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a formality of doctrine, a security of orthodoxy, an unproductiveness of the truth, falling properly under the third class of hearers, in whom the seed is choked, yet I cannot now pass without warning you of it. Ye do not trust in your works I know; ye trust in Christ alone for salvation; but what proof have ye, what trial make ye of your saving interest in Christ? Why stand ye all the day idle ?” Why make ye no advancement? Is Christ no longer a quickener; is the Holy Spirit no longer a dew unto the soul ? Why are you barren and withered, when your Lord looks for fruit from you? Who knows but he may curse you, as he did the barren fig-tree? Know ye not that “the earth which receiveth the seed, and the showers of heaven, yet bringeth forth only thorns and briers, is nigh unto cursing?" The Intercessor may intercede for another year; yea, He hath interceded, else you would have been cut off ere this. Year passeth after year, and findeth us no better. Oh brethren! why this backwardness? why this slowness of faith? why this dullness of hearing ? This is almost as hopeless as positive error. The state of the Laodicean church is full of danger, as ye well do know: and his coming is at hand. Oh that you were ready! that I might be able to give in my account with joy, and not with grief.
O my God! what a subtle fiend is Satan, thus to gather together all the ruins of the natural man -his sense of beauty and loveliness, his imagination of glory and excellence, his conviction of truth and righteousness, his desire of mercy and benevolence, his capacity of wisdom and goodness--all these, the surviving fragments of thy
goodly handy work, which thou hast sought, by the revelation of power and love in Jesus Christ, to build again into a spiritual and a glorious temple, for thine own spiritual glory to inbabit, to have possessed himself of, and out of them to have formed a house for pride, glory, ambition, and other forms of self-idolatry to dwell in! And how daring withal is this subtle spirit, to have ventured into the sanctuary of thy holy word, and stolen thence the fire with which to offer up the daily sacrifice in the temple of human selfsufficiency which he had builded unto himself! For these, his worshippers, call themselves thy worshippers; they declare themselves to be believers in thy Son; and they denominate themselves thy church, thy sanctified, separated, and elected church. I pray thee, O Lord, to make such profanation to cease, and speedily to reveal thy judgments upon all such inventions and falsehoods of Satan; that it may be made manifest that they are not the true Israel, but of the synagogue of Satan. And this prayer I offer with true faith, because I perceive that it is against these idolshepherds and their idolatrous flocks that the Lord revealeth his hottest indignation : as witnesseth the Jewish church; as witnesseth the Papal apostasy, where this system of works hath legalized, constituted, and deified itself; and soon shall witness the visible outward professing church among ourselves, if they renounce not this same Pelagian doctrine of human merit and legal righteousness. The Lord doth not give his glory unto another; and the glory of his true church, his betrothed spouse, the Lord will not suffer to be taken by another.
III. THE SCHISMATIC. The third form in which Satan works his guileful purpose of plucking away the word of God, is by dividing it into parts, and setting an especial value of some one tenet or doctrine; with which he doth so divert the silly and selfish mind, giving it as a bone to occupy its teeth, while he steals away the precious store which the preacher is pouring out before it and committing to its charge. Then is Satan shewing himself as a sectarian in respect to the doctrine, and a rebel in respect to the discipline of the church ; concerning which I would further discourse to you, and by God's blessing set you on your guard against it. And I begin by warning your ear against his abuse of the very word Sectarian, with which he will
persuade many of you that I am going to level my discourse against dissenters from Established Churches, who are generally known by that name Sectarian, and of whom too many deserve it, as indeed do many of those who belong to the Established Churches. But, believe me, brethren, I have a far higher aim, as I trust I shall evince in the sequel: and in the mean time, if you cannot trust the preacher of God's word, then believe Satan's suggestion, and even now yield yourselves to him and let this discourse be another witness against you.
By Sectarian, I mean one who hath taken up with a part of the Divine word, and resolveth within himself that it is the whole of it, and that whatever passes beyond or diverges from this his well-shapen pattern, must be error, and not for a moment to be believed. To which temptation of Satan we all lie so open, and are so naturally in
clined, that I wonder not so much that Satan hath so easy a prey of us, as that we are not upon our guard against him. Its plentiful occasion ariseth in our selfish hearts, and conceited minds, and ambitious wills, which would fain set each man up as the rule of right unto himself and the measure of right unto others. Whereas the word of God is large, liberal, and perfect truth, universal charity, and submission of the will unto the will of our Father which is in heaven. And therefore it hath no less a púrpose than to bring men's minds into union with Christ, the common reason; men's hearts into communion with the Spirit, the common love; and their wills into harmony with the eternal will of our heavenly Father: and so to bring about universal peace and concord upon the earth, and to establish that form of blessed society which is called the Church. But this, it is manifest, can only be accomplished by the common consent of our souls to be instructed, taught, and disciplined in all things by the word of God. Renunciation of selfishness lies at the root of it; abstinence from pride and vanity; the viewing of our gifts as a stewardship, of our condition as an election of the Lord for the parposés of his own glory; the forsaking of all in order to be Christ's disciple, the loving of our neighbour as ourself, the sitting down as children at his feet to hear, the cutting off the right hand and plucking out the right eye at his command, the spending and being spent for his sake, and whatever else is most willing and devoted to Him who died for us and rose again. And not only so, but a perfect contentment with that condition to which it may please him to advance us; whether to keep the door or to sit upon the throne of his house; whether as one of the dishonourable or honourable vessels thereof; whether servants of many or of few talents in the administration; whether in the body we be active hands, or humble burden-bearing feet, guiding eyes, or watchful ears. For the church is not a republic, as they say the co-fraternity of letters is, but a various community, in which are masters and servants and slaves, parents and children, husbands and wives, and every other relationship of life which existeth in the world; yet so existing in the church as to be devoid of pride, envy, malice, hypocrisy, and division; but all exercising the various gifts and graces of God's Spirit for the fulfilment of their various offices : so as to be bound and compacted together by the need of mutual help, as well as by the fond desire and ever-present ability to be helpful to one another.
Now he is not a sectarian, but a true catholic Christian, who hath submitted himself as a child to the teaching of Christ Jesus, being born again of the Holy Spirit; and hath and doth desire the sincere milk of the word, that he may grow thereby into the full stature of a perfect man in Christ Jesus ; and who, the more he attains, the more he desireth to attain; never resting, as if he had attained, or were already perfect, but pressing onward to the mark for the prize of his high calling in Christ Jesus. He is not a sectarian, but a catholic Christian, who grows more perfect, by growing more convinced of his own natural sinfulness and alienation from the love of God; more meek and gentle before the Lord and all men; more patient of the sins and infirmities of his brethren, and more set against sin itself, whether present in his