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Of the epiftles compofed by the remaining apoftles it is scarcely neceffary to add, that they also are free from those various extravagancies and weaknesses which detect and difgrace the rants of enthusiasm; for the most cursory perufal will prove that they are much more obviously so than the epiftles of St. Paul, bearing equally the marks of fincerity, piety, and benevolence; they are lefs bold, lefs complicated, and lefs obfcure; employed almoft wholly in detailing and impreffing moral duties, as the only fure proofs of fincere faith, and the indifpenfible conditions of divine acceptance; and in cautioning their readers against false teachers, and perverfions of of fcripture: we perceive nothing in them which gives even a plaufible colour to fufpect their authors of fanaticism. But when we come to examine the nature of the duties they inculcate, and the motives which they urge, we find in them the most decifive proofs of a spirit directly contrary to that which fanaticism would inspire; we perceive the genuine dictates of that heaven-taught wisdom, which one of them fo beautifully contrafts with the base counterfeit which human fraud and folly would fubftitute in place of the divine original. "Who is a wife man
(fays St. James) and endued with knowledge among "you? let him fhew out of a good conversation his "works with meeknefs of wisdom; but if ye have "bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, "and lie not against the truth. This wisdom de"fcendeth not from above, but is earthly, fenfual, "devilish;
"devilish; for where envying and strife is, there is "confufion and every evil work; but the wisdom "that is from above is firft pure, then peaceable, gentle, eafy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrify, and the fruit of righteousness is fown in peace of them which make peace."
But the proof of the apoftles' freedom from fanaticism, arifing from the nature of their moral doctrines, is too important not to be fully examined; I reserve it therefore for the fubject of the following chapter.
The doctrines of the gospel vindicated from the charge of enthufiafm.
The morality of the gofpel could not have been dictated by the spirit of enthusiasm.
THE first leading practical character of Christianity, which feems to distinguish it totally from the extravagancies of enthufiafm, appears to be this, that it teaches men to judge of the ftrength and fincerity of their religious principles, and the conformity of these principles to the Divine will, more by their practical tendency and effects, than by the force of internal confidence or devout extacy with which they may be attended. That enthufiafts uniformly, and I might almost say neceffarily, judge of their religious improvement and acceptance in a manner the very reverse of this, cannot, I think, be difputed. Enthusiasm, or an ill-grounded belief of a divine inspiration, if it does not always originate in fpiritual pride, must however always contribute to produce it; fince a falfe opinion that the Divinity condefcends to enlighten our minds by a peculiar revelation,
velation, cannot fail to inspire the self-elating confidence, that we are the peculiar favourites of that Divinity; and the effect of fuch a falfe confidence can scarcely terminate in meer speculative error alone; it has an obvious, almost an irresistable tendency to fap the foundation of moral principle, by establishing a false criterion of acceptance with God. The enthufiaft neglecting to compare his temper and conduct, foberly and humbly, with the divine will, as manifested by the internal admonitions of reafon, or the clear and facred voice of revelation, judges of his acceptance by what he conceives a clearer and surer way, even by the strength of his internal perfuafions, and the luftre of that heavenly light which appears, in his disturbed imagination, to penetrate, warm, and purify his inmost foul. Thus men are taught to feek, and hope, and pray for fecret illuminations, and strong confidence; in comparison of these, moral rectitude and practical piety are sometimes wholly rejected and despised, and frequently undervalued and overlooked, as fupplying an uncertain, or at best, a tedious path to fpiritual pre-eminence; hence those vices in which fanatics have sometimes indulged themselves without remorse, or shame, or fear; as if crimes, which would irretrievably condemn the profane, could not fully the purity of the elect: hence their writings are full of encomiums on devout extacies, fudden internal religious raptures, while they seldom exhort to sober, vigilant felf-government, and perfevering, ative virtue; and rarely describe or enforce those various
various and important duties, which the deverfified and minute relations of focial life demand.
Now the fpirit of Chriftianity is directly the reverfe of this. Nothing can more clearly follow from the express declarations of our Lord and his apostles, as well as the general tenor of the New Teftament, than the infeparable connection between faith and good works in the Christian scheme. Nothing is more undeniable " than that no degree of perfuafion, defire, expectation, or dependence, will be accepted of God, without a fixed and prevailing "refolution of fincere and holy obedience." How exprefs and awful are the declarations of our Redeemer and our Judge on this most important point; "not every one that faith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall "enter into the kingdom of heaven; but they that "do the will of my Father, which is in heaven. Many will fay unto me in that day, Lord, Lord, "have we not prophefied in thy name? and in thy
name have cast out devils? and in thy name have "done many wonderful works? And then will I
profess unto them, I never knew you; depart from .С me ye that work iniquity."-Thus alfo the apoftles" as the body without the spirit, fays St. ઃઃ James, is dead, fo faith without works, is dead alfo." -And St. Paul-" follow peace with all men, and
Doddridge's Lectures, propofition cxxxvii. 4.
i Mathew vii. 21. * James ii. 26. Hebrews, xii. 14