“The Nature and Danger of Heresies”

Obadiah Sedgewick (1599/1600-1658) preached a sermon before parliament with the above title.  This is an interesting work from both a historical (he has a couple of lists of errors troubling the church) and theological (defining heresy etc).  I may post his list of errors as it is enlightening and edifying.  Here is his stirring conclusion on how ministers should respond in the face of heresy:

I have also a word to say to you who are Ministers of the Gospel of Christ: Come you forth from your long silences, neglects and reserves: and help the Church of Christ, in swallowing up the flood which the Serpent hath cast out of his mouth: when Jesus Christ is blasphemed, it is not a time to fear, but to cry out … Men will  say that you are moderate and discreet, but what will Christ say to you, if at such a time you be silent in his cause?  Oh my brethren! you are the husbandmen, take heed that none sow tares in the field, whiles you sleep: you are the builders, O be sure to preserve the foundation safe: you are the shepherds of the flock, O beware of the wolves, lest they break in and destroy the sheep!  … You are the watchmen, O look out, lest the enemy slip in and surprise the city!  You are the fathers, be sure that your children have not a stone given to them instead of bread, or a serpent instead of fish.

You must help with your most fervent prayers: as Alexander once did, and prevailed against Arius: You must help with your counsels, with your watchings, with your preachings … You must … stand for truth, and withstand errors:  You are (in a singular manner) intrusted with truth and souls.  O watch, O pray, O preach, O do all that faithful ministers should do, when a flood breaks in: You read of Elijah’s zeal against the false prophets, and of Paul’s zeal against false Apostles: You have read of the zeal of Athanasius against the Arians: and of the zeal of Cyprian against the Novatians: and of the zeal of Austine against the Manichees, and against the Pelagians: You have read of the zeal of Hierome, of Chrysostome, of Nazianzen, and many others in ancient times: You have read of the zeal of Luther, and Calvin, and others in later times.  Ou have shewed your zeal to the Kingdom in our dangerous times; I say no more, remember your first works, remember your engagements and be zealous: If you who are the Angels of Christ, the Ministers of Christ, the stewards of Christ, if you be drowzie, if you be silent, if you stop your own mouths when mouths are opened against your Christ, whose mouth can we expect should open it self to swallow up the flood?

One Response to ““The Nature and Danger of Heresies””

  1. Stirring Words to Pastors Says:

    […] against your Christ, whose mouth can we expect should open it self to swallow up the flood? [“The Nature and Danger of Heresies” James Durham Thesis] Wayne Sparkman, Th.M. Director, PCA Historical Center, St. Louis, MO Blogs: The Continuing […]

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