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ever hold true ; for we may say of evil and corrupt Prac
2 tices, that they always come of evil Principles; and of good and found Doctrines, that they always come from good Principles: no Opinion truly good can promote any moral Evil, and no Opinion truly evil can advance any moral Good. In this case it hath been rightly observ'd, that the Tree that is once corrupt will always be fo, and nothing but Corruprion can come from it; and the Doctrine that is once good will still continue such, and never degenerate into Evil. In a word, all that is good cometh from God, the Author and Fountain of all Good ; and all that is evil cometh of the Devil, who is the Father and Fountain of all Evil. So that by the Goodness or Badness of the Fruit, we may be able to judg both of Teachers and their Doctrines, whether they come from God, or proceed from the Evil one.
And this we are the more narrowly to search and look into, because our Saviour tells us in the next words, that every Tree that bringeth not forth good Fruit, shall bé hemn down and cast into the fire : that is, every one's Principles and Practices shall shortly undergo a Trial, they who have built upon the Foundation of Christianity, found Doctrines, and the Fruits of a holy Life, which the Apostle compares to Silver and Gold, and precious Stones; all such shall receive a Reward: but they who build upon it the Hay and Stubble of Errors and Divisions, and other corrupt Fruit, shall suffer Lofs, and both they and their Works shall be cajt into the fire.
Wherefore by their Fruits ye mall know them, faith our blessed Saviour: that is, by the Fruits of their Doctrines and their Lives. This is the Test or Touchstone here given us to try falfe Teachers by; ’tis not by their Words or fpecious Pretences : for not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord! Mall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven ; but be that doth the Will of my Father, who is in Heaven. Where by saying Lord, Lord! is meant the making an outward or open Profession of Christ, either by being call?d by his Name, as in Baptism, wherein we own him for our Lord and Master; or by calling upon his Name, as in our Prayers, wherein we say, Lord, Lord! in token of our Subjection to and Dependence upon him. Now this outward Profession, or fåying Lord, Lord ! is not of it felf sufficient to bring us to Heaven; for this may come only from the Tongue or the Teeth outward, without the real
232 PRACTICAL DiscOURSES on the Service and Subjection of the Heart : and therefore our Saviour adds, that 'tis the doing the Will of our Father in Heaven, that can alone bring us there. 'Tis a sincere, entire, and universal Obedience to God's Laws, that only intitles to the Kingdom of Heaven, without which neither Pastor nor People by any other Methods or Pretences shall ever arrive thither.
Thus we see who are the false Prophets or Teachers we are bid to beware of, what is the Manner and End of their coming, together with the Marks and Tokens to discover or discern them by.
It remains only to exhort you to use your greatest Caution and Circumspection in this weighty Affair. Both Christ and his Apostles tell us, that many false Prophets are gone out into the World, and that they use all possible Arts and Devices to impose upon and deceive the People : 'tis therefore feasonable Advice, to watch and guard your felves against their Delusions. Remember that 'tis both easy and dangerous to be deceiv'd by them; the SheepsClothing they put on makes it easy, and the ravening Wolf that lies under it makes it dangerous. The Sheep, you know, may be easily betray'd, if the Wolf come in the habit and disguise of a Sheep: and tis no hard matter for the unthinking Vulgar to be impos'd upon, when the Seducer comes in the Appearance of a Saint. A plausible Show of Zeal, a loud Cry of Reformation, of greater Purity of Worship, of better Means of Edification, and the like, have cheated many into Schism and Sedition. When these Inpoitors have insinuated themselves into the Esteem and Affections of the People, and brought them to a fond Admiration of their Persons, they then lead them where they please, by an implicit Faith and blind Obediencé ; and the People become ready to receive and swallow whatever they prepare for them.
And as the Deceit is easy, so is it exceeding dangerous; for false Teachers are said in Scripture to have the Windings and Doublings of the Serpent, the Subtlety of the Fox, and the Rapacity of the Wolf, from all which there cannot but be great danger to the Flock of Christ : which should make them take heed of wandring from the Fold, but keep together, as Sheep are wont to do, when any Danger seems to threaten or annoy them.
Lastly, Lastly, From the Rule here given to know false Teachers by their Fruits, let us learn to bring their Doctrines and Practices to this Teft, and see whether they tend to promote the Fruits of the Spirit, which are Love, Joy, Peace, Long-suffering, Meekness, Patience, and the like ; or whether they lead to the Works of the Flesh, which are Wrath, Strife, Hatred, Variance, Heresies and Divisions; and accordingly receive or reject them : fo shall we avoid the Ways of Error and Disfension, and be kept in the Paths of Peace and Truth, which lead to eternal Life; to which God of his infinite Mercy bring us all, for the Merits of Jesus Christ,
DISCOURSE XXVIII. The EPIstle for the Ninth Sunday after
1 Cor. x. I-14. Brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant,
how that all our Fathers were under the Cloud, and all passed through the Sea, and were all baptized unto Mofes, in the Cloud and in the Sea, and did all eat the same spiritual Meat, and did all drink the same spiritual Drink, &c. But with many of them God was not well pleased, &c.
HE Collect for this Day beseeches God to grant to us the Spirit, to think and do always such things
as be rightful ; that we who cannot do any thing that is good without him, may by him be enabled to live according to his Will. Accordingly,
The Epistle for the Day teaches us to think aright concerning the Church, both under the Law and under the Gospel ; arrd likewise to do aright by the Directions of it under both Dispensations.. And because of our felves we can neither think or do as God would have us, we are to
implore implore the Assistance of his Holy Spirit, to enable us to please him in both. Left Chriftians now fhould boast of higher and greater Privileges than the Jews had of old, and fo be exalted above measure by the Abundance of the GospelRevelations; the Apostle tells them, that the Israelites of old were the People of God as well as we, and had the like Favours and miraculous Works vouchsafed to them under the Law, as are now afforded to us under the Gospel : and as they were punish'd for their Ingratitude and Abuse of God's Mercies, so we may not hope to go unpunish'd, if we run into the like Enormities.
This is the Drift of this Day's Epistle, where the Apostle, in the first Verse, would not have us ignorant, how that all our Fathers were under the Cloud, and all passed through the Sea. By our Fathers here are meant the antient ifraelites, to whom we succeed in the Covenant made with them, and in the Title of his Church. By these Fathers being under the Cloud, is meant their being under the particular Care and Conduct of the Divine Providence; that they had the Favour of a Cloud to overshadow them, to keep them from the Scorchings of the Sun, and the Injuries of the Weather. The Expression refers to what is faid of the Israelites in their Passage thro the Wilderness, viz, that God went before them by day in a Pillar of a Cloud to lead them the way, and by night in a Pillar of Fire, to give them Light to go by day and night ; Exod. 13. 21. And the fame is affirm’d by the Pfalmift, Psal. 78. 14. Where by the Pillar of a Cloud and of Fire, we are not to understand any folid Body of a Pillar moving and leading the way before them, but of a hollow and luminous Body thining and hovering over their Heads like a Dove, at once directing and overshadowing of them: to which the Pfal. mist refers, saying, Under the Madom of thy Wings will I rejoice, and thou malt hide me under the Madom of thy Wings. So that the Expression here fignifies God Almighty's great Care in protecting and preserving the Israelites from all Dangers.
This the Apostle would have these Corinthians and all Christians to know concerning them, and likewife that they all passed thro the Sea, meaning, that they went fafe through the Red Sea, the Waters standing like a Wall on each side to give them a secure Passage, which Pharaoh and his Host, who were then pursuing them, attempting to do, were overwhelm'd and drown'd in the Waters.
This the Apostle ftiles a sort of baptizing of them into the Belief of Moses's Doctrine, in the next words; And were all baptized unto Moses in the Cloud and in the Sea : meaning, that that Cloud and that Passage thro the Red Sea, which were used as a means to confirm the Ministry of Moses, was a Type of Baptism ; signifying, that as the ilraelites of old being saved from and by Water, were converted to the Belief of the Doctrine deliver'd by Moses, so we being born again of Water and the Holy Ghost, are thereby initiated and confirm'd in the Doctrine deliver'd by Christ. To which 'tis added, in the next Verse, that they did all eat the Same Spiritual Meat : meaning, that the Manna which fell down from Heaven, and was
upon by the Israelites in the Wilderness, was a Type of the holy Sacrament instituted by Christ in the Gospel ; and their feeding on the former convey'd to them the same spiritual and heavenly Nourishment, that we now receive by the latter : for which reason they are here said to eat the same Spiritual Meat.
And as the next words tell us, They did all drink of the same spiritual Drink; for they drank of that spiritual Rock that follow'd them, and that Rock was Christ : that is, as the Manna that was rain'd down on the Israelites in the Wilderness afforded them fpiritual Meat, representing the fpiritual Food we receive in the Lord's Supper; so the Wa. ter that issu'd out of the Rock upon Moses's smiting of it, of which we read, Exod. 17. 6. afforded them spiritual Drink; typifying the Blood of Christ, which we drink in the Holy Sacrament. And this Rock is here said to follow them; which cannot be meant of the Rock it felf, which was a fix'd unmovable Body, but of the Water that flow'd out of the Rock, and follow'd the Israelites many years in their Journeying in the Wilderness: for in all their Change of Stations for almost thirty eight Years, we never read of any want of Water, tho they travel'd all that while in a dry unwater'd Wilderness; of which no other reason can be given, but that the Water of the Rock like a River ran after them, and (as 'tis here affirm'd) follow'd them. And that this Water was spiritual or facramental Drink, appears by the next words; And this Rock was Christ : not materially, but spiritually ; for as the Sign is often put for the thing signify'd by it, so the Rock here is callid Christ, who is meant and signify'd by it. The Resemblance whereof lies chiefly in these two things :