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2. LET us here, 2dly, my Friends, think it no Shame to learn a Leffon from the Devil, and take no Man's Word, who pretends to command us in Matters of Faith, and fpiritual Obedience, though he come in the Name of the Lord. Let us examine him first, and try our own Strength upon him. Who are ye? A pat Queftion, and a proper! Let us, Beloved, never lofe Sight of it, efpecially when any Man would controul our Belief. Be not determined by outfide Shape and Colour. A long Gown may cover an Exorcift, but let us peep into his Infide, fearch his Life and Principles; let us try whether he is an Apostle in bis Heart, and his Actions; and if he be not, let us defpife him; yea, let us prevail against him.
3. OBSERVE, 3dly, What great and folemn Rogueries are carried on in the Name of Chrift and his Apostles; even Conjurers and Formalifts reap their Harveft, as it were, with the Sickle of the Gospel. And if fuch bold Cheats could be practifed, as it were, under this great Apoftle's Nofe; what may not be done now he is fo far off? How many Exorcifts, how many Sons of Sceva, trow ye, have we at this time among us, and in this enlightened Protestant Country? Great Numbers, God wot! yea, great Societies. Every Man, who, in the
Name of Chrift or Paul, claims to himfelf Gaim or Dominion, is a Son of Sceva, and can be no Guard against the Devil, who despises him.. Judge ye now what Swarms we have!
4. OBSERVE from hence, 4thly and lastly, The true Reason of the great Wickedness which is in the World, namely, because we maintain an Army against the Devil, of whom he ftandeth not in Awe. In the firft Ages he was driven out of every Corner, and now he poffeffes every Corner; for why? they had Apostles, and we have the Sons of Sceva.
AND many that believed came, and confeffed, and fhewed their Deeds, v. 18. that is, many who had been deluded and misled by these Reverend Deceivers, were now undeceived.
AND many alfo of them which used curious Arts, brought their Books together, and burnt them before all Men; and they counted the Price of them, and found it Fifty thousand Pieces of Silver, v. 19.
How fertile must the World then have been in mysterious and conjuring Books! What Syftems of Nonfenfe and Knavery must have been here! What Gloffes, Commentaries, and Riddles! For we may be fure, my Beloved, thefe were not Books of useful Knowledge and Learning, or Books that taught Virtue and Morality,
Morality, fince fuch, without doubt, the Apoftle would have preserved: But they were juggling and conjuring Books, fuch as contained Heathen Traditions, with falfe Miracles, and falfe Doctrines, and were probably full of metaphyfical Diftinctions, and the controverfial Divinity of those Days; fuch as Bundles of foolifh Sermons, Pagan Systems, Articles of their Faith, Formularies, lying Mysteries, Cabalistical Nonfenfe, and the High Church Pamphlets of that Age; all oppofite to the divine Truths uttered by Paul.
So mightily grew the Word of God, and prevailed, v. 20. Take Notice here, Men and Brethren, that the ready way to make the Word of God grow and prevail, was to burn all the Priefts Books. Oh, my Beloved, that our Eyes were alfo opened! What Fuel fhould we have for Bonfires!
NOTHING occurs remarkable between this and the 23d Verfe, which tells us, that the fame time there arofe no Small Stir about that Way. And then follows the Reason, v. 24, 25, 26, 27. For a certain Man named Demétrius, a Silversmith, which made filver Shrines for Diana, brought no fmall Gain unto the Craftsmen, whom he called together, with the Workmen of like Occupation, and faid, Sirs, ye know
know that by this Craft we have our Wealth : Moreover, ye fee and hear, that not alone at Ephefus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul bath perfuaded and turned away much People, faying, That they be no Gods which are made with Hands; fo that not only this our Craft is in Danger to be fet at nought; but also that the Temple of the great Goddess Diana Should be defpifed, and her Magnificence should be deftroyed, whom all Afia and the World worshippeth.
A NOTABLE Speech, and a fair Confeffion! He kept a Shop for the Deity, and got a World of Money by this godly Trade; and rather than lose it, he will oppofe Chriftianity, and maintain his Craft against Jesus Christ.,
THIS mechanical Prieft, and his Brethren, Retainers to Diana, had loft many kind Customers by Paul's Preaching; their holy Gear began to lie upon their Hands; Folks Eyes were opened, and the Cheat was disclosed: Upon which the Reverend Dr. Demetrius, and the whole Convocation of Priefts and Craftsmen, refolve to accufe the Apostle as an Enemy to the Church, and an Underminer of its Rights and Interefts. Sirs, fays Mr. Prolocutor, ye know that by this Craft we have our Wealth." Now "if this Paul goes on to perfuade People, as he
"does, that all our Gain is built on Deceit, " and that our Trade is of human Inftitution, cc our Function will fall into Contempt, and "we into Beggary."
ALL this was artfully addreffed to the Intereft and Avarice of his Brother Craftfmen, who sharing the Benefit of the Cheat, and living plentifully upon Ecclefiaftical Revenues of the established Church of Diana, had Motives fufficient to engage them in the Defence of the faid Church and Cheat.
Now he has a Knack for catching the Bigots, by telling them, what Danger there was of the Church; and left the Temple of the great ·Goddess Diana bould be despised, and her Magnificence be destroyed, whom all Asia and the World worshipped. What Pity it was, that fo pure and primitive a Church, and the most orthodox and best constituted Church in all Afia, should be in fuch piteous Danger!
1. OBSERVE here, firft, dearly Beloved, what false Knaves, and godlefs Infidels, these priestly Crew were. If they believed, that their Mistress, the Goddess, who had indeed the best accustomed Church in all Afia, was as great as they pretended her to be, why did they mistruft her Power to protect her own Grandeur, and defend herfelf? Especially against a single Man,