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Edwards confessed,(g) to intermix much of that which is corrupt with that which is genuine, in the real friends of Iinmanuel. We intro duced great excitement of the natural affections and passions, great heats of the imagination, and a high degree of self-righteousness and spiritual pride.(h). And we were able, in many instances, to make those productions of ours admired and trusted in, both by the subjects of them and by others, as that which was most excellent; so that. what there was of the genuine in their experiences, was overlooked and despised.(i) And, instead of being sensible that they were degenerating in their experiences, they thought they were growing rapidly, and were more and more filled with the Spirit of the King.(k) And when we had thus prevailed to obtain the dominion over them, we led them about, at our pleasure,(?) and made them the instruments of promoting such a work as we liked. Let us do this again: And if any suggestions of darger should be made to such persons, and they should be told to be on their guard,let us whisper to them, that those who are so highly favoured as they, who are so full of the Spirit, and who live so near to the King, cannot be in any danger.(m) And we know that the man who thinks himself most out of our reach is then njost within our reach.(n)
Sp. of Self-Confidence. Yes; and in the same way, too, let us close the minds of those who are principally active in promoting revivals, against any instruction or admonition from others. Let some of us be employed to push them into as many wrong things as possible ; while others persuade them not to listen to any admonition or advice, even from those of greater age and experience. Let us persuade them that they are so full of the Spirit, and that the King is so much with them, that there can be no doubt but that they are right in the practice of every thiog to which they feel themseives inclined. This device succeeded then, (o) and I see no reason to fear its failure now. If we can make men think they are full of light already, and have no need of instruction, they will despise the offer of it, and feel themselves insulted by its being ina:le.(p) And we must bring it about, if we can, that these men should be wrongfully charged with spiritual pride, in some instances in which they are not guilty. When this is done, we can take advantage of it to persuade them that every suig. gestion of the kind respecting them is equally without foundation, and proceeds from an ill spirit in those who make it,(q)and thus blind their eyes, and prepare them for us to introduce a great deal of this nature unobserved, and to push them to greater lengths in that for which they are found fault with.(r)
Sp. of False-Zeal. That is an important sugrestion. For when things have been brought to pass, that the least objection to any thing
(g) Edwards, 11. 273. (h) 274, 283. (i) 276. (m) 220. (n) 226.
(0) 222. (p) 223. (9) 24
trat was done, was considered as a mark of wrong feeling in those who made it, and an evidence of coldness and deadness in them, I have been able to work to great advantage. And if any have been injurjously biamed, so much the better. Then I have had opportunity to blow up their zeal into a flame, to make them very quick-sighted to discern the deficiencies of others, and forward to reprove them, and that too in the most sharp and severe manner.(s) And in some instances, I have so far prevailed as to render it the manner of some to speak of almost every thing they saw amiss in others, in the most harsh, severe, and terrible language. It has been frequent with them to say of others' opinions, or conduct, or advice, or of their coldness, their silence, their caution, their moderation, and their prudence, and many other things that appear in them, that they are from the devil, or from hell ; that such a thing is devilish, or hellish, or cursed, and that such persons are serving the devil, or the devil is in them, that they are soul-murderers, and the like; so that the words devil and hell were almost continually in their mouths. And such kind of language they were in the habit of using, not only towards wicked men, but towards such as they allowed to be the true friends of Immanuel, and towards the aged and respected ambassadors of the King, and others that were very much their superiors. And they looked upon it as a virtue, and a high attainment, thus to behave themselves. And when pressed with the injunctions of the King's book, to honor superiors, and treat the aged with respect, they thought it a virtue to disregard them, and that it would bave been very mean for such as they to make any distinction of persons, and to speak any more respectfully to the aged, or to any superiors, than to others. This device I propose to put in practice again ; and by means of it, to overthrow all appearance of meekness and gentieness in the professed disciples of the meek and lowly Iminanuel, and to fill their inouths with such language, as when heard among the lowest classes of society, is regarded as vulgar and profane. And I siiall try to make it regarded as a mark of high sanctity, and zeal, and boldness, in the cause of Immanuel.(t) And if any object to it, they shall be stigmatized, as cold, and dead, and hypocritical professors, who cannot bear to have the truth spoken of them ;(u) and they shall De made the subject of the most bitter invectives and the most censon 110118 remarks, as examples of opposition, hypocricy, delusion, pharasaism, and the like.(r) The inore of such a bitter, censorious, contemptuous, and persecuting zeal, we can stir up, and the more we can direct it against the real friends of Immanuel, and get it expressed in such kind of language as I have mentioned, the more effect it will have, in hardening the impenitent, and deadening the effect of the warnings which are addressed to them.(w) And if we can render it common among the zealous promoters of revivals, it will, in time, help greatly to bring revivals into disrepute and contempt.
1) 225. (16) 229.. (v) 233.
.Sp. of Error. And this will forward the execution of my plans for the suppression of the truth. For those who are disposed to vindicate the truth, are usually those who discriminate in matters of experience, and in matters of conduct, and neither approve nor condemn in the gross. And if they see much to approve and commend in the conduct of others, yet, if they see such things as these in them too, they will be likely, when asked their opinion, to point out the things they think objectionable, as well as those they think praise-worthy. When they make any such objections, let the same kind of language be applied to them, and let it be made to appear a virtue to say bitter things of them, and to call them by opprobious names. This will help to create prejudices against them, and diminish their influence and their power of supporting the truth. And perhaps we can, in the minds of many, forin a close association between the support of the truth, and opposition to the work. If we can, this will give us great advantage to accomplish our plans for the general suppression of the truth.
Sp. of False-Zeal. This is an important suggestion. And the on's thing necessary to its success is, that we do, as we did in the last century, get people to judge others as unconverted, because they do not feel as they do.(r) If an ambassador of the King dwells much on the difference between true and false experience, urges the impo'. tance of self-examination, and condemns, as false religion, those eže citements of the natural passions and selfish affections which we have raised to the highest pitch, will not be difficult for us to induce all those whom we have led to think highly of themselves for these things, to condemn such a man, as one who knows nothing of expe!« mental religion, and to consider as the most conclusite proof of it that his performances do not animate them and increase those feelings in which they trust, but rather serve to deaden and destroy them. And when we have once induced them to embrace this opinion, it will be easy for us to make them believe that every thing about him and his performances furnishes more and more evidence of its correctnessly) And when we have thus prepared them for it, there will be no grea! difficulty in making them think it is their duty to do what they can to destroy the character and influence of such ambassadors of the King, and to drive thein away. And if some professed ambassaders of the King can be induced to think and act so, it will be all the better.(2) They can help to encourage any uneasiness which may exist among the hearers of those who are thus condemned.(a) This will have an excellent effect, in inany ways. For if it should fail of driving such ambassadors from their places, yet nothing tends to hinder revivals.
and destroy the most hopeful begiunings, like stirring up divisions and contentions, and setting the ambassadors of the King one against another. This measure, therefore, must be pushed as far as possible. And if any scein disposed to hold back, for fear of being guilty of rejecting an ambassador of Immanuel, and thus of virtually rejecting him, as he has taught, they must be spurred on. Moderation must be cried out against, as a bloody, hell-peopling charity,(b) and the performances of these men must be the more condemned, as poor, dead, dry things, and they must be represented as no better than soul. murderers.(c)
Sp. of Delusion. There is an excellent way of leading men into those things, which we practised then with much success. It is that of persuading some of the more bold to censure others, and cast reflections upon them, in open prayer.
This has a fair show of love ; end is a capital way of blinding the eyes of those present. For who can object against praying for others, and especially for ambassadors of the King? And under the pretence of praying for thein, how easy it will be, for those who are disposed to do it, to take this opportunity of expressing all the bad things that have been thought about them? And it is the boldest way of reproaching them that can be imagined ; because it implies an appeal to the Searcher of hearts for the truth of hose censures and reproaches which are thus cast out.(d)
Sp. of Filse-Zeal. Yes; and perhaps it may be carried further too, 38 it was in those days. Perhaps we can induce some to go so far as to mix imprecations with their prayers, and to curse others in the name of the King. This will be a great triumph for us, if we can bring it about. And I see not why we cannot now, as well as then. Let us induce thein to pray that others may be converted or removed out of the way, converted or taken away and sent to hell now quickly, before their guilt is greater. And if we can induce them to pray in this manner, for those they think unconverted, perhaps we can also induce them to pray thus for those they think cold, dead, stupid saints, under the idea that they are opposing the work, and are doing more hurt, and leadiog more souls to hell, than the unconverted are.(e)And if we can once make them believe it is right to pray for such things, perhaps it will not be disficult to make them believe, that that *hich they may pray for, they may seek, and use means to accomplishı. And if any more considerate ones should talk with them, and try to convince them of the wrong of praying thus, we must make them beTeve, as we did then, that their prayers are inspired, and that it is not they that speak, but the Spirit of their Father that speaketh in them, and does, as it were, force them to express themselves in this manner.f) And thus, perhaps, we may not only render them deaf to al!
(5) 294. (c) 293, 297. (d) 298. (8) 299. (f) 300.
remonstrancés, but make others to believe that such lioly men cann: be in the wrong, and ought not to be imitated.
Sp. of Malevolence. What a delightful scene it will be to us, wien prayer-meetings can be made to assume such a form!
Ardent. How desirable it seems, that men should be well aware el the arts and plots which the spirits of darkness are carrying on against them. Surely, they will not be so imposed upon, after all the warnings they have had from Edwards, and others.
Thoughtful. He did not appear to expect his warnings would have much influence. He says, “The devil, by his cunning artifices, easily dazzles the sight of men, and puts them beyond a capacity of : proper exercise of consideration, or hearkening to the dictates c calm thought and cool understanding. If, in a sedate hour, they ar? by reasoning brought to allow such and such distinctions, yet the uext time they come in the way of the great show of false religins the dazzling appearance swallows them up, and they are carried away.”
EXTRACT FROM A LETTER RECENTLY RECEIVED.
***** “ Those mininters, in this region, who have ever been es: teemed orthodox, have fallen in orthodoxy, twenty five, if not fity per cent. This is the case with nearly all. A llopkinsian can scacely be founil, according to the former import of the term. The whole business of clergymen, seemingly, is, to oppose Unitarianism: And they come as near to that, as they think it will possibly do. Charity, charily, for all folks, who are Christians. If they are Chritians, no matter what else, whether ihey know much or little, or believe much or little. If they know nothing, the excuse for them is that their hearts are better than their heads. If they practice almas nothing that is good, we must make allowance for human infirmities! Isperk hyperbolically ; but it is something so; and I think we ms! tremble in view of the effect which such things will have upon revit. als. I think the effect has already been witnessed, in some instances,
Religious intelligence is all that people in general want to read. Feeling, religious feeling, is the every-day word. Calvinists are good Christians, and so are Arminians, if they are pious, that is, if they are Christians, whether they believe the fundainental truths of the gospel, or not. They may be Christians, and yet, in their belief, be at an infinite distance from the Bible account of depravity, special grace. c!ection decrees, perseverance, 8:e. They may noi be prayerful, nt benevolent, nor attend meeting much, nor keep the Sabbath-no, poi even believe the Sabbath is holy time—and yet be received with charity, if they are only Christians. “We must have charity for a.. Christians."
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