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he lent an ear to their arguments. What sort of a mind is it, that can thus, in one instance, so basely shuffle with men, and so impudently prevaricate with God. Or what notion can we form of his mind, who knowing this disputant to answer the character I have given of him, will have no one else for his guide in matters of religion.
But the guilt and infamy of all these artifices is redoubled in him, who taking holy orders on him from the hands of our bishops, who promising solemnly at the altar to teach the doctrines of our articles and no other, who solemnly subscribing those articles with the three creeds confirmed by them, and more solemnly still, if possible, declaring in the face of God and the congregation, when he is inducted into a living, his unfeigned assent and consent to all and every thing contained in the book of Common Prayer; yet disputes, preaches, and publishes performances calculated to overthrow, were it possible to be done, the very first and most fundamental principles contained in that book, and in those articles and creeds. And, as if in all this he had not given sufficient testimony of a mind ready to commit the most detestable sacrilege by the vilest prevarication, the man, compelled by his office, and by his love of ill-gotten wealth, reads the aforesaid creeds, and the Litany which begins with an express invocation of the Holy Trinity, reads them almost every day, and every day disputes or writes against the Trinity as a doctrine, which no man of sense or conscience can believe in; reads them as truths, and prays by them as proper forms of reasonable service, and rails at them as impious, unscriptural, and wicked ; reads, prays, and rails; but eats on, and struggles hard, by all sorts of arts and means, and by again and again repeating the same declarations, subscriptions, &c. to provide for himself a richer meal.
If we duly consider the double dealing and dissimulation of these false teachers, with the parishes committed to their care, with the church of Christ at large, with God himself and his holy religion, we shall be convinced, the esteem they are in, and the attention wherewith they are heard or read by the world, present us with the blackest spot in the character of this age. Were the arts of these teachers so well covered, as not to be seen through by the sensible part
you see, is the
of mankind, some apology might be made for the times, as imposed on by deceivers, too guarded and too refined to be detected. But the fact is quite otherwise. The horrible prevarication and artifice of the men under consideration, are thoroughly discovered, and perfectly well known, known to those who, probably on that very account, choose them for their guides and directors in matters of religion. Hence it is manifest, that the teacher and the taught are of one turn of mind, that head answers head, and heart, heart, as exactly as if they had been tallied to each other by the grand impostor.
What now, in such times as these, and amidst so many snares, is to be done by you who are yet uncorrupted in the faith. Hear ye the words of Christ; ‘he that believeth shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned." Faith,
necessary means of
eternal salvation, the only road to heaven, the only tie that can unite you to God, his sign in you, and your plea for the performance of all his promises. But you will say, what is the faith? And I answer, humbly, diligently, fairly search the Scriptures, and you will know; for “he that runs may read it there.' Hear the Holy Spirit, there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though the apostles or an angel from heaven preach any other gospel unto you, than that which hath been preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.' Hear the Holy Spirit, who foresaw your danger, and therefore cries aloud, ‘watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit ye like men, be strong.'
Watch ye,' for the enemy is near, and steals on you under a variety of unsuspected disguises. “Stand fast in the faith,' for if you fall through a loose, a feeble, or a fickle turn of mind, you fall from your vow, from your God, and from all reasonable hope of salvation.'Quit ye like men' of resolution, who will not suffer themselves to be driven from that hope which is the anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, by every wind of doctrine,' though it should never so often shift from point to point, and blow with all the fury the prince of the air can give it.' Be strong,' be firm in yourselves, as men who have neither lightly espoused, nor will lightly divorce
the principles of eternal life. And as there is no depending entirely on your own strength, ‘be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. Like true champions for the best of causes, ‘put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Above all, take the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked, praying always with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance.'
• Save yourselves from this untoward generation,' a generation 'who set not their hearts aright, and whose spirit is not steadfast with God;' who remember indeed that • God is their rock, and the high God their redeemer; nevertheless they do but flatter him with their mouth, and lie unto him with their tongues,' as you hear, when they repeat the litany and the creeds, for' their heart is not right with him,' neither are they steadfast in his covenant. There is no faithfulness in their mouth,' so that you cannot depend on their preaching, which is contradicted by their praying, from whence you may, you must conclude, whatever their outsides be, their ‘inward part;' observe, I beseech you, their inward part is very wickedness,' if to pray one thing from without, and to preach the contrary from within, may, in such times as these, be called wickedness.
Hear what the wise man says, 'Woe be to the sinner that goeth two ways. Therefore go not in every way. Winnow not with every wind. Be steadfast in thy understanding.' Hear a yet wiser counsellor. “As ye have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him, rooted and built up in him, and established in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Listen not therefore to those who call him and the Holy Ghost angels, and say, they ought to be worshipped as gods, by divine appointment; but remember what the fountain of truth forewarns you of,' let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility, and worshipping of angels, intruding into things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind. Gird up the loins of your
mind. Be sober, be vigilant, because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, goeth about seeking whom he may devour, whom resist, steadfast in the faith.' Resist also his 'false teachers, who privily bring in damnable heresies, denying the Lord that bought them, and through covetousness with feigned words making merchandise of you. Know this, that grievous wolves have entered in among you,' from other professions; and that also of your own selves have men arisen speaking perverse things to draw away disciples after them ;' therefore watch, for ' such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ, and no marvel, for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteous
Be steadfast, immoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. Hold fast the profession of your faith without wavering, for he is faithful that promised ; and henceforth be no more children, tossed 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.'
• In vain is the net spread in the sight of any bird,' or as in the Hebrew, ' in the eyes of any that hath a wing,' for it may see and fly from the deceit. Your eyes are open. You may easily see the net, and as easily escape it, if you please. Listen only to the word of God, who saith, · Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of God, because many false prophets are gone out into the world. If you are not determined to be deceivers of yourselves, neither the great impostor, nor all the other deceivers who have entered into the world, will be able to insnare you. Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware, lest ye also, being led away by the error of the wicked, fall from your own steadfastness. Grow ye rather in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.'
To this end, and for this cause, I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord, of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that he would grant you according to the riches of his glory to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith, that ye being rooted and grounded in love,
may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God.'
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that ye ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us; unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.'
1 COR. XVI. 13.
be strong If by the pains taken with you, the younger part of this congregation, in the nurture and instructions of your ministers and parents, you understand the nature of baptism and confirmation; you will be at no loss for the application of those words to yourselves.
Lest however you should, in any degree, be still ignorant of these matters, I shall,
First, a little explain them to you, and then endeavour to assist you in the application of my text.
In baptism you are called out of this vain and sinful world, washed from sin, and gathered into the church or family of God, by a covenant of peace, made between him and your soul, through the blood and mediation of Christ, wherein God, on his part, promises to receive you as one with his Son, as his own adopted child, and the heir of an eternal kingdom, infinitely more happy and glorious than all the kingdoms of this world, were they united in one; and wherein, encouraged by these high and interesting promises, you, on your part, solemnly vow to renounce, abhor, and make war on, the devil, the world, and the flesh, those enemies of God and your souls; rightly to understand, and firmly to believe, all the chief articles or heads of the Chris