« הקודםהמשך »
tlae tone and impulse to society. Very young children indeed do not flatter: but as soon as they begin to know something of human corruption and deceit (and I suppose all men to know something of them, though they may deny the doctrine in words) they learn to flatter from a consciousness that truth will offend; and they love to be flattered, because they had rather be deceived than have their real character and actual condition laid open to their view.
It is possible that this publication may be of use in another respect. Should it be insinuated, or reported by any, that my views of the gospel in any points of vital importance are erroneous, they may be referred to what I have written, and made public. If they will condescend to read the following pages, they may find my principles in them, and learn what my creed is. To the best of my knowledge I have flattered no man here; nor sought to please any man, or body of men, at the expence of truth. It is now a long time, that I have not dared to lean on any human authority for any thing I am to believe and teach concerning the religion of Jesus Christ The testimony which follows is the testimony of my conscience and experience; and I trust also it will be found to accord with the word of God. In preparing it for the press it has been my daily prayer, that the Lord would be pleased to guide me through the whole of it, and that I might, in every particular, have a single eye to please him, and to glorify his name. This I find the best defence against all objections and discouragements, as I can humbly say to the authors of them, “ With me it is a very small thing that I should be judged of you, or of man's judgment :He that judgeth me is the Lord."*
Such also must be my present answer to my dear brethren in the establishment, who blame me for leaving them ; and to my brethren out of the establishment, and equally dear, who complain because I do not immediately declare for one of the divisions in which they serve. I say to them all, judge nothing before the time. Let us strengthen one another against the common enemy. Let us not seek every man his own ;
every man the things which are Jesus Christ's,t that we may follow after love, peace, unity, and mutual edification. The time, I think, is approaching when the word schism will be better understood than it is at present. When I meet with any who
* 1 Cor. iv. 3.
+ Phil, ii. 21.
evidently fear God, and love our Lord Jesus Christ, be their outward denomination what it may, I have an inward testimony that they are my brethren, and that I am one with them in the Lord. And this experience is sweet, and encouraging. I must also bear in mind, who it is that has said, One is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren.t
I had once intended to touch very briefly in this preface on some of the reasons which induced me to leave the establishment, and that chiefly for the information of my poor and unlearned brethren, who are unacquainted with ecclesiastical requisitions, and the terms of ministerial conformity, and are therefore at some loss to know why I leave them. mature deliberation, I have concluded that it is wiser to forHear. The subjects are clearly distinct, and, considering the prejudices of many, it is better to keep them separate in this publication. Let me not, at the very entrance, lay a stumbling block in the
way of that may prevent what I have most ať heart, which is to lead them to the knowledge of the truth, as it is in Jesus, that they may be saved in him with an everlasting salvation. If the Lord permit, I intend to prepare my reasons for the press without delay. Should any regret this circumstance, I advise them to pray for a discernment and taste more decidedly spiritual ; as the things to which I here direct their attention, are of a higher order, and of a more excellent nature. May the reading, and the hearing of them be attended with a blessing from the God of all grace, to whom be glory for ever and ever!
. + Mat. xxiii. 8.
TABLE OF REFERENCE
TO SOME OF THE
Subjects introduced in the following Testimony.
Page. WHAT is implied by commending a People to God The incomparable Excellence and inestimable Value and Utility of the Holy Scriptures
9 The vast Importance of knowing ourselves and the World.
13 The Wickedness of Men increased by the Agency of evil Spirits
16 The Doctrine of the Fall a key to the right understanding of the Gospel
18 The Nature of Justification, and the Reasonableness of Inputed Righteousness
20 Christ Himself our only Title to Glory
30 The Nature and Method of Sanctification
31 Holinesss inseparable from saving Faith, and insured by the Purpose of God
33 Christian Obedience imperfect, but not partial
37 A broad Line of Distinction between Nature and Grace 40 On Antinomianism
41 Antinomianism against the Gospel as well as the Law 45 On Self-Examination
50 On the great Duty of confessing Christ before Men
57 On the Government of the Tongue. Its numerous Vices, &c. 65 On profaning the Name of God, and swearing by the Creatures
71 On Family Religion
73 On the Duty of Parents, and the Christian Education of Children.
Page. The Difficulty of finding proper Schools and Situations for the Young
85 Every Command of God important, and Obedience indispensable
88 Address to Mourners in Zion
91 On some Dangerous Mistakes respecting the Causes of spiritual Distress
93 The Case of those, who misunderstand and abuse the Doctrine of the Inability of Man
98 The Inexcusableness of spiritual Blindness and Ignorance 103 On loose and double-minded Characters
105 The case of open, and gross Offenders, with an Address 110 On the divisions of the visible Church, and the Evils of Bigotry and a Party-Spirit
115 The Remedies for these Evils
119 On the happy Times now approaching, when the Church will again appear as One
Acts, xx. 32.
AND NOW, BRETHREN, I COMMEND YOU TO GOD, AND
TO THE WORD OF HIS GRACE, WHICH IS ABLE TO
MY BRETHREN AND FRIENDS,
any of you are come with the expectation of hearing my particular reasons for the extraordinary step I have taken, you will be disappointed. Let it suffice to observe, that my motives are of a conscientious nature; and that I have seen it to be my duty to take this step. This is not the time, or place for farther explanation. But I intend, if the Lord spare me, to give you information in that way which every one is at liberty to adopt, who is desirous to make known what he conceives will be for the beneit of others. But to set before you the faults of the establishment, whilst I am occupying one of its pulpits, has an indecorum, to which I cannot reconcile my mind; and it would defeat the principal object which I have now in view. Should I attempt to feed this congregation with the husks and chaff of mere externals, or with detailing blemishes in any of the denominations of professing Christians, or with cherishing one bigotted, or bitter thought this