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verly, not to the person, especially of my friendly neighbour. Neither would I have appeared thus publicly againit him, if differences could have been accommodated, and the evil prevented, in a more private way; in order thereunto, I have punctually observed and kept the rules and measures of friend1hip.
It is possible fome may judge my stile against him to be too Tarp; but if they please to read the conclusion of his Call, and my Answer, I presume they will find enough to make atonement for that fault, if it be a fault. It is from the nature of the matter before me, not from defect of charity to the person or party, that I am forced to be fo plain and pungent as I am.
To conclude, I suspect this very preface may be also censured for its plainness and tediousness. I confess, when times are busy we should be brief; and I am persuaded a sufficient preface may
be contracted into four words, cevnu a posseww.xeo Frasowy, without preface or pasions. However, I have a little eased my own heart, by discharging my duty to my differing brethren, and pleased myself, if not them.
The God of peace create peace in all the borders of Sion, beat our swords into plow.shares, and our spears into pruninghooks ; I mean, our polemicals into practicals; that JerusaJem may once more be a city compact, and no more terrible to herself, but only to her enemies, as an army with banners. This, brethren, is the prayer, and shall ever be the endeavour. of,
Your friend and servant in Chrift,
JOHN FL AVEL.
PR 0 L E G O M E N A.
EFORE we enter into the main controversy, it will be ne
ceffary to acquaint the reader, why I begin with the middle of the book; and it is because I there find these three principles or positions, on which the other parts of his discourse are superstructed; and these being destroyed, his other difcourses are but arena, sine calce. I properly therefore begin with the foundation.
Next I shall shew how far we are agreed in the matters here controverted, and where it is in each of these that the controversy indeed lies betwixt us. And as to
I.' Pofition, viz. That the Sinal law is the fame with Adam's covenant of works, made in paradise :
The difference betwixt us here is not (1.) Whether both these becalled covenants it Scripture ? Not (2.) Whether there was no grâce at all in both, or either of them; for we are agreed, it is grace in God to enter into covenant with iman, whatever
) á covenant of works to some men, by their own fault and occaf. on Nor (4.) Whether the fcriptures do not many times speak of it in that very fenfe and notion wherein carnal justiciaries apprehend, and take it; and by rejecting Chrift, make it fo to themselves ? : Nor (s:) Whether the very matter of the law of nature be not revived and reprefented in the Sinai law?
Thefe are not the points we contend aboạt. But the question is, Whether the Sinai law do in its own nature, and according to God's purpose and design in the promulgation of it, revive the law of 'naturė, to the fame ends and uses it served to in Adam's covenant; and so be properly, and truly a covenant of works Or whether God had not gracious and evangelical ends and purposes, viz. By such a dreadful representation of the severe and impracticable terms of the frit covenant, instead of obliging them to the personal and punctual observance of them for righteousness and life, he did not rather design to convince them of the impossibility of legal righteousness, humble proud nature, and 'thew them the neceflity of betaking themfelves to Chrift, now exhibited in the new covenant, as the only refuge to fallen finners. The latter I defend according to the Scriptures, the former Mr. Cáry seems to assert and vehemently
2dly, In this controversy about the Şiņai law, ļ do not find Mr. Cary distinguish (as he ought) betwixt the law considered more largely and complèxiły, as containing both the moral and ceremonial law, for both which it is often taken in Scripture, and more strictly for the moral law only, as it is sometimes used in Scripture. These two he makes one and the same covenant of works; though there be fome that doubt whether the mere moral law may not be a covenant of works '; yet I never met with any man before, that důrft affirm the ceremonial law, which is so full of Christ, to be fo; and to this law it is that circumcifon appertains.'
3dly, The moral law, strictly taken for the ten command. ments, iş not by him distinguished (as it ought to be, and as the Scripture frequently doth} according to God's intention
aid deagn in the promulgation or it, which was to add it as an appendix to the promise, Gal. iü. 19. and not to set it up as
an oppofite covenant, Gal. jii. 21. as the carnal Jewe, mislak. ering and perverting the use and end of the law, and making
it to themselves a covenant of works, by making it the very rule and reafon of their juftification before God, Rom. ix. 32, 33. Rom. x. 3. Thefe things ought carefully to have been distinguished, forasmuch as the whole controversy depends on this double sense and intention of the law ; yea, the very
dehomination of that law depends hereon : for I affirm, it ought not to be denominated from the abused and mistaken end of it amongft carnal men, but from the true scope, design and end for which God published it after the fall : and though we find such expreffions as these in Scripture, “ The man that
doth them thall live in them ;' and, “ Cursed is every one
that continueth r.ot in all things,” &c. yet thefe respecting the law, not according to God's intention, but man's corruption and abuse of it, the law is not thereby to be denominated a covenant of works. God's end was not to justify them, but to try them by that terrible difpepsation, Exod. xx. 20. whether they would still hanker after that natural way of self-righteoufnels; for this end God propounded the terms of the first covepant to them on Sinai, not to open the way of self-justification to them, but to convince them, and faut them up to Chrift; just as our Saviour, Matth. xix. 17. puts the young man upon keeping the commandments, not to drive him from, but neceffitate him to himself in the way of faith.
The law in both thefe fenses is excellently described, Gal. iv. in that allegory of Hagar and Sarah, the figures of the two covenants. Hagar in her first and proper station was but a ferviceable handmaid to Sarah, as the law is a school. inafter to Christ; but when Hagar the handmaid is taken into Sarah's bed, and brings forth children that aspire to the inheritance, then faith the Scripture, “ Cast out the bond
woman, with her fon.". So it is here ; take the law in its primary use, as God designed it, as a schoolmaster or handmaid to Christ and the promise, so it is consistent with them, and excellently subservient to them ; but if we marry this hand. maid, and espouse it as a covenant of works, then are we bound to it for life, Rom. vii. and muft have nothing to do with Christ. The believers of the Old Testament had true apprehen. fions of the right end and use of the law, which directed them to Christ, and so they became children of the free-woman. The carnal Jews trusted to the works of the law for righteoufness, and so became the children of the bond-wonan; but neither could be children of both at once, no more than the fame man can naturally be born of two mothers. This is the difference betwixt us about the first position. And as to the
II. Position. That Abraham's covenant, Gen. xvii. is an Adam's covenant of works also, because circumcifon was annexed to it, which o. bliged men to keep the whole law. i
The controversy: betwixt us in this point, is not whether circumcision were an ordinance of God, annexed by him to his covenant with Abraham ? Nor (2.) Whether Abraham's ordinary and extraordinary seed ought to be, and actually were figned by it ? Nor (3.) Whether it were a seal of the righteous
. ness of faith to any individual person, for he allows it to be fo. to Abraham ? Nor (4.) Whether it pertained to the ceremonial law, and so must cease at the death of Christ? But the difference betwixt us is, Whether (1.). It was a seal of the covenant to none but Abraham ? And, (2.) Whether in the very
nature of the act, or only from the intention of the agent, it did oblige men to keep the whole law, as Adam was obliged to keep it in innocency? (3.) Whether it were utterly, abolished at the death of Christ, as a condition of the covenant of works ?' or being a fign of the fame covenant of grace we are now under, it be 'not fucceeded by the new gospel-sign, which is baptism? Mr. Cary affirms, that it was in itself a condition of the covenant of works, and being annexed to God's covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. it made that a true Adam's covenant of works also. This l'utterly deny, and say, Abraham's covenant was a true covenant of grace. (2.) That circumcision was a seal of righteousness of faith, and therefore could not possibly belong to the covenant of works. (3.) That as it was applied both to the ordinary and extraordinary infant-seed of Abraham, during that administration of the covenant, so it is the will of Christ that baptism should take its place under the gospel, and be applied now to the infant-seed of all Abraham's spiritual children. These are the things wherein we differ about the second postion. And lastly, as to the
III. Position. That neither Mofes's law, Exod. xx. nor God's covenant with Abraham, Gen. xvii. can be any other than an Adam's covenant of works, because they have each of them conditions in them on man's part; but the gospel-covenant hath none at all, but is altogether free and absolute.
The controversy here betwixt us is not (1.) Whether the gospel-covenant requires no duties at all of them that are une der it? Nor (2.) Whether it requires any such conditions as were in Adam's covenant, namely, perfect, personal, and perpetual obedience, under the fevereft penalty of a curse, and admitting no place of repentance ? Nor (3.) Whether any condition required by it on our part, have any thing in its own nature meritorious of the benefits promised ? Nor (4.) Whether we be able in our own strength, and by the power of our freewill, without the preventing as well as the assisting grace of God, to perform any such work or duty as we call a condition ? In these things we have no controversy ; but the only question betwixt us is,
Whether in the new covenant some act of ours (tho' it have no merit in it, nor can be done in our own single strength) be not required to be performed by us, antecedently to a blessing or privilege confèquent by virtue of a promise? And whether such an act or duty, being of a suspending nature to the blesfing promised, it have not the true and proper nature of a goSpel-condition? This I affirm, and he positively denies.
These three positions being confuted, and the contrary well confirmed, viz. that the law at Sinai was not set up by God as an Adam's covenant, to open the old way of righteousness and life by works; but was added to the promise, as fubfervient to Christ in its design and use, and consequently can never be a pure Adam's covenant of works. And, secondly,
That Abraham's covenant, Gen. xvii. is the very venant of grace we are now under ;'and, (2dly,) That circumcision in the nature of the act did not oblige all men to keep the whole law for righteousness. And (3dly,)
That the new covenant is not absolutely and wholly unconditional, though notwithstanding a most free and gracious covenant; the pillars on which Mr. Cary fets his new structure, , sink under it, and the building falls into ruins.
I have not here taken Mr. Cary's two Syllogisms, proving Abraham's covenant to be a covenant of works, because I find myself therein prevented by that ingenious and learned man, Mr. Whifton, in his late answer to Mr. Grantham. Neither have I particularly spoken to his twenty-three arguments to prove
the Sinai law to be a pure Adam's covenant, because frultra fit per plura, quod fieri poteft per pauciora : I have overthrown them all together at one blow, by evincing every argument to have four terms in it, and so proves nothing. But I have spoken to all those scriptures which concern out four poJitions, and fully vindicated them from the injurjous senses