IT is no good prognostik, when men to maintain a cause that they have under∣taken to defend, shall either for the gaining, or for the faining of a party, wrest and writhe other mens words, to wring that out of them that neither they speak, nor those that uttered them, ever intended in them. In which kind I find the speeches of many worthy men, some deceased, some yet surviving, by one Mr. John Saltmarsh, in a worke of his lately come abroad, much abused; being strangely stray∣ned, to make men believe, that they held forth in their writings some glimerings at least of those new counterfeit lights, which those deceased ones, were they surviving to see, would together with such of them, as are yet surviving, in all likelihood, not disclaim onely, but even abominate. But they are gone, tho their works yet remain, out of which matter enough might soon be collected, to shew, how many miles the Antino∣mians of these times and they are asunder. As for those of them that yet live, they may, if they so please, and deem it a work worth their labour, take a little paines to cleer the passages produced out of their writings, where they find them misap∣plied. Sufficient it shall be for me, to vindicate mine own from that which out of them this Autor would extract.
Among the rest therefore of those aapproved Writers, with whom some Truths of Free grace are related by him to be found Sparkling, in Testimony to what is in that his Discourse in part as∣serted, and in these times, by others Assertors of Free grace; (those of the Antinomian party, he meaneth, as he b elswhere expresseth himselfe:) I find my self, and some words of mine produced; which I shall endeavour here to cleer.
The Point, that he propounds from my writings to be proved, is thus layd down by him.
Concerning which Proposition so delivered by him, as speaking in his own person, albeit I could not then, when I wrote, speak any thing at all to it, as having at that time seen nothing of his; yet now I see nothing, but that I may very freely subscribe it. For I find very little difference between many of his Assertions. and theirs: and they may very well therefore go together. Nei∣ther do I conceiv that he intended any whit lesse, where he makes dthe Truths here asserted by him, the same with those that are asserted in these times by others Assertors of Free grace. the ar∣rogant Title that our Antinomians usually take and engrosse to themselves, as the onely maintainers of it. Nor, I suppose wil he deny them to be the men that he meant. Mean while this seems to be no better then dissembling, if not down-right hal∣ting, to rank himself among those that dissent from them, whom he had before professed himselfe to concur with.
If, to salv the matter, he shall say, that he spake thus in the first person, because my words afterward alleaged so runne, The matter in controversie between us and these men. I could easily shew him by some instances, what difference may arise, and e hath a∣risen from the meer alteration of the person intended or pre∣tended to speak, where no word or title hath otherwise been altered. But I say onely for the present, that this his Proposition is an Axiome of his own, distinct from my ensuing Allegation; and is such, as unles he include himself among those that dif∣fer in opinion from the other party therein mentioned, carrieth with it no good sense.
But let us heare, what it is that is produced as my Testimony; to prove so little difference, between those, in whose person I speak, and those commonly and deservedly called Antinomians.
The words, (with this title prefixed, f Mr. Gatakers Testimony in a late Treatis, Gods eye, &c. in Epist. to the Reader, p. 10.) are these; The matter in controversie between us and these men, is not how far forth sin is removed or abolished in believers, or how far forth it is by Justification abandoned, or in what sense God is said to see or not see sin, or take notice of it in believers and justified per∣sons, &c.
Now followeth Mr. J. S. his glosse hereupon, gAs if all these Page 3 were granted on both sides. And then comes in his Annotation.hNote. Men of learning you see, and judgement do not cry out Anti∣nomianism on Free grace, or free Justification, as others do, &c. but acknowledge a consent in all these, &c.
I will not stand to question what his et ceteraes should mean here; or who those other are, that should cry out Antinomianism on Free grace, or free Justification. I know none that so do. Nor wil this Autors glosing terms of *men of learning and judgement, (in both which mine own wants and weaknesses are best known to my self, and I rather ireverence them in others, whom I see my self come far short of in either, then dare to arrogate any eminency in either kind to my self) any whit work on me, or on any other, I hope, so qualified, as to make them the more flack in vindicating Gods truth against those, that under colou∣rable and plausible pretences endeavour cunningly to corrupt it; or to comply in the least degree with those, whose opinions and tenents they shall justly deem, (as my self according to my weak judgement, others not a few, of far deeper reach and bet∣ter judgement, concurring with me therein, have in expresse tearms avowed them to be) both kpestiferous and pernicious.
But for his lgloss; such an one as corrupts the text; as if all those things were granted on both sides; and that my self and o∣thers, I know not who, learned and judicious, acknowledge a con∣sent in all these. He would herein make men believe, that I come a great deale neerer the Antinomian party, (for of others I say no∣thing) then I ever did, or do still professe my selfe to do. and would pick out of my words, such a consent between our Anti∣nomians and their Opponents acknowledged, as I never therein intended, nor doe my words there, duly weighed, necessarily import. That which may more cleerly appear to any that shal observ the cours of my debate and dispute; and might have done so to him likewise, had he been pleased to look back to my foregoing discourse, whereunto I there refer my self, in those words, mas was before said: in which place, both my meaning is more fully expressed, and the ground of using that speech with∣all adjoyned.
My intent and purpose in that Treatise was not, either to dis∣cusse or deal with the sundry Antinomian tenents that are a∣broad; Page 4 but to single out one onely, and to qit one passage of Scripture from their abuse thereof therein. This point in parti∣cular, as by them maintained, having propounded in these tearms, n that God doth not, wil not, cannot, in these times, see any sin, in any of his justified children: to cut of all by-debates, and keep close to the point intended to be dealt in at present, after o some discovery of their wonted tergiversations, I subjoyn these words, to which those cited relate;
pThe question then is, what it is that these men maintain, con∣cerning Gods sight of sin in the faithful. which (to state aright the controvesie, as it stands between them and us) is not eyther concer∣ning the efficacy of Justification in generall; or concerning Gods sight of sin generally in such as believe and are justified, (that which would be observed, to discover the meer impertinency of a multitude of allegations, which out of Orthodox Autors concerning those points these men heap up to no purpose) but whether God do or will, or can see sin in the same manner in persons so qualified and estated now, as in former times he did.
Which words having reference to that single point or question in present controversie so stated, do in no wise imply any con∣sent between us and them in those severall branches there men∣tioned, (wherein I doubt not but differences, and those vast ones may be found) but to cut off the scanning of them, or ought that might be cast in concerning them, as not appertai∣ning to the present debate. And to discover the weaknes and unsoundnes of this inference: suppose we that a Protestant wri∣ter being to debate the controversie between us and the Papists concerning their Masse, should in stating of it, say, The Question betwen us and them, is not concerning the nature and efficacy of Sa∣craments in generall, nor concerning the difference between Sacraments and Sacrifices in generall, nor concerning Christs presence gene∣rally in every Sacrament; but whether Christ in the Masse be really offered as a Sacrifice propitiatory for the sins of qick and dead. could any man with color of reason hence inferre, that the party so speaking should acknowledge a consent in all those par∣ticulars between Papist and Protestant? Yet the inferences are alike.
Yea suppose we that the Antinomians and we were acknow∣ledged Page 5 to agree in those two heds at first propounded: or in those three, which they are afterward sliced out into, (which this Autor the rather pitched upon, that he might say all these, which of two onely so congruously he could not) or in many more points then those three, to make out his & caetera, which he was pleased to annex, as if there had been more behind, wherein consent and concurrence should be acknowledged, whereas indeed no more then those three are mentioned, & those not, as he would have it, to be granted, as on both sides agreed in, but to be laid aside, as impertinent to the question in hand. But grant, I say all these, to be agreed in, and more then all that is there mentioned: yet would not all this be of force sufficient to infer, that therefore there is little difference between the Anti∣nomians and us. no more then if one of ours should in precise tearms say, there is no controversie between the Papists and us about the unity of the Deity, the Trinity of Persons, the Deity of Christ, his suffering to save sinners, his rising from the ded, his ascention into Heaven, his return to judgement; it could thence be inferred, that therefore there is little difference between the Papists and us. The one inference sure would be as good as the other; neither sound nor of validity to bring so neer together either the one couple or the other.
And this shall suffice to shew that in those words of mine no∣thing les was intended, then this Autor would eyther perswade them, or enforce them, to speak.
Thus having dispatched briefly, what concerned mine own particular, I shal take the boldnes to pierce a little into the main body of the book, and to consider of the work it self; the rather, that my judgement in this busines may further appeer, and how far I am from deeming, much more from asserting such a petite difference between the Antinomians and us, as if we strove but about sticks and straws.
The Title holds out Free Grace; and the Preface pretends Peace. Grace and Peace, very specious, very plaufible inscriptions. But if the work it self be thoroughly dived into, it may not unde∣servedly be doubted, whether the contents of it wil be found answerable to what is promised in the Title page, or pretended in the Preface; or whether it wil not proov rather (as he said Page 6 sometime of some Philosophers and their writings) like some Quicksilvers box,q that hath the name of some wholesome simple, or sovereign receipt 〈◊〉, or printed on the outside, when it contaynes ratsebane or some other rank poyson within.
For first, as concerning the former, Free-grace; it is that, I hope, that all tru and faithful Ministers of Jesus Christ highly esteem, frequently preach, eagerly contend for, and by all means labour to advance; such Free grace, I mean, as the word holdeth out as wel in the writings of the Old as of the New Te∣stament: and such as the Prophets of God propounded and prea∣ched in the one, and the Apostles after Christ himself in the other. But that Free Grace, that we find here described, and is by our An∣tinomians usually asserted, is such (which I doubt not by Gods assi∣stance but to make plainly appeer) as differeth much from that, which either the Prophets of God held forth in the Old Testament, or Christ and his Apostles preached in the New.
For first as concerning the Prophets and their preaching, al∣beit this r Autor alledge, as other of the Antinomians also do, that passage of lEsay, so much pressed by them (but no les abu∣sed then that other of▪ tBalaam, to proov such a free grace as they now fancy; as if it had been an exhortation made not to those that then lived, but to such onely as then were not yet in being▪) Yet when he speaks out his mind, concerning the mini∣stery of God by his Prophets in those times, he telleth us in plain terms, that, vThe whole frame of the Old Testament was a draught of Gods anger at sin.—and God in this time of the Law appeared onely as it were upon terms and conditions of reconciliation: and all the worship then, and acts of worship then, as of prayer, fa∣sting, repentance, &c. went all this way, according to God under that appearance.wand in this strain (saith he) runs all the ministery of the Prophets too, in their exhortations to duty and worship, as if God were to be appeased and entreated and reconciled, and his love to be had in way of purchase by duty and doing, and worshipping. so as under the Law, the efficacy and power was put as it were wholy upon the duty and obedience performed, as if God upon the doing of such things, was to be brought into terms of peace, mercy and forgivenes; so as their cours and the service then, was as it were a working for life and reconciliation.
Page 7 Now whether these words do not evidently and cleerly hold out an utter deniall of Free grace then taught, especially as they now decipher it, let any indifferent reader judge. But in few words, (to pick out one medium onely, made up of two clauses alone, that wil easily evince it,) I thus argue; Where Gods love is to be had in the way of purchase, and the whole efficacy and power is put as it were on the duty and obedience performed; there is no free grace, much les such as these men describe it: But so it was (saith this Autor) in all the ministery of the Prophets. No free grace therefore was preached by them. yea consequently, none saved by free grace in those times. for x how could they be saved by that, that was never preached to them? Yet the Apostle Paul affirms, that all that were ever justified, either in those times or these, were yjustified by free grace. and by it the Apostle Peter assures us, that those were zsaved that lived in those times, as wel as we that now live.
Besides that herein he makes the Prophets of God (as he doth the like also by the Ministers of the Gospel, for treading, as he saith, in their steps) no better then meer mountebanks and deluders of Gods people; yea God himself speaking by them, anot unlike the Gentleman, who because he would seem free to his neighbours, (he wil not refuse, I hope, to own his own similitude) bid fil out wine freely; but bad commanded his servants before hand so to burn it, that it should be too hot for any of them to drinke. For so he intimates in his application of it, that by some Ministers the Wine in the Gospell is so over-heated with conditions and qalifications, that tho they seem to fil it out freely, yet poor souls cannot taste of it; and tho free grace may be in the notion of it, yet not in the truth of it. Now what may be the ground of this sore and grievous charge? do our Ministers clog their offers of grace with any other conditions and qalifications, then the Prophets, Gods Ministers and messengers; in those times did? No. it is not that, that this Autor chargeth them with: but this rather▪ that bthey run in a legall strain, and would work God down into his old and former way of reveiling him∣selfe as under the Law, when he seemed to be onely in the way to recon∣cilation and peace, rather then pacified; such as he formerly descri∣bed. If then the Ministers under the Gospel, whom he thus tra∣duceth, fill out this Wine heated with no other conditions and Page 8 qalifications, but the very same that the Prophets did in the time of the Old Testament; and they filled it out then no otherwise then they had good warrant from God; then I see not, how it can be avoyded, but that God is hereby made like that Master, and the Prophets, his Ministers and Messengers, in those times at least, guilty of such deluding snd jugling with men, as this comparison of his imports. So that when Esayc inviteth all to come and drink freely without money or price; he makes a shew indeed of filling out the Wine freely, and there is in his words as it were a notion of free grace▪ but when he comes in afterward with so many conditions and qalifications,d of audience, and obedience, and supplication, and reformation, and reversion, &c. he doth so over∣heat it, that poor souls for fear of searing their lips, dare not put the cup to their mouths.
I conclude for this former branch: If the grace of God tem∣pered with such conditions and qalifications, as the Prophets gene∣rally used, tho it may in notion seem tru, yet in truth it is not free; (nor is any notion indeed tru, that hath not truth in it) then the Grace of God preached and propounded to the faithful in the time of the Old Testament was no free grace; and consequently no grace: (for egrace is no grace, unles it be free) and the Prophets in those daies did but delude Gods people, pretending to pro∣pound and preach grace unto them, when as indeed they did no∣thing les. And whether these things follow not from this mans grounds, let any intelligent and indifferent Reader judge.
Yea but whatsoever God and his Prophets (for whatsoever they did, was by his direction and appointment done) did in the time of the Old Testament; yet I hope Christ and his Apostles pro∣pounded and preached free grace in the New. Let us pas there∣fore on from the Old to the New; and consider whether by this mans grounds and principles our Saviour himself preached ei∣ther Gospel or free grace.
fGod then, saith our Autor, maketh no Covenant properly in the Gospel as he did at first; but his Covenant rather is all of it a Promise.—gand yet God covenanteth too: but it is not with man, but with Christ.—God agreeth to save man. but this agreement was with Christ. and all the conditions was on his part.—no conditions on our Page 9 parts. And again: hA covenant in the strict legall sense, is upon certain articles of agreement and conditions on both sides to be perfor∣med. thus stood the old Covenant; there was life promised upon con∣dition of obedience. but the Covenant under the Gospel is all on Gods own part.ilike that with Noah, Genes. 9. 11.—against the way of the old; wherein man was to have his life upon condition. How this agreeth, with what elswhere he tels us, that kthe Gospel is formed up of exhortations and perswasions, and conditionall promises, &c. I stand not now to discusse, but proceed. lSalvation, he saith, is not made any puzling matter in the Gospel. it is plainly, easily, and simply reveiled; Jesus Christ was crucified for sinners. this is salva∣tion. we need go no further.—all that is to be done in the work of salvation, is to believe that there is such a work, and that Christ died for the amongst all those other sinners he died for. And again, mThis is short work, Beleev and be saved? and yet this is the onely Gospel work and way.
As for repentance, and sorrow for sin, and self-deniall, and the like, to tell men of these, or pres them upon any, as things re∣quired of all those that expect a share in the salvation purchased by Christ, it is taxed by this Autor as a legall, no Gospellike way: and they are ever and anon girded at, as Legall teachers, that nbid men repent, andobe humbled, and be sorry for their sins, and pray, andplead a new life,qwalking according to Gods Law, by the way implying, as if those that pressed those things upon them, spakernothing at all of Christ) and thatsset them upon duties; and ttell them of conditions, and qalifications. against which that passage in vEsay before mentioned is v opposed. Yea for faith it self, albeit sometime, with x the Apostle, he acknowledge, that ywithout faith it is impossible to please God; yet neyther is that re∣qired as a condition to make Christ ours; for, zChrist is ours, saith he, without faith.
Now consider we in the next place, what manner of preaching our Saviour Christs was; that collating the Gospel by this man described, with the Gospel that Christ preached, we may see how wel they sort and sute the one with the other. aI came, saith our Saviour, to call sinners to repentance: and, bƲnlesse ye repent,*Page 10ye shal all perish. and, cVerily, I say unto you, Ʋnles ye be converted, and become like children, ye shall not enter into the Kingdome of Hea∣ven. And, dIf a man wil come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cros and folow me. And, eIf any man come to me, and hate not his Father and Mother, and Wife, and Children, and Bre∣thren and Sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my Disciple. And, fWhosoever he be of you, that forsakes not all that he hath, he can not be my Disciple. Here is no such short work as Mr. S. makes of it. Here are conditions, you see, reqired; and those not of faith alone, but of repentance, and humiliation, and self-deniall, and conversion, and renouncing of all,g in disposition and purpose at least. But compare we now his new model, with these and the like passages of our Saviour, and see how they agree; whether the Gospel that he describes, and the Gospel that Christ taught; the free grace that Christ taught, (if at least he taught any) and free grace, as this man fancies it, be one and the same. and whe∣ther graee and Gospel come neerer to Christs way, that that he gives out, or that that he girds at. Or, if you please, cast we our eye back to his former comparison, and consider whether it may not as wel be applied to our Saviour himself and his prea∣ching, as to them and theirs, whom he would fasten it upon, going no further then he did. For may not a man, building on Mr. S. his grounds, and speaking in his langvage, say of our Saviour, that he made a shew indeed of filling out his Wine freely, whenhhe called upon all that travelled and were heavy laden to come to him, with promise to refresh them; but he hath heated it so with conditions and qalifications of believing, and repenting, and humi∣liation, and conversion, and self-deniall, and renunciation of all, that men could not drink of it without sealding their mouths? and it was no marvel therefore, that the young maniwent so heavy away from him. Nor do I wonder now so much that Mr. Eaton, in whose steps this man treads, should make Christ a legal teacher. (and what should it greiv any servant of his to have that name given him, that is given his Master either before him, or with him?) kChrists Sermons (saith he, as the Prophets, saith Mr. S.) for the most part, run all upon the perfect doctrine and works of the Law. relating withall some of the above-mentioned passages. And if such as this be no Gospel preaching, nor such as wil stand Page 11 with free grace, then undoubtedly our Saviour never preached, either Gospel, or free grace.
If any shal object, as this Autor doth, that lChrist tels you in few words; and his Apostle in as few. As Moses lift up the Ser∣pent in the wildernes, so the Son of man must be lift up, that whoso∣ever believes on him, should have life.mJohn 6. and Paul tels you,nIf thou shalt confesse with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt be∣lieve in thine heart, that God raised him from the ded, thou shalt be saved.
The answet is easie. Our Saviour Christ in his preaching can∣not cros, or contradict himself. what he saith in this latter place, doth wel concur and consist, with what he said in the for∣mer. He propoundeth faith, and mentioneth it only there; not as if he reqired nothing els but faith of his followers, or of those that shal have share in the salvation by him purchased; for there is. no exclusive in the text; nor are his words les peremptory in those other passages, then in this. and altho o unto justification nothing but faith is reqired, because faith hath a peculiar office in that work that no other grace hath; yet there is more then faith reqired unto salvation. nor was it needful that Christ should every where name whatsoever he reqired. and sufficient it was for him sometime to name faith onely: for that the faith which he there nameth and reqireth is such, as without those other reqisites joyned with it, cannot be sound and sincere.
As for the Apostles of Christ, what the subject matter of their Sermons was, and what method and manner of preaching they used; how exactly treading in their Masters steps, as himself did in the steps of John his forerunner; how dissonant from that that this Autor propounds and commends; how consonant to that he thus girds at, and traduceth as a legall and no Gospel∣like way; wil plainly appear, if we shall but briefly consider, what John Baptist began with, our Saviour himself seconded him in, gave in charge to his Apostles, and they constantly observed, from the first to the last: wherein we shal have a short breviari of the whole Gospel, as in Scripture it is de∣scribed.
John, we know, began with preaching of pardon of sin, and salvation, upon condition of faith and repentance, and newnes of Page 12 life. For he called upon them to prepent, and to qbring forth fruits beseeming repentance. that is, whereby the sincerity of their repentance might appear and be approoved; withall telling them, that for satisfaction to be made unto Gods justice for their sins, they were to believe on Christ, to rest and rely on him, as rthe Lambe of God, who by his sufferings did take away their sins. for s so the Apostle Paul tels us he preached; and this Autor there∣fore spake not so exactly or warily in another Treatise of his, where he saith, that *John preached repentance; Jesus Christ faith and repentance. as if John had not preached as wel faith as repen∣tance: which the Apostle saith he did.
Now as our Saviour in his first Sermon went the very same way that John did, (He began to preach, saying,sRepent; saith one Evangelist; tRepent; and believe the Gospel, saith another.) so in sealing the Apostles his Disciples their commission; he biddeth them, uGo out into the wide world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. But what Gospel? or what manner of Gospel was it, that they were to preach? the Gospel of life and salvation, upon condition of faith, and repentance, and obedience. that, vwhosoever believs and is baptised shall be saved: whosoever believeth not, shal be damned. Yea but, where have we repentance, wil you say, and obe∣dience? And, that xrepentance and remission of sins, (that is, remis∣sion of sins upon repentance, as before with John,yrepentance unto remission of sins) be preached in his name. and, zteaching them (saith he) to do, whatsoever I command. and what he commands and requires of all his, was before in part shewed.
And did not the Apostles, think we, keep to their commission? or preached they any other Gospel then what Christ their Ma∣ster had enjoyned them? No other, undoubtedly. We may boldly say of them all, as one of them of himself. they had the graceato be faithful. but had not so been, had they swarved from their charge.
Yea but, saith this Autor, bWhat did Peter preacht, Cornelius, or Philip to the Eunuch, or Ananias to Paul, or Paul to the Jaylor, but Jesus Christ onely?
I answer. 1. It is most certain, they could laycno other founda∣tion, for man to rest and rely on d for salvation, but Christ onely. But it followes not hence, that they preached nothing els; or Page 13 that they offered and tendered salvation by Christ without any condition at all; or otherwise then as Christ had himself pro∣pounded it, and enjoyned them to preach it.
2. We have e not their whole Sermons, but some brief sum∣maries, or some principall heds of them.
3. In these summaries of them, we have those things preached and pressed, for which this Autor taxeth his brethren as legalists; repentance by Peter, in his f first, and g second Sermon; and that in the former pressed upon those, that were hpricked in heart already; in the latter backt with ia return, that is, alteration of cours of life.
4. In some they needed not to pres much, what they found them wrought unto already. Ananias needed not to pres Paul to prayer, as kPeter doth Simon the sorcerer, because he was l by God informed beforehand, that he prayed. nor Peter to pres holinesse of life upon Cornelius, whom he found m moulded and wrought in that regard to his hand; but to n acqaint him with the particularity of the Messias his person, whom yet he had be∣leeved on, and expected before: and yet he preached more then Jesus Christ onely to him; when in that Sermon he assured him that oin every Nation, whosoever he were that feared God, and lived righteously, he was accepted with God.
5. It is as absurd to imagine that 'Paul preached not as wel re∣pentance as faith to the Jayler; because there is no expres men∣tion of repentance in the Text; as to suppose that Peter preached not as wel faith as repentance to the Jews, because in his Sermon there is no expresse mention of it: or that our Saviour prea∣ched not faith, but repentance onely in his first Sermons, because *Matthew makes mention of this latter alone: what if I should ad? or that the twelv preached not faith as wel as repentance, be∣cause Mark saith no more, but that p they went out preaching that men should repent. Such negative arguments proov no∣thing.
6. If we shall demand of Paul, what his constant cours of teaching was in his preaching of the Gospel, and publishing the covenant of grace, he wil tel us, that it was the very same, both for matter and method, that his master began with, and not one way to some, and another way to others, as this Autor Page 14 seems q sometime to imply, but the same for substance, both to Jew and Gentile. rTestifying, saith he, both to Jews and Gentiles,sRepentance towards God, andtFaith on Christ. and he putteth repentance (therein following u his Masters method) in the front. And yet more fully, relating both his commission from Christ, and his putting of it in execution: for the former he saith, that xChrist sent him to the Gentiles, to open their eyes, and to turn them from darknes to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they might receiv remission of sins, and a share among those that are san∣ctified by faith on Christ. and for the latter, that yout of obedience to Christs command, and in pursuance of this his commission (which I suppose he understood as wel as this Autor, and kept as close to it, as any Antinomian of these times, yea as any that ever preached Christ)zhe preached, or published, both to the Jews and to the Gentiles, that they should repent, and turn to God, doing works beseeming repentance; such as might shew them to be truly penitent, and their repentance to be sound and sincere. And thus Pauls preaching to the last, comes home to John Bap∣tists preaching at first; and is the very same, you see, with that, which this Autor makes to be the very character of a Legall Teacher.
Oh but the pressing of these things as aduties, without which a man can have no interest in Christ, that is it that argues a legal Teacher.
I might for warrant hereof alledge that of our Saviour, as bƲnlesse you believ that I am he you shal die in your sins. so cun∣lesse ye also repent, ye shall perish. and that of the Autor to the Hebrews, dwithout holines no man shal ever see God. (but that Mr. Eatone tels us, that that of our Saviour, fBlessed are the pure in heart, for they shal see God; is not Gospel, but Law. tho therein I beleeve him not) and that of John,gHe that saith he is in Christ, ishindebted, (is obliged to it, as a debt, as a duty: for what is duty but du debt?) to walk as Christ walked: to live as he lived. But I wil insist onely upon Paul, as zealous and as precise a preacher of free grace as ever any. he, albeit he affirm confidently, that ithere is no condemnation to those that are in Christ; yet he sub∣joyneth withall, (and that is, I suppose, a qalification at least) kwho walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. and yet further, a Page 15 litle after, lTherefore, brethren, we aremdebtors (we stand obliged and bound to it as a du debt; if ever we look to be saved) not to live after the flesh; but (as before he said, to be thence supplied here) to live after the Spirit. and that this is his meaning, and it is in nature of a condition on mans part reqired, it is apparent by what followes; nFor if ye live after the flesh, ye shal die: but if by the Spirit ye mortifie the deeds of the body, ye shal live. Which tho it be pure Gospel, and life even upon such terms propounded, free grace; (for no Law ever promised life unto mortification of the flesh; no more then the sight of God to such imperfect pu∣rity, as our blessed Saviour above spake of) yet if the Mini¦ster of Christ shall in these daies pres, he shal not escape the odious and opprobrious brand of a deep and down-right Legalist.
Howbeit we need not be ashamed a whit of our teaching, when we can vouch such precedents as these are for it, in regard either of this or any the like aspersions or ignominious terms, that presumptuous and self-conceited persons shal endeavor to fasten upon us, and must light upon them as well as upon us, who have in their teaching taken that cours before us, and with whom if we must be deemed erroneous, we shal not blush so to be; but shal o esteem it pa grace to be disgraced with them, and for doing as they did.
To draw all to a hed, if the Gospel propound and promise pardon of sin and salvationqwithout any condition at all, as this Autor tels us, required on our parts; and all conditions and qali∣fications which he is so r oft girding at▪ destroy the freenes of grace: then neither John the Baptist, nor Christ, nor the Apostles of Christ, from the sfirst to the tlast, did any of them preach either Gospel or free grace: and if the Gospel and free grace, that this Au∣tor and other his coasserters of free grace, hold out to us, be such, as admits not, nor acknowledgeth any such conditions or qali∣fications as have been above-recited, then we may boldly con∣clude, that it is another Gospel, and another free Grace, then ever John, or Christ, or his Apostles preached.
But this Autor, aif he have erred in any thing, he saith, it is in filling out that Wine too freely, which the Master of the feast, if he mistake not, hath bidden him, saying, Drink, yea drink abundantly, Page 16 O beloved. Can. 5. And, bif he must erre, he would erre rather with those that pas for Antinomians, then with those that go for Legall Teachers.cthe former whereof he must prefer before the Latter; for that they being jealous least free grace loose her •, cry down men to exalt Christ; whereas those other being jealous, lest bolines should be sleighted; to exalt men cry down Christ. and the danger here, it seems, therefore also he supposeth the lesse, because dFree grace can not of it self tempt any to sin.
Where first, for the filling out of this Wine TOO freely, let me ad∣vise him in sober sadnes, to be wel advised what he doth, and to take heed how he contract the guilt of so haynous an exces. it is liqor too *precious to be wastfully spilt. If the Master have choice Wine reserved for his reconciled friends, that are willing (tho before at ods, yea at dedly fewd with him, yet now) to come in, and entertain terms of amity with him; and the ser∣vant shal pour out of it to dogs and swine, or serv it out to *sturdy rogues and idle vagrants at the dore, such as either scorn and curs his Master, or refuse all commerce and acqaintance with him, tho invited thereunto, because they like not his dis∣position, nor can endure his demeanour; I suppose such a ser∣vant would have litle thanks from his Master for his labour. And had not this Autor clipt off the first words of the Text, which he points us to, for his warrant herein, it would alone have been sufficient to check this his professed profusenes, and have enformed him withall, what manner of persons they are, unto whom this Wine is to be dispensed? Eat, O friends,f saith he, and drink, yea drink abundantly, O beloved. But what speci∣all warrant by revelation or enthusiasm (matters now a daies much pretended) he may profes to have for this, I know not. Wel I wot, and am sure, that neither the place alledged, nor any other Scripture (the onely sure touchstone we have now to try truths by: for the Spirit speakes not but according to it) doth or can warrant, much les enjoyn any such exorbitant exces, either in this particular, or in ought els.
2. For the crying down of Christ; it is a foul and fals calum∣ny: which together with many others of the same stamp, this Autor here would fasten on the faithful Ministers of Christ; men as jealous of, and zealous for, the honour of Christ their Page 17 Master, (I may boldly say it, for their labours shew it) as himself.
3. It is true indeed, that Free grace cannot of it self have such an effect as he speakes of. but this brother may remember, what a zealous preacher (as g his name imports) and assertor of Free grace telleth us, that there are not wanting, and those not a few, that hturn Gods graceiinto wantonnes, or lasciviousnes. and men may preach and publish free grace in that manner, that they may by such their preaching, pave a path to that foule abuse. which that many of our Antinomian tenents do, is to me beyond con∣troversie and I shal leave it to the consideration of others reli∣gious and judicious, to deem and determine, whether some assertions scattered here and there in this discours do not warp too much that way. among the rest whereof take these for a tast.
Whereas our Saviour saith, that mhe came to call sinners to re pentance. and to save consequently not all, but penitent sinners onely. for, nunlesse they do repent, he tels them expresly they shal perish.
2. oAll that ever received Christ, reeeived him in a sinful con∣dition.
Yet the Apostle enformes us, that that faith whereby we receiv Christ (for p to receiv him, the Evangelist tels us is to believ on him) is not an holy onely, but q a most holy faith. nor can a man be said to be in a sinful condition, whose rheart is possessed of so holy an habite or disposition; term it whether you please: nor can the heart act to the receiving of Christ, until it be thereof pos∣sessed. For how can a man put forth an holy act, while he remains stil altogether unholy?*
3. They are but weak beleevers, and like melancholy people, who think things far otherwise then they truly are, right smoking Flax, wherein there is more smoke then light, more ignorance then tru discer∣ning. Which among other things, tthink (poor souls) that tho God be reconciled with them, and love them at some times; yet he may be provo∣ked again & angry again for new sins and failings; and are then much troubled, how to come at any peace again, as they were before.—uthey Page 18 suppose they can not sin so as they do, and yet not be accountable. ▪xand think that afflictions are sent upon them for their sins.
Yet the Apostle telleth the Corinthians, that they might and did aprovoke God by som unadvised courses and carriages: and that b for some such Gods afflicting hand was upon them; and I suppose God called them then to account. But what is this, but to encourage men freely to offend and sin, without feare of offending of God, or provoking him to wrath, or being ever called to any account, or chastised at all for it? making God like a fond indulgent father, an other Ely, if not more regardles then c he of his childrens cariage; not affected at all with it, tho it be never so scandalous, and disgraceful to their Christian pro∣fession.
Of the same, or the like stamp is that which followeth; ten∣ding to beat men off from being troubled at all for their sins, as dDavid, or ePeter were; and from seeking to make up the brea∣ches made between God and them by their sins, and to make their peace again with him, by their renewed practice of re∣pentance.
4. fAll worship and spirituall obedience is to run in the way of this dispensation, not for procuring love or peace with God, nor for pacifying.
5. gThere is nothing but the taking in of the Law, and accusings and condemnations of it, that can trouble the quiet and peace of any soul. for where there is no law, there is no transgression; and where there is no transgression, there is no trouble for sin. all trouble arising from the obligement of the Law, which demands satisfaction of the soul for the breach of it, and such a satisfaction as the soul knows it cannoe give, and thereby remains unqiet; as a debter, that hath nothing to pay.
Yet David, albeit h having from the mouth of God, by a spe∣cial expresse, received a release from the condemnations of the Law, was itroubled, and that not a little for his sin, if we may believ him, or the Spirit of God speaking by him. nor was that therefore the ground of his trouble for his sin; nor is it the onely ground of such trouble, that this Autor here affirms. But pro∣ceed we.
6. kNo sin can make one les beloved of God.
Page 19 Had he added but, or les liked; he had spoken full out in plain terms after the usuall Antinomian strain, but he is somewat more cautions herein then some other. Yet being a scholler, he need not be minded of that distinction so common in the schools of a love of benevolence, and a love of complacence. tho God never loved David the les in regard of wishing wel to him, for any sin committed by him: yet was he not so wel pleasedl with him, when he committed some sins; nor was he in regard of his pa∣ternall displeasure after the committing of them, mreconciled unto him, until he repented of them▪ and humbled himself for them. But his reason.
7. nNothing in us can make God love us les; because he loves us not for any thing in our selvs, but in and through Christ.
Yet God doth love us also, (by his good leav) for his own graces in us, and our exercises of the same. oThe Father himself loves you, (saith our Savior to his Disciples) because ye love me, and believ that I came out from God.
8. pIf he should love us more or les, as we sin more or les, he should be as man.
And in some things he is as man. for qman bears Gods image. and r a good man resembles God. God is in somethings as a natural father. himself saith it. sAs a father pitieth his children; so the Lord pitieth those that fear him. Yea in this particular he is like a discreet parent; who tho he love his child deerly, as wel when he doth amisse, as when he doth well; yet is he not so wel pleased with him, nor can take that delight in him, when he seeth him take some evil course, as otherwise he might and should; yea therefore is he then angry with him, because he loves him; and chastiseth him for this end, to reclaim him from the same. Thus the Antinomians themselves confes that God caried himself toward his in the times of the Old Testament. And the like Christ himself professeth of himself in the New Testa∣ment.tAs many, saith he, as I love, I rebuke and chasten. be zealous therefore, and repent.
To these may be added those other his assertions concerning Faith.
1. aFaith is truly and simply this, a being perswaded more or les of Christs love.
Page 20 And what prophane wretch almost is not prone enough here∣unto? or may not nourish such a perswasion more or les upon groundles grounds? we may wel say of such perswasions as him∣self elswhere of desires.bWho is there that have not a desire? All the World of common believers are carried on by this principle of a de∣sire. and are they not by the like principle of a perswasion?
2. cMen cannot believe too suddenly.
Yes; they may believ too sodainly, as did Simon the sorcerer. suretoo soon (and if too soon, then too sodainly) presume and be*perswaded they may of Christs love, if that be faith.
3. eNone can beleev too hastily on Jesus Christ.
Tru. but to beleev on Jesus Christ, and to have some perswasion more or les of Christs love, are divers things.
4. fWe ought not to stay the exercise of our Faith, for repentance, or humiliation, or any other grace.
As much as to say, beleev we may, tho we do not repent. directly contrary to gChrists own and h his Apostles method. Yea but can we have tru faith then without repentance, and without any other grace?
5. iNone ought to qestion whether they beleev or no.
6. mIn the Gospel all are immediately called to beleev. To day, if ye wil heare his voice.
7. rChrist commands to beleev. and this is his commandement, that we should beleev in the name of his Son Jesus Christ. Now com∣mands of this nature must be obeyed, not disputed. Gods servants do not reason their duty out first with themselves, but fall to doing as they are commanded.
And doth not Christ command s to repent as wel as to beleev? yea doth he not tcommand first to repent, and then to beleev? for in that order his words run. And had this Autor but writ or Page 21 red out the text he cites, he had found somewhat more then faith in it. uThis is his command, that we beleev in his Son Jesus Christ, and that we love one another as he gave us commandement.
But why commands of this nature? is not the commandement of repentance, and charity, and conversion, and humiliation, of the same nature with that of faith and belief? or are there any of Gods Commandements then, that because not of this nature, may be disputed, and not obeyed? for some such matter do these terms of restriction import; to wit, that some of Gods commands are of that nature that they must be obeyed and not disputed; others of that nature, that they may not be obeyed, but disputed.
No servant indeed of God ought to reason his duty, why God should command him to do this or that, either with God, or with himself. but when he doubteth what it is, that God enjoy∣neth him, he may xexamine and search what the good will of God is, that he may not be mistaken in it; and so think that he hath done what he should, when he hath done nothing les. like those that ythought they did God good service, when they did that that he utterly abhorred. and when they have done, what they supposed they should do, they may without wrong or dispa∣ragement to their Master, unles the Apostle were mistaken, ztry and examine their work, whether it were so done as it should be.
Yea but, saith this Autor;
8. aWe ought no more to question our faith, which is our first and foundation graee, then we ought to question Christ the foundation of our faith.
9. bI find not any in the whole cours of Christs preaching or the disciples, when they preached to them to beleev, asking the qestion, whether they beleeved or no, or whether their faith were tru faith, or no. I find one saying,cI beleev, Lord, help mine unbelief, but not, Lord, whether do I believ, or no? and, dLord, increase my faith. but not, Lord, whether is this tru faith, or no? It would be a strange qestion, to ask the Master of the feast, whether his dainties were reall, or a delusion? would not such a question disparage him for a sorcerer? So in the things of the Spirit, to be over-jealous of the truth of them, as in my tempted poor souls are, doth not become the faithfulnes of Jesus Christ▪
Why Faith should be called the first and foundation grace, I know not: tho e many of our Divines so speake. I suppose, with f others, Page 22 and without prejudice to any of contrary judgement, that as there is the *seed and spawn of all sin together in mans heart from the time of his naturall birth▪ so there is the seed of all grace sown together in mans soul at the very first instant of his spirituall new birth: and that faith is a branch of sanctification, as all other graces of the like nature are.
But to let that pas; a man may qestion his faith, and yet not qestion Christ. for Christ may be Christ; tho this or that party have no share in Christ, or (to use his description of faith) be not perswaded more or les, that Christ loves him. a man, tho he qestion not the foundation it self, yet he may qestion whether he have built on it, or beside it; and so whether that be a founda∣tion unto his building, or no. And I make no qestion, but that many that pretend to believ, yea that are perswaded they do so, and wil not easily be beaten of from that their perswasion, and stick not to compare for belief with the best, yet had need to have their faith tried, and may wel have it qestioned, as wel by others, as by themselves. Yea we find in Scripture examples and instances of such as might wel have qestioned whether they beleeved aright, or no; and whether the faith, they made profession of, were tru or no. gSimon the sorcerer sure might have done wel to qestion, and try the truth of his faith. nor might those resem∣bled by h the seed sowen in the rockie ground, but wel have done the like by theirs: as also those i, who tho they are said to believ in Christ, yet Christ himself would not trust them; and those vain k ones James speakes of, that had a fruitles and baren faith.
Nor were this to aske the master of the feast, whether his dainties were meer delusions, or to make our blessed Saviour, (for he, I suppose, is the feast master he meaneth) a sorcerer; but to enqire, whether we our selves have not been deluded, when in some night vision (such as the enthusiasts of our times too much hanker after) we have, with lLucians sowter, dreamed of a great feast, and of such his dainties, and of communion with him in them, when as all hath been nothing but ma nightly delusion. They did not qestion the truth of God, that sought for wisdome, whereby to discern between Gods messages brought by his Prophets, and those ndreamers dotages, who yet pretended to be sent by God, as wel as the best, and would not stick to demand of Gods Prophets,owhen Page 23 the Spirit of God went from themselves to speak unto them. Nor did the Apostle Paul, when he called upon the Corinthians to ptry their faith; nor the Apostle John, when he called on the faithful to qtry the Spirits, whether they were of God, or no; thereby incite them to qestion Christ the foundation of faith, or to qestion Gods Spirit, the worker of it; but to be wise and wary in discerning between truth and falshood, between sound and unsound, be∣tween faith wel grounded, and deceitful fancies and groundles presumptions; between teachers delivering the doctrine of life and grace according to the word, and such as warping from that rule, yet pretended to have the Spirit.
Tru it is indeed, that mans weaknes in the apprehension of the work of Gods Spirit in him, may make the truly godly with∣out ground or good cause, sometime to qestion the truth of it in them. but there is no ground, or just cause for any thence to infer, that no man ought to qestion whether he believe or no, or whe∣ther his faith be tru or no. every one otherwise should be bound to presume that he doth beleev, and that his faith is tru faith. For not to infist on that which we lately touched on, that, when the Apostle called upon some to try their faith, he presu∣med that some such faith there was as would not go for currant, but would proov runsound, when it came to the touch or the test; and when he useth more then once, that discriminating term of sfaith not counterfeit, or unfained; he implies therein, that there may be counterfeits, (and there are indeed not a few) as of Christianity, so of faith. Not to insist hereon I say; this Autor himself acknowledgeth, thattthere may be a kind of faith, as in them that believed in the parable, and in time of temptation fell away.—and yet not in the power of Christ, nor in the life of the Spirit. and that vsuch faith, tho a ded faith, may go far in resemblance, carying the image of something like the new man. and whether, think we then, is such faith to be questioned, or no? or wil this Autor say, that for those that have such a faith, to call their own faith in qestion, is to qestion Christ himself?
But indeed according to this Autors ground, there is no need for any man to qestion what manner of faith his faith is, since that without any such ado, whatsoever his faith be, he may have interest in Christ.
Page 24 For, saith he,
10. xFor the way of comming by a right or purchasing an interest in this righteousnes, or salvation wrought by Christ, it is held forth without price or works, onely for taking and receiving, and believing on, all being wrought to our hands. so as this is as good a ground for one to belief on, as another, without exception.—ythe covenant be∣ing such as was established with Noah, Gen. 9. 11. nothing reqired on mans part. and zthis being a Scripture way, he would upon these prin∣ciples leav a soul.
Where to set aside his terms of purchase and price, as if ought in that kind were by any of us attributed to faith or repentance, or any work of ours: and yet herein he contradicteth himself, when he telleth us one while that salvation is held out a freely by the Prophet Esay, in that phrase without price; and yet an another while that ball the ministery of the Prophets did run in this strain, as if Gods love were to be had in way of purchase by duty and doing. Nor to resume again, what hath been formerly said of believing and receiving; another manner of matter then this man makes of them. And that the like may be charged on him, to that he chargeth upon the Legalists, to wit, c propounding to men the promises of the Gospel with such conditions of repentanced and sorrow for sin, &c. which because they are things that theyecan not dof in steed of drawing a soul unto Christ, put it further of from him▪ for may it not as wel be objected to him, as it is by him to them? that he professeth indeed to make an offer of free grace and free promises, but he propounds them so clogged with conditions of re∣ceiving, and taking & believing on, that, these being such as men are not able to do of themselves; gthey dare not meddle with them, until they be prepared by Christ. Unles this Autor can, or dare say, that men may and can believ on Christ, tho they cannot repent of their sins, or be sorry for them. and that the one is an easier work then the other; or is not of hGods gift, and i a work of grace, as wel as k the other? But not to insist on these things; If there be as good ground for any one, without exception, to believ as another, that is, (as he defines faith) to perswade himself that Christ loves him, and he hath a share in the salvation purchased by him: why did not Peter exhort Simon the sorcerer to perswade himself so, but bad him lrepent, and pray for pardon? yea, why doth he himself make Page 25 distinction of persons, saying, dI speak now to the weak and wounded believers for sins, not to the earnall and unregenerate in sin?
Yea if the Covenant of the Gospel, that is, of life and salvation by Christ, be as absolute, without any condition on mans part, as thatewith Noah concerning the not drowning of the whole world again, then it is all one whether men receav it, and believ it, or no: the promise of life and salvation, and the covenant made with Christ concerning it, shal be made good unto them, as wel as that made with Noah, shal be made good unto men, whether they know it, and heare it, and believ it, or no. so that his clause of onely for taking, and receiving, and believing on, is here idle and frivolous, the promise and covenant being as free and absolute in the one as in the other; and nothing at all, not so much, or les then so, in that other reqired.
This therefore is not onely no Scripture way, tho he so term it; but a cours directly cros and contradictory to Scripture; tending to encourage men, whether they be penitent, or continu impenitent, whether they come out of their sins, or continu stil in them, yet to perswade themselves, or presume rather, that they shal be saved by Christ, and such unsound and rotten prin∣ciples, wil in the end proov like Egypt unto those that rely on them, as fa bruised staf of reed or cane, that is not onely unable to stay a man up and support him, but wil run into his hand, and with the shivers maim him, that shal rest himself on it.
The result of all the fore-mentioned assertions is in effect this. The promises of the Gospel, to wit of life, and salvation by Christ, be∣long to all without exception; to sinners as sinners; and to all conse∣quently, because all are sinners. and all therefore are immediately bound to believ. what, but these promises? which are not at all condi∣tionall, but absolute; as absolute as that promise to Noah, of never drowning the world again. nor is any man in any wise to question his faith, nor what ground he hath for such his belief.
And what followes from these premises, but that men may be saved, whether they repent or no, tho they never turn to God, Page 26 or persist in a lewd and loose cours of life to the last? I might wel have added, whether they believ or no, tho they never at∣tain to tru faith. For Christ, he says, may be ours without faith. and if no condition at all be reqired on mans part, as in that covenant with Noah, then not so much as belief. and he rejects therefore jthe reformed and more generally received opinion (as himself terms it) of salvation in Christ by faith, instrumentally intervening. and kthat none are partakers of free salvation but by faith. as if he were di∣rectly bent to cros and contradict that of the Apostle, lYe are saved by grace through faith. and, mGod hath elected you unto salva∣tion by sanctification andntru faith. Which what is it but to teach men to believ a lie; that God wil save such, as indeed never shal be saved: and to encourage them upon groundles perswasions and misapprehensions, the more securely, never qestioning how it stands with them, to run on hoodwinked, untill sodainly they fall headlong into hell?
I remember, while I abode at Lincolns Inne, to have visited sometime a religious Lady, sister to a reverend Divine of speciall note in those daies: whom I found somewhat perplexed; the ground thereof arising from some conference that had newly pas∣sed between her and a grave Divine of great repute, but in some∣things warping a little the way that these men now run. who qestioning with her about her estate, upon delivery of such prin∣ciples as she supposed to have good ground from Gods Word for the triall of her faith and interest thereby in Christ; began to chide her, and told her that she went needlesly about the bush, when she had a neerer and readier way at hand. Then being demanded, what cours he would advise her to take, he told her she must thus reason, much after this Autors manner, God will save sinners. But I am a sinner. Therefore God will save me. To passe by, what I farther spake, either in confirmation of the way she was in, or the confutation of this new one; I told her, (not to trouble her with rules of Logike, or Schole maximes, to discover this fallacy) she might with as good ground thus reason; God wil damn sin∣ners. But I am a sinner. Therefore God wil damn me. And the con∣clusion, I doubt not, in this latter, how ever it follow from the premises, for twenty to one at least, wil by woful experience proov the truer of the twain. Howbeit, if as the Apostle saith Page 27 of some, that o they are given up to strong delusions, that believ some kind of lies, I know not what to say or think of those, that teach men to believ such lies as these are.
Yea, but this way of trying our faith and estate by signes and marks, it is butpa broken work,qa narrow, a weake,ra puzling,sa perplexing,ta distracting,ua gros, a carnal way. For with all these deterring and debasing terms is this Autor pleased to com∣mend and adorn it.
Yet 1. some, ye see, have been needlesly puzzeld and perplexed by suggestions from such principles as this Autor here lays, when they were quietly setled on good ground in the other way be∣fore, by such as have disturbed them in it, and sought to beat them out of it, as this Autor, throughout his whole discours here doth. And as for his xexperiment of a disquieted soul, tossed to and fro by times for twelv yeers together among * those bung∣ling or cheating Chirurgeons, our Legal Teachers, who either for want of skil could not, or for their own ends would not, give him any ease, but powred in Wine, or Vineger rather, in stead of Oyl, into his wounds, to keep them from closing, and could have no rest or ease therefore, until he was setled on those Antinomian principles, the relation whereof is the main subject of his whol dramaticall discours: I could quit him, if need were, with some∣what the like story, of one that having taken some evil courses, & troubled much and long in mind about them, could not satisfie himself in ought, untill he turned Papist, and had upon shrift by a Popish priest been assoyled but these are unsound and sandy grounds to build new courses upon, for assurance of sound peace here, or salvation hereafter.
2. Be it a puzzeling way or no, and such as it is here said to be, it is a Scripture way sure, as this Autor himself can not deny, but is enforced to confesse; tho in the very same place, where he makes such acknowledgement, speaking of it in very base and broad language, il-beseeming a Minister of the Gospel, as he pro∣fesseth himself to be.
For first in way of answer to that doubt.
xBecause ye feel not your self sanctified, you think not your self justified.
1. yI shal allow you (saith he) your sanctification so far as the Page 28 Scripture doth, as a lower motive, and more carnally mixed way of perswasion and assurance of justification:zsuch as by spiritually car∣nal works of obedience and holines, can give but a mixed act of assu∣rance at the best, being of a mixt nature of flesh and Spirit.
Where 1. I wil not stand to pres those places, where Christ is said to be amade unto us as wel sanctification, as righteousnes and redemption. and where those that are bwashed by him, are said to be as wel sanctified as justified. I wil give him onely his own words out of his Preface,cRighteousnesse and Holines, blood and water, Jesus and Lord Christ, called and justified, are stil to be found together in the word. And if they go thus together, then the one may with good ground evidence the other. nor can the one be, where the other is not. Nor are Gods Messengers to be jeered and scoffed at as Legal Teachers, and Miscelane Divines, for joy∣ning them together in their teaching. Yea if God in his word have so linked these together, what guilt incur they that seek to divorce them, and bear men in hand, that they may have the one, tho they have not the other?
2. For those broad and base terms that he brandeth this assu∣rance with, for which he might justly expect an heavy reckoning, but that he fancieth *no believer accountable to God for any sin. I shal for present onely demand of him what he thinks of Faith, (because he saith, that tho dChrist be ours without faith, yet by it we know him to be ours) whether our Faith be not of a mixt condition, like the poor mans in the Gospel, that had some dregs of einfidelity mixt with it; and whether the assurance ari∣sing from such Faith be therefore but a mixt act of assurance at the best. as if the assurance that the pledges,f or earnests rather of Gods Spirit gives to the soul, depended upon the perfection or qantity of them: and Gods penny were not an earnest for that purpose, as good and as sure as a pound.
But let us hear what he saith further to those Scriptures where such marks and signs are to such purpose propounded.
2. gThe marks (saith this Autor, as others of the same stamp before him) delivered in the Epistles of John and James, &c. are rather marks for others, then for our selvs to know us by.
Which is so directly contrary to the main intendement and expres words of either Apostle, that it may worthily be wonde∣red Page 29 that any man of an ingenuous disposition should have the face or forhead to averre it. For whom doth James direct his whole discours unto, but to h the party himself, whose faith was to be tried? or whom did John labour to give assurance to concerning their estate, but to those, i whose joy and comfort, arising from the apprehension of that their own blessed condi∣tion, he intended and desired thereby to improov? Yea that both James and Johns intendement is, as to undeceiv those, whose faith and profession was not sound and sincere in their (as fri∣volous because groundles; so perilous and pernicious, because presumptuous) conceits and mistakes concerning themselvs, whereby they deceaved and beguiled knot others more (as this Autor himself speaks) then themselves: so to settle the truly faithful and religious in a more firm and ample assurance of that their estate, their own words evidently avow. lIf any man among you, saith the one, seem religious, and bridle not his toung,mhe deceives his own heart, and his religion is vain. And, nIf we say, saith the other, that we have communion with him, and walk in darknes, we lie, and deal not truly. and as in those words for the negative, so in the next for the affirmative. pIf we walk in light, as he is in the light, we have communion (God and we) either with other, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Sonne cleanseth us from all*sin. And yet more expresly, to cut of all cavils. qWe know, (not that you, or others, I know not who, but) that we (our selvs) are passed from death to life, because we love the brethren. And again, rHereby we know, that we are of the truth; and maysstay, or assure (not other mens minds of us, but) our own hearts, (not in mans ey, but) in his (that is, in Gods) sight. And whence ariseth this assurance of aeceptance with God, and prevalence with him in their prayers? (for that is also subjoyned, And whatsoever we reqest Page 30 of him we receiv:)tbecause, saith the Apostle, we keep his Com∣mandements, and do those things that are wel pleasing in his sight. We might again here urge that of Paul willing the Corinthi∣ans, to uexamine (not others, but) each one himself: and to xtry (not others, but) themselves; whether they were in the faith, or no; and whether Christ were in them, or no. which sure must be by some marks. and enjoyning the Galatians yeach one to examine his own worke, that he may have matter of joying, not in another, but in himself. in his notice of himself and his own estate, not in other mens opinion and estimation of him. But to pitch upon Peter, whose words also this a Autor himself takes notice of elswhere; and we the rather therefore presume them to come within compas of his et caetera; tho whether they do or no, is not greatly materiall. when he adviseth those to whom he writes, that is, ball the faithfull without exception, to cgive all diligencedto make their calling and election sure,eby adding unto faith vertu, and to vertu knowledge, and so forward: he that shal say, his meaning was to make it sure to others rather then to them∣selvs, may as wel assay to bear men in hand, that it is *midnight stil, at mid-day.
But, fAll other assurances, (saith this Autor, his own onely ex∣cepted, these mixt, gros, and carnall ones, as before he stiled them, tho not denied to be * fonnd in Gods Word) are but rotten con∣clusions from the Word, and such things as tru Legall preachers have invented; not understanding the mystery of the Kingdom of Christ;gnor being cleer enough in judgement to unmingle things, that Anti∣christ had confounded and put together: therebyhlike some Chirur∣geons, who keep their Patients from healing too soon, that they may make the cure the more admired, keeping wounded souls accordingly with their wounds open.
Thus our Ministers he makes no better, then meer Mounte∣banks. for so to lengthen his cure, that he may seem to have done some great matter, saith a grave Physician, in a Chirurgeon is butia Player-like, or a Mountebanks part. and what is it, think we, then in a Divine?
Page 31 But why did he not adde, and to draw the more Fees from them? as the Orator complains of some Teachers of youth in his time, that kkept their Schollers longer in their rudiments, then was need∣full, as wel to draw the more money from their parents, as to make that they taught them seem a more difficult matter. For sure, as good ground he might have had for the one as the other. None good at all, I assure my self, for either. For whose spe∣ctacles hath this brother borrowed? or, what prospective glas hath he gotten? by which he is able thus to pierce and pry into mens hearts, to descry what their secret intents and ayms are in the courses they take, as before he described them, (tho I suppose not very faithfully neither) for the satisfying of such as repayr unto them, for direction, or for comfort? Herein therefore this Autor, as he transgressed the bounds of lcharity, so he encroacheth too much upon the mroyall prerogative. both which the Lord in mercy n remit to him. whether he suppose he need remission of any sin, or no. which according to his own principles * he deems he doth not.
Besides that in these passages he seems more then once to cros and contradict himself.
For 1. he charges these points on the Legall Teachers, as their own inventions: and yet (as verifying therein the old Greek Proverb, oThe tripping toung sometimes tels truth) he confesseth them to be conclusions drawn from Gods Word. for if conclusions fetcht from Gods Word, how then the inventions and devices of men? or how conclusions from the Word, if inventions of men? not to in∣sist upon that unsavory term, that may seem to cast an aspersion on Gods sacred Oracles, when conclusions from the Word, so con∣fessed to be, are styled rotten conclusions.
Again, he ascribeth those preposterous courses, that these Le∣gall Physitians take with their spirituall patients, one while to unskilfulnes, an other while to unfaithfulnesse. Sometime he makes them a company of sely ignoramusses, blind blundering bus∣sards, men of no understanding or judgement; unable to dive into those deep mysteries that he and his are so wel seen in, or so to distingvish those things, that Antichrist hath blended and jumbled together, as they do; or pto give a troubled soul any sound satisfaction. whom yet inqthis dim light, such as it is, that they have, he says, he doth Page 32 not wholy despise and contemn, and that upon condition too; so that they contend not against the more glorious light of truth, that he, and those of his strain hold out, r whereof some sleight gli∣merings yet he hath observed in some of their discourses. Some∣time on the other side he makes them a crew of cunning, (I might wel say, cheating) companions, that have subtilly for sinister ends invented and devised these courses of cure, sunder a pretence of thorough humiliation, to keep their patients in pain the longer under their hands, for their own admiration and ad∣vantage, not regarding the whilst what they poor souls indure, while their wounds are on purpose kept from closing. All the help he can have to salv this contradiction; (for if it be of meer ignorance for want of better and cleerer light, then not of set purpose for by-ends; or if of this, then not of that) all, I say, that I can think on, to reconcile this contradiction, must be to say, that some of them are failing in the one kind, and some faulty in the other, or that all of them generally do in some things erre by mistake, in others wilfully transgres.
But leaving him to make his cros and uncharitable censures of his brethren good, as he shal think good himself: let us, in steed of that rotten stuffe, as he is pleased to style it, that these Legall Teachers have, (yet from Gods Word) invented, see what stays and supports for mens souls, this Autor himself, therein t like the Spider, that weaves her web out of her own bowels, hath spun us, not out of Gods Word, as the Legalists, (that uspin out, he saith, such fine threds in Divinity, as are not strong enough to bind up a broken spirit) but out of his own brains.
xWe must believ (saith he) that Christ hath believed perfectly, he hath repented perfectly, he hath sorrowed for sin perfectly, he hath obeyed perfectly, and he hath mortified sin perfectly. and ythat our repentance is tru in him, who hath repented for us; our new obedience tru in him, who hath obeyed for us; our mortification tru in him, through whom we are more then conqerours. and why he altered his style more in this, then in the rest; or why he spake not here the same of belief, as before he did, that he doth of repentance, I wot not.
But these. I may truly say, are not conclusions from Gods Word, but groundles assertions, wrought out of his own curious head Page 33 and fancy, without warrant from Gods Word. For where fin∣deth he in the whole book of God, that ever Christ repented for us, or that he mortified sin, not in us, but for us, in himself; as in him∣self, or in his own person, he obeyed for us; and yet not to free us from obedience neither, but to set us aa copy, to give us a precedent, that we might tread in his steps, as for matter of pati∣enee, so for matter of bobedience. tho that neither the principall end with him of either. These glorious lights therefore, set up to dazel mens eyes, and amuse their minds, we can not admit; until they can be shewed to be rays of that light, that the Law and Testimony holds out: according to which unles men speak, * we are taught and warranted by the Spirit of God speaking in his Prophet, to deem, that there is nodspark of true light in*them.
And indeed, what is this, but to bear men in hand, as for confession of sins, (which some of them have taught) that it is sufficient for men to believe that Christ hath confessed their sins for*them; so for matter of sorrow for sin and repentance, that it is suf∣ficient for them to believ, that Christ hath perfectly sorrowed and repented for them? and what he hath done for them, they need not do themselves.
Howbeit, fby this time, he hopeth, Free grace is no Antino∣mianism.
By what time he means, I know not. for this is but in his Preface. but by this time, I hope, it may evidently appear in what hath been produced, that Antinomianisu holds out an other man∣ner of Free grace, then either the Prophets of God, or Christ and his Apostles ever preached.
Yea but, gshal we call every one Antinomian, that speaks free grace, or a little more freely then we do?
No. God forbid, that Christ and his Apostles, yea or Gods Prophets, should by any of us be so termed or esteemed, tho they speak free grace, as far as any, and as fully, consistent with truth. But if we speak free grace as far and as fully as they do, we may justly give some such title for distinction to those that go further; not because they go further then our selvs go, but because further then they went; yea if further, I say, not then the Apostles, but then the Prophets went, (for Gods grace was ever alike free) whose Page 34 sayings tho they produce for such free grace as they hold, yet in truth they deny them to have preached free grace, affirming them to have propounded life and salvation in those times to Gods people, h not of free grace, but by way of payment and purchase. Howbeit tru it is, that not so much for this opinion, as for some other tenents, as * the deniall of the morall Law to be any rule of direction for believers to walk by, and other assertions of the like stamp, was this title not unfitly given to those of that straine; who concurring yet in the principles by this Au∣tor here insisted on, (as is usuall to stile a faction by a term taken from some one speciall tenent among others) are therefore deservedly so called.
And this leads me from the specious Title of Free grace that he holds out in the Frontispice of his Fabrik, to the amiable and a∣micable pretence of Peace, that he hangs out in the Portall, or in the Porcb before his Preface.
iIt would be much matter of peace, he saith, amongst believers, if the Names of Antinomian and Legall Teachers, and the rest, might be laid down; and no mark or name to know one another by, but that of believers, that hold thus or thus for distinction.
And for my part I like not the imposing Names of such note, either groundlesly or needlesly. But why such as in their tenents do so palpably oppose, slight, vilifie, yea traduce, and *blaspheme Gods sacred Law, as these men have done and do, (especially making such faction and fractions in our Churches) should not be termed Antinomians, I see no ground of just exception. and it would be over teadious, and a needles wast of time and pen, for those that have occasion to deal with them, to be continually paraphrasing or periphrasing of them, by such circumlocutions of believers that hold thus or thus.
But why doth this Autor himself transgres those bounds, that he would have others confined unto? For why may not others call these men Antinomians, as wel as he cals some other but k a litle after Arminians? Since that albeit the opinions of both be bad enough, yet he wil not, I hope, deny the name of Believers to the one, no more then to the other; especially if the defini∣tion of Faith above by him delivered, be a sufficient index to denote a believer. If he deem this such an effectuall means to make Page 35 peace, why doth he not keep precisely to it, but fall so soon, by taking the way himself taxeth, to break peace?
But to let them pas, whom we have at present nothing to do with; why doth he in this very work of his so oft use this very term of Legal Teachers, in the entry whereunto the very first motion he makes is to have it wholy laid down? Or what is this but meer colluding and glosing, to commend one thing, and practise an other, to prosecute the direct contrary to that which at first himself propounded? I remember to have read sometime a Catechisticall Treatise of one, who in his Preface complained much of the variety of Catechisnts, ascribing the ignorance or non∣proficiency at least of people hereunto, that Teachers made use of many several Catechisms, and kept not to that Common one pub∣likely allowed, to which for matter and method he gave the pre∣eminence; and yet himself at the same time together with that Preface set out such a form, as differed more from that common one so highly by him commended, then the most of them ordi∣narily then in use did. The very like doth this Autor. In the Introduction to his Treatise, he commends Peace to his Readers, and wisheth the name Legal Teachers wholy laid down as a cours thereunto much conducing: yet in the Treatise it self, and the body of his Book, he is ever and anon girding at our Ministers, under the name of ltru Legall Teachers, and those mthat pas for Legall teachers, and that nare of a legall strain, and that orun in a legall way; whom also he doth insolently and contumeliously not reprove onely, but reproach, as in part also hath already been shewed. Indeed the truth is, Mr. Eatons spirit seems to be in this man revived, tho carying the matter somewhat more covertly and cunningly then he did. For thoroughout this whole Treatise this is one principall mark and matter, that his discours mainly drives at, to tax and traduce, to debase and dis∣grace, the Ministery and manner of teaching of the most faith∣ful, painful, famous and renowned servants of God, as wel of these times, as of former ages, by whose pious labours and reli∣gious endeavours, backed with Gods blessing, an innumerable number of souls have been won and brought in. To which pur∣pose, let these few ensuing passages, among a multitude of others, be observed.
And why so, but because they teach men, by such signs and marks as they meet with in Gods Word, (and q the Word and Spirit, I hope cros not, but concur) to try their spirituall estates? For so afterward
rThey that write so of a regenerate estate, and set us down such in∣fallible signes as we meet with commonly, do take their experiences too low and earnally: and mistake the allegory, and way of the Word or Scriptures, which speaks of things, because of the infirmity of our flesh, write upon Spirituall workings as Philosophers upon morall vertu; and do bring down the Spirit into the Allegory, and so allegorize and incar∣nate, or make fleshly the things of the Spirit.
Where by the way observe a prety evasion, here closely insi∣nuated, a litle before more expresly propounded, that may serv to shift of, whatsoever of the Apostles method, matter, and manner of teaching was before related, contrary to that that these men approov, and agreeable to that which is by those pra∣ctised, whom they control and oppose. sThe Apostle speakes many things too, as himself says, because of the infirmity of our flesh. and they belike have found out a more spirituall way, then that the Apostles in their teachings and writings used. which if they have, much good may it do them: we shall be content to tread in their steps, whom we know to have had * an unerring spirit. Again;
tMans obedience to God is not so notionally, nor orderly caried, nor so purely as the Gospel cals for.
This because we reqire of those that desire pardon of sin, peace with God, and salvation by Christ, repentance, and bu∣miliation, and sorrow for sin, and prayer for pardon, and a new cours of life, as our Saviour himself and his Apostles did. But, saith this man,
uThey run in a legall strain, and would work God down into his old and former way of reveiling himself as under the Law, when he seemed to be onely in the way to reconciliation and peace, rather then pacified. and thus in prayer, and fasting, and other acts of obedience, they deal with God, as they did under the old Testament; not conside∣ring the glorious love reveiled in Christ crucified; and how all Gospel Page 37 ordinances are onely ways and means to reveil this love and grace by the Spirit of adoption; not any waies or meanes of ours for getting some love from God, which Christ himself hath not gotten for us.
Then belike in the time of the old Testament, these were waies and means for Gods people that then lived, whereby to get some love from God, which Christ himself had not gotten for them. But if God in those times were not pacified, or did not cary himself toward them as pacified, how says the Psalmist? xLord, thou hast been favourable to thy Land, (that is, the inhabitants thereof,) Thou hast forgiven the iniqity of thy people; and hast covered all their sin: (a passage * absurdly prest by the Antinomians, to proov that to be done now, which they deny to have been then) thou hast wholy taken away thy wrath; and turned from the fiercenes of thine anger. Was not Christs blood, think we, as effectuall for the pacifying of Gods wrath in those times, as in these? These be new doctrines indeed▪ But,
yThis is the common way of dealing with souls, and bringing them up into assurance, as thus, Repent and pray, and live an holy life, and walk according to the Law of God.
And dare this man without any of these give any man assu∣rance? If he do, he dare do, and doth more then Christ or his Apostles are read to have done.
But in jeering way mine Autor proceeds.
zIf they answer, they can not do thus, ob then say they, can you not desire to pray, and repent? and if they say, they cannot desire, ob but then say they, can you not desire that you may desire? and thus they wind them up by acts of their own spirit; and run theni out to the end of their own working, when as their desires of desires; and the spinning of such fine threds in Divinity, are not strong enough to bind up a broken spirit.
Thus is he pleased to skof some questions, that such Divines as go * the old way of the Prophets and Apostles, with repentance and sorrow for sin, (which these of the new cu•, can not away with) do some time propound to disquieted consciences, in which they seem to descry some beginnings of grace; not, as this man speaks, to wind them up by acts of their own spirit, but to sift out the workings of Gods spirit in them, and thereby to make way for such further matter, as may give fuller satisfacti∣on, Page 38 then they are as yet able to attain. Nor is this ato place them on the bottome of their own righteousnes, as he injuriously chargeth it, blike the botome or point of a top, as he is pleased to resemble it; as if this were that which they perswaded men to rest•on, as that whereby the guilt of their sins were discharged, and Gods justice satisfied; which yet according to this mans principles was done in the the times of the old Testament, when by such means as these Gods favour and pardon of sin was cpurchased as with a price; but to give them assurance by dthe first fruits of the spirit bestowed on them, and begun in them, which the holy Ghost is pleased to call eGods earnests, and the Seal of our re∣demption, that they are of the number of those that have interest in Christ, by whom, as freedom from Hel and the gvilt of sin, so Heaven and happines is purchased for them. But this * wary man,
gDares not take this way:—for that is to take the disease for the Physitian, and to give men no oyntment, but blood of their own wound to heal them.
And so belike John did, when he went this way to work, as before was shewed.
hNor would be take that other way, which many do that are of this legall strain too, as to apply promises to them first; which many times in steed of drawing the soul to Christ, puts it further of, bringing some conditions, which the soul qestioning in themselves, dares not meddle with before it be prepared by Christ and his freenes.
He might have said, which mans corrupt and carnall heart, until it be wrought upon by Gods Spirit, and prepared by Christ, (who is said to igive as wel repentance, as remission of sins; yea first repentance and then remission of sins; to Israel; and to bles*them as wel by turning them away from their iniqities, as by dis∣charging them of the gvilt thereof) is very loth to condeseend unto; and we therefore have invented a readier way, and a shorter cut for them, without all that ado. But let them carry men on along, so long as they please, in a fools paradise; un∣les the conditions, that Gods Prophets (for there is no new way to Heaven now, but the same that ever was) and Christs Apostles propound to all that look for salvation by Christ, be perfor∣med, there is little hope for any man to attain life eternall; Page 39 unles some other way can be discovered that the Word of God hath not. But you see the man is humorous, and very hard to please by any way that these Legall Teachers take, tho never so consonant to Scripture. And therefore altho that Peter, when
lThey in the Acts, after he had laid open their sin of shedding the blood of Christ, were prickt to the heart for it, and being inwardly troubled and wounded said, Men and brethren what shall we do?
m Exhorted them to repent; yet these Legal Preachers when they▪ take the like cours,
nThey run (saith this Autor) to the Law, in their dealing with such souls for their thorow humiliation, as they say or pretend, (for such sinister ends as before you heard) and not to the Gospel, and faith in Jesus Christ; (and who ever severs these?) and so obring fier, and not water to quench them, but kindle them the more; and setting the everlasting burnings of the Law before their souls, put them all into a spirituall flame and vexation.
And that he may not pretend, that this is spoken but by way of supposition, if they do so and so. which yet the whole drift of his discours, wil easily unmaske. he telleth us a litle after in expresse terms, that
pThe Divinity of some former ages to these present times, he knows it, hath made up all their receipts for distempered souls of so much Law and so much Gospel; and usually but a grain or dram of Gospel to a pound of Law; not being cleer enough in judgement, to unmingle things that Antichrist hath confounded and put together, as the two Testaments, and two Covenants, and not rightly discerning Christs manner or way of preaching, and the Apostles, both in their holding out Law and Gospel.
Who belike then, qmaking a miscelan and mixture of the Law and the Gospel, (as Mr. Eaton saith of these Legalists) preached nei∣ther good Law nor good Gospel, but a miscelan and marring of both. And we do no other now then they did. But thus saith this Autor,
rThey would make the Law the ministery of life, and of the Spirit, being not of such a spiritual discerning, as the Lord hath now re∣veiled.
Reveiled to whom, think we, but to himself, and those of Page 40 the Antinomian strain? by some dream or enthusiasm sure it must be, for not by the word which holds out that cours that the Lega∣lists take, pressing men upon repentance, and sorrow for sin and humiliation, which these men can not abide. And I would glad∣ly know of them, whether of the two, is sthe streit gate, and the narrow way, that leads to life, and few list to take, ours or theirs. But, saith this man,
tSuch put a soul upon a legall method of conversion or comming to Christ. First, they must be kept so long under the Law, for humilia∣tion, and contrition and confession, and then brought to the Gospell, as many books and Teachers do.
Thus he describes the dealing of our Ministers with men, for the bringing of them to repentance, as if he were painting out some Popish Priest, pressing men to shrift, and putting them upon hard penance: as ye shal anon heare him resembling their preaching remission of sins unto the penitent, to the Popes giving out his pardons. But that which follows is far wors.
uWho, like some Chirurgians, that keep their Patients from healing too soon, that they may make the cure the more admired, do accor∣dingly keep such souls with their wounds open; and if they pour in any thing, it is rather Wine then Oyl, rather something of the Law then of the Gospel: so as they are not onely long in healing and getting peace through Jesus Christ; but they carry a scar with them still; and are as it were lame in their consciences a long time after; like some poor Patients, that have had as much of the sound flesh cut away as the rotten, and so have been healed, tho but to a bodily infirmity all their life time.
And what is all this indeed, but meer Mountebank practise, to tell men, that the Physitians and Chirurgeons, they have former∣ly made use of, do but vex them by plying them with purges and pils, and searching their sores, and searing them and cutting them to the quick, and with their causticks and corrosives put them, poor souls, to a world of needles pain; and all this they do but to lengthen the cure, and hold them long in their hands; whereas they wil give them that, that shal put them to no pain, and yet shall perfectly heal them without all that ado? But it may justly be feared, that these new waies of cure that these men professe, will in the end proov little better then such Page 41 Qacksalvers receipts, but stupifying pils, or palliating remedies, or topicall playsters, which tho they may give some ease of pain for the present, yet effect no sound cure, leaving the root of the disease the same still that they found it.
But to free men from further trouble of daily craving pardon of their sins according to x our Saviours prescript, he telleth them, that
yThe consideration of the pardon of sin in this sense that our Di∣vines have commonly taught and preached it, not minding the spiri∣tuall analogy of the Word, concerning the righteousnes of a believer, breeds all this distraction; while they deale out Christs blood, as the Pope his pardons for one sin after another, never stating a believer in the righteousnes of Christ, and in a fully pardoned condition.
So that I wonder not now, why your Antinomians should be charged, and that with good proof brought of it, to deliver, that, zA child of God need not, nay ought not, to aske pardon for sin: and that it is no les then blasphemy for him so to do.
But I shall onely for the present demand of this Autor, whether believers before Christs appearance in the flesh, such as Abel, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the rest, were stated in the righteousnes of Christ or no. and whether it be not a profane scof, unfit to come out of any Christian mans, much more any Minister of the Gospels mouth, to say, that Nathan and other the Seers of those times dealt Christs blood out, to David and other be∣lievers, then overtaken with some sin, as the Pope doth his pardons. But any base comparison is scarce bad enough to spend upon these unchristian Legalists, that a to exalt men, cry down Christ. Mean while, as the Persian that was scuffling with the Magician in the dark, b bad one that stood by with his weapon in his hand, but forbearing to make use of it, for fear of smiting the wrong party, thrust at all adventure, so he slew the Magician, he cared not, though it were thorough his own side; so this man (therein not unlike c others of the same strain) litle regards how he asperse Gods Prophets and his dispensations by them, so he may * break some broad jest upon his Legall brethren, their doctrine and dealings.
But all this, and much more, this man of peace, that moves to have the name of Legalist laid down; and yet not onely commonly Page 42 so stiles them that are not of his strain, but lays load on them, as you see, to make them and their Ministery as odious as may be, in the eyes and minds of men. And indeed better a thousand times be termed Legalists and Legall Teachers, then to be deci∣phered by doing and dealing so and so, as he is pleased to describe them. For what by any malignant, or malicious Papist, could more opprobriously and contumeliously have been spoken of the ministery of those, unto whose labours in his own work, God hath bin pleased to give so ample a testimony, by his blessing thereupon? But, I hope, some other of them, being men furni∣shed with aboundance of spirituall abilities, wil take pains to lay open more fully and largely this mistery of iniquity, like to ruin millions of souls, if with out control it be permitted to spread. dIt hath ever been Satans policy, says this Autor, to man∣nage a truth in an other name then its own. And it is no lesse an usuall policy and subtil engin of Satan to mannage errors under other names then their own. they would not otherwise so soon finde acceptance, and be owned as truths. Nor are errors ever more dangerous, then when they come abroad, and appear, as eSatan himself in Samuels weed, so shrowded under the specious titles of Gods Love, Free Grace, Gospel of Peace, Glorious Lights, and the like. Read but the discourses and Treatises of your Familists; and you shall find all their new-fangled conceits, and fantastical dotages represented unto you under the most specious and glo∣rious terms and titles that may be: and withall (that which in some of these mens writings also I have lately observed) stuft with such strange abstract metaphysicall notions, cloathed with metaphorical and hyperbolicall expressions, as may ravish the minds of simple people, and raise them to an high admiration of them, as conteining such deep and abstruse mysteries, as ordinary capa∣cities are unable to apprehend; and tend rather to darken and cloud what they deliver, then to make it cleer and conspicuous, that being brought to the light, which such usually shun, it may come to triall, and appear what in truth it is. And to my weak judgement it seems a thing much to be feared, that this cours (which I see some affect, and many people are much taken with) of extracting Divinity in a kind of chymicall way into qeint and curious, but groundles and useles speculations, and (as I Page 43 may wel say of some of them) even fchimericall conceits, wil if it hold on, as much corrupt the gsimplicity of the Gospel, and the doctrine of faith, as ever the qirks and qillets of the old Schole∣men did. But the Lord, I doubt not, wil raise up those among us, that wil hcontend for the faith once given, & endeavour to preserve it in its purity and simplicity, by discovering the vanity and unsound∣nes of these sublimated speculations, wherewith those of this new strain, under pretence of ia cleerer discovery, and a greater and morekglorious light, endevour to taint and contaminate it. For mine own part, as I account my self the weakest and meanest of many herein interessed, so I should not peradventure have stirred further in this busines, had I not been called in, as a party, to give testimo∣ny to that, which my soul utterly detests, and for opposing where∣of I suffer (as I am told) the il affections of not a few; being one as wel nigh spent with age, so much shattered with a late sharp encounter of sicknes, which I am not able yet to shake of: and can doe no more therefore, then the lold steed they speak of, that tho past yeers of service, yet when he hears the alarm given, upon the incursions of some advers forces, sets up his ears, and bestirs him as wel as he can, and by his neying and prancing incites others of his kind and rank to that imployment and ser∣vice, which himself is unable to perform. But whatsoever els I have done here, I hope, I have made it to appear, as wel by this as by my former, how far I am from supposing, what this man would make me speak, that there is little difference between the An∣tinomians and us.