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gives offence to those who are too ready to seek it: in which case they run after some better way, and are easily made a prey of.
The Marks of Enthusiasm. It affects great and extraordinary fervours of devotion, above the measure of other men ; and discourages the piety of sober Christians, as formal and lifeless. The proof of its pretensions being not in its fruits, but in its feelings, which are evidence only to the person himself; it refuses to be brought to a trial, and so is above conviction. Thus did the Montanists, when the Catholic bishops would have exorcised Maximilla. G. Keith accepted the repeated challenges of the Quakers, and would have met them at Turner's-hall ; but they shuffled and refused to come. They are not obliged to answer any thing; having an inward testimony that they are right, and all others wrong; and to question this, is to querch the spirit, and despise prophesyings: so it is impossible they should be reclaimed.
Enthufiafm rarely fails to betray great contempt of the priesthood, hierarchy, government, discipline, and succession of the church; and depreciates the church itself, as if nothing were meant by it but a building with stone-walls. It despises the necessary labour of study.. Forty years were requisite to form an Andrews; but an ordinary person, if a gifted enthusiast, shall be far beyond him in a few days. Hence schools and universities may be laid aside. The enthusiast has charity for every thing but the church; because the church only has the form of sound doctrine, with the history of truth and error from the beginning ; and fo can bring to nothing their boasted fanctity and pretended revelations ; therefore they cannot speak of the church with patience, nor bear with a churchman.
The affectation of superior austerity, is a grand delusion, by which deceivers impose upon the simple. The Montanifts, in the first centuries, despised the Catholics as a carnal people, because they themselves ostentatiously practised greater mortification and severity. As to convulsions, roarings, ravings, and falling senseless on the ground, &c. these ever were the marks of a dæmoniac, not of the spirit of Christ, which is first pure, then peace able. Montanus therefore was reckoned poffeffed ; and the Quakers in this country had all the signs of it, as Mr. Leslie has fully shewn in his writings against them, wherein a strange myftery of iniquity is detected. Few people know at this day what the Quakers were at their first setting out.
* See Ladie's Works, Vol. II.-253.
The Character of Enthufiasm. ENTHUSIASM has no principle but imagination; to which it has committed itself: and when there is no rule but fancy and impulse, every thing a man does is right, and he can think himself in the exaltation of charity, when he is in the gall of bitterness. He rises to a sphere above others, from whence he looks down upon them with disdain, which he calls piety. From a loose, idle, and disorderly life (for so it hath often happened) he is converted without repentance, and commences teacher without knowledge. He finds latitudinarianism very convenient, and can take the colour of every company he is in. He thinks well of every thing but a churchman ; yet he can keep himself within the church, while he makes his court to her enemies. He boasts that he has conquered the fear of man, when he is past shame or feeling.
A certain person, who after a profligate life, took to the reading of Mr. Law, without preparatory knowledge, fell into a state of great mortification ; preferred fasting to the facrament, and told his friends he received more benefit by it. He soon began to talk, freely of the other facrament; decried infant baptism, and and all water baptisin*: and the church having set apart Wednesdays and Fridays, as days of mortification, he fixed on Monday as his fasting day. He waited for new revelations to his mind, while he neglected that already given, which is sufficient for every purpose. He spake lightly of an acquaintance, as having once been in a fair way to be a Christian. The fact was this: that acquaintance had been instructed from his childhood in the Holy Scripture, which enabled him to see through the deception, and avoid it.
* In a history of the church, during the three first centnries, by Mr. Milæer, the following observation occurs on the sacrament of baptism :-" In Cyprian's time, to call baptism itself the new-birth was not very dangerous. In our age it is poison itself ; for it has long been the falhion to suppose all baptized persons regenerate of course." P. 358. It does not appear how baptism and the new-birth can be separate things, when the express words of our bletsed Saviour-Born of WATER--have joined them together: neither do we know who has been poijoned by any established false doctrine concerning baptism; when the church teaches us to pray for Spiritual regeneration, and beavenly virtues, and that every baptized Christian may lead tbe reft of bis life according as ibal beginning. If the Gospel does not promise the new-birth to water-baptism, whese and when doth it teach us to expect it wibune baptismo
The Evils of Enthusiasm. ENTHUSIASM has been the root of the greatest evils that have befallen the Christian church. From this arose the Popish legends of their saints, which have been used as instruments, in its hands of evil-minded persons, to induce them to reject the belief of the real miracles of Christ and his Apostles: and from hence our several sorts of Diflenters took their rife; till they were once settled and established, and then dropt it by degrees, because it would unsettle themselves. It is a perfect opposition to all rule or government; and there can be no order kept where it is admitted ..
Among the other evils of Enthusiasm, it is not the least, that a disgrace is thereby brought on all appearances of godly zeal, and Christian piety. An evil word goes out against a good man, and the effect of his labours is lessened, if not entirely defeated. The best gold may be brought under fufpicion, if malice takes advantage of the counterfeits that are abroad, with defign to poison the ignorant, who know not huw to distinguish. Thus said the Jews of our blessed Saviour,“ he hath a devil, and is mad, why “ hear ye him?” At the time of Christ's ministry, many were possessed by devils ; and the fact being true in general, would be credited of any particular : but the scandal was raised by persons
Preface to the Snake in the Grass, p. 12. * Extraordinary inspirations are not to be credited, unless youchsafed by miracles, which God always sent to attest an extraordinary commission. And if they are pretended to come from him, and do not, we are sure they must come from the devil.
- " Enthufiafts have no priociples: they have no rule but their own fancy, which is strongest in madmen: and this they mistake for inspiration, and then their madness is at the height. It is as inconstant as the wind; for they can promise themselves nothing for an hour together.
“ Enthufiasm is an art, by which we impofe upon ourselves as well as upon others. They say a man may tell a lie, till he comes to believe it himself: and a strong en. thusiastic habit may fix a man's thoughts upon a beloved obje&, till it dazzles his un. derstanding, and glares fo in his fight, that the worst abfurdities will go down, and the highest blasphemy obtain the character of piety and devotion. It is a fatal mistake of the soul, and generally irrecoverable, when it falls in love with its own disease, la a calenture, the unhappy patient mistakes an unfathomable ocean for a pleasant field, as the enthufiaft mistakes presumption and blasphemy for holy contemplation and humility; which, in effect, is mistaking hell itself for heaver."[From Bishop Horac's Remarks on the latter Writings of Mr. Law.
who had neither godliness nor honesty. And if he who fpake as never man spake, and confirmed his word with miracles and figns, could not escape the foulest censure, the best man upon earth, be his caution and prudence what it will, can hardly preserve an uninjured reputation : they that scrupled not to call the Master of the house Beelzebub, will never spare those of his household. The character of a sober Christian will always be in danger from two sorts of people, the lukewarm, and the fanatic; from those who have too much religion, and those who have too little. With the former fort his piety will be lifeless and formal; and the latter will brand him for an enthufiaft. Thus it was, and thus it ever will be : true piety, like all other virtue, is in the middle, between two extremes.
The Prevention and Cure. .
The causes of Enthusiasm being known, its cure must be opposite to its causes, on the principle of what the physicians call medicina contraria. If Enthusiasm arises from ignorance of the Scripture, and the doctrine and discipline of the primitive church; let the Scripture be studied, and the religion of the firft Christians enquired into. One way to be secured against any root of evil, is to fee and consider the fruits of it; and the fruits of Enthusiasm, with all its extravagances, were never more conspicuous than in our English Quakers ; whose errors are completely laid open in Mr. Leslie's Snake in the Grafs; a piece too curious and useful to be neglected : and there is a preface to it, (already quoted) defcribing the enthusiasm of Antonia Bourignon : Thewing, from her example, the marks by which Enthusiasm may be known, and detecting it under all its disguises. To that preface the reader is referred for any thing that may be wanting in these short obfervations.
N. B. The above discourse, though excellent for its method and matter, is written with such abbreviations and references in the author's manuscript, that the Editor has been obliged sometimes to interpret, and sometimes to fill it up to the best of his judgment.
CH IS M.
TEXTS OF SCRIPTURE RELATING TO IT.
16 Ye are yet
T tends to fubvert the kingdom of Christ. Matth. xii. 25.
“ Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to defola« tion; and every city or house divided' against itself shall not « stand." It is a work of the flesh. 1 Cor. iii. 3. « carnal; for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, " and divifions, Sexoşagiai, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?" Gal. v. 19, 20, " The works of the flesh aré manifest, which « are these, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, feditions, «. heresies." 2 Tim. iv. 3. “ The time will come when they “ will not endure found doctrine, but after their own LUSTS “ they shall heap to themselves teachers, 'having itching ears. « And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall “ be turned unto fables. But WATCH thou in all things, &c.” 2.Pet. ii. 1o. “ The Lord reserves the unjust unto the day of 4. judgment to be punished; but chiefly them that walk after the « flejs, in the luft of uncleanness, and despise government: pre“ sumptuous are they, self-willed ; they are not afraid to speak “ evil of dignities.” Jude 8. “ Thefe filthy dreamers defile " the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities." 11. “ Woe unto them, for they have gone in the way of Cain.” 18. “ They (the Apostles] told you there should be mockers in the “ last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts. These “ be they who separate themselves, sensual, having nct the spirit." Jam. iii. 13. “Who is a wise man, and endued with knowledge " among you? Let him fhew out of a good conversation his
works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter “ envyings and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not « against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, “ but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and