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set up,

he shook the heavens and the earth, and shook all nations. There is nothing that the church of God is in scripture more frequently represented by than vegetables; as a tree, a vine, corn, &c., which gradually bring forth their fruit, and are first green before they are ripe. A great revival of religion is expressly compared to this gradual production of vegetables, Isa. Ixi. 11. “As the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth ; so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations.” The church is in a special manner compared to a palm-tree, Cant. vii. 7, 8. Exod. xv. 27. 1 Kings vi. 29. Psalm xcii. 12. Of which tree this peculiar thing is observed, that the fruit of it, though it be very sweet and good when it is ripe, yet, before it has had time to ripen, has a mixture of poison.

The weakness of human nature has always appeared in times of great revival of religion, by a disposition to run to extremes and get into confusion ; and especially in these three things, enthusiasm, superstition, and intemperate zeal. So it appeared in the time of the reformation very remarkably; and also in the days of the apostles ; many were then exceedingly disposed to lay weight on those things that were very notional and chimerical, giving heed to fables and whimsies, as appears by 1 Tim. i. 4. and iv. 7. 2 Tim. ii. 16. and v. 23. and Tit. i. 14. and iii. 9. Many, as ecclesiastical history informs us, fell off into the most wild enthusiasm, and extravagant notions of spirituality, and extraordinary illumination from heaven beyond others : and many were prone to superstition, will-worship, and a voluntary, humility, giving heed to the commandments of men, being fond of an unprofitable bodily exercise, as appears by many passages in the apostles' writings: and what a proneness then appeared among professors to swerve from the path of duty, and the spirit of the gospel, in the exercises of a rash indiscreet zeal, censuring and condemning ministers and people ; one saying, I am of Paul, another, I of Apollos, another, I of Cephas; judging one another for

differences of opinion about smaller matters, unclean meats, holy days, and holy places, and their different opinions and practices respecting civil intercourse and communication with their heathen neighbors! And how much did vain jangling and disputing and confusion prevail through undue heat of spirit, under the name of a religious zeal! 2 Tim. vi. 4, 5. 2 Tim. ii. 16, and Tit. iii. 9. And what a task had the apostles to keep them within bounds, and maintain good order in the churches ! How often are they mentioning their irregularities! The prevailing of such like disorders seems to have been the special occasion of writing many of their epistles. The church, in that great effusion of the Spirit that was then, and the strong impressions that God's people were then under, was under the care of infallible guides, that watched over them day and night ; but yet so prone were they, through the weakness and corruption of human nature to get out of the way, that irregularity and confusion rose in some churches, where there was an extraordinary outpouring of the Spirit to a very great height, even in the apostles' lifetime, and under their eye. And though some of the apostles lived long to settle the state of things, yet presently after they were dead, the Christian church ran into many superstitions and childish notions and practices, and in some respects into a great severity in their zeal,- And let any wise person that has not, in the midst of the disputes of the present day, got beyond the calmness of consideration, impartially consider to what lengths we may reasonably suppose many of the primitive Christians, in their heat of zeal, and under their extraordinary impressions, would soon have gone, if they had had no inspired guides ; and whether or no it is not probable that the church of Corinth in particular, by an inerease of their irregularities and contentions, would not in a little time have broke to pieces, and dissolved in a state of the utmost confusion : and yet this would have been no evidence that there had not been a most glorious and remarkable outpouring of the Spirit in that city. But as for

us, we have no infallible apostle to guide and direct us, to rectify disorders, and reclaim us when we are wandering; but every one does what is right in his own eyes ; and they that err in judgment, and are got into a wrong path, continue to wander, till experience of the mischievous issue convinces them of their error.

If we look over this affair, and seriously weigh it in its circumstances, it will appear a matter of po great difficulty to account for the errors that have been gone into, supposing the work in general to be from a very great outpouring of the Spirit of God. It may easily be accounted for, that many have run into great errors, and into just such errors as they they have. It is known, that some that have been improved as great instrumenis to promote this work, have been very young; and how natural is it for such as are themselves newly awaked out of sleep, and brought out of that state of darkness, insensibility, and spiritual death, which they had been in ever since they were born ; and have a new and wonderful scene opened to them; and have in view the reality, the vastness, and infinite importance, and nearness of spiritual and eternal things; and at the same time are surprised to see the world asleep about them ; and have not the advantage of age and experience, and have had but little opportunity to study divinity, or to converse with aged experienced Christians and divines; I say, how natural is it for such to fall into many errors with respect to the state of man. kind, with which they are so surprised, and with respect to the means and methods of their relief? Is it

any

wonder that they have not at once learned how to make all the allowances that are to be made, and that they do not at once find out that method of dealing with the world, that is adapted to the mysterious state and nature of mankind? Is it any wonder, that they cannot at once foresee what the consequences of things will be, what evils are to be guarded against, and what difficulties are like to arise, that are to be provided for? We have long been in a strange stupor ; the influences of the Spirit of God upon the heart have been but little felt, and the nature of them but little taught; so that they are in many respects new to great numbers of those that have lately fallen under them. And is it any wonder that they that never before had experience of the supernatural influence of the Divine Spirit upon their souls, and never were instructed in the nature of these influences, do not so well know how to distinguish one extraordinary new impression from another, and so (to themselves insensibly) run into enthusiasm, taking every strong impulse or impression to be divine? How natural is it to suppose, that among the multitudes of illiterate people (most of which are in their youth) that find themselves so wonderfully changed, and brought into such new, and before (to them) almost unheard of circumstances, that many should pass wrong, and very strange judgments of both per- : sons and things that are about them; and that now they behold them in such a new light, they in their surprise should go further from the judgment that they were wont to make of them than they ought, and in their great change of sentiments should pass from one extreme to another ?. And why should it be thought strange, that those that scarce ever heard of any such thing as an outpouring of the Spirit of God before; or if they did, had no notion of it; do not know how to behave themselves in such a new and strange state of things? And is it any wonder that they are ready to hearken to those that have instructed them, that have been the means of delivering them from such a state of death and misery as they were in before, or have a name for being the happy instruments of promoting the same work among others? Is it unaccountable that persons in these circumstances are ready to receive every thing they say, and to drink down error as well as truth from them? And why should there be all indignation and no compassion towards those that are thus misled?

When these persons are extraordinarily affected with a new sense, and recent discovery they have received, of the greatness and excellency of the Divine Being, the certainty and infinite importance of eternal things, the preciousness of souls, and the dreadful danger aud madness of mankind, together with a great sense of God's distinguishing kindness and love to them; no wonder that now they think they must exert themselves, and do something extraordinary for the honor of God and the good of the souls of their fellow-creatures, and know not how to sit still, and forbear speaking and acting with uncommon earnestness and vigor. And in these circumstances, if they be not persons of more than common steadiness and discretion, or have not some person of wisdom to direct them, it is a wonder if they do not proceed without due caution, and do things that are irregular, and that will, in the issue, do much more hurt than good.

Censuring others is the worst disease with which this affair has been attended : but yet such a time as this is indeed a time of great temptation to this sinful error. When there has been such a time of great and long continued deadness, and many are brought out of a state of nature, into a state of grace, in so extraordinary a manner, and filled with such uncommon degrees of light, it is natural for such to form their notions of a state of grace wholly from what they experience; many of them know no other way; for they never have been taught much about a state of grace, and the different degrees of grace, and the degrees of darkness and corruption that grace is consistent with, nor concerning the manner of the influences of the Spirit in converting a soul, and the variety of the manner of his operations : they therefore forming their idea of a state of grace only by their own experience, no wonder that it appears an insuperable difficulty to them to reconcile such a state, of which they have this idea, with what they observe in professors that are about them. It is indeed in itself a very great mystery, that grace should be consistent with so much and such kind of corruption as sometimes pre

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