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SHOWING WHAT THINGS ARE TO BE CORRECTED OR AVOIDED IN PROMOTING THIS WORK, OR IN OUR BEHAVIOR UNDER IT.

HAVING thus observed, in some instances, wherein the conduct of those that have appeared to be the subjects of this work, or have been zealous to promote it, has been objected against, or complained of, without or beyond just cause, I proceed now, in the

Second place, to show what things ought to be corrected or avoided.

Many that are zealous for this glorious work of God, are heartily sick of the great noise there is in the country about imprudences and disorders; they have heard it so often from the mouths of opposers, that they are prejudiced against the sound; and they look upon it that that which is called a being prudent and regular, which is so much insisted on, is no other than being asleep, or cold and dead in religion, and that the great imprudence that is so much cried out of, is only being alive, and engaged in the things of God: and they are therefore rather confirmed in any practice, than brought off from it, by the clamor they hear against it, as imprudent and irregular. And to tell the truth, the cry of irregularity and imprudence has been much more in the mouths of those that have been enemies to the main of the work, than others; for they have watched for the halting of

the zealous, and eagerly catched at any thing that has been wrong, and have greatly insisted on it, made the most of it, and magnified it; especially have they watched for errors in zealous preachers, that are much in reproving and condemning the wickedness of the times: they would therefore do well to consider that scripture, Isa. xxix. 20, 21. "The scorner is consumed, and all that watch for iniquity are cut off, that make a man an offender for a word, and lay a snare for him that reproveth in the gate, and turn aside the just for a thing of nought." They have not only too much insisted on, and magnified real errors, but have very injuriously charged them as guilty, in things wherein they have been innocent, and have done their duty. This has so prejudiced the minds of some, that they have been ready to think that all that has been said about errors and imprudences, was injurious, and from an ill spirit; and has confirmed them in it, and there is no such thing as any prevailing imprudences; and it has made them less cautious and suspicious of themselves, lest they should err. Herein the devil has had an advantage put into his hands, and has taken the advantage; and, doubtless, has been too subtle for some of the true friends of religion. That would be a strange thing indeed, if in so great a commotion and revolution, and such a new state of things, wherein so many have been engaged, none have been guilty of any imprudence; it would be such a revival of religion as never was yet, if among so many men, not guided by infallible inspiration, there had not been prevailing a pretty many notable errors in judgment and conduct our young preachers, and young converts, must in general vastly exceed Luther, the head of the reformation, who was guilty of a great many excesses in that great affair in which God made him the chief instrument.

If we look back into the history of the church of God in. past ages, we may observe that it has been a common device of the devil, to overset a revival of religion, when he finds he can keep men quiet and secure no longer, then to drive

them to excesses and extravagances. He holds them back as long as he can, but when he can do it no longer, then he will push them on, and if possible, run them upon their heads. And it has been by this means chiefly, that he has been successful, in several instances, to overthrow most hopeful and promising beginnings: yea, the principal means by which the devil was successful, by degrees, to overset that grand religious revival of the world, that was in the primitive ages of Christianity, and in a manner to overthrow the Christian church through the earth, and to make way for, and bring on the great Antichristian apostasy, that masterpiece of all the devil's works, was to improve the indiscreet zeal of Christians, to drive them into those three extremes, of enthusiasm, superstition, and severity towards opposers; which should be enough for an everlasting warning to the Christian church.

Though the devil will do his diligence to stir up the open enemies of religion, yet he knows what is for his interest so well, that in a time of revival of religion, his main strength shall be tried with the friends of it, and he will chiefly exert himself in his attempts upon them, to mislead them. One truly zealous person, in the time of such an event, that seems to have a great hand in the affair, and draws the eyes of many upon him, may do more (through Satan's being too subtle for him) to hinder the work, than a hundred great, and strong, and open opposers.

In the time of a great work of Christ, his hands, with which he works, are often wounded in the house of his friends; and his work hindered chiefly by them: so that if any one inquires, as in Zech. xiii. 6., "What are those wounds in thine hands?" He may answer, those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.

The errors of the friends of the work of God, and especially of the great promoters of it, give vast advantage to the enemies of such a work. Indeed there are many things that are no errors, but are only duties faithfully and thoroughly done,

that wound the minds of such persons more, and are more cross to them, than real errors: but yet one real error gives opposers as much advantage, and hinders and clogs the work, as much as ten that are only supposed ones. Real errors do not fret and gall the enemics of religion, so much as those things that are strictly right; but they encourage them more; they give them liberty, and open a gap for them; so that some that before kept their enmity burning in their own bowels, and durst not show themselves, will on such an occasion take courage, and give themselves vent, and their rage will be like that of an enemy let loose; and those that lay still before, having nothing to say, but what they would be ashamed of, (agreeable to Tit. ii. 8.), when they have such a weapon put into their hands, will fight with all violence. And indeed the enemies of religion would not know what to do for weapons to fight with, were it not for the errors of the friends of it; and so must soon fall before them. And besides, in real errors, things that are truly disagreeable to the rules of God's word, we cannot expect the divine protection, and that God will appear on our side, as if our errors were only supposed ones.

Since therefore the errors of the friends and promoters of such a glorious work of God, are of such dreadful consequence; and seeing the devil, being sensible of this, is so assiduous, and watchful, and subtle, in his attempts with them, and has thereby been so successful to overthrow religion heretofore, certainly such persons ought to be exceeding circumspect and vigilant, diffident and jealous of themselves, and humbly dependent on the guidance of the good Shepherd. 1 Pet. iv. 7., "Be sober, and watch unto prayer." And chap. v. 8., "Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about." For persons to go on resolutely, in a kind of heat and vehemence, despising admonition and correction, being confident that they must be in the right, because they are full of the Spirit,

is directly contrary to the import of these words, be sober, be vigilant.

It is a mistake, I have observed in some, by which they have been greatly exposed, to their wounding, that they think they are in no danger of going astray, or being misled by the devil, because they are near to God; and so have no jealous eye upon themselves, and neglect vigilance and circumspection, as needless in their case. They say, they do not think that God will leave them to dishonor him, and wound religion, as long as they keep near to him: and I believe so too, as long as they keep near to God in that respect, that they maintain a universal and diligent watch, and care to do their duty, and avoid sin and snares, with diffidence in themselves, and humble dependence and prayerfulness: but not merely because they are near to God, in that respect, that they now are receiving blessed communications from God, in refreshing views of him; if at the same time they let down their watch, and are not jealous over their own hearts, by reason of its remaining blindness and corruption, and a subtle adversary. It is a grand error, for persons to think they are out of danger of the devil, and a corrupt, deceitful heart, even in their highest flights, and most raised frames of spiritual joy. For persons in such a confidence to cease to be jealous of themselves, and to neglect watchfulness and care, is a presumption by which I have known many wofully ensnared. However highly we may be favored with divine discoveries and comforts, yet as long as we are in the world, we are in the enemy's country; and therefore that direction. of Christ to his disciples, is never out of date in this world; Luke xxi. 36., "Watch and pray always, that ye may be accounted worthy to escape all these things, and to stand before the Son of man." It was not out of date with the disciples, to whom it was given, after they came to be filled so full of the Holy Ghost, and out of their bellies flowed rivers of living water, by that great effusion of the Spirit upon them, that began on the day of pentecost. And though God stands

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