Page images
[ocr errors]

nding" Tininga S.

that it drene makes

zrel they take a leap into mysticism, call it all. a holy

wait to deceive." Like the serpent, the fox never

runs on a straight line. He makes frequent crooks, njer

running this way and that way, and appears to er this

one little acquainted with his cunning to get along but slowly, and to care but little whether he makes his.

escape or not. But all these crooks are designed to puzzle his pursuer and embarrass his speed. This method is employed until one more perplexing is found to be necessary, when the fox sets himself to crossing his own track, running round and round, forming the most difficult labyrinth,

from which he makes a sudden leap as far as posthe gre

sible, leaving his pursuer to seek him in the labyrinth which he has left, while he makes the best of his way to another difficult place. In like manBer do: false teachers commence their discourses, by taking care to avoid a straight line of simple truth; they run a little way, pretending that the Divine Being is all love and grace to mankind, is the same yesterday, to-day and for ever, that the most entire confidence may be safely placed in his

wisdom, power and goodness; but immediately to do they take a turn, and represent him as capable of malt having his mind so changed as to burn with implacable

vengeance toward those who do not conform to their doctrine. If they are followed closely, and questioned concerning the consistency of their sto ry, they will begin to cross their paths, contradict what they have said, run into the doctrine of predestination, from that to free will, from free will

: to predestination, and from thence back again. In one breath they will hold to election and reproba, tion, in the next call on all to repent and be saved, and when called on to explain these contradictions,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


that they

[ocr errors]




[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

ande nani!

[ocr errors]

The mystery, which carnal reason cannot understand,

and thus, like the fox, make their escape.

This kind of preaching has been practised by false teachers, until many of the sensible people in Christendom have been driven to give up all be. lief in divine revelation, and to seek for rest in

[ocr errors]

moral philosophy, without the assistance of revealed religion.

Perhaps no foxes ever represented false teachers more to perfection, than the three hundred which Sampson caught, fastened together, two and two, with fire-brands between each pair, and sent among the standing corn of the Philistines.

This was an effectual method of destroying those extensive fields of wheat on which the Philistines depended for bread. If these foxes could have agreed to run a straight course, they would have done much less damage to the fields of corn; but agreeably to their nature, they ran crooked, and while one would attempt to go one way,

his companion would take a leap the other; in this way, they went in every possible direction, while the fire-brands sérved to increase their efforts and to burn the corn. In this manner false teachers are covenanted together, but with no disposition which harmonizes their hearts; and while one runs in one crooked path, another attempts to draw him in a different way, quite as crooked ; whilst all the time they are rendered even furious with a sort of “strange fire,” which characterizes their docrines, and produces a zeal not according to knowledge This fire is scattered every where, and in every place into which these false teachers run; while that reason, understanding and knowledge, which to moral beings is mortal bread, is all prostrated and consumed, by these false teachers and the fire they carry with them, as was the corn of the Philistines by the foxes and the fire-brands.

As has been already noticed, St. Peter has presented us with a comparison of the false prophets among the people of the Jews, and the false teachers that should arise in the Christian church; and it may be profitable for us to notice a few particutars which may serve to mark the distinction between true and false prophets and teachers. In the days of the prophets of Israel, the false prophęts were vastly more numerous than the true proph

is 03

and !

ets of God. At one time the prophet Elijah stood

alone, while the prophets of Baal were four hunacher dred and fifty; but whether the disproportion is as WIE great now, or not, we may not pretend to say ;

though if we may know them by their fruits, as s our Saviour directs, it would not be very difficult

to compute their numbers.

One infallible mark of a false prophet or teacher, ixtire is, he has a disposition to persécute.-Thus did d here the false prophets persecute the prophets of the d bere Lord; and thus do the many false teachers in 1: Christendom persecute, as far as they can, the del few who dare to testify the truth as it is in Jesus,

and disprove their doctrines of error.

The distinguishing trait which St. Peter has ile te given of false teachers is, that they should bring

in damnable heresies ; and he tells us what these 1 heresies amount to, “Even denying the Lord that posts bought them; and bring upon themselves swift Gile destruction." to doy : All false doctrines, in one way or other, deny

the Lord that bought us. They will either deny that Jesus


himself a ransom for all men, or es this what amounts to the same thing, they will deny ding to the final efficacy of this purchase. And when the me false teacher treats on the great subject of the Reche Saviour, he has ready at command studied methods non of professing to believe in him, and of holding him

up for others to believe and trust in, while at the Pachem same time he runs his whole doctrine in such a hemio crooked, doubtful course, that about all he says he

finally contradicts. False teachers who deny the

Lord that bought us, do this work in an artful, rophet cunning manner, they know it will not answer to Pet profess to deny him in full, because this would be

no deception; people would pay no attention to their testimony. But they pretend to believe in him, and to be his faithful ministers. They pretend to understand the deep mysteries of his doctrine, which are so very intricate that none but themselves, who have in a special manner been



[ocr errors]

partis tion to 218

[ocr errors]


let into the secrets of God, can understand, it belongs to this crafty scheme of error, to make them people believe that they must depend on what the step teacher says, take his testimony on his bare word, and to think it a crime to attempt to reduce it to rational principles.

Reason is one of the greatest enemies with which false teachers have to contend-; they therefore endeavour to persuade the people to yiew reason as carnal, and inimical to religion, and by all mean's to lay it out of the case entirely. All this is neces- Frie sary in order to prepare the mind to believe the strange and unreasonable notions which they have to impose on the simple.

These intimations, my friends, are what you see know to be facts ; you have heard false teachers go speak of the revealed will of God, and of his secret will ; you have heard them compare his revealed the will with his decreetive will, and undertake to tell the difference. You have heard them speak against als our reason, and endeavour to point out its danger-etes ous tendency ; you have heard much said about . i per hidden mysteries, into which we have no right to the enquire; yet these very mysteries are the subjects on which these false teachers. continually dwell

, amine and in which they require the implicit faith of the ti people.

Prepared in this way, and armed in all this guise, the fox takes his course, and practices his work of heresy, even denying the Lord that bought in If one who dares to exercise his reason,

and has boldness enough to question this false teacher, ask him how we should understand St. Paul, where he says that God will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth ?” he cunningly looks forward to see what the subject is leading to; he sees that its natural tendency is the salvation of all men. What now must he do? To allow this would not deny the Lord that bought us ; he immediately replies--It is God's revealed will that all men should be saved, but not his se


[ocr errors]

on the his baret


h they

Zal agent ditionally ; that is, if they will repent and believe. O right upon themselves swift destruction.” And this, my

ndertid cret, decreetive will. If he be asked why God

should reveal a will which is contrary to his decrees, he replies, that God is a Sovereign, and has

a right to do as he pleases, and that we have no reduxe right to inquire into his secrets. If the conversa

tion be continued, and the passage be brought up s mit: again, this false teacher will tack like a fox, and

say, the word all does not mean all without excep

tion; and then he will run with triumph for some pale time, contending that there are passages in scriphisia ture, where the word all is used in a limited sense. beet : Thus, like a fox, he crosses his own track.

| If this false teacher is under the necessity of ex-
plaining St. Paul's testimony, that the one Media-

himself a ransom for all men, at one time he will say, that St. Paul meant all the elect, not all the impenitent. But if the argument press him hardly, he will be sure to shift his ground, and say, that Jesus did give himself a ransom for all, conThus he contradicts himseff on every subject.

St. Peter says, that these false teachers bring friends, is verily the case; for if we deny the Lord that bought us, this very denial is our present and swift destruction. Our own confidence is destroyed, our hope demolished, dur peace given to the winds, and our fears and horrors awakened.

Let us then turn away our ears from hearing those doctrines, which deny the Lord that bought us, and let us learn of Him, who is wisdom to the foolish, righteousness to sinners, sanctification to the unclean, redemption to the captive, and life to the dead.

is neret


said aki

e sube


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »