Obrazy na stronie
PDF
ePub

yet they may come whether they have it or no, and have as much of a lawful right without it as with it. So that Mr. W. has in effect determined against himself the grand point, which he himself insists on, as the point in dispute, according to the true state of the question. And therefore,

13. It follows from the foregoing concessions, that Mr. W. is inconsistent with himself in all his arguings that men may come to sacraments without such a qualification or character as that of true piety. Because God has given no certain rule by which sacraments may be restrained to such,* or because that otherwise none might come but those that know they have such a character ;t or because the contrary doctrine tends to bring saints into great perplexities in their attendance on sacraments; or from the lawfulness of unregenerate men's attending other duties. If there be any force in this arguing from other duties to an attendance on sacraments, then the argument will infer that men must not be admitted to other duties, but under the notion of their being truly godly, and from respect to such a character appearing on them, &c.—as Mr. W. insists with regard to Christian sacraments. And so if these things which Mr. W. concedes and asserts, are true, in vain is all arguing from the like tendency in sacraments to convert men, as in other duties : | And in vain is it to argue the lawfulness of men's coming without this character, from their obligation to perform external covenant-duties, T and to carry themselves like saints.** And in vain is all arguing from the pretended bad consequences of the contrary doctrine.it

14. The opposition Mr. W. makes to my argument from Isaiah lvi. especially those words, ver. 6, 7. The sons of the stranger that join themselves to the Lord, to love the Lord, and be his servants-will I bring into my holy mountain-to prove that none have a right in the sight of God to the privileges of the Christian church, but those that love God, and are truly pious ; I say, the opposition Mr. W. makes to this argument is frivolous, since he in effect grants the same thing, (as above,) yea, expressly allows, that they must make pretences of being God's real friends, and loving God more than the world, p. 36. c.

15. If it be true, as Mr. W. allows and abundantly asserts, that in order to persons being admitted to holy communion in special ordinances, the scripture has determined, that there must be an open profession and declaration of a person's believing, or of a personal believing in Christ, (which is the same thing,) and of an hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace,ff and that therein must be a profession of gospel-holi

a

* See Mr. W.'s Book, p. 106, &c. Ibid. p. 108, &c. | P. 120, &c. $P. 123, &c. || P. 126, &c. I P. 128, &c. ** P. 131. 1 P. 131, &c.

ti See how Mr. W. expresses himself, p. 5, b. c.

a

ness: then nothing to the contrary avails that great argument of his, taken from the state of baptized infants, that they are already in the Church, and in covenant, and are members in complete standing, &c.; and that therefore no owning the covenant or professing godliness can be demanded of them :* And in vain is all that he has said to prove this in his discourse on the wheat and tares.

16. To what purpose is it, to object from the parable now mentioned, that the church ought not to make a distinction between wheat and tares, in their admission of members, by pretending to discern the difference? when it is so apparent, that there is no pretence to any proper discerning in the case, nor any other distinction pleaded, than what is made by a judgment of charity. According to Mr. W.'s own scheme, churches are obliged to make a distinction, in the rational judgment they pass, and to admit none, but what they judge to be true Saints; so that those who are wheat, in the eye of their judgment, only are to be admitted, and such as are tares, in the eye of their judgment, are to be excluded.

17. What is said by Mr. W. of the visible church being the school of Christ, and men being admitted into it as disciples or scholars, some of them in order to attain grace, (p. 81, and 83.) is nothing to the purpose, if it be as Mr. W. allows and asserts, that in order to be admitted into this school, they must be supposed, in a reasonable judgment, to have this attainment already, and make a pretence to it, and a solemn profession of

a it, and must give moral evidence that they have it, and must be admitted into the school under no other notion than that of their being already possessed of it.

18. If it be as Mr. W. expressly says, That persons are not visible Saints without a credible profession, visibility and moral evidence, not only of moral sincerity, but true holiness, (p. 139.) then all is wholly insignificant and vain, that is said to prove that the children of Israel were visible Saints without any evidence of such holiness, by reason of the idolatry and gross and open wickedness of vast multitudes of them, who are yet called God's people. And so likewise, all that is said to prove, that the members of the primitive Christian church had no other visibility of saintship than they, because they are grafted into the same olive ; and also all that Mr. W. has said to prove, that many of the members of the primitive churches were as grossly wicked as they.

19. Since according to Mr. W. the terms of admission to the Jewish ordinances, were the same as to Christian ordinances, the like profession and the same visibility of saintship required, and no other; as he strenuously asserts, (p. 57. e. p.61.

[blocks in formation]

e, and p. 65. c.) it will therefore follow from his foregoing concessions and assertions, that none were, by God's appointment, to come to the passover, and to have their children circumcised, but such as openly professed and declared that they were convinced of the truth of God's word, and believed it with all their hearts; and professed a hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace : such as covenanted with God with their whole hearts, and gave up all their hearts and lives to Christ; such as subjected themselves to Christ with their whole hearts, and gave up themselves to him to be ruled, taught and led by him ; such as with all their hearts cast themselves on the mercy of God to enable them to keep covenant: such as professed to love God above the world, and professed more than common faith and moral sincerity, even true holiness, real piety; and who gave moral evidence, that they had such a qualification; and were received to the passover, &c. under that notion, and with respect to such a character appearing in them, and apprehended to be in them. And if these things are so, what is become of the argument from the passover and circumcision, against the necessity of the qualifications I have insisted on!

20. To what purpose does Mr. W. insist (p. 98. a.) That we read not a word in scripture about John the Baptist's making any inquiry, whether the people he baptized made a credible profession of true piety? when he himself insists, that in order to admission to Christian sacraments, men must make a credible profession of true piety. And why does he urge (p. 96. e. and p. 97.) That the profession the people made which John baptized, did not imply that they had saving repentance, but only an engagement to repent, hereafter? when he himself holds, that in order to admission to sacraments, men must profess something more than common grace, and only promise it hereafter.

21. It makes nothing to any point in controversy between Mr. W. and me, whether Judas partook of the Lord's supper or no, since according to the fore-mentioned principles, as well as mine, he could not be admitted there under any other notion than that of being truly pious, and from respect to such a character appearing on him, and a credible profession of gospelholiness ; and since he might not lawfully come without some qualifications he had not, viz. such a friendship for Christ, as is above lukewarmness, and above serving two masters, Christ and Mammon, and a giving up all his heart and life to Christ, and a real determination of his judgment and affections for Christ's word, &c.

22. If it be true, as Mr. W. allows, that ministers and churches ought not to admit adult persons to sacraments, without a pious character appearing on them, and their professing and exhibiting moral evidence of gospel-holiness, then no

good argum notan be brought against such a wint of admission, from then ficess of ministers in another way, or in any way

whats in the

Besides these plain and obvious consequences of Mr. W.'s concessions, some other consequences will hereafter be observed under particular heads.

Thus Mr. W. has in effect given up every point belonging to the whole controversy, everything material insisted on through that whole book which he undertakes to answer. He has established every part of my scheme, and every particular argument I have used to confirm it; and answered" or overthrown every argument which he brings, or pretends to support against it. And I should have no further occasion to say any thing in reply to him, if he had not really, through great part of his performance, argued for other things, opposite to those that have been rehearsed, which he so strenuously insists belong to his scheme. That arguing may seem to support another scheme, though nothing akin to his, any otherwise than as it is indeed a mixture of many schemes, one clashing with and destroying another; as will appear in the ensuing part of this reply.

[ocr errors]

SECT. III.

The inconsistence of the fore-mentioned concessions with the

lawfulness of unsanctified persons coming to the Lord's Supper, and their rights to Sacraments in the sight of God.

Mr. W. in the book under consideration, which he entitles the true State of the Question, insists upon it that the question to be debated is the question Mr. Stoddard debated in his dispute with Dr. Mather; in whose scheme Mr. W. declares himself to be. Mr. S. in his dispute with Dr. Mather asserted, that it was lawful for some unsanctified men to come to the Lord's supper, and that they had a right so to do in the sight of God. And he declares that this was the point in dispute between him and Dr. Mather; as in Appeal, p. 20. “That which I am to shew is, that some unsanctified men have a right before God to the Lord's supper.” So Mr. Blake (who is so great an author with Mr. W.) says in his treatise on the covenant, p. 244. “ 'That faith which is the condition of the promise, is not the condition in foro Dei, [before God) of a title to the seal.” And there in the next p.) heinsists, that it is a common faith, that is believed by men not justified, which gives this title. Agreeable to these things Mr. W.says, (p. 132. d.) some men have a lawful right to the sacrament without sanctification. Which is the same thing as to say, They have a right in the sight of God. For if

d's a

they havinah right in the sight of God to cc'is fo, the Lord's supper, then it is not lawful in the sight of God they should

\renci come.

Here I would lay down this as a maxim;

There is some inward religion and virtue or other, some sincerity of heart, either moral or saving, that is necessary to a right to sacraments in the sight of God,

and in order to a lawful coming to them. No man, I trust, will say, that a man has a right in God's sight, who has no sort of seriousness of mind; and that merely outward sounds and motions give him this right in God's sight, without regard to any property or quality of mind, and though this outward shew is joined with the most horrid and resolved secret irreligion and wickedness. Mr. W. in

particular utterly disclaims such doctrine as this, and always maintains that in order to men's lawful coming, they must be morally sincere; as in his Preface, and also in p. 25. d. e. p. 27. c. p. 36. d. p. 35. e. p. 111.-In p. 115. he supposes, that if a man makes a doubt of his moral sincerity, no divine will advise him to come till he knows.

Having observed this, I now desire it may be considered, whether it be reasonable to suppose, as Mr. W. does, that God would give men that are without grace, a lawful right to sacraments, so that this qualification itself should be nothing necessary to a proper and rightful claim to these ordinances; and that yet he would wholly forbid them to come, and others to admit them, without their making some pretence to it, and exhibiting moral evidence that they have it: That moral sin. cerity is the qualification which by God's own appointment invests persons with a lawful right to sacraments, and that by his institution nothing more is requisite to a lawful right; and yet that he hath commanded them not to come, nor others to allow them to come, without making a profession of something more than moral sincerity, as Mr. W. says. Mr. W. supposes that God requires us, before we admit persons, to seek credible evidence of true piety, and to see to it that we have reasonable ground to believe they have it; otherwise, not to allow them to come: and yet that God does not look on such a qualification requisite in itself, when all is done, and that he has given them as true and lawful a right to come without it, as with it. If God insists upon it, as Mr. W. supposes, that members should be admitted under no other notion than of their being truly godly, and from respect to such a character appearing on them, is it not plain, that God looks on such a character in itself requisite, in order to a person's being a rightful subject of such a privilege ? If the want of this qualification do not in the least hinder a person's lawful right to a thing, on what account can the want

« PoprzedniaDalej »