Monday, January 9, 2023

God's providence is one work

 

'Tis with God's work of providence as it is with his work of creation: 'tis but one work. The events of providence ben't so many distinct independent works of providence, but they are rather so many different parts of one work of providence: 'tis all one work, one regular scheme. 

God's works of providence ben't disunited and jumbled, without connection or dependence. 

But all are united, just as the several parts of one building: there are many stones, many pieces of timber, but all are so joined and fitly framed together that8 they make but one building. They have all but one foundation, and are united at last in one topstone.

-- 520 --

God's providence may not unfitly be compared to a large and long river, having innumerable branches beginning in different regions, and at a great distance one from another, and all conspiring to one common issue. 

After their very diverse and contrary courses which they hold for a while, yet all gathering more and more together the nearer they come to their common end, and all at length discharging themselves at one mouth into the same ocean. The different streams of this river are ready to look like mere jumble and confusion to us because of the limitedness of our sight, whereby we can't see from one branch to another and can't see the whole at once, so as to see how all are united in one. 

A man that sees but one or two streams at a time can't tell what their course tends to. Their course seems very crooked, and the different streams seem to run for a9 while different and contrary ways. 

And if we view things at a distance, there seem to be innumerable obstacles and impediments in the way to hinder their ever uniting and coming to the ocean, as rocks and mountains and the like. But yet if we trace them they all unite at last and all come to the same issue, disgorging themselves in one into the same great ocean. 

Not one of all the streams fail of coming hither at last.




Monday, January 2, 2023

New Year's Resolutions


From the 1808 edition of The Works of President Edwards, Volume 1, which was on sale in the Palmyra bookshop that Joseph Smith frequented. Several of Edwards' resolutions were omitted from the 1808 edition, as indicated below.

_____

Mr. Edwards was too well acquainted with human weakness and frailty, where the intention is most sincere, to enter on any resolutions rashly. He therefore looked to God for aid, who alone can afford success in the use of any means. This he places at the head of all his other important rules, that his dependence was on grace, while he frequently recurred to a serious perusal of them... “Being sensible that I am unable to do any thing without God’s help, I do humbly intreat him by his grace to enable me to keep these resolutions so far as they are agreeable to his will, for Christ’s sake." He then adds:-- 

Remember to read over these resolutions once a week.

1. Resolved, That I will do whatsoever I think to be most to the glory of God, and my own good, profit, and pleasure, on the whole; without any consideration of the time, whether now, or never so many myriads of ages hence; to do whatever I think to be my duty, and most for the good and advantage of mankind in general whatever difficulties I meet with, how many and how great soever.

2. Resolved, To be continually endeavouring to find out some new contrivance and invention to promote the forementioned things.

[omitted in 1808 edition] 3. Resolved, If ever I shall fall and grow dull, so as to neglect to keep any part of these Resolutions, to repent of all I can remember, when I come to myself again.

4. Resolved, Never to do, be or suffer, any manner of thing in soul or body, less or more, but what tends to the glory of God.

5. Resolved, Never to lose one moment of time, but to improve it in the most profitable way I possibly can.

6. Resolved, To live with all my might, while I do live.

7. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do if it were the last hour of my life.

[omitted in 1808 edition] 8. Resolved, To act, in all respects, both speaking and doing, as if nobody had been so vile as I, and as if I had committed the same sins, or had the same infirmities or failings, as others; and that I will let the knowledge of their failings promote nothing but shame in myself, and prove only an occasion of my confessing my own sins and misery to God. Vid. July 30.

9. Resolved, To think much, on all occasions, of my dying, and of the common circumstances which attend death.

[omitted in 1808 edition] 10. Resolved, when I feel pain, to think of the pains of martyrdom, and of hell.

11. Resolved, When I think of any theorem in divinity to be solved, immediately to do what I can towards solving it, if circumstances do not hinder.xxi

[omitted in 1808 edition] 12. Resolved, If I take delight in it as a gratification of pride, or vanity, or on any such account, immediately to throw it by.

13. Resolved, To be endeavouring to find out fit objects of liberality and charity.

14. Resolved, Never to do any thing out of revenge.

15. Resolved, Never to suffer the least motions of anger towards irrational beings.

[omitted in 1808 edition] 16. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any one, so that it shall tend to his dishonour, more or less, upon no account except for some real good.

17. Resolved, That I will live so, as I shall wish I had done when I come to die.

18. Resolved, To live so, at all times, as I think is best in my most devout frames, and when I have the clearest notions of the things of the gospel, and another world.

19. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which I should be afraid to do, if I expected it would not be above an hour before I should hear the last trump.

20. Resolved, To maintain the strictest temperance in eating and drinking.

21. Resolved, Never to do any thing, which if I should see in another, I should count a just occasion to despise him for, or to think any way the more meanly of him.

[omitted in 1808 edition]22. Resolved, To endeavour to obtain for myself as much happiness in the other world as I possibly can, with all the power, might, vigour, and vehemence, yea violence, I am capable of, or can bring myself to exert, in any way that can be thought of.

[omitted in 1808 edition]23. Resolved, Frequently to take some deliberate action, which seems most unlikely to be done, for the glory of God, and trace it back to the original intention, designs, and ends of it; and if I find it not to be for God’s glory, to repute it as a breach of the fourth Resolution.

24. Resolved, Whenever I do any conspicuously evil action, to trace it back, till I come to the original cause; and then, both carefully endeavour to do so no more, and to fight and pray with all my might against the original of it.

[omitted in 1808 edition]25. Resolved, To examine carefully and constantly, what that one thing in me is, which causes me in the least to doubt of the love of God; and so direct all my forces against it.

[omitted in 1808 edition]26. Resolved, To cast away such things as I find do abate my assurance.

[omitted in 1808 edition]27. Resolved, Never wilfully to omit any thing, except the omission be for the glory of God; and frequently to examine my omissions.

28. Resolved, To study the Scriptures so steadily, constantly, and frequently, as that I may find, and plainly perceive, myself to grow in the knowledge of the same.

[omitted in 1808 edition]29. Resolved, Never to count that a prayer, nor to let that pass as a prayer, nor that as a petition of a prayer, which is so made, that I cannot hope that God will answer it; nor that as a confession which I cannot hope God will accept.

30. Resolved, To strive every week to be brought higher in religion, and to a higher exercise of grace, than I was the week before.

[omitted in 1808 edition]31. Resolved, Never to say any thing at all against any body, but when it is perfectly agreeable to the highest degree of christian honour, and of love to mankind, agreeable to the lowest humility, and sense of my own faults and failings, and agreeable to the golden rule; often, when I have said any thing against any one, to bring it to, and try it strictly by, the test of this Resolution.

32. Resolved, To be strictly and firmly faithful to my trust, that that, in Prov. xx. 6. ‘A faithful man, who can find?’ may not be partly fulfilled in me.

33. Resolved, To do always what I can towards making, maintaining, and preserving peace, when it can be done without an overbalancing detriment in other respects. Dec. 26, 1722.

34. Resolved, In narrations, never to speak any thing but the pure and simple verity.

[omitted in 1808 edition]35. Resolved, Whenever I so much question whether I have done my duty, as that my quiet and calm is thereby disturbed, to set it down, and also how the question was resolved. Dec. 18, 1722.

36. Resolved, Never to speak evil of any, except I have some particular good call to it. Dec. 19, 1722.

37. Resolved, To inquire every night, as I am going to bed, wherein I have been negligent,—what sin I have committed,—and wherein I have denied myself;—also, at the end of every week, month, and year. Dec. 22 and 26, 1722.

38. Resolved, Never to utter any thing that is sportive, or matter of laughter, on a Lord’s day. Sabbath evening, Dec. 23, 1722.

39. Resolved, Never to do any thing, of which I so much question the lawfulness, as that I intend, at the same time, to consider and examine afterwards, whether it be lawful or not; unless I as much question the lawfulness of the omission.

[omitted in 1808 edition]40. Resolved, To inquire every night before I go to bed, whether I have acted in the best way I possibly could, with respect to eating and drinking. Jan. 7, 1723.

41. Resolved, to ask myself, at the end of every day, week, month, and year, wherein I could possibly, in any respect, have done better. Jan. 11, 1723.

42. Resolved, Frequently to renew the dedication of myself to God, which was made at my baptism, which I solemnly renewed when I was received into the communion of the church, and which I have solemnly re-made this 12th day of January, 1723.

43. Resolved, Never, henceforward, till I die, to act as if I were any way my own, but entirely and altogether God’s; agreeably to what is to be found in Saturday, Jan. 12th. Jan. 12, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]44. Resolved, That no other end but religion shall have any influence at all on any of my actions; and that no action shall be, in the least circumstance, any otherwise than the religious end will carry it. Jan. 12, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]45. Resolved, Never to allow any pleasure or grief, joy or sorrow, nor any affection at all, nor any degree of affection, nor any circumstance relating to it, but what helps religion. Jan. 12 and 13, 1723.

46. Resolved, Never to allow the least measure of any fretting or uneasiness at my father or mother. Resolved, to suffer no effects of it, so much as in the least alteration of speech, or motion of my eye; and to be especially careful of it with respect to any of our family.

47. Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, to deny whatever is not most agreeable to a good and universally sweet and benevolent, quiet, peaceable, contented and easy, compassionate and generous, humble and meek, submissive and obliging, diligent and industrious, charitable and even, patient, moderate, forgiving, and sincere, temper; and to do, at all times, what such a temper would xxiilead me to; and to examine strictly, at the end of every week, whether I have so done. Sabbath morning, May 5, 1723.

48. Resolved, Constantly, with the utmost niceness and diligence, and the strictest scrutiny, to be looking into the state of my soul, that I may know whether I have truly an interest in Christ or not; that when I come to die, I may not have any negligence respecting this to repent of. May 26, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]49. Resolved, That this never shall be, if I can help it.

50. Resolved, That I will act so, as I think I shall judge would have been best, and most prudent, when I come into the future world. July 5, 1723.

51. Resolved, That I will act so, in every respect, as I think I shall wish I had done, if I should at last be damned. July 8, 1723.

52. I frequently hear persons in old age say how they would live, if they were to live their lives over again: Resolved, That I will live just so as I can think I shall wish I had done, supposing I live to old age. July 8, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]53. Resolved, To improve every opportunity, when I am in the best and happiest frame of mind, to cast and venture my soul on the Lord Jesus Christ, to trust and confide in him, and consecrate myself wholly to him; that from this I may have assurance of my safety, knowing that I confide in my Redeemer. July 8, 1723.

54. Resolved, Whenever I hear anything spoken in commendation of any person, if I think it would be praiseworthy in me, that I will endeavour to imitate it. July 8, 1723.

55. Resolved, To endeavour, to my utmost, so to act, as I can think I should do, if I had already seen the happiness of heaven and hell torments. July 8, 1723.

56. Resolved, Never to give over, nor in the least to slacken, my fight with my corruptions, however unsuccessful I may be.

57. Resolved, When I fear misfortunes and adversity, to examine whether I have done my duty, and resolve to do it and let the event be just as Providence orders it. I will, as far as I can, be concerned about nothing but my duty and my sin. June 9, and July 13, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]58. Resolved, Not only to refrain from an air of dislike, fretfulness, and anger in conversation, but to exhibit an air of love, cheerfulness, and benignity. May 27, and July 13, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]59. Resolved, When I am most conscious of provocations to ill nature and anger, that I will strive most to feel and act good-naturedly; yea, at such times, to manifest good nature, though I think that in other respects it would be disadvantageous, and so as would be imprudent at other times. May 12, July 11, and July 13.

[omitted in 1808 edition]60. Resolved, Whenever my feelings begin to appear in the least out of order, when I am conscious of the least uneasiness within, or the least irregularity without, I will then subject myself to the strictest examination. July 4 and 13, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]61. Resolved, That I will not give way to that listlessness which I find unbends and relaxes my mind from being fully and fixedly set on religion, whatever excuse I may have for it—that what my listlessness inclines me to do, is best to be done, &c. May 21, and July 13, 1723.

62. Resolved, Never to do any thing but my duty, and then, according to Eph. vi. 6-8. to do it willingly and cheerfully, as unto the Lord, and not to man: knowing that whatever good thing any man doth, the same shall be receive of the Lord. June 25, and July 13, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]63. On the supposition, that there never was to be but one individual in the world, at any one time, who was properly a complete Christian, in all respects of a right stamp, having Christianity always shining in its true lustre, and appearing excellent and lovely, from whatever part and under whatever character viewed: Resolved, To act just as I would do, if I strove with all my might to be that one, who should live in my time. Jan. 14, and July 13, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]64. Resolved, When I find those ”groanings which cannot be uttered,“ of which the apostle speaks, and those ”breathings of soul for the longing it hath,” of which the psalmist speaks, Psalm cxix. 20. that I will promote them to the utmost of my power; and that I will not be weary of earnestly endeavouring to vent my desires, nor of the repetitions of such earnestness. July 23, and Aug. 10, 1723.

65. Resolved, Very much to exercise myself in this, all my life long, viz. with the greatest openness of which I am capable, to declare my ways to God, and lay open my soul to him, all my sins, temptations, difficulties, sorrows, fears, hopes, desires, and every thing, and every circumstance, according to Dr. Manton’s Sermon on the 119th Psalm,. July 26, and Aug. 10, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]66. Resolved, That I will endeavour always to keep a benign aspect, and air of acting and speaking, in all places, and in all companies, except it should so happen that duty requires otherwise.

67. Resolved, After afflictions, to inquire, what I am the better for them; what good I have got by them; and, what I might have got by them.

[omitted in 1808 edition]68. Resolved, To confess frankly to myself, all that which I find in myself, either infirmity or sin; and, if it be what concerns religion, also to confess the whole case to God, and implore needed help. July 23, and August 10, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]69. Resolved, Always to do that, which I shall wish I had done when I see others do it. Aug. 11, 1723.

[omitted in 1808 edition]70. Let there be something of benevolence in all that I speak. Aug. 17, 1723.”


Adapted from https://ccel.org/ccel/edwards/works1/works1.i.iii.html, which edited the 1808 edition.

Saturday, December 10, 2022

The latter days and carnal state

From "History of the Work of Redemption"


Before I enter on the consideration of any particular things accomplished in this period, I would briefly observe how the times of this period are represented in Scripture.

I. The times of this period, for the most part, are in the Old Testament called the latter days. We often, in the prophets of the Old Testament, read of things that should come to pass in the latter days, and sometimes in the last days, evidently referring to gospel times. They are called the latter days, and the last days; because this is the last period of the series of God’s providences on earth, the last period of the great work of redemption; which is as it were the sum of God’s works of providence; the last dispensation of the covenant of grace on earth.

II. The whole time of this period is sometimes in Scripture called the end of the world1 Cor. x. 11. “Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples; and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.” And the apostle, Heb. ix. 26. in this expression of the end of the world, means the whole of the gospel-day, from the birth of Christ to the day of judgment: “But now once in the end of the world, hath he appeared, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. 632 “ This space of time may well be called the end of the world; for this whole time is taken up in bringing things to their great end and issue. 

Before, things were in a kind of preparatory state; but now they are in a finishing state. An end is now brought to the former carnal state of things, which by degrees vanishes, and a spiritual state begins to be established more and more. Particularly, an end is brought to the former state of the church, which may be called its worldly state, in which it was subject to carnal ordinances, and the rudiments of the world. Then an end is brought to the Jewish commonwealth, in the destruction of their city and country. After that, an end is brought to the old heathen empire in Constantine’s time. The next step is the finishing of Satanvisible kingdom in the world, upon the fall of Antichrist, and the calling of the Jews. And last will come the destruction of the outward frame of the world itself, at the conclusion of the day of judgment. Heaven and earth began to shake, in order to a dissolution, according to the prophecy of Haggai, before Christ came, that so only those things which cannot be shaken may remain, i.e. that those things which are to come to an end may terminate, and that only those things may remain which are to remain eternally. [Hebrews 12:27]


https://www.ccel.org/ccel/edwards/works1.xii.vi.i.html

also in: 

http://media.sabda.org/alkitab-11/V6A-E/EDW_VOL4.PDF

https://quod.lib.umich.edu/cgi/t/text/pageviewer-idx?cc=evans;c=evans;idno=n13864.0001.001;node=N13864.0001.001:5;seq=179;page=root;view=text

Kindle version of 1808 edition at Location 13446

_____

Note: Some non-biblical terms used in the latter-day scriptures. 

Space of time: Alma 40:9; 56:20; JS-H 1:28

Preparatory state: Alma 12:26; 42:10; 42:13

Carnal state: Mosiah 4:2, Alma 22:13, and Alma 41:11.

By degrees: Mosiah 21:16; Alma 47:18


Thursday, November 24, 2022

Thanksgiving and David Brainerd

Jonathan Edwards gave several sermons on Thanksgiving Day, but here we look at a passage from David Brainerd's journal.


Wednesday, November 5. Rode to Elizabethtown; intending as soon as possible to prosecute my journey into New England. But was, in an hour or two after my arrival, taken much worse.

After this, for near a week, was confined to my chamber, and most of the time to my bed: and then so far revived as to be able to walk about the house; but was still confined within doors.

In the beginning of this extraordinary turn of disorder, after my coming to Elizabethtown, I was enabled through mercy to maintain a calm, composed, and patient spirit, as I had been before from the beginning of my weakness. After I had been in Elizabethtown about a fortnight, and had so far recovered that I was able to walk about [the] house, upon a day of thanksgiving kept in this place, I was enabled to recall and recount over the mercies of God in such a manner as greatly affected me and filled me (I think) with thankfulness and praise to God: Especially my soul praised him for his work of grace among the Indians and the enlargement of his dear kingdom: My soul blessed God for what he is in himself, and adored him, that he ever would display himself to creatures: I rejoiced that he was God, and longed that all should know it and feel it and rejoice in it. "Lord, glorify thyself", was the desire and cry of my soul. Oh, that all people might love and praise the blessed God: that he might have all possible honor and glory from the intelligent world!1

After this comfortable thanksgiving season, I frequently enjoyed freedom and enlargement and engagedness of soul in prayer, and was enabled to intercede with God for my dear congregation, very often for every family and every person in particular; and it was often a great comfort to me that I could pray heartily to God for those to whom I could not speak, and whom I was not allowed to see.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

James Hervey and "Every pore"

While this blog focuses on Jonathan Edwards, I've noted in Infinite Goodness and other places that James Hervey's works were also influential for Joseph Smith. Hervey's works were on sale in the Palmyra bookstore Joseph visited weekly. 

Emma once complained that all their books were lost in the Missouri expulsion, but Joseph donated Hervey's works to the Nauvoo library in 1844. We don't know when or how he acquired the books he donated (apart from the Stephens and Catherwood books he received from Wilford Woodruff, which he probably never read). While there's no evidence that Joseph actually had the time to read any of the books he donated, Hervey's works are the only evident link between the books Joseph had access to in both Nauvoo and Palmyra.

This comes to mind because some critics complain that Mosiah 3:7 is anachronistic because scientists didn't discover "pores" until the modern era.

7 And lo, he shall suffer temptations, and pain of body, hunger, thirst, and fatigue, even more than man can suffer, except it be unto death; for behold, blood cometh from every pore, so great shall be his anguish for the wickedness and the abominations of his people.

(Mosiah 3:7)

They note similar language in D&C 19:18

18 Which suffering caused myself, even God, the greatest of all, to tremble because of pain, and to bleed at every pore, and to suffer both body and spirit—and would that I might not drink the bitter cup, and shrink—

(Doctrine and Covenants 19:18)

Hervey wrote:

Whereas, the divine Redeemer expired in tedious and protracted torments. His pangs were as lingering, as they were exquisite. Even in the prelude to his last suffering, what a load of sorrows overwhelmed his sacred humanity! Till the intolerable pressure wrung blood, instead of sweat, from every pore; till the crimson flood stained all his raiment, and tinged the very stones.

Thus, Joseph was likely familiar with the concept that Christ bled at every pore. When he translated the engravings on the plates, he naturally would have rendered the text using language familiar to him, in this case "blood... from every pore."

LDS apologists don't think about this because they no longer accept what Joseph said; i.e., that he translated the ancient records. Instead, they teach that Joseph merely read words that appeared on the stone in the hat (SITH).

But while they teach SITH, they don't explain why the actual translator (the MIST, or mysterious incognito supernatural translator) would have used terminology from the sources readily available to Joseph Smith. 

SITH is a mass of confusion, and this is just another example of that.

Check out these apologetic explanations and see for yourself.



Monday, November 21, 2022

False reports

 Many in the country have entertained a mean thought of this great work that there has been amongst us, from what they have heard of impressions that have been made on persons' imaginations. But there have been exceeding great misrepresentations and innumerable false reports concerning that matter. 'Tis not, that I know of, the profession or opinion of any one person in the town, that any weight is to be laid on anything seen with the bodily eyes: I know the contrary to be a received and established principle amongst us. I cannot say that there have been no instances of persons that have been ready to give too much heed to vain and useless imaginations; but they have been easily corrected, and I conclude it will not be wondered at, that a congregation should need a guide in such cases, to assist them in distinguishing wheat from chaff. But such impressions on the imagination as have been more usual, seem to me to be plainly no other than what is to be expected in human nature in such circumstances, and what is the natural result of the strong exercise of the mind, and impressions on the heart.

I do not suppose that they themselves imagined that they saw anything with their bodily eyes; but only have had within them ideas strongly impressed, and as it were, lively pictures in their minds: as for instance, some when in great terrors, through fear of hell, have had lively ideas of a dreadful furnace. Some, when their hearts have been strongly impressed, and their affections greatly moved with a sense of the beauty and excellency of Christ, it has wrought on their imaginations so, that together with a sense of his glorious spiritual perfections, there has arisen in the mind an idea of one of glorious majesty, and of a sweet and a gracious aspect. So some, when they have been greatly affected with Christ's death, have at the same time a lively idea of Christ hanging upon the cross, and of his blood running from his wounds; which things won't be wondered at by them that have observed how strong affections about temporal matters will excite lively ideas and pictures of different things in the mind.

-- 189 --

But yet the vigorous exercise of the mind does doubtless more strongly impress it with imaginary ideas, in some than others; which probably may arise from the difference of constitution, and seems evidently in some, partly to arise from their peculiar circumstances. When persons have been exercised with extreme terrors, and there is a sudden change to light and joy, the imagination seems more susceptive of strong ideas, and the inferior powers, and even the frame of the body, is much more affected and wrought upon, than when the same persons have as great spiritual light and joy afterwards; of which it might, perhaps, be easy to give a reason. The aforementioned Rev. Messrs. Lord and Owen, 8 who, I believe, are esteemed persons of learning and discretion where they are best known, declared that they found these impressions on persons' imaginations quite different things from what fame had before represented to them, and that they were what none need to wonder at, or be stumbled by, or to that purpose.

There have indeed been some few instances of impressions on persons' imaginations, that have been something mysterious to me, and I have been at a loss about them; for though it has been exceeding evident to me by many things that appeared in them, both then (when they related them) and afterwards, that they indeed had a great sense of the spiritual excellency of divine things accompanying them; yet I have not been able well to satisfy myself, whether their imaginary ideas have been more than could naturally arise from their spiritual sense of things. However, I have used the utmost caution in such cases; great care has been taken both in public and in private to teach persons the difference between what is spiritual and what is merely imaginary. I have often warned persons not to lay the stress of their hope on any ideas of any outward glory, or any external thing whatsoever, and have met with no opposition in such instructions. But 'tis not strange if some weaker persons, in giving an account of their experiences, have not so prudently distinguished between the spiritual and imaginary part; which some that have not been well affected to religion, might take advantage of.

There has been much talk in many parts of the country, as though the people have symbolized with the Quakers, and the Quakers themselves have been moved with such reports; and came here, once and again, hoping to find good waters to fish in; but without the least success, and seemed to be discouraged and have left off coming. There

-- 190 --

have also been reports spread about the country, as though the first occasion of so remarkable a concern on people's minds here, was an apprehension that the world was near to an end, which was altogether a false report. Indeed, after this stirring and concern became so general and extraordinary, as has been related, the minds of some were filled with speculation, what so great a dispensation of divine providence might forebode: and some reports were heard from abroad, as though certain divines and others thought the conflagration was nigh; but such reports were never generally looked upon [as] worthy of notice.

http://edwards.yale.edu/archive?path=aHR0cDovL2Vkd2FyZHMueWFsZS5lZHUvY2dpLWJpbi9uZXdwaGlsby9nZXRvYmplY3QucGw/Yy4zOjQud2plby41MDUzNzUuNTA1Mzg3LjUwNTM5Mw== 

Friday, November 18, 2022

Responding to critics

 PART III

SHEWING IN MANY INSTANCES WHEREIN THE SUBJECTS OR ZEALOUS PROMOTERS OF THIS WORK HAVE BEEN INJURIOUSLY BLAMED

THIS work that has lately been carried on in the land is the work of God, and not the work of man. 

[Remember, remember that it is not the work of God that is frustrated, but the work of men;(D&C 3:3)]


Its beginning has not been of man's power or device, and its being carried on depends not on our strength or wisdom; but yet God expects of all that they should use their utmost endeavors to promote it, and that the hearts of all should be greatly engaged in this affair, and that we should improve strength in it, however vain human strength is without the power of God; and so he no less requires that we should improve our utmost care, wisdom and prudence, though human wisdom of itself be as vain as human strength. 

Though God is wont to carry on such a work in such a manner, as many ways, to shew the weakness and vanity of means and human endeavors in themselves; yet at the same time, he carries it on in such a manner as to encourage diligence and vigilance in the use of proper means and endeavors, and to punish the neglect of them. 

Therefore in our endeavors to promote this great work, we ought to use the utmost caution, vigilance and skill, in the measures we take in order to it. A great affair should be managed with great prudence: this is the most important affair that ever New England was called to be concerned in. 

When a people are engaged in war with a powerful and crafty nation, it concerns them to manage an affair of such consequence with the utmost discretion. 

Of what vast importance then must it be, that we should be vigilant and prudent in the management of this great war that New England now has, with so great a host of such subtle and cruel enemies, wherein we must either conquer or be conquered; and the consequence of the victory, on one side, will be our eternal destruction in both soul and body in hell; and on the other side, our obtaining the kingdom of heaven and reigning in it in eternal glory? 

We had need always to stand on our watch [Habakkuk 2:1], and to be well

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versed in the art of war, and not to be ignorant of the devices of our enemies, and to take heed lest by any means we be beguiled through their subtlety.

Though the Devil be strong, yet in such a war as this, he depends more on his craft than his strength. 

And the course he has chiefly taken from time to time, to clog, hinder and overthrow revivals of religion in the church of God, has been by his subtle, deceitful management, to beguile and mislead those that have been engaged therein; and in such a course God has been pleased, in his holy and sovereign providence, to suffer him to succeed, oftentimes in a great measure, to overthrow that, which in its beginning appeared most hopeful and glorious. 

The work that is now begun in New England is, as I have shown, eminently glorious; and if it should go on and prevail, would make New England a kind of heaven upon earth. Is it not therefore a thousand pities that it should be overthrown, through wrong and improper management, that we are led into by our subtle adversary, in our endeavors to promote it?

In treating of the methods that ought to be taken to promote this work, I would, 

I. Take notice, in some instances, wherein fault has been found with the conduct of those that have appeared to be the subjects of it, or have been zealous to promote it (as I apprehend), beyond just cause. 

II. I would shew what things ought to be corrected or avoided. 

III. I would shew positively, what ought to be done to promote this glorious work of God.1

[Ten Criticisms Answered]

I would take notice of some things at which offense has been taken without, or beyond, just cause.

[1] One thing that has been complained of, is ministers addressing themselves rather to the affections of their hearers than to their understandings, and striving to raise their passions to the utmost height, rather by a very affectionate manner of speaking and a great appearance of earnestness in voice and gesture, than by clear reasoning and informing their judgment: by which means, it is objected, that the affections are moved without a proportionable enlightening of the understanding.

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To which I would say, I am far from thinking that it is not very profitable, for ministers in their preaching, to endeavor clearly and distinctly to explain the doctrines of religion, and unravel the difficulties that attend them, and to confirm them with strength of reason and argumentation, and also to observe some easy and clear method and order in their discourses, for the help of the understanding and memory; and 'tis very probable that these things have been of late, too much neglected by many ministers; yet, I believe that the objection that is made, of affections raised without enlightening the understanding, is in a great measure built on a mistake, and confused notions that some have about the nature and cause of the affections, and the manner in which they depend on the understanding. All affections are raised either by light in the understanding, or by some error and delusion in the understanding; for all affections do certainly arise from some apprehension in the understanding; and that apprehension must either be agreeable to truth, or else be some mistake or delusion; if it be an apprehension or notion that is agreeable to truth, then it is light in the understanding. Therefore the thing to be inquired into is, whether the apprehensions or notions of divine and eternal things, that are raised in people's minds by these affectionate preachers, whence their affections are excited, be apprehensions that are agreeable to truth, or whether they are mistakes. If the former, then the affections are raised the way they should be, viz. by informing the mind, or conveying light to the understanding. They go away with a wrong notion, that think that those preachers can't affect their hearers by enlightening their understandings, that don't do it by such a distinct, and learned handling of the doctrinal points of religion, as depends on human discipline, or the strength of natural reason, and tends to enlarge their hearers' learning, and speculative knowledge in divinity. The manner of preaching without this, may be such as shall tend very much to set divine and eternal things in a right view, and to give the hearers such ideas and apprehensions of them as are agreeable to truth, and such impressions on their hearts, as are answerable to the real nature of things: and not only the words that are spoken, but the manner of speaking, is one thing that has a great tendency to this.

I think an exceeding affectionate way of preaching about the great things of religion, has in itself no tendency to beget false apprehensions of them; but on the contrary a much greater tendency to beget true apprehensions of them, than a moderate, dull, indifferent

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way of speaking of 'em. An appearance of affection and earnestness in the manner of delivery, if it be very great indeed, yet if it be agreeable to the nature of the subject, and ben't beyond a proportion to its importance and worthiness of affection, and there be no appearance of its being feigned or forced, has so much the greater tendency to beget true ideas or apprehensions in the minds of the hearers, of the subject spoken of, and so to enlighten the understanding: and that for this reason, that such a way or manner of speaking of these things does in fact more truly represent them, than a more cold and indifferent way of speaking of them. If the subject be in its own nature worthy of very great affection, then a speaking of it with very great affection is most agreeable to the nature of that subject, or is the truest representation of it, and therefore has most of a tendency to beget true ideas of it in the minds of those to whom the representation is made. And I don't think ministers are to be blamed for raising the affections of their hearers too high, if that which they are affected with be only that which is worthy of affection, and their affections are not raised beyond a proportion to their importance, or worthiness of affection. I should think myself in the way of my duty to raise the affections of my hearers as high as possibly I can, provided that they are affected with nothing but truth, and with affections that are not disagreeable to the nature of what they are affected with. I know it has long been fashionable to despise a very earnest and pathetical way of preaching; and they, and they only have been valued as preachers, that have shown the greatest extent of learning, and strength of reason, and correctness of method and language: but I humbly conceive it has been for want of understanding, or duly considering human nature, that such preaching has been thought to have the greatest tendency to answer the ends of preaching; and the experience of the present and past ages abundantly confirms the same.

Though as I said before, clearness of distinction and illustration, and strength of reason, and a good method, in the doctrinal handling of the truths of religion, is many ways needful and profitable, and not to be neglected, yet an increase in speculative knowledge in divinity is not what is so much needed by our people, as something else. Men may abound in this sort of light and have no heat: how much has there been of this sort of knowledge, in the Christian world, in this age? Was there ever an age wherein strength and penetration of reason, extent of learning, exactness of distinction,

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correctness of style, and clearness of expression, did so abound? And yet was there ever an age wherein there has been so little sense of the evil of sin, so little love to God, heavenly-mindedness, and holiness of life, among the professors of the true religion? Our people don't so much need to have their heads stored, as to have their hearts touched; and they stand in the greatest need of that sort of preaching that has the greatest tendency to do this.

Those texts, Isaiah 58:1, "Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy voice like a trumpet, and shew my people their transgression, and the house of Jacob their sins"; and Ezekiel 6:11, "Thus saith the Lord God, smite with thine hand, and stamp with thy foot, and say, alas, for all the evil abomination of the house of Israel!"—I say, these texts (however the use that some have made of them has been laughed at) will fully justify a great degree of pathos, and manifestation of zeal and fervency in preaching the Word of God. They may indeed be abused, to justify that which would be odd and unnatural amongst us, not making due allowance for difference of manners and custom, in different ages and nations; but let us interpret them how we will, they at least imply that a most affectionate and earnest manner of delivery, in many cases, becomes a preacher of God's Word.

Preaching of the Word of God is commonly spoken of in Scripture, in such expressions as seem to import a loud and earnest speaking; as in Isaiah 40:2, "Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her […] that her iniquity is pardoned." And vs. Isaiah 40:3, "The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord." Verse Isaiah 40:6, "The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof, as the flower of the field." Jeremiah 2:2, "Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the Lord, etc." Jonah 1:2, "Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it." Isaiah 61:1–2, "The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings to the meek…to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the year [sic, day] of vengeance of our God." Isaiah 62:11, "Behold, the Lord hath proclaimed unto the end of the world, Say ye to the daughter of Zion, Behold thy salvation cometh, etc." Romans 10:18, "Their sound went into all the earth, and their words to the end of the world." Jeremiah 11:6, "Proclaim all these words in the cities of Judah, and in the streets of Jerusalem, saying, Hear ye the words of this covenant, and do them." So

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chap. Jeremiah 19:2 and Jeremiah 7:2Proverbs 8:1, "Doth not wisdom cry, and understanding put forth her voice?" Vss. Proverbs 8:3–4, "She crieth at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors: Unto you, O men, I call, and my voice is to the sons of men!" And chap. Proverbs 1:20, "Wisdom crieth without, she uttereth her voice in the streets." Chap. Proverbs 9:3, "She hath sent forth her maidens; she crieth upon the high places of the city." John 7:37, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."

It seems to be foretold that the Gospel should be especially preached in a loud and earnest manner, at the introduction of the prosperous state of religion, in the latter days. Isaiah 40:9, "O Zion, that bringeth good tidings, get thee up into the high mountain! O Jerusalem, that bringeth good tidings, lift up thy voice with strength! Lift up, and be not afraid! Say unto the cities of Judah, Behold your God!" Isaiah 52:7–8, "How beautiful upon the mountains, are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings!…Thy watchmen shall lift up the voice." Isaiah 27:13, "And it shall come to pass, in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish." And this will be one way that the church of God will cry at that time, like a travailing woman, when Christ mystical is going to be brought forth; as Revelation 12, at the beginning. It will be by ministers, that are her mouth: and it will be this way, that Christ will then cry like a travailing woman, as in Isaiah 42:14, "I have long time holden my peace: I have been still, and refrained myself; now will I cry, like a travailing woman." Christ cries by his ministers, and the church cries by her officers. And 'tis worthy to be noted that the word commonly used in the New Testament, that we translate "preach," properly signifies to proclaim aloud like a crier.2

[2] Another thing that some ministers have been greatly blamed for, and I think unjustly, is speaking terror to them that are already Under great terrors, instead of comforting them. Indeed, if ministers in such a case go about to terrify persons with that which is not true, or to affright 'em by representing their case worse than it is, or in any respect otherwise than it is, they are to be condemned; but if they terrify 'em only by still holding forth more light to them, and

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giving them to understand more of the truth of their case, they are altogether to be justified. When sinners' consciences are greatly awakened by the Spirit of God, it is by light imparted to the conscience, enabling them to see their case to be, in some measure, as it is; and if more light be let in, it will terrify 'em still more: but ministers are not therefore to be blamed that they endeavor to hold forth more light to the conscience, and don't rather alleviate the pain they are under, by intercepting and obstructing that light that shines already. To say anything to those who have never believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, to represent their case any otherwise than exceeding terrible, is not to preach the Word of God to 'em; for the Word of God reveals nothing but truth; but this is to delude them. Why should we be afraid to let persons that are in an infinitely miserable condition, know the truth, or bring 'em into the light, for fear it should terrify them? 'Tis light that must convert them, if ever they are converted. The more we bring sinners into the light, while they are miserable, and the light is terrible to them, the more likely it is that by and by the light will be joyful to them. The ease, peace and comfort, that natural men enjoy, have their foundation in darkness and blindness; therefore as that darkness vanishes, and light comes in, their peace vanishes and they are terrified: but that is no good argument why we should endeavor to hold their darkness, that we may uphold their comfort. The truth is, that as long as men reject Christ, and don't savingly believe in him, however they may be awakened, and however strict, and conscientious, and laborious they may be in religion, they have the wrath of God abiding on them; they are his enemies, and the children of the Devil (as the Scripture calls all that ben't savingly converted, Matthew 13:381 John 3:10), and 'tis uncertain whether they shall ever obtain mercy: God is under no obligation to shew 'em mercy, nor will he be, if they fast and pray and cry never so much; and they are then especially provoking God, under those terrors, that they stand it out against Christ, and won't accept of an offered Saviour, though they see so much need of him: and seeing this is the truth, they should be told so, that they may be sensible what their case indeed is.

To blame a minister for thus declaring the truth to those who are under awakenings, and not immediately administering comfort to them, is like blaming a surgeon because when he has begun to thrust in his lance, whereby he has already put his patient to great pain, and he shrinks and cries out with anguish, he is so cruel that he

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won't stay his hand, but goes on to thrust it in further, till he comes to the core of the wound. Such a compassionate physician, who as soon as his patient began to flinch, should withdraw his hand, and go about immediately to apply a plaster, to skin over the wound, and leave the core untouched, would be one that would heal the hurt slightly, crying, "Peace, peace, when there is no peace" [Jeremiah 6:14Jeremiah 8:11].

Indeed, something else besides terror is to be preached to them whose consciences are awakened: the Gospel is to be preached to them. They are to be told that there is a Saviour provided, that is excellent and glorious, who has shed his precious blood for sinners, and is every way sufficient to save 'em, that stands ready to receive 'em, if they will heartily embrace him; for this is also the truth, as well as that they now are in an infinitely dreadful condition: this is the Word of God. Sinners at the same time that they are told how miserable their case is, should be earnestly invited to come and accept of a Saviour, and yield their hearts unto him, with all the winning, encouraging arguments for 'em so to do, that the Gospel affords: but this is to induce 'em to escape from the misery of the condition that they are now in: but not to make 'em think their present condition less miserable than it is, or at all to abate their uneasiness and distress, while they are in it; that would be the way to quiet them, and fasten them in it, and not to excite 'em to fly from it. Comfort, in one sense, is to be held forth to sinners under awakenings of conscience; i.e. comfort is to be offered to 'em in Christ, on condition of their flying from their present miserable state to him: but comfort is not to be administered to 'em in their present state, as anything that they have now any title to, while out of Christ. No comfort is to be administered to 'em, from anything in them, any of their qualifications, prayers or other performances, past, present or future; but ministers should, in such cases, strive to their utmost to take all such comforts from 'em, though it greatly increases their terror. A person that sees himself ready to sink into hell is ready to strive, some way or other, to lay God under some obligation to him; but he is to be beat off from everything of that nature, though it greatly increases his terror to see himself wholly destitute on every side, of any refuge, or anything of his own to lay hold of; as a man that sees himself in danger of drowning is in terror, and endeavors to catch hold on every twig within his reach, and he that pulls away those twigs from him increases his terror; yet

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if they are insufficient to save him, and by being in his way, prevent his looking to that which will save him, to pull them away is necessary to save his life.

If sinners are in any distress, from any error that they embrace, or mistake they are under, that is to be removed. For instance, if they are in terror from an apprehension that they have committed the unpardonable sin, or that those things have happened to 'em that are certain signs of reprobation, or any other delusion, such terrors have no tendency to do them any good; for these terrors are from temptation and not from conviction. But that terror which arises from conviction, or a sight of truth, is to be increased; for those that are most awakened have great remaining stupidity; they have a sense of but little of that which is; and 'tis from remaining blindness and darkness that they see no more; and that remaining blindness is a disease that we ought to endeavor to remove. I am not afraid to tell sinners that are most sensible of their misery, that their case is indeed as miserable as they think it to be, and a thousand times more so; for this is the truth. Some may be ready to say that though it be the truth, yet the truth is not to be spoken at all times, and seems not to be seasonable then: but it seems to me, such truth is never more seasonable than at such a time, when Christ is beginning to open the eyes of conscience. Ministers ought to act as co-workers with him; to take that opportunity, and to the utmost to improve that advantage, and strike while the iron is hot, and when the light has begun to shine, then to remove all obstacles, and use all proper means, that it may come in more fully, and the work be done thoroughly then. And experience abundantly shews, that to take this course is not of an hurtful tendency, but very much the contrary: I have seen, in very many instances, the happy effects of it, and oftentimes a very speedy happy issue, and never knew any ill consequence in case of real conviction, and when distress has been only from thence.

I know of but one case, wherein the truth ought to be withheld from sinners in distress of conscience, and that is the case of melancholy: and 'tis not to be withheld from them then because the truth tends to do 'em hurt, but because if we speak the truth to them, sometimes they will be deceived, and led into error by it, through that strange disposition there is in them to take things wrong. So that that which as it is spoken, is truth, as it is heard and received, and applied by them, is falsehood; as it will be, unless the truth be spoken with

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abundance of caution and prudence, and consideration of their disposition and circumstances. But the most awful truths of God's Word ought not to be withheld from public congregations, because it may happen that some such melancholic persons may be in it; any more than the Bible is to be withheld from the Christian world because it is manifest that there are a great many melancholic persons in Christendom, that exceedingly abuse the awful things contained in the Scripture, to their own wounding. Nor do I think that to be of weight, which is made use of by some, as a great and dreadful objection against the terrifying preaching that has of late been in New England, viz. that there have been some instances of melancholic persons that have so abused it, that the issue has been the murder of themselves. The objection from hence is no stronger against awakening preaching, that it is against the Bible itself: there are hundreds, and probably thousands of instances, might be produced, of persons that have murdered themselves under religious melancholy. These murders probably never would have been, if it had not been for the Bible, or if the world had remained in a state of heathenish darkness. The Bible has not only been the occasion of these sad effects, but of thousands, and I suppose millions, of other cruel murders that have been committed, in the persecutions that have been raised, that never would have been, if it had not been for the Bible. Many whole countries have been, as it were deluged with innocent blood, which would not have been, if the Gospel never had been preached in the world. 'Tis not a good objection against any kind of preaching, that some men abuse it greatly to their hurt. It has been acknowledged by all divines, as a thing common in all ages, and all Christian countries, that a very great part of those that sit under the Gospel, do so abuse it that it only proves an occasion of their far more aggravated damnation, and so of men's eternally murdering their souls; which is an effect infinitely more terrible than the murder of their bodies. 'Tis as unjust to lay the blame of these self-murders to those ministers who have declared the awful truths of God's Word, in the most lively and affecting manner they were capable of, as it would be to lay the blame of hardening men's hearts, and blinding their eyes, and their more dreadful eternal damnation, to the prophet Isaiah, or Jesus Christ, because this was the consequence of their preaching with respect to many of their hearers. Isaiah 6:10John 9:39Matthew 13:14. Though a very few have abused the awakening preaching that has lately been, to so sad an effect as to be the cause of their own

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temporal death; yet it may be, to one such instance there have been hundreds, yea thousands, that have been saved by this means from eternal death.

[3] What has more especially given offense to many, and raised a loud cry against some preachers, as though their conduct were intolerable, is their frighting poor innocent children with talk of hell fire and eternal damnation. But if those that complain so loudly of this really believe what is the general profession of the country, viz. that all are by nature the children of wrath and heirs of hell; and that every one that has not been born again, whether he be young or old, is exposed every moment to eternal destruction, under the wrath of Almighty God; I say, if they really believe this, then such a complaint and cry as this bewrays a great deal of weakness and inconsideration. As innocent as children seem to be to us, yet if they are out of Christ, they are not so in God's sight, but are young vipers, and are infinitely more hateful than vipers, and are in a most miserable condition, as well as grown persons; and they are naturally very senseless and stupid, being "born as the wild ass's colt" [Job 11:12], and need much to awaken them. Why should we conceal the truth from them? Will those children that have been dealt tenderly with in this respect, and lived and died insensible of their misery till they come to feel it in hell, ever thank parents and others for their tenderness, in not letting them know what they were in danger of? If parents' love towards their children was not blind, it would affect 'em much more to see their children every day exposed to eternal burnings, and yet senseless, than to see 'em suffer the distress of that awakening that is necesary in order to their escape from them, and that tends to their being eternally happy as the children of God. A child that has a dangerous wound may need the painful lance as well as grown persons; and that would be a foolish pity, in such a case, that should hold back the lance, and throw away the life. I have seen the happy effects of dealing plainly and thoroughly with children in the concerns of their souls, without sparing them at all, in many instances; and never knew any ill consequence of it, in any one instance.3

[4] Another thing that a great deal has been said against, is having so frequent religious meetings, and spending so much time in

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religion. And indeed, there are none of the externals of religion but what are capable of excess: and I believe it is true, that there has not been a due proportion observed in religion of late. We have placed religion too much in the external duties of the First Table; 4 we have abounded in religious meetings and in praying, reading, hearing, singing, and religious conference; and there has not been a proportionable increase of zeal for deeds of charity and other duties of the Second Table (though it must be acknowledged that they are also much increased). But yet it appears to me that this objection of persons' spending too much time in religion, has been in the general groundless. Though worldly business must be done, and persons ought not to neglect the business of their particular callings, yet 'tis to the honor of God that a people should be so much in outward acts of religion, as to carry in it a visible, public appearance of a great engagedness of mind in it, as the main business of life. And especially is it fit, that at such an extraordinary time, when God appears unusually present with a people, in wonderful works of power and mercy, that they should spend more time than usual in religious exercises, to put honor upon that God that is then extraordinarily present, and to seek his face; as it was with the Christian church in Jerusalem, on occasion of that extraordinary pouring out of the Spirit, soon after Christ's ascension. Acts 2:46, "And they continued daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house." And so it was at Ephesus, at a time of great outpouring of the Spirit there; the Christians there attended public religious exercises every day, for two years together, Acts 19:8–10, "And he [Paul] went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God: but when divers were hardened and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus; and this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks." And as to the grand objection of "six days shalt thou labor" [Exodus 20:9], all that can be understood by it, and all that the very objectors themselves understand by it, is that we may follow our

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secular labors in those six days that are not the Sabbath, and ought to be diligent in them: not but that sometimes, we may turn from them, even within those six days, to keep a day of fasting, or thanks-giving, or to attend a lecture; 5 and that more frequently or rarely, as God's providence and the state of things shall call us, according to the best judgment of our discretion.

Though secular business, as I said before, ought not to be neglected, yet I can't see how it can be maintained that religion ought not to be attended so as in the least to injure our temporal affairs, on any other principles than those of infidelity. None objects against injuring one temporal affair for the sake of another temporal affair of much greater importance; and therefore, if eternal things are as real as temporal things, and are indeed of infinitely greater importance; then why may we not voluntarily suffer, in some measure, in our temporal concerns, while we are seeking eternal riches and immortal glory? 'Tis looked upon no way improper for a whole nation to spend considerable time, and much of their outward substance, on some extraordinary temporal occasions, for the sake only of the ceremonies of a public rejoicing; and it would be thought dishonorable to be very exact about what we spend, or careful lest we injure our estates, on such an occasion: and why should we be exact only with Almighty God, so that it should be a crime to be otherwise than scrupulously careful, lest we injure ourselves in our temporal interest, to put honor upon him, and seek our own eternal happiness? We should take heed that none of us be in any wise like Judas, who greatly complained of needless expense and waste of outward substance, to put honor upon Christ, when Mary broke her box and poured the precious ointment on his head: he had indignation within himself on that account, and cried out, "Why was this waste of the ointment made? For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor." Mark 14:3–5, etc.; and John 12:4–5, etc.

And besides, if the matter be justly considered and examined, I believe it will be found that the country has lost no time from their temporal affairs by the late revival of religion, but have rather gained time; and that more time has been saved from frolicking and tavern-haunting, idleness, unprofitable visits, vain talk, fruitless pastimes,

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and needless diversions, than has lately been spent in extraordinary religion; and probably five times as much has been saved in persons' estates, at the tavern and in their apparel, as has been spent by religious meetings.

The great complaint that is made against so much time spent in religion, can't be in general from a real concern that God may be honored, and his will done, and the best good of men promoted; as is very manifest from this, that now there is a much more earnest and zealous outcry made in the country against this extraordinary religion, than was before against so much time spent in tavern-haunting, vain company-keeping, nightwalking, and other things, which wasted both our time and substance, and injured our moral virtue.

[5] The frequent preaching that has lately been, has in a particular manner been objected against as unprofitable and prejudicial. 'Tis objected that when sermons are heard so very often, one sermon tends to thrust out another; so that persons lose the benefit of all: they say two or three sermons in a week is as much as they can remember and digest. Such objections against frequent preaching, if they ben't from an enmity against religion, are for want of duly considering the way that sermons usually profit an auditory. The main benefit that is obtained by preaching is by impression made upon the mind in the time of it, and not by an effect that arises afterwards by a remembrance of what was delivered. And though an after remembrance of what was heard in a sermon is oftentimes very profitable; yet, for the most part, that remembrance is from an impression the words made on the heart in the time of it; and the memory profits as it renews and increases that impression; and a frequent inculcating [of] the more important things of religion in preaching has no tendency to raze out such impressions, but to increase them, and fix them deeper and deeper in the mind, as is found by experience. It never used to be objected against, that persons upon the Sabbath, after they have heard two sermons that day, should go home and spend the remaining part of the Sabbath in reading the Scriptures and printed sermons; which, in proportion as it has a tendency to affect the mind at all, has as much of a tendency to drive out what they have heard, as if they heard another sermon preached. It seems to have been the practice of the apostles to preach every day, in places where they went; yea, though sometimes they continued long in one place, Acts 2:42 and Acts 2:46Acts 19:8–10. They

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did not avoid preaching one day, for fear they should thrust out of the minds of their hearers what they had delivered the day before; nor did Christians avoid going every day to hear, for fear of any such bad effect, as is evident by Acts 2:42Acts 2:46.

There are some things in Scripture that seem to signify as much, as that there should be preaching in an extraordinary frequency, at the time when God should be about to introduce that flourishing state of religion that should be in the latter days; as that in Isaiah 62, at the beginning: "For Zion's sake will I not hold my peace, [and] for Jerusalem's sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory." And vss. Isaiah 62:5–6, "For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee. I have set watchmen upon thy walls, O Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace day nor night." The destruction of the city of Jericho is evidently, in all its circumstances, intended by God as a great type of the overthrow of Satan's kingdom; the priests blowing with trumpets at that time, represents ministers preaching the Gospel; the people compassed the city seven days, the priests blowing the trumpets; but when the day was come that the walls of the city were to fall, the priests were more frequent and abundant in blowing their trumpets; there was as much done in one day then, as had been done in seven days before; they compassed the city seven times that day, blowing their trumpets, till at length it came to one long and perpetual blast, and then the walls of the city fell down flat [Joshua 6:1–20]. The extraordinary preaching that shall be at the beginning of that glorious jubilee of the church is represented by the extraordinary sounding of trumpets, throughout the land of Canaan, at the beginning of the year of jubilee [Leviticus 25:8–10]; and by the reading of the law before all Israel in the year of release [Deuteronomy 31:10–11], [and?] at the Feast of Tabernacles [Nehemiah 8], And the crowing of the cock at break of day, which brought Peter to repentance, seems to me to be intended to signify the awakening of God's church out of their lethargy, wherein they had denied their Lord, by the extraordinary preaching of the Gospel, that shall be at the dawning of the day of the church's light and glory [cf. Matthew 26:74–75 and parallels]. And there seems at this day to be an uncommon hand of divine providence in animating, enabling, and upholding some ministers, in such abundant labors.

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[6] Another thing wherein I think some ministers have been injured, is in being very much blamed for making so much of outcries, faintings, and other bodily effects; speaking of them as tokens of the presence of God, and arguments of the success of preaching; seeming to strive to their utmost to bring a congregation to that pass, and seeming to rejoice in it, yea, even blessing God for it, when they see these effects.

Concerning this I would observe, in the first place, that there are many things with respect to cryings out, falling down, etc., that are charged on ministers, that they are not guilty of. Some would have it, that they speak of these things as certain evidences of a work of the Spirit of God on the hearts of their hearers, or that they esteem these bodily effects themselves to be the work of God, as though the Spirit of God took hold of, and agitated the bodies of men; and some are charged with making these things essential, and supposing that persons can't be converted without them; whereas I never yet could see the person that held either of these things.

But for speaking of such effects as probable tokens of God's presence, and arguments of the success of preaching, it seems to me they are not to be blamed; because I think they are so indeed: and therefore when I see them excited by preaching the important truths of God's Word, urged and enforced by proper arguments and motives, or are consequent on other means that are good, I don't scruple to speak of them, and to rejoice in them, and bless God for them as such; and that for this (as I think) good reason, viz. that from time to time, upon proper inquiry and examination, and observation of the consequence and fruits, I have found that there are all evidences that the persons in whom these effects appear, are under the influences of God's Spirit, in such cases. Cryings out, in such a manner and with such circumstances, as I have seen them from time to time, is as much an evidence to me, of the general cause it proceeds from, as language: I have learned the meaning of it the same way that persons learn the meaning of language, viz. by use and experience. I confess that when I see a great crying out in a congregation, in the manner that I have seen it, when those things are held forth to 'em that are worthy of their being greatly affected by, I rejoice in it, much more than merely in an appearance of solemn attention, and a shew of affection by weeping; and that because there have been those outcries, I have found from time to time a much greater and more excellent effect. To rejoice that the work of God is

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carried on calmly, without much ado, is in effect to rejoice that 'tis carried on with less power, or that there is not so much of the influence of God's Spirit: for though the degree of the influence of the Spirit of God on particular persons, is by no means to be judged of by the degree of external appearances, because of the different constitution, tempers, and circumstances of men; yet if there be a very powerful influence of the Spirit of God on a mixed multitude, it will cause, some way or other, a great visible commotion.

And as to ministers aiming at such effects, and striving by all means to bring a congregation to that pass, that there should be such an uproar among them; I suppose none aim at it any otherwise than as they strive to raise the affections of their hearers to such an height, as very often appears in these effects; and if it be so, that those affections are commonly good, and it be found by experience that such a degree of them commonly has a good effect, I think they are to be justified in so doing.

[7] Again, some ministers have been blamed for keeping persons together that have been under great affections, which have appeared in such extraordinary outward manifestations. Many think this promotes confusion, that persons in such circumstances do but discompose each other's minds, and disturb the minds of others; and that therefore 'tis best they should be dispersed, and that when any in a congregation are [so] strongly seized that they can't forbear outward manifestations of it, they should be removed, that others minds may not be diverted.

But I can't but think that those that thus object go upon quite wrong notions of things: for though persons ought to take heed that they don't make an ado without necessity, for this will be the way, in time, to have such appearances lose all their effect; yet the unavoidable manifestations of strong religious affections tend to an happy influence on the minds of bystanders, and are found by experience to have an excellent and durable effect; and so to contrive and order things, that others may have opportunity and advantage to observe them, has been found to be blessed as a great means to promote the work of God; and to prevent their being in the way of observation, is to prevent the effect of that which God makes use of as a principal means of carrying on his work at such an extraordinary time, viz. example; which is often spoken of in

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Scripture as one of the chief means by which God would carry on his work, in the time of the prosperity of religion in the latter days.

I have mentioned some texts already to this purpose, in what I published before, of The Marks of a Work of the True Spirit6 but would here mention some others. In Zechariah 9:15–16, those that in the latter days should be filled in an extraordinary manner with the Holy Spirit, so as to appear in outward manifestations and making a noise, are spoken of as those that God, in these uncommon circumstances, will set up to the view of others as a prize or ensign, by their example and the excellency of their attainments, to animate and draw others, as men gather about an ensign, and run for a prize, a crown and precious jewels, set up in their view. The words are: "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." (But I shall have occasion to say something more of this Scripture afterwards.7) Those that make the objection I am upon, instead of suffering this prize or ensign to be in public view, are for having it removed and hid in some corner. To the like purpose is that, Isaiah 62:3, "Thou shalt be a crown of glory in the hand of the Lord, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God." Here it is observable, that 'tis not said, "Thou shalt be a crown upon the head," but "in the hand of the Lord"—i.e. "held forth, in thy beauty and excellency, as a prize, to be bestowed upon others that shall behold thee, and be animated by the brightness and luster which God shall endow thee with." The great influence of the example of God's people, in their bright and excellent attainments, to propagate religion in those days, is further signified in Isaiah 60:3, "And the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the brightness of thy rising." With vs. Isaiah 60:22, "A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation." And Zechariah 10:8–9, "And they shall increase, as they have increased; and I will sow them among the people." And Hosea 2:23, "And I will sow her unto me in the earth." So Jeremiah 31:27.

[8] Another thing that gives great disgust to many is the disposition that persons shew, under great affections, to speak so much,

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and with such earnestness and vehemence, to be setting forth the greatness and wonderfulness and importance 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 shew afterwards); 8 and I believe some have erred in setting no bounds, and indulging and encouraging this disposition without any kind of restraint or direction: but yet, it seems to me that such a disposition in general, 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 won't 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 shew 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 Jeremiah 6:10–11, "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, should be

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deposed to be much in speaking of divine things, though before they were dumb, is agreeable to what Christ says to his church, Canticles 7:9, "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.

'Tis said by some that the people that are the subjects of this work, when they get together, talking loud 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, Zechariah 9:15–17, which I shall now take more particular notice of. The words are as follows: "The Lord of hosts shall defend them; and they shall 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 an universal kingdom upon earth (vs. 20), the children of Zion shall drink till 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 [as meaning] 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 drank 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, Ephesians 5:18. This is the new wine

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spoken of, vs. Zechariah 9:17 [of Zechariah 9]. 'Tis the same with that best wine, spoken of in Canticles [Canticles 7:9], "that goes down sweetly, causing the lips of those that are asleep to speak." 'Tis here foretold that the children of Zion, in the latter days, should be filled with that which should make 'em cheerful, and cause 'em 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 'tis further remarkable that 'tis here foretold, that it should be thus especially amongst young people; "Corn shall make the young men cheerful, 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 Melchizedek's bread and wine [Genesis 14:18], 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 joy. 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 10:46–48 and Luke 18:38–39. 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

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if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out" [Luke 19:37–40]. The words seem to intimate as much, as that there was cause enough to constrain those whose hearts were not 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 'em; some attending to what one says, and others to another, there is something very beautiful in it, provided they don't 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 meets on any occasion of temporal rejoicing, freely and cheerfully to converse together, they ben't 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 Corinthians 14:29–31, "Let the prophets speak, two, or three, and let the other judge: if anything 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 don't 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 prophecy, or some gift of inspiration, in the exercise of which they acted as extraordinary ministers of Christ.

[9] 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

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joys that attend this work, and so find fault with the manifestations of them. If they thought persons were truly the subjects of an extraordinary degree of divine love, and heavenly rejoicing in God, I suppose they would not wonder at their having a disposition to be much in praise. They won't 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 'em in their dispositions, the more they will be disposed to do like 'em. 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 shewing a disposition to be much in praising God, and manifesting a delight in that heavenly exercise? To complain of this is to be 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.

There are many things in Scripture, that seem to intimate that praising God, both in speeches and songs, will be what the church of God will very much abound in, in the approaching glorious day. So on the seventh day of compassing the walls of Jericho, when the priests blew with the trumpets in an extraordinary manner, the people shouted with a great shout, and the wall of the city fell down flat [Joshua 6:20]. So the ark was brought back from its banishment, with extraordinary shouting and singing of the whole congregation of Israel [2 Samuel 6:15]. And the places in the prophecies of Scripture, that signify that the church of God, in that glorious jubilee that is foretold, shall greatly abound in singing and shouting forth the praises of God, are too many to be mentioned. And there will be cause enough for it: I believe it will be a time wherein both heaven and earth, will be much more full of joy and praise than ever they were before.

But what is more especially found fault with in the singing that is now practiced, is making use of hymns of human composure.9 And I am far from thinking that the Book of Psalms should be thrown by in our public worship, but that it should always be used in the

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Christian church, to the end of the world: but I know of no obligation we are under to confine ourselves to it. I can find no command or rule of God's Word, that does any more confine us to the words of the Scripture in our singing, than it does in our praying; we speak to God in both: and I can see no reason why we should limit ourselves to such particular forms of words that we find in the Bible, in speaking to him by way of praise, in meter, and with music, than when we speak to him in prose, by way of prayer and supplication. And 'tis really needful that we should have some other songs besides the Psalms of David: 'tis unreasonable to suppose that the Christian church should forever, and even in times of her greatest light in her praises of God and the Lamb, be confined only to the words of the Old Testament, wherein all the greatest and most glorious things of the Gospel, that are infinitely the greatest subjects of her praise, are spoken of under a veil, and not so much as the name of our glorious Redeemer ever mentioned, but in some dark figure, or as hid under the name of some type. And as to our making use of the words of others, and not those that are conceived by ourselves, 'tis no more than we do in all our public prayers; the whole worshipping assembly, excepting one only, makes use of the words that are conceived by him that speaks for the rest.

[10] Another thing that many have disliked, is the religious meetings of children, to read and pray together, and perform religious exercises by themselves. What is objected is children's want of that knowledge and discretion that is requisite, in order to a decent and profitable management of religious exercises. But it appears to me the objection is not sufficient: children, as they have the nature of men, are inclined to society; and those of them that are capable of society one with another, are capable of the influences of the Spirit of God in its active fruits; and if they are inclined by a religious disposition, that they have from the Spirit of God, to improve their society one with another, in a religious manner and to religious purposes, who should forbid them? If they han't discretion to observe method in their religious performances, or to speak sense in all that they say in prayer, they may nothwithstanding have a good meaning, and God understands 'em, and it don't spoil or interrupt their devotion one with another. We that are grown persons, have defects in our prayers that are a thousand times worse in the sight of God, and are a greater confusion, and more absurd nonsense

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in his eyes, than their childish indiscretions. There is not so much difference, before God, between children and grown persons as we are ready to imagine; we are all poor, ignorant foolish babes in his sight: our adult age don't bring us so much nearer to God as we are apt to think. God in this work has shewn a remarkable regard to little children; never was there such a glorious work amongst persons in their childhood, as has been of late in New England. He has been pleased in a wonderful manner to perfect praise out of the mouths of babes and sucklings [Matthew 21:16]; and many of them have more of that knowledge and wisdom, that pleases him and renders their religious worship acceptable, than many of the great and learned men of the world: 'tis they, in the sight of God, are the ignorant and foolish children. These [little ones] are grown men, and an hundred years old, in comparison with them; and 'tis to be hoped that the days are coming, prophesied of [in] Isaiah 65:20, when "the child shall die an hundred years old."

I have seen many happy effects of children's religious meetings; and God has seemed often remarkably to own them in their meetings, and really descended from heaven to be amongst them; I have known several probable instances of children's being converted at such meetings. I should therefore think, that if children appear to be really moved to it, by a religious disposition, and not merely from a childish affectation of imitating grown persons, they ought by no means to be discouraged or discountenanced: but yet 'tis fit that care should be taken of them, by their parents and pastors, to instruct and direct them, and to correct imprudent conduct and irregularities, if they are perceived; or anything by which the Devil may pervert and destroy the design of their meetings. All should take heed that they don't find fault with, and despise the religion of children, from an evil principle, lest they should be like the chief priests and scribes, who were sore displeased at the religious worship and praises of little children, and the honor they gave Christ in the temple. We have an account of it, and of what Christ said upon it, in Matthew 21:15–16, "And when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying in the temple and saying, Hosanna to the Son of David, they were sore displeased, and said unto him, Hearest thou what these say? And Jesus saith unto them, Yea, have ye never read, Out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, thou hast perfected praise?"

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