« AnteriorContinuar »
them so too: But will it therefore follow that all hypocrites know they are so? And he in effect asserts, that men should look at such a qualification, as sanctifying grace, in themselves and inquire whether they have it, or no, in order to determine whether they should present themselves to gospel-ordinances : for he greatly finds fault with me for suggesting, as if those of a different opinion from me supposed, that persons have no manner of need to look at any such qualification in themselves, or at all inquire, whether they have it, in order to present themselves to sacraments. He refers to that passage in my book. (p. 55. d.) “I cannot conceive what should move Philip to utter those words, or what he should aim at in them, if he at the same time supposed that the eunuch had no manner of need to look at any such qualification in himself, or at all to inquire whether he had such a faith, or no, in order to determine whether he might present himself as the subject of baptism.” It is plain, the qualification I have respect to, is grace, or saving faith. And so Mr. W. himself understands me; as appears by his reflections, (p. 49. c. d. e.) where, after quoting this passage, he consigns me over to another judgment, for suggesting that my opposers hold what I had there expressed, and for "representing the matter, as if they looked on it as no matter whether a person coming to gospel-ordinances bad any grace, or no, and that he had no manner of need to inquire any thing about his sincerity."
Some plain consequences of the foregoing Concessions.
If it be as Mr. W. says, that the Church ought to admit none to their holy communion, in special ordinances, but visible saints, and that this visibility must be such as to a judgment of rational charity, makes them appear as real saints, and those that are admitted must be such as profess real saintship, gospel-holiness, in distinction from moral sincerity; then the whole
r of my first argument, from the nature of a visibility and profession of Christianity, is allowed by him, in both premises and consequences. And indeed Mr. W. does not only do thus consequentially, but he is express in it. In (p. 4. c.) taking notice of this argument, he says, “ The sense and force of it wholly lies in this compass; a visible saint is one that to the view, appearance and judgment of the Church is a real saint; and since none but visible saints are to be admitted by the church, therefore none are to be admitted but such as appear to the view and judgment of the church to be real saints. But these things, which Mr. W. himself allows as the sum of the argument, both premises and consequence, are expressly allowed by him in what there follows.
* Now let all that have been acquainted with the controversy between me and my people at Northampton, consider these things, which Mr. W. earnestly insists do belong to his scheme; and judge whether they be agreeable to the scheme which my opposers there have so vehemently and long contended for ; yea, whether they are not very opposite to it; or whether in these things Mr. W. has not entirely yielded up, yea, vehemently asserted, the chief things concerning which they contested with me; and so, whether he has at all helped their cause by wri. ting his book, or rather, on the contrary, has fought against them.
2. If there must be a visibility and profession of real piety, in distinction from moral sincerity, so that it can be truly said, as Mr. W. says with discretive terms, and notes of discrimination, that not merely the one must be professed, but the other ; and that more than moral sincerity must be professed, &c.Then it follows (or rather it is the same thing) that men must profess religion with some discrimination, or marks of difference in their words, distinguishing what is professed from moral sincerity, contrary to what Mr. W. strenuously and frequently asserts, (p. 6 c. d. & p. 9. c. and many other places.) For if the profession is made in words that signify no difference, then nothing different is signified or professed by those words; and so nothing more; contrary to what Mr. W. also asserts.
3. If it be as Mr. W. says, that the scripture has determined none ought to be admitted, but such as make an open profession and declaration of an hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace, such as covenant with God with their whole hearts, and profess gospel-holiness : Then the whole of my second argument, concerning explicit covenanting with God, is expressly allowed, in both premises and consequence; though Mr. W. seems at the same time, with so much labour and earnestness to militate against it. For the premises are that all ought openly and explicitly to own God's covenant, or consent to the terms of it. This is the same thing that he asserts, as above. And the consequence, or thing which I inferred from it, was, that all that are admitted ought to make a profession of real godliness: and this also he expressly and often allows.
4. Since it is supposed, that in order to admission, men ought to profess real friendship to Christ, and love to him above the world, and to profess a proper respect to Christ in their hearts, as well as true notion of him in their heads; and that they ought to profess gospel-holiness, and not merely moral sincerity: therefore the whole of what belongs to my third argument, is allowed, both premises and consequence. The premises were, that the nature of things affords as much reason for professing proper respect to Christ in the heart, as a true notion of him in the head. This he allows. What I endea
voured to infer from hence, was, that therefore men ought to profess true piety, and not onlymoral sincerity: and this is also ilowed by him.
5. It appears, that the whole of my fourth argument, both premises and consequence, is allowed. The premises were, that the scripture reckons all visible saints who are not truly pious, to be hypocrites. This Mr. W. expressly allows, (p. 25. e.) The consequence I inferred, was, that yisible saints are such as make a profession of true godliness, and not only moral sincerity. This also is very fully allowed by him, (p. 139. a.)
6. Since it is supposed, that when Christ's rules are attended, they that come to sacraments, do not know themselves to be hypocrites, but must look at such a qualification in themselves, as grace, and make such a pretence, and profess gospel holiness; therefore all is in effect allowed, that I endeavoured from the latter part of the 7th chapter of Matthew, which was to shew, that professing Christians in general, all those that said, Lord, Lord, both those that built on the sand, and those that built on a rock, were such as imagined themselves to have a saving interest in Christ, and pretended to be his real disciples, and made such a profession. The same was what I endeavoured to shew from the parable of the ten virgins. And therefore all that I argued from thence is in like manner allowed.
7. Hence, in vain is all the opposition Mr. W. makes to what I allege from the Acts of the Apostles, from the story of the Eunuch and other parts of that book, concerning the man. ner and circumstances of the admission of members into the primitive Christian church, and the profession they made ; seeing he grants the main point I endeavoured to prove by it, viz. That they did make, and all adult persons that are admitted into the church, must make, a profession of something more than moral sincerity, even gospel-holiness.
8. Hence, in vain is all he says in opposition to my eighth argument, taken from the manner of the apostles' treating and addressing the primitive churches in their Epistles; since he does either expressly or virtually grant each of those three things, which he himself reckons up as the sum of what I intend under that argument, viz. (1.) That the apostles speak to the churches, and of them, as supposing and judging them to be gracious persons. (2.) That the members of these churches had such an opinion of themselves. (3.) That they had this judgment one of another. Mr. W. allows all these. He abundantly allows and asserts, that the members of churches are such as are supposed, and rationally judged to be gracious persons, by those that admit them; that they are taken in under that notion, and from respect to such a character appearing on them; and that they are rationally judged to be so by their fellow Cbris. VOL. IV.
tians; and that they must look at such a character in themselves, and must make such a pretence.
9. Since Mr. W. abundantly allows, that visible Christians must be believed in charity to be truly pious; and that they are such as have the moral image of Christ appearing in them, and supposed to be in them, and that they are to be loved on that account; therefore very impertinent and inconsistent is the opposition he makes to my ninth argument, from the nature of that brotherly love required towards all visible Christians ; which was to shew, that visible Christians by the rule of Christ were to be apprehended to be true Christians.
10. In like manner, vain and to no purpose is the opposition he makes to my tenth argument, from the nature of sacramental actions, supposed in their intent and signification to be a solemn profession of those things wherein real piety consists, viz. a cordial acceptance of Christ and his benefits ; from thence arguing, that a profession of these things is necessary, and so inferring, that those who perform these actions, should suppose themselves truly to accept of Christ : Since both these things are in effect granted, that communicants must judge that they have sanctifying grace, and also that they must profess gospel. holiness, a compliance with the call of the gospel, and falling in with the terms of salvation proposed, &c.
11. In vain also is the opposition he makes to my eleventh argument, from 1 Cor. xi. 28. “Let a man examine himself; and so let him eat.”—Inferring from thence, that a man ought to inquire concerning such a qualification in himself, as grace, in order to know whether he may come to the sacrament of the Lord's supper. Since Mr. W. himself plainly supposes this very thing : That men ought to look at such a qualification in themselves, as grace, and to inquire whether they have it, in order to determine whether they may present themselves to Christian sacraments.
12. If it be true, according to Mr. W.'s representation of his own scheme, That persons may not be admitted to sacraments, but under a notion of their being truly godly, and with respect to such a character appearing on them; and that persons themselves had need to look at such a qualification in themselves, and inquire whether they have it, in order to determine whether they may come to sacraments; it must be because if they find they have it not, they may not come, or (which is the same thing) it is not lawful for them to come. For it would be ridiculous to say that others must look at such a qualification in them, and must not admit them but from respect to such a character on them ; and that they themselves also must look at such a qualification in themselves, and inquire whether they have it, in order to determine whether they may come; when
yet they may come whether they have it or no, and have as much of a lawful right without it as with it. So that Mr. W. has in effect determined against himself the grand point, which he himself insists on, as the point in dispute, according to the true state of the question. And therefore,
13. It follows from the foregoing concessions, that Mr. W. is inconsistent with himself in all his arguings that men may come to sacraments without such a qualification or character as that of true piety. Because God has given no certain rule by which sacraments may be restrained to such,* or because that otherwise none might come but those that know they have such a character ;t or because the contrary doctrine tends to bring saints into great perplexities in their attendance on sacraments;t or from the lawfulness of unregenerate men's attending other duties. If there be any force in this arguing from other duties to an attendance on sacraments, then the argument will infer that men must not be admitted to other duties, but under the notion of their being truly godly, and from respect to such a character appearing on them, &c.—as Mr. W. insists with regard to Christian sacraments. And so if these things which Mr. W. concedes and asserts, are true, in vain is all arguing from the like tendency in sacraments to convert men, as in other duties :|| And in vain is it to argue the lawfulness of men's coming without this character, from their obligation to perform external covenant duties, and to carry themselves like saints.** And in vain is all arguing from the pretended bad consequences of the contrary doctrine.it
14. The opposition Mr. W. makes to my argument from Isaiah lvi. especially those words, ver. 6, 7. The sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to love the Lord, and be his servants—will I bring into my holy mountain-to prove that none have a right in the sight of God to the privileges of the Christian church, but those that love God, and are truly pious ; I say, the opposition Mr. W. makes to this argument is frivolous, since he in effect grants the same thing, (as above,) yea, expressly allows, that they must make pretences of being God's real friends, and loving God more than the world, p. 36. c.
15. If it be trưe, as Mr. W. allows and abundantly asserts, that in order to persons being admitted to holy communion in special ordinances, the scripture has determined, that there must be an open profession and declaration of a person's believing, or of a personal believing in Christ, (which is the same thing,) and of an hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace.ft and that therein must be a profession of gospel-holi
* See Mr. W.'s Book, p. 106, &c. | Ibid. p. 108, &c. P. 123, &c. || P. 126, &c. 1 P. 128, &c. ** P. 131.
ti See how Mr. W. expresses himself, p. 5, b. c.
P. 120, &c.