuated, that Unbelief is no Sin; and yet the Cause of Rejection.

Gross Impiety the directest Road to ob­tain Grace & Mercy.

Sin no Hindrance, and moral Vertue of no Service, to obtain Grace.

Free-will asserted.

Universal Salvati­on asserted.

Spiritual Sloth ne­cessary in order to obtain Grace.

Enthusiasm encou­raged, in a pretended waiting upon the Voice of God, with­out the Use of Means.

[Page 80]Those no Wit­nesses of Christ, who urge the Use of Means, in order to obtain Grace.

A preparatory Work ambiguously and slily denied.

The active Obedi­ence of Christ exclu­ded from being a Cause of Salvation. The Moravians speak much of the Blood and Wounds of Christ, but as to his active Obe­dience they are silent.

Christ a Propitia­tion for Sins after Death. Here the Salvation of the Damned, is insinua­ted.

The actual Justifi­cation of all, from the Time of Christ's Death.

[Page 81]A preparatory Work unnecessary.

A preparatory Work necessary.

A preparatory Work, ordinarily, un­necessary.

Universal Salvati­on, expresly asserted.

Immediate Inspi­ration insinuated.

Holiness no Duty.

The Law the Cause of Sin.

Such whose Contest with Sin Paul speaks in the seventh of the Romans, no true Christians.

[Page 82]Perfection attained by all true Christians.

A Conquest over Sin easy; for such as get their Necks out of the Collar of the Law.

Free-will asserted.

To be a Minister of Christ, an easy Task.

Preparatory Stu­dies, unnecessary for Ministers.

The Priests Lips must keep Knowlege; yet, teaching was no Part of their Office!

Inspiration ambi­guously asserte.

[Page 83]The Use of Means necessary.

An Election at the Time of Christ's Death. Eternal E­lection incompleat. Something besides the good Pleasure of God, the Cause of Election. Eternal Justification insinuated.

That historical Faith is saving.

The Perfection of the Saints; or Christ's Imperfection asserted.

No Means to be used with the Uncon­verted, either to in­struct or awaken 'em. Natural Men can have no true Knowledge of our Saviour.

[Page 84]Natural Men must not be condemned.

Ministers must not preach Terror.

Pagans free from the Curse seemingly insinuated.

All of the Threat­nings and Exhortati­ons of the New-Testa­ment, not applicable to the present Times.

The Threatnings applicable to formal Christians only.

[Page 85]Original Corruption taken away by Bap­tism.

The falling away of the Saints.

Persons may be really sanctified, and yet not love the Lord Jesus Christ, suppos'd by this Paragraph.

Full Assurance uni­versally necessary to Salvation.

Assurance easy to be attained.

Those that want Assurance, under the Curse.

The Nature of Assurance, that it is no more than a com­mon Conviction.

All pious Persons compleatly happy in this Life!

Universal Redemp­tion asserted.

[Page 86]No Means must be used with the Uncon­verted, to convince them of their Misery.

The Law no Mean of Conviction under the Gospel.

The Blood of Christ the Mean of Con­viction.

Convinced Persons are spiritually alive: and at the same Time condemned and dead.

Persons lost, con­demned, & that have no Part in the King­dom of God, are found, and converted; O horrible Jargon!

[Page 87]A Person under Conviction, is a Child of God.

The Saviour pays a Ransom in Time, f [...] People under Con­viction. This inva­lidates the Sufficiency of Christ's Satisfacti­on on the Cross.

Conviction neces­sary in order to re­ceive Grace, and Be­nefit by the Gospel. Sound Doctrine.

Universal Redemp­tion asserted; and, Universal Salvation insinuated.

The Guilt of ori­ginal Sin removed from all, by the Re­deemer's Sufferings.

The popish Doc­trine of the Sacra­ments conferring Grace, from the Work done.

[Page 88]The Saints falling from Grace insinua­ted.

A new Explication of original Sin; as mysterious as Jacob Bemy's, Tincture and Turba.

Daily sinning sur­prizing to the Mora­vians!

The Cause thereof is the Law of God!

The Gospel takes away the Force of the Law.

The Gospel turns the Soul from Ordi­nances, to the Heart, the Unction &c. This looks like the Light within as a Guide.

'As oft as there is 'Opportunity.

Mysterious Jargon!

Perfection again asserted.

[Page 89]Whoremongers and Murderers must believe that their Ran­som is paid, and their Wounds healed.

Presumption en­couraged, as the Way to Salvation!

Perfection asserted in the most peremp­tory Manner.

Perfection asserted.

Free-will asserted.

The Conflict men­tioned in the seventh of the Romans, belongs to Philosophers and Pharisees.

[Page 90]An Insinuation a­gainst the Use of Rea­son and Pains in op­posing of Sin.

Here the Man after God's own Heart is condemned, as a Ser­vant of Sin, because of his Desertion and Temptation!

To strive against Sin exceeding dange­rous.

Moravian Perfecti­on easy to be attain­ed.

The horrible My­stery of the Moravian Gospel, is to cast God's holy Law be­hind their Backs!

[Page 91]Moravian Converts quite free from Satan's Temptations!

The Moravian Life, no State of spi­tual War; but a Life of Quietism or Rest.

Moravian Converts spiritual Sleepers.

Young Converts, in a State of compleat Happiness, and Rest.

Moravian Converts at their new Birth, Men in Christ.

It's a Sign of no Grace, to think that Persons at their Con­version, are but Babes in Grace; and do sin sometimes.

[Page 92]Moravian Converts past all Danger.

Moravian Converts free from Sin at their Conversion.

If Sin be not worth a Thought, what be­comes of Repen­tance?

Moravian Morti­fication of Sin ex­ceeding easy!

A Moravian Con­vert is once exposed to the Temptations of Satan, but obtains an easy Conquest.

Perfection asserted.

A Difference be­tween a Child of God, and a Soldier of Christ.

Sin easily conquer'd.

Sin not worth the Cast of the Eye, how then shall we mourn over it?

Imperfection asser­ted.

[Page 93]A physical Energy ascrib'd to Baptism, which may be lost.

The active Obedi­ence of Christ past over in the Moravian Instructions.

The Use of Means rejected, and a Door opened to Licentious­ness.

Here one that is spi­ritually alive, is said to be sensible of his lost State, if he does not acknowledge &c.

Here it is suppos'd that one may be spiri­tually alive, and hear Christ's Voice, & yet not acknowlege Christ to be his Lord and Master.

Wholesome Doc­trine against Pre­sumption.

The Law a Mean of Conviction some­time.

[Page 94]A little of the Truth must out sometimes.

Angelical Perfecti­on ordinarily attain'd at Conversion in a Moment.

A good Thought at Death sufficient to obtain Happiness.

The Instance of the Thief not at all extraordinary.

Here's large En­couragement to Sin and Impenitency.

Ministers may not use the civil Law, to acquire their Right.

Moravian Ministers not subject to the Law.

[Page 95]A Difference be­tween Ministers and others, in respect of civil Rights asserted.

Ministers may nei­ther demand or pos­sess, their civil Rights, suppos'd by this Pa­ragraph.

Two sorts of Per­sons among the Mo­ravians, who have no systematical Connexi­on of the revealed Word.

Two sorts of Mora­vian Converts, not led by the written Word.

[Page 96]The pious Actions of religious Men do not come from God, as the efficient, but permissive Cause.

In the Moravian Judgment, it's a Dream of Moralists, to look upon Holiness to be a Duty.

Free-will asserted.

Perfection & Per­severance therein as­serted.

The first Part of this Paragraph is dark Doctrine.

Perfection asserted.

Increase of the Knowledge of Sin in one's self asserted.

If Sin be quite for­got, what becomes of Repentance?

[Page 97]Perfection asserted.

Moravians loose the Experience of Evil, by the disuse of it, and so become in­innocent.

No spiritual War in good Men.

Perfection asserted.

Moravian Converts not compleatly hap­py, but perfectly freed from fleshly Lusts.

Some not capable of Grace. God's Call according to foreseen good Dispositions in the Creature. God's Call depends upon the Creatures Will.

The perfect Holi­ness, and perfect Hap­piness, of all the Saints in this Life asserted. The Word Fellow-Citizens alludes to Ephes. 2.19.

No Duty but to believe.

[Page 98]Sincerity, Charity, Humility &c. no Duties, under the Gospel Dispensation!

We need not be sollicitous about any Thing, besides Faith, viz. Charity, Chastity, Repentance!

Here a dismal Door is opened, to all Man­ner of Licentiousness!

Faith asserted to be the only Mean to effect Faith. Non­sense, and Gibberish!

To say that any Thing is a Mean to produce it self; sup­poses that it exists before it has a being: which is impossible in the Nature of Things.

Preface, Pages 2 & 3. third. ‘That the only Way to Salvation for all Mankind, is that for the Merits of the sacrificed Lamb, they obtain Grace & Remission of all their Sins, and remain his poor needy dependant Creatures in Time and Eternity.

Preface, Pa. 3 & 4. ‘That it is no wonder, that all those who know what Sin is, and have obtained Permission not to Sin any m [...]e, refrain from Sin, and lead a godly Life,—’

Page 11. ‘We cannot deny, that we still have Sin, 1 Joh. 18. and that we shall carry it to the Grave. Our very Nature and the whole Mass of Man is infected with the Poison of the sinful Matter; the best Remedy against which is it's Fermenta­tion in the Grave, that thus our Saviour may produce something better.’

Page 12. ‘For this Purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the Works of the Devil, 1 Joh. 3.8. to dissolve and tear the System of Sin to pieces, that in the Faith­ful Lust cannot be conceived, nor Sin bringing forth Death, Jam. 1.15. Math. 5.28. but that Sin must be always kept under Foot and in subjection, and so [Page 79] lose its Dominion and Power more and more, that it dare not stir, or always expect a new Death. The faithful Believer dare not so much as give Ear to Sin, much less to enter into any struggle with it.’

Page 16. ‘Faith doth never give us Leave to Sin.’

Page 16. ‘This is the very Reason why so many Souls are lost, not because they have sinned, but because of their Unbelief: But it is also true, that sinning is not the Cause of Rejection ac­cording to the New-Testament.’

Page 17. ‘The Wicked and Sinners have the first, the most and the nearest Right, and obtain his Grace soonest and easiest.’

Page 19. ‘None for his little Good is better, and none for his many Enormities worse.’

Page 23. ‘The Apostles re­commend his Salvation in all their Words and Writings, that every one may have a Right to it, if he will.

Page 23. For Jesus is the uni­versal 'Restorer of all Mankind.

Page 29. ‘He will do all by his Spirit, send a Fire upon the Earth, pour out his Love into all Hearts, nay endow the Dead with the Breath of Life. Here one must do nothing but quietly attend the Voice of the Lord.

[Page 80]Page 29. ‘Our Saviour him­self must make the Beginning of such a Salvation. For none of his Witnesses require of Men, that they should begin to help them­selves, but our Saviour says, I will draw all Men after me; they shall only suffer themselves to be delivered and reconciled.

Page 29. ‘Wherefore it is not Gospel-like to prescribe Rules, Methods and Dispositions, or require an Equality of Souls. We must leave all that to the free Grace of our Redeemer, how he may and will lay hold of Souls.’

Page 31. The original Cause of all Grace is only to be sought for in the Merit and Satisfaction of Christ; he in his bloody Cross and Passion must be all in all to us, and the only Cause of our Salvation.’

Page 31. ‘Wherefore he that understands the Mystery of the Cross and Wounds of Christ, can never want Comfort and Relief, even tho' he were the greatest Sinner, for Christ is the Propitiation for all Sins past and future to all Eternity.

Page 31. ‘On the Cross he made a Confession for all the World, when he said, Father, forgive them. And when he cried out, 'tis finished, He gave Absolution to all wicked Rebels.

[Page 81]Page 31. Upon this Consi­deration we need not be anxious, lest Souls should not be humbled and contrite enough for their Sins.’

Page 31. ‘In receiving Grace, all must feel a certain Degree of Humiliation, as much as our Saviour sees necessary for them, to their new Creation.’

Page 32. ‘The ordinary Me­thod of our Saviour is not to pre­scribe Souls a long Preparation and Form of Repentance, but, it costs him oftentimes but one Word, and Grace is present and takes away all Sins.

Page 33, 34. ‘The Name Jesus is his own proper Name, which he bears as our Flesh and Blood, for the Benefit of all Men, be they ever so dead, sick, or ever so miserable and sinful; by this his Name all can and shall obtain Life and Salvation.

Page 36. The Count speaking of Elders or Ministers says, ‘They dare speak nothing, but what Christ works in them.’

Page 41. The Count speaking of a Member of Christ sayeth, Faith is his Duty, and Holiness his Nature; and whereas other Men dispute with Sin, wrestle and fight against it, and yet per­haps are overcome, according to the pathetick Description of St. Paul, Rom. 7. The Members of Christ are assured, that since Death, the Wages of Sin, is [Page 82] under their Feet, all is your's, whether Life or Death, 1 Cor. 3.22. Since they slipt their Necks out of the Collar of the Law, that kept them in Bondage before, (but the Law is the Power of Sin) Sin must with a Word be trod down to the Ground, and dare not rise till we please our selves. Christians are Priests of God, who daily walk in their holy Apparel, and lift up holy Hands without Wrath and Doubting: they endeavour to be well set­tled, and to grow manly, they keep themselves unpolluted from all Things, and purify themselves in the Blood of Christ, because they bear the Lord's Vessels.’

Page 42. ‘He that has well learned this double Service of the Lord, who can pray and sanctify himself unto the Lord, will never think it difficult to be a Witness of the Lord. He need not study to find out Words, since the Heart is full of the Thing itself. From this Priesthood-Office of the Christian's, some will prove, that they can also teach. But that is not the closest Proof. 'Tis true, the Priests Lips kept the Truth for­merly; yet teaching was not their proper Business.

Page 43. ‘But they must de­clare no more than they themselves have experienced, — and about [Page 83] the most plain and easy Way to attain to that Experience.’

Page 49. —, ‘Chosen by Grace, not only at the Time when Christ died, which was the Seal and finishing Stamp of our Election; but they were elected from the Foundation of the World; yet all for the Sake of Christ the only begotten Son of God, and for the Sake of their intimate Rela­tion to him.’

Page 57. ‘For to believe as cer­tainly that Christ has been a Man and suffered Death for us, as one can say of any other Matter with Truth and Sincerity, that one be­lieves it: This is the true Means to save us at once. We want no more; for the Gospel, or the History of Jesus, his Coming into the World, is the Power of God unto Salvation to every one that believes, Rom. 1.16.

Page 59. ‘Wherefore we ought to look upon him, as our faithful High Priest, and believe that in the Time of his sojourning upon Earth, he was made like unto us in all Things, in Poverty and in all other Circumstances, his Children are in at present.’

Page 69, 70. ‘For to tell Men who know nothing of Grace, nor have experienced any thing of its Power and Efficacy, what they should do, and how they ought to behave; that is as much to the Purpose, as if you should send a [Page 84] lame Man upon an Errand, or engage a blind Man to give his Judgment about Things which re­quire a sharp Sight. He that will condemn natural Men, who neither have nor can have the Lord Jesus in their Hearts, nor by their Distractions in many other Things can have any true Notion of our Saviour, meddles in an Affair that doth not at all be­long to him. The Business of a Witness of Jesus is by no Means to denounce Judgment, he must first know what Men he has to deal withal.

Page 69. ‘But we ought to make a Difference between Men, that never heard any Thing of Je­sus, nor entred his Communion, and those who join in a Congrega­tion assembled in the Name of Je­sus. It will never do, nor is it consistent with the Meaning and Design of the Apostles to apply all Expressions, Exhorta­tions and Threatnings of theirs, indifferently to our present Times; or treat all People in or out of the Christian Dispensation alike. They did not denounce their Bann to People that did not belong to them.’

Page 70. ‘Wherefore, altho' the Threatning of the Apostle might not improperly be applied to us Christians, who use the out­ward Form, and will not be excluded from God's Family [Page 85] and the Church of Christ; yet I wave that, & only declare to all, that it is apparent, the old Corrup­tion we have by Nature, and which should have been, nay may have been actually taken away by Baptism, according to our Doctrine is yet present and returned again, is still pressing, nay will press you down to Hell, as long as you are sensibly convinc'd, that you do not love the Lord Jesus.’

Page 72. And every Soul must be able to say with the utmost Chearfulness, He is my Lord.’

Page 73. ‘To know Jesus to be my Lord is no Matter of great Difficulty: and because it is so easy; it is but then a greater Sign of a Soul's Depravity, of it's Curse and of its spiritual Death, that cannot say; He is my Lord.’

Page 73. For to have Jesus for my Lord, is nothing else but to be convinced in my Soul, that he hath shewn me greater Faithfulness than I have experienced of any Body else, in the whole World.’

Page 81. ‘But as soon as one knows in one's Heart, one is the Lord's intirely, then those out­ward Things do no more disturb the Mind, but one is a happy Man.’

Page 88. ‘O how were it [...]o be wish'd, that the Satisfaction, the Grace and the Blood of Jesus Christ shed for them all, were once so truly present with and applied to them,—’

[Page 86]Page 90. ‘As long as People pursue their sinful Course with Pleasure, and do not see their Danger, one must have Pati­ence with them; for they are not to be perswaded to think them­selves unhappy, and your Ad­monitions would avail them as little as a serious Discourse would with a drunken Man.’

Page 90, 91. They are con­vinced they cannot escape— and as God did this in the old Testament by the Law, so it is done a thousand Times more by the Gospel. For instead of the Law, which formerly knocked on the Hearts with Force, till it sound Entrance: — we have now the prevailing Efficacy of the Blood of Christ,—’

Page 91. ‘This Almighty Pow­er of the Blood and Cross of Je­sus, has this first & blessed Effect, by which one sees that the Heart is no longer quite dead: This convinces People that they are condemned, miserable, and have no true Life.

Page 92, 93. ‘When the Voice of the Son of God enters the Heart once and saith; Thou art undone, and the Man remains con­vinced of his miserable Condition, then is he no longer lost but found. A Soul which with an upright sincerity of Heart, acknowleges and can say with Truth; I have no Part in the Kingdom of God; [Page 87] I am condemned; the same is already to be looked upon as a Bro­ther.

Page 93. ‘All that a Soul feels in that State of her own Con­demnation, is but a delightful Scene of eternal Wisdom and Grace; whosoever sees a Soul in that Condition, cannot but rejoyce and think: O that poor Child, which is oppressed and bowed down with the Weight of his Sins and his own Condem­nation, the Lamb is now certain­ly paying his Ransom for.

Page 93. ‘As long as a Soul is not convinced, that she is dead and in a State of Damnation, the preaching of Grace will be to no Purpose; and the glad Tydings of the Gospel will have no Effect upon her.

Page 95. The Count speaking of the Redeemer's Sufferings and Abasure, says,— That all his (was) with no other View, and to no other End, but to redeem the whole Race of Men from Sin, Satan, Death and Hell; and to take away the Curse from the whole Earth; and to restore eternal Righteousness which had been lost by Sin.—’

Page 112. ‘There is something in all baptised Christians, that they can seldom hear any Thing of Christ crucifyed, but they must be moved in some Degree; but if it goes as it comes, they cannot excuse themselves like the G [...]landers, [Page 88] Laplanders, or Hottentots, and say; We have understood or felt nothing of it.’

Page 117. The Grave is that old Corruption, opposite to the Blood of Christ, that abominable Lake of original Sin, natural Men do swim in, and Believers wade thro', as a Sea of Sorrow.’

Pages 118, 119. Its an ama­zing Thing to see People not only sinning every Day, but that they are not tyred with it, — but there is a secret Cause of it,— if no Law were given in Com­mandments, the wicked Heart would remain as it is, and the Transgressions would be less fre­quent. But since the Mind of Man is of that Disposition, that when any Thing is forbid, which it had no Knowledge of before, it gets presently an Inclination towards it; thus we may easily apprehend the Truth of what St. Paul says; the Strength of Sin is the Law, 1 Cor. 15. But here the Power of the Gospel steps in, takes away the Force of the Law, sets the Soul at Liberty, turns her Face from all the Ordinances to the Heart, to the Unction, to the Sense of Grace from Time to Time, as oft as there is an Opportunity, and to the divine Nature, received from above in the Remission of Sin. Here the laborious toil of sinning loses it's Strength and Nourishment, faints [Page 89] away & dies. But from whence doth all this proceed?—Thanks be to the Blood of the Lamb.’

Page 120. ‘Ye Whoremongers and Thieves; ye Revengeful and Murderers; ye Lyars, and who­soever ye are; ye Fearful & Un­believing, that hear and read this; will ye be saved? Believe then, that Jesus has atoned and paid a Ransom for you all, and that you may experience it this very Moment, and know that you have been healed by his Wounds, and his Stripes.—Take the Absolution, look upon him, believe & rejoyce, arise, gird your selves and run.

Page 121. ‘In short; all turns to this, that after we have received Grace, we live now, as we should have done before the Fall, unble­mished & holy, only more blessed and more sure.’

Page 126. The Count, speaking of the Children of God, sayeth — These can dispose themselves in such Manner, that by all their outward Affairs and Transacti­ons in and for God, their Heart is always above;—’

Page 131. Such a continual Conflict St. Paul relates of himself, when he was a great Philosopher and Teacher among the Pharisees, — He gives a large Account of it: whenever he had an Incli­nation to do Good, he could not, and was soon overpowred by a contrary Principle, which cap­tivated [Page 90] him to do what he would not.’

Page 132, 3. 'The Count speaking of those, who will subdue Sin by their own Reason and Un­derstanding, Convictions and Per­swasions; by their own strugling and striving against it; says, They are subject to all the Danger that can befall a weak Creature, which will resist a stronger Power. They do but expose them­selves—They are in the same Con­dition with David, when he says, the Enemy hath persecuted my Soul, he has smitten my Life down to the Ground. He has laid me in the Darkness, as the Men that have been long dead. — All this proceeds from their being Servants of Sin; they are looked upon as Adulterers; they have no Power to leave Sin their old Husband, and dare not live with another.’

Page 133. ‘But he who knows the Salvation, which Jesus has purchased us with his bloody Death on the Cross, who has abolished Death, and bro't Life and Immortality to Light, that can have no more Dominion over us, because we are no more under the Law, but under Grace; he understands the Mystery, how to get rid of Sin in a most easy Manner without any Difficulty, Complaint, and Torment; so that it must give Way, must fly and [Page 91] die; Satan who has it in his Hands, and uses to lead Men according to his Pleasure, at last dare attack us no more.

Page 134. ‘Thus when such a poor Soul, which has tir'd it self, and yet effected nothing at all, comes to him (meaning our Saviour) according to his kind Invitation, the first Thing he doth with us is; he puts upon Patience, presents himself to us, and says, this Child shall be disturbed no more.

Page 135. — But to whom our 'Saviour has just given Life, those 'he puts to sleep, as it were,—

Page 135, 6. — In Beginners ‘his Love is so burning, so free and lively, that those good Souls do not think without Reason, that they can hardly advance to a higher Degree, or be ever happier in this World. It is true, none in the most perfect Father's Estate can enjoy more Rest and Tranqui­lity from all his Enemies.’

Page 135, 6. 'Tis therefore Folly, and a Sign of no Experience at all, when they say, that Man is not very far advanc'd, and is but a Beginner. For this Reason he doth this or that Sin, has this or that Frailty in him. A Be­ginner is in his best State; a Be­ginner in the Kingdom of Christ; who but just has received Grace and Remission, whom our Sa­viour has but just laid upon his [Page 92] Shoulders to carry him home with Joy, he lives in such Se­curity, which no Man can ima­gine; he is past all Danger, and can say with David; thou hast lifted up mine Head from the Gates of Death.’

Page 137. Sin is the most miserable and mean Thing un­der the Sun; not worth our Tho'ts; and if any Thing comes to put us in Mind of any past Sin, we must treat it as the most contemptible Thing, and kill it as a Fly.

Page 137. ‘A Tho't may come flying, and there once may appear again somewhat of the Seeds of Satan, of his Craft or Violence; but it is crush'd im­mediately under Foot.’

Page 137. The Count speaking of a Soldier of Jesus Christ, says ‘that he doth not so much as look upon Sin, nor thinks it worthy of one Cast of his Eyes. The Faith of a Child of God, espe­cially of a Soldier of Jesus Christ, is so active, when he perceives Sin afar off upon such Occasions, where it usually insinuates itself, that anointing is immediately ready to warn us; and this In­timation of the Spirit is so power­ful, that e'er Sin can put it self in any Posture, it's routed already by the faithful Believer.

Page 138. ‘For Sin remains still in our Members, till we are going to the Grave.’

[Page 93]Page 144. If we have any of the Vertue and Energy of Bap­tism, still left within us, and do not live according to the Mind of our Redeemer, that will con­demn us.’

Page 145. ‘The Moment a Soul begins to live, and the Spi­rit of God overshadows her, she hears the Voice of the Son of God, which speaks of nothing but the Blood of Propitiation.

Page 145. Here one needn't go about to ransack one's Passions and Corruptions, nor anxiously endeavour to mend one's self. For Grace overflows all our Sins, they are all cover'd with the Blood of the Lamb.’

Page 145. ‘Whoever lives and has heard the Voice of the Son of God, he soon is sensible of his being lost, if he doth not acknowledge Jesus to be his Lord and Master.’

Page 153. ‘When Souls are dead, and never yet heard the Voice of the Son of God, they may be told too soon that they are the Reward of our Saviour.’

Page 153. This is sometimes our Saviour's Business, by the Law, whereby we are brought into Straights. He shews us our [Page 94] Misery, strips us of all our Self-conceited Vertues and Merits, and convinces us that we are Sinners.’

Page 155. ‘The Lord, who would shew us the Method of saving Souls, reply'd imme­diately: Verily I say unto thee, to Day thou shalt be with me in Paradise. Through this Word the Thief was as pure as an An­gel, and made immediately a Companion of our blessed Redee­mer; this may give People an Oc­casion to think, that nothing more than a good Thought at the Point of Death was required to give an Entrance into the Kingdom of Heaven. And it looks very plau­sible; for this Instance is not at all extraordinary, as many well meaning Teachers, to prevent Mischief, endeavour to prove; and that such an Instance may happen but once in an Age, or that this may be an Instance which happen'd only at the Passion of our Lord. Yet these sorts of Conversion are not at all uncommon, but happen frequent­ly, when all Circumstances agree.’

Page 163. In the 5th & 6th Chapter of St. Matthew, we find such Qualities & Doctrines, as can in a strict Sense be applied to none but Disciples of Jesus. e.g. whoever takes any Thing from you, do not demand it again, &c. if this were to be applied to all in [Page 95] general, there would soon be an End of all Constitutions & Possessi­ons in the World. A Child of God that is not particularly de­dicated to the Care of Souls, must submit to all the civil Laws, every one is obliged to observe.

Page 164. Disciples are a Sort of Out-Laws. According to the inward Disposition of Mind, all Christians agree. But in their outward Testimony they are different. A Soldier of Christ must be ready every Hour to quit his Right, his Conveniency, and deny himself of, and give up every Thing, not only in the Heart, but actually; whereas another may demand and possess his own in Peace.

Page 164, 5. ‘But we will see what our Saviour puts us upon in his Kingdom, and what we may expect of him. Here our Saviour has several Dispensations: one he leads by his Understanding; another he visits with many spiri­tual Dispensations; to the third he gives a systematical Connection of his revealed Word. One doth not chuse his own Way, but our Saviour accommodates himself to our Capacity & Disposition. He that is endowed with a pe­netrating Judgment, our Saviour leads by that: He that wants this, & is of another Disposition, the Saviour leads thro' many Sensations & great Impressions of [Page 96] his Grace and Love.—The third sort, which keep close to the Word, are led by that;

Page 165. ‘People think, he that serves our Saviour shall be saved; but whoever doth not serve him, shall be damned. But the Lord of his free Grace, Mercy and loving Condescen­tion, gives us Leave and Per­mission to do Good, and to serve him. To work God's Work is but meer Mercy to any Soul. Holiness is a Nature but not a Duty, as Morality dreams of.

Page 166. ‘He that has Grace, can be humble and poor in Spirit, and cannot be otherwise.’

Page 173. Righteousness is, when a Man drops and loses all his Right which he has by Nature and Reason; and by Faith re­ceives from our Saviour that Assurance, that all his future Expectations depend intirely upon his Grace and Mercy.’

Page 174. ‘He that obtains the Righteousness in the Blood of Jesus Christ, receives also Strength to subdue all the Evil, he knows in himself, and which he must constantly study to find out more and more and to tread it under his Feet, till at last, after he has long convers'd with his Saviour, he forgets Sin quite,—’

Page 175. Forasmuch as one lives to himself (autos ego) he is a Sinner; but he that is justified [Page 97] never meddles with Sin, but acts always contrary to it, or if it begins to stir, he stifles and conquers it presently. Now whoever begins to lose the Expe­rience of Evil by the disuse of it, he becomes an innocent Man in Christ.’

Page 176. ‘But as soon as our Saviour begins to instruct us, there is no Need of many Ar­guments, but he does something in the Heart which is felt and kept without Contradiction.

Page 178. Then we willingly leave off sinning any more, when our Saviour has once forgiven us all our former Sins.’

'Page 180. ‘The World dare not pretend to disturb our Happi­ness very long, neither dare the Flesh shew it self any more.’

Page 188, 9. ‘He awakens not only whole Nations & Countries, but also every Soul in particular; provided he s [...]h that they are ca­pable of Grace, and that they will receive the gracious Call, he draw­eth and calleth them, let them be in what Condition soever.’

Page 192. ‘I am now assur'd, that I have now the same un­changeable Right with all my Fellow Citizens, to be as unin­terruptedly holy as they, and as in­cessantly happy as they.

Page 193. 'There is but one 'Duty, which is that of believing.

[Page 98]Page 194. The Business of every true Christian is to be sin­cere and faithful, to exercise Charity, and to do every Thing from the Heart, — But all these Things being no Duties; for the Language in the new Testament says no more, thou shalt be humble, chaste, and industrious, liberal; but I am delivered by the Blood of the Son of God, from Pride, Lust, Coveteousness and Laziness: I dare be hum­ble, chaste, content, and in­dustrious: this Liberty being purchased for me by the Blood of Jesus. We have no Need to be solicitous about any Thing but only about Faith.

Page 194. Luther calls (Faith) a divine Work in the Soul, which changes and makes us to be new born of God, Joh. 1.3. — The Means by which this divine Work is effected, is no­thing else but Faith, the or­dinary Way of the divine Oeconomy.’

Two of the Count's Companions in Travel, namely Bishop Witsman's Wife, and the Count's Daughter, declared at New-Brunswick, in the House of Mr. Derick Schuyler, as follows; the first said, that she had neither sinned, nor doubt­ed in eighteen Years; and the latter said that she had not sinned in four Years. These Things they said before divers [Page 99] Witnesses of Distinction and Credit, who can attest the same.

Mr. Spangenberg one of the first of the Moravian Missio­naries into this Part of the Country, who sowed the Seed of their dreadful Doctrine in New-York, in a Discourse with me opposed strenuously the Doctrine of original Sin imputed, and laboured to enervate all that I bro't in Confirmation of it.

He likewise call'd the Protestant Churches a Babel (their's excepted) or compared them thereto. He likewise asserted (the first Time that he was here,) the Salvation of the Damned, or that their Torments should be only for a Time; and la­boured to maintain this horrible Position, against what I offered in Opposition thereto. Indeed the last Time that I saw him, he seemed to be of a different Opinion as to the last Particular: but I have seen and heard of so much incon­sistent Conduct in him and others of that Sect, that I can hardly avoid a Jealousy of his Sincerity in that Matter: and seeing the Count materially asserts it in his Sermons, as I have shewn before, there is the more Reason to believe him and others of that Party to be guilty.

Mr. Spangenberg declaimed in my hearing, more then once, against human Learning, and look'd upon it as a considera­ble Hindrance in the Acquisition of divine Knowledge: He judged his Case to be unhappy because of his Learning, which he said he found difficult to forget.

He run down human Reason, as if it were useless in Re­ligion, and in the Room thereof inculcated the Doctrine of Simplicity, which in their Sense of it, upon mature and frequent Deliberation, I cannot but take to be real Folly and implicit Faith, a believing of Nonsense, Contradictions, and mysterious Gibberish. When they assert gross Con­tradictions, they tell us that we must believe simply; that is, we must quit our Reason, and turn real Fools: we must believe thro' thick and thin, Absurdities and Nonsense, and so turn Papists. Let Simpletons, who seem willing to swal­low any Thing, consider seriously and seasonably the Injuncti­on of God himself by Solomon, Prov. 1.22. How long ye simple ones will ye love Simplicity? and the Scorners delight in [Page 100] their Scorning, and Fools hate Knowledge? Turn you at my Reproof.

It is exceeding artful in the Moravians to inculcate this popish Doctrine, at their first coming among a People espe­cially; for when once they have drunk in that, their Work is done; they may turn them into any Shape they will: Rea­son and Argument are rendred useless; a Shadow of Plausi­bility is enough. Thus the Moravians endeavour to use us, as the Philistines did Samson, first pull out our Eyes, and lead us where they will in Triumph.

I might have taken Notice of more exceptionable Parti­culars in the Count's Sermons; but what I have taken No­tice of, are sufficient to convince all, that are not blinded with Prejudice, or given up to satanical Delusion, that their Principles are most detestable!

I expect that the Moravians will use Fox-like Shifts, to evade the Discovery of their heretical and horrible Principles, by the preceeding Letters and Extracts, as they have done respecting what the Count said in New-Brunswick. But Truth is great, and will prevail at last over Error and Artifice, and baffle all the sly Tricks of Seducers, who lie in wait to deceive ignorant, simple, and unstable Souls.

If any Person question my Candor, I advise them to get the Count's Book, and read it themselves deliberately and impartially, and ask for Light from Heaven to help them to distinguish between Truth and Error.

It is contrary to my intended Brevity, to enter upon a particular Confutation of all the Errors contained in the Ser­mons; that would swell this Volumn to too great a Bulk: and indeed many of the Errors are so absurd, that the bare mentioning of them is Confutation enough, to Persons of Judgment that are freed from a partial Byass.

What are the Count's Sermons but a bundle of Contradictions and Nonsense, damnable Errors & Heresies, interspersed with Passages of Truth and Sense? In them a preparatory Work by the Law of God is denied, Repentance excluded, Per­fection asserted eighteen Times, and denied twice; a new Purgatory invented, as well as a new Election from the Time of Christ's Death! In them the great Articles of [Page 101] Faith and Justification are dreadfully corrupted; historical Faith is asserted to be saving; and all Persons are said to be justified from the Time of Christ's Death; the active O­bedience of Christ is excluded from bearing any Part in our Justification and Salvation! In them Enthusiasm is asserted, and recommended in diverse Instances; as well as all Use of Means with Sinners, to instruct & alarm them, denied! In them all Manner of Wickedness is encouraged, as the most di­rect Way to Conversion; all Virtue and religious Duty un­hing'd and discouraged: according to them, no Means must be used by poor Sinners to obtain Conversion! In them Sin is represented as a meer Triffle, unworthy of our Fear or Grief! In them the Happiness of Heaven is destroyed, by making the Saints to be poor and needy there! In them the faithful Ministers of Christ are condemned for using Means with poor Sinners, to convince them of their Misery, and bring them to Jesus! In them the preaching of Terror to the unregerate is deny'd, which is so frequently inculca­ted in the Word of God, and which was practis'd by Christ himself and his Apostles! In them Christ's Propitiation for Sins in Eternity, is asserted! In them universal Redemption, and universal Salvation, are asserted; as well as Inspiration after the apostolical Times! In them our Lord is represent­ed, as paying a Ransom after his Death for Persons under Conviction! which is not only contrary to express Scrip­ture (Heb. 7.27. Heb. 9.26, 28.) but notoriously dero­gatory to the Sufficiency of the Atonement of our Lord Jesus in his Life, and at his Death for his Elect. In them the detestable Arminian Doctrines [...] Free-Will, and the final Apostacy of the Saints are inculcated; and thus the Pride of Sinners is flattered, and the Foundation of the Saints Comforts shut up and seal'd! In them the Count urges the universal Necessity of Assurance on Pain of Death eter­nal! And in the mean Time informs us, that Persons are spiritually alive and dead at the same Time! He tells us that when the Spirit convinces Persons they are lost, and have no Interest in the Kingdom of God, then they are found, they are Brethren, they are Children of God! Now either two contradictory Propositions can be both true at once, which [Page 102] is impossible in the Nature of Things, or else the Count charges a Falshood upon the Spirit of God. In them the Doctrine of original Sin imputed is denied, and the popish Doctrine of the Sacraments asserted! In them a good Tho't at Death is represented a sufficient to obtain Happiness! In them Sin is [...]ed to be something mate­rial; and if so, God must needs be the Author of it, for he has made all Substances! In them God's holy Law is con­demned, as the Cause of Sin: if so, then God himself is the Cause of Sin, for he is the Author of the Law, and indeed it is but the Image of his moral Excellencies! It is a vile Abuse of that Passage of the Apostle Paul, (1 Cor. 15.56. The Strength of Sin is the Law,) to conclude from hence that the Law is the Cause of Sin: The Meaning of the aforesaid Place is elsewhere explained by the same Apostle, viz. Rom. 7.1. For Sin taking Occasion by the Commandment deceived me, and by it slew me. The obstinate Corruption of our Nature, may unreasonably take Occasion, from the just Restraints of the Commandment to rage the more; but that is not the Fault of the Law, but of our corrupt Na­ture. Was then that which is good Death to me? says the Apostle! God forbid! The Apostle rejects the Notion of the Law's being the Cause of his Sin, with great Indignation; he shews that this cannot be, Verses 12, 13, 14. Because the Law is holy, just and good: As if the Apostle should say, that which is holy cannot be the Cause of it's contrary; for like pro­duces like: But Sin that it might appear Sin, working Death in me by that which is Good, that Sin by the Commandment might appear exceeding sinful [...] for we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am carnal. As if the Apostle should say, the Law is good, spiritual, discovers Sin, and it's penal Consequences; hence by it is said to be th [...] Knowledge of Sin, and that it works Wrath: how therefore can it be the Cause of Sin? No; it is the Corruption of Nature, which is the Cause of actual Transgression: But I am carnal, sold under Sin. To turn from the moral Law as a Rule of Life, is not the Way to Freedom from Sin, but to Death in Sin.

The Moravian Notion about the Law, is a Mystery of detestable Iniquity! And indeed this seems to me to be [Page 103] the main Spring of their unreasonable, anti-evangelical, and licentious Religion!

But I have not Time at present, to mention all the other Abominations of the Count's Sermons!

And now having had a Taste of their Principles, let us proceed to a brief Reflection, upon their Experience and Practice.

As to their Conversion, and after Experiences; the Con­version of the most of them (if we credit the Count's Asser­tion, and we may reasonably suppose that he knows pretty well the State of his own Sect,) is very slighty, it's without any preparatory Law Work, done in a Moment. If they have received the aforesaid Doctrines, have we not Reason to fear that their Conversion is but a strong Flight of Ima­gination, or a satanical Delusion. And we have the more Reason for the Fear aforesaid, when we consider how easy they are generally after their supposed Conversion, without Fears, without Complaints of Sin, Strangers to the spiritual War, Strangers to the Knowledge of their own Hearts, al­ways in one sort of Frame, or as it were put to sleep and happy, as the Count expresses it. Did not the Seed sown on the stony Ground spring up quickly; but on the contrary, did not the good Ground bring forth Fruit with Patience? Did not the poor Man in the Gospel [...]vail his Unbelief? And are we not commanded to fight [...] Fight of Faith? If we will believe the Scriptures, does not their Conversion and Experiences look like Presumption and Delusion? Their gross Ignorance about the Nature of a true and saving Faith, adds awful Weight to what has been now observed!

I wonder not at their Ease, when I consider what Sort of Faith passes for saving among them; and seeing they lay so much Stress upon an historical or temporary Faith, and reject the Law of God, by which is the Knowledge of Sin; how can they be otherwise than easy? for without the Law Sin is dead, as to our Apprehension and Feeling; i.e. we have no true Sight and Sense of the Evil and Danger of Sin without the Law.

As to the Spirit of the Moravians; Do not a Number of them seem to be proud under a Mask of Humility; while [Page 104] they look upon themselves and their Party, to be more ad­vanced in Grace, than Persons of any other Denomination? How will such a Spirit accord with the Example of Paul, who look'd upon himself to be far less than the least of all Saints? and with the Command of God, that every Man should esteem another better than himself?

Are not the Moravians many of them uncharitable and divisive in their Speech and Practice, and that under a pre­text of Charity & Catholicism? Witness Mr. Spangenberg's comparing the Protestant Churches to a Babel, and the Count's calling their Conversion by the Law a Delusion? (before mentioned;) Witness their not being willing to join with any Protestant Body of Men, and yet their receiving Persons of diverse Societies to their Fellowship, with little Examination as to their Principles.

Do not those Things, together with their sending of their ignorant Missionaries to gather separate Societies in Places, where there is a sound Ministry, signify that their Design is not Catholick, whatever their Pretences be not­withstanding?

The Count's bitter and contemptuous Speeches in New-Brunswick, against the Body of the reformed Churches, gives additional Evidence, to what I have now observ'd.

And is there no [...] much Enthusiasm in the Moravian Method of Management, in these Instances following; viz. in neglecting Family Prayer; in sending out Missionaries, without human Learning; and in their Preaching (ordinarily) without Study, and without Prayer before or after, or both?

Besides, there is much cunning in their Practice, cloak'd with an Appearance of Simplicity, as is evident from the following Particulars, in their Method of propagating their Sect, viz.

1. They labour to be acquainted with others Principles, and accommodate themselves so far to them in Discourse, as will not consist with Truth. A late Instance of this ap­peared in one of the Moravian Party called Mr. Betener, who in my hearing, expressly contradicted himself in the space of two or three Minutes; a Person of Distinction being pre­sent. At first be asserted that pious People could know [Page 105] others certainly, and offered somewhat in Confirmation of that detestable Notion, in Answer to what was objected against it: but being asked by another Person after this Manner; You don't think that a good Man can know ano­ther infallibly? No, said he!

Besides, I have been inform'd by some Persons of Credit, that B. Witsman's Wife has denied since what she asserted at New-Brunswick: for this, if she will suffer the Matter to be examined, she may be proved a Liar.

Farther, I am credibly informed, that the Count has in the hearing of several Persons, denied the Articles offered against him in the beginning of this Appendix, which he expressed in New-Brunswick, as they now stand; and some of them absolutely and intirely. I leave it to the impartial Reader to judge, whether those Articles be not proved by the Extracts of his Sermons; and hence to form what Opi­nion he thinks reasonable, of the Count's Veracity. The Count's denying of them as they stand, seems to be an artful, but ungenerous Evasion. What if it was so, that his Assertions were not put in the same Order in which he deli­vered them? if his Expressions are not altered, or his Sense wronged, and the Articles be put in a more natural Order, where is the Injury?

I might mention more Instances of other Moravians un­sincere and inconsistent Conduct; but these at present may suffice.

2. They hide any of their Principles, that they think will disgust. I tho't it something strange, in the Count's for­bidding any Person to come into the Room with me, the second Time I attempted to see him.

3. They speak slightly of the Use of good Books. This seems to be a crafty Stratagem, to increase their Sect; for they may know, that all Books but their own are against them, considering their Principles complexly. Now their slighting the Use of good Books, has a Tendency to rob God's People, so far as their Influence reaches, of a precious Mean of Instruction and Defence, and so leaves them more exposed to the Stratagems of Seducers.

[Page 106]4. Do not some Moravians, slight human Reason and Learning? which (if used in their proper Place) are good Bulwarks against their inconsistent Doctrine: and in the Room thereof commend a Simplicity of dangerous Tendency, as has been before observed? I know of no commendable Simplicity, but humility and sincerity in the Use of proper Means; but to believe Contradictions is a detestible Sim­plicity, and to expect in ordinary Cases Blessings from God, without the Use of proper Means, instead of trusting in him, is to tempt him.

5. Do not the Moravians speak slightly of Confessions of Faith, and such like regular and harmonious Systems of Christian Principles? and is not this Political? for has it not a plain Tendency to prepare Persons to receive their inconsistent Medley of Doctrines, which no human Under­standing can harmonize.

6. Don't the Moravians begin with the Affections first? and is this fair Dealing? Do they not endeavour to insi­nuate themselves into People's Affections first, by Smiles and soft Discourses about the Love of Christ, and by a seem­ingly innocent simple and loving Behaviour? while in the mean Time they carefully hide their Principles, until the Affections are catched, and then let them out by Degrees. Should not they show their Principles first, before the Affections are fir'd, that so People might judge of them with Calmness and Impartiality?

7. Do not they take special Care to apply to young Per­sons, Females, and ignorant People, who are full of Affection? And if any Persons of Distinction are under any good Im­pressions, those shall be taken special Notice of be sure: for poor ignorant young Creatures under their first Love, are easily led aside by fair Shews. And there must be if they can, some Persons of Note and Figure in every Place to grace their Sect, and gain Proselytes to it. Who do they imitate in attacking the weaker Part of Man, viz. the Passions; and the weaker Sex first; but the Devil the Fa­ther of Lies and Errors? Did not he deal thus with our first Parents, and by the weaker Sex seduc'd Adam.

[Page 107]And don't they refuse generally to Reason upon Points in Religion, whereby one might convince another, and leave People to be proselyted by Sight only. It is politick in them indeed to wave Reasoning and shun Discovery, for their Principles will bear neither. Let them but appear in their native Deformity, and they will be abhorred? My Soul is grieved to see the childish Fickleness of the Sons & Daugh­ters of this Generation! who are tossed about with every Wind of Doctrine; who are just smil'd out of their Reli­gion, without being able to offer one solid Reason for their Change.

8. They endeavour to unhinge People as to their religi­ous Principles, with their confused Invectives against Bi­gotry.

Doubtless to be as zealous in Degree, for smaller Points in Religion as for greater, is a criminal Bigotry; for Zeal should surely be proportioned to the Weight of Things. Likewise to entertain uncharitable Thoughts of those who differ from us, only in Circumstantials; or some few lesser Points of Faith: and no doubt to made Circumstantials, Terms of Communion, is Bigotry with a Witness. Also to en­deavour rather principally to propagate a Sect by our Zeal, than to promote the general Interests of Religion. But it is no Bigotry to hold fast Christ's precious Truths in Affection and Practice, and to defend them against all Opposers; for this is but the Command of God. And without this a pretended Zeal for Holiness is of no Moment. And we find our Lord and his Apostles used Sharpness in dealing with false Teachers, calling them Wolves, Dogs, Serpents, Vipers!

Indeed to essay to impose our Opinion upon others, by Force and Violence, is doubtless a detestable Bigotry; for every one has an equal Right to think for himself, and Rea­son and Argument can only convince the Mind.

Certainly we should adhere inviolably to the Principles we have been instructed in, until we find better, which we should be always ready to receive upon proper Conviction; which is not to be attained by the Sight of the Grimaces of Strangers, or by immediate Revelations or Enthusiasms, but [Page 108] by Scripture, Reason and Argument. No doubt we should be always open to Light and rational Conviction; but there is a vast Difference between this and a childish Fickleness. Do not those act like Children and Fools, who part with good Principles for bad?

I think it looks exceeding black in the Moravians to slight speculative Knowledge, so as they do, which they call Head-Knowledge. It's true, it is a Sin to rest satisfied with it, without feeling its Power and Influence; but it is not an appointed Mean to obtain what is saving; why else are the Unconverted enjoined to search the Scriptures? Without Knowledge Solomon observes that the Mind cannot be good; and he says that they are Fools who hate it. Is not specu­lative Knowledge the same for Substance with that which is saving, only destitute of its Influence upon Heart & Practice? The Moravians by this Method of proceeding, are propa­gating another damnable Doctrine of the Church of Rome, namely, that Ignorance is the Mother of Devotion.

The Moravians seem to be aware of this, viz. that Rea­son, Learning, sound Confessions of Faith, and speculative Knowledge, do all of them oppose the Spread of their per­verse inconsistent Principles, and therefore they labour to pull them down.

It is exceeding weak in the Moravians to bring in that Passage of Paul, 1 Cor. 2.2. For I determined to know no­thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucifyed; as an Objection against seeking after Knowledge. We can­not reasonably suppose, that the Apostle means any more by that Passage, than that he made Christ the Center and Scope of his Knowledge. i. e. that all he knew should have a Reference to Christ, either more direct or remote. And have not all the Scriptures this Tendency to exalt Christ, to bring Sinners to Christ, and to build them up in him? But to imagine that the Apostle should confine all his Knowledge to the Passion of Christ, in any other Sense, is contrary to Scripture and Reason. If so, why did he inculcate so many other Things in his preaching, and that by immediate In­spiration? If the aforesaid Notion were true, a great Part of the Bible would be useless. But were not these Things [Page 109] written for our Learning? Why are we bid to search the Scriptures, if we must not labour to understand them. The following Place of Scripture, Act. 20.20, 21. and how I have kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from House to House; testifying to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, Repentance to­wards God, and Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ; may be a Help to explain the other. We can have no just No­tion of the Passion of Christ, without the other Doctrines of Religion.

Does it look like the Spirit of Christ, that the Moravians in their Practice are so careless of the secure World? What avail their Pretences to Love, while they weaken the Foun­dation of it, viz. Truth? What signifies a childish Affection, that is not grounded upon Truth and Reason?

Before I conclude, give me Leave to mention one Instance more, of the strange unaccountable Doctrine of this new Moravian Sect.

Christopher Parleus, one of that Party, declared the fol­lowing Particulars, at the House of Mr. Samuel Hazard in Philadelphia, in Presence of himself and Spouse, viz.

1. That he did not doubt, but that many who were not given to Christ or elected, would in Time be brought to accept of the Saviour.

2. That there were others who were charitable, and who did not get the Pardon of their Sins in this World, would not­withstanding get their Pardon in the next World: to prove which, he brought this Text; viz. Make to your selves Friends of the Mammon of Unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into everlasting Habitatio

3. He also said, that God was or might be disappointed, in what he intended; and when this was objected against, he explained himself thus, viz. that God would not be finally disappointed of answering the End he intended, tho' he might be disappointed of answering that End by the first or second Means, &c. which he intended to answer it by.

4. He also said, that the Moravians did not look upon Family Prayer to be a Duty.

[Page 110]Here I may add, that Mr. Theodorus Frelinghausa, heard the Count assert, the second Article abovesaid. And more­over adds, that the Count asserted, that many would be saved at the Day of Judgment, by the Intercession of the Saints, and that he himself expected to save Thousands.

But I am tir'd with relating their Abominations. I must conclude by observing, that their Principles tend to deceive Mankind, and fix the World in a fatal Security: they are directly contrary to Scripture, Reason, Experience, Antiquity, the Writings of the ablest and best Divines of the Protestant Churches, to the Harmony of their Confessi­ons of Faith, and to the Work of God. O may the GOD of Truth save his People from all such Deceivers, and de­testable Delusions! Amen, Amen!

TWO SERMONS Preached …

TWO SERMONS Preached at New-Brunswick, In the Year 1741. ON The Priestly Office of Christ. AND The Virtue of Charity.

By Gilbert Tennent, A. M. And Minister of the Gospel there.

Heb. 4.15.

For we have not an High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our Infirmities; but was in all Points tempted like as we are, yet without Sin.

Heb. 13.1.

Let brotherly Love continue.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN, in Queenstreet over against the Prison. 1742.

[Page 1]

The Priesthood of CHRIST considered.

HEB. III. 1.

Wherefore holy Brethren, partakers of the heavenly Calling, consider the Apostle and high Priest of our Profession, Christ Jesus.

THE Apostle having in the preceeding Chap­ter, discours'd upon the priestly Office of Christ, doth in the beginning of this, ex­hort the believing Hebrews to a due Con­sideration thereof.

In the Words before us, two Things require our Notice; namely, the Cha­racter given to the believing Hebrews, and the Duty to which they are exhorted.

The Character is threefold, or contains three Encomiums. (1) The Apostle calls them Brethren, partly to shew his Condescension and Love to them; as also to signify their Duty to each other, namely Love. Then, and never till then, do Christians live like Brethren, when they exercise that Love to each other, which hopes all Things, which suffers long and is kind, and is not easily provoked, and seeketh not her own Things. It is an astonishing Stoop of Condescension, [Page 2] that Jesus Christ is not ashamed, to call his poor People Brethren. (2) The Apostle calls the Hebrews holy; which they were not only by Profession and Dedication, but by Principle and Practice. (3) They are said to be Partakers of the heavenly Calling, i.e. they were effectually reclaimed from Sin to Piety, by the special Call of God. Which is termed heavenly, because of its Original, Tendency and Issue. The Original and Principle thereof, is the Spirit of God from Heaven; the Mean whereby we are called, the Word of God, is spiritual and heavenly; the Tendency and Issue of the Call is Heaven. The general Course of the Affections of those who are called, is towards Heaven, and there is their dwelling Place for ever.

In the Duty exhorted to, two Things may be observed, namely the Act and Object, (1) The Act, consider: the ori­ginal Word signifies to animadvert, weigh, behold, observe, and that with Care & Diligence. (2) The Object, Christ Jesus, the anointed Saviour, represented by a twofold Character, namely that of an Apostle and high Priest. The Word Apostle signifies one sent: the Word high Priest signifies the Prince or Chief of those, whose proper Business it is to manage Things sacred. Moses was properly an Apostle, or Embassador, and Aaron the chief Priest; but one JESUS has fulfilled the Part of both, and that to Perfection. The Word Profession in this Text, (as I conceive) by a Metonimy of the Adjunct, sig­nifies the Religion we profess.

From the Words I observe the following Proposition, namely ‘That it is the Duty of all true Christians, to consider JESUS CHRIST, as the Apostle and high Priest of their Pro­fession.’

In speaking to the aforesaid Proposition, I would observe the following Order; namely, 1. Discourse upon the Aposto­late, and Priesthood of Christ. 2. Shew how we should consider them. 3. Why. And then proceed to the Im­provement of the Subject.

[Page 3]The first General Head, is the Apostolate of our Lord.

An Apostle as was before observed, signifies One sent, a Messenger or Ambassador. Here therefore let us transiently observe, in some Instances, the Analogy between our Lord and such.

The Apostles were immediately sent by Christ, inspir'd with Wisdom to unvail the Mysteries of Peace and Salva­tion, which had been long conceal'd, as well as endowed with Power to perform miraculous Works in Confirmation of them.

Thus our Saviour, who is the Wisdom and Power of God, came not of himself, but the Father sent him, to declare glad Tydings to the Poor; —and this Message he confirmed not only by his Life, and Miracles, but by his Blood.

The Apostles were to take Care of the Churches; and in Pursuance hereof they travelled unweariedly from Place to Place, preaching the Gospel, thro' good Report and bad Report, till they had finished their Course, and then com­mitted themselves to him that judgeth righteously.

Thus our Lord the great Apostle, bore upon his blessed Bosom, the Weight of the whole Church: in his humbled State, he travelled from Place to Place, indefatigably preach­ing the Gospel, and doing Good; in the Face of all Oppo­sition, Contempt and Danger, 'till he had compleated his Mediatorial Work, and could say, Father it is finished, into thy Hands I commend my Spirit.

An Embassador or Messenger of Peace from a Prince, is not only a Person of Honour, Integrity, and Skill; who is concerned to negociate in Matters of greatest Conse­quence, to the Weal or Wo of Nations, but is com­missioned by the Prince that sends him, whom in his Em­bassy he represents.

And is not our Lord a Person of the highest Renown and Dignity, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, possessed of a Retinue of innumerable Angels? The faith­ful and true Witness, the wonderful Counseller? Has not this Apostle, this Messenger of the Covenant, come from Heaven to Earth, with an Embassy of Peace and Salvation, which unspeakably concerns our everlasting Weal? Him [Page 4] hath God the Father sealed, and by him is the Person of the Father represented. So that he who honoureth the Son, honoureth the Father also.

A Messenger or Ambassador, is sometimes sent to put an End to War, that hereby the dismal Consequences thereof, may be prevented: To this Purpose, he is to make Propo­sals of Peace, on certain Terms, which he is vested with a Power to ratify.

Has not our Lord by his Gospel, made Proposals of Peace and Pardon, to the vilest Rebels, upon equal and honoura­ble Terms, viz. of Faith and Repentance, that hereby the unjust and unequal War, commenc'd against God by Adam's Apostacy may be issued, and so the damning Consequences of Rebellion prevented; and are not the aforesaid Pro­posals ratified by the Mediator's Blood?

A Messenger is apt to be grieved, when his Message is slighted, upon the Foresight of the Calamities consequent hereupon, for when the Treaty of Peace expires, a Scene of Desolation and Blood opens!

Thus when our compassionate Apostle, drew near to the City of Jerusalem, he wept over it, saying, If thou hadst known in this thy Day, the Things that concerned thy Peace, but now they are hid from thine Eyes! O will it not be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the Day of the Lord, than for those, who ungratefully slight the gra­cious Offers of this Messenger of the Covenant, this A [...]stle of our Profession!

When Ambassadors have faithfully delivered their Embassy, are they not at their Return, received with Honour? Thus with what inexpressible Honours and Acclamations of Joy, was our dear Lord received by the heavenly Hosts, when he ascended up on high, and led Captivity Captive! Did not all the prostrate Ranks of Saints and Seraphims, cast their Crowns at the Feet of our Immanuel on this Occasion? who was set at the right Hand of the Majesty on high, cloathed with all the Ensigns of Power, Greatness and Glory!

[Page 5]But I proceed to Discourse upon the Priesthood of Christ, That our Lord is a Priest, is evident from the Oath of God the Father, Psal. 110.4. The Lord hath sworn, and will not repent, thou art a Priest for ever, after the Order of Melchise­deck. Hence he is called our Ransom, Propitiation, Passover, and Advocate with the Father.

And hence have we so many Types of his priestly Office. The common Levitical Priests, were Figures of him; in their teaching of the People the Knowledge of the Law, Mal. 2.7. In their sounding of the Trumpets, either as an Alarm to War, or to assemble the People.

Thus our Lord sounds the Gospel Trumpet as an Alarm to spiritual War here, and will make the Arch-Angel's Trumpet snake the Creation hereafter, to form the last Grand Assize.

But the Priests were especially Figures of him, in offer­ing Sacrifices for the Sins of the People, and in judging of the Plague of Leprosy, and so pronouncing them clean and unclean. If it had reach'd the Head, the Person was to be pronounced unclean. So truly it is an awful Sign of a bad State, when Errors about important Points of Doctrine corrupt the Judgment. As our Lord gave himself a Sa­crifice for Sin, so he is the final Judge of the Plague of every Man's Heart.

Melchisedeck was doubtless a Type of our Lord, in his be­ing called the King of Righteousness and Peace. These represented the everlasting Righteousness and Peace, which the Redeemer introduced, and procured by his Blood and Obedience. Melchisedeck blessed Abram, and received Tyths of him, by which was doubtless signified, the supe­rior Excellency of the Priesthood of Christ, to the Levitical. Melchisedeck had no Predecessor or Successor in his Office, and his Age and Genealogy was designedly concealed, to sig­nify the ineffable Generation and eternal Duration of Christ, as also that he had no Rivals or Successors in his priestly Office.

But the high Priest was an illustrious Type of Christ, in the following Instances.

[Page 6]1. In Respect of his Call to his Office: He took not this Honour to himself, but was call'd of God and conse­crated by Imposition of Hands, Heb. 5.4. Numb. 8.10. Thus our Lord glorified not himself, Heb. 5.5. but was sealed or commissioned by his Father, Joh. 6.27.

2. In his Unction for his Office: Lev. 8.12. and was not our Lord anointed with the Oyl of Gladness, above his Fellows?

3. In his peculiar Ornaments, namely his holy Crown, his Mitre, Girdle, and Breast-Plate: All which typified the transcendent Excellency of Christ's Priesthood!

4. The high Priest's bearing the Names of the twelve Tribes on his Breast-Plate, when he appeared before God, seems to represent the affectionate Remembrance our Lord hath of his whole Church, when he intercedes for them with his Father. The Urim and Thummim on the Breast-Plate, signifying Light and Integrity, was doubtless a Figure of the Sufficiency of Christ's Prophetical Office, to answer all the Difficulties of his People.

5. The high Priest's yearly entrance into the Holy of Holies, and that not without Blood, to make Atonement, doubtless prefigured our Lord's Entrance into Heaven, as Mediator for us, in Vertue of his meritorious Blood, to make Atonement for all his Elect, Heb. 10.12.

6. The high Priest's being without Blemish, and the Cleanness of his Robes, Lev. 21. shadowed forth the un­spotted Purity of our high Priest Christ Jesus, who was holy, harmless, undefiled.—

7. As the high Priest only made Perfume, for burnt Offerings, so it is Christ alone who by the Incense of his Merits, can perfume our Devotions, and render them ac­ceptable to God, Rev. 8.3.

8. The high Priest's Death, set the Man-slayer free, who had fled to the City of Refuge: and does not the Death of our great high Priest set all those guilty Creatures free, who fly to him for Shelter? Isai. 32.1, 2.

Now the Necessity of the Priesthood of Christ, will appear by considering,

[Page 7]1. The Wrong that by Sin is offered to the divine Ma­jesty: it being a Contempt of his Authority, an under­valuing of his Mercy, and a Contrariety to all the Perfecti­ons of his Nature, as well as Precepts of his Law.

2. There is a Necessity of making Satisfaction for the Wrong done by Sin, because of the governing Justice, Wisdom, and Truth of God. Sin because of its vile Na­ture, deserves Punishment; and it is contrary to the divine Wisdom to dispense with it, without Satisfaction made; because this tends to destroy all Government.

In order to Government there must be Laws, and that enforced by proper Sanctions; but unless the Sanctions or Penalties be executed upon Transgressors, they are but in­significant Scare-crows. But the Almighty is obliged by his Truth, to inflict the Penalty of Death annexed to the Breach of the first Covenant, either upon the Sinner him­self, or a Surety in his Room and Place. I add,

3. That there is an utter Inability in Man, to make Satisfaction to divine Justice, either by doing or suffering. His Performances, thro' an inherent and universal Depra­vity of Nature, are imperfect and due to God, on the Ac­count of Creation, Isai. 64.6. Now what is sinful it self can never make Satisfaction for Sin. The Payment of Debt we owe as Creatures, can never pay another Debt, which we owe as Transgressors. And if Man satisfies by Suffering, it must be by such as is infinite, in Weight or Continuance, for less is not equal to the Demerit of Sin, which is objectively infinite, and what is less than its De­merit, a just God will not accept of. Now a Punishment infinite in Weight, would crush a finite Creature to no­thing; and if it be infinite in Continuance, it will make it for ever miserable.

The Priesthood of Christ, is that Mediatorial Office of our Lord, whereby he offers himself, as a propitiatory Sa­crifice for Sin, interceeds for his People, and blesseth them.


1. Act of Christ's Priestly Office, is to offer Sacrifice for Sin (Heb. namely, such in which God might rest, and for which, he might be reconciled to the [Page 8] Sinner. Here let it be considered, that the Person offering, was the Mediator God-Man, according to both Natures. (2) The Sacrifice offered, was himself, properly as to his human Nature; hence it is ascrib'd to his Body, his Blood, his Soul. (3) The Altar was himself, considered as to his divine Nature: for as from the Altar, springs the Value and Efficacy of the Sacrifice, so on the Deity of Christ, the Dig­nity & Influence of his Death depends. (4) The End of the Offering is Satisfaction; that by transferring the Guilt upon the Sacrifice, the Sinner may be freed and thus reconcil'd to the divine Majesty. This Offering our high Priest has at once finished by his Crucifixion, Heb. 9.26. The

2. Act of Christ's Priesthood, is his Intercession with the Father for his People. To intercede in general signifies to plead with one for another; and this is twofold, either out of Charity as Brethren, or by Virtue of Office. The lat­ter is peculiar to our Lord, who by Virtue of his Office, pleads for his People against all their Enemies, as well as for the Acceptance of their Persons and Services, the Con­tinuance of their Peace, and Satisfaction of their Desires.

Of the Intercession of Christ, there are two Periods, the first of which was when he was on Earth, Joh. 17. then did he with the greatest Humility and Fervour, desire Bles­sings for his People; the second is in Heaven, which he performs with the greatest Majesty.

(1.) By appearing before his Father for us, as the high Priest in the Holy of Holies, with the Names of the twelve Tribes upon his Breast-Plate.

(2.) By representing his Satisfaction and Merits, that on the Account thereof, his People and their spiritual Sacrifi­ces may be accepted in his Father's Sight. Hence he is said to appear as the Lamb slain.

Now the Intercession of Christ is gracious, general, pre­valent, perpetual. He pleads without any Reward from us. He pleads for all his without Exception, and him the Father always heareth: Hence his Blood is said to speak better Things than that of Abel; and that he lives for ever to make Intercession for his People. The Holy Spirit does indeed interceed by his Operations in us, thereby stirring up unutterable Groan­ings; [Page 9] but Christ without us by his Blood and Obedience.


3. Act of Christ's priestly Office, is Benediction. Hence the Priests of old, by divine Prescription, blessed their Peo­ple; and Melchisedeck blessed Abram: and hence we are inform'd, that in his Seed (which is our high Priest) all Na­tions should be blessed, and thus the Blessing of Abraham is said to come upon the Gentiles thro' Jesus Christ, (Gal. 3.14.) i. e. the same Blessing which God confer'd on Abraham, in Kind, on the Account of the blessed Seed, which did descend lineally from him. Hence our Lord after his Resurrection, blessed his Disciples, speaking Peace to them. And hence God the Father is said to bless his People with all spiritual Blessings in him, Eph. 1.3.

Sometimes to bless signifies to Praise, and give Thanks; and thus we bless God: sometimes to wish Prosperity; and thus Parents bless their Children, Pastors their People, and each the other: Sometimes to separate to a religious Use; and thus God blessed the Sabbath; and so the sacramental Elements, after Consecration, may be said to be blessed. Once more, it signifies to confer every Kind of Benefit which we need; in this Sense the Gentiles are said to be blessed in Christ. And in this last Sense of the Word it is that our Lord as a Priest blesses his People.

1. With all spiritual Blessings, namely Redemption, Justification, Sanctification, Adoption, Covenant-Commu­nion with him here, and eternal Glory hereafter. And

2. With all such temporal Mercies as are for their best Good. Even these are included in the Blessing of Abraham, which thro' Christ is derived on the Gentiles. Godliness hath the Promise of this Life, as well as that to come.


Second general Head of Discourse, is to shew how we should consider Christ, as our Apostle and high Priest.

1. We ought to consider him as such attentively, parti­cularly, frequently; often weighing in our Minds with Care, the absolute Necessity, the transcendent Excellency, and unspeakable Use and Benefit, of his Apostleship and Priesthood.

[Page 10]2. We should consider our Lord as an Apostle and Priest affectionately, with Wonder and Gratitude. O how amaz­ing was the concordant Discord, the friendly Contest, among the divine Attributes, about the Salvation of fallen Man! Avenging Justice required of the Sinner eternal Condemna­tion for his Offence; the Demands of Justice the Truth of God engaged to issue, and urg'd the Execution of the pri­mitive Threatning, Death of every Kind. On the con­trary, Grace and Mercy contended for the Sinner's Safety and Happiness, the Plea of which was strengthned by the Glory that would redound to the divine Goodness and Cle­mency hereby; which delights not in the Death of a Sinner, but rather that he may turn and live. Here unsearchable and divine Wisdom interposed, and offered to give Satis­faction to both the contending Parties thus; namely, in ordering that Sin should be punished according to Justice, and yet the Sinner be saved according to Mercy.

To this End divine Wisdom pointed to our high Priest, who by his Death and Obedience should satisfy Justice, and save the Sinner; who is hence called the Wisdom and Power of God, for in him divine Wisdom and Power have had a most glorious Display▪ In him Grace and Truth have met together, and Righteousness and Peace have kissed each other. O should not these Things fill us with Amazment, when the Angels stoop down to behold this wondrous Scene! And should not our Souls be inspir'd with the most passionate Gratitude, when we consider the awful Majesty, unstained Purity, glorious Sovereignty, and inexhausted All-sufficiency of that Jehovah, who gave such a high Priest to the World! —As also the Character and Quality of the Person he gave: Not a Levitical, Aaronical Priest, but One according to the Order of Melchisedeck: Not a Stranger but a Son, an only begotten and eternal Son; who is able to save to the uttermost all that come to the Father by him. Add to this, the Manner of the Gift; the eternal Father gave his only Son, with the Solemnity of an Oath, to signify the Immutability of his Counsel, as well as the superiour Excellency of the Priesthood of Christ, that hereby his Peo­ple might have strong Consolation.

[Page 11]But if we consider for whom, and for what, the Son of God was given to be a Priest by his Father, it may increase our Admiration. Was it not for Worms, Sinners, Ene­mies, as unworthy of his Love, as unable to requite it? And was not this the Design of his Priesthood, that he might reconcile such, even such to God, and vouchsafe all Bles­sings on them? O the amazing Heights and Depths of the Love of God in Christ, which passes all Knowledge; herein is Love, not that we loved him, but that he loved us, and gave his only begotten Son to be a Propitiation for us.

And what Gratitude should fire our Bosoms, when we consider the Condescention and Love of Christ, as an Apostle? When this Apostle trod our dusky Globe, then was the legal Vail rent in twain, the Day-Spring from on high did visit us, and the Sun of Righteousness shone upon us. The Jewish Shades vanished and expired, at the opening of the Gospel-Day, in the Charms of its meridian Beauty and brightest Radiancy.

3. We should consider Christ as our Apostle and high Priest effectually, so as to disclaim all Dependance upon our own Wisdom, and Righteousness, and with Readiness and Reverence embrace him for Direction and Forgiveness; we should continually depend upon him, and resign all our Affairs to his Conduct and Disposal.


Third general Head is to shew, why we should consider Christ as an Apostle and high Priest.

1. The commanding Authority of God obliges us, which it is ungrateful rebellious and exceeding perilous for us to dispute or disobey: Wherefore holy Brethren, Partakers of the heavenly Calling, consider the Apostle and high Priest of our Profession Christ Jesus.

2. Our Comfort and Interest should invite us: Christ is the Spring of Sweetness, and Consolation; but without an attentive believing Consideration upon him, how can we expect Comfort from him, which we so much need in our present Pilgrimage? Christ is the Fountain and Treasury of all Fulness, not only essentially as God, but by divine Con­stitution as Mediator, without Communications from which, [Page 12] we can make no religious Progress. And can such be ex­pected, without considering him from whom they are de­rived?

3. Our Usefulness in the World does much depend upon our considering of Christ. This, this is a proper Mean, to increase our Love to, and excite our Joy in him; and these will doubtless incline to proportionable Labours for him. But when Christ is neglected, our Joy faints, our Love lan­guishes; and then no wonder if our religious Labours are lessened.

The IMPROVEMENT of this Subject remains.


1. Hence we may learn the great, the gross Ignorance, which Sin brought Mankind to, who needed an Apostle, such an Apostle, to instruct them; this was so great, that un­converted Sinners are call'd Darkness it self, in the very Abstract, Eph. 5.8.

2. Hence we may learn the Love of God the Father in sending such an Apostle, to teach poor Sinners the Way to Blessedness; and to govern and establish the Church.

And does not the Love of the Son of God appear con­spicuous in this, that he left the Glories of Paradise, and willingly became an Apostle, a Fellow-Servant, in order to instruct the Poor and Ignorant! Ye know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that tho' he was rich, yet for our sakes he became poor, that we thro' his Poverty, might be made Rich.

From the Priesthood of Christ we may learn the sinfulness of Sin, which has so alienated us from God, that a Priest, a Reconciler for us with him, became absolutely necessary, and that not of the common Order. Such was the Guilt which our Sins contracted, that neither the Blood of Bulls nor of Goats could expiate it, nothing less than the Blood of the immaculate Lamb of God. Such was the Stain which Sin bro't on all our sacred Services, that they became odious to God; and thus an Intercessor was necessary, to perfume them with his meritorious Righteousness; without which they cannot be accepted. Sin has robbed us of every Blessing, of every Kind; so that a high Priest was necessary [Page 13] to bless us, and to derive the Blessing of Abraham on us. Sin has so armed the Law, the Justice, and Power of God against us, that nothing less than the accursed Death and the Obedience of the Son of God, can reconcile us to him, and screen us from deserved Vengeance. Is it not Sin that [...]ast the Angels out of Heaven, & Adam out of Paradise? Was it not this, that burnt the Cities of the Plain by a fiery Shower, and buried the whole Earth by a Deluge of Water? Is not this the bitter Source of the sable but numerous Train of Sorrows and Calamities, which do inviron, infest and perplex us, in this thorny Maze? Well, if Sin be so great an Evil, let us hate, bewail and shun it, and seek Recon­ciliation by the Blood and Obedience of our high Priest.

But in the mean Time, it is highly necessary that we inquire, whether Christ Jesus be our Apostle, our high Priest. To this Purpose let me ask you, in the Presence of God, whether ever you have had the Law and Gospel opened to your Minds with clearness, and set home on your Hearts with Power by this Apostle?

Has the Law discovered to you God's Majesty, Justice, Almightiness, as well as your own Unbelief, Enmity against God, and other Iniquities in Heart and Life, in their Num­ber and Aggravations? Has the Law applied, discovered to you your condemned lost State, and your utter want of Wisdom and Power to get out of it? And has a near View of these Things, together with their dreadful Consequences in another World, so distressed you that you could not rest; until the Gospel opened a Door of Hope in Christ, until ye heard and felt the glad Tydings thereof, accom­panied with surprizing Light, efficacious Energy, and over­coming Sweetness, so that ye were made willing under a Sense of your Sin and Nothingness, to venture your sick Souls by believing upon the Almighty Saviour, and him alone, having disclaimed all other Refuges?

The Apostle suggests some Things in our Text, which may help us to know, whether Jesus Christ be our high Priest. Namely (1) That such Persons are holy, i. e. the general Course of their Desires and Endeavours bends that Way from love to God and his Law. (2) They are Bre­thren, [Page 14] they love each other, with that Love which suffers long, and is kind. They love chiefly because of the Image of God, and in Proportion thereto, and this Love is not confined to their own Party. (3) They are Partakers of the heavenly Calling; i. e. they have heard the Voice of God, by his Law and Gospel, so as to be raised hereby from a Death in Sin, to a divine Life, to a Conformity to the Image of the Son of God, that he might be the first born among many Brethren, and particularly such set their Affections on Things above, (Col. 3.1.) and are habitually in the prevailing Temper of their Minds, Pilgrims and Strangers on this Earth. (4) They are of the Christian Profession, and that not in Name only but Thing. Such are not ashamed to confess Christ, and profess his Religion at all Times, and in all Places.

Now to those who have experienced the aforesaid Particu­lars, the Subject I have been discoursing on, offers great Consolation and Support. The Apostleship of Christ opens a Spring of Sweetness to such as are oppressed with a Sense of their Ignorance; who apprehend themselves to be as brute-Beasts, upon that Account. Such may consider, that Christ as an Apostle, is a condescending powerful Instructor, who makes the Heart of the rash to understand Judgment, and the Tongue of the Stammerer to speak plain. He makes the Simple understand Wisdom, and writes his Laws upon their Hearts, with indelible Characters, so that they become his Epistle.

And does not the Priesthood of Christ open a comfort­ing Scene to poor Believers, under all the Variety of their Distresses, and that in it's several Acts? As may appear thus.

When Sin urges, when the Law, Conscience, and Satan accuse; when we walk in Darkness, and see no Light; when we are distressed with the Fears of private or publick Judgments here, and eternal Condemnation hereafter: In these, and in all other Calamities, how sweet and sup­porting is it, to consider that we have a high Priest, who has offered not the Blood of Bulls or of Goats, but him­self, his Soul, his Body, his Blood, to reconcile us to God; [Page 15] a Priest after the Order of Melchisedeck, the King of Righ­teousness, and of Peace; the Son of God, God-Man, yea God himself! A high Priest who has made full Satisfaction, in whom his Father is well pleased; a high Priest who is able to save to the uttermost, all that come to the Father by him: on him therefore let us lay the Burden of our Guilt, as the Israelites did on the Scape-Goat, and in him let us joy and triumph, having no Confidence in the Flesh.

When we are almost discouraged, because of the Dead­ness, Wandrings, and other Impurities of our Devotions; likewise when we are distressed with Fears of falling away, it yields a great Support to consider upon the Intercession of our high Priest with his Father for us, which is authorita­tive, continual, prevailing, Joh. 17.24. Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am. Heb. 7.25. Seeing he ever lives, to make Intercession for them. Joh. 11.42. And I knew that thou hearest me always. There­fore let us offer our Prayers believingly in his Name, and seek to have them perfumed with the Incense of his Merit and Intercession: let us with humble Confidence, commit our whole Case to be intirely manag [...] by this gracious and faithful Advocate.

When the Enemies of Zion molest reproach and curse us, for our Zeal and Faithfulness to God, it is a Comfort to consider, upon the authoritative Blessing of our great high Priest, which will take effectual Place, notwithstand­ing all the Opposition of Earth and Hell. O how sweet are those Words of our dear Lord, recorded Mat. 5.11, 12. Blessed are ye when Men shall revile y [...], and persecute you, and shall say all manner of Evil against you falsely for my Sake: rejoyce and be exceeding glad, for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you! Surely the Blessing of Abraham has come on the Gentiles thro' Jesus Christ: but to inherit this, we must take Care, that we be the spiri­tual Seed of Abraham by a living Faith.

Let us be exhorted to hear the great Apostle of our Profession, seeing that his Father hath sent him, and com­mands us to hear him, Matth. 17.5. This is my beloved Son, hear ye him. Surely never Man spake like him; [Page 16] how then shall we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from Heaven, Heb. 12.25.

Let us therefore speedily accept of the Terms of Grace, which this Messenger of the Covenant proposes to us; for surely we cannot maintain a War against him. Shall Stub­ble contend with the devouring Flames? Have we an Arm like God; or can we Thunder with a Voice like him Who can stand before his Indignation? Who knows the Power of his Anger? He is wise in Heart, and mighty in Strength. Who has hardened himself against him and pros­pered? He but touches the Hills, and they smoke; yea the Mountains melt at his Presence! When he speaks, the purest Seraph vails his Face, the Pillars of Heaven trem­ble, and the Earth's Foundations shake, the Devils roar, and all Nature faints!

Consider, poor Sinners! how unjust and ungrateful your War against Heaven is. Is not Jehovah Jesus your right­ful Sovereign? Do not your Beings and all your Benefits proceed from his Power and Kindness? Consider, the great God whom ye have so much offended, is willing to be at Peace with you: He is waiting to be gracious to you, and wants to be exalted that he may have Mercy on you! And O how long have the Messenger of the Cove­nant and his Servants waited on you in vain! O! consider, how sweet, how safe it is to be at Peace with God. O con­sider, how strong the Lord is, to revenge your stupid Neg­lect! Consider poor Sinners, that this is your Day of Visitation! Behold now is the accepted Time, behold now is the Day of Salvation. A very uncommon Season it is at pre­sent, ye know, my Brethren, in Respect of the effusion of the Holy Spirit upon the Churches; especially in this American Wilderness! Take Care, my dear Brethren, that ye ben't left behind to Wrath and Ruin, while so many are pressing into the Kingdom of God. You have as preci­ous Souls as others; you have the same Encouragements, and are under at least equal Obligations; why therefore do ye stand all Day idle, in the Market-Place? Con­sider poor Sinners! how low Christ hath stooped to pur­chase Peace for Rebels, and upon what easy Terms, and [Page 17] with what Condescention and Importunity he proposes the same. Wherefore do ye spend your Money for that which is not Bread, and your Labour for that which satisfyeth not? Incline your Ear and come unto me, hear and your Souls shall live, Isai. 55.2, 3.

And should not we be induced to perform the Offices we owe to our high Priest? namely, Honour, Love, Obedi­ence, Homage and Support.

We owe Honour to such a Priest, suitable to his Dignity: this Abraham expressed to him in Melchisedeck.

Likewise Love is due to him as a Father, as a Priest; so faithful and merciful, that he has given himself to us, and in himself all Blessings to us.

We should perform Obedience and Homage also to him, as to a kingly Priest, of whom Melchisedeck was but a Type.

Another Duty is Support, (as it were in Tythes) mini­stred not to his Person, but to his indigent Members and Messengers. Did the Israelites express such Respect &c. to their common Priests? Did Abram so great a Patriarch give Honour as to the greater, and Tyths to the Priest Melchisedeck? and shall we refuse to perform what we owe to our high Priest, who is infinitely greater than Melchisedeck?

Finally, dear Brethren, seeing it has pleased Almighty God to provide for us such an All-sufficient and every Way suitable high Priest, whose Blood is sufficient to re­move our Guilt, and whose perfect Obedience to the Law is equal to acquire for us a Right to eternal Blessedness, a Priest who is in both Respect a hiding P [...] from the Wind, and a Covert from the Tempest; as Rivers of Waters in a dry Place, and the Shadow of a great Rock in a weary Land: Let us be intreated to hasten to him as our only Shelter and Security in every impending Storm and Calamity. On this Blood and Obedience let us intirely rest. May we be incited frequently to con­sider [Page 18] him in the whole of his Mediation while we live, with Reverence, Love and Delight, that so we may live with him eternally hereafter! Amen, Amen!

[Page 19]

Charity Recommended.

1 COR. XIII. 2.

And though I have the Gift of Prophecy, and under­stand all Mysteries, and all Knowledge; and though I have all Faith, so that I could remove Mountains, and have no Charity, I am nothing.

LOVE is certainly the brightest Emblem of the divine Nature, for God is Love; and the greatest Ornament of the human. Love is the Sinew of civil Society, and religious also, without which the Comforts and Profits of both, are either much impair'd or intirely lost. Love is the Substance of the Law, and the great Scope of the glorious Gospel. All the pure Precepts of the one, and condescending Directions of the other, tend to Love, and end in it. This is the royal Law, Jam. 2.8. If ye fulfil the royal Law according to the Scripture, thou shalt love thy Neighbour as thy self, ye do well. The Bond of Perfection and Badge of Christianity. By this our Lord observes, that his true Disciples may be distinguish'd from vain Pretenders. Joh. 13.35. By this shall all Men know that ye are my Disciples, if ye have Love one to another. Love is the noblest Image of the heavenly State: There all angry Debates & unhappy Contentions are for ever banished: [Page 20] There the strongest Affection, and the sweetest Concord, do for ever triumph: What unfailing Vigour and unfading Glory!

The Apostle plainly points out the vast Importance of this noble Grace, in the Words immediately preceeding our Text; where he observes, that the noblest Attainments of Knowledge and Eloquence, yea even of the Gift of Prophesying, and miraculous Faith, without Charity or Love, as the Word may be well rendered, would be no Evidences of his being a true Christian.

In discoursing upon this important Subject, I shall speak of the Nature, Kinds, Ingredients, and Effects of Charity; and then proceed to the Improvement. And

1. Charity may be more generally described thus, viz. that it is the Propension or Inclination of the Heart or Will toward our Neighbour.

2. It may be thus distinguish'd, namely that it is either carnal, natural, civil, or christian.

(1) Carnal is that sordid, shameful, and sinful Passion after forbidden Embraces, which springs from lawless Lust. This, without Repentance intervene, will plunge the Nocent in perpetual Ruin. This dishonours our Nature, reproaches our Religion, and will damn our Souls. 1 Cor. 6.9. Know ye not that the Unrighteous shall not inherit the Kingdom of God, &c.

(2) Natural, is a Regard which respects Children and Parents, which even the Beasts have something of; for the want o [...] which the Gentiles are reproved, Rom. 1.31. Without Understanding, Covenant-breakers; without natural Affection, implacable, unmerciful.

(3) Civil, is that Affection which is only grounded upon civil Causes; when Men respect one another as Men, or as cloathed with civil Offices, or for Kindnesses received.

(4) Christian, is that whereby Christians are respected for their Christianity.

It is the two last Kinds of Charity that I intend to dis­course upon.

[Page 21]In the Description which I gave of Charity, I observed, that it was the Inclination of the Heart towards our Neigh­bour: Now by Neighbour is to be understood every Man upon whom we can confer any Good. Luk. 10.29, 37. But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus. And who is my Neighbour? And he said, he that shewed Mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

The Order of this Charity is such, that seeing God is the primary and principal Object of Love, he is therefore the formal Reason of that Charity which we owe to our Neighbour. Next therefore after God we are to love our Selves, with that Charity which respects true Blessedness. By loving God with a Love of Union, we immediately love our selves, with that Charity which intends spiritual Blessedness; and others as it were secondarily, whom we would have partake with us of that supreme Good. Now albeit none are to be excluded from our Charity, yet it is not to be extended in a like Degree to all. It is true indeed in Regard of the Good, which we should wish to our Neighbour, there is no Imparity; because we should desire that the chief Good may be conferred on all, as upon our selves; and that with the same Seriousness and Sincerity; yet there should be a Difference in the Measure and Fruits of our Charity, according to the Difference of Persons, and Occasions it is to be exercised upon. Those that fear God are to be loved above others. Gal. 6.10. As we have therefore Opportunity, let us do Good unto all Men, especially unto them who are of the Houshold of Faith. A peculiar Regard is due to our Relations, above Strangers; and that in Proportion to the Nearness of the Relation; which should manifest it self according to the Nature of the Relation: If the Relation be corporal, principally in outward Things; if spiritual, principally in spiritual Things. The

Third general Head, is to speak of the Ingredients of Charity; which I think are these four, viz. Esteem, De­sire, Delight, Sorrow. And

1. Charity includes Esteem. A rational Affection follows our esteeming or valuing any Person or Thing, for some real or supposed Excellency or Good we conceive to be [Page 22] in them. That which hath neither physical nor moral Good in it or annexed to it, cannot be the Object of Esteem; and that which we have no Esteem of, we can have no Charity for. Now tho' there be various Kinds & Degrees of Excellency in our Fellow-Creatures, for which a pro­portionable Respect is due from us; yet there is none but who hath such a Measure of Good either natural or moral, as deserves our Esteem. The very worst of Men have im­mortal Souls, endowed with the noble Powers of Reason and Reflection, by which they resemble the infinite Knowlege, and spiritual Nature of the supreme Being: for there is a Spirit in Man, and the Inspiration of the Almighty giveth them Understanding; as Job observes. By this they are ca­pable, thro' the Assistance of divine Grace, to know and enjoy God. They are also our Brethren by Nature, for God hath made of one Blood all Nations. Upon these Accounts we ought to esteem and value the very meanest of the rational Creation, because they are the Workman­ship of God, and bear his Similitude: There are also additional Excellencies, to excite our Esteem for some, in whose Lives shine many moral Virtues. Why therefore should we set at nought our Brethren? And as to the People of God, they claim our Charity upon other Accounts: By Regeneration they are adorn'd with the moral Image of God; by Adop­tion they are admitted to the most valuable Priviledges; hereby they become the Children of God, and our Bre­thren by Grace, as well as Heirs of an inexpressibly rich and everlasting Inheritance. Should we then have a light Esteem of any of those Sons of God, because of accidental Differences? O no! What if some have not so much natural Abilities or acquired Learning as some others? yet the meanest of them has Wisdom to Salvation; and surely this is infinitely better than all the Knowlege of the World. Oh! the compassionate Prophet of the Church of God, makes the Simple to understand Wisdom; He causes the Heart of the rash to understand Judgment! What if they are poor in this World, this also flows from a Father's Love, and shall be made by the Power of God to increase their spiritual and eternal Riches: Their moral Blemishes [Page 23] should excite our Pity & Compassion. We are commanded to prefer others before our selves: and to this End we should be careful to observe their Excellencies, while blind to our own.

2. Charity includes an unfeigned and earnest Desire, after our Neighbour's Good, temporal, spiritual and eter­nal. Thus the Apostle John desired the present Pros­perity of his beloved Gaius, 3 Epist. 2 ver. Beloved, I wish above all Things that thou mayst prosper and be in Health, even as thy Soul prospereth. Thus the Apostle Paul affectio­nately thirsted after the temporal and eternal Weal, of the Philippians and Hebrews, Phil. 1.8, 9. For God is my Record, how greatly I long after you all, in the Bowels of Jesus Christ. And this I pray, that your Love may abound yet more & more, in Knowledge, and in all Judgment. See also Rom. 10.1. Brethren, my Heart's Desire and Prayer to God for Israel is, that they may be saved. Now, tho' we should wish without Dis­guise, that all the aforesaid Kinds of Good should be con­fer'd upon our Brethren, yet it ought to be with different Degrees of Intenseness, according to their different Degrees of Necessity and Excellency. We should undoubtedly be tender of their Characters and bodily Welfare; yet we should with greater Vehemence desire for them more dura­ble and valuable Enjoyments, namely those that are spiritual and eternal. The aforesaid Desire after our Brethren's Be­nefit, is by some call'd a Love of Benevolence.

3. Charity includes a Delight or Satisfaction in our Neighbour's Good, which by some is call'd a Love of Com­placence. Joy and Complacence naturally follow the Ful­filment of our Desires, and that in Proportion to their De­grees of Intenseness. The charitable Person (in the gene­ral Course of his Life) is so far from envying his Neigh­bour's honourable Character, shining Gifts, prosperous Successes, and increasing Graces, that he is really pleas'd therewith according to their different Degrees of Impor­tance. As one Member of the Body sensibly feels the Pleasure another more immediately enjoys, and is therewith delighted. But the Conversion of Sinners to the blessed God and their progress in Goodness, is peculiarly pleasing [Page 24] to charitable and generous Souls! O this makes them exult with joyous Triumphs, resembling the angelic Hosts; who also rejoyce upon the like Occasion! Luk. 15.7, 10. I say unto you, that likewise Joy shall be in Heaven over one Sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety & nine just Persons that need no Repentance. Likewise I say unto you, there is Joy in the Presence of the Angels of God, over one Sinner that repenteth. Of this noble Temper was the blessed Apostle Paul: O how did the Tho'ts of the Philippians Conversion, gladden his Heart with an en­during Pleasure! Phil. 1.3, 4, 5. I thank my God upon every Remembrance of you, always in every Prayer of mine for you all, making Request with Joy.

4. Charity includes a Sorrow for our Neighbour's Misery, Which some call a Love of Condolence. Now this Sorrow is in some Measure suited or proportioned to the Kind of Miseries, we behold them labouring under, as well as to the Degrees of our Desire after their Welfare. It is the Duty, the Temper and Practice of charitable Persons, not only to rejoyce with those that rejoyce, but also to weep with those that weep, Rom. 12.15. As one pained Member of the Body afflicts the rest, so charitable Per­sons are passionately affected with beholding others Mis­fortunes. The Sufferings of Persons in their Names, Bo­dies and Estates, open the Springs of their Sorrow. This was the Practice of Job, Chap. 30. 25. Did not I weep for him that was in Trouble? was not my Soul grieved for the Poor? Of this Temper of Mind was the Psalmist also, and that even towards his Enemies, Psal. 35.12, 13, 14. They re­warded me Evil for Good, to the spoiling of my Soul; but as for me, when they were sick, my cloathing was Sackcloth: I humbled my Soul with Fasting.—I behaved my self as tho' he had been my Friend; I bowed down heavily, as one that mourn­eth for his Mother. Hereto we may add the noble Example of the Apostle Paul's universal and unwearied Sympathy, mentioned, 2 Cor. 11.29. Who is weak, and I am not [...]? who is offended, and I burn not? As well as that of our Lord, Mat. 14.14. where it is said, And Jesus went forth, and saw a great Multitude, and was moved with Com­passion towards them, and he healed their Sick. The original [Page 25] Word signifies the tenderest and most compassionate Com­motion, even in his very Bowels, upon their Account. But that which especially excites the saddest Sorrows of charitable Persons, is the Consideration of their Neighbour's spiritual Miseries, and the Prospect of the eternal Pains, which are like to follow upon them. O! it breaks their Hearts and makes their Bowels bleed, to behold their poor Fellow-Creatures in a State of Wrath and Course of Sin! Rivers of Waters ran down the Psalmist's Eyes upon this Account, Psal. 119.136. He beheld Transgressors and was grieved, because they kept not God's Word, Ver. 158. The Apostle Paul assures us in the most solemn Manner, that he had great Heaviness and continual Sorrow in his Heart, on the Account of his unhappy obstinate and ungrateful Countrymen, for whose Salvation he could be willing himself to be accursed from Christ, if that could secure it, Rom. 9.1, 2, 3. I say the Truth in Christ, I lie not; my Conscience bearing me Witness in the holy Ghost, that I have Heaviness and continual Sorrow in my Heart; for I could wish that my self were accursed from Christ, for my Brethren, my Kinsmen ac­cording to the Flesh. The Love of our dear Redeemer was such as to incline him to be a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with Grief, that he might atone for the Offences of his People: and in particular how afflicting are those Instances of our Saviour's compassionate Charity to the Souls of Sin­ners, which we find mentioned, Ma [...] 3.5. And when he had looked round about with Anger, being griev [...] for the Hard­ness of their Hearts, he saith unto the M [...]n, [...]ch forth thine Hand: And he stretched it out [...] his H [...] was re­stored whole as the other. And Lu [...] 9.41. And when he was come near he beheld the City, [...] wept over it. And how endearing is the Love of the blessed God himself, whose Mercies are said to be above all his other Works! The Apostle James observes concerning the blessed God, that he is very pitiful and of tender Mercy, James 5.1 [...]. [...] full of Bowels. Hence we read of the sounding of his Bowels, and the turning of his Heart, when his People provoke him to inflict Judgments, Isai. 63.15. Where is thy Zeal, and thy Strength, the sounding of thy [Page 26] Bowels and of thy Mercies towards me? Hos. 11.8. Mine Heart is turned within me, &c. And hence in Imitation of the Cha­rity of the great God, we are bid to be merciful, as our heavenly Father is merciful; and to put on Bowels of Mercy, and to be tender hearted. Eph. 4.32. And be ye kind one to another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.

I proceed to the

Fourth General Head, which was to discourse of the Effects of Charity. And

1. Charity inclines to kind candid and favourable Sen­timents of our Neighbour's Person and Actions, so far as their Nature and Circumstances can in Reason admit. It thinketh no Evil; but on the contrary, hopeth all Things, and believeth all Things that are Good: It banishes all ill-natur'd Insinuations of our Neighbour's Speeches, Actions, and Designs; and puts the fairest and most favourable Sense upon them that can consist with Reason: instead of exposing and aggravating real Weaknesses, without urgent Necessity; it rather hides and extenuates them, and rea­dily offers any Excuse or Apology that can be thought per­tinent to that generous and truly noble Purpose. O how generous and precious is this Effect! and how subservient to the Peace, Weal and Comfort of Society! But Lord, how contrary is the Practice of a great Part of this ill-natur'd and unhappy World, who can hardly invent any Thing cruel enough (to their Mind) under the Umbrage of their Neighbours real or supposed Miscarriages, to blacken and ruin their Reputation.

2. Charity inclines to Mildness, Candor and Courtesy in Speech and Behaviour. It behaveth not it self unseemly; as the Apostle observes in this Chapter: 'It's Language is not cruel and clownish, but candid and courteous.' And there­fore, as the same Apostle observes, it is not easily provoked, but suffereth long, and endureth all Things: It inclines us to possess our Souls in Patience under injurious Treatment, and to restrain and bury our angry Resentments. Hence we are inform'd, that many Waters cannot quench Love, nor the [Page 27] Floods drown it, Cant. 8.7. [...] And hence we are entreated, Eph. 4.2. to walk with all Lowliness and Meekness, with Long-suffering, forbearing one another in Love.

3. Charity makes it's Possessor ready upon all Occasions, to do his Neighbour Good. Hence we are commanded, not to love in Word and Tongue (only) but in Deed and Truth. Therefore the Apostle observes in the 6th Verse of this Chap­ter, that Charity is kind; and truly so it is, to the Souls and Bodies of Men. And

(1) The charitable Person labours to do Good to his Neighbour's Soul, morally, by proposing of Good to be performed by him with suitable Motives and Directions, by which he may be brought to it, either by teaching if he is ignorant, or comforting if afflicted, or by Reasoning and Reproof if he errs in Principle or Practice, or by examin­ing if he is ignorant of his spiritual State, or by exhorting if he is slothful in doing Good, and especially by a good Example exciting to do the like.

(2) The charitable Person endeavours to do Good to his Neighbour's Body, physically, by such Acts of Kindness and Beneficence, as have a Tendency thereto. Heb. 13.16. To do Good and communicate forget not, for with such Sacrifices God is well pleased. ‘The charitable Person is liberal in his Kindness, as the Sun of his Light and Influence; and when his outward Ability fails, it is more than made up by the generous Sentiments and Wishes of his Soul, as well as Endeavours of his Life, in pressing others to Beneficence.’ True Charity will incline us to loose the Bands of Wickedness, undo the heavy Burdens, and let the oppressed go free; to draw out our Soul to the hungry, and satisfy the afflicted Soul, Isai. 58.6, 10.

Here let me mention for Illustration-sake a few Exam­ples. And

(1) That of Job is memorable, Chap. 29.11,—17. (2) That of our Saviour who went about doing Good to the Souls and Bodies of Men. He instructed the ignorant, com­forted the sorrowful, healed the diseased, and fed the hun­gry; and that sometimes at the Expence of Miracles. The Apostles also endeavoured to succour Men under out­ward [Page 28] Miseries; which appears by the Collection for the poor Saints at Jerusalem, which they forwarded: But their Charity was especially fixed upon Men's precious Souls; in which Respects tho' they themselves were poor in Tempo­rals, yet they made many rich in Spirituals, by their un­wearied Labours.

4. Charity prefers the publick Good to a private Interest. Hence the Apostle observes in the 5th Verse of this Chapter, that Charity seeks not her own Things. i. e. neither only nor principally. ‘Charity enlarges and ennobles the Mind of Man, and reduces the whole World within the Compass of its Care, in Comparison of which any Person's private Interest is as inconsiderable, as one Man compared with the whole World. And as it is so in it self, thus it is also in the Esteem of the truly charitable Person, whose noble Soul is sublimated by generous Love, above the sordid Sphere of selfish Considerations, to desire and seek with Sincerity, so far as he hath Opportunity, and Capacity, the Good of his whole Species.’ And this indeed is no more than what the great God requires of us, 1 Cor. 10.24. Let no Man seek his own: but every Man another's Wealth. And Phil. 2.4. Look not every Man on his own Things, but every Man also on the Things of others. And especially the publick and valuable Interests of the Church of God are very dear to charitable Persons. The Psalmist expresses his Concern that Way, to the following Effect; If I forget thee O Jerusalem, let my right Hand forget her Cunning, if Jerusalem be not my chief Joy.

In order to promote our Neighbours Good, Charity in­clines to Self-denial and Condescension. To compass the spi­ritual and eternal Good of Mankind, the charitable Apostles freely laid down their Honours and Interests, their Liberties and Lives: They pass'd thro' Dishonour and evil Report, being generally accounted the Filth of the World, and the Off-scouring of all Things; they were strip'd of all the Ease and Emoluments of human Life; exposed to Hunger and Nakedness, Scourging, Bonds and Imprison­ments; and in the mean Time cover'd with a Cloud of Reproach and Ignominy; in Perils, Travels, Labours and [Page 29] Watchings, often; and at last exposed to cruel Deaths. And yet all this they couragiously undertook, and patiently endured, in order to spread the Redeemer's Gospel, and save the Souls of Men from eternal Ruin. It is justly observed concerning them, even under their many Troubles, that tho' they were sorrowing, yet they were always rejoycing, and tho' they were poor, yet they made many rich. The Apostle Paul shews the Greatness of his Condescension in the following Places of Scripture, 1 Cor. 9.19. For tho' I be free from all Men, yet have I made my self Servant unto all, that I might gain the more. To the same noble Pur­pose he further observes in the same Chapter, That to the Jews he became a Jew; and to those that were without Law, as without Law. And in the last Verse of the aforesaid Chapter, he says, Even as I please all. Men in all Things, not seeking mine own Profit, but the Profit of many, that they may be saved. And this the Apostle prescribes as a Rule to others, Rom. 15.1, 2. We then that are strong ought to bear the Infirmities of the Weak, and not to please our selves. Let every one of us please his Neighbour for his Good to Edification.

5. Charity inclines those that possess it to Humility▪ Hence it's said in the 4th Verse of this Chapter, that Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puff'd up. No! it's so far from this, that charitable Persons are willing to do the meanest Offices, that may serve the Interests of their Friends. Charity inclines the greatest Souls and noblest Beings, freely to serve their Inferiours. It was this that inclined the Apostles to becomes the Slaves of Men, as it were, in order to secure their everlasting Interests. It is this that inclines the holy Angels, those Principalities and Powers, to minister to the Saints of God, in this Wilderness, that they may guide and guard them to Glory. 'Twas this that inclin'd the innocent honourable and eternal Son of God, to leave his Father's Bosom, and stoop as low as Earth, by uniting it to his Deity; hereby his divine Glory was for a Time obscured, and the Son of God assum'd the Form of a Servant, was made a Man of Sorrows and acquainted with Grief; hereby he who was rich in all his Father's essential Excellencies, became poor, that we thro' his Poverty might [Page 30] be rich. 'Twas Charity inclin'd him to wash his Disciples Feet for our Example; and to lay down his precious Life to purchase their Salvation. It's Charity that inclines the great God himself, who inhabiteth Eternity, to dwell in the humble Heart, (Isai. 57.15.) to humble himself to behold the Things that are done in Heaven and Earth; to take such gracious and continual Care in preserving of, pro­viding for, and bearing with, such mean Dust as we!

Why therefore having such noble Examples, should we not serve one another by Love? (Gal. 5.13.) and conde­scend to Men of low Degree, in performing the humblest Offices that may serve their Interest, or supply their Ne­cessity!

Hence we may learn, 1. The Excellency of the Christian Religion; the Scope of which is to inculcate that Virtue of Charity, which is as consonant to the moral Perfections of the divine Nature, as it is conducive to promote the Good of Society.

2. Seeing Charity is the great Character of true Christia­nity, without which we can have no reasonable Claim thereto, 1 Joh. 3.14, 15. He that hateth his Brother is a Murderer—. And Ver. 17. But whoso hath this World's Goods, and seeth his Brother have Need, and shutteth up his Bowels of Compassion from him; how dwelleth the Love of God in him? 1 Joh. 4.20. If a Man say, I love God, and hateth his Brother, he is a Lyar—: We should be therefore invited to examine our selves, whether we have the aforesaid Ingredients and Effects of Love, viz. such Esteem, Desire, Delight, Sorrow; such favourable Sentiments of Mind, Courtesy in Speech and Carriage, Beneficence and Kindness in Action; a preferring of the publick Good to our pri­vate Interests, Self-Denial and Condescention in promoting it; and Humility. To these, for a further Discovery of our State, I shall add a few more Characters of Christian Charity, by which let us try our selves. And

1. True Charity to Man springs from the Love of God, and is exercised with a Regard to his commanding Authority. Love to God, where it is special and transcendent, will ne­cessarily constrain us to love our Brethren.

[Page 31]2. It especially eyes the moral Image of God in Man, and is proportioned to the Degrees it perceives thereof to [...] in them. Tho' the charitable Person loves the wh [...] rational Creation with a Love of Benevolence, and as Occasion serves with a Love of Beneficence; yet he also respects pious Souls with a Love of special Complacence. These are the excellent Ones of the Earth, in whom is all his Delight: and as he loves all that are truly Good, whatever Denomination they bear, peculiarly and sincerely; so according to the Degrees of their Goodness, is his Esteem and Love increased.

3. True Charity will not only dispose to do our Neigh­bour Good in Temporals and Spirituals, but also to bear with his Weaknesses.—Those who can justly apply to them­selves these Signs of Christian Charity, may be comforted in this, that their Love is an Evidence of their gracious State, and Communion with the divine Majesty. 1 Joh. 2.10. He that loveth his Brother, abideth in the Light,— And Chap. 4. 16. God is Love; and he that dwelleth in Love, dwelleth in God. In the mean Time, it ought to be observed, that we have no sufficient Reason to think Persons to be spiritually Good, unless they be sound in the main doctrinal Principles of Religion: for surely Truth is the Foundation of real Holiness, without which all Appearances of Piety, how great soever, may be rea­sonably suspected. But alas, is there not Reason to lament it, if it were possible with Tears of Blood, that the very contrary to what has been now express'd, too generally prevails among some, who profess the same blessed Truths of God.

I proceed to a Use of EXHORTATION.

O let us all be intreated to seek after the Truth, In­crease, and Exercise of this noble Grace of Love and Charity, in it's whole Extent and utmost Latitude; and that for the following Considerations.

1. Because this Commandment we have from God, that he who loveth him, should love his Brother also. 1 Joh. 4.21. Should not this have some Influence upon us, who are his Creatures; who have deriv'd our Beings from his [Page 32] Almighty Power, and all our Blessings from his gracious Providence, and whose Lives and Happiness depend on his Favour!

2. Such is the Excellency of Charity, that it is the very Sum and Fulfilment of the Law of God, the very Soul and Spring of all the Duties we owe to our Neighbour. So that not one of them can be genuine and acceptable, unless it proceed from Charity. Gal. 5.14. For all the Law is fulfilled in one Word, even in this, Thou shalt love thy Neigh­bour as thy self. ‘Charity (saith a learned Writer) gives Worth Form and Life to all Vertues; so that without it no Action is valuable in it self, or acceptable to God. Sever it from Courage, and what is that but the Boldness and Fierceness of a Beast? from Meekness, and what is that but the Softness of a Woman, or Weakness of a Child? from Courtesy, and what is that but Affectation or Artifice? from Justice, and what is that, but Humour or Policy? from Wisdom, and what is that but Craft and Subtilty? what meaneth Faith without it, but dry Opinion? what Hope, but blind Presumption? what Alms-Doing, but ambitious Ostentation? what under­going Martyrdom, but Stiffness and Sturdiness of Resolu­tion? What is Devotion, but glossing and mocking with God? What is any Practice, how specious soever, in Appearance, or materially Good, but an Issue of Self-conceit, or Self-will, of servile Fear, or mercenary De­sign?’ Thus far he. But

3. Charity is of such absolute Necessity, that without it we must expect to perish to all Eternity. 1 Joh. 3.15.

4. Charity is just and reasonable; as may appear by the following Particulars,

(1) There is some Propensity to it arising from the very Frame of our Nature; which appears from the Power that Tragedies have over our softer Passions: Our Grief is somewhat mov'd whether we will or not, when we hear of awful Accidents, that have befallen others, in which we our selves are not at all concern'd; and much more when we behold them conflicting with uncommon Calamities! And no doubt the natural Desire we have after Society, is partly [Page 33] owing to a Disposition, that is in all Mankind, to commu­nicate Good to others. Hence ariseth a Complacency of Mind upon our doing of Good to others, and an Uneasiness from the contrary. The Apostle confirms what has been observ'd under this Head, Rom. 12.10. Be kindly affectioned ( [...]) which supposeth that there is a natural Affection in Men, which it is our Duty to exercise and increase.

(2) Every one is inclin'd to desire and expect Love from others, as a Debt due to them; and if it is not paid, they are apt to be offended. When we are under Reproach, Misery and Want, we take it hard if Sympathy & Succour is refus'd. This shews plainly that according to our own Judgment, we owe the like to others in Extremity: for it is an unjustifiable Weakness to expect or desire for our selves, what we deny to others, who have as good a Right to Kindness as we. And this our blessed Lord himself con­firms by that golden Rule of Love, which he has given for our Direction, Mat. 7.12. Therefore all Things what­soever ye would that Men should do to you, do ye even so to them; for this is the Law and the Prophets. Than which nothing can be more equal and rational.

(3) ‘All Men are Brethren and Representatives, Parta­kers of the same Nature, Possessors of the same Powers and Faculties, liable to the same Accidents, and subject to the same Laws. And is it not reasonable to shew Kindness to our Brethren, and to regard our own Pictures? and on the contrary most unnatural and cruel to wrong either? But if we are true Christians, there are additional Engagements upon us to exercise Charity to the People of God, seeing they are with us Children of one Father, Possessors of the same divine Nature, Pilgrims to the same Paradise, and Heirs to the same Inheritance, and thereby our Brethren in the noblest Sense.’

(4) Charity is an easy Duty, consisting chiefly in Good-Will. ‘Whence the poorest Beggar is as able to perform it as the mightiest Monarch: Tho' his Hand be not so full of Alms, his Heart may be as full of Love.’ This is what God principally Respects, and what he will accept of when there is no Ability to shew other Succour. [Page 34] ‘'Twas on this Account the Widow's Mites were so highly valued and honourably mention'd in sacred Writ. Love made them far outweigh all the golden Donations of the great, rich and honourable.’ And we are assur'd b [...] the true and faithful Witness, that even a Cup of cold Water flowing from this noble Principle, will not be buried in Oblivion, or miss a gracious Reward. Mat. 10.42. And whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little Ones a Cup of cold Water only, in the Name of a Disciple, Verily I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his Reward. And indeed Cha­rity is the surest and easiest Way of performing all those Duties we owe to our Fellow-Creatures. ‘If we would hasten through the Circle of Duty, let us Love, and all is done: Do we want to serve God with Delight and Constancy, then let us Love.’ For that is the only en­during Source of voluntary, spiritual and steady Obedi­ence, other Motives are mean and mercenary, and do but produce an unwilling ignoble and instable Service. Effects must needs vary with their Cause: Now external slavish and mercenary Motives to religious Action, are as inconstant as the Wind; and therefore nothing that is sta­ble can be expected from them. Do we want to be pre­pared for Suffering? O! then let us Love, and we shall be willing to endure any Thing for Christ; for many Waters cannot quench Love. Do we want to make Progress in Holi­ness? O! then let us Love. That is the Sum of the Law, and Bond of Perfection.

(5) Charity is pleasing to God, not only in that it con­forms us to his moral Excellency, but also because it is an Expression of our Love to him, when for his Sake we shew Kindness to his Friends and Servants; and this he informs us he accepts of as done to himself, Mat. 25.34, 40.— Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foundation of the World. And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, in as much as ye have done it to one of the least of these my Brethren, ye have done it unto me. And certainly the contrary Practice is a slighting of Christ.

[Page 35]6. Charity ennobles and perfects our Nature; ‘adorns and beautifies our Souls, it inlarges the Mind of Man, and fills it with great and generous Projects, worthy of its Dignity and Design of being; it grasps the whole Universe in its kind Embraces, and aims at a universal and immortal Good.’

Charity likens us to the noblest Creatures the Angels of God, those glorious Nobles of the Court of Heaven, who with incessant Delight labour to promote our Good, and that without any Hopes of Recompence from us; yea, Charity likens those that are possessed of it to the glorious God himself, who is the great Original of all Good and Excellency; who tho' he be infinite in Purity and Self-Sufficiency, and so uncapable to receive any Benefit from his Creatures, who are unworthy of his Notice, and whose Goodness extends not to him; does notwithstanding freely vouchsafe innumerable and unwearied Benefits upon them, and bear with their Affronts and Offences. ‘What is Charity but Goodness extending its kind Influence to pro­per Objects without low and sneaking Designs? Such is its amiable and venerable Majesty, that it can't be beheld without Admiration. Wit, Power and Grandeur, without this are mean and ignoble, and what sordid Creatures, namely Pagans, Turks, and Devils possess.’

On the contrary, Uncharitableness debases, degrades, and defiles the noble Soul of Man, by making Self the Center of all his Pursuits; the Compass of all his Cares and Projects is meanly contracted to that pitiful Point: the whole Business of his Soul is to make Provisions for his Body, for this he acts like the crafty Fox, or cruel Wolf, using either Fraud or Force to catch his Prey. Again,

Charity is exceeding advantageous, in as much as it pre­vents Strife and Contention, which flow from the contrary Disposition: and are not Peace and Quiet desirable Things? It also hath a natural Tendency to procure Friendship. Love is a Kind of Loadstone, which draws Persons by a gentle Violence to love us again; for who can withstand the Charms of a generous Charity, that have the least Remains of Humanity left in them? Again,

[Page 36]Charity will sweeten every State of Life, and make them safe and profitable: It will incline us to answer the Design of Prosperity by succouring the Indigent, and yield Plea­sure in so doing; but temper'd with a View of our Neighbour's Calamity. It also helps in Adversity, not only by the Sweets of the divine Presence, and inclining us to submit to his sovereign Will, but by a Complacency in others Successes. But Uncharitableness is the very Re­verse.

‘Charity is indeed a sure, easy and safe Way, to the Possession of all good Things.’ 2 Cor. 6.10. As sor­rowful, yet always rejoycing; as poor, yet making many rich; as having nothing, and yet possessing all Things. Does not your Neighbour's Wealth enrich you, if you feel Content in his possessing it; and his Honour advance you, if you feel a Complacence in it? Neither is this Property only imaginary, but real; for how is Property in Things other­wise considerable, but for the Content it brings? Again,

Charity frees our Souls from those gloomy Passions of Anger and Revenge, which eclipse their Beauty, and disturb their Peace, and settles the Mind in a serene Calm, and keeps the lower Passions in a pleasing Har­mony. Gal. 5.22. The Fruit of the Spirit is Love, Joy, Peace. If therefore we love our Selves, we must love others, and do them Good. By Complacency we partake of their Pleasures and Profits, whether they will or not; and by our Courtesy and Kindness, they will be inclin'd, unless they be Monsters of Ingratitude, to help us in Ex­tremity; and to live in Peace and Amity with us. Further­more, our Kindness to them is like to engage their Prayers in our Favour; which if they are pious, are of great Im­portance; for the fervent Prayers of the Righteous avail much. If the Curses and Complaints of the oppressed do reach the Ears of God, Jam. 5.4. Behold the Hire of the Labourers, which have reaped down your Fields, which is of you kept back by Fraud, crieth; and the Cries of them which have reaped, are enter'd into the Ears of the Lord of Sabaoth, and pull down Vengeance upon Oppressors: How much more will the Intercessions of the pious Poor, pierce the [Page 37] Heavens, and bring down Blessings on the Charitable? But were no such profitable Fruits following upon the Exercise of Charity, it's indeed eligible for it's own sake: for it carries a Reward, a Heaven in it's Bosom, even that Calm which in some Measure constitutes the Happiness of the glorified Saints and Angels, and even of God himself! O then, let us endeavour to obtain and increase this noble Grace! To this End, let us seriously consider the Advantages that follow upon it, and the Disadvantages which attend the Neglect thereof. Let us therefore ex­ercise Love to God and Christ, and earnestly beg this Grace of Love to our Brethren, and endeavour after it as far as we can.

But my very dear Brethren! Do not imagine that I have been by this Discourse, inciting you to an unreaso­nable Charity; i. e. to look upon Persons to be truly gracious, when they are unsound in the main Principles of Religion; and so to respect them as such, because of their fair Shew in the Flesh! No! no! This would prove a great Snare to your Souls: For when the Affections are inflamed, the Judgment is apt to be secretly byassed in Favour of the Objects of our Love. Tho' Charity hopes all Things, yet it is not stone-blind: We must examine well Men's Principles, before we give a loose to our religious Passions towards them. To be suspicious when we have Reason for it, is a godly Jealousy, and very necessary for our own Se­curity; especially in these perilous Times in which we live. The Charity I have been inciting to, is such as con­sists with our Regard to Truth, and to our own Preserva­tion. It is a common saying, and a very just one, That Charity should begin at Home. Love to our selves is made by our Lord, the Rule of our Love to our Neighbour.

I conclude with the Exhortation of Paul, to the Ephe­sians, (Eph. 5.1, 2.) Be ye therefore Followers of God as dear Children, and walk in Love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us, an Offering and a Sacrifice to God, for a sweet-smelling Savour.

A SERMON By Abraham …

A SERMON By Abraham Hellenbroek. Sometime Minister of the Gospel at Rotterdam.

From CANTICLES Chap. II. Ver. 15.

Take us the Foxes, the little Foxes that spoil the Vines: for our Vines have tender Grapes.

Being one of that Rev. Author's printed Discourses on the SONG of SOLOMON.

Published at Rotterdam, Anno 1717. Translated from the Dutch.

BOSTON: N. E. Printed and Sold by S. KNEELAND and T. GREEN, in Queen-street. 1742.

[Page 1]

Take us the Foxes, &c.

CANT. Chap. II. Ver. 15.

Take us the Foxes, the little Foxes, that spoil the Vines, for our Vines have tender Grapes.

IT is not enough, for one to bring Things into a good State, or Condition at first, but we should also endeavour afterwards carefully to preserve them therein: Let a Man in temporal Matters, or civil Affairs, erect ever such famous Edifices, plant ever such fine Gardens, and make other Things of curious Workmanship, which with much Art, and great Pains are brought to admirable Perfection, we shall observe, that the Esteem, that was enter­tained of the Projector's Wisdom and Contrivance, will be much lessened, when these Things are presently neglected, and no more Care or Pains are taken by him to preserve them, against those Things that might annoy or spoil them. How­beit God the all wise Architect of the Universe takes no less Care to maintain, and preserve the Works of his Hands, than he did in their first Formation: of which he gives us daily Instances, by his watchful and providential Care, over the Works of Nature, and in his Church he gives us no less Proofs of this; if ever he brings his Church into a flourishing State, [Page 2] and makes her appear like a delightful Garden, he takes Care and gives Orders concerning every Thing, that might cause her Beauty to fade, or rob her of her Ornaments: Which makes the Prophet Isaiah to speak of the Church as a Vine­yard on a fruitful Hill, and planted with the choicest Vine. It is very remarkable that the first Thing here mentioned of it, is, And he fenced it, Isai. 5.1.2. and to what End the same was thus fenced appears from the 5th Verse, because that Vineyard so beautifully planted might not go to decay, or be trodden under Foot, eaten up or destroy'd by wild Beasts. Thus God takes Care to turn out of his Church whatever may prove pernicious or hurtful, as well as to cherish and preserve whatever may perfect and beautify her Form. This appears very emphatically in the Words of the Text: The Bride­groom was before busy, in inviting his Bride, as it were into the Country, in order to let her participate of all those Plea­sures and Delights, which the Season afforded; for it was told her before, that every Thing had a goodly Appearance, and had put on a beautiful Form, and that every Thing now was flourishing and adorned with all the Beauties, and Per­fections of the Spring-Season, shadowing forth the spiritual State of the Church, in a high Degree of Perfection; in all Respects like a beautiful Paradise of Delight and Happiness. But behold the Lord Jesus in the Words of the Text, is busy and full of Care, that this beautiful Form and Appearance of Things in his Vineyard should not be marr'd or hurt, but that great Diligence should be used to have them preserved, and therefore he commands his Servants, to take these destructive Foxes, and especially the young or little Foxes (which according to the Account that Naturalists give us of them, are propagated in the Spring, and if not catched, greatly multiply, and prove very pernicious) that they might not hurt, or destroy the Beauties of this Vineyard, as before described; and at the same Time, that the Bride might not be frightned, and disturbed in her sweet Communion and Fellowship with the Bridegroom, and that what was plea­sant and delightful in this Vineyard, might not be lessened by the spoiling of the Vines, and the Destruction of the tender Grapes. Thus the Words in more than one Respect [Page 3] have a sweet Connection with what went before. Take us the Foxes, the little Foxes, that spoil the Vines, for our Vines have tender Grapes.

The Text then contains a tender Care which the Lord Jesus has for his Church, and more especially for such Members of it, as are the weakest, that they may not by wicked and pernicious Instruments, lose their Comeliness, but that they should be duly watched over, and taken Care of.

Two Heads of Doctrine do naturally flow from these Words.

First, A Command, Take us the Foxes, the little Foxes, that spoil the Vines.

Secondly, An Argument, For our Vines have tender Grapes.

Who it is that speaks here is somewhat obscure, but as to the Matter spoken of, there is but little Difficulty. Some are of Opinion, that the Bride speaks to the Bridegroom, and at the same time to his Bridemen and Fellows, consi­dered together; or together with the Father and the Holy Ghost; which should be brought in and included by the Word (us—) But the most take them to be the Words of the Bridegroom, and I see no Reason to dissent from them. It is not unlikely that what contains a Narrative of her Beloved's Answer as spoken by her, ends at the 13th Verse, and that the Bridegroom begins his Speech to her at the 14th Verse, and so is continued in this: And if it be taken that the 14th Verse should belong to said Narrative, or Christ's Call upon his Spouse, as she relates it, yet this 15th Verse may properly be connected with it; and then it will still appear to be the Words of the Bridegroom, related or spoken by the Bride; and tho' she ends her Nar­rative at the 14th Verse, yet he may very properly be taken and understood to speak here, for these following Reasons. First, To relieve the Bride from new Fears, or Doubts, by giving Command to his Servants, in her Pre­sence, to take the Foxes, which might appear frightful, and offensive, that so she might without any Scruple, or Doubt, follow him towards the Country. 2dly, Because the Matter which is here given in Charge, is peculiar to that tender Care, [Page 4] which the Lord Jesus exercises towards his Church. 3dly, Because he has the greatest Prerogative, over those to whom this Charge or Command is given. 4thly, As he is the Lord of the Vineyard, he can do it with Autho­rity: and therefore most eminently belongs to him. 5ly. This further appears, because the Word (us) most certainly includes him, and it is more fitting, that he should give Orders, than the Bride.

The Evil which the Bridegroom is here concerned about, he expresses by the Name of Foxes, little Foxes, that spoil the Vines: The original Word is never otherwise translated by our Interpreters than by the Word Fox or Foxes, Judges 15.4. Neh. 4 3. Psal. 63.11. Lam. 5.18. Ezek. 13.4. From what this Word hath arisen, is very difficult to know: the learned Bochart observes, that by the Chaldeans, the Syrians, and the Arabians, a Cough is expressed by a Word, that agrees with this; and hence he concludes that the Foxes derive their Name, because it is peculiar to them to cough; or because their Barking resembles a harsh or hoarse Cough. He lays the whole stress of his Opinion, in this Respect, upon a French Proverb, and on a certain Author, that has made some Remarks upon it, and inasmuch as in the same Remarks, it is said, that the Foxes are possessed with a great internal Heat of Body (and I add, that they are exceeding Greedy, and of a rapacious Swiftness) I might with as much Ground of Probability, suppose, the Word to be derived from an Arabian Word, signifying in that Language (burning) — However I leave that Matter as it is.

It is a Creature that was known, and very common in the Land of Canaan; which seems plain from the Story of Sam­son, at least they were numerous towards the Borders of the Phillistines Country, Judges 13.4. It is a wild Creature, and therefore chiefly resorting in desert Places, Lam. 5.18. Ezek. 13.4. and that they are Creatures that feed upon Flesh or Dead Corps is plain from Psal. 63.10. and Bochart observes the same: that they also fed and prey'd upon Fruits, and destroy'd them, appears plain from the Words of the Text. It is beyond all doubt, that by the Foxes here men­tioned, [Page 5] is emblematically signified, and understood, a certain Sort of Men. R. Solomon a Jew, understood by these greater and lesser Foxes, the Egyptians, and their Children whom God caused to be taken and swallow'd up by the Bil­lows of the Red Sea: And hence according to his Notion they have derived their Name; I think but a very slender reason, Aben Ezra, supposes by them is meant, the wor­shippers of the golden Calf in the Wilderness, which accor­ding to him, did a great deal of Damage to the young Vineyards of the Children of Israel. The Chaldee Para­phrase makes them, to signify Amaleck, who was contriving to destroy Israel in the Wilderness. Others understand by these Foxes, those Adversaries of the Jews, who after their Return from the Babylonian Captivity, endeavoured by Force, and all Manner of Artifice, and by their Complaints to the Persian Monarchs, to hinder and obstruct the rebuil­ding of the Temple, and the re-establishing of the Jewesh State Ezra 4. Neh. 4.6. Some have understood them as intending Herod, and his Ministry, who destroy'd the innocent Chil­dren in that horrid Murther at Bethlehem: Others again in a larger Sense, will make them to signify all Manner of Sin; sinful Thoughts, and Affections, which lurk in the hidden Corners, and Recesses of the deceitful Hearts of Men, and which prove very troublesom to the tender Blossoms, and first Fruits of Grace in the Children of God; this by Way of Allusion is something nearer to the Purpose.

But in Order to answer the Design of the Spirit of God, and the usual Way of explaining such Kind of Emblems, it will be much better to conceive, and understand by the Word Foxes, Men who are destructive Instruments of the Church; that prove to be to the Church what Foxes are said to be to the Vineyards. It is plain, that such Sort of Men are emblematically represented in the Scriptures, and described by different Kinds of wild and brute Beasts. When by them are signified such Men as prove destructive to the Church, thro' Barbarities and bloody Perscutions, then they are generally called Lyons, Leopards, Bears, and wild Swine, and such like voracious Animals.

[Page 6]Some indeed have also thought that by Foxes, such kind of Persecutors are intended, because that Tyrant Herod, was by our Lord compared to a Fox, Luk. 13.32. But I think it is well observed by the famous Bochart, that Jesus did not call him so, so much for his Cruelty as for his Subtilty and Deceitfulness, of which he had given some Specimens. I therefore believe with most Interpreters, that by Foxes is not so much intended, or to be understood open and bloody Persecutors, as more close and hidden Injurers of the Church. 1st. Because such most frequently appear, in the best and most peaceable State of the Church, as I before hin­ted. 2dly, Because such are not so apt totally to waste and destroy the Vineyards (which seems more peculiar to Ty­rants, and more voracious Creatures) but only in Part, which is plainly intimated by these Foxes; who we see are mostly bent upon the Destruction of the young and tender Grapes, while the Vineyard may still remain. 3dly, Because these are more properly the Subjects, here to be catched and taken, by the Servants and Ministers of the Bridegroom, and the Bride, which is not so much the Case in respect of cruel and powerful Persecutors. 4thly, Because the par­ticular Denomination of Foxes, in respect of their Quality, more properly belongs to them. Hence it is that in all Ages, such Men are more to be found within the Church, who by their Artifice and Craft, have more secret Ways and Means, to do Injury to Truth and Piety, and have proved dangerous, and hurtful to the Children of God. Such were the false Prophets, and deceitful Teachers under the old Testament Times, who were also compared to Foxes, Ezek. 13.3, 4. Thus saith the Lord God, Wo unto the foolish Prophets, that follow their own Spirit, and have seen nothing. O Israel, thy Prophets are like the Foxes in the Desarts. And afterwards, all those false Scribes and Seducers of the People, all those Sects of Pharisees, Sadducees, Esseens, and others, who after the return of the Jewish Nation from the Babylonian Captivity, by Degrees grew up and multiplied, and who by their false Doctrines and perverse Deportments had wofully perverted [...]ruth, true Piety, and the Service of God, together with all those false Apostles [Page 7] and false Brethren of the Jews, those vain and mistaken Phi­losophers of the Heathens, who either by their Jewish, or heathenish Principles and Doctrines, had perverted the Doc­trines of Christian Liberty, and the Simplicity of the Gospel, and all that Train of Hereticks, Seducers, and Schismaticks, who from Time to Time have appeared in the Gospel Church; a Catalogue of which in every Age we have recorded by the learned Spanheim in his Ecclesiastical History. Certain it is that all such Kind of noxious, and destructive Instru­ments in the Church, may very emphatically be compared to Foxes.

If any should be so inquisitive, as to desire a more or less certain Description, of the Nature and Quality of Foxes, they may see what Naturalists have said concerning them, as set forth at large by Gesnerus, Bochart, and others. I shall but briefly mention a few of them.

First, Foxes are famous among the Herds of Animals for their great Cunning, and Craft: for which Reason we before observed, the Lord Jesus called Herod a Fox▪ Many Proverbs are taken and borrowed by the Antients, from their Subtilty. Many Instances of their Craft, and the common Comparison of crafty Men to Foxes, are mentioned and recorded by the said Historians. It is also noted by them that the Names of Foxes, are taken from their subtilness, especially among the Grecians. Hereticks, and such like Disturbers of the Church, are generally Men of Wit and Ingenuity. It's true, there have been some among them, Men of weak Minds, and little Parts, and have been Broachers of very blunt Errors; but then such have had but little Influence; but others were keen and cunning Wits, ingenious Philosophers, who did oppose themselves to the mysterious and simple Doctrines of the Gospel, with all the Force of Wit, and Eloquence which they were Masters of; upon which account Tertullian often saith De ingenio professorum Sapientiae omnem haeresin anamari: Haeresis Philosophos et Haereticorum Patriarchas esse: that all Heresie was animated by the Wit of the Professors of Philosophy, that through an eager Desire after Wisdom Here­sies [Page 8] were broached, that Philosophers were the Patriarchs of all Hereticks.

2dly, Foxes because of their Cunning and Sagacity, are of a treacherous, and deceitful Practice, full of Devices, and of a seducing Behaviour. Now not a more natural, or proper Character, can be given of Hereticks and false Teachers; they are generally well furnished with cunning, evasive, and dissimulating Tricks: St. Paul therefore calls them vain Talkers, and Deceivers, Titus 1.10. who as it were juggle and bewitch the People, Gal. 3.1. who sub­vert whole Families Tit, 1.11. seducing Spirits, 1 Tim. 4.1. deceitful Workers, 2 Cor. 11.13. who by their sleight and cunning Craftiness easily deceive, Eph. 4.14. And if it please you I shall descend into further Particulars, to shew you the Analogy between the Foxes, and Seducers and false Teachers.

First, Foxes, that they may the better conceal them­selves, subsist not so much above Ground, as in Holes and Caverns, under the Earth, and often these are very deep. Luk. 9.58. The Foxes have Holes &c. Hereticks, and Sedu­cers, always endeavour to hide their Doctrines and Opini­ons, and keep them as secret as they can. Certain it is, that they do not presently, and openly appear to the World, but know how to hide themselves, under sly Shifts, and cunning Evasions. We find therefore the Lord Jesus used it as an Argument, that no One might suspect his Doctrine, John 18.20. I spake openly to the World, I ever taught in the Synagogues, and in the Temple whither the Jews always resort, and in secret have I said nothing.

2dly, Their Holes have but a very straight and narrow Entrance; and it is surprizing how they can sques [...], and stretch themselves out, to get into those narrow Passages. Horace therefore makes mention of a certain Fox, that crept through an exceeding narrow Crack; Forte per angus­tam tenuis Vulpecula rimam &c. It is also peculiar to Here­ticks, and false Teachers, not to suffer their secret Wiles to be searched into and discovered; they hide and beset themselves and their Opinions, as artfully as they can; they speak of them, in such equivocating and doubtful [Page 9] Terms, that one must search well, and make a very nar­row Inspection, if he shall discover their Fox-Holes; and little would he think (if he penetrates so far) to find so much Deceit lurking behind the Scene. St. Peter therefore speaks of them, as false Teachers, who shall privily bring in damnable Heresies, 2 Pet. 2.1.

3dly, Foxes, at Places where they chiefly resort, have most commonly, many Ways, and Passages, to come out at; because if one should be stopped or closed up they may have another to creep out at. Hereticks, and false Teachers, also have their Trenches, and here and there a back Door, that when they come to be so close set, and have as it were their Mouths stopped, they may have some mean Shift or Equivocation to help themselves withal.

4thly, It will appear from what has been already said, that Foxes are very hard to be catched. False Teachers, those of them that are any thing crafty, are hard to be disco­vered, and yet more difficult to be convinced.

5thly, Foxes that they may not be so easily ensnared seldom run right forward, but run to one Side, and to the other Side, and cross Ways; from which some of the Latins have derived the Name, Vulpes quasi Volipes. Hereticks and Seducers in like Manner, have forsaken the right Ways, and run into perverse and crooked By-Roads; and thus the further they go on, the further they go a stray from the right Ways of Truth.

6thly They have a sly Way of creeping into other Holes, and of turning other Animals (it may be said) out of their rightful Possessions. So it is with respect to false Teachers and Seducers, of whom St. Paul speaks: For of this Sort are those which creep into Houses, 2 Tim. 3.6. And it may be generally said of them, that they creep into settled Ministries and Congregations, and turn out those that are orthodox amongst them, by their poisonous and infectious Errors, and some Times (if such Means will not do, when they get the upper Hand) by using Force and Violence.

7thly, Foxes know how to dissemble, and often show what they are not, in order to cheat and decoy less harmless Creatures, and to make a Prey of them. If we may give [Page 10] Credit to what Epiphanius sayeth, they are wont to stretch themselves out on the Earth, and lay as if they had no Life in them, that when the Fowls of the Air perceiving them, may by lighting upon them, become their Prey; and also as they in outward Appearance are not much unlike Dogs; some times they venture to mingle themselves with those Dogs that are set to watch the Flock, Job. 30.1. And that they know how to imitate the Barkings of those Watch-Dogs; and by that Means decoy and ensnare the innocent Flock, which those Dogs are set over. False Teachers and Sedu­cers are wonderfully skilled in such Kind of Tricks; they know how to appear outwardly very kind, friendly, and courteous, as if they meant or intended no Harm; they appear to be very tender, candid, and patient, full of Meek­ness and Love; and are mightely for Christian Liberty; and by this Means intice the Simple, and steal into their Hearts and Affections; and also they know how to imitate the good Watch-Dogs; to which faithful Pastors may be com­pared in Contradistinction of what we read, Isaiah 56.10, 11. and Phil. 3.2. St. Paul says of the false Apostles and deceitful Workers, that they are even as Satan transforming themselves into Angels of Light.

Sometimes in the Church they bear the same Offices with the Faithful, and are outwardly join'd with them, and are very strict in all their Behaviour; they make a specious Shew in the Performance of all the Duties of Morality and Piety, equal to, and often beyond any others: As we may see in the Pharisees of old, and more lately in the Novatians, Donatists, Pelageans, Jesuits, Socinians, Quakers; and many others. These are the false Prophets in Sheeps Clothing, but within are ravening Wolves, Mat. 7.15. They are very artful in putting a fine Gloss upon their erronious Principles and Doctrines, to make them agreable to natural Reason, and know how to cook and dress them up to the particular Tastes of Men; They can not only varnish them with a Shew of great Wisdom, but also (as if they were sound) cloke them with holy Scripture, and under the Umbrage of some Truths, which they still retain, mix and mingle their perni­cious Errors: They also speak like the true Watchmen, [Page 11] often not only with much Eloquence, but under a Pretence of extraordinary Revelations; yea they can speak the Lan­guage of true Divines. You shall hardly meet with a Heretick without a good Stock of Literature, by Means whereof under ambiguous Expressions, and mental Evasions, they hide them­selves, even as Ireneus speaks of them; "They (says he) speak the same Things, but believe otherways". Such were the Subtilties of the Arians, which they shewed after their Errors were detected, and condemned at Bithany, when in a City in Thrace, of the same Name, they drew up a false Creed, and put it into the Hands of the simpler Sort, under the Name of the Nicene. Church History informs us, that it was com­mon for that Arch-Heretick Arius, to speak in the same Strain, and with the same Language of the Faithful, but al­ways had some mental Reserve, and couched under a quite different Meaning. And at last, when by the Instigation of the Emperor he was pressed upon to subscribe to the true Nicene Creed, it's observed that he underwrote thus, As I have underwritten, so I do believe: Meaning at the same time a certain Writing, which he then had under his Arm, and had prepared before Hand and subscribed unto. Such are truly those Lyars who by their Hypocrisy do seduce, 1 Tim. 4.2. Who cause Divisions and Offences, contrary to sound Doctrine; and by good Words and fair Speeches, de­ceive the Hearts of the Simple, Rom. 16.17, 18. Who give themselves out for Apostles and are not, but are found Liars, Rev. 2.2. All the aforesaid Particulars, may be brought to prove the cunning of Foxes, and their Analogy with such Hereticks and Seducers, and are the chief Things aim'd at, in these emblematical Characters contain'd in the Text: However we may add this further, that Foxes as they are wild Creatures, have an inherent Savageness and Cruelty joined with their Cunning, which appears plain from Psal. 63.10. Hereticks and Seducers if they can't make their Delusions take as they like, and they get the upper Hand, by getting the Authority on their Side, they generally become cruel; then they cannot bear those that are faithful; then they will fall upon them with all Kinds of Aspersions, and false Accusations, and become their cruel [Page 12] Persecutors; then they change their Shape, and become ravening Wolves, to whom in this Respect they are com­pared, Matth. 7.15. Grievous Wolves, Matth. 20.29. Evil Beasts, Tit. 1.12. What Mischiefs did not the false Prophets hatch against the true Prophets, and those that held with them, under the Reigns of the Kings of Judah? What Babarities & Cruelties were exercised against the Faithful, by those Apostates among the Maccabees after their Return out of Captivity? How bloody was the Rage of the Scribes, and Heads of the Jewish Church against the blessed Jesus, against his Apostles, and the whole Body of the primitive Christians? How many bitter Trials and Sufferings have the faithful Christians undergone by Reason of the superiour Strength of Hereticks and Seducers, and the Influence they have had with those in civil or regal Authority? All which abundantly appears from the Testimonies of Scripture, both of the old and new Testament, from the Books of the Maccabees, and Church Chronicles; and above all, from the most terrible & barbarous Cruelties committed by the Arians in divers Persecutions under the Favour and Pro­tection of the Emperors and Empresses of Rome.

The Text further speaks of little Foxes: These seem to be more particularly mentioned, not so much because easier catched than the older and more cunning, as some have observed; neither because they are more swift and greedy, and consequently more mischievous than the old, as others would have it, (of both which I much doubt) but chiefly inasmuch as they are smaller, are not so easily seen and discovered, and have every where an easier Access, and for that Reason are more dangerous in doing Mischief, and therefore not to be neglected or thought too little of: And more particularly it serves to instruct us, to be watch­ful against all Manner of Evil in it's smallest Beginnings. Should we pass by the little Foxes, they will become big ones in a little Time, and by their Growth and Increase, will be able soon to over-run every Thing.

Now to answer the Design of the Text, when the Lord Jesus commands his Servants to watch against the evil Workers and Corrupters of his Church, under the [Page 13] Characters of little Foxes; it is not intended or spoken so much by Way of Diminution, nor because by an affected Humility, they appear small (as some do take it) but the Lord intends by it a second Sort of Injurers of his Church, such whose Errors comparatively are not so great, and also such perhaps who have not the greatest Party, and are not in most Esteem, or such who are yet as it were hidden; and in this Respect much resemble little Foxes, who are low and squat, and apt to sneak away; and are thus more apt to pass unobserved: Such there have been in the primitive Churches, besides those Arch-Hereticks, and such there have been in after Ages, even until now. These do not altogether subvert the Existence of the Church, or per­vert her in all the Fundamentals of the Christian Faith, but nevertheless, can do a great deal of Mischief, both as to the Truths and the Peace of the Church, and frequently prove Forerunners of larger Foxes, which in Time wax strong; and therefore the Lord Jesus will not have them excused, and by Consequence is not at all for Toleration in this Point. He intends by it all Injurers of the Church in their first Appearance, while they are yet young and small, for then they are not so cunning, and altogether so mis­chievous, as they may be in process of Time; neither are their Errors so gross, which generally in Time do increase, their Party not so strong, and their Credit and Respect is less, and therefore never easier stopped than while they are small.

Now the Lord here supposes (and it is also evident from all Experience) that such Foxes both great and small have been, and will be in all Ages of the Church. And with respect to their Mischeivousness he further adds, which (says he) spoil the Vines. It is natural and peculiar to Foxes, to spoil the Vines (whether we consider them as respecting whole Vineyards, or particular Vines, is little to the Pur­pose; for the one includes the other, and it is true in both Respects) by rooting at the Roots, taring down the Leaves, the Branches; and particularly by destroying the Fruits. Hence perhaps it was that Samson's Foxes, among other Things, fell foul of the Philistines Vineyards, Judg. 15.5.

[Page 14]Thus we have seen that Foxes, as before described, are naturally bent upon, and actually do destroy the Vineyards, and spoil the Vines. The Church and the People of God in Scripture are frequently compared to a Vineyard, Cant. 8.11, 12. Isai [...]. 3.4. Chap. 1.7. & 25.11.2. and in many other Places. When the Lord Jesus here makes mention of Vines in the plural Number, particular Churches seem plainly to be intimated, or Congregations which are as so many Vineyards, and Believers as so many Vines scattered up and down within the Compass of certain Cities or Countries, which are planted, and grow up together, bear­ing Fruit under the special and peculiar Care of the Lord Jesus Christ, fenced about by his Power, shone upon by the bright Beams of his Countenance, watered by his Word and Spirit, and made fruitful by his peculiar Benediction. But these are Things not at present to be inlarged upon.

But here take Notice, that Foxes both great and small are said to spoil the Vines, which in the Original signifies as much as all Manner of Injury more or less, or even to the utter Destruction of any Thing. See Ezra 6.12. Dan. 4.23. Isai. 13.5. And here we may take it in its full Latitude for all false Teachers, and Seducers, Hereticks, and Schismaticks &c. who spoil these spiritual Vineyards in all the following Particulars.

First in the Truth: By the spreading of Lyes, and propagated of false Doctrines, which cannot be supported by the Word of God, whatever specious Pretences they may have notwithstanding; who turn People about by the Wind of their Doctrine, and by their Cunning easily seduce, Eph. 4.14. St. Paul in this Respect compares their Doctrine to a mortal Disease, which, says he, will eat a [...] [...]th a Canker, 2 Tim. 2.17. This was manifest in the Arian Heresy, which like a Flood over-run the Earth; and it seem'd as if the whole World was tinctured with Arianism.

Secondly, in Piety: When the Truths which are from God, and which are our Directory and true Guide, be taken away, it will follow that Godliness and true Piety must totally decay; by Contentions and Divisions, they may be led to Disregard inward Frames and Experiences, [Page 15] and carried away from the most essential and practical Things in the Christian Religion, and instead of getting their Hearts strengthned by Grace, they will be carried about with diverse and strange Doctrines, and take up with such Things which have not profited them that have been occupied therein, Heb. 13.9. We see that Paul consi­ders these Things as Opposites that cannot be join'd toge­ther: Refuse profane and old Wives Fables, and exercise thy self rather unto Godliness, 1 Tim. 4.7. This will yet further appear, when such Seducers lay such a Foundation which has a natural Tendency to Sin, and opens a Door for carnal Security, and Self-deceiving, or when they by their Lives and Examples seduce into Sin. This St. Peter makes mention of, 2 Pet. 2.18, 19. For when they speak great swelling Words of Vanity, they allure through the Lusts of the Flesh, through much Wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in Error; while they promise them Liberty, they themselves are the Servants of Corruption. Of these Sort were all those which in the primitive Chur­ches were reckoned among the impure Gnosticks, the Followers of Simon, Meander, Saturniás, Basilides, Carpo­crates, Valentius, and many others; every one of which opened a Door to all Manner of Ungodliness. Thus God said of the hypocritical Prophets in Judah, Jer. 23.14. I have seen also in the Prophets of Jerusalem an horrible Thing, they commit Adultery and walk in Lies, they strengthen also the Hands of the evil Doers, that none doth return from his Wickedness.

Thirdly, in the Worship of God: For when Truth and Piety decay, it generally follows that the very Essence of Worship will be corrupted, the Spirit and Purity of it will fail, Superstition and Will-Worship will prevail: This may be seen of the false Prophets of Israel, who seduced the People into Idolatry. And in those Apostates among the [...]accabees, who brought the Grecian Ethicks into God's Worship, and in the Sects of the Samaritans, Herodians, Pharisees, Sadducees, and Esseens, who took the very Soul out of the instituted Worship of God, which made it ap­pear in every Respect like a meer Image without Life a [Page 16] Web interwoven with Hypocrisy and human Inventions. This we have also seen in Antichrist, who changed the whole Worship of God into Superstition, Will-Worship and Idolatry.

Fourthly, in Order, Unity, and Peace. We shall see that, that sweet Comeliness and Beauty, will presently depart from the Lord's Vineyard: Even as Foxes do turn every Thing upside down, mar and spoil the Order and Beauty of Vineyards; so every Thing in the Church will be turned upside down, and brought into a strange Con­fusion. Whenever these Church Foxes make their Appea­rance, all Manner of Contentions, Disquietudes, and Di­visions, Quarrels and Schisms, break out; that mutual Love that subsisted before, is turned into Hatred. St. Paul therefore describes them as such, which cause Divisions and Offences contrary to the Doctrine which they have learned, Rom. 16.17. St. James observes it as a Consequence of such a Wisdom which is not from above, but is (saith he) earthly, sensual, and devilish: for where Envying and Strife is, there is Confusion, and every evil Work, Jam. 3.15, 16.

Fifthly, in Growth: For as Foxes by rooting up and taring off the Buds and Branches of Vineyards, do vastly obstruct and hinder their Growth; so we may observe, that as soon as ever false Doctrine and Heresy appear, the Growth and Progress of the Church will soon meet with an uncommon Shock; the Growth of young Converts will be exceedingly check'd: These do not know by Reason of these Contentions and Divisions that happen, what Course either to steer, or on which Side to turn themselves; and on the other Hand many Branches that did belong to her, will be quite torn off.

Sixthly, in her Fruit bearing. Whereas Foxes in Vine­yards do Injury to the Fruits in more than one Respect, they mar them in the Bud, as well as destroy them when come to Maturity; even so by these Means in the Church, spiritual Fruitfulness presently decays and withers away in such Congregations; the goodly Fruits of Faith, Love, and Holiness, drop off, and they are swallowed up with Uncha­ritableness and Disquietudes.

[Page 17]Seventhly, in her Bloom and Ornaments: For as Foxes in Vineyards do destroy every Thing that is ornamental, by tearing down the Branches, Leaves, and Fruits; even so it is with the most blooming and flourishing Church, when these spiritual Foxes come into it; her Appearance and Aspect is often times so much changed from what it was, that she hardly in any Respect looks like the same; all her Splendor is departed, her Bloom and Beauty decay'd, and all her Robes are so rent and torn, that every Thing hangs as it were in Rags about her. Do we not even behold this in the Times past, in so many beautiful Congrega­tions in the eastern Churches; which by Reason of Heresies among them, had almost lost the very Essence and smallest Remains of true Christianity? And what became of the Church when Antichrist overspread the same, is too well known to need a Recital.

Eighthly, in her Strength and Security: Even as Foxes are wont to root at the Roots of Vineyards, and cause them to totter and shake, so do these Heresies cause every Thing to shake, by rooting up the Foundations upon which this spiritual Vineyard is built, the Plants thereof are made loose, and begin to shake; they begin to lean and incline to Lies; and some do totally fall down. Thus St. Paul warns us against Men that should arise; as he says Act. 20.30. Also of your own selves shall Men arise, speaking per­verse Things, to draw away Disciples after them: And as such that should be the Cause of some to depart from the Faith, 1 Tim. 4.5. Some that should depart from the Faith, giving Heed to seducing Spirits. Yea, they will even tear up the Inclosure of the Lord's Vineyard, and leave it destitute of all Security and Defence, by breaking through all Church-Discipline, or by getting in Favour with the secular Powers, and drawing them over to their Party; which otherwise are a Defence and Security to the Church. This has been seen in the false Prophets of old, in the apostate Jews among the Maccabees, who were in Collusion with the Syrian Monarchs; and in several other Hereticks in the primitive Churches; and more lately in the Bishops of Rome, the Remonstrants, and many others.

[Page 18]Ninthly and lastly. As a Consequence of what has been said, it brings endless Ruin upon the Souls of Men that are seduced by them; no less than the Loss of their eter­nal Salvation. This is certainly also an Evil or Mis­chief that they bring upon the Lord's Vineyard. It's not only a Heresy in Morals, but a Heresy in Doctrines, which ruins the Souls of Men, and sinks them into eternal Per­dition: Even as St. Peter tells us of an eternal Destruction, that follows and flows from Heresies, 2 Pet. 2. throughout that whole Chapter. Well may the Lord therefore call them, Pastors that destroy and scatter the Sheep of his Pasture, Jer. 23.1.

We see from what has been said, in how many Instan­ces, and in Truth, that such Foxes do spoil the Vines. And if we should let them go on in their Way without controul, we should quickly find the Truth of what was said of other Pastors, Jer. 12.10. Many Pastors have destroy'd my Vineyard, they have trodden my Portion under Foot; they have made my pleasant Portion a desolate Wilderness. Yea, we should quickly see that neither Vineyard nor Branch would be found. This is therefore the Reason why the Lord Jesus will have his Vineyard carefully watched over, and is the Reason why he commands his Servants, as in the Words of the Text, Take us the Foxes, the little Foxes that spoil the Vines, for our Vines have tender Grapes.

There is a Diversity of Opinions, concerning the Per­sons to whom this Command should be given: Some un­derstand it to be the Angels; others, the civil Powers; but the most, Pastors and Teachers: I incline rather to take the Command in a larger Sense; i. e. to concern all those why stand in any near Relation to the Bridegroom, over whom he exercises his peculiar Authority, and who are in any Respect capable or qualified to take these Foxes.

As first, All Overseers of the Church in all Ages, and of all Stations and Degrees; i. e. Prophets, Priests, Apostles, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers; to whom in Respect of their Offices, this Duty of taking the Foxes, most eminently and peculiarly belongs.

[Page 19]2. This Duty includes and enjoins all particular Be­lievers, when a fit Opportunity presents, so far as they have Talents and Capacities to detect those that are in Error, to oppose and endeavour to convince them: Looking diligently, lest any Man fail of the Grace of God; lest any Root of Bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled, Heb. 12.15.

Now of all these it is required to take these Foxes, these young Foxes: It might as well be translated, to apprehend, to hold. Naturalists do observe, that tho' Foxes can be taken, yet it is very difficult. Here in a spiritual Sense, it also requires great Pains and Industry to take these Foxes. Jesus Christ here gives Power and Command to do it; Take us the Foxes.

Now wherein the Matter of this Duty consists, is not very difficult to conceive; generally, it consists in using all possible and necessary Means, to prevent these Foxes from doing any Kind of Mischief to the Lord's Vineyard.

First, To pursue them into their intricate Wiles and Mazes, to detect and apprehend them in their Subterfu­ges; to warn the Ignorant against them, and to keep a careful Watch and Look-out against them. This is what St. Paul exhorts unto, Phil. 3.2. Beware of Dogs, be­ware of evil Workers, beware of the Concision. The Lord Jesus commends the Ephesians for this, Rev. 2.2. And thou hast tried them which say they are Apostles, and are not, and hast found them Lyars. And this he also injoins when he says, Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in Sheeps Cloathing, but inwardly they are ravening Wolves, Matth. 7.15. And to the same Purpose are all those faith­ful Exhortations which we find, Act. 20.28, 29. Col. 2.8. and 1 Joh. 4.1.

2. To attack them where-ever we meet with them; fall upon them and oppose them: much in such a Manner as we find Peter fell upon Simon the Sorcerer, Act. 8. and St. Paul upon Bar-Jesus on the Island of Salamis, Act. 13. Where-ever he found false Brethren, he presently faith­fully and earnestly opposed them; which plainly appears from the Acts of the Apostles, and from his Epistles. And [Page 20] this was also the Charge which he gave to Timothy, 2 Tim. 2.16. But shu [...] profane and vain Babblings, for they will in­crease unto more Ungodliness. And to Titus, Wherefore, saith he, Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the Faith, Tit. 1.13. And, 3.9. But avoid foolish Questions, and Genea­logies, and Contention [...] ▪ and Strivings about the Law, for they are unprofitable and vain.

3. To confute them with Testimonies from the holy Scriptures, and sound Reason, either in Writing, or by Word of [...]th; and by these Means to take them in their Errors, and to bring them ad [...]minos, non Loqui, to have nothing to gainsay. Th [...] Paul charges Timothy, 2 Tim. 4.2, 3. Reprove, rebuke, exhort with all Long-suffering and Doctrine; for the Time will come, when they will not endure sound Doctrine, but after their own Lusts, they shall heap to themselves Teachers, having itching Ears. For which Reason he also further shews, that a Bishop should be able by sound Doctrine, both to exhort and convince the Gainsayers, and to stop the Mouths of the unruly and vain Talkers, Tit. 1.9, 11. Thus did the Fathers in all Ages of the Church in which they lived, enter into laudable and earnest Disputes, and with much Bravery confuted those that were in Error; which may be seen in the Writings and Disputes of Ire­neus against the Gnosticks and Valentinians; and of Tertullian against Marcion, Hermogenes, Praxias, and Sabellianus; the same against the Valentinians, and Gnosticks; of Origen against Celsus and Marcion; of Athanasius, Hillary, Basil, Ambrose, and Fulgentius, against the Arians; of Optatus, Mili­vitanus, against the Donatists; of Jerom against Jovinian, Vigilantius, the Luciferians, and Pelagians; of Serapio [...] against the Manichees; of Augustine, besides what he wrote against the Arians, Donatists, Manichees, and Pelagians, against Priscillianists, and Origenists; of Cyrill of Alex­andria against Nestor, and the Anthropomorphites; and many others, of both earlier and later Times; which Writings are yet in being, and may be seen.

4. We ought (if possible) to convince them of their Errors. Certainly, the most happy Way of catching them, is to convince them, and cause them by this Means to [Page 21] return from the Paths of Delusion, into the Bosom of the Church Such was the happy taking of a cunning Fox, a very learned Philosopher (according to what Sozomen tells of him) who in the Council of Nice, did vehemently and impudently oppose the Doctrines of Faith; but the same was by a Member of that Council (tho' otherwise not the most ingenious, yet honourable for his Age) convinced, and immediately taken in the Net of the Gospel, and drawn by the Cords of irresistable Grace into an effectual and sincere Repentance. Not much unlike unto this, was what the same Author relates of another Philosopher, who was chosen out of many others, as the ablest to enter into a Debate with Alexander, Bishop of Constantinople, that he was so struck with the first Word spoken by the Bishop, that he could not utter one Word.

5. We should, when all other Means fail, by ecclesi­astical Methods (without any Force or Restraint upon the Conscience, or Persecution) set Bounds to, and hinder them from propagating their pernicious and destructive Errors.

6 and lastly, To cast them out of the Lord's Vineyard; namely, by Excommunication. By this we declare them to be no more Brothers; and by it they are cut off from Communion with the People of God. This is demanded by St. Paul in Respect of those which cause Divisions and Offences, contrary to the Doctrine which ye have learned; And avoid them, says he Rom. 16.17.—I would they were even cut off, which trouble you, Gal. 5.12.—A Man that is an Heretick, after the first and second Admonition reject, Tit. 3.10. Even as Paul himself did to Hymeneus and Alexander, whom he had delivered unto Satan, 1 Tim. 1.20. This was the Practice of the Fathers in the primitive Times: Hence it was that so many Councils and Synods were summoned and con­vened, in which all Kinds of Errors and false Doctrines were condemned, and those that were the Broachers and Promoters of them cast out. The Truth of this is evi­dent in the Instances, of Samosatenus, by two Councils at Antioch held in the Years 262, and 270; of the Arians, by the Nicene Council 325; of Macedonius by the Coun­cil at Constantinople 381; of Nestor by the Council at [Page 22] Ephesus 431; of Butyches by the Council at Chalcedon 451; and a Hundred besides.

Behold, thus we have seen the Duty the Lord Jesus requires of his Servants, and how he commands these Foxes, to be taken, not only for himself, but also for his Bride; imply'd in the Words, Take us: It serves to inform us,

1. That there is a mutual Fellowship subsisting between Jesus Christ and his Church; that their Interest is in com­mon, as betwixt Husband and Wife, Bridegroom and Bride.

2. That what Service is done for the one, is also done for the other. Whoever serves Jesus Christ, does at the same Time serve his Church and People.

3. That an Injury done to the one, is an Injury done to the other; and that these Foxes are in both their Way, and therefore should be taken for the one as well as for the other.

4. That Jesus Christ makes the Interest and Concern of the Church his own, and reckons whatever is done to her, as if the same was done to himself. Matth. 10.40. Whoever receiveth you, receiveth me. Zech. 2.8. For he that toucheth you, toucheth the Apple of his Eye. Act. 9.4. Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And see Mar. 9.41. Matth. 25.35, 45.

5. That Christ and the Spouse mutually take Delight and have a Complacency in this; and so the Words, Take us the Foxes, will signify as much as take them for Our Pleasure and Delight; even as great Personages sometimes make chasing or hunting Matches for their Diversion.

6. This would be of great Service, and in a particular Manner conduce to promote the Ease of the Bridegroom and of the Bride, that in as much as she was to accompany him towards the Country, it would be necessary that these Foxes should be first taken, and removed out of the Way. Now who would refuse to promote the great In­terest of this honourable Couple, by preventing the Mis­chief that would accrue to their Vineyard? This methinks is a sufficient Motive to take these Foxes; however if [Page 23] that should not be enough, the Lord Jesus urges this further, and saith (which often in the Hebrew is giving a Reason, and is therefore with us well translated by the Word For) For our Vines, (by which he also further shews and ascertains the mutual Property they had in this Vine­yard) have tender Grapes. The same original Words we find in the 13th Verse of this Chapter: We may under­stand by it weak or tender Christians, such either be­cause they have not been long on the Way, or being but small in Knowledge, weak in Faith, and other Christian Graces, like young Children, (1 Cor. 3.1, 2. Heb. 5.12. 1 Pet. 2.2. 1 Joh. 2.12.) or rather because of the Weakness or Tenderness of the Habit of Grace in the Converted, which may be taken for the Vines. Only here take Notice, that the Lord Jesus uses this as an Excitement to take the Foxes.

First, We may take it generally, as if he should say; Our Vines are as tender as temporal Vineyard, having tender Grapes; and then we might take it as if the Translation run thus, For our Vines are as Vineyards hav­ing tender Grapes: That is to say, the Fruits and Work of Grace in Believers, are as tender, can bear as little, and are as easily marr'd, as the tender Grapes are in the Vineyards; for which Reason it is the more necessary to take these Foxes, here represented to be in these spiritual Vineyards; because they are always as noxious and dan­gerous in the Church, as Foxes are in the temporal Vine­yards having young and tender Grapes.

Secondly, We might also take it with Restriction to some weak Christians with tender Dispositions, which are always to be found in the Church, and that Jesus Christ considers his Vineyard in this View; or more compre­hensively for new erected Congregations, Vineyards as it were in their Bloom, and just beginning to Bud, fill'd with young Converts, or young Christians; emblemati­cally represented by the Spring-Season, every Thing being young and tender, and then above all other Times, these Foxes would prove most destructive, and would spoil and take away all the Hopes of Fruit. This is even the [Page 24] Case with Respect to the Work of Grace in the People of God; for false Teachers and Seducers, have not, nor cannot take so much hold of, and have so much Influence upon the more experienced and established, as they can have upon the young unexperienced and less established Believers, who by Reason of their Weakness cannot oppose them, and want Capacity to distinguish these Foxes; hence it will follow, that they are very easily seduced. It is there­fore of the last Necessity, in as much as the Lord's Vine­yard was full of these small ones, to have these pernicious Foxes taken, that their intended Mischief and Destruction to these Vines may be prevented.

Thirdly, Furthermore, we may take it in this Sense, Take us the Foxes &c. for our Vines have tender Grapes: Which is as much as to say, We have a beautiful Prospect of much Fruit, and Hopes of a plentiful Harvest; the young Grapes which appear, i. e. the Beginnings of Grace, give reasonable Expectation of a further Growth to Per­fection: Take therefore these Foxes, which may disap­point our Hopes, and frustrate our Expectations, without any Delay; and by this Means you will anticipate the Danger that threatens us in the Disappointment of our Hope, and the Ruine of our Harvest. This is therefore a sufficient Motive for you to hasten in the Work.

Fourthly, We may take it in Point of Time, that as in the Spring of the Year, the Vineyards bud forth, and have tender Grapes, so the Foxes then also bring forth their Young. So it is with the Church when she flourishes, and is in her Bloom and Prosperity; then also Hereticks, and Seducers, generally make their Appearance; and therefore it is as much as if the Lord should say, Vigila! Take Care! Now is the Season that Foxes bring forth their Young; and if ever there be a Time to anticipate their Growth, and hinder their Increase, it is now when they make their first Appearance: Take us the Foxes, the little Foxes, that spoil the Vines, for our Vines have tender Grapes.

Behold the Necessity of this Charge which Jesus has given concerning his Vineyard; and it is a plain Evidence [Page 25] of that tender Care which he has for his Church, and more especially for those that are the weakest of his Peo­ple; a Charge very necessary to be put in Execution at all Times; but if ever there was a Time, that loudly called for this Duty, we may say it is NOW. Certainly there have been in all Ages of the Church such mischievous FOXES to the Vines. In the early Times of Christianity they were very numerous; they first sprang from both Jews and Gentiles, when the Vineyard was full of tender Grapes, i. e. full of young Converts, and many simple Ones: Then the Devil was exceeding busy every where to raise up, and animate Foxes of all Sorts and Sizes; and tho' one might observe some Difference in their Heads, yet it seems they could join their wicked Tails together, and by the Fire-Brands of Contention, Heresy and Schism, set Fire to the standing Corn of the Church of Christ. The erroneous Opinions, and Relicks of Knowledge, falsly so called, of the Jewish Rabbies, and of the many Sects among the Heathen Philosophers, were carried over by Proselytes into the Church; and these proved to be the Nests and Holes which ingendred many Foxes, and which spread over all the spiritual Vineyards from East to West, till at last Antichrist gathered up these Fox-Skins, and tacked them together, to make himself a Garment; and moreover, put on an Out-Coat of a fierce Lyon-Skin, whereby he brought Desolation upon the whole Church.

And when at the Time of the Reformation, the pure Church had wrenched her self again out of his Clutches, and the bright Day of Truth shone forth, we presently beheld again in another Spring-Time, new Fox-Holes breaking out; and it is hardly expressible what Number of Foxes, both great and small, have appeared to spoil the New Vineyards of the Reformation: the Wounds the same has received, by the numerous Sects, and Schisms, are not yet healed. What do I say, healed! if ever there was a Time since the Creation, in which it might be said the Church crawls with [...] Kinds of Foxes, we must confess it is even in our Day. There scarce ever [Page 26] was an Error in ancient Times, but what is now raked up again, and with the Addition of many new ones; no Opinions, tho' ever so absurd, but what are broached, and some are influenced by them, and appear for their Defence; so that without mentioning old Errors, we have new ones turned out, Time after Time.

The Abuse, or ill Use, that was made of Philosophy, and natural Reason, was that accursed Hole which the most of the Foxes crept out at, in the primitive Church, and who wasted and trampled it under Foot; the same is now opened afresh, and wider than ever, and out of it come a Swarm of Atheists, of Libertines, and of Men whose Mouths speak Blasphemy, and teach Doctrines against the Divinity and Authority of the holy Scriptures, against God himself and many of his excellent Perfections, against his eternal Decrees, against the deep Mysteries of the Gospel, and against almost an endless Number of the fundamental Doctrines of Truth. The Books which daily fill the World with Error, the hidden Holes and Corners, which hatch and breed Impostors the Com­pilers of them, and by which Means their erronious Opinions are spread, are almost endless; great and little Foxes do spring out of it, both without and within the Church. And if they are suffered to go on without Op­position, Truth is not only threatned to be born down, but even with a total Subversion. And have we not suffered Encroachment enough already? First, By what is past Truth has received such a Wound, that in many Respects it's almost incurable; many have embraced Lyes instead of Truth, at least there is such a general Lukewarmness, Coldness, and Indifferency, and in many Respects such a Want of Love to Truth, which cannot be described. Secondly, True Piety in a great Measure has lost her Lustre and Tenderness; the inward Work of Grace in the Soul, and the essential Power of true Godliness, is ridiculed, and by some denied. Thirdly, The Worship of God is become like a mere Skeleton without a Spirit, a [...]rment of outward Professors, a meer Mode of the Times, and a Badge of a fashionable [Page 27] Man, but the Life and Truth of it decays. Fourthly, Unity and brotherly Love, that grand Mark of true Christianity, is sadly depressed; Bitterness, Uncharita­bleness, Parties, and Schisms, have as it were rent the Body of the Church to Pieces. Fifthly, By these Means the Growth and farther Propagation of the Church, both within and without, is wonderfully check'd. Sixthly, Spiritual Fruitfulness is much retarded. Seventhly, The Bloom and shining Beauties of the Church decay. Eighthly, She looses her Security and Strength. Ninthly, Yea how many Souls may be lost by these Means, may be guessed at, from the natural Consequences of Things, and the lamentable Condition the Church is now fallen into.

And O! if there were but a Zeal to take these Foxes; but alas in this too great a Slackness prevails.

First, Ecclesiasticks are in many Respects too slack-handed in this; or perhaps their Hearts are not enough united to the Truth. Church-Discipline, by which such Foxes should be taken, is often sadly neglected. It were to be wished, that Presbyteries and Synods, made it more their principal and grand Concern, to inquire into those Things, while they waste their Time about Things of much lesser Moment; certainly we are often too careless and unwatchful against pernicious Foxes: those who have a true Heart for Zion, are often obliged to sit down and mourn in Silence because of this.

Secondly, Particular Professors have little or no Capa­city, or they have no Courage to oppose Foxes. What fine Disputants had we in former Congregations, who dar'd to appear against Opposers, and closely to attack them; who were not afraid to thrust forth their Hands into these Cockatrice-Holes; and who could divert them­selves over the Nests of those Vipers without Danger; and who dar'd to approach and enter into their Assemblies, and Meetings, and publickly lay hold of them in Debates! But this Zeal, and even such a Capacity, is mostly gone, or rarely to be found: The old antiquated Meekness & For­bearance towards the Remonstrants is now again revived; a [Page 28] Spirit of Lukewarmness and Indifference begins to prevail in our Day; every one enjoys his Opinion freely, without being so much as spoken against; and by this Means we suffer the Foxes to gain Ground, to the apparent Ruin of the Lord's Vineyard. O! what a mistaken, as well as sinful Practice is this? First, This is running counter to the Command of Christ, who will have all Foxes to be taken, none excused, even to the smallest. Indeed where we our selves are mis-used, in Charity we ought to be condescending and bear much; but in no wise when God and his sacred Truths are abused; in this Case we must not let one Claw of them escape. Secondly, It is a most barbarous Kind of Clemency, as it is the Concern of immortal Souls, and our Vineyards have so many tender Grapes. Surely one of those will weigh down a thousand Foxes. Would you then spare the Foxes, and let so many precious Souls be destroyed? O! wo, wo unto such a perverse Pity. Thirdly, What will become of Truth? If you suffer them to go on at this Rate, they will spoil the whole Vineyard, they will tear every Thing up by the Roots in such a Manner that no Appea­rance of Truth will remain; and it may be the Lord himself will come, and make her a Desolation by taking away her Fences, and leaving her to be trampled under Foot, and ruined by wild Beasts; even as it befell the Eastern Church, when from one Degree to another, they fell from Truth, the Lord suffered her at last so to fall away, that there are no Remains of her to be found.

O! that the whole Body of the Christian World were roused to look into this. Men are in a deep Lethargy, a profound Sleep of Indifferency hath seized upon the Church: In the mean Time, the Enemy is busy, and is sowing of Tares among the Wheat, Matth. 13.25. And it is high Time to awake, before these Tares choak the Wheat, and quite overcome it. Well then, in the first Place, don't think it a strange Thing when you hear and see that there are Foxes in the Vineyard; it has always been so, the Lord Jesus and his Apostles, have foretold this, 1 Cor. 11.10. For there must be also Heresies among [Page 29] you, that they which are approved, may be made manifest among you. Secondly, Be always upon your Guard, that you may not be injured by Foxes; beware of their Persons, beware of their Doctrines: This is the Lesson & Precept of Jesus Christ, Mark 13.22, 23. For false Christs, and false Prophets shall arise, and shall shew Signs, and Wonders, to seduce if it were possible, even the Elect: But take ye Heed, behold I have foretold you all these Things. And St. Paul says, Let no Man deceive you with vain Words, Eph. 5.6. Thirdly, To this End, don't content your selves to remain tender Grapes, like weak and young Children; such as stand thus loose are in great Danger, and more exposed to be seduced and ruined. This St. Peter tells us, that false Teachers before all others, beguile unstable Souls, 2 Pet. 2.14. And St. Paul speaks of such in the Church, which are but Children, that they are tost to and fro, and carried about with every Wind of Doctrine, by the Sleight of Men, and cunning Craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. And further shews, that the only Mean against this is, to follow after Truth, that we may grow up into him in all Things which is the Head: And so come unto a perfect Man, unto the Measure of the Stature of the Fulness of Christ, Eph. 4.13, 14, 15. Well, follow ye this Advice then, that you may become Men and Fathers in Christ, that you may have your Senses exercised, to discern both Good and Evil, Heb. 5.14. that you may not believe every Spirit, but try the Spirits whether they are of God: because many false Prophets are gone out into the World, 1 Joh. 4.1. Fourthly, Take heed that you do not by a sluggish Patience, a sinful Carelesness, and a lukewarm Indifferency, give Opportunity for Foxes to propagate and multiply in the Vineyard; but be always justly apprehensive that Foxes are more mischievous to the Church than Lions, and Hereticks more destructive than Persecutors; for under Persecutions the Church grows purer, and often flourishes and increases the more: Sanguis Martyrum est semen Ecclesiae; the Blood of the Martyrs is the Seed of the Church; but through Heresy she always grows worse: they kill but the Body, but these murder [Page 30] the Soul: therefore never condescend in the least in this Matter. This was the Sin of the Church of Thyatira; and this was that which Jesus had against her, that they suffered the Woman Jezebel, which called herself a Pro­phetess, to teach and seduce his Servants, Rev. 2.20. Therefore be ye not like unto them. Fifthly, On the contrary be diligent in your Duty; take these Foxes which are in the Church.

First to this End, Overseers of the Church, Elders and Deacons, Presbyteries and Synods, should all go Hand in Hand, above all Things to watch against the Encroach­ments of Error. No Jarrings or Animosities concerning other Things, should ever be in the Way of so great and necessary a Work. Tho' there were some Difference in Judgment about lesser Matters, yet if they agreed in the main and fundamental Points, then they should also agree in this grand Article, with one Accord to watch against Foxes that creep in: It is for this End they are set, as Overseers of the Vineyard; and for this End, the Care and watching over Souls, is commended to them by Jesus Christ. O! be careful then, that you do not betray this great Trust of your Master, in proving unfaithful to his Vineyard; for if but one Fox should carry away a Soul as a Prey, the same he will require at your Hands.

Secondly, Yea every Professor of the Church should seek to be faithful in this Behalf. You are also com­manded, Take us the Foxes. Endeavour therefore after Ability for the Work: that you may distinguish Truth from Falshood; and to discover those that are in Error; and that you may be able to confute them and stop their Mouths, endeavour after Courage and Confidence to per­form this Duty. You should not only have a Will to do, but Boldness to execute. Remember that you have a high Commission, therefore fear no Man: He who hath commanded you, will stand by you. Be ye strong, and the Lord of the Vineyard shall be with you.

Behold, if after thou hast done thy Duty, and there should be still Foxes remaining, the Lord however will preserve his Vineyard; especially he will watch over you [Page 31] young and tender Grapes. Foxes may attack you, but Jesus will take Care of you; and he will in his own Time gather you as ripe and perfect Grapes into his heavenly Barns: There, there no Foxes shall be permitted to enter, nor any one that maketh a Lie, Rev. 21. Tho' there remain some Tares upon the Field of this World, the Time is coming, that the Son of Man shall send forth other Angels, and they shall gather out of his Kingdom all Things that offend, and all Tares; and bind them in Bun­dles, one with another, and shall cast them into a Furnace of Fire; but ye that remain faithful to the End, and all the Righteous, shall shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father! Who hath Ears to hear, let him hear.


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