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norant. And though you are desperate at Christ, at the power of godliness, and at the ministers of the Spirit, and at the possessors of grace which is a perpetual transgressing of every precept in the law, yet contend for it as your only rule of life to the very end; for it is not them that have the love of God in their hearts that are esteemed among the unconverted, but he that wears the closest mask, and makes the greatest noise about the law. The Jewish Priests, after they had crucified Christ, and killed his followers, made a shift to stand their ground for no less than forty years, and supported themselves and kept up their reputation among the people, by nothing else but this mask of deception, zeal for the law, and a great noise; and now and then a pretended obedience to the faith, whenever their noise and mask failed them. I know of no other way, gentlemen, of keeping up your sinking credit, than this: If any good man, who seems rather attached to Mesnard, asks Mr. Rippon what he thinks of him, let him say that he believes he is a good man; if any wonder at his absenting himself from the church, say, he denies the Spirit's work; but if a gentleman writes from Northampton, to know how Mesnard goes on, send him word that he is out of his mind. Never stick at a lie or two: call the law your rule of life, and that is enough. Besides, it is the characteristic, not of the disciples of Moses, but of Jesus, to be children that will not lie, so he was their Saviour. The law, as your only rule, gen

tlemen, will answer the same purpose to you, as the shield of faith does to the Christian; you may turn it every way, and every way you turn it it prospereth turn it to the formalist, you have his approbation; to the Pharisee, you have him; to the worldling, he cannot gainsay it; to the hypocrite, and he must stand forth for the law, being conscious that grace has done nothing for him. And who can expect a man to praise a bridge that never bore him up, nor bore him over? But there is one thing, gentlemen, that I would wish to stir up your pure minds about, by way of remembrance, which is this: You must know, that it is impossible that your doctrine can pass current, or that your tottering reputation can stand, or that you can conceal yourselves under your present mask, however closely fixed, so as to be had in honour before the children of light: these will, sooner or later, see through you, wear what mask you may; therefore be as wise as serpents here. Be sure to rebel against every ray of light that may shine in your house; for you cannot perform your enterprize, unless the whole house be full of darkness: therefore cut at every appearance, either of power, light, life, or truth. You are conscious to yourselves, and have made it appear publicly, that you do not hold the mystery of faith in a pure conscience; consequently, you cannot receive that honour that cometh from God only: therefore you must receive honour one of another; and compare yourselves with yourselves, and among yourselves, and

so prop up one another's conscience and countenance as well as you can. And whenever any thing divine appears, cut at it; if any glorious truth is mentioned, call it antinomianism; if the power of the Spirit, call it poison; if any thing of the life of faith, on Christ's fulness, call it licentiousness. If any preacher should rise, and declare that the kingdom of God stands in power, call it delusion; if he draws any lines between believers and infidels, or separates the vile from the precious, call him a schismatic; if he enforces the operations of the Spirit, call him an enthusiast; if he mentions what God has done for his own soul, call it preaching himself; if he contends earnestly for the faith, call it making void the law; if he zealously opposes and exposes hypocrisy and hypocrites, call it spleen, rancour, malice, and bitterness; if he dives deep into the mystery of faith, call him a mystic; if he reproves and rebukes, call it smiting his fellow-servants with an envenomed tongue. And I assure you, gentlemen, that your steady observance of all these rules will be found to be little enough, either to keep your countenance and credit up, or to level the reputation of a man of God; seeing God is the shield of his servants, and artifice is yours. Furthermore, you must keep a steady look-out, and a jealous eye over the members of your society: for if any of them get but a foretaste of the powers of the world to come, or should feel but the least beam of real

spiritual joy or comfort, it will be a difficult matter to set them down contented in their shackles again. And not only so, but every one thus infected will run with tidings, and spread the growing infection; and, by means of these, the last error shall be worse than the first. When any are thus influenced, let your sermons be pointed and personal; cut at them; discharge every arrow of your quiver at them: and be sure to bring forth the law; for Paul says, the veil is upon their heart in reading the old testament. This is the only way to blindfold them; and then you may make them grind in the prison, make sport for the Philistines, or do what you please. But, if they remain incurable, hunt them with messenger after messenger, censure after censure; and call meeting upon meeting, and make new laws. And be sure to make the law of Moses the first article in your confession of faith: this will answer the same end as circumcision; it will bind them to the observance of the whole law, keep them from grace, bring them to a refusal of the gospel, a denial of Christ and Christ shall profit them nothing. And, if you cannot make them obedient to all this by word and deed, then threaten them with cutting off; with the dreadful sentence of excommunication, which delivers them up to Satan himself; and represent this in such a dreadful point of light as to frighten them out of their faith, reason, and senses: and by this means you will em

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bitter their lives with hard bondage, till in time they will get seasoned to the yoke; and, like Issachar, they will couch down between two burdens, and become servants to tribute. And, in all your discourses, be sure to enforce the gospel as the only rule of duty for the unconverted; and by this means you will bring numbers of hypocrites to be obedient to the faith, which will enable you to keep a majority. But as for the saints, if you have any, bring the law forth to them as their only rule of life; and by this means you will obscure or blind their eyes, which will serve to break down the middle wall of partition between the elect and the reprobate. You must build up the hypocrite with the promise, and knock down the saint with the law; and this will make them appear nearly of one complexion. Excommunication must be your last engine; dress this up, as coming from you, with all the terrors and dreadful consequences that imagination can paint, or eloquence describe; that nothing but poverty and beggary, despair and destruction, tribulation and anguish, death and damnation, can follow this sentence from your mouths. Represent it ten thousand fold worse than the fabled shades of Pluto, the endless entanglements of Limbo, or the fancied abyss of purgatory. Represent a person under your censure in a worse labyrinth than the crown office, the spiritual court, or the Spanish inquisition; and hence you will appear more formidable in words than thousands in arms. And

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