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circumstance that they have usually made most progress among those of more zeal than knowledge; of more imagination than judgment; especially females. Apter they are,' says the sagacious Hooker, through the eagerness of their affection, that maketh them, which way soever they take, diligent in drawing their husbands, children, servants, friends, and allies the same way: apter through that natural inclination unto pity, which breedeth in them a greater readiness than in men, to be bountiful towards their preachers, who suffer want: apter through sundry opportunities, which they especially have, to procure encouragements for their brethren: finally, apter through a singular delight which they take, in giving very large and particular intelligence how all near about them stand affected, as concerning the same

But be they women, or be they men, if once they have tasted of that cup, let any man of contrary opinion open his mouth to persuade them, they close up

their ears, his reasons they weigh not, all is answered with rehearsal of the words of John, “ We are of God; he that knoweth God heareth us : as for the rest, ye are of the world; for this world's pomp and vanity it is that ye speak, and the world, whose ye are, heareth you."

Now the evils of these extravagancies are many and serious. They lead astray the unstable : they


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1' Ecclesiastical Polity,' Vol. i. p. 150, 151.

distract the simple and the unenlightened ; they cause the way of truth to be evil spoken of, and disturb the people of the Lord. For although the elect cannot possibly be deceived so as to continue and perish in error, but even heresies themselves work for their good, by driving them to a closer investigation of Scripture, and greater earnestness in prayer, the result of which is a firmer establishment in the truth than ever, yet this frequent shaking of the tree, tends, meanwhile, grievously to retard its growth, and diminish its fruitfulness. Besides, disorder and perverse disputings are hereby introduced into the church, where God hath injoined that all things be done decently and in order. Zion, the city of peace, is made a "city of confusion,” and the ministry of Christ is brought into contempt.

Many ways in religion, like too great a variety of roads in a country, perplex the pious pilgrim, multiply " the paths of the destroyer;" waste the heritage of the Lord, and deform the fair beauty of his vineyard. He complains himself; “ many pastors have destroyed my vineyard.” i

Let, then, schismatics hear their sentence: “ Behold! all ye that kindle a fire, that compass yourselves about with sparks; walk in the light of your fire, and of the sparks that ye have kindled ! This shall

hand; ye

have of

shall lie down in sorrow."? “ Now the Spirit speaketh ex

1 Jer. xii. 10.

2 Isaiah 1. 11.

pressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils.” “ But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies." “ But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you, than that which we have preached unto you, Jet him be accursed.” ?

If then, beloved fellow-christians, we would walk safely and comfortably through this slippery world, let us steadily abide by those grand fundamentals, wherein true Christians, in all ages of the church, have been unanimous : “ but foolish and unlearned questions avoid, knowing that they do gender strifes.” Let us walk by the same rule; let us mind the same thing. Let us walk in the beaten road of the church ; by the footsteps of the flock.” “ Thus saith the LORD, stand ye in the ways, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein ; and ye shall find rest for

souls." ; If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness, he is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and des

and see,


1 2 Pet. ii. 1.

2 Gal. i. 7-9; v.7-10.

3 Jer. vi. 16.

titute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness; from such withdraw thyself.” We cannot,' says a late divine, so much as approach to truth, but under the conduct of humility. But this is not all: for such is the nature of truth, that after we have embraced it, we cannot give it a fixed entertainment, nor even be secure of not starting from it again, unless we continue under the same influence of humility. For truth, though it want not beauty, yet it is plain and simple, uniform and always alike. Its first and strictest obligation to all its followers, is, that advice of the apostle, “ To be of the same mind, to walk by the same rule, and to mind the same thing.” So that he who will fix upon truth, must necessarily be humble in this respect,--he must content himself to think as others do; to agree with the vulgar notion; and to go in the common track. Truth cannot put on those various modes and shapes that please the levity of human affections. Truth cannot start any thing novel and strange, to take the multitude, who admire nothing so much as monsters. Truth can make no room for the pleasure of singularity; none for the love of contradicting ; none for the glory of heading, or the interest of siding with a sect. All these are the rights and privileges of error; insomuch that it is impossible for a man, unless he be humble, to resist the temptation of catching at error, though he has truth already in his hand. And to this

1 i Tim. vi. 3-5.

purpose it might easily appear, from the particular history of all errors and heresies, that ever sprung up to the disturbance of the church and the world, that not one of a hundred of them did ever spring from invincible ignorance and want of light, but from affected mistake, and want of humility. Either ambition of greatness, or the thirst of glory, or impatience of a defeat, or some other designing intrigue of human pride, will appear to have been at the bottom of every dissention.'1

I would only intimate further, in connection with the foregoing particulars, that a very effectual mean of promoting good fellowship among all true Christians would be RELIGIOUS INTERCOURSE. This tends to remove many prejudices and misconceptions ; to polish asperities, and to rectify and mellow opinions. Many questionable tenets, attributed to particular denominations, are, when the truth comes to be known, found to have been either attributed to them falsely, or else to be held in conjunction with such guards and fences, as materially tend to obviate their otherwise dangerous character.

Besides, Christian converse provides a valuable source of spiritual comfort and edification. Like coals on a hearth, which, left to themselves, quickly expire, but gathered into a mass, mutually ignite, and increase the intensity of the fire, the sparks of piety, thus brought to a focus, in spiritual com

1 Dean YOUNG,

2 See 1 Thess. v. 11.

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