« ÎnapoiContinuați »
the people.” And Hos. ii. 23, “ And I will sow her unto me in the earth.” So Jer. xxxi. 27.
Another thing that gives great disgust to many, is the disposition that persons show, under great affections, to speak so much, and with such earnestness and vehemence, to be setting forth the greatness and wonderfulness and impor. tance of divine and eternal things; and to be so passionately warning, inviting and entreating others.
Concerning which I would say, that I am far from thinking that such a disposition should be wholly without any limits or regulation (as I shall more particularly show afterwards) and I believe some have erred, in setting no bounds, and indulging and encouraging this disposition without any kind of Festraint or direction : but yet, it seems to me, that such a disposition in gene- .. ral, is what both reason and Scripture will justify. Those that are offended at such things, as though they were unreasonable, are not just : upon examination it will probably be found, that they have one rule of reasoning about temporal things, and another about spiritual things.—They would not at all wonder, if a person on some very great and affecting occasion, of extraordinary danger or great joy, that eminently and immediately concerns him and others, is disposed to speak much, and with great earnestness, especially to those to whom he is united, in the bonds of dear affection, and great concern for their good. And therefore, if they were just, why would not they allow it in spiritual things ? And much more in them, agreeably to the vastly greater importance, and more affecting nature of spiritual things, and the concern which true religion causes in men's minds for the good of others, and the disposition it gives and excites to speak God's praises, to show forth his infinite glory, and talk of all his glorious perfections and works?
That a very great sense, of the right kind, of the importance of the things of religion, and the danger sinners are in, should sometimes cause an almost insuperable disposition to speak and warn others, is agreeable to Jer. vi. 10, 11:"To whom shall I speak, and give warning, that they may hear? Behold, their ear is uncircumcised, and they cannot hearken: behold, the word of the Lord is unto them a reproach; they have no delight in it. Therefore I am full of the fury of the Lord; I am weary with holding in ; I will pour it out upon the children abroad, and upon the assembly of the young men together; for even the husband with the wife shall be taken, the aged with him that is full of days.” And that true Christians, when they come to be as it were waked out of sleep, and to be filled with a sweet and joyful sense of the excellent things of religion, by the preaching of the gospel, or by other means of grace, shoald be disposed to be much in speaking of divine things, though before they were dumb, is agreeable to what Christ says to his church, Cant. vii. 9:“And the roof of thy mouth is like the best wine, for my beloved, that goeth down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.” The roof of the church's mouth, is the officers in the church, that preach the gospel; their word is to Christ's beloved, like the best wine, that goes down sweetly: extraordinarily refreshing and enlivening the saints, causing them to speak, though before they were mute and asleep. It is said by some that the people that are the subjects of this work, when they get together, talking loudly and earnestly, in their pretended great joys, several in a room, talking at the same time, make a noise just like a company of drunken persons. On which I would observe, that it is foretold that God's people should do so, in that forementioned place, Zech. ix. 15, 16, 17, which I shall now take more particular notice of: the words are as follows: “ The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they shall VOL. III
devour and subdue with sling-stones; and they shall drink, and make a noise, as through wine, and they shall be filled like bowls, and as the corners of the altar : and the Lord their God shall save them in that day, as the flock of his people; for they shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up, as an ensign, upon his land: for how great is his goodness! And how great is his beauty! Corn shall make the young men cheerful, and new wine the maids.” The words are very remarkable: here it is foretold, that at the time when Christ shall set up a universal, kingdom upon earth (ver. 20), the children of Zion shall drink, until they are filled like the vessels of the sanctuary: and if we would know what they shall be thus filled with, the prophecy does, in effect, explain itself: they shall be filled, as the vessels of the sanctuary that contained the drink offering, which was wine; and yet the words imply, that it shall not literally be wine that they shall drink, and be filled with, because it is said, they shall drink, and make a noise as through wine, as if they had drank wine: which implies that they had not literally done it; and therefore we must understand the words, that they shall drink into that, and be filled with that, which the wine of the drink offering represented, or was a type of, which is the Holy Spirit, as well as the blood of Christ, that new wine that is drunk in our heavenly Father's kingdom : they shall be filled with the Spirit, which the apostle sets in opposition to a being drunk with wine, Eph. v. 18. This is the new wine spoken of, ver. 17. It is the same with that best wine spoken of in Canticles, that goes down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak. It is here foretold, that the children of Zion, in the latter days, should be filled with that which should make them cheerful, and cause them to make a noise as through wine, and by which these joyful happy persons that are thus filled, shall be as the stones of a crown, lifted up as an ensign upon God's land, being made joyful, in the extraordinary manifestations of the beauty and love of Christ: as it follows, How great is his goodness! And how great is his beauty ! And it is further remarkable that it is here foretold, that it should be thus especially amongst young people : Corn shall make the young men cherrful, and new wine the maids. It would be ridiculous to understand this of literal bread and wine: without doubt, the same spiritual blessings are signified by bread and wine here, which were represented by Melchizedeck's bread and wine, and are signified by the bread and wine in the Lord's supper. One of the marginal readings is, shall make the young men to speak, which is agreeable to that in Canticles, of the best wine's causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
We ought not to be, in any measure, like the unbelieving Jews in Christ's time, who were disgusted both with crying out with distress, and with joyi When the poor blind man cried out,'before all the multitude, Jesus, thou son of David, have mercy on me, and continued instantly thus doing, the multitude rebuked him, and charged him that he should hold his tongue, Mark x. 46, 47, 48, and Luke xvii. 38, 39. They looked upon it to be a very indecent noise that he made; a thing very ill becoming him to cause his voice to be heard, so much, and so loud, among the multitude. And when Christ made his solemn and triumphant entry into Jerusalem (which, I have before observed, was a type of the glory and triumph of the latter days), the whole multitude of the disciples, of all sorts, especially young people, began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice, for all the mighty works that they had seen, saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest! The Pharisees said to Christ, Master, rebuke thy disciples. They did not understand such great transports of joy ; it seemed to them a very unsuitable
and indecent noise and clamor that they made, a confused uproar, many crying out together, as though they were out of their wits; they wondered that Christ would tolerate it. But what says Christ? I tell you, that if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. The worus seếms to intimate as much, as that there was cause enough to constrain those whose hearts were mot harder than the very stones, to cry out and make a noise; which is something like that other expression, of causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak.
When many under great religious affections, are earnestly speaking together, of divine wonders, in various parts of a company, to those that are next to them; some attending to what one says, and others to another, there is something very beautiful in it, provided they do not speak so many as to drown each other's voices, that none can hear what any say; there is a greater and more affecting appearance of a joint engagedness of heart, in the love and praises of God. And I had rather see it, than to see one speaking alone, and all attending to what he says; it has more of the appearance of conversation. When a multitude meet on any occasion of temporal rejoicing, freely and cheerfully to converse together, they are not wont to observe the ceremony of but one speaking at a time, while all the rest, in a formal manner, set themselves to attend to what he says; that would spoil all conversation, and turn it into the formality of set speeches, and the solemnity of preaching. It is better for lay persons, when they speak one to another of the things of God, when they meet together, to speak after the manner of Christian conversation, than to observe the formality of but one speaking at a time, the whole multitude silently and solemnly attending to what he says; which would carry in it too much of the air, of the authority and solemnity of preaching. What the apostle says, 1 Cor. xiv. 29, 30, 31, “ Let the prophets speak, two or three, and let the other judge: if any thing be revealed to another that sitteth by, let the first hold his peace : for ye may all prophesy, one by one, that all may learn, and all may be comforted," I say, this does not reach this case; because what the apostle is speaking of is the solemnity of their religious exercises, in public worship, and persons speaking in the church, by immediate inspiration, and in the use of the gift of prophesy, or some gift of inspiration, in the exercise of which they acted as extraordinary ministers of Christ.
Another thing that some have found fault with, is abounding so much in singing, in religious meetings. Objecting against such a thing as this seems to arise from a suspicion already established of this work: they doubt of the pretended extraordinary love and joys that attend this work, and so find fault with the manifestations of them. If they thought persons were truly the sub jects of an extraordinary degree of divine love, and heavenly rejoicing in God Í suppose they would not wonder at their having a disposition to be much in praise. They will not object against the saints and angels in heaven singing praises and hallelujahs to God, without ceasing, day or night; and therefore doubtless will allow that the more the saints on earth are like them in their dispositions, the more they will be disposed to do like them. They will readily own that the generality of Christians have great reason to be ashamed that they have so little thankfulness, and are no more in praising God, whom they have such infinite cause to praise. And why therefore should Christians be found fault with, for showing a disposition to be much in praising God, and manifesting a delight in that heavenly exercise ? To complain of this, is to he too much like the Pharisees, who were disgusted when the multitude of the disciples began to rejoice, and, with loud voices to praise God, and cry Hosanna, when Christ was entering into Jerusalem.
Showing what things are to be corrected or avoided, in promoting this Work, or in our
behavior under it.
HAVING thus observed, in some instances, wherein the conduct of those that have appeared to be the subjects of this work, or have been zealous to promote it, has been objected against, or complained of, without or beyond just cause, I proceed now,
II. To show what things ought to be corrected or avoided.
Many that are zealous for this glorious work of God, are heartily sick of the great noise there is in the country, about imprudences and disorders: they have heard it so often from the mouths of opposers that they are prejudiced against the sound; and they look upon it that that which is called a being prudent and Tegular, which is so much insisted on, is no other than being asleep, or cold and dead in religion, and that the great imprudence that is so much cried out of, is only a being alive, and engaged in the things of God: and they are therefore rather confirmed in any practice, than brought off from it, by the clamor they