Baxter - Houston-Packer Collection BX5200 .B352 1835 v2

76 BAXTER'S DYII4G TIIOUG SITS. accusation of their impiety, so many teachers take themselves to be accused of ignorance, by such as condemn their errors by the light of truth : and if you meddle not with any person, yet take they their opinions to be so much their interest, as that all that is said against them they take as said against themselves. And then, alas!! what envyings, what whispering disparagements,.and what backbitings, if not malicious slanders and .underminings, do we meet with from the carnal clergy ! And O that it were all from them alone ! and that among the zealous and suffering party of faithful preachers, there were not much of such iniquity, and that none of them preached Christ in strife and envy! It is sad, that error should find so much shelter under the selfishness and pride of pious men, and that the friends of truth should be tempted to reject and abuse so much of it in their ignorance as they do : but the matter of fact is too evident to be hid. But, especially, if we meet with a clergy that are high, and have a great deal of worldly interest at 'the stake ; or if they be incouncils and synods, and have gotthe major vote, they too easily believe that either their grandeur, reverence, names, or numbers, must give them the reputation of being orthodox, and in the right, and will warrant them to account and defame him as erroneous, heretical, schismatical, Singular, factious, or prodd, that presumeth to contradict them, and to know more than ;hey. Of which, not only the case of Naziànzen, Martin, Chrysostom, are sad proofs, but also the proceedings of too many general and provincial coun- cils. And so our hard studies and darling truth must make us as owls, or reproached persons, among those reverend brethren, who are ignorant at easier rates, and who find it a far softer kind oflife to think and say as the most or best esteemed do, than topurchase reproach and obloquy so dearly. And the religious, people, of the several parts, will say' as they hear their teachers do, and be the militant followers of their too militant leaders; and it will be their house talk, their shop talk, their street talk, if not their church talk, that such an one is an erroneous, dangerous man, because he is not as ignorant and erro- neous as they ; especially if they be the followers of a teacher much exasperated by confutation, and engaged in the controversy; and also if it should be snffering confessors that are contradicted, or men most highly esteemed for extraordinary degrees of piety ; then, what cruel censures must he expect, who ever so tenderly would suppress their errors? O, what sad instances of this are, 1. The case of the confess- ors in Cyprian's days, who, as many of his epistles show, became the great disturbers of that church. 2. And the Egyptian monks at Alexandria, in the days of Theophilus, who turned Anthropo-