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and I said the same of one since, who was ordained at Hammersmith, who confirmed it soon after; and the same of two since, whom God discovered in the same way, to let me know that my judgment of those men was from him. "Let him that thinketh he standeth, take heed lest he fall." I hope those who are going, according to report, to ordain you, will look about them; and not lay hands suddenly on any man; nor countenance and recommend a man to the work of the ministry, upon a reason of his hope, and a confession of his faith, in general terms; without an account of his heart-felt experience of the truth; a confession of the faith delivered to him, and impressed on his soul, by God himself; and a testimony in the ordainers' consciences from God, and from men of experience, touching the testimony of God to the word of his grace by him; besides the witness of some converts, or living seals of his mission and commission from God.
Sodomites, adulterers, and fornicators, have been palmed upon the church of God heretofore, instead of ministers of the Spirit. If he that bids an erroneous man, who brings not the doctrine of Christ, God speed, is a partaker of his evil deeds; what must they be partakers of, who, upon a partial examination, a written schoolboy's confession, and perhaps an inexperienced people's call, or an attachment to a party, lay on hands, countenance and send forth a wolf in sheep's clothing, instead
of an under-shepherd? It is well if this work does not one day recoil, with a double discharge both of grief and guilt, upon the consciences of many who in our day are called Presbyters. When God makes manifest the counsels of the heart, it will appear that this is no small part of the mystery of spiritual wickedness, in the propagation of errors, that will be unfolded in the great day, to the confusion of such deceitful workers and hypocrites, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation. Which pre-ordination of God is no excuse for a partial ordination by men.
I have not a single doubt of my effectual call, both to salvation and to the ministry of the everlasting gospel, and that by Jesus Christ himself: and I believe I may say that God has set his seal a thousand times to the ministry that I have received, by working a change in sinners' hearts, and ministering the Spirit unto them. But, who sent you, I know not. Where is your genealogy? Where are the credentials that the Spirit of the living God has written on the fleshly tables of your heart? Produce the twofold witness, that of the Spirit, and of conscience, and the mystery of faith held therein. Let us have some account of the signing and sealing you to the day of redemption, that we may know what image and superscription you bear. If you are destitute of these things, you run before you were sent; and, if acquainted with them, even but in theory, you
sin against light and knowledge, by walking in craftiness, and handling the word of God deceitfully.
"The law is good, if a man use it lawfully." I know it is: but, what could you bring from that text against a man who loves the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity and truth? What is there in that passage against one in covenant with God, under the dominion of grace, and that serves God in the newness of the Spirit? "Is the law against the promise of God? God forbid!" "The law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient," 1 Tim. i. 9. "Whatsoever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law." If the law is not made for a righteous man, how could you apply it to me, whom God has justified? and if what the law saith, it saith to them that are under it, how could you level its voice against them that are under grace? The law speaks to such as you, who seem to be under it; and to them who are without the law of faith, and disobedient to the gospel, called lawless and disobedient. But "they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh, with the affections and lusts;"" and against such there is no law." What, then, could you make the law, in your text, say against me?
The law is handled lawfully when it is set forth as a transcript of the holiness, truth, justice, and immutability, of God.
When it is set forth in the hand of Justice, ac
companied with God's glittering sword, in all its spiritual meaning, and with all its unbounded demands, and against every sinner that is out of Christ Jesus, whether professor or profane.
When it is preached as a revelation of the righteous judgments of God, a revelation of his just wrath and holy indignation against all sin, and sinners who are under the law, for they are under the curse; and whatsoever things the law saith, it saith to them.
It is handled lawfully when its spiritual meaning is enforced, as reaching to the thoughts, words, acts, and workings of the very souls of men; working death in them by itself, which is good.
It is handled lawfully when the eternity of it is insisted on; so that devils and damned souls shall have a gaoldelivery when God shall cease to exist, when his eternal sentence shall be recalled, and an everlasting law be repealed; but not till then.
It is lawfully handled when it is set forth as added because of transgression; that sin by the law might appear sin, and become exceeding sinful; that the offence might abound, being viewed in that perfect glass; that every mouth may be stopped, and the whole world be brought in guilty before God.
It is handled lawfully when it is set forth as magnified and made honourable by the Saviour; who gave a perfect obedience to every precept of
it in his life; and was obedient to his Father in submitting to the sentence of it in death, even the death of the cross.
When it is set forth in the heart of Christ, who is our Mercy-seat; and kept there, as the two tables of it were in the ark of old, never more to arrest them who put their trust under the shadow of Christ Jesus, who is the end of the law for righteousness to all that believe.
Again, It is lawfully handled when it is proved that the end of the commandment is charity; that love is the fulfilling of the law; and that all those who have laid hold on eternal life, in whose heart the love of God is shed abroad, and to whose faith the righteousness of Christ is imputed, that "the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in them, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit."
“If a man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God," saith the Spirit; and I will leave you to judge whether the law be not lawfully handled in this letter, and whether I have not spoken in it agreeably to the oracles of God: and if, upon examination, you find I have, then in future use all the lumber that you may rummage up, against the world, the flesh, and the devil; and leave me and my oddities to stand or fall to my own Master. There are plenty of sinners at Cranbrook to level your discourses at, without spouting or bending your tongue, for lies, at me; especially when you knew I was not present to answer for myself. If you will preach a discourse, and allow me to be