To the Author of the New-England Courant.
It often happens, that the most zealous Advocates for any Cause find themselves disappointed in the first Appearance of Success in the Propagation of their Opinion; and the Disappointment appears unavoidable, when their easy Proselytes too suddenly start into Extreams, and are immediately fill’d with Arguments to invalidate their former Practice. This creates a Suspicion in the more considerate Part of Mankind, that those who are thus given to Change, neither fear God, nor honour the King. In Matters of Religion, he that alters his Opinion on a religious Account, must certainly go thro’ much Reading, hear many Arguments on both Sides, and undergo many Struggles in his Conscience, before he can come to a full Resolution: Secular Interest will indeed make quick Work with an immoral Man, especially if, notwithstanding the Alteration of his Opinion, he can with any Appearance of Credit retain his Immorality. But, by this Turn of Thought I would not be suspected of Uncharitableness to those Clergymen at Connecticut, who have lately embrac’d the Establish’d Religion of our Nation, some of whom I hear made their Professions with a Seriousness becoming their Order: However, since they have deny’d the Validity of Ordination by the Hands of Presbyters, and consequently their Power of Administring the Sacraments, &c. we may justly expect a suitable Manifestation of their Repentance for invading the Priests Office, and living so long in a Corah-like Rebellion. All I would endeavour to shew is, That an indiscreet Zeal for spreading an Opinion, hurts the Cause of the Zealot. There are too many blind Zealots among every Denomination of Christians; and he that propagates the Gospel among Rakes and Beaus without reforming them in their Morals, is every whit as ridiculous and impolitick as a Statesman who makes Tools of Ideots and Tale-Bearers. [Read more…]