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derate men, put upon this excellent precept: who make the moderation here recommended by St. Paul to consist in having a moderate opinion for all religions, and to believe it an indifferent thing, whether a man goes to this church, or to that meeting-house. To think episcopacy and an episcopal clergy a good political institution for some times and some countries, and what
be borne and complied with as long as it cannot be remedied, but that no man has any obligation in point of conscience to submit to this ecclesiastical government; but that, if he dislikes it, he may occasionally or altogether separate from it, and chuse what pastor he pleases for himself; and he that blames him for so doing, is a man, they say, that wants moderation, and has no regard to this precept of the Apostle. In short, the moderation so much cried up at this time, consists in believing all religions called Protestant to be agreeable to the institution of Christ, though they neither administer his word or sacraments according as he has appointed, nor believe those articles of faith which he has taught in the Gospel. If we will be moderate according to the moderation in fashion, we must not condemn those who deny our Saviour's divinity, as the Socinians; those who refuse baptism to infants, and deny the soul to live when separated from the body, as the Anabaptists; ñor those who reject both the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper, and renounce the
Lord that bought us, and redeemed us with his blood, believing in no other Christ but an imagi. nary one within themselves, as the Quakers ; nor must we call these persons heretics : neither may we censure those other dissenters who renounce episcopal government, and contemn the orders and service of our church, setting up for themselves teachers according to their own fancies, and separating themselves from our communion, as the Presbyterians and Independants ; nor may we call these schismatics. If we will be the fashionable moderate men, we must believe all these are in the right way to Heaven, at least we must not tell them that they go wrong. No, if we do, we are high-flown, and want moderation. But I must take the liberty to say, that such a moderation as this is so far from being a virtue, that it is a shameful vice, and therefore cannot be the thing which the Apostle recommends in the text. For neither Christ, nor any of his Apostles have any where taught us to be indifferent or lukewarm in matters of religion, but the quite contrary : we must be zealous and earnest, both to preserve
the faith and the unity of the church ; and that not only at some certain times, and on certain occasions, but at all times, and on all occasions, for so this very Apostle St. Paul, who recommends mo. deration to us in the text, has elsewhere taught us : “ It is good,” says he, “ to be zealously af“ fected always in a good thing, and not only
" when I am present with you."* If therefore faith and the unity of the church are good things, here is a plain recommendation of a constant and perpetual zeal for them. But we have not only such a general exhortation to zeal for religion and religious matters, but we are particularly and expressly commanded to be zealous for these two things.
1. First, The holy Scripture enjoins us to be earnest for the preservation of the true faith. Even St. Paul himself presses this upon us in this very Epistle, where he recommends moderation, commanding us to “ Stand fast in one spirit, with " one mind, striving together for the faith of the
Gospel.” † The moderation therefore, which he afterwards exhorts us to, must not be construed to interfere with this precept. For then we must make him to contradict himself in the same place, and writing to the same persons. Again, this same Apostle calls the holding faith, that is, the adhering stedfastly to that and a good conscience, the warring a good warfare. $ I am sure this is not consistent with yielding up our faith to every one that shall oppose it, and permitting all persons to believe as they please, without daring to shew their errors, and letting them know the dangerous consequences of them. How can we “ fight the good fight of faith, and pro
* Gal. iv, 18.
+ Phil. i. 27.
§ 1 Tim, i, 18, 19.
“ fess a good profession before many witnesses, as we are exhorted to do, unless we publicly declare it in opposition to all heresies whatsoever ? Can that man comfortably say at his last hour, “ I have fought a good fight, I have finished my
course, I have kept the faith," + who has never concerned himself for the preservation of the faith; who has always thought himself at liberty to believe as he listed, and that all others might do the same? Did St. Paul do thus? Was he of this opinion? If so, how came he to undertake so many dangerous journies to so many parts of the world, and to suffer so much in all places where he came? But all this he did to propagate the true faith ; and that, to be sure, because he certainly knew that it was no indifferent matter what faith any man professed. Well, but St. Paul did this to propagate the Christian faith in general ; but this is not the case now : all Protestants
profess the faith which St. Paul taught, and therefore what need is there now for this kind of zeal ? But did St. Paul teach that Christ was no more than a mere man? No, he expressly taught the contrary, when he tells us, that he “ is over all God 66 blessed for ever.”Yet this is a doctrine now taught and maintained by some that call themselves Protestants; but certainly we may oppose it, and I am sure I will do it upon all occasions.
* I Tim. vi, 12.
+ 2 Tim. iv. 7.
Rom. ix 5.
Did St. Paul teach that the soul cannot live separate from the body, and that it sleeps with it in the same grave till the resurrection ? If so, how came he to have a “ desire to depart, and to be “ with Christ?"* How could he think that far better than to live here? Is there such a thing as better or worse in a state of insensibility ? Or could he hope for any enjoyment of Christ in such a state as made him incapable of enjoying any thing? And yet this sleep of the soul is asserted and defended by a whole party of Protestants. Again, did St. Paul teach that there is no outward Christ, and that baptism and the Lord's Supper are beggarly elements? How came he then in all places to preach that Christ which was crucified at Jerusalem,t and never so much as to mention a Christ within, that ever I could find in his writings? Why did he baptize whole households, I aud give admirable precepts concerning the administration of the Lord's Supper ?S And yet we have an innocent party, as they are called, that teach what is very contrary to St. Paul in these matters. And shall we not offer to say that these are false and scandalous doctrines, that they strike at the foundation of Christianity, that they are heretical and pernicious, and consequently caution our flocks that they be not seduced by such deceiving wolves, whatsoever sheep's clothing they
* Phil. i. 23. t 1 Cor. i. 23. Ibid. i. 16. $ Ibid. xi. 20,&c.