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likely to be introduced into the church, is by pondering and ap plying the following confiderations.

Confideration 1. Let all that encourage others, or undertake by others encouragement, fuch a work as this, for which they are not competently qualified, and unto which they are not regularly called, confider feriously with themselves what danger they caft their own and other mens fouls upon.

The apoftle tells us, 2 Pet. iii. 16. " That the unlearned "and unstable do wrest the scriptures to their own destructi"on." Danger enough, one would think, to fcare them from it, did not the fame fin of ignorance, which makes them wrest - the fcriptures, cause them alfo to flight and overlook the danger of fo doing *.

Certainly, my friends, it is a great deal fafer, and more excufable, to put an ignorant ruftic into an apothecary's shop, to compound a medicine of drugs and fpirits, which he understands not, and confidently adminifter the fame to the bodies of men, than for fuch perfons as are led by ignorance and confidence, to intermeddle with the minifterial employment; the one perhaps, by mistake, may poifon meus bodies; but the other their fouls. An ignorant mafter, or pilot, that never learned the compass, are rather to be trufted among rocks and quick-fands, than a proud ignorant perfon with the conduct of fouls.

Confideration 2. What daring prefumption is it to intrude ourfelves into fo great and weighty an employment, without any call or warrant of Chrift! Rom. x. 14. "How shall they "call upon him of whom they have not heard? and, how fhall they hear without a preacher? and, how fhall they preach except they be fent?"



Thefe myfteries must be committed to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others: thofe abilities must be examined, 1 Tim. iii. x. and the exercise of them warranted by a due and orderly appointment thereunto, 1 Tim. iv. 14. elfe, (as one well obferves) In tam praepoftera difciplinae ruina tot effent fenfus, quot capita; tot diffenfus, quot fenfus; we shall have as many enfes of fcripture, as we have preachers, &c.

If every Phaeton, that thinks himself able, shall undertake to drive the chariot of the fun, no wonder if the world be fet on fire. Gifts and abilities of mind are not, of themfelves, fuf ficient to make a preacher. Some lawyers at the bar, may be

*Athanafius declares, that the malicious wrefting of scripture brings forth errors. Athanafius against Appolinar.

as fkilful as the judge upon the bench, but without a commiffion they dare not fit there.

Confideration 3. The honour you affect, to vent your unfound the notions with liberty, is, in fcripture-account, your greatest dif honour.

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The scripture reckons falfe teachers among the basest of the people: The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail, i. e. the bafeft part of the whole body of the people, Ifa. ix. 15. And fo far is due gospel-liberty from countenancing fuch dangerous irregularities, that we find in a clear prophecy of gospel-times, what shame God will pour upon them, Zech. xiii. 4, 5. “They "fhall be brought with fhame enough to confefs, I am no pro"phet, I am an hufbandman; for man taught me to keep "cattle from my youth."


Confideration 4. How much more fafe, regular and advantageous were it for fuch as you, to fill your own proper places under able and faithful gofpel-minifters, and to fuck the breasts of fruitful ordinances, than to confume and pine away by fucking your own breafts? I mean, living upon your own weak and infufficient gifts, in the finful neglect of Chrift's ap.. pointments?

Caufe 14. Falfe teachers alfo propagate their errors by a fpirit of Enthufiafm, the ufual concomitant of erroneous doctrine; and draw away multitudes after them, by pretending to extraordinary revelations, vifions, and voices from heaven, which feem to give great credit to their way and party +.

This was an old trick and practice of deceivers, Deut. xiii. 1. to give figns and wonders in confirmation of their way, which figns the Lord may permit to fall out to prove his people, ver. 2, 3. though, for the most part, they are confuted by their unanfwerable events.

In the bginning of our reformation by Luther, Calvin, &c. there fprang up a generation of men, called Swinkfeldians, great pretenders to revelations and vifions, who were always. Speaking of deifications; and an higher ftrain of language they

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But fome being deceived by the predictions of the falfe prophets, of whom both God and the true prophets had forewarned them, fell from the word of God, and forfook the true tradition; for all thefe, being entangled with the fnares of the devil, (which they ought to have forefeen and avoided) have profaned the divine Name and worship, thro' their foolisinefs. Lat. book 4. chap. 30. on Heref.

commonly used among themfelves, than other ferious Chriftians understood, and therefore fcornfully entitled orthodox and humble Chriftians, who ftuck to the fcripture-phrase, and wholfome form of found words, Grammatifts, Vocabulifts, Literalifts, &c. "These men (as + Scultetus in his annals, ad annum 1525. obferves of them) were so entangled in certain "enthufiaftic fnares, that they thought it the highest impi ety to renounce them; and they had befooled multitudes "with their magnificent words of Illumination, Revelation, "Deification."

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Much of the fame fpirit was Thomas Muntzer, John of Leyden, David George, Jacob Behmen, &c. whofe cloudy nonfenfe, enigmatical expreffions, and wilful obfcurity, drew many into a strange admiration of them; they all pretend to an higher knowledge of myfteries than what the gofpel is acquainted with; and yet give us (as Mr. Baxter well obferves) neither reasons with Ariftotle, nor miracles with Chrift and his apostles, to cause us to believe any of their new revelations. Vide Baxter of the Sin against the Holy Ghost, p. 148.

Of the fame bran were our late Familifts in England, of whom Henry Nichols was the chief leader, who decried the written word as a dead letter; and fet up their own fond conceits and fancies under the notion of the Spirit, against whom that heavenly and learned man, Mr. Samuel Rutherford, feafonably and fuccessfully appeared: Hacket, Copinger, and Arthington were of the fame tribe; who lived a while wrapt up in Antinomian fancies, which at laft brake forth into the highest and most horrid blafphemies.


Another art they make ufe of to feduce the credulous, is a pretence unto the fpirit of prophecy; and great fuccefs they promife themselves this way among the weak, but curious vulgar. And to this end Satan hath infpired and employed fome cunninger heads to invent very pleafing predictions and prophecies, in favour of that party whom he defigns to deceive. And how catching and bewitching these things are, gaining more refpect among these vain fpirits, than the divine unque ftionable prophecies of scripture, this age hath had full and fad experience.

Now the defign of Satan in these things, is to gain credit of thofe fects, as people peculiarly favoured and beloved of God

‡ Irretiti fuis quibufdam Enthusiasticis laqueis, unde fe extricare fummam putant impietatem: dementabant multos magnificis iftis verbis, Illuminatio, Revelatio, Deificatio, &c.

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above others; as if they were the particular favourites of heaven, as Daniel was; and fo to draw the multitude to admire their perfons, and efpouse their errors.

The remedies.

Now the remedies in this cafe are fuch as follow.

Remedy 1. Whatever doctrine, or practice feeks credit to itself this way, falls juftly thereby under fufpicion, that it wants a folid fcripture-foundation.

God hath not left his people to feek fatisfaction in fuch uncertain ways as thefe; but hath given them a furer word of prophecy, to which they do well to take heed, 2 Pet. i. 19. He hath tied us to the standing rule of the word, forbidding us to give heed to any other voice, or spirit, leading us another way, Ifa. viii. 19. 2 Theff. ii. 1, 2. Gal. i. 8. Scripture-light is a fafe and fure light, a pleafant and fufficient light.

The fcripture (faith Luther) is fo full, that as for vifions and revelations, Nec curo, nec defidero, I neither regard, nor defire them. And when he himself had a vifion of Chrift, after a day of fafting and prayer, he cried out, Avoid, Satan, I know no image of Chrift, but the fcriptures. An hankering mind after thele things, fpeaks a fickly and diftempered ftate of foul, as longing after trash in young distempered perfons, doth a diftempered state, or ill habit of body.

Mr. William Bridges fomewhere tells us of a religious lady of the emprefs's bed-chamber, whofe name was Gregoria, who being greatly troubled about her falvation, wrote to Gregory, that the would never cease importuning him, 'till he had fenther word, that he had obtained a revelation from heaven, that she should be faved; to whom he returned this answer; Rem difficilem poftulas et inutilem, Thou requireft of me that which is difficult to me, and unprofitable for thee.

Remedy 2. Confider how often the world hath been abused by the tricks and cheats of that officious spirit, the devil, in such ways as these.

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What hath propagated idolatry among Heathens and Chriftians more than this? Hinc fluxerunt multae peregrinationes, monafteria, delubra, dies fefti et alia, faith Lavather, on Job xxxiii. Pilgrimages, monafteries, fhrines of faints, holidays, &c. have been introduced by this trick. 'Twere endlefs to give inftances: of it in the histories of former ages *.

Of the prophecies, vifions, and pretended infpirations of Storke, Pfeiffer, Becold, Warendrop, &c. with the efficacy of them on the


We have a notable late account of it among ourselves, in a book entitled, [A Difcovery of the notorious Falsehood and Dif fimulation, contained in a book, filed, The gofpel way confirmed by miracles], licensed and publifhed 1649, wherein is laid open to the world, the free confeffion of Ann Wells, Matthew Hall, &c. deluding the people of Whatfield in Suffolk, with fuch pretended voices, vifions, prophecies and revelations, the like have scarcely been heard of in England fince the reformation. Multitudes of people were deluded by them.

At length the Lord extorted from this woman a full confeffion of the notorious falfeness of these things, by a terrible vifion of hell: her partizans laboured four days to fupprefs and ftifle it, but to no purpose;, for the horrors of confcience prevailed with her to confefs the notorious diffimulations containe ed in that book, before the people of Whatfield, and a juftice of the peace. And thus the Lord out-shot Satan in his own bow.

Remedy 3. Confider how difficult, yea, and impoffible it is for a man to determine, that fuch a voice, vifion, or revelation, is of God; and that Satan cannot feign or counterfeit it; feeing he hath left no certain marks by which we may distinguith one spirit from another: an albus? an ater?

Sure we are, Satan can transform himself into an angel of: light; and therefore abandoning all thofe unfafe and uncertain ways, whereby fwarms of errors have been conveyed into the world, let us cleave infeparably to the fure word of prophecy, the rule and ftandard of our faith and duty.

Caufe 15. Another way in which falfe teachers discover their fubtilty with great fuccefs is, in timing their affaults, and nicking the proper feason, when the minds of men are most apt and eafy to be drawn away by their fair and fpecious pre


Such a feafon as this, they find about the time of mens firft converfion, or foon after their implantation into Chrift. Now it is that their affections are most lively and vigorous, though their judgments be but weak. They have now fuch ftrong, and deep apprehenfions of the grace and love of Chrift, and fuch tranfcendent zeal for him, that they easily embrace any thing whereby they conceive he may be honoured, and exalted. They have alfo fuch deep apprehenfions, and powerful averfations as

deluded people, and fatal confequences of them both to the deceiv ed, and deceivers. See Mr. Samuel Rutherford's Survey of the Spiritual Antichrift, p. 7, 8, 9, 10, II.

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