« PreviousContinue »
in its right way of Discipline, and placed at the Foot of Mount Sinai under Thundrings and Darkness and Fire, to make it sensible of its Sin, and of the terrible Majesty of a Siri-avenging God, that so the Law may do its Office upon it as a Ministration of Condemnation, and act the Part of a School-master to lead it to Chrijl, as its only propitiatory Sacrifice, Righteousness, and Salvation. Thus the Way to Sion lies by the burning Mountain of Sinai, and Moses with his correcting Rod conducts us to Christ through Johns Baptism of Repentance, as this prepares us for theBaptism of Regeneration. These Persons then are not mad, as the World supposes, but returning Sinners coming to their right Mind, as the prodigal Son is said to have come to himself when he became sensible of his Folly and was brought to Repentance: They are under the Leadings of the Father to the Son, that the Son may present them to his Father cleansed and redeemed by his Blood, and that the Holy Ghost, proceeding from theFather and theSon, may sanctify them and make them a peculiar People holy in all Manner of Conversation and zealous of good Works. Or if this must be called Madness, let it g 2 at
at least be allowed a less dangerous kind of it than Presumption and Madness in Sinning, as a wounded Conscience affords more Hope than a benumbed or seared one. But do you herein shew that your Minds are set upon Righteousness, and that you judge the thing that is right, O ye Sons of Men! Turn your Eyes to the great Bedlam of the World, where its Votaries are running mad at such a rate after Folly and Riot, where Invention is racked to lull Conscience asleep, and where Millions are rocking themselves to spiritual Slumber in the Cradle of Death, and treat every faithful Watchman that sounds the Alarm to rouze them from their false Peace, as the Enemy of their Repose: Cast your Eyes, I fay, on this Theatre of Vice and Frolick, this Fair of Vanity, where Prince Abaddon holds his perpetual Jubilee, and fay which of these two Schools, Christianity or the World, turns out the greater Number of mad Folks. Which would an Angel pronounce most rational and found in Mind? The sordid Race of Mammonists, the giddy Tribe of Pleasure seekers, and the sarcastic Croud of, f Fashion-followers, or the poor brokenhearted Chrisiian lamenting his Sin and
Misery, and in the Power of divine Grace working out his Salvation with Fear and Trembling, and following a despised Jesus through Mockery and Derision to eternal Blessedness and Glory? If you are not of the Number of the infatuated, you cannot hesitate a moment to resolve the Question aright; for Wisdom is justified ofherChiL dren. ...-,..
I have the longer insisted on the Subject of Experiences, as well because all true Religion must both begin and end here, as because very few of our Theological Writers touch upon these Matters > and therefore whilst some lay down excellent Rules for the practical Life, enforce the Obligations to a regular and decentDischarge of all the Parts of external Worship, or imbue the Mind with sound and wholesome Doctrines, let others be permitted, according to the Length of their Line, to launch out farther into the Deep, and there let down their Net for a Draught: Thus, whilst some are instructed in the Principles, or Rudiments, of the Doctrine of Chri/l, and others are led on unto Persection: Whilst we deal out Milk to Babes, strong Meat to those that are of riper Age, and speak the Wis
g 3 dom
dom of God in a Mystery to them that are perfect, the whole Body is edified in Love, and every Man hath Praise of God.
It is very certain that the greatest Part in every Age and Place have stopt short of the Truth and Substance, by resting in the Outfide of Things; and therefore St. Paul, that great Preacher of inward and spiritual Reli. gion, takes much Pains both with Jew and Ge?itile to convince them of their gross Ignorance and Error in this Particular; for if the latter were in general ignorant of the true God, the former worshiped Him not in Spirit and in Truth: if the latter bowed down to Stocks and Stones, the former idolized their Forms of Worship instead of • worshiping God, through their Forms; and so all had sinned and come short of the Glory of God. The Jews esteemed themselves the Chosen, the Temple of the Lord, and the Seed of the Covenant, and they pleaded their Circumcision, their Priest
- 'hood, their Temple-services, and their Ordinances of divine Institution as the Marks of their Election: And a Deculiar People
- they certainly were, and chosen to distinguished Favours and Privileges, but no
i otherwise elected to Salvation than as they continued in the Grace and walked in the Light and Love of God; "for he was not a "Jew which was one outwardly, neither was '( that Circumcifion which was outward in "the Flesh; but he was a Jew which was "one inwardly, and Circumcision was that "of the Heart, in the Spirit and not in the '.' Letter j" the outward Ordinance representing to them that Corruption of our Nature by original Sin which was to be cut off and renounced, and that they were to be a spiritual People, holy to the Lord, and "born again, not of the Will of the Flesti, .-« -nor of the Will of Man, but of God."
And here we cannot but lament among the many sad Effects of the Fall, its having introduced such Groffness and Darkness into the Mind of Man, that it so hardly elevates itself to the Consideration of heavenly Things. From this Propensity to Matter and Sense, Idolatry sirst took its Rife — Men wanted Objects of Worship that they could fee with their bodily Eyes, and so adored the Host of Heaven, or Images of their own making: And hence it is that among those who profess to worship the true God so many are wholly taken up with what is external in Religion: "See what Manner of
g 4 "Stones