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of God, when their poor and woful souls shall infinitely desire, rather to return into the loathed darkness of not being, and to be hid for ever in the most abhorred state of annihilation, than now to become the everlasting objects of that unquenchable wrath, which they shall never be able to avoid or to abide, and to be chained up by the Omnipotent hand of God among the damned spirits, in a place of flames and perpetual darkness, where is torment without end, and past imagination : I say, at that dreadful day (and that day will come) what do you think would they give for part in that purity which now they persecute ? and for the comforts of true-hearted holiness that now they hate? and yet without which (as it will clearly appear, when matters are brought before that high and everlasting Judge) none shall ever see the Lord, or dwell in the joys of eternity. Nay, I verily think there are no desperate despisers of godliness, or formal opposites to grace, which do now hold holiness to be hypocrisy, sanctification singularity, practice of sincerity too much preciseness,
but when the pit of destruction hath once shut its mouth upon them, and they are sunk irrecoverably into that dungeon of fire, would be content, with all their hearts, to live a million of years as precisely as ever saint did upon earth—to redeem but one moment of that torment.” So p. 159. “The common conceit of these men is, that civil, honest men are in the state of grace, and that formal professors are very forward, and without exception, but true Christians indeed, are puritans, irregularists, exorbitants, transcendants to that ordinary pitch of formal piety, which in their carnal comprehensions they hold high enough for heaven: they either conceit them to be hypocrites, and so the only objects for the exercise of their ministerial severity, and the terrors of God; or else, though the Lord may at last pardon perhaps their singularities and excesses of zeal, yet, in the mean time, they dissweeten and vex the comforts and glory of this life, with much unnecessary strictness and abridgment.
“Now, of all others, such prophets as these are the only men with the formal hypocrite; exactly fitted and suitable to his humour; for however they may sometimes declaim boisterously (N. B.) against gross and visible abominations, (and that is well) yet they are no searchers into, nor censurers of, the state of formality; and therefore do rather secretly encourage him to sit faster upon that sandy foundation, than help to draw him forward to more forwardness," &c.
See also his Description of a puritan, p. 132.
“Good fellow-meetings and ale-house revellings, are the drunkard's delight: but all the while he sits at it, he is perhaps in a bodily fear of the puritan constable.”
Many such passages tell you how the word puritan was commonly interpreted in Oxford, Northamptonshire, and whereever learned and holy Mr. Bolton was acquainted.
And having mentioned his testimony of the use of the word, I shall add somewhat of his discovery of this spirit of malignity and detraction that worketh in the anti-puritans. In his Discourse of Happiness, p. 190, he saith :
“ The reverence and respectful carriage to godly ministers, which may sometimes be found in the formal hypocrite, doth grow towards distaste and disaffection, when they press them by the powerful sense, and piercing application of some quickening scriptures, to a fervency in spirit, purity of heart, preciseness in their walking, supernatural singularity above ordinary and moral perfections, excellency of zeal, and a sacred violence in pursuit of the crown of life : to an holy strictness, extraordinary striving to enter in at the strait gate, and transcendant eminency over the formal righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, to a nearer familiarity with God by prayer, daily examination of conscience, private humiliations, meditation upon the endless duration in a second life; to a narrow watch over the stirrings and imaginations of the heart, and expression of holiness in all the passages of both their callings, &c.Points and ponderations of which nature are ordinarily to him as so many secret seeds of indignation, and many times breed in his formal heart, cold affections, exasperation, and estrangement, if not meditation of persecution and revenge. Sanctification, preciseness, purity, holiness, zeal, strictness, power of godliness, spiritual men, holy brethren, saints in Christ, communion of Christians, godly conferences, conceived prayers, sanctifying the sabbath, family exercises, exercise of fasting, and mortifying humiliations, and such like; are commonly to men of this temporising temper, and luke-warm constitution, terms of secret terror, and open taunting.–And sometimes they villanously sport themselves with them, and make them the matter of their hateful and accursed jests, that so they may keep under as much as they can, in disestimation and contempt, the faithful professors and practisers thereof, whom
naturally they heartily hate, and also seem thereby to bear out the heartless flourishes of their own formality with greater bravery. Hereupon it is, that if they take a child of God but tripping in the least infirmity, (against which too, perhaps, he , strives and prays with many tears, &c.) slipping only in some unadvised precipitant passage of his negociations, &c.,-0 then they take on unmeasurably! they cry out, these are your men of the Spirit; these are the holy brethren ; these are your precise fellows; these are they which make such show of purity and forwardness! you see now what they are, when matters come out, and their dealings are discovered, when it comes to the trial indeed, or to a matter of commodity, &c. Are they not proud ? are they not malicious? are they not hard-hearted and covetous as well as others, &c. When by the mercies of God (in their sense) they are neither so nor so; but such censures as these are very often the mere evaporations of pure malice, and the bitter ebullitions and overlowings of their gall,” &c.
And p. 164. “The ordinary conceit which unregenerate men entertain of these experimental ministers) is--that they are troublers of Israel, preachers of terror, transgressors of policy, unfit to prophesy at Court, or in the King's Chapel, pestilent fellows, seditioners, factionists, born only to disquiet the world, and vex men's consciences.-In these days of ours especially, which are strangely profane, and desperately nought, in what man soever the
grace, undaunted zeal, resolute sincerity, are more working, eminent, and remarkable, ordinarily the more and more implacable, outrageous, and inflamed opposites shall that man find, wheresoever he lives."
And p. 10. “The formal hypocrite is moved to think his state good, and the way of his life to be right, from a prejudice which he conceives from the imputations which the world layeth upon the children of God; such as are pride, hypocrisy, singularity, melancholy, simplicity,” &c.
Page 38. “His form of godliness in his conceit is the only true state of salvation : whatsoever is short of him is profaneness; whatsoever is above him is preciseness. But, when upon his death-bed, he awaketh.”
And Direct. for Walk. p. 131. “ The more forward he is in the narrow way, the more furiously is he persecuted by the spite of tongues : the most resolute for God's glory, and in good causes, is ordinarily railed against, and reviled. The foul spirit
of good fellowship, as they call it, is still foaming out against God's chiefest favourites the foulest censures : that they are hypocrites, humorists, factionists, traitors, pestilent fellows, and all that is nought.—There is no creature that ever God made, not Satan himself excepted, which is more maliciously set against and censured than good men. Neither should any have so bad a name as they, could the hellish mists of virulent tongues obscure and stain the glory of their reputation.”
And p. 43. “At this day, professors of the gracious way be in greatest disgrace with the most; and a drunkard, and swaggering good fellow, an usurer, a son or daughter of Belial, shall find more favour, applause, and approbation with the world, than a man which makes conscience of his ways, &c.”
Page 350. “They cry, these forward professors will all turn fantastical, familists, anabaptists, arians, any thing; which cry awakes the eye of state jealousy, and so, by an unworthy consequent, draws upon those who are true of heart, even God's best servants, and the king's best subjects, discountenance, suspicions, if not molestations, unnecessarily, causelessly.”
And p. 351, 352, out of Austin's Epistles, p. 137, he shows, that it was so in his time. “They every way, and infinitely labour, that when some professors of holiness have foully' fallen indeed, or be only so slandered, the world would believe that they are all such ; do you not think in his time the world did thus exult and exclaim, or in the like manner, upon Lot’s fall ? ‘Here now you see puritan Lot, who could not endure the good fellowship of the Sodomites, he is now himself seized on by incest : they are all such, I warrant you :”” citing Du Barta's translation by Silvester, p. 412.
Base, busy stranger! com'st thou hither thus
No puritan, thou shalt not here do so, &c. Thus you hear, from a conformable divine, how men calling themselves Christians, and being some of them) formally religious, do prove themselves self-deceiving hypocrites, by their unbridled tongues, in reviling at those as Puritans, and too precise, that will not be self-deceiving formalists as well as they. I shall only add some of Bishop Hall's characters of an hypocrite, that you may see what formality is in the judgment of knowing men.
Page 169. “Walking early up into the city, he turns into
the great church, and salutes one of the pillars on one knee ; worshipping that God which at home he cares not for, while his eye is fixed on some window, or some passenger, and his heart knows not whither his lips go. He rises, and looking about with admiration, complains on our frozen charity, commends the ancient-with the superfluity of his usury, he builds an hospital, and harbours them whom his extortion hath spoiled: so while he makes many beggars, he keeps some. He turneth all gnats into camels, and cares not to undo the world for a circumstance. Flesh on a Friday is more abomination to him than his neighbour's bed. He abhors more not to uncover at the name of Jesus, than to swear by the name of God," &c. So Bishop Hall. But perhaps you will say, these persons whom you describe,
, that will make a mock of godliness itself, are not to be numbered with hypocrites, but with the openly profane.
To which I answer, 1. Even these profess themselves to be Christians, and therefore are hypocrites when they are not what they do profess. 2. They persuade themselves that they are as truly godly as those that they reproach, and do not think that it is godliness, indeed, for which they do reproach them, but for engrossing the name or reputation of godliness to themselves, and for some differing manner or way of worship. For this is one of the most notable cheats by which the devil undoes the empty, formal hypocrite; finding that this man doth own Christianity in his opinion, but is void of the true spirit, and power, and life of Christian religion; he raiseth some controversies between the serious Christian and the hypocrite, about some controvertible points of doctrine, or about some modes or circumstances of discipline and external worship, and when they fall into two sides, the hypocrite thinks that it is but in these controversies that the difference lies. The question, thinks he, is not whether men should be regenerate, godly, and religious, but whether my way of religion or the puritan's and precisian's be better! And presently he hence concludes, that indeed it is he that is the more truly religious. For, saith hey my judgment is sound, and the Puritan's is erroneous; I am of the judgment of the church, which he is against ; the reverend prelates or doctors are more of my side than on his; I am for order, and he is for coufusion and irreverence, and followeth the humours and fancies of his own brain. And thus the devil turneth his eye from the