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“ Try the spirits whether they are of God," 1 John iv. 1.
I have set thee for a tower, and a fortress among my people, that thou mayest know and try their ways,” Jer. vi. 27. Master Universal Charity, alias False Affections, I have a commission from the King of kings to examine and try thee; and I am determined, as I have obtained mercy to be put into this office, to be found faithful, and abide only by the laws of the celestial realm. I adjure thee therefore to inform me what thy occupation is, and from whence thou comest. What is thy country, and of what people art thou? Answer, My father is God, and I teach according to his law; “ Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” If God were thy Father, thou wouldst own his sovereignty, and thou wouldst love Jacob: but, instead of that, thou hatest Jacob, and contendest for Esau, over whom the sword bathed in heaven hangs impending.
If God were thy father, thou wouldest love them that love him: “ Every one that loveth him that
begat, loveth him also that is begotten of him," 1 John v. 1. But, instead of this, thou hast cavilled against the testimony of all them who spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. Yea, thou art at war with all the burning and shining lights in the land of the living. Thou hast taught men in public pulpits to bely the dying testimony of that undaunted and immoveable champion for truth, Mr. Toplady; a man who stood fast, and died in the happy enjoyment of God, and in the fullest assurance of triumphant faith; and one whom thou, by all thy sophistical turnings, windings, and false constructions, which thou hast used against his divinity, canst not deny, but invincible truth was his shield and buckler.
And, though thou hast taught many to accuse him of being bitter and severe, yet the spirit and power of Elijah were upon him. He fought for God, bore not his sword in vain, fought the field with valour, stood and withstood all error, overcame by faith in the blood of the Lamb, cut his way through all opposition, was more than conqueror through electing love, died at war with the flesh, and under the sweetest influence of the King, the Lord of hosts, mighty in battle.
And hast thou taught thy pupils to prate against him with malicious words? Surely, if he was living, he would remember thy deeds. And I am informed thou hast taught thy pupils to alter the Pilgrim's Progress of John Bunyan.
Pray what business hast thou to set a reverend
Master of thy arts to interfere with the trade of Tinkers? Thou hast mixed false and base metal with his golden bell, Exod. xxxix. 26. Verily, if he was living, he would punch a thousand holes in thy tinkling cymbal, for gathering all that dross into his gold, which the Almighty by so many fires purged from him. What sayest thou to these things? Hearest thou not how many things are witnessed against thee? Thou sayest, I have altered them; but it was out of love to my neighbours, that all men might understand them. But how camest thou to fight against God? He says he has hid these things from the wise and prudent, and revealed them unto babes, Matt. xi. 25. And what right hast thou to eclipse the glory of his hidden pearls, and then cast them before swine? Matt. vii. 6.
God has bound up his testimony among his disciples, and left his whole mystery in a sealed book, Isaiah xxix. 11. And hast thou attempted to open the broad seal of the great King, which the modesty and conscious inability of angels refused to undertake? Rev. v. ii. Even, when in heaven the question was asked, they stood silent half an hour, Rev. viii. 1. But thou, having engrossed all wisdom to thyself, hast made thy pupil a second pope, set up another infallible head, and rifled the treasures of the Almighty by teaching him to explain away by human learning, magic art, and false construction, what he could not comprehend by purblind reason. And thus he appears another Key-keeper, and has laid violent hands on the Saviour's girdle, who alone keeps the keys of hell and of death.
These things hast thou done, yea, and taught souls to detest and renounce the perfect obedience of Christ; which single obedience believed in, and put on, is to make many righteous, Rom. v. 19. But thou hast taught thy pupils to call Christ's obedience, which is to justify many, imputed nonsense; and hast taught them to trust in fleshly obedience, which God calls a spider's web. The Gospel reveals no other righteousness to justify sinners before God than the obedience of Christ alone. This righteousness the heavens shall reveal, not the earth. It is God's righteousness, not man's, Isaiah liv. 17. But thou hast taught men to refuse an everlasting righteousness, which can justify the ungodly, and to trust in a righteousness which God says shall never profit them at all, Isaiah lvii. 12.
And thou sayest thy name is Universal Charity, and that God is thy father, and that thou art the first fruit of the Holy Ghost. In this thou liest against God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. If God were thy father, thou, as Charity, wouldst believe all things in the Bible; for Charity believeth all things, 1 Cor. xiii. 7. If God were thy father, thou wouldest do as those do who love the law of God after the inner man, and obey the voice of God therein; for God tells his preachers to bring forth the best robe to every returning prodigal, Luke xv. 22; to fill their hungry souls with the bread of heaven and the fatted calf; to
shoe their feet with that peace which Christ has prepared; to give them a ring, as an undoubted token of their indissoluble marriage union with the Son of God; to declare to their souls that they are found and alive for ever; to charm them with a sweet foretaste of heaven's melody; to give them a divine kiss to cast out their fear; to destroy their doubting of his favour; and, to encourage them to an holy familiarity, he then sends them with that kiss to the Son, to pay it away: “ Kiss the Son lest he be angry; blessed are all they that put their trust in him," Psalm ii. 12.
But thou, Mr. Charity, dost not constrain thy teachers to do this as servants, for thou settest them in Moses's chair, and teachest them to make laws of their own. They become task-masters, they set people to work without clothes, shoes, victuals, or tools. Thou sayest the best robe is nonsense, the ring of everlasting love may be lost in a minute, and they receive a final divorce; and that those, who are charmed with heavenly music and dancing, in the large room of gospel liberty, are Antinomians. Thou teachest blind guides to preach contradictions, and to set the dead to perform impossibilities. To the dead they say, “Up, and be doing;' to the lepers, Make ye clean;' to the distressed soul, · Be ye perfect in the flesh;' and to them that are blinded with pride, and past all feeling, that they have completely obtained it, and so are under the second blessing.
Thus thou teachest men to condemn the just,