« VorigeDoorgaan »
SERM. XVIII. p. 446.
Acts xiii. latter Part of ver. 48. And as many as were ordained to eternal Life,
SER M. XIX. p. 470.
S. MATT. xx. 16. So the last shall be first, and the first laft ; for
many be called, but few chosen.
God. And the great Usefulness and
Jan. 27, 1688.
1 Cor. xi. 19. For there must be also Heresies among you,
that they which are approved may be made ' manifest among you. Ba ss T is a great Stumbling-block to A fome among us, and almost
tempts them to doubt of the Truth of our Religion, to see
how many Sects and Divisions there are at this Day among Christians. The removing this Stumbling-block is the Thing I design at this Time; and my Text lays a very good Foundation towards it ; St. Pirel having leveral Ages ago told us, that there must be Here 12s, and withal given us a good Vol. VI.
Reason why there must be, viz. that they which are approved may be made manifeft.
The Method I shall observe in treating on these Words, shall be as follows:
I. To give some Account of what is here
meant by Heresies.
II. To fhew how it comes to pass that
there always muft be Here fies.
III. To shew for what Reasons God permits Heresies, and what Purposes they serve.
IV. To make an Application of the
I. I begin with the first Point, What is meant by Heresies. Now as to this, it is to be observed, that the Word Heresy is often to be met with in Scripture ; and sometimes in that Sense in which it is commonly used by profane Authors, when it imports no more than some considerable Dif. ference in Opinion, or such a Distinction of Men as to their Judgment, as makes them of a different Sect from the rest they con
verse with. And thus Christianity itself is Ver. 22. styled a Heresy in the 28th of the Afts. But
then it cannot be denied that the Word is often taken in a bad Sense, and undoubtedly
it is so in my Text; and befides the bare Difference of Opinion, or being of a different Sect from others, denotes some great Fault in the Man that holds that Opinion, or that is of that Sect. Were it not thus, we cannot imagine that St. Paul, when he is reckoning up the Works of the Flesh, such as Murder and Adultery, and the like; should put in Heresy among them, as he doth in the 5th of Galatians. Well, now Ver. 20. the Question is, What is meant by Heresy; when it is taken in a bad Sense, when it is made one of the Works of the Flesh? Now, in answer to this, I say there are two Notions of Herefy in the New Testamient, when that Word is taken in an ill Sense: For sometimes it is used with respect to the Christian Faith ; and sometimes with respect to Christian Peace and Communion. Of both these I shall now give an Account.
1. Heresy is sometimes used with respect to the Christian Faith, and then the Noti. on of it is this : It is a Departure from, or a Renouncing of some necessary Article of the Christian Religion ; and that not fo much thro' Ignorance or Mistake, as from a vicious Principle, and for the sery sensual Desires or Interests. This, the Notion of Heresy with reference to Faith, as far as we can judge from those Texts of Scripture which speak of it in this Sense. St. Peter thus describes Hereticks. 2 Pet. 2. 1. He tells us, that as there were falfe ProB 2