Salem Witch Trials Logo

Click to expand/collapse header


The Sermon Notebook of Samuel Parris: Sermon March 27, 1692

page: 147

Christ knows how many Devils there are

27. Mar. 1691/2 Sacrament day.

Occasioned by dreadfull Witchcraft broke out here a few weeks past, & one Member of this Church, & another of Salem upon publick examination by Civil Authority vehemently suspected for Shee-Witches, & upon it Committed

6. John. 70.

Have not I chosen you twelve, & one of you is a Devil. This chap: consist[s] of .3. principal parts.

1. Part consists of a declaration of Christs miraculous feeding of 5000. With 5. Loaves & 2. Small fishes. 1-15. v.

2. Part treats of Christs miraculous walking upon the Sea. 15-22. v.

3. Last part consists of Christs Sermon to the Capernaites 22. v. ad finem concerning the Heavenly of truly vivifical bread. This part consists of sundry particles. viz.

1. The occasion of this sermon. 22. 23. 24. 25. v.

2. The sermon it self. 26-59. v.

3. Last: The event of this Sermon. 59. Ad finem

Now this event consists of

1. The offence of many 59. v &c.

2. A Reprehension of their error from whence this their offence arose: in which Reprehension he shows them that it was not the eating of his flesh carnally but spiritually that he spake of. 61 &c.

3. Christs complaint of the incredulity of many 64. 65. v.

4. An other event which was worse than the former, namely the total departure of several of his disciples from him. 66. v. Whereupon Note

1. Our Lord takes occasion to ask his Disciples whither they also would desert him. 67. v.

2. Peter in the name of the rest answers by confessing the excellency both of Christs Doctrine & his Person. 68. 69. v.

3. Last: This confession Christ so approves of, that

page: 148

in his Churches, & who they are.

in the mean while he doth admonish them, that there is an Hypocrite among them, a Devil among them 70. 71. verses. Have I not chosen you 12. & one of you is a Devil. i.e. I have chose 12. of you to familiarity with me, to by my Apostles, & for all one of you is a Devil.

Our Lord Jesus Christ knows how many Devils there are in his Church, & who they are.

1. There are Devils as well as Saints in Christs Church.

2. Christ knows how many of these Devils there are.

3. Last: Christ Knows who these Devils are.

1. Prop: There are Devils as well as Saints in the Church of Christ: Here 3 things may be spoken to

1. Show you what is meant here by Devils

2. That there are such Devils in the Church

3. Last: That there are also true Saints in such Churches

1. What is meant here by Devils. One of you is a Devil. An. By Devil is ordinarily meant any wicked Angel or Spirit: Sometimes it is put for the Prince or head of the evil Spirits, or fallen Angels. Sometimes it is used for vile & wicked persons, the worst of such, who for their villany & impiety do most resemble Devils & wicked Spirits. Thus Christ in our text calls Judas a Devil, for his great likeness to the Devil. One of you is a Devil i.e. a Devil for quality & disposition: not a Devil for Nature, for he was a man &c. but a Devil for likeness & operation. 8. Joh. 38. 41 44. Ye are of your Father the Devil

2. There are such Devils in the Church: Not only sinners but notorious sinners; sinners more like to the Devil than others. So here in Christs little Church. Text. This also Christ teacheth us in the Parable of the Tares. 13. Matth. 38. Where Christ tells us that such are the Children of the wicked one. i.e. of the Devil.
Reason: Because Hypocrites are the very worst of men.

page: 149

Christ knows how many Devils there are

Corruptio optimi est pessima. Hypocrites are the sons & heirs of the Devil, the free-holders of hell, whereas other sinners are but Tenants. When Satan repossesseth a Soul he becomes more vile & sinfull. 11. Luke. 24. 25. 26. As the Goaler layes load of iron on him that hath escaped. None are worse than those that have been good, & are naught: & might be good, but will be naught.

3. Last: There are also true Saints in the Church. The Church consists of good; & bad: as a Garden that has weeks as well as flowers: & as a field that has Wheat as well as Tares. Hince the Gosple is compared to a net that taketh good & bad. 13. Matt. 47. 48. 49. 50. Here are good men to be found, yea ye very best; & here are bad men to be found, yea ye very worst: Such as Shall have the hightest seat in glory; & such also as shall be cast into the lowest & fiercest flames of misery. Saints & Devils. Like Jeremiahs Basket of figs. 24. Jer. 1-4.

2. Prop: Christ knows how many of these Devils there are in his Churches. As in our text there was one among the twelve. And so in our Churches God knows how many Devils there are: whither 1. 2. 3. or. 4. in 12. How many Devils, how many Saints. He that knows whom he has Chosen. 13. John. 18. he also knows who they are that have not chosen him, & above his ordinances. 2. Tim. 4. 10

3. Prop: Last: Christ knows who these Devils are. There is one among you sais Christ to the twelve: Well who is that? why it is Judas. Why so Christ knows how many Devils among us: whither one or ten, or 20

page: 150

in his Churches, & who they are.

& also who they are He knows us perfectly; & he knows those of us that are in the Church, that we are either Saints of Devils; True believers, or Hypocrites & dissembling Judas's that would sell Christ & his kingdom to gratify a lust. We do not think we are such. 2 Reg. 8. 12. 13.

1. Use. Let none then build their hopes of Salvation meerly upon this, that they are Church-members. This you & I may be, & yet Devils for all that. 8. Matth. 11. 12. Many shall come from the East and West, & shall sit down &c. And however we may pass here a true difference shall be made shortly &c.

2. Use. Let none then be stumbled at Religion because too often there are Devils found among the Saints. You see here was a true Church, Sincere converts, & Sound believers, & yet here was a Devil among them.

3. Use. Terror to Hypocrites, who Profess much love to Christ, but indeed are in league with their lusts, which they prefer above Christ. Oh remember that you are Devils in Christs account. Christ is lightly esteemed of you, & you are vilely accounted of by Christ. Oh if there by any such among us, for bear to come this day to the Lords Table, least Satan enter more powerfully into you. Least whilst the bread be between your teeth, the wrath of the Lord come pouring down upon you. 78. Ps. 30. 31.

4. Use Exhort in two branches.

1. To be deeply humbled for the appearances of Devils among our Churches. If the Church of Corinth were called to mourn because of one incestuous person among them. 1 Cor. 5 initio How much more may N-E Churches mourn that such as work witchcraft, or are vehemently suspected so to do should be found among them. page: 151Christ knows how many Devils

2. To be much in prayer that God would deliver our Churches from Devils. That God would not suffer Devils in the guise of Saints to associate with us. One sinner destroys much good; how much more one Devil. Pray we also that not one true Saint may suffer as a Devil, either in name, or body. The Devil would represent the best Saints as Devils if he could, but it is not easy to imagine that his power is of such extent, to the hazard of the Church.

5. Use. Last: Examine we our selves well, what we are: what we Church-members are: We are either Saints, or Devils, the scripture gives us no medium. The Apostle tells us we are to examine our selves. 2 Cor. 13. 5. Oh it is a dreadful thing to be a Devil, & yet to sit down at the Lords Table. 1 Cor. 10. 21. Such incurr the hottest of Gods wrath, as follows. 22. v. Now if we would not be Devils we must give our selves wholly up to Christ: & not suffer the predominancy of one lust, & particularly that lust of covetousness, which is made so light of, & which so sadly prevails in these perilous times: why this one lust made Judas a Devil. 12. Joh. 6. 26. Matth. 15. And no doubt it has made more Devils than one. For a little pelf, men sell Christ to his Enemies, & their Souls to the Devil. But there are certain sins that make us Devils, see that we be not such

1. A liar or plunderer. 8. Joh. 44.

2. A slanderer or an accuser of the godly

3. A tempter to sin

4. An opposer of godliness, as Elymas. 13. Acts. 8 &c.

5. Envious persons as Witches

6. A Drunkard 1. Sam. 1. 15. 16.

7. Last. A proud person. Finis Textus.