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I do not know but we shall be in danger by and by, after our eyes are fully opened to see our errors, to go to contrary ex. tremes. The devil has driven the pendulum far beyond its proper point of rest ; and when he has carried it to the ute most length that he can, and it begins by its own weight te swing back, he probably will set in, and drive it with the utmost fury the other way ; and so give us no rest ; and if possible prevent our settling in a proper medium. What a poor, blind, weak and miserable creature is man, at his best estate ! We are like poor helpless sheep ; the devil is too subtlc for us : What is our strength ! What is our wisdom ! How ready are we to go astray ! How easily are we drawn aside, into innumerable snares, while we in the mean time are bold and confident, and doubt not but that we are right and safe! We are foolish sheep, in the midst of subtle serpents and cruel wolves, and do not know it. Oh ! how unfit are we to be left to ourselves! And how much do we stand in need of the wisdom, the power, the condescension, patience forgiveness and gentleness of our good shepherd !

PART V.

Shewing positively, what ought to be done to promote

this WORK.

IN considering of means and methods for promoting this glorious work of God, I have already observed, in some instances wherein there has been needless objecting and complaining, and have also taken notice of many things amiss, that ought to be amended : I now proceed in the

Third and last place, to shew positively, what ought to be done, or what courses (according to my humble opinion) ought to be taken to promote this work. The obligations that all are under, with one consent, to do their utmost, and the great

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danger of neglecting it, were observed before. I hope that some, upon reading what was said under that head, will be ready to say, What shall we do? To such readers I would now offer my thoughts, in answer to such an inquiry.

And that which I think we ought to set ourselves about in the first place, is to remove stumbling blocks. When God is revealed as about to come, gloriously to set up his kingdom in the world, this is proclaimed, Prepare ye the muay of the Lord, make strait in the desert an high way for our God, Isa. xl. 3.... And again, Isa. lvii. 14. “ Cast ye up, cast ye up; prepare the way ; take up the stumbling block out of the way of my people.” And chap. lxii. 10. “Go through, go through the gates; prepare you the way of the people; cast up, cast up the high way ; gather out the stones.”

And in order to this, there must be a great deal done at confessing of faults, on both sides: For undoubtedly many and great are the faults that have been committed, in the jangling and confusions, and mixtures of light and darkness, that have been of late. There is hardly any duty more contrary to our corrupt dispositions, and mortifying to the pride of man; but it must be done. Repentance of faults is, in a peculiar man. ner, a proper duty, when the kingdom of heaven is at hand, or when we especially expect or desire that it should come; as appears by John the Baptist's preaching. And if God does now loudly call upon us to repent, then he also calls upon us to make proper manifestations of our repentance. I am persuaded that those that have openly opposed this work, or have from time to time spoken lightly of it, cannot be excused in the sight of God, without openly confessing their fault therein ; especially if they be ministers. If they have any way, either directly or indirectly, opposed the work, or have so behaved, in their public performances or private conversation, as has prejudiced the minds of their people against the work, if hereafter they shall be convinced of the goodness and divinity of what they have opposed, they ought by no means to palliate the matter, and excuse themselves, and pretend that they always thought so, and that it was only such and such imprudences that they objected against; but they ought openly to declare their conviction, and condemn themselves for what they have done ; for it is Christ that they have spoken against, in speaking lightly of, and prejudicing others against this work ; yea, worse than that, it is the Holy Ghost. And though they have done it ignorantly, and in unbelief, yet when they find out who it is that they have opposed, undoubtedly God will hold them bound publicly to confess it.

And on the other side, if those that haye been zealous to promote the work, have in any of the forementioned instances, openly gone much out of the way, and done that which is contrary to Christian rules, whereby they have openly injured others, or greatly violated good order, and so done that which has wounded religion, they must publicly confess it, and humble themselves, as they would gather out the stones, and prepare the way of God's people. They who have laid great stumbling blocks in others way, by their open transgression, are bound to remove them, by their open repentance.

Some probably will be ready to object against this, that the opposers will take advantage by this to behave themselves insolently, and to insult both them and religion. And indeed, to the shame of some, they have taken advantage by such things; as of the good spirit that Mr. Whitefield shewed in his retractations, and some others. Buti f there are some imbittered enemies of religion, that stand ready to improve every thing to its disadvantage, yet that ought not to hinder doing an enjoined Christian duty; though it be in the manifestation of humility and repentance, after a fault openly committed. To stand it out, in a visible impenitence of a real fault, to avoid such an inconvenience, is to do evil, to prevent evil. And besides, the danger of an evil consequence is much greater on the other side: To commit sin, and then stand in it, is what will give the enemy the greatest advantage. For Christians to act like Christians, in openly humbling themselves, when they have openly offended, in the end brings the greatest honor to Christ and religion ; and in this way are persons most likely to have God appear for them.

Again, at such a day as this, God does especially call his people to the exercise of extraordinary meekness and mutual forbearance : For at such a time, Christ appears as it were coming in his kingdom, which calls for great moderation in our behavior towards all men; as is evident, Phil. iv. 5. « Let your moderation be known unto all men : The Lord is at hand." The awe of the divine majesty that appears present or approaching, should dispose us to it, and deter us from the contrary. For us to be judging one another, and behaving with fierceness and bitterness, one towards another, when he who is the searcher of all hearts, to whom we must all give an account, appears so remarkably present, is exceeding unsuitable. Our business, at such a time, should be at home, searching ourselves, and condemning ourselves, and taking ħeed to our own behavior. If there be glorious prosperity to the church of God approaching, those that are the most meek, will have the largest share in it: For when Christ rides forth, in his glory and his majesty, it is because of truth, meekness and righteousness, Psal. xlv. 3, 4. And when God remarkably erises, to execute judgment, it is to save all the meek of the earth, Psal. Ixxvi. 9. And it is the meek, that shall increase their joy in the Lord, Isa. xxix. 19. And when the time comes, that God will give this lower world into the hands of his saints, it is the meek that shall inherit the earth, Psal. xxxvii. 11, and Mat. v. 9. “ But with the froward, God will shew himself unsavory."

Those therefore, that have been zealous for this work, and have greatly erred and been injurious with their zeal, ought not to be treated with bitterness. There is abundant reasonto think, that most of them are the dear children of God, for whom Christ died; and therefore, that they will see their erTor. As to those things, wherein we see them to be in an error, we have reason to say of them as the apostle, Philip. iii. 15. « If any are otherwise minded, God shall reveal this unto them.” Their errors should not be made use of by us, so much to excite indignation towards them, but should influence all of us, that hope that we are the children of God, to humble ourselves, and become more entirely dependent on the Lord Jesus Christ, when we see those, that are God's own people,

60 ready to go astray. And those ministers that have been judged, and injuriously dealt with, will do the part of Christ's disciples, not to judge and revile again, but to receive such injuries with meekness and forbearance, and making a good improvement of them, more strictly examining their hearts and ways, and committing themselves to God. This will be the way to have God vindicate them in his providence, if they belong to him. We have not yet seen the end of things; nor do we know who will be most vindicated, and honored of God, in the issue. Eccles. vii. 8. « Better is the end of a thing, than the beginning thereof; and the patient in spirit, is better than the proud in spirit.”

Contrary to this mutual meekness, is each party's stigma. tizing one another with odious names; as is done in many parts of Newengland : Which tends greatly to widen and perpetuate the breach. Such distinguishing names of reproach, do as it were divide us into two armies, separated, and drawn up in battle array, ready to fight one with another ; which greatly hinders the work of God.

And as such an extraordinary time as this, does especially require of us the exercise of a great deal of forbearance, one towards another ; so there is peculiarly requisite in God's people, the exercise of great patience, in waiting on God, under any special difficulties and disadvantages they may be under, as to the means of grace. The beginning of a revival of religion will naturally and necessarily be attended with a great many difficulties of this nature ; many parts of the reviving church will, for a while, be under great disadvantages, by reacon of what remains of the old disease, of a general corruption of the visible church. We cannot expect that, after a long time of degeneracy and depravity, in the state of things in the church, things should all come to rights at once; it must be a work of time : And for God's people to be over hasty and violent, in such a case, being resolved to have every thing rectified at once, or else forcibly to deliver themselves, by breaches and separations, is the way to hinder things coming to rights, as they otherwise would, and to keep them back, and the way to break all in pieces. Not but that the case may be such, the

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