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but to destroy. A dry wind, neither to fan nor to cleanse. By wind, sometimes, error is meant; false gales, raised up by the devil, in order to blow the smoke of the bottomless pit into sinners' eyes, that they may not behold the way of the vineyards, nor find their way to the city. Hence the divine caution, “Be no more carried about with every wind of doctrine;" for it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace. As false doctrines are compared to wind, the devil raises them, in imitation of the power of the Holy Ghost, which is compared to the blowing of the wind; and with a glorious rushing, like the wind, he descended on the day of Pentecost, when he filled the Apostles with his power and grace.
This power the devil tries to imitate. He gave the Pope not only his doctrines, and his seat, and
great authority, but his power also, which was sufficient to puff up whole nations; it worked and fermented in the souls of the deluded like new wine, and made them so drunk, that they could not see where they were got; it blinded their eyes, and made them call evil good, and good evil; and, in the end, filled the kingdom of the Beast full of darkness. These false gales have caused wonderful operations and emotions among the Arminians. The preachers, under the influence of the spirit of error, with a blind zeal, and empty oratory, have so worked upon the passions of their audience, as to move the hair of their head, and make the blood rankle in their veins: some have rolled their poor with lying words. A man in the flesh must send forth a stinking savour: his scent remains in him, he is upon his lees, his scent is not changed, Jer. xlviii. 11. He cannot savour the things that are of God, but those that are of men : he cannot make manifest the savour of the knowledge of Christ Jesus. Christ is not all in all with him : self is so far from being denied, that self-will, selfrighteousness, and self-seeking, are all in all. Selfwilled are they, says God, cursed children; and by such vile persons the sovereign and good will of God in Christ Jesus is opposed, while the selfwill of man, or free-agency, is exalted. This is a damnable error uttered against the Lord. The self-willed are the self-sufficient and self-righteous, who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others that Christ has made so; and who appear outwardly righteous before men, but God knows their hearts: and such persons ridicule the perfect obedience of Christ, call it imputed nonsense, and set up their own dead works, performed under the sentence of death and damınation, in opposition to it; and so Israel of old sought righteousness, and failed, while the elect attained to it.
Thus a vile person is to be known by his villany; an enemy to God, by the error that he utters against him; his hatred to the King of Zion, by his opposition to his reign; his living in the flesh, by his fleshly savour; his being a selfwilled, cursed child, by his doctrines of freeagency; his being a self-righteous Pharisee, by his debasing the righteousness of the Lord, and exalting his own; and his hatred to God's elect, by his trying to destroy them, not with carnal weapons, but with false doctrine; or, as my text says, with lying words, even when the needy speaketh right. They speak right in opposing his errors and villany, and by calling upon him, as he calls himself a preacher, for the pure gospel to feed their needy souls with, which is the provision of God's house, and what he has provided for the poor and needy. The gospel, and the promises of it, are the breasts that the free mother is always to suckle her children with.
This vile person often deceives by a counterfeit experience. Being a bond-child under the law, he calls his legal bondage a work of special grace; and sometimes he will talk about being shook over hell, but can never describe salvation from it, nor his being shook out of his lies and self-righteousness. The motions of sin, which are by the law, and which work in his members to bring forth fruit unto death, are called the plague of the human heart. The perpetual lashes that conscience gives him for his villany, or errors against the Lord, are termed the law in the members warring against the law of the mind. When there is a cessation for a while from the rebukes of Heaven, and the accusations of conscience, then this vile one is perfect in the flesh, has obtained the second blessing, and walks in the peaceable paths of wisdom. When he feels himself in the arms of the devil, and the wrath of God at his heels, this is the fight of faith with Satan, and the hiding of God's countenance. If the poor and needy bear their testimony against him, this is the contradiction of sinners, and a taking up and bearing the cross; and when he is justly buffeted for his faults, or rebuked by the just for his lies, this is called suffering persecution for righteousness' sake. Thus he denies, and is an enemy to, all righteousness but his own. Resisting the truth, is called opposing errors; and setting himself against the testimony of the just, in behalf of his own falsehood, is called contending for the faith once delivered unto the saints. When the affections of nature are stirred, or the passions moved, this is called the operations of the Spirit. If the wrath of God flashes in his face, this is called knowing the terrors of the Lord, which drives him to persuade men; and when he can represent glorified saints in the great day, with all their present passions, weeping over their lost children and friends, till the audience cry out, This is powerful preaching ! and when conscience confounds him for his villany, it is called strong oppositions against the good work he is engaged in. And when God sensibly fetters his soul, as he did Balaam's, it is called the oppositions of the flesh; which lead him to enforce the doctrines of mortification, by abstaining from meat every Wednesday and Friday, at least. Thus the vile person
is to be known by the doctrine that he advances: his habitual, his accustomary, his native language, is villany. This leads me to my fourth head; which is to shew, that all
Which proceeds from his mouth springs from the irreconcilable enmity of his heart against the Lord Jesus Christ. “ His heart,” saith my text, “ will work iniquity, to practise hypocrisy, and to utter error against the Lord.” Here we have
First, The inward labour of his heart; it works iniquity.
Secondly, The production hammered in that forge is practised in hypocrisy. And,
Thirdly, What is prepared in the heart, and practised by the tongue, is levelled at the King of Zion; he utters error against the Lord. I shall begin,
First, with the workings of his heart. That which leads him first into a profession, as a hypocrite and a false teacher, is, he perceives that a child of Zion's King is a prince; and that he rules in judgment in his royal, venerable, and ever adorable Father's household. He sees that the eyes of these princes are not dim: hence he is pleased with them, he follows them, and at times rejoices in their light; but it is only for a season. He admires the fluency of speech, and plain speaking, which these princes use, who, in my text, are said to speak plainly, or elegantly; and finding that these princes are had in honour, he aims at the honour of their office, which is double honour;