« הקודםהמשך »
that such declarations have reference to the sanctifying influences of the Spirit, and not to inspiration. We must induce them to take it for granted that they refer to such a leading as we wish them to believe. And then, when we have made this belief to prevail, and prepared men to expect new revelations, suggestions, or impulses, we can make such suggestions or impulscs as we please, and lead them about at our will.(1) And not only so, but when it is believed that they are led by the Spirit, we can easily make men believe that those who object to any thing they say or do, are opposing the Spirit, and onght to be shunned and denounced as monsters of impiety.
Sp. of Delusion. We have been greatly assisted heretofore, in making men believe in impulses, by inculcating wrong views of the prayer of faith. (m) For, though it is true, that when any have pray. ed with a right temper, and have had much of the true spirit of prayer, they have reason to think their prayer is heard, and accepted, and will be answered in what they ask for, or in something else which the King sees to be more for his honor and glory, (n) we made them believe they should certainly have the very thing they asked for. And then we took occasion to mislead and deceive them, by making strong impressions upon their imagination, and exciting a strong persuasion that the thing they asked for should be granted, (o) and ieading them to the exercise of a self-righteous confidence in their prayers, and a high conceit of themselves as eminent saints and special favorites of the King, and also a high conceit of the prayers they had made, because they were much enlarged and affected in them; and thus made them positive that the thing would come to pass. And when they had once conceived such a notion, it was easy to make them grow stronger and stronger in it, and to make them think it was from an immediate divine hand upon their minds to strengthen their confidence; when in reality it was only by their dwelling in their minds upon their own excellence, and high experiences, and great assistances, whereby they looked brighter and brighter in their own eyes. (p). And because the things they have prayed for have come to pass, we have made them believe it was connected with such particular pulses and impressions; and have thus led some of the true friends of Immanuel to believe they were favoured with the same kind of influences that thie apostles and prophets had of old. (9) Indeed I have so much confidence in the is. Huence of this notion of the prayer of faith, that I believe, if we can only get it extensively embraced, it can be made the grand instru. ment in our hands of making revivals just what we desire to bave thca.
Sp. of Error. In these various ways, I think we can prevail now, as we did before, to deceive and mislead many of the real friends of Im
(1) 251, (m) ib. (12) 252. (6) 263. (p) 254. (9) 255.
manuel. And as we then led far out of the way some of the most distinguished leaders in the work, as Whitefield and Brainerd both acknowledged we did them, in some instances,* I see not why wo may not do the same now. And if we can, we must then take advantage of their popularity, to inculcate an error which can be made of great service to us. It is the notion that if the King gives great success to any men, or measures, that is a proof that he approves of them, and that they are certainly right. (r) We made use of this argument in those days, and with great success. For when any found fault with such persons, or with any thing they did, we were ready to raise the cry, that the King had smiled upon them, and blessed them, and given them great success, and that however men undertook to charge them as guilty of many wrong things, yet it was evident that the King was with them, and then who could stand against them? With such a plea we stopped the ears of those who were blamed for their misconduct, and prepared the multitude blindly to follow wherever they should lead the way. Let us again inculcate the same principle. It will be the best shield against any attempts which may be made to correct the errors into which we wish to lead men, and contribu:e essentially to the accomplishmont of our schemes. It will al90 justify the deceitful, lying contrivance of Jacob, by which he succeeded in obtaining the blessing, and the covetousness and thievery in which Judas lived while he was working miracles and casting out devils.(s) And if we can connect with it the idea, that because they kave enjoyed much of the presence of the King, and the special comforts of his spirit, at the time of their doing the particular thing for which they are blamed, that is a sure evidence that they were in the right, it will be all the better. For that will justify the polygamy of David, and Solomon's transgression of one of the most plain and positive directions of the divine law. (1) And when success is made the criterion of right and wrong, it will be easy for us to lead people to condemn and despise all the ancient prophets, and even the Prince Immanuel himself, for their want of success.
Beelzebub. You have now brought into view the principal devices which we successfully practised in the last century, and by which we prevailed, so greatly to mar and hinder the revival of that day, and to turn it to the advancement of our cause for meny years after. I entirely approve of the advice to try them again ; and I anticipate the same success, if not greater. Proceed to the execution of your several parts. Get as many of our friends as possible introduced into the churches and into the ministry. Increase the prejudices which are entertained against the truth, that the ears
*Ld. 316, and Brainerd's Mem. 110, 446. (r) Ed. 264. (5) 265. (t) 267, and Deut. xvü. 16, 17.
of men may be turned away from it, and be turned into fables. Use all your craft and şubtlety to mislead the friends of Immanuel. Persuade the ambassadors of the King to regulate the understandings of men, and to address themselves only to their passions. If any sin. pers are awakened, hurry them from meeting to meeting, and ply them with visits upon visits, that they may have no time for reflection, or for reading the King's book. Let them be agitated with a sense of their danger, when that can no longer be concealed, but let them be kept. from any discovery of the real temper of their hearts. Keep them from discovering the character of the King, that they may not know to what they must become reconciled. When they ask what they must do to be saved, let them be told that they cannot change their own hearts, but that they must pray, and seek religion, as well as they can with their present hearts. And let them be encouraged with the hope that by persevering in this they shall be safe. We know that so long as they follow such directions they will continue in our hands. If their distress continues, and cannot be relieved without a hope, we can take several ways to lead them to embrace such a one as we wish. Perhaps our old methods may succeed with some. Perhaps we may lead them to believe their sins are forgiven, by some dream, or vision, or impression upon the imagination, or the suggestion of text of seripture; or we may persuade them it is their duty to believe it without any evidence, and that saving faith consists in believing that their sins are forgiven. Perhaps new methods may succeed better with others. Let them be told to submit to Immanuel, to submit to be saved ; and let them understand this to mean only that they must be willing to part with the pleasures of this world for the sake of securing their future happiness, just as is practised by our friends the worshippers of Juggernaut. Let them be persuaded to promise that they will do this at a particular time, and make it a matter of calculation. And when the time arrives, we must stand ready to persuade them that they do submit. As soon as they get this idea, their distress will be gone, and they will feel happy. And this must be called conversion. And then all must stand ready to rejoice with them, and flatter them that they are converted; and the idea must be encouraged, that for them or others to have any doubts of the reality of their conversion, is the dreadful sin of unbelief, and proceeds from the suggestions of the enemy.
Sp. of Delusion. Let me suggest one thing. When sinners are awakened they must be prayed for. No one can object to that; for it is a duty to pray for all men. When any have embraced a hope, let them be mentioned as examples of the efficacy of
prayer. will induce others to ask to be prayed for too, with the expectation that they also shall be converted in consequence. Let them know that they are to be thus prayed for, and it will scarcely need any help.
of ours to persuade them that the same prayers will be heard for them, as were heard for others. As soon as they know such prayers have been made, they will feel better, and begin to think that if they are not converted already, they surely shall be. As soon as they are thus relieved, and begin to find their distress removed, they will begin to think they are converted, and to rejoice in hope. And if we can lead the friends of Immanuel into the same erroneous views of the prayer of faith, that we did in the last century, and take the same advantage of it, it will greatly contribute to this result. When we can make them think they have prayed in faith for the conversion of an individual, they will be likely to expect it, and perhaps to predict it, and possibly to let him know it, and then the work is easy. And perhaps we can induce some to tell those who begin to question the genvineness of their hope, that they have no occasion to doubt, because they have prayed in faith for them, and they cannot be lost. If we can only accomplish this, it will make our delusions strong.
Sp. of Error. . And if this can be done, we may hope to mislead people in respect to what is evidence of a good hope, and make them despise such marks of conversion as are laid down in the King's book. We did this in the last century, and with great effect. We led them to make much of their happy feelings, and of such inward suggestions of their good estate as we could make, and to call them the immediate witness of the Spirit. (u) And we led them to think much of external acts of worship, which hypocrites may abound in, as well as real saints, such as praying, hearing, singing, and attending religious meetings, with much earnest talk, and honoring the King with gesto ures, such as bowing, or kneeling, and prostrating themselves before him, and the like; while we made many think lightly of moral duties, such as acts of self-denial, righteousness, truth, meekness, forbear. ance, forgiveness, and love towards their neighbor. (v) If we can again lead people to do the same, and to consider the former as the best evidence of a good hope, while the latter are made light of, it' will be easy for us to confirm the hopes of hypocrites, and induce the multitude to regard them as the most eminent saints. For we know that hypocrites and self-righteous persons much more commonly abound in the former kind of practices than the latter ; for they are the cheapest part of religion, and the least contrery to the lusts o men. Let wicked men enjoy their covetousness, and their pride, their malice, envy and revenge, and their sensuality and voluptuousness, in their behaviour among men, and they will be willing to compound the matter with the King, and submit to any forms of worship, however burdensome,
as appears from the example of the Pharisees, Papists, Mahometans and Pagans. (w) Let us then lead men to disre.
(2) Brainerd, 403. (c) Edw, 343. (20) 344.
gard and despise those evidences of a good hope, which Immanuel will mention in the great day, and which are laid down in the King's book, and make these to be chiefly relied upon which our friends can practise as well as any. This will discourage the study of the King's book, and make men neglect to examine themselves by it. It will bring into contempt and disgrace such old-fashioned evidences of a good hope, as the love of the truth, a teachable disposition, bumility, weekness, gentleness; in honor preferring others, a disposition to seek the purity and peace of the church, a strict regard for the Sabbath, the maintenance of veracity, and the discharge of other inoral duties among men. And it will encourage, and flatter, and exalt, those who are forward, and bold, and noisy, and assuming, and self-confident, though they are destitute of any real mark of a saving change. And thus, it will lead men to believe, what we wish, that every one that saith, Lord, Lord, with sufficient earnestness, shall certainly enter into the kingdom of heaven ; and it will secure, now, as it did in the last century, among those who shall be esteemed the best friends of Immanuel, a multitude of loyal subjects to our kingdom.
Sp. of Delusion. And it will help to accomplish this end, if we can prevail now, as we did then, to bring forward those who are novices, and give them a prominent share in the work. (r) We must try to discourage, and keep in the back ground, those who are men of age and experience, who are not ignorant of our devices ; and, as soon as any embrace a hope, we must persuade them that their experiences are remarkable, and that none are so well qualified as they, to be leaders. And we must have them encouraged, and put forward, and applauded, and followed after; for none are so likoly to answer our purposes, and assist in the exécution of all our plans. (y):
Sp. of Persecution. Yes; and if any of more age and experience begin to make any objections, or if it is feared they will, against any thing, that is out of the way, we must endeavour to stop their mouths, by enjoining silence upon them. And we can do this with great plausibility too, because it is well known that opposition in the church is a great hindrance to a real revival. And if they will not be still
, and keep in the back ground, we must raise an outcry against them, as opposers of the work, and put them down; that those whom we can better manage may have no such obstacles in their way.
Beelzebub. Go, then, and execute your plans. And let it be the care of all to blind the minds of men, that they may be kept in ignorance of our devices. Let them be persuaded that we are too ignorant, or too feeble, to carry on any such plans; or that the King is too good to suffer us to mislead any of his creatures to their destrucLion; or what is still better, that they are themselves too wise and good, to be in any danger from us. And if any of the friends of Im
(x) 271. (y) 272.