In vain the ultroneous preacher boasts of his feelings; his success; his moving his audience; his reforming their lives; as if these demonstrated his call from God. On earth, was ever delusion carried on without pretence to, or without appearances of these? Let them, who know the history of Popery, of Mahometanism, Quakerism, &c., say if they were. Who knows not, that the Pharisaic sect pretended far more strictness, far more devotion, than the family of Christ? Who knows not, that Satan may, and has oft transformed himself into an angel of light; his ministers into the form of inspired apostles; and his influences, almost indiscernibly similar to those of the Spirit of Jesus Christ? Who knows not, how oft vain-glory, proud and falsely extolling of himself and party, in their number, their spiritual experience and high advances in holiness, mark the distinguished impostor? How oft his sermons are larded with these!
No more tell us, if the sermon be good, you do not regard who preach it. If God has prescribed a method of call, has stated the qualifications of the candidate, has warned against preachers unsent, has oft marked their guilt with visible strokes of his wrath, be ashamed to talk at so arrogant, so careless a rate. Lay it not in the power of the Mesopotamian wizard! Lies it not in the power of a Romish Jesuit, nay, if permitted, of Beelzebub, for a time to preach to you many truths of the gospel, in the warmest strain, the loftiest language? Would you acknowledge the three for honored ambassadors of Christ? Tell us not your preacher is wonderfully pious and good: perhaps you have only his own attestation; when better known he may be a drunkard, a swearer, a villain, for you. Suppose he were pious, so was Uzziah; yet it pertained not to him to execute the priest’s office. Say not he is wonderfully gifted—speaks like never man: perhaps so was Korah, a man famous and of renown: such perhaps were the vagabond sons of Sceva. Say not his earnestness in his work marks his heavenly call: no, such were the Satanic exorcists just mentioned; such was Mahomet, the vilest impostor. To abolish the idolatry, and various other abominations of his country, he exposed himself to cruel reproach, to manifold hardship and hazard of life; about fourteen years almost unsuccessful he persevered in this difficult, but delusive attempt. What hunger, what cold, what torment and death have some Jesuitic and other antichristian missionaries undergone, to propagate the most ruining delusions of hell; all under the pretence of earnestness to gain sinners to Christ and his church. The Scripture, however, nowhere saith, how shall they preach except they be gracious? except they be gifted? except they be in earnest? But, how shall they preach except they be sent?
On the same subject—Who have a right to preach the gospel?