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to fin, that they are in danger to fly even from truth, and duty itfelf, when it shall be artificially reprefented to them as fin. For not only that which is malum per fe, fin indeed; but that which is male coloratum, painted with fin's colours, is apt to fcare and fright them.

Befides, these young converts, or novices, have not had time to confirm, and root themselves in the truth; and trees, newly planted, are much more eafily drawn up, than those that have spread, and faftened their roots in the earth. 'Tis obfervable what a fwarm of falfe teachers troubled the churches of Corinth, Galatia, and Philippi, at, and newly after their first planting and what danger thofe young Chriftians were in, abundantly appears in the apoftle's frequent cautions, and holy jealoufies over them: he bids them" beware of dogs, beware "of evil workers, beware of the concifion," Phil. iii. 2. "I fear "left by any means as the ferpent beguiled Eve through his "fubtilty, fo your minds be corrupted from the fimplicity that "is in Chrift," 2 Cor. xi. 3. he was afraid of the Galatians, left he had bestowed upon them labour in vain, Gal. iv. 1í. he would not give place to falfe brethren, no not for an hour, Gal. ii. 5. charges the Romans to receive them that were weak in the faith, but not to doubtful difputations, Rom. xiv. 1. All which, and many more expreffions, discover his grounded jealoufy, and their extraordinary danger of feduction at their first plantation. A novice, in Chriftianity, is the perfon Satan feeks for: Strong believers are not in fuch apparent danger as little ones in Chrift, 1 John v. 21. Little children, keep yourselves from idols.



And the reafon is, because keen affections, matched with weak judgments, give a mighty advantage to feducers. Children are apt to be taken with beautiful appearances, and fine fhews; and erroneous teachers have the very knack to fet a glofs of extraordinary fanctity upon their dangerous opinions. Hence those persons that promoted the sect of the Nicolaitans, made ufe of a cunning woman, who for her skill in painting errors with the colours of truth, got the name of Jezebel, Rev. ik 20. That queen was famous for the art of painting, 1 Kings xvi. and so was this falle prophetefs: Indeed there was scarce any eminent fect of Errorists, or Heretics, mentioned in churchhistory, but fome curious feminine artift hath been employed to lay the beautiful colours upon it. So we find Simon Magus had his Helena; Carpocrates, his Marcellina; Montanus, his Prifcilla and Maximilla. And the curious colours of holiness, Zeal, and free-grace, artificially laid upon the face of error,

how wrinkled and ugly foever in itself, fets it off temptingly and takingly to weak and injudicious minds.

Moreover, erroneous teachers are great boasters: They usually give out to the world, what extraordinary comforts they meet with in their way, which proves a Itrong temptation to young converts, who have been fo lately in the depths of fpiritual trouble, to try at leaft, if not to embrace it, for the expected comfort's fake.

Ah, how many pious minifters in England, upon fuch grounds and pretences as thefe, have had their fpiritual children rent from them as foon as born? they have travelled as in birth for them; and no fooner did they begin to take comfort in the fuccefs of their labours, but to the great grief and discouragement of their hearts, they have been this way bereaved of them. Thofe that have owned them as their fpiritual fathers one month, would scarce vouchfafe to own them, when they have met them in the freets, another month. Many fad inftances I could give of this, and as remarkable as they are fresh and recent; but I filence particulars. Oh! fee the advantage Satan and his inftruments gain by nicking fuch a critical feafon as this is.

The cure, or remedy.

The remedies in this cafe, are twofold: the first respects the fpiritual fathers, and the fecond the spiritual children; both are concerned in the danger, and the Lord help both to attend to their duty.

Remedy 1. Let all those whofe miniftry God bleffes with the defirable fruits of converfion, look carefully after the fouls of young converts.

No nurse should be more tender and careful of her charge, than a minister should be; and unto the care of a tender nurse, Paul compareth his care over the young converts in Theffaloni ca, 1 Theff. ii. 7. for, alas! they lie exposed to all dangers, they are credulous, and feducers cunning; they want judgment to difcern truth from error; have not yet attained unto fenfes exercifed, and age in Chrift to difcern good from evil; when errors are made palatable, children will be hankering after them; and feducers have the very art to make them so †.

Shepherds, look to your flocks; imitate the great Shepherd of the theep, who gathereth the lambs with his arms, and carries them in his bofom; vifit them frequently, exhort and warn

+-Veluti pueris abfynthia tetra medentes
Cum dare conantus, prius oras pocula circum
Contingunt dulci mellis, flavoque liquore.

them diligently, and use all means to establish them in the prefent truths.

Remedy 2. Let young converts, and weak Chriftians, look carefully to themselves by an heedful attendance unto the following truths.

First, It is not fafe to try, nor upon trial likely that you fhould find Chrift in one way, and comfort in another. God doth not usually bless those ways to mens comfort and edification, into which they turn afide from that good way wherein they first met with Chrift and converfion. The fame ministry and ordinances, which are appointed and bleffed for the one, are likewife appointed, and commonly bleffed for the other, Eph. iv. 11, 12, 13.

Secondly, 'Tis a manifest fnare of the devil (and you may eafily difcern it) to take you off from the great work you are newly engaged in, by entangling your minds in notions that are foreign to it. Your hearts are now warm with God; Satan labours this way to cool and quench them; the cunning cheat labours to steal away the sweet and nutritive food which is before you, and lay the hard and dry bones of barren controverfies, and infipid notions in their room. Your business is not to frame fyllogifms, or ftudy folutions to cunning arguments about lower and leffer matters, so much as it is by prayer, and felf-examination, to clear your intereft in Chrift, and to folve those doubts that lie with weight upon your fpirits, with refe rence to that great concern.

Thirdly, It is a fad thing to grieve the hearts of thofe faithful minifters, that have travelled in pain for us, and rejoiced in in our converfion as the feal of their miniftry. Oh! ferve not your godly minifters, as the hen is fometimes ferved, that hath long brooded, brought forth, and with much care and self-denial, nourished up young partridges, which, as foon as fledged, take the wing, and return no more to her.

Cause 16. There is yet another artifice of falfe teachers, to draw men into errors, and that is, by preffing the confciences of those they have made fome impreffions upon, unto all hafte and Speed, openly to declare their new opinions, and avow and own them before the world; as knowing that this will rivet, and fix them to all intents and purposes.


When they find men under half convictions and ftrong inclinations to their way, they are fure then to ply them with a thick fucceffion of motives and arguments, to join themselves by a free and open profeffion, to that erroneous party, which are headed by themselves.



And the arguments ufually preffed to this purpose are, 1. The danger of delay.

2. The comfort of declaring themselves.

1. They prefs them with the danger of the leaft delay, by telling them, That now they must live every day and hour in known fin, and hold the truth of God in unrighteoufnefs, the evil whereof they skilfully aggravate; and the more tender and fenfible the confcience is, the deeper impreffions fuch discourses make, although the cafe indeed will not bear the weight they lay upon it, as having not that due allowance God gives of time and means of full information in matters of this nature; yea, poffibly driving them into as great a foare by precipitation, and too hafty engagements under a doubting confcience.

2. They prefs them to a quick refolution with the expectations of abundance of comfort, inward peace and joy, which will refult from a full engagement of themfelves, and open declaration of their judgment; profelyting to a party being the main defign they drive at.

This was the very art and method by which Satan prevailed with Eve to swallow the bait, Gen. iii. 5. "For God doth know, "that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes fhall be opened, "and ye fhall be as gods, knowing good and evil;" q. d. The fooner thou tasteft, the better; for the first tafte will give thee a godlike knowledge, and marvellous advancement of thy understanding: didst thou but know the benefit that would accrue to thee hereby, thou wouldst not delay one moment: And thus by fetting before her the fpeedy and immediate benefits of eating, he prevailed, and drew her into the fatal fnare.

In this, the minifters of Satan imitate the ministers of Christ. As thefe prefs men to make hafte to Chrift, left by confulting with flesh and blood, and liftening to the temptations of Satan, hopeful inclinations should be blasted in the bud; fo the others push men on to hafty refolutions, left by hearkening to the voice of God's Spirit, and their own confciences, the defign they have fo far advanced, fhould be loft and disappointed. The ministers of Chrift urge men to a fpeedy change of their com pany and to affociate themfelves with fpiritual and profitable. Chriftians, as well knowing of what great ufe this will be to confirm and ftrengthen them in the ways of God: So errorists, in like manner, vehemently urge them to affociate with their party, as knowing how one wedges in, and fixes another in the ways of error; for fuch caufes Satan pushes on half convictions into hafty refolutions, quick dispatch being his great advantage. This the apostle intimates, Gal. i. 6. “I marvel (faith he) that

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"ye are fo foon removed," &c. *`rw rayśws, what, so soon! yes, if it had not been fo foon, it might never have been at all: for errors (as one ingeniously oblerves) like fish, must be eaten frell and new, or they will quickly ftink.

The cure, or remedy.

The remedies and preventatives, in this cafe, are fuch as fol


low :

Remedy 1. Confider that hafty engagements, in weighty and difputable matters, have coft many fouls dear.

As hafty marriages have produced long and late repentance; fo hath the clapping up of an hafty match betwixt the mind and error. By entertaining of ftrange perfons, men fometimes entertain angels unaware; but by entertaining of ftrange doctrines, many have entertained devils unawares. 'Tis not fafe to open the door of the foul, to let in ftrangers in the night; let them' wait till a clear day-light of information fhew you what they are.

Remedy 2. Weighty actions require answerable deliberations. It was the worthy faying of Auguftus Ceafer," That's foon" "enough, that's well enough." There be many things to be confidered, and thoroughly weighed, before a man change his judgment, and embrace a new doctrine or opinion. Luther, in his epistle to the minifters of Norimberg, cites an excellent paffage out of Bafil †, "He that is about to feparate himself from "the fociety of his brethren, had need to confider many things' " even unto anxiety, to beg of God the demonstration of truth,' "with many tears; and to pafs many folitary nights with waking eyes, before he attempt, or put such a matter in execution.' By the vote of the whole rational world, time and confideration ought to be proportionate to the weight of an undertaking.



Remedy 3. the only feafon men have to weigh things judicioufly and impartially, is before their affections be too far engaged, and their credit and reputation too much concerned.

Men are better able to weigh doctrines and opinions, whilst they are other men's, than when they have efpoufed them, and made them their own. Before an opinion be efpoused, the af-` fections do not blind and pervert the judgment, as they do afterward. Self-love pulls down the balance at that end which L12

Satis celeriter quicquid commode geritur.

+ Multa anxie confiderare eum oportet, et multas noctes abfumere infomnes, et cum multis lacrymis petere a Deo veritatis demonftrationem, qui se a fratribus feparari vult,

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