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Vessey set off into his profession with vain con fidence in his heart, and an arrant lie in his mouth. And, if he was the same at his end as he was in his race, it is clear that he never recanted his error, nor repented of it.
When I had received the letter from Woolwich containing Vessey's life and doctrine, and had made strict inquiry concerning his converts, I was satisfied that he was the same in his ministry as he was in his profession. And, as he never was in connection with me, nor in church-fellowship with us, I was determined never to have any thing to do with him, notwithstanding Mr. Davis gave me such a wonderful account of him; for we are not to receive into our houses him that brings not the doctrines of Christ. To countenance such, and to bid them God speed, is to share with them in all the mischief they do. And, if I am highly reprehensible for this, it is neither matter of grief nor discredit to me.
Several persons, who found out that Mr. Vessey was in errors, reported to me that he was an Arian, not knowing what his heresy was. From this charge he endeavoured to vindicate himself by several letters sent to several persons who favoured him. And from this charge he might clear himself, for he was not an Arian, but a Sabellian; he did not deny the Godhead of Christ, but the Godhead of the Father and the Spirit; he denied the existence and distinct personality of God the Father, and of God the Holy Ghost. When I was informed
that he was an Arian, I wondered at it, knowing that his tutor was an obstinate Sabellian. And I told Mr. Davis that I had heard that he was charged with Arianism; which charge he denied, as well he might. However, the heresy that he held is as damnable and as dangerous as the other; and this Butler knows now to his sorrow.
All the time that Mr. Vessey was at Woolwich, I never once heard that he laid a claim to me as his spiritual father. But, when he was settled at Chatham, this report was brought to me; and sure Iam, that he never got one notion that he held from me. But he found out that I was well known in Kent, and therefore this hopeless son intended to ride out on his supposed father's shoulders. And he did go into the Wealds of Kent, and had gone to my native place, if I had not sounded an alarm, and prevented it, and informed the people that I intended shortly to publish the charges brought against him, which my long journey into the country at that time prevented.
He declared, from 1 Cor. xv. 24, 28, “That, at the delivery of the kingdom up to the Father, then the Saviour's reign would have an end; and that the Godhead of Christ would then leave the manhood: and that Christ, as man, would be on a level with a common believer, only with this difference, he would be the elder brother.' Which is a most daring, dangerous, and damnable construction put upon the text. For, touching the manhood of Christ, and his birth of the virgin, he
is not the elder brother, for Abel was born near four thousand years before him; and, setting aside the antediluvian world, there were no less than forty-two generations that had passed away from Abraham to Christ, all which were before the birth of Jesus. And he is expressly called the son of Abraham, and the son of David; therefore his birth of a woman was not before them, but long after. Christ being the firstborn of every creature, is what Mr. Vessey does not understand. Nor does the brotherhood that subsists between Christ and the elect rise merely from his assumption of human nature, by which he became flesh of our flesh and bone of our bone, consequently a brother according to the flesh; for, in this sense, he might be called a brother to all mankind: such, I think, the scriptures intimate, when those mockers, who have no part in him, are charged with speaking against their brother, and with slandering their own mother's son, Psalm 1. 20. But Christ is a son in a higher sense than by his own incarnation; and we are his brethren by our adoption, and by being partakers of the divine nature, as well as by his assumption of the human nature; we are begotten of God, regenerated and born of God; this makes us brethren in a higher sense than all mankind are.
For the sake of some poor weak souls who may have stumbled at the construction that Mr. Vessey has put upon that text, I will offer a few thoughts upon it, which I hope will not be contrary to the scriptures of truth. “Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all,” i Cor. xv. 24. 28.
“Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom,” &c. This text is not the only one that speaks of an end of the kingdom; there is a text somewhat like it in Daniel : “His kingdom is that which shall not be destroyed, and his dominion shall be even unto the end.”
But this kingdom and dominion, which is to be delivered up to the Father at the end, is, as I conceive, the empire or reign of grace; which Christ, as man, received from the Father by a delegated right.
The human nature that Christ assumed, is called a body that the Father prepared: “A body hast thou prepared me; then, lo, I come to do thy will, O God !” Heb. x. 5, 7.
And as the Father prepared that body for him, so he anointed him in that nature to his kingly office: “Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.”
The Father not only anointed him, but he crowned him also: “A crown was given unto him, and he went forth conquering, and to conquer," Rev. vi. 2. And again, “ Thus saith the Lord God,
Remove the diadem, and take off the crown: this shall not be the same ; exalt him that is low, and abase him that is high. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him.”
And, as the Father gave him the crown, so also he gave him the kingdom. " I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of Days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him.”.
And, as the Father gave him a kingdom, so he also enthroned him. “I have set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.”
1. Thus God the Father prepared the body for him, Heb. x. 5.
2. And with all the fulness of the Holy Ghost he anointed him, Acts x. 38.
3. With glory and honour he crowned him, Psalm viii. 5.
4. A kingdom and dominion he gave unto him, Dan. vii. 14.
5. And upon his holy hill of Zion he set him, Psalm ii. 6.
And, when the Father had thus done, he put all things under his feet: “ Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” Nothing excepted, but God himself; as it is written ; “ But,