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wickedly for God, and talk deceitfully for him? Job xiii. 7, 8. Is it good that he should
search us out, or as one man mocks another, - do we so mock him?
- Has Christ appointed a form of words 1700 years ago, by which he designed his people should own, and all the world should hear, that there are three persons in one nature, and must they have a new sense put upon them in our age? Are we desirous of Gods whom our fathers knew not, derived Gods, figurative personis? Deut. xxxij. 17. Are we for more, than one Lord, one faith, and one baptism? • That all who went before us were fallible men, is true; and I do not see, but they who come after, may take the liberty to throw us into the number. We are not better than our fathers. But does that prove, they were actually deceived, in the greatest article of their faith, and the perpetual dependence of their souls? Did they live in a mist, and die in a dream? Are ancient land-marks to be removed, which they of old time have set? Had the Spirit who leads into all truth, no favour towards them? Is it but in our days, that he has begun to do his office? · I may take the liberty to repeat what has been formerly published. It is a passage that I read with an awe, a great many years ago, and I hope it has been like ballast to my soul. It is calculated for them, who become vain, in their imaginations, by professing themselves to be wise. I found it among the directions that Dr. Owen gives to those, who are engaged against Arians, Socinians, or any other enemies to the deity of the Son and Spirit. “A“ bove all things,” says he,“ take heed of the “ snare of Satan in affecting eminency by “ way of singularity. We should strive to “ excel in knowledge and light, as well as ho“ liness and obedience. To do this in the “road, is difficult. Ahimaaz had not outrun “ Cushi, but that he took a by-path. Many “ finding it impossible to emerge into any con« sideration, by walking in the beaten path “ of truth, and yet not being able to conquer «« the itch of being counted τίνες μεγαλοι, turn « aside into by-ways; and turn the eyes of all “ men to them, by scrambling over hedge
and ditch, where the sober traveller is not " at all regarded." He takes notice, “ that " the doctrine of the reformed Churches, was
raised some time ago, to a great height, as " to the evidence given for it, and great per- spicuity in the manner of making it known, " which some that came after could not imi“ tate, and therefore took new ways of their “ own contriving." Again, there may be a wavering,
3. From an inclination to the adverse party. Inviting them over, or striving to bring them in, by any other methods than a plain manifestation of the truth, will never do. As Dr. Ouen observes," these reconcilers seldom fail to “ be taken captives, and leave the principles “ with which they first set out; until, by de“ grees, instead of winning others, they lose " themselves.” There is also a wavering,
4. From fear and cowardice. The fear of man brings a snare. Prov. xxix. 25. On this account, some people will think it charity, not to turn a sinner from the error of his way, James v. ult. but let him go on with it. These prudent men will keep silence, in an evil day; and if they hold fast the faith, they hold it in unrighteousness; they do no hold forth the profession of it, before men. They have a love for the truth, but a greater love to themselves, and quit the reproach of Christ, that they may have the treasures of Egypt. Heb. xi. 26.
In our day, we have had several arguments thrown into the world, to unsettle the minds of men, from the foundation that God has laid, and upon which they themselves, pretended to build. I can scarce suppose, but you must have read them or heard them, if you converse either with books or men. To answer them at large, is such a prostitution of the pulpit as a minister of the gospel comes into, with páin. Were it not for your establishment, you should never hear from me, such heaps of ignorance and deceit. But we are to take the foxes, yea, even the little foxes, that spoil the vines; for our vines have tender grapes. Cant. ii. 16.
1. It is pleaded, “ that we live in a polite. « age, which professes to receive uothing; that s is called mysterious.” This is speaking out for every high thing, that exalts itself, against the knowledge of God.
2. It is also said “ that we are to grow in the ( knowledge of God our Father, and Christ 65 our Saviour.”
3. Here is a pretence of giving us a clearer ® ideas of the doctrine" than former times were blessed with.
4. It is urged " that we have no other way “ of securing the unity of the Godhead than er either by making the second and third per" son inferior, or making them figurative. ,
5. This is proposed as “ a means of recon“ ciliation among the contending parties."
6. Every one of these new schemes, lays a claim to the great names of those, who either lived in the primitive times, or have been men of note since the reformation.
7. Some people would endeavour, to give us a shock in our faith, with the piety and learning of the men, who bring in divers and strange doctrines; and determine to make every defence of the truth in which we are baptized, to be an ill usage of them that oppose it.
I should hope indeed, that the naming of these objections, which are so weak and trifling, would be enough to confute them. Exposing them to light, is exposing them to shame. But as they are the best the cause can afford and the party can bring, so we are to take them as we find them. They must be children indeed, that are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, every little puff of vanity, by such reasons as these. But it is the will of God, that we put to silence the ignorance of foolish men.
1. Can anything be more confident and airy, than to talk of these polite days in which we live ? Could we ever think, that persons ac
quainted with the holiness and learning of former times, and who have prepared themselves to the search of their fathers, should suffer such words to go out of their mouths ? One among as rejoices that “he lives in a day « when men are returned to the scriptures." And another says, that “ in this enlightened « age of search and inquiry, men will not be 6 satisfied, to hear us make use of inexplicable " and mysterious terms, and tell them that the " sense in them is never to be known: they " will not think that doctrine, can be of so “ much importance to us, which must be wrapt “ up in perpetual darkness, and can never “ be understood.” But can any one think, the riches of Christ are the worse for being unsearchable, or the joys of heaven for being unspeakable ! To this I answer,
(1.) As to the greater attainments in learning that are now pretended, I am of the opinion of those, whose vast compass of reading makes them more able to defend it, that we are far below the men, whose praise has so long been in all the Churches of Christ. Calvin, Usher, Jewel, Cartwright, Goodwin, and Owen, are not much exceeded, as far as I can find.. The lights'that the Holy Spirit kindled up at our reformation, and whom he employed, either to begin or defend it, have made this land to be the valley of vision for above 200 years. The volumes they writ, the care and strength with which they argued, and above all, the religion that animated both their books and their lives, has given them an everlasting ren