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self that he is God. 1 John ii. 18, &c. even now are there many antichrists ...... they went out from us.? iv. 3. every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh, is not of God; and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come. 2 John 7. many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh: this is a deceiver and an antichrist.' See also nearly the whole of the latter part of Revelations, from chap. xiii. to the end of the book.
The frauds and persecutions practised by the enemies of the church are of various kinds. Numb. xxxi. 16. behold, these caused the children of Israel, through the counsel of Balaam, to commit trespass against Jehovah— compared with Rev. ii. 14. Neh. vi. 6, &c. 'he pronounced this prophecy against me; for Tobiah and Sanballat had hired him.? Ezra iv. 12. the rebellious and the bad city. See also Neh. ii. 19. Esther iii. 8. there is a certain people scattered abroad and dispersed among the people in all the provinces of thy kingdom; and their laws are diverse from all people, neither keep they the king's laws.' Jer. xxvi. 8. the priests took him. xxix. 26. "Jehovah hath made thee priest in the stead of Jehoiada the priest ...... that thou shouldest put him in prison and in the stocks. Amos vii. 10, 13. then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent- Matt. v. 10, 11. blessed are they which are persecuted— x. 25. “if they have called the master Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household ?' Gal. iv. 29. but as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him
that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now.? Heb. xi. 36, &c. “others had trial of cruel mockings and scourgings—
Hence we are enjoined to flee from persecution, and the precept is confirmed by the example of Elijah, 1 Kings xix. 3. of Joseph, Matt. ii. 13. and x. 16, 17. 'behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves ...... but beware of men, for they will deliver you up to the councils.' v. 23. when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another ;' of Christ, Matt. xii. 15. Luke iv. 30. John viïi. 59. xi. 54. of the disciples, Acts viji. 4. of Paul and Barnabas, xiv. 6. 2 Cor. xi. 32, 33. Rev. xii. 6. the woman fled into the wilderness.' v. 14. 'to the woman were given two wings— Except where flight would not be conducive to the glory of God. Hence Paul declares, Acts xxi. 13. “I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die.
There are appropriate consolations for the persecuted. Matt. x. 32. whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I confess also.' Luke xii. 4, 5, &c. be not afraid of them that kill the body. xxi. 18, 19. there shall not an hair of your head perish.' John xv. 18—20. if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. Acts v. 41,
rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name. Rom. viii. 35, &c. “who shall separate us ...... shall persecution ? 2 Cor. iv. 8, 9,
we are persecuted, but not forsaken.' Philipp. ii. 17. “if I be offered upon the sacrifice of your faith, I joy.' 2 Tim. iii. 12. all that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer persecution. 1 Pet. iv. 14. . if ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy
are ye.' v. 16. 'if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed.
A compensation is also promised. Mark x. 30. he shall receive an hundred-fold.' Luke vi. 23. behold, your reward is great in heaven.' Rom. viii. 18. I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.' 2 Thess. i. 6, 7. tribulation to them that trouble you ; and to you who are troubled rest with us. Heb. x. 34. “knowing in yourselves that ye have in heaven a better and an enduring substance.? v. 36. that ye might receive the promise.' xi. 26. · he had respect unto the recompense of the reward.?
OF CHURCH DISCIPLINE.
The bond by which a particular church is held together, is its discipline.*
Church discipline consists in a mutual agreement among the members of the church to fashion their lives according to Christian doctrine, and to regulate every thing in their public meetings decently and with order. Rom. xii. 4. to the end of the chapter. Eph. iv. 1-3. I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.' Col. iii. 16. let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts unto the Lord.' 1 Thess. iv. 18. comfort one another with
* "Let whoso will interpret or determine, so it be according to true church discipline, which is exercised on them only who have willingly joined themselves in that covenant of union.' Treatise of Civil Power in Ecclesiastical Causes. Prose Works, III. 323. VOL. II.
these words.' Heb. iii. 13. exhort one another daily, while it is called to-day, lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.' x. 24. let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works. 1 Cor. xi, 17, 18. “I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse ; for first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you.' xiv. 40. let all things be done decently and in order.' Col. ii. 5. “though I be absent in the flesh, yet am I with you in the spirit, joying, and beholding your order, and the stedfastness of your faith in Christ.'
It is a prudent, as well as a pious custom, to solemnize the formation or re-establishment of a particular church by a public renewal of the covenant; as was frequently done in the reformations of the Jewish church; Deut. xxix. 1. these are the words of the covenant which Jehovah commanded Moses to make with the children of Israel in the land of Moab, beside the covenant which he made with them in Horeb. The same took place under Asa, Ezra, Nehemiah, and others.
So also, when an individual unites himself to a particular church, it is requisite that he should enter into a solemn covenant with God and the church, to conduct himself in all respects, both towards the one and the other, so as to promote his own edification and that of his brethren. This covenant ought properly to take place in baptism, as being the rite appointed for the admission of all persons (that is, of all adults) into the church. Seeing, also, that most men are liable to a frequent change of residence, it will be necessary that this promise should be repeated so