It is a snare to the man who devoureth that which is holy, and after vows to make enquiry.—Proverbs 20.25.

[A Review of the Preface to a Narrative of the Extraordinary Work at Kilsyth, &c. By James Fisher.]
 
The
False Revivals
of
The Enemies of our Covenanted Reformation:
Being a Scriptural Examination of the
Work of Satanical Delusion
Promoted by George Whitefield,
Jonathan Edwards, James Robe,
Gilbert Tennent, and others.
 
Originally Titled:
 
A
R E V I E W
OF THE
Preface to a Narrative
OF THE
Extraordinary  WORK  at  Kilsyth,  and
   other  Congregations  in   the   Neigh-
   bourhood,  written  by  the  Reverend
   Mr. JAMES ROBE, Minister at Kilsyth:
W H E R E I N,
The   N A T U R E   of  the  Extraordinary  Work,
    and  the  PRINCIPLES   of   the   PROMOTERS
    thereof are discovered from the said PREFACE
    and other  Papers  lately  published;  and  like-
    wise  the  ADDRESS  to  the  Brethren  of  the
    Associate  Presbytery,  anent  their  late  Acts
    for a publick Fast, is considered.

By JAMES FISHER
Minister of the Gospel in the Associate Congregation
at GLASGOW.

Ezek. xiii. 6. They have seen Vanity,  and  a  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.
Ver. 7. Have  ye  not  seen  a  vain  Vision,  and  have  ye  not  spoken
       a  lying  Divination,  whereas  ye say,  The  Lord  saith  it,  albeit
       I have not spoken?
Ver. 8. Therefore thus saith the Lord God,  Because  ye  have  spoken
       Vanity,  and  seen  Lies, therefore behold, I am against you, saith
       the Lord God.
John v. 44.  How  can  ye  believe  which  receive  Honour  one  of  a-
       nother?

G L A S G O W
Printed for JOHN BRYCE, and sold by him at the
Gallowgate Printing-House; and by PATRICK
BRYCE, at his Shop above the Cross. 1742.

A
REVIEW, &c.

SEVERAL Papers having been lately published in Favours of what is called an extraordinary Work at Cambuslang, Kilsyth, and other Places, it was worth no Man's Pains to take Notice of such of them, whose Authors were ashamed to come from behind the Curtain; for I am persuaded, that no Man of common Sense will regard these Reflections upon any Set of Men, which the Author himself is afraid to own.

It is well known, from sad Experience, that when once a People are, in the righteous Judgment of God, given up to strong Delusion, to believe a Lie, reasoning with them is entirely needless: They will be Proof against the strongest Arguments from Scripture or Reason, till such Time as the Captain of Salvation overcome the strong Man within them, and spoil him of his Armour wherein he trusted; and therefore I had once some Thoughts of acquiescing in a doctrinal Testimony to my Hearers, as Occasion offered, and not to have appeared in the Press upon this awful Subject; but when I observed that the Preface written by Mr. Robe, and other Papers lately published, were leveled directly against the whole of our Reformation Principles, and yet in such a Manner, as that the Minds of some might thereby be corrupted from the simplicity that {4} is in Christ, I judged it my Duty, to contribute my Mite for vindicating present Truth, and contending for the Faith once delivered to the Saints, especially when the said Preface, and other Papers of the like Nature, are so current in the Place and Country where adorable Providence has ordered my Lot.

If Mr. Robe and others had contented themselves with giving their own private Opinion anent the alledged Goodness of that Work, perhaps few, if any, would have much regarded it. But when they set up their extraordinary Work, in Opposition to the whole Work of God, which he has wrought for us in these Lands; when Mr. Robe particularly challenges the late Act of the Associate Presbytery, anent a publick Fast, as "Full of great swelling Words, altogether void of the Spirit of the meek and lowly Jesus, and the most Heaven-daring Paper that hath been published by any Set of Men in Britain these hundred Years past," he lays some one or other of the Brethren under some Kind of Necessity to review the Grounds of his bold Assertion; especially if it is considered, that, when finding Fault with the Presbytery, for charging the Promoters of this Work, with pleading for a boundless Toleration and Liberty of Conscience, he says, "I know none of my Brethren ever did it, and I am so far conscious of my Innocency, that I insist upon making your Charge good, if you do not, as I am sure you cannot,—you have given Reason to the World to reckon you Slanderers." A Slanderer is a very odious Character; however, if the Charge of lax and boundless Toleration Principles is made good against Mr. Robe, and other Promoters of this Work, he has himself to blame, by giving such a rash Challenge, to make good what is abundantly notour to the intelligent World.

As I am not afraid, that the bitter Calumnies which Mr. Robe is pleased to throw upon the Brethren will do them much Harm among the unprejudiced; so I should never have troubled the World, merely {5} with a Vindication of them from such Aspersions, well knowing, that there have been Abundance of idle and ridiculous Stories handed about with the greatest Confidence against them, especially since this Work began, whereby it is lamentable, that the Father of Lies has got so much acceptable Service.

But it is the Dishonour done to God, and Injury to his Cause, and the Apprehension that I have, that some may be blindfolded and hardened by Mr. Robe's Performance, that Induced me to take any Notice of it: And, in the Review thereof, I shall, First, examine the Evidence that Mr. Robe adduces for the Proof of what he calls an Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, and then shall enquire into the Principles of the Promoters of this Work, especially with Reference to a boundless Toleration and Liberty of Conscience. And, Lastly, To consider his Address to the Brethren of the Associate Presbytery, anent their late Act for a publick Fast. Under which three Heads the Substance of the Preface may be comprised; and I hope the Reader shall find, that what shall be said, is written with the Spirit of Meekness.

No Work can be reckoned extraordinary, but what manifests itself to be so by extraordinary Signs and Evidences; since therefore Mr. Robe is pleased to call the Work at Kilsyth, and other Congregations in the Neighbourhood, an extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, it is reasonable to expect, that he should have mentioned some extraordinary Scripture Evidences attending this Work, which would manifest it to be indeed an extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God: But, instead of this, the only extraordinary Evidence he gives, is as follows, Preface, Page 6th, 7th, "This Work so extraordinary upon the Souls of many in these Congregations (meaning Kilsyth, and other Congregations in the Neighbourhood) is the same with that at Cambuslang; the Method of the Spirit's Operation is alike in all these-Congregations and the Effects of it upon the Bodies of the Awakened, {6} which have not been so common at other Times, are also much the same. The Bodies of some of the Awakened are seized with Trembling, Fainting, Hystrisms in some few Women, and with Convulsive Motions in some others:" Or, as he expresses it, Page 8th, "Faintings, Hysteric-fits, Convulsions, bodily Agonies, and Strugglings."

Mr. Robe acknowledges, Page 13th, "That as these bodily Agitations are no Evidence of Persons being under any Operation of the Spirit of God, else all Persons under Convulsions, Cramps, Hystrisms, &c. would be such; so, upon the other Hand, they are no Evidence that these thus affected are under a Spirit of Delusion.———Bodily Agitations (says he) considered in themselves, are no Symptoms of Persons being under the Influence of a good or bad Spirit." Yet, the most Part of his Preface is taken up in justifying bodily Agitations, which are indeed the only extraordinary Evidence I can find mentioned of this extraordinary Work. What is said in Vindication of these, shall be considered after I have taken some Notice of the Original whereof the Work at Kilsyth is a Copy, for he says, it is the same with that at Cambuslang; Concerning which he tells us, Page 6th, "This extraordinary Out-pouring of the Holy Spirit, whereby great Numbers of secure Sinners are awakened, and many of these converted and filled with Faith, and more than ordinary Peace and Joy in believing, appeared first—and continues at Cambuslang; a well attested Narrative of this hath been published."

A well attested Narrative of the real Work of Conversion upon the Souls of great Numbers, is indeed a bold Undertaking, especially if the Number is condescended upon as Mr. M'Culloch takes upon him to do, Weekly History, No. 27. He mentions 200. Hopefully converted, and No. 30, They arise to the Number of 500, who he believes are savingly brought home to God, not including Counterfeits, and these {7} who have nothing but a Dread of Hell, of which Sort, he says, There have been no great Numbers; and likewise not including these that have been awakened by Means of Mr. Whitfield's Sermons in that Place; which is indeed a very circumstantial and daring Account.

The Reason why a sober Man will scarce venture to attest the real Conversion of Multitudes is obvious, because there are many Hypocrites in the Visible Church, by whom all the outward Evidences of Grace may be so exactly counterfeited, that the most quick-sighted Christian may mistake a Hypocrite for a true Believer; for tho' Believers may attain unto an Assurance of their own particular Interest in Christ, yet all the Evidence we have of the Conversion of another, being merely external, we may, for the above Reason, be liable to manifold Mistakes, yet the internal distinguishing Evidences are so plainly laid down in the Word, that none examining themselves thereby, under the Influence of the Spirit of Truth, but will come to discern the real and wide Difference between Hypocrisy and saving Grace.

There is no doubt, but all the true Lovers of Jesus would earnestly wish, there were many Thousands savingly converted, for every one that is here alledged; but People are never in a more dangerous Condition, than when they persuade themselves, and are strongly persuaded by others, that they are converted, if in the mean Time they are in the Gall of Bitterness still: Yea, tho' in the Judgment of Charity, we thought them in a converted State, yet the safest Way would be, to put them upon examining of themselves whether they be in the Faith. Besides I find the Ministers of Christ, who have been honoured of the Lord to be most instrumental in convincing and converting Work, have been most self denied as to their own Instrumentality, that he who builds the Temple of the Lord may bear all the Glory. The Apostle Peter was most successfully of any we read of at one Time, {8} Acts 2.41, But does he send Letters to all the Countries round, to acquaint them, that such a Day, he had been instrumental in converting 3000? The Lord was pleased to send down a plentiful Rain of divine Influences, during the Time of Mr. Livingston's Sermon, at the Kirk of Shots, but, doth he proclaim it thro' all the World, that so many Hundreds were converted at that Time by his Means? Nay, he draws a modest Vail over it in the History of his Life. They who did not preach themselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, were not acquainted with this vain-glorious Way of dunning the World with the Number of their Converts.

With respect to the Work at Cambuslang, after which that at Kilsyth is so exactly copied, all that the well attested Narrative says of it, amounts to these three Heads, (1.) "That it came after such Preparatives, as an extensive Concern about Religion gradually increasing, together with extraordinary fervent Prayer in large Meetings, particularly relating to the Success of the Gospel," that is, the Work at Cambuslang, according to their own Account of it, was produced by their extraordinary fervent Desires of the Success of the Work abroad, whereof Mr. Whitefield was the chief Human Instrument, and to be sharers of the same very Spirit. (2.) After the Work was thus produced, the Narrative does not determine the State of the Persons, so exactly, as Mr. Robe doth, namely, that they are really converted and filled with Faith, it only says, Page 6, That they were awakened to a deep Concern about Salvation, and gave a good Account to Ministers and others of their Convictions, and Outgate, which many may do, without any saving Change wrought upon their Hearts; Not every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doth the Will of my Father which is in Heaven; by their Fruits ye shall know them. (3.) The good Fruits mentioned by the Narrative, Page 7, are outward {9} Reformation, in laying aside cursing, swearing, and Drunkenness; Confession of Injustice in the discharge of relative Duties, Restitution, cleaving to their own Ministers, and attending Ordinances dispensed by them (which is a leading Mark) setting about Family and social Prayer, and desirable Evidences of fervent Love, to one another, to all Men, and even to these who speak Evil of them. What desirable Evidences they give of Love to some Men, particularly the Seceders, will be afterwards considered; in the mean Time, the above Fruits, either separately, or taken together, will not be a sufficient Proof of a saving Work of Grace upon the Soul; for it is well known, that Herod reformed in many Things; Judas confessed Injustice and made Restitution; they may prophesy in Christ's Name, and do many wonderful Works, to whom he will profess, I never knew you, Matt. 7.22,23. So that if the Work at Kilsyth, be exactly the same, with that at Cambuslang, it amounts to no more than this, That it was produced, by commending Mr. Whitefield and his Success, has made some People to talk a great deal about Convictions and seeming Out-gate, attended with a partial Reformation from some grosser Vices, and the Practice for a Time, of some moral and religious Duties: All which, has nothing extraordinary in it all, excepting, that upon such a slender Foundation, Multitudes of poor People should persuade themselves, that they are sure of Heaven, and so, if Mercy prevent not, may come to die with a Lie in their Right-hand. And if there be any Thing extraordinary in Numbers; if Multitudes before entertained vain Hopes of Heaven, and now have such a presumptuous Persuasion of it, that they will not so much as allow their Conversion to be suspected, I leave it to everybody to judge, whether their State and Condition is a whit bettered.

From all which it appears, that, abstracting from the righteous Judgment of God, there is nothing extraordinary in this Work, so far as is yet publicly {10} owned by the Promoters thereof, excepting the extraordinary bodily Exercise that attends it, namely, (according to Mr. Robe's own Words,) "Faintings, Hysteric-Fits, Convulsions, bodily Agonies and Strugglings." These he labours by all Means to reconcile with a Work of the Spirit of God, and in order thereto, he tells us, Preface, Page 7, That, "As there were the very same Appearances (i.e. the same bodily Agitations) accompanying such an Effusion of the Holy Spirit in some of our American Colonies, so the same Objections were made against them, which have been made against this Appearance of God amongst us." And for a satisfying Answer to these Objections, he refers them to a Sermon of Mr. Edward's, Minister at Northampton, in New-England, on the Distinguishing Marks of a Work of the Spirit of God.

This Pamphlet of Mr. Edward's is very highly extolled by the Promoters of this Work; Mr. Whitefield says, he sent the first Copy of it to Scotland, and in the Postscript of his Letter to Mr. M'Culloch, Weekly History, No. 25, he says, "There is a Sermon lately published by Mr. Edwards of Northampton in New-England, and printed in London, which I desire you and your Friends would have, and recommend most earnestly; 'tis the best Thing of its Kind I ever saw; you would think the Author had been at Cambuslang." In Obedience to the above Order, Mr. Willison in his Preface to that Sermon, recommends it most earnestly, for he calls it, "A most excellent, solid, judicious, and scriptural Performance,—most useful to the Church, for discerning a true and real Work of the Spirit of God." And Messrs. Willison, Robe, and Whitefield, all concur, in asserting, that Mr. Edwards has answered all the common Objections, that have been made against this Work, either at home or abroad; yea, Mr. Whitefield in his usual strong and unguarded Way, affirms, That he has answered all the Objections that any can {11} make against it. But there are Hundreds, I hope, in Scotland, to whom it is evident, that the Objections are so far from being removed, that the very Answers to them, are further Objections against the whole Work.

The above, and like warm Recommendations, have no doubt influenced some to take all for granted, that is said by Mr. Edwards in his Sermon, as a sufficient Vindication of the Work; and there are others perhaps, who are still persuaded, that the Work is delusive, to whom the Fallacy of Mr. Edward's Reasoning, is not so obvious at first View.

It would require a Treatise by itself to follow the Chain of Error, both in Philosophy and Divinity, that runs thro' the whole of this Performance; only, because it is cried up, as the Standard-Piece of this Work; I shall endeavour to make it appear, that, whatever was the Intention of the Author, yet, the manifest Design of his Work, is to overthrow the very Foundation of Faith, and all practical Godliness, and to establish mere Enthusiasm, and strong Delusion, in the Room of the true Religion, revealed and required in the Word.

I. The whole Scheme of Enthusiasm or Delusion, as built on this false Position, That we cannot think upon any Thing invisible or spiritual, without some Degree of Imagination, or, that Images of spiritual Things must be represented to our Fancy, else we can have no thought about them. Accordingly, Mr. Edwards tells us, Edinburgh Edition, Page 26, "Such is our Nature, that we cannot think of Things invisible, without a Degree of Imagination. I dare appeal (says he) to any Man of the greatest Powers of Mind, whether or no he is able to fix his Thoughts on God, or Christ, or the Things of another World, without imaginary Ideas attending his Meditation.——And the more engaged the Mind is, the more lively and strong, will the imaginary Idea ordinarily be." Than which nothing can be more false and {12} absurd; for it is certain, that no Object can enter the Imagination, but which we have seen ourselves before, or has been represented to us by others, as visible or sensible: so that our Senses only, can furnish the Imagination with Object. Now to say, that we can have no Thought or Perception of any Thing in the Understanding, unless we have a sensible Representation of it in the Imagination, is the same as to say, that we can have no Conception of any Thing, but under a corporeal Form; and so, according to Mr. Edwards, we can have no Thought of God, without some visionary Form or Shape, represented to our Imagination, which is most gross and abominable, and was the very first Rise of Idolatry in the World, Rom. 1.21,23, They became vain in their Imaginations, and changed the Glory of the incorruptible God, into an Image made like unto corruptible Man, and to Birds, and fourfooted Beasts, and creeping Things; for it is plain, that they conceived vain Images of him in their Fancy, before they could set up idolatrous Representations of him, in their Temples.

It is true, the Spirit of God in Scripture, in Condescension to our Weakness, represents some of the communicable Perfections of God, under the Resemblance of some of the Members of the human Body, such as the Eye, the Ear, the Hand, and the Feet; not that we should form the least Imagination of any of these bodily Parts to be in God, but be led to a pure Conception of what is intended by these Metaphors. Thus when we hear of an Eye ascribed unto God, we ought to think of his Knowledge, when we read of his Arms and Hands, to think of his Power, and when Bowels are ascribed to him, to think of his Compassion. So Christ is compared to the Sun, to a Vine, to a Rock, not that we should form any Representation of Christ upon our Imagination by these Things, but only to think upon his personal and mediatorial Excellencies signified by these Similitudes. Yea, it is so far from being true that we cannot fix our Thoughts on God, or Christ, without {13} imaginary Ideas, that if there be the least sensible visionary Representation of God or of Christ formed in our Imagination, we do that very Moment think upon a false God and a false Christ. Our Senses and Imagination cannot assist us at all, in thinking upon the Divine Nature and Perfections. What sensible Representation can be formed on the Imagination of the Eternity, Omnipotence, Omniscience, and Omnipresence of God? We are infinitely removed from any Conception of the true God, when the least imaginary Idea of him cleaves to our Meditations. Hence it follows, that the very reverse of what Mr. Edwards says is true, namely, "The more engaged the Mind is, the more lively and strong will the imaginary Idea be." I say, the very reverse of this is true, for the more engaged the Mind is upon any spiritual Object, the more divested will it be, of all imaginary Ideas; Yea, there will be no imaginary Ideas cleaving to the Thought at all; for Instance, In the Act of Believing, or receiving Christ, as revealed and exhibited in the Gospel-Promise, I suppose the Mind is as deeply engaged, as in any other Act whatsoever, but there is not the least imaginary Idea, cleaving to that Act, for if there were the least sensible, or visionary Representation of Christ upon the Imagination, it would not be a believing and crediting the Record of God, but a seeing of a sensible Object. And indeed this visionary Representation of invisible Objects in the Imagination, has been at the Bottom of all the Delusions, that have ever hitherto taken Place in the World, and is the fertile Source of all satanical Imposture. Accordingly we find,

II. That Mr. Edwards acknowledges, that this Work is begun by Representations of dreadful Objects upon the Imagination, which, after violent bodily Agitations, are succeeded by imaginary or visionary Representations, seemingly more agreeable, Page 54, "These that are in such Extremity (viz. of bodily Agony and Pain) very often have a lively Idea of {14} the horrible Pit of eternal Misery, and at the same Time it appears to them, that a great God who has them in his Hands, is exceeding Angry with them, his Wrath appears amazingly terrible to them, God appearing to them so much provoked, and his Wrath so incensed, they are apprehensive of great Danger, that he will now forthwith cut them off, and send them down to the dreadful Pit they have in View.—Very many have an extraordinary Sense of their fully deserving that Wrath and Destruction, which is, N.B. Then in their Eyes." The plain obvious Meaning of all this, is, They have a lively sensible Representation, carried in upon their Imaginations of material Flames, which they apprehend to be the Flames of Hell-Fire, and, that the visionary Representation, may be as horrible and amazingly terrible, as the Cause of it can produce; their Bodies, at the same Time, are seized with violent Agonies and Convulsions, (which is the Extremity Mr. Edwards speaks of) in which Case, they cannot but apprehend, from a natural Consciousness of Guilt which Satan works up to Horror and Despair that they are just ready to drop into that dreadful Pit of Destruction, which, Mr. Edwards says, is then before their Eyes; or, which is the same Thing, of which they have a visionary Representation.

If I had ventured to give such an Account as this, of the Spring and Rise of what they call their Convictions, they would be ready to call it in Question; but I suppose none will discredit the Account, when it comes from Mr. Edwards, whom they set up as a great Patron and Defender of this Work: And that I have given the true meaning of his Words, will further appear, from what he says, Page 55, "There have been some Instances very much like these Demoniacs that we read of, Mark 1.26, chapter 9.26, of whom we read, that when Satan had cried with a loud Voice, and rent them sore, he came out of them. And probably (says he) the Instances were designed for {15} a Type of such Things as these." The Scripture Account of the Demoniac spoken, Mark 9, compared with the parallel Places, amounts to this, Lo a spirit taketh him, and he suddenly crieth out, and it tareth him, that he foameth and gnasheth with his Teeth, and bruising him, he pineth away, and it hardly departeth from him. Now, it is undeniable, that these Agitations and Convulsions spoken of in the Text, were the immediate Effects of a diabolical Possession; and since Mr. Edwards connects such bodily Agonies as these, with the Marks of the true spirit, it is no Wonder that he falls into the terrible Blunder of making the Work of Satan TYPICAL of the Work of the Spirit of God; which, if I had Freedom to use his own Words, Page 63, "Wants but one Thing of the unpardonable Sin, namely, his saying it against inward Conviction."

It is probable that the above Remark of Mr. Edwards, has led Mr. Webster into a Thought, upon this Subject, equally extravagant, "Letter," Page 32, "Allowing (says he) that Satan, who no doubt is present at such Meetings of the Sons of God, was permitted to harass several Persons in this extraordinary Manner, it would no more prove the Work in general, Delusive or Diabolical, than the Charge could be brought against our Saviour, and such as thro' his Word believed on God, Satan being then permitted to tear Multitudes, and cast them down to the Ground." As if Satan had been permitted to tear and cast down to the Ground, Multitudes of these, who, thro' the Word of Christ, believed on God, which is the only Meaning his Words can bear, to make sense of them. But neither Mr. Webster nor any for him, will be capable to make good, that our Saviour's Doctrine was attended with such direful and gloomy SCENES, for there is not the least mention of one, let be Multitudes cast down to the Ground and torn, at any of Christ's Sermons; the Demoniacs {16} were brought to him for a Cure, and it is plain Satan was dispossessed, before any of them believed, and it is as plain that they were never torn and cast down afterwards by him.

Now when Persons are in the above deplorable Condition, having their Imagination filled with most horrible Representations, and their Bodies, at the same Time, under most violent Agonies, attended with a hideous Expectation of the speedy Accomplishment of all their fearful Imaginations, it is no Wonder, that they do most ardently desire present Deliverance at any rate; accordingly Satan, finding them thus prepared, to wish for Ease at any Rate, he suits the Deliverance unto the Nature of the Work, by making a Representation upon their Imagination, of what appears most agreeable to their Senses, attended with a strong Persuasion of the Reality of what they see and hear, and consequently that they are really converted (the Strength of the Delusion lying there) and so they come to be filled with ecstatic Joys and Raptures. This is exactly agreeable to Mr. Edwards own Account of their Outgate, Page 55, "And then (viz. after the Condition above described) Light has appeared, and a glorious Redeemer, with his wonderful All-sufficient Grace, has been represented to them, often in some sweet Invitation of Scripture, some Times the Light comes in suddenly, some Times more gradually, filling their Souls with Love, Joy, &c." And, Page 27, "They have been in a Kind of Ecstasy, wherein they have been carried beyond themselves, and have had their Minds transported into a Train of strong and pleasing Imaginations, and Kind of Visions, as tho' they were wrapt up even to Heaven, and there saw glorious Sights." And after this they cannot endure to have their Conversion so much as questioned; yea it is Blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, according to them, to express the least Suspicion of it. This brings to Remembrance the Words of our LORD, Matth. 12.43-45, {17} When the unclean Spirit is gone out of a Man, he walketh thro' dry Places, seeking rest, and findeth none. Then he saith, I will return unto my House from whence I came out, and when he is come, he findeth it empty, swept and garnished. Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there, and the last state of that Man is worse than the first. Not to insist upon illustrating every Word in this Parable, the scope thereof, as applicable to the present Purpose, seems to be this, namely, When Satan has so filled the Imagination with dreadful Representations, that the Person wants Ease upon any Terms, then, having gained his End, he goes out of the Man in that terrible Shape, or frees his Imagination of these frightful Ideas that haunted it before, and then by the Means of more pleasing and delightful Sensations, he returns unto the Person thus prepared for his more dangerous Reception, with the Devil of Pride, Presumption, confident Persuasion, and the like, attended always with Aversion to any Testimony for the visible Kingdom of Christ; and so the last state of that Man is worse than the first. "All other Reformation (says Mr. Halyburton in his Memoirs) proves but a sweeping and garnishing, while the Soul is empty of Christ: It may be swept from the Filth of flagitious Sins, and garnished with the Paint of Religion, or some Habits of moral Virtue, but none of these will keep out the Devil."

III. Mr. Edwards being abundantly sensible, that there is no Example of such frightful or delightful Sensations and Imaginations above described, to be found in the Experiences of the Saints of God recorded in Scripture; therefore he falls upon the short Way of setting aside Scripture Experiences altogether, from being any Standard, whereby to judge of the Conformity of our Experiences, to the Work of the Spirit of God upon others, as described in the Word; for he says, Page 20, "No Deviation from {18} what has hitherto been usual, let it be never so great, is an Argument that a Work is not a Work of the Spirit of God." And Page 23, He argues, That tho' there be no Instances in Scripture of such extraordinary Effects upon the Bodies of Men, yet there is no Force in the Objection, if there is not a Scripture RULE excluding such Things. We ought indeed to exclude from our Practice and Imitation, every Thing that wants the Authority of Scripture, Rule or Example; but then we justly acknowledge, the binding Force of Scripture Example, even where there is no Scripture Rule expressly enjoining the Thing in as many Words. For it has always been strenuously maintained by Protestants against the Papists, That necessary and evident Scripture Consequences, and all imitable Scripture Examples, are of equal Authority with Scripture Precept. And therefore since the Convulsions, Hysteric Fits, and bodily Agonies, followed with visionary Representations of seemingly delightful Objects, are not recorded, as attending the spiritual Experiences of the Saints, they are contrary to Scripture Example which is the same Thing in this Case, as to be excluded by a Scripture Rule. However, there is no Want of plain Scripture Rule, discharging all imaginary Ideas of God, or which is the same Thing, excluding all sensible Representations of God, or of Christ from our Imaginations, as absolutely unlawful, being directly forbidden both in the first and second Commandments.

But further, in the Room of Scripture-Pattern in the Experiences of the Saints, Mr. Edwards sets up a mechanical extrascriptural Example, whereby he affirms, Persons are greatly affected by seeing others so; For, Page 29, he says, that "The same Thing may be signified more fully and effectually by Actions than by Words." I own in Things mechanical it is so, a Tradesman may shew his Apprentice, how such a Piece of Work is to be done, by doing the like himself, which will be a more affectual Signification of his Mind, than mere verbal Directions could be; but in Things spiritual it is absolutely absurd, for {19} Faith cometh by hearing the Word of God, and not by the Example of any Man whatsomever. I am not here speaking against the Usefulness of Examples in practical Godliness, but of that secret Impulse, communicated by the Example of others, whereby a Person is affected in like Manner, even tho' there be not a Word spoken; for it is of this, and not the former, that Mr. Edwards speaks. Accordingly, Page 29, he adds, "Tho' the Impression that is made upon them should be only by seeing Tokens in the Behaviour of others, without hearing them say one Word;" which is exactly the Language of Quakers, a Branch of that Hellish Scheme, calculated for enervating and overthrowing the divine Authority of the Word, as it is the only Foundation of Faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. And that Mr. Edwards wants to set aside the Word, as the only Rule, at least, in judging and trying this Work, will plainly appear from what he says, Page 44, "Whatever Spirit removes our Darkness, and brings us to the Light, does us a Kindness; if I am brought to a Sight of Truth, and am sensible of Things as they be, my Duty is immediately to thank God for it, without standing first to enquire, by what Means I have such a Benefit;" that is, I am to thank God for such a Benefit, without enquiring whether I have it by the Means of his Word, or by a satanical Imposture, which is quite contrary to the express Letter of the Text, which Mr. Edwards pretends to insist upon, Try the Spirits whether they are of God.

IV. Mr. Edwards, being aware that this Work, which he so much patronizes, cannot stand the Trial of the Distinguishing Marks of a saving Work of Grace upon the Soul, he is therefore, for stating no special Difference between common and saving Grace, or drawing any dividing Line between Saints and Hypocrites in a present World, Page 71, "There is a judging of some Sort or other, that the Scripture very strictly forbids.—'Tis plain, that that Sort of {20} Judging is forbidden, that God claims as his Prerogative, whatever it be.—And if we examine, we shall find, that that Judging of Hearts, that is spoken of as God's Prerogative, is not only the Judging of the Aims and Dispositions of Men's Hearts in particular Actions, but chiefly, a Judging of the STATE of the Hearts of the Professors of Religion, with Regard to that Profession,——to distinguish Hypocrites that have a Form of Godliness from true Saints, is the proper, yea, the main Business of the Day of Judgment; they therefore do greatly err, who take it upon them positively to determine, who are sincere, and who not, and to draw the dividing Line between true Saints and Hypocrites." No reasonable Man ever pretended to judge of Men's Hearts, otherwise than by their outward Actions, this is not the Question in Debate, but the Question is, Whether Ministers ought not doctrinally to declare, that there is a specific Difference between common and saving Grace, and between both these, and the Delusions of SATAN? And consequently, whether they ought not to point out these distinguishing Marks from the Word, and Christians examine themselves thereby, that they may know whether they have Grace in Reality, or the counterfeit of it only: This is what we affirm to be the indispensable Duty, both of Ministers and People; according to 2 Cor. 13.5, Examine yourselves whether ye be in the Faith; which certainly points out the Duty of Ministers, to be very particular in offering distinguishing Marks from the Word, and the Duty of People to examine themselves thereby.

But, Mr. Edwards is against such a narrow and strict Search, it would tend to discover the whole Mystery of Iniquity, that Satan is carrying on by his Devices; and therefore we find, that the positive Marks which he gives of the true Spirit, (summed up, Page 50,) are no way distinguishing; they are such as will agree, not only with common Influences of the Spirit, {21} but even with the Delusions of SATAN. For tho' he is so confident, that he has given a full Enumeration of distinguishing Marks, that he says, they are sufficient to determine this Work to be the Work of God, unless the Apostle John was out of his Rules, And Page 56, "If the Apostle John knew how to give Signs of a Work of the true Spirit, this is such a Work"; Yet it will be obvious to any intelligent Christian, that a Person may have all the Marks he condescends upon, as he treats them, and yet be under a gross Delusion; for he is exceeding lame in his Account, he makes not the least mention of FAITH apprehending Christ in the Word of Promise, nor of the Necessity of it, not a Word of the inward Conflict that is in the Believer with a Body of Sin and Death; nor of a Desire to have the Heart searched by the Candle of the Word, in the Hand of the Spirit of God; nor of any Concern for the declarative Glory of God, and contending for present Truth, in Opposition to the Indifferency and Neutrality of the World; Altho' these, and many more distinguishing Marks, are to be found in the Writings of the Apostle John, from whence Mr. Edwards pretends to have made a full Enumeration of the Marks of the true SPIRIT.

And if it is said for Mr. Edwards, that he is giving the Marks of a divine Influence of the Spirit of God, in Opposition to a Diabolical Influence or Delusion, because he says, Page 49, "There are common Influences of the Spirit which are often mistaken for saving Grace, but these are out of the Question, because, tho' they are not saving, yet they are the work of the true Spirit." And Page 52, "Whether Persons Convictions, and the Alteration in their Dispositions and Affections be in a Degree and Manner that is saving, is beside the present Question." But let it be considered, that as he lays down no Marks of Distinction, between a common Operation of the Spirit, and a Delusion of Satan; so, granting this Work were the Effect of a {22} common Operation of the Spirit, yet, if it goes no further, Persons will be as effectually ruined in the Issue as they could be by satanical Imposture.

Again, It is obvious from the whole Tenor of his Discourse, that it is so laid, as to make People believe, he is giving the Marks of a saving Operation of the Spirit of God on the Souls of Men, and that he is accounting for some uncommon Appearances, that presently attends such a gracious Work; if it were not so, why is it so mightily cried up, as an extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God? why so much Noise about the Numbers of Converts, who are described and pointed out as gracious Persons, in all the Papers published in Defence of this Work? and, why are they declared guilty of the Unpardonable SIN against the HOLY GHOST, who speak a Word against it? as Mr. Edwards does, Page 63, and I find all the Writers on that Side, especially the Clergy, copy after his Example, which indeed is an effectual Way to impose upon the ignorant; but they that know their God, will not be so easily beat out of their Religion and Reasons by big Words.

Further, Mr. Willison, who may be supposed to have perused this Sermon of Mr. Edwards; says of it in his Preface thereto, That "it will prove most useful to the Church, for discerning a true and real Work of the Spirit of God, and for guarding against Delusions and Mistakes." By a true and real Work of the Spirit of God, he cannot but mean a saving Work, else he imposes upon the World, by such a Preface, wherein he says, The Lord is "come suddenly into his Temple, by a glorious Ministration of his Spirit with the Word, first in America, then in Britain itself, particularly in several Places of the West of Scotland, whereby many are awakened and converted from Sin to God." But after all, as I hinted before, none of the positive Marks, especially as Mr. Edwards explains them (and which I need not here transcribe, the Book being so common) will {23} serve to prove this Work to be the Effect of divine Influence; they may be found every one of them in a Person that is under a Delusion of Satan. Many judicious Divines, such as Guthrie, Shepherd, Burgess, and others, do evince from the Word, that Hypocrisy and Delusion, may be attended with higher Marks, than any that Mr. Edwards has condescended upon.

From what has been said, it too evidently appears, that this grand Performance of Mr. Edwards, so much applauded by the Promoters of this Work, is just calculated for supporting Enthusiasm, and consequently for razing the very Foundation of Faith, and all practical Godliness; And therefore, I am sorry, that Mr. Willison has so rashly (to say no worse) recommended to the Scots Reader, what is so manifestly eversive of all true Religion, and directly contrary to all that he formerly preached and published to the World, till of late, and shall earnestly wish He and others may in Time see their Mistake, and honestly retract what they have done.

Altho' Mr. Robe says, it would be superfluous and unnecessary to answer a-part after Mr. Edwards, yet, he thinks fit to observe the following REMARKS, some of which, by the By, are the same, with what Mr. Edwards observed before Him.

First, Mr. Robe observes, Preface, pages 7,8, "That there are some, who do not cry out in the Congregation, neither have any of the foresaid bodily Seizures, who have been under a Law-Work for some Months, and are, as far as we can know the State of another, savingly converted. And there are others, who have been under the severest bodily Distress, in whom the Work of Conviction and Conversion, as to the main Strokes of them, answer to the former, as Face to Face in a Glass." Hence he infers, That no thinking Person will conclude, that all is Delusion with the latter, merely because their Bodies were strangely disordered, seeing {24} they have the same uncontestable Evidences of Conversion with the former.

To this I answer, (1) Altho' Mr. Webster, artfully insinuates, Letter, Page 12, That it has been charged upon the Gentlemen of the Secession, as he calls them, and drawn as an Inference from their Writings, "That not one Soul can be converted within the Pale of the Established Church of Scotland;" yet none of these Ministers ever said so, and, I believe never thought so; yea, as I hinted before, they would rejoice to see Thousands for One really converted, and, that the gathering of the People were indeed into Shiloh: I may add further, that their Charity is not so narrow, but that they think, that many are in the Established Church, and carried off with the Delusions of the Day, who were formerly, and consequently still are, gracious Persons, whose Eyes the Lord may yet open in his Time. But then (2) The uncontestable Evidences of Conversion, as enumerated either by the Narrative, or by Mr. Edwards, or by Mr. Webster, falling far short of the distinguishing Marks of a saving Work of the Spirit of God; Persons that have no other Evidences, whether such as have been under the severest bodily Distress, or such as have had none of these bodily Seizures; they may exactly correspond to one another, as Face answereth Face in a Glass, and yet be both under a gross Delusion. For my Part, I should think myself unfaithful to my Trust, as a Minister, if I made People depend solely upon such Evidences of Conversion, as I find insisted upon by the Promoters of this Work. Let the following Scriptures be considered, Ezra 9.6 to the end; Psalm 106.6,7, &c.; Ezek. 9.4; Rom. 7.21,23,24.

The Second Remark that Mr. Robe makes, is, That "Faintings, Hysteric-fits, Convulsions, bodily Agonies and Strugglings," may be the Effects "of sudden Fears, a great Sorrow upon worldly Grounds;" and therefore he sees no Reason, "why legal Terrours and Fears, and a strong Apprehension {25} of the Wrath of God in Persons,——should not have the like Effects upon their Bodies."

As Mr. Robe has this Remark entirely from Mr. Edwards, so I have answered it above: It is obvious to any that understands Philosophy, or common SENSE, That these bodily Agitations and Agonies, can be nothing else, but the Effects of a strong Impulse upon the Imagination, and cannot possibly be the immediate Effects of any Actings of the superiour Faculties of the Soul, such as the Understanding and Will; These can produce no such Effects as are here mentioned: And therefore, since it is not pretended, in the present Case, that these Faintings, Convulsions, &c. are the Effects of sudden Fear or Grief on worldly Grounds, it is impossible, but that they must flow from a worse Cause. The Seat of the Operations of the Holy Spirit, is the superiour Powers of the Soul. SATAN has easy Access to the Imagination: All horrible or pleasing visionary Representations that are formed there, are from him only, 2 Thess. 2.9-11.

Mr. Robe observes Thirdly, That "There is much Reason to conclude, That the Work of God in converting many, in several Parishes in the Shire of Air, and other Places in the West, from the Year 1625 to 1630, was attended with much the same Appearances as this now." And so he transcribes at large the Account, which the Author of the Fulfilling of the Scripture gives, of what was then nick-named the Stewartoun Sickness. Mr. Webster imagines this Story makes so much for their Purpose, that he likewise gives it Room in his Letter, Page 37, so that I need not transcribe it a third Time, since it is now so current. From the said Quotation, Mr. Robe infers, "The Similitude and Likeness of this Work amongst us, unto that referred to, seems evident; and can these bodily Effects mentioned, be just Grounds of Objection against this Work now, and not also against the other?" But I must be allowed to shew, that {26} there is the widest Difference between this present Work, and the Work of God, then, in every Respect.

1st. It must be observed, that the Author of the Fulfilling of the Scripture, is there giving Instances of the remarkable Outlettings of the Spirit, attending the Ministry of these, who were honoured to be most instrumental, in carrying on Reformation-Work. The first Instance he gives, is the Success that attended the Ministry of our first Reformers, such as, Luther, Melancton, Zuinglius, and others abroad; and Mr. George Wishart at home: And then he mentions the extraordinary Outletting of the Spirit in the West of Scotland, about the Year 1625 (quoted by Messrs. Robe and Webster) accompanying the Ministry of these who were bearing any Testimony at that Time, under hot Persecution from the prelatic Party, particularly at Irvine, under the Ministry of the famous Mr. Dickson. And after other Instances of the like Nature, he speaks of the "Remarkable Time, wherein the Lord did let forth much of the Spirit on his People in the Year 1638, when this Nation did so solemnly enter into Covenant.—Then did the Nation own the Lord, and was visibly owned by him; much Zeal and an enlarged Heart, did appear for the publick Cause." So that the Author is speaking of the Outlettings of the Spirit that have accompanied public as well as personal Reformation. But can any of the Promoters of this Work allege for themselves, that they are making the least Essay towards publick Reformation, as it has been owned and professed in these Lands? Nay, as shall afterwards be made appear, they are doing what they can to obliterate the Memory of Scotland's covenanted Reformation, and to raze all Concern thereanent out of the Minds of the People.

Again, the Lord's Work at Irvine, at the Time mentioned, was not attended with such cloudy Appearances, as cleave unto the present Work amongst us. All that is said of the People at that Time is, "Many {27} were so shocked, and taken by the Heart, that, thro' Terror, the Spirit in such a Measure, convincing them of Sin in hearing of the Word, they have been made to fall over, and thus carried out of the Church, who afterward proved most solid and lively Christians."

This Passage Mr. Webster thinks is so much to the Point in hand, that he cannot omit transcribing it, Letter, Page 36. But it is observable, that the Occasion of their falling over was the overpowering Influence of the Spirit of God upon their Souls, in the hearing of the Word, which is not refused in some Circumstances; but, in the present Case, Multitudes fall over without hearing a Word spoken, as Mr. Edwards allows to be the Case Abroad, unto which it is granted, that the Work at Home is similar, and known in this Instance to be so in Fact, severals having owned, that it was not by Means of any Word spoken, or brought to their Remembrance, that they underwent bodily Seizures: But, besides, there is no Mention [in the accounts quoted from the Fulfilling of the Scripture] of their bitter Outcryings, Convulsions, bodily Agonies, and Strugglings, which are the ordinary Concomitants of the present Work. Further, they had no such frequent Meetings on Week Days, as take Place in the present case, to the manifest Detriment of relative and stational Duties. The Author says only, That "few Sabbaths did pass without some evidently being converted." And, as it is the manifest Scope of the Author in the Place quoted, to give Instances of the Power of God accompanying the Ministry of these who were essaying Reformation Work, so it may be justly inferred, that these People espoused the Testimony of their Day, the Reverse whereof is the sad and dismal Effect of the present Work.

Since then the Instruments whom the Lord employed in the West of Scotland, at the Time spoken of, were Men who were the Objects of hot prelatic Persecution, because they witnessed against them, as {28} is fairly enough insinuated by the Author; and since it was by the Means of Gospel Ordinances orderly dispensed, that the Spirit of the Lord was poured down upon the Souls of People, in Time of Hearing, in such a plentiful Measure, that their frail Bodies were inactive for a While, without the least Agony, Convulsion, or Struggling; and since the present Work has all the contrary Appearances attending it, it plainly follows that there is no Similitude between this and the former: And therefore, since Messrs. Robe and Webster have been searching the Author of the Fulfilling of the Scripture, in quest of an Example of this Work, which they so much cry up, I shall put them in Mind of a Passage, from the same Author, much nearer the Point in Hand in all Respects: Great Appearances of God for his Church under the New Testament, Page 201: Wherever, "in any of the Churches the Lord hath had some special Work on Foot, and the Interest of the Gospel gaining Ground, Satan there hath followed the same remarkably with some close and subtle Assault, in bringing forth something of his Work in Resemblance thereto, to beget Prejudice against the Way of Truth. It was unquestionably one of the most searching Trials the German Church had, by that strange Appearance of the Anabaptists there. But this being so notour and publick in the Histories of these late Times, besides other remarkable Instances of the like Kind, I forbear to mention it further; one memorable Passage, that is less known to many, may be for some Advantage, and confirming to the Truth, the inserting of it here: When the Gospel was flourishing in the Church of Ireland by the Ministry of some eminent Servants of Christ, who were labouring there some Years before the Rebellion, and a most extraordinary Time of the Power of the Spirit following the Ordinances, when others of Satan's Devices, to cast a Let in the Way, had proved abortive, this {29} great Destroyer was at last let loose in a strange Manner, to essay a Counterfeit of the Work of the Lord there. This first began about Locklearn upon several ignorant Persons, who, in the Midst of the publick Worship, fell a breathing and panting, as these who had run long, with strange Pangs like Convulsions: yea, thus they were affected whatever Purpose was preached, even by such Ministers who were known Enemies to the Truth, the Number of whom still increased thro' several Parishes for a Time. At first both Ministers and Christians were put to a Stand; but afterward, upon further Discovery of the Tendency of their Way, and finding no solid convincing Work, which had therewith any Sense of their Sin, or panting after a Saviour, did quickly perceive this to be one of the Depths of Satan, and his Design to slander and disgrace the Work of the Lord.———Yea, it was evident, how such did continue afterwards rude, profane, and ignorant. Thro' this Engine did the Devil thus drive to beget Prejudices amongst those who did but look on at a Distance against the Power and Life of Religion."

The fourth Remark Mr. Robe makes, is, "That, in New England, where Hundreds were affected in their Bodies, the same Way severals with us are. The most Part of these who were thought to be convicted, have continued now for some Years to profess serious Religion, and to practice it, without returning to their former Follies: And, shall we not hope the same of these converted amongst us, seeing also they have continued for several Months———in a desirable Way?"

As to the Work in New England, the Reader may judge of it, from an Account given thereof, in a Protestation presented to the Synod of Philadelphia, June 1, 1741, printed at Philadelphia the said Year, and subscribed by twelve Ministers and eight Elders, where, speaking of Mr. Gilbert Tennent, and others of Mr. {30} Whitefield's Adherents, they testify, Page 11, against "Their preaching the Terrors of the Law in such Manner and Dialect as has no Precedent in the Word of God, but rather appears to be borrowed from a worse Dialect; and so industriously working on the Passions and Affections of weak Minds, as to cause they cry out in a hideous Manner, and fall down in Convulsive-like Fits, to the marring of the profiting both of themselves, and others, who are so taken up in seeing and hearing these odd Symptoms, that them cannot attend to hear what the Preacher says; and then, after all, boasting, of these Things as the Work of God, which we are persuaded do proceed from an inferior or worse Cause." This concurring Testimony of so many Ministers and Elders of the Presbyterian Persuasion who had full Access to know the State of Matters as to Religion in our American Colonies, will certainly find Credit with all sober thinking Persons. And if we judge of the Continuance of a Profession in New England, by the Continuance of it, such as it was, in several Places of the West of Scotland, we cannot but conclude, that there is little of a Profession to be found among that People by this Time; for it is most remarkable, that, within the Space of less than eight Months, this Work is as suddenly decaying in the Place where it began, as it arose at first, and in other Places it has begun and decayed in much shorter Time, even altho' all possible Means have been used to preserve it in Vigour; and it is obvious to common Observation, that it has happened (at least to these who were immoral, and had not a Profession before) according to the true Proverb, 2 Peter 2.22, The Dog is turned to his own Vomit again, and the Sow that was washed to her wallowing in the Mire.

Under this Head Mr. Robe pretends, "To give Instances from the holy Scripture, of Things exactly similar to these bodily Distresses (which he says are to be found) in our Case." But, because {31} Mr. Webster mentions these Instances more distinctly, I shall consider them as they stand in his Letter, Pages 35,36. For a Scripture Instance of crying out under the Ministry of the Word; or in Time of publick Worship, he cites Acts 2.37, and tells us, That, "three Thousand wounded Souls cried out at once." Whereas the Text runs thus, When they heard this, they were pricked in their Heart, and said unto Peter, and to the rest of the Apostles, Men and Brethren, What shall we do? Here there is not the least Mention of crying or screaming, but only that they said or spoke with that Calmness and Composure of Mind, which attends the Operations of the true Spirit. Nor is it said that they spoke all at once, as Mr. Webster affirms, which would make a confused and unintelligible Sound; nor that they spoke in the Time of Peter's Sermon, but after he had finished and applied his Discourse, verse 36, the Success thereof appeared in a convincing Work of the Spirit of God, which was intimated to him, and the rest of the Apostles, by severals of the Multitude, verse 37, some speaking (in that Interval) to one of the Apostles, and some to another: Whereupon Peter begins another Discourse suitable to their Case, verse 38, a great Part whereof is not recorded; for it is said, verse 40, That with many other Words he did testify and exhort. The Issue of all was, verse 41, That the same Day there were added unto them about three Thousand Souls: So that this Passage makes nothing for the bitter Out-cryings that have been heard among the People at Cambuslang, Kilsyth, and other Places, in Time of publick Worship, to the marring of both their own and the Edification of others. And the other Text which he quotes from Mr. Edwards will make as little for his Purpose, Psalm 32.2, When I kept Silence, my Bones waxed old through my roaring all the Day long. If Mr. Webster had proved that this roaring was in Time of publick Worship, it had been to the Point; but I suppose that tho' the roaring be {32} taken in a literal Sense, it will be granted that it was in Secret, and none disturbed therewith. However, if this roaring is to be understood literally of a great Noise, why are not other Expressions of the like Nature to be taken in a literal Sense likewise? Such as, My Moisture is turned into the Drought of Summer; my Loins are filled with a loathsome Disease; my Heart is smitten and withered like the Grass; and my Bones are burnt as an Hearth. Which Passages, and the like, if literally understood, would be inconsistent with natural Life; and therefore all sound Interpreters understand them in a spiritual Sense, as expressive of the Degree of the Soul's Exercise.

Again, for Scripture Instances of trembling, fainting, falling down as dead, he cites the Jailor, Paul at his Conversion, and the Apostle John in the Isle of Patmos. As for the Jailor, there was a Concurrence of extraordinary Providences that occasioned his trembling, which cannot be pled in the present Case: The Foundations of the Prison were shaken by a great Earthquake, and immediately all the Doors were opened, and everyone's Bands were loosed, Acts 16.26. This, together with his being happily prevented from Self-murder, and disappointed of his Fears with respect to the Escape of the Prisoners, made him come trembling, and fall down before Paul and Silas, in a Way of civil Homage only, it being the Custom of the eastern Nations to pay their Respects in such a humble prostrate Manner, as the Continuators of Pool observe on this Place; and it was after all this that the Man's Conscience was thoroughly awakened, when he said, verse 30, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? As for the Instance of Paul's falling to the Ground, Acts 9.4, upon Occasion of a Light from Heaven shining round about him, it is plain, that, as he was to be employed in the Office of an Apostle, so he behoved to have an immediate Commission from the Lord Jesus, which he received at that Time, Acts 26.16. But there can be no Argument drawn from this as a {33} Precedent for falling down, when no such extraordinary Occasion for it can be pretended. And tho' it be said, Rev. 1.17, That the Apostle John fell down as dead, upon the glorious Vision that he had of the Son of God, or that Daniel had no Strength remaining in him, upon the same Occasion; Can there be any Argument drawn from these extraordinary Privileges conferred upon eminent Saints of God, and the Effects of them, to support the bodily Agonies of ignorant People, who are not so much as alledged to be converted while in that dismal Case? Upon the Whole, Mr. Webster and others must not imagine that their bare mentioning of the above Instances, will pass for Argument; for, let the Matter be narrowly examined, and it will be found, that there is not the least Shadow of an Example in Scripture that runs parallel to the Faintings, Down-fallings, Convulsions, and Strugglings, that take Place at present, excepting the Instances of the Demoniacks, Mark 9.18, Luke 9.39, which the Reader may consult.

Lastly, Mr. Robe, Preface, page 10, seriously begs of those who look upon this Work as a Delusion, that they would direct him and other Ministers, how they shall answer distressed Persons, who come to them crying bitterly, What shall we do to be saved? And accordingly he wants Direction what to answer in the following Cases, which he proposes by Way of Question, as so many natural Consequences of reckoning this the Work of the Devil. Question 1st, "Shall we tell them they are not christless and unconverted, when we evidently see many of them to be such?" Answer. By no Means, only beware of looking upon Persons to be christless and unconverted, merely because they are Seceders, as Mr. Robe does, Narrative, Page 27, where he says that the Ten or Twelve who deserted his Ministry, "Were of no Consideration as to serious Religion, or even Knowledge, except one, who sometime since saw his Error, and returned." Whereas it is well known that the Seceders {34} in that Parish are, in the Judgment of Charity, of as great Consideration, as to serious Godliness, as any that Mr. Robe can boast of in his Congregation; and as for their Knowledge, so far as I am informed, I would not be afraid to venture them upon a comparative Trial with the new Converts themselves. Question 2nd, "Shall we tell them, that their Fears of the Wrath of God, is all but Delusion?" Answer. If their Fears are the Effect of a heated Imagination, and flow from a sensible Representation of horrible Objects upon their Fancy, do not fail to tell them, That this is nothing else but Delusion. Question 3rd, "Shall we tell Persons lamenting their Cursing, Swearing, Sabbath-breaking, and other Immoralities, that it is the Devil who makes them see those Evils to be offensive to God, and destructive to their Souls?" Answer. Altho' the Devil cannot make them see these, or any other Evils, as they are offensive to God, yet he may prompt them to rest in a partial Reformation, well knowing that Publicans and Harlots will enter into the Kingdom of Heaven or be more easily reclaimed than self-righteous Persons. Question 4th, "Shall we tell them, who, under the greatest Uneasiness, enquire at us, What they shall do to get an Interest and Faith in Jesus Christ, that Satan is deluding them, when they shew any Concern this Way?" Answer. If it is Ease from their frightful Apprehensions that they want upon any Terms, or if they are looking for an Interest in Christ, upon their own Doings in Whole or in Part, or upon their own Act of believing, and are not brought quite off from a Righteousness within them, to receive and rest upon Christ alone in his Word, whatever Concern they may seem to have, Satan is certainly deluding them. Question 5th, "Shall we pray, and recommend it to them to pray to deliver them from such Delusions." Answer. By all Means, as you would desire to recover them out of the Snare of the Devil, who are taken Captive by him at his Will. Upon the Whole, Mr. {35} Robe says, "It would be worse than devilish to treat the Lord's sighing Prisoners at this Rate." What is worse than devilish, I know not; I find that the frightful Terms relative to the Devil and Hell, are the very Shibboleth of the Party; but if I know any Thing worse than devilish, I think Ministers persuading poor ignorant and deluded People, that they are privileged Persons, comes nearest to it; whereas they ought to call them to search and try their Ways, and turn again to the Lord, to examine themselves whether they be in the Faith, and to cause Jerusalem to know her Abominations, Ezek. 16.2. And like faithful Watchmen to hear the Word at God's Mouth, and to give the People Warning from him. But it is Matter of Regret, that it seems to be sadly verified with respect to the Promoters of this Work, what the Lord says, Jer. 6.13,14,—From the Prophet even unto the Priest, every one dealeth falsely. They have healed also the Hurt of the Daughter of my People slightly, saying, Peace, Peace, when there is no Peace.

There are two Objections which Mr. Robe endeavours to remove, which, I believe, will stand in full Force after all.

The first is, "That it cannot be the Work of the Holy Ghost, and any real true Conversion, which is so open to publick Notice, and makes so much Noise; for our Lord saith, Luke 17.20, The Kingdom of God cometh not with Observation." For the Removal of this Objection, after an angry Criticism upon the Greek Word, which is so little to his Purpose, that it makes against himself: He alleges (as Mr. Edwards had done before him) "That our Lord doth not in the least insinuate, that the coming of the Kingdom of God, in the Conversion of Jews and Gentiles, was to be silently set up without Noise and unobserved. Did not the Conversion at Samaria quickly reach the Ears of the Church at Jerusalem? Were not the Conversions {36} from Paganism to Christianity with Observation?" All this is but a weak and trifling Evasion; for tho' the Apostles which were at Jerusalem, heard that Samaria had received the Word of God, Acts 8.14, And tho' the Conversion of the Jews will be observed when it shall please the Lord to bring about that glorious Event; yet what says this to the Ostentation and outward Shew wherewith this Work is attended; for the Objection is, that both the Promoters of this Work, and they who are ensnared therein, makes so much Noise about their Conversion, and the Number of their Converts, that it is inconsistent with that Modesty and Humility which is the inseparable Concomitant of a Work of God. The Flattering and great swelling Words of Vanity, wherewith Messrs. Whitefield, Webster, and others, set off this Work, are truly grating to the Ears of any humble and self-denied Christian. Who ever denied that the Work is observable? for so is every remarkable Thing in the Word whether it be good or evil. But it is their vain-glorious boasting of it, and their high Encomiums of themselves in their Journals, Histories, and Pamphlets, wherewith the World is dunn'd. This we say, is contrary to the Character of the Kingdom of God, which cometh not with Observation, for the Kingdom of God is not in Word, but in Power, 1 Cor. 4.20. Our Life is hid with Christ in God. The more of God, and the less of Man is seen in any Work, it speaks out so much the more to be of God. The Saints of God cannot endure to draw the Admiration of the World after them; Not unto us, not unto us, O Lord, but to thy Name give the Glory. It is the Character of the Beast to have all the World wondering after him, Rev. 13.3. It is most observable that the Lord was not in the strong Wind, nor in the Earthquake, nor in the Fire, but in the still small Voice, 1 Kings 19.11,12. And therefore we may safely conclude, that Noise, Self-commendation, and Applause, are the true Characteristics or Marks {37} of Deceivers, Imposters, and such as are under palpable Delusion; and consequently the Objection holds firm against this noisy Work, The Kingdom of God cometh not with Observation.

The other Objection, Preface, pages 12,13, is taken from the Camizars [Camisards], "And it is pretended (says Mr. Robe) that their Case is the same with ours, and seeing they were under Delusion, this must be a Delusion also." In answer to this, he alleges, "That there is the greatest Disparity and Unlikeness between the Case of the Camizars, and those affected among us." And he endeavours to shew the Disparity in several Instances, none of which will hold, tho' he has Mr. Webster's Testimony, Letter, page 33, for shewing accurately the great Disparity.

(1.) He says, "The Camizars had their bodily Agitations from a supernatural Power. The Distresses upon the Bodies of our People proceed in a natural Way from the great Fear of God's Wrath." I have shewn above from Mr. Edwards, that their Fears of Wrath, arise from sensible Representations of horrible Objects upon their Imagination; these Representations are not natural else they would be more universal. They cannot proceed from the Spirit of God as I have proven before; for the Spirit deals with the superior Faculties of the Soul, in a rational Way. In and by the Word, enlightening and informing the Understanding, and renewing and swaying the Will. And therefore since these frightful Representations upon the Imagination are not natural, and since they cannot be impressed by the Spirit of God, it remains that they must be Impulses of Satan, and consequently the Fears that issue from them, must of Necessity proceed from Satanical Influence; especially when there can be no Instance given in Scripture, that the Operations of the Spirit of God in his convincing Work, have any such dreadful Effects upon the Bodies of Men, as take Place in the present Case. {38}

(2.) "The Camizars pretended Inspiration, and understood not sometimes what they uttered; none of our People ever pretended in the least to Inspiration, they give a rational Account of themselves." In answer to this, Mr. Edwards acknowledges that the Work in New-England, to which this in Scotland is so exactly similar, is attended with Inspiration, and tho' he allows that extraordinary Gifts will cease in what he calls the adult State of the Church, i.e. when publick Charity or boundless Toleration will take Place every where, yet he argues nothing against new Inspirations after the Canon of the Scripture is concluded. Besides it is obvious to the Observation of all, that the People among us, who undergo these bodily Seizures, presently turn eloquent, and can talk fluently upon some Scriptures, tho' grossly ignorant before, of the very first Principles of Religion, and if this is not Inspiration, I know not what it is. And herein the Similitude to the Camizars holds, for so soon as the diabolick Spirit seized them, presently they talked in Rapture.

(3.) "The Camizars (says Mr. Robe) continued many Years under their bodily Agitations, whenever their pretended Inspirations seized them, but our People are delivered from these bodily Distresses, which do not return to them again, when they are delivered from their Fears." It would seem then that their Fears frequently recur, for it is most certain that many of them undergo these bodily Distresses over and over again; So that in this Instance the Similitude holds likewise.

(4.) "Among the Camizars, their pretended inspired Teachers only were affected: amongst us (says he) only some of our Hearers." Herein Mr. Robe mistakes the Story, for there are many Instances in the History of the French Prophets, wherein Hundreds at a Time, who came to their Assemblies, were presently affected, and seized with bodily Agitations, and they pretended to the Power of the Holy {39} Spirit, as much as Mr. Robe can do for his Hearers.

Lastly, Mr. Robe says that "the Exhortations of the Camizars to Repentance and Amendment of Life were without any Mixture of the Gospel concerning Jesus Christ.—In ours, a Work of Conviction is carried on to Conversion, according to the Doctrine of the Gospel." Herein also, Mr. Robe, in order to fix a Disparity between his People and the Camizars, does them manifest Injustice, for they pretended at least to sound Doctrine, as Lacy in his Preface to his Cry from the Desert, says of them, page 13, "They all hold the Truth as it is in Jesus: He is, among them, the Foundation and Corner-Stone. Whoever teaches a different Gospel, and derogates from the Honour of our Lord, let him be with us, Anathema Maranatha. The two great Commandments, whereon hang all the Law and the Prophets, are urgently enforced in their Extasies.—And the Scriptures directed to be read as the supreme Rule of Faith and Manners." But, as I shall agree with Mr. Robe, that the true Gospel of Jesus Christ was far from being mixed with the Exhortations of the Camizars, so I am afraid the same Charge may be laid against many of the Promoters of this Work amongst us, especially if we are to judge by the printed Rhapsodies of Mr. Whitefield.

Thus we have seen that there is no Disparity betwixt the Camizars, and the Subjects of this extraordinary Work amongst us, in the above Particulars mentioned by Mr. Robe. I might further shew the exact Resemblance between them in several other Instances. The Camizars published Narratives of the wonderful Work among them, just like Mr. Robe's Narrative of the extraordinary Work with him, only with the Difference that Mr. Lacy is so honest as to publish the Names of the Persons, who were the Subjects of that awful Delusion. Mr. Robe thinks {40} fit for very good Reasons to conceal the Names of these he speaks of, Mr. Lacy publishes his Account in the Words of the Persons themselves, and accordingly there is a discernable Variety of Style. In Mr. Robe's Narrative there is an exact Uniformity of Style, which renders it the more suspicious. Further the Camizars took upon them to exhort at their own Hand, without any lawful Calling, under a delusive Pretense of Inspiration, and it is well known that there have been several publick Exhorters among the Subjects of this Work both at home and abroad, whose Success is mightily boasted of, particularly by Mr. Webster, Letter, page 8, "Knowing the Terror of the Lord they persuade Men, having tasted also that he is gracious, they commend his precious Grace.—Their Labour of Love indefatigable:—their Success great, insomuch that Numbers, now in a promising Way, date their first Concern from hearing others declare what God had done for their Souls." Altho' this Practice has been owned by all sound Divines to be a manifest Stratagem of the Devil, to discredit a standing Ministry. Again the same bodily Agitations were to be found among the Camizars as among the People here, the same Noise and Ostentation, and upon all the same pretended Evidences of a Work of God, and as solemn a Renunciation of the Devil as having any Share in it.

For a Proof of this, let us compare the Evidences that Mr. Webster gives of Divine Influence as the true Spring of the extraordinary Work here, with the Evidences which Sir Richard Buckley and Mr. Lacy give of the Communication of the sanctifying Grace of God to the Souls of the Camizars, and we will find that they exactly hit, as Face answereth to Face in a Glass. Faithful Account of the French Prophets, page 22, "As to the Communication of the sanctifying Grace of God to the Souls of those who believe in, and attend upon this Dispensation: It is no unreasonable Request that I make (says the {41} above Sir Richard Buckley) in desiring not to be bound down to answer for every Individual Person that is outwardly a Professor.—There was a Judas among the Twelve, and an Ananias among those that pretended to sell their Estates to give to the Poor. But as far as I can observe from the Acquaintance of many Months, it has in many produced these several Effects, of Meekness, Patience under Injuries, a Contempt of the World, a Dread and Hatred of all Sin, a Love and Delight in secret Prayer, and an entire Humility to the very Dust, an insatiable Thirst after continual attending upon the Worship of God in the Assemblies, either in praying to him, or hearing his Word, an extensive Charity to Mankind of all Sorts, and a Comportment in the World agreeable hereto.—I can never have the least Doubt or Suspicion that so good and so constant Operations, as the Love of God, the Hatred of one's Self, and a voluntary Separation of Soul from the Pleasures of this Life, a full Contentment in the Want of human Consolations, and Joy in Hardships (all which I have seen exemplified) could possibly proceed from an evil Spirit." And, says Mr. Lacy, ibid. page 42, "The Spirit insisting chiefly and forcibly upon the great Duties of sincere and fervent Love to God and Man, and drawing all Parties among us to an actual Union, that silences all Variance about Party Opinions, and brings the several Sects into one Bond of Affection under itself, doth thereby give another Instance, wherein it savours not of infernal Qualities, but rather of the holy uniting Spirit which animated the primitive Christians, and proceeds of that God who is Love itself. A Spirit exhorting its Adherents to Self-denial.—A Spirit which takes away the Occasions of Pride in Man, and by various Ways of its Operations tends to abase him throughly, a Spirit which gratifies not the particular Corruptions, and sinful Infirmities {42} of its Followers;—but on the contrary puts them upon repeated Performance of the opposite Virtues.—And as hitherto I am assured of its good Effects above-mentioned, so while they continue witnessed by, and felt in my own Soul, I shall rather incur the Displeasure of all the World than God's, by charging them on the Devil." Now let us see how Mr. Webster proves that Divine Influence is the true Spring of the extraordinary Work at Cambuslang, &c. Letter, pages 7,8, "You'll readily ask what Fruit have these Things? Does their Faith work by Love?—Yes, my Friend, and that too in a most remarkable Manner. Their Faith daily ripens into Action.—They esteem all God's Precepts concerning all Things to be right.—The Lives of the Profane are visibly reformed.—Relative Duties conscientiously discharged.—The high Praises of God employ the Tongue of Blasphemers.—Praise is perfected out of the Mouth of Babes and Sucklings.—Grosser Sinners profess the greatest Remorse for the Acts of Injustice.—Never did any Converts appear endowed with more of a truly Christian Spirit.—Their Souls burn with Love to God—to one another, and to all that bear the Divine Image. They cheerfully forgive their Enemies, and wish well to their Fellow-creatures. Page 18. The Devil himself, was he not the Father of Liars, would, methinks, be ashamed to call this his Work, or claim the Converts as his Children. Page 24. Shall we believe the most glorious, the most substantial, the most real Blessings, the Product of mere Imagination, the Offspring of a deluded Brain! Thrice happy Delusion! O my Soul, may I ever thus be deceived, and ever feel the same blessed Effects." Now when these two Accounts are stated and compared where lies the Difference? The Evidence of a Divine Influence is as strong for the Camizars as for the Subjects of this extraordinary Work in the West of {43} Scotland. The pretended Effects are the same. For my Part, I can see no other Difference but this, that Mr. Webster's Account is more theatrical, and consequently has more of the Fiction or Invention, than the plain and simple Account of the two Gentlemen above-mentioned; and therefore since it is owned by all that the Camizars, notwithstanding of all their pretended Evidences of a divine Influence, were under a manifest Delusion, it follows that the People here, for whom no better Evidences can be produced, must be under the same, till it please the Lord to give them a Discovery of their Mistake, which I hope and wish he will do in his Time.

I shall now consider the Principles of the Promoters of this Work, especially with respect to a boundless Toleration and Liberty of Conscience. It has been constantly observed, that the Ring-leaders of Enthusiasm have strenuously set up for a boundless Liberty to all Sects and Opinions, especially such as relate to different Modes of Government and Policy in the Church of God. The Reason is obvious; for the Government established by Christ in his House, is the best, yea the only Fence, against the diverse and strange Doctrines that may happen to be advanced and propagated to the Prejudice of the Truth as it is in Jesus; and therefore the strongest Batteries of Hell have been always planted against the Walls and Bulwarks of Zion, because if a Breach is once made on these, Error, Delusion, and all Manner of Abomination, has easy Access unto the City of God. And accordingly we find that the Testimony and Sufferings of the Church of Scotland, ever since the Reformation have been chiefly stated upon Defence of that Purity of Presbyterial Church Government and Discipline which we happily attained unto, in Opposition to a lordly Prelacy upon the one Hand, and Sectarian Anarchy or Confusion upon the other.

When Matters were come to that Pass in the Church of Scotland of late Years, that pleading with {44} the Judicatures by Instructions, Petitions, and Representations, were not only utterly disregarded, but some of the now seceding Ministers ejected, for no other Reason but because they could not withdraw a Protestation entered before the General Assembly 1733, for their just Rights and Privileges as Ministers of the Gospel, to testify doctrinally and judicially against the Defections of the Times; there were some Ministers about that Time, who appeared somewhat zealous against the arbitrary Measures that were then entered into. Severals of them had in the Year 1732 subscribed a Representation (wherein the now seceding Ministers joined) and presented it to the Assembly the said Year, for the Redress of many of these Steps of Defection, which are afterwards mentioned in the Act and Testimony emitted by the Associate Presbytery; which Representation was refused a Hearing by that Assembly, whereupon such of the subscribing Ministers as were present offered a Protestation for Exoneration, which was also refused to be marked. The Zeal that appeared in these Ministers about that Time, made the Brethren entertain such a favourable Opinion of them, that when their Secession was first stated, November 1735, they declared their Readiness to hold Communion with all such who were adhering "to the Principles of the true Presbyterian covenanted Church of Scotland, in her Doctrine, Worship, Discipline and Government, and who were affected with the Evils complained of, and were wrestling against the same." And afterwards in their Declinature given in to the Assembly 1739, they "intreat and beseech such Ministers and Elders who regard the covenanted Testimony of the Church of Scotland, that for the Love they bear to the Honour and Glory of the Redeemer, and his despised Truths, as also that they may be in a Capacity to transmit a faithful Testimony to succeeding Generations, to come out from the present Judicatories, and from all ministerial Communion {45} with them, as they would not be Partakers of their Sins.—That they would make Use of the Keys of Government and Discipline for the Ends and Purposes for which they are given them, and that they would put to their Hand to lift up the Standard of a judicial Testimony for the borne-down Truths of God."

But instead of all this, when the seceding Ministers observed that these very Brethren, who once appeared to contend with them, for the same Steps of Reformation, went in by Degrees into the Measures of the Times; that their former Zeal not only abated, but they justified or extenuated these same Steps of Defection they complained of before; that they were so far from testifying doctrinally and judicially against the same, that a profound Silence took Place anent these Matters, and scarce any other Grievance publickly lamented among them, but that there was a Secession from the present Judicatures, and a standing Testimony against their Defections and Proceedings: The Brethren, I say, observing all this, and finding that these Ministers were peaceably incorporated with Intruders, and such as have been active in carrying on a Course of Defection, by tolerating the Erroneous, supporting and countenancing Error, and by enacting Laws and Constitutions contrary to the Laws of Zion's King, whereby ministerial Freedom is suppressed, new and unwarrantable Terms of ministerial and christian Communion imposed, and whereby the Heritage of God is oppressed and broken, and likewise with such as have subordinated themselves unto the Civil Powers in their Ecclesiastical Meetings, Functions, and Administrations, and practically given up with their holding of the King of Zion, by reading in one Shape or other the Act of Parliament anent Captain John Porteous; this being the Case, that they were all silently incorporated, as above, the seceding Ministers could not with a safe Conscience hold Communion with them any longer; which by the By, is a sufficient {46} Answer to what Mr. Webster is pleased to suggest to the Consideration of the Associate Presbytery, Letter, page 13, anent their refusing to hold Communion with these Ministers whom they once looked upon as a contending Party.

Some of them, I know, were well enough satisfied with the Secession at first, and would have been so to this Day, tho' they were not for running any Hazard themselves, by joining therein, providing the seceding Ministers could have chicaned and dissembled so far, as to support their Popularity by joining with them, and encouraging the People to cleave to them, while in the mean Time they were resolved to screen themselves from the Storm, and indolently wait for better Days. When they were thus disappointed, and being resolved not to run the Risk of Church Censures, by joining in the present Testimony, and finding a good Number of solid and experienced Christians thro' the Land deserting their Ministry, they at length fall upon this Stratagem, viz. That the several Points of the present Testimony, are not among the Fundamentals or Essentials of Christianity, that they are such Matters as great and good Men have differed about, and therefore People ought not to forsake the Ministry of good Men, altho' they cannot come the Length of espousing the Testimony the Brethren are contending for. There are good Men of all Opinions, and therefore the Brethren's Testimony, and their refusing to join with good Men of all Denominations, is nothing but Bigotry and Party Zeal.

In order to propagate this Principle (which is thought to be the best Mean to break the Secession) Mr. George Whitefield is fallen upon as the most proper Tool; and he, finding that it would promote his secular Interest, which now appears in the Eyes of all sober thinking Men, to be his highest Aim, greedily embraces the Opportunity; for, as I shall presently shew, the Associate Presbytery did not invite him to Scotland. However when it was found that the Bait {47} was like to take, his Ministrations and Success are mightily cried up, his Doctrine and Art imitated, as far as some Ministers could, till at Length the same fatal Delusion took Place here, which has overspread a great Part of our American Colonies; and then presently the Cry is raised, That God is now remarkably owning the Ministers of the established Church, notwithstanding of all the Evils complained of: He is crowning their Ministrations with remarkable Success, Nations are born in one Day by their Means; there is no such Countenance given to the Assemblies of the Seceders; and therefore the Consequence is, the People ought to disown them, whom God is disowning; God is now testifying that there was no Ground for seceding from the Established Church, when he is holding Fellowship with Her in such a visible and open manner.

This Argument was mightily improven, and no Doubt had Influence upon some of the Simple and unwary; altho' it is no Breach of Charity to say, That the Ministers who reasoned at this Rate, were either under the Power of a blind Infatuation at the Time, or were grossly imposing upon the People, when it was obvious to the Observation of all, that they were going on in the same Course of Backsliding from the Lord as formerly, and the People that were misled, filled with the greatest Prejudice and Aversion to any Testimony for the Reformation Principles of this Church. But as breaking the Secession was the grand Plot, so, in order thereto, we find the above vain-glorious Boasting running thro' all their publick Papers. Says Mr. Robe to the Associate Presbytery, Preface, page 18, "Can you be so unaffected with the Glory of infinitely Sovereign Grace, appearing towards a Judgment-deserving Generation, as to say, You do well to fret and to be angry, because you find your Glory is lessened by it, and your Credit beginning to suffer." To the same Purpose Mr. Webster speaking likewise of the seceding Ministers, {48} Letter, page 14, "What then, if God is now testifying his Displeasure, by not crowning their own Labours with the wished Success? Or, may he not, even in Pity to them, remarkably countenance the Ministry of some they despised, that they may henceforth learn not so rashly to call these God has sanctified, common and unclean?" And Page 45, "It may teach the Associate Presbytery not to limit the Holy One of Israel in the Dispensation of his Grace, and that God has yet made Choice of our Zion, and delights to dwell within the Gates of our Jerusalem. And should make them more cautious in separating from these, whom the great Master of Assemblies condescends to countenance so remarkably with his Presence." This is plain Dealing: here now is a Discovery of the whole Secret. This Work must be cried up as an undeniable Evidence of God's dwelling within the Gates of the Established Church, and countenancing them remarkably with his Presence; and this as the last Shift, must be improven to the best Advantage to bear down the Secession. But as the Lord in his great Mercy, hath by this Time made it evident to the whole Kingdom, that these Prophets have seen a lying Divination, so I need say the less upon it; only I cannot miss to observe that they have taken the most effectual Way to perpetuate the lamentable Effects of this Delusion. For, in order to secure the People in all Time coming from joining the Seceders or ever appearing zealous for presbyterial Church-government, all Pains is taken to persuade them, that a Testimony for the same is nothing but mere Bigotry; that they may be good People whatever Denomination they be of, and therefore they ought not to be taken up about these lesser Things, but only about the Vitals of Religion, wherein the Matters of Church Government have no Concern. It is plain that this Doctrine opens a wide Door for boundless Toleration and Liberty of Conscience; yet that this is the leading Principle of the Promoters of this Work {49} both abroad and at home shall be shewn from their own Writings.

I suppose it cannot be reasonably refused, that Mr. Whitefield is the chief human Instrument and Promoter of this Work; and indeed by his fascinating Art he has gained considerably by it. I might therefore begin with considering his Catholick Scheme of universal Love and Communion of all Churches, which is built upon this false Principle, That there is no Foundation in Scripture or Reason for any one particular Form of Church-government by [rather than] another. But the pernicious Tendency of this Scheme, for unhinging all true Religion in the World, and advancing Satan's Kingdom and Interest therein, has been detected to such excellent Purpose, from Mr. Whitefield's own Writings, by the Reverend Mr. Gib, that I need only refer the Reader to the Appendix of his Warning, where he will find full Satisfaction upon this Subject.

I proceed therefore to shew, that all the subordinate Promoters of this Work, embrace and propagate the same Principle with their famous Leader Mr. Whitefield. We may easily judge of the Principles maintained by Mr. Gilbert Tennent, and other Adherents to Mr. Whitefield of the Presbyterian Denomination in New-England, from the above-mentioned Protestation presented to the Synod of Philadelphia, where it is said, Page 9, "That they expressly deny that Presbyteries and Synods have Authority, or should go any farther in judging of Appeals or References, &c. than to give their best Advice. Which (say the Protestant Ministers) is plainly to divest the Officers and Judicatories of Christ's Kingdom of all Authority, and plainly contradicts our Confession of Faith, chapter 31, section 3."

That Mr. Gilbert Tennent in particular, is entirely moulded into Mr. Whitefield's Catholick Scheme, of blending all religious Societies into one, to make up a Synagogue of Satan out of all, will appear from Mr. Whitefield's Character of him, Remarks &c. page {50} 8, "I have the Happiness of being personally and very intimately acquainted with Mr. Tennent. I scarce knew a Man of a more Catholick Spirit." Mr. Whitefield shews, Remarks, page 24, how far Messrs. Prince, Webb, and Cooper, three Boston Ministers, are from Bigotry by their Preface to Mr. McGregere's Sermon, which concludes thus, "And our earnest Wishes, that with a tender and meek Forbearance of each other in different Sentiments about Church Order and Government, we may all unite in maintaining and promoting these more excellent and momentous Points of Grace and vital Piety." That Mr. Edwards is of the same Principle may be seen from the Close of his Sermon on the Marks of a Work of the true Spirit. Mr. Harris speaks without Disguise, Weekly Hist. Number 14, "Since we cannot come to understand some Texts about Church-Government, and about the Time or Mode of Baptism, and some other little Externals that are soon to perish, all Ministers—of every Persuasion—should lend their Pulpits to each other alternately, never touching on those Things they cannot see alike." This was exactly the Dialect of the Familists and other Enthusiasts of the last Century.

Now, as the Work is owned to be the same Abroad and at Home, so we find the Promoters thereof in Scotland all speaking in the same Strain, and propagating the same lax and anarchical Principles with their Brethren above mentioned. The Rev. Mr. Willison, at Dundee, in the Postscript of his Letter, Weekly Hist. Number 13, "Many with us are for preferring Ministers according to the Party they are of." That is, there are many sound Presbyterians in Scotland, who prefer a Presbyterian Minister to those of the Episcopal or other Denominations; and, among the Presbyterians in Name, they prefer those who hold strictly to their Principles. "But commend me (says he) to a pious, Christ-exalting, and Soul-winning Minister, whatever be his Denomination." {51} That is, suppose a Man were a Jesuit, and has the outward Appearance of Sanctity, and if any Success attend his Ministrations upon the external Morals of the People, he is equally acceptable to Mr. Willison with [as] those of his own Denomination. How the Rev. Mr. Willison will be capable to reconcile this Principle with his cleaving to our Covenants National and Solemn League, which he professes to do in that Letter, I know not; I am afraid that such a Profession will be looked upon by the Impartial, to be mere Artifice.

The Rev. Mr. Ogilvie at Aberdeen, another Promoter of this Work, is far from dissembling his Keenness for Toleration Principles, Weekly Hist. Number 28, "We have been of late much employed, and a great Noise has been made about the lesser Matters of the Law, and are now much broken in Judgment about Things, many of which, I must own, I do not well understand." The lesser Matters of the Law, which Mr. Ogilvie says he does not well understand, are these little Externals of Church Order and Government, which his Friend Mr. Howel Harris above-mentioned professes to be very indifferent about. That this is Mr. Ogilvie's plain Meaning, appears from his Character of Mr. Whitefield: "His Attachment (says he) to no Party but Christ, and true Grace alone has long appeared to me a peculiar Excellency in him." No Party but Christ! I tremble at the Blasphemy of dressing up the LORD of GLORY in the monstrous Garb of Mr. Whitefield's Scheme; and therefore I dare not use the Freedom of putting that bold Expression in plainer Language; however, it is obvious by that other Expression, True Grace alone, that the Truths relative to the Government, and Order of the House of God, are with Mr. Ogilvie Matters of mere Indifferency; and therefore, according to him, not worth contending for, because no Way essential to Salvation. I am glad to find that the Absurdity of this dangerous Doctrine {52} has been exposed, and an open Testimony given against it, by the Reverend Mr. John Bisset, Minister of the Gospel at Aberdeen, in a Sermon of his lately printed there, wherein he solidly refutes that Doctrine which is now so current of ranking any of the Truths of Christ among Indifferencies, and gives a plain and just Character of Mr. Whitefield, which deserves the Attention of the Publick, page 67, "Terrible it is to me (says he) to bring in any of the Things of Christ into the Class of Indifferencies, by which it must come to this, sometimes to lay aside Christ's Commandments, for no better Reason, than because the Thing required is not essential to Salvation; or to this, sometimes to prefer a human Device to a Commandment of Christ; for if both be in the Class of Indifferencies, it is at your Discretion, which of them to choose or refuse, at this or that Time. How dangerous this is I might shew at large; but tho' I, or an Angel from Heaven, should teach you any other Doctrine (namely the Doctrine of Indifferencies) we corrupt the Doctrine of Christ.———I will answer for this I preach, as being Christ's Truth, in the Day that you and I shall stand naked at his Tribunal, and I will answer for it as seasonable and necessary Truth, Whoever a Minister of Satan, transforming himself into a Minister of Christ, may of late have poisoned many of this deluded Land with the contrary. How appositely may I repeat here Part of a Letter from the great Mr. Rutherford to the Professors in Ireland—It is not possible (saith he) to compound a Matter between Christ and Antichrist. It was Man's Wit, and the Wit of Prelates, and their God-father the Pope to put Christ and his Prerogative Royal and Truths, and the smallest Nail-breadth of his Letter-will, in the New Kallender of Indifferencies, and to make a blank of un-inked Paper in Christ's Testament, that Men may fill up, and {53} so shuffle the Truth and Matters they call indifferent through other, and spin both together, that Antichrist's Wares may sell the better." From which the Reverend Mr. Bisset subsumes, "What would this great Seer have said to those of our Day, who listen to every strolling Imposter and Cheat (meaning Mr. Whitefield) who would card Christ's Truths and their own Errors through other, that Antichrist's Wares may sell the better?" I hope the Reader will be so well pleased with this Quotation, that he will not grudge the Length of it.

I believe none will suspect that the Reverend Messrs. Robe and Webster, who are such zealous Promoters of this Work, will be behind any of the former in declaring for the Anarchical Scheme, or a boundless Liberty of Conscience with respect to the Principles of Church-Government. Any who have read Mr. Webster's Letter may observe how contemptuously he speaks of the Government and Discipline of the House of the living God, page 30, "A Person under alarming Apprehensions of Divine Wrath, cannot with much Sedateness of Mind peruse the endless Volumes that have been writ on visible external Forms. What would you think of his Convictions for Sin, who made Church-Government his first Enquiry? Would he not be as reasonably and profitably employed in reading Guthrie's Trial, &c. as in studying publick Acts and Testimonies?" Now granting that the Doctrine concerning the Government of the Church, doth not fall under the Enquiry of a Person under Conviction, at the first Instance; yet I am perfectly sure, that the Spirit of God in his convincing Work, doth not beget in any Soul, an Aversion to publick Acts and Testimonies for the Declarative Glory of God, as evidently takes Place at present in Mr. Webster himself, and these he is pleading for. What can he mean by the endless Volumes that have been writ on visible external Forms? But that Presbyterial Church-Government has been mightily {54} controverted and opposed, therefore it is worth no Man's While to take up his Head about it; and accordingly he gives two insulting Challenges from Mr. Robe's Preface, with equal Warmth to the seceding Ministers (1.) "Dare any of you tell the most zealous for your Testimony, and against their own Ministers, that these Things are Marks and Evidences of saving Grace?" Not to insist upon the Invective of calling it our Testimony; I dare tell every one, That a zealous Concern for a publick Testimony to the Kingly Office of Christ and the Privileges of his Kingdom, is among the distinguishing Evidences of saving Grace, which we find all the Saints in Scripture had, every one of them being zealous for the Testimony of their Day. (2.) Dare any of you tell them, "That the judging your Testimony irregular——and their close Conjunction with their own Ministers, are certain Evidences that they are christless and graceless who do so?" To which I answer, That if some Persons had not better Evidences of their being in a State of Grace, than their judging the Testimony we were honoured to give to be irregular, and their close Conjunction with their Ministers who are carrying on a Course of Defection: It would be no great Breach of Charity to say that they are christless and graceless who do so.

As for the Reverend Mr. Robe; He insists upon making the Charge good, of his being of the above Principles, and I find no Difficulty in doing it; for (1.) He plainly insinuates, That the Decay of practical Godliness, Formality in Religion, and open Immorality, are the only Breaches of Covenant, Preface, page 4. His Words, after mentioning the above Evils, are, "All this was observed by some, and looked upon as the Cause of God's Controversy with us, and what they feared would provoke him to send some desolating Judgment to avenge the Quarrel of his THUS broken Covenant." Now, if by COVENANT he means the Covenant of Duties, which {55} this Land once and again entered into, both in one National and solemn League and Covenant, it is plain, that he looks upon all Defections from Presbyterial Principles in Doctrine, Worship, Discipline, and Government, to be no Breaches of these Covenants. This will appear if it is considered (2.) That he makes it one of Satan's Devices for People to be exercised about publick Defections, which (says he) "either are not their Sins, or among the least of them." But we find that for the publick Sins of Magistrates and Ministers, acting in their several Capacities, Wrath has been poured out upon a whole Land, Micah 3.11,12, The Heads thereof judge for Reward, and the Priests thereof teach for Hire, and the Prophets thereof divine for money, yet will they lean upon the Lord, and say is not the Lord among us? No evil can come upon us, Therefore shall Zion for your sake be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become heaps. And when People do not lament these publick Sins they are chargeable upon them, All these things shall come upon this Generation, saith our Lord, Matt. 23.36. (3.) He makes Mismanagements in Government and Discipline to be no Causes, or at least, very inconsiderable ones, of the Lord's Controversy with us; for he finds great fault with these, who complained of publick Defections and Backslidings as the most crying sins, and alleges that "Hereby they were led to overlook what was our greatest Evil, and cause of God's Controversy with us, namely, the Corruption of the Lives of the Members of this Church." But I could wish Mr. Robe would remember that the Corruption of the Lives of Church-members flows chiefly, next to the Depravation of their Natures, from the Corruptions of the Ministry, Jer. 23.14,15, I have seen also in the Prophets of Jerusalem an horrible Thing, they——walk in Lies, they strengthen also the Hands of evil Doers. Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts concerning the Prophets, behold, I will feed them with Wormwood, and make them drink {56} the Water of Gall; for from the Prophets of Jerusalem is Profaneness gone forth into all the Land. Verse 22, But if they had stood in my Council, and had caused my People to hear my Words, then they should have turned them from their evil Way, and from the Evil of their Doings. (4.) Mr. Robe is pleased to call the Defections of Ministers and Church-Judicatories, "Disputable Things, far from the Vitals of Religion." Preface, page 5. The speaking so diminutively of our publick Defections, and Matters relative to the Government of the House of Christ, necessarily lands in Scepticism which is the native Fruit of Enthusiasm. Besides he goes upon a palpable Mistake which I am afraid many inculcate upon their Hearers, namely, That none who are taken up about the Vitals of Religion, will much concern themselves about the publick Cause of God, the very Reverse whereof is true.

Thus I have shewn that Mr. Robe is not a Whit behind any of the above Promoters of this Work, in favouring and countenancing a boundless Liberty of Conscience, especially with respect unto Church-Government; and therefore since the Charge is made good against him, I hope he will not henceforth reckon the Associate Presbytery slanderers, as he threatened to do, if they had failed in their Probation of this Point. I find the Attesters of the Narrative of the Extraordinary Work at Cambuslang, speaking much in the above Strain, commending the People there, as free of Bigotry and Party Zeal, and as having an "Aversion to Things that tend to Strife rather than to Edification," that is, an Aversion to all Testimonies for our Presbyterial Church-Government and Constitution. I cannot here omit a strange Character that one of them gives the People at Cambuslang, Short Narrative, page 17, "All of them, (says he,) expressed the warmest Desire after an Interest in Christ, to obtain which, they said, they would cheerfully lay down their Lives." Now unless he {57} make them all of the Purgatorial or of the middle State Scheme, I freely own I know not what he means by the Expression.

I come now in the Last Place to consider Mr. Robe's ADDRESS to the Associate Presbytery. It is plain that such publick Addresses are not designed for the Conviction or Edification of the Party to whom they are made, but to expose them as far as possible to the Ridicule of the World; and therefore I cannot allow myself to address the Reverend Mr. Robe in the like Manner, especially when his Address is written with so much of a Spirit of Bitterness, that it would rather tend to irritate than reclaim, should I endeavour to imitate it. There is so little of solid Reason and of the Persuasive, and so much of the Invective in it, that I had not thought it worth my While to have given any Return, were it not that I perceive the World is grossly imposed upon by several false Insinuations that are made therein.

First, He represents us to the World as Men of bitter and malignant Spirits, and himself and his Brethren as Men of the greatest Patience and Moderation. Preface, page 15, "Whatever bitter Names you and your Party give us, whatever bitter Reproaches you cast upon us,—we take all patiently.—We would lay our Bodies as the Ground, and as the Street for you to go over, if it could in the least contribute to remove your Prejudices." The giving of bitter Names, or casting groundless Reproaches on any, we absolutely refuse. If our testifying against the corrupt Practices of Ministers and Judicatures, and lamenting the same, be reckoned a giving of bitter Names, we cannot help it. But how far they have taken all patiently, when they have proceeded against us the Length of Deposition and Ejection, let the World judge. Have they laid their Bodies as the Ground for us to go over? When they have not only thrust us from our Charges, but have painted us out to the World as the sole Disturbers of human Society, {58} who scarce deserve the common Privileges of other Subjects.

The chief Thing I find, that angers Mr. Robe and his Party, is the late Act of the Associate Presbytery anent a publick Fast. This (says he) is "the most Heaven-daring Paper, that hath been published by any Set of Men in Britain these hundred Years past." Strange! Is it more Heaven-daring than the Papers that have been published by Deists, Arians, Quakers, and other Sets of Blasphemers that have been in Britain within less than a hundred Years bygone? The Reason of the Charge is, "Therein you declare the Work of God to be a Delusion, and the Work of the grand Deceiver." If we had done so, it had been an Iniquity to be punished by the Judge; but as we never looked upon THIS to be a Work of God, so I have already disproved the Evidences they allege for its being so, and therefore it must remain to be a Delusion still, till better Evidences are adduced.

Mr. Robe alleges we are not duly informed anent the Nature and Circumstances of this Work because none of Us have been at Cambuslang or Kilsyth. Had there appeared the least Probability to us, of a gracious and remarkable Work of God begun in these Places, we should have been the cheerful Witnesses, and rejoiced to have been plentiful Sharers of it among the first. But when we plainly saw that the Instruments and Promoters thereof, were so far from assaying [endeavouring] any Thing like Reformation, that their outmost Endeavours were employed to sopite [put to sleep] and banish any remaining Inclinations in the People that Way: When we were convinced that, tho' the extraordinary Appearances that attend this Work, such as bodily Agonies and ecstatic Impulses, were conformable to Mr. Whitefield's Experiences, yet contrary to the Experiences of all the Saints recorded in Scripture, and no Way agreeable to the Method of the Spirit's Operation as revealed there: When we had unquestionable {59} Proofs of the Prejudice and Enmity, with which the Subjects of this Work and the Admirers thereof were filled against our Covenanted Reformation, and all that espoused the same, to an higher Degree than ever was known in Scotland since our persecuting Times: When we observed the great Noise and outward Shew that was made of this Work, the publick Proclamation thereof through all Quarters of the World, and the vast Ostentation and great swelling Words wherewith this was published, so unlike the Modesty and Humility of true Christians: When it was obvious that the Promoters of this Work in Scotland, were not only embracing and propagating anarchical and Toleration Principles, but practically owning them, by joining in full Communion with Mr. Whitefield a professed Priest of the Church of England, and after all, lulling poor People fast asleep under all the Tokens of the Lord's Anger, with the fatal Allurement of a great Work of God begun among them, as an undeniable Proof of the Lord's Presence with their Ministers, notwithstanding of all that the Seceders have said against them: In a Word, when it was perfectly evident, that the whole Work was managed and carried on, for bearing down any Testimony for Scotland's Covenanted Reformation; when all this was abundantly clear to the Seceding Ministers, would Mr. Robe have them to come and see, especially when joining in ministerial Communion, was a necessary Preliminary to any Satisfaction that might be expected? Or in Case they had been in any Doubt, to what Purpose come and seek Information from these Ministers, who had before-Hand given it out in the strongest Terms, to be an Extraordinary Work of the Spirit of God, a Prelude of the glorious Things promised to the Church in the last Times? It is plain in this Case, the Seceding Ministers behoved to give implicit Faith to the whole, or be accounted Blasphemers, as Mr. Robe calls them, Preface, page 16, and is so modest as to say that they are come too near to the {60} unpardonable Sin. However, since we were not in the least Doubt about the Nature and Tendency of this Work, I would ask Mr. Robe, if it would not have been as much our Duty, to go to a Quaker-Meeting to be informed, whether they are agitated by the true Spirit, or by Satanical Impulse, since it is notour that their Pretences to a Divine Influence run as high as others.

Mr. Robe is pleased to adorn his Address with a very idle Story, which plainly discovers with what Manner of Spirit he writes, Preface, page 16, "One of your Party who had consulted one of your Number, said, That if he thought the Spirit of God would come by the Ministers of this Church, he would not own it." This is a very calumnious Insinuation, as if one of our Number had given it as his Opinion, "That if he thought the Spirit of God would come by the Ministers of this Church he would not own it." I can freely say for every one of our Number, that we would greatly rejoice to see the Spirit of God poured out upon the Ministers of this Church, reforming and reclaiming them, in which Case we would be of one Heart and one Way. I would not have given the Reader any Trouble about this Story, if it were not to let the World see, upon what Foundation they build the Aspersions they cast so liberally upon the Seceders. The plain Matter of Fact was this: One George Finlay a Seceder in the Parish of Kilsyth, having one of his Friends seized with this Work, acquainted the Reverend Mr. Erskine at Stirling therewith; but no such Thing passed betwixt them as is above represented, nor any Thing said by Mr. Erskine that could lay the least Foundation for such an unguarded Speech. But the said George Finlay, happening to have an Interview with one Alexander Allan, who was once among the Seceders of that Parish, but returning to Mr. Robe, is now accounted by him, to be the only Man of any Consideration as to serious Religion that was among {61} them, Narrative, page 27. This Allan said to Finlay, "You think this Work a plain Delusion, for if you thought it was the Spirit of the Lord, you would go and countenance it." Unto which George Finlay replied (according to the Copy of the Conversation in his Letter now before me) "Altho' that I was persuaded from the Word of God, that it were the saving Work of the Spirit of the Lord, I do not see my Warrant in the Word to bury a Testimony for Truth, and return to the Establishment as yet; for if it be the Work of God's Spirit, I am in no Doubt but the Associate Presbytery and the Establishment will meet, for it is the Lord's Cause the Associate Presbytery is contending for, and will be made to own." Now will this bear such a Gloss as Mr. Robe puts upon it? Or will it follow, because Finlay was once in Company with the Reverend Mr. Erskine, that he advised him to say as Mr. Robe relates? And if Allan has told Mr. Robe the Story as he prints it, I must own it is no great Evidence that he is of such Consideration for serious Religion, as Mr. Robe represents.

But I find it is fashionable with the Party to receive and hand about Reports of the Seceders, how ever false and ridiculous: One Instance of many shall suffice: There are Hundreds of Mr. Robe's Party, who I doubt not have consulted with more than one of his Number, who have said that one of Mr. Fisher's Elders came to him with his Daughter under some spiritual Disorder, and he having conversed with her gave it as his Opinion to her Father, that it was a Work of God upon her Soul; but being told that it was at Cambuslang, she was touched, He said, If that was the Case, it must certainly be a Delusion: This Story is no Doubt designed to represent Mr. Fisher in the blackest Colours, and accordingly they have printed it in one of their anonymous Pamphlets, as what they have certain Information of, and continue to hand it about with the greatest Confidence. But I {62} hereby assure the World that it is entirely false, and that there was never the least Foundation for it.

To return, Mr. Robe in finding Fault with the Act of Presbytery for mentioning Visions, Voices, and Revelations among the usual Symptoms of a Delusive Spirit, says, page 16, "None of our People, who are come to Relief by Faith in Christ, pretend to them." There is too much of the Deceit here; for the Question is not whether they who are come to Relief by Faith in Christ pretend to such Things? but whether they who are the Subjects of this Work, who have undergone bodily Pains and Convulsions, do not likewise pretend to Visions, Voices, and Revelations? It is most certain that many of them do, as can be proven by innumerable Witnesses, who have heard them own so much; and Mr. Edwards is so ingenuous as to acknowledge that they appertain to the Extraordinary Work, and vindicates them as flowing from the Spirit of God tho' indirectly, Dist. Marks, page 27,28. Mr. Robe adds, "Can you say that sound Divines maintain that bodily Distresses are inconsistent with a saving Work of the Spirit of God? If you had said thus, and proven it, you would have said something; but this is what you could not, what you durst not say." I could wish the Reverend Mr. Robe would for the future learn to speak somewhat more discreetly. I have already shewn from Mr. Edwards, that the Rise of these bodily Agitations and Agonies, is not only Antiscriptural but Diabolical, and therefore every sound Divine must maintain in these Circumstances, that they are inconsistent with a saving Work of the Spirit of God at the Time; tho' I do not refuse that some such Persons may afterwards be the Subjects of the Spirit's Gracious Operations.

There are a great many other hard Speeches, and bitter Invectives against the Associate Presbytery in Mr. Robe's Address, which I entirely pass and forgive. And as I have already considered all that he says against the {63} Act of Presbytery, in Vindication of his Extraordinary Work, so I shall have done with him, after I have taken Notice of what he says anent Mr. Whitefield, and vindicate the Act of Presbytery, in what is therein so justly alleged against that Person.

Mr. Robe says, Preface, page 20, "I do not meddle at this Time with that Part of your Paper concerning the reverend Mr. George Whitefield whom I love in the Truth,——Only I'm of Opinion, that He should do Justice so far to himself, and the Ministers of the Church of Scotland, as to set what passed between you and him in a just Light." Whatever Justice Mr. Whitefield thinks he has done to himself and the Ministers of the Church of Scotland, yet I shall make it appear that he has imposed intolerably upon the World in the Letter he has published, Weekly Hist. Number 37. In Answer to that Part of the Act of Presbytery relative to Him; "As to what they say about the Supremacy (says he) my Sentiments as to the Power and Authority of the Civil Magistrates as to sacred Things, agree with what is said in the Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 23, 3, 4. And I own the Lord Jesus to be the blessed Head and King of his Church. The Solemn League and Covenant I never abjured, neither was it ever proposed to me to be abjured." That everybody may see with their own Eyes what Mr. Whitefield's Conduct has been, which he here so jesuitically dissembles, I shall transcribe what follows from the Form and Manner of making, ordering, and consecrating Bishops, Priests, and Deacons according to the Order of the Church of England. "Before the Gospel, the Bishop sitting in his Chair, shall cause Oath of the King's Supremacy—to be ministered unto every one of the Deacons that are to be ordered or ordained, the Tenour whereof follows, "I ——— do utterly testify and declare in my Conscience, That the King's Highness is the only supreme Governour of this Realm, and of all other His Highness's {64} Dominions and Countries, as well in all spiritual or ecclesiastical Things or Causes, as Temporal.—And do promise that—to my Power I shall assist and defend all Jurisdictions, Privileges, Pre-eminences and Authorities, granted or belonging to the King's Highness—or annexed to the Imperial Crown of this Realm: So help me God and the Contents of this Book." The said Oath is repeated again when they are ordained Priests; and the following Question among others put to them, "Will you reverendly obey your Ordinary and other chief Ministers unto whom is committed the Charge and Government over you? Answer. I will do so, the Lord being my Helper."

Now when Mr. Whitefield has sworn once and again, That the King is supreme Governour in all spiritual or ecclesiastical Things or Causes, and that this is one of the Privileges and Pre-eminences belonging to the Crown, and never has professed the least Sorrow for so doing, with what Face can He say, that He agrees with the above Passage of our Confession, wherein it is expressly asserted that "the Civil Magistrate may not assume to himself the Power of the Keys of the Kingdom of Heaven." And consequently it is impossible he can own the Lord Jesus to be the Head of his Church, in a Consistency with the above Oath, without manifest Equivocation. As for his saying that it was never proposed to him to abjure the Solemn League and Covenant, this is also a mere Blind; for had it been formally proposed to him, he will not refuse, that he had Freedom enough to do it. But he could not but know that by the Act of Uniformity, the Solemn League and Covenant was appointed to be abjured by all Ecclesiastical Persons in England for the Space of twenty Years from 1662 to 1682, and held to be abjured to this Day; in Testimony whereof the said Act for Uniformity is for ordinary prefixed to the several Editions of the Book of Common Prayer. Besides, Mr. {65} Whitefield has effectually abjured the Solemn League and Covenant by swearing the above Oath of Supremacy, and engaging at his Ordination to be subject to the Hierarchy of the Church of England in direct Opposition to the express Terms of the Solemn League.

Mr. Whitefield alleges, That if his Missives to the Members of the Associate Presbytery, were printed, the World would see, they had no Reason to expect that He would act in any other Manner than he has done. I shall be satisfied how soon those Missives on both Sides be printed: From them it will appear, That the Associate Presbytery were so far from inviting Mr. Whitefield to Scotland, that when he notified his Design of coming to this Kingdom, they plainly signified to him, that unless he embraced the Reformation Principles of this Church, it would not be for the Edification of the Body of Christ, and accordingly wrote him at large an Account of our Presbyterian Principles. He, upon the other Hand, signified, That he was willing to sit at the Feet of the Associate Presbytery, and learn the Way of Christ more fully, and that he was perhaps more of our Mind than we knew; and a great many other smooth and decoying Speeches to that Purpose, which made some of the Brethren at that Time imagine, that he would at least lie open to Light anent embracing Presbyterian Principles. But they found it quite otherwise when he came; for in the Conference which some Members of the Presbytery had with him at Dunfermline, August 5th, 1741, He would not so much as hearken to reasoning upon the Head of Presbyterian Church-Government.

Mr. Whitefield is not so ingenuous as to give an Account of this Conference; he only sums it up in the same calumnious Insinuation with Mr. Robe, That the Associate Presbytery would have been glad of his Help, and received him into Communion with them as a Minister of Christ, without any other Terms but his promising to preach only at their Invitation, {66} or the Invitation of their People. Now by the Copy of the Conference written by the Brethren there present, just now before me, it appears, that they were so far from being glad of his Help, upon no other Terms, than his preaching at their Invitation, that the first Subject of Conversation proposed by them, was anent the Government of the Church, that they might know whether he was lying open to Light upon that Point or not, before they could entertain Thoughts of hearing or employing him. He wanted to shift this Conversation entirely, and to talk about Toleration Principles. When the Brethren urged by several Arguments a Conversation upon the former Subject in the first Place, then he told them plainly, That he had no Difficulty about it, that he was of the Communion of the Church of England, and was resolved to continue so till they thrust him out. Whereupon the Question was stated, Whether in these Circumstances, when Mr. Whitefield declared himself of the Communion of the Church of England, and his Resolution to continue in it, and refusing to lie open to Light on that Head, the Brethren could hold ministerial Communion with him? After one of the Members had at great Length, upon this State of the Question, shewn the Opposition both of Episcopacy and Independency to the Word of God, and the solemn Oath of the three Nations, and Mr. Whitefield after all utterly averse to receive Light upon that Subject, the Brethren thereupon resolved that they would neither hear him preach, nor employ him. This is only a short Account of the plain Matter of Fact: The Conversation at large, if needful, shall be exposed to publick View.

What Account it was of his Experiences which pleased the Brethren at that meeting, I know not, for I was not there; only I find nothing of it in the Copy of the Conversation; and if he means the printed Account which the Act of Presbytery refers to, {67} the Brethren had not at that Time seen it, and if they had, it is impossible they could have approven it.

I conclude with a few further Remarks on Mr. Webster's Letter: (1.) It appears that the Associate Presbytery is his greatest Eye-sore; He brings them in upon every other Turn, and because Argument fails he enters their Heart, and canvasses the secret Springs of their Actions: He loads them with the basest Calumnies, nothing less than the giving up of all that differ from them, as the Property of Satan; whereas it is well known that this Dialect is peculiar only to such as ape Mr. Whitefield.

(2.) In regard he would have it believed, that the Spirit is now poured down remarkably on the Established Church, he wants to shape out Mr. Whitefield from any Share of the Praise, as the Prime Instrument thereof in Scotland, which I must own is neither candid nor generous, and is also inconsistent with his own Letter to Mr. Whitefield, Weekly Hist. Number 27, and with Letters of Messrs. Willison, M'Culloch and many others printed in the said History. Besides the Work at Cambuslang was the exact Picture of Mr. Whitefield's Experiences; his bodily Distresses, his uncommon Drought, his Impulses, &c. were exactly copied there.

(3.) The Reverend Mr. Webster takes a very effectual Course to nail down the poor deluded People to their own Ministers, by telling these who are the Subjects of this Work, that it would be "in them, a near Approach to, if not in Reality the Sin against the Holy Ghost," to hear the seceding Ministers, Letter, page 31. If the most rigid Popish Confirmation can equal this, I leave it to himself to judge.

(4.) Mr. Webster being conscious to himself, that he was not capable to give any satisfying Answer to the Reverend Mr. Gib's Warning and Appendix, breaks forth in the most enraged Passion in his Postscript, both against the Author and his Book; "At first Sight (says he) you will be fully satisfied of the Author's Piety and Learning, Modesty and Eloquence.—Upon {68} a nearer Inspection, if any of the Copies have escaped the Flames, and Patience permit, you will discover the whole Merits of the Cause." As for the Author's Piety and Modesty, He falls short indeed of Mr. Webster, in publishing to the World his big Hopes of Heaven, and his seeing One only of the Associate Presbytery there, who in the Judgment of Charity was in the Way to it before Mr. Webster had a Being in the World. As for the Author's Learning and Eloquence, his Book speaks for itself, and will endure a comparative Trial. I only wish that nobody may think, that Mr. Webster inclined that the Author should have undergone the same Fate with his Book.

I was designed to have taken Notice of the Pamphlet entitled, An Apology for the Presbyterians of Scotland, who are the Hearers of Mr. Whitefield, but being informed that an Answer thereto is undertaken by an abler Hand, I forbear; only I cannot imagine, That the Author ever dreamed he could impose upon the World so far, as to make them believe, That receiving into full Communion a Priest of the Church of England, who refuses to be reformed, stands justified by the Solemn League and Covenant, which expressly abjures the whole Hierarchy of that Church.

There were several other Things I designed to have noticed from the Papers lately published; but I am forced to break off at the Time, understanding that some Sheets of this Review have already gone abroad.

Having mentioned the Rev. Mr. Gilbert Tennent as an eminent Promoter of this Work abroad, I cannot but in Justice to him take Notice of the open and candid Recantation he has made of his Independent and Enthusiastic Principles and Practices. I heartily wish that the Rev. Messrs. Robe, Webster, and other Promoters of this Work at Home, may in like manner soon see and acknowledge their Mistake. May the Lord hasten it in his Time.


F I N I S.