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to the present, we shall find, that the christian church has never been free from gross delusions and destructive heresies. Christ predicted, that there would always be tares among the wheat to the end of the world. This prediction has been constantly fulfilling, and will be finally and completely fulfilled. There never has been, and never will be a pure church in this world. There must be heresies in it. This leads us to show,

III. In what sense, it is necessary, that heresies should be in the church. There never has been, and there never can be any natural necessity of heresy in the christian church. Those who enjoy the gospel may always know, and love and profess the truth. They are at perfect liberty to embrace the truth, or to embrace errour. They are never under any natural necessity of falling into any kind of heresy. Heresy is always the fruit of an evil heart of unbelief. If the christian church had always followed the instructions and admonitions of Christ and the apostles, they never would have fallen into any essential errours or heresies, but would have remained pure and uncorrupt to this day. And if christians from this day forward would only regulate their sentiments by the rules of the gospel, they would never imbibe any fatal heresies to the end of the world. There is, therefore, only a moral necessity of the continuance of heresy; a necessity arising from the moral corruption of the human heart. As long as there are any among professing christians, who are under the dominion of a totally corrupt heart, they will love errour better than truth, and be disposed to imbibe fatal errours and heresies. And as we have good reasons to expect that there will be some such persons in the church, who will remain totally depraved; so we may believe, that there will be in time to come, as in time past, heresies in the christian church. Moral corruption will create a moral necessity of the perpetual continuance of heresy, as long as the world stands. It still remains to show,

IV. Why there is a moral necessity of heresies continuing in the christian church to the end of time; or

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why God chooses, all things considered, that heresies should continue to exist. God does not love, but hates heresies in themselves considered. He forbids and condemns men for embracing them. But yet he chooses, all things considered, that they should exist. This Christ taught by the parable of the tares. The householder would not allow his servants to


and gather up the tares; “ but said, nay, lest, while ye ga

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up the tares, ye root up also the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest.” God has some wise and important purposes to answer, by always continuing heresies in the church. This is intimated in the text. 5 For there must be also heresies among you, that they who are approved may be made manifest among you." Though we do not know all the good purposes which God intends to answer by the continuance of heresies in the church; yet some of the most plain and obvious ones, it may be mention. And,

1. One important purpose he means to answer by the means of heresies, is to distinguish truth from er

The leading and essential truths of the gospel have been revealed and taught ever since the first apostacy. The gospel was summarily preached to Adam, in the promise, that the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. The gospel was preached to the patriarchs, who all lived and died in the faith of it. The gospel was preached to Abraham and to all his seed under the old testament. And it has been still more fully and plainly preached by Christ and his apostles and their successors from his day to. this time. The great and essential truths of the gospel have been a stream of light, which, like the rising sun has been continually shining brighter and brighter, unto the perfect day : while at the same time, fatal errours, delusions, and heresies have been increasing in number and magnitude, and involving all persons and all nations destitute of the gospel, in worse than Egyptian darkness. God made man upright, but they


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have sought out many inventions. The great mass of mankind have, for near six thousand years, been employing all their ingenuity and learning in devising and propagating new and false schemes of religion, by which they have involved the world in general, in the grossest errours and moral darkness. The light of divine truth has always shone in the midst of the darkness of human errour. And we all know, that darkness renders light more visible, and light renders darkness more visible. Just so, the darkness of errour renders the light of truth more visible, and the light of truth renders the darkness of errour more visible. The world that lies in moral darkness do not know that they lie in moral darkness, until the light of the glorious gospel shines among them. And those who have always enjoyed the light of the gospel, would not know, that the rest of the world are involved in gross and fatal moral darkness, did not the light of the gospel discover their deluded and perishing condition. Here then we see one important reason, why God has not caused the gospel to spread more extensively in the world, from the beginning to this day, and has left almost all nations to walk in their own way, and plunge themselves deeper and deeper in destructive errours and delusions. He has meant to set truth and errour in contrast, and make them serve to illustrate each other. And this contrast has been producing this effect from age to age, and will continue to produce it to the end of time. Truth and errour under the old testa. ment dispensation illustrated each other; and truth and errour' under the new testament illustrate each other. And orthodoxy in the church illustrates heterodoxy in the church, and heterodoxy in the church illustrates orthodoxy in the church. The errours in the heathen world illustrate the truths believed and

professed in the christian world. The errours in the Romish church illustrate the truths believed and professed in the Protestant church. And the errours in an Episcopal, Congregational, Presbyterian, or in any

other particular church, illustrate the truths believed and professed in that particular church. Sabellianism, Arianism, Socinianism, and Unitarianism, all illus. trate the truth of Trinitarianism. Arminianism illustrates the truth of Calvinism. Every errour that opposes any essential doctrine of the gospel, illustrates that essential doctrine of the gospel which it opposes. It is now easy to see, why God should choose, that errours, delusions, and heresies should always be not only in the world, but in the church. He always has employed, and will continue to employ them, as means to distinguish truth from errour, and to cause errour to appear more criminal and dangerous, but truth more amiable and important.

2. God chooses that there should be heresies in the church that true believers may be distinguished from false professors. This the apostle gives as a reason why there must be heresies in the church. “For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.” We know,

: that there were true and false professors in the church of Corinth. The true professors believed, and loved and professed the great and fundamental doctrines of the gospel, which Paul preached and inculcated; but the false professors, who were carnal, and had itehing ears, followed false teachers, and heartily embraced and propagated gròss and fatal errours. The apostle asks in the 15th chapter of this epistle, “ Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you, that there is no resurrection of the dead ? But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God, that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be the dead rise not. For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised. And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain ; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.” Such a great and fatal heresy, as the denial of the resurrection of the dead, had sprung up in the great and flourishing church of Corinth, which Paul had planted and Apollos had watered. And it was necessary, that this heresy should be in this church, that those who were approved might be made manifest among them. It was certainly calculated to produce this good effect. There can be no doubt but that the sincere and approved professors disbelieved and rejected this heresy, while the insincere believed and propagated it to their own ruin, and the ruin of others. Heresy has always had the same tendency to distinguish true believers from false professors. It had this effect in the Jewish church. In the days of Rehoboam, it distinguished the two tribes of Judah and Benjamin, from the ten tribes of Israel, who embraced the fatal errours of Jeroboam the son of Nebat. It had this effect till the coming of Christ, when it distinguished the Scribes and Pharisees from the few Israelites indeed. It had this effect in all the primitive churches, and distinguished true believers from Sabellians, Arians, Pelagians, and other hereticks. Heresy still serves to distinguish true believers from false professors in the christian church in every part of the world. God has chosen, that the present flood of errours, delusions and heresies should spread and prevail in the heathen and christian world, that true churches might be made manifest, and the true professors in them should be distinguished from false professors, who imbibe and propagate great and fatal heresies. The heterodox every where, are a foil to the orthodox, and exhibit their characters in a beautiful and amiable light. Unitarians are a foil to Trinitarians, and Arminians are a foil to Calvinists. They are now distinguishing true professors from the false professors, who are following the great and dangerous errours that they are so zealously propagating. And if they succeed in their proselyting scheme, there will soon be a wide . and visible distinction between heterodox and orthodox churches in this land, and as visible a distinction

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