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In the apostolic age, among other gifts of the Holy Ghost then communicated to the infant church, there was one very needful at that time, "the discerning of spirits." For by this noble talent the false ones were detected, and the true brethren put upon their guard. But as we are no longer favored with this miraculous gift, the illuminati of the present day, (who thunder forth unmerited and general invectives against the regular clergy, "and are not afraid to speak evil of dignities," and have totally withdrawn themselves from the established church, under pastors and bishops of their own ordination, if they have any at all,) should be obliged to produce some indisputable credentials of their authority in an age like this; when every imaginable species and method of forgery and imposture is boldly attempted, and practised with too much success.
"Qui cavet hodie ne decipiatur, vix cavet, cum etiam
Cautor captus est."
1. Cor. xii. 10.
Jude 8; 2 Peter ii, 10.
"In times like these 'gainst wily arts to guard,
Arts secret springs when most they seem display'd,
If they are able to produce nothing but rant and noise, the unconverted will be warranted in applying to them that declaration of God to their elder brethren :-" I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran; I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied."*
Supercilious and counterfeit humility a badge of false religion-Shews itself in different ways.— Great changes in both the religious and political world are to be expected, before the kingdom of the saints shall be established.-The resurrection of the saints, and reign of Christ on earth, how to be understood.-A much nearer approach to perfection in holiness, and peace, and happiness, than we can at present well conceive.-Yet still consistent with a state of probation, and capable of interruption by the revival of wickedness, before the final consummation.-The great felicity of those whose lot shall be cast in that sabbath of the world.
A celebrated writer in the last age, with more wit and humour, than strict regard to decorum, contrasted the mock humility of EMPEROR PETER, (stiling himself "servus servorum, or man's man," at the very time when
he was ແ beating the men servants and maid servants,"* into the most abject submission to his lordly pride;) with the equally absurd and false affectation of bumility by his ragged but proud brother Jack. The real superciliousness of the one was not a whit behind that of the other, only it was in another walk, and of an opposite description. In this age it hath fortuned that lord Peter, by an ill run of luck at cards, has been forced to alight from his high horse, all covered over with scarlet and gold, pull up his red plush breeches, and trudge along a-foot, in the dust or the mire, be the weather what it may : while whimsical Jack, determined at all adventures in his persevering opposition and dissent, has now cleverly vaulted into the saddle, and madly rides over the foot passengers, without so much as the bare formality of a “by your leave!"
"Asperius nihil est misero, cum surgit in altum.
When Jack was in pow'r then he put on his pride:
*Luke xii. 45.
But to drop the ironical allegory of that author, it is a real and lamentable proof that we are not actually now living in the age of the promised MILLENNIUM, that the wiles and devices of Satan, for the purpose of frustrating the designed effect of the gospel, are still so prevalent in the world, and so successful even in the sanctuary. They still have so strong a power of fascinating the mind, and blinding the judgment of mankind, that the truth itself is converted into an engine of delusion, and the primary virtues of charity and humility into pharisaical superciliousness, and sectarian envy and strife.*
Humility (not counterfeit, but such as our Saviour exhibited in his own person, as a pattern for all his disciples to follow,)† is in religion a cardinal virtue. There can be no real piety in the heart where this chief ingredient is wanting for true godliness, and modesty in the display of it, are inseparable.
* 1 Cor. iii, 3; James iii. 14, 16,