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I would observe one thing further under this head, viz. That ungodly men which live under the gospel, notwithstanding any moral sincerity they may have, are worse, and more provoking enemies to God, than the very Heathen, who never sinned against gospel-light and mercy. This is very manifest by the scriptures, particularly Matt. x. 13, 14. Amos iii. 2. Rom. ii. 9. 2 Pet. ii. 21. Rev. iii. 15, 16.
I had suggested, concerning Mr. Stoddard's doctrine of admitting more unconverted than converted by attending Christ's rule, that this supposes it to be the case of the members of the visible church, that the greater part of them are more provoking enemies to God than most of the Heathen. Mr. W. represents himself as greatly alarmed at this: He calls it an extraordinary passage, and puts five questions about it to my serious consideration. (p. 72, 73.) The first and chief question is this: "Did Mr. S. ever say in the Appeal, or any where else, of most of our fellow-worshippers at the sacrament, that we have no reason to think concerning them, but that they are more provoking enemies to the Lord, whom Christians love and adore, than most of the very Heathen?" His three next ques tions are to represent the heinousness of such supposed ill treatment of Mr. S.-And I think will be sufficiently answered, by what I shall offer in reply to the first.
I will tell him what Mr. S. said. Speaking to such as do not come to Christ, living under the gospel, he said, (Safety of App. p. 234, 235.) "You may not think to escape as the Heathen do: Your load will be heavier, and your fire will be hotter, and your judgment sorer, than the judgment of other God will proportion every man's misery to his iniquity. And as you have enjoyed greater light and love, so you must expect more amazing and exquisite wrath, than other men. Conscience has more to accuse you of and condemn you for,
obedience and worship, but it does not come from his heart, he practically denies the omniscience of Christ, while he puts before him a shew and pretence of something for the reality; and so he helies his own profession. And all this, be it more or less, whatever it pretends to be of religion, instead of being that which Christ requires, is entirely different from it, yea, infinitely contrary to it. And these same actions, which when they are the language of the heart, and flow from it, are pleasing and acceptable to God and Jesus Christ, are true obedience to him; when they do not, are reckoned the most flagrant and abominable impiety, and threatened with the severest damnation of hell.”—— -Now, who can believe, that God has, by his own holy institution, made that sort of sincerity, which is nothing better than what is consistent with such a lying, vile, abominable, flagrantly wicked pretence and shew of religion as this, the very thing that gives a right, even in his sight, to Christian sacraments?
I might here also observe, that if moral sincerity or common grace gives a right to sacraments in the sight of God, then that which (according to Mr. S-d's doctrine before observed) is a spirit of lust, that which is contrary to, and at war with, and would destroy saving grace, is a thing which gives a right in the sight of God to Christian sacraments.
and so has God: And you will sink down deeper into hell, than other men. You are treasuring upa greater measure of wrath, than others, against the day of wrath. You will wish you had lived in the darkest corners of the earth among Scythians and barbarians."
And Mr. W. must allow me to remind him of what another divine has said, and that is himself. In his sermon on Isa. xlv. 11. (p. 25, 26.) he says, "It is to be feared, there are great numbers here present, that are in an unconverted, unrenewed, unpardoned state; strangers from God, and enemies to him, Yet you now look with great pity and compassion on that poor captive, for whom we have now been offering up our earnest prayers, who has been so long in a pitiable and sorrowful condition, and who is now in the thickness of popish darkness and superstition. If you are out of Christ, and destitute of true faith in him, if your natures remain unrenewed and unsanctified, what is your state better than hers, which looks so sorrowful and distressing? Rather, is it not worse? When you consider, that in the fulness of the means of grace which you have enjoyed all your days, you are as far from any saving knowledge of Jesus Christ, as those who have lived in the dregs and abyss of popish ignorance, and know not what to believe, but what the church, that is, Antichrist, tells them. If you die thus, your misery will be aggravated inconceivably beyond theirs: Which Christ has plainly enough shewn us, when he upbraided the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, and tells them how much in the comparison they fall below Tyre and Sidon," (heathen cities, notorious for luxury, debauchery, and the grossest idolatry,) "and Sodom; for whom it should be more tolerable, than for them."
The same author says also, even in the book under consideration, (p. 86. "That the unbelief and impieties of visible saints, is what they will be punished for above all men in the world."
And now, I think it may be proper for Mr. W. himself to answer his 5th question, which he puts to my serious consideration, viz. "What honour is it to our Lord Jesus Christ to treat visible saints in such a manner, when at the same time it is his revealed will they should be outwardly treated as visible saints?"
*Mrs. Eunice Williams, brought up in Canada, among the Caghnawaga Indians, sister to the then pastor of the church in Mansfield, where this sermon was preached, upon a day of prayer kept on her account; she being then in that place on a visit.
A view of what Mr. W. says concerning the public covenanting of professors.
I. Mr. W. often speaks with contempt, of my supposing it to be a duty required of such as come to sacraments, that they should explicitly own the covenant, and disputes largely against it. (p. 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, and many other places.) He says concerning me, (p. 22. a. b.) "It is very unhappy, that this good gentleman should use the scripture in such a manner, to prove a divine institution which never had an existence; and after all that is said is but a mere imagi nation and chimera; it being evident, there was never any such divine institution for the church under the Old Testament, binding particular persons publicly and explicitly to own the covenant, in order to their enjoying the outward ordinances of it." However, it falls out something happily for me, that I am not quite alone in the chimera, but have Mr. W. himself to join me in it; who abundantly asserts the same thing, (p. 5. c. p. 8. a p. 9. b. c. and many other places,) who uses the scripture in the same manner, and supposes the same divine institution and who (in p. 5. b. c. of the treatise in hand,) having stated the following inquiry, "What is that evidence, which by divine appointment the church is to have, of the saintship of those who are admitted to the outward privileges of the covenant of grace?" makes this answer to it: "The scripture has determined the matter thus, that the open profession and dcclaration of a person's believing in Christ, and an hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace, and engagement on his part to fulfil it," &c. " is the sole and entire ground of that public judgment, which the church is to make of the real saintship of professors." It is manifest he cannot intend merely that they should be the posterity of such as thus owned the covenant, or declared their consent to it, and so are looked upon as those that owned the covenant in their ancestors, at the beginning of the covenant line (though sometimes he seems to suppose this is all that is necessary, as I shall take particular notice by and by :) For here he expressly speaks of a personal owning the covenant, or the open profession and declaration of a person's consent to the covenant. And thus he often speaks of the same matter, in like manner, as a personal thing, or what is done by the person judged of land received. (See p. 10. c. d. 31. e. 32. e. 33. a. 34. b. c. 73. b. 84. a. 139. a.) And in the second page of his preface, he declares himself fully established 66
in Mr. S-d's doctrine concerning this affair of qualifications for the Lord's supper; who expressly declared it to be his judgment, that" It is requisite, that persons be not admitted unto communion in the Lord's supper, without making a personal and public profession of their faith and repentance." (Appeal, p. 93, 94.)
And as Mr. W. holds, that there must be a public personal owning of the covenant; so he also maintains, that this profession must be explicit or express. He says, (p. 20. d. e.) "Since we have no direction in the Bible, at what time nor in what manner any personal explicit covenanting should be performed,-it appears plain to a demonstration, that the people knew nothing of any such institution; as I suppose, the Christian church never did, till Mr. Edwards discovered it." But if I was the first discoverer, he should have owned, that since I have discovered it, he himself, and all my opposers, have seen cause to follow me, and receive my discovery. For so the case seems to be, if he gives us a true account (in p. 132. b.) where he rejects with indignation, the imputation of any other opinion. "How often (says he) has Mr. Edwards said, none but visible saints are to be admitted. Do not all Mr. Edwards's opposers say, that no man is to be admitted, who does not profess his hearty belief of the gospel, and the earnest and sincere purpose of his heart, so far as he knows it, to obey all God's commands, and keep his covenant? none, who do not make as full and express a profession as the Israelites did, or was ever required by Christ or his apostles, in any instances that can be produced in the Bible, of bodies of men or particular persons' admission into visible covenant with God? He had before spoken of the words which the Israelites used in their entering into covenant with God, (p. 5. d.) which must refer to their entering into covenant in the wilderness; for we have no account of any words at all used by that nation, at their entering into covenant, if not there. And this he sometimes speaks of as the covenant they made, when God took them into covenant, (p. 8. d. 36. d. e. 37. a. b.) And (p. 20.) he allows that to be an instance of explicit covenanting: But ridicules my pretending to shew, that explicit covenanting was a divine institution for all; when he says, we have an account of but four instances of any explicit covenanting with God by the Jews, and those on most extraordinary occasions, and by the body of the people. But what matter is it, whether there were four, or but two, or only that one instance in the wilderness? when he himself with such earnestness declares, that all my opposers hold every man must make as full and express a profession of the covenant as ever the Israelites did, or was ever required, in any instance that can be produced in the Bible, whether of bodies of men or
particular persons' admission, &c. If this be so, and what he said before be also true, then all Israel, even every individual person among them, that ever was admitted to the privileges of the church, throughout all their generations, by his own confession and assertion, did personally make as explicit a profession of the covenant, as the body of the people did in that instance in the wilderness. And not only so, but the same must every individual person do, that ever comes to sacraments, through all ages to the end of the world.-Thus Mr. W. fights hard to beat down himself. But I will not say in his own language, that in so doing he fights hard to beat down a poor man of straw.
If any should say, that Mr. W. when speaking of an express profession, does not mean a profession in words, but only in actions; such as an outward attendance on ordinances and duties of worship: I answer, if such actions are a profession, yet certainly they are not an express profession; they are no more than an implicit profession. And, besides, it is very plain, the profession he speaks of is a profession in words. Thus, (p. 36. b.) when describing the profession which ought to be made, he says, "It is in as strong words, as were used by any whom the apostles admitted." And elsewhere (as was before noted) he often insists, that a profession should be made in words without any discrimination as to their meaning. Which shews, it is a profession in words that he designs. And although (p. 104. e.) he speaks of a performance of the outward duties of morality and worship, as the only way that God ever appointed of making real saintship visible: Yet this is only another instance of his great inconsistence with himself; as appears by what has already been observed, and appears further by this, that when he speaks of a profession of consent to the terms of the covenant, &c. he often speaks of it as a profession which ought to be made in order to admission to these ordinances. (p. 5. b. c. 10. a. 35. e. 36. a. b. c. 132. b. and other places.) If so, then how can the attendance itself, on these ordinances of worship, be all the profession which is to be made? Must men first come to ordinances, in order to admission to ordinances? And moreover, Mr. W. himself distinguishes between engaging and swearing to keep covenant in the public profession, and attending on the ordinances and duties of worship, which he speaks of as belonging to the fulfilment of the engagement and oath. (p. 130.) And lastly I would observe, though it could be consistently made out, (which it never can,) that Mr. W. does not mean a professing in words, it would be nothing to the purpose. If it be in words, or in other signs which are equivalent to words, and. which are a full and express profession, (as Mr. W. says,) it is exactly the same thing as to my purpose, and the consequence of the argument, which was, that real godliness must be profess