Imágenes de página

and of Christ,” Çol. ii. 2. And so it shall be; for many shall stumble, and fall, and be snared, and be broken, and be taken. To be wise above what is written, is to exceed the pride of a devil: and for a poor crawling worm, destitute of grace, to attempt to correct the revelation that the incomprehensible Jehovah hath given of himself, by correcting and contradicting God, turning persons into nonentities, beings into empty names, and personal pronouns into office-characters ; surely he must needs be wise that thus teaches God knowledge.

I knew a young man about the time of Mr. Butler's fall, or soon after, who belonged to us, and seemed a simple young man, but by some means stumbled into Mr. Butler's heresy; he then sent me a very long insolent letter of there being but one person in the Godhead, and quoted a number of passages from the scriptures expressive of the unity of God, but left out all those that mention a plurality of persons; and in this letter he returned his ticket, or token of admission among us, which was to let me know that he had done with me, and with all such blind guides as he took me to be: and, indeed, his letter was pregnant with such ignorance and presumption as made me shudder. I sent him word that he was a Sabellian, and that this persuasion came not from him that called him, nor did he ever get it from God in answer to prayer : and so he soon found it, for he shortly fell into great distress

and horror of soul. A person ran away likewise in his debt and brought him to beggary, and soon after he was struck blind; but after many long struggles and deep sufferings, he recovered with the loss of one of his eyes. And for some years past this gentleman, as well as Mr. Butler, has had work enough to buoy themselves up in the deep waters, without trifling with a consuming fire. However, I have some hope of the latter, but none of the former.

Mr. Butler got his notion from these words in Mr. Hart's Hymns, as he has informed me:

For all true Israelites adore
One God, Immanuel, and no more.

The observations that I made on his profession, after his fall, are the following:

He never appeared to be, as all God's elect are, crying day and night to God: if ever he was bowed down, it was when he was in debt and. dunned for money, or else when he could not find any fresh discovery in the Bible. They that have no changes fear not God.

He had no daily cross upon his back, nor the least appearance of an humble mind; no broken heart; no godly sorrow that worketh repentance, nor of that repentance that needed not to be repented of; without which there is no Christ in the heart, nor salvation applied; and without which, the higher the hypocrite flies the deeper he falls. ..

His prayers were singular, expressive of dictating to God; and often he was speaking to the people instead of God: they were always dry, barren, and empty, savouring of horrors, put up with trembling and in bondage; or else they savoured of unbecoming boldness and presumption: they were expressive of the greatest distance, destitute of all freedom, familiarity, nearness, access, union, cominunion, fellowship, or friendship; consequently there was no unction, savour, power, or feeling, in them.

He could chatter away about the scriptures for hours together, just like Solomon's prating fool, or like Paul's instrument without life, giving sound : such viols being always in tune, and the bassstring sure to be nothing but self. After this long digression I must return to Mr. Vessey,

Who, soon after he had heard me, got intimately acquainted with Mr. Butler, and became one of his pupils; for he had so industriously circulated his heresy that several persons were leavened by it. Mr. Ridly for one, Mr. Stephens and another young man, who is since become an awful apostate. Mr. Ridly, who was called under my ministry, was reclaimed, and is now with us : Mr. Stephens, of Moulsy, in Surry, is, I have some reason to believe, still in the delusion; for Mr. Vessey desired that he might preach his funeral sermon, and on the last Lord's day he went down to perform it. He has been preaching for some years, but never did any good, nor do I believe he

ever will. Soon after Mr. Vessey had been a little qualified at the foot of Mr. Butler, he came to London, and joined a society that kept up a prayer meeting, where they prayed and expounded the scriptures. Mr. Vessey appeared among the speakers; and one night, in the hearing of my dear friend Mrs. Baker, he desired the people to stop : he wished to mention something of his state of mind to them, and began to inform them that he had some uneasiness, because he never had felt any thing of that inward distress that God's people speak of; intimating that he was a stranger to the plague of his own heart, to conviction by the Spirit, and to that soul-travail that attends all, more or less, who are born again of God; but the people got up and went out, not staying to hear

it. About this time he did several jobs for my · dear friend Mr. Baker, but always appeared in a

light, vain, trifling spirit, and not with the least * appearance of the grace of God. Soon after this he removed to Woolwich, where, in process of time, I heard that he had commenced preacher ; at which I never was more surprised, for I should as soon have thought that my little girl was turned preacher. In process of time Mr. Barret and Mr. Olliff, who often preach for me, brought tidings of his wonderful gifts, knowledge, zeal, boldness, and success in making converts, and of his preaching out of doors and in doors. These tidings reaching my ears perpetually, and through much entreaty, I was prevailed on to go down


and open his new place, not knowing what God might have done for him ; but soon after I heard that he preached up that nothing was faith but full assurance, at which time I wrote my Cry of Little Faith. Some time after this I was prevailed on to let him preach at Providence Chapel : and once I heard him; and, hearing some things that I did not approve of, I never let him come there again. A few friends informed me also, that he had privately circulated it about, that I greatly erred in the doctrine of the Trinity, which confirmed me that he was deeply rooted in Mr. Butler's heresy; and Mr. Barret and Mr. Olliff told me that they began to discover him. Soon after which a letter was sent among some people in connection with me, which after some time fell into my hands. It was a vindication of himself from the charge of Arianism, which he might easily do, for he was a Sabellian. I sent him a line to inform him that his letter was not sound, and that I would print a dissection of it. He sent me a note, desiring me not to do it, for in a few days he should be in town, and he would call on me, which he never did.

At length a gentleman, a Mr. Davis, of Chatham, who I had known for some years, called on me, and informed me of Mr. Vessey's success at Chatham, of his soundness in the faith, of his usefulness, and of his being instrumental in calling his own son. Knowing this gentleman, and that he had stood many years in a profession, and

« AnteriorContinuar »