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he may lift up his standard upon earth, sending by whom he will send, and working his own work, when he pleaseth, and as he pleaseth, till “all the kindreds of the people worship before him," and the earth be “full of the knowledge of the glory of the LORD!"
December 22, 1744..
A FARTHER APPEAL
TO MEN OF REASON AND RELIGION.
Cry aloud, spare not, lift up thy Voice like a Trumpet, and show my People their Trans
gression, and the House of Jacob their Sins. Isaiab lviii. i.
f. 1. IT is not my present design to touch on any particular opinions, whether they are right or wrong: nor on any of those smaller points of practice, which are variously held by men of different persuasions : but first, to point out some things which on common principles are condemned by men of every denomination, and yet found in all: and, secondly, some wherein those of each denomination, are more particularly inconsistent with their own principles. And, first, it is my design, abstracting from opinions of every kind, as well as from disputable points of practice, to mention such of those things as occur to my mind, which are on common principles condemned, and notwithstanding found, more or less, among men of every denomination.
2. But before I enter on this unpleasing task, I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, by whatever love you bear to God, to your country, to your own souls; do not consider who speaks, but what is spoken. If it be possible, for one hour, lay prejudice aside ; give what is advanced a fair hearing. Consider simply on each head, is this true, or is it false? Is it reasonable, or is it not? If you ask, “ But in whose judgment ?” I answer, In your own; I appeal to the light of your own mind. Is there not a faithful witness in your own breast? By this you must stand or fall. You cannot be judged by another man's conscience. Judge for yourself by the best light you have. And the merciful God teach me and thee whatsoever we know not!
Now, as I speak chiefly to those who believe the Scriptures, the method I propose is this : First, to observe what account is given therein of the Jews, the ancient church of God, inasmuch as all these things were written for our instruction, who say, we are now the vigible church of the God of Israel. Secondly, To appeal to all who profess to be members thereof, to every one who is called a Christian, How far, in each instance, the parallel holds ? And how much we are better than they ?
3. First, I am to observe what account the Scriptures give of the Jews, the ancient church of God. I mean, with regard to their moral character; their tempers and outward behaviour.
No sooner were they brought out of Egypt, than we find them murmuring against God, (Exod. xiv. 12.). Again, when he had just brought them through the Red Sea with a mighty hand and a stretched out arm, (c. xv. 24.) And yet again, quickly after, in the wilderness of Zin, your murmurings (saith Moses) are not against us, but against the Lord,” (c. xvi. 8.) Nay, even while he was giving them bread from heaven, they were still murmuring and tempting God, (c. xviii. 2, 3.) and their amazing language at that season was, Is the Lord among us, or not? (c. xvii. 4.) The same spirit they showed, during the whole forty years that he bore their manners the wilderness; a solemn testimony wherof, Moses spake in the ears of all the congregation of Israel, when God was about to take him away from their head : “ They have corrupted themselves, (saith he,) their spot was not of his children : they are a perverse and crooked generation. The Lord led Jacob about; he instructed him; he kept him as the apple of his eye,” (Deut. xxxii. 5. 10.) “He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat of the increase of the fields : then he forsook God which made him, and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation,” (c. v. 11. 13. 15.) In like manner God complains long after this, “ Hear, O heavens, and give ear, O earth! I have nourished and brought up children, and they have rebelled against me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master's crib : but Israel doth not know, my people do not consider. Ah, sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters, they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel,” (Isa. i. 2, 3, 4.) “Can a maid forget her ornaments, and a bride her attire? Yet my people have forgotten me, days without number,” (Jer. ii. 32.)
4. And as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, so they had small regard to the ordinances of God. “Even from the days of your fathers, (said God by his prophets,) ye are gone away from. my ordinances, and have not kept them,” (Mal. ii. 7.) “ Ye have said, It is in vain to serve God; and what profit is it that we have kept his ordinances ?” (v. 14.) “Thou hast not called upon me, O Jacob, but thou hast been weary of me, O Israel : thou hast not brought me my burnt-offerings, neither hast thou honoured me with thy sacrifices,” (Isa. xliv. 22, 23.) And so the prophet himself confesses, “ Thou meetest those that remember Thee in thy ways— But there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee," (Isa. Ixiv. 5, 7.)
6. But they called upon his name by vain oaths, by perjury and blasphemy. So Jeremiah, “ Because of swearing the land mourn
eth,” (c. xxiii. 10.) “And though they say, The Lord liveth, surely they swear falsely," (c. v. 2.) So Hosea, “ They have spoken words, swearing falsely in making a covenant.”. So Ezekiel, “ They say the Lord seeth us not, the Lord bath forsaken the earth.” So Isaiah, “ Their tongue and their doings are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his glory," (c. ii. 8.) They say, “Let him make speed and hasten his work, that we may see it, and let the counsel of the Holy One draw nigh and come, that we may know it," (c. V. 19.) And so Malachi, “Ye have wearied the Lord with your words; ye say, every one that doeth evil, is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delighteth in them; and, where is the God of Judgment ?'' c. ii. 17.
6. And as they despised his holy things, so they profaned his sabbaths, (Ezek. xxii. 8.) Yea, when God sent unto them saying, “ Take heed unto yourselves, and bear no burden on the sabbath day, neither do ye any work, but hallow ye the sabbath day, as I commanded your fathers :-yet they obeyed not, neither inclined their ear, but made their neck stiff, that they might not hear, nor receive instruction,” (Jer. xvii. 21, 22, 23.) Neither did they honour their parents, or those whom God, from time to time, appointed to be rulers over them. “In thee (in Jerusalem, said the prophet) they have set light by father and mother,” (Ezek. xxii. 7.) And from the very day when God brought them up out of the land of Egypt, their murmurings, chiding, rebellion, and disobedience, against those whom he had chosen to go before them, make the most considerable part of their history. So that had not Moses stood in the gap, he had even destroyed them from the face of the earth.
7. How much more did they afterward provoke God, by drunkenness, sloth, and luxury! “ They have erred through wine, (saith the prophet Isaiah,) and through strong drink they are gone out of the way;" (c. xxviii. 7.) which occasioned those vehement and repeated warnings, against that reigning sin; «Wo to the drunkards of Ephraim, them that are overcome with wine,” (ver. 1.) “The drunkards of Ephraim shall be trodden under foot," (v. 3.) “Wo unto them that rise up early that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them.—But they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands," (c. v. 11, 12.) “Wo unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink,” (v. 22.) “Wo to them that are at ease in Zion, that lie upon beds of ivory, and stretch themselves upon their couches, and eat the lambs out of the flock, and their calves out of the midst of the stall, that chant to the sound of the viol, and invent to themselves instruments of music, -that drink wine in bowls, and anoint themselves with the chief ointments; but they are not grieved for the affliction of Joseph,” (Amos vi. 1, 4, 5, 6.). “Behold, this (saith Ezekiel to Jerusalem) was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom: fulness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters,” c. xvi. 49.
8. From sloth and fulness of bread, lewdness naturally followed. It was even while Moses was with them, that the people began to
commit whoredom with the daughters of Moab: yea, of the daughters of Zion, Isaiah complains, “they walk with stretched-forth necks and wanton eyes,” (c. iii. 16.) And of bis people in general God complains by Jeremiah, “When I had fed them to the full, they assembled themselves by troops in the harlot's house. They were as fed horses in the morning, every one neighed after his neighbour's wife,” (c. v. 7; 8.) “ They be all adulterers, an assembly of treacherous men,” (c. ix. 2.) “ The land is full of adulterers,” (c. xxiii. 10.) Yea, and some of them were given up to unnatural lusts. Thus we read, Judges xix. 22, “ The men of Gibeah beset the house, wherein the stranger was, and beat at the door, and spake to the master of the house, saying, bring forth the man that came into thine house, that we may know him.” And there were also long after, Sodomites in the land, in the days of Rehoboam and of the following kings : “ The very show of whose countenance witnessed against them, and they declared their sin as Sodom, they hid it not,” Isa. ii. 9.
9. This was accompanied with injustice in all its forms. Thus all the prophets testify against them, “ The Lord looked for judgment, but behold oppression; for righteousness, but behold a cry," (Isa. v. 7.) “ Thou hast taken usury and increase; thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbour by extortion.—Behold, I have smitten my hand, at thy dishonest gain which thou hast made," (Ezek. xxii. 12, 13.) "The balances of deceit are in Jacob's hand; he loveth to oppress,” (Hos. xii. 7.) “ Are there not yet the scant measure that is abominable; the wicked balances, and the bag of deceitful weights ?" (Micah vi. 10, 11.) “He that departetla from evil, maketh himself a prey,” (Isa. lix. 15.) “ And the Lord saw it, and it displeased him that there was no judgment.” “The wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he. They take up all of them with the angle, they catch them in their net, and gather them in their drag,” (Hab. i. 13, 14, 15.) “ They covet fields, and take them by violence, and houses, and take them away," (Mic. ii. 2.) “They pull off the robe with the garment, from them that pass by securely," (v. 8.) “ They have dealt by oppression with the stranger; they have vexed the fatherless and the widow," (Ezek. xxii. 7.) “ The people of the land have used oppression, and exercised robbery ; and have vexed the poor and needy, yea, they have oppressed the stranger wrongfully,” (v. 29.) « Their works are works of iniquity, and the acts of violence are in their hands,” (Isaiah lix. 6.) “ Judgment is turned away backward, and justice standeth afar off; for truth is fallen in the street, and equity cannot enter,' v. 14.
10. Truth indeed was fallen, as well as justice. “Every mouth (saith Isaiah) speaketh folly," (c. ix. 17.) “This is a rebellious people, lying children, (c. xxx. 9.) “Their lips have spoken lies, and muttered perverseness. None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth; they trust in vanity and speak lies,” (c. lix. 3, 4.) This occasioned that caution of Jeremiah, "Take ye heed every one of his neighbour, and trust ye not in any brother; for every brother will utterly supplant, and every neighbour will walk with slanders. And they will deceive every one his neighbour, and will not speak the truth ; they have taught their tongues to speak lies, and weary themselves to commit iniquity,” c. ix. 4, 5.
11. And even those who abstained from these gross outward sins, were still inwardly corrupt and abominable. « The whole head was sick, and the whole heart was faint; yea, from the sole of the foot even unto the head, there was no soundness, but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores,” (Isa. i. 5, 6.) “ All these nations (saith God) are uncircumcised ; and all the house of Israel are uncircumcised in heart,” (Jer. ix. 26.) “ Their heart is divided,” (Hos. x. 2.) “They have set up their idols in their heart; they are all estranged from me through their idols,” (Ezek. xiv. 3, 4.) Their soul still clave unto the dust. They laid up treasures upon earth. • From the least of them, (saith Jeremiah,) even unto the greatest, every one is given to covetousness,” (c. vi. 13.) They panted after the dust of the earth,” (Amos üi. 7.) “ They laded themselves with thick clay,” (Hab. iï. 6.) “ They joined house to house, and laid field to field, until there was no place,” (Isa. v. 8.) “Yea, they enlarged their desires as hell : they were as death, and could not be satisfied,” Hab. ii. 5.
12. And not only for their covetousness, but for their pride of heart were they an abomination to the Lord. “The pride of Israel (saith Hosea) doth testify to his face,” (c. vii. 10.) "Hear ye, give ear, (saith Jeremiah) be not proud-Give glory to the Lord your God,” (c. xiii. 15.) “ But they would not be reproved; they were still wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight,” (Isa. v. 21.) and continually saying to their neighbour, “Stand by thyself, come not near to me, for I am holier than thou !” Isa. Ixv. 5.
They added hypocrisy to their pride. “ This people (saith God himself) draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their hearts far from me,” (Isa. xxix. 13.) They have not cried unto me with their hearts, when they howled upon their beds,” (Hos. vii. 14.) They return, but not to the Most High ; they are like a deceitful bow," (v. 16.) “They did but flatter him with their mouth, and dissemble with him in their tongue,” (Psal. lxxviii. 36.) So that herein they only “profaned the holiness of the Lord.” “ And this have ye done again, (saith Malachi,) covering the altar of the Lord with tears, with weeping, and with erying out, insomuch that he regarded not the offering any more," c. ii. 11, 13.
13. This God continually declared to those formal worshippers ; That their outside religion was but vain. “To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices, saith the Lord? I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he-goats. Bring no more vain oblations: incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with it; it is iniquity, even the solemn