The Barber - II;
Timothy Priestly Shaved the Second Time
by the Reflection of his Second Glass.
The Operator - WILLIAM HUNTINGTON, S. S.
Quote: THOUGH the salvation of a soul does not depend on a persuasion of being interested in Christ, yet the importance of assurance is such, that it is impossible to enjoy much comfort without being possessed of it in some degree.
Answer: I think that, in an experimental sense, the salvation of a sinner does depend on God's giving him faith ; for he that believes shall be saved, and he that believes not shall he damned. Faith and salvation, unbelief and damnation, always go together. And he that has no persuasion, has no faith, consequently, no salvation is applied to him; for faith is persuasion. "Abraham was persuaded, that what God had promised, he was also able to perform." And Paul says, "Let every one be persuaded in his own mind." And every gracious soul must be persuaded, that he that hath begun the good work in him, will carry it on; otherwise he can have no rest in his soul. And it is clear that all the apostle's comfort arose from his persuasion of interest in Christ, which is the real joy of faith: "I am persuaded, that neither death nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord." But the distressed soul that has no persuasion of interest in Christ, and who without assurance, Timothy says, it is impossible should enjoy much comfort; is described by God himself, as the furthest of all men in this world from any comfort at all: "Thy life shall hang in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shalt have no assurance of thy life. In the morning thou shalt say, Would God it were even! And at even thou shalt say, Would God it were morning! for the fear of thine heart wherewith thou shalt fear, and for the sight of thine eyes which thou shalt see." If this evidence, reader, has any meaning at all, it amounts to this, that there is a possibility of being saved without faith, because salvation does not depend on a persuasion of interest in Christ. But then, it is impossible that much comfort should be enjoyed without the assurance of faith. The greatest matter of all may be had without even a persuasion, but the lesser matter requires assurance. You see, reader, that Timothy and I begin to let our light shine before men: and if the reader has strength of eyesight to pursue such burning and shining lights as we are, let him follow us, and he shall see such mysteries as never have appeared in this world till the birth of Timothy; no, not since Jupiter fell from the moon.
Quote: An experimental Christian can no more depend on grace received, than he can expect his body to be nourished this year, by that which supported him the last.
Answer: The plain English of this assertion is, that the everlasting love of God shed abroad in the heart, accompanied with believing, pardoning, justifying, repenting, regenerating, sanctifying, and adopting grace, for this is grace, can no more be depended upon by an experimental Christian, than the body can depend this year on the food which nourished it the last; which can be nothing but its excrements or dung! What can be the wicked design of this author, by such an assertion, but to stagger the believer at the grace of God! Where God gives grace, he will give glory. He that obtains the one shall have the other. "We receive grace for grace;" sanctifying grace, for glorifying grace; grace in a militant state, to fit us for grace in a triumphant one : the one is the earnest of the other. God manifests his grace in our salvation here, that he may display the riches of his grace in glory hereafter. Grace received shall reign, through the obedience of Christ, to eternal life, as sure as sin reigned unto death, by the transgression of Adam.
Quote: It is my particular design, in this publication, to prevent the Christian from building his comforts on uncertain frames and feelings.
Answer: All real divine comfort must spring from frames and feelings, for the soul that has no feeling is dead. What comfort can a soul get but from the quickening, pardoning, renewing, comforting, and sin-subduing operations of the Holy Ghost, who is the saints comforter; and who sheds abroad the love of God in the heart, which is the blessed effect of pardon, and the eternal bond of eternal union? Real feelings, or what John calls handling the word of life, is the quickening, or life-giving influences of the Spirit, under a believing view of Christ, which always attend justification unto life. He that hath none of these frames and feelings, the kingdom, with him, stands in word, not in power; or his faith stands in the wisdom of men, not in the power of God. But we know that the elect sinner is internally changed, and externally kept by a divine power; the dominion of grace stands in power, and by the power of God is the saint kept through faith to salvation. The professor who hath no feeling sense of this power, may have a name to live, and that is all; for Christ declares he is dead. The awakened soul in his miserable moments can get no comfort, if he never had any divine quickenings. David in his lowest frames fetched his comfort from former feelings: "This is my comfort in my affliction, thy word hath quickened me." This quotation, reader, is intended to remove the faith of God's people from its proper base, which is the power of God; and to set the seeking soul down in carnal security, without the experience or enjoyment of either life or love. Woe be to them that are at ease in Zion. Timothy errs for the want of understanding, and for the want of frames and feelings; or, as the Saviour says, he errs, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. The hypocrisy or deception of this quotation lies in the word, uncertain. He calls them uncertain frames and feelings; but everlasting life, and the everlasting love of God, when revealed in the soul of a sinner, are the most certain things that ever were known, experienced, enjoyed, or felt, under the sun.
Quote: The most eminent Christians, who have been indulged with the greatest manifestations of divine love, cannot be satisfied with these.
Answer: I think it is the manifestation of divine love, and nothing else, that can satisfy a sensible sinner; for the love of God is the first fruit of the Spirit: it casts out all fear, and all torment, and is the effect of pardon and reconciliation; and our love to God is always reflected from it. "Where much is forgiven, the same loveth much;" "and where little is forgiven, the same loveth little." Those who have their hearts circumcised to love God shall most surely live; for they that love God are born of God, and know God: yea, he that loveth, dwelleth in God, and God dwelleth in him, and charity never faileth. Even when prophesy shall cease, when tongues shall fail, when faith shall be turned into sight, and hope into full fruition; charity, or the love of God, shall always be the same; for God is love: and if this will not satisfy Timothy's eminent Christian, what can? The whole drift of this Looking-glass is to stumble and stagger the faith of a Christian at the surest evidences, and to build up impostors and hypocrites on false ones.
In the first quotation, Timothy tells us, that our salvation does not depend on our persuasion of interest in Christ.
Secondly, He tells us that the Christian cannot venture on grace received.
Thirdly, He is not to build his comforts on uncertain frames and feelings. And,
Fourthly, He cannot be satisfied with the greatest manifestations of divine love.
What would a poor weak believer, in his first love, do with such assertions as these? It, is tearing the breast of consolation from his mouth, and kicking him into the devil's den of unbelief. And where must that timorous soul end his journey, but in everlasting darkness, who follows such a guide? The promise of eternal love is the first landmark; and to walk in love, as Christ hath loved us, is the more excellent way. And God himself says, "Cursed be he that moveth his neighbour's, landmark; and cursed be he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way."
Quote: Nor will they rest their assurance wholly on such seasons.
Answer: Why not, Timothy? Faith worketh by love, and charity believeth all things; and if a saint cannot rest his assurance on the greatest manifestations of divine love, what can he rest it upon, seeing our faith is not to stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God? And, of all power, love is the sweetest, the strongest, and the most sure. Paul lays love as the very basis of assurance. "Now the end of the commandment is charity, out of a pure heart and a good conscience, and faith unfeigned."
Quote: But will repeatedly try themselves by the true touchstone, the word of God; and, without they discover an agreement with that unerring rule, they obtain no satisfaction.
Answer: But the greatest manifestations of divine love are sure to agree with that rule; insomuch that, if a man hath all knowledge, if he understands all mysteries; and if he has all faith, so that he could remove mountains; and if he speak with the tongue of men and angels; yet, if he hath not charity, or the manifestations of divine love, he is nothing; he is nothing but sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. "Now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three;" but the greatest of these are the manifestations of divine love. Observe here, reader, that Timothy makes the kingdom to stand in word, not in power!
Quote: That assurance is the most agreeable to scripture which is not built on a few single circumstances, but has the whole word of God for its basis.
Answer: These single circumstances, according to Timothy's foregoing account, are a persuasion of interest in Christ; the grace of God; frames and feelings; and the manifestations of divine love. And sure I am, that the soul that hath an experience of these circumstances, as Timothy calls them, has the whole scriptures of truth on his side, and shall be eternally saved; and he that is destitute of these circumstances, and dies so, shall be damned, for his faith stands on the letter of scripture, and not in the power of God. And we know that the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power, in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost; all which must be experienced, known, and felt.
Quote: There is a peculiar satisfaction in having an opportunity of being the means of comforting any of Christ's lambs.
Answer: There are none of Christ's lambs that will ever understand this book, not that will ever get one beam of light or grain of comfort from it: it is not calculated nor intended to be of any use to them. The intention of it is to encourage the foxes, and nourish the young cubs The lambs lie in the chief shepherd's bosom; but if you stagger their faith at the love of the shepherd's heart, by preaching down persuasion of interest in Christ; the grace of God; frames and feelings; and the manifestations of life and love; instead of comforting the lambs of Christ's fold, this is quenching the smoking flax, offending the weaklings of the flock, breaking the bruised reed, making the righteous sad, and robbing them of the breasts of consolation, and that by nothing but lies. Timothy tells them, indeed, to build their faith on the whole word of God; but lambs live on the sincere milk of the word. And there is a difference between the word and the milk of the word; between a promise and the blessing in the promise; and between the word and the refreshing power of the word. The gospel comes to some in word only; and to others, in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. Some hold the truth in unrighteousness; and others keep it by the Holy Ghost, which dwelleth in them: the former is a dry breast, the latter a cherishing nurse; the former is a prating fool, the latter is a living witness.
Quote: Christ himself paid particular attention to such in his sermon on the mount, Matt.v. 3, 6.
Answer: So he did; and ordered his apostles, before they entered on this work, to tarry in Jerusalem till they were endued with power from on high: but, instead of Timothy's waiting in Jerusalem for this essential qualification, he has not had patience even to tarry in Jericho till his beard be grown. He has undertaken to be the timorous soul's guide to heaven, without being acquainted with one footstep of the flock, or with one inch of the way: for he himself tells us, in this book, that if he was at as great an uncertainty about natural things as he is about spiritual things, he should hesitate whether he had any real existence, or no.
Quote: I know that many serious persons, when it hath pleased God to exercise their faith and patience with heavy affliction, have been chiefly distressed for want of assurance.
Answer: And there is in such souls just cause for distress, because they doubt of their justification; for they know that God has said, that the effect of righteousness shall be peace and assurance for ever. And again "In returning and rest shall ye be saved; and in quietness and in confidence shall be your strength." And such poor souls will be seeking, longing, groaning, and panting, till they are in some measure persuaded, or assured, that they have a part and lot in the dear Redeemer; and such wretched books as these are calculated to set them down on this side Jordan, that they may fall in unbelief, and come short of the promised rest: for it is impossible that such a jumble of confusion and falsehood as this can either discover faith, or encourage it; and, as God is not the author of it, we are sure that he will never acknowledge it, nor honour it in any other sense than to expose the nakedness and shame of the author.
Quote: Indeed, Christians who follow not the advice of the Holy Ghost in making their calling and election sure, are frequently found, like ships at sea, without an anchor.
Answer: And the reason is, because there are so many false lights and wandering stars, that perplex, puzzle, and confound, the inexperienced mariner. Besides, if professors were to follow the advice of the Holy Ghost, Timothy would have no followers at all, because his way is diametrically opposite to the way of the Spirit. In this case, he must soon leave off preaching, and writing too: for persons that have made their calling and election sure, would never hear Timothy preach a second time, nor read the second volume of his Looking-glass. It is the simple that believe every word; the itching ear that is charmed with every uncertain sound; the unwary that follow every 'Lo here!' and 'Lo there!' and the confused that are ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth. The Athenian, who is in perpetual want of some new thing; and the uncircumcised in ears, who knows not what is piped or harped; together with the alarmed formalist, who wants a crutch; the professor, who is chafed at the power of godliness, and wants a plaster; the bond-child, who wants a roller; and the conscious hypocrite, who wants a pillow: it is this sort that Timothy must have an eye to; his skill and his untempered mortar must be used entirely among these. While there are such as these in the church, Timothy will have work enough; but, when they are gone; he must go. The builder, that cannot produce his genealogy from the book of life, is unfit for the service of the temple; his employ lies in repairing the dung-gate, Nehem. iii. 14.
Quote: Every wave seems to threaten their destruction; and they are, in storms, at their wit's end.
Answer: And no wonder, when they are launched into a profession by preachers who have no hope, nor experience that worketh hope; and such poor deluded souls setting sail for the haven of rest, without one gale of the Spirit, any knowledge of the voyage, or one idea of the port; no doubt, sooner or later, the tempest of Sinai will fall on them: nor can it be expected that they can have any hope of being saved, when conscience bears witness that neither sun, moon, nor stars, have ever appeared on them.
Quote: Besides all this, it is an advantage of which few are aware; that is, for a man, when he is at a throne of grace, to be fully persuaded he is one for whom Christ is now interceding.
Answer: If there are but a few Christians that are aware of the advantage of Christ's intercession, there can be but a very few of them that are taught of God: for the awakened sinner that has felt the sword of justice, and the curse of the law against him; and who, at the same time, feels himself barred out from God by an hard heart, and shut up in unbelief; will not only be aware, but be assured, the first moment that ever he finds access to God, or freedom with him, that it is by the faith of the great Mediator, or Intercessor; for it is by his blood that we are brought nigh; and the way in which we approach is through the vail of his flesh; and by the faith of him we have access with confidence. So that to be ignorant, or not aware of this, is to be far from God by wicked works, to be without Christ, without hope, and without help, in the world.
Quote: Paul having such clear conceptions both of nature and grace, was the reason why he speaks with such confidence of all true Christians being more than conquerors through him that loved them.
Answer: Paul's confidence, friend Timothy, and the certain conquest of all true Christians, will never satisfy the timorous soul that you undertake to guide, if he be quickened by the Spirit of God. He must have an evidence, an earnest, or the witness in his own heart; for he is entangled with such suspicions and jealousies about his state, that he will call all into question without it, even though he hath received the word in an honest and good heart; and, perhaps, say in his heart that all men are liars, Timothy himself not excepted. He dares not trust himself: nor will he trust friend Priestley; for, if he receives the witness of men, he knows that the witness of God is greater. This witness is promised to all that believe, and he will never rest satisfied till he hath it. Paul's experience may encourage him, and be a support to him; but, at the return of his fits, he will give all up for lost, until he can say, as Paul did, "I know whom I have believed;" or else, that Christ "loved me, and gave himself for me." Guide seeking sinners to these things, Timothy, and to make their calling and election sure. Tell them, as Paul did, to examine themselves, and prove themselves, whether they be in the faith; and that they must know, how that Christ is in them, except they be reprobates. Then, but never till then, shalt thou be a safe guide to a timorous soul.
Quote: Our war with sin would not so much discourage us, if we understood the nature of grace.
Answer: Understanding the nature of grace, if that is all, will be of little encouragement to a timorous soul, while guilt sticks fast in the conscience, and every besetting sin reigns in the mortal body. It is not understanding the nature, but feeling the purging efficacy and sin-subduing power of grace, that will encourage the soul in his war. A commander in the field, who hath ever so good an understanding in the science of war, will reap but little encouragement from this, while he is flying before the enemy. The kingdom stands not in man's understanding, but in the power of God. Paul says, that a man may have all knowledge, but knowledge puffeth up; and understand all mysteries, and yet be nothing. This evidence will be of little use in the war, Timothy. If he is a conqueror, it is not by his understanding, but through him that hath loved him.
Quote: Paul's idea of the glorious cause of such a change in his will, made the effect more pleasing. In himself and others he saw the virtue of that covenant made with Christ, in which the promise was given. to him, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power."
Answer: This evidence will not satisfy the timorous soul. For there are many that would fain be born again; but this birth is "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." And there are many that would be saved; but salvation "is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth." It is necessary to shew the difference between the will and desires of natural men, and those of a soul humbled to will and choose under a divine power; and what that power is, and how it operates: for until the native enmity, stubbornness, and rebellion of the heart, be stirred up and discovered by an application of the law, the sinner will remain a stranger to his perverseness and non-subjection to God; and until evangelical repentance, produced under the operation of sovereign love, move him, he will never be willing in a spiritual sense. "Son, go work today in my vineyard." There is the command, but without power. "I will not," saith he. There is the rebellion of the sinner, and his wicked answer. "But afterward he repented, and went." There is the display of divine power, and the glorious effect. And "did the will of his father." There is the good-will of God, and the obedience of faith. Never call such a Looking-glass as this, `A description of the work of the Holy Spirit upon the heart;' for that blessed Spirit had no more hand in it than I had: he never sets such unsavoury trash upon wisdom's table; nor aggravates the appetite of a sensible sinner, pierced with the evil arrow of spiritual famine, with the swine's husks, nor with the white of an egg.
Quote: To see a person willing and desiring the very things to which, when in his unregenerate state, he had the utmost aversion; proves the cause to be divine, and that it could only originate in the will of God: which must, of consequence, prove such a person to be loved with an everlasting love.
Answer: Balaam willed and desired to die the death of the righteous, and that his last end might be like his. But his willing and desiring did not originate in the goodwill of God: nor was he loved with an everlasting love; if he had, he would never have sought to enchantments, nor have wished to have cursed the heritage of heaven for money. Many will, desire, and seek after Christ, but to no purpose: "Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me," "and shall die in your sins." Others are desiring, craving, and "ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth." The willing and desiring of all these did not originate in the goodwill of God, or were they loved with an everlasting love. These are false evidences; and are calculated, and made use of by Satan to settle the seeking sinner on his native lees, that he may rest in his desires, sleep in carnal security, fail of the grace of God, and come short of the promised rest. The title of Timothy's book should have been, 'Opium for foolish Virgins.' Such chemical preparations as these lulled them to sleep without oil, till the midnight cry alarmed them; and then they went to those preachers for oil, who had so highly approved and extolled their lamp: and while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and those that pretended to sell, as well as they that went to buy, were both shut out. Which shews that a seducer does not get so nigh the entrance of heaven, as the seduced: the latter came ignorantly to the door, knocking; and hoping the best; but the former were so conscious of their villainy, that they dared not shew their faces.
Quote: Though an experimental knowledge of the complaints of Christians may be an evidence of a person's being taught of God, &c.
Answer: The sensible sinner must have his complaints remedied, Timothy; his grievances redressed, his wounds bound up, and the oil and wine poured in, before he will have any satisfactory evidence of the good Samaritan's love to him. Beware of this evidence, reader: For when sinners in Zion are afraid, when fearfulness surpriseth the hypocrite, and they cry, "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" they are as full of complaints as the real Christian, and fuller too.
Quote: Paul was therefore as confident, that with his mind he served the law of God, as with his flesh the law of sin; and notwithstanding the great opposition he met with from his corrupt nature, he found by experience the law of his mind to be an immutable principle, not a mere accidental frame.
Answer: If God had sent Paul into the field of battle to war with his corruptions, equipped with no better armour than Timothy describes, Paul had run at uncertainty, and fought so as to beat the air. But God enlightened Paul, pardoned him, regenerated him, filled him with the Spirit, armed him with his whole armour, called him a chosen vessel, told him he was with him, blessed him with the abundance of grace, strengthened him by his Spirit's might, and renewed him day by day. And every soul that is saved must experience something of this, if his soul is raised to hope. But Timothy's timorous soul hath nothing of this; his panoply is a few willings and desirings, which is the armour of Solomon's sluggard, who desireth, and hath nothing: and, should the aforesaid timorous soul ever be made an happy partaker of Paul's grace, he would soon quit the shadow of Timothy's ministry, and bless the God of heaven for discovering so dangerous a guide.
Quote: As the will is a leading faculty in the soul, so a man may be as sensible what it is that he wills, as what the thing is that he hears and sees. And being sensible that no exhortations or convictions can possibly make any real change in the will, he has an undoubted evidence that nothing short of an almighty power could have effected that change.
Answer: This undoubted evidence is not to be trusted, friend Timothy. The certain man that said to Christ, "I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest," is lost in the crowd, and we hear no more of him. "All that the Lord hath said, will we do, and be obedient," saith Israel. But all this amounted to nothing. God willed Moses' visit to Egypt, but Moses willed another to go in his room. There are wicked men that will good things, and there are good men that will bad things. God willed Jonah a journey to Nineveh, but Jonah willed a voyage to Joppa. God willed the repentance of Nineveh, but Jonah willed it's ruin ; and said, he did well to be angry in the defence of his will. Man's will and God's will seldom lie straight together. Friend Timothy, by his preaching, and writings, wills to appear a minister of the gospel, and a guide to ignorant souls: but the will of God, in suffering him to preach and write, appears to me to be this, that he may discover himself to be what he really children may see him, and shun him; that I have no doubt but he will be discovered in and in the end, to many who now stick to him, as well as to me; and that he may be made manifest to Israel, is the sole cause of my appearing in the character of The Barber
Quote: By the contents of this chapter we are taught to have a particular eye to our wills. There is a necessity for this, in order to have a clear knowledge of our state. Therefore it is of great importance to the Christian to understand what the will is before regeneration, and the change that then takes place. By this means he will discern as evident a hand of God in his being made willing, as in the change which we see was made in Paul.
Answer: Here we are informed, that to be willing to be delivered from sin, and with the mind to serve the law of God, brings a person to a clear knowledge of his state, and to an evident discernment of the hand of God, which will appear as plain as the conversion of Paul. I could at this time bring two persons to friend Timothy, who are so willing to be delivered from sin, and with the mind to serve the law of God, that I verily believe they would part with the whole world, if they had it, pluck out their own eyes, and give them to Timothy, and suffer every bone in their bodies to be broke on the wheel, for one beam of hope; much more to be persuaded that the good band of God is with them, and that the goodness of their state is as clear as the conversion of Paul. And I acid, that all the above bodily sufferings would be but a flea-bite to what they daily feel in their minds: and they are not driven into this willingness to be saved by what Timothy calls an accidental frame; for they have been thus willing for years. One of them has lain at the pool above thirty years: it came on the person when a child. They have puzzled and wearied all the divines that they have hitherto consulted; and, for my part, I should like to see Timothy try the validity of this evidence of his upon them. But alas! they find it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth; but of God, who will have mercy on whom he will have mercy. The grand question with them is, not whether they will be saved? this they could answer without hesitation; but it is, whether they may be saved, or whether God will save them? Let them be persuaded of this, and the work is done. And I bear Timothy record, that he would willingly be a partaker of the grace of God; and that he would willingly publish such a description of it to the world as I should not be able to overthrow. This appears by his forwardness to write; but he cannot describe one branch of it, if it were to save his soul: therefore I appeal to him for confirmation of this truth, that "it is not of him that willeth."
Quote: The Christian's will is to be heavenly and holy to serve God on earth as those in heaven.
Answer: Many will this who are carried down the stream, and taken captive by Satan at his will, even over the strongest convictions, vows, and resolutions, the thoughts of which make them howl upon their bed. Such a soul wants something more than a will; he wants to be pardoned and kept by the mighty power of God through faith to salvation; to be renewed in the spirit of his mind; and to be attracted heavenward by a sense of eternal love, which alone can produce heavenly mindedness, the effects of which are life and peace. This willing, Timothy, only leaves the sinner without the door. Suppose a man beholds an amiable woman, and would wish to make her his own, his will makes choice of the object, and his intense desires go out after her; but will this satisfy him? Nay, he may will, desire, despair, grow sick, and die of love. What such a lover wants, is as large a share of her affections as she has of his, to be put in full possession of her person by marriage, and to have the enjoyment of her, without a rival. Even so a distant view of the heavenly Bridegroom made the Psalmist faint, till he was revealed and applied to his faith. "I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." We cannot be satisfied with willing Christ, but with embracing him; not only to choose him, but to know that be has chosen us. It is not enough to desire him: Wisdom says, it is the desire accomplished that is sweet to the soul. Yea, there must be a mutual affection; a strong sense of his love to us, as well as a lingering desire after him, in order to quench the flames of jealousy, which must terminate in a real marriage, to have and to hold on both sides; or else the poor longing soul will be fainting, swooning, and sinking, till there be no spirit left, as bad as the Queen of Sheba. And this God has promised; "As a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee; and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee," Isa. lxii. 5. When this is the happy and blessed case, we can say as the spouse does; "My beloved is mine, and I am his:" and short of this God's elect will never he satisfied. And as to Timothy, and the timorous soul that he has undertaken to guide, it is the blind leading the blind; and without the interference of God the Holy Ghost, there is no doubt but they will both fall into the ditch.
Quote: If the distressed believer be as sensible that his temptations cannot alter his state, or make the least change in his will, how much would it encourage him in his Christian warfare!
Answer: The Christian is not likely to be made sensible that there is any truth in all this, while he sees how dreadfully temptations have biased the will even of the best of men: yea, even to make Job choose strangling rather than life; and Jeremiah to make no more mention of God, and to fly from his work, rather than contend with the swellings of Jordan; and Jonah to be angry even unto death, rather than lose his reputation; and Moses to be killed out of hand, rather than see his wretchedness, Numb. xi. 15. And I am of opinion, that if friend Timothy had succeeded and prospered in the vitriol manufactory at Manchester, it would have biased his will; insomuch that the Christian would not have been favoured with this Looking-glass, nor the timorous soul with this guide; and it is a thousand pities that this favour was ever conferred at all.
Quote: Some tried souls will bring in this objection; 'I fear all my strugglings within are only occasioned by an enlightened conscience, and that I am not made a partaker of a new nature.' I would answer, If this be really the case, you never had any real love to spiritual things; and all your attention to any thing of a religious nature has merely arisen from a fear of hell. Answer: This witness is false. There may be some love to spiritual things, where there is not a new nature; and there may be an attention to things of a religious nature, from other motives than the fear of hell. They that heard the word, which is a spiritual thing, and anon with joy received it, must have had some love to it; for love is the root of all joy. Herod, who heard John gladly; and the Jews, that rejoiced in his light for a season; attended on things of a religious nature: and so far from their attention arising merely from the fear of hell, it arose from nothing but joy and gladness.
Quote: If we were as much at an uncertainty about natural things as we are about spiritual, a man might be hesitating whether or no he is possessed of natural life.
Answer: This, reader, is an honest, ingenuous, and true confession; and this is all the truth that I have found in it, except the scriptures. That Timothy is altogether at an uncertainty about spiritual things, appears plain in every page, and we cannot deny it; and that the timorous soul, that follows him, is the same, appears evident also, by his suffering himself to be led by so blind a guide. But what could embolden a person, at such an uncertainty about spiritual things, to write a spiritual Looking-glass for Christians, a spiritual directory for ignorant souls, and a description of spiritual operations, I cannot tell! I wish the timorous soul would leave Timothy, and follow Paul; for he is at a point. "So run I," says Paul, "but not at an uncertainty; so fight I, but not like one that beats the air." Paul ran for the prize, and won it; he fought for the crown, and gained it.
Quote: Many, who are troubled with nervous disorders, are disconsolate; and ascribe that horror and dread which they feel to the want of faith, which is really brought on by the want of health.
Answer: When Christ and the soul are in comfortable union, the spirit of a man will sustain his infirmity; " but a wounded spirit who can bear? I take it, that horror and dread are brought on, more for the want of God's comfortable presence than by the want of bodily health. If the God of all comfort is with the believer, he will not be afraid of " the terror by night, nor for the arrow that fleeth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness, nor for the destruction that wasteth at noon-day."
Quote: How inconsistent would it be for a man, in a hard frost in January, to imagine it will be frost and snow in June, and all the year round?
Answer: If God awakens the north wind of the law against a sinner, and brings on him the cold damp of eternal death, and the dread of damnation, he has no ground to believe that the wind will ever change. And sure I am, that such a soul is deeply convinced that, whether the tree fall toward the north, or toward the south, whether under the law, or under the gospel, where the tree falleth, there it shall be, Eccles. xi. 3. As death leaves the sinner, judgment finds him; but if the warm south wind blows on the heart, and the graces of the Spirit are produced and begin to flow out, the poor soul will be able to prove his own work; and then he will have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another, Gal. vi. 4; much less in this nonsense of Timothy's, who is at such an uncertainty about spiritual things as to be at a point in nothing.
Quote: Nothing is more common with some, when they experience an hard and unrelenting frame of heart, than to begin immediately to draw the most gloomy conclusions; as if this difficulty was never to be removed, and that they should never experience a happier frame to their dying moments: whereas the frame itself, if understood, would make a man expect a more agreeable season. Why complain of such a frame?
Answer: An hard and unrelenting frame of heart is easily understood by those who are plagued with it: nor can a poor awakened sinner see ground to expect a better season; for he knows that God " hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." Therefore there is just cause to complain of such a frame. A meek and lowly Saviour, and an hard and unrelenting heart, can enjoy no union or communion. Besides, such a sinner knows, that to he given up to hardness of heart is the infallible mark of a reprobate; that, except they repent, they must perish; and that those who are brought into the bond of the covenant, have the stony heart removed, and an heart of flesh given; yea, a new heart and a new spirit: and, till this is done, they can have no assurance of their life. This is the cause of their complaint, Timothy; and for a minister to endeavour to set a sinner down. contented with an hard impenitent heart, is assisting the father of lies, and doing the work of a devil.
Quote: The reason why persons give way to such suspicions, is not on account of their want of love to religion, but ignorance of the nature of it.
Answer: I think, the reason that such souls give way to such suspicions is the want of love to real religion; for love "beareth all things, believeth all things, hopeth all things, endureth all things. Charity never faileth." While this love to religion is enjoyed, there is no room for groundless suspicions. But Timothy tells us, that it is being ignorant of the nature of love that makes the sinner suspect. Love, whether to religion or a carnal object, is so predominant a passion, that there are none that are smitten with it who are ignorant of the nature of it. The first divine impression that is ever made on a soul within the bond of the covenant, is pardoning love; nor can a sinner ever be persuaded that his state is good, till this be enjoyed: for they know that the elect are loved with an everlasting love, and with loving-kindness they are drawn to Christ; and until union with Christ takes place, they are in their sin, and without Christ in the world. The former quotation was intended to set the sinner down contented with an impenitent heart; and this latter is to settle him in a cold one. Pay no regard to this blind Timothy, reader. A cold heart is a bad sign: "Because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold; but he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved." Timothy may settle thee, swaddle thee, plaster thee, and bolster thee, as much as he will, in thy luke-warm state, and thou mayest love to have it so: "Nevertheless, I have somewhat against thee," saith the Lord Jesus Christ, "because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." This text looks hard at Jewin Street; and if that candlestick stands commendable before God, with such a light as Timothy in its socket, the Lord hath never spoken by me. If the eye of the preacher be evil, the whole body that he preaches to must be full of darkness.
Quote: We never desire to live under the influences of the Holy Spirit, till our natures are renewed.
Answer: This is another false evidence. The foolish virgins desired, begged, and sought, the anointing unction of the Holy Spirit, when they were as far from being renewed as our friend himself. Every convinced and convicted sinner, who sits under the gospel, desires this; and yet he is not renewed till after regeneration is passed on him. Paul places renewing after regeneration; "but according to his mercy, he saved us by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost," Tit. iii. 5.
Quote: Therefore it is evident, when no kind of natural amusements will yield content, and nothing but spiritual pleasures are sought after, such persons must have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
Answer: This is another false evidence. The profoundest hypocrites on the frontiers of hell have gone five steps farther than this evidence: they who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, and have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; and yet fall away, so as not to be renewed again unto repentance, Heb. vi: 4-6. A man that is starving with hunger, or famishing with thirst, cannot he kept from perishing by tasting; he must eat, swallow down, digest, and concoct, or die: so tasting will not save the soul. "Verily, verily, I say unto you, except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you." Christ must be eaten, and lived upon, as the only food, nourishment, and life, of the soul. The atoning blood of Christ is, a glorious balm and banquet for a wounded conscience; the fullness of his grace a choice entertainment for a starving mind; and his everlasting righteousness as sweet a morsel to a self condemned soul: and that those poor sinners know, who have been long spending money for that which is not bread, and their labour for that which satisfieth not, Isa. Iv. 2. Witness those who buy Timothy's books.
Quote: Satan understands better how to perplex and distress the Christian, than the believer knows how to defend himself. The old proverb is repeatedly verified, He will distress where he cannot destroy. And, being a cunning adversary, be understands where, and in what part, to attack the unwary soul.
Answer: This witness is true. And surely there never was a more stupendous exhibition of the cunning of Satan, than in the performance now under consideration. The title-page, A Looking-glass for Christians, and a guide for timorous souls; is as complete a net as could possibly be set at the mouth of the hole, to excite the unwary to crawl into the burrow. Many weak and unwary souls understand something of Satan's violent rage, and fiery darts. But, when he is transformed into an angel of light, the poor soul has little or no suspicion of him: and, when he appears in a minister, transformed into the likeness of a minister of righteousness, Satan is less suspected still; and when he publishes to the church at large a guide for timorous souls, it appears an impossibility that the devil should deal in what are called Christian evidences. This is an attack upon the unwary, where Satan would never be once suspected. Nevertheless, even this branch of manufactory is carried on by the father of lies; for I will insist upon it, that there is not one real, sound, true evidence, fairly stated, cleared, or proved, in both the volumes. Any person is at full liberty to take up his pen, and prove me a liar, if he can: I shall never be at a loss to defend my assertion, while I can read the bible.
Quote: But how much does the true Christian differ from these? Because he enjoys not that comfort his soul desires, he suspects his state. But could he be indulged with the light of God's countenance, this would be more to him than all the world.
Answer: A desire to enjoy the light of God's countenance, does not make a man to differ from the worst of hypocrites. Every despairing sinner, that lies at the head of every street, like a wild bull in a net, full of the fury and rebuke of the Lord, desires this; Cain himself not excepted: "Behold thou hast driven me out this day from the face of the earth; and from thy face shall I be hid; and I shall be a fugitive and a vagabond in the earth," &c. Gen. iv. 14. This evidence is a false one, Timothy. Many desire God's countenance, and seek him too, who will never find him: " Ye shall seek me, and shall not find me; and where I am, thither ye cannot come."
Quote: Shall those, then, suspect themselves, who are overwhelmed with the fear of not having true grace, when nothing under heaven could afford them any pleasure, in comparison of that of being assured of their interest in Christ? This frame is a positive proof that Christ is precious to them.
Answer: In this quotation we have glaring self-contradictions, and palpable falsehoods. The first contradiction is this: that persons are not to suspect themselves, though they be overwhelmed with fear that they have not true grace. The other contradiction is: they have no assurance of interest, and yet they have a positive proof that Christ is precious. I think the soul that is overwhelmed with the fear of being a graceless professor, instead of such a frame being a positive proof that Christ is precious as a Saviour, he is driven to entertain hard thoughts of him, as an angry judge. Besides, Esau was overwhelmed with fear of not having the blessing of grace; but this was no positive proof of his title to it, much less possession of it, for he was rejected, and found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears. Souls that can take no pleasure in the world, nor in the church, are halting sinners: they halt, not only between two opinions, but between two sensations. They can take no pleasure in the world, because of an accusing and condemning conscience; nor in the house of God, because of unbelief. Fear, terror, and torment, attend them in the company of the world; and rebuke, reproof, and trembling, in the congregation of the righteous. And sure I am, that all such poor sinners will agree with me in this, that Timothy tells lies in the name of the Lord; for souls overwhelmed with fear, and destitute of interest, have no positive proof that Christ is precious to them.
Quote: A thorough persuasion that we are in a frame of mind that no unregenerate man in the world ever was in, is a proof of our being born of God,
Answer: This is another false evidence. The wise man says, that "the fool rages, and is confident;" and yet he is not born of God; if he was, God would not call him a fool. Those who said, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou;" were persuaded that they had got such a frame of holiness as nobody else had, and yet they were nothing but a smoke in God's nose. The Pharisee was persuaded in the temple, that he had got such a frame of mind as other men had not, nor even the Publican; and he thanked God for it: nevertheless, the Publican went down to his house justified; and the other, with his excellent frame, went home debased, like an ignorant, proud, boasting devil, as he was. Job's hypocrite went a great deal further than Timothy's Christian; for he was so fully persuaded that he excelled the world in his frame of mind, that his excellency touched the heavens; but all came to nothing. "The joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment. Though his excellency mount up to the heavens, and his head reach unto the clouds, yet he shall perish for ever, like his own dung. They that have seen him, shall say, Where is he?" This is the end of his excellent frame; and his persuasion or confidence shares the same fate: "his confidence shall be rooted out of his tabernacle, and it shall bring him to the king of terrors."
Quote: But though the change be thus evident, how often does that suspicion creep in, and spoil all! `Is it a saving one?' It must be a saving One, when it is attended with such concomitants as are not possible to be found among any of the unregenerate.
Answer: Saul had brighter evidences by far than any that Timothy has set before his timorous soul. He was changed, but his change was not a saving one. His house was emptied, swept, and garnished, in such a manner as Timothy's Christian, here described, never was. He was anointed of the Lord; turned into another man; had another heart given to him; the Spirit of God came upon him; he prophesied among the prophets; the Lord was with him; the Lord touched the hearts of them that favoured his cause,. and followed him; and the Lord wrought salvation for Israel by him; which are such concomitants attending the change, as are not to be found in Timothy's timorous soul, according to his description of him. And as to his troubles and complaints, he had as many of these as Timothy can describe. He knew the hiding of God's countenance; God left him, and he knew it. He understood soul distress: he was sorely distressed on the account of it. He was inured to temptation, and the buffetings of Satan; and an evil spirit troubled him, tempted him, and haunted him: he knew what it was to have his prayer shut out; he got no answer from God, neither by dream, by Urim, nor by prophet. All which is going a great deal further than Timothy leads his Christian; and, after all, being given up of God, he fled to the witch of Endor, and fell by his own sword. O Timothy! "you dig a pit for your friends,". Job, vi. 27.
Quote: Those who are savingly taught, see an interest in Christ to be of such infinite importance, that the very suspicion of a mistake is tolerable.
Answer: Balaam saw this, who was never savingly taught, though he saw and knew more than friend Timothy ever did. He saw the need of interest in Christ; Let me die the death of the righteous; and the suspicion of having none was intolerable. "Who shall live when God does this? I shall see him, but not now; I shall behold him, but not nigh." Multitudes will see an interest in. Christ to be of infinite importance, and their rejection to be intolerable, as well as Timothy's Christian's. "Many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able."
Quote: But when he is in the bottom, he never imagines all the ground he has to travel over will be thus low. Experience teaches the traveller, that though he be now thus low in the valley, he yet shall soon be on the rising ground again.
Answer: Our friend does not seem to understand the mystical hills and dales of the narrow way. The Christian that is in the bottom, or low in the valley, is where he would ever wish to be, while on this side of Paradise; for he knows, that when Christ withdraws from the palm tree, he is sure to go down into the garden. When the towering cedars are torn with violent winds, the dwarf shrubs in the values are undisturbed. The man that rides upon the red horse, stands among the myrtle trees that are in the bottom, Zech. i. 8.
Quote: David had experienced the powerful teaching of the Holy Spirit; whereby he had not only seen the truth, but had felt the power of it upon his heart: a sure criterion of his being interested in all the blessings of salvation.
Answer: That David was interested in all the blessings of salvation, none will deny: but, if our friend Timothy cloth not describe this power, how is his poor timorous soul to know the difference between those who are blessed with a saving power, and those who are made partakers of the Holy Ghost, have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, and yet fall away? Heb. vi. 4, 5.
Quote: We do not find any of King Saul's expressions which intimate any thing of this nature; yet he was a man of great spirit, and appears to have had great courage and skill; for he had a heart given him to defend the kingdom by the sword: but any inroads or encroachments made on the worship of God, seemed not to affect him. Gallio like, he cared for none of these things.
Answer: This is not all true of King Saul. He proclaimed a fast to the Lord, when he had wrought a great salvation for Israel; he rebuked his whole army for sinning against God in eating with the blood; and was so enraged at the devil's inroads and encroachments upon the land of Israel, that be cut off those that had familiar spirits, and wizards, out of the land, except the witch of Endor: and all this in his zeal for God; who saith, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live." But when his zeal for religion was blown over, and he was given up to desperation, he was as furious against the priests of the Lord as he was formerly against the wizards. However, in this act, he did more execution with the sword of war, than our friend is likely to do with the sword of the Spirit.
Quote: David's heart is seen in his language. "One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after; that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the delight of the Lord, and to inquire in his temple."
Answer: This evidence will not do, friend Timothy. David's faith, the pardon and forgiveness of David's sins, David's broken and contrite spirit, his godly sorrow, and genuine repentance, are all left out; all which are essential to salvation. Sinners must believe, or be damned; be forgiven, or die in their sins: be brought to contrition, or no Christ in the heart; to a godly sorrow, or no spiritual birth; to repent, or perish. Delighting and inquiring in God's sanctuary, is no saving evidence. Hypocrites may do this, as well as the righteous; and many have done it who will never be saved. "Yet they seek me daily, and delight to know my ways, as a nation that did righteousness, and forsook not the ordinance of their God they ask of me the ordinances of justice; they take delight in approaching to God."
Quote: If we had eyes given us to see what David saw, we should not be surprised to hear a king speak in such a strain.
Answer: True, friend Timothy: but God has not given you eyes to see, nor ears to hear, nor an heart to understand, to this day. This humble acknowledgment, and ingenuous confession, of yours, confirms what I have said, and must say of you, that you are too blind a guide to lead a timorous soul. How great, then, must the presumption of that person be, who assumes the office of a leader and pastor; who affects to be a star in the hand of the Saviour, a candle in the Lord's house, a burning and shining light in the heavens of grace; who writes comments on the scriptures, spiritual magazines for the church at large, Looking-glasses for saints, and waymarks for timorous souls? And at the same time confesses, that if he was as much at an uncertainty in natural things as he is in spiritual, he might hesitate whether he had any personal existence or no. And here he tacitly owns, that God has not given him eyes to see; and yet endeavours to let his light shine before men. "If the light that is in thee be darkness," according to your own confession, "how great is that darkness!"
Quote: Saul did not see that in which God delighted.
Answer: Yes, he did: he saw that God delighted in righteousness, and that God delighted in his saints. "And Saul lifted up his voice and wept; and he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I." "And now behold, I know well that thou shalt surely be king, and that the kingdom of Israel shall be established in thine hand." " Blessed be thou, my son David, thou shalt both do great things, and also shalt still prevail."
Quote: Samuel's company was lightly esteemed by Saul.
Answer: This is evident, by Saul's risking his soul in the hand of the devil himself to obtain the company even of the spectre, or phantom, of Samuel. And so far was Saul from lightly esteeming Samuel in his lifetime, that he was almost desperate when he forsook him, and cleaved to David.
Quote: When the kingdom was secured to himself, Samuel might retire to any place he pleased.
Answer: This appears plain, by Saul's waiting for Samuel seven days; and his running the risk of God's displeasure in forcing himself to offer an offering because he came not.
Quote: Two persons shall come from the same habitation to the worship of God: their religious sentiments alike, but their souls as different as life and death. The heart of one breathing this language, 'My soul thirsts for God!' The other moves on toward the place with no more principle than the door on it's hinges. And can we behold this without glancing at the astonishing cause? "Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even he shall understand the lovingkindness of the Lord." Indeed, those who attend not minutely to the cause, neglect giving glory to God; and while they indulge a selfish principle in being desirous of enjoying comfort, and at the same time regardless how God is considered and glorified, their comforts are diminished by their unscriptural conduct.
Answer: Here is a history and a mystery! The history is two persons, from one house, coming to worship God: their sentiments are alike; but they differ as much as life and death. The one thirsts for God, who is the God of all comfort: the other indulges a selfish principle in being desirous of enjoying comfort, which is thirsting for God. The living man, who thirsts for God, is one who observes these things; the dead man, who is desirous of enjoying comfort, is regardless how God is considered and glorified. The living man is approved, as attending minutely to the cause. The dead man, who has no more principle than the door on it's hinges, is charged with indulging a selfish principle. The firm conclusion is, the living man understands the lovingkindness of the Lord, and the dead man has his comforts diminished by his unscriptural conduct; all which amounts to this: the first is taught to know what lovingkindness is, and the second loses some part of the lovingkindness that he has enjoyed. And now we are called upon to discern the difference between these two men, and to glance at the astonishing cause. For my part, as far as I can discern, taking all the circumstances together, I should choose the state of the dead man.
Quote: There is scarcely any thing in which true Christians differ more evidently from common professors, than in this their attendance on publick worship.
Answer: This is a false evidence. The foolish and wise virgins took each of them their lamps, and went forth together to meet the bridegroom. They slumbered and slept together till the midnight cry was made, and then all those virgins, foolish as well as wise, rose together in order to trim their lamps; these all attended the publick worship of God together; and the difference was so evident between the wise and the foolish, as Timothy says, that none but God who searcheth the heart could discern it. Judas attended public worship as well as the apostles, and the difference was so evident between him and the rest, that they knew not till the last hour who the traitor was, nor even then, till Christ gave him the sop.
Quote: The unregenerate having never felt their lost condition by nature, or discerned the worth of spiritual things, will evidently appear to be possessed of none of those motives which influence the true believer.
Answer: Cain, Judas, and Balaam, felt their lost condition; and the latter discerned the worth of spiritual things. To die the death of the righteous, which is dying in faith and peace, and to have one's last end like their's, which is salvation and glory, these are spiritual things, and Balaam discerned them as such, and desired them too; but it was no more an evidence to him of his obtaining them, than Tim's last evidence is to his timorous soul that he is a christian; and the different motives which influence the possessor, and professor, will be just as easily discerned by a weak believer, as the difference there was in the soil of the stony and good ground, until the sun scorches the one, and ripens the other. The timorous soul thinks as a child, and understands as a child, and consequently believes every word; and while this is the case, such as Timothy may guide him, and lead him where he pleases; but when he becomes a man in understanding, and able to judge of himself what is right, then he condemns his blind guide out of his own mouth, and flees from him as he would from a serpent.
Quote: As it is by the difference there is in the complexion of men, that we are able to distinguish one man from another; so there is something in every man whereby we may form a judgment of what spirit he is.
Answer: A man may be known sometimes by his speech, as well as by his complexion; and we can judge better of his spirit by his words, than by the colour of his hair. I have ere now, blessed he God for eyesight, seen a world of darkness and confusion under a white wig; and I have seen the haunt of a lying spirit, by a train of false evidences. "A good man out of the good treasure of the heart, bringeth forth good things, and an evil man, out of the evil treasure, bringeth forth evil things. O! generation of vipers," saith the Saviour, "how can ye, being evil, speak good things; for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh." But I know that there is not in every timorous soul this judgment; and therefore it is my desire to be eyes to the blind, and feet to the lame, Job xxix. 15; and that by making use of my eyes and legs, they may see a blind guide, and run from him.
Quote: It would appear singular, to see a man attend a market regularly, and to go a considerable distance from his habitation, and we sensible at the same time that he had not the least prospect either to buy or sell, nor had any particular end in view; yet such unaccountable folly is common among professors.
Answer: I do not believe that any man would attend this market of Timothy's who had no end in view: many go to market not with any prospect either of buying or selling. Some go to meet their friends, and others to know the price of things; some for the sake of company, others to see and be seen, and some perhaps for nothing else but to spend a market penny. Nor do I believe that there are any professors guilty of such unaccountable folly, as to have no particular end in view in all their profession. Some go to shew their new clothes, others to shew their beauty; some who love money had rather spend an hour in God's house than spend it in an alehouse, because of expense; some go to meet sweethearts, and others to pick up business; some to hear an organ, others to hear singing; some make a profession to get a professing wife that has found favour in their eyes; some to pacify an evil conscience; others to merit heaven by what they call a discharge of their duty; some, as the Saviour says, to be seen of men; and others will attend the worship of God for nothing else but the loaves and fishes.
Quote: There is nothing in which men act so irrationally as in religion.
Answer: This is a real truth. For men that are asleep in their sins to assume the office of watch-men, and to sound an alarm to the carnally secure; for a dead man to hold forth the word of life: for one that has not eyes given him to see, to undertake the guidance of souls to heaven, where millions have lost their way; and for men at an utter uncertainty about spiritual things, to describe the operations of God on the souls of his saints, which have puzzled thousands that have felt the deepest sensations under them, is acting so irrationally as one would think none could but lunatics and idiots; and yet many act this irrational part, though at the peril of their souls.
Quote: A man will not apply to a physician unless he be necessitated; he will not part with his time or money without some motive; if, through mistake, he does this once, it shall suffice, he wishes not to repeat his folly: but how many poor carnal creatures continue their folly year after year, and without any conviction of either folly or danger! Men who are possessed of great abilities in natural things, yet will continue from youth to old age in this folly; and this is not the case of some who are singular; but they are particular and singular persons, who act rationally in this important part of their conduct: important it is, for what part of a man's conduct will be attended with such eternal consequences?
Answer: Here, reader, is another history, and another mystery. Here is a man who acts in nothing so irrationally as in religion; he continues his folly year after year, without any convictions either of folly or danger; this man is endowed with great natural abilities, and he continues from youth to old age in this folly; and this is not the case of some who are singular, but of particular and singular persons, who act rationally in this. important part of their conduct.
Our difficulty, reader, in this mystery, lies in this: To find out the difference between the ease of some persons who are singular, and that of particular and singular persons: the next difficulty is, to find out how a person who acts so irrationally in religion, as he does in nothing else, can act so rationally in this important part of his conduct, which is religion, and which is, according to Timothy's account, going from year's end to year's end without any sense of his folly. In the first five pages Timothy lost both his Christian and his timorous souls; and in these last five pages he seems, like Abraham's ram, to be hung by the horns. However, I have not lost sight of my friend, though he has lost sight of himself.
Quote: This, however, renders it the more easy to distinguish between the formal and the sincere worshipper.
Answer: We must pay particular attention to this, reader, that we may live and learn. The difference between an irrational worshipper, who is rational in his worship; and between some persons who are singular, and singular persons; make it easy to distinguish between the formal and the sincere soul. This must pass for another undoubted evidence of Timothy's Christian; and to us an undoubted evidence of the author's uncertainty in spiritual things.
Quote: Worship is a kind of touchstone; in and by this may be perceived who those are that worship in the Spirit, and who those are that are secure in the form.
Answer: This is no criterion, Timothy. Judas, Demas, Alexander the coppersmith, Phygellus, Hermogenes, and Hymeneus, these were not secure in a form, nor did they worship God in the Spirit; they preached, prayed, and worshipped with spiritual gifts, and yet were nothing but outer-court worshippers: nor is it a matter to be so easily discerned by the weak and timorous, I mean the difference between men of great spiritual gifts, and men of real spiritual grace.
Quote: Many who understand by experience something of David's frame, yet are timorous, and fear to conclude themselves true worshippers.
Answer: And there is cause enough for it. For we see clearly in the word of God, that despairing hypocrites have had their horrible and terrible frames, under a sense of sin and wrath, as well as the saints; and that the way-side hearers have had their joyful and zealous frames; and such frames as these pass current in our days among many preachers and professors for the genuine experience of a work of grace, though we know it is not that experience that worketh hope: for the experience of pardon, of godly sorrow, of repentance, and of a broken and contrite heart, is not to be found in it.
Quote: I would recommend it to such to take particular notice how impossible it is for unregenerate men, though zealous for the form of religion, to worship God in the Spirit, as they evidently see Christians worship; and to observe that nothing short of a real change can fit carnal men for worshipping God.
Answer: This will produce no satisfactory evidence, friend Timothy. Many made this a criterion respecting the state of the Sardine church: they took particular notice of her worship and worshippers; and they thought, as Timothy does, that nothing short of a real change could fit them for such worship as she paid to God, and they judged her to be a warm, zealous, and lively church, and spread her fame and name far and near as such, but they were all wrong: "And unto the angel of the church in Sardis, write, These things saith he that hath the seven spirits of God, and the seven stars: I know thy works, that thou hast a name that thou livest, and art dead." And as this was her real state, it is plain that her observers and admirers, who spread her fame, must be as destitute of light as she was of life, or as blind as she was dead. Besides, it is not every babe in grace that can see the difference that there is between those who worship God in the Spirit, and those who worship with only spiritual gifts: the one is a sheep, the other is nothing but a wolf in a sheep's skin. We have a great number of preachers and professors in London, who pass for spiritual worshippers among many simple souls; and I think we shall have no small harvest if a third part of them are found at last to be of the highly-favoured number that worship God in spirit and in truth.
Quote: The understandings of such are not only dark, but their internal frame of heart is all together unfit for such an exercise.
Answer: This is not true: the stony ground and thorny ground hearers, heard the word, and with joy received it, and sprung up into a profession suddenly, and their frames carried them on so rapidly that they outran all the rest, and fairly distanced the real godly themselves; but when they came to trial, the last was first, and the first last.
Quote: The objections some serious Christians are ready to make on account of finding themselves so frequently out of frame for worship, is only to make it evident that though their state is immutable, yet their frame is very uncertain; and this is what all experience.
Answer: The foolish virgins found themselves out of frame for worship when their lamps went out, and so did the stony ground hearers when their joys withered away; and so did the Arminian friend when detected at the feast for appearing without a wedding garment; but this is not that part of the experience of God's children that worketh hope.
Quote: The reason why such numbers go on their way drooping, with their hands hanging down, is, in some measure, occasioned by their not attending to that experience which is recorded in the word of God.
Answer: Timothy himself affects to attend to the experience recorded in the word, but he cannot discover nor describe it, and all for the want of experience in his own heart; for it is the heart of the wise that teacheth his mouth: besides, the kingdom stands not in the word of experience, nor does it stand in the letter, but in the power of the Spirit as felt on the heart.
Quote: If we lightly esteem the means which God himself hath appointed, no wonder if the enemy gets an advantage over us.
Answer: Many are led lightly to esteem the means of grace, because there is no grace to be found in the means; what refreshment can be expected from a cloud without rain; what sure navigation from a wandering star; or what satisfaction from a well without water?
Quote: A Christian may be as sensible of the desires of his soul, as of the cravings of his body, but he frequently sees not how these prove himself to be born of God.
Answer: This doctrine would be rejected by every woman in the pains of child-birth in all the world; she desires and cries for deliverance, but friend Timothy would find it hard work to persuade her that the birth is over; and, when once she is delivered, she will give a better account of it than he can. Even so every troubled soul, that hath fear and torment, longs and desires for pardoning love, which casts out fear, and makes the birth clear. But their desiring this is no proof of their birth; nor can it be, for they are not born again, nor will they be till the desire is accomplished, until the soul comes forth of its bondage, straits, and difficulties, under the influence of the spirit of love. Some desire and have nothing, Prov. xiii. 4; and others desire and die. "The desire of the slothful killeth him." Rest not in a few desires, reader, but look diligently, lest you fail of the grace of God.
Quote: All objections which may arise from the temptations of Satan, and the remains of unbelief, cannot drive him from this, that he is not the man he was.
Answer: The man out of whom the evil spirit went, appeared not to be the man he once was: and when the house was empty, swept, and garnished, it looked better still; but the last state of that man was worse than the first. Satan may go out, where he is neither cast out, nor kept out; there may be an enlightening of the head into gospel doctrines, and a reformation in the conduct, where there is no inward renewing in the spirit of the mind, nor change of heart, which consists in removing it's obduracy, or stony quality, by contrition, godly sorrow, and gospel repentance.
Quote: David complains that his soul cleaves to the dust. It is evident that this is the language of a child of God; for the more the unregenerate man cleaveth to the earth, the more he is in his element, especially if he has prosperity in his pursuits; for him to complain of his heart cleaving to the earth, would be inconsistent. His delight being only in the things of this world, it is impossible he should feel such soul complaints; he is a total stranger to soul necessities, or spiritual pleasures.
Answer: The thorny-ground hearers, and those that tasted the powers of the world to come, were not total strangers to spiritual pleasures; nor were they strangers to earthly cleavings of soul, when the cares of this life, and the deceitfulness of riches, sprung up; nor were they without their sensations and complaints, when the word was choked in their hearts; for there must be strong struggles, and sharp oppositions, before the word of God in such a hearer is choked or overrun with carnal cares or the deceits of riches; and God makes such a hypocrite feel this, that he may leave him without excuse. Timothy sets to work to guide the timorous soul, without ever pointing him to the gate at the head of the way, or describing the entrance; and attempts to establish his Christian, without ever describing what a real Christian is: but he never shall be a safe guide for a Christian to follow, nor a good minister of Jesus Christ, till he can describe conversion, regeneration by the Spirit, justification by faith, the application of the atonement, and the forgiveness of sins through it; evangelical repentance, and liberty of soul, by the Holy Ghost. Converted the sinner must be, or he shall never be healed, Isai. vi. 10. Regenerated he must be, or he cannot see the kingdom, John iii. 4. Justified by faith he must be, or die under the curse of the law. Cleansed from sin by the blood of Christ he must be, or die in his sin; and, except he repent, he shall perish. Without an unctuous experience of these things, in some degree, no man living shall be saved; God declares it, and the scriptures cannot be broken.
Quote: This proves that the man who speaks from his heart this language, namely, that his soul cleaves to the dust, must be born of God: it is only the Christian who can, with any propriety, adopt the language.
Answer: Then the young man in the gospel bids fair for a part in this birth; for he had a strong desire to inherit eternal life, but he found his soul cleave to the dust; and he could with propriety adopt this language, and speak it from his heart, for he went away sorrowful, or filled with grief and sorrow. I think David must have had some other experience to prove his birth to be of God, besides that of earthly-mindedness; for a spiritual birth is made clear by the Spirit's union with the soul, and not by the soul's union with the dust.
Quote: This language being so common to all, ought rather to prove to the Christian, that such as are speaking in this strain, belong to that company who have spoken it in every age.
Answer: The language of a soul cleaving to the dust, is not common to all and every individual of God's family: "Asa's heart was perfect with the Lord all his days," 1 Kings, xv. 14. Nor was it a common complaint among the primitive saints, who called nothing that they possessed their own, but sold their possessions, and laid the money at the apostles' feet, and distributed it as every one had need: these had all things common, the one as well as the other; which shews that this language was not common in that age, unless Timothy has an eye to Ananias and Sapphira; these found their poor souls cleave to the dust, and they were laid dead in the dust for it.
Quote: Offer a Christian in this distressed situation any thing which adorns the body, or suits the appetite, or enriches his estate, his drooping spirit is not at all alleviated by any of these.
Answer: Nor was Judas's distress alleviated with any of these things: when his spirit drooped, and his distress came on, he threw down the thirty pieces of silver in the temple, and departed; and evil days have made many hypocrites say of all worldly pleasures and riches; ' My soul hath no pleasure in them,' as well as Timothy's Christian. We must have some account of a better experience than that of cleaving to the dust, and loathing worldly riches, before we shall be satisfied. God often gripes a worldly professor in his conscience and bowels, till he makes him loath and discharge all that he had swallowed down. "His meat in his bowels is turned; it is the gall of asps within him. He hath swallowed down riches, and he shall vomit them up again: God shall cast them out of his belly."
Quote: The difference between an antipathy to the power of religion, and an earnest desire after the life and spirit of it, is so great, that when properly noticed, it is of great advantage to the real Christian.
Answer: Slaying the prejudice, or the antipathy, of a sinner, is what Saul and all his messengers experienced when he and his men went to Ramah to take, if not to kill, David. The Spirit of God fell upon them all; insomuch that they not only lost their prejudice, and forgot their errand, but they fell to prophesying; and as for desiring the life and spirit of religion, it is what every despairing hypocrite in Zion desires. This labour, Timothy, will never clear the ground of a doubtful child of God. He doth not want to know how much he differs from the most secure worldling, or the most violent persecutor. This is obvious enough to him, let him be as weak in faith as he may. But he wants to know how grace has made him to differ from the most accomplished hypocrite that ever, appeared in sheep's clothing. It is the attainments of hypocrites that puzzle and stumble him, and not the insensibility of the dead, nor the desperate rage of persecutors; and, until thou canst do this, thou wilt never be a fit guide for a timorous soul.
Quote: It is neither the sweet and charming voice of the gospel that will draw him, nor will the dreadful effects of sin drive him, to seek for happiness in God. All this proves how much the true Christian differs from the man of this world.
Answer: Those that shall seek Christ, and not find him; and those that will to enjoy him, and find it is not of him that willeth; and those that run for the prize, but find it is not of him that runneth; were under some sort of drawing, or else why all this labour in vain? And those that shall seek to enter in at the strait gate, and shall not be able; and those that are first in their own eyes, and last of all in God's account; and those that cried, "Lord! Lord! open to us!" who are sent away as unknown to Christ; all these seem to be driven by the dreadful effects of sin and apprehensions of wrath, to seek for happiness in God, but have never found it: which sufficiently proves, that Timothy's Christian differs nothing from the worst of hypocrites.
Quote: Remember, that soul must be spiritually alive that experiences spiritual sensations.
Answer: Paul's hypocrites, in the Hebrews, tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost. These had both taste and feeling, which are spiritual sensations. And Judas felt the violence of Satan, the wrath of God, and the pains of hell; which are dreadful, though spiritual sensations. And, add to this, they might have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries; and yet so far from being, as Timothy says, spiritually alive, that Paul adds, they were instruments without life, giving sound. All these things may be, where a broken heart, repentance unto life, the forgiveness of sins, justification by faith, and true poverty of spirit, which are things that accompany salvation, never were given. I know two men at this day, that have formerly exceeded Timothy's Christian in all the evidences that he describes, as much as the prophet Balaam exceeds him in vision and knowledge; and yet at this time appear to be the most fatal apostates that lie within the compass of my knowledge.
Quote: Thus, we see, there are many of the complaints of God's people, which as fully prove them to be born of God, as their most elevated joys.
Answer: There may be elevated joys where the spirit of love never took up his eternal abode; and such souls may hear the word with pleasure, and run for a while with rejoicing; but if the Spirit of God be not in their heart, to feed these joys, such joys will wither away from the sons of men, Joel i. 12. And there may be numberless complaints where the soul is not born of God. "Therefore thus saith the Lord God, behold my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen," Isa. lxv. 13, 14. Here is hungering, thirsting, shame, and confusion, crying and howling for inward vexation; all which are heavy complaints; but these complainers were not born of God.
Quote: The difference between the frame of mind, expressed in this text, and that dead frame in which thousands and ten thousands of worldly professors live, is as much as between life and death.
Answer: If David had no other proof of his being quickened and made alive to God, but that of his soul cleaving to the dust, the goodness of his state had been badly proved. To be heavenly-minded, is life and peace; but to cleave to the dust, must be a clamp and death to all comforts. Nor did David discover this frame of his to be as different from that of a worldly professor, as between life and death; but ranks himself rather among the dead, than among the living. "I am forgotten, as a dead man, out of mind. I am like a broken vessel." "He hath made me to dwell in darkness, as those that have been long dead," Psalm cxliii. 3.
Quote: The true believer has an experimental acquaintance with the necessity of the operations of the Holy Spirit; the carnal professor has no understanding of any such thing.
Answer: Saul had an experimental acquaintance with the necessity of the operations of the Holy Spirit; for the Spirit of God had come three different times upon him, and each time he prophesied; and when he left him, and Satan began to trouble him, he felt this necessity deeply, and complains of it: "The Lord is departed from me, and answereth me no more;" which shews, that Saul, though a carnal professor, had some understanding in these things.
Quote: It must be of great advantage to the Christian, when he can perceive, that even his complaints are undeniable evidences of his being a child of God.
Answer: There have been many grievous complaints of a religious nature, where there was no spiritual birth. The elder son brings forth many complaints: " Lo! these many years do I serve thee, neither transgressed I at any time thy commandment; and yet thou never gavest me a kid that I might make merry with my friends."
Quote: "Draw me; we will run after thee." It is impossible for any of the fallen race, while they remain in ignorance and enmity, either to understand this language, or pray this prayer. If we take a view either of the formal professor, or the men of the world at large, we shall find them as distant from such a frame of mind as this prayer demonstrates, as death is from life.
Answer: This is wisely judged, and well managed, friend Timothy; and I will that thou pursue this method constantly. If ever you deviate from this method, you will be discovered at once.289
Always set the formal professor, and the men of the world, before your Christians; and when they see these poor creatures in your glass, in all that dishabille in which you set them forth, your Christian will shine. Let these be your fat and lean kine; concave and convex; for should you ever attempt an honest exhibition of au accomplished hypocrite in Zion, then your Christian and timorous soul, like the Hebrews before the Philistines, must all creep into their holes.
Draw me, and we will run after thee, is such language as the formal professor and the worldling cannot understand; and it is such a prayer as these can never pray. True, friend Timothy; but the hypocrite may have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries; and speak with the tongue of men and angels, and have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and yet be nothing. And I know full \veil, that many a hypocrite that has received the word with joy, has prayed this prayer, even to be blessed and drawn with a sense of God's love; for there are some that would give all the substance of their house for love, but it would be utterly contemned.
Quote: When persons are ignorant of that which is most universally known to all experimental Christians, it is evident, such persons must be total strangers to real christianity; and while we prove, to a demonstration, the universal ignorance of all unregenerate men, the Christian is more and more enabled to perceive the difference which God has made in himself: for the change which is made by regeneration is spiritual, by which a Christian is capacitated to form a judgment both of himself and the world "He that is spiritual judgeth all things."
Answer: This universal ignorance cannot be proved. Some hypocrites are allowed to have all knowledge; and we see evidently, that nine preachers out of ten currently pass for ministers of Christ and his gospel, who are nothing but carnal, unconverted men. And although a Christian may be enabled to form a judgment both of himself and the world, yet the arch hypocrite, who is an amphibious creature, between the saint and the worldling, which is the monstrous offspring of a mongrel minister, all head, and no heart; who speaks half Hebrew, and half Ashdod; which the Saviour calls a wolf in nature, but a sheep in appearance; will still puzzle and perplex the judgment of the truly simple soul. Judas deceived all the apostles; Ahithophel deceived David; Simon Magus deceived Peter; the foolish virgins deceived the wise; the Arminian, in his own righteousness, deceived all the guests at the feast, except the king himself; Jehu deceived Jonadab; Ananias and Sapphira deceived a whole church; Saul deceived Samuel; and the Author of the Christian's Looking-glass has deceived an hundred; and, if it were possible, such would deceive the very elect Besides, Timothy's description of regeneration has not the least resemblance of the work itself; and as for the change that he describes, it sets the soul down far short of the attainments and blazing figure of a profound hypocrite in Zion.
Quote: The desires of the heart are even felt in the language by those who have spiritual understanding; and such divine breathings are rarely so much as heard by Christians; but their efficacy is experienced by those who hear them.
Answer: Many have the bowels of natural affections stirred, and their passions moved, by the prayer, and preaching of a graceless orator; and they may be zealously affected, but not well. The Spirit of God came upon Saul and all his company, when they heard Samuel and the prophets prophesying, which quenched their thirst for David's blood, and set them all to preaching; which experience and change greatly exceed all that our friend Timothy describes.
Quote: For as iron sharpens iron, so these tend to rouse and quicken those who have experience. Grace, in exercise, is like some excellent perfumes; you cannot come near them, but you partake of their sweet flavour.
Answer: It should have been, their fragrance. Many are perfumed by the gospel, who were never cleansed; and many are embalmed, who will not be preserved. The soul must be washed, salted, suppled, and swaddled, if ever it be saved. This tasting, and partaking of sweet flavour, will not do. The lamb must be eaten, and the bitter herbs with it, before a soul can be either purged from his sin, or assured of his life; "Except ye eat of the flesh of the Son of man, and chink his blood, you have no life in you."
Quote: There can be no honest complaint, where there is no sense of want or pain; therefore, though a hypocrite may utter a prayer in words like the sincere soul, his heart goes not along with his words.
Answer: There may be a sense of want and pain too, where there is no faith; and the heart may go with the words, when faith never went with the heart. The foolish virgins were sensible of their want, when they said, "Lord! Lord! open to us;" and Esau's heart went with his words, when he sought the blessing carefully with tears.
Quote: It is evident, from universal experience, that grace is more certainly described by wants, desires, and complaints, than by the highest joys with which any of the children of God are favoured.
Answer: This will not be credited by many that are in want, complain, and desire deliverance. An awakened sinner, who is quickened to feel his guilt, and the plague of his heart; who is in bondage, under a sense of wrath,, and bowed down and tormented with the fear of death, and the buffetings of Satan, is sensible enough of his wants, and is full of complaints and desires; but you will never make him believe that he is a partaker of grace, till perfect love casts out fear; till his pardon is sensibly obtained, his liberty proclaimed, and his soul filled with joy and peace, in believing. The quickened sinner knows that he must be born again, and he will not rest contented till he is. Complaining and desiring belong to the labour, but joy and peace belong to the birth. The former are the snares of death, the latter the earnest 'of life.
Quote: David never gave such positive proof of his being a spiritual man, as the did in his deepest complaints.
Answer: If the scriptures had exhibited nothing of David but his deep complaints, we should be ready to doubt of his deliverance. I chink David never gave a more positive proof of his being a partaker of the Spirit, than when he prevailed with God in prayer, obtained the remission of his sins, came up out of the horrible pit, had an open vision of Christ, was enabled to believe in him, found his heart fixed, saw for himself the path of life, and said, "Thou hast loosed my bonds." " Now the Lord is that Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty." The man in whom these things are, is most surely a spiritual man; but there may be deep complaints where those things of the Spirit never were, nor will be.
Quote: A Christian, who humbly depends on the assistance of the Holy Spirit, will hold on his way to Zion, when many flaming professors will sink into oblivion.
Answer: Timothy tells us, that the Christian that depends on the Spirit, will hold on his way to Zion. I think the sinner must come to Zion, and be made a fellow citizen of it, before he can experimentally know any thing of the Spirit, much less depend on him. Yea, he must come not only to Mount Zion, but to God, the judge of all; to Jesus, the Mediator of the new covenant; and to the blood of sprinkling also; before he can be ranked with the general assembly, or the church of the first-born. We hope our dear friend Timothy will never sink into oblivion, for he is by no means a flaming professor, for he emits neither light nor heat.
Quote: What is the reason persons, who differ so much from the world, cannot see that they are not of it? If they experienced joys as frequently as they feel their wants, they would have no fears about their state.
Answer: In page friend Timothy informs us, that 'it is evident, from universal experience, that grace is more certainly described by wants, desires, and complaints, than by the highest joys with which any of the children of God are favoured.' But, in this last quotation, he is altered in his opinion; and tells us, that 'if they experienced joys as frequently as they feel their wants, they would have no fears about their state.'
Quote: Job does not seem to call in question his state.
Answer: Nor does Job seem to be far from it, when he said, "Thou destroyest the hope of man." a My transgression is sealed up in a bag, and thou sewest up mine iniquity." "Thou wilt not acquit me from mine iniquity." I am afraid of all my sorrows; I know that thou wilt not hold me innocent."
Quote: Though there be few who have travelled any considerable time in the way to Zion, but have adopted Job's language; yet they have an advantage Job was not favoured with: he had not the experience of a man set before him, who had been in a situation similar to his own.
Answer: Elihu filled almost three chapters in setting the experience of other men before the eyes of Job. Man, says he, "is chastened also with pain upon his bed, and the multitude of his bones with strong pain; so that his life abhorreth bread, and his soul dainty meat. His flesh is consumed away, that it cannot be seen; and his bones, that were not seen, stick out. Yea, his soul draweth near unto the grave, and his life to the destroyers. If there be a messenger with him, [a good guide to the timorous soul] an interpreter, one among a thousand, to shew unto man his uprightness, then he is gracious unto him, and saith, Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have found a ransom. His flesh shall be fresher than a child's; he shall return to the days of his youth; he shall pray unto God, and he will be favourable unto him; and he shall see his face with joy, for he will render unto man his righteousness. He looketh upon men; and if any say, I have sinned, and perverted that which was right, and it profiteth me not, he will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light. Lo! all these things worketh God oftentimes with man." All this is the experience of other men, which was set before Job.
Quote: But now, he that once mounted up as on eagles' wings, is sunk in the mire of sloth and worldly affections: a change he once thought impossible. It is in this frame, that the believer can say, " In me, that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing."
Answer: That text is badly matched. Paul was not sunk in the mire of sloth when he said it; for he was always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus: and, so far from being sunk in worldly affections, he declared that the world was crucified to him, and he to the world. And who can suppose, that two creatures, so dead to each other's charms as Paul and the world, could be so sick of love to each other, or so sunk in affection? A professor, thus fallen, may say with a witness, In my flesh dwells nothing good, nor in my soul either.
Quote: This is winter season to the soul, cold and dark: is it then any matter of surprise to hear one, in such a situation, cry out, Oh! that I were as in months past!
Answer: This is winter, indeed, friend Timothy; and such a season as, I hope, no child of God will ever get into, "To be carnally minded, is death;" but, to be sunk in the mire of sloth and worldly affections, is death and damnation too. He that loveth the world, or the things of the world, the love of the Father is not in him, 1 John 2, 15. It is an infallible mark of an apostate; "Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world." It is the criterion of an enemy to God; " Whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world, is the enemy of God."
Quote: This complaint is not confined to the closet; it is like the plague, every part is affected by it.
Answer: If this plague of being sunk in sloth and worldly-mindedness, was confined to the closet, the Christian might run away from it without being infected either in body or soul. But Timothy says, every part is affected by it: that is, every other part of the body, as well as the closet, is affected, or in love, with this plague of sinking into sloth and worldly lusts. This quotation calls for Timothy's note, or evangelical explanation, much more than the bible does.
Quote: How great the change! Now all arguments with his lukewarm heart lose their force; all relish for the word seems gone; the service, that once was far too short, is now intolerably tedious.
Answer: A professor's heart thus lukewarm, that has lost all relish for the word of God, and that finds the service of God intolerably tedious, is in a Laodicean church state, and among the number of them that Christ hath vomited up from the bowels of his mercy. "So then, because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spue thee out of my mouth," Rev. iii. 16.
Quote: It is a wonder that such, when they are not wholly left to an obdurate and insensible frame, to hear such an one cry out, Oh! that I were as in months past!
Answer: That pious lamentation of Job is by no means to be unlawfully joined together in unholy matrimony with the heart of Tim's Christian, who is sunk in sloth and worldly affections, who has lost all relish for the gospel of Christ, and finds his divine service intolerable; for Job had by no means lost all relish for the word of God, but asks his friends, "Cannot my taste discern perverse things?" And again; "Can that which is unsavoury be eaten? or is there any taste in the white of an egg? How forcible are right words! but what doth your arguing reprove? And again, "I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food." Which shews plain enough, that Job had not lost all relish for God's word. Nor was he slunk in sloth, for his spirit made diligent search after his God: "Oh! that I knew where I might find him, that I might come even to his seat." And so far was Job from being sunk in worldly affections, that he never sinned with his lips, nor charged God foolishly, when he had stripped him of all that he had in the world; but says; "The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." If our friend Timothy goes on to publish a similarity between the ancient saints of God, and his imagined Christian, which never had any existence but in his own head, I must, however unpolite, be under the necessity of forbidding the bans.
Quote: Though the Christian, at such seasons, cannot pray or read, and hear the word, with that satisfaction he wishes, yet he retains a high esteem for divine ordinances.
Answer: If this be true, that Timothy's Christian retains a high esteem for divine ordinances, he cannot be wholly sunk in worldly affections; and I think it is impossible that he should lose all relish for the word of God, and yet have so high an esteem for the preaching. What I highly esteem, I must have some affection for; and, if I have any spiritual love to it, I cannot have lost all relish for it.
Quote: Good and bad fruit cannot be more easily distinguished, than religious and carnal affections, when properly tried by the word of God.
Answer: All believers will not set their seal to this assertion; especially when they are in a situation similar to that of David, who was so reduced to humiliation at the pious counsel and prophecies of Abigail, that he loved her as a saint, blessed her in the name of the Lord, and blessed her advice and counsel; and soon afterward loved her with another affection, and wooed her for a wife.
Quote: Let it be observed, that nothing is more common than for persons, who love the same kind of diversion, to unite together, whether those pleasures are natural or spiritual. This verifies the old proverb: Birds of a feather will flock together.
Answer: And as sure as the jackdaws always flock with the rooks, and the swallows keep company with the martins, so sure will the foolish and wise virgins flock together to the end; and the wheat and the tares grow together until harvest.
Quote: But the affection mentioned in this verse, differs wholly from all natural regards.
Answer: And the difference is so small, that weak believers have not been able to distinguish it. Natural affections in Peter ran so high to his Lord and master, that he rebuked him then he foretold him of his sufferings. And it was the same with his pious mourners, who wept when they saw him carry his own cross; and their natural affections met with a check for it: "Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children;" for, if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry
Quote: It is a thing impossible, for a Christian to distinguish between natural affection and the love he experiences for the people of God? The regard he feels to Christians arises not from any natural ties, nor worldly advantage.
Answer: The regard that the Galatians felt to the false preachers of the circumcision, did not rise from natural ties; for the one were Jews, and the other Gentiles; nor did it rise from worldly advantage; for the Galatians were losers both spiritually and temporally, and yet they zealously affected them, though not well; and supplanted Paul to that degree, that they viewed him as their enemy for telling them the truth. Many a minister of the letter, fired with unhallowed zeal; and many an eloquent orator, who has been dexterous at moving the passions; and many an Arminian, in his sheepskin, and under a specious pretence to candour; have affected the children of God in their infant state of grace, as much, or more, than any real minister of the gospel, or real believer in Christ, till God has discovered them. And even then, when they were discovered, and were obliged to separate from them, they felt themselves both halt and maimed, when they had plucked out their right eyes, and cut off their right hands, till God has given them better members. And, for my part, I doubt not but our friend Timothy zealously affects many; but, if God should discover his doctrine as clearly to them as he has done to me, their love would turn to as much hatred as the love of Amnon to his sister Tamar.
Quote: However, it cannot he denied, but that John did write these words; and for this very end, that the children of God might know that they had eternal life: therefore, to apply the text to the very same purpose which the Holy Ghost had in view, is to me very satisfactory.
Answer: To catch hold of a single text, and apply it to such a Christian as this of Timothy's as an undoubted evidence of the grace of God, without consulting the context, or the whole drift of the apostle's reasoning, is not applying a scripture to the very same purpose that the Spirit had in view. John says, indeed, that " we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren:" but then I must be born main, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And I must know my sonship, or else I cannot call the saints my brethren, nor are they brethren to me; and, if I am not born again, I can be no more than a bastard, or a false brother, to them. "Every one that loveth him that begat, loves him that is begotten of him;" but, if I am not begotten of God, God is not my Father; and, if I am not born of the Spirit, the Lord's children are not my brethren. In the above passage, John tells me, that I must be begotten of God, and love him too, before I can love them that are begotten of him. Moreover, John not only enforces the begetting, but he describes the birth also; but Tim's Christian has had neither conception nor birth: nor is the description, nor the genealogy, that Timothy gives of him, to be found in the bible. "He that loveth," says John, is born of God, and knoweth God." Let the Christian first prove his birth, and then he will easily prove himself to be of the brotherhood; and the Spirit, which leads into all truth, will doubtless lead him to claim this evidence.
Quote: As the Holy Ghost is called, by way of eminence, the saint's comforter, and one of his methods of comforting is by describing spiritual affections, and those as differing entirely from all kinds of natural regards; and the discerning of this is that which assists the Christian to understand his own state, in such a manner, that he may say, I know that I have passed from death unto life, because I love the brethren.
Answer: The King of the Chaldeans loved Daniel; Potiphar loved Joseph; David loved Ahithophel: and an hypocrite, that receives the word with joy; who rejoices in a preacher's light for a season, and finds his legal spirit set to work, who springs up into a sudden profession, who for a while believes, would sometimes, under such joys, pluck out his own eyes, and give them to a minister of Christ, and yet afterwards hate him for telling him the truth, or for trying to recover him from the error of his way. Thou canst not describe the difference between spiritual and natural affections, friend Timothy; and therefore I wish you would let the timorous soul alone, and look a little into thine own heart, and see how this evidence of loving the brethren appears there; for, if matters are not right in our own heart, we shall not be able to set others right. You know, that I have smote you for your errors: can you say, with David, it is a kindness? I have reproved you for your false evidences: has it been an excellent oil, which has not broken your head? And have your prayers been for me in my calamity? An answer of conscience to this, in the affirmative, is the best criterion of love to the brethren. But how did this evidence shew itself in you, friend Timothy? Did you not go to the reverend Rowland Hill, (with reverence and respect be his name mentioned,) and ask him, what you should do, and whether you should publish an answer to my Barber? And did not that good man advise you to let me alone; telling you, that I should knock you about the head with my coalsack, till I had made you as black as the devil himself? And did you not get that holy man to come and preach, I will not say a sermon, in your pulpit, to vindicate your book of false evidences, and to traduce your just reprover? "Rebuke a wise man, and he will love thee," says Solomon; but where is your love to me? "He that rebuketh a man, afterwards shall find more favour than he that flattereth with the tongue." But I am become your enemy for telling you the truth; therefore drop this evidence of loving the brethren, Timothy, for it does by no means discover itself in you; and thou must be inexcusable, O man, for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself, Rom. ii. 1.
Quote: This is a positive proof that there is not merely a want of love in every unrenewed man, but a dreadful enmity not easily to be described; and this should be a striking proof to those who are possessed of christian love, and confirm them in this, that their being made partakers of such a change, could never have originated with themselves.
Answer: Friend Timothy must give christian love a better definition than this, if ever the timorous soul, that he undertakes to guide, be satisfied with this positive proof, or be confirmed by this criterion. Joash, king of Judah, shewed as strong a love to Jehoiada the priest, as Timothy has described in his book; but, after the death of the priest, the king slew his son, even when he was prophesying under the immediate influence of the Holy Ghost, 2 Chron. chapter xxiv. An hypocrite, when the unclean spirit is gone out of him, and he feels his soul charmed, and his prejudice slaughtered by the word, when his head is enlightened, when a reformation has swept the house, and the heart is garnished with fiery zeal and a double task of legal works, such a sinner will be so joyful in a preacher's light, and be so charmed with his gifts, that it is no wonder if the bring oxen and garlands, and attempt to do sacrifice; but, when the unclean spirit returns to his house, it is not to be wondered at, if he stone him and drive him out of the city.
Quote. Let any of those who are born of God,, meet an old acquaintance, who had formerly been walking after the course of this world, but begin& to ask the way to Zion. This is so far from raising in them any thing like resentment, it kindles a flame of love in them immediately. He who thus loveth, is born of God.
Answer: The timorous soul may be as much mistaken in this point, as Jehonadab was with respect to Jehu, when he said unto him - "Is thine heart right, as my heart is with thy heart? And Jehonadab answered, It is. If It be, give me thine hand. And he gave him his hand; and he took him up to him into the chariot," 2 Kings, x. 15. Here Jehonadab was deceived; who, in all probability, had as good a judgment in things divine as our Timothy's timorous soul: and Jehu went a deal further in religion than simply asking the way to Zion; for he was destroying the enemies of God, and purging his floor from idolatry. The love of some professors is like the violent passions, of some carnal lovers, soon hot, and soon cold. The more Paul loved the Corinthians, the less he was loved. "All my inward friends abhorred me," says Job: "and they whom I loved are turned against me."
Quote: Ruth had got such a taste for the things of God, that the whole kingdom of Moab was nothing, when compared to that of Israel.
Answer: This is an evidence that suits our friend Timothy; for he has got such a taste for the offerings of God, that all his surplice fees in Ireland were nothing to him, when compared to the free-will offerings in England. Dublin, that was once his city of refuge, was abandoned for an open door in London; but, if the harvest had been in Ireland, and nothing but the gleanings in England, we believe that our friend would have cast in his lot with Orpah.
Quote: The wide difference there is between enmity and love, is that which has caused this scripture to be so comfortable to many. A child of God, in desertion, may lose sight of many of his evidences, but he will scarcely ever wholly lose this.
Answer: The servant, who took his fellow-servant by the throat, saying, Pay me that thou owest, and cast him into prison till he should pay the debt, Matt. xviii. 28. 30; and the nine disciples, who were filled with indignation against James and John for their mother's request, Matt. xx. 24; had lost sight of this evidence; and so doth many a backslider, when stung with guilt, under a sense of his base ingratitude; and when provoked to jealousy, and fired with inward rage at the happiness of those who abide in their simplicity, and stand fast in their liberty. All that God loves, he rebukes and chastens. Friend Timothy, we must have a little account of your timorous soul's chastisement, before we can conclude that he is not a bastard. He must pass under the rod, before he can be brought into the bond of the covenant; he must be pardoned, before he can love much or little; faith must purify the heart by an application of the atonement, before faith can work by love: and your timorous soul must be begotten of God himself, before he will, or can love this Father, or love him that is begotten of him.
Quote: It may be compared to a mark which the shepherd puts upon his sheep, which he burns so deep, that though every other badge is worn out by the briers in the wilderness, this will remain, being burnt deeper than the wool. It is read, even in the skin itself.
Answer: This is wonderful and elegant! I do not know what country our friend Timothy kept sheep in, nor who the shepherd was that he learnt his art of; but, if he burnt his mark in the flock as deep as Timothy describes, he was a cruel, merciless wretch, let him be who he may. I know they mark sheep with tar, or red ochre, but I never heard before of burning marks in them. Timothy's shepherd has not the least resemblance of the Chief Shepherd of Israel; for he never burns them in the hand, as Jack Ketch burns thieves, nor sears their consciences with a hot iron: he only marks them in their foreheads with a timid from a writer's inkhorn, Ezek. ix. 3. 4.
Quote: It is of little weight with me what any man's opinion is about scripture evidences. I have been witness to men who have run into one extreme to avoid another, till they have been as far out of the path of scripture, as conceit and bigotry could possibly drive them.
Answer: Conceit and bigotry can never drive any person further from the path of truth, than blindness and ignorance has driven our friend Timothy. I have followed him closely for many miles, and observed him very minutely; but I never could find the print of his heel in one of the footsteps of the flock yet, nor do I think that I ever shall; for he owns himself, that, if he was at as great an uncertainty about natural things as he is about spiritual, he should doubt, or hesitate, whether he had any real existence or no; and it is not likely that such a groper for the wall should find out the path of wisdom, which is hid from the eyes of all living, Job, xxviii. 21.
Quote: Some of these will cry out, I am for none of your marks.
Answer: And well they may cry out against Timothy's marks, when he talks of burning them deeper than the wool with a red-hot iron. A burnt child dreads the fire; and it is a proof of its wisdom to cry out in time. So much for love to the brethren, and the comparison of it, to burning the flesh with a hot iron.
Quote: Those scripture evidences, which the Holy Ghost has left on record, are in general both easy to be discerned, and very conclusive.
Answer: They are much easier to be discerned in the Bible, than they are in Timothy's Looking-glass; for, instead of setting the saint's evidences in a fair light, he has uttered things which he understands not, and so darkened counsel by words without knowledge.
Quote: I would advise those who are timorous, to consider, it is not in our power to love whom we choose. Love does not originate in the will.
Answer: If it is not in our power to love whom we choose, yet we seldom choose any that we do not love; and, though love does not originate in the will, but in the affections, yet the affections generally lead the will: the will makes choice of the object which the heart affects.
Quote: If all who experience they love the brethren, were as fully persuaded that an effectual and saving change had passed on them, many, who are hanging down their hands, would be filled with joy, and would be giving thanks unto the Father, for translating them from the kingdom of darkness, &c. Ah, how many would wish to unite in these words! But fear deprives them of the pleasure.
Answer: Here we have two or three more mysteries, reader. The first mystery is this: the above persons experience the criterion of loving the brethren, which mark is burnt so deep, that it may be read in the skin: and yet these persons are not persuaded that a saving change is passed on them; on which account, they go with their hands hanging down, instead of rejoicing and giving thanks to the Father. The first difficulty lays in this: how persons should have such love, and yet no persuasion, seeing persuasion is faith, and "charity believeth all things." The other difficulty is this: how our friend Timothy can expect people to rejoice, and give thanks to the Father, without faith or persuasion, seeing God fills his people with joy and peace; but then it is only in believing. And it is far more mysterious, that these persons are expected to give thanks to the Father for translating them out of darkness, &c. when they have no persuasion that such a change or translation has ever taken place on them: but, if we go to our friend Timothy, he will set us to rights at once. He tells us, that the reason these lovers of the brethren cannot rejoice and be thankful, is, because fear deprives them of that pleasure. But, then, one would be almost ready to ask, how persons of such love came to have so much fear, seeing there is no fear in love, but perfect love casteth out fear.
Quote: But those who have had genuine affections for the people of God, will find that fire alive even in dying circumstances.
Answer: It is strange, that these lovers of the brethren should find the fire of love alive in them in dying circumstances, when fear deprives them of all that pleasure, even in the midst of health!
Quote: Some, who have been the greatest enemies to the doctrines of free grace, and whose principles filled them with prejudices against the sovereignty of God, have been constrained to acknowledge, that such changes cannot possibly have any other origin than free and distinguishing love; which has obliged some to acknowledge, that there must be an election of some individuals, though they cannot fall in with the Calvinist system.
Answer: Here are some persons who are the greatest enemies to the doctrines of free grace, who have been constrained to acknowledge, that such changes cannot possibly have any other origin than free and distinguishing love, which has obliged some to acknowledge that there must be an election of some individuals, which is Calvinism; though they cannot fall in with the Calvinist system, which is the election of some individuals.
Quote: When religion is made our element, and we can no more live without it than the fish without water; when religious pleasures are the highest of all our enjoyments; then we may be assured we have not only chosen God, but he also has chosen us.
Answer: I should choose to state it thus: that when the sinner can prove his faith and repentance to be genuine, and that the gospel is come to him, not in word only, but in power, in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; and when, by these things that accompany salvation, he has made his calling and election sure; then religion is made his element, and he can no more live without it than a fish without water. Religious pleasures will then be his highest enjoyments: but, until he has proved himself to be in the faith, he can take no real pleasure in religion, because his faith cloth not work by love, nor does his faith put on an imputed righteousness, the effect of which is peace; which love and peace in us are productive of all spiritual pleasures.
Quote: We can, with greater satisfaction, say, that religious subjects are our delight, than we can persuade ourselves that we are interested in them.
Answer: It is strange to me, that persons should find delight in religion without faith or persuasion of interest. The Psalmist did not find it so with him, for he declares, that he had fainted, unless he had believed. Timothy's Christian gets his delights where David got his faintings.
Quote: Christian, take particular notice of thy choice. A saving work on the soul is more certainly known by the choice of the person, than by either joys or terrors.
Answer: That is right, Timothy: be sure always to cut at the power of godliness. Never suffer your Christian to rest in divine joys; for you know, that God's kingdom stands in righteousness, peace, and joy; and that the fruits of the Spirit are love, joy, peace; and that God fills his people with joy and peace in believing. Stick to this, that a Christian's safety is more certainly known by his own choice, than by divine joys, However, we will examine man's choice, and God's joys, and set each before our reader, and let him see which he prefers. "Choose you. this day whom you will serve," says Joshua; "whether the gods which your fathers served, that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord. And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the Lord"... "The Lord drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the Lord." Here, reader, is their choice, which was voluntary and free: there was neither compulsion nor force in it; but gratitude to God for bringing them out of Egypt, and dispossessing the Amorites, prompted them to make this choice. But Joshua was not satisfied with this darling evidence of our friend Timothy's, but rather withstood it. "And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the Lord: for he is an holy God: he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions, nor your sins," Joshua xxiv. 19. Joshua insinuates here, that they must be pardoned sinners who serve the Lord acceptably; and when sin, which separates between God and the soul, is removed, the sinner comes to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon his head, and obtains joy and gladness, when sorrow and sighing flee away. Now, which evidence would my reader choose, man's choice, or the joy of the Lord, which is man's strength? Sure I am, that the soul that is a stranger to the terrors of the Lord, and to the joys of the Lord, could never yet sing of mercy nor of judgment; nor does he know the power of either law or gospel. Let him choose what he may, he is dead in trespasses and sins.
Quote: That choice, that is the effect of grace, is habitual and permanent. Amidst all the waves of this tempestuous sea, it will always steer the soul to anchor under the rock of ages.
Answer: Man's choice is habitual, says Timothy: but suppose the soul should get into one of Job's frames, and choose strangling rather than life, where is the habit of it then? 'It is permanent:' but suppose the soul, like Jonah, should choose to run away, where then is its permanency? But what is still more, 'this choice will always steer the soul to anchor under the rock of ages.' But that anchorage is not good: to anchor under the rock is too low. Hope must anchor in that which is within the veil; it must anchor in the Godhead, which dwells within the veil of the manhood. If Timothy had said, that God's choice is habitually the same, and permanent, I should have liked it much better.
Quote: Hypocrites and formal professors may mimic some expressions; but there are some scriptures which are neither understood by them, nor scarce ever noticed.
Answer: If to mimic the expressions of the saints, and to be without understanding in the scriptures, be the marks of an hypocrite, or a formal professor, our friend Timothy bids as fair to be a stage-player as any man that I ever saw or read. That he mimics the expressions of a Christian, cannot be denied; and that he has no understanding in the scriptures, is as evident, for there is not one text opened or explained in both his volumes. Nor is there one text that he has applied, that is applicable to the subject to which he has applied it: himself has tacitly owned, that God has not given him eyes to see; and this acknowledgment is true.
Quote: "I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only." It is evident to me, that it was the design of the Holy Ghost in having such experience as this text contains, recorded, that Christians should read their own characters in the language of David, and others, to the world's end.
Answer: Now reader, we will look at Timothy's sense of this text, and the mysterious use that he makes of it. First, "I will go," says the Psalmist, "in the strength of the Lord:" this is an holy resolution of the mind. "I will make mention of thy righteousness, even of thine only:" this is an evangelical confession of the mouth. Now, what does our Timothy make of this resolution and confession? Why, he makes experience of it: for thus saith Timothy; ' The design of the Holy Ghost in having such experience recorded, is that Christians may read their characters, in the language of David, to the world's end.' Thus, reader, David's resolution and confession are called experience; and afterward, this experience is called David's language, in which Christians are to read their own characters to the world's end. Tim. makes no difference between word and power, though one is life, and the other is wind. Experience, reader, consists in the remission of sin, and the bestowment of' peace; in deliverance from bondage, and being brought into liberty; in delivering from the curse of the law, and receiving life in Christ by the gospel; in being delivered from enmity, and slavish fear; and being blessed with the Spirit of love, which reconciles the soul to God. This is experience which worketh hope, and this work of experience is God's work: but resolutions and confessions are not experience; nor are they God's works, but the performances of men. Thus much for Timothy's nonsense upon this text.
Quote: Foolish virgins may arrive at the theory of religion; but the experimental knowledge of this text is a lesson which God himself can only teach.
Answer: If the foolish virgins arrived at the theory of religion, they have greatly outsailed Timothy; for he has lost his point, and is quite out of soundings. But the conclusion is, ' the experimental knowledge of this text is a lesson which God himself can only teach;' the sense of which is, that God himself can teach no more than the experimental knowledge of that one text.
Quote: Why art thou esteeming it so great a favour to be enabled to believe? Though it may be but at some particular seasons thou hast been helped, in some measure, to adopt the words of the Psalmist; "I had fainted, unless I had believed, to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living." Those who esteem it such an infinite mercy to be helped to believe, are true believers.
Answer: Timothy's Christian hath not been enabled to believe; for his faith has never been discovered nor described, nor has one act of faith been put forth in all the regions that Timothy has led him through. And as for Tim's Christian's seeing the goodness of the Lord, this is a contradiction of what went before; namely, an acknowledgment that God had not given Timothy and his Christian eyes to see. Nor are those true believers, who esteem it such a mercy to be helped to believe. A hypocrite may see this help in another, while himself is destitute of faith: the foolish virgins saw the faith of the wise, and begged a share of their oil, esteeming it the greatest of mercies; but themselves were not true believers.
Quote: What unregenerate man is animated by beholding that there is in Christ all that a poor soul can possibly need? It is the child of God only that desires nothing so much as to be assured that Christ is his.
Answer: Balaam was animated by beholding what there is in Christ, when he speaks of the shout of a king in the camp of Israel, the safety and blessing of them that put their trust in him; and wished to die the death of such. Nor are they all children of God,. who desire nothing so much as to be assured Christ is their's. "The soul of the sluggard desireth, and hath nothing." Some would give all the substance of their house for the love of Christ; and others shall not only desire him, but they shall seek him, but never find him: and others shall pray, "Lord! Lord! open to us!" which shews the intenseness of their desires, and yet they will never be admitted to the participation of Christ's love. This is another false evidence, Timothy.
Quote: Is it not evident, to a demonstration, that to the unconverted man, he is as a root out of a dry ground? There is nothing in Christ that appears desirable to him.
Answer: Christ is a root out of a dry ground to the converted, as well as to the unconverted; for although he is the living and life-giving root, that gives life and being to all creatures, and that gives spiritual and everlasting life; yet, as touching his manhood, and the human nature from whence he sprung, he is a living root out of a dry and barren ground, as all human nature, in its fallen state, is. And if there is nothing in Christ that is desirable to the unconverted man, how comes it to pass that so many shall seek him, and not find him? Yea, many shall seek to enter into his presence by the strait gate, and shall not be able; and others shall knock, and call too, and yet be rejected.
Quote: There is nothing in which Satan tempts a soul more, than in the method of seeking for assurance.
Answer: Yes, there is. Satan tempts and perplexes the believer more about his sonship, than he does about the assurance of faith. God has many children in the faith, who are seldom blessed with the full assurance of faith; and, if the devil does tempt the soul about assurance, sure I am that he never perplexes the weakling more than when he tempts him to hear preachers, and read authors, upon the subject of assurance, who themselves are destitute of faith.
Quote: As he is particularly averse to the believer's being in the possession of such a pearl as assurance, he practises all his cunning to prevent his obtaining it.
Answer: And never does Satan practise more cunning than when he appears in long bands, long robes, and a white wig, leading the unwary soul to affect his false instrument, and rest in a false evidence, which is trusting in a lie. In this way Satan beguiled the Israelites, by the instrumentality of his false prophets; and brought the poor deluded wretches to credit their report, and to hope for the confirmation of their predictions, when there was no more truth in their prophecies than there is in Timothy's evidences. Satan uses all his cunning, as our friend Timothy says, but then it is by false teachers: hence they are compared to foxes, which is one of the most cunning creatures among all the tribe of vermin. "O Israel, thy prophets are like the foxes in the deserts. They have seen vanity, and lying divination, saying, the Lord saith; and the Lord hath not sent them: and they have made others to hope that they would confirm the word." This hope of Israel, and the faith of Timothy's Christian, bear one and the same stamp; and I am sure, their evidences, and themselves, will never be confirmed by the God of heaven, only by the god of this world.
Quote: Those who seek it any other way than that which the Holy Ghost has prescribed, are sure to experience great perplexities.
Answer: And sure I am, that those who seek the assurance of faith among Timothy's evidences, will be perplexed enough. I would say to such, "Why seek ye the living among the dead:" assurance is not here, nor was it ever.
Quote: Many who have had great experience, have been kept much in the dark the greatest part of their travel, on account of their want of knowledge how this is obtained.
Answer: Persons who have had a great experience, must have some knowledge of God's fulfilling the good pleasure of his will in them, and the work of faith with power; or else their experience is nothing, worth. And such as have experienced this, are sure to be brought to know, and feel too, that assurance does not spring from themselves, but that it is obtained by the donation of God, who is the giver of every good and every perfect gift. But Timothy's man of great experience has. been kept much in the dark almost through all his travels;. which serves to shew us, that the faith of this man is not like the faith of God's elect: For those that believe in Jesus shall not abide in darkness, but shall have the light of life. The word, travel, wants an explanatory note.
Quote: Some have been tempted to look for extraordinary visions: this is frequently occasioned by hearing some poor deceived creature tell something of the marvellous, in order to make others admire them as heaven's favourites.
Answer: ' Some have been tempted to look for visions.' Here Timothy frankly owns, that he and his Christian are both of the world; for Christ says, "The world seeth me no more, but ye see me;" then there must be vision, or they could not see him any more than the world. And he adds, I will manifest myself to them that thou hast given me out of the world; though he doth not to Timothy. "The world seeth me no more, but ye see me: and, because I live, ye shall live also." Here are both light and life: ye see me, and shall live. God says, Your old men shall dream dreams, and your young men shall see visions; and I will shew wonders in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath. But then these dreams, visions, and wonders, are only to be seen by chose servants and handmaids upon whom God pours out his Spirit, Joel ii. 2S, 29. But, as Timothy and his Christian have not seen the Saviour, they cannot have this Spirit; it must, therefore, be as Tim. says, nothing but a temptation of the devil that has led his Christian to look for visions. But we are informed, that this temptation was occasioned by hearing some poor creature tell something of the marvellous. This curious phrase, something of the marvellous,' wants Timothy's note, or comment, more than the Bible does. But they are poor deceived creatures who have seen and told these visions: such poor creatures as Abraham, on the plains of Mamre; Lot, at the gates of Sodom; Jacob, at Bethel; Moses, at the bush; the seventy elders, in the wilderness; Joshua, in the plains of Jericho; whole families, at Bochim; Gideon, in the barn's-floor; Manoah and his wife, in the corn-field; David, in the floor of Atad; Solomon, in Gibeon; Isaiah, when he saw his glory; Daniel, by the river Chebar; Jot, when his eyes saw the Lord; Ezekiel, in Babylon; the three disciples, on the mount; the five hundred brethren, at once; Paul, who was born out of clue time; and Mr. Hart also, whom Timothy succeeded. And, indeed, the vision and light of faith, in all the elect of God, makes the whole church of the living God to consist of these poor deceived creatures, who have told something of the marvellous, in order to make others admire them as Heaven's favourites. However, to give the devil his due, we must clear our friend Timothy from all charge of seeing visions: this appears by his confusion in every page; therefore, he cannot say it is a precious thing for his eves to behold the sun. Notwithstanding Timothy's contempt of visions, "Thus saith the Lord God: Woe unto the foolish prophets that follow their own spirit, and have seen nothing," Ezek. xiii. 3. "Where there is no vision," says God, "the people perish." If this be true, what is to become of Timothy's Christian? and, if Timothy has had no vision, what is to become of him, and those who attend his ministry? "Where there is no vision, the people perish." And sure I am, that those who have no open vision in this world, will have an awful one in the next; I mean, when the blind have led the blind, till they both fall into the ditch: Then they will lift up their eyes in hell, and see our spiritual Abraham afar off, and the elect of God in his bosom: and let Timothy and his timorous soul look to this.
Quote: Others have, for years together, refused taking the least comfort to themselves, because they have not experienced such seasons of joy as they have heard some speak of.
Answer: If Timothy's Christians have refused to take the least comfort to themselves for years together, it is because such as Timothy, and not God, have tendered comfort to them; and it is a proof also, that God does not own, bless, or make application of the tenders of any such miserable comforters. This observation and confession of Timothy's serve to confirm us that his preaching has been in vain, and that his Christian's faith is vain; like people, like priest: So I beheld "..the tears of such as were oppressed, and they had no comforter; and on the side of their oppressors there was power, but they had no comforter: wherefore I praised the dead more than the living," Excl. iv. 1,
Quote: Those who have experienced very uncommon manifestations of divine love, ought to be very cautious how they speak of these before weak Christians.
Answer: The whole church tells us, that God appeared of old unto her; saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love. And Paul and John make their holy boast of it, and triumph in it; and sure I am, this will never hurt real believers: it may provoke them to jealousy, and to emulation; and may serve to add diligence to their searches, and fervour to their prayers, which will only help them to find Christ the sooner, and to prize him the more when they have found him. It is the fox, the hypocrite in Zion, who is wrapped up in his sheep's skin as snug as a bug in a rug, that cannot bear to hear of the manifestations of divine love. This lays him open: he spurns at the music and dancing, and is as desperate at love as Timothy is at vision.
Quote: While one has been gratifying his own pride in relating something of the remarkable joys he has been indulged with, another has been, at the same time, drawing the most gloomy conclusions.
Answer: This was verified in the elder soil, at the return of the prodigal; and in Joseph's brethren, at the hearing of his dreams; and in Paul's countrymen, at the hearing of his conversion; and in Stephen's accusers, at the sound of his voice, and the rays of his face; and, likewise, in our friend Timothy, at the hearing of visions. Nevertheless, we must do as the poor Gadarene was ordered to do: Go into the city, and tell how great things Jesus has done for us, and how he has had mercy on us; whether Timothy and his Christian will hear, or whether they will forbear; for we cannot but speak the things that we have heard and seen. And thus saith the Lord: "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish, for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though it be told you." Which work is not the work of creation, nor the work of redemption, but the work of faith in the heart. Paul's audience on the stairs of the castle, when he spake of the power and grace of God in his conversion, drew very melancholy and dreadful conclusions; crying out, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live."
Quote: The language of this text, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God," &c. is the universal experience of all Christians.
Answer: The last use that was made of this text was, that Christians should read their characters in it to the world's end. But now the language of David, in this resolution, contains the universal experience of all Christians; so that, to go in the strength of the Lord, and to make mention of his righteousness, is at once to grasp the universal experience of all saints and all souls. Thus Timothy has wound up the whole skein into one ball: however, the Christian will want to experience some light as well as support, and some comfort as well as strength; strength will make the Christian stand, but love will make him run, fight, and conquer too.
Quote: Though they are hoping, that such strength as their necessities call for, shall be afforded them, yet they find as absolute a necessity to apply to God for assistance, to help them to lay hold on a promise, as strength to go through the difficulty.
Answer: Here Timothy tells us, that they want help to lay hold on a promise: I think they want the word of God to come with power in the Holy Ghost, and with much assurance. The Lord of life must speak the word home to the heart, so as for the sheep to hear his voice and live. Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God, but not by such preaching as Timothy's, and the word must dwell richly in the saint; it must be rooted in an honest and a good heart, and this good thing must be kept by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us. "The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the master of assemblies". This nailing and fastening is better than Timothy's hand-hold.
Quote: These are lessons the carnal are wholly ignorant of.
Answer: The carnal are ignorant of Timothy's lessons; and he might in truth have added, so are the spiritual also: for I am sure, that all the gospel ministers in the world, and all the children of God, put them all together, could never fix the sense of Timothy in his lessons; and the reason is, because there is no sense to fix. And sure I am, that the author cannot help us out; for he has told us, that he is at the greatest uncertainty in spiritual things; and, where all is uncertain, nothing can be sure.
Quote: None could mention, with propriety, their going in the strength of the Lord, without some humble hope, that God would graciously afford them his assistance, and the words imply as much; experience increases this hope.
Answer: Our friend Timothy does not understand his text. He sends his Christian forth, in humble hope that God will afford him assistance, which is, hope of future aid; for what is seen is not hope. And he tells us, that the text implies as much; that is, it implies hope of future assistance: but I think David had got that strength in possession, that Tim's Christian has in hope. "I will go in the strength of the Lord God." It does not say, that he went forth in expectation of it, but he went forth in it, in the possession of it.
Experience increases this hope,' we are told. The plain English of this mystery amounts to this: Timothy's Christian goes forth in humble hope of future assistance; this is implied in the text: and, when he gets this expected assistance, then it is experience which increases his hope. But then I should be glad to know, as it is experience that worketh hope, what that experience was that wrought his humble hope in him, before he went forth at first. Our author can give no answer to this question, reader; and, where there is nothing to be had, the king must lose his right.
Quote: This is not the language of a Christian, at his first entering into the field, but of those who have been taught more lessons than the A, B, C, of Christianity.
Answer: Here, reader, we have got fighting, schooling, weapons, and hornbook, all together. Timothy's Christian goes forth into the field of battle, which requires some scientific knowledge, and then returns to learn his alphabet.
Quote: Those who have frequently experienced help in difficulty, may, like Samuel, setup these stones of Ebenezer.
Answer: That wants a note. Ebenezer signifies the stone of help. To set up stones, of stones of help, is such nonsense as ill becomes a commentator on the Bible.
Quote: Carnal and unregenerate men will no more plead nor live upon the word of God, than the dead in their tombs.
Answer: Carnal, and unregenerate, are synonymous terms; pleading, and banqueting, are badly matched.
Quote: The Christian finds, by experience, that those are very unsuitable companions for him, whose hardness and ignorance may be known by their spirit, and even felt in their words.
Answer: Timothy knows the fruit by the tree, and not the tree by it's fruit. The hardness and ignorance of a man may be known by his spirit, instead of his spirit being known by his hardness and ignorance; and may be felt in his words: it should have been by his words: I think the above hardy, ignorant person, has ere now dealt some reproof to our author, which has been attended with some sharpness; for it sticks in his stomach to this day.
Quote: Those only are wise who are jealous over their own hearts.
Answer: They are wiser by far, who know the pardon of their own sins. The former are wise to suspicion, the latter are wise to salvation.
Quote: That knowledge which the believer has of the impossibility of his standing in his own strength, is not mere theory, but a real sense of his weakness, and that frequently dearly bought, by ignorantly attempting to go in his own strength.
Answer: And he must have a sense of God's power as well as of his own weakness, or else Satan will hold him captive. I wish our friend Timothy's sense of feeling were but as keen as my eyesight; for I am sure that I can see his weakness, but I doubt he never felt it; if he did, I think he would never attempt to preach or write again. However, as yet he has come forth in his own strength, to all intents and purposes; for there is not the least weight of God's power, either in truth or argument, nor any description of it, as ever felt or experienced by Timothy. His doctrine runs one way, and he another: he is enforcing divine power, by arguments that are pregnant with nothing but human weakness; and, while he is debasing human frailty in his Christians, he exhibits nothing but human frailty in himself.
Quote: This is not to be wondered at, if we consider, that such men are wholly ignorant of the spirituality of God's law, by which the believer judges of himself.
Answer: The chief work of a believer lies in working out his own salvation, in proving himself whether he be in the faith, and in making his calling and election sure; and, if he goes to the law to judge of himself in these matters, he is likely to come away with his matters undecided; for election and calling, faith and salvation, are not of the law, nor is the law a proper touchstone to try the Christian's faith in Christ by. The phrase, ' Judge of himself,' wants a note.
Quote: The longer the Christian is spared, the more he feels the necessity he stands in of that perfect robe which covers all his defects, and that righteousness in which he sees he magnifies the law, and makes it honourable.
Answer: This robe, and this righteousness, like Pharaoh's dream, is one and the same thing, therefore the copulative, and, should be left out; but the believer, by putting this robe on, or by wearing it, does not magnify the law, nor make it honourable. This was done already to his hand. This work was completed by the Saviour, and the glory of it he will never give to another. Besides, putting Christ's righteousness on, and walking in it, is not a work of the law, but a work of faith; and therefore must be tried, not by the rule of works, but by the rule of faith. If an eminent master tailor was to make a handsome coat, with the best of workmanship, and give it to our friend Timothy; his putting it on, and wearing it, can never be called making it: it would be falsehood in him, and ingratitude to his benefactor, to assert any such thing; and so it is here. Christ alone magnified the law, and made it honourable, by which a righteousness was wrought out that God accepted, and to us God imputes it; the Spirit shews it to us; and faith puts it on; by which the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us: but it never was, nor can be, magnified by us.
Quote: It is highly agreeable to God, for Christians to speak freely of those things to their fellow-travellers. David, the man after God's own heart, could say, "Come, ye that fear the Lord, and I will tell you what he hath done for my soul."
Answer: I wish our friend Timothy would set the example, and tell us what the Lord hath done for him: but there is not one hint dropped of this throughout both his volumes; and no wonder, for where nothing is done or said, nothing can be told without telling lies.
Quote: When those who are advanced in life, and grown in grace, freely mention their difficulties, and especially those which they have met with from their own hearts, it has been of the greatest encouragement to others.
Answer: Our friend is more fond of hearing mourning and weeping, than he is of piping and dancing. John's ministry suits him better than that of the Saviour: but the lively Christian will not imitate him; for he had rather speak of the goodness of God to his soul, than tell of the difficulties he has met with from his own heart; he had rather have the physician uppermost in his thoughts, than his stinking wounds.
Quote: But this is far from being the case, when a man boasts of his experience, to gain applause, and to make the ignorant wonder, and even to make the timorous look upon themselves as nothing, when compared with such highly-favoured beings as they imagine themselves to be.
Answer: Our friend can never touch upon experience, without being, like Daniel's he-goat, moved with choler: and no wonder, for a graceless preacher can never love nor like a gracious professor; for these are the only people that can see through them, discover them, and expose them to others. But this experience, Tim. says, is all imagined. However, a man's own experience is his testimony. Paul's experience of receiving Christ at his conversion, was his qualification for the ministry, the basis of his doctrine, and his witness for Jesus in every court of judicature; and he that is destitute of it, is without Christ in the world, and has no other witness than what is given by fools.
Quote: How often do we see such blazing stars fall from a station, which appeared by far the most lofty in the religious horizon, down into the dreadful quagmire of sin; and, in that state, both live and die.
Answer: If it is experience that throws these stars down from their horizon, our friend Timothy will go nigh to stand his ground; for there is no experience comes from his heart, nor the common theory of it from his head. He may fall like a thief in the candle; but he will never fall like a star, for there is no light in him.
Quote: As the proud boasting of such distresses many, so their fall shocks many more, and fills them with dread and horror.
Answer: According to Timothy's account, these experimental souls have, like Samson, killed more at their death, than they did in their life: telling their experience distressed many; and their falling away shocked more. This false representation of the final apostasy of experimental Christians, is intended to prejudice the minds, and bar the ears, of ignorant persons, against every minister that enforces and insists upon the vital power of godliness.
Quote: It is God's determination, that no flesh shall glory in his presence.
Answer: Has God determined that no man shall tell his experience, nor glory in his goodness, when felt and enjoyed? God has determined no such thing. "Thus saith the Lord: Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might; let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord, which exercise loving, kindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth: for in these things I delight, saith the Lord." This is a divine grant to the experimental Christian, and to no other; who is to glory in this, that he understands and knows God, by the pardon of his sins, by the support of his hand, and by God's love shed abroad in his heart; and that he is the Lord, which delivers him from the cruel dominion of all other lords, and reigns and rules in his heart; and that exercises lovingkindness, in forgiving our iniquities, and healing all our diseases; and who exercises judgment, for all that are oppressed, and upon the ungodly, in the behalf of his cause and those that favour it; and righteousness, in the condemnation of sinners, in the justification of his saints, and in his correcting them for their good.
Quote: So diametrically opposite are weak Christians to these, that I have frequently seen such of so timid a disposition, that they have been afraid even to mention those very comforts which they could not deny having received.
Answer: If Timothy's weak Christians were of that number, in whose hearts the Lord had ordained strength, to perfect praise, that he might still the enemy and the avenger, they would scarcely have been able to have kept matters in their own breast. The high-priest, as well as Timothy, charged the Lords disciples to hold their peace about the experience of power; but the Saviour answered, If these hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out: and no wonder, when the Lord had ordained strength, in these infants' weakness, to perfect praise. Timothy's weakling cannot be a freeborn citizen of Zion, because he is not joyful in his King; nor can he be a good soldier of Jesus, because he is not valiant for truth; but a dumb man, in whose mouth are no reproofs. He that tells others what God has done for his soul, confesses Jesus before men, and him will Christ confess before his Father, and before his angels; but Tim's Christian is a silent sparrow, alone on the house-top, and all for the want of that water that makes the lame man leap as an hart, and the tongue of the dumb to sing.
Quote: Satan may be compared to those hardened wretches who live near to the sea-coasts, and hang out false lights on the surrounding hills, on purpose to mislead the unwary mariner, in order to enrich themselves with the spoils of a shipwreck.
Answer: Our friend, as he has described himself, must unavoidably be one of these false lights, for he calls them poor deceived creatures, that have seen visions; and, as he would hardly rank himself among these poor creatures, we must conclude, that God hath not shined into his heart, to give him the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus Christ. He must, consequently, be still in the dark, for it is only in God's light that we see light; and it is visible that Timothy's writing and preaching is not sowing light for the righteous, nor gladness for the upright in heart: and the reason is, because this prophet finds no vision from the Lord, Lam. ii, 9 therefore, he must speak a vision out of his own heart, and not out of the mouth of the Lord, Jer. xxiii. 16. And what can such persons be, but what the scriptures call wandering stars?
Quote: If permitted, he will use his utmost art to perplex and distress Christ's lambs; and, if possible, make all those suffer shipwreck who have set sail for the heavenly world.
Answer: And if men have not, in the open vision of faith, been enlightened into the mysteries of the kingdom, I cannot see how they can feed the sheep, or lambs either. They cannot be pastors after God's own heart, because such are to feed his people with knowledge and understanding. But Timothy has no vision; the sun of righteousness, according to his own account, has not shined on him: and, if he has not found access to God, under the light of his countenance, how can he lead the flock in and out, so as to find pasture? And what service is a blind watchman, or a shepherd that cannot understand? However, if Timothy's Christian should make shipwreck, who is foolish enough to embark for heaven in his evidences, he could not be charged with making shipwreck of faith; for there is nothing like faith in them.
Quote: All this proves the necessity there is for gracious persons to be well acquainted with the word of God; and to pay more regard to the experience therein recorded, than to any thing they may hear from poor mistaken mortals.
Answer: Well done, Timothy! never deviate from this rule. When you mention experience, always couple it with final apostasy; and when the light of faith falls in your way, call the possessors of it poor deceived creatures; and all that preach it poor mistaken mortals; and, by spitting upon every spark that comes from the altar of burnt-offering, you will be the better able to walk in the light of your own fire, and in the sparks that you have kindled, Isa. 1. 11. It is needful, as Timothy observes, that a Christian should be well acquainted with the word of God; but he is likely to remain as dark in the mystery as the Ethiopian eunuch, unless some brighter light than Timothy get up into the chariot and guide him.
Quote: The feelings of the believer, which may be discerned in this scripture; which is, "I will go in the strength of the Lord God," &c. will be found a true light to many, while the fancied experience of some will be to the unwary as the ignis fatuus, which endangers the lives of those it leads astray.
Answer: Various are the revolutions that this text has sustained, and various are. the good purposes David's resolution has answered. First, It contains a choice experience for those who went forth, hoping for future assistance, which hope is implied in the text. Secondly, It is for Christians to read their characters in even to the world's end. Thirdly, It is the universal experience of all Christians. Fourthly, The feelings of a believer may be discerned in this scripture. And, Fifthly, It will be a true light to many, when the fancied experience of some will be to the unwary as the ignis fatuus, Will-o'-the-wisp, or Jack-o-lantern, which endangers the lives of those it leads astray. Who could think, that the resolution of one saint could perform so much, and Timothy perform so little? However, we may here perceive what Tim means by experience: he means nothing by it, but the description of it in the letter of scripture, not as felt in the heart; for power felt, is fancied experience; vision, is deception; and feeling, is the mistake of poor mortals. However, Timothy is not one of those burning and shining lights which shine in vision, for he has not cast one ray of light upon any one text that he has mangled. Nor can we call him one of the experimental ones, who is acquainted with power: it is truly the speech of one that is puffed up, and nothing else.
Quote: When I am weak, then am I strong. The true believer has not only an understanding of the method of salvation given to him, but such an acquaintance with scripture as is peculiar to those who are taught of God.
Answer: Then our friend Timothy is not one of God's pupils, for he has not described one true notion of the method of salvation; and, as to Timothy and the scriptures, they seem to be utter strangers to each other. There is not any understanding, acquaintance, familiarity, or intimacy, between them: one would be ready to conclude, that they had never seen each other before.
Quote: This knowledge of spiritual weakness Paul himself lived a total stranger to before his conversion; and, were all the children of God to keep a distinct idea how ignorant they once were of themselves, it would be a proof to them, that their having now an understanding of the scripture, is an evidence of spiritual life.
Answer: This is another pillow, to bolster up and establish the hypocrite in Zion: for Paul declares, that a man may have all knowledge, and understand all mysteries, and have all faith, so as to remove mountains, and to speak with the tongue of men and angels, and yet be nothing but sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal; or, as he elsewhere explains it, be nothing but an instrument without life, giving sound. Understanding is a proof and evidence to Tim's Christian of divine life; but Paul's hypocrite goes three steps beyond him, and has no life at all. Either Paul deceives us, or Timothy tells lies, one of it.
Quote: Many have called in question the truth of their faith, because they have found it fail them in times of their greatest need.
Answer: If faith fails in times of greatest need, there is just ground to call it in question, and to reject it too, as the vain confidence of a hypocrite; for the faith of God's elect never fails: it is maintained by the Spirit of God, and supported by the intercession of Christ. "I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not,"
Quote: This sense of weakness is a greater evidence of genuine faith than that which those have, who pass on year after year, and are utter strangers to themselves, and their own inability to stand in a time of difficulty.
Answer: It is impossible that any person, who is an utter stranger to himself, and to his own inability, can have any evidence at all of genuine faith; and Tim's Christian, whose great evidence of faith springs from a sense of his own weakness, or of his faith failing him in times of greatest need, has no more faith, or scriptural evidence of faith, than the other.
Quote: Such persons appear to be, according to Paul's expression, bastards, and not sons; to be then wholly insensible of our weakness, is a mark of a hypocrite.
Answer: In this, reader, Timothy shews us a mystery. The mystery is this: Here is a Christian, for such Timothy calls him, whose faith fails him in times of greatest need. This Christian is compared to another Christian, who is wholly ignorant of himself. Tim's Christian has the greatest evidence of the two; which great evidence of genuine faith springs from it's failing in times of greatest need. And the conclusion is this: he who is not sensible of his weakness, or whose faith doth not fail, is a bastard, and not a son; for, if faith fail not, it is the mark of a hypocrite. Faith, failing in times of need, and human weakness, are made to mean one and the same thing.
Quote: Why, then, should any distress themselves by calling in question the truth of their own faith, on account of having seen their own weakness on some particular occasions? This is nothing new, but that which the people of God have experienced in every age.
Answer: Faith failing in times of greatest need, and human weakness, are still continued as synonymous terms, though there is a deal of difference between faith and nature, and between weak faith, and human frailty. ' Why, then,' says Timothy, 'should any distress themselves, by calling in question the truth of their faith?' I think they have cause enough to be distressed. The Psalmist cried out, when his heart and flesh failed; but if heart, flesh, and faith, all fail together in times of greatest need, there is ground for the greatest distress: for, although Timothy says, that the people of God have experienced this in every age; yet I know, that there is not one proof, in all the book of God, of the saints' faith ever failing them in their greatest calamities.
Quote: Impatience increases our troubles: yet all this tends to shew us how weak we are.
Answer: Timothy is weak enough, God knows; for such weak arguments, weak evidences, and weak proofs, never appeared in the world till Timothy took pen in hand.
Quote: I cannot leave this subject without adding an Appendix; in which I shall enlarge chiefly upon those perfections in the divine nature, which are manifested in the person, sacrifice, and priestly office of Christ; also, on those promises which particularly tend to lead the timorous soul to that foundation which God has laid in Zion. End of the Second Part. T. P.
Answer: My reader will observe how the above quotation is worded. Timothy will enlarge upon those perfections in the divine nature, which are manifested in the person of Christ, &c. For some perfections of the divine nature, to be manifested in Christ, is one thing; and for every perfection of Jehovah, in the highest sense, to be possessed by Christ, as God over all, blessed for evermore; and for all this glorious fullness of the Godhead to dwell in Christ bodily, is another thing. When this wonderful Appendix comes out, reader, if God spares my life, I will write an Appendix to my Barber; which shall consist in an examination of Timothy's enlargements on the perfections of Christ; and in citing one half of his Christian evidences, to contradict the other half, that my reader may see, at one glance, the consistency of this Timothy.