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It is sufficiently known to all that have any acquaintance with the histories of the Church, that many valuable and useful ministers were ejected for nonconformity, by the Act of Uniformity in the reign of king Charles II. which took place August 24th, 1662. Among others, the Reverend Mr THOMAS WATSON was ejected from his charge, at St Stephen's, Walbrook, London ; whose character is given by the Reverend Dr Edmund Calamy, in his Abridgements, Vol. II. p. 37; and is as follows:
“From St Stephen's, Walbrook. Mr Thomas Watson; he was of Emanuel College in Cambridge, where he was noted for being a hard student, one so well known in the city, viz. London, for his piety and usefulness, that though he was singled out by the Friendly Debate, he yet carried a general respect for all sober persons along with him to his grave. A memorable passage, which I have from good hands, must not be passed by: When Mr Watson was in the pulpit, on a lecture day, before the Bartholomew act took place, among other hearers there came in that Reverend and learned prelate, Bishop Richardson, who was so well pleased with his sermon, but especially with his prayer after it, that he followed him home, to give him thanks, and earnestly desired a copy of his prayer. "Alas!' said Mr Waton, that is what I cannot give, for I do not use to pen my prayers; it was no studied thing, but uttered as God enabled me from the abundance of my heart and affectionsmapro re nata. Upon which the good Bishop went away, wondering that any man could pray in that manner, ex tempore. After his ejectment, he continued in the exercise of the ministry in the city, as Providence gave opportunity, for many years: but his strength wearing away, he retired into Essex, and there died suddenly, in his closet, at prayer.”
A PRELIMINARY DISCOURSE
If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, Col. i. 23.
INTENDING the next Lord's day to enter | able heresies,' 2 Pet. ii. 1. A man may upon the work of catechising, it will not be go to hell as well for heresy as adultery. amiss to give you this preliminary discourse, To be unsettled in religion, argues want of as preparatory to it; showing you how need- judgment; if their heads were not giddy, ful it is for Christians to be well instructed they would not reel so fast from one opinin the grounds of religion.
ion to another. It argues lightness : feathers “If ye continue in the faith grounded and will be blown every way,—so will feathery settled,”-Two propositions :
Christians,—Triticum non rapit ventus, First, It is the duty of Christians to be inanes palæ jactantur, CYPR. Therefore settled in the doctrine of faith.
such are compared to children, Eph. iv. Second, The best way for Christians to be 14. “That we be no more children tossed settled, is to be well grounded.
to and fro." Children are fickle,-someDoct. I. That it is the duty of Christians times of one mind, sometimes of another ; to be settled in the doctrine of faith. It nothing pleases them long; so unsettled is the apostle's prayer, 1 Pet. v. 10. “The Christians are childish; those truths they God of all grace, stablish, strengthen, settle embrace at one time, they reject at another; you.” That they might not be meteors in sometimes they like the Protestant religion, the air, but fixed stars. The apostle Jude and soon after they have a good mind to speaks of wandering stars,' v. 13. They turn Papists. Now, that you may labour to are called wandering stars, because, as Aris- be settled (as Ignatius) in the faith, in untotle saith, “They do leap up and down, settled times of settled judgments : and wander into several parts of the heaven; 1st. It is the great end of the word and being but dry exhalations, not made of preached, to bring us to a settlement in rethat
pure celestial matter—as the fixed stars ligion. Eph. iv. 11, 13. are-they often fall to the earth.” Now, some, evangelists; and some, pastors and such as are not settled in religion, will, at teachers; for the edifying of the body of one time or other, prove wandering stars; Christ; that we henceforth be no more they will lose their former strictness, and children.” The word is called "an ham. wander from one opinion to another. Such mer,' Jer. xxiii. 29. Every blow of the as are unsettled are of the tribe of Reuben, hammer is to fasten the nails of the build• unstable as water,' Gen. xlix. 4; like ing; the preacher's words are but to fasten a ship without ballast, overturned with you the more to Christ,—they weaken every wind of doctrine. Beza writes of themselves to strengthen and settle you. one Belfectius, whose religion changed as This is the grand design of preaching, the moon. The Arians had every year not only for the enlightening, but for the a new faith. These are not “pillars’ in establishing of souls,—not only to guide the temple of God, but reeds' shaken them in the right way, but to keep them every way. The apostle calls them • damn- in it. Now, if you be not settled, you do
And he gave
nce of my
the city, 2 wearing
not answer God's end in giving you the the truth. Seducers are abroad, whose ministry.
work is to draw away people from the 2d. To be settled in religion is both a principles of religion : 1 John ii. 26, Christian's excellency and honour. It is “ These things have I written unto you his excellency; when the milk is settled it concerning them that seduce you.” Seturns to cream; now he will be something ducers are the devil's factors; they are of zealous for the truth, walk in close com- all others the greatest felons, that would munion with God; and his honour, Prov. rob you of the truth; seducers have silver xvi. 31. “ The hoary head is a crown of tongues; a fair tongue can put off bad
glory, if it be found in the way of righteous- wares; they have a slight to deceive, Eph. s
It is one of the best sights, to see iv. 14. The Greek word there is taken an old disciple,ếto see silver hairs adorned from those that can cog a dye, and cast it with golden virtues.
for the best advantage; so seducers are 3d. Such as are not settled in the faith impostors,—they can cog a dye,--they can can never suffer for it; sceptics in religion so dissemble and sophisticate the truth, that will hardly ever prove martyrs; they that they can deceive others. Now, the style by are not settled do hang in suspense,—when which seducers use to deceive, is: they think of the joys of heaven, then they 1. By wisdom of words : Rom. xvi. 18, will espouse the gospel --but when they “ By good words and fair speeches they dethink of persecution, then they desert it. ceive the hearts of the simple.”
They have Unsettled Christians do not consult what fine elegant phrases, flattering language, is best, but what is safest : “ The apostate whereby they work on the weaker sort, as (saith Tertullian) seems to put God and being christed with Christ, and the light Satan in balance, and having weighed both within them. their services, prefers the devil's service, 2. Another slight is a pretence of extraand proclaims him to be the best master; ordinary piety, that so people may admire and in this sense, may be said to put Christ them and suck in their doctrine. They to open shame.'"
Heb. vi. 6. They will seem to be men of zeal and sanctity, and to never suffer for the truth, but be as a soldier be divinely inspired; they pretend revelathat leaves his colours, and runs over to the tions, as Munster, Michael Servetus, and enemy's side; he will fight on the devil's others of the Anabaptists in Germany,
though they were tainted with pride, lust and 4th. Not to be settled in the faith, is avarice. highly provoking to God. To espouse the 3. A third slight or cheat seducers have truth, and then to fall away, brings an ill re- is a labouring to villify and nullify sound orport upon the gospel, which will not go un- thodox teachers; they would eclipse those punished: Ps. lxxviii. 57, 59. “They turn- that bring the truth, like unto the black vaed back, and dealt unfaithfully; when God pours that darken the light of heaven; they heard this, he was wroth, and greatly abhor- would defame others, that themselves may red Israel.” The apostate drops as a wind- be more admired. Thus the false teachers fall into the devil's mouth.
cried down Paul, that they might be received, 5th. If ye are not settled in religion, you Gal. iv. 17. will never grow. We are commanded to 4. The fourth slight or cheat of seducers grow up into the head, even Christ,' Eph. is by " preaching doctrine of liberty :” as iv. 15. But if we are unsettled, no grow- the Antinomian preacheth that men are ing: “the plant which is continually re- freed from the moral law,--the rule as well moving never thrives." He can no more as the curse. He preached that Christ hath grow in godliness, who is unsettled, than a done all for them, and they need to do nobone can grow in the body that is out of joint. thing. So he makes the doctrine of free
6th. What great need is there to be set- grace a key to open the door to all licen. tled; because there are so many things to tiousness. unsettle us, and make us fall away from 5. Another thing to unsettle Christians
side for pay.
is persecutors, 2 Tim. ii. 12. The gospel knowledge of the grounds and principles of
gion; it gives us a whole system and body
Doct. II. The second proposition is, and grounded in love.” The knowledge of that the way for Christians to be settled, is principles conduceth to the making of a comto be well grounded: "if ye continue plete Christian. grounded and settled.' The Greek word 2d. That this grounding is the best way for grounded, a metaphor; it alludes to a to settling : .grounded and settled.' A tree, building that hath the foundation well laid ; that may be well settled, must be well s0 Christians should be grounded in the es- rooted ; so, if you be well settled in religion, sential points of religion, and have their you must be rooted in the principles of it. foundation well laid.
He, in Plutarch, set up a dead man, and Here let me speak to two things : 1 That he would not stand ; “0,” saith he, “there we should be grounded in the knowledge of must be something within;" so, that we may fundamentals. 2. That this grounding is stand in shaking times, there must be a printhe best way to settling.
ciple of knowledge within,-first ground1st. That we should be grounded in the ed, and then settled. That the ship may knowledge of fundamentals. The apostle be kept from overturning, it must have its speaks of the first principles of the oracles anchor fastened; knowledge of principles is of God,' Heb. v. 13. In all arts and sci- to the soul as the anchor to the ship, that ences, logic, physic, mathematics, there are holds it steady in the midst of all the rolling some præcognita,--some rules and principles waves of error, or the violent winds of perthat must necessarily be known to the prac-secution. First grounded and then settled. tice of those arts : so, in divinity, there USE I. See the reason why so many peomust be the first principles laid down. The ple are unsettled, ready to embrace every
novel opinion, and dress themselves in as forms of catechism : so much those phrases many religions as they do fashions; it is be- imply, a . form of sound words,' 2 Tim. i. 13, cause they are ungrounded. See how the and “the first principles of the oracles of apostle joins these two together, “unlearned God,' Heb. v. 12, and since the church had and unstable, 2 Pet. iii. 16. Such as are their catechumenoi, as Grotius and Erasmus unlearned in the main points of divinity, will observe, many of the ancient fathers have be unstable. As the body cannot be strong written for it, Fulgentius, Austin, Theodoret, that hath the sinews shrunk; so neither can Lactantius, and others. God hath given that Christian be strong in religion who great success to it. By this laying down of wants the grounds of knowledge, which are grounds of religion catechistically, Christians the sinews to strengthen and establish him. have been clearly instructed and wondrously
USE II. See then what great necessity built up in the Christian faith; insomuch, there is of laying down all the main grounds that Julian the apostate, seeing the great of religion in a catechetical form, that the success of catechising, did put down all weakest judgment may be instructed in the schools and places of public literature, and knowledge of the truth, and strengthened in instructing of youth. It is my design therethe love of it. Catechising is the best expe- fore (with the blessing of God) to begin this dient for the grounding and settling of peo- work of catechising the next sabbath-day; ple. I fear, one reason why there hath been and I intend every other sabbath, in the no more good done by preaching, hath been afternoon, to make it my whole work to lay because the chief heads and articles in reli- down the grounds and fundamentals of religion have not been explained in a catechisti- gion in a catechistical way. If I am hincal way. Catechising is the laying the foun- dered in this work by men, or taken away by dation, Heb. vi. 1. To preach and not to death, I hope God will raise up some other catechise, is to build without a foundation. labourer in the vineyard among you, that This way of catechising is not novel, it is may perfect this work which I am now beapostolical. The primitive church had their ginning.
MAN'S CHIEF END IS TO GLORIFY GOD.
QUEST. 1. WHAT is the chief end of glorify God; this is the yearly rent that is man?
paid to the crown of heaven.' Glorifying of Ans. Man's chief end is to glorify God, God hath respect to all the persons in the and to enjoy Him for ever.
Trinity; it respects God the Father, who Here are two ends of life specified: 1st. gave us our life; it respects God the Son, The glorifying of God. 2d. The enjoying of who lost his life for us; it respects God the God.
Holy Ghost, who produceth a new life in us; 1. I begin with the first, the glorifying of we must bring glory to the whole Trinity. God, 1 Pet. iv. 11, * That God in all When we speak of God's glory, the questhings may be glorified." The glory of God tion will be moved, is a silver thread which must run through Q. What we are to understand by God's all our actions; 1 Cor. x. 31, "Whether, glory? therefore, ye eat or drink, or whatsoever ye Ans. There is a twofold glory : 1. The do, do all to the glory of God.” Every thing glory that God hath in himself, his intrinsical works to some end in things natural and glory. Glory is essential to the Godhead, as artificial; now man being a rational creature, light is to the sun; he is called the “God of must propose some end to himself, and that glory,' Acts vii. 2. Glory is the sparkling of is, that he may lift up God in the world; and the Deity; glory is so co-natural to the Godbetter lose his life than lose the end of his head, that God cannot be God without it. living; so then, the great truth asserted is The creature's honour is not essential to his this, that the end of every man's living is, to being; a king is a man without his regal or.