A VINDICATION OF THE Faithful Rebuke TO A False Report AGAINST The RUDE CAVILS of The Pretended Defence.

Titus 1. 13

Rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the Faith.

Tum si quis est, qui Dictum in se inclementius, Existimavit esse, sie existimet; Responsum, non Dictum esse, quia laesit priùs.

Terent. Eunuch. Prolog.
Arist. Rhet. 3.

LONDON: Printed for Iohn Lawrence at the Angel in the Poultrey, 1698.

To the Author of the Defence to the Late Report.


'TIS somewhat a hard Case, that having just cause to complain, I must com­plain to your Self of your Self, and make your own Conscience Chancel­lor in your Cause, placing you upon the Bench, who in Justice ought to stand, and Plead at the Bar.

But my Appeal will lie from your Self in the height and heat of Passion, to your Self, when the ferment is a little dasht with due Reflection: From your Self as Laccar'd all over with the [...], to your Self, when you shall think fit to reassume your innate Inge­nuity; of which benign Moments I can not wholly Dispair, because you must needs have some good Na­ture yet to spare, having spent so little of it in your Defence: Now when I have done this, I have nothing more to do, but to repose my Self in the Comfort of my own Innocency, committing the Concerns of that Truth which I espouse and vindicate, to Him, who has the greatest Interest in it.

§. 1. And first I must seriously and sadly Complain that having given us. Rep. p. 5. The Substance of the Gospel of Christ, the Ground and Foundation of our Faith; for which you received a faithful Rebuke, that yet when you pretended a Defence of your Report, you should not [Page 4] bestow one Word in Defence of your own Gospel: Who will ever believe your Report in Matters of Fact, when you believe not your own Gospel in Matters of Faith? And I assure you Sir! They who knew your excellent skill at Fencing, and Defencing, did expect you should have been the Defender of your own Faith; and won­dered you should no better fortifie your own Fronti­ers, when you invaded anothers Territories: But such was the Method of your Great Friend, religiously pur­sued two Years ago.

(1.) You cannot but remember, that the Rebuke Charged you, that out of the Substance of your Gospel, you had quite expunged, Regeneration, Conversion, Re­pentance, Holiness, Sanctification, a new Heart, new O­bedience, and good Works: And would not the Gospel look Meagre, Lean, and Consumptive, had our Lord Jesus Christ left them out of his Gospel, as you have out of Yours? And are these great Matters grown so inconsiderable with you now a Days, that they must first be left out of your Religion, and then left to shift for themselves as they can; to sink, or swim, without your least Care to Defend them?

(2.) It was charg'd upon that Scheme of yours, that it gave great and just Cause of Suspicion to those who were of no Jealous Inclinations, that you had utterly discarded Faith, from any concern in the Iustification of a Sinner, made it unnecessary to our Union with Christ, that so we might have an Interest in his Righteousness, and only gave it a place in our escaping Wrath to come, and having Everlasting Life.

Whoever pretends to give us the Substance of the Gospel, is obliged to give us all the Essentials that Con­stitute it, and if you Cashier Faith from any Part or Lot in Justification, which Christ, and his Gospel make so necessary to it, your Draught is defective in an Essential Part, and then I may leave it you, to Judge whether it can be any Religion at all.

[Page 5]I have ever thought this Point to contain the Ve­nime, and Poison of all Antinomianism: That a Sinner may be justified without Faith in Jesus Christ, for if this be so: [...]: Tell us where we may safe­ly fix! How far we must go back for the precise Moment of Justification; some send us as far as the Decree of Election: Others are Content to bring it down as low as Christs making actual Satisfaction. And some will abate us three Days, and date it from Christs Resurrection, and others will reduce it, yet lower, to the Minute of our Conception and Formation in the Womb; but take the rise where, and fix the Mo­ment when you please, if you conceive of Justificati­on one Moment before our Union with Christ by Faith, you may as well make it bear Date from any of the other Epocha's which the Teeming Imaginations of Antinomian Brains have invented.

I know not therefore how to believe you in what you say. Defence, p. 85. That the Reporter about se­venteen Years ago wrote against Antinomianism: For most certain it is, that either the Reporter is not the same Man that wrote that Book; or is not the same Man he was when he wrote the Book: Either you was not the Author, or you are Metamorphosed into a Re­porter: Heu, quantum mutatus ab illo Hectore! What a lamentable Commutation of Persons is here made, from a Hyperaspistes of Truth, into a Hector for the Antinomian Errors: So easie is the Conversion of a Hector into a Ranter! I will therefore charitably unde­ceive you, and plainly Convince you, that you was not, whatever you Fancy; no, you was not the Au­thor of that honest Book: Display, Epist. The first Work of a Minister of the Gospel, is to Preach up Repen­tance towards God, and then Faith in our Lord Iesus Christ: Your Gospel Minister was then to Preach up Repentance, but now he must Preach it down; then he must Preach it first, but now he must Preach it neither [Page 6] first nor last. Then it was in the Ministers Commis­sion, now its left out of the Gospel: Again! Every Elect Soul while under the Power of Unbelief, and other Lusts is Unpardoned, and in a State of Condemnation; whence notwithstanding your Election, if you would receive actual Pardon, you must go to God through Christ for it: Nay you must receive Christ in your Heart by Faith; and that you may, we must beseech you as in Christs stead, that you come unto Christ, but come unto Christ, you can­not without Faith and Repentance.

Now Sir! I appeal to your own Conscience; do you, can you believe that you wrote the Display, when you read your own Report? That you were the Au­thor of these two inconsistent Pieces? Is it possible you should know your own Face, when you see it in such different Glasses? I hope, I may use your own Words, and say, O Blessed Change! Repentance is ne­cessary to Pardon, Faith to Justification in the one; but no News to be heard of either of them for those Ends in the other: So that you fall under the Cen­sure of Origen, Ubi bene, Nemo melius: Ubi male, Ne­mo pejus.

(3.) You cannot but remember Sir! That in your Substance of the Gospel you affirmed, that it was our State, and Condition by Nature to be under the Curse of the Law, and destitute of a Righteousness to intitle us to Eternal Life: And that therefore Christ put himself into our State and Condition. Now hence it was ar­gued against you, and your Scheme: That if it was our State and Condition to be destitute of a Righteousness: And that Christ put himself into our State and Condition; then Christ must be destitute of a Righteousness also: And then how Christ should give us a Title to Eter­nal Life by his Righteousness, when he had none, I could not then, nor can I yet understand: And yet you Reply to this with a Profound and Prudent Silence.

[Page 7](4.) It was further Objected against your Systeme of the Gospel: That therein you asserted, That we were Sin; and hereupon it was modestly asked: How are we Sin? That we are Sinners is acknowledged; that we are sinful is bewailed, that we are under the Curse, and Condemnation of the Law for Sin, is Con­fessed; but why must it be thus Phrased? We are Sin? We are not Sin, in the same Sense that Christ was made Sin; that is, a Sacrifice for Sin, nor was Christ Sin in the same Acceptation that we are, for then he must be sinful; a Sinner, nay the greatest Sinner that ever was in the World. We do freely, thankfully, and with astonishment believe, that he was made Sin for us; that he bore the Curse of the vi­olated Law due to our Sins: And that this is so ex­presly the Language of the Scripture, that he who denies the former, must disbelieve the latter. And here Sir, I have another Demonstration, that you was not, could not be the Author of Free-Grace displayed, whatever you Dream, for that Orthodox piece: p. 38. Vehe­ment concludes that there was no Spot in Christ. But of this you may hear further in due Time, and proper Place.

And now Sir, I renew, and prosecute my Appeal to your own Conscience, to your own Ingenuity, and whatever there is yet left in you of Humanity and Learning; whether you was not obliged in your De­fence, to have Defended the Substance of your Gospel, which you gave us as the Ground and Foundation of our Faith, and by Consequence of all our Hopes of E­ternal Life; for he that is wrong in the Foundation can never be right in the Superstructure; or would you be as unnatural as the Ostrich which leaveth her Eggs in the Earth, and forgetteth that the Foot may crush them, or that the wild Beast may break them, she is hard­ned against her Young Ones, as though they were not hers, Job 39. 14, 15.

[Page 8]§. 2. I must further, and grievously Complain of you even to your Self; that whereas it was then, as it is now again, fairly proposed to you; whether doth this Phrase of Christs taking on him the Person of Sinners signifie more, or less than his taking on him our Sins, and Suffering in our Place and Stead; or does it signifie neither more nor less, but is just Adequate with it, and Commensu­rate to it: This was a Modest Question, and would have reduced that disputable Phrase to a determinate Sense, to a certain Meaning: And then we might have made a Judgment, whether it might with safety be enter­tained, or otherwise fairly, and civilly dismissed. And there was Reason expresly assigned, why the Question was so earnestly Pressed: For if that Phrase signifies less, then it narrows the great Ends of Christs Sufferings, and will only serve the turn of a Socinian: If it signifies more, then it leads us into the Dregs of Antinomianism; but if it signifies neither more nor less than Christs Suffering in our Place and Stead, when he offered himself a Sacrifice to God, we imbrace and sub­scribe it with our whole Heart, and Soul.

Now good Sir! Was not this a Reasonable Mo­tion? Would you have us subscribe Phrases we un­derstand not? And is it not equal, that you who so confidently Propose, nay so vigorously Impose them upon us should first explain them? And would not this have put an End to the Debates and Disputes upon this Subject? For if you will once secure us, that by Christs taking on him the Person of Sinners; you intend thus much, and no more than that Christ in his Sufferings offered himself up to God as a Sacrifice to Gods Justice, to satisfie for our Sins, tho we are not so overfond of the Phrase, yet being se­cured in the Orthodox Meaning, we could and would have complied. But if indeed you intend to perpetuate Controversies: Or if you find it your Interest to Eter­nize Quarrels: Or if you feared that the hopeful [Page 9] Trade of scribling Reports would hereby be totally Ruined, I'll never blame you, that you would not af­ford a few gentle words to determine an Easie Question: So Cheaply and Honourably you might have worn the Title of an Industrious Pacificator, where­as you must now carry the Brand of an Industrious Vitilitigator.

I have Great and Weighty Reasons why I have been, and am still, so Importunate with you to Fix the Mea­ning of these Phrases: A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners. And the other, Christ's suffering in the Person of Sinners. And because I will gratifie you in what I am able, I will here freely impart them to you.

1. One Reason is, because this August Phrase of A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, has been so miserably Debauch'd, that it must bring good Vouchers and Compurgators, that it's now become Chaste and Sober, and of a more Reformed Conversa­tion, than it was about Fifty Years ago, when it dwelt in Dr. C's Family; for at that time it carry'd this Sense, p. 70. 71. Here is a direct change of Persons, Christ takes our Person, and Condition, and stands in our stead; we take Christ's Person, and Condition, and stand in His stead; so that if you reckon well, you must always reckon your selves in anothers Person, and that other in your Per­son.

Now, Sir, I appeal to you, whether we might not reasonably Expect from you the Explication, before you could Exact of us a Subscription to these Terms, espe­cially seeing we have now greater Reason than before, from your Tergiversation, which has increased our Jea­lousie, that there's A Snake in the Grass.

2. A Second Reason is, That there are other Phra­ses of known Integrity, of approved Honesty, which have been scanned upon more fingers than the Man of [Page 10] Gath could number, and sifted as narrowly as ever Pe­ter was; and having been throughly examined, have been at last received into the Publick Confession of the Faith of all the Reformed Churches. What need then can there be to Use, how much less Reason to Impose these dubious ones on the Faith, and Consciences of Christians?

I am mightily taken with the thoughts of that Judi­cious, Wise, and Learned Person Dr. Owen, and therefore will not grudge to Transcribe them at large, Ans. to Biddle's Preface, p. 18. If any shall make use of any Words, Terms, Phrases, and Expressions, in and a­bout Religious Things; requiring the embracing and recei­ving of these words by others, without examining either the Truth of what by those Words or Phrases they intend to sig­nifie or express: Or the Propriety of those Expressions them­selves, as to their Accomodation for the signification of those things. I plead not for them. It is not in the power of Man to make any word, or expression not found [...] in the Scripture to be Canonical, and for its own sake, to be imbraced:—And this we further grant, that if any one shall scruple the receiving or owning any such Expressions, so as to make them the way of Professing that which is sig­nified by them, and yet do receive the Thing or Doctrine, which is by them delivered, For my part, I shall have no contest with him: For instance; The word [...] was made use of, by the first Nicene Council, to express the Unity of Essence, and Being, that is in the Father, and the Son; the better to obviate Arius and his Followers, with their [...] : and the like forms of speech, no where found in Scripture; and invented on set purpose to de­stroy the True, and Eternal Deity of the Son of God: If now any Man should scruple the receiving this Word, but withal, should profess that he believes Jesus Christ to be God equal with the Father; one with him from the beginning; and doth not explain himself by other Terms not found in [Page 11] the Scripture, viz. That He was made a God, and is one as to Will, not Essence, and the like; He is like to under­go neither Trouble nor Opposition from me. Thus far that great Man. And surely we come under the equitable Construction, and Benefit of this Paragraph:

  • 1. The Phrases questionable are not Canonical, nor found in Scriptnre.
  • 2. We question the Propriety of these Phrases to ex­press the things they are pretended to signifie.
  • 3. Some of them express more than any Scripture Phrase doth express.
  • 4. Whatever Truth can be really contained in them, we readily receive.
  • 5. These Phrases are not to be compared, nor nam'd in the same Year with the expression of [...] which has a place in the Nicene Creed, whereas these never shew'd their Face in any Creed whatever.
  • 6. These Phrases stand justly suspected of Hiterodoxy, and carrying an Antinomian sense, and therefore we are not obliged, nay, Be it known to all Men by these Pre­sents, we will not be Compelled to subscribe to them, without better security.

3. Reason: You ought never more to insist upon these Phrases, because after all your windings, and tur­nings, all the rounds you have run, all the circles you have made, you are forced to come to me, and the Truth at last: And your Commutation of Persons be­tween Christ and sinners; His taking upon him the Person of sinners, amounts to no more, in good earnest, than that Christ died, suffered satisfied in our place, and stead. Will you be persuaded to peruse your own Words, p. 80. It was Objected by the Rebuke, that if you look into all the Con­fessions at Home, and Abroad, you should not there find any of these Phrases, &c. To this you answer: What though I cannot? Why then, say I, you should have let them alone, and not trouble and divide us more, who are but too much divided already with these Ar­bitrary [Page 12] Expressions; which if they signisie, and so far as they do signifie any thing of Truth, are already owned by us, in owning those Confessions. O but, say you, Is it not enough that the Controverted Phrases are in­cluded in the acknowledgment of Christ's making a proper sa­tisfaction to God's Iustice for us? Why truly, Sir, it's enough for us, but not enough for you! For we contend for the Necessary Truth; but your Zeal is for the Unnecessary Phrase: And though I cannot agree with you, that these Phrases are included in that Truth, yet if they be, and so far as they be, we must necessarily own them, because we own the Truth, which you say contains them. But how, I pray, are these Phrases con­tained in the Grand Truth? A Man may Meditate up­on that Truth, and beat it out to its utmost length, and yet these Phrases may never come in his way, nor his thoughts fall upon any one of them: And when our B. Saviour, when the Apostles Preach'd this Truth, when the Churches in all Ages bore their Testimony to it, yet not one of these ever hit upon any of these Phra­ses: But still you go on! They are all virtually included in the sundry Confessions, which have openly Received the Phrase of Christ's suffering in our stead. But why then do you Revile and Rail at us, more than the Compilers of those Confessions? For we own the Confessions as well as they, and if those Phrases be really, though but vir­tually contained in them, we by owning the Confessi­ons, do own virtually whatsoever is contained in them.

Whereas, therefore, you tell us, p. 4. Def. that A desire to Accommodate, so far as possible, upon the bottom of Truth, lyeth so much upon your heart; I earnestly beg of you, never to intermeddle more with Accommodation of matters. Really, Sir, 'tis not your Talent; your special Gift is to embarras, confound, and perplex whatever you meddle with: And assure your self, He that is born in a storm, will never live easily in a calm: If the Fire was [Page 13] the Element of which you were made, and in which you have been bred, you'll never endure to dwell out of the Flames: Every Creature we see, dies, when re­moved out of its proper Element: To remove you out of the Quarters of Division, and Contention, into the milder Regions of Peace and Union will be your imme­diate Dissolution; what is the peaceable soul's Temper, is your Distemper; what is his Food, will be your Poi­son; and what is his Life, will be your present Death.

§. 3. I will not complain of you that you call me Bro­ther, and sometimes for Variety sake, your Reverend Bro­ther. But yet I will complain, that whilest you Com­plement with Ioab, Art thou in health my Brother? You discover the Byonet in your other hand, and aim at the fifth Rib to shed my Bowels out to the ground.

And what more Mortal Blow could you aim at my soul▪ with all that palpable Hypocrisie, than to Represent me an Unitarian, a Socinian, thereby to blast what of Reputation God has given me, and which I value chiefly on the Account of my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, that I may yet be further serviceable to the In­terest of my Blessed Redeemer; and yet there's nothing you more studiously drive at, nothing you more indu­striously prosecute, than to take, and make occasions to misrepresent me to the thoughts of all sober and sound Christians.

Had I left out of my Creed Christ's perfect satisfaction given to Divine Justice, as you have left Regeneration and Repentance out of yours: Or had omitted the Neces­sity of Christ's Righteousness imputed by the Father, and received by faith in order to our Iustification before God; as you have Faith as necessary to Iustification in the Sight of God, you had had some just colour for your vile Asper­sions: But when I have openly avowed my firm Ad­herence to the Confession of the Church of England: To that of the Assembly of Westminster and the Savoy; and [Page 14] only scruple some Phrases not generally known, nor well understood, and yet am willing to Admit that its possible there may be something sound in them, to which I am ready to subscribe, but shall never yield that these Dubious, and Disputable Phrases, shall be impo­posed as the Test, and Standard of Orthodoxry, or the Terms of Union in these Matters. I can see no just Reason to call my soundness in the Faith into question: And yet notwithstanding, by Wyre-drawing some Ex­pressions, forcing others above their true Level, dis­torting them against their evident intention, and fa­stening on them Remote Consequences which the words will not bear, by these unworthy Arts, you have endeavoured to perswade your easie and willing Reader. That I have given the Protestant Religion in the Article of Christ's satisfaction a sensible wound; and if you can once wheedle this kind of Readers, that your Antinomianism is the true Protestant Religion, you have spoke to the purpose: Know you, therefore, I have given no wound to the Gospel of Christ, to yours perhaps I have: Nor shall you thus mangle and mutilate the Christian, that is, the Protestant Religion in the grand Doctrines of Regeneration, Conversion, Faith, and Repentance, but I shall endeavour to pull off your Pal­liating Plaisters, which I cannot hinder you from Nickmaning, a Wounding of the Protestant Reli­gion.

I will not complain of your Rude and Barbarous Treating me, through the whole Course of your De­fence, I impute it to your inflamed passions, fomented by your fiery Temper, which yet might have been a little moderated by a Civil Education, if not subdued by your Profession: You stile Mr. W's. my Instructor, my Guide, my Teacher, and at last my Master. I wish you had informed me what Office I bear under him, that of Foot Boy or Valet de Chambre, or what other Post you will graciously assign me, that I may legally [Page 15] demand Livery or Sallary: You say I have been Tool'd by him: The Elegancy of the Term I complain not of, because Witticisms and Elegancies are great Rarities with you. But the Malice of it, I will obviate: I de­clare therefore freely, I account it no dishonour to be his or your Servant for Christs sake, though I dare not give up my Understanding, nor resign my Faith to him or you: I have Learned to surrender my Reason to Re­velation; my Will to the Authority of God speaking in his Word: My whole Interest to his Honour and Glory; but yet I call none my Lord and Master but Christ; nor any my Father, in matters of meer Religion, but him that is in Heaven.

§. 4. In your Preface, you have favoured us with an Elegant Panegyrick and a Bitter Satyr: The former you bestowed upon your own dear self; the latter upon your Contemned Brethren; I will not dare to complain of your Panegyrick; Enjoy, without my Envy, the pleasing Caresses of your own heart, and hugg your self in the Delicious Contemplations of your own Excellencies: But I may have leave to Complain of that Bloody Satyr you have penn'd against all your Brethren, Presbyterian and Independant, excepting and foreprizing always out of it your own beloved, and admired self: A Word or two I will venture upon each.

(1.) Your Elegant Panegyrick upon your own Dear self. I cannot forbear telling thee (Reader) that I desire to bless and praise the Lord for the insight he has given me into the Mysteries of the Gospel; since these Controversies have been stated: And I do now plainly see how the very Truths, we were, through an unjustifiable supineness, in danger of losing, will hereby be more clearly discovered, and effectually secu­red. Dixi.

Now Sir! In my poor Judgment, your own Tongue is most unfit of any to be the Trumpet of your own Praise: and you had better have hired some Mercena­ry Pen, of which I perceive you have good choice, to [Page 16] have Recommended your great Natural Parts, your Acquired Abilities, and above all, your Inspired Ac­complishments to the Notice of the Age, than have pressed your own Goose-quill to the Drudgery. I of­fer you my Service Gratis, which if you accept, I'll try to give the Vulgar the Analysis of this your self-exal­tation.

  • First, Let them observe how full you was of your Visionary Raptures: You could not forbear, but out it must come before all the Company: This is the Tympany you have so long gone with; but though this vent may give you a little ease, do not mistake it for a Cure.
  • Secondly, The next is the Imminent Danger of losing the great Truths of the Gospel, (that is, your own) if by a Miracle, this Defender had not been raised up to clear, and secure them: For an unjustifiable supine­ness had crept over the Hearts of all Learned Men and Ministers, and all had been Lost, without hope of Re­covery, had not this Great Man appeared to Rescue them either out of the Iaws of Oblivion, or the Paws of Heretical Opposition.
  • Thirdly, In this Critical Juncture, this Great Soul was enlightned, and inspired, in these Mysteries of the Gospel: For when he wrote his Display, he knew no­thing of them more or less, 'twas since the Controversie was stated that he received these Glorious Discoveries: A Priviledge to be Envied that he could gain that Illu­mination in one moment, which other poor Mortals hard­ly Compass, and in a lower measure, with obstinate study, and earnest prayer: But this Gentleman lay down over night, slept in the dark, and in the morning rose up clearly Illuminated with these Ravishing My­steries.
  • Fourthly, Do not inquire which those Mysteries were, he has been Enlightned in; they are these great Ones, That Regeneration, Conversion, and Repentance, are but [Page 17] the Accidentals of his Gospel; they may Adesse, vel abesse absque subjecti interitu: Let Ministers leave them out of their Sermons, as he has done out of his Go­spel, they'll never be missed. That there is no such Thing as Iustifying Faith, that Repentance is not necessa­ry to Pardon of Sin, that Christ was made sinful, &c. These are the Manifestations he has received of Gospel Truth!
  • 5. That therefore he desires to Bless the Lord for these great Discoveries. But why then does he not do it? Who hinders him? True indeed, he has not done it, does not do it, never intends to do it, yet he desires to do it; for generous Spirits Love not to be too much in Debt, nor is there any need for't, when they have one that has paid all for 'em, past, present and to come, without the Condition of Repen­tance.
  • 6. And now Sir, having directed the Vulgar, I will offer one Word to your Self. We earnestly beg, that you would let our Gospel alone, you may do what you please with your own; the Gospel of Christ has been sufficiently Cleared, irrefragably Proved, Vin­dicated by such Instruments as Christ hath raised up since the Reformation, beyond the Policy of Socinians, or Antinomians to Undermine it, or their Power to shake it; but your Excellency lies not in Clearing but Clou­ding, not in Defending but Betraying the Doctrines of the Gospel.

(2.) Your bitter Satyr against all your Brethren. Dis­courses from the Pulpit, even when about the most Evan­gelical Parts of Christianity, have been of late Years ra­ther to move the Affections, than inlighten the Iudgment, and are but a slender Fence unto Truth, and an Obser­vance how they who are sound in the Faith, through a Zeal for Populacy have neglected that close Study which is necessary to a through Understanding the Important Do­ctrines [Page 18] under Debate, has imboldned the Adversary to op­pugn them.

Sir, let me speak freely to you: In this bitter and bloody Satyr, you have taken upon you the Person of one, who Glories to be the Accuser of the Brethren.

1. You Accuse them, or rather Calumniate them, without excepting a Man, that they have adjusted their Preaching rather to move the Affections, than to en­lighten the Iudgment. The common Fallacy, a Vein of which runs through your whole Book, that subordina­ta sunt opposita: Their common Method is to enlighten the Iudgment, and then to move the Affections: They pretend not to loud Vociferations, to make a hideous out-cry against they know not what, nor why: They work not upon the [...], nor stir up blind and bruitish Passions and Affections; no Sir! they lay down some great Doctrine of Christs Gospel, this they explain, then labour to prove, and to improve it, by ingaging their Auditors first to receive the Truth, then to reduce it to Practice, which however you scorn it, is the end of all Gospel Preaching.

2. You Accuse them, that through a Zeal for Popu­lacy, they have neglected that close Study which is neces­sary to the Understanding the Important Truths under Debate: The plain English of which is, that they are a Crew of Hypocrites, the vilest of Hypocrites under the Sun; for what can they be else, who not moved with the Glory of their Redeemer in the Conversion and Edification of Souls, nor at all influenced with the great Ends of their Office, only hunt for Popular Applause; that when they come reeking hot out of their Pulpits, they may be fanned and refreshed with the cooling Breezes of Mens Praises; and if they may but receive, the Euge! Belle! and the grande [...], that's all they Regard. Now if this Accusation be true, they must be the worst of Men; if false (as I [Page 19] am Confident it is) you Sir, must be one of the vi­lest Calumniators. And if the Tenth Part of what you Accuse them of, be true, its Pity but all the Dis­senters were once again Silenced, and I have some Reasons inclining me to think that this was the De­sign of the Satyrist, in all the Disturbances he has gi­ven the World.

I am well assured, the Reverend Brethren can justi­fie themselves in the sight of God, and before their own Consciences, always allowing too much Matter for Repentance, on the account of their sinful Infir­mities. That they have received Grace to be faithful from him, who put them into the Ministry by the Door, not by the Windows: That they feed the Flock committed to their Charge and Care under the Eye of the great Shepherd, expecting from him their Re­ward at his appearing: They dare not feed the Flock of Christ, with the Chippings of the Schools; nor with the dry Husks of Heathenish Morality: They Preach a Crucified Christ, and God, in and through him Recon­ciled, and they press instantly upon their Hearers that they would be Reconciled to God: And this is what Ho­ly Souls expect from them, that their Hearts may be thoroughly searched; the State of their Souls Exa­min'd, and Cleared; their Evidences for another World made out with good Satisfaction to an awa­kened, and well enlightned Conscience: To be taught how they may walk worthy of God to all pleasing, and how they may keep Consciences void of Offence towards God, and all Men. And to say Truth, they do not Love to hear of such sublime Stuff, that is too high for this World, and too low for the next: Nor to see their Teachers Vaulting or Dancing upon the high Rope ('twas the Expression of a Grave Learned Di­vine) lest after all their Capering Tricks, they should break their own Necks, and perhaps the Peoples.

[Page 20]Reverend Sir, let me solicite, and prevail for a few Favours, which though not for mine, yet your own Cre­dits sake you ought to grant. That you would ad­mit a few Corrections in your Eloquent Harangues. And first for Observance lets read Observation, for with us Englishmen, Observance is that Respect and Defe­rence that we give to another for some greater Ex­cellency, than we are conscious to our selves of. But as it stands here 'tis broad Non-sense, and Observation had been the proper Word for any but him who af­fects swelling Bom-bast. Secondly, For Populacy, give us leave to read Popularity; so, besides that it will be Sense, it will be more Picquant, and severe upon your insulted Brethren, and therefore more suited to your own malicious Intendment against them. And to tell you true, we are afraid, lest in a while you should in­troduce these Terms into Divinity, and that we shall be Condemned for Renouncing the Gospel, because we can­not admit these non-sensical Terms too. Thirdly, We Pray, that for since the Controversie was stated, to make it Sense and Truth, we may read started; for indeed the Controversie has been started by you some while ago, but to this Hour it was never stated: Nor can we persuade you to state it, but like Andabatarian­Fencers we are cutting and slashing Blindfold: And could we but once at length persuade you to state the Question fairly, and honestly, the Question would decide, and determine it self: One Inconveni­ence perhaps you foresee, that if the Controversie were well stated, and judiciously answered, it would put a Period to your useful and gainful Trade and Im­ployment.

I doubt not, but you will freely own your self the Aggressor in this Paper-War; nay, that you Glory in't. It had been more desireable that you had let Matters to have sunk into Silence, and not have blown [Page 21] Sheba's Trumpet, to a fresh Alarm: But when you drew the Sword against the Presbyterians, no doubt you threw away the Scabbard. Though it had been advisea­ble, when you buckled on your Armour in this vapour­ing Gallantry, to have considered how you might as honourably put it off. In the mean Time, I thank you for the Honour you have done us, in giving us the Initial Letters of your Name; could not some Friend of yours have contrived them into an Ingenious Cy­phar, which would have adorned your Chariot, when you are to ride in Triumph over the Heads of the Con­quered Presbyterians: Such a Cyphar would have given you a great Figure.

I have read, that these two Letters S. L. which you have now stampt upon your Book were once Printed with a Red Hot Iron upon the Cheeks of a fa­mous Patriot, who was a Confessor, and hugely Am­bitious to be a Martyr for his Countrey: His Ene­mies did Interpret S. L. to stand for slanderous Libel, and one of the Wits of that Time would needs give us the Etymology of the Word Libel; that is, A lie with a [...]ell hung about the Neck to Ring the scanda­lous Story up and down to his Friends in the Country, and really it would as decently have set upon your Front, as his Cheeks.

I wonder not at your Desultory Humour, that Ebbs and Flows like the Euripus in frequent Vicissi­tudes, and is constant in nothing but Inconstancy: Sometime you are so smooth, as if you would cut my Throat with a Feather: And by and by, so cruelly se­vere; as if you would saw off my Head, with an old rusty Hand-saw: It is some Comfort to be rail'd at in handsome Language; but its the worst of Deaths to be Assassinated with dull insipid Reflections, destitute of Wit and Truth. So that when we can meet with nothing, but ill chosen Words, dark Phrase, ill­turn'd [Page 22] Periods, and the Language all over Leprous, and Scabbed; the best Defence I can Recommend to the Reader against your Defence, is a good Pair of sharp-long-Nails.

Sir, I have appealed to you, but because I under­stand I must expect no Redress of Greivances; I do hereby Appeal from you, to the Impartial Reader: At present I take my Leave of you, and Rest as you see,

Your Servant, &c.

A Vindication of the Faithful Re­buke, from the Rude Cavils of the Pretended Defence of the late Report.

THE Author of the Defence has so strongly im­mur'd himself, and intrench'd his Cause in Dung, that we have more occasion for the Scavenger than the Schollar, for the Shovel than the Pen to remove it.

§. I. And the first Nuisance I must remove, is an In­vidious Misrepresentation of his Rebuker, as if he char­ged the Congregational, in the bulk, without a Salvo to the Reputation of any one of them, Def. p. 82. Now to give some colour to this Calumny, he has recourse to his wonted Artifice, a piece of pure impure Forgery: from Reb. p. 56. The true Reason of their (the Congregational Brethren) severe Displeasure against the third Paper is, that it has so clearly and fully born its Testimony a­gainst the Antinomians: A single Observation will re­move this Dirt; that those Words (the Congregational Brethren) are his own Gloss, no part of my Text: His own Suppositious Antecedent, obtruded upon my Rela­tive; and I would leave it to his Conscience to deter­mine of the Honesty of this dealing, had I not had too frequent experience of its partiality.

I have ever embraced the Orthodox and Godly of both Denominations with equal Affections; nor could I ever yet see cause from their Principles or Practices to [Page 24] Abate those Affections: Tho the same Notions in the hands and management of those of a due Temper, are clear another thing when they're got into the power of those of a fiery Spirit and bigotted Zeal: But yet more particularly.

1. I return this: There needed no Exception, where there was no general Impeachment; nor was there occasi­on for a Salve where there was no Wound given to any but the Reporter and his few Antinomian Partizans.

2. And yet whether it were from my own good Na­ture, or a foresight of this Objection, I had timously and sufficiently obviated this Cavil, Rebuke pag. 23. It's an unquestionable Truth that some of them had vented such strange Doctrines, that it gave Umbrage to them (the United Brethren) that there might be found among them, one or two, or so, that had dipt very deep in the Crispian Heterodoxies.

3. Nor ought he to take himself to be of that Con­sideration and Bulk, (bulky enough tho he be) as if the whole Body of the Congregational, was stowed in his Prominent Belly: For although his Discourse generally runs in the Style of We, we, yet 'tis no other Language than what Emperors, and Reporters, Princes, and Defen­ces do use, when yet they design no more than a single Person.

4. He will hardly allow the same liberty to interpret his own words in his Preface; where he scandalously exposes the Discourses from the Pulpit of late Years, to have been Adjusted to move the Affections, rather than to inform the Iudgment: And yet this he has done with­out any salvo either to Presbyterian or Congregational Learned or Unlearned, Ordained or Un-ordained, Lin­nen-drapers, Barbers, or Taylors.

5. I will add, that I know many of the Congregatio­nal Brethren, who are sound in the Faith, holy in their Conversation, eminently useful Ministers of Christ in the great Work of the Gospel, and wholly remote [Page 25] from all Antinomian Tincture: But he shall pardon me if I say that others have more grievously corrupted themselves, their Doctrine, their Hearers with these Speculations: A brief Specimen whereof was given, Reb. p. 25. A much larger by the Answer to the Report, p. 22, 23. and a much larger yet remains ready to be given in due time.

This filth, it's true, affects not the Cause in the least, but was thrown to cast an Odium upon the Person of the Rebuker, which being removed, the Reader may now breath in a freer and fresher Air; I dismiss it therefore with this short Note: That the Defence in this Para­graph has proved himself a Person hugely versed in the Oriental Tongues; for the second Language spoken in Paradice, by the grand Enemy of Mankind, was the Lying and Slandering Tongue; and the elegant Figure with which our Author has imbellisht his whole Dis­course, is Purus, putus, Satanismus.

§. II. There is one gross Mistake more in the Defence, p. 85. (If it be proper to talk of one more, when the whole is but one grand continued complicated Mistake) when he would perswade us, that the Reporter about se­venteen Years ago, wrote a Book against Antinomianism; meaning, no doubt, that well meaning Piece, The Glo­ry of Free Grace display'd; I will now once for all recti­fie his Error, and evince that the Display and the Report, could not possibly be Indited from one Head, nor con­ceived in one Heart, nor written by one Hand and Pen.

Display, p. 30. assures us, That God's punishing Sin, is founded in and upon his Rectoral Iustice, the Excellency of his Laws, but the Report grounds it upon his Essential Iustice.

Again, Display p. 75. asserts, That Faith and Union (with Christ) is in order of Nature antecedent to an actual Imputation of Christ's Righteousness, and consequently before our Iustification in the sight of God: But the Report tells [Page 26] us quite another Story; for tho Believing is allowed some place in escaping Wrath to come, and having E­verlasting Life, yet he assigns it no Service, no Interest, no Concern at all in the Iustification of a Sinner. But further, Display Epist. informs us, That our coming to Christ, is our believing on him; but come unto Christ we cannot without Faith and Repentance: But then the Report leaves out Repentance wholly, Name and Thing from his Substance of the Gospel; either as necessary to pardon of Sin or Salvation: And yet further, p. 66. Prop. 1. On the Account of Christ's Sufferings in Humane Nature, all Mankind in some sense, is so far Redeemed from the Mi­sery, in which antecedently unto the Promise of Christ's Death they did lie; that they are now in a much happier Condition than the fallen Angels; not only on the Account of their receiving at least a temporary Reprieve from everlasting Flames, but also because their Salvation is become possible; and yet now poor D. W. shall be persecuted for an Arminian, a Socinian, a Baxterian for one Moiety of this Doctrine. Once more p. 68. They who receive least, receive one Talent, and have given them sufficient for the enabling them to do more towards the saving of their Souls, than they actually do; and if those Men do actually im­prove the Common Helps vouchsafed them, they may (for ought any Man can prove to the contrary) receive such further Assistances, as may have a special influence in ena­bling them to turn sincerely to God, through Iesus Christ. This was Arminius all over, Facienti quod in se est, Deus non denegat gratiam! So that the Reporter, if he be the Man, was in those Days a downright Baxterian, and an upright Williamite, if common Grace could have kept him so.

What strange Revolutions may seventeen Years pro­duce! In half that time, a Man's Interest may change, and that may warp him; his Dependences may change, and that may pervert him: New Friends and Alliances may beget new Counsels, and above all, this blessed [Page 27] Change may be the Result of an implacable Enmity a­gainst some one Man; which may oblige him to alter his Principles in mere spight, and to face about to the other Extream. However that be, it shall be no Con­cern of mine to compromise the Quarrel, whether the Report and the Display came from the same Mint; and if so, the Report has wretchedly Clipt what the Display had Coyn'd, and the Display is now splayed.

§. 3. A third Thing to be removed, is what will ad­minister a pleasing Diversion to the Reader, so it will discover much Malice or Ignorance in our Author.

In p. 72. The Defender of the Faith, for divers Rea­sons to himself best known, is pleas'd to revive the Memory of an Affair depending between the Reve­rend Mr. R. Baxter, and a certain Author, who above twenty Years ago appeared in Print with an odd Ti­tle, Antisozzo: This Author you must know, had con­fidently enough asserted, That never any Man in his Wits affirm'd, that the Righteousness of Christ was the for­mal Cause of our Iustification: And for ought I can yet see, he had sufficient ground for his Confidence; for all the Reformed Divines I have yet met withal, do with one consent maintain: That the Imputing of Christ's Righteousness is the formal Cause, but the Righteousness of Christ it self, is the Material Cause of our Justification; that is, it bears some good Analogy with, or propor­tion to the Material Cause: But Mr. B. treats this As­sertion and the Asserter with some scorn, and tells him, That Dr. Davenant, who was far from being a Mad­man, assures us, That it's the Common Sense of all Di­vines, that the Righteousness of Christ imputed to us is the formal Cause of our Iustification: Now I appeal to all that have a small glimmering of Understanding, and an equal quantity of Impartiality to use it: Whether these two Propositions, Christ's Righteousness is not the formal Cause, and Christ's Righteousness Imputed is the formal Cause of our Iustification, do carry any the least face of Contra­diction? [Page 28] The Righteousness of Christ is the Material Cause, the Imputing of the Righteousness is the Formal Cause. The Righteousness of Christ is the Matter or Thing to be Imputed, the Imputation of the Matter or Thing is the Form: The Righteousness of Christ is the result of Christ's Active and Passive Obedience, which he as a Priest offer'd up to God for us; but Imputation is an Act of God, by which he adjudges that Righte­ousness to a believing Sinner, and thereon accepts him as Righteous in his sight: And surely Men may easily distinguish between the Act of God, and the Undertaking of the Mediator: I can readily conceive a difference be­tween a Robe laid up in the Wardrobe, and the putting on that Robe by the Hand that has Right to dispose on't: Christ's Righteousness is this Robe, but it's God's put­ting it on the believing Sinner that covers his Naked­ness, Let me give the Reader one Quotation from Wollebius Compend. Christ. Theolog. lib. 1. cap. 30.

§. 11. Materia justificationis active sumptae, est tota Christi Satisfactio, qua & peccatis nostris, paenas debitas persolvit, & obedientiam Legi perfectam praestitit.

§. 13. Forma ejus, activè intellectae, est totius satisfa­ctionis Christi imputatio; quae tota quoque nostra est, non secus ac si ipsi praestitissemus. So that Christs Righte­ousness is the Matter, the Imputation of that Righte­ousness is the Form of our Justification.

Thus much has been said to clear that Author from Mr. B's Indignation, but I will defeat our Authors Design, to commit me with that great Mans Memo­ry; I will not contend with his Ashes, but draw the Curtains softly about him, and leave him to his own Everlasting Rest.

Yet give me leave to Animadvert upon our Au­thors Confidence, who calls this Assertion, That Christs Righteousness is not the formal Cause of our Iu­stification: An overbold, rash, and untrue Assertion: Whereas nothing could be more modest, wary, and [Page 29] true: But we see to what height of extravagancy, in­terest, vain-glory, and the concupiscence of Cavilling, with other Vanities, will transport a Reporter, or De­fender.

I am Confident that these Truths, Christs Righte­ousness is the material Cause; the Imputation of that Righteousness the formal Cause of our Iustification are owned by this Author in his Heart; what Temptati­on therefore he could have to debauch his Pen to call it, or them an Untruth, I cannot Conjecture, unless he was resolved, through Thick, and Thin, over Shooes and Boots, through Truth, and Falshood, per fas aut nefas to Defame, and if he had had Wit e­nough to ridicule that Writer or the Rebuker.

§. 4. But now all Hands aloft! our Author has brought from the Neighbourhood of the Lay-stall at Puddle-Dock, to his Printers, all those Ordures, which will imploy all the City Scavengers. I hope the Rea­der has his Florentine Balsom, or whatever defensa­tive may be more Potent, ready to secure him against the Stench.

Page 84 Def. He informs us, That there's not the least pretence for his Insinuating, that the Reporter is a Favourer of Dr. Crisps Notions. No? 'Tis well! an Insinuation is a small Matter, a pretence for it is less, but that there should not be the least pretence for such an Insinuation is next to nothing: But I think I have proved, that he is not only a Favourer, but a vehe­ment Abetter of those Notions; and this I have not only insinuated, but demonstrated to himself in the Epistle, and that from his own Substance of his own Gospel, and for this I refer the Reader to the Re­buke, and the said Epistle; and to this he has not been able to Reply one Syllable, to avoid or evade the Charge manag'd in the Rebuke.

It has been Charg'd upon him and proved. That he left out Faith from having any Concern or Interest in [Page 30] Iustification, according to his Gospel; and that is more than a Pretence of his Syncretism with Dr. Crisp that he has excluded Repentance as unnecessary either to Par­don or Salvation, and that's a Notion beyond Dr. Crisp; he has made Christ a Sinner, and the greatest of Sinners, and that does savour of, and favour Dr. Crisp's Notions; he asserts a Commutation of Persons betwixt Christ and Sinners, and that is Dr. Crisps darling Notion.

'Tis an old and prudent Maxime, if your Enemy will fly, make him a Bridge of Gold: If our Author will be no Antinomian again, he shall have my free Leave, nay my Assistance; for I cannot approve their Politicks, who when an Adversary would retire in the Covert of the Night, cut of his Retreat, and force him to Fight in Desperation, which has many Times wre­sted a hopeful Victory out of the Hands of the almost Conqueror, for force a Coward to Fight, and he will kill the Devil. Provided always, that his coming o­ver to Orthodoxy, be by way of ingenious Confession, by a plain Recantation, and not by little subterfuges and evasions.

But I must now look to my Self: Our Author will proceed by way of Recrimination; and who shall hin­der him from taking his own Method? p. 85. The Re­buker is not free from the Suspicion, if not liable to the Charge of giving Countenance to Dr. Crisps No­tions, and so stands bound to clear himself? Now did I never understand this before; that any Man is bound to clear himself of all the Suspicions that will come into Idle, and Addle-Heads; for Suspicio est in alieno pecto­re sita, &c. Suspicion is in anothers Heart, not in my Hand: And what is not in my Power to prevent, I ought not in Prudence to regard; for what if he will suspect that I stole the Crown from the Head of Iupiter in the Capitol, as the Crochet came into his Head, let it come out again: Iniqua suspicio neminem gravari debet, but thus these Men have dealt with Mr. [Page 31] Williams, and I did really expect the same Treatment: They imitate the Process of Nature, first they Fly­blow the Peoples Heads with a Suspicion, that Fly-blow in a while becomes a Maggot of violent Presumption; which being fed with Mulberry-Leaves thrives into a Caterpillar of down-right Accusation, and but at last proves a sorry Butter-fly. But still (says he) I stand bound to clear my Self; whether I stand bound or no, as I can easily do it, so I will freely do it, and the Ac­cuser himself has already sufficiently done it.

In the former Part of his Discourse, he either craf­tily Insinuates, or broadly Suggests, or plainly Asserts, that I am a Socinian, an Unitarian, and what not? And now he would raise a Suspicion, and thence form an Accusation that I am an Antinomian: These two whe­ther Suspicions, Suggestions, or Accusations, though both notoriously False, yet do very honestly Confute one the other: If he Loads me with the latter, he Ex­onerates me of the former: If he insists on the form­er, he acquits me of the latter: For these two Here­sies like a hot and a cold Poison are each others Anti­dote: Both singly Deletorious, but in Conjunction mutually Defensive: And my Witness is on high, and within, that I detest both really, I cannot say equally: But I must not presume to carry it so, he has several things to produce, which he hopes may at least Accu­mulatively amount to a Suspicion, and then let him alone to plump it up to a formal Accusation.

(1.) He tells us a fine formal Story, that when the Reporter did about seventeen Years ago write against Antinomianism, the Rebuker gave him sufficient encou­ragement to expect his Mid-wifing it into the World with an Epistle: Truly this is a Matter of huge concern to bring the present Age to Repentance for its Ingrati­tude, that it has taken so little notice of that precious Piece, to call for a second and third Impression, with Additions, Corrections, and Enlargements by the Au­thor: [Page 32] 'Tis an Ungrateful World we live in, that never understood a valued Merit; but I humbly conceive it had been more for his Credit to have let it sleep, than to tell the present Generation, he once writ a Book, which after seventeen Years he has seen good Virtually to retract; for he now openly avows, that the Repor­ter was the Displayer; and if he be not the Author, he is the Confuter.

But his Brother (meaning the Rebuker) promised him, that he would Midwife his Book into the World: Why real­ly I cannot charge a frail Memory with such an idle Sto­ry for seventeen Years, but its the most improbable Tale that ever was told; for I never knew that this Gentleman had ever such hard Labour in Teeming of Pamphlets, that he should need a Man-midwife: 'tis cer­tain he is always Big-belly'd, and more fear he should be Deliver'd in the open Streets, like Pope Ioan, than to need my Manual Operation; and his Printer can do it without my help, who never professed, or was guilty of the obstetrical Talent: The Countess of Holland was brought to Bed of an Almanack, as many Children as there are Days in the Year, and I doubt not this parturi­ent Author can exclude as many, without my holding his Back, tho perhaps I shall need to hold my own Sides, that they split not with Laughter.

However I will admit there might be some small truth in his Story; let us now hear how he will improve the Mole-hill into a Mountain: He proceeds thus; That when I heard some noise of Dr. Crisp's Name in it, I refused to do it: Well! It may be so; I might have some respect to a Gentleman that was an Antinomian, and so I have still to many, yet none at all to Antinomianism: I may be a Friend to the Person, and yet none to his Errors: Take therefore this Account. Dr. Crisp had been then long Dead, and left the World with this Fame, that he was a Godly Man: What Works he left behind him were not much taken notice of, and for my self I never [Page 33] read but a few Pages of one of them, which carry'd as I remember, no great evil in them. This Doctor left behind him two Sons whom I well knew, Persons of good Report and Repute for Religion, Men zealous for God, and of much usefulness in their Generations; and perhaps, I might judge it more adviseable, as I now do, to Confute Errors, if there be occasion for their Con­futation in Thesi, as they stand abstracted from their Author, than for me to write a Prefatory Epistle a­gainst a Person long since dead, which must be a Grief to the living; these or some of these might be Conside­rations, why I did, if I did refuse that Drudgery, but I can truly say, I remember not one Syllable more or less, of this Impertinent Story.

But the Reader must acknowledge this to be one of the most fordid pieces of Baseness in the World, had a­ny such Imparlance past between us, to betray private Conversation; who can plead to be treated as a Gen­tleman, that rudely reveals the most Innocent Passages of Friendly Correspondence, when he thinks he can do a Mischief? It may teach some of his Friends more pru­dence than to intrust him with any Important Secret, upon which he may perhaps come in as an Evidence af­ter seventeen Years silence: Such Villany ought to be banisht all Conversation and Commerce: I do now bless my self, that I am not conscious to my self that I had ever any intercourse with such a one, the Reflexion on which might cause me to blush, or expose me to dan­ger: He that has a Memory so Tenacious, may for ought I know, or he himself knows, be tempted to Trump up something to his Friends prejudice, perhaps his Ruine at the seventeen Years end: He that is now entertain'd as a Friend, may delate, impeach me some Years hence as an Enemy. And that which renders it more odious in him, is this; That he himself was near Destruction by Words spoken at his own Table, reveal­ed by a false Friend▪ 'Twas this gave occasion of that [Page 34] Saving of a considerable Person, [...]. But from my Soul I bless my God, that gave me so sig­nal a Deliverance from his Clutches, and Mischievous Hands, and do at once detest the Malice, and scorn the Impotency of it.

There is not a more subtil and devilish Art of Slan­dering, than when a Calumniator says little, but with a Nod, or Shake of his Head, with an Ill-favoured Gri­mace, he leaves you to suspect all imaginable evil under those Intimations. Ay! the good Man could tell dread­ful horrid things; but out of his respect to his Brother he forbears, and will be silent: This is the old Trade of murdering Men and their good Names with an Innu­endo; and this carries more of the Politicks of Hell in't, than if he called me a thousand Rogues and Rascals: He that accuses openly, leaves room for a just Defence; but he that Slanders by Insinuations, allows no place for Vindication: This is the Arrow that flies in Darkness, wounds where it is not seen: This is the way of Assassi­nating by white Powder, that kills without a Report; and in this case the Accuser can Retreat upon any Attack, and smoothly say, Alas, my Brother, I meant no harm. But what he means by a Letter of mine written to Φ. X. I know no more than the Man in the Moon; no more than if they had been ψ. Ω. or any other Letters of the Alphabet: This I know, I never held Correspondence with Friend, Fenwick, or Charnock, or any other of the Digamma's.

(2.) A second thing he has thought fit to pitch upon, to raise or confirm the Suspicion of my favouring Dr. Crisp's Notions is, that upon a second Impression of Dr. Crisp's Works, it (the Impression) was attested by me. To which I only softly return, That it is a loud and lewd Falshood; I never Attested the Book, the Doctrines of the Author, the Principles contained in it: The Matter of Fact is thus: Mr. S. C. the Doctor's Son desired me to give my Hand, that I thought he would [Page 35] not impose upon the World in those Ten Sermons, which from his Father's Original Manuscripts, he ad­ded to his Father's Works in that Impression, I did be­lieve him, and do still to be a Man of Honesty and Conscience, and that he durst not cheat the Reader with counterfeit Sermons: This is what I attested, and I have that Confidence in the Gentleman, that he will aver as much.

But this is the way that our Author and his Accom­plices have chosen in other cases to Reproach us: Some Brethren gave their Names thus far to Mr. W's Book of Gospel Truths: That in the main the Truths and Errors were rightly stated, in opposition to the Errors of the Doctor's Book: Immediately a Clamour is raised, as if they had subscribed to the whole of the Book it self; and yet after all the Out-cry, when the Antinomians have made the severest Scrutiny, they can find nothing but some dubious Expressions, some disputable Phrases, and some things perhaps darkly expressed, to quarrel with: Thus some Attested the Son's honesty, and it must be interpreted an Attestation to the Father's Hetoro­doxy; but if any of us had transgressed in subscribing the Doctor's Book, they could not do Pennance, nor make satisfaction in a more reasonable way, than by attesting that of Mr. D. W's, which was so full, and clear a Con­futation of it: And this I am very confident of, that whatever has been the pretence, the real cause of all the Enmity manifested against Gospel Truth, was chiefly, that it gave a mortal Wound to the Antinomian Opinions: And that's a Crime shall never be forgiven him, but prosecuted with Vatinian hatred by the Reporter, and all of the same Kidney.

(3.) A third colour for his suspicion of me to be sa­vouring of Dr. Crisp's Notions, is that I put my Hand to a Paper prefixt to Mr. Flavell's excellent piece, call'd A Blow at the Root: To make short work, and give a Compendious Answer to this Charge, take it thus. [Page 36] That Paper was drawn up by a learned and able Hand; in whose Judgment I presumed I might acquiesce; and if that Reverend and Learned Person shall think fit to move out of his Retiredness, and appear concern'd in this Affair, he will easily justifie it: The Accessary is not to be Try'd and Condemn'd before the Principal; and it would seem Presumption in me to vindicate his own Draught, who is much more able to do it: I will therefore say no more but this. I judge that Paper ca­pable of a fair Vindication, and may be justified by an Ingenious Interpretation; but yet, I confess, I am not well pleased with my self that I have put my Hand to that or any other Trimming Paper.

The Defence p. 85. enforces his Charge, That he cannot easily forget when, and where I was charged with giving my Attestation to Dr. Crisp's Book, and called upon to give satisfaction; but that I was so in­flexible that no other could be obtained, than that the Charge was Rude and Ignorant, and so braved it out: I agree with him perfectly, that if there was ever any thing, the Remembrance whereof would do a shrewd Turn, he could never forget it▪ And I shall softly re­turn this; That of all Men living, a Reporter has need of a good Memory; but here, his Memory or Consci­ence, or both, fail'd him: For tho it be true, I did say the Charge was Rude, yet 'twas this Reporter who added, that it was ignorant; and thus I must be accused by him of the Crime, if it was a Crime, of his own Expression; and of this I have the Evidence of many Brethren, whose Faithfulness in Witness-bearing is Incontestible, and not to be mention'd in the same Day with his; for the thing was not spoke in a corner, and it was at that time when this Reporter frequented Little St. Hellens, before he fell, and left his first Station.

§. 5. How I have Acquitted my self of the Charge of Antinomianism brought against me, the Reader has heard; whether there be any pretence for an Insinua­tion, [Page 37] that the Reporter is a favourer of Dr. Crisp's No­tions, the Reader shall now judge.

The Difficulty of making a clear Judgment upon this Trimming Author's Opinion in this matter, lies chiefly in this; Whether we are to take our Measures of what he is from his visible Book, or his invisible Heart? What he is in his Heart and secret Inclinations, falls not un­der our Cognizance; what he appears to be in his legi­ble and intelligible Writings, comes under our Notice: But still, whether we are to proceed by the strict inflex­ible Rule of Judgment, or Reason; or whether we are to allow some Latitude in our Thoughts according to Charity, may admit of a Debate.

And 1. my Charity inclines me to think him no An­tinomian, from what a Friend of his and mine assur'd me the other Day, since I awarded my self the Pen­nance, and my Pen the Punishment of these Lines. Sir, (said he) the Reporter is no more an Antinomian than your self. It may be so (reply'd I) but for all that, he may be Antinomian enough, for he has endeavoured to prove me one: But if he be none, why does he write at this rate? If he Preaches one thing, and Prints ano­ther; if he be one Man in the Pulpit, and another from the Press; if he writes one thing and means ano­ther, how shall we possibly make a Judgment of his Faith? 'Tis not the sense of his Soul, but the sense of his Book, in which I am concern'd; if these two be at odds, they must either agree it, or fight it out as well as they can. Well! Well! (reply'd our Common Friend) I can assure you he's no Antinomian in his Judg­ment, tho he writes a little squinting that way, to gra­tifie some great Friends that are strongly byassed that way. Ay, but (said I) this is to pluck the Thorn out of one Foot, and thrust it into the other; for now you allow him sound in his Head, but then you render him rotten at Heart, and thus while you clear his Ortho­doxy, you accuse him of Hypocrisie; and what Account [Page 38] can you give of his halting and doubling thus in a matter of the greatest Importance? But here our Dis­course was interrupted.

2. Therefore not daring to depend upon our Friends Opinion, I sought Relief from the Defence it self, ho­ping I might rely on his own Judgment of his own self, and as I find, I will nakedly Report to the Reader, without taking his Office out of his Hands.

The Author of the Rebuke did think, and now is confirm'd in his Thoughts; that the United Brethren, after they had given such incontestible Demonstrations of their soundness in the Faith against all Arminian and Socinian Errors, might reasonably expect that those o­ther Brethren should give some good account of their stedsastness in the Faith in opposition to the Antinomian Heterodoxies: Nor did they want cogent Reasons for their Expectations; that if they gave satisfaction upon slender and sleighty Surmises, the others ought to give the like, where the Proofs were Notorious and Fla­grant.

Now the Defence could not but take some notice of this Passage, and thinks it not amiss to shew what fell under Consideration, when this Point was to be debated: Now Reader mark well what he says.

[1.] It was thought conducive (says he, p. 66.) to the great end, to avoid as much as possible, a running into the Discussion, and Determination of Differences of lesser mo­ment; and therefore to keep to those Matters, which did more nearly concern the Essentials in Matters of Faith. Now to set the Reader right herein, he must Note,

1. That tho the United Brethren valued Peace as high as any, they know they might buy Gold too dear, and therefore durst not purchase Peace with the loss of Truth▪ The great end therefore which they had in their Eye and upon their Heart, was that they might secure their Union, upon good security that Antinomian [Page 39] Errors were not secretly lodged in the Hearts of some Brethren, or if there harboured, it might by a sound Test be discovered: And therefore a Test was drawn up to obviate all possible Evasions. See Rebuke P. 25.

2. Whereas this Defender tells us of Differences of a lesser moment: This will bring our Author's Faith to the Ordeal, and we shall now see what are the Differences of lesser moment, in his Opinion; and to speak plainly, they were such Trifles as these, Whether Faith be necessa­ry to Iustification? Repentance to pardon? These were our Author's Punctilio's, his Matters of lesser moment. And thus we have gain'd this one Point, That a Iusti­fying Faith and Repentance in order in Pardon, are none of the Essentials of the Gospel of Christ, as they were but Accidentals in the Gospel of the Reporter.

3. To trim up this matter handsomly, and find out a due Temper as the Phrase and Practice was in the Conventicle of Trent; both Parties are deluded, under a colour of pleasing both; and thus things stand in the first Paper: Altho Regeneration, Repentance towards God, and Faith in our Lord Iesus Christ, and a holy Conversation are by God's express Word manifestly necessary to the Salva­tion of a Sinner, &c. These things then are necessary to Salvation; but not so to Pardon, Iustification, Acceptance with God; for in that respect they are Matters of lesser moment, which must not be discussed, much less determi­ned, but avoided as much as possible, because that was con­ducive to their great ends: Now I would modestly ask, Whether the Ends of both these sorts of Brethren were the same? For it's most evident, that the end of one was to conceal, the end of the other to discover latent Antinomianism? And secondly I would ask, If the Care and Caution was so great, not to come to a Discussion of these lesser Matters, why was the Zeal so hot to come to a Determination of far more inconsiderable? They could discuss and determine upon a Phrase, Commutati­on [Page 40] of Persons between Christ and Sinners; but could not, or would not determine by any Means, that Faith and Repentance were absolutely necessary to the Iustification of a Sinner.

4. The Author would give us a Reason, why they would not run, no nor came, nor crept to the Deter­mination of these Things of lesser Moment, because they were agitated among the Godly (rthodox themselves: This Gentleman has a knack above all Mankind, he can Canonize, and Anathematize, whom he pleases. They shall be Godly or Ungodly, Orthodox or Hetero­dox, Learned or Unlearned, just as they approve, or disapprove themselves to his Humour; but here I do enter my Dissent: That however Godly they might be, Orthodox they could not be, that admitted not Faith, and Repentance as necessary to Pardon: But from hence we might infer from his Premises, that a Man may be Orthodox, and yet deny Faith necessary to Justification; and Orthodox too, though he main­tained it necessary; but we see through these Cob­webs, and this was a Contrivance to secure the Ortho­doxy of that Reverend Brother who Asserted, that Pardon is rather the Condition of Faith; and much more, having a causal influence thereunto, than Faith and Re­pentance are of Pardon.

5. Although the Defender has made these Things of lesser Moment, the Word of God has determin'd it that they are Matters of the greatest Moment and Weight, even Fundamental Articles of Faith; Heb. 6. 1. Therefore leaving the Principles of the Doctrine of Christ, let us go on to Perfection, not laying again the Foundation of Repentance from Dead Works, and of Faith towards God: I assure you, I tremble to think what we are coming to, nay what we are running to, nay what we are already come to; that Repentance from dead Works, which was once a Doctrinal Foundation, must be crou­ded, and jostled among the Things of lesser Moment, [Page 41] adiaphorous Things, we may be Orthodox, and assert it, Orthodox and deny it; and thus they have degra­ded it to a Ceremony, and so by their Principles to be exploded.

But because the Order of these Things is hugely considerable, if we may have leave to believe the Scrip­ture; Though of lesser Moment if we durst believe the Defence. I will briefly inquire with Reverence, into the Mind of God in this Matter of Repentance.

1. If we observe in what Order our Blessed Redeem­er has commanded his Apostles, and in them all his Ministers of the Gospel to the End of the World, to proceed in their dealing with Sinners in Order to their Conversion, and turning to God: And this is punctually laid down, Acts 26. 18. The Gentiles unto whom I now send Thee (Paul) to open their Eyes, to turn them from darkness, to light; and from the Power of Sa­tan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of Sins: Where we cannot but observe. That the first step that Effectual Grace takes in Concurrence with the Mi­nisters is to Open their Eyes; that they may see their Sin and Misery; The next step he takes, to turn 'em from Darkness to Light, and from the Power of Satan un­to God; in which Repentance is included, nay, this Turning is Gospel Repentance: And all this Work is expresly in Order to the Receiving of Forgiveness of Sin.

2. And as this was the express Order, in which Christ commanded his Apostles to Preach the Gospel, so it was the same in which he himself Preacht it, Mark 1. 16. Iesus came into Galilee, Preaching the Gospel of the Kingdom of God, and saying, the Time is fulfilled, the Kingdom of God is at Hand, Repent ye, and Believe the Gospel: Thus was the Gospel Preacht, in and from the beginning, thus Sinners Repented and Believed in Order to Pardon.

3. And in the same Order is Christ represented dis­pensing [Page 42] Repentance and Pardon from the Throne, Acts 5. 30, 31. Him has God exalted to be a Prince and a Saviour, to give Repentance to Israel, and Remission of Sins.

4, The same Method the Apostle Peter pursued in his excellent Sermon, Acts 3. Where when he had first, ver. 14. urged it upon their Consciences. That they had denied the Holy One, and the Iust, and desired a Murderer, yet he invites them, ver. 19. Repent ye therefore, and be Converted, that your Sins may be blotted out, &c.

5. And though the Old Testament, will not sway much with an Antinomian, yet methinks they might al­low that Evangelical Chapter of the Evangelical Prophet to be good Gospel, Isa. 55. 7. Let the Wicked forsake his Way, and the unrighteous Man his Thoughts, and let him return unto the Lord, and he will have Mercy on him; and to our God for he will abundantly Pardon.

6. And its a little considerable, though not much, that our Author did once prescribe this very Method to his Gospel Minister, Display, Pref. The first Work of a Gospel Minister is to Preach up Repentance toward God, and then Faith in our Lord Iesus Christ.

Upon the whole Matter then, It evidently appears, that the first Paper, did not at all Answer the great End of the United Ministers, viz. To remove their Jealousies, which upon good Grounds they had justly conceived of some that were inclinable, and more than inclinable to Antinomianism; and therefore might de­mand Satisfaction of their Faith in these Points, in the Name, and on the behalf, of their Blessed Lord and Sa­viour Jesus Christ.

[2.] Our Authors adds, That there being a Contro­versie among the Reformed themselves about the Order be­tween Faith and Repentance, and which hath the Priority, and Antecedence, and whether Repentance was a necessary praerequisite to Pardon. The Composers of the first Paper [Page 43] waved the Determination thereof: To which I return, This is not to Answer but to Praevaricate. For:

  • 1. Who were those Reformed ones that Controver­ted, Whether Repentance be a necessary Praerequisite to Pardon? None but the Reformed Antinomians; and the great End of the Articles sent by the United Mi­nisters, was to discover whether there were such La­tent among them, or rather because that was sufficient­ly discovered, to Discover who they were.
  • 2. Had this Gentleman dealt honestly, and plainly, he should have said there are some Antinomians among us, of whom we are tender; some of these never joyn'd in the Union, and others are gone off, now for their Sakes, we would a little dawb with our untemper'd Mortar and Plaister over this Point of the Antecedence of Repentance to Pardon; to this it would readily have been Replyed: Sir, we know it well! their Writings, their Preachings sufficiently inform us; but these we will either Reclaim, or Discover.
  • 3. And if he had that Art to find out a Temper to palliate Matters which were really of great, though by him made of lesser, of no Moment; why could he not have given us a Cast of his Office in Matters were really of little Moment? But here lay the Partiality; on the one side they screw up Articles above Ela: On the other they sink 'em below Gammut. They insist stifly, inflexibly upon a worthless Phrase, in the Doctrine of Satisfaction, as if all Religion depended on it, must Live, or Die with it: When it was of no Moment at all to the Explaining or Confirming that Doctrine, which had been fully and faithfully provided for in the several Confessions of the Churches; but for the Doctrines of Faith and Repentance in Order to the Par­don of a Sinner, these they wave, and leave them un­determin'd.

[3.] Whereas he says, The Composers of the first Pa­per, waved the Determination of these Matters, which was [Page 44] no more than was done in the Composing of the seven Pro­positions, which were renounced to the End we might ex­press our Abhorrence of Antinomian Errors: What will not this Gentleman attempt in the Twy-light, who imposes thus upon us at Noon-day? Let us make a Query or two upon it.

  • 1. Was there no more required in the seven Propo­sitions than was in the first Paper? For shame! The Fourth Proposition of the Seven was this: We Re­nounce this Doctrine, That any may expect Pardon, without Repentance: If God had promis'd Pardon without Re­pentance, we might have expected it; and if we may not expect it in Faith, I conclude, God never pro­mis'd it: Upon what Grounds then do Men delude the Souls of others and their own, who encourage them to expect Pardon without Repentance: But was there any Word in the first Paper tending, sounding this Way?
  • 2. Where or when were the seven Propositions Re­nounced, especially the Fourth? By the Orthodox U­nited Brethren it was, by the others never; but he that can be false will be fallacious.

[4.] Whereas he adds, That Mr. W's insisting on the Assertion, of the Necessity of Repentance in Order to Pardon, about which the Orthodox have differing Senti­ments, it was at last Agreed to Assert the Necessity of Re­pentance, and leave this Controversie undetermin'd.

But this is but his Coleworts boyled so often till they are Poyson: For we deny that the Orthodox have diffe­rent Sentiments about this Matter, and affirm that they are Heterodox who deny the Necessity of Repentance in Order to Pardon: And herein he manifestly con­tradicts himself; for in the Paragraph before menti­on'd, he asserts that the seven Propositions were renoun­ced to this End, that we might express our Abhorrence of Antinomian Errors, among which seven, this was the Fourth, That we may expect Pardon without Repentance; [Page 45] and yet now he asserts with equal Confidence, that this was left undetermined: These were some of his confused and disturbed Thoughts at that Time.

I will shut up this Head of Discourse with a Remark or two:

  • 1. The first Thing I observe is, from a certain Au­thor whom our Defender thinks, at least asserts to be his own Self: Append. to Display, p. 18. where he quotes the Reverend and Learned Dr▪ Owen in his Treatise of Justification. Who can be (says he) more express than the Doctor, for he Asserts. 1. The Necessity of Faith as Antecedent to our Actual Iustification in the sight of God. 2. That this Faith includes in its Nature the intire Principle of Evangelical Repentance, so that its utterly impossible that a Man should be a true Believer, and not at the same Time be truly Penitent.
  • 2. My next Remark shall be from an Author, who I am most certain is his own Self, and that is the De­fender: Who p. 86. tells us There may be very Mate­rial Difference about that Order of Things, and reference to one another though there be agreement as to the Things themselves: Now its probable this is the same Author, for I assure you 'tis in the same Book, who says, p. 66. The avoiding as much as possible a running into the Discus­sion, and Determination of Differences of lesser Moment; viz. The Controversie about the Order, between Faith and Repentance, which hath the Antecedence and Priority, and whether Repentance be a necessary praerequisite to Pardon: Now Though I with my Self, and so will the Intel­ligent Reader think; how comes it to pass, that the Priority of Faith and Repentance between themselves, and their Antecedence to Pardon, should be a Matter of les­ser Moment in one Case, and yet make such a Material Difference in another? This puzzled me for a while till I found out the Mystery: That in the one he was purging himself, and his Antinomian Brethren, of their Errors, and then they were Matters of lesser Moment; [Page 46] but in the other Case he was loading with Reproach the Subscribers to Mr. Flavell's Blow at the Root.

The Truth is, some of the most Important Contro­versies that have given trouble to the Church of Christ, have been about the Order of Things: The Order of the Divine Eternal Decrees have ministred as much matter of Dispute, as the Decrees themselves; and the great Controversies about Faith and Repentance, have been in what Order they are to be placed in reference to Iustifi­cation; Thus when our Defender has occasion for it, they shall be material and momentous; and when he has no such occasion, they shall be trivial matters, and of lesser moment.

I have done with our Defender at present, because he has done with, and undone himself: He himself has Determin'd this Point, That Repentance is necessary to Pardon. Dr. Owen has Determin'd it too; and the Scriptures of Truth have Determined it long before them both, and yet now for the sake of his dear Antinomian Brethren, he has undetermined it again: So true is the Observation that some have made of this Gentleman, that he can shift his Sails as the Wind Veres, and Deter­mine and Undetermine, and if need be Re-determine the Controversie over and over, to the end of the Chap ter,

§. 6. It is seriously and sadly to be lamented, that Disputations should not be managed among us, for their true and proper ends, to search after, and find out the truth, but in a cunning way either to disguise Errors, that they may look like Truths; or to misrepresent Truth, that it may look as deformed as Error. But thus it has fared with Trade, which from a fair and equal way of dealing, has degenerated into a Mystery of Stock-jobbing; and with the Trade of War too, which is changed from fair Combating in the open Field, to Marching, De-march­ing, Counter-marching, and a thousand Subtilties with­out fighting; such are all our Modern Disputes, per­verted [Page 47] into a Course of Cavilling and Sophistry, to subserve the Interest of a Party; a notable Instance of which Artifice I shall now present to the Reader.

The Rebuke had said, That the Phrases of a Commuta­tion of Persons between Christ and Sinners; and his taking on him the Person of Sinners, were wholly unknown to those Confessions of Faith, which were made the Test of soundness in the Faith, by the United Ministers. Nay, he went higher, That if you searched all the Confessions of the Reformed Churches, you should not meet with these Phrases, no not one of them.

To answer this Challenge, the Defender has compa­sed Sea and Land, rummaged the whole Harmony and Body of Confessions, and after all his tedious Inquiry has found, or thinks he has, or would perswade us he has found at least one that will furnish him with Matter for a Triumph: 'Tis in the Confession of the Church, (Who would believe it?) the Church of Scotland, the National Church of Scotland! But thus he glories: We shall find the very Phrase of Christ's dying in our Person, inserted into the Confession of their Faith. Well! we long to hear the Words! He quotes them thus. It became the Messiah and Redeemer to be true God, and true Man, because he was to suffer the Punishment due for our Sins, and to appear in our Person before the Iudgment Seat of the Father, to suffer for our Transgression, and by Death to destroy him that had the Power of Death: Why then here's an end of this business, unless our Author be as deceit­ful a Translator, as he is a Reporter. No doubt the meer English Reader thinks he has now done his own Work, and my Business; and that he has produced one Confes­sion which really asserts that Christ suffer'd in our Person; and I confess my self one of those Credulous Souls, that thought, and many others do still think, that either his Conscience or his Credit would have check'd him from imposing upon us by a False Translation. But I am now once more convinced, that Interest, and the Good Old [Page 48] Cause will over-rule both those sorry things, Cre­dit and Conscience; for the Latine Article runs thus: That Christ did appear, Quasi in persona nostra; As it were in our Person: Did he then flatter himself, that none of his Readers could read or construe a word of fami­liar Latine? Or did he think it worth his while to sham the World for an Hour? Or is there such great Advantage gotten by a Lying Tongue that is but for a moment? A poor sorry moment, till his Neighbour comes and searches him out with his Falsifications: The Reverend Fathers of that Synod, who Penn'd that Arti­cle were wise, and well knowing that the Phrase of Christ's dying in our Person, was harsh, and might suffer evil Constructions, did mollifie and qualifie it with a quasi, that it might not grate the Ears, nor grieve the Conscience of any, nor choak the Faith of the Subscri­bers or Assenters; and I cannot but wonder, that e­ven our Author should give it us true in Latine, and yet prevaricate in the English, unless he considered that not one in twenty that would be cheated by the Version, could undeceive themselves from the Ori­ginal.

I only add, That if this Phrase sweetned with a quasi, or some such limiting Term will do him any Service, I can help him to one from the great and judicious Cal­vin, who upon 2 Cor. 5. 21. thus expresses himself: Christus quodammodo personam nostram suscepit.

But I will expose this Fraud no further at present, only will note, That tho he pretends to have found one, and but one, or to speak correctly, not one instance for this Phrase; yet he cannot pretend to have found one Ex­ample in any Confession, no not a Shread or Scrap of one for his other celebrated Phrase of a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners.

But these things we shall meet withal again and again, when we come to the main of the Cause, let this suffice for a tast of our Author's Integrity, and to teach us [Page 49] what we must expect from him in the sequel of his De­fence.

Reader! Perhaps thou hast seen how the Heron pur­sued by the Mounting-Hawk, slices upon her Enemy; or heard how the Hollanders routed the poor Iaponese, by charging their Artillery with Excrements, when all their Ammunition was spent. Or of that Creature in Germany that defends it self against the Hounds, with the Artil­lery of its Posteriours; The same Defence has our Au­thor made; and whether his Close-Study, or his Close­stool affords him better supply, I must leave rather to the Arbitrement of thy Nose, than of thy Understand­ing.

An Advertisement to the Reader.

HAving received many Letters from Persons of great Learning, relating to the Matters in Controversie be­tween the Reporter and my self. I have composed my An­swer to the Defence out of those respective Returns to the said Letters, which Method, I conceive, will contribute not a little to the Diversion and Delight, the Ease and Refresh­ment of the Ingenious Reader, who may now at his own Choice entertain himself and his Thoughts, with which of the Subjects he shall please.

LETTER I. Of a Commutation of Persons, between Christ and Sinners.

WOrthy Sir, You assign me a difficult Province; and I fear, 'tis not A single Paper that will ab­solve this Business: But that I may set you Right in this Matter, which the Report and Defence have so wretchedly perplex'd and imbarrassed, give me leave to proceed in my own Method.

§. 1. I have readily granted, That there is a Change of Christ's Person for sinners: That God the Father gra­ciously admitted a Mediator to undertake the desperate Cause and Case of Sinners, to suffer and die in their room and stead: That our Lord Jesus Christ readily accepted of, and consented to this Overture; and accordingly in due time, did actually offer up himself a Sacrifice to God, by which he made a proper, full and perfect Satisfaction to the Divine Iustice: Now as this is freely owned by all that wear and deserve the Name of Protestants, so it fully, tho briefly, expresses The Doctrine of Satisfaction.

To this the Defence says, That the Rebuke knows not what to make of it: which you are to look upon as one of his Insolent Huffs; to which contemptuous and op­probrious Language I am now so habituated, that I am almost hardned against it: But is it so hard to know What to make of a change of Christ's Person in our stead? Then 1. How shall we know what to make of the Do­ctrine of Sacrifices under the Law? which will teach us, that where God allow'd the Sacrifice to die, he permit­ted the Offender to escape; and if Christ was admitted to [Page 51] suffer for our Sins, and in our stead, then we shall not suffer for our own. 2. But if it be so difficult to make any thing of a change of Christ's Person for us: how shall we make any thing of A change of Persons between Christ and us? seeing that a single change must be presuppos'd to a double one. And this was all that Grotius knew to make of it, De satisf. p. 71. Actus Dei de quo agimus, est Punitio unius; ad impunitatem alteri consequendam: Thus Christ suffer'd that we might not suffer, and Divine Ju­stice punisht him that he might spare us: Thus much Grotius made of it, and let our Author make as much more of it as he can.

§. 2. This Phrase, A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, is a Phrase of no necessity at all: There are others of try'd and approved signification, which have been examined by critical Heads, and scan­ned upon curious Hands; such as have passed Currant in all our sound Confessions of Faith. Now, why we should venture upon un-common Terms, when the World is wide enough, and our own Language copi­ous enough, I can see no Reason to oblige us: But if they who inforce it, have any secret Reasons to them­selves, to contend so passionately for a Phrase never delivered; it's enough for us to contend zealously for the Faith once delivered to the Saints; and let them fight for a Phrase who have need on't.

§. 3. This Phrase has been miserably abus'd by the Antinomians; and I think it prudence to keep a jealous Eye upon't, when we see it not only contended for by them, but imposed upon us too, with such desperate Fierceness, as if all Religion must stand or fall with one sorry Phrase. Let me Sir, once more re-mind of Dr. C's. Acceptation: Here is a direct change! Christ takes our Person and Condition, and stands in our stead; we take Christ's Person and Condition, and stand in Christ's stead; so that if you reckon well, you must always reckon your selves in anothers Person, and that other in yours: [Page 52] This is a Commutation of Persons with a witness! 1. We stand in Christ's Person and Condition, that is, we suffer­ed in Christ's Sufferings; not only Christ suffered for us, and in our stead, but we also suffered in him, satisfied in him. And then 2. From that Moment in which Christ suffered for us, and we suffered in him, we must in strict Justice be discharged; for since we stood in his person, as well as he in ours, what should hinder our Actual Discharge? And at this Door all the Antinomian Speculations rush like a Deluge in upon us.

§. 4. This Phrase admits of a Socinian Sence too, Report p. 9. Socinus and Crellius granted there was a Metaphorical, or rather, an improper Change of Persons: but this is more fully evidenced from the Rt. Rd. Bp. of Worcester in his Letter to Mr. W. p. 57. Such a change of Persons as implies, that one is appointed and al­lowed to act on behalf of others, and for th ir advantage, the Socinians never denied. It's not therefore the use of the Words, but the Sence of them that is to be inquired into: Some may affirm a Change of Persons, and yet be Soci­nians, and others may deny a Change, and yet be far enough from Socinianism. Seeing then this Phrase has been Press'd, taken the Press-Money and Cloathing, and Serv'd on both sides: Seeing it has been true to no side; seeing it's capable of being interpreted to a twofold evil sense, and can have but one good sense, and that when we force a good sense upon't, it sits uneasie under it, and is scarce able to support it, we may rea­sonably demand, That it be bound to its Good Be­haviour; and that we be not compelled to swallow a Phrase without Chewing, which may possibly stick in our Throats, and choak us.

§. 5. Nor can we yet find, after all our search, no, nor the Defender, after all his more curious Inquiry, That this Phrase has appear'd in any Confession of Faith of any Church of whatever Denomination. We have those extant of Episcopal, Presbyterian and Congregational [Page 53] Perswasion, of England, Scotland, France, Ireland and Holland, Compiled by Persons, Learned, Godly and Wise, and if they knew this Phrase, and judged it either ne­cessary to confirm, or useful to explain the great Doctrine of Satisfaction, wherein they were so express, clear and full, they would not, they could not have omitted it.

§. 6. And among those Articles which were pitcht upon as the Test, and Standard of Orthodoxy, and up­on which the Brethren did Unite, did this Phrase ne­ver appear; nor was the Rejection of it numbred among the Objections brought in against Mr. Williams's Book; and its more than probable, had this Expression been insisted on in the previous Debates among the Brethren, in order to their Coalition, it had prevented their Union; and we now find it has been made an Engine to widen the Breach among them that were once, and might have again been United, had not this, and some other odd Terms of Art, been skilfully managed to keep it open.

§. 7. Nor can I understand how this Phrase of a Commutation of Persons between Christ and sinners, is ei­ther serviceable to the explaining or confirming the Do­ctrine of Christ's satisfaction, that is, his suffering and dying in our Stead, to expiate our Sins, or satisfie Gods Iustice. 1. Not to the explaining it: Because wise Men always endeavour ‘Non fumum ex fulgore sed ex fumo dare Lucem.’ they explain a Thing less known, by that which is bet­ter known, and think it absur'd to Comment on the Twylight by the Beams of Midnight. Nor, 2. To the confirming or proving it: For seeing the best that can be made of this Phrase is, that its equivalent to that of Christs suffering and dying in our Stead; if it be so, it will be hard to prove a Thing by it self: For [Page 54] this is but the Learned Argument, Christ suffered in our Stead, because he suffered in our Room; and he suffe­red in our Room, because he suffered in our Place: But of this kind of Argumentation we shall find the De­fence fruitful to a Miracle.

§. 8. And this Phrase when all is said, and done, is but a Phrase, and never yet had its Signification Au­thentically fixt and stated by a competent Authority; The Trumpet gives an uncertain Sound; so that if we subscribe it, it must be by an Implicite Faith in its own good Meaning.

§. 9. Much less can we submit to its being imposed upon our Faith, to be believed upon the Pains and Pe­ril of Heresie. And we know that by this Method, the most abominable Heresies in the World, were Ca­nonized for the greatest Truths: That Monster of Transubstantion was at first in its Infancy, a meer Opi­nion that floated up and down in the Brains of Pri­vate Persons; it became in a while to be tossed upon the Tongues of Scholastick Wits, till at last it got firm footing in the Lateran Council; and in process of Time became setled in the Conventicle of Trent, and has since been the Neck-verse to many thousand poor Pro­testants: Thus we fear, that this Notion which now they play withal, should in Time become the Test of the Faith of sound Protestants, and all shall be damned that cannot subscribe the Antinomian Creed.

There was a Time, when the Presbyterians were blamed as too Rigid in imposing their Sentiments, and the Congregational magnified themselves, as Persons of a better Temper, and more Christian Moderation: But we have now gotten a small number of Antinomian In­dependents, who are far more Imperious, Bigotted, and Tyrannical than ever the Presbyterians could be justly charged to be: I will give you one Passage from the Preface to the Declaration of the Faith of the Brethren at the Savoy. Such a Transaction (the compiling of their [Page 55] Articles) is to be look'd upon, but as a meet, or fit Me­dium or Means, whereby to express their common Faith; and no ways to be made use of, as an Imposition upon any: Whatever is of force or constraint in Matters of this Nature, causeth them to degenerate from the Name and Nature of Confessions, and turns them from being Confessi­ons of Faith, into Exactions and Impositions of Faith.

§. 10. Whereas there is such an exact Harmony be­tween all the Confessions of the Reformed Churches, in the Articles of Satisfaction, and Iustification; that he that believes one believes all; yet we see they are drawn in great Variety of Expressions and Phrases, and Pen­ned Diverso stylo, non diversâ fide; a strict Conformi­ty there is in the Sense, no Uniformity in the Words: Now what a Confusion would it make in Mens Con­sciences, to suppose a Christian sound in the Faith, that believes according to the Confession of the Church of Scotland, and yet Heterodox again, assoon as he sets his Foot over the Tweed, because he has not yet form­ed his Thoughts according to the Words of the Church of England? Or that a Professor should have been sound in the Faith at Westminster, and yet by that Time he could walk as far as the Savoy, he should be un­sound again: Truth is Truth all over the World: Whereas Phrases are of no farther use, than to express our Conceptions properly to others, and that they be adapted to signifie the Orthodoxy of our Minds.

§. 11. I must insist upon it still, that this Phrase, A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, does really carry a Mutual and Reciprocal Sense: If Grammar may have leave to judge; thus it sounds to English Ears, let 'em be of what Bore they will: 'Tis not long that this Phrase was common amongst us: There is a Commutation of Prisoners between France and England: And not one Man, no, not an Antinomian, but understood it, that the English Prisoners were ex­changed for French, and the French for English, mutu­ally [Page 56] and reciprocally; and that the Transport Ships passed mutually, and reciprocally, between Plymouth, and St. Malo's; St. Malo's and Plymouth: And I doubt not but our Lawyers will stand by us: If Articles of Agreement be drawn, that there shall be an Exchange or Commutation of certain Lands, between A. and B. they will Construe it, That A. shall exchange Black­acre with B. for White-acre, and that B. shall exchange mutually White-acre with A. for Black-acre: And if we should walk the Exchange of London, where a Bar­gain is driven thorough, between C. and D. of certain Goods, Wares, Commodities, and Merchandises to be ex­changed between them. Its supposed, that if C. Ex­changes his Mault for Hops: D. does Exchange his Hops for Mault: And the Story is famous in Homer, of an Exchange of Armour between Glaucus and Dio­medes, where the former Commuted his Armour of Gold, for the latters of Brass, and was sufficiently laught at for his Fools Bargain; [...]. But let us seriously apply our Thoughts to the Phrase: A Commutation of Persons be­tween Christ and Sinners: Here are Two Persons expres­ly in the Phrase; here is a Commutation between these Two Persons. That which is Commuted is their Per­sons, for here's mention of nothing else: If therefore the Commutation be not mutual, what Necessity is there that the Phrase should import Christs being ex­changed for Sinners, and not that Sinners were ex­changed for Christ.

Against this, the Defence rouzes up all his Zeal: Where is the Man (says he) that ever gave such a Sense? Be patient Sir. He shew you the Man, no worse a Man I assure you, than Dr. Crisp, the Man of your Counsel; who makes the Sense mutual: We must reckon our selves in Christs Person, and Christ in ours: Where the Dr. speaks like an honest, plain-hearted Man; the Sense of whose Words is conformable to [Page 57] his Phrase; whereas our fine Sparks have couched a Sense under a Phrase that will not bear it: Now tho' I can be Content that every one should abound in his own Sense, yet if I could help it, no Man should abound in his own Non-sense.

Ay, but (says the Defence) The Learned Witsius is persuaded that no Man in his Wits, did ever Dream of such a Sense (pray Mark the elegant Quibble, Witsius and Wits) To which I say, 'tis not my fault that Men run out of their Wits; but this makes my Ar­gument so much the stronger. If no Man in's Wits will say it, why should any Man not out of his Wits say that which inferrs it? All will say, Christ suffered in our stead, none will say we suffered in Christs stead, pray then invent a Phrase that will express Christs suf­fering in our stead, and not ours in his; but then you must resign all your Right, Title and Interest in a Com­mutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners; for that signifies either both or neither.

We might therefore justly wonder, but that we must wonder at nothing in such a Writer, that he should take this for a good Answer: I affirm, that if there be a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, this must according to Grammar be Construed mutu­al and reciprocal; O but says he, none ever affirmed the Consequent; why then do you affirm the Antecedent from which by just Consequence, the Consequent follows? If an Argument be brought, which by clear Conse­quence brings the Respondent into a gross absurdity, impossibility or blasphemy; He that brings it, shall not be responsible for the absurdity, or blasphemy which follows, but he that asserts that which, if true, would infer it.

I can easily from hence Retort upon himself that Charge of Blasphemy, which he would fasten upon me, p. 33. The Blasphemy is his own, not mine. 'Tis not the Result of my Assertion, but of his own Phrase. [Page 58] Thus my Argument proceeds, if there be a Commuta­tion of Persons between Christ and Sinners, that Commu­tation according to the Letter of the Phrase must be mutual: If it be mutual, then as Christ suffered and di­ed in our stead, Sinners must be supposed to suffer in Christs stead: O but the Consequent is Blasphemy! Is it so? Then thank your own Self, and your Antece­dent that inferred it: For if there was a Commutati­on of Persons between A. and B. then A. was com­muted for B. and B. for A. and other Grammar, of this Phrase, nor he, nor you, nor I, nor any Man else can make.

12. Lastly, And yet after all this, as we have told him, so we tell him now again: If a proper Ortho­dox Sense, which shall express neither more nor less, than that Christ died in our place or stead, to make Satisfaction to Divine Justice, can be setled, and en­tail'd upon this Phrase; and that the Truth be not be­trayed either to a Socinian or Antinomian Construction, I could be Content to admit the use of it, though o­therwise I would chuse one of a more determinate Sense, and obvious Meaning: And this I would do not for the sake of the Phrase, which I look upon as improper, but for the sound Meaning, which may be (if it can be) setled upon it.

As suppose my Subscription was demanded to this Sentence, in the Polaski; Acciam croc solerouch Alla Moustaph gidelum a manahem varakini onssere Carbutath. Of this now do not I understand one Word, more or less; but our Learned Divine, who is well skilled, I perceive in the Lingua: Assures me upon his Honour it signifies no other than this: If Riches encrease, set not thy Heart upon them, for he that loveth Silver shall not be satisfied with Silver, nor he that loveth Riches with increase: Perhaps I might subscribe: And just thus would I deal with this Phrase; I look upon't as very ill turn'd; as oddly exprest, as that which has been abu­sed [Page 59] to an ill Sense, yet upon the Credit of one I can trust, that it intends what is Orthodox, and that the Mercury is Corrected and Dulcified, so far it may be to­lerable.

But I have detain'd you Sir too long; Excuse if you please,

Your Servant, &c.

LETTER II. Of Christs Suffering in our Stead, and for our Good.

SIR, had I ever once denied that Christ suffered in our stead, or affirmed, that he suffered only for our Good, the offence you speak of had been Just; but as the Case really stands, 'tis nothing but the common Artifice of my Antagonist, who has summon'd in, and mustered up all the little Tricks of his fruitful Inventi­on to represent me a Socinian; and the whole strength of his Argumentation lies in this sort of Cunning, which I shall neither Envy nor Imitate.

To give you a clear Account of this Matter, I will deduce it from the Original: Mr. Williams had own­ed that Christ suffered in our stead: The United Bre­thren did judge, that that Expression was sufficient to justifie his Orthodoxy, in the Point of Satisfaction: But the M. S. who had resolved before hand that Mr. W. should never be sound in the Faith as long as he lived, found something to Object; viz. That our mo­dern Innovators had assumed to themselves a Priviledge of Imposing an Heterodox Sense upon sound Terms: This Answer I thought was the most disingenuous that ill Nature could ever give: And I replied to it, as it de­served: [Page 60] That then it seems, Mr. W's Words were Or­thodox, and sound in themselves; and what would these unreasonable Men have him do? How shall he speak to please 'em? Must he use Heterodox Terms, and then qua­lifie them with a sound Meaning? They that revile him for speaking soundly, because others put an ugly meaning up­on his Words, how would they have reviled him, had he spoken Heterodoxly, and then thought to salve all, with a sound meaning?

Ay, but (says M. S.) In our Place and Stead, with some signifies no more than for our Good: To which the Rebuke answered, it's impossible they should. And these are the Words that have raised the hideous out­cry, that he is a Socinian, an Unitarian, and whatever else, this Gentlemans Rancour is pleas'd to bestow upon him: Now a few Words would serve to satisfie any one in this Point, whose Ill-Nature had not made him peevish, and whose Interest had not instigated that Ill-Nature.

For as nothing was, so nothing could, be further intended by those Words, than that our Lord Jesus, in every Particular, in every Branch of his Sufferings, had in his Eye, and did keep upon his Heart, the Spi­ritual and Eternal Good and Happiness of all those whom the Father had given him: And though he transacted the whole affair of Redemption, nextly, and immediately with God, yet all did terminate and issue out ultimately in the Good of the Elect and his own Redeemed ones.

Tota Mediatoris Natura est Relativa: All that Christ did or suffer'd was Relative: It respected God or Man: As his undertaking respected God, it was satisfactory; as it respected Man, it was Beneficial and Saving: In respect of God, all was in our stead; as it respected Man, all was for our Good: And whatever direct and imme­diate influence they had on God, yet in their last Re­sort in their Fruits and Effects, the Benefit would re­dound to Man.

[Page 61]And I would gladly see these Men try their Wits, and assign us one single Instance of the Sufferings of Christ, but it did Terminate in our good: Let 'em name any one branch of those Sufferings, which were really in our stead, and at the same time I will prove, that they were for our good, and for nothing more, nothing be­yond our Good.

The Defence it self has dropt a word, P. 13. that unawares will clear this business. Christ's suffering for our Good, respects only Man; very true, and it was in respect of Man only, that I affirmed, It was impossible it should be for more than our Good.

Could our Author have considered, as he could not but see, P. 35 of Rebuke; he could have given him­self Satisfaction what my Judgment was in this matter; but then it would have spoiled the Glorious Design to represent me a Socinian: Thus I express it. That which Christ suffered in our stead, was for our Good: To bear the Punishment due to our Sins, was certainly for our good, that we might not bear 'em in our own Persons: To make Satisfaction to Divine Iustice, was undoubtedly for the good of lost Sinners, that they might not be eternally in Hell, al­ways satisfying, but never having satisfied. That by his Death and Sufferings, he delivered us from the greatest Evils, and purchased for us the greatest Blessings, was certainly all for our good. So that he argues against me, just as the Socinians do against the Orthodox. If for our Good (say he and they) then not in our stead; where­as I will invert the Argument, If in our stead, then, and therefore for our Good, because in our stead: And I must add, Had not those Sufferings of Christ been in our stead, they had not been for our good, as to any thing but what perhaps we might have had without them.

Sir, Tho thus much might satisfie you about my Or­thodoxy, yet I cannot satisfie my self, without a further clearing this great Truth of Christ's suffering in our [Page 62] stead against the Socinians, and I bespeak your Patience in perusing these few Particulars.

  • 1. There are many Scriptures which expresly Assert, That he died and suffered, gave himself for us, for us sinners, Matth. 20. 28, The Son of Man came to give his Life, a Ransom for many, [...]: 1 Tim. 2. 6. Who gave himself a Ransom for All: [...]. A counter-Ransom for All, 1 Pet. 3. 18. Christ hath once suffered for sins; the Iust for the Unjust to bring us to God: [...]. Now the Rebuke did, and does still judge, that these Phrases from the force of the Pre­pofitions [...] and [...], especially in conjunction with Christ's Sufferings, do necessarily import, and imply that Christ suffered, died, gave himself properly and penally in our place and stead; and this we are ready to maintain against the Socinians, p. 9. And Mr. Willi­ams has owned as much as this comes to, in acknow­ledging Christ in his Sufferings was an [...], that he gave Life for Life, Soul for Soul, Person for Person, and for our Sins too, that is in our ordinary receiv'd Phrase, he died in our stead.
  • 2. That the Socinians have wretchedly perverted the true Intendment of these Texts, by glossing and dilut­ing their true Intendment thus; he died for us, gave himself for us: That is, say they, for our Good indeed, but not properly in our stead.
  • 3. That they may give some colour to their Subter­fuges, they assign some certain Benefits to the Death of Christ; as to give us an Heroick Example of Suffering whatever Persecutions for the Profession of the Christi­an Religion; and to confirm the Truth of his Doctrine by sealing it with his Blood, and some few others.
  • 4. In return to which, we say, 1. That it was a far greater Good, that Christ by his Death procured for us: Dan. 9. 24. To finish Transgression, to make an end of Sins, to make reconciliation for Iniquity, to bring in everlasting Righteousness: In order to which, p. 26. The Messiah [Page 63] must be cut off, but not for himself: And Heb. 9. 26. Now once in the end of the World, hath he appeared to put away sin by the Sacrifice of himself. 2. We say that these and other ends of his Death and Sufferings, could never have been procured, had not Christ according to the Father's Ordination, and his own consent, suffer'd in our stead, and made himself an expiatory and propiti­atory Sacrifice. And 3. We say, that all the Ends which the Socinians have assigned to the Death of Christ, might have been attained without the Death of Christ, the Doctrine was confirmed by Miracles; and the encouragement to suffer the utmost for the Christian Religion, was from the Promises of present assistance under them, and the Recompence of Reward to them.
  • 5. That the satisfying Divine Justice in our stead, and procuring thereby our good, are by no means to be considered as opposite, but subordinate: For as I would answer an Antinomian; let him give us one Instance in which Christ suffered in our stead, which did not Termi­nate in our Good: So would I say to a Socinian; let him shew me an Instance of any Spiritual Good, which he could possibly procure or purchase, without suffering in our stead. And here is the great Demonstration of the Divine Goodness, that he has not separated his own Glory from the Spiritual and Eternal Good of the E­lect; and thus has our Blessed Redeemer secured both the Demands of Justice, and at the same time the Salvation of the Elect.

To draw to a Conclusion of this Discourse: You ob­serve that our Author's singular Gift and Talent is, Misrepresentation; and this great Gift (wherever he had it, or how he came by it, I know not) he exercises through his whole Defence, to revile me as a Soc inian, an English Unitarian; this he brings in by Head and Shoulders, Vapours with it, Triumphs in it, over look­ing that thro the whole Rebuke this Calumny had been [Page 64] abundantly obviated, of which I will now give you over­abundant evidence.

Reb. p. 6. That Christ was made Sin, a Sacrifice for sin, that he bore the Curse due for sin, is so express the Language of the Scripture, that he who denies the former, must disbelieve the latter.

Reb. p. 8. Certainly when Christ our only and ever Bles­sed Mediator, stood in our place and stead, when he made his Soul an Offering for sin; when the Lord laid on him the Iniquities of us All: There was a Change of Christ's Per­son for Sinners: He was substituted in their room and stead.

Again, ibid. There is a Change, all own it; there was so under the Law, Iustice allowed that the Offender should live, the Sacrifice die: There is so under the Gospel, that Christ suffered, the believing sinner is discharged, just as Abraham sacrificed the Ram by God's own appointment; for, that is in the stead of Isaac.

In a word: As I have always uniformly asserted, that Christ suffered and satisfied in our stead, so shall I al­ways Assert, that Christ suffered and satisfied for our good; and tho I never affirmed that Christ died or suf­fered only for our good; (which is the falshood the Au­thor would impose upon the Reader and my self) so I did Assert, That it was impossible he should die for more than our good; seeing he was pleased to make the Salva­tion and eternal good of those whom the Father had given him, whom he had in his Eye and upon his Heart, the great Commanding End unto which he referred all his Obedience, Active and Passive; so that Christ had no­thing more, nothing farther, nothing beyond that in his Eye: But of these things thus far.

I am yours, as you know, &c▪

LETTER III. Of Christ's being our Surety.

SIR, You come a little too quick upon me; other and better Work engaged my Thoughts and Time, that I lost the last Post; and 'twas with some Difficulty that I saved this: I will not dispute with you, why you cau­sed me to break the Thread of my Discourse about Commutation of Persons, &c. and are now urgent to give you my Opinion about Christ's Suretiship; however I will comply.

I had but little concern with the Reporter in this Matter; only I offered my humble Advice, Reb. p. 46. Not to insist so strictly upon the Terms of Debt and Debtor; because if he supposed sin to be only a Pecuniary Debt, and the sinner to stand obnoxious only as such a Debtor to God, as the Creditor; he has betray'd the Cause he seems so Zealous to defend to the Socinians: And because I thought he might give some Deference to the Learning and Authority of the Bishop of Worcester, I seconded my Advice with a Caution from him: The true state of the Controversie (says he) has been rendered more obscure by the Mistakes of some, who have managed it with more Zeal than Iudgment:—That Christ paid a proper and rigid satisfaction for the Sins of Men, under the Notion of a Debt: This was the Caution the Bishop gave, and that was the Counsel which I gave, to both which the Defen­der was too proud to hearken: But the same Learned Person has in a late Letter to Mr. D. W. superadded weighty Reasons to his Caution, p. 60. This (Christ's putting on the Person, and standing in the place of a [Page 66] Debtor) I have shewed long since to be a very wrong No­tion of Christ's Satisfaction, which in effect gives up the Cause to the Socinians: For if Sins be considered as Debts, God may freely forgive them, (without disparagement of his Wisdom and Iustice) without Satisfaction. And the Right of Punishment then depends on God's absolute Dominion, and satisfaction must be by way of Compensation; but I cannot but wonder at the Author of the M. S. that he doth at the same time assert our Sins considered as Debts, and (yet) the Necessity of Vindicative Iustice; for what Vindicative Iustice belongs to a Creditor? May not a Creditor part with his own Right, and forgive what, and whom he pleases, with­out any violation of Iustice? I can hardly think that those who write so rudely and inconsistently, ever penetrated into these Matters in their Thoughts, but only take up with a set of Phrases and common Expressions among those they converse with, which they look on as the Standard and Mea­sure of Truth about these Matters.

From this Day forward I give up the B—as a lost Man among all the Antinomians: but tho they can easily despise his Authority, they cannot so readily answer his Reasons.

And yet there is one Argument against their Notion of a Money-Surety, which will probably prevail more with them, because it's drawn from the Prejudice it does their own Interest, than twenty drawn from the mis­chief it does to the Cause and Concern of God, or Christ.

There is a Notion that obtains among the Antinomi­ans; That God in that black and sorrowful juncture when our Saviour bore the Punishment of our sins, hated his Son, as a Man hates a Toad: Now if Christ paid the uttermost Farthing of that Debt, whereof all the Sons of Adam were non-solvent, not able to pay the least Far­thing, what reason can be assigned why God should hate him, or be angry with him? I am well assured of our Author's good Nature in this case, that if any one [Page 67] would pay him the desperate Debt of a sorry hundred Pounds, on the behalf of a Decocted Bankrupt that was not worth a Groat, he would love him (so far as ill Nature is capable of love) as long as he lived.

Yet still the Defence adheres to the Good Old Cause, p. 16. That Satisfaction taken strictly and properly, is so­lutio Debiti; the Payment of a Debt wherein I take the li­berty to differ from him, and that Satisfaction and So­lution are two things, and differ as much as the giving the idem and the Tantundem do; but in this unnecessary Quarrel, I have no call to engage; and yet after all, the Defence seems to stagger and totter, as if he had no ple­rophory in the Case, but that this very Solutio Debiti, is nothing but a suffering the Punishment due to our Sins.

It may be seasonable to hearken to the Reverend and Learned Dr. Owen upon this Subject in his Appendix to the Doctrine of Satisfaction, p. 221. It is otherwise in Personal guilt, than in Pecuniary Debts; In these the Debt it self is only intended, the Person only obliged with reference thereunto: In the other, the Person is firstly and principally under the Obligation: And therefore when a Pe­cuniary Debt is paid, by whomsoever it be paid, the Obli­gation of the Person himself unto Payment ceaseth ipso facto.

Let the Reader hence see the true Reason why all our Antinomians contend so earnestly that sin must be consi­dered as a Pecuniary Debt, because then upon Christ's Satisfaction, which they call the Payment of the Debt, all the Elect must be discharged; and then indeed there's no need of Faith or Repentance in order to the Pardon of sins; but the Doctor goes on: But in things criminal, the guilty Person himself being firstly, immediately and in­tentionally under the Obligation to Punishment, when there is introduced by Compact, a vicarious Solution, in the substi­tution of another to suffer, tho he suffer the same absolute­ly, which those should have done, for whom he suffers, yet [Page 68] because of the Acceptation of his Person to suffer, which might have been refused, and could not be admitted without some Relaxation of the Law: Deliverance of the guilty Persons cannot ensue ipso facto, but by the intervention of the Terms fixed on in the Covenant or Agreement, for an admittance of the Substitution. It appears from what hath been spoken, that in this matter of Satisfaction God is not considered as a Creditor, and Sin as a Debt, and the Law as an Ob­ligation to the Payment of the Debt, and the Lord Christ as paying it, &c.

To subjoyn any thing of my own to the Reason of two such great Men, would be but to light a Candle to the Sun, and yet it may be permitted to observe a few things about Christ's Suretiship.

  • 1. The Term Surety is Sacred, Canonical, not to be violated with profanc and unwasht Hands: We there­fore give that Reverence to it, which we owe to Divine Revelation; and if those other Terms and Phrases, a­bout which the Quarrel has been so scalding-hot, could plead the same priviledge that they had the Stamp of Ius Divinum upon them, it had prevented, or soon si­lenced the Debates about Words: tho some diversity of Thought might have arisen about the extent of the Signification.
  • 2. The Apostle is express Heb. 7. 22. Iesus was made a Surety of a better Covenant, [...], And yet the same Apostle continuing to intreat of the same Subject in the next Chapter, Heb. 8. 6. stiles the same Jesus, the Mediatour of a better Covenant, [...]; which would tempt one that is used to search out the Mind of God, by comparing one Scripture with another, to think that a Mediatour of a better Covenant, and the Surety of a better Covenant, are Expressions of the same Latitude, and exactly equiva­lent one to the other.
  • 3. This better Covenant, whereof Christ is Mediator or Surety, being a Mutual Covenant, wherein God enga­ges [Page 69] to be our God, and engages us, as we engage our selves to be his People: Christ undertakes on the behalf of both; for Gal. 3. 20. A Mediator is not a Mediator of one; He therefore undertakes with both, and for both; nor can any be meet to bring God and Man into one Co­venant, and preserve them both inviolably in that one Covenant, but he who is God and Man in one Person.
  • 4. The word [...], which is but once found in the New Testament, as applied to Christ, receives no pre­judice thence, as to its Divine Authority, (as to what­ever Truth is contained therein) for even the [...] are of Divine Inspiration.
  • 5. Yet that it is but once used, is some inconvenience to our understanding the just and adequate import of it; for when we meet with a word frequently used, it stands in divers References to the Antecedents and Conse­quents, which by a due comparing them may reflect much useful light into its signification.
  • 6. We have not much relief from its Etymology; only that he that is our Surety, must be one near, or near of Kin to us: for seeing that Sin was committed in the Humane Nature, it seems reasonable, that if God will so far Relax the Law, as to admit a Surety or Mediator, yet that he must be of the same Nature with the Offenders, for whom he is so, Heb. 2. 14, 16. For as much as the Children were partakers of Flesh and Blood, he also took part of the same—For he took not on him the Nature of Angels, but the Seed of Abraham he took: And the Hebrew word [...], which is parallel to the Greek [...], denotes one near of Kin, who thereby had a Right to Redeem, Ruth 3. 13.
  • 7. It is a most perilous Course which some have ta­ken; who when they meet with a Word or Term that carries Allusion or Metaphor in it, spin out the Meta­phor as far as ever it will run, and sometimes so far and sine, that the Thread breaks▪ and force the Allusion as far as ever a fruitful Fancy can carry it; and hence they [Page 70] raise Doctrines, build up Observations, and wring out Consequences and Conclusions till the Bloud comes; and then intitle all those Doctrines to Divine Reve­lation, and lay the Brats of their own begetting at the Door of the Scripture: Thus has it fared with many sacred Terms, especially with this of a Surety; a Po­pular way of Tickling the Humours of People, but of no small prejudice to the Truth; where Men gather what God never sowed, and believe what he never re­vealed.
  • 8. Tho Surety and Mediatour are Terms belonging to the same Person, yet that of a Surety, is commonly restrained to the Sacerdotal Office of Christ, as he made Satisfaction to Divine Justice, and stood in our Place and Stead for that great End; yet whether Justice be the Essential or Rectoral Iustice, or rather the Rectoral Iu­stice of God, as grounded upon his Essential Iustice, I dare not determine, nor is it so material, for both the one and the other are Vindicative, and that is enough to exclude for ever the Notion of a Money-Surety.
  • 9. Lastly, Those Expressions of some Learned and Godly Divines, who have mentioned a certain Bond, wherein Christ and the Elect are said to be jointly bound to God; may for ought I know, intend no more than a Recognizance to Divine Iustice in a Criminal Cause, not a Money-bond to a Creditor: However that be, I could never yet see, or get a sight of that Bond; no more than of our Original Contract, or the Pacta Con­venta in a Remoter Kingdom, where our Author ha­ving greater Acquaintance, may possibly have better Intelligence.

But Sir! as I intimated, I have little concern with the Defender in this matter, and therefore this shall be all the trouble you shall receive from me in this Af­fair. Only I am

Your humble Servant, &c.

LETTER IV. A farther Account of the Phrase, A Com­mutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners.

SIR, You pretend that I am a little in Debt, either contracted by my own Promise, or your Demand, to give you some farther account of this troublesome Phrase, A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sin­ners: and admitting the Debt, I am now furnisht where­with to pay it.

You may remember, that the Rebuke, p. 30. had said, A Change of Persons between Christ and Sinners, may pos­sibly be capable of receiving a sound sense, and yet is more sounding towards a dangerous one: And therefore the Bre­thren did unanimously agree, to grant as much as the sound sense would bear, and to pass by the other, which was liable to be interpreted to a sense of Malignity, &c.

Now, Sir, I refer it to your Judgment; What could be more fairly spoken? More honestly asserted? More liberally granted? And yet the Defence shall rack, and wrest, and torture and vex these innocent Words to a meaning as odious and ugly as his own Heart can in­vent.

Thus p. 14. he infers from hence, That the Paragraphs, Terms and Phrases which were in the first Paper, and were waved in the third, could not (according to my Judg­ment) bear a sound sense; That is, I must needs affirm, the Phrase could not bear a sound sense, because I affirm­ed expresly, it could: What then must we do? Or how must we speak to please this Man? If his Logical Abi­lities be so formidable, so miraculously great, who from [Page 72] an Affirmative, can conclude a Negative, or his Honesty so little, that he hopes to persuade his easie Reader that he has done it, its high time to lay aside all Endeavours to answer him.

For more particular satisfaction, I desire you to con­sider.

§. 1. The third Paper declares the Brethrens Adhe­rence to, and Approbation of the Doctrinal Articles of the Church of England, the Consession of the Assembly at West­minster, or that at the Savoy; and I will confidently say, That whatever of a sound sense can be found in this Phrase, is found in some one or other of those Con­fessions: If therefore these Confessions be owned, that sound sense is owned; if any unsound sense be waved, tis also equally waved in those Consessions.

§. 2. The Brethren in their third Paper, have ex­presly given us both the evil sense which they reject, and the good sense which they own; and how then could he boldly face it out, that they have left out the good sense, or supposed that it could not bear one?

1. They provide in some measure against the evil sense. This Commutation of Persons with us, was not natural, in respect of either Nature, by which his individual Substance should become ours, and ours his: Nor moral, in respect of Qualities or Actions, whereby be should become in­herently sinsul, and we immediately sinless: Nor was it any Change, whereby his Office of Mediator should be transfer­red in us: And they had good reason to provide against these Implous Senses.

2. They propound a good sense, (if the Phrase will bear it) That Christ by agreement between the Father and Him, came in our room and stead to answer for our Viola­tion of the Law of Works; he being made Sin for us, who knew no Sin, that we might be made the Righteousness of God in him, 2 Cor. 5. 21. Now this is a good sense; that is, it's a great Truth; but whether it be the sense [Page 73] of the Phrase, is reasonably doubted, and will need much Charity to help it out; for a good-natur'd Man may be content to put that sense upon a Phrase, which is not really in it.

§. 3. If the Defender says true, That this and some other Phrases are virtually included, in that of Christ's dying in our place and stead; then the Brethren have not left out, but virtually taken in either this or what­ever other sound sense the words are capable of; for whoever takes in the thing containing and includ­ing, takes in whatever is contained and included therein.

§. 4. Whilst my Eye is upon't, I will give you a Rare Specimen of our Author's Argumentative Excel­lencies, which I am sure will surprize you: 'Tis in p. 46. where after a hideous Outery, like that of Micah, when the Danites had plundered him of his Gods. Alas Sirs, (says he) if you will allow us no sense of the Phrase of a Change of Persons between Christ and us, but that we dyed for Christ's Sins; [as he died for ours] This is Blasphe­my! But have a little patience, good Sir, do not dis­compose your self! they have allowed you a far bet­ter sense, that he gave himself for us; that he died in our stead, to satisfie God's Iustice: This is a sense you may have, and imports no Blasphemy; but if you will have a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, in the true, proper, literal, and Grammatical sense, you must avoid the Blasphemy as well as you can: And now for his Argument.

If there be not a Change of Persons between Christ and us, there cannot be a Substitution of Christ's Person in our room: To which I softly return, I deny the Consequence: There may be a Substitution of Christ's Person in our Room, and yet no Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners; and that upon these Reasons. There may be a Substitution of one Person for another, where there's no Commutation between those two Persons: [Page 74] Substitution and Commutation are not Terms of equal latitude, the latter is larger than the former; and therefore the granting the former, will never infer the latter.

But still he argues: If there be no Substitution of Christ's Person into our Room, Christ could not suffer in our Stead: I readily grant the whole. And he might have concluded, that if there be no Substitution of Christ in our stead, Christ could not suffer in our room; and so again, if no Substitution in our Place, then no Suffering in our stead, and these are all Meridian De­monstrations.

But yet he is resolved to give this a more Genteel Turn: Here is the very natural, and irrefragable Conse­quence which flows from my Brothers denying a change of Persons between Christ, and us: Truly the Rebuke is not willing to invade any one of his just Titles, much less that of the Irrefragable Doctor which is the due of the Defender; but he does absolutely deny, that his de­nial of a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, does infer that there's no Substitution, no Suf­fering, no Satisfaction, for the Reason before given: However let's hear him argue, if Christ suffered not in our stead, he could not make satisfaction for us. Well! 'tis allowed: Go on! If there was not a Substitution of Christ in our place, he suffered not in our place: As true as Gospel, and much truer than our Authors Gospel: If he had not been in our place, he could not have suffer'd in our place: Now comes the mortal blow! If there was no change of Persons between Christ and us, there could not have been a Substitution of Christ in our place. And here again I deny the Consequence: That though there was a Substitution of Christs Person in our place, there was no need that there should be a Commutation of Persons between Christ and us: Thus much is true, if Christ had not suffered in our stead, he could not have satisfied for our Sins; if he had not been substituted in our [Page 75] stead, he could not have suffered in our stead; and if an exchange of Christ for us, had not been allowed by the Father, and consented to by himself, he could not have been substituted in our stead; but that a Commuta­tion of Persons is necessary to support any of these Con­clusions, I utterly deny. In a word, the Doctrine of Satisfaction has stood firm on its own Basis, many Centuries before this untoward Phrase was known, and shall stand unshaken when this, and all arbitrary Ex­pressions shall be banisht out.

You see Sir, Our confident Defender for all his He­ctoring has not been able to produce one Article of any one Confession to vouch for his great Phrase; A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, and whereas in other Cases, when his Common-Place-Book will furnish him, he uses to press us to Death with Quotations from Learned Men▪ Yet upon this Head, he is modest and sparing, and has only named, not cited three mighty Names, the Bishop of Worcester, Hu­go Grotius, and Dr. I. O. three great ones I confess, and might have formed the Tresviri de Republicâ Lite­rariâ Constituendâ; but now as for the Bishop, he has cleared himself out of their Hands, and for the two other, I will do them the same Service.

1. For Grotius: He is indeed named in the first Pa­per, named in the Defence, but yet not quoted, no Words of his alledged, that own a Commutation of Per­sons between Christ and Sinners: And there's a mighty Reason for it, because there's no such Sentence to be found in him, I mean in his Book, De Satisfactione; a Commutation of Christs Person for Sinners, that I find; that Christ suffered and dyed in our room, that I find; that he was substituted in our room for this end, I find too: And all these fully, and solidly cleared and vin­dicated from the Cavils of Socinus, I find; but a Com­mutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, I can no where find.

[Page 76]In cap. 9. de Satisfact. he mentions a Surrogation; As when Christ is said, Heb. 2. 9. To tast Death for every Man, [...]. To die for the People. John 11. 50. That he suffered for us, [...], 1 Pet. 2. 21. And whereas Socinus had pleaded, that the Prepositi­on [...], and the Latine [pro] are ambiguous, and oftentimes denote no more than for the Benefit of ano­ther; Grotius answers, that as to those two Words it may be true, yet the Preposition [...] utterly rejects that Evasion, and signifies properly a Substitution in the room of another, or the Commutation of one for another. So Math. 20. 28. Mark 10. 45. Thus when its said, Math. 2. 22. That Archelaus reigned in Iudaea, [...], in the room of Herod his Father; there must be imported a Substitution of one in the Place of another: And thus (says he) its taken in prophane Authors, [...], one in the room of many; I may add that of Virgil, Unum pro multis dabitur Caput: And this (says Grotius) Socinus cannot deny, but that the Phrase [...], Commutatio­nem quandam indicat: It does imply, that there is some sort of Commutation: But Grotius contends earnestly; that the Expression [...], denotes ve­ram Commutationem, a true Commutation. Now the only Question with us is this: What that Commutation is? Whether it be a single or a double Commutation? And through that whole Chapter he carries it thus to the diligent Observer, that he means only a Commuta­tion of Christs Person for us in our stead; which is the Truth we contend for, but yet is an utter stranger to that Phrase of a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners; and this is most evident from his conclu­ding Words of the whole Discourse. Ea autem quae de Commutationis [...]gnificatione in Particula, pro a nobis hactenus dicta sunt, ex sacrificii expiatorii natura multum illustrantur: What we have hitherto discoursed of the mean­ing of a Commutation, in the Particle Pro, is very much [Page 77] illustrated from the Nature of an expiatory Sacrifice: Now then, we appeal to all Mankind, whether there was not a Substitution of the Sacrifice in the room of the Offender; but withall we deny, that it could be said there was Commutation of Persons between the Offender and the Sacrifice.

(2.) Consider we next his Quotation from Dr. Owen, p. 38. Here is (says the Defence) a Commuta­tion or Change of Persons which in some respect is mutual but not in all respects so: Now here are some Things that I am obliged to make a Particular Remark upon.

  • 1. That our Author is now run into the same Con­tradiction, that he once charged Mr. W's with: A Commutation, and no Commutation! a Change, and no Change! What will bring off the one, will bring off the other.
  • 2. Observe the strong Inclination our Author has to make this Commutation mutual; 'tis in some respects so! Its Pity 'tis not so in all; for the Phrase requires it should be mutual and reciprocal; only the Mischief is, it can never be proved.
  • 3. If a mutual Commutation between Christ and Sinners, would imply (as he says) Blasphemy; then this various respect serves to this end, to prove that in some respects it is Blasphemy, though in others not.
  • 4. 'Tis evident, he quotes the Dr. with a guilty Conscience knowing that his Words will never reach the Proof that its produced for: Let us therefore hear the Dr. himself, A change of Persons between Christ and us, as to Sin and Righteousness, whence Christ is made our Sin, and they who believe are made the Righteousness of God in him: Now I would ask, what is here in the Doctors Words to his purpose? Christ is made our Sin: So he is in the business of Satisfaction; We are made (we who believe) his Righteousness: yes, so we are in Iustification: But these two are not ad idem; they relate to, speak not of, one and the same Thing; [Page 78] for the Question is, whether there be a Commutation of Persons between Christ and us in satisfaction? and in that respect, which is the only respect in which the Question stands, there's nothing mutual, nothing reciprocal, which yet should have been proved, if he would prove the Propriety of this Phrase, A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners.

Thus fallaciously has he quoted, so miserably has he wrested that Learned Persons Words, and I doubt not we should have discovered far greater Fraud, had he dared to direct us to that place in the Doctor's, where he supposes him thus to speak.

You see, Sir, at what Rate this Gentleman Argues, and how he quotes his Authors; a notorious vein of this Fallacy runs through his whole Discourse: I have already observed to you some of 'em, and I reserve many others for a particular Paper: At present you see upon what Terms I am willing to serve you, who am,

your Faithful Servant, &c.

LETTER V. The most Horrible, and Uncharitable Cen­sure, which the Defence passes upon the Distressed French Churches.

SIR, you will forbear to wonder that the Defence, p. 78. has past so severe a Censure upon the distres­sed, and almost extirpated Protestant Churches of France, when he has usurped upon God's Throne, and dared to give a Judgment upon God himself, and his Tre­mendous [Page 79] Providences: What the Psalmist complains of his Implacable Enemies, the same may our poor afflicted Brethren complain of theirs, Psal. 69. 26. They persecute him whom thou hast smitten, and talk to the Grief of those whom God has wounded. They that are at ease in Zion, are ready to insult over the Ruines of the desolated Temples, and triumph over the dead Bodies of the Saints that lie in the open Fields, and there are none to bury them: And as if this were a little matter in his Eyes, he pretends to have got the Key of the Divine Secrets, and to pry into the Awful Judgments of the Glorious and Holy Iehovah: And whereas we all see and bewail their calamitous Estate, he can assign the ve­ry sin, for which the Lord has thus severely tho Righ­teously dealt with them: so easie a step is it from the Seat of the Scornful, to the Iudgment-Seat of God.

But you shall hear him in his own Language. I can­not but reflect upon the Calamitous Condition into which our Brethren in France are fallen, since they omitted to Witness so fully as they should have done, against Amyraldian En­croachments made on the common Faith of Protestants; wherein you may observe some notable things.

  • 1. He could not but reflect—No doubt of that, where the Feaver of Uncharitableness burns in the Heart, it will break out at the Lips; and commonly it leaves a Blister upon the Tongue. A Soul full of fer­menting Passions, must have vent, or it will break: Thus when he was full of his own Self-Admirings, he could not forbear, but must be a Blab of his Tongue, and proclaim them to all the World, Preface, &c.
  • 2. He will still call 'em Brethren, whence you may in­terpret his frequent Complement to his Rebuker, Bro­ther, Brother, all along, and yet 'tis but the Prologue to the Tragedy, or the Prefatory Kiss to the Assassinating his good Name.
  • 3. You may please to inquire at your leisure by what Warrant he dares to annex this particular Judgment to [Page 80] this particular Sin: It becomes all the Sons of Men to stand upon the Shoar of this Infinite Abyss, and adore his unsearchable Judgments; but we have got one that dares to leap into the Gulph with a strong Conceit: Si ego non capio te; tu capies me: The Psalmist would teach us all more becoming Modesty, Psal. 36. 6. He doth great things past finding out: His Ways are in the Sea, his Paths in the great Waters, and his Footsteps are not known: But as deep as God's Counsels are, we have a Gentleman, whose Line and Lead will fathom them.
  • 4. 'Tis most certain, the Hand of God has been stretcht out against, and laid heavliy upon his precious Servants in that Kingdom; but so it has been in former Times, when in the Parisian Shambles thirty thousand were butchered in a few Days, and in the rest of France near a hundred thousand; and yet they then kept Reli­giously close to the Confession of their Faith; and God had secret Reasons why he permitted that Massacre, which he has not acquainted our Author with, not­withstanding his pretended great familiarity with his Creator.
  • 5. Nor does it appear that the French Churches did now decline in their Zeal for their Professed Princi­ples, but in every Synod avowed their firm Adhe­rence to their Confession, and if I mistake not, so­lemnly ratified it with an Oath by all the Elders and Pastors.
  • 6. And when Information was given in, that some of their Articles had been contravened by some Passages in Monsieur Amyrault, the Synod of Alanson charg'd him home with the Matters gathered out of his Writings, which he interpreted into a more Commodious Meaning; and yet the Synod severely decreed against his plausible Palliations, and gave him a strict Charge to forbear them, which he promis'd to do.
  • [Page 81]7. And yet this Amyraldus seems not so great a He­retick, that he and a few more should be able to draw down such dreadful Judgments upon the whole Prote­stant Churches there; for I perceive Dr. Owen lookt up­on him as one holding the Foundation, upon which he and others had erected the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction: See his Epistle to the Reader to his Declaration of the Doctrine of the Trinity; upon the same Foundation does proceed, Paraeus, Piscator, Lubbertus, Lucius, Camero, Voetius, Amyraldus, Placeus, Rivetus, Walaeus, Thy­sius, Altingius, Maresius, Esenius, Arnoldus, Turre­tinus, and—Baxter, with many others. If this Amyraldus was such a desperate Heretick, that he could corrupt a whole Nation, Dr. Owen has placed him in very good Company.
  • 8. And I pray what could the National Synod have done more to prevent the growth and spreading of his Error? And to render themselves clear in this matter, they censur'd him, brought him to Repentance, &c. and what more than this do the Protestant Principles allow of? Should they have deliver'd him up to the Secular Power; or erected a Holy House of Inquisition among the Reformed Churches?
  • 9. Supposing they had been guilty of some Conni­vance, yet it's a presumption, none but such a High Flyer would be guilty of, to tack this Judgment to that sin, and be positive that it was inflicted on them for this sin of Omission: It becomes us all, who are so pur­blind, even in common Providences to Adore, and not to search into the Mysterious Labyrinths, of the Di­vine Dispensations, where we may sooner loose our selves, than find out God; and forfeit our Eyes by a curious prying into God's Ark, than to satisfie our own Curiosity by such inquisitiveness.
  • 10. And why could not this Gentleman be as favou­rable to God, as he was to Mr. M. and Mr. C? Who when they declined Subscription to the first Paper, yet [Page 82] he brings 'em off cleaver with some reserved Reasons, not to us, but themselves best known; and might he not have been as tender of his Creator, and allowed him his Sovereign Reasons to justifie his own Acts? Seeing he does not always, nor is he bound to give an Account of any of his Matters, Job 33. 13. we acknowledge and be­wail our Brethren had their Provocations, and we yet hope our Gracious God will, and do pray that he would at last look on their Distresses, and not leave them to be a Scorn to Fools. But to affirm that this Pu­nishment was the Produce of that Sin, is more than he can prove, and therefore should have been more than he had asserted.
  • 11. And surely we have reason to look at home, and advise whether we have not more scandalously omitted to bear our Testimony against Socinian, and Antinomian Heresies; when this censorious Person has publisht a System of the Gospel, which has neither Regeneration, Conversion, Iustifying Faith, Repentance, nor good Works in't: Now if their Sin of Omission brought destruction upon them, what must we expect for these Commissi­ons? and if the green Tree was hewn down, and cast into the fire, what will become of the dry? and if they be punisht because they gave not so full a Testimony against Amyrault, what must become of them who have given so full a Testimony to Antinomianism?

But, Sir, you shall not rely on my word in this mat­ter. I will give you a full and faithful Account as it stands on Record, from the National Synod of Alanson, Anno 1637. Synodic. in Gal [...]ia Peformata.

1. Monsieur Amyrault appear'd, and presented him­self in the Synod, to give an Account of his Doctrine; of­fering to submit to its Iudgment, yet professing he was per­swaded in his Conscience that he had neither taught by word or writing any Doctrine repugnant to the Word of God, or the Confession of Faith, Catechism, Liturgy, or Canons of the National Synods of Alez and Charenton, which had [Page 83] ratified those of Dort, and which he had Sign'd with his Hand, and was ready to Seal with his Hearts Blood.

2. The Sieur de la Place, (our Defender's Great Pla­caeus) gave an Account of the Reasons that induced him to approve and license the Writings of Amyrault; which he did according to the Priviledge granted by the Discipline of the University; where the said Amyrault, and de la Place, were Pastors and Professors: But hence it may be infer'd that this great Placaeus was of Amyrault's Judgment; for the University could not give him a Priviledge to License a Book against his Judgment and Conscience.

3. The Synod having read the Papers, and heard Amy­rault divers times, and considering the difficulty of the Que­stions, did constitute a Committee of divers Learned Pastors and Professors, to digest Matters, and to reduce into order the Explications given by the said Amyrault of his Doctrines, and when finisht to make their Report to the Synod.

4. After the Committee had made their Report, Amy­rault being call'd in, professeth with the deepest seriousness before God, that it was never in his Thoughts to Propound, or Teach any Doctrine, but what was agreeable to the known▪ and common Expositions of the Creed contained in the Con­fession of the Faith, and in the Decisions of the National Sy­nod held at Charenton, 1623. all which he was ready to sign with his best Blood.

5. Hereupon he explains his Opinion ahout the Universa­lity of Christ's Death, Conditional Decrees, and about distinct Decrees in the Counsel of God, &c. of all which Points he gave the most Plausible Interpretations he could.

6. The Synod not satisfied with those Interpretations of dangerous and dubious Expressions; enjoyn'd him and all others to refrain from those Terms of Conditional frustra­tory Decrees: and further enjoyns him not to use the Terms of Velleity, strong Affections and Desires which he as­cribed to God, of those Things which he hath not, nor [Page 84] ever will effectuate, with that Sobriety and Prudence, that they might not give the least occasion of Offence to any Per­son, or cause them to conceive of God in a way unsuitable to his Nature: And the said Amyrault professed his Acqui­escence in all as aforesaid; and having Sworn, and Subscri­bed it, they gave him the right Hand of Fellowship.

Upon the whole Matter, what justifiable Grounds our Author had to justifie his Censure and Sentence upon the French Churches, for their not bearing so full a Te­stimony against Amyraldus his Incroachments, I cannot discern; much less can I see upon what Reasons he could ascribe their Miseries to this Provocation. But nothing is more common with bold and rash Men, than to ingage God in their little Quarrels, and intitle God and his Gospel to their petty Notions; and could they but borrow the Thunderbolt for a Day, O how would they avenge themselves upon those saucy Wret­ches who have dared to controul them in their Preten­sions: Thus have they carv'd out for God, a Remune­rative and Vindicative Iustice; the former of which shall Reward them and all their Friends; the latter, Avenge them of all their Enemies.

But, Sir, I shall not need to desire you not to grieve those afflicted ones whom God has wounded; not to trample upon the dead Bodies of the Saints, whom the Antichristian Enemy has slain; nor to insult on the Ashes of their Habitations burnt, or the Ruines of their Temples demolished; nor joyn with the Bloody Papists in crying out, Aha! Thus would we have it! But of this matter, thus much.

I am Yours, &c.

LETTER VI. Of the Curious Artifices employed by the Defence, either to Blanch his own Er­rors, or to Blacken the Truth.

SIR, Your Letter comes like an Interloper, to disturb the setled Correspondence, and Epistolary Trade, now for some time driven between me and my old Friend; yet because you promise we shall receive no more such Interruption, you shall for this once be grati­fied.

You observe in my Author's Discourse more than or­dinary Cunning; and 'tis true, I have been more puzzl'd to find out his Fallacies, than to detect and answer them when once found out: And if I can but clearly lay open to you the Intrigues of his Defence, you will ea­sily answer his Book, nay the Book will answer it self, and you will always find there's the same Difference be­tween a Poaching Sophister, and a Close-studied Divine, that there is between a Pettifogger▪ with all his Chicanery, and a profound Lawyer.

§. 1. His great Artifice, is to be operose and volu­minous (if a Pamphlet may be styled a Volume) in Proving what his Antagonist never denied; sweating at an Argument, when he might as well be cool; and freezing, where 'twas expected he should have more warmth. Now do you not wonder, what he can pro­pound or promise to himself from such a Procedure? I assure you Sir, 'tis the best piece of Policy he's guil­ty of.

[Page 86]1. An ingenious Reader will be so Civil to him as to think, sure I have denied, that Christ suffered and dy­ed in our stead, or else a Learned Divine would never take such Pains to prove he did; for no Man would be at all this fatigue to prove what was never denied; and if he can gain this Point upon his easie Reader, he has prepossess'd him with an Opinion, that his Antago­nist is a wretched Heretick.

2. And what if the discerning Reader sees through the Fraud, its worth the while to deceive him for an Hour, though he sets himself to right in the next: And for the most part, he that Calumniates stoutly leaves some Prejudices behind, that will stick, and de­fie all after-Vindication.

3. And he gains this at least, that he shall be Re­puted, a well-read Man, That can bring such Legions of Authors into the Field, though he has no Enemy to Fight with: Which was the Vain-glory of that Empe­ror who drew up his Army in Battalia, marcht to the Sea, and though he had no other Service to Command 'em, but to gather Cockle-shells.

4. Besides its absolutely necessary, that some or o­ther should be daily made Socinians; for propagating the breed, as the individual wear out; for as a sorry Wisp, is a Theme copious enough to engage an Ha­rangue for an Hour long to a well studied Scold; so these two Letters D. W. shall serve to Equip a whole Fleet of Pamphlets: And had it not been for him hitherto, and now for poor Me, I know not what the Club of Revilers would have done for a little scribbling Pra­ctice, or where they would have had Bread, but I will Address my Self to evince this great Artifice.

Page 15. Def. What more evident than that, if the Lord Christ had not made Satisfaction of Gods Iustice for us, there's nothing left for the Relief of a convinced Sinner? p. 16. Its Christ's Righteousness alone that can pass the Examen in the great Day of the Lord, ibid. If Christ [Page 87] endured not the Punishment due to us for Sin; there can be no proper Satisfaction made to the Iustice of God. And now to prove what none that deserve the Name of Reformed Protestants ever denied, he pours upon us a whole Brigade of Authorities, Rivet, Turrentine, Dr. Edwards; and thus, p. 44, 45. he is Copious in pro­ving, in his way of Proof, by inartificial Arguments, That Christ dyed properly in our stead: And asserts from B. Reynolds, That Christ had the guilt of Sin, so far upon him, as it Notes the Obligation, and Subjection to Punishment: And after all these pompous Quotati­ons, I have no other Answer to give, than what was given to Mr. Impertinent, when he made that starcht elaborate Oration in Praise of Peace; Quis enim un­quam vituperavit? I pray Sir, who ever spoke one Word against it?

§. 2. Another of his familiar Artifices is, to advance very fair and modest Premisses, and then to hook in more to the Conclusion (even the Question it self) which was not contained in the Premisses.

Thus he quotes Grotius to prove, that Christ suffer­ed truly and properly in our stead, and that there was a real Commutation of Christ's Person for us, all which we grant, and earnestly contend for; but then he draws in his great Phrase, a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners; which should have been solidly proved, not shamefully begg'd. Thus he speaks, p. 37. Here's not a Word of the change of one Person only; it being a Commutation, which is a change between one Person and another. No Sir, this is your own Fallacy: It's a change of one Person for another, which Grotius proves, but not a Commutation of two Persons, for each other: Which you should have proved, and if you could, no doubt would.

§. 3. His famous Artifice, which had better become the Chaplain of the Copper Mines in Sweden, than one that stiles himself a Minister of the Gospel, is a down right Falsification.

[Page 88]The Rebuke, p. 30. had asserted, that the Brethren did unanimously agree to grant as much as the sound Sense could bear; (viz. in these Phrases a Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, &c.) Now he char­ges the Rebuke, p. 16. as if he said, they could not bear a sound Sense: And p. 26, 27. If we may believe our Brother. The Assertion of the Necessity of a Com­mutation of Persons between Christ and us, in order to a due Explication of Christs Satisfaction, and our Iustifica­tion, cannot bear a sound Sense! Is it possible, that the Reader however prejudiced, however byassed, should not observe? 1. That it was granted, that the Phrase might possibly bear a sound Sense. 2. That the o­ther Sense (and that only) which was liable to a Sense of Malignity, was waved; and yet he asserts, that the Rebuke affirmed, it could bear no sound Sense at all; and is at it again, p. 29.

Again, whereas the Rebuke had affirmed and pro­ved (nor has any Thing been offer'd in the least to in­validate the Proof) That Mr. W's did not deny a change of Person universally, but restrictively; i. e. he denied nothing, was concern'd to deny nothing, but what the Dr. had affirmed; Reb. 38. he nevertheless affirms, Its clear enough to me, (but to no Body else) that Mr. W's doth deny a change of Persons in every Sense. Why then (say I) to what end do we Write, or Discourse or Dispute; if whatever we say, or however we ex­press our selves, our Words must be interpreted to a Sense and Sound clear contrary, and contradictory to what they Literally carry?

One Instance more shall conclude this Subject. The Defence, p. 76. tells us: That one Error embraced by the Remonstrants was (The same which his Brother has in his Rebuke) that to Dye for Sinners, must not be under­stood, as if Christ died loco, aut vice ipsorum, in their place and stead, sed bono tantum; but only for their good. Now I challenge this false Accuser to produce [Page 89] the Place, where I ever denied that Christ died loco nostro, vice nostra; or whereever, I affirmed that Christ dyed only for our good; I did indeed say, it was im­possible that Christ should dye for more than our Good: That is, that there was nothing beyond this, nothing more than this upon the Heart of Christ, than the Benefit of those he dyed for; even when he offered himself, a Sacrifice to Divine Iustice, when he made his Soul an offering for Sin, when he was wounded for our Transgressions, when he bore the Iniquities of us all in his own body on the Tree, yet all this Terminated ultimately in our good; He was wounded for our Transgressions, that by his stripes we might be healed; and beyond these spiritual and eternal Benefits, our Faith cannot believe, our Hope cannot expect.

I will yet add one more: The Rebuke, had owned a change of Christ's Person for us, that is, in our place and stead; and to make sure work, that no false gloss might be put upon it: It was explained from the Bishop of Worcester, who calls it a Substitution of one Person (Christ's) in the room of anothers (Ours.) Now how wretchedly and falsly does this Author represent this, p. 35. As the Phrase of a change of Persons between Christ and us, is intirely denied. (There's one Rapper! It was never intirely denied in the Rebuke) so, A new Phrase is invented and put into its place, of a change of Christ's Person: That's another loud Rapper, for the exchange of Christ's Person in suffering for us, is no new invented Phrase, but the Invention of the Holy Ghost, who assures us, that Christ gave himself a Ran­som for us, Math. 20. 28. But then he adds a third, Interpreting this change of Person into a Socinian Sense: As if all we allowed was, that the change was in Christ's Person from Ease to Pain, whereas what we as­serted was a change of Christs Person for us, in our stead.

§. 4. 'Tis a little pretty Device, and he makes much [Page 90] use of it: To Vest himself, and his Friends, with the splendid Titles of the Godly Learned: And then to be sure all that oppose their Sentiments, must be Ungod­ly Block-heads. Thus when the Pope had arrogated to himself the Title of Infallible, he has in that one word determin'd all Controversies, for what can be reputed Orthodox which is Condemned by the Infallible Chair? The same use the Romanists have made of the Word Church: So that whoever detains their pretended rights is a Church-robber, and guilty of Sacrilege. These Terms our Author has engrossed to himself and party, p. 12. Def. These are the Phrases pitcht upon by the Godly Learned; p. 17. This is Matter of grief to the Godly Learned among us; p. 48. It has been the Practice of some to reject the use of such Phrases as have been pitcht upon by the Godly Learned: It would be a great kind­ness to inform us, who these Godly Learned Persons are? How we may meet with them? Where we may speak with 'em? For those Reverend Divines who Composed the Articles of the Church of England; those who Compiled the Confessions of Faith at Westminster, and at the Savoy have been reputed by us, to be God­ly and Learned too, but not one of these is to be spo­ken with; and which is worse, none of these did ever pitch upon these, or any of these controverted Phrases; but did conceive according to the Light of the Age, that they had fully and clearly explicated the Doctrines of Satisfaction and Iustification, without these Pen-and­Ink-horn-Terms; but our Author having monopolized Learning and Godliness to his own Party, runs away with the Question, and they that boggle shall be censured for Prophane and Illiterate Coxcombs; and thus has he dealt with his Rebuker.

§. 5. 'Tis an useful Piece of Art, which yet needs some Application of Mind to discern it: That he se­cretly yields the Thing in Question, and then proclaims himself Victorious and Triumphs in his Victory: Thus [Page 91] when he has made a hugeous Bluster to justifie his Phrases; yet he melts them down at last into that Ex­pression of Christ's Suffering in our place and stead. And this we call stealing of a Fall.

P. 80. Defence, he speaks thus: Is it not enough that I have shewed that the controverted Phrases are included in the acknowledgment of Christ's making a proper satisfaction to God's Iustice for us? Is it not enough? No indeed, Sir, is it not! For the Controversie was about the Phrase; whether that was proper, adequate to the things pretended to be signified by 'em; but your Solution speaks to the thing, about which we have no Contro­versie, but do zealously contend for; tho we dare not with equal Zeal contend for a Phrase that was never de­livered to the Saints, nor they obliged to contend for it: But if it be enough for you to own the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction, without proving the Phrase, it must be enough for us to own the Doctrine, tho we should reject the Phrase.

But again, ibid. All these Phrases are virtually owned in sundry Confessions and Synods, which have openly owned the Phrase of Christ's Suffering in our stead. Why then does he quarrel? For if the owning the Confessions, be a vir­tual owning of these Phrases, we who have openly owned these Confessions, have virtually owned the Phrases; and why may not we be Orthodox upon as easie and cheap Terms as himself?

But yet the Truth is; this Phrase, A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sinners, is not in my Judg­ment so much as virtually included in the Phrase of Christ's dying in our stead. That which is larger, can­not be included in that which is narrower; but this phrase, A Commutation of Persons between Christ and Sin­ners, is larger, wider by one half, if I have admeasured right, than that of Christ's dying in our stead, as I have already made it appear: Therefore if we could persuade this Gentleman to wave his fine Phrase; and adhere to, [Page 92] and be content with that other which he says virtually includes it, we should soon adjust all Controversies, by resting in the Confessions and Synods; but that would utterly spoil the gainful Trade of Doubtful Disputa­tions.

§. 6. It seems 'tis a necessary, tho' I humbly conceive an Impious Artisice, to Depreciate the Sacred Scriptures, that he may magnifie his Phrases of Humane Invention: And if the Word of God be a perfect Rule of Faith and Obedience, (as Protestants have ever hitherto main­tained) we cannot allow the Imposing upon our Faith any New Phrases, which carry not a sense evidently sup­ported by the Word of God.

But our Author tells us, P. 59. Defence, That the most pestilent Doctrines have been oftentimes communicated in the Language of the Scripture: I must declare my ab­horrence and detestation of the Position, as Scandalous and Blasphemous; and will maintain the contrary: That the Language of the Scripture never communicated one pesti­lent Doctrine. Hereticks may force, impose, obtrude an Heretical Gloss, Interpretation upon Scripture Lan­guage, but the Language is still sound, Orthodox and pure: And he quotes St. Hierome, Think not the Gospel to be in the Words of the Scripture; but in the sense. Well: The Gospel lies not in the Words of Scripture; then farewell the Sacred Canon! I did always believe, that [...], 2 Tim. 3. 16. That the [...], the Writ­ing was Divinely inspired; and to what purpose do we inquire for a Divine Sense of Words that are not so? This Principle would cut up all Revealed Religion by the Roots, at one Blow. 'Tis this Principle the Ie­suits have proceeded upon, when they blaspheme the Holy Scriptures, as a Nose of Wax, a Leaden-Dagger, a pair of Seamens-Hose; from this Principle have risen those audacious Attempts to fetch new Senses from the transposing of Letters, Words, Sentences, of which Meibomius has given some desperate Specimens.

[Page 93]But he goes on higher still, p. 60. and labours to prove his Error from Biddle's Scripture Catechism: For there he has (says he) delivered in Scripture Words very gross Errors. But this is a gross mistake; for Biddle does not deliver his gross Errors in Scripture Words, but applies the wrong Scriptures to his own captious Que­stions. Dr. Owen observes accurately upon this very point: Biddle's Errors, his Body of Religion, lies not in the Answers; (which are the Words of Scripture) but in the Interpretations and Conclusions couched in the Questions: And it's most evident, that in all the Heretical Cate­chism, had he applied the proper and pertinent Texts of Scripture to the Question, the Scripture would have deli­vered it self from the Heresie insinuated in the Que­stion. See Dr. Owen Pref. to Brid. p. 11. 41.

At these horrid Rates must the Holy Word of God be reproached, that he may advance his darling Phra­ses into the Throne: And they say, 'tis the Custom in some Countries, That a Virgin must never be executed for any Crime, till the Hangman has defloured her.

I add yet further, If the Word of God be not so secure, but that Men of corrupt Minds, Reprobate con­cerning the Truth, may vitiate it with Heretical Glosses, what security can we expect, that Phrases of Humane Invention should escape better? And we have seen al­ready a deplorable Instance in this Phrase, A Commuta­tion of Persons, &c. from whence such erroneous Infe­rences have been drawn.

§. 7. The last I shall mention is, That he has wholly altered the state of the Question and Controversie; for whereas all that I opposed, was some odd Phrases of dark and dubious Meaning, and as the Words seem to sound of dangerous Design and Tendency. Keeping my self still Religiously to the Good old Doctrine of the Gospel, proposed in the Holy Scriptures, in the pub­lick Confessions of the Protestant Churches, even all we can meet withal in the Harmony, or Body of the Con­fessions; [Page 94] and further, I do not know that I am obliged or allowed to go. This Gentleman makes a heavy noise about the Doctrines we all own, waving the Con­troverted Phrases: Thus fighting with his own shadow he is secure of the Victory, and running alone, is sure to win the Prize.

Sir, I cannot forbear to give you a further taste of the excellent Temper and Moderation of Dr. I. Owen, Diatrib. de Iustit. Divin. cap. 16. Summam rei quod atti­net, nos sententiae Piscatoris, suffragamur, sed quoniam nul­lius, in verba jurare Discipulis Christi fas est: Omnium Phrasium, Argumentorum, Rationum, quibus in sententiae istius Defensione utitur Piscator, patrocinium suscipere Obli­gatos, nos esse minime Arbitramur? ‘As to the Main of the Cause, I agree with Piscator's Judgment; but because 'tis not lawful for the Disciples of Christ to swear implicitly to any Man's Words, I do not judge my self obliged to justifie all the Phrases, Arguments and Reasons, which Piscator makes use of in the De­fence of his Opinion.’

Sir, I can safely trust you to apply this Passage to the Case in Hand; and only shall desire you to admire the Defender's singular skill, that can draw Water, and strike Fire out of the same Flint, and can find Draining-work for his Engine upon Salisbury-Plain: Tho I must aver it, That none do more Disser­vice to the Truth, than by adding Humane In­ventions to Divine Revelations; and where the Golden-Chain of Salvation ends, to Eke it out with a Thumb-Rope of Sand. Thus much in haste, from

Yours, &c.

LETTER VII. Of Christ's Suffering and Dying in the Person of Sinners.

SIR, That Correspondence which the Importunity of a Friend interrupted for a Return or two, I shall now gladly reassume, and let the Matter be about ano­ther Phrase. Since Theology is now adays turned into Phraseology; Christ's dying in the Person of Sinners, or sustaining the Person of Sinners in his Sufferings; for the Author's Phrase Book speaks with some variety: You may please to take the Matter thus.

The Rebuke had said, p. 11. We ought in the first place to Inquire what they mean by the Person of Sinners? And then to enquire about Christ's taking it up? Does it im­port that all Sinners are United, and are to be suppos'd, con­ceiv'd, consider'd as one Person? And so Christ died, suf­fered, satisfied for that one Person. Very good! Then I perceive we are tackt about to the Tents of the Arminians, and do suppose that Christ died for all equally: For if all Sinners be one, and are to be reputed as one Person, and Christ took on him that one Person, it will be difficult for all their dividing and prescinding skill, to make it out, how he died for one, and not for another; seeing all these Sinners, as in Christ's Eye, are but one single Person.

Now to this Reason assigned against the Phrase, our Author returns not one word; only tells us, That Christ and Sinners are here considered as one Moral Person. Very right! And so did the Rebuke consider them, and that Consideration gave the strength to the Objection against the Phrase; for if all Sinners be con­sidered [Page 96] as one Moral Person, and Christ be considered as dying in that Moral Person; he must be considered as dying equally for the Moral Person; and then how one Limb of that Person should be an Elect Limb, another a Reprobate Limb; and how we shall avoid Universal Redemption, it is his Duty to take care: How odly will the Elect and Reprobate look, when he has thus kneaded 'em into one Lump? What a Monster will that Person seem, made up of such Integrals; and such a Person as Mr. Hobbs represents his Commonwealth to be, an Aggregate of Copper-Farthings, or Guinea's.

Of this Objection our Antagonist is so civil as to take no notice; the wisest way in the World, unless he could have given an Answer: What does he then? For a noise must be made! Why, he multiplies Quotation upon Quotation, Author upon Author, and such a Lumber of Modern Testimonies, as if the Cause were to be press'd to Death with number, not with weight; but this was the Logick of Iob's Friends, who proceed­ed eternally upon an Ignoratio Elenchi, Job 6. 25. what doth your Arguing Reprove? Thus all his Learned Divines are of this Faith, That Christ dyed in our stead: But that this Phrase, Christ dyed in the Person of Sinners, was necessary to the Explication or Confir­mation of that Truth, they prove not: But let us hear him speak; Defence, p. 11. The Phrases of a change of Persons between Christ and us, and of Christs taking on him the Person of Sinners; and suffering in their Person, room and stead, are most apt to convey unto our Understanding the True, the Orthodox, the genuine Sense of those Texts: Christ dyed for our Sins, and for us: This he asserts with great Bravery and Confidence enough, I hope we may have leave to wedge in a few Words.

(1.) As for one of these Phrases, viz. That Christs suffering in the room and stead of Sinners, is apt to con­vey to our Understanding the true, and for ought I know, the genuine Sense too of Christ's dying for us, [Page 97] and for our Sins; I agree with him perfectly, because every Expression in the World, is apt to convey its own self to a humane Understanding.

(2.) And yet perhaps it had been more properly said, that Christs dying for us and for our Sins, is apt to convey to our Understanding this Truth, that Christ dyed in our room and stead: For when all is said that can be said; 'tis the Holy Scripture divinely inspired, that must convey to our Understanding whatsoe­ver we are to believe and build our Faith upon; nor ought we from Terms of humane Contrivance to con­ceive of the Scriptures, but by, and from the Scriptures of Truth to judge of, and to Measure those Terms and Phrases; and from thence to form such other Terms as there is really need of, and occasion for, which must clearly and adequately express the Mind of God there­in contained, and from hence they receive all their Va­lue and Authority.

(3) I must nevertheless enter my peremptory Dis­sent to what he says; That those Phrases, A Commuta­tion of Persons between Christ and Sinners, and Christ's suffering and dying in the Person of Sinners, are most apt to convey to our Understanding the sense of those Scriptures, Christ died for our Sins, and for us. And I advance these opposite Positions, That these Phrases are not apt, nor more apt, nor most apt to convey to our Understanding, the aforesaid Truths.

  • 1. They are not apt in themselves, but inept and un­proper to convey to our Understanding those Truths; for that Christ dyed for us, and for our sins, conveys to our Understanding, That there was a Change of Christ's Per­son for others; but the phrase, A Commutation of Per­sons between Christ and Sinners, conveys to my Under­standing this Falshood, That there were two persons ex­changed mutually each for the other; They are inept and improper to convey to my Understanding the import of those Scripture Expressions, because they are less known, [Page 98] less understood than those Scriptures which they pre­tend to illustrate.
  • 2. Nor are they more, but less apt to convey to our Un­derstanding the sense of those Scripture Expressions, Christ suffered for us, for our Sins, than the other Phrase so well known and approved, Christ suff [...]red, dyed in our room, place and stead, [loco nostro, vice nostra.]
  • 3. Nor can they be most apt, to do this Service, be­cause Scripture Expressions and Phrases are more apt, much more apt for that end than they, unless we should be so vain as to fancy that the Spirit of God was not able to chuse the most apt and proper Phrases, to con­vey to our Understandings, whatever it was his Will we should believe with our Hearts to Salvation: At this rate the Apostle spoke, and taught, and argued, 1 Cor. 2. 13. Which things we speak, not in the Words which Man's Wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth, comparing things Spiritual with Spiritual: Nor did St. Paul fear he should vent Pestilent Heresies so long as he kept close to the Words of the Canon dictated by the Holy Ghost.

But it seems these Persons, whom our Author has Dubb'd to be the Godly Learned, have a priviledge to render their Terms of Art more expressive, more sig­nisicant than the Canoniz'd Expressions of the Holy Ghost. I must beg their pardon! Men may deceive, and be deceived: What the Psalmist spoke in his haste, the Apostle spoke in cool Blood, that all Men are Lyars; that is, we can have no infallible certain [...]y, no good security to rest our Faith upon them, further than as they propose to our Belief, what is conformable to the Word of God

Sir, I need not give my self or you any further trou­ble in this matter. 'Tis a Phrase, and but a Phrase that all this pother is about, and a Phrase none of the best that ever was invented, and a Phrase that has been, and may easily be interpreted to an evil sense; and the [Page 99] World has been troubled about some fruitless, barren Controversies about it; and if any has occasion for it, let 'em use it, and for my self, I will use my own li­berty.

But yet, Sir, because I am no Hider, but open-heart­ed, I will therefore deal frankly with you, and give you what satisfaction I am able in this phrase.

1. I firmly believe that Christ took on him our Nature, the Nature of Sinners, but not their sinful Natures: He was made like unto us in all things, yet without sin, Heb. 4. 15. I believe the Word was made Flesh, and dwelt among us, John. 1. 14. [...]. The Eternal [...] condescended to dwell in the Humane Nature as in his Tabernacle: That this Assumption of the Humane Na­ture into personal Union with himself, was a Founda­tion laid in the Counsel between the Father and the Son for his suffering in his Holy and Sinless person, for and in the stead of Man.

2. I believe also, that according to the Compact and Counsel that was between them both, the Father and the Son, Jesus Christ did take on him our sins; that is, he bore the punishment due to them, and therefore in some sense bore the Guilt too, as the R. R. B. B. of Norwich and Worcester have explained the Term, from Isa. 53. 5. He bore our Sins, and carried our Sor­rows.

3. I have read, and probable 'twas true; There was once a Crew of lewd Hereticks, who affirmed, That Christ took on him the person of sinners; and these from the first Author and Founder of their Sect, were call'd Nestorians; who maintain'd that Christ was constituted of two persons; the one the Eternal [...], who did assume, the other a Humane Person, who was assumed▪ And I confess my self prejudiced against the phrase of Christ's taking on him our Person, because it carries an odd sound that syncretizeth with the Nestorian Gib­berish.

[Page 100]4. Let any Man use the phrase that is fond of it, he shall not offend me, but none shall assume to himself the power to impose upon my Faith or Conscience those Arbitrary Terms; for with the same ease that they pro­pose or impose them, I can reject them, and stand fast in the Liberty wherewith Christ has made me free, nor will I be intangled in, and with that Yoak of Bondage; for since there are choice of phrases, whose signisication is clear, and not so obnoxious to Misinterpretation, which convey to my Mind the Import of the fundamen­tal Truth: I will chuse, while I am at my own liberty to chuse, some other, and will never gratisie, never humour these Tyrants over, and Usurpers on Consci­ences.

5. And because the Publick Confessions of all the Reformed Churches, have not thought fit to use this Phrase of Christ's dying in the Person of Sinners: Its a strong Argument to me, that they neither judg'd it necessary to the Explication or Confirmation of that Doctrine of Christs dying in our stead; and that ei­ther they were Strangers to it, and it to them, or at least had more Discretion, than to vex and torment the Faith of Believers, with a Term borrow'd from the Civillians, or the Stage-Players.

6. And its safe to govern our selves in all such Mat­ters, by the Rule and Reason of the Apostle, 1 Cor. 10. where he assigns one and the same Reason, for his Advice to a clear contrary Practice; ver. 25, 26. Eat (says he) making no question for Conscience-sake: For the Earth is the Lords, and the fullness thereof: And yet ver. 28. Eat not for Conscience sake; for the Earth is the Lords and the fulness th [...]reof: This has been, and shall be the Rubrick of my Behaviour, where 'tis reasona­bly applicable: If any Phrase be dubious, i'le take the safer side and forbear it, and leave it to them who have greater clearness: It may possibly be Innocent, therefore i'le not Iudge another: But it may be dan­gerous, [Page 101] therefore I will judge for my Self; there are other Phrases of better Credit: The Earth is the Lords, and the fulness thereof.

I have heard of a plain honest Man that Address'd himself to a Learned Casuist: With this Question, Pray good Sir! Is it lawful for me to Marry my Cou­sin Germain? Ay, said the Dr. I would have you Mar­ry her, if there was never another Woman in the World: Implying that Necessity may justifie some Actions, which yet a wise Man would not venture upon where there's variety of Choice; if there were never another Phrase in the World to express that Truth: I would, I must use it; but seeing we have good store, I will chuse elsewhere, till I be satisfied that a competent Power has determined me, and my indifferency about it.

7. Though I am not averse to the Phrase, yet I am really afraid of it; ever since I observed Dr. Crisp, and his Disciples are so enamour'd of it, we must reckon our selves, if we will reckon Right, to be in Christs Person and Christ in our Person: Now, what can he mean less, than that Christ dying in our Person, had all our Personal filth upon him; and that we suffering in Christs Per­son, must needs be pardoned, acquitted, justisied from the Moment of his Death without more ado? But he that reckons without God, and the Scripture, makes a very unconscionable reckoning.

8. And I will add this further, which is common to all the suspected Phrases, that as they have been made subservient to Antinomianism, an Engine of Division, so have they been introduced into the first Paper to persecute, and run down Mr. D. W's. and I am a­bundantly confirmed in my former Suspicions from Defence, p. 42. If Mr. Williams had taken this Phrase [in our place and stead] in the ancient and genuine Sense it would have argued that he was sound in the Faith: Would it so? Why then (say I) prove it, and prove [Page 102] it like a Schollar, as you would be thought to be; without Tricks, Quibbles and bare Suspicions that he has taken it in any other Sense than the ancient and genuine, and for my Part I will throw up Mr. W's and your Self, and all the World besides, that shall be found equally guilty.

When some Years ago I heard a general Clamour from one sort of People, against Mr. Ws his Book of Gospel Truth; I was tempted to think, there could not be such a loud out-cry, but there must be some Wooll; nor such a Smoak and Smoother, but there must be some Fire, and therefore I confess I came with no small prejudice to the Reading it, and upon my Im­partial Perusal I found this Noise, was only the shear­ing of Hoggs.

But they have found an Art to render Mr. W. or any Man alive, guilty of whatsoever Heresies they shall please to clap upon them in spight of their Teeths: He was charged once by the six Brethren, to deny the Imputation of Christs Righteousness, otherwise than in the Effects: To this he answered, that besides the Effects of Christ's Righteousness made ours, he had expresly af­firmed, that the very Righteousness of Christ it self is im­puted to True Believers. Shall he be sound in the Faith [...]? No! never while he Lives and Breaths! for they can draw and wire-draw some Consequences from some of his Words, in some place or other, that shall evince that he believes otherwise than he intends; and this Art is the Sheet [...] that never yet fail'd the Defender at a dead lift: I could wish it might be se­riously considered, 1. Whether these Men may not possibly be mistaken in the Inferences they draw from other Mens Words? Especially when they are not di­rect and immediate; and more especially when the Eye that pretends to discover them has the Glaucoma, and is all over tinctured with the Jaundice, which makes all the World of the same Complection. 2. Whe­ther [Page 103] any Man as well as He, may not be mistaken in the Consequences of his own Words? Which may perhaps be such as the Author could not foresee, and which if he could have foreseen, would have abhor­red and retracted, what he had before asserted? 3. Whether there is not a great Allowance to be made to humane Frailty, whose acutest Eye cannot always see to the end of a long Train of Words, and Thoughts?

The first Paper expresses a good Temper (if the Au­thors had seen it meet to govern themselves by their own Canon.) Not thinking it reasonable or Iust, to charge upon any Brother such Consequences of any Expres­sion or Opinion of his, which he shall disown. O Sincerity! Whether art thou fled! Mr W. owns Christs Righte­ousness it self imputed to us: He disowns the contrary, and yet contrary to Reason and Iustice, they charge him with, persecute him for some imaginary Consequences: But of this I suppose the intelligent Reader has by this Time received Satisfaction from Mr. W's him­self.

I have sometimes wondered with my Self, what should inflame all this Indignation against Mr. Willi­ams? I know its easie to assign justifying Reasons for Malice, when yet there are Motives that lie deeper and feed the Flames: After all the Observations I can make, I am forced to resolve all into Envy, Prov. 27. 4. Wrath is cruel, and anger is outragious; but who is able to stand before Eavy? If God has given him, an useful, prefitable way of I reaching the Gospel: He may be maligned on that account: If Providence has indulg'd him a plentiful Estate; some may look upon him with an Envious Eye on that Account: If he has made too great a Figure, and born too great a Port; that might easily draw upon him the evil Eye: Against all which, I know no other Remedy under the Sun, but to intreat him that he would Preach indifferently like his Neigh­bours, [Page 104] and that they would endeavour to Preach better, that so both may stand upon the same Level: And then, that he would make over one half of his Estate to the Defender; and lastly, that he would be Content to Draw in the Thillers Place, in the Team; and let ano­ther walk gravely before him, with the high Foretop, and the melodious Collar of Bells, and all the gawdy Trappings; and this may probably asswage the high Ferment of Passion, and suffer him to live in a more temperate Climate.

Sir! I must now strip and prepare for the fiery Fur­nace: Which he has heated for me seven times hotter than ever in Smithfield; and you see how I am encom­passed with Multitudes of Faggots: Thus he [The Phrase of Christs sustaining the Person of Sinners Re­jected]

But, 1. The Phrase was not Rejected: Only suspend­ed, not excommunicated; and that only till they who have invented it, shall Interpret it: First, Then he produces Du Moulin; Christ sustained the Person of the Elect upon the Cross: Tis well! and thus I had rather have it worded, than that he sustained the Person of Sin­ners: Because I know not how to make the Elect and Reprobate unite and coalesce into one Person: Dr. B. next, The Surety and the Person for whom he is Surety are in the estimate of the Law but one Person: So then they are both but one Person: And if so, to what purpose do they talk of the Person of Christ suffering in the Person of others, when indeed they are but one Per­son? And again if this be so, That they are both but one Person; and it was but one Person that suffered; these Sinners may as well be said to dye and suffer for Christ, as he for them.

We have next Rutherford, Noells Catechism, Grotius, Hoornbeck, and a whole Regiment poured in upon us, and yet when they are all put together. 1. They are but Private Persons, all of 'em cannot make a single [Page 105] Church. 2. 'Tis in their Polemicks they talk thus, not in Articles of Faith. 3. They talk at this rate, when they are fighting, not uniting; 4. They none of 'em give any Reason for their using of the Phrase, but run away with it, as a word of Course: To all of them, and as many more I return.

1. That as the Ancient Fathers, ante mota certami­na Pelagiana minus cautè locuti sunt: Spoke less warily about Original Sin, and Effectual Grace, before the Pe­lagian Heresies were started: So might some of our Protestant Divines overlash a little in some Phrases, be­fore the Antinomian Heresies were Broached amongst us: Alas! these good Men never Dreamed of Saltmarsh, Crisp, or our Reporters Substance of the Gospel, where Faith is left out from any concern in Justification; they never read Mr. C's Coalescing into one Person with Christ upon believing: Nor of the Eternal Life of God communicated to Believers in Time, which contains all the Fopperies of Familistical Fancies. So true is the Ob­servation, that the Atheists Heaven has no God in it; the Socinians Hell has no Devil in't; and the Antinomi­ans Gospel no justifying Faith in't.

2. I must repeat it, and will abide by it; that this Phrase its not being found in the Confessions of Faith of any of the Reformed Churches, is a greater Preju­dice to its Currency; than its being used, if it had been used, by ten Thousand single Persons: We have carefully inspected all the Creeds, Confessions, Articles of England, France, those at Westminster and the Savoy, to which as we can cordially subscribe, so in none of them, or any other can we meet with those Idoliz'd Expressions: Nor are they adapted either to the Expli­cation or Confirmation of the great Doctrines of Satisfa­ction or Iustification; which thing was nevertheless pretended to in the first Paper, but I suppose I have sufficiently dismounted that Presumption.

[Page 106]3. This Gentleman, when he has run through his endless Tautologies, and lost himself (and as he hopes his Reader too) in a thousand Mazes, and intricate Labyrinths, comes at last, as I have shewed, to this, that all his Phrases are virtually included, in that one Phrase of Christ's suffering [...] and satisfying in our stead; and as there he is forced to rest at last, he might as well have suffered us, without disturbance, to have rested at first.

4. We dare own no Writings absolutely for the Reason and Rule of our Faith, besides the Holy Scrip­tures, where his Phrases never yet shewed their Faces. And for the Antinomian Sense we cannot meet with that either in the Old or New Testament: We have learnt to be wise unto Sobriety, not above what is writ­ten, lest we become Learned Fools: And shall rather chuse with the Poor to receive the Gospel with meek­ness, than to descend Learnedly to Hell.

Sir, I will give you a welcome Intermission from this tedious Scribble, what remains, if any thing re­mains worthy your Notice, you may expect by the next, from Sir,

Your Faithful Servant, &c.

LETTER VIII. Of Christ's Sustaining the Person of Sinners.

SIR! There is indeed a small matter in Arrear upon this Chapter, which with good Husbandry, will furnish our this Paper, so that you shall not grudge the Postage.

One Caution will be necessary to guide your Thoughts herein; that it is not the Phrase of Christ's sustaining the Person of another, in every respect, that gave occa­sion to this Discourse, but his sustaining the Person of Sinners, of all Mankind as one Person, when he suffered, dyed, and satisfied the Iustice of God.

But our Author, Defence p. 25. gives us an account how one person may sustain the persons of others, accord­ing to the phrase of the Civil Law: One single Man being put into the different States and Conditions of many, puts on their Person: For instance, Ambassa­dors, Vice-Roys, Syndics; and in the more inferiour Stations, the Tutor sustains the person of the Pupil; the Guardian of the Minor—And they are such as do somewhat for the Advantage of them whose persons they b [...]ar, &c. When I read these words, I was surprised and startled into some warm Thoughts; What is this all the Fruit of his pompous Ostentation of the Civil Law? That to sustain the person of sinners, is to do some­what for their Advantage? Why this is Socinus and Crel­lius all over; what they and the rest of that Bran and Leaven contend for; they will allow; nay, they plead that Christ acted in the Name, and for the sake, [Page 108] for the Benefit and Advantage of others; but by no means that he died properly in their stead: They rea­dily grant, that Christ came as an Ambassador from God, to reveal his Will to the Sons of Men, and to treat with them about their Return to God; for this belongs only to his Prophetical Office; and herein Christ sustains not the Person of sinners, but of the Father who sent him: And because the R. R. B. of Worcester, has spoken so fully to this point, I will once again tran­scribe his words. There is (says this Learned Person) such a Change of Persons, as implies that one is appointed, and allowed to act for another, and for their Advantage: And this sort of Change of Persons the Socinians never deny'd. (N. B.) It is not therefore the Use of the Words, but the Sense of them that is to be inquired into: For some may af­firm a Change of Persons, and yet be Socinians; and others may deny a Change of Persons, and be far enough from Socinianism, according to the sense in which they are understood.

But further: The Socinians will allow that Christ has undertaken to appear for sinners, to plead their Cause as an Advocate, and Intercessor; as a Guardian who takes care of the Affairs of a Minor in his Nonage; as a Tutor, who espouses the Concerns of his Pupil: But the Orthodox affirm, That Christ was our Priest, that he was so on Earth on the Cross; that he osfer'd him­self up as a Sacrifice to Divine Iustice; and that he ex­ecutes the other part of his Sacerdotal Function in Hea­ven, by Intercession; but the Socinians contend, that he was a Priest only in Heaven; and for any proper Sa­crifice offer'd on the Cross, they are no more concern'd than our Author.

I come now to an Instance of the Defender's Vanity, which perhaps was never parallel'd; P. 23. This phrase Sustinere personam alterius, is Tully all over; Tres perso­nas unus sustineo; Meam Adversarii & Iudicis: which I must render, if I will render it appositely. I Cicero, [Page 109] do act three Parts; my own, that of an Accuser, and that of a Iudge: What does the Orator intend by three persons? Surely, no more than three Relations, three Respects, three Parts, which all at once he acted; his own part, the Accusers, and the Judges. Well then: Tully alone acted three parts, sustained three persons; Christ alone sustained three Millions, and all these as one Person, Is not the Parallel most exact? Again, Christ suffer'd really properly in the place of all their persons for whom he suffered; but Tully sustained these three Persons Figuratively, Metaphorically; that is, in that very sense wherein Socinus would have Christ to be a Sacrifice, and make satisfaction.

But I shall not dismiss this Matter upon these cheap Terms; I would let the Reader know where he pickt up this Blasphemous Notion of sustaining three per­sons; for so I will call it, one moment before I prove it.

The Modern Socinians, especially those of our own Degenerate Nation, are risen up to the height of Blas­phemy in exposing and ridiculing the Tremendous Doctrine of the Trinity in Unity, Three Persons in One, and the same undivided Essence: And this they have done in the most scurrilous manner that the Malice of Hell could suggest to Debauch'd Wits.

Now this very place of Tully, which our Author so much glories in, and values himself upon, is their Text from whence they preach their Blasphemies, and of which he could not be ignorant: Of which I will give you an account from the B. of Worcester, in his late excellent Vindication of the Trinity, Pref. p. 4, 5. The Socinians, (says he) have formed a Fivefold Trinity. 1. The Ci­ceronian. 2. The Cartesian. 3. The Platonick. 4. The Aristotelian. 5. The Trinity of the Mobile.

Now for the Ciceronian Trinity, they form it thus; be­cause Tully had used the word personae for different Re­spects Sustineo ego tres personas. And according to this [Page 110] Acceptation, Three Persons in the Godhead signifying no more than Relations, Capacities, or Respects of God to his Creatures; which (say they) is downright Sabellianism, and is no manner of Mystery, but the most intelligible and obvious thing in the World. Now let the Considerate Reader observe what our Gentleman has made of Tully's Ego sustineo tres personas. That is, Christ bore, or su­stained, or acted in three Capacities, three Relations, three Respects; but how will this come up to his sustaining the person of sinners, in the offering up of himself a Sacrifice to God?

And then secondly for the Cartesian Trinity, let us see a little how our Author falls in with that. The Car­tesian Trinity (as the same Learned B. proceeds) is that which makes three Divine Persons, and three Infinite Minds, Beings and Spirits to be but one God.

Suppose we then that any person who has versatile In­genium Rota figulari versatilius; one that can act all parts, and turn himself into all shapes, as they subserve his va­rious Occasions; and that this Man so given to change, should personate a Life-guard Man, and together with his broad-lac'd Hat, his Blew-Coat, and swashing Blade by his side, should put on to humour the business more to the Life, the Spirit of him he represents: And when that Turn is served, should personate a Quaker, ma­king Christ a meer Light within, denying the Scrip­tures to be the Word of God, vilifying Ordinances as poor Carnal things, and below the Dispensation of the Spirit; and all this only to do an odd Job, to come off with a Subscription, and save an Oath to the Government; and presently should assume and sustain the Person of an Antinomian, and give us their System of the Gospel as his own, to accommodate his Faith and Conscience to the present Juncture, and gratisie some special Friends. Here would be a Man of Three Minds, and to Morrow, if occasion call for it, he has a fourth to put on; only its happy, they would be far enough from Three Eternal [Page 111] Minds: This is surely a Person notoriously given to Change! De Te narratur Fabula!

I conclude with one Observation more from the same Learned Author, where he proves, That such a Change of Persons, and Christ's taking on him the Person of Sinners, has no foundation in Scripture; and that it's con­trary to the Tenour of it: All that our Saviour saith to this purpose is, That he came to give his Life a Ransom for many, Matth. 20. 28. And that his Blood was shed for many, for the Remission of Sins, Matth. 26. 28. What other Change of Persons is here implied, but that of a Ran­som, a S [...]crifice of Propitiation. He that knew best sor what ends he suffered, saith not one word of his taking upon himself the Person of Sinners in any other sense, than as he suffered in their stead, and for their Advantage.

There is yet an odd Farthing on the Score, which I must account for. This Phrase of acting in the person of another, or sustaining the Person of another, has ordi­narily a sense not very creditable; and commonly sig­nifies to personate, or represent the Person of another, or take on the Disguise, Mask, or Vizor of another: Thus Tully in that place so celebrated, so mistaken by our Author: Ego unus tres sustineo personas; I act three parts: So those Counterfeit Persons in the Roman Comedies, were called, Dramatis Personae; and those o­ther which only appear'd, but spoke nothing, were called, [...], Mutae Personae, Dumb Persons. Now this minded me of the Counter-scuffle between Salma­sius and Milton, where the latter picks a Quarrel with the former, for this very expression in Persona. De par­ricidio apud Anglos in Persona Regis Admisso. Now there is no doubt but Salmasius intended it of a Parricide com­mitted upon the Person of that King; but because he used that Phrase, Milton falls on him with his usual briskness. Quid, quaeso, est parricidium in Persona Regis admittere? Quid in Persona Regis? Quae latinitas unquam sic locuta est? But our Author to vindicate this expression, gives [Page 112] this Answer, p. 27. The Reason why Milton was so se­vere upon Salmasius, was not so much because Salmasius u­sed the word Persona, as because he mistook the Ablative for the Accusative Case, and wrote in Persona, when it should have been in Personam Regis! Risum teneatis? Was ever any thing spoken more Ridiculously? I am satisfied Salmasius designed to write as he actually wrote, in Per­sona, and Milton had no Quarrel with him about the Case, but exagitates the Phrase as improper, and un­becoming so great a Grammarian as Salmasius had then the Vogue for in the Learned World. And so the An­swerer to Milton, whether Father, or Son, p. 26. Ubi ille multiplex Barbarismus, non simplex? Fortasse an quod non dixerit Salmasius in Personam Regis, sed in Persona? O Barde! Where the Answerer rejects this supposal with Scorn and Indignation, that he should be thought to have mistaken the Ablative for the Accusa­tive Case.

In a word; Milton was a Person whose excellent La­tin, terse and smooth, has recommended his Style to all that understand the Language: The Merits of the Cause between him and his Antagonist I am not con­cern'd in, but this has been taken for granted by many, that his sharp and pungent Repartees pierced that great Critick's Heart, nor could he long out-live that sting­ing Phrase with which he was persecuted by Milton: 'Tis highly improbable to me, that the Old Man, un­der this discomposure of Spirit could dress up a for­mal Answer to his Enemy in that short time of Hurry that he lived. His Son might possibly out of his loose Papers stitch up that Cento, which in a Postumus Piece ap­pear'd under his Name, which saw the Light when King Charles II. was Restored; but whether it turn'd to account from his Patron or Client, I am no more concern'd, than I am what becomes of all our Phrase­Divinity, and this is particular, which our Author has so verbosely and operosely managed.

[Page 113]The Defender pretends highly to more than a smat­tering in the Civil Law, and accordingly makes a huge chattering with the Terms of it. The Socinians and our Author presume they have great advantage by 'em. My Opinion is this, that when they fall into judicious Hands, good use may be made of them against the Socinians: Our Gentleman has put 'em to the worst use that ever they were put to by any Protestant; he gives us many Instances of Persons representing others, managing and transacting the Cause of others, which may illustrate Christ's undertaking for his Church upon a Throne of Grace; for he has promis'd he will be their faithful Guardian, John 14. 18. And not leave them Orphans, [...]: But tho this Civil-Law tells us of Embassadors that act by Commission and Instruction, of Tutors and Pupils, &c. yet they do not furnish us with any Instance of any that laid down his Life in the stead of those they were intrusted by.

Nor indeed can we reasonably expect that the Body of the Civil-Law, which out of two thousand Manu­scripts, or Fragments of MSS. was compiled into one, in Iustinian's Time, should have its Terms and Phrases adapted and suited to those sublime Mysteries; or that the Inspired Penmen of the Holy Scriptures of the New Testament, should accommodate their Writings to that Body of Laws, which they had never seen, nor could have any Regard to.

But, Sir, I beg your pardon for this Digression, and will hardly give you the like Offence: However I am,

Yours, &c.


SIR, There are a few Parcels scatter'd up and down our Author's Discourse, which either I could not conveniently reduce to any Head, or possibly thought 'em not worthy my notice or yours, which upon second Thoughts I have comprised in this Letter.

§. 1. The Report, p. 8. has charg'd Mr. W. that he de­nied a Change of Persons between Christ and the Elect; and that this Denial is so express, that he leaves no room for a Distinction, Limitation, or Restriction, or for owning it in any sense. To this the Rebuke an­swer'd, p. 38. That Mr. W. has left room enough for all the Distinctions that are proper to the matter in hand. That Mr. W. denied nothing but what Dr. Crisp had affirm'd of this Change, that there is no Contra­diction between affirming a Change, and denying a Change, unless they be both ad Idem. That he did not deny a Change simply and absolutely, but only in a certain respect, and restrictively. That these things are obvious, and plain to an ordinary Understanding. Nor is there a more a futilous or foolish fallacy than to conclude a dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter: Now this Argument the Bishop of Worcester in his late Letter has abundantly cleared. How can any Persons in common Ingenuity understand this otherwise, than that he de­nied such a Change of Persons as Dr. C. affirmed? Why then should such a sense be charg'd upon him, which he dis­owns at the same time? There must be something farther in th [...] matter, than appears to an indifferent and Impartial [Page 115] Reader. And so there is something farther, something that lies deeper; something that presses harder than ap­pears to every one.

But still the Defence insists upon't, p. 31. and to illu­strate his Mind, speaks thus: He must own that the Apo­stle Peter was a good Man in some respect, because he doth not say, St. Paul was evil in every respect: I considered seriously with my self, what Temptation the Man could be under to drag these two blessed Apostles by the Head and Shoulders, into our pitiful Squabbles; or where the Wit, the Policy, the Reason should lie to introduce them into our sorry concerns: I knew not what real harm they had done him, but that I find the one, 1 Tim. 5. 15. pretty severe upon the [...] Bu­sie-Bodies; and the other as sharp, 1 Pet. 4. 15. upon the [...], Busie-bodies in other Mens Matters; and that might justifie a Peek, and involve them both in guilt, which shall never be forgiven. But then why should a Man be Impertinent, that he might be Pro­fane? For the Argument is Nugatory, and very Child­ish: St. Peter was a good Man in some respect, because he doth not say, St. Paul was evil in every respect. Nor can I find that St. Peter ever charged St. Paul to be evil in any respect. I find indeed that St. Peter says, 2 Ep. 3. 16. That in his Brother Paul's Epistles there are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned, and unstable, wrest, &c.

And I know the Papists when they would decry the Perspicuity of the Scriptures in things necessary to Salva­tion, do argue at our Author's rate; A dicto secundum quid, ad dictum simpliciter: Some things in those Epi­stles are [...], therefore all are so. The unlearn­ed, and unstable wrest them; therefore the humble that depend on the Spirit of God, must needs wrest 'em too. Now look what Answer the Protestants gives the Papists, I give to this Gentleman. Mr. W. denied a Change of [Page 116] Persons in Dr. Crisp's Sense, but it follows not that he denied it in every sense.

§. 2. In the Report, p. 5. we have a distinction be­tween Punitive and Remunerative Iustice; and this Di­stinction he creaks with up and down. Now its a Rule among all Logicians, That Membra dividentia, non sunt coincidentia: The Members of a Division, must never be Coincident: But our Reporter is so hardy to run his Head against this Canon; and divides Justice into Pu­nitive and Remunerative; or into Vindicative and Re­warding; whereas God does as truly Reward in punish­ing; and all Vindicative Iustice is Remunerative: Now for this we have the most express Scriptures that can be desired. Compare these two, Heb. 2. 2. Every Trans­gression received a just Recompence of Reward, [...], Heb. 11. 27. He had an Fye to the Recompence of Reward, [...]: Now when the Recompence given to the greatest Trangressions; and that given by Grace to Faith, are by the same Apostle termed a Re­compence of Reward: It's apparent to an ordinary Eye, the Terms in our Author's Division must be coincident, and therefore absurd, and improper. Nor can there be a solid Reason given for the Distinction of Justice into Vindicative and Remunerative, when Vindicative Ju­stice is Remunerative; save that they make a kind of a Rhyme, and that at any time with our Author shall compensate the want of Reason.

§. 3. Report, p. 4. There is a Passage which I am assu­red will give you Diversion, and perhaps force a Smile from your Gravity. Had a Change of Persons been but a [...], a Bar or Hedge, about the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction, the Explosion would have amazed them; but the Commutation of Persons being so essentiall to a pro­per Satisfaction, they dread what the Pursuances are like to be. You see here, Sir, a Comparison formed between the Essentials of Satisfaction, and the Accidentals; or to keep nearer to his Allusion between the main Castle [Page 117] where this Doctrine of satisfaction is fortified, and the Out-works that are rais'd at some distance round about it: Now, Sir, observe, how they stand affected to both these: If the Hedge, the Out-work had been bro­ken down, it would have amazed them; but if the Main Fort had been storm'd, then they would dread the pursuances: As if Amazement were not the highest degree imaginable of Fear and Dread: And that they should have a higher concern for some slighty Redoubts they had built about it, when the main Doctrine is safe, than if the Doctrine it self were overthrown, or blown up into the Air: The highest degree of Christ's trou­ble of Soul in his Agony, is call'd Amazement, Mark 14. 33. And that degree of Fear which is almost inconsistent with Faith, is called a Fear with Amazement, 1 Pet. 3. 6. Whose Daughters ye are, while ye do well, and are not afraid with any Amazement, [...].

I never knew a Man give up himself to an Affected Pedantry, but he was guilty of Nonsence: A famous In­stance you have here, in his new-coin'd Term pursuan­ces; we that are old-fashion'd People, should not have scrupled to have said Consequences; and they are but such things as easily follow and flow from a Propositi­on; but these pursuances are clear of another Nature; active, vigorous things that pursue and follow after a­nother to overtake him: Just such another piece of af­fected stuff we had in Observances for Observations; and one of the same Humour, Explosion, which to English Ears signifies the shooting of a great Gun.

§. 4. Prepare your self now, Sir, for a glorious Scene: Our Author has summoned a Congregation of his Junior Brethren, Def. p. 9. who either by disuse have forgotten, or by reason of a too early, and constant Applica­tion to practical Preaching, never throughly understood the necessary Doctrine of Christ's Satisfaction: This practical Preaching is a great Grievance which ought to be Re­dressed: Truly, Sir, it will do you good at heart to see [Page 118] our great Gamaliel in the Chair; and all the small Fry sitting at his Feet in Imis Subselliis, with huge Devotion waiting for the Oracular Reveries that drop from his Lips; just as they painted blind Homer vomiting up his Rhapsodies, and the Minor Poets licking up his Recrements and [...]gastions: Thus shall you see him pouring out whole Floods of Learning, while the Inferiour Clergy lap up his Notions with wondrous greediness.

(1.) And first he instructs his Pupils from Grotius, That those words Christ suffered for our Sins, cannot be understood of a final, but of a Meritorious Cause. That's a thousand pities! Now thought I, what implacable spight has he conceiv'd against poor Grotius, that he should seldom or never give him a true word; but I had tried him too often to trust him any more; and there­fore hastily catching up Grotius, the first Sentence I cast my Eye upon was this, De satisf. p. 4. Nam [...], non minus significare solent, Causam impulsivam quam cau­sam finalem; These two Prepositions do usually signifie no less the Impulsive, than the Final Cause. So then, no less the Impulsive than the Final, must be construed by a Learned Divine, not the Final, but the Impulsive Cause: Well! Tho I knew Grotius's Judgment well enough in this matter, yet I would needs look farther for fuller sa­tisfaction; and p. 33. I read thus. Finis Rei de qua Agi­tur, secundum Dei & Christi intentionem, duplex est, justi­tiae nimirum Divinae De [...]onstratio; & peccatorum Remissio quod-ad nos: Hoc est i [...]punitas nostra. The end of this Affair, where [...] we now treat, (Christ's suffering for our Sins) according to the I [...]ndment both of God and Christ, is twofold: To wit, the Demonstration of Divine Iustice, and the Remission of our Sins, that is our indemnity from punish­ment. And having discoursed at large of the former end, the Demonstration of Iustice, he comes, p. 36. to treat of the other. Finis alter, ut Diximus est impunitas nostra, which the Apostle emphatically expresses, Rom. [Page 119] 5. 9. Much more being justified by his Blood, we shall be sav'd from Wrath through him.

(2.) He proceeds in his Learned Lecture to instruct his Novices. That the Preposition [...] [For] when its said Christ suffered for us, signifies a Commutation or Change of Persons between Christ and us. But had our Dr. pleas'd to become a Learner, before he commen­ced a Teacher, he might have known better Things both from Grotius and the Bishop of Worcester. They would have informed him, that the Preposition [...] imports contrariety, as well as Substitution, and that therefore it does not from its own force necessarily im­port Substitution, but as 'tis in Conjunction with the Suffe­rings of Christ; but because I know he'll not believe what I say, I recommend to him the judicious Dr. Owen, Appendix to the Doctrine of the Trinity, p. 232. [...] in the Greek is also used in this Matter, and ever de­notes either Equality, Contrariety or Substitution: The two former Senses can here have no Place. The latter alone hath: Thus its said, that Archelaus reigned [...], in the room of Herod, his Father: And this Word is used also in expressing the Death of Christ for us; Mat. 20. 28. Mark 10. 45. And both these Notes of a succedaneous Substitution are join'd toge­ther, 1 Tim. 2. 6. Who gave [...], a Counter-ransom for all. Now that his Disciples may neither be deceived by him, nor he deceive himself; he may be pleas'd to know that this and some other Prepositions, do not signifie a Substitution meerly, ex vi vocis, but as they are limited and restrain'd, by the Coherence and Context: But perhaps I know who laid a snare for him in this Matter.

§. 5. His Method for the Cure of a wounded Consci­ence may pass amongst his noblest Discoveries; p. 15. Defence, What more evident than that if the Lord Christ has not made Satisfaction to God's Iustice for us: There's nothing left for the relief of a convinced Sinner, or for heal­ing [Page 120] a wounded Conscience: But there is Satisfaction made by Christ. But what is the convinced Sinner, the woun­ded Conscience nearer a Cure! If there be no justify­ing Faith to apply that Satisfaction to the Person? The most soveraign Plaister will not heal a wound, till it be applied: Nor the choisest Food satisfie the craving Appetite, unless it be taken down: Nor the richest Robes cover our Nakedness, unless they be put on. Christ with all his Merits and Righteousness, will not answer the demands of an awakened and inlight­ned Conscience, till Faith gives us an actual Interest in them, and Repentance shall qualifie us for them. The Soul sees its Misery and hears of Mercy, but as to any solid Comfort from them 'tis as far off as ever: St. Augustine describes this as the wretched state of the Platonists. Patriam viderunt, viam ignorarunt: They saw there was Happiness in the Enjoyment of the one God, but how to come to that Enjoyment they knew not; but must pine away in their Sin and Mi­sery, and in this sad plight has our Casuist left his wounded Conscience: And why could he not have di­rected the convinced Sinner to the same Remedy the Apostle directed the Distressed Gaoler to? Acts 16. 31. What must I do to be saved? Believe in the Lord Iesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. This was Gods own Direction from Heaven; Math. 17. 5. This was St. Peters Method, Acts 2. 38. See also Isa. 55. 3.

§. 6. I am very unwilling to enter upon any thing that relates to my Self, and indeed the Indignities, Calumnies, he has bespawled me with, are so ma­ny, that they would require more Paper to wipe them off than I can now spare; one or two I will observe.

1. The M. S. had insulted magisterially over Mr. W. that he was guilty of a broad Contradiction. What a change, and no change! Yes, said the Rebuke, a [Page 121] change, and no change, make no Contradiction, when they are not directed ad Idem: This gave the Defender a happy hint, for his flippant Wit: p. 29. He had little Reason to speak of no Change, seeing he is the Man, so much given to Change: Now I will wave the witty quibble, and only note the Malice of it: He insinuates all along his Discourse, that I have chang'd my former Principles; am become a Socinian, an Unitarian, and what not? This Falshood has been industriously and dexterously spread abroad the Town; so that if all that know my Doctrine and Conversation, could not have confuted the Slander, my Reputation had been sunk, or for ever blown up: I know not how he could justifie his own stedfastness in Principle; should I retort the Impeachment, and Recriminate, and throw back some of that Dirt he has thrown at mine, in his own Face: For he that once Preacht that Faith and Repen­tance were necessary to Pardon, has now quite Ca­shier'd Faith from any concern in Justification; and Repentance from any Interest in Pardon or Salvation.

2. He has represented me, by his Alter Idem, to be Delirous, and by his Ferst Self, to be a Person of di­sturbed Thoughts, Ignorant, Unlearned, and all this with abundance more, from the same Principles of their new Christianity has been craftily whisper'd, and buz­zed abroad, and sent in Letters to their Friends in the Countrey; that I was Crazed, Distracted, and that the next News they must hear of me, would be from Hogs­den or Bedlam. But Blessed be my gracious God and Father, who has given me a sound Mind, in a sound Body; and who knows, but that the Lord has thus blessed me, and therefore blessed me for the Curses of Shimei. But when this Gentleman upbraids me with my great Age, he extorted a Smile from me; for the saddest effect of that will be but to spoil an Old Mans Preferment; which I would have taken Care of with­out his Officiousness.

[Page 122]But Sir! I will give you no farther trouble with my private and personal Injuries: But commit you and yours to the same faithful Hand, to whom I have com­mitted my Good Name, and my All.

I am yours intirely, &c.

LETTER X. Of Matter of Fact.

SIR, For your Satisfaction in this Point, I must re­fer you to the Rebuke, who has faithfully, and to Mr. W's his Answer, who has more fully, and yet with equal faithfulness given you an Account of it: And I judge it to be a safe Rule by which to govern our belief in Matters of this Nature, never to give Credit to him that Writes a Report not from Principles but from Ends; or if you please, whose Ends are the com­manding Principles from which he writes. For as you know, we had a Company of designing Folks, who in the last Age contended earnestly for the Reunion of Protestants and Papists, and with that sort of Men, all our Differences were Minutes, and inconsiderable Tri­fles; so in this present Age, we have been plagued with a Generation of People, who were all for Division, and with these all Differences were Fundamental; every Scratch was Mortal; an Atome was a Beam, a Wart was a Wen, and a Mole-hill a Mountain.

But my Present Province is only to clear those Ac­counts, you have already received from those few Ex­ceptions, the Defence has made against them.

§. 1. The Rebuke, p. 13. Objected to the Integri­ty [Page 123] of the Report, which affirms, That the most Learn­ed of each Party received Satisfaction, viz. in the first Paper: That it gave no Satisfaction at all to Mr. Cole, and Mr. Mather: Now to this he Replies thus, That their Hands were not to the first Paper, was not because they ap­prov'd not the Doctrines therein contained; for they both in the hearing of many declared their approval; though for some other Reasons they declined Subscription.

Sir, I desire you would seriously consider it, whether this Answer satisfies the Objection.

  • 1. What is it to the Ends of Peace and Union what they approved, or disapproved in their own Souls? Its our Publick Approval must compose our Publick Dif­ferences, if ever they be composed: Its not secret thinking, or opining that will serve this turn but open Subscription: If they had openly subscribed, it had Contributed more to Peace, than openly to refuse, and secretly to Comply. The Rule hold good in this Case, De non Apparentibus & non existentibus eadem est Ratio; and what if all the rest had approved only at this Rate, who would have call'd it an Approba­tion?
  • 2. But is not this the wildest Answer that ever was given to an Objection; which does not refute but strengthen it? It was objected, that they did not subscribe and approve, and he gives you a Reason why they did not: It was enough for the Objection, to say, they did not, and he will be so officious as to give us a Reason, why?
  • 3. He says, the Reason was not because they did not approve the Doctrines. No doubt of that! the Doctri­nal Part was so contrived that it could not stumble, or give offence to an Antinominian: The Doctrines were exactly calculated for their Meridian; but yet there might be, and there were other Reasons drawn from some other Parts of the Paper, that prevail'd with them to refuse Subscription.
  • [Page 124]4. And to what purpose does he talk of other Rea­sons, which they reserved to themselves, when there are no Reasons, no not one Reason offered to our view? I had thought that other Reasons should have presuppo­sed some, at least one single Reason that had preceded! What those other Reasons were, the Defence has not gi­ven us, and perhaps the Refusers have not given them to him; but I can help him out at a pinch: Those Gentlemen were both of them Dissenters to the Uni­on, and it was not this or that Union, but all Unions they disapproved, unless they could have met with such ductile Souls as would have complied with their little narrow Sentiments; and yet none could ever get it out of them what those were: There was once a Meeting at Pinners-Hall, to compose the Differences arisen about Mr. Williams's Book, where I heard Mr. M. say open­ly, Away with your Union! And away he offer'd to be gone in a great Huff: Now that Reason which was then openly avowed, might be no, and now doubt was, secretly reserved.
  • 5. That they declined Subscription, is a Term to sweeten and mollisie a harsh and rugged Matter; but the Truth is, they both of them refused to Subscribe all the Days of their Lives, nor will they ever do it to the Worlds end.

§. 2. Whereas the Reporter's Words sounded ve­ry high and big, That this Instrument was gladly em­braced by the Congregational, and gave satisfaction to the most Learned of each Party. The Rebuke asked modest­ly and humbly, as became him, Whether it had Redin­tegrated the violated Union? And that all Differences and Distances were removed? And whether a Coalition between both Parties had hereupon ensued? For what could those pompous swelling Expressions, suggest less? But he was assured, that not one word of all this was true! To this the Defence replies, P. 3. We had no reason to judge thus, but the quite contrary. To what end then was all [Page 125] this Pother? However this is honestly spoken: For now it appears, That the design of this Paper was not Falling in, but a farther Falling out: It was not to stitch up the Rent, but to tear it wider: They expected the quite contrary; 'twas not Peace, but a more Bloody War: Not a Coalition, but a Collision: To make the Differences which had already smoaked, now to flame, and blaze out before the whole World: It is honestly done, I say, to confess under his Hand, that in his Heart he meant not honestly. I will never go about to confute him in this particular, because his words do ir­refragably prove, what one of the Number spoke, That they never intended to enter into an Union with the Presbyterians.

§. 3. But the most pleasant account he gives is this, That the Re-union was but in prospect. This Gentleman must have a long Head, and a longer Reach with his Eye, that could have that in the prospect of his Eye, which he never had in the Thoughts of his Heart, but the quite contrary. Thus our Water-men Look one way, and Row another; and from this sort of Men he has borrowed both his Rhetorick and his Conscience. He had it in prospect; not as Moses, who had a Pisgah-pro­spect of that good promised Land of Rest and Peace; but like Balaam, who saw afar off, what he hated, and wherein he had no Interest.

§. 4. It was objected to the Reporter, That he had given a lame account of matters of Fact, and nibbled off things at both ends. Whereas a faithful Narrative should speak the Truth, the whole Truth, and nothing but the Truth: To which he answers, That he never pre­tended it? What a Faithful Reporter is he like to prove, that never intended Union in what he did; nor never pretended Integrity in what he said? But I intend, and pretend too to rejoyn.

1. That where there is a connexion of matters of Fact, where the present state of Affairs has a clear de­pendance [Page 126] on the former; so that the one cannot be understood, nor a due Judgment of them made with­out the other; in this case an entire Report of the whole matter is absolutely necessary, and to give us a Fragment or two, is to bilk us, and give us just no­thing.

§. 5. But because the Defender is so importunate and troublesome, I will give you and him a farther account of the Falshood of his Report.

1. I must judge a Forgery to be a Falshood; a practical Falshood. Now when I find the Names of some Reve­rend Persons affixed to this Paper, whose Hands and Hearts never were to it, nor any consent given, that any other should do it for them: A Forgery must lie some­where; and where to six it but upon the Report, who printed their Names as subscribed, I cannot imagine. 'Tis certain that the Reverend Mr. M. Barker, and Mr. Scla­ter, do deny that ever they subscribed their Hands, or ever gave allowance to any other to do it for them.

2. Nor is it true, that this Paper was gladly receiv'd by the Congregational; for all that their Subscription does import, is but this little; That they are glad to find so good an Agreement amongst us, as this Paper ex­presses: But what Agreement that Paper expresses, is so next to nothing, that it's a Wonder they should be glad at it: And I presume any Moderate Man, of whatever Religion he may be, might be glad that Men are not falling together by the Ears.

3. Nor is it true, that all the Nine among the Presby­terians did gladly imbrace and receive it; for some of the Nine, upon my knowledge, at the time of their Subscription, did openly declare, That what they did, was with Reference to the Approbation of the United Brethren, in a just Assembly; so that they subscribed conditionally, not absolutely, and therefore this magnifi­ed Paper, was but a Probationer at best; it stood upon [Page 127] its good Behaviour, to live or die, as their Brethren should absolve or condemn, approve or disapprove it: In a word, it was an Escrow, not a formed Deed; an Embrio, till the general Assent should give it life; and this will furnish the Reporter with another Instance of a Contradiction: It was a Subscription, and no Subscription; it had a rude unformed matter, but wanted the Form to give it Existence.

§. 7. The Defender is now resolved to make sure work, to take away the Subject of the Question, and to cut up the poor Presbyterians Root and Branch, by one Mortal stroke. For (says he) P. 5. we know of no such meet­ing (of United Ministers) that hath been of late Months at Little St. Hellens. That's hard! Are they all dead, or fled for the same? Have they broke up House, and left the Key under the Door, and let the Landlord take his Rent, where he can find it? Or was this Report calculated for that happy Iuncture, when they had Ad­journed themselves for some few Months? O no! That was not the Business: A Meeting there is, but not made up of United Brethren; In that the Congregational, who are Essential part of the Union, have not met with an them. This is indeed Mathematial Demonstration! For if an Essential part be wanting, the Essence vanishes with it: By the same Token, that when the Report left out Regeneration, Conversion, and Repentance out of his Sub­stance of the Gospel, which are Essentials of the Christian Faith, he utterly annihilated Christianity; so if the Congregational were an essential part of the Union, and they be gone, the Union must of necessity go with it. But may we not be allowed soberly to examine what he so confidently asserts, That the Congregational are an Essential part of the Union?

1. I freely grant, that if the Design of this Indu­strious Pacificator had succeeded, this had been, to our Sorrow and his Triumph too true! But blessed be the God of Truth and Peace, who has hitherto, and I hope [Page 128] and pray that he will yet teach them to preserve the Unity of the Spirit, in the Bond of Peace, to defeat the unwearied Malice, and malicious Endeavours of all such as would divide, and thereby destroy them.

2. That the Congregational were an Integral part of that Union we grant, that they were an Essential part we deny: The United Brethren are perhaps less in number, but not less united: Nay, their Union has been more firmly compacted and strengthned: Nor can we con­ceive how the Separation of some Individuals should dissolve the Union.

3. I must again assert, what I have fully and clearly proved, That the Secession of those Brethren, was their own fault; and 'tis an acknowledged Maxime in our Law, That no Man shall have Advantage by his own Fact, to justifie his Cause, much less shall the Innocent suffer any prejudice by it: I could never yet meet with any tolerable Reason pleaded, as cause assigned to justi­fie their Departure; what they have pretended to, has been only some suspicion of Heterodoxies in Mr. W's Book; but Suspicions are airy volatile things, which none ought to regard, because 'tis not in their power to prevent and hinder them.

4. That these Suspicions will not warrant this Sepa­ration from the United Brethren, is evident from the Defence it self; which confesses, that the Brethren as such did not set their Hands to the Offensive Book; nor ever expressed any other way their Approbation of it; and can this justifie their separation from a Body of Ministers, when it's owned by the Accuser, that they never approved it? And supposing there was some guilt contracted by the Individuals, that attested the Book, (which yet appears not) there could be none contracted by the United Body, who as a Body never yet gave their Approbation to it.

5. And it's most certain, That there was once such an Union, and such a Body of United Ministers; 'tis also [Page 129] well known upon what Terms they United; and it's as certain that these Terms and Articles of Union conti­nue the same, not in any one point altered, not a Word erased, not a Sentence interlin'd, and upon the same Terms they continue to act: If any will depart, we cannot help it, let 'em depart! The seperation of some may prejudice, may blemish, but cannot dissolve, can­not annihilate the Union; so vain is the Allegation of this Defender, that there is no such thing as a Body of United Ministers, because some of the Congregational have been pleas'd to desert it.

6. Nor is it true that all the Congregational Brethren, have deserted the Union; there are still some, and those of great Name for Learning and Holiness, who adhere actually to their former Relation: Nay, there are o­thers whose Judgments, whose Hearts are still in the Union, tho dunned and staggered by the continual Im­portunity of the bigotted Antinomian Faction, they su­spend their Appearance with their Brethren.

7. And it must be remembred, that when in the Year 1692. some slender Objections were made against Mr. W's Book, that Matter was seriously debated, and at last all Differences were amicably composed, all Of­fences removed, and the whole Body of the United Mi­nisters were abundantly satisfied, or declared that they were: Since which time what new Matter they have pickt up, raked and scraped together after all their Scrutiny into, and Rummaging of that Book, is below all Considerations, and next to nothing.

8. To shut up all in this one Observation. The with­drawing of some of the Congregational Brethren, can never be construed or interpreted a Dissolution of the Union; because by the very Form and Tenor of that Union, they who had formerly made two Parties, did Coalesce into one Body, and laying aside the former Denominations, Terms and Marks of Division, and ut­terly [Page 130] abolishing the Memory of them, they joyned to­gether in that Honourable Name of the United Bre­thren, all the old distinguishing Notes being swallow'd up in that one more commendable: And therefore who­soever should go off, must be supposed so to do, as sin­gle Persons, as so many Individuals, not as a Body, which the remaining United Brethren cannot own them to be; and still the Door stands wide open as before, and their Brethren stand with their Hearts and Arms wide open to receive them, with the most Cordial Affecti­ons, whenever they shall please, and the good Spirit shall incline them to return.

You see, Sir, the Defence (according to his poor power) has represented the Brethren, as to their Union, dissolved and annihilated; whether they will Acquiesce in this Determination, I know not: If they be of that Sheepish Complexion to bear it, they do by Interpreta­tion yield the whole Cause, and lay themselves down in the Dirt, for every Insolent Scribler to Trample on them; but I would hope, and most do expect they will at length awake, and rowse themselves out of this Lethargy, and assume a more Masculine Spi­rit.

This, Sir, at present is all I shall say as to Matter of Fact; if any thing further accrue, you may receive a second Trouble from,

Your most Affectionate Friend and Servant, &c.

LETTER XI. Of the First and Third Paper.

SIR, I perceive by your last, you are inclinable to put a Period to our Correspondence about this Controversie (if a Squabble about Words, may be dignified with the Title of a Controversie) and I con­fess my self as willing as your self; and when I have made some Remarks upon these two Papers, which have made such a Noise, I see nothing that should give you or my self any farther Disquiet.

§. 1. Some Account of the First Paper.

(1.) I cannot but look upon't as a piece of Incivili­ty, which no Ingenious Spirit would have been guilty of: To publish a Narrative of an Affair wherein two Parties had an equal concern, without their joint con­sent, and concerting of Matter of Fact between them both.

I have known of some, and heard of more Confe­rences, Debates, Disputes, where both sides have mu­tually agreed to the Truth of things, before either of them durst be so hardy as to publish the whole: But I am now convinc'd that there are some Men, whom no Laws of Civility or Decency can oblige to what is Comely: Our Author was never indeed very Costive, in his Scribling Humours, but of late he's grown so Laxative, that all the Astringents in the Shops, will [Page 132] not check his Scripturiency; but out it flies, without the Preface of Saving your Presence.

If Prudence might have been heard, it would have Advised not to roll that Stone, which when it's once in motion, he could not be sure to stop: If the [...] might have been his Counsellor, it would have suggested that there were others deeply concern'd besides himself, whose leave might have been modestly asked in a matter of common concern: If Conscience might have spoke, it would have obliged to a severe Regard to Truth, in the most liable way of Writing, which is that of the Narrative. But Prudence, Decency, and Conscience are never consulted, when Men are full of Wind, and think they can leap over Nine Hedges.

(2.) 'Tis most certain, that this Paper was never drawn up with the Knowledge, Privity, or Procure­ment of the United Brethren; and that the Cabals where­in it was Contrived, Hammered, or rather Forged, were never under the Inspection, or Authority of the said Brethren; they were a few, a very few who set the Wheel a going, that put the Intrigue on foot; tho some others were afterwards wheadled in to bear some part in the Farce, and rather jogg'd on Passively than Actively.

(3.) You must always bear this in your Mind, that several of those Persons who were then actually of the Number of the United Brethren, subscribed this Unhap­py Paper, with a Declaration and Protestation antecedent to their Subscription, that they did it with a Reserve to the Iudgment of the Body of the United Ministers. So that if those Brethren should not give their Fiat, it should be lookt on as a Non-factum, a meer Nullity.

(4.) The great Inducement to some of those Brethren to subscribe, was a Whisper, that this would redinte­grate the Union; and from hence they conceiv'd some [Page 133] glimmering hopes of so great a Blessing; which hopes, tho they were Faint, and Leucophlegmatick, as if they were giving up the Ghost, yet they were willing to call 'em Hopes, or any thing rather than black Despair. Tho others that knew with whom they had to do, had their greater Fears, that it would never produce the boasted effect; such especially as knew that one of the Com­pany had declared, That they never intended an Union: And we may be assured, that not one of the Nine would have put Pen to Paper had the Defender freely told them that he has since publish'd, That they ne­ver intended, or pretended to Union, but the quite con­trary.

(5.) You must farther knew, Sir, that tho this Pa­per might have been seen, and no doubt was so, by many Individuals of the United Brethren, whose curio­sity might tempt them to get a sight of a Secret; as we naturally have an Itch to see those Pamphlets which steal abroad sans privilege; yet it was never laid before the Brethren in a Body, never debated by them; and therefore could not be said to be rejected by them, be­cause the Truth is, they never concern'd themselves to Advise about it.

(6.) And yet the Brethren at Little St. Hellens, might have rejected it; upon their own Right, without ren­dring a Reason, as well as those two Brethren declined their Subscription to the same Paper, for divers Rea­sons to themselves best known, and let our Gentleman with all his Fragments out of Calvin's Lexicon, whereof he so unmeasurably glories, give us a solid Reason, why Titius should not have the same Law with Sempro­nius.

(7.) Supposing the Brethren had waved their own Rights, and proceeded upon the Merits of the Paper, and Reasons intrinsecal to it, they might have found many Causes for its laying aside, and rejecting it with Abhorrence.

[Page 134]Now because, Sir, I will not deal niggardly with you, but frankly as a Friend, I will as briefly as I can, shew you, both the Deficiencies and Excesses of that First Paper, which because they have made an Idol of, I will prove to be a Nehushtan.

1. The Deficiencies of the First Paper.

1. And here the fatal Deficiency discovers it self, that it Provided no Barriere against Antinomianism: Re­ally, if in a Day when Socinianism is rampant, the Re­porter was so Amazed, that the Hedge about Christ's Sa­tisfaction was Invaded (tho 'twas but an Imaginary Hedge) why might not the Brethren, in a Day when Antinomianism was far from Couchant, be amazed too to see a Paper appear, wherein was neither Hedge nor Ditch to keep out that Heresie? Repentance in order to Pardon, was superseded; especially when it was so well known, that some of the hottest Zealots for this Pa­per, were double dipt in that Infection. Let these things be considered.

  • 1. The United Brethren had given, and often given abundant Evidence of their soundness in the Faith, in op­position to the Arminian and Socinian Heresies; and might therefore justly expect the like Evidence of their Brethren, in opposition to the Antinomian.
  • 2. When the other Brethren had but some feeble Su­spicions of the Heterodoxy, of perhaps but one of their Brethren, yet they were willing to gratifie the Noise that was made, so far as to put themselves un­der the severest Trial: And yet they who from the Press and Pulpit, by Printing and Preaching, had vented their wild Notions about these Points, would not give the least satisfaction in those tender Points, whereof the United Brethren had the fullest and clearest Evi­dence; [Page 135] and had then before them a Numerous Cata­logue of those Errors.
  • 3. Especially when the United Brethren had pass'd a Vote, That whenever they should be again Attack'd with the old Demands to give Satisfaction, they would insist peremptorily upon a Renunciation of the Antinomi­an Errors, which lay in their View.
  • 4. And having been so often disappointed in their just Expectations of Satisfaction from time to time, they did insist, and had Reasons to justifie their insisting upon that Abrenunciation.
  • 5. They had Charity to believe that the far greater Number of the Dissenting Brethren, were sound in the Faith as to these Points, and did therefore hope, that they would not stand off from a Syncretism with the Brethren in Fundamentals, in tenderness to those few who were otherwise minded, whose Number was inconside­rable: and they do, and must always judge, that all re­spects ought to be laid aside, when the Great Truths of the Gospel shall come in competition with private Affections, and Personal Inclinations.

2. The Excesses of the First Paper.

But the Excesses of this Paper were far more Nume­rous than the Deficiencies. As,

  • First, The Brethren found the Doctrine of Iustification clogg'd and incumbred with Novel Expressions, of which they could make no certain Iudgment: And as they did not know that they were bound to inform themselves that they might be able to make a Judgment; so they knew not where to make application to any that were able and willing to give them light into this obscure matter; they judged themselves sound in Faith in this great Article; if either the Article of Iustification, [Page 136] drawn up by the Reformed Churches in Europe, might be Judge; or if the Confessions of Westminster, or the Sa­voy might determine; or if this Article, as drawn up by these very Brethren, might be heard speak; or if the Holy Scriptures, which we all own, or pretend to own to be the only Infallible Test and Standard of Ortho­doxy, might be allowed to be Umpire; and yet they must needs add the Phrase of a Subordinate Righteousness, to which all those Confessions are utter Strangers; and yet the Paper agreed to in 1692, had expresly renoun­ced, Al Righteousness whatever, in the Business of Iustifi­cation, except the Righteousness of Christ.
  • Secondly, It was surprizing that they should surcharge a Paper, which was pretended to be an Instrument of Pacification, with strange Phrases, such as a Commutati­on of Persons, between Christ and vs; and Christ's Dying in the Person of Sinners: When it's more than probable, most of us, shall be in our Graves, before the true meaning of them can be liquidated, and the sense as­certained; and that yet they should quote Grotius for the use of the former, who never once mentioned it; and the R. R. B. of W. who indeed mentions the Phrase, but never in the sence the Antinomians contend for; of which he has lately given an Account to the World; and when there was neither any need, nor any good use to be made of it, either for the Explica­tion or Confirmation of the Doctrine of Christ's Satisfa­ction; and when these Phrases had been so wretchedly perverted to such pernicious Ends, by Dr. Crisp, and some of his professed Disciples, it will be most Ad­viseable to give it a Civil Dimission.
  • Thirdly, The First Paper treated a Brother undecent­ly, uncivilly, not to say barbarously; They put upon him such hard Terms, to purchase a little uncertain Quiet, which I believe no Man who had a Grain of Spi­rit in him, would ever submit unto: And it may be [Page 137] question'd too, Whether any who had defecated their Souls from Passion, and were in a calm Temper of Mind, would ever have imposed: Let us Read and Blush! If therefore, Mr. W. shall concur with us in what we have declared touching the Doctrine of Justification; and in the Sense we have given of a Change of Persons be­tween Christ and Believers; and of Christ's undertaking the Displeasure of the Father for our Sins; and shall give Satisfaction about any thing else, that any Brother excepts against in the rest of his Writings, agreeably to the above­said Articles and Confessions, we shall so far Acquiesc­therein, as not to make them the Matter of further publick Contest, or Altercation, amongst our selves. So then, the poor Man must be Teazed and Baited all the Days of his Life, and never be sure he has performed his full Penance, whilst one Antinomian can be found to demand farther satisfaction; and to be placed as a Shrove-Tuesday Bird Five Throws Two Pence, so long as any Man can find a Cudgel to bestow upon him; but the fuller exposing of these cruel Terms, will invite you to the Tostscript of the Rebuke, to which I refer you.
  • Fourthly, The first Paper carries an Apparent Contra­diction to it self, and to the Practice of those who so Zealously espouse it: For whereas, it seems to commend, A bearing with one another's Infirmities, and different Senti­ments about Logical, or Philosophical Terms, or meerly Hu­mane Forms of Speech; yet it makes a Commutation of Persons between Christ and us, to be one of the Terms up­on which Mr. W. must expect a little rbitrary and Pre­carious Rest, as long as he Breaths: And yet this is a Humane Form of Speech; Humane, I say, for its Weak­ness and Infirmities, tho not for its Rationality; and the only Excuse they can pretend to make for it is, That it's neither Logical, Philosophical, nor Theological.

§. 2. Some Account of the Third Paper.

This Paper was drawn up with great Judgment, up­on good Advice, and serious Deliberation, becoming Ministers of the Gospel, and the Servants of Jesus Christ, who desired to Approve themselves to him, in their Work.

(1.) Their Faithfulness to Christ and his Gospel, ap­pears eminently in this; That they provided against both the Extreams, whereas the other Paper only took care of One. It has secured the Article of Iustifica­tion, even to the satisfaction of the most Scrupulous; provided always those Scruples are the true Issue of Conscience, not of some Worldly Interest, and Car­nal Design, to create and foment Divisions, because by that Craft they get their Living: And it has se­cured it too against Antinomianism, by Asserting, That Repentance is necessary in its way, and Faith in its kind, in order to the Justification of a Sin­ner.

(2.) That Expression in the first Paper, which ex­cludes a Subordinate Righteousness, is fully provided for in the Third, in these words: None of these, nor any Work done by Man, or wrought by the Spirit of God in them, is (under any Denomination whatsoever) any part of that Righteousness, for the sake, or on the Account whereof, God doth Pardon, Iustifie, &c. Now this Expression (under any Denomination whatsoever) is exclusive of whatever can pretend to come in for a share in Justifi­cation with the Righteousness of Christ; nor can all the Cunning of the most subtle Adversary exco­gitate any thing, which this Universal will not shut [Page 139] out of Doors, whether it be Subordinate, or Co-or­dinate.

(3.) The Condescention of the Third Paper is very Admirable; for whereas all Quarrels about Mr. Wil­liams's Book had been adjusted in 1692. and it might reasonably have been inspected, they had been Bu­ried in that Grave, yet when some had imploy'd their Talents to find a Knot in a Bull-rush, yet the Brethren were content to admit of a fresh De­bate thereon; nor do I hear that Mr. W. himself insisted on his former Vindication, but freely sub­mitted to a farther Scrutiny, in order to Peace and Union.

(4.) I must applaud the Excellency of their Tem­per who drew it up; who would not forfeit their Ingenuity and Humanity, to expose a Brother to those Indignities the other Paper had done; letting the World know that however they had been whead­led into a Subscription to the First, yet they saw their Error, and were grown more Christian, and conside­rate in the Third.

(5.) In a word, All things were here managed in that way, which might engage the Presence of God with them, and the Blessing of God upon them: There was solemn seeking of God in Prayer for Di­rection; due time taken, that all might consider, and then give their Advice: They chose a certain Number out of the Body, who according to Instru­ctions, might prepare, digest, and draw up Matters for the Brethren: They made their Report, which was consented to by the whole Body of the Uni­ted Ministers; so that according to the acknow­ledged Laws and Customs of all such Assemblies, it [Page 140] may be truly and properly said, That every Indivi­dual Brother, gave his Assent and Consent to the Third Paper. That is, there was not one who declared his Dissent; there was not one, but who did Assent, that we knew of.

But if any one of the Reverend Nine-Pins, has been Tip't down, and denied his Agreement to this Third Paper, 'tis more than he had done before his Bre­thren: Nor am I at all concern'd; for as I dare not Pin my Faith upon his Sleeve, so neither will I hang upon his Cloak, lest he should unbutton the Loop, and let me drop into the Bottomless-Pit, as 'tis said, he threatned some of his Auditors; and if he has that slippery Trick with him, I would neither be in his Cloaths, nor hang on his Cloak for a Groat.

Our Author complains somewhere, as if he had drawn the Displeasure of both Parties upon him­self; which is but the Common Fate of those that would Trim it between two Different Interests; and the Censure they commonly pass on such as would seem of Two Religions, is, That they Really are of none: An Ingenious Author in his Poem of the Progress of the Soul, describes us such a Mungrel, but one that was never trusted.

From Dogs, a Wolf; from Wolves, a Dog he fled;
And like a Spy, to both Sides false, he Pe­rished.

[Page 141]And now, Honoured Sir, tho' we were not so Prudent to sit down and count the Charges of this Correspondence, before we began it, let us yet be so Wise, to Compute the Gains now we have done: I confess freely to you, I never Cultivated so Bar­ren a Soil; never bestowed my Labour upon so Fruitless a Controversie: Earnings I have made none, 'tis well if I can come off so, to make a Saving Bargain on't: If it has turn'd [...]o better Account to your self, you will readily Ascribe it to him who has Blessed you with an Improving Heart: All I can say I have got, (if that may be called Gain) is a few Scratches over my Face, with Bryars and Thorns, the Remains of the Primitive Curse: If Re­ligion has not received deeper Wounds, I shall re­joyce, and easily lick my self whole of those Impo­tent Strokes he has given me; but how he will re­pair Religion (so far as it is concern'd in the Cause of the Protestant Dissenters) I do not know: For upon the Principles on which he proceeds, or pre­supposes, to his Discourse, he has rendered their Cause Untenable, Undefencible. And admitting once that the Scriptures are not a Perfect Rule of Faith and Worship; That Christ is not a Perfect Prophet, nor has revealed whatever is necessary to be Believed for Salvation, (upon which Principles, he Cryptically proceeds) the Dissenters and their Cause, may be blown away with one Breath. So true is the Old Observation, That Overdoing, is Undoing; and yet we have none, but are too Proud to Observe it. I will add, That this Sublimating of Religion, in the Spe­culative Part, is that which has given occasion to our Deists, and Atheists to Ridicule all Revealed Reli­gion: You will Dispute 'em up, you must Pray, and Live 'em down!

[Page 142]But, Sir, I will ease you now of Me; nor shall you ever more see me drawing the Contentious Saw, unless perhaps, which I hope never will, an Irresistible Pro­vocation, should offer Violence to the Recess which I so much affect: In the mean time whatever Trouble I have given you, you will be so Just, as to place it to your own Account, because you drew it upon your self.

Sir, excuse me that I conclude without Ceremony

Your Humble Servant, &c.



LET it not make thee Proud, that thou art Caressed, Complemented, Courted and Addressed by the Scribling Tribe, and made the Judge of Life and Death to every Paper that shall dare to look abroad in­to the Publick; for it may serve to Humble thee, that what carries the Appearance of Great Honour, is if well consider'd a Real Burden, to be surcharged with the Common Titles of the Iudicious and Learned, the Courteous and Candid, the Impartial and Indifferent, and whatever other goodly Epithites a wretched Cause may need, or a fruitful Invention can produce, either to blind thy Judgment, or bribe thy Affections. It may serve for thy Mortification in some degree, that thou art Postponed, from the Preface to the Postscript, from the Van to the Rear; and that thou who hast common­ly pretended to Ride in State on the Fore-Horse, art de­graded to come behind with the Portmanteu. Howe­ver, lay aside for a while thy Prejudice and Passion, thy Interest and Party, and consider seriously a few things before I give thee a long Farewell.

I. I will give thee the good News that our Author is at last become more Orthodox, than when he wrote his Report; for then he gave us his Substance of the Go­spel, which had no Iustifying Faith in't, no Repentance in order to Pardon; no Regeneration, no Conversion, no Holiness, no new Heart, and therefore no new Obe­dience: Rejoyce therefore with us all, that he is now [Page 143] come home to himself, return'd to the Truth, p. 43. Our Sins being the Meritorious Cause of Christ's Sufferings, and his Sufferings a proper Punishment of our Sins, for the Sa­tisfaction of Divine Iustice; that whoever believes on him, may be Acquitted and Saved: But it is not intended that the Filth of our Sins, which is distinct from the Guilt was upon Christ, or that he was any otherways Criminal in God's Account, than by the Imputation of our Sins to him.

Say not, Reader, this is utterly inconsistent with that Scheme of Religion the Report has given us; for I am willing to deal much more favourably than he will with Mr. W. and let his Words pass for his Meaning, however irreconcileable they are to other places.

But again: Appeal p. 8. We Reject the Opinion of those who hold, That upon transferring the Guilt of our Sins to Christ, he is to be esteemed the Person that committed all the Sins of those for whom he Died; or that the Turpitude and Filth of our Sins was transferred upon him, which is a Notion equally False, Blasphemous and Imposible—Besides, nothing can be Renounced by us with greater Indignation, than such a Change of Persons as implies that we are actu­ally discharged from Punishment, whilst Unbelievers, or Impenitent. I rejoyce heartily that our Author is once more given to Change, and that for the better; and that we have at length heard some Tidings of Faith and Repentance, in order to our Discharge from Punish­ment, which were wholly lost in the Report: So much do we owe to the seasonable Deaths of two Antinomians, under whose Influences he then was; and to the Lives of two Sound Divines, under whose Awe he now is.

II. Reader thou maist observe that the Author, whether Defender or Appellant, has the oddest way of answering a pinching Objection that ever any Respon­dent in the World us'd; which is not by shewing the Weakness of it, but by lending more strength to it. One notable Instance I have already given in the Mat­ter of Fact: When the Report had affirmed, the First [Page 145] Paper gave Satisfaction to the most Learned of both Par­ties. The Rebuke replyed, That it gave no Satisfaction at all to Mr. Cole and Mr. Mather: And those two surely might be reckon'd among the most Learned of one Party: To which he rejoyns, That for some other Reasons they declined Subscription; where instead of An­swering, he confirms by Reasons (tho secret Reasons) that they declined Subscription; which is not to An­swer, but Confess the Objection: The Objection was, that they did not Subscribe; and he very officiously, without my asking, gives an Account, why they did not Subscribe. But I shall now give an Instance or two more of this way of answering Objections from his Appeal.

  • 1 Instance. Appeal p. 18. he tells us, That Iesus Christ as our Surety, entred into the same Bond with us, and that he by virtue of the Sanction of the Law of Works, was obli­ged to suffer for our Sins; and for the Proof of this mighty Assertion, he quotes Heb. 7. 22. Iesus was made the Surety of a better Testament: To this Mr. W. an­swers, Christ was called the Surety of the better Testa­ment, and therefore not of the Law of Works, which in all probability was not the better Testament, but the worse of the two; that is, it was our less good. And to speak with impartiality, it sounds harshly to my Ears: That Christ being called the Surety of a better Te­stament, that is, of the Covenant of Grace, should prove him the Surety of a worse Covenant, that is, of the Covenant of Works. Now how does the Appel­lant take off the Objection? Why he brings in Curcel­laeus making the same Objection, and that is all his An­swer: But still the Objection is the same, whoever makes it, and stands where it did in its full strength, till he fairly removes it; when therefore (and not till then) he shall prove, that the Covenant of Works is the better Testament; he shall prove that Christ was the Surety of it: But if the Covenant of Grace be the bet­ter [Page 146] Covenant of the two, and Christ be made or consti­tuted the Surety of that Covenant, he must bring o­ther Texts to prove, that Christ is the Surety of the Covenant of Works, which will be the more difficult for him to do, because the Title of Surety applied to Christ, is not used in any other Text in the whole New Testament.
  • 2. Instance. The Author of the Reasonableness of Christianity (says the Appeal, p. 37.) To the end he might more plausibly expose those parts of the Christian Faith, which relate to Iustification; insinuated as if they had been such abstruse Matters, that tho the Dissenters contended so fiercely about 'em, as to divide the Communi­on, and separate upon them; yet their Teachers confess, that they understand not what it is that our Differences are about: This is, I confess, a most sharp Weapon, and thrown with a strong Arm: It would rejoyce me to see a good Answer to it; and that I conceive is, that our Judg­ment about these Points of Satisfaction and Justificati­on, are most clearly laid down in the Confessions of the Church of England, those of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster, and at the Savoy, and we know well what our Differences are about them: But the Appellant has written several Pieces, and this last among or a­bove the rest, that has justified the Objection, which is his peculiar way of answering, and rendred these Do­ctrines unintelligible; and his poor Clients may now answer him, as they did their Advocates, Fecistis probe, incertior sum, multo quam dudum; He has misled his Followers first into the Wilderness, and then out of their Wits; so many Postulata, so many things begged, others borrowed, some supposed, others presupposed; and from these so many Deductions, Inferences, Con­sequences, or rather Pursuances, that few or none know where the Truth lies, where the Error: Causes, Im­pulsive Causes, Meritoaious Causes, near Meritorious Cau­ses, tho how near they must be, he does not instruct [Page 147] us, and we must not dare to conjecture; whereas a Cause may be said to be near, in respect of another that lies further off; and yet Remote in respect of that which lies nearer
    —Pudet, haec opprobria Nobis
    Et Dici potuisse, & non Potuisse Refelli!

III. Reader, thou hast here a new Book, Conceived and brought forth in a few Moments; an evident proof he needed not a Man-Midwife to give him a quick De­livery: He's pleased to call it an Appeal, it's design is to instruct a couple of Learned Persons what they are to believe, and not to make them judge the Author gra­ciously teaches them what they are to believe of them­selves, and how they may believe in him: He informs them in the Meaning of their own words, which they never understood before; and in the Meaning of his Principles, which they understand not to this Hour. 'Tis a piece wherein he sticks close to them by Adula­tion, and to his old Friend by Persecution: 'Tis a piece that will damn all the World, for none can believe it, and yet it damns us all for Unbelief.

But the best of it is, the very Persons represented in greatest danger are left safe enough at an impartial Bar; because its Charge against them is notoriously false, after all the Authors tricks to force them to deny the Sufferings of Christ to be proper Punishments. For Mr. Baxter saith, Method. Theol. Part III. p. 4. Gods hatred of Sin, and also his Justice, are no less demon­strated in the Satisfaction of Christ, at least in a man­ner no less meet for obtaining the ends of Government, than if the Sinners themselves had been damned: And p. 53. God doth no less effectually shew his Punitive Justice in the Punishments of Christ, than if he had de­stroyed the World. Hence its manifest, All the ob­jected Phrases do only come to that he accounted Christ [Page 148] no Sinner when he suffered. Mr. Williams in Man­made Righteous, saith, p. 41. Though Death was due to us as Sinners, yet Death was not due to Christ, but as it was to be satisfactory and meritorious. He was to bear it as a Punishment for the Satisfaction of governing Iustice, and to Merit the Pardon of Sinners. He was willing to bear the Punishment of our Crimes, that there­by he might Merit our forgiveness in a way consistent with the Perfections of God, and conducive to the Glo­ry of Divine Government. Hence, Isa. 53. 5. The cha­stisement of our Peace was upon him. It was on him a Chastisement of Peace as its designed end: True, it was for Sin or it had not been necessary, nor yet a Pu­nishment, &c. Christs Death must be satisfactory to God, or he would not have accounted it meritorious of Peace for us; provoked Iustice and the injury to Di­vine Government for Sin, stood in the Sinners way, yea stood in the way of all Merit for good to us; there must therefore be a Propitiation for Sin to God, and this must be made to God; its accepted as a Ransom and Price by him; and so it operates on the Sinner in a way of Merit consequential of that Satisfaction. Christs Blood was offered as an Atonement, &c. Reader, could one Page more expresly assert what Mr. L's tells thee is denied? I might Cite hundreds of Places expressing the same. And all Mr. L. objected Passages deny no more than that Christ was joynt Party with us in the Cove­nant of Works, and that Sinners suffered and satisfied in Christ.

Nor yet is this piece like to obtain with such whom he designed to ensnare, for after all, Mr. L. boasts of Dr. Edwards Letter to him, you have his Thoughts ex­pressed in the ensuing Lines.

To the Respected Mr. D. Williams, &c.


I Received yours by the last Post, and in Answer to it, I am to acquaint you, that I lately received a Letter indeed from Mr. S. Lobb, but no Sheets of any Book designed by him for the Press: In his Letter he desired to know my Opinion, in Relation to two Que­stions therein proposed; to which I did return him an Answer, in (which (if he thinks fit to Communicate the Contents to you) you will meet with nothing that will be any disadvantage to the Cause you are ingaged in with your Antinomian Adversaries, or your way of managing it, as I find it stated in your Writings. The same sense that I formerly declared to you, I had of your Opinion, and Explication of the Doctrine of our Saviour's Satisfaction, I continue in still, and have told Mr. L. so much, without which I could not be either Just to you, or Consistent with my self: If Mr. Lobb shall publish any thing as from me, (which I am far from thinking he will) which may seem to be contrary to what I have formerly declared to you, in my Letters, which since, with my permission, you have made pub­lick, I do undertake to give you full satisfaction, and do assure you as to what shall concern my self, you shall have no just ground of Suspicion or Complaint. In the mean time, while the Matter depends only on Surmises and Conjectures, or uncertain Reports, I can say no­thing in it, and have no more to add, but that I am,

Iesus Coll. Oxon. Febr. 11. 1698. SIR,
Your very humble Servant, Jonath. Edwards.

[Page 150]IV. And now, Reader, I think I can discover Land; and shall most gladly leap a Shore, and quit my self of this angry raging Element, the Controversial Oce­an, on which I have been so long tossed.

Thou remembrest I hope, how the Defence, p. 82. Objected to the Rebuke: That he charged the Congre­gational in the Bulk, without a Salvo to the Reputation of any one of them. And I hope too, thou wilt be so just to thy Self, and Me, as to refresh thy Memory with the Answer I have return'd in this my Vindication, p. 23 This unworthy Calumny had been sufficiently ob­viated in the Rebuke it self; it has been more fully re­moved among other heaps of Dung, I was obliged to remove e're I could come at him; I shall only add this one Thing, That I never thought, spoke, wrote, that the Congregational Brethren were either in the Bulk, or in any considerable number, tainted with, or inclined to the Antinomian Errors, no more than I thought that the other side was tainted with or inclined to the Soci­nian or Arminian: It is very true, that the Report had given some ground for such a Suspicion, who that his Story might look big, had talkt much of the Dissenting Brethren, and still had formed his style in the Plural Number, we, we, we! Yet I durst never entertain any jealousie of them, because I well knew they were clear in this Matter: And I lookt upon it as a meer Bravado, a pure Artifice to vapour and terrifie us with false Mu­sters, whereas indeed 'twas Himself, and a few, a very few more, under whose immediate and powerful Influ­ence he then was, that had espoused those dreadful No­tions.

But I can now, Reader, give thee more Recent, and explicite Assurance, from Authentick warrant, that whatever he pretended or made shew of, very many of the Congregational Brethren have disowned him in his late Luxuriancy of Scribling: Some of those Orthodox Brethren were not Privy in the least to his design, others [Page 151] were not so much as Accessary, either before the Fact, or after the Fact, others are ready to disavow those Princi­ples he advances in his Substance of the Gospel: They own Faith necessary to Iustification; and amongst other Reasons, I hope this is one that has Reclaimed him from his wild Notions, and Reduced him to Reason and Moderation; and I have their Warrant in Terminis, to declare The Congregational Brethren in and about the City, do all judge themselves unjustly charged as a Party with Mr. Lobb, in publishing his Report, they being wholly un­consulted and unconcerned in his publishing thereof.

I will dismis the Reader from farther Attendance, when I have observ'd, That our Modern Authors that would be accounted Schoolmen, do write, just as Men in Populous Cities build, where because they want Ground, to lay a wide Foundation, raise their Buiding 6 or 7 Stories high: Thus do our Towring School-Divines; they have narrow slender Ground for their Discourses, and there­fore are obliged to soar up into the Clouds, where we lose 'em, and they are lost themselves: We are too prone to be gazing up into Heaven to view the Aste­risms of Speculative Theology, whilst we stumble at a Stone, and tumble into the Ditch of Profaneness: 'Twas a Judicious and Moderate Saying of the Learn­ed Dr. I. Owen, Diatrib. de Just. Divin. p. 165. Et sa­ne quoniam de facto ita luculenter constat, &c. Seeing there­fore that the Matter is so very clear in Fact; That Christ hath born our Sins, God having laid them upon him; and by that satisfaction hath procured Eternal Salvation; although it had pleased God to have kept secret in the Cabi­net of his own Goodness and Wisdom, all the Causes and Reasons of that his most Wise Counsel and Design for ever, it had been our Duty to have acquiesced in his most Righte­ous, most Gracious, most Holy, most Wise Will and Plea­sure; but yet so that no helps of our Faith are to be despi­sed, nor any Discoveries of his Divine Nature and Will, are to be neglected, whereby our most Merciful Father shall [Page 152] lead us into the more inward and saving Knowledge of the Mystery of Godliness.

To shut up all therefore in one word; Let us all pray that our Gracious God would bless this present Age with Ministers and Teachers of that Subact Judg­ment, and of those Holy Condescentions, that know how to bring down Divinity from Heaven to Earth, and Accommodate the Sublime Mysteries of Religion to a Holy and Exemplary Conversation; assuring our selves, that that Doctrine is none of Christ's, which is not according to Godliness.


By the same Author:

A Faithful Rebuke to a False Report, lately Dis­pers'd in a Letter to a Friend in the Country: Concerning Differences in Doctrinals, between some Dissenting Ministers in London, in Octavo.

Printed for Iohn Lawrence at the Angel in the Poultry.

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