An END of Doctrinal CONTROVERSIES Which have Lately Troubled the Churches BY Reconciling Explication, WITHOUT MUCH DISPUTING.


Psal. 120. 6, 7.

My Soul hath long dwelt with him that hateth Peace: I am for Peace; but when I speak, they are for War.

Luke 9. 46, 49, 50, 54, 55.

There arose a reasoning among them, which of them should be greatest, &c.

LONDON, Printed for Iohn Salusbury at the Rising SUN in Cornhil, M. DC. XCI.


WARS are most dreaded and hated by the Country where they are; but not so much by the Souldiers, who by them seek their Prey and Glory, as by the suffer­ing Inhabitants that lose thereby their Pro­sperity and Peace, who yet are forced, or drawn to be siders, lest they suffer for Neutrality.

Religious (irreligious) Wars are of no less dismal Consequence, being about God himself, his Will, and Word, and that which more nearly toucheth our Souls and everlasting state, than our Houses and worldly Welfare does: And yet because Men are more sensible of their corporal than their spiritual Concerns, these Dogmatical Wars are far less feared, and too commonly made the Study, and Delight, not only of the Military Clergy, but also of the seduced and sequacious Laity: Though those that have the Wisdom from above, which is [Page] pure and peaceable, condole the Church's Ca­lamity hereby; knowing that Envy and Strife, the earthly sensual and devilish Wisdom, cau­seth Confusion, and every evil Work: And it is a heinous Aggravation, that the Militants, being Men consecrated to Love and Peace, pro­fanely father their Mischiefs upon God, and do all as for Religion and Church.

Having these four and forty Years at least, been deeply sensible of this Sin, Danger, and Misery of Christians, I have preach'd much, and written more against it: To confute those Extreams which cause Divisions, and to recon­cile those that think they differ where they do not; sometime also using importunate Petitions and Pleas for Peace, to those that have power to give it, or promote it, and that use either Word or Sword against it. And with the Sons of Peace it hath not been in vain: But with those that are engaged in Faction and malici­ous strife, I am proclaimed to be the militant Enemy of Concord, for perswading them to Con­cord, and writing many Books for Peace and Love, is taken for writing them against these. Controversies I have written of, but only to end them, and not to make them: And who can reconcile them that never mentioneth them? or arbitrate in a Cause unheard and not opened?

[Page]But, Readers, I must tell you, that my title An End of Doctrinal Controversies] is [...]ot intended as prognostick, but as ded [...]ctical [...]nd directive. I am far from expecting an end [...]f Controversies, while consecrated Ignorance is [...]y worldly Interest, Faction, and Malice, mix­ [...]d with Pride sublimated to an envious Zeael (Jam. 3. 15, 16.) and hath set up a Trade of slandering all those that are true Peace-ma­ [...]ers, and concur not with them to destroy it, on [...]retence of defending it, by their impossible per­ [...]icious terms. He that will now be taken for a Peace-maker, must be content to be so called by a few, even by the Sect that he chuseth to please, and be contrarily judged of by all the rest. And this satisfieth some, because their Faction seemeth better than others, be they never so few; and others, because their Faction is great, or rich, or uppermost, how noxious and unpeaceable soever: For vespae habent favos, saith Ter­tullian, & Marcionitae Ecclesias: We could wish the Bees seldom used their stings, for it is their Death; but those of Wasps and Hornets, that make no Honey, are less sufferable.

It is partly for unprejudiced Students that I write, and partly for the times to come, when the Fruits of malignant Faction and Wars, have disgraced them, and made the world a wea­ry of them.

[Page]I am blamed by Dissenters, as coming too near by Conciliatory Explications, to some things which they call dangerous Points of Popery, Ar­minianism and Prelacy; but whether it be by Truth or by Error, I leave to trial: Sure our English Universities and Canonists are not like to receive any hurt by it, who will not read a Book that they see my Name to, though the Do­ctrine would never so much gratifie them. And others (at home and Foreigners) are satisfied by Knowledge and Prepossession against such seem­ing Danger.

The great blemish of this, and other of my Writings is, That I say oft the same thing which I have said before. Much of this Book is in my Catholick Theology, and my Meth. Theol. and my Treatise of Iustifying Righteousness. But, 1. Forgetfulness in Old Men that have written so much, is no wonder. 2. But it sheweth that I have not forgotten the Matter, nor take it up suddenly and superficially, which I so oft re­peat. 3. And there may be great use for such Repetitions, when it is for clearer Method, or for epitomizing larger Writings, which many cannot, or will not read; but those that can, may have the benefit of more Explicatory Copiousness. If it profit the Reader, I am not sollicitous for the Reputation of the Writer.

You will find here one Chapter answering Ex­ceptions about Futurity; concerning which you [Page] must know, that my Catholick Theology was so bold and large an attempt to reconcile the Calvinist, and Lutheran or Arminian, and the Dominican and Jesuit, &c. that I lookt to have been sharply assaulted for it by many: But after many Years expectation I have heard of no­thing written or spoken against it, save one MS. Paper of Objections about the Cause of Futu­rity, and Physical Predetermination to sin, by Mr. Polhill a Councellor, a Man of extraordi­nary Knowledge, and Godliness, (now enjoying the Fruit of it with Christ; O Blessed Eng­land, if its Rulers, Senators and Lawyers, yea, or Bishops and Teachers, were all such men) having many Years past sent him my Answer, (and having no Reply) as to the question, I re­fused to answer the second, having said so much to it in my Methodus Theol. and lest the quali­ty of the Subject should make my Reply seem sharp to so good a man: And I thought it meet to publish this, because it is an unusual Dispute; and as no one else hath called me to it, so I know not where the Reader that differeth from me, will find so much for him; nor whither to refer him for an Answer. I publish not Mr. Polhill's Paper, because I recite so much of it as may tell the Reader what it was; and I must not swell the Book too much.

The Glorious Light will soon end all our Controversies, and reconcile those that by un­feigned [Page] Faith and Love are united in the Prince of Peace, our Head, by love dwelling in God, and God in them: But falsehearted, ma­lignant, carnal Worldlings that live in the fire of wrath and strife, will find (so dying) the woful maturity of their Enmity to holy U­nity, Love, and Peace; and the causeless shut­ting the true Servants of Christ out of their Churches, which should be the Porch of Hea­ven, is the way to be shut out themselves of the heavenly Jerusalem.

If those that have long reproached me as unfit to be in their Church (and said, ex uno disce omnes, with their Leader) find any unsound or unprofitable Doctrine here, I shall take it for a great favour to be confuted, even for the good of others excluded with me, when I am dead.

Richard Baxter.


  • Chap. 1. HOW to conceive of GOD. Pag. i.
  • Chap. 2. How to conceive of the Trinity in Unity. p. vii.
  • Chap. 3. How to conceive of the Hypostatical Union and Incarnation. p. xxiii.
  • Chap. 4. How to conceive of the Diversity of God's Transient Operations. p. xxx.
  • Chap. 5. Whether any point of Faith be above [...] contrary to Reason. p. xxxii.
  • Chap. I. Prefatory. Who must be the Iudge of Con­troversies. The true Causes of the Divisions of Christians about Religion. p. 1 [...]
  • Chap. 2. The Doctrines enumerated about which they chiefly disagree. p. 22
  • Chap. III. Of God's Will and Decrees in general. Th. Terms and several Cases opened. p. 2 [...]
  • Chap. IV. Of God's Knowledge, and the Differenc [...] about it. p. 4 [...]
  • Chap. V. Of Election; and the Order of Intentio [...] and Execution. p. 3 [...]
  • Chap. VI. Of Reprobation, or the Decree of Dam­nation; the Objects and their Order. p. 4 [...]
  • An Answer to Mr. Polhill of Futurition. p. 4 [...]
  • Chap. VII. Of God's Providence and predetermining Premotion: Of Durandus's way. p. 7 [...]
  • [Page] Chap. VIII. Of the Cause of Sin: What God doth and doth not about it. p. 82
  • Chap. IX. Of Natural Power and Free-will. p. 89
  • Chap. X. Of Original Sin; as from Adam and nea­rer Parents. p. 94
  • Chap. XI. Of our Redemption by Christ, what it doth; how necessary. p. 89
  • Chap. XII. Of the several Laws and Covenants of God. p. 99
    • Sect. 1. Of the Law or Covenant of Innocency made to Adam: Divers Cases. p. 113
    • Sect. 2. Of the Law of Mediation or Covenant with Christ: When and what it was. p. 121
    • Sect. 3. Of the Law or Covenant of Grace in the first edition: What it was. p. 126
    • Sect. 4. Of the same Law with Abraham's Covenant of Peculiarity, and the Mosaical Iewish Law of Works. p. 132
    • Sect. 5. Of the Law or Covenant of Grace in the last edition; the Gospel: Divers Cases about it opened. p. 138
  • Chap. XIII. Of the universality and sufficiency of Grace. What Grace is: How far universal and sufficient. p. 154
  • Chap. XIV. Of Man's Power and Free-will since the Fall. Adrian's Saying, That an unjustified man may love or chuse God's Being before his own. What to ascribe to Grace, and what to Free-will in good. p. 173
  • Chap. XV. Of Effectual Grace; and how God gi­veth it. Doubts resolved. p. 181
  • Chap. XVI. Of the state of Heathens, and such others as have not the Gospel: What Law the Heathen [Page] World is under, and to be judged by: Whether any of them are justified or saved: The Heathens were the Corrupters of the old Religion, and the Jews of the Reformed Church, Mal. 1. 14, 15. and Sodom's Case, &c. considered. p. 188
  • Chap. XVII. Of the necessity of Holiness and of Moral Virtue. p. 203
  • Chap. XVIII. Of the necessity of Faith in Christ, where the Gospel is made known. p. 212
  • Chap. XIX. Of the state of Infants as to Salvation and Church-membership. p. 216
  • Chap. XX. Of the nature of Saving-Faith; its Description and Causes. p. 226
  • Chap. XXI. Of justifying Righteousness, Iustification and Pardon. The several sences of the words, and several sorts of them: Our common Agreement about them. p. 238
  • Chap. XXII. Of the Imputation of Righteousness. Christ's righteousness, in what sence ours and impu­ted; and in what sence not. p. 256
  • Chap. XXIII. How Faith justifieth, and how it is imputed for Righteousness. Several questions about it; Repentance, &c. resolved. p. 267
  • Chap. XXIV. Of Assurance of our Iustification, and of Hope. What Assurance is desirable: What at­tainable: What Assurance we actually have: Who have it: The nature and grounds of it: Whether it be Divine Faith. p. 279
  • Chap. XXV. Of Good works and Merit: And whe­ther we may trust to any thing of our own. 1. What are Good Works: 2. Whether they are necessary to our Iustification or Salvation: 3. Whether they are rewardable or meritorious: 4. What is their place, [Page] use and necessity: 5. Whether to be trusted to. p. 282
  • Chap. XXVI. Of Confirmation, Perseverance, and danger of falling away. 1. Whether all Grace gi­ven by Christ be such as is never lost. 2. Whether that degree be ever lost which (to Infants or Adult) giveth but the posse credere. 3. Whether any lose actual justifying Faith. 4. Or the Habit of Di­vine Love and Holiness. 5. Whether some degree of this may be lost. 6. If Holiness be not actually lost, is the loss possible? 7. Whether there be a state of Confirmation above the lowest Holiness, which secu­reth Perseverance. 8. Or doth Perseverance depend only on Election and God's Will. 9. Whether all, most or many Christians are themselves certain of their Perseverance. 10. I [...] such Certainty fit for all the justified? 11. Is it unfit for all, and doubting a more safe condition? 12. Doth the Comfort of most Christians rest upon the Doctrine of Certainty to persevere? 13. Doth the Doctrine of eventual Apostasie inferr Mutability in God? 14. Why God hath left the point so dark. 15. What was the Iudgment of the ancient Churches herein. 16. Is it of such weight as to be necessary to our Church-Communion▪ Love and Concord. p. 300
  • Chap. XXVII. Of Repentance; late Repentance; the time of Grace, and the unpardonable sin. p. 314

BOOKS Printed for and Sold by Iohn Salusbury at the Rising Sun in Cornhil.

A Rational Defence of Nonconformity, where­in the Practice of Nonconformists is vin­dicated from promoting Popery, and ruining the Church, imputed to them by Dr. Stillingfleet Bishop of Worcester, in his Unreasonableness of Separation. Also his Arguments from the Principles and Way of the Reformers and first Dissenters are answered: And the case of the present Separation truly stated; and the blame of it laid where it ought to be; and the way to Union among Protestants is pointed at. By Gilbert Rule, D. D.

The Christian Laver: Being two Sermons on John 13. 8. opening the nature of Participation with, and demonstrating the necessity of Purifica­tion by Christ. By T. Cruso.

Six Sermons on various occasions. By T. Cruso, in 4 [...].

The Conformists Sayings; or, the Opinion and Arguments of Kings, Bishops, and several Di­vines, assembled in Convocation.

A new Survey of the Book of Common-Prayer.

An END of Doctrinal Controversies, &c.
CHAP. 1. How we may and must conceive of GOD.

§. 1. A True Knowledge of God is necessa­ry to the Being of Religion, and to Holiness and Glory. No man can love, obey, trust, or hope be­yond his knowledge: Nothing is so certainly known as God, and yet nothing so defectively known: Like our Knowledge of the Sun, of which no man doubteth, Whether it be a glorious igne­ous Substance, endowed with the Power of Motion, Light and Heats: And yet what is less comprehen­ded? And no man hath an adequate knowledge of it, or of the least part of it.

§. 2. There are three things that must concurr to our Conceivings of God: 1. Our General Con­ceptions. 2. Our Metaphorical Conceptions by way of Similitude. 3. Our Negative Conceptions; what God is not.

[Page iv]§. 3. I have opened this as distinctly as I am able in my Methodus Theologiae, Cap. 4. in the Ta­ble called Ontologia, the beginning to which I must referr the Reader that would be accurate and clear. I. We must conceive of God as a Substance, lest we think him to be nothing: And as a spiritual transcendent Substance, not univocally the same with created Substance, nor such as Man can reach to any sensible, or immediate or formal Concepti­on of: But by the Similitude of created Substance our Conceptions may get some help.

This we call the Fundamental Conception; but it is but a Conception partial and inadequate; yet necessary, fetcht from the Similitude of the Creature, whose Matter or Substance is the first constitutive Conception.

§. 4. II. We must conceive of God as the prime Essential LIFE: And though God be not compounded of Substance and Form, yet from Si­militude of Creatures, we must as inadequate Con­ceptions, think of his being LIFE, as the form of his Substance, not divisible or compounding, but as a distinguishing Conception. And formadat esse & noment.

§. 5. III. Though in God's Essence there be no Parts, Degrees or Accidents, yet to answer the Similitude of Parts, Degrees or Accidents in Man, we must put in general Transcendent Perfection: And this includeth abundance of his Perfective At­tributes; as that He is One, infinite, eternal, neces­sary, independent, uncompounded, unchangeable, and all the rest that are contained in Absolute Per­fection.

[Page iii]§. 6. IV. When we say, That God is the prime essential LIFE, we mean a Life of Emi­nency above all that is created: But yet such as must be known by Creature-similitude: And therefore from the Similitude of Man, we must think of the Formal Divine LIFE by a threefold Conception, 1. As Vital Power in Act, 2. As Emi­nent Intellect and Will, called Omnipotency in Act, Wisdom and Goodness, or Love. Whether these be the FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST, is after to be opened: But as FATHER, SON and HOLY GHOST, the Scripture teacheth us to conceive of God; As Three in One God, and One God and Substance in these Three.

§. 7. V. God is to be conceived of in relation to the Creation in general, as OF HIM, and THROUGH HIM, and TO HIM are all things: As He is the Divine Efficient, the more than Con­stitutive, and the final Cause of all.

§. 8. VI. He is especially to be conceived of in his Relations to the Reasonable Creatures, as their absolute Owner, supreme Ruler and chief Benefactor and amiable attractive Good and End.

§. 9. VII. He is especially to be conceived of [...]s related to Man; As our Creator and Conser­ver, as the God of Nature. 2. As our Redeemer by Christ and the God of Grace. 3. And as our Perfecter by his Spirit, and the God of Glory: And as related to his Kingdom of Nature, Grace and Glory.

§. 10. VIII. He being without Passivity a pure Act, must be conceived of, as, 1. In virtute seu po­tentia Activa. 2. In his Acts objectively immanent, 1. Self-living, 2. Self-knowing, 3. Self-loving. 3. In [Page iv] his transient Acts or Works, considered both ex parte agentis, and as the Effects.

§. 11. IX. He is negatively to be known, by the d [...]nial of all that noteth Imperfection.

§. 12. X. When I say, that God is to be known by Similitudes, I mean, that though nothing be fully like to God, yet somewhat in which he may be partly known, appeareth on the whole frame of Nature; but especially on the Soul of Man, which is his Image. Therefore he that would know how to conceive of God, must first know himself, and what his own Soul is: The true Con­ceptions of your Souls must be the prime Helps to conceive of God by similitude.

And here you first find Intellective, Volitive, and Executive Acts. 2. And by these you know that you have the Power so to act; for no one doth that which he cannot do. 3. And hereby you know that your Souls are Substance: For all Power is the Power of some Substance: Nothing can do no­thing. 4. And by this you know that an intel­lectual Spirit is a Substance so impowered: And that others are such as well as you: And knowing what a Spirit is, you know what God the Father is transcendently and eminently. And though all God's Works notifie him, you have thus the most intelligible Similitude within you.

§. 13. Therefore I know not how you can bet­ter conceive of God, than as MORE THAN A SOUL TO ALL THE WORLD, but especially to Saints.

I say, More than a Soul: For a Soul is but a Part and C [...]i [...]utive; but God can be no Part, and is more than Constitutive: The World is finite, [Page v] but God is infinite, therefore he is more than a Soul of the World: [...]ass [...]ndus calleth the World Indefinite, but seemeth to mean Infinite, and so to make God but the Soul of the World: But that cannot be proved: Not but that there be created Souls under God: But while God is more than a Soul to all those Souls, he is more than a Soul to all the World.

§. 14. It is lawful and useful to think of God, by such similitudes as he hath used of himself in his Word, how low soever. Even by his particular Works.

Three Names he assumeth; Life, Light, and Love: He is the Living God; He is Light, and with Him is no Darkness: God is Love; saith the beloved Apostle. GOD is said to cloath him­self with LIGHT as with a Garment: And a man will say, I have seen the KING to day, who saw him but in his Garments: And if he saw the Skin of his Face, how little of the King did he see? In Scripture, they that have seen Angels are said to have seen God, and heard his Voice by them.

When we see the Glory of the Sun, that diffu­seth its Beams to all the surface of the Earth, and uniteth it self with every Eye, even of the smallest Worms, and quickeneth every thing that liveth; this giveth us by similitude some low re­semblance of the Divine Life and Light and Glory. When he is called Our FATHER, and he is said to love us as a FATHER his Children, this is some help to our Conceptions of him: When we read of all those Visions which Iohn had in the Re­velations, of Christ's glorious Appearance (as be­fore on the Mount) and of God on the Throne, [Page vi] with the four Beasts and seven Spirits, and the thousand thousands of glorious Attendants, and of the metaphorical Description of the Heavenly Ierusalem: It is not unlawful nor unuseful to us to make use of such Spectacles of Similitudes in our Thoughts of God, while we exclude all the Imper­fections of such Similitudes.

§. 15. But after all, till the Love of God be shed abroad on our Hearts by the Holy Ghost, and God as LOVE look on us with his attracting and exhilarating Aspect or Communication, all these notions will be dull and barren, and will leave the Soul under fears and despondency: It is Love by vital Influence warming the Affections, that must give us a sweet taste of what we know, and over­come the fear of Death and Wrath, and give us comfortable Boldness and Courage in all the Dan­gers that we must go through.

And seeing Christ telleth Philip, If thou hast seen or known me, thou hast known the Father; we must by Faith see the Father in the Son incarnate, who came into our Nature, to be a Mediator of our Thoughts and Conceptions of God, and especially as he is LIFE and LIGHT and LOVE: and I think in his GLORY will in Heaven be the Mediator of our LIFE, INTUITION and FRUITION. Come Lord Jesus,


CHAP. 2. Of Trinity in Unity.

§. 1. WHen I wrote the foregoing Treatise, I found the generality of Christians (Protestants and Papists) agreed about the Trini­ty; but Heresie and Debauchery encreasing toge­ther, the Case seemeth partly altered; And the ambitious, rich and worldly sort being from their Childhood bred up in fleshly pleasure, and in igno­rance and contempt of serious Christianity, having really no true Religion, but a Name and Image of it, at last by their Tongues declare what is in their Hearts; and living in a Land where Atheists and Sadducees are in splendid Dwellings, whilst fear of sinning maketh Confiscations, Jails and Ruine the Lot of multitudes who are zealous Protestants, they take the advantage, decrying what they never had: But before they disown all true Religion, and declare themselves Sadducees or Brutes, they begin as Disputers, at the points where they think Difficulty will excuse them; and especially at the Trinity, and the Godhead of Christ, and Socinian Errors.

§. 2. I have perhaps over-tediously and pro­lixly handled the Doctrine of the sacred Trinity in my Latin Methodus Theologiae, opening the various Opinions about it, reciting the words of the Fa­thers, School-Doctors, and Protestants who han­dle it: And through the whole Book I have [Page viii] shewed, That the Image of Trinity in Unity is imprinted by God, on the whole known frame of Nature and Government, or Morality▪ and that Doctrine of the Trinity, which to the ignorant is a Stumbling-block, greatly helpeth to confirm my Belief of the truth of the Gospel and Christianity, while I find it so congruous, to the foresaid Im­press, and attested so much by all God's Works; especially on Man.

§. 3. It is a truth unquestionable, that without some knowledge of God there can be no true Re­ligion, no Love to God, no Trust, no Hope, no Obedience, no true Worship of him, Prayer or Praise.

§. 4. And it is as certain that no man can have an adequate knowledge of God; that is adequate which comprehendeth the whole Object, knowing it perfectly, and leaving nothing of it unknown. And with such an adequate Knowledge we know nothing, not a pile of Grass, nor a Worm or a Hair: Much less God: With such a proper Knowledge nihil scitur is true, and yet aliquid rerum is known of all.

§. 5. Yea, it is certain, that of God, who is in­comprehensible, we have here no partial Con­ception that reacheth so high as to be strictly FORMAL, but only such as are called analogical, aequivocal, metaphorical, or by similitude. Nei­ther Substantia, Vita, Perfectio, Potentia, Actus, Intellectus, Voluntas, Love, Truth, Goodness, Mer­cy, &c. are formally and univocally the same in God and in the Creature: Scotus excepteth only ENS. Which is true, as ENS is only a Logical term, signifying no more than EST or Quoddity, and not QUID est, or Quiddity.

[Page ix]§. 6. Yet this Knowledge by similitude is not [...]ull or vain; but the greatest advancement of Man's Understanding: All that which is formally excellent in the Creature, is EMINENTLY and transcendently in God. Though he have not that which we call Knowledge, Will, Love, &c. he hath that which is infinitely more excellent, which these in Man have some likeness to, whereby we know him.

§. 7. Man's Knowledge beginneth at our selves and not at God: We do not first know God: But first we perceive our own Souls Acts, and thereby we know our Power, and our Substance, and thereby we know what all is that is such as we; and so what a Spirit is, and so what GOD is. As by seeing, hearing, feeling we perceive that we see, hear, feel, &c. every Sense having essentially a self-perception: So by thinking, knowing, willing, [...]illing, loving, joying, we perceive that we do it essentially; yet though the famosius significatum be our own Act as to formality and priority, it is God's as to Eminency and Perfection.

§. 8. It is certain, that as all God's Works bear some notifying Impress of his own Perfecti­on, so Man is especially made in his Image; and therefore our Knowledge of God must there begin seeing we have no immediate and formal know­ledge of him.

§. 9. As God is the God of Nature, Grace, and Glory, so he hath made on Man the Image of these three: 1. The natural Faculties of his Soul, are his natural Image on Man as Man: For which it is said, Gen. 9. that blood shall be punished with blood, because Man is made in the Image of God. 2. His moral gracious Image is Holiness, of Intellect, Will [Page x] and executive Power. 3. The Image of his Ma­jesty, Glory and Greatness, is, 1. in all men the Dominion over the lower Creatures: 2. And in Governours a Power over Subjects or Inferi­ours.

§. 10. To begin where our Perception be­ginneth, 1. It is certain, that the mental Nature in Man hath three distinct Faculties in one undi­vided Substance; That is, 1. Vital Active Power, Intellect and Will: (The Vital Power being consi­derable, first as exciting Intellection and Will, and after as Executive). The same Essence or Sub­stance is this vital Activity, Intellect and Will: But the Active Power is not the Intellect, nor the Intellect the Will, nor the Will the Intellect, &c. And as Melanchton told his Hearers,Vid. Vit. Georg. Anhalt. & Bu­chaltrin in M [...]lc. Adam. (to the admiration of George Prince of Anhalt, and the Duke of Saxony) That the Concrete and Abstract were here differently to be used, we may say, that the Intellect may be said to be willing, but not to be the Will, the Will to be Intel­lectual, but not to be the Intellect, &c.

§. 11. I have fully proved in Methodo Theol. parte 1. in a peculiar Disputation, that these three Faculties are not Accidents of the Soul, but its es­sential form in a triple, inadequate Conception, and fully confuted all that Zubarel saith to the con­trary, who epitomizeth all the Thomists Argu­ments, and vindicated Scotus, and added many Arguments of my own, and therefore must thi­ther referr the doubtful.

§. 12. Not that Man's Soul is there by three forms; for all are but one form: But Man's nar­row Mind cannot conceive of them but by three [Page xi] Conceptions; which yet are not Fictions, but as Scotus calis them, FORMALITATES, and as Campanella, Primalities or Essentialities; or as the Nominals extrinseck Denominations, and Rela­tive by connotation of the Objects and Effects: He that hath a Wit subtile enough to conceive of Sco­tus his FORMALITIES, as noting only a fundamentum objectivum distinguendi, will not won­der that a Soul made in God's Image, should be of difficult Conception.

§. 13. II. The same Soul of Man hath three more general Faculties, that is, mental, sensitive, and ve­getative (or igneous): These are distinct, but not divided, yet are not three Souls, but one; though the inferiour Operations (at least) may be al­terable according to Organs and Objects; and some uses of Senses and Vegetation cease.

§. 14. III. The sensitive Soul in Brutes hatk the Faculties, 1 Vitally active, 2. Sensibly appre­hensive, 3. Sensibly appetitive; one of these Fa­culties is not the other, yet all are but one sensitive Soul.

§. 15. IV. The igneous Nature in Plants cal­led Vegetative, hath three Faculties, Motive, Dis­cretive (differencing its proper Nutriment from other things) and Attractive (which is assimila­tive) yet all are but one substance.

§. 16. V. The Sun and all igneous substances, have their formal Powers, that is, Motive, Illumi­native, and Calefactive: The motion (in power or act) is not formally the Light, nor is the Light the Heat, nor is the Heat the Light or Motion: Nor are these three Suns or Substances, but one Substance is in all three, whose form we necessari­ly conceive of by this triple inadequate Conce­ption. [Page xii] And thus it is in all the Creatures of Active Nature, which the Receptivity of the Passive also answer; and as I have proved elsewhere through all Morality also.

Melancthon, Loc. Com. per Maulium, p. 3, 4. men­tioneth many such instances in the Sun, in Astrono­my, in Musick, in Geometry, in Grammar, in A­rithmetick; to which Logick and Politicks might be added, All Effects have only three Causes, which in the general of Causality are one; that is, the Cause efficient, Constitutive, and Final. For Mat­ter, Receptive-disposition (called Privation) and Form, are but the three parts of the Constitutive Cause. My M [...]th. Theol. instanceth in many more.

§. 17. It is certain that the three grand Attri­butes, Principles, Primalities, Essentialities, or For­malities (as men diversly call them) of which the three Faculties of the Soul are an Image, are in God, not univocally the same as in Man, but eminent­ly and transcendently. And his other Attributes (of Truth, Mercy, Justice, &c.) are these va­riously exercised and related; that is, Vital-act, In­tellect, and Will, called as Perfect, Omnipotent Acti­vity, Omniscience (or Wisdom) and Goodness or Love. And I have proved (ubi supra) that these are not Accidents in God, but his Essence, in a threefold formal Conception, truly distinguishable; some say Ratione rationata; some say formaliter, and some, ex connotatione & relatione ad objecta, and perhaps all little differ in Sence.

§. 18. All Theologue▪ agree, That GOD must be said to be essential Life, Self-knowledge and Self­love, to be essentially sui-vita, se-scire, & se-amare; and that these are best exprest by Substantives ab­stractly, and not only in the Concrete by Adjectives or [Page xiii] Verbs, sui-vita, sui-scientia, sui-amor. Thus far [...]ere is no doubtfulness.

§. 19. As in man we must conceive inadequate­ [...] of the three prime Faculties distinctly (not [...]paratingly) 1. As in virtute vel potentia. 2. As [...] actu immanente ad se. 3. In actu trans [...]unte ad [...]ia, so must we inadequately conceive of them as [...]inently in God.

§. 20. It is undeniable, that GOD is CREATOR, REDEEMER and SANCTIFIER; the God of Nature, Grace, and Glory: Vitae, Medicinae, Salu­ [...]s. And though Father, Son and Holy Ghost are all these, yet usually in Scripture, Creation is said to be the Work of the Father (by the Son and Spi­ [...]it, and Redemption the Work of the Son (sent by the Father) and Perfection or Sanctification the Work of the Holy Ghost (as sent by the Father and the Son.) Therefore Baptism, which is our Christening, bindeth us in Covenant to God, as in these three Relations (which I hope may be easilier understood, than all the Schoolmens Disputes of the Trinity.) And no doubt, but our Baptism is a practical Covenant.

Thus the Trinity of Principles in Unity, is con­siderable (as is aforesaid) 1. Radically in virtute Essentiae. 2. In the immanent acts of self-living, self-knowing and self-loving. 3. And exeunter transiently in Creation, Redemption and Sanctification, considered not as Effects, but ex parte agentis, as acting them.

§. 21. The word PERSON, by the custom of the Church, having been so commonly used, is not to be disused while it is well expounded, lest we seem by changing the word to change the Do­ctrine. But the Church had the same Faith before [Page xiv] that word was applied to the Trinity; and it was long before the use of it was agreed on; some being for Hypostasis, and some for Persona, and some excepting against both, but not knowing what word to substitute. And is it any Wonder that Humane Language wanteth proper words to signi­fie that of God, which is so far above our compre­hension? So that it is not because they are wiser than he, that some except against the judicious Dr. Wallis for being no more zealous for this Name, nor peremptory for any substitute, but because they understand not so well how unfit man is to make Names for God, which he hath not made himself, and taught us.

§. 22. The bare use of the name [Person] by one that knoweth not what that word signifieth, doth prove no man Orthodox, but only that he useth Orthodox words; it will save no man to use a word which he understands not. And the dis­like of that word (or the word Hypostafis, as Hie­rome did) will condemn no man who believeth the thing, whi [...]h those that understandingly use the word, do believe: The Scripture hath all necessa­ry names of the Trinity.

§. 23. Doubtless the word PERSON of the Trinity, is of very different signification from the same word applied to Man. And what consti­tuteth a PERSON in the Trinity, none have so curiously searched and disputed, as the School­men; yet he that shall read but what I have reci­ted out of them (in Method. Theol.) will find it past the capacity of an ordinary Student to know what they mean, and impossible to reconcile them with each other. Certainly their sence of the word PERSON was never made necessary to the Christian Faith.

[Page xv]§. 24. Many Protestant Doctors take up with the word [...]; whenas the usual sence both of that Word, and of Persona, is but a Relative Person, (not Aquinas and such others Relation, which is a substance, but) properly the same Per­son Natural, as related diversly: And if this were all, no man that owneth One God, would que­stion a Plurality of Persons; so one man may have the relative Person of a King, a Husband, a Father, a Captain, General, a Physician, an Astro­nomer, &c.

And though I hold not this Relative Personality is all that we are to acknowledge in the Trinity, yet I see no reason but in the second place it is included; that is, 1. The Relations which the Di­vine Vitality, Intellect and Will have to the substantiality, and to each other. 2. And the Re­lation which they have ad extra to Effects. And whereas it may be objected, that so God hath thou­sands of Relations to thousands of his Works; I answer, But he hath three grand Relations, which comprehend all the rest, as he is the God of Na­ture, Grace, and Clory, Creator, Redeemer, and Perfecter: As he hath the three grand Attributes, which comprehend the rest. But undoubtedly this Trinity of essential Attributes which are said to be related to the substantiality, and to each other, is here in the prime Conceptus.

§. 25. He that placeth Personality in the Trinity in SELF-CONSCIOUSNESS, leaveth us to enquire of him: Q. 1. Whether it be by him presupposed or not, that there are the three foresaid Attributes called Essentialities or Formalities in one Divine [...], which we commonly call Substance or Spirit? Q. 2. Whether Conscire being scire, is not the [Page xvi] proper Act of an Intellect, and not of a Will, or executive Power, as such? Q. 3. Self-perception in­deed is a first and essential Act of every sensible Agent: But doth not that among men only prove sensible Life, which is in many▪ Faculties, and is as numerous as the Acts, and not prove many per­sons, seeing he must be first a Person who shall thus act? By seeing, I perceive that I see, and by hearing, that I hear, and by tasting, smelling, touching, that I taste, smell, and touch: I know these by Intellection, but I perceive them first by essential Sensation; and so by understanding, I immediately perceive that I understand and think: And by willing I immediately (not know, but) by a sort of eminent Sensation perceive that I will: And by vital Action I perceive that I act. Yet these are not distinct Persons, but the acts of one Per­son. Perception is essential to Vitality or Sense, but not constitutive of Personality.

Q. 4. Is it knowing ones self, or knowing another, or another's knowing me, that constituteth Perso­nality? I know not my self to be what I am in pri­ [...] [...]; I first perceive my acts, and by the Acts I know that I have an active Power, and by that I know that I am a Substance, &c. Which of these maketh me a Person? 2. God knoweth the Acts of every Creature better than each know­eth his own; yet that is not God's Personality, as distinct from his Life: And that the Creature doth not equally know God, can be no privation of Personality to God, whatever it be to the Crea­ture: And God's Personality was before there was any Creature.

[Page xvii] Q. 5. To say, That they are three Minds, or Spirits, or Substances that do invicem conscire, is to say, That they are three Gods: And because every mental Substance hath its own active Power, In­tellect and Will, it supposeth three Trinities in­stead of one.

Q. Though God be said to be purus Actus, it is Actus entit [...]tivus including potentiam se [...] virtutem agendi; and [...] or Substantiality, is a necessary prior fundamental Conception; for it doth supe­rare captum humanum to conceive of an Act that is not alicujus actus. He that causeth all substan­tiality and existence, is eminently existent Sub­stance. Many have made it a Dispute, Whether the Creature have any Entity, or be a Shadow; but none whether God be so.

Obj. To be self-conscious, proveth Personality; and to be conscious of the act of another, proveth one the same Person with the other.

Ans. To be self-perceptive, is a good proof of a Vital Act; and to be self-conscious, is a proof of an Intellect: Indeed in GOD the Substance and Act, and so the Personality and Self-perception are not two things, but the same: But yet inadequate Conceptions must be orderly, and so the act con­ceived as the act of a Power and of a Person: And as is said, every act or faculty that hath self-per­ception, is not a Person.

2. And God's consciousness of the acts of Iudas, Herod, Nero, proveth him not to be the same per­son with each of them (though he be infinitely more.)

§. 26. GOD being essential Life in [...]ure Act, without any passive Power, meant by the word PERSON by the Orthodox, may [Page xvi] [...] [Page xvii] [...] [Page xviii] be better spoken of his Essential Acts (the active Virtue included) than of Mans. If it be the Es­sence, why may not the proved Trinity of obje­ctive Conceptions, as formal, be called Persons or Hypostases? (Though many wise Men wish that a Name less liable to mistake, had been used.)

§. 27. But though I am past doubt, that in God is this Trinity of essential, formal, inadequate Conceptions or Primalities, and that the impress of them is on the Soul of Man, which is his image, and on the whole frame of Nature and Grace; yet far be it from me to say, That nothing else is meant by the Trinity of Persons; thus much we are sure of: There may be more to constitute that personality, than is to us comprehensible; and I doubt not but there is more, because thus much is so intelligible; seeing the Divine Nature is so infinitely far above the Comprehension of us poor Worms: But what we know not, we cannot de­scribe, or notifie to others.

§. 28. There are of late some of great Wit and Learning, who have adventured upon another sort of Description of the Trinity; Men whose parts I greatly value: (Peter Sterry, Dr. H. More, Mr. John Turner of St. Thomas Hospital; and be­fore them some in Germany went some such way▪) They say, that from the prime Being emaneth, say some, or is created, say others; the [...] which is the second Hypostasis or person, and Matter which is the third; and this caused Life and Matter (the Son and Holy Ghost) are one indivisible, (though di­stinguishable) Being, there being no Spirit (saith Dr. M.) save God, that is not a Soul to some Bo­dy. Some of them tell us not whether this first produced LIFE and MATTER, be the Uni­versal [Page xix] Matter of the World, animated by an uni­versal Soul; or whether they mean only some prime Soul and Matter, that was made or caused before the rest: But others let us know, that it is the universal that they mean: And if so, they must needs hold the World, as to all its Spirit and Mat­ter, to be eternal, (though in Particles alterable) and to be God himself: The prime Entity, the Life and the Matter, being the Father, Son and Spirit: But they that hold not this universal Life and Matter, do think that God by a most eminent Life and Spirit that was eternal, did create all the rest, as inferiour to them.

Dr. More's Book of Transubstantiation (and Mr. Tho. Beverley's) drew me to write some Ani­madversions on this Doctrine, as moderating be­tween Extreams; but on further consideration, I am very Ioth to be so venturous in a Case of such tremendous Mystery, as to meddle for or against them, left etiam vera dicere de Deo si incerta, sit periculosum. Though I doubt not but their expo­sition of Ioh. 6. is unsound, while they make the Flesh and Blood of Christ, which is Transubstan­tiated, and eaten and drunk, to be the eternal Flesh and Blood of Christ, a Man from Eternity.

§. 29. The difficulty of the Controversie which this leadeth to, Whether the World be an eter­nal Effect of an eternal Cause, or God from all Eternity, till the forming of this lower World and Adam, had no Being but Himself? Doth deterr me from meddling with it, lest I be blin­ded by presuming too nearly to gaze on the Light that should guide me; and God, that is Love, should for my boldness be to me a Consuming Fire: Things revealed only as for our search.

[Page xx]§. 30. But the Conclusion which all this pre­pareth for, is this; That whatever else besides the Trinity of Primalities before described, doth con­stitute the Trinity of Persons, it is rendred alto­gether credible to an implicit Faith, by the full Evidence and Certainty of the aforesaid Trinity of Faculties or Primalities, which are God's Image on Man's Soul, and the like imprinted on the whole Creation; which certainly is not done in vain.

§. 31. I pass by the rest, because I have so largely handled it in Method. Theolog. And a­mong the numerous Authors there cited, I desire the Reader especially to peruse the words of Guit­mundus (A. B.) Aversanus, Edmund. Cantuarien­sis, Richardi ad Bernard, Pothonis Prumensis, with whose words I will conclude (cited pag. 103.) ‘There are three invisibles of God, Power, Wisdom and Benignity, of which all things pro­ceed, in which all things subsist, by which all things are ruled. The Father is Power, the Son is Wisdom, the Holy Ghost is Benignity. Power createth, Wisdom governeth, Benignity conserveth. Power by Benignity wisely crea­teth, Wisdom by Power benignly governeth. Benignity by Wisdom powerfully conserveth; As the Image is seen in the Glass, so in the state of the Soul by Humane Nature, &c. To this Similitude of God against Man approacheth nearly, to whom God's Power giveth Power to Good, and his Wisdom to Know, and his Be­nignity [...]iveth to Will. This is the threefold Force of the Rational Soul, posse, scire, velle, to be able, to know, to will; which co-operate to Faith, Hope, and Love (or Charity).’

[Page xxi]§. 32. Among all the Attempts that are pub­lished for our Conceptions of the Deity and Trini­ty, I know of none that give us their Notions with greater Confidence and Pretence of Revelati­on, than I. P. M. D. [Dr. Pordage] and his Leader Iacob Behmen. Many other of the German Prophets, going near the same way; as C. Beckman describeth them. I. P. his Mystica Theolo­gia pretendeth to far greater discovery of the Deity and Trinity, and the World, than ever Christ, Prophets or Apostles gave us. First, In his Globe of Eternity, or the Divine Essential World pictured by, 1. An Eye (the Father), 2. A Heart (the Son); 3. And the Effluvia or breathed Beams (the Holy Ghost) with the innumerable Progeny of such Eyes flowing from that pregnant Essence, dif­fering from it only as lesser from greater, each an Individual, yet making no Composition (but Unity) in the Deity.

Secondly, In his Abyssal Nothing, or World of Po­tentialities.

Thirdly, In his Eternal Nature, and the septenary included Worlds, &c.

But, 1. I consess there are many things in him (and in Peter Sterry) which Reason left to its conjectures, would think plausible; but short of Aristotle and Plato.

2. And he is so high in his Description and Defence of Trine-Unity, that even where I consent not, I dare not call him therein unsound.

3. But many Passages in his Description of Eternal Nature are apparently the effects of Igno­rance, and erroneous.

[Page xxii]4. And he goeth further in his making this Na­ture eternal, and a World, that is the Body of God, than I dare do.

5. And though I would not be too forward, to contemn men that pretend to know such Myste­ries by Vision and Revelation, yet I resolve to take Christ for my sufficient and infallible Teacher; and to pretend to know no more of the Deity and unseen World, than he hath thought meet to reveal: For no man hath seen the Father at any time, but the only begotten Son; nor doth any else know him but he, and those to whom he revealeth him: And what Christ hath not revealed of God, I think it is because it is fittest for us to be yet ignorant of it, as a necessary difference between our present and our future state. To search for more will but confound and lose us, and resting practically in what Christ hath revealed, and for the rest, trust­ing our selves fully in his Knowing for us, his Love to us, and his Promise for us, may safely and sufficiently quiet the Mind that can be well quieted no other way.

CHAP. 3. Of the Incarnation and Hypostatical Union.

§. 1. NO wonder that it seemeth hard to Man, to understand how the Divine Na­ture assumeth the Humane into Union, when it is so far beyond our reach to conceive how God is near to all his Works, and how he opera­teth on every man. Christ hath told us, That [Page xxiii] we know not how a man is born of the Spirit, no more than we know whence the Wind cometh and whither it goeth: And can we easilier know how God became Man?

§. 2. It is certain, that God being infinite, is as near to us as is possible; our Souls can be no nearer to our Bodies, nor perhaps to them­selves. And though Philosophers dispute, Whe­ther Spirits be in loco, and whether God be in us, or we in him, and whether he be quasi locus & spatium to the World; yet it is past questi­on, that he is omnipresent, and intimately proxi­mus to all things.

§. 3. It is not therefore his meer Presence or Proximity of being that is this Hypostatical Uni­on; else it would extend to all the World. It is harder therefore to prove, that God is not as nearly united to all, than to prove, that he is not so united to the Humane Nature of Christ. Which caused Peter Sterry and such others, to hold, That Christ hath three Natures; that is, That the Divine Nature first produced the prime, superangelical, emanant Nature, (by which he seemeth to mean an universal Soul to the Mat­ter of the World▪) and that this superangelical Nature did unite it self to all, but eminently to the humane Nature of Christ, which he calleth One top-Branch in the Tree of Beings. Some say the superangelical Nature being Christ's only Soul assuming but a Body; others, that it assumed a Body and Soul.

§. 4. The grand difficulty about God's Unity with the World, and the World with God, is how to solve the difficulty that hath stalled the School-Doctors; That if the Creature have no [Page xxiv] Entity distinct from God's, it is either part of God, or nothing: But it is not nothing, or no Substance (though some call it a shadow.) And it is not a part of God; for to be pars, is to be im­perfect, and so to be no God. And if it have a real Entity distinct from God's Entity, then there would be more Entity in God and the Creature, than GOD alone: For two is numerally more than one; and two Entia have more Entity than one, how small soever the lesser be. And then God should be put part of Universal Entity, which is Imperfection. To say that the Crea­ture hath part of Created Entity, but not of Divine Entity, seemeth to yield, that God is but part of Universal Entity. To avoid which, many Philosophers take up the Opinion, that the whole being of all Worlds is GOD, the material Part being his Body, and the eternal Spirit the Soul.

What shall we say to this? To silence it will not silence the Objectors. And sure we must not grant them, That the World is God; or that it is part of God; or that God is but a part of Real Substance or Entity; or that to be so is no Imperfection. Is there no other sounder way?

Though Divines say, that Dei non sunt acci­dentiae, and it's true, That God is all Essence and per essentiam operatur, yet I dread to assert, but humbly ask, Whether rather than fall into any of the former Opinions, it be not less dangerous to say, That as God hath made his Works in his likeness, and no Substance is without all Ac­cidents, so the World be not quasi accidens Dei. And if so, it is no Part of Him, essential or inte­gral: And as its Substance is not univocally such [Page xxv] as God's, so such as it is, it is so totally caused by and dependent on God's continual Creating­will and Emanation, that its Substance and Being is more GOD's (though not GOD) than its own, and so is no Addition of Being to God's Be­ing, but contained in him, and flowing from him: A man's actual thought, words or sensation is no Addition to a man's substance as such; and yet they are not nothing. A man's Hair and Nails that have no life, but vegetative, are substantial Accidents, and yet no part of the man: And yet are so wholly his own, caused by his Soul, as heat and moisture, that we use not to call them any addition to the man's being.

§. 5. Q. But wherein then lieth the Hypo­statical Union, if God be equally near to all things?

Ans. He doth not equally operate on all: As the God of Nature, he sustaineth and operateth on all his Creatures: As the God of Grace, he worketh Holiness on Believers Souls: As the God of Glory, he is present demonstra­tively and gloriously to the Blessed: But he work­eth on none as he did on the humane nature of Christ: These three differences I conceive make this proper sort of Union. 1. Some Works God doth, though by essential Proximity, yet not with­out the use and operation of second Causes: But Christ's assuming the humane nature by the divine, was by Conception by the Holy Ghost, as the immediate Efficient, without the Causali­ty of Man or Angel, the Mother affording Matter and Aliment to the foetus.

2. Divine Operations being various, the Divine Nature did that on the Humane Nature of Christ, which it did not on any other Creature: He ha­ving [Page xxvi] such Work to do, as no other Creature was to do, the divine nature fitted the humane for its part. No Angel was to be Mediator between God and Man, and to work Miracles as he did, and in our nature to fulfill all Righteousness, and be a Sacrifice for Sin, and to rise from the Dead, and to send down the Spirit, and ascend to Glo­ry, and there to reign and to judge the World: Therefore he was qualified for all this work.

3. And so there is also a relative difference, in that the Divine Nature, by a fixed Decree and Will, united it self for this work, to this one humane nature, even for all futurity. It may be some that are wiser can better tell wherein the Hypostatical Union consisteth.

§. 6. As to the Question, Whether the di­vine and humane nature be two or one, it is to ask, Whether the nature of God and his Creatures be two or one? They may be called one as we are one with Christ, as conjunct, rela­ted and consenting: But not one and the same essential nature.

§. 7. But the great difficulty is, whether the two natures constitute one Person, or two. Ne­storius is accused (Derodon saith falsly, citing his own plain words) to have held, That Christ was two Persons, divine and humane. But what is to be held, the School-Doctors make a difficult question; that is, whether the humane nature be either a Person, or any part of the Person of Christ. 1. They say, that Christ was a divine Person from Eternity, and therefore began not to be such at his Incarnation. 2. That the divine nature cannot be pars personae, for that would be to be imperfect and not divine: Therefore that the hu­mane [Page xxvii] nature is no part, but an adjunct to the Person of Christ. (And if the humane nature be an Accident to the divine in Christ, why must we deny Creatures to be Accidents of God?) But most plain Christians would be star [...]l [...]d to hear a Preacher say, that the Humanity is no part of the Person of Christ.

§. 8. I have no answer to the difficulty, unless I may distinguish of the sence of the word PER­SON, and say, that in the sence as it signifieth a Person in the Essence of God, the humane nature is no partSuch a noise do the Histories of Church-Fa­ction make about Nesto­rians, Eurychians, Mo­nothelites, &c. that will not permit [...]s to pass by these points. of it. But as to a Relative Personality, (as a King, a Priest, a Prophet, &c. as a Husband, a Father, &c. are Persons) so there is one Mediator between GOD and Man, the Man Christ Jesus: And the humane is not here excluded.

But is the Divine a part of the Person of a Me­diator? I handle such things with fear; The Lord pardon our weakness: But we are called to handle them by men's Presumptions.

1. As God is not a part of the World, or uni­versal Substance, and yet is eminenter more than a part, what if it be so answered here?

2. But if, as great Doctors now maintain, Rela­tions may be ascribed to God, without any Com­position, because they have no proper reality, but a meer objective comparability, why may not the divine nature have a relative part in the Relati­on of Mediator, as assuming and advancing the hu­mane, and operating in it, without composition? And as according to this ambiguity, Christ may [Page xxviii] have two persons (not univocally) divine and me­diatorial, so the divine and humane may make one Mediator: And in the one Person of a Mediator are contained many Relative Persons of Christ, as King, Priest, Prophet, Son of Mary, &c. The Lord pardon what is amiss in these Conceptions, and rectifie my Judgment, and give me that practical Faith and Knowledge of Him, which constituteth Christianity, according to the Baptismal Covenant, and which is it that He calleth Eternal Life.


CHAP. 4. How to conceive of the Diversity of God's Operations, seeing he is immutable, and in­timately near to every Patient.

§. 1. IT is certain, That no Change wrought by God, signifieth any Change in God; and that no diversity of Effects signifieth any real Multiplicity or Diversity in God: But all Di­versity [...]loweth from Unity, and Change from Immut [...]bil [...]ty.

§. 2. It is certain, That God is intimately present in Essence with every Creature, and e­very Effect, and so all his Effects are immedia­tione proxim [...]tatis immediately from God, he being as near the Effect, when he useth second Cau­ses, [Page xxix] and having as much Causality in producing what is done, as when he useth none.

§. 3. Yet it is certain, That God useth second Causes, and therefore that all Effects are not so [...]mmediately from him, as to be sine med [...]is: and the highest usually work on the lower.

§. 4. Therefore it seemeth plain, that Energy, [...]r utmost transient Operations go not as far as his Essential Presence; nor are equal to his Om­nipotency: He doth not all that in primo instan [...] he can do; but suspendeth freely such Acts.

§. 5. Therefore God may so far suspend some Operations on inferior Patients, as to confine them to the Capacity or Aptitude of the supe­rior created Causes, as he doth in the ordinary Course of Nature: He shineth not by the Moon so much as by the Sun; nor in a cloudy day so much as in a clear; nor in the night as in the day; and nourisheth us not by every sort of Food a­like, nor cureth alike by all Medicines.

§. 6. As God doth thus in Naturals, so may he do in Morals, or spiritual Changes: As he is the God of Kingdoms and People, he may use its Mercies and Judgments by Kings and Magi­strates, and according to their good or bad Dis­positions, as he did in the Death of Christ. He doth not use to govern Nations as happily by wick­ed, tyrannical, in [...]i [...]el Rulers, as by the good and faithful: Pagan Rome was more unhappy under Nero, Domitian, Commodus, He [...]iogabulus, &c. than under N [...]rva, Trajan, Adrian, Antonine, Alexan­der Severus: And the Empire was delivered by the fall of seven Tyrants, by a Constantine.

§. 7. So God usually prospereth or afflicteth Churches and particular Souls, working his Grace [Page xxx] according to the qualifications of the Pastors and Teachers; and fitting them to be meet Instru­ments of the intended Good, though he do not always so confine his Operations. This is evide [...] in the different successes of Ministers that are skil­ful or unskilful, wise or ignorant, good or bad▪ concordant, or schismatical: And it is notoriou [...] in the success of the Education of Youth, in Schools Universities, and Families.

§. 8. According to this Method, we may judge also of God's working according to varie­ty of Company-helps, Temptations, and Hin­derances, and how much of God's Work of Grace is thus sapientially and mediately exercised; though as to the internal manner of the Agency of his Spirit, we are told by Christ, That every one that is born of the Spirit, is as the Wind bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the sound, but know not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth. It is much herein to know a little.

§. 9. It greatly darkeneth us in judging of God's Providences on Earth, as to the Welfare or Mise­ry of Nations and Souls, Believers and Insidels, Peace and War, &c. that we know not how much God doth here by Spirits good and bad; and how far such Spirits are left to their Free-will, as A­dam was, in their Ministration and Executions here below. God gave Satan power over Iob, and power on the Sabeans that robbed him, and power on the Fire that fell from Heaven on his Estate. Christ said, This is their Day, and of the Power of Darkness. What Laws the superiour Worlds are under, as to us, and one another, is much unknown to us; yea, what power for our sins Satan may have against (not only the wick­ed, [Page xxxi] but) even those that fear God, both on their Bodies by Diseases, and on their minds by trou­bling and seducing Temptations Sad experience [...]elleth us, that yielding to former Temptations, giveth him advantage for easier access to our ima­ginations, and to more dangerous fresh Assaults.

§. 10. But yet we may be sure, that all God's Promises shall be fulfilled, and that he will never give Satan power to break them, nor suspend his Operations so much on any second Causes, as to violate any word of safety, and hope that he hath given us to trust to; which Assurance may serve to keep us in Faith, and Hope; and Com­fort.

CHAP. 5. Is any point of Faith above Reason, or con­trary to it?

§. 1. I Have answered this at large in Method. Theol. It is a confused and ill-worded Question.

Distinguish, 1. between Faith taken objectively, and Faith subjectively as an Act, or Quality.

2. Between that which is required of all men to be believed, and that which is required but of some.

3. Between Reason in Faculty, and Reason in Act and Habit.

4. Between Reason advanced by improvement, and Reason unimproved and buried in Igno­rance.

5. Between Reason that hath only the Revela­tion [Page xxxii] of common Nature, and Reason that hath su­pernatural Revelation.

§. 2. I. It being only objective Faith that is meant in the Question; that is no Object of Faith which for want of Revelation, a man is not bound to believe. There are Millions of Things above our Reason, which are no Objects of our Faith. And more may be the Object of one Man's Faith, than of anothers that had it no way revealed to him.

§. 3. II. Almost all the matter of Faith is a­bove the Reason of ignorant Sots that never im­proved their Reason, or studied the Evidences of Truth: It is above their Reason, as dispositive and active, though not above the possibility of their Faculties being better cultivated and disposed hereafter.

§. 4. III. The Doctrine of Faith is not only above, but centrary to the false reasoning of igno­rant deceived Fools; for so is the very Being of God, and such are many that boast of Rea­son.

§. 5. IV. The Gospel of Christ, and many points of Faith are above his Reason that hath only such natural Light as the Creation can give him, without any Gospel supernatural Revela­tion. Who can know in India that never heard of Christ, that he was incarnate, and rose from the dead, and ascended, &c.?

§. 6. V. Nothing that God commandeth us to believe, is either contrary to, or above Reason (that is the reasoning Intellect) informed by Evange­lical Revelation or Notice, and honestly and soundly qualified to judge otherwise, as Law, Physick, Astronomy, so Divinity is above the Rea­son of the unqualified.

[Page xxxiii]§. 7. This is apparent, 1. Because we have [...]o Faith in us, but what is an act of Reason and [...]tional Will; and therefore that cannot be said [...] be above Reason, which is it self essentially [...]n Act of Reason. By what Faculty do we be­ [...]eve, but by the rational Intellect and Will? [...]nd this Intellect hath but two sorts of Acts, [...]. Immediate Self-perceptions, which some call In­ [...]uitions, and some, Eminent Internal Sensation. [...]. Abstrative Knowledge by Reasoning. And [...]he first way we perceive nothing but our own [...]cts: Therefore it must be the latter, or not at all.

§. 8. 2. We have reason to know that God [...]annot lye; and reason to know by certain Proof [...]hat Scripture is his Word; and reason to know [...]hat that Word expresseth. Therefore we have [...]eason to believe that it is true, and consequently [...]o trust it.

§. 9. 3. If we tell Infidels that we have no Reason our selves for our Faith, nor any Reason [...]o give them why they should believe Christ more [...]han Mahomet, and the Scripture more than the Alcor [...]n, this preaching is not the way to con­ [...]ince the World, nor did such Preaching gather [...]he Churches.

§. 10. When the Apostles added Miracles to [...]heir Testimony of Christ's Resurrection, what was it for, but to convince Mens Reason, that what God so attesteth by unimitable VVorks, must needs be true: It is by reason (abused) that Men talk against reason.

§. 11. Those knowing Divines that tell the Socinians, That the Matters of Faith are above Reason, can reasonably mean no more, but that meer Reason by natural Light, could not have [Page xxxiv] known them without Gospel supernatural Reve­lation.

§. 12. This Reason is unanswerable.

That is certainly true which God obligeth a [...] men of Reason, to whom it is revealed, to be­lieve.

But God obligeth all Men of Reason, to who [...] it is revealed, to believe the Life to come, and that Christ is the Son of God, and his VVor [...] true.

Therefore it is true.

The Major is proved by the very Being an [...] Perfection of God; to say that God bindeth the World to believe a Lye, and so is the great Lyer and Deceiver, is to describe him like Sa­tan, and to deny him to be God.

The Minor is proved; God bindeth us to be­lieve that which being of greatest everlasting Consequence, is attested by the former Prophe­cies, the Essential Impressions of God, the mul­titude of uncontrolled Miracles, and the conti­nued success of sanctifying Souls, and making the greatest amendment of the world, when we have no Disproof of it; and to trust our Souls and Hopes on this, when we have such sealed Promises, and no other sufficient Hopes.

But such is the Gospel of Christ, and the Life to come—Ergo we are Sound as reasonable, by God to believe it.

In this Belief and Hope I am writing this, un­der the sentence of Death, in expectation of my approaching Change.☞ These five preceding Chapters were, on Emergent Occasions, written about Twenty years after the rest of the [...]ook (save one Chapter, Chap. 5)

CHAP. I. Prefatory. Who shall be Iudge of Controversies, and of the Sence of Scripture; whether all the People, or who else.

Sect. I. EXperience assuring all Men, that we are born without actual Know­ledg, and yet with Faculties made to Know, obliged to Learn, desi­ [...]ing Knowledg, needing it, and delighting in it, [...]o wonder if Men be inquisitive after the surest [...]nd easiest way to attain it; and if they be unwil­ [...]ing to be deceived, no wonder they love Truth as Truth, and hate Lyes as Lyes; though, being de­ [...]eived, they hate that which is Truth, and love that which is a Lye.

§. 2. Therefore the first Apprehensions of the mind do greatly tend to the introduction of those that follow, to make them such as shall agree with these: And here, 1. Sense, and 2. Education have the great advantage. 1. We exercise Sense before Reason, and therefore, at first, without the government of our own Reason, and this necessarily, strongly, and constantly, as the Bruites do. 2. And being there­fore governed by the Reason of our Parents, we learn Knowledg of them, and from sensible Objects, [...]ut drop by drop, by slow degrees; and Sense be­ing strong, inclineth Children strongly to desire [Page 2] that sort of Knowledg, which will most serve the pleasure of Sence and Fleshly Appetite: And so they easily learn how to sport, and after how to seek Pro [...]ssion (by Labour and Trades, and Fla [...] ­tery▪ [...].) t [...] s [...]tisfi the Desires of the Flesh. But the [...]dg of things spiritual and everlastin [...] which are beyond the reach of Sight and all the Se ses, cometh not in so soon▪ nor till Parents o [...] other Teachers tell them of such, or Reason grow up to m [...]turity, by Experience and serious Exer­cise, and withal, the Grace of God to bless such Help [...], and overcome the contrary fleshly inclina­tions, which original Pravity and customary Sen­suality, raise up against the Desires of, Endeavours for, and Obedience to a spiritual and more excel­lent Knowledg. Where God giveth, 1. A Body moderately temperated as to Sensuality and Inge­nuity; 2. And Parents, or first-Teachers, wise and faithful, to teach Children that spiritual Know­ledg which they have learn [...] themselves; and, 3. by His Grace exciteth Childrens Minds to love, learn, and obey the Truth, there enter the begin­nings of truest Wisdom: But where these are wan­ting, they grow up, instead of saving Wisdom, to the craftiness of a Fo [...], to get, keep, and devour his Prey, and to the valour and felicity of the Mastisse, to be Master of the little Dogs; and at last, to the subtilty of Devils, to oppose and de­stroy as a hated thing the Holy Wisdom and Pra­ctice that should have saved them.

§. 3. As Knowledg cometh in by slow degree [...] ▪ so there are as many degrees or differences of it, in the World, as there are Men; it being not probe­ble that any two men on Earth have just the same apprehensions and degrees of Knowledg; but that [Page 3] all mens mental Complexions differ far more than their Vis [...]ges do. So that if the same degree were [...]he measure of necessary Church-Concord, and [...]alvation, there should but one in the World be [...]e Church or be saved. The question then is not, What measure is desireable, but what is necessary to Church-Unity and Communion, and to Salvation. And what God will do with those that have not the Gospel, and are not of the Christian Church, but only believe that God is, and that he is the Re­ [...]rder of them that [...]tly seek him, and that in every Nation do fear God, and work righteousness] be­longeth not to our present question; but only what is necessary to the Christian State and Hope.

§. 4. And here it is first to be decided, Whether God hath by [...]y fixed Law or Revelation determined so [...]f the Measure of Christian Knowledg and Faith, as [...]hat thereby men may know who are to be taken as Chri­stians and of the Church? To which I say, 1. We [...]ust distinguish of Faith as objective and as Active, [...]r as to the matter believed, and as to the Act of [...]elieting or knowing. 2. Between the Inward Sin­cerity and the Outward Profession: And remember [...]hat though God judge of Men according 1. to in­ward Sincerity, and 2. expect that degree of Know­e [...]g and Faith in Act and Habit suitable to means [...]njoyed, without which the man and his Faith are [...]ot indeed sincere; yet the Church (and all Men) [...]an judge of others, but 1. By outward Profession, [...]. extended to that degree of Objective Faith, which God hath made commonly necessary to Christiani­ty or to the acceptance of the Church

It is therefore here a deceiving Consusion, to [...]onfound the two cases, what is necessary to God's acceptance into Heaven, and what is necessary to a [Page 4] Man's acceptance into the Church. And thence some conclude that no man can tell just what is necessary to Individuals.

§. 5. That Christ hath stated the Essentials of Christianity, taken objectively should be so far past question, as our Christianity it self is, at least. For if he have not, then he is not the Author and Finisher of our Faith: And if he be not who is▪ The Apostles delivered it as received from him. If it were not then made and determined by Christ, then there was then no Christianity, and so no Christians. And if it was made since then, who wa [...] the Maker of Objective Christianity? No Man o [...] Company of Men dare or do pretend to it. If they should, whence had they that Power? And did [...] die with them? Or may others after them make also a new Christianity? Paul pronounceth Angel or Man accursed that should bring another Gospel than that which he had received and preached Gal. 1. 7, 8. 1 Cor. 15. 3, 4. &c.

2. And if the Essentials of Christianity and Church-relation and Communion were not deter­mined of by Christ, and notified in the Holy Scrip­tures, then there could be then no Christian Church, for want of Church-Essentials. And then when began that Church, and who made it.

3. But the Gospel hath put the matter out of doubt, telling us that Christ hath actually declared and determined the Essentials of Objective Chri­stianity and the Church: even in his Institution o [...] Baptism, which is our Christening, which in his preaching he expounded, and so did his Apostles. 2. And as his Baptized Disciples were called Christians, so he commanded them to Love one another and live in Concord and Communion a [...] [Page 5] Christians: and could any obey this Command, of Christianity was then either unmade or a thing that could not be known?

§. 6. And if it was then made by Christ, it was sur [...]ly anchangeable: else men might be still ma­king a new Christianity, from Age to Age, and when should we have an end? And who hath power or skill to make a better than Christ made [...] that attempted it, thereby is an accursed Antichrist?

§. 7. And now we come next to enquire, I. What are the Church-Controversies to be decided. II. And who are the Dissenters that differ herein. III. And then we shall easily find who it is that must be the Judge of them.

§. 8. And 1. it is supposed that it is no one essen­tial part o [...] Objective Christianity that is in Controver­sie. 2. And that it is not among Christians that any such point is controverted. For he that de­nyeth any essential part, denyeth Christianity and the Church; and therefore is no Christian (what­ever he may be called by himself or others.) And though Confounders make a great Controversie of it, whether a Heretick be a Christian and a part of the Church, it's easily resolved; if we dally not with an ambiguous word: If by a Heretick be meant one that professeth not, or deny [...]d any essential part of Christianity or the Church, he is no Christian nor part of that Church which he denyed: But if by a Heretick be meant one that professeth not, or denyeth only something that is of the melius esse of Christianity and the Church, he is a Member though a faulty one.

§. 9. But it will be said, that more than the Essen­tials of Christianity is necessary to Church-Communion: [Page 6] else we must receive Drunkards, Fornicators, Extortio­ners, Railers, with whom, saith St. Paul, we must net eat.

Ans. I would those that will not endure tolerable men for a different opinion or circumstance, could as little endure Drunkards, Fornicators, Extor­tioners, and Railers, and Covetous, &c. But the Objectors must understand, That as I said, The Baptismal Covenanting Profession of Christianity is our Church-title to its Communion. And that Christianity is more than a bare Opinion or Notional Assent: it is a solemn giving up our selves by Vow and Covenant to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost, as our God and Saviour and Sanctifier, to be Taught and Ruled by Christ, as well as pardoned, adopted, and glorified; which essentially containeth Repentance and the Renunciation of the Dominion of the Flesh, the World, and the Devil, which are contrary to the Government of Christ.

And it must be remembred that a Verbal Pro­fession proved counterfeit and false by inconsistent contradiction in word or deed, is indeed not valid, and is no Profession. And he that would say, I will be Ruled by Christ, but I will be a Drunkard, a Fornicator, an Extortioner, &c. would thus nul­lifie his Profession by a gross Contradiction: And to live impenitently in these sins, is as sure a proof of falshood of a man's Profession, as contrary words would be. And if a man once and again commit such Sins till he Repent of them, he chooseth them and liveth in them: And while he chooseth and liveth in them, he Repenteth not indeed, what­ever he say: For Repentance is a change of Mind and Life.

[Page 7]Therefore we here distinguish of Mens Right to Church-Communion as 1. unquestioned, 2. as lost or null, 3. as doubtful and under tryal. 1. A Baptismal Profession of all the Essence of Christia­nity, and not disproved, is a Title not to be questio­ned. 2. Apostasie, or the denyal by word or deed [...]f any essential part of Christianity, justly proved, nullifieth Christianity and Church Right. 3. But if a man speak or hold some bad opinion by a re­mote u [...]see [...]. consequence, contrary to somewhat essential to Christianity, or if he commit some Sin that is inconsistent if he Repent not, here the Church must try whether the said Error be indeed so held, as that the contradicted truth is really not held, or only be held on a mistake of consisten­ [...], the person professing to renounce it, if incon­sistent: And whether the said Sinner live impeni­tently in that Sin, as that which he chooseth and will not forsake: And while the man is under this doubtful Tryal, his Title is doubtful, and to be suspended as to actual Exercise.

And therefore the Church hath ever used Suspen­sion as a thing different from a full or proper Ex­communication. Suspension and some disciplinary restraints, have been called Excommunicatio minor, which doth not cut off a man from the Church: When the proper Excommunication called major, is but an Authoritative Declaring that a man hath cut off himself, by Apostasie at least from some essential part of Christian Faith or Duty: without which self-abs [...]ision, other mens hath no place, and is but a Slander of the innocent. God hath not given others Power to unchristen, cut off or damn the guiltless.

[Page 8]§. 10. It's one thing to be cut off from the Church or Christ, 2. and another to be under try­al and suspense o [...] actual Communion, till Repen­tance prove mens Right. 3. And it's another to be at present only denyed Communion (not with the Church wholly, but) in some comfortable Or­dinances, till the removing of a Scandal have made the person capable, by satisfying the scandalized. 4. And its another thing to be cast down from a higher to a lower station, and denyed Dignities, Preferments, and special Honour. Confound not these.

§. 11. And by this time you may see how to an­swer the ill-stated question, Who is the Iudge of Controversies in Religion: and of the Sence of the Scripture: and whether every ignorant Man or Wo­man, or Child must be Iudges of it for themselves?

And first you must understand the foresaid Di­stinctions necessary to the Solution; Ambiguities and Generalities are the instruments of Deceit. And secondly I shall apply them to the case.

§. 12. 1. We must distinguish Controverted Essentials of Christianity, from controverted In­tegrals, and Accidents.

2. Distinguish Controversies between Christians and no-Christians, from Controversies among Christians.

3. Distinguish material Objective Christianity (Faith and Duty) from internal Subjective.

4. Distinguish external valid Profession of Actual Faith not disproved, from internal Sincerity.

5. Distinguish between what is necessary to God's accepting a man to Justification and Salva­tion; and what's necessary to the Church's accep­ting a man to Communion.

[Page 9]6. Distinguish what is necessary to that stated Union and Communion which is our real Church-Membership and Christianity, from that which is necessary to the present actual exercise of such Right in some local Priviledges and Acts; and from that which only sitteth men for Dignity or Office.

7. Distinguish between the Case de esse, or real Truth, and the Case de scire, or judging of it.

8. Distinguish between Judging what others shall Believe about things controverted, and go­verning their Practice, how they shall behave themselves.

9. Distinguish a private Judgment, discerning what is or is not our own Duty, and a publick Iudgment in Government of others.

10. Distinguish the Judgment of several Gover­nours according to their divers Offices, and Ends.

11. Distinguish a limitted Power to Judge only one way from a power of judging obligatively in partem utram libet, this way or that.

12. Distinguish the real incomplexe Matter or Objects of Faith, from the literal complexe words which signifie them. And so these conclusions will be clear past doubt.

Concl. 1. All Christians are agreed in the Essen­tials of Christianity: Therefore these are no Church-controversies for any to be the Judges of▪ It's only Insidels and Men without our Church that differ from us in these. And Insidels are not to be converted by the Authority of a humane Judge (nor ever were) but by Teachers shewing the Evi­dences of Truth.

C. II. All Christians, as such being bound by Christ to love one another, and live in Communion as [Page 10] Members of one Body, notwithstanding lesser dif­ferences, it followeth that Christian Unity, Love, and Communion depend not on the question, Who shall be Iudge of Controversies; as being pre­supposed to it.

C. III. But the Baptizing Pastors of the Churches are by office the Judges, whether it be indeed the Essentials of Christianity which are profest by the Baptized.

C. IV. And therein it is the Real incomplexe Objects that are propterse essential (God, Christ, Grace, &c.) And the [...]gnal words are only neces­sary to notifie to the Church what men believe: And no singular words only are necessary: Else only men of One Language could be Christians: But any words will serve which signifie the same Matter: few will serve for some: and others must use more. The words of Baptism suffice where they are understood: But the Creed, Lord's Pray­er, and Decalogue, as the sum of the Credenda, Pe­tenda, Agenda, have by the Church been judged a sufficient explication, for the Baptized: And in these we all agree.

C. V. Though real sincerity of active Faith and Consent be necessary to Salvation, God judging the Heart; yet Profession not disproved, must satisfie the Church: Who therefore are not put to judge whether mens Knowledg reach the degree of their Helps?

C. VI. The Baptizing one into the Union of the Church-Universal, obligeth him to exercise Christ's instituted Worship in particular Churches; and therefore to know what that is: which is The Pastor's Teaching the Flock Christ's Gospel; officia­ting in the administration of the Lord's Supper, Prayer [Page 11] and Praise, and Disciplinary Government by the use of the Church-Keys: Of Mens fitness for these, the Pa­stors are the Judges, and the Flock must obey.

C. VII. Christ hath in Scripture instituted all that is of necessity to this Communion.

C. VIII. Every Governour hath a governing Judgment (called Publick) suitable to his Office. The Pastours are Judges who is capable of Baptism and Church-Communion, as far as must be execu­ted by the Keys.

The Magistrate is Judge who is by him to be countenanced, tolerated, or punished by force.

The Parents are Judges in cases about their Wives and Children, proper to Family-Govern­ment

But every reasonable Creature being a Gover­nour of himself, is necessarily the Discerner of his own Duty. And God being the Highest Ruler, and there being no Power but of Him, and none against Him, no Man must obey any against him: and all must use their Reason to judge whether Mens Laws be against God or not: If this were not so, 1. Men were governed as meer Bruites: 2. And must curse God or Christ, or murder, or do any Evil that Ru­lers bid them. 3. And then God should for this punish none but Soveraigns. 4. And then all Na­tions must be of the King's Religion. 5. And then men must not judge whether it be the Just Prince or the Usurper that they must obey. In short, this overthroweth all Religion and Humanity.

C. IX. No men have Power to Judge in partem utramlibet, or against any Article of Faith or Divine Obedience; the Thing is True or False before they judge of it: and if they judge against Truth, their Judgment is void: God binds as not to believe [Page 12] their Lie: They have no Power to judge that there is no God, no Christ, no Holy Ghost, that the Gospel is false, that Men may commit Idolatry, Perjury, Murder, Adultery, &c. The contrary all may and must judge; but some as Rulers, and some as Subjects. But in cases before indifferent, (where Man's Authority may make Duty▪ or not, there they may judge it Duty or not accordingly.

C. X. In doubtful cases no mens bare judg­ment can bind or make others to Believe things Divine with a Divine Faith: man is not God. But 1. Teachers that are credible must be believed with a human Faith according to the degree of their credibility, which is preparatory to Divine Faith. 2. And Rulers may Govern Subjects in the manner of expressing and using their controverted Opinions, and restrain them from doing hurt.

C. XI. While true Union and Love are secured by common concord in things essential and neces­sary, a Judge of other Controversies is not need­ful to these ends before secured: Christians must live in Love that understand not many hundred Texts or Controversies.

C. XII. It is worse than Madness to think that all Controversies will on Earth be ended, or that any Men can do it. But they that say it do most deeply damn such pretended Judges, that so many Volumes being written of Controversies, and con­trary textual Expositions among themselves, will not decide them to this day. Who shall decide all the Controversies between General Councils, and all the present Patriarchs and Churches in the World.

Thus much to answer the question, Who shall be Iudge of Controversies and Scripture Sence?

[Page 13]§. 5. If Men did but difference points necessary to Salvation and Christianity, from those that are only needful to a higher Stature in the Church, and from those that are utterly uncertain and unnecessary; and, 2. If they did but know their own ignorance and liableness to Error; and, 3. If they considered how utterly impossible it is to make the multitude of ignorant People, yea or Mi­nisters, to be all of a mind, in the numerous hard Controversies, Opinions, and dubious or indifferent things, that are striven about in the World; certainly instead of damning, or despi­sing, or destroying, or hateing each other for such things, they would magni [...]ie the Wisdom and Mercy of Christ, who hath laid the Love, Unity and Peace of his Church on a few plain, sure and needful things, [‘Even the Covenant of Christianity, with the Creed, Lord's Prayer and De­calogue, and so much of Christ's own Precepts, as the universal Church hath ever bin agreed in.’] And they would rather honour and obey St. Paul, Rom. 14. 1 Cor. 12. Ephes. 4. 1, to 16. than count his Dictrin to be unpracticable or loose.

§. 6. If God will take all into Heaven that practically believe the Creed, and obey what is plainly written in the Scripture, why may not such live in Love and Peace on Earth, and the Key-bearers of the Church (which is the Seminary of Hea­ven) receive such, as Christ receiveth us to the Glory of God the Father, Rom. 15. 16. What if Men confess that they know no more (when mil­lions called Christians know not so much) will they destroy them for not knowing more than they can know? Or is it any Virtue or Duty [Page 14] to lye, and say that they know or believe what they are utterly ignorant of? What if those that with Ierome misliked the word Hypostasis, and those that preferred it before Persona, had forborn censuring one another? What if the questions, Whether Mary should be called the Mother of God, or rather of Him who is God? Or whether Christ's Will and Operations should be said to be One or Two? had been managed with mutual forbea­rance, without Zeno's Henoticon, or Anastasius's forcible Amursty? What if such forbearance had spared all the rage and bloodshed at Antioch, Alexandria and other parts? What if Chrysostom and others had bin permitted to silence their Thoughts of Origine? What if men had not bin put to declare whether the tria capitula of Theodoret, I [...]as and Theodore Mopsuest, were sound or unsound, and said, What is it to us? Might not the Church have lived with such in Peace? What if when the World was in a flame about Images, they had left them only to those that desired them? Might not they yet have lived in Love, that agreed in all the Essentials of Chri­stianity? What if yet one man say that Christ's Body is locally present in the Eucharist; and another say that, Because he knoweth not how far his spiritual Glorified Body is invisible, therefore he no more knoweth whether it be there than whether an Angel be there, but believeth that the Sacrament is truly his crucified Body represen­tative; why might not both these live in peace? What if one think that Venial Sin must be pu­nished with Purgatory Fire, or as an English Dr. that some men must pass a new Life of Trial, in their Aireal Vehicle, before they are capable of an [Page 15] Aethere [...]l Vehicle, why may not such bear with one that saith he knoweth no such thing? What [...]f one man think that he may pray to his Angel Guardian and another saith only that he oweth An­gels Love, Reverence and Gratitude, and would pray to them if he knew when they heard him, and knew it were God's will, what hurt will it do to the other man to bear with this? If we agree of all points that put men into that state in which Christ commanded to Love one another as his Disciples; if others differ from me about the meaning of five hundred Texts of Scripture, why may notlbe contented with my Knowledg and Opinion, and leave them to theirs? Why might not Nazianzene and the Council of Constantino­ple, Hierome and Russinus, Chrysostom and Theophi­lus and Epiphanius, Prosper and Cassianus and Vin­centius, (to pass by Augustine and Celestine and Iulianus, and Hierome and Vigilantius and Iovinian) have composed their differences with less noise and strife, and lived in love and peace together. (To pass by also the doleful Contentions about the Councils of Ephesus and Calcedon, and Const. 5, & 6. and Nice 2. and between Ignatius and Photius, and many more worse stri [...]es since then) Why might not the Jesuites and Jansenists have diffe­red without troubling the Popes and the Church, by mutual forbearance and gentle disputes, as many of the Schoolmen did before them? I quar­rel not with Erasmus, Faber, and abundance such, for chiding the Schoolmen as Causers of Conten­tion, by raising so many frivolous questions for Dispute: But verily, as they were in my opinion the best Philosophers that ever the World had, (and no wonder when they studied little else) so [Page 16] they managed their Disputes with more Scholar­like candour and peaceable moderation than most that went before them, or that have followed them. How many huge Volumes of subtile Dis­putes do they write, with very few railing words: patiently bearing each others copious Confuta­tions and Contradictions, as a thing to be expect­ed, and no whit wondring at the Differences of Judgment among the worthiest men? How many Volumes, or loads of Volumes are there written, of the different Opinions of the Thomists, Scotists, Nominals, Durandists; and yet till the late times put Virulency into the Writings of Iesuites, Do­minicans and Iansenists, &c. there was little revi­ling to be found in all these long Disputes.

And why might not Luther and Caerolostadius, Zuinglius and Oecolampadius; and many Lutherans and Calvinists have lived in as much Love and Peace as Melan [...]thon and Erasmus and such others, if they had but had their forbearing Charity and Candour? How sweet are the Pacificatory Wri­tings, yea and how judicious, of Iunius, Ludov. Crotius, Matth. Martinius, Georg. Calixtus, Conrad. Bergius, Iohannes Bergius, Paraeus, Amyraeedus, Hot­tonus, Testardus, Camero, Lud. Capellus, Plac [...]us, and (above all) Vinc. le Blank: yea and of mode­rate Papists, Espencaeus, Ferus, Gerson, Cassander, and especially Erasmus: And how harsh to the Lovers of Love and Peace, are such Writings as spit Fire and Brimstone, Reproach and bitter Censures, against those that be not just of their Opinions? it puts the wisest Divines hard to it, how far they may pronounce Damnation on all those Heathens, that live in Sincerity (though not in Perfection) according to that measure of the [Page 17] notification of God's Will which they are un­der, that come to God in the belief that God is, and that He is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, and that in every Nation they that fear God and work Righteousness, and are no worse than such Righte­ous men, as Abraham thought even wicked Sodom had had fifty of, are accepted of him. And shall Christians damn, curse and kill all that un­derstand not a thousand Controversies, which perhaps the destroyers as little understand; and that know not an hundred things to be indiffe­rent or lawful, which the destroyers do but say are such?

§. 7. It hath oft grieved me to read in Dr. Heylin's Life of Archbishop Laud how great a hand the Controversies then called Arminian, or of the Five Articles, had in the Divisions of the Church of England, between those that he maketh Archbishop Abbot in England and Archbi­shop Usher in Ireland to Head on one part; and the few that at first (and many after) that fol­lowed Archbishop Laud in England, and Archbi­shop Bramhall in Ireland on the other part. And to find what a stress the many Parliaments that feared Popery did lay on the thing that they cal­led Arminianism: And being carried down by the stream of many good mens Opinions and Fears, I was my self some years confident that Armi­nianism was a character of an Enemy to the Sound­ness and Safety of the Church. But when I had set my self throughly and impartially to study it, I found that which so amazed me, that I durst scarce believe what I could not deny; even that from the beginning of the Quarrel be­tween Augustine and Pelugius, all the Voluminous [Page 18] Contentions of the Thomists or Dominicans, and the Iesuites, and Franciscans, and between the Lutherans, and Zuinglians (herein) and the Sy­nodists and Arminians, have been mostly about ei­ther unsearchable things, which neither side under­stood, or about ambiguous words, which one Party taketh in one sence, and the other in another; or about the meer methodizing and ordering of the notions which both sides are agreed in; and that indeed the most reach not the very point of the difficulty and controversie, but talk before they understand as their Leaders have taught them: And that when the matter is distinctly opened, it is found that multitudes that write, rail and plot against one another, are really of one Opinion De rebus, and did not know it: And that the few re­maining Controversies that are real, and not only verbal, are but of such small or dubious things, as should break no Love nor Communion among Chri­stians, but all should with forbearance love each other in that liberty of judging which they cannot remedy.

The man that could cure all mens Errours (and his own) and will not, is much to blame: And he that would but cannot, is little better, if he will kill all that he cannot cure; and no doubt hath greater than any of theirs uncured in him­self. And what! Do I in all this take part with Ignorance, Error, Heresie or any Sin? No! he that can cure it, let him: But is he a fit person to cure it, that hath the Errours of Ungodliness, Malice, Lying, and Bloodthirstiness in himself? Or will killing men cure them? The Charity of these men saith, [Burn, hang or kill them le [...]t they infect others:] Ergo, say others, Kill these that far [Page 19] so, because their Errours are the most pernicious, lest they infect others with the Asps and Dragons killing Poyson. Nature teacheth Man to hate and kill Wolves, Kites, Adders, and all that live on the Blood of harmless Creatures, and to protect Sheep, Doves, and such other Creatures as cannot protect themselves. My nature grudgeth to live on the Flesh of these harmless Creatures, though God hath given them to us, but I little pity a Toad, a Snake, a Spider, or a devouring Fox: But regnante Dia [...]olo, where the Devil ruleth, he will have his Butchers and Shambles; and as Brutes are killed for Men, honest men shall be killed by these as for God: And because God himself will not allow the murder of the Innocent and Just and Pious, it is but calling them, Rogues and Knaves, and as Christ, an Enemy to Caesar, and as to Paul, A Ring-leader of a Sect, and Mover of Sedition among the People, (real crimes where there is real Guilt) and then they may say of them and do to them what they will, and by cheating History re­present Saints as Villains to ignorant Posterity. But O blessed be the final, Just, deciding Judge; who is as at the door. The Leech's Religion, that cannot live without Blood, is against the re­liques of Humanity in Mankind, so much, that even they that for worldly interests comply with it, do secretly suspect it to be indeed Diabo­lism.

§. 8. But Satan told Christ that the Kingdoms of the World and the glory of them is delivered to him, and their Power is his Gift which he giveth to whom­soever he will; and that shall be to those that obey and worship him, Luk. 4. 5, 6. Though he be a Lyer, too much of this is proved by the effects. [Page 18] [...] [Page 19] [...] [Page 20] And doubtless where he reigns, his work doth de­note his Power and Government; that is, 1. Blind Ignorance, Error, Lying and Deceit. 2. Malignant Hatred of good things and persons. 3. Bloodthirsty and destructive wolvish ways. And when he trans­formeth himself into an Angel of Light, and his Ministers as into Ministers of Righteousness, all this is done most successfully as for God, and as by (pretended) Commission from Christ, to kill the most conscionable and faithful Christians, as odious Villains, and that as for the Church and Christ, and for Unity, Order and Holy ends; yea to kill them in meer Charity, (though they love not such charity to themselves.) Such is the Cainites and Cannibal Religion, that will dye if it be not fed with Blood. And yet is so impatient of its own name, and to hear the recital of its own Exercise which hath maintained it a thousand years, that it is a mortal crime to tell men that they do that which they openly do & glory in. Wonder­ful! that it should be a necessary Virtue to do it, and a capital Crime to say they do it: To know what such do, goeth for worse than doing it. Inscius Acteon, &c.

§. 9. The effects of these Controversies have been and still are so dismal, among Papists and Protestants, that sure no man should be angry with a Reconciler that is not in love with Ha­tred and Destruction. I confess they are very learned men of the Church of Rome that have ma­naged them against each other. And so are some of the Church of England, and of foreign Pro­testants: But I must testifie that the most that I hear or read inveighing reproachfully against others about them, are men that tell me they talk [Page 21] after their Leaders, of things that they never un­derstood. I am ashamed to hear of't in the Pulpits: one Party rendring the Doctrine of Predestination as odious Blasphemy, and another Party crying down Universal Redemption and Free-will and Arminianism, as an Enemy to God's Grace; and neither of them know what they speak against. One Davenant, or Camero, or Le Blank, sheweth more insight into the Controversies which they reconcile, than forty of these zealous Railers do.

§. 10. I meddle not in this Book with the Con­troversies about Church-Government or Worship: A settled worldly Interest and the various mental dispositions of the Contenders, convince me, that I can there do little for reconciliation: God must do it, if he have not forsaken this world. But meer Doctrinal Controversies (though of great moment) methinks should not be so linked to a worldly Interest, but that men should be willing to know the Truth or to endure others to know it. That which I have attempted is, by meer and clear explication, without much argumentation, to end such Controversies: And to make men un­derstand one another, and the things which they dispute about; and by abbreviating my Catholick Theology, to make the Conciliation fitter for all Students: And the Success of that Book giveth me great encouragement, which hath been unanswe­red to this day, when I looked that it should have brought the Contentious of both sides about my ears. And I rejoice in the Success of Le Blank's Theses which I publish'd (he sent them to me to publish, and I gave them to my Bookseller to print, and he sold his Copy to another.) For all the [Page 22] dismal effects that the History of the low Coun­tries, and Dr. Heylin in Archbishop Laud's Life mention of these Controversies, I rejoice that these many years last past, they have made in England less noise than ever, and are talked of with more peace and moderation. And that I have a special share in the Comfort of this effect. And what Names soever Peace-haters and Man-haters and Saint-haters call men by, Christ saith, Blessed are the Peace-makers, for they shall be called the Children of God.

CHAP. II. The Doctrines about which they chiefly disagree, enumerated.

§. 1. THE forementioned causes of Divisions in general, do operate among Christi­ans, 1. About Church-Government; 2. About God's Worship, and 3. About Christian Doctrine in particular: All which are turned into the mat­ters of our Discord. The two first I intend not to meddle with in this Discourse: And as to the third, the Controversies about Doctrine which most trouble the Churches, are, 1. About God's Decrees and His Will in general. 2. About his Foreknowledge. 3. About Election in particular. 4. About Reprobation. 5. About his Providence and Predetermination of all actions in general. 6. About his causing or not causing Sin. 7. About [Page 23] Natural Power and Freewill, 8. About original Sin. 9. About Redemption by Christ. 10. About the Laws and Covenants of Innocency, Works and Grace. 11. About Universality and Sufficien­cy of Grace. 12. About Man's Power and Free­will since the Fall, to obey the Gospel. 13. About effectual Grace, and how God giveth it. 14. A­bout the state of Heathens that have not the Go­spel. 15. About the necessity of Holiness, and the state of moral Virtue. 16. About the necessity of Faith in Christ where the Gospel is made known. 17. About the state of Infants as to Salvation. 18. About the nature of Saving Faith. 19. About the nature of Pardon and Justification. 20. About the Imputation of Christ's Righteousness to Belie­vers. 21. About the manner how Faith justifieth us, and how Faith is imputed to us for Righteous­ness. 22. Of Assurance of Justification and Salva­tion, and of Hope. 23. Of Good works and Me­rits, and how far we may trust to any thing in our selves. 24. Of Confirmation, Perseverance, and of danger and falling away. 25. Of Repentance, late Repentance and the Day of Grace, and the unpardonable Sin. 26. Of our Communion with Christ's Glorified Humanity, and with Angels and glorified Souls. 27. Of the state of separated Souls. 28. Of the Resurrection and Everlasting Life.

Of each of these I shall shew the pacifick Truth which must unite us, and shew how far all the Re­formed Churches are therein agreed; and whe­ther the Papists are or will be agreed with us, I shall referr to their own consideration.

CHAP. III. Of God's Will and Decrees in general.

§. 1. THE Will of God] signifieth either, I. His own Essence, and that, 1. under the no­tion of a Power or Virtue analogically to the Facul­ty in Man; or 2. under the notion of an Act, as it is considered only ex parte agentis without the ef­fect. II. Or the said Essence as related to the Ef­fects or Objects, and thence denominated. III. Or the Extrinsick Objects and Effects themselves, called his Will, because willed by him.

§. 2. These later are, I. His Works of eminent Power (with Wisdom and Goodness) viz. Crea­tion, Preservation and Natural Motion, by God as sons naturae. II. His Works of Eminent Wisdom (with Power and Goodness) viz. ORDER, and specially Moral Government; the parts of which are, 1. Legislation, Antecedent to man's actions; 2. Retribution, by Judgment and Execu­tion, consequent to them: especially by the Re­deemer in the way of Grace. III. His Works of Eminent Love or Goodness (with Power and Wisdom) especially Glory begun and perfected.

§. 3. By [God's Decrees] is meant his Volitions of what shall be; which are but his Will conside­red as in such acts: Now concerning all these sen­ces of God's Will.

§. 4. I. God's Will in it self considered is his Essence, and not any Accident in God.

[Page 25]§. 5. II. Yet esse & Velle are not Conceptions of the same sence or importance; but are distinct in­adequate Conceptions of the same God: And so is also Intelligere.

§. 6. III. As Posse & Agere are not really two things in God, so his Will as a Power, Faculty or Virtue, and his Will as an Act or Volition in him­self, are not two things; but two inadequate Con­ceptions of that which is simple Unity in God; for Man's narrow mind can no otherwise know him.

§. 7. IV. God doth operate or effect immediate­ly by his Essence; and not by any Action of his, which is between his Essence and the Effect: Whe­ther you call it his Agere, Intelligere or Velle, or all conjunct by which he effecteth, it is nothing besides his Essence which is so called: For there is nothing in rerum natura, but God and the Crea­ture, and the Creature's Actions: And A [...]r [...]ol [...]s, that stiffly argueth that God's Creating Action is neither God nor the Creature, but a middle thing, doth satisfie no mans Understanding, and is com­monly rejected: and he can mean with sence no­thing but God as Agent, vel in hoc modo; as a Crea­ture in motion differeth modally from the same qui [...] ­sant: But God hath no Modus which is not Him­self, though not an adequate Conception of himself. You must not conceive of God as of a Creature, which first by self-motion altereth it self (or is moved by another) and then moveth another thing: But God diversifieth things without diversity, and changeth things being himself unchanged.

§. 8. V. As to the Controversie, Whether God make and move things only Volendo (as Brad [...]ar­dine and many others say) or also Executive agen­d [...], [Page 26] by excited Power? Quoad re [...] both are true; because Power and Will in God are really the same: But as to our Conception and Expression, it is a ful­ler expression to say that he doth it by Will and Power, because our Conception of m [...]er Volition is as of quid immanens which doth not efficiently go forth of it self, but command in Man the executive Faculties; and so conceiving of God after the manner of men, Volition is not an adequate concepti­on of his causing Efflux, without Active Power: But they that conceive of Volition as transient and potently efficient, do mean the same thing, and real­ly differ not from others.

§. 9. VI. God's Will as it is his Essence hath really no parts, no division, no change, no priority or posteriority, but perfect Simplicity and Eternity.

§. 10. VII. God's will as it is himself hath no Cause but is the Cause of every Creature: And to ask a Cause of the first Cause is absurd.

§. 11. VIII. All the effects of God's Will ad ex­tra, have their divers natures, orders and seasons, priority, posteriority or simultaneity, which we may sobe [...]ly enquire after.

§. 12. IX. God's will, though but one, as rela­ted to the objects and effects, may by us be diversly denominated: And so we distinguish of his Crea­ting will, and his Redeeming will, his will to Save, and his will to Damn, his will to save Peter, and his will to save Iohn, and so of all the rest of the Objects. In all which we mean not a Diversity of Essences or Faculties in God, or Acts ex parte agentis, really differing; but only one and the same Will diversly conceived of and denominated by reason of the diversity of objects or effects to which it is [Page 27] related, and so by Connotation the Will it self is thus distinguished.

§. 13. X. This distinction and denomination of God's will hath extrinsick Reasons, which some call Causes, from the various termini; as the same Light shining into several Rooms; the diversity being real only ex parte recipientis. And so God's Will may be said in this Sence to begin and to end, to have diversity, priority and posteriority of Acts; which are all to be judged of by the Order of the Objects.

§. 14. XI. The great question which the School­wits trouble themselves with, and Vasquez, with abundance more, pronounce unsearchable and past our reach, is, What is the Cause that God's Will is terminated thus or thus, on this Object rather than on that? To which I take the boldness to answer for the ending of that Dispute.

By [the Reason of Termination] you must mean either, 1. The Reason of the Being of that Ob­ject or Terminus rather than another: or 2. The reason of the Relation of God's Will to that termi­nus rather than another, and so of the denomina­tion: or 3. The reason of the being of that Act of God so terminated.

  • 1. For the first, the cause of all the effects of God's Will, is his Will it self: And so of all the di­versities effected.
  • 2. The reason of the Relation of God's Will to those effects, and so of the connotation and denomina­tion, is the Will and the Effect as from which the relation doth result.
  • [Page 28]3. And the Being or Act of the Will thus termi­nated, is God's essence, which hath no Cause. And what would you have more?

§. 15. But this satisfieth not Men that still think of God as of themselves, but they go on still and ask, What is the Cause that God's Will [...] to make this World or Creature rather than another? or to give the first grace rather to one than to another? that his Will is terminated rather on Peter than Ju­das in election? &c. But I must but call you back to consider again distinctly of what was answe­red before. 1. The Cause of all the effects of Creation, &c. is God's Will: 2. The cause why his Will is related to that effect à posteriore is the position of the effect with God's Will. 3. The cause why God hath such a Will is not to be asked, for God's Will hath no Cause. And if you add, But what is the cause that, à priore, his Will is thus related and denominated as decreeing this or that? I say, A priore, there is nothing in God's Will but it self, which hath no Cause: we dream of priorities and posteriorities and varieties in him, when we think of the following effects; But when there was nothing but God really to terminate his will, there was no ground for any real relation and relative difference; And to talk of Relationes ratio­nis in God himself as to non-existent Creatures, and ask the cause of them, is [...]ash presumption; while we know that there was nothing in God but God, who hath no Cause. And the question respecting nothing but what was eternally in God himself, whatever you will call his Essen­tial Will fore-related to the future Creature, you must needs say, that it had no Cause.

[Page 29]§. 16. But if the question go further, Why God willeth not other Creatures, or other effects, and so his will is not effectively terminated on such; it is after to be fullier answered; and now it is enough to say, that Nothing hath no Cause.

§. 17. And when we say, that God's will may be denominated as divers, prior and posterior, and changeable as related to Objects that are such, this is to be understood only of those acts which are to be denominated by Connotation of what is divers and mutable, ex parte termini, still remembring that ex parte Dei there is really no diversity or mutation. And therefore such denominations are given of God's will chiefly as related to existent Objects, which are his Acts called Love and Ha­tred, or Complacency and Displacency: e. g. we may say that [God is displeased with Paul or Ma­nasseth unconverted] and [he is pleased with them when converted] the change being only in them. Yet the same denomination may be used also of God's purposing Will. As, e. g. we may say, that [before Christ's Incarnation, God had this Decree; I will send my Son to be incarnate, and die for Man's redemption.] But now it is not fit to say that God hath yet such a Decree, when the thing decreed is past: nor a Decree that He will create Adam and the rest of the World, which is created.

§. 18. But whoever liketh or disliketh any of these modes of Speech, must still remember that Controversies about them are not about any real change in God, (which all deny) but only about the connotative and respective denomination of his Will from the changeable Creature. And while [Page 30] that is confessed, sober men will not be forward to fall out about it.

§. 19. Suffer not the Quaerist to confound the three forementioned Sences of [the Will of God,] and you may resolve almost all the ordinary questions about it, as is before intimated, without any more ado. As, e. g.

Qu. Is God's Will resisti­ble?

Ans. 1. God's Will, as it is his Essence, can­not come into the Question, as not being pas­sive, and so not properly resistible. 2. As God's Will is taken for the objects and effects of his will, many of them are resistible: As his Commands when they are violated are resisted morally; so one effect of God's will, or one Creature moved by him naturally, may resist another. 3. If the question be only whether the respective Termi­nation of God's will, and the Denomination of it as thus or thus terminated, can be resisted? I answer, 1. Not by any resistance upon the Essential will of God so terminated. 2. Not by making God to be willing and not willing of the same thing in the same respect at the same time; for that is a contradiction; and were to make the same Object to be and not to be at the same time, Contra necessitatem existentiae. 3. Not by preven­ting or destroying any Object or Effect which God's will so produceth, as that no Creature hath power to hinder. 4. But when he will cause one sort of motion, and himself cause a greater contrary motion, or enable a free Agent so to do, this contrary motion resisting the other mo­tion, which was the effect of God's will, his will is denominated as resisted respectively. The same may be said of Passive Resistance.

§. 20. So if the Question be [Whether God gave any Conditional Will?]

Ans. 1. There is no place for the Question about God's Essential Will in it self. 2. Many Objects of God's will and effects are antecedently conditional. 1. Quoad [...]ormam, as his conditional Promises. 2. Quoad [...]ventum, as when he suspendeth any Right, or Benefit on a condition to be done by a free Agent; as, e. g. [Adam shall live if he sin not, and die, if he sin.] But here Conditionality im­plieth no uncertainty as to God's Knowledge. 3. Therefore if the Question be only, whether [...]b objecto any Will of God may be relatively or connotatively called Conditional, 1. Remember that the Question is but de nomine. 2. The same will of God may be called Conditional, as quid con­ditionale is the Object of it; and also Certain and Absolute, as the same thing is to him certainly future, which yet was in the Order of Causing, conditionally future. But this supposeth the certo futurum, to be quid volitum; and not Sin, which is certo futurum and non volitum.

CHAP. IV. Of GOD's Knowledge.

§. 1. AS we must not think of God's Will as having various and mutable internal acts as Man's hath; but as One Essential Act, only variously denominated from the relation of ex­trinsick [Page 32] Objects; even so must we think also of his Knowledg.

§. 2. God knoweth not by Reception of any Light or Species or Idea from the Object without him, but as beseemeth the perfection of the In­finite Intellect and first cause; even partly by a productive act of Intellection, and partly by termi­nation on the Objects known. (N. B.) I am fai [...] all along to use the name of [Extrinsick Objects] to signifie that the Creature is not God: though it is improper to say that any thing is extra Denm: but we want better words.

§. 3. Many of the Church-troubling Disputes about God's Knowledg, are raised from that pro­phane supposition, That God knoweth cogitand [...], by many distinct Cogitations, as Man doth, and by Idea's or received Species of the Creatures. And on the false Supposition that Man can comprehend God's way of Knowing, or at least hath formal conceptions of it, and must speak accordingly. From whence there are such rash Disputes which Act is first, and which cometh after.

§. 4. Most of these Controversies are ended by the right applying the foresaid distinctions to God's Understanding, which I before applied to his Will. As, e. g.

Qu. Hath Gods Knowledg any Cause?

Ans. 1. Not as it is his Essence. 2. The Objects of it have their Causes. 3. The denomination of his Knowledg as such, from the Objects respective­ly, hath its cause, such as a Terminus may be called. And as in Man the Object is really the quasi materiale and constitutive cause of the Act, not as an Act, but as this Act in specie vel indivi­duo thus terminated; so as to the meer connota­tion [Page 33] and relation and denomination, though not as to [...]ny real reception, we may speak of God.

§. 5. So if the question be, Whether God's Knowledge [...]ave many Acts? and whether one be before or after [...]thers?

Ans. 1. God's Essential Knowledge is sim­ply one. 2. The Objects of it are many. 3. There­fore as denominated ab extra, from respect to the Objects, we may distinguish his simple Knowledge, and mention priority and posteriority, but such only [...]s resulteth from the Order of Objects: And these being but Conceptions and Denominations necessita­ted by our weakness, without any real diversity [...]n God, we must fear and abhorr presumptuous boldness, and contentiousness hereabout.

§. 6. So if the question be, Whether God's Know­ledge be mutable?

Ans. 1. His Knowledge essential it self is not. 2. The Objects are. 3. And there­fore the Denominations of his Knowledge ab extrae oft are: As we may say, That God knew from Eter­nity that the World would be created, and Christ in­carnate, as future. But now he knoweth that they were so, ut praeterita. God doth not now know, that Christ will be born, that Christ just now is cruci­fied, that Paul is preaching on Earth: but once he knew all these. Yet here all the Change is in the object, and none in God's Knowledge, as there is on mans.

§. 7. If the question be, How God knoweth future contingents?

Ans. 1. God's Essence is Knowledge, and is Infinite, and therefore extendeth to all that is intelligible: And if they be not objects intelli­gible, it belongeth not to a perfect Intellect to know them. But if they are, it is rashness to ask any other reason of God's knowing them, besides his Perfection and their Intelligibility: But all Con­tingents [Page 34] that are future, are Certainties to God as well as Contingencies, in several respects, and ac­cordingly known: But the shallow Brain of Worms doth little know what Futurity signifieth in Eterni­ty to God. 2. But we know what future Contin­gents are to us. 3. And thence we know that God's Intellect may be denominated by imperfect Man, as in its perfection comprehending our Futu­rities and Contingencies, and human Measures, tho' not as Measures to God.

§. 8. If the question be, Whether God know things as future, because he willeth them to be future; or be­cause they are future from the free Agent's Will▪

Ans. 1. God's Knowledge, ex parte sui, is his Essence, and hath no Cause, for it is no Effect. God's Understanding, Will and Power are essen­tially One, but as various, inadequate concepti­ons, they only make up▪ perfect Unity, and are not Causes and Effects to one another; much less caused by any Creature. 2. But Futurity is cau­sed by that which causeth the thing future: And therefore the futurity of Sin is caused by Man that causeth Sin, so far as it is capable of a Cause; of which more in due place: But as Futurity is not Existence, so it needeth not an existent, but some­times only a future cause. 3. And God's Intellect is terminated on things as Intelligible, and that is as they are: And so on things that are future by his own will, as such; and on things future by Man's Will, as such; as far as Futurity is an ob­ject of an eternal mind.

§. 9. The many Disputes de scientia simplicis in­telligentiae, purae visionis & mediae, I think best abbre­viated according to the forementioned Principles. God's essential Understanding is but One: Things [Page 35] intelligible are many; God's simple Intellect may be variously denominated as related to and termina­ted on various intelligible Objects, and so accor­ding to their Order: But this signifieth no real diversity at all in God, but in the things known: Nor must we dream, that Scientia simplicis intelli­gentiae, is like man's, a knowledge of certain Logi­cal Notions or Propositions by way of Thinking, as to know that [This is possible, and the other is pos­sible, and that is convenient,] as if God needed such second notions to know by; but it is infinitely a­bove Man's mode of knowing: His Knowledge is first effective and then intuitive, and this without diversity or change in God.

§. 10. It is a great aggravation of the Presump­tion and Prophaneness of many voluminous School-Disputes, about the unsearchable nature of divine Intellection, that the certain Knowledge of our own great ignorance (even about every silly Crea­ture) and of God's incomprehensibleness and in­finite distance, do not prevail to repress such au­daciousness, and bring men to more Modesty and Reverence of God: And how much more learned­ [...]y and wisely doth he answer abundance of their Questions, who saith [I know not] than they that by presumptuous conclusions take on them to know what they do not, nor ever will do, in this World?


§. 1. ELECTION in Scripture sometimes sig­nifieth God's actual choosing or taking one Man or People from among others to himself, either for his special Complacency and Service by Sanctification or Conversion; or to some special Of­fice, as David was chosen from among his Bre­thren. And sometimes it signifieth God's eternal Will or Decree so to choose, call or sanctifie and save men at a determinate time: as in Eph. 1. and elsewhere.

§. 2. God will convert, justifie, adopt and save some men, by his Grace.

§. 3. Therefore it is certain that God from Eternity did will or decree so to do: For the event in time, maketh it fit so to denominate God's etern [...] will: Though there was nothing before the Crea­tion really but God; and so real existent Man was not the Object of his Will; and Man in esse cognito, was nothing but God himself, there being nothing else from Eternity (except as Eternity comprehendeth Time.)

§. 4. In the same manner as God bringeth men to Grace and Glory, he willeth or decreeth to do it: For his Decree to do it, is no real Act of God distinct from his Essence; but it is his simple es­sential will denominated from the effect related to it. Therefore the Controversies about Election [Page 37] [...]re resolved into those about the giving of Grace [...]nd Salvation; and there will be clearlier ope­ [...]ed.

§. 5. Glorification, Perseverance, Adoption, [...]ustification, Sanctification, Faith and Repentance [...] or Vocation) preparatory common Grace, and [...]he Gospel, and other means of Conversion, are [...]everal Gifts of God's Grace through Christ: Therefore God's Decrees to give them may be [...]liversly denominated from relation to the effect. The Decree to glorifie may be distinguished from the Decree to convert, to justifie, [...]c. And yet where all these are really conjoined, and are but (as the parts of one Engine) the several gifts which make up One Salvation, as the object [...]or effect is in that sence One, so may God's De­cree be called One, as related to it. So that they that say God's Decrees about our Salvation are many, and they that say They are one, do both speak Truth, and disagree not.

§. 6. They that will denominate God's Voliti­ons or Decrees according to the Order of Intenti­on, must not mean that Ex parte Volentis, God hath really many thoughts, Volitions or Decrees, and that the first is de fine, and the next de mediis. But only that in the order of real Causation, one of God's Gifts or Effects is made to be a Cause or Means to the production or attainment of another; and so the latter is to be Man's End intended in the use of the former; and so Man is first to intend the End before he useth the Means: But no Gift, Work or Creature is to be called God's End, except when we speak Vulgarly after the manner of Men, that which we will not defend as proper Speech.

[Page 38]§. 7. Yet God may be said to will and n [...] One thing to produce or Cause another; whic [...] importeth only that it is a second Efficient Caus [...] of that Other, and the other an intended Effect; and also that the other is to man to have ration [...] finis, and so may be called finis operis, & operan [...] secundarii.

§. 8. God is not an Efficient Cause of Himself, or any thing in Himself, and therefore not pro­perly an End to Himself, because there is nothing in Him Caused. But if any will speak otherwise, as if there were in God himself Eternal Causatio [...] Efficient and final, and Eternal Effects, and there­by explain the Doctrine of the Trinity, let them re­member that they venture on singular Expressions, and such as favor of Imperfection; but we hope that they differ from the Commoner way, but in a Logical Notion, rather than in a real Con­ception.

§. 9. If we may not say that God is his ow [...] End (for every End hath a Means, and there is no Means to God's Beings or Perfections) then he is not properly said to have any End. For no­thing but Himself can properly be his End.

§. 10. Yet when by an End we mean but im­properly the ultimate Effect, and not any thing which to God is Causa agendi; and so declare that we take the words End and Intention equivocally as to God and Man, the phrase may be used: And in that sence we must say that God's will as Effi­cient being the Beginning of all things, God's will as fulfilled and pleased is the End of all; which yet signifieth not any diversity or change in God; for his Will is always fulfilled, though not always by [Page 39] the same means: And the fulfilling of his will must [...]e our ultimate proper End.

§. 11. And because that the excellency of God's works is his own Image or Glory shining in them, and the Perfection of the whole Universe most ful­ [...]y containeth that Glory, therefore we may say that God's Glory is his End, and that as it is found in the perfection of the Universe, of which the Glorified Church is an eminent part.

§. 12. Therefore they that call the Glorifying of God's Mercy in Saving, and of his Iustice in Damning men, his End, and all that tendeth here­to the Means, do name a means, (and that not the highest) as the End: For the Glory of Mercy and justice is but part of God's created or caused Glory, and especially as it is on this or that In­dividual: But the perfection of Christ, Angels, Saints, Heaven, Earth, and all things, is that Glory which may be called materially God's End, as being his perfectest Effect; as the Complacency or fulfill­ing of his will, herein is the most formal notion of it. But God's Glory appeareth in every Crea­ture and every providential change, in its propor­tion; and if any will call that God's End, we must not make a strife of words if we mean the same thing.

§. 13. According to this explained sence of In­tention, the distributing of God's Decrees juxta ordinem intentionis, will make no considerable Con­troversie; but in the distribution of them juxta ordinem Executionis, we more commonly and easi­ly agree: And it being but the divers denomi­nations of God's simple will from the effects▪ it is from the Effects [...]ure that they are fitlyest di­stinguished.

[Page 40]§▪ 14. As to the controversies about the O [...] ­jects of God's Decrees, meaning the Personal o [...] subjective Object as distinct from the effects of the Volition (or the presupposed State of him that God Decreeth the gift to.) If we will distribute God's Decrees or Volitions as the parts or gifts decreed are distributed, then the question is all one, as, What State a man is supposed to be in when God gives him such or such a Gift; which is a thing that we are not much disagreed about.

§. 15. e. g. The Recipient of the Gift of Glory is a persevering faithful Saint. The Receiver of the Gift of Perseverance is a true Believing Saint: The Gift of Iustification, Adoption, and the Spirit of further Sanctification, is given to a penitent Belie­ver: Faith and Repentance are given usually to per­sons prepared by a more common Grace, having the means of Grace, and for ought we know some­times suddenly without such Preparation. And so on to the beginning.

CHAP. VI. Of Reprobation, or the Decree of Dam­nation.

§. 1. THough [...] in Scripture signifieth one whose existent Pravity rendereth him disapproved, loathed and rejected of God, yet we here continue the word Reprobation as ordinarily used, for the Decree of rejecting men for ever, [Page 41] that we may be understood; not refusing any [...]itter name.

§. 2. God's essential Will as such is not called Reprobation nor a Decree of Damnation, as di­stinct from other Volitions: Therefore the distin­guishing denomination must be fetcht from the ef­fects or objects which it hath relation to.

§. 3. Therefore where there is no effect or object of God's Will, there is no such will to be named and asserted: But so much as God effecteth in or towards Mans damnation, so much he must be said to will.

§. 4. God effecteth no mans Sin, and there­fore he willed not or decreed not to effect it.

§. 5. He effecteth it not either for it self, or as a means to something better: Therefore he decreed not to do either.

§. 6. God effecteth much without which Sin could not be, (as the Life and Power of the Sin­ners, his abused Mercies, Objects, &c.) Therefore all this he decreed to do, even as his own Works, which Sinners make the occasions of their Sin.

§. 7. If it be said that God permitteth Sin; there­fore he decreed to permit it: These things must be answered. 1. Permission is an ambiguous word: Strictly it signifieth in Physicks nothing at all but a m [...]er Negation, which is non impedire, not to hinder: But in Politicks it oft signifieth a positive Licence or voluntary Concession of Leave for a man to do or possess something: And many Divines by Permission mean not bare non-impedition, but also some action that tendeth to the procuring of the event. In the first and proper sence▪ it▪ followeth not that God decreed to permit Sin, because he [...]rmitteth it: For permitting here is but a bare [Page 42] verb, and signifieth nothing: Not-to-hinder is meer­ly nothing: And nothing is no terminus to denomi­nate Gods Decree or Will. But as permitting sig­nifieth any positive act, which men make an occa­sion of Sin, it is improperly called Permission, and it was spoken of before: And though God's gene­ral Influx be presupposed, that is not Permission, nor part of Permission.

And as Permission signifieth Leave to Sin, God permitteth none; for it is not Sin if so permit­ted.

2. And if it would hold that God Decreeth his Permission of Sin, it followeth not that he decreeth the Sin permitted; for that is not a capable object of his Volition.

§. 8. God effecteth punishment, even in Hell (at least, part of it, of which in due place) therefore he decreeth or willeth so to effect it.

§. 9. God damneth none but Sinners: There­fore he decreed to damn none but Sinners: Therefore a Man only as a Sinner is the object of the Decree of Damnation or Punishment, seeing the Decree is denominated from the effect.

§. 10. It is not a Sinner meerly as a Sinner that God will damn: else all Sinners should be damned. But it is only a certain sort of Sinners, who preva­lently and finally reject remedying means and mercy. Therefore it is only such that are the Objects of the particular Decree of Damnation.

§. 11. In the first instant we are Men, in the se­cond innocent, in the third guilty of Sin against the meer Law of Innocency; in the fourth we are brought under the Law of Grace upon the Promise of a Redeemer, and in the fifth we have the Com­mon Mercies of that Law and Redemption given us, [Page 43] as means to our performance of the Duty which that Law requireth and obtaining further Mercy. In none of these instants is a man the object of the Decree of Damnation: God damneth not any man meerly as a Man, or as Innocent, or as a Sin­ner against the meer Law of Innocency, nor as redeem­ed and under the Law of Grace, nor as receiving the common means and mercies of that Covenant; Nay, nor as in the sixth Instant he is guilty of sinning against such Mercies; (for else all that do so should perish.) But only as in the seventh in­stant he is found a prevalent, final rejecter of the spe­cial Grace, and abuser of the common Mercies of that Covenant. And therefore the Decree is to be ac­cordingly denominated; though God's essential will have no Cause, nor Dependance upon any Crea­ture.

§. 12. But there are other Acts of God's ju­stice which are comprized in Reprobation or Re­jection as the word is commonly understood: As, 1▪ Cutting off a sinner untimely in his Impe­nitency. 2. Denying him some inward helps of Grace which once he had, or was fair for (so far as that is quid positivum) and depriving him positively of some Means of Grace; for his sin­ful refusal or abuse, or for abuse of other Means and Mercies. And all these punishments God so far decreeth as he Executeth; which is upon none but such as by sin against the Law of Grace deserve them.

§. 13. But where Negations are no Punishments nor Privations, they fall not under the notion of Positive Effects or Objects, and so are not fit to denominate a Positive Decree or Will. Therefore when it is not a Punishment, (Not to give Faith, Repentance, Preaching, &c.) is no act of Repro­bation: [Page 44] As not to give that Faith, Repentance and Pardon which he needed not to Adam in In­nocency; not to give them in act to Infants, &c.

§. 14. Yea, when a Penal Privation is only the consequent of God's not Acting, and not of any Positive Act, there the Ratio Poenae is of God, and is quid positivum, and God causeth it by that Law which did make the debitum poenae: But yet the Negation or Privation in which it consisteth is Nothing, or nothing of God's causing, and there­fore not fit to denominate a distinct Decree: e. g. Not to give special Grace, Pardon, Iustification, Glory, to Iudas, is nothing, and so as nothing not the object of a positive Decree: But both the po­sitive acts by which any Mercy is withdrawn, and also the relation of Punishment which is in these Nothings or Privations is caused by God, and therefore Decreed by him. As if God say, This shall be his punishment that will not Eat, that he shall die of Famine: Here not eating is nothing, but the penal reason which is in Famine, which is but the privation of Meats, resulteth from the Law of Nature and will of God.

§. 15. By all this it appeareth that Election and Reprobation go not pari passu, or are not equal­ly ascribed to God. For in Election God is the Cause of the means of Salvation by his Grace, and of all that truly tendeth to procure it: But on the other side, God is no cause of any sin which is the means and merit of Damnation; nor the Cause of Damnation, but on the supposition of Man's sin: So that sin is foreseen in the Person Decr [...]e'd to Damnation, (but not Caused) seeing the Decree must be denominated from the Effect and Object: But in Election God decreeth to give [Page 45] us his Grace, and be the chief Cause of all our Holiness, and doth not elect us to Salvation on foresight, that we will do his Will or be Sancti­ [...]ied by our selves without him. Therefore Au­gustin, Prosper and Fulgentius, still make this dif­ference, That the decree of Damnation goeth on foresight of sin, but the Decree of Salvation containeth a Decree to give that Grace that shall certainly Save us.

An ANSWER TO Mr. Polehill's Exceptions about Futurition.


IAm much chidden already for writing many Books, and Answering so many that object, and am told, That if the Case well Stated will not satisfie men, no Answer will do it, b [...]eause it is for want of their Receptive Capacity, which long and right Studies must help them to, and not a meer Answer to their Objections. I very highly value the worthy Gentleman whose Pa­pers you sent me, hearing of few, if any, among us more commended for Knowledge and Piety. The question is but whether it be he or I that by half confused conceptions of the matters in question speaketh in the Dark, or which of us hath the more ripe digested and ordered thoughts hereof. And must others be troubled with such Cases? It is those that he pleadeth for that have made the edge of the Razor so thin that they or I do Cut our Fingers with it, and have spun such subtile Notions, which if their wits when they have done be not subtile enough to man­age, they will oft slip through or be as Spiders Webs. As to the first Controversie of Futurity or Possibility, this Gentleman's method will do me no good, being no whit fitted to that which I expect. I should expect from him that he had [Page 47] taken notice of my Distinctions and Explications [...]f Futurity, and that he had directly pleaded only for that sort or sence which I deny, and had Answer'd the Reasons which both in the First and Second Part I bring against it. But it is not so: And to Dispute at such rates is but to try who shall live longest to have the last word, (it being easie at this rate to talk against one another as long as we live) which I cannot expect, and therefore shall give any man herein the best. All that he hath said against me is materially Answered in the Book already, and if he perceive it not, how can I help that? More Books are not like to do it, nor have I leisure for such tasks: Yet briefly I return,

I. As to my sence of the words (Future) and (Possible); 1. As they are predicated of the thing future or possible, they are termini diminuentes quod realitatem existentem, and futurity as it is rei ipsius futuritio is nothing. 2. Whether Time be any thing distinct à re durante or Nothing, is a Controversie, which I conjecture Mr. P—'s Pen and mine are never like to decide. It is enough for me now to say, that I take it for nothing Di­stinct. 3. Yet shallow man that seeth not uno intuitu the Universe, as God doth, nor hath his essential Eternity, is in motion, where there is mensura motus, and must think of things by par­tial Conceptions, and must make past, present, and future his differing Notions in Duration. 4. The internal Concept [...] in man of a thing as future (that it will be) is quid reale; for it is an act of the mind and a Ver [...]um mentis; and an act d [...] ni [...]il [...]: A mental Negation is a real act: [Page 48] To think and say in the mind (the World was not from Eternity: Darkness, Death, &c. are nothing) are real thoughts. 5. The ver [...] prolatum ore vel scripto (sin will be, &c. the Su [...] will rise, &c.) is quid reale: It is a Word, a Proposition. 6. The fundamentum or premises, from which such a Conclusion may be fetch'd, i [...] quid reale: e. g. God's Will or Knowledge, or any necessitating Cause. 7. God that knoweth man, knoweth all his mental Conceptions and his Propositions de futuro, without Imperfection knowing our Imperfection; and so knoweth whe­ther they are true or false. 8. God's willing and knowing that things were, are or will be, are all one ex parte Dei, being nothing but his sim­ple, perfect Essence thus knowing and willing: But ex parte rei cognitae aut volitae, there is diffe­rence; And thence by Relation, Connotation, or extrinsick denomination, God's internal Acts are variously named, as de praeterito, de praesenti, de futuro. 9. God's Will and Knowledge from Eternity, that there shall be Time, Successions, Man, Propositions, and that things shall be in such an Order, are a foundation of the verity of such a verbum mentis vel oris (these will be) if there had been any such eternal Words or Pro­positions. 10. Though formaliter there was no such thing in God (& forma denominat); yet emi­nenter that perfect intuition of God, which is the knowledge of all Intelligibles, comprehendeth all of man's Knowledge, which is any part of Perfection: And we must bear with the naming of God's perfect Acts by the same names that signifie our imperfect Acts; so be it we have due care not to ascribe to him the Imperfection; [Page 49] nor from names which connote Imperfection in [...]ersu primo, to infer false Doctrinal Conclusions of God. 11. An ipsum nihilum may receive in [...]an's partial Conception, a name, and accor­dingly many and divers names fetch'd from some [...]easons of his Conceptions. 12. Accordingly we [...]all a thing that is really nothing, but as in the Cogitation to be possible, or future, or past, as if these were rerum reales affectiones, or somewhat [...]ow Real: Whereas the Epithets are but the modes of our own Notions or Thoughts, and rai­sed from our knowledge of other things. And the proper Language is but this, (God can do this: God will do this) which suppose it not done. As (God can make the world) would have been a true word from Eternity, had there been any such word to be true. And thence we say (The World was possible.) And God's perfect Knowledge being eminenter somewhat infinitely more perfect than such Thoughts, Words, and Propositions, after the manner of weak man, we speak of God and of Nothings as related to his Will that they shall be, or to his Knowledge, and so call them possible and future.

II. Now I expect the Confutation of the Rea­sons, which I gave (As that there was nothing Eternal but God, therefore Eternal possibility and futurition can be nothing but Conception of God himself; and so of the rest.)

III. His Exceptions have all their strength from the meer ambiguity of the word (futurity), con­tinuing the Confusion after all my Explication. I have not time to Transcribe all his words, and therefore must suppose you to have his Writing by you, which I shall briefly Answer in Order.

[Page 50] Ad 1. As nothing they differ not, but [...] various Conceptions of them differ, as do [...] Reasons of those Conceptions and Denominati­ons: Sun and Moon, Angels and Men, were equal­ly nothing from Eternity: And yet God's simpl [...] ▪ Will to make all these, might have had various relative or extrinsick Denominations, had there been then a Created Intellect so to name it, and these nothings called Future, Angels, Men, &c. ac­cordingly.

Ad 2. Nothing as nothing hath no Parts or Distinctions, but nothing may be variously na­med; or to speak more aptly, Before Things are Any-things a purposing and fore-seeing Agent may make Names and Notions for them before▪ the things. Greg. Ariminea copiously disputeth that (that which is not, may be related to that which is, and that which is, to that which is not, or nothing): his Reasons are subtile. Rela­tion is rerum referebilitas or Comparibilitas. If an Angel Existed before the Light or Sun, and knew that God would make the Light or Sun, why might not the Angels Intellect refer God's Will to the Light or Sun, which he would make, while it was nothing? Which is no more than to know (that God will make such a thing which is yet nothing.) But I say these nothing's relate not to God, but God's Power, Knowledge and Will, may by an Intelligent Creature be considered (while they are not) as that which will make them, doth foresee them, &c. which is to be re­ferred to them. It's true that nothing is no effect, and will be nothing without God (which is that I said). It's true that the Divine Power doth not make meer Possibility to be any thing, for it is [Page 51] nothing: But it being true that God can make [...]hat which he yet hath not made, for this proper Speech (God can make it) man's broken thoughts [...]ut a Name or Epithete on that which is not, [...]nd call it possible for Discourse sake, and for the ordering of our thoughts about nothings, or things that yet are not (yea never will be): For we say that Millions of Millions of non futura are possible. And is Possibility then any thing extra m [...]ntem Di­ [...]inam & humanam? Why he spake of things be­ing possible without the Divine Power I know not. [...] take Possibility as real to be but part of that Ens rationis or mental Conception which by Rea­soning we take up of Non-existents, because God can make them that yet are not made. The same [...] say of his words (if futures be futures without the Divine will, what horrible Fate must be up­on God?) Futures are nothing, and no good will ever be but by God's Will. And because he willeth it, we have the just ground of a Con­clusion that it will be (if we know it). And this thought or word is therefore true, and had we been from Eternity, and had such a thought, it would have been true. And while there was no Sun or Earth, we should have said, They are fu­tures, that is, they will be; that is, God will make them: And must futurity therefore be a Thing or Being? Whence then came the suppo­sition of Fate, imposing on the summum Ens, or what meaneth it?

Ad 3. Nothing indeed hath no Verity: Fu­tures are not true; but Conceptus or Propositi­ons, that such things will be, are true. How God's perfect Knowledge is extrinsecally denominated the Knowledge that such things will be (which we [Page 52] call Futurition) I opened in the Book at larg [...] You know, I suppose, how commonly it is [...]a [...] That Nothings and Impossibles and Non-futurities a [...] all known to God: Must therefore Nothing, I [...] possibility, and Non-futurity be Beings, lest God can­not know them? God cannot know things to be future you say, unless they are such: The word [...] (are such) sound to the ignorant, as if they sig­nified Entity. God cannot know Nothings to be Nothing, Impossibilities, Non-futurities, unless they are such; that is, unless it be true that they are such: And it is true. But what is it that's true▪ The verbum mentis vel oris, that they are no­thing, &c. Must they therefore needs be something▪ and so God be mistaken? But he saith (If there be no eternal Futures, what becometh of Divine Pre­science?) Good mens Thoughts may wrong God, while they think they honour him. Augustine tell [...] you, That Prescience differeth not in God from Science of present things. You may say also, If there be no eternal Nothings, Non-futures, how can God know them? But must Futurity, or Non­futurity, or Nothing, be therefore any thing? God's knowing that it will be and yet is not, proveth that the thing future is nothing; and therefore Futurity, no modus rei, but a Name put by us on Nothing from God's Will to make it. (Supposing it be not Sin, which God will not make, but hath ano­ther Cause.) I had thought you had known, how commonly the School-men prove, That things that are not may be certainly known by God; yea, how the Nominals prove his Knowledge of future Contingents from his meer Perfection; so that Socinus is not unanswered in those things, and ye [...] Futures and Futurity are no beings. At least, you [Page 53] may see Answer enough in Strangius and Le Blank [...] two Authors well worth your reading.) Those [...]hings are certo futura, which God will certainly make, or certainly knoweth will be done; and [...]et Futurity be nihil reale. I would you had told me, whether you take the Reality of Futurity to be [...]n esse rei extrinsecae, or in esse objectivo intrinseco? The former you are not able (considerately) to believe; (that nothing can have any real mode, accident, or affection;) if none of these, what is [...]t then? You must needs hold to the latter; and then in man, the futurity of things is nothing real, [...]ut the mode of his Cogitation or Conception; as I have afore said, we may have real thoughts, that here is not such or such a thing, but will be; in which we frame a real Idea of that which will be (and is not) in our minds (from the helps of similitudes or words) and so say, Such a thing (thought on and named, but not in being) will be. But in God there is nothing but God; the Crea­ture is of him, and is in him dependently as their Cause and Comprehender, but not as constituent of his immanent acts.

Why you add (Suppose nothing to have some Ve­rity) is above my reach: I think Nothing hath no Verity: But, 1. God's Knowledge that it will be, hath Verity. 2. The Proposition (This will be) may have Verity. 3. But the thing future hath not Veritas rei. Futurity as in re hath no more Entity than Possibility: But to will or know that quid nominatum can be, and that it will be, are two real acts in Man, and two extrinseck Denominations of the Divine Will and Intellect. When you have answered what I said of Dr. Twisse, I may review it.

[Page 54] Ad 4. You say (Future is nothing; ergo, [...] ­thing is future.) I am glad that the Creed a [...] Bible are not thus worded: Future in your fir [...] Proposition signifieth the Affection or somewh [...] real of the thing future, and so it is nothing; [...] you take future so in the second, it is fu [...]ile [...] true, being but a gross expression of (Nothing hath real Futurity, which is aliquid rei.) But ac­cording to common use, your second Propositio [...] will be taken for a denial of the Saying (Some­what will be) and this is a real truth. You say th [...] Proposition is identical, as (Nothing is Nothing.) We speak not of the Being or truth of Proposi­tions or Conceptions, but of futurity it self as in­complexum. You after confess I told you so May you not equally say (Negations, Non-existents, Non-futurity are nothing; ergo Nothing is a Nega­tion, Non-existent, Non-future?) Answer one and you answer the other. Negations in mente are Thoughts, and in the Mouth they are Words, but in re negata they are nothing: So I say of Non­futurity and Non-existence. Frail Man dreameth that the mundus naturalis is the same with the mundus fantasticus & notionalis in his Brain; and Oh! how commonly do Words and Thoughts go in Disputes for Extrinseck Realities?

Ad 5. Because God decreeth to do any thing, you and I, when we know it, may truly say (This will be;) and (will be) is no being, but Gods will and our knowledg and our words are. Alas, that so much skill is necessary not to be deceived by ambiguity of words. God's Knowledg and your Knowledge and your Words, may be all true; and yet Futurity ex parte rei futurae, hath no proper Ve­rity, metaphysical, physical or moral, being no [Page 55] subject capable of any such. You say [Did not the Futurity of the World result from a Decree?] It's [...]earisome at every Sentence to repeat Distinction and open Confusion. The futurity of the World is nothing, Extra mentem Divinam & humanam, & extra propositionem de futuritione. Why talk you of our designing another Origin, when we are pro­ving, that it's nothing, and needs no Cause? And why answer you not what I wrote against Dr. Twisse, before you call for an Answer to him? Or at least, why answer you not Strangius, but impertinently talk of the Serpent Socinus? If Socinus had no more wit than to take the Futurity of Sin for a Being, (Substance, Accident or Mode) no wonder if he knew not how to deny that God is the Cause of it. And why do you not attempt to answer me, who tell you, That if you take it to be a real Being and eternal, you must take it to be God himself; for nothing else is eternal. But I pray you say not (like your former arguing about nothing) [The eternal Futurity of Sin is God himself; ergo, God is the eternal Futurity of Sin.] The Subject and Pre­dicate are not so convertible as you seem to make them. You say, if we say, Futurity is nothing, then it is a wonder, an independent on God and his Will, self-originated and unpreventable, &c. You write no wonders to me, this rate of Dis­course being common in the World, and hath been in most Ages. Is Nothing a wonder? Is it a won­der for nothing to be independent? but yet that which hath no dependent Being, may so far as a Nothing be at God's will, that he continue nothing or make something (the first non agendo, the se­cond agendo) as he pleases, that is, by willing or not willing. And it were a wonder indeed for [Page 56] Nothing to be self-originated, or that Nothing should spring from any thing as an efficient Cause: But reductively some Nothings may be ascribed to God's Non-agency, as Beings good are to his action. As God is improperly called the Cause of Darkness, because he there maketh not Light, so improperly he may be said to be the Cause of No­things, because he made not the contrary Some­things. You say (then there is fatum Stoicissimum on God) and all his Works, and this Futurity binds the Almighty, that he cannot do as he plea­seth in Heaven and Earth. This is a wonder in­deed that Nothing should be stronger than God, and rule him and the World. If Dr. Twisse hold Sin to be nothing, doth it follow, that it binds God, because it's nothing? Doth Death bind God, because it is but the privation of Life; or vacuity (si detur vacuum) because it is nothing? Or when there was nothing but God, did Nothing­ness bind God? Is that God bound or conquer'd that can turn Nothing into Something at his pleasure? Non-futurity is nothing: therefore it hath no Cause. Is this Nothing the Ruler of God and All things, because he causeth not that which is not causable? Alas, that good men should keep up dividing Controversies at this rate of reason­ing: You say, If it have no Cause, it can have no Impediment, and so there is Fatum Stoicissimum. We all talk at the rate that we understand. The World was nothing before it was made, and so had then no Cause in the esse causae, as being no effect (Relations in esse being simultaneous): Doth it fol­low that God was subject to Fate? There was no Impediment indeed to Nothingness; it is not ne­cessary that Nothing be hindred, lest it become [Page 57] Something. God can make somewhat where there is nothing, at his pleasure, and can make a future Nothing to become an existent Something. And what should be the medium I wonder that tempted you to think otherwise: Did the nothingness of Angels before their Creation hinder God from making them? Or can nothing have a ruling Power?

Ad 6. Again you stick not at the repeating of the contradiction of a self-originated Future (or Nothing) and think God's Decrees endangered by nothing, because it hath no Cause. What a dread­ful thing is this Nothing! To be self-originated is to be Something of it self. And if Futurity be nothing, then it is something of it self. And you offer not a Syllable to prove these Contradictions. You add (To what purpose shall Decrees be?) Ans. To produce the thing decreed in its pro­per time and place, and not to make them some­thing before they are any thing, nor to make an ens Rationis to be a real extrinseck Entity. You strangely say (To decree such a Futurity is a nullity, for it can never come to pass.) What can never come to pass? Futurity? Say also (To decree Non­futurity, or that there shall be to us but one Sun, but one Saviour, is a nullity, because Nothing can never come to pass.) What is it for Nothing to come to pass? It is come to pass without a Cause that there is but one Sun to us, but one Saviour, and other Nothings. The Decree or Will of what shall come to pass is no nullity: for it shall all come to pass; and yet the Decree made not the word (shall be) to signifie a real Entity, distinct form or model of the thing that shall be. The Decree that there shall be a World, was fulfilled, [Page 58] and yet (shall be) was not a being before t [...] World, unless it was God's Essence. You Phrase importeth as if Futurity must come to pass as a thing Decreed, and question whether there was a futurity of that futurity, and so in infinitum. For the word (Coming to pass) importeth futurity of futu­rity, and not eternity. You say [To decree in com­pliance with it, is below God over All—for it will come to pass whether God decree it or no.] Alas, that Speaking should be so hard an Art! What i [...] it to decree in compliance with nothing? Hath it any sence? How is it that Nothing will come to pass? It's true, that Nothing will be Nothing without a Cause, and therefore without a Decree. And therefore let the reverence of God make you consider, whether it be meet for us in the dark to ascribe to God such Decrees of nothing▪ and to number Nothings, and make as many Decrees. Such a dance and game of notions we may more boldly use about our selves than about God, till we know him better. You add (God in decreeing doth not decree the thing into being in the instant of decreeing, but He decreeth the Futurity of it, and if that be nothing, he decreeth nothing.) Ans. Wrong thoughts will have wrong words. All that you should have inferred, is, [That His Decree effe­cteth nothing till the time come] which is true: For He decreed only to effect it at such a time: But doth it follow, that God decreeth nothing but Futurity, because the thing decreed is not present­ly done? Thus you must say, That God decreed not the World, nor CHRIST, nor Salvation, but Futurity only. The Decree or Will of God was, That the World, CHRIST, Resurrection, &c. shall be at such a time: (shall be) is no being; and [Page 59] yet it is a being when existent, which God de­creed, but his Decree maketh it not a being till it exist. Dr. Twisse will over and over tell you, that God's immanent acts do nihil ponere in objecto. And I have oft told you truly, that you or I little know what we say when we divide God's Eternity into parts, and assign him his praeteritum & futu­rum. And it would put you hard to it to tell me clearly and surely what God's Eternal Decree is be­fore the effect exist! our present common-received School-Divinity will call us Blasphemers, if we say, that before the Creation there was any thing but God, and any thing in God but God, and that God had any real accidents: And therefore it saith, that he doth operari per essentiam, and not per accidentia. And therefore that God's Decree before the effect was nothing but his Essence. But it is his Essence denominated (not as such, but) as related to the things decreed, though yet they be not. If you will forsake this common Theo­logy, and place acts in God, which ex parte agentis, are but Accidents and not his Essence, and say, This is consistent with his Simplicity and Perfection, you will let in a Body of new Divinity, and we shall not know when we have all God's Accidents, no [...] how to order them. His freest Acts are his Essen­tial Will freely acting; but those free acts them­selves before the effect are nothing but God him­self. We must not place in God a number of Thoughts, Images, Notions, Accidents, as we do in Man. But your Phrase savoureth of other Thoughts.

Ad 7. Here you are for yea and nay: you will suppose no Propositions in God, and yet you ar­gue that then, what will remain of a Decree. I said, [Page 60] But that God knoweth not by Propositions, b [...] yet that he knoweth Propositions. If you hold, That God knoweth by Propositions and Argumen­tations, say so, that I may know what to speak to. If you hold, That He hath no Decrees, what is it that you plead for? But to answer your Question, God's Decree is not a forming of Pro­positions in his mind, or any change in himself, or addition to his Being: But it is His simple will that such and such things shall be, emanative, com­municative, productive of them in their season. There are some that think, that as Time-Divisi­ons are the measures of imperfect Creatures, and God's Eternity hath none such; so that it is an ascribing Imperfection to God, to say, That he hath Decrees de futuris distinct from a productive Volition, which in the most proper sence should be denominated from the produced Existent as such. But in this I interess not my self, as knowing that we must speak improperly of God or not at all. You say that (It shall be, is a Futurity.) Ans. What's that? A (shall be) is (a Futurity), and (a futurity) is a (shall be.) Ergo a shall be and a futurity is a be­ing. Would I knew what. But to hope for that from you is too great Presumption. You add (A futurity, a nothing, and to decree nothing is not to de­cree.) Ans. Say you so? I am glad you say no worse: Then if those be in the right (as most) that think Sin is nothing (no more than Death or Darkness) you will grant that God decreed it not. And if I prove that Futurity ex parte rei, is nothing, you will grant that it needeth no Decree as such. But seeing you are so much on my side, I crave your help to confute those, that otherwise you defend, who make innumerable Nothings the Ob­jects [Page 61] of God's Decrees. But yet I would not follow you too far: (Not to give Grace to an Infidel) is nothing. (Not to give the Gospel, not to end the World till the time, not to take away Grace, Gospel, Life, &c.) You say here (in your general) that none of these can be decreed. But then prepare an Answer to your Friends that will take this ill of you. I have fully opened my sence of it else­where. You say (Abstract futurity from the Decree and it will be nothing.) Ans. If you abstract not Futurity as a real Entity from the Decree, you will abuse God by presumptuous false Conceits: But if you abstract the word shall be) from the humane Conceptus of it, it will not differ from a Conceptus de praesente. And though I more reverence you, I may say of some other Objecters that quib­ble with arbitrary notions, that if you except Fa­tuity and Futility, from what they say for the en­tity of Futurity, it is all nothing. You add (That if in time only the thing actually exist by virtue of the Decree, the Decree is something in time, but eternally it was nothing. That is (God's will to effect any thing is nothing till it do effect it.) Yes, 'tis God's Will so to do, and is that nothing? It is nothing but God's essential will denominated from the res efficienda; but that is not nothing: if God be no­thing, there is Nothing: There is nothing indeed but God from Eternity. If you think otherwise, tell us what it is. Aureolus indeed pleadeth, That Actus Dei creantis is neither Creator nor Creatura, but quid medium, but few second him, and many confute him. It seems you think of Futurity as our Epicureans, and our new Infidels do of matter, That it is an eternal effect of God as an eternal Cause. I will give you many thanks if you will peruse and [Page 62] answer Raymundus Lullius's Arguments against t [...] Eternity of any Creature, where he argueth, That whatsoever hath the perfection of Eternity, must needs have other suitable Perfections, and so be God. Is Futurity a more excellent Being tha [...] Spirit, Matter and Motion, to be capable of this Divine Attribute? I pray what is the Verity that you say resulteth eternally? Can you forgive me for not loving Confusion? Is it, 1. The verit [...] rei futurae? 2. Or the veritas conceptus Divini de rerum futuritione? 3. Or the Verity of a Pro­position? Are these all one with you? The first being a Metaphysical Verity, is Affectio entis, a [...] unum and bonum are: And quod non est, non est unum, verum aut bonum. 2. As to the third, is it a divine Proposition, or a humane? If a di­vine, prove that God had either concept as vel pro­latas, eternal Propositions; if he had and you prove it, I never denied the truth of such propo­sitions. If humane, when there was no man, there was no humane propositions. All that you can say is but what I oft said, That God's Volitions were a ground that would have made such propo­sitions (These things will be) certainly true, if there had been any such eternal propositions. And as to the second, it is not denied as before explai­ned. God's Will and Knowledge were certain, but they were but himself, who gave no Being to eternal Futurition out of himself. You ask (How are the Promises, being Propositions, true signs of the Divine Will, where there are none?) Ans. How is the World and signa naturalia the signs of God's Will, and how are Writings and Voices signs of it, if there be no World, Writings o [...] Voices in God? God willeth that which is not [Page 63] [...] himself eternally: God willeth Creatures and God willeth Propositions. And these are the [...]roducts of his Veracity, when he sendeth them [...]y Revelation: and true, because they come from [...]im. When his Will is to give the world an [...]carnate Saviour, may not the promise of this [...]ruly signifie his will, though he have no Pro­position in his mind, but only a will to give him, [...]nd an intuitive Knowledge? But I say again, [...]f you can prove, that God thinketh, reasoneth, [...]r talketh eternally, and knoweth by terminos sim­ [...]lices, Propositions and Syllogisms, I will easily confess that all these are true, and yet not grant that ex parte rei, Futurition or Non-futurition, Possibility or Impossibility are any Beings.

Ad 8. You meet with a distinction of [Futu­rity as nothing, and a Proposition de futuro as something] with an [how so? It signifieth only futurity, and that is just nothing.] Ans. You should pardon a man in my condition, if he be [...]oth to write new Books to answer all Object­ers that know not that a Proposition de nihilo is something. If Atheists say, There is no God, They shall know that they say something: If I say that there are no other true Gods, I say some­thing. They that say Datur vacuum say some­thing. You say (But was it not true before:) what is your (it)? The Proposition was not true before it was a Proposition, Concepta vel prolat [...]: Futurity had not the Metaphysical or Physical verity of an Entity; for it was nothing. The res futura had no such truth; for it was not res dum futura tantum. What mean you then by (it?) I say still if you can prove that there was an Eternal Proposition de future in God, it [Page 64] was true and was God's Essence; which is no­thing to our question. You add [Not true before, nor knowable as true.] Ans. You seem by thi [...] to intimate that God cannot know what will be by his production, without making Mental or Oral Propositions, and knowing them to be true Must God's Prescience be deplorate, if he know not by your Me [...]ns and Measures? You may ne [...] say, It must be by Sense, Fantasie and Species▪ as our Souls work in these muddy Brains. God▪s Knowledge receiveth not a constitutive Object from without, as ours doth. It first concurreth with his Will and Power in making all things what they are (All flowing from it, and it recei­ving from none:) And in s [...]cundo instanti; it dis­cerneth all things to be what they are. And whe [...] he hath made Propositions, he discerneth the [...] to be true. You keep your way and say [Whe [...] God declares things to come, he declareth something▪ because there is a Proposition: But when he fore­knoweth them, he fore knoweth nothing; which is [...] to fore-know.] Ans. 1. When God declareth by Propo [...]tions things to come, the Propositio [...] are the Declaration it self and are something; but the things declared are nothing, till they are Why would you confound these? and When he foreknoweth what will be, he knoweth that it is not: Ergo it is not. 3. How prove you, That to fore-know from Eternity that there would be no World till the Creation, or no Deluge, Resur­rection, &c. till the time, is no fore-knowledge? I do not Dispute it with you, but crave your proof, having said somewhat my self elsewhere upon that Question. You talk of [a thing's be­ginning to be Future before it's put into a Propositi­on, [Page 65] &c.] As if you still begg'd the Question, and took Futurity extra mentem & signa, to be some­thing ex parte rei. That which is not, is not true. A negatione est secundi Adjecti ad negationem Est [...]ertii valet consequentia, saith Dr. Twisse often. You ask [Is it true because formed into a Proposi­tion? Then all Propositions are true.] Ans. Is what true? That there is a Futurum? Is not that a Proposition? What is it antecedent to the Pro­position that you call true? Is it the res futura? That's false. Is it the Realitas futuritionis ex parte [...]ei? That is it I deny. Futurum, saith Dr. Twisse, & possibile, are termini diminuentes, signifying that the thing is not. Is it the Conceptus Divinus? If that be by a mental Proposition, it is not antece­dent to it self; if not, doubtless God's Know­ledge is true (efficiently, it will make the thing true) and true perfectively and denominatively, knowing things but as they are, and therefore not knowing Futurity Rei to be a Being. If it [...]e human Conceptions, they are mental Proposi­tions, not eternal nor antecedent to themselves. All Propositions that God maketh are true: Be­cause true Propositions are true, must all be true? Because it is a word or Proposition or Syllogism, which is the Subject of Logical truth, doth it follow that all Words, Propositions or Syllo­gisms are true?

Ad 9. Possible is a notion relative from God's Power; Futurity from his Will, or any certain Cause. Neither is a real Entity in re.

In the Conclusion I was about to wish that you would have done somewhat that tended to my Edification, and when you had all this while talk'd for the Entity of futurity that you would have deign­ed [Page 66] to tell me what it is; if it be anything, why would you not say, what? Is it a Substance or an Accident? What Accident (or mode) or of what Substance? Could you forget that this would be expected from you? And whether Futurity be an­nihilated or turned into somewhat else when the thing existeth. But I find that you have made a kind of attempt, saying [Things have an esse inten­tionale in God's will, though not an esse Reale in themselves.] And is this all that we shall have in­stead of the Definition, that should have gone before, and instead of regarding and Answering what I had said of the Point? 1. Here then you intimate that Futurity hath no esse reale in it self; and it is the esse reale that I denied▪ Why lost you so much Labour. 2. Can you English to any man that takes words for means of understand­ing things, what it is for [Things to have an esse intentionale in God?] 1. Sure the commmon Doctrine of esse intentionale in man, needs an Oedipus. 2. But alas how shall I know what esse intentionale is in God? 3. Much less how milli­ons of millions of Nothings have their esse inten­tionale in God. Qu. 1. Is that esse intentionale any thing real besides God himself? 2. Are such esse's as many in God as the things will be in themselves? Hath God Accidents, and so many millions of millions of Accidents, and yet most simple and immutable? 3. What are all these things in God from eternity in proper language? are they his Volitions or Intellections? And are these so numerous? Or are they Creatures in esse intentionali? Do not you confess that that esse is non-esse as to any Creature? If you mean Pl [...]onick Idea's, are not Idea's and Species, as they [Page 67] are called, in man, the notes of his Imperfecti­on, while his Soul knoweth, ut forma, in a Body, as distinct from perfect intuition? I refer you to what I have said of Divine Idea's, and pray you to seign nothing in God without proof. But if you do prove such, forget not the next time, that I denied not the truth of any Divine Idea or Knowledge.

Your concluding line I pardon, and it needs no more. All that is said in this Paper on this point is materially fully answered in my Book; and I even now asked a Friend what I should say to all that object against a Book which containeth sufficient matter of answer to their Objections: And he answered, Not write for every man a new one, but wish them to read the former better.

Pardon my oft repeating to you my sence of Futurity, with which I conclude. To man, Time in various instants, and the narrowness of our understandings, that must have various Concepti­ons and Organical Notions, make it needful to us to use names, even for things that are not (or nothings). When God (or any certain Cause) tells what will be hereafter, we frame an image of that thing that is not by the help of Words and the similitude of Things that are or have been. Then we put a name on that imagined thing, as if it were: Then we make use in our discourses of that name, and turning a Verb into a Noun, as [it will be] into [Future], and then an Ad­jective or Participle into a Substantive, [Future] into [Futurity] our poor Fancies run on with it, as if we had by the name made or mentioned some Substance or real Being. When all is no­thing [Page 68] but a Relative notion or Ens rationis. The knowledge that a thing will be may be a real knowledge: And instead of denominating the Act we denominate the Object, (which is internally an Image; externally Nothing real) and call it Future, and thence name Futurition: As Futurition signifieth improperly the relation of the mental act to the thing fore-known, it is a real mental act's relation: As the Subject is the thing future, so it is nothing real but a feigned organical Notion, by which we discourse instead of Verbs. The Relatio Conceptus vel nominis, is the relation of a real act. But the relation of the thing future as future is secundum dici, but feign­ed instead of a Verb. And of God's knowledge, I shall here say no more.

In a word, If you take futuritio rei to be the Name of any immanent eternal Act of God, what­ever we think of the aptitude of your Phrase, I suppose we differ not about the thing inten­ded, as long as you hold no eternal Accidents or Composition in God, and that nothing is eternal but himself; which I must think you do in Charity. If you take futuritio rei for the modus or relation of a humane Conception or Asserti­on de futuris, I suppose we shall not differ de re, nor will you say that it is eternal. 3. If you speak but suppositively, that if there had been such a conceptus or Assertion from Eternity, it would have been true, we differ not. 4. If you take Futurition extra mentem, to be any thing (Substance, Mode, Accident or any Reality or ali­quid rei) and that from Eternity, I deny it, and say, That they that make an universal Spirit, and they that make Matter and Motion to be eter­nal [Page 69] with God, are more excusable, than they that make a thing called Futurity distinct▪ from God; yea, the Futurity of Sin to be eternal, and God the eternal Cause of that eternal Effect.

I purposed at the first glance to have answe­red the second Paper also about God's decreeing Sin; but when I had read it I was unwilling, 1. Be­cause it is but too largely answered materially in my Book already, and more fully in old Papers that lie by me, which I cannot transcribe. 2. Be­cause I hear so much Good of the worthy Author, that I am not willing to be drawn to dispute a Case, which cannot be handled justly, without opening so much Evil in that which I must op­pose, as will sound harsh towards one that I so much honour. Men are so apt to feel that as touching themselves which is spoken to their Cause. If Hobbes (who wrote the Treatise of Necessity against Bishop Bramhall) had sent me that Paper, I should readily have answer'd it: But here I fear it.

Only I tell the Author, that I have been as strongly tempted that way as most others; and do acknowledge that it is the greatest difficulty in all these Controversies, to conceive, how free will can act otherwise than God doth predeter­mine it: But I am satisfied in the Solution; and fully satisfied, that the Predeterminant Opi­nion which I oppose doth certainly inferr the Religion of Hobbes, the denial of Chri­stianity, and leaves us no Religion; but that Good and Evil, Happiness and Misery are Differences all made by God himself, as Light and Darkness, Angels and Serpents are made to differ by him: [Page 70] And I am not willing to let go Christianity [...] such Objections as these: And it had been m [...] that he had answered what I have said to Alvar [...] Mr. Sterry, &c. on this Subject, and taken notice of my Answers to the most of his.

His talk of Casualty is his sum; by which if he mean that which had not a predetermined Cause, Sin is casual, till the Sinner determine his own will. But if he mean, that which is unknown to God, it is not casual: And the Assertion, That such things are not knowable to God, I have con­futed at large, which he here taketh no notice of.

If I shall find that Necessity make it my duty to give any such Paper a particular Answer, if I have time, I may do it. But I think enough is said of that already, and my leisure from bet­ter work is small.


CHAP. VII. Of God's Providence, and predetermining Pre­motion and Miracles.

§. 1. THE word (Providence) is variously used by Writers: Sometimes as com­prehending God's fore-knowledge and decrees them­selves: Sometimes as comprehending all his Works: [Page 71] Sometimes as comprehending all his works which follow the Creation: And sometimes as signifying only his effective disposal of Persons and Things in Motions, and Alterations, as dictinct from Le­gislation, which only maketh Duty and Right.

§. 2. In CREATION God Glorified his Three Essential Principles or Attributes: 1 His Omni­potency eminently in giving BEING to all things. 2. His Wisdom eminently in the ORDER and Composure of all▪ 3. His Love or Goodness emi­nently, in the GOODNESS and Wellfare of all: For he made them Good, and then Rested: Yet so as that all these Attributes were glorified in each part of the Effect.

§. 3. From hence a posteriore he is in the one Relation of CREATOR Related triply to the World, and specially to the Rational part: That is, 1. As the MAKER of things, (which is Creator in the narrow sence). 2. As ORDI­NATOR. 3. As BENEFACTOR. And thus he is the Author of NATURE.

§. 4. From this fundamental Relation of CRE­ATOR, and the nature of the Creature made (and continued by Conservation, which is a continued Creation or Efficiency) there resulteth a threefold Right and further Relation to God. 1. A Ius Dominii, or Right of PROPRIETY, and so he is our OWNER, and may do with all things what he will, and must be the disposer of Events. 2. His Ius Imperii (including Do­ctrine) or Right of Government; which to things meerly Natural is Natural Government, and to Moral Agents it is Moral Government, by Doctrine, Laws and Executions: And so he is our KING or RULER. 3. His Ius Amoris ut finis; [Page 72] or Right to be the end of all, and by the Rati [...] ­nal Creature to be chiefly Loved, and absolutely for Himself, as the Best and most Amiable, and so he is our ultimate END: Where LOVE is considered not only as an act of Obedience to a Rector as all other duties are; but eminently as it is the final perfective Act of man, closing with the final Object, and so above the common nature of meer Obedience.

§. 5. All God's after-works and all our Duties to him must be observed as respecting all these Re­lations of God to us, and our answerable Rela­tions to him: For therein is the Nature, Order, and Harmony of them discerned to be Glorious: And unskillful confounding them is a spoiling and prophaning or dishonouring of them. And thus the various acts of Providence must be set each in its proper place.

§. 6. God being the fons naturae, and having settled the frame of Nature (or created Beings and second Causes) in a fixed state and order, in which one thing is united to another, and ada­pted to its proper work in concurrence with the whole, we must not expect that God do or­dinarily violate this his established Course: For his Works shall shew somewhat of his Constancy, and Experience telleth us, that really thus He doth.

§. 7. But we must not dream that God is in­voluntarily tied to his own Work, or hindered by second Causes, or the course of Nature, from doing what He would; but His free-will deligh­teth it self in this Constancy and ordered Course of Nature, and use of second Causes, which have [Page 73] still all their being, force and order continued by Him.

§. 8. And the number and operations of second Causes are so unknown to us, that when things seem Miracles to us, it is hard for us to say, that God useth no second Cause in effecting them. But it is enough to the use of Miracles to know that their extraordinary production hath an an­swerable extraordinary use and signification of God's Will.

§. 9. And no doubt but Nature and all its parts are absolutely in the Power and Government of God's Will: And He can and doth turn things up and down as He pleaseth, without making any breach in his established Order: If the Hus­bandman can turn the course of Rivers to water his Grounds, by meer Impediments and Recepti­vities, without any alteration of the natural motion of the Water; how much more must we ascribe to God, in using Nature without over­throwing it?

§. 10. It is Atheistical or absurd to set God and Nature in opposition, competition or separation; and to say as some Philosophers, [This or That natural Causes can do without calling in God as the Determiner.] Whereas natural Causes are nothing, and do nothing but by God: And there is no less of God in the effects of Nature, than if He did the same himself alone: In Him we Live and Move, and Are.

§. 11. And it is no better in them that say, that God doth not operate proximately and imme­diately where Nature or second Causes work, but only remotely. As [immediately] signifieth [with­out any medium or second Cause] so God doth not [Page 74] then work immediately: But as it signifieth pro­ximately, He doth: For an infinite being cannot be essentially distant from any Creature or Effect: Nor is it possible that the second Cause can be nearer to the Effect than God; who is as near as if he used no such Cause.

§. 12. And the Dispute, Whether God do pro­ximately effect immediatione suppositi, or only vir­tutis, seemeth to have a false supposition, vi [...]. That God's Virtue is not his suppositum, and that the virtus divina may be where the suppositum is no [...] If by suppositum they mean God's Essence as Es­sence existing, and by virtus they mean his Essence under the formal notion of Power, Wisdom and Love, then they are but two inadequate Conceptions of the same simple Being, and therefore God thus ever operateth immediatione essentiae & virtutis essentialis. But if they mean, that God hath [...] virtus which is neither his Essence nor a Creature, we believe them not.

§. 13. The Controversie between Durandus and his Followers, and the Jesuites and Domini­cans, about the necessity of a moving Concourse, besides the support of Nature, seemeth to me thus reconcileable.

  • 1. God as he is fons naturae, is the Living God, the prime Active Principle, who by constant vital Activity is the Spring of all the Action in the World; and is not to be dreamt of as one that had made the World, and then left it to it self, and withdrew his hand and is fallen asleep.
  • 2. But the Living God moveth not all things alike, but every thing according to its nature and place; for his Influx is received ad modum raci­pientium.
  • [Page 75]3. The Nature of some Creatures is essentially Active, and so inclined to act that they will act if their Nature be not by others, or want of con­current Necessaries, hindered. Such is every Soul or living Principle, and Fire. And other Crea­tures are naturally Passive only ex se (or at least principally). So that for God to continue Fire or Souls or any naturally-active Principle, is to con­tinue a nature essentially inclined to move or act.
  • 4. It is supposed that these Natures are not so­litary, but parts of the universe, and are conti­nued with all necessary circumstant Beings and Objects; and that the whole frame of Nature and co­operating Causes are continued: e. g. That the Sun doth not stand still, while the Life of a Plant or Brute is continued.
  • 5. All this being supposed by Durandus, Au­reolus, a Dola, and all sober men, the Question de­bated is, Whether there be further necessary another immediate Divine Motion or Concourse to every motion of a Creature natural or free, besides all this afore­said?

And, 1. Let it be consider'd, that God's Essence being but one, his Act, which ex parte agentis, is his Essence, is not distinguishable, saving ex connotatione effectus: And if this be all that is meant, That as ipse motus distinguitur a causis, so God's Will, Power and Agency may be distinctly denomi­nated, 1. As from the second Causes; and 2. also from the Motion it self, as more than the Causes; this none can deny, nor is it a Controversie. But if the question be of the necessity of another distinct way of Divine Causation of the motus, besides that by second Causes before mentioned, they can prove no such necessity.

[Page 76]For is it mediate or immediate Causation or Effi­ciency which they mean? (we speak not of im­mediate as it signifieth proximate, which is granted, but as signifying sine causis secundis.) If it be me­diate by second Causes that God must further con­curr, those are natural Causes or some other: if natural, it's a contradiction to say, that Besides God's moving by natural Causes (which is granted) he must also move by natural Causes; as if Ide [...] were not Idem: Unless they will say it must be by some other natural Causes, which they do not, nor can assign; nor yet any other that are not natural.

But if they mean, that to every motion there must be an immediate operation of God to it witho [...] that which he doth by second Causes, even by God alone without any second Cause, I then ask, Doth God move any thing in the World by any second Cause or not? If not, then not by the Sun; not the Coach by the Horses, the Arrow by the Bow, the Stone by the Hand, the Pen by the Writer, &c. If yea, then is it the whole or part only of that motion which is made by second Causes and God by them? If the whole, habetur quaesitum: If part, how prove you that God cannot make the whole motion himself by second Causes, as well as part, but must needs leave the other part of the same motion to be done without second Causes.

And it would follow that no second Cause, no not the noblest in the World (as the Sun) and God as acting by it, hath and exerciseth à vis ade­quata to the smallest motion even of a Leaf: Whereas God in Nature maketh natural Power, with his own, as he is fons naturae, adequate to its Actions.

[Page 77]And let unbyassed Reason judge, Whether if a Rock should be held up in the Air, if God con­ [...]inue the natural Gravity of it, with all the rest of the frame of Nature, could not that Rock fall, without another motion of God which is without any second Cause, to thrust it down? If He con­tinue the nature of Fire, was it not a greater Miracle, that it burnt not the three Witnesses, Dan. 3. than to have burnt them, or than its or­dinary Action? Why else should there need ten thousand fold more natural Power to hold up the said Rock, or to quench a City on fire, or to stop a River, or the Winds; than to move them sup­posing natural Causes, if there need an Infinite Power moreover to the act, and none to the ces­sation? And by this Rule it would follow, that all Motion in the World is supernatural: For if God cause it ut sons naturae, he causeth it in the natural course: if he do not, it's all supernatu­ral and miraculous.

Moreover, if all this satisfie not Disputes, if it be worth the Cost, they may try the Case thus: Supposing that God hath told no man his Secrets, when he will immediately move any thing without second Causes, and that no second Causes, nor his own Operation by them can move any thing with­out another immediate Motion, Let them cut down the Pillars, or undermine their Houses, and say that by meer natural Causes the House cannot fall: Let them set fire on their Houses, and say that by meer natural Causes they cannot be burnt: Let them drink Poison, and say, By meer natural Causes it cannot hurt us: Or let them cut their Flesh, &c. For God never told them, [Page 78] that he will immediately concurr, and then there is no danger.

Perhaps they will say, That Experience telleth us that God doth usually concurr with them: I answer, And is not that because he worketh by them? What Experience or Reason have you, that God should still work immediately with▪ them, and yet not by them? We can prove that He worketh as the first Cause. But if you will prove that He doth it not as the first Cause moving the second Causes, but by immediate concomitancy, let us hear your proofs.

Lastly, let it be noted, that when they that af­firm all Motion to be by immediate concomitant Concourse or Predetermination, do pretend that they do it lest God's Causality should be denied or extenuated, it is a meer deceit: For all are agreed, that there is no less of God in the Operations done by second Causes or Nature, than in immediate Ope­rations without second Causes (such as God exer­ciseth on the first created Motor, and how else he please) God is as much in one as in the other.

§. 14. For the understanding of the nature and use of miraculous acts of Providence, it must be considered, 1. That God that made the World of Natural Agents, and things Passive, moved by the Active, is not to be feigned without good proofs, to alter any of the Works which he hath made, which we see he continueth in the course that he made them without any mutation of their Natures.

§. 15. God can change, and cross, and use as he pleaseth the Actions of Natural Agents with­out changing their natures and inclinations. One [Page 79] Natural Agent or moved Passive, may be resi­ [...]ed and turned back or overcome by another; [...]nd yet there may be nothing but natural moti­ [...]n in them all: A stronger Stream may drive [...]ack a weaker. A Canon may cross the ordi­ [...]ary motion of the Air: As a great Dog may [...]aster a little one, or a Woolf devour a Lamb, [...]nd a Bird a Worm or Fly; and yet there be [...]one but natural and sensitive motion. So God [...]an dry up or stop the Red Sea or Iordan; and [...]y Winds carry Caterpillars to and from Aegypt, and such like, and by one natural [...]otion overcoming another. It's hard for us [...]n most Miracles to say that God doth more than this.

§. 16. But it is certain that God hath a rank of free Agents that act arbitrarily, and that these have a great measure of power over na­tural and necessary Motions: As man is a free Agent and driveth his Sheep to what Pasture he pleaseth, and guideth his Horses and Oxen in their way and furrow to do his will by their natural and sensitive necessitated motion, and as a Miller can make the natural course of the Wood and Water and Mill-stones, and Horse, all to serve his intention, without changing the nature of any one of them, so much more can God and free Agents under God, attain their freely chosen ends, by Ordering and not Changing Natural and Sensitive Movers.

§. 17. We so little know what Arbitrary Free Agents that are invisible Spirits God hath set over this Passive World, and what power he hath given them to use Natural Agents as they themselves freely will, that it greatly disableth [Page 80] us to resolve all the Difficulties of the Cause of Sin and Misery, and about the nature of Mira­cles. But it is a clear truth that it is by such Free Arbitrary Agents primarily that natural Agency is crost and overcome in Miracles, the one Natural Agent be employed to resist another, (as to quench the heat of Fire, to stop the course of Winds and Water, &c.) Yet it is some voluntary free Agent that thus useth natural Agents against each other. Scripture tells us, that God useth Angels as Rulers and Protectors of lower Agents: And that there is a kind of a war between these and Devils: And how far the pre­valent Wills of good and bad Angels or volun­tary Agents may be the Cause of Evil, or be the Actors of Miracles, by setting one moved Agent against another, and yet all but Natural motion that is caused by these free Agents, Mortals do not know; and therefore should not be peremptory in judging.

§. 18. But though we know not that in Mira­cles God useth not second Causes, some natural and some free in waies unsearchable to us, yet may we be assured by Miracles of his will and attestation: when we find that things are done quite out of the way of his ordinary Providence in the uncontrouled confirmation of some pro­phetical Revelation: For God is the Governour of the rational World; and his moral Govern­ment must be by the intelligible signification of his will de debito, what shall be due from us, and to us: And if Miracles be used to deceive us, they cannot be done without him, whatever second Cause there be: And if he should use them (tho' by second Causes) to deceive us, we are utterly [Page 81] remediless, and therefore guiltless. And God that [...]ath neither impotency, ignorance nor badness, cannot need a Lye to govern Man, when he hath [...]de it part of his Image, on Man, and needful to Mens Justice to each other to hate Lying.

§. 19. A Miracle controuled by contrary Evi­dence, is no notification of God's Attestation: It may be permitted for several good ends: For God by controuling it giveth us sufficient reme­dy against Deceit. And there are two waies by which a Miracle may be controuled: First, by greater conquering Miracles used for some contra­ry Doctrine or Cause; so the Aegyptian Magi­cian's Miracles were controuled by Moses. Se­condly, when it is some unquestionable Truth or Duty or Word, that is already better proved, which that Miracle pretendeth to contradict. As if a Miracle were done by a Deceiver, to prove that there is no God, no Life-to-come, or against Mercy or Justice, or to disprove Christianity; the greater Miracles which have confirmed the Gospel, and the evident Light of Nature, which proveth the Deity and Life-to-come, and the Du­ty of Love and Justice, do controul such deceiving Miracles. (Therefore a Servant of Christ may most comfortably suffer Martyrdome for his testi­mony to the Deity, Christianity, the Life-to-come, or Charity and Justice against Malice and Persecu­tion and Cruelty, which even a Miracle would not justifie; more than for a disputable Opinion.)

§. 20. It's a great Question, How a true Pro­phet might be known antecedently, before his Prophecy was fulfilled. And it's of great moment to consider, the difference between a Legislative Prophet, and a meer particular Message. Moses [Page 82] and CHRIST, the Legislators, confirmed their Laws and Word by multitudes of uncontrouled Miracles: For Life and Death lay upon mens Obedience or Disobedience to them: And if a Pro­phet did reprove any Sin against that Law, the Miracles that confirmed the Law did justifie them. But if it were but a Prophecy about some other temporal Event (as Ieremy's of the Captivity) it needed no Miracle; for it was but a temporal Suffering that followed the not believing them.

The Law of God, which should here be handled, I shall speak ofPardon the disorder of not handling the Law before Sin: It is for young Rea­ders sake, who would have all God's Laws opened together, [...] give Light to each other. afterward.

CHAP. VIII. Of God's causing or not causing Sin.

§. 1. HOw certainly the Doctrine of the neces­sity of immediate, efficient, physical, pre­determining Premotion, doth make God the prin­cipal Cause of all Sin, I have so oft shewed, and so fully proved, that I shall here be very short upon that Subject.

§. 2. To say, that God is the principal deter­mining Cause of every sinful act with all its Ob­jects and Circumstances (called the materiale peccati) and also the Cause of the Law that forbiddeth it, and the Person that committeth it, is to make him [Page 83] the chief Cause of Sin, as far as it is capable of a Cause, even of the formal Cause.

§. 3. To say, That such a Cause is the Cause on­ly of the Act, but not of the Obliquity, is absurd; because the obliquity is a Relation necessarily resul­ting from the Law and Act with all its modes and circumstances: And the obliquity can have no other Cause.

§. 4. To say, That God willeth and loveth and causeth Sin, not as Sin, but for good ends and uses, is, to say no more for God than may be said for wicked men, if not for Devils; save only that God's Ends are better than theirs.

§. 5. To say, That God willeth not Sin, but the Existence and Futurity of Sin, is but as aforesaid, to say, that He wills not Sin as Sin, or sub ratione [...]ali, but that it exist for better ends; or else it is a contradiction: For to will or cause Sin is no­thing else but to will and cause the existence of Sin.

§. 6. They that say, That God willeth the Existence of Sin, as it is summe conducibile, to the Glory of his Justice and Mercy, (yea, and that per se, and not only per accidens) do wrong the Glory of God's Holiness and Wisdom. A Physi­cian can love his own skill, and compassion, and the honour that cometh to him by curing a Di­sease, without loving or willing the Disease it self, but only supposing it as an Evil which he can turn to Good.

§. 7. They that say, That God is the Cause in­deed of our Sin, but is no Sinner himself, because he is under no Law, say nothing in the latter but what all grant, and nothing in the former but what [Page 82] [...] [Page 83] [...] [Page 84] God's Church doth commonly abhorr, excepting some few singular presumers.

§. 8. They that hold, That God doth by im­mediate physical efficient predetermining Premo­tion principally and unresistibly cause every sinful act, with all its modes and circumstances, do cer­tainly deny all certainty of Faith, and so subvert all Christianity: For the formal Object of all Di­vine Faith, is God's Veracity, (that God cannot lye) if God could lye, our Belief could have no certainty: Now God speaketh to us, but by inspi­red men, and not by an essential voice of his own: And if God cause, as aforesaid, all the Lyes that ever were spoken by Men or Devils in the World, then no man can be sure that he doth not so by Prophets and Apostles, or that ever they say true: And God's Veracity then is gone.

§. 9. They that think [...]o evade this Evidence by the difference of Predetermination and Inspira­tion, and say God inspireth no Lyes though he pre­determine all by physical Premotion, do labour in vain: For, 1. No man can ever prove that any Inspiration doth interest God more in the Act or Lye, than physical Predetermination doth: For how can God be more the Author of any Act than by effectual premoving the Creature to act it, and that by immediate physical Predetermina­tion? What doth Inspiration do, but so move the Mind, Will and Tongue of a Prophet? No man can name more that Man is capable of. 2. But if there were a difference, we are not capable of understanding that difference so well, as to prove that God can cause all the Lyes in the World by predetermining Premotion, and yet can cause none [Page 85] by Inspiration; shall none believe him that know not this difference? 3. And were it intelligible, it would be only to inspired men themselves. So that I am past doubt that we must part with all Certainty of Christianity, and of all Divine Belief, if we receive this Doctrine of Predetermination, be­cause the objectum formals fidei is then gone.

§. 10. They that say, that if we make not God the Predeterminer to every act in specie morali, and in every comparative respect and mode, we shall make Man a God, by making him a Causa prima, do thereby as much conclude God to be the first and principal predetermining efficient Cause of every wicked Habit (as of Malignity, or Hatred of God, &c.) because a Habit hath as much Entity as an Act: Therefore if it deifie Man, to make him the first Cause, e. g. of a Lye or Murder, in specie, then so it will do to make him the first Cause of the Habit.

§. 11. If it be as impossible for Man to do any thing but what he doth, or not to do all that he doth without God's foresaid predetermi­ning Premotion, as it is to be Gods, or to overcome God, or make a World, then if Men are counted Sinners, and condemned, it is for not doing such impossibilities, for not doing what God alone can do, or for not overcoming Almighty premoving Power.

§. 12. [...]t cannot rationally be expected, that they that believe that God is the chief Cause and Willer of all Sin, should think it very bad, or them­selves bad for it; or that when God hath unre­sistibly made all men to sin, he yet hateth it, and sent his Son into the World to testifie his Hatred by dying for it; and that he is serious in [Page 86] all that he saith against it in his word: nor that such men should hate it, and rather die than sin.

§. 13. Therefore as the Church of God hath ever abhorred to make God the Cause of Sin, and kept up the sence of the Evil of Sin, (for our ha­tred of it, and departing from it, and our Humi­liation) as a necessary part of our Religion, so must we resolutely do still; or else we shall be worse than the Light of Nature teacheth Hea­thens themselves to be.

§. 14. God hath many waies to cause the Ef­fects of Sin, without causing the Sin it self; as by impediments to other waies, by altering Recipi­ents, Objects, Concauses, and many others, which I have elsewhere enumerated: He can will and procure, that Christ shall die by the sinful malice and action of the Iews, without willing or cau­sing their malice, will or action as bad: As he can procure a man to be in the way where a Murde­rer cometh with a disposition to murder, and can direct the Bullet, &c.

§. 15. When one and the same word doth sig­nifie both the Sin and the Effect of the Sin, it oc­casioneth the error of men that cannot distinguish: And so if the Scripture should say, That God is the Cause of it, they think it includeth the Sin with the Effect. So Murder signifieth both the will and action of the Murderer, and the death of the man murdered as the effect: Absolom's Constuprations signifieth both his sinful will and action, and the effect of both: The revolt of the Israelites from Ie­roboam; the giving up of Kingdoms to the Beast, and many such-like, in Scripture are ascribed to God as the Cause, not as the words signifie the sinful will and action of the Malefactor, but only [Page 87] the produced effect of both (saving when God's per­mission only is understood.)

§. 16. They that deride it as absurd, that God should decree, will and cause the Effect, and not the Wills forbidden Act, are too bold with God, in measuring his Counsels and Actions by the rule of their vain Imaginations: Yet many give us, instead of Scripture and Reason, but such a confident derision, and say, [How absurd is it to say that God willed, decreed and caused that Christ should be murdered, and yet willed, decreed or caused not that any should murder him? That God should will and cause David's Concubines to be defiled, and not will or cause that Absolom should defile them? That He should will and cause the Kingdom to be rent from Rehoboam, and yet not cause any one to will or do it? &c.] But is all false that is not agreeable to their imagination? Or is this a con­vincing way of reasoning? It is not from imper­fection but perfection that God doth not will or cause mens Sin: But it is from his perfection that he cau­seth the effect, as being the Lord and Ruler of the World. Sin is not a capable Object of God's Voli­tion, or an effect which he can cause: But the effect is, God cannot love or cause Iuda [...]'s will or act (in specie) of betraying Christ, nor the Iews will or act in murdering him: But God can will and cause, that Christ shall be betrayed and killed, by such individual persons as he foreknew were by their wickedness disposed thereunto.

§. 17. All good men have so deep a hatred of Sin, and zeal for God's Holiness, and confess, that Sin is of the Devil, and it is his special cha­racter to be the Author of it, that when zeal against an Adversary in Disputation can yet make [Page 88] many put that character on God (yea, as the prime Efficient, which is more than a Tempter) and this as a part of the Honour of his Providence, and think they serve God and his Truth, by bit­ter reviling the contrary-minded, it is a dreadful instance how far Faction and Contentious Zeal may carry men. And yet when we see how care­fully many avoid Sin when they have thus honou­red it as God's work, it is a notable instance how far good men may err in notions, and yet practi­cally hold the contrary truth, and what great no­tional Errors must be pardoned to each other, as they are pardoned of God.

§. 18. God punisheth Sin with Sin, without cau­sing that Sin at all; that is, 1. He justly demeth his Grace to the rejecters of it, and their Sin is the consequent of that Privation, as a drunken man's wandering is to ones denying to lead him: 2. God maketh it a punishment when man hath first made it a Sin. [q. d. If thou wilt commit such a Sin, it shall have this penal nature and effect.] As if in the Law of Nature God decreed, that excess of Drink or Meat should breed Sickness, that taking a sweet Poison should torment you, that Venery should bring the Pox, that Prodigality shall impoverish men, &c. Here Man first maketh it a Sin, and then God maketh it a Punishment: And Sin it self being the deformity and misery of the Soul, hath two relations at once (in time); the first in order of Nature is the sinfulness, caused by Man; and the second the penal relation caused by God; whose Act indeed was antecedent in his Law (of Nature), ma­king Nature such, that it should so suffer if it will so do); and yet the Effect is consequent to mans Act.

CHAP. IX. Of Natural Power and Free-will.

§. 1. THE Glory of God on his Works is their expression of his Perfections, by the Im­pression of them which he hath made. And He hath communicated Being and Substantiality as the substratum, and therein the Virtues of Vital Power, Wisdom and Goodness (or Love): and these are his Image upon Man.

§. 2. The more Power therefore a Creature hath, the more he glorifieth the Power of God: And the most powerful Creatures (as the Sun) do more shew forth his greatness than the most impo­tant. Therefore to deny or extenuate any Power given of God, is to dishonour him in his works: So absurd is it to think that the Power ascribed to Man, is dishonourable to God; as if you took from the Workman all the Praise that you give to his Works.

§. 3. All Man's Power is passive from GOD and superiour Causes, but it is naturally active as to things inferiour, and in it self.

§. 4. God endued man at first with a threefold Power, 1. Natural, 2. Moral, 3. Political, which is a Ruling Power over Inferiours.

§. 5. Man's Power was partly essential or inse­parable, and partly accidental or separable. 1. To have the three Powers or Faculties of Vital Acti­vity, Intellection and Will, is essential, and Man can­not [Page 90] be a Man without them: But to have these in promptitude and strength, is but as health or strength to the Body; a separable thing. 2. To have some moral Power to know and desire and practise some moral Good, it seemeth is inseparable from Man in via; for all men naturally have some noti­tiae communes, and differencing sense of moral Good and Evil: Else men should be as bad as Devils: But to be truly Holy was separable (as Health) and so was lost. 3. To have some superiority over Brutes, and Parents over their Children, it seems is inseparable, or is not separated; for it conti­nueth in Nature: But the true Majesty of this su­periority was lost by Sin.

§. 6. No Creature hath any Power but what is totally derived from God and dependent on him, and still upheld by him and used under him.

§. 7. Though some would have more Power ascribed to Nature, and others appropriate more to Grace, yet in this it is no Controversie, How much is to be ascribed to God: For both Nature and Grace, and the Powers of both are totally from God: But all the question is, Which way God gi­veth it to man.

§. 8. In general we should be most cautious, 1. That we disparage not any Power or Endow­ment which is God's own Work, whether natural or gracious. 2. That we give not too much to any Work that is proper to Man.

§. 9. Natural Power, of Vital Action, Intellection and Volition, is supposed by God as Lawgiver in his Subjects; that is, that we are Men.

§. 10. Every act of Knowledge, Faith, Re­pentance, Love and Obedience is done by our natu­ral Powers or Faculties, and none without them.

[Page 91]§. 11. The word [Moral Power] signifieth, 1. Sometimes a Power to moral actions, (and so na­tural Power in Man is also moral in some degree.) 2. Sometimes a Holy Disposition, especially in the Will, to such holy moral actions; which is the Recti­tude of our natural Powers, or the Health of them in a saving degree or sort, and is the Gift of Grace, since Sin departed. 3. Most frequently I use the words for such a degree of God's helping or hea­ling Influx or Grace, as is short of a Habit for promptitude and facility, but yet puts the soul in such a disposition, by which Man can do the Act, (and it may come to pass without more Grace whether it do or not) which the Dominicans call Sufficient Grace, and I rather call Necessary Grace. 4. Sometimes it is meant (as causa moralis) for that which is Power Reputatively.

§. 12. Power hath several degrees: some can act easily, yea, is hardly restrained: some can act with difficulty, yet constantly: some difficultly and very rarely: some can act, but the Impediments are so great, and its weakness such, as that it never will do what it can: And these we call a moral Impoten­cy; as being reputative impotency, in these three last degrees.

§. 13. Sin hath debilituted Man's very natural Vivacity and Activity to things spiritual, and also darkened and undisposed his Understanding to them; but especially dis [...]ffected him, and perverted his will, with an indisposition, averseness and enmity to God. And none of these are cured, but by the Grace of Christ; quickening (or strengthening and awakening) illuminating and converting the Soul. (Of which more after in due place.)

[Page 92]§. 14. Adam had Power to have stood when he fell: God took no power from him, nor let out such a Temptation as he could not resist: But Sin entered at his Will, and corrupted it be­fore he lost his Power.

§. 15. There is therefore in [...], such a thing as a true Power, to do more good and less evil than we do.

§. 16. And there was such a Power in Adam's Will, by which he could have willed what he did not [...]ill, and by which he could have rejected the Temptation: And this without any other Grace, than that which he then had, and used not.

§. 17. Otherwise all the sin of Adam and the World would be resolved into the necessitating Will and Work of God, and so all Faith would be subverted.

§. 18. Therefore Man's Will was such a Facul­ty as could be a causa prima, of the moral modifi­cation or specification of its own Acts: (Not a causa prima simpliciter, but thus, secundum quid.) For else God must be the causa prima of Sin, which is the ill modification of that Act.

§. 19. I know that to Nature the Reasonings of our late Infidels, to prove, That every Act of the Will is as truly necessitated as the motions of a Clock, do seem plansible and hard [...]o an­swer; because it seemeth strange, that in any mode of Action Man should be a first Cause of it, and that a Creatures Act should have no superiour Cause in any mode: But on the other side the Evi­dence is cogent, 1. That God is able to make a self-determining Power, that can thus do: For it is no contradiction. 2. That it is congruous, that be­low [Page 93] the happy Race of confirmed Spirits, there should be a Race of such undetermined free Agents, left much to their own self-determining Power. 3. And Experience perswadeth us de facto, that so it is. 4. And they that deny it, must unavoid­ably make God the prime Cause of all Sin, in a higher degree than it is or can be ascribed to Satan: And is all this with the rejection of Christianity more eligible, than the Concession that God can and doth make a Creature with such self-determining Free-will, as can, as a first Cause ofOf the divers sorts of Freedom of Will, and the fuller opening them, see my Methodus Theo­logiae, and Cath. Theol. its modified act, sin without God's Predetermination? And by his help could forbear Sin when he doth not. The Con­test is, Whether GOD or Man shall be counted the causa prima of Sin; we say, Man is the first Cause, and GOD is none at all: Some say, God must be the causa prima of all that can have a Cause in it: and rather than deny him the Ho­nour which is given to Satan, they will deny Christianity, and deny him to be holy and to be GOD.

§. 20. GOD made this natural Free-will that Man might be a governable Creature, fit to be morally ruled by Laws and rational Motives, and as part of God's Image on Man.

CHAP. X. Of Original Sin.

§. 1. BY one man Sin entred into the World, and Death by Sin, and so Death passed upon all in that all have sinned.

§. 2. We were not in Adam distinct Persons really; for our Persons then existed not; and therefore did not inexist.

§. 3. God doth not repute us to have been what we were not; for he judgeth truly, and is not mis­taken: Therefore he judged not Peter and Iohn to have been those Persons in Adam then, nor Adam's person the same with theirs.

§. 4. Therefore we were not then when he sin­ned persons guilty in Adam; for Non existentis non sunt accidentia.

§. 5. We were Seminally or Virtually in Adam when he sinned: Which is but that he had that Virtus generativa from which we naturally sprang in time; But to be Virtually in him, is Not to be personally in him, but Potentially, it being as to Existence termi­nus diminuens.

§. 6. As soon as we were Persons, we were Per­sons derived by Generation from Adam: Therefore with our Persons we derived Guilt and Pravity: For he could beget no better than himself.

§. 7. When Adam sinned his whole Person was guilty and no part innocent: Therefore his very Se­men prolificum had its part in the guilt according to its Capacity; And though it was not a guilty [Page 95] Person, it was a part of a guilty Person; and a part that was the Semen personae; so that when that Semen became a p [...]rson (Cain) it became a guilty person, the guilt following the subject according to its Capacity: And so downward by Propaga­tion to this day.

§. 8. God doth not impute Adam'sDr. Twisse fre­quently well o­peneth this. Sin to us because he will do it, with­out any real participation of ours; no nor beyond our true natural parti­cipation, but according to it: Otherwise God should have made us sinners, meerly because he [...]ould do so, and not Adam.

§. 9. We receive our Original Guilt and Pra­vity immediately from our next Parents, and but remotely from Adam: It could never have come to us but through them from whom we receive our Nature, from them we receive the guilt and pra­vity of our Nature.

§. 10. Therefore thus far at least our next Pa­rents communicate Guilt and Pravity to us, and not Adam only: In which we see that God's Im­putation goeth along with real Natural Participa­tion.

§. 11. It seemeth to me a strange oversight in too many Divines who deny (or observe not) our Guilt of all the rest of our Parents

Of this I have publish­ed a Disputa­tion which proveth it. Sins, while we were in their Loins, as well as of Adam's; seeing 1. there is that same reason of both, save what the change of the Covenant maketh (of which after.) And, 2. Scripture is so full and express about it.

§. 12. 1st, If I have a guilty and deprayed Soul from my Parents, it is because I was once in them, [Page 96] Virtually or Seminally as truly and naturally as I was in Adam: And had not the Guilt been theirs it had never been mi [...]e: And if it be mine because it was theirs, why not one part of theirs as well as another?

§. 13. It will be said, Because God so Co­venanted with Adam that he should stand or fall for himself and his Posterity: I Answer, That there was any such Covenant that if he stood his Posterity should all stand, or be Confirmed and Saved, is more than ever I found in Scripture or can prove, or do believe: But that it would have been to the benefit of his Posterity I doubt not. And that his fall was to the Guilt and Corruption of his Posterity I doubt not; but (as I said) not without and beyond their natural Interest in him, and Derivation from him as the reason of it: And we were as much naturally in our next Parents: And the Covenant of Innocency and the Cove­nant of Grace do not so far differ as to exempt us from the Guilt of our next Parents sins: For the difference lieth not in this, That the first only made Death the due reward of all Sin, nor that the first did interest Children in the Guilt of their Pa­rents sin: But in this, that the first made us Guil­ty without a Remedy; But the second giveth us a Remedy presently for Pardon and Recovery, and so our Guilt is not so full, because it is but a half Obligation having the Pardon annexed. The first Law said, [If thou sin thou shalt be filius mortis, and so shall those that are Propagated of thee.] The second Covenant saith, [For thy Original and Actual Sin death is thy due, but I give thee a Pardon and Re­medying Grace procured by the Righteousness of Christ.] But note, That this Covenant pardoneth our Ori­ginal [Page 85] Sin as from Adam; And yet it followeth not that we had none because it is pardoned: Even so it pardoneth our guilt of our next Parents sins, and therefore we had it to be pardoned: Both are par­donable to us; therefore we had both.

§. 14. 2. And the Scripture is more copious, and as plain in making punishment due to Children for their next Parents sins, as for Adam's, though Adam's only was the Original of all Sin and Mise­ry. I have elsewhere proved it at large: The Case of Cain's Posterity, and Cham's, and Ishmael's, and Esau's, and Achan's Family, and Ahab's, and many more do fully prove it: And more fully the Second Commandment, and God's declaration of his Name to Moses, Exod. 34. and many a Threat­ning to the Seed of the Wicked, and Christ's ex­press Words in Matth. 23. 36. so that Scripture puts us out of doubt.

§. 15. The common Objection is, that their [Guilt would be greater on us towards the End of the World, than on them at the Beginning, because all our Ancestours Guilt would be ours: But I answer, 1. If it were so, it would be but many Obligations to the same Punishment, when it amounteth to that which God seeth our Nature capable of: For a Finite Worm is not capable of more Suffering than is proportioned to his Nature. 2. And this Obje­ction vainly supposeth, that none of our Ance­stours Sins were pardoned: Whereas all are par­doned to the Faithful and their Seed, and much Temporal Punishment is pardoned to many of the Unsanctified: And God himself by limiting it to the third and fourth Generation, seemeth to set bounds to his own Justice. 3. And the Guilt of our Parents Sins being of a more Diminute Nature [Page 96] [...] [Page 85] [...] [Page 86] than that of our own Actual Sin (Coeteris paribus) it falleth not so fully on us, as it did on the Com­mitters themselves, nor as our own do. 4. And God offereth us the full pardon of our own and all together: And as long as the Law which tells us of our desert of punishment, doth also give us a free pardon, we have no Cause to complain.

§. 16. That we have all Original Sin is proved, in that else Infants should be saved without a par­doning Saviour, or a cleansing Sanctifier; which cannot be.

§. 17. He that seeth the universal inclination of Mankind to Evil even in their Childhood, and their backwardness to Good, even that Evil and that Good which Nature it self assureth us are such, must needs believe Original Pravity, or else think hardly of God's Work.

§. 18. He that seeth still that Drunkenness, Gluttony, Lust, &c. do vitiate both the Soul and Bodily Temperament of the Sinner, and how frequently a diseased, distempered Body, incli­ning Men to particular Vices, and an extraordi­narily vitiated Soul, is in their Children the plain fruit of the Parents Sin, may the easilier believe that we drew down Pravity from Adam also, when we derive so much from nearest Parents.

§. 19. And they that consider, that Mans Soul being made Holy, for God, this unholiness is not only a Negation but a Privation, not of Sensitive and Natural only, but of Moral Rectitude, will not deny but that the name of Sin or Moral Pravity belongeth to it.

§. 20. And they that consider, that Parents Cause not Children as an Artificer maketh an En­gine, but by Generation, which is a Communica­tion [Page 87] of their own Essence, and what Natural In­terest Parents and Children have in each other, and that it is real Sin that is in both, and that the Moral Privation in its Nature, containeth much of Mans misery, will easily grant that it is both a Sin and Punishment, and a Moral Cause of further punishment, properly enough so called.

§. 21. They that lay that Rea­son of their denying Original Sin,Mr. W. Fenner put his Opinion for the Traduction of Souls, into his Ca­techismes: But the Publisher left that out. upon the difficulty of understand­ing whether Souls are new Crea­ted or Derived from Parents, do too little suspect their frail under­standings▪ and their own [...]dedu­ctions, and too▪easily suspect the Word of God. And I think that I have else­where proved that Generative Traduction of Souls, and yet God's present, yea, immediate Causation of their Essence (which may be called Creation) are here Consistent▪ Which here I must not now repeat: Vid. Meth. Theol. and Reasons of Christian Religion.

CHAP. XI. Of our Redemption by Christ.

§. 1. SIN having made Man guilty and depraved, unfit for duty and felicity, odious to the most Holy Righteous God, and lyable to his Justice, the eternal Wisdom and Word of God did interpose, and by Mercy did save Man from the deserved rigour of Justice, promising Actual Redemption [Page 88] in the fulness of time, and on that supposition gi­ving fallen Man a pardoning and saving Law (or Covenant of Grace) with answerable help of his Spirit and Means, and outward Mercies fitted to his Recovery and Salvation.

§. 2. But God would not have this Recovery and Salvation to be perfect at the first; but gave Man a certain proportion of Common Delive­rance and Mercy, binding him to a Course of Duty, in the performance of which he should re­ceive more by degrees till he were perfected. (As Phisicians cure their Patients.)

§. 3. Therefore God did enter into Judgment with fallen Man, and did sentence him absolutely to some degree of Punishment, even to Labour, Pain, the penalty of the Cursed Earth, and fi­nally to Death; which Temporal Punishment God would not remit, nor give him a Saviour to procure the pardon of it; but only to the Faith­ful, to turn all this unto their Benefit, and to de­liver them from the greater everlasting Suffer­ings.

§. 4. And their own sinful pravity and privati­on of Holiness, and communion with God, which al­so was their greatest punishment by Consequence, God would not at once, nor in this Life perfect­ly save them from; and therefore accordingly pardoned them their punishment, but by the forementioned degrees. For he is not perfectly pardoned or saved, who is yet left under so much penalty.

§. 5. Some thinking it hard, that for 4000 Years the World should have no Existent Mediator, and that an Existent Faith in the future Mediator, should be more necessary than an Existent Mediator [Page 89] and his Work, and thinking withal that it would solve many Textual Difficulties objected by the Arians, and explain the Appearances of Christ to the Patriarchs, have conceived that Christ hath a threefold Nature, viz. The Divine Nature, a created Super-Angelical Nature to which the Di­vine Nature was united before the Incarnation, and the Humane Nature assumed at the Incarnati­on; and that so we had an Existent Mediator from the time of the Fall. But whatever conveniences this Opinion may seem to have, I find no satis­factory proof of it in Scripture, nor that the Christian Church did ever hold it. And it is overmuch boldness to take up so great a Doctrine as a third Nature in Christ, which the Church of Christ was never acquainted with. And the Texts that seem to be for it, are capable of the common Exposition.

§. 6. If any think that this was the Judgment of abundance, yea, the most of the Antient Writers, before the days of Arius, because they have such unhappy expressions of Christ, which the Reader may find truly Collected to his hand by Petavius de Trinitate, and that it is fitter to Expound them as speaking only of Christ's second Nature, than to account them all Arians, or to honour the Arians by making them on their side, I answer, I leave every Man to his own judg­ment upon perusal of the Fathers words, allow­ing all Charity that hath sufficient ground: But I cannot perceive, that these Writers talk of any more Natures in Christ than two, and pious ends must be served by no Fictions and Untruths: I think that we must rather gather with Petavius there that the Votes in the Nicene Council tell us, that [Page 90] then the greater part of the Church were against Arius, and therefore they were so before, be­cause they held (in so great a point) the Faith which they had received from their Fathers: And that the greater part of Writers, might differ from the greater part of the Church. And with­al, these Writers having more than other men to do with the Heathen Philosophers and Ora­tors, who were prejudiced against the Doctrine of the Trinity, did shun their Offence by too much stretching their speeches to that which they thought they could easilier digest, which gave A­rius his advantages. The Conclusions either way are harsh and sad; but I leave others better to avoid them.

§. 7. The Deity it self may not unfitly be cal­led our REDEEMER before the Incarnation, though not so fitly a MEDIATOR, and though Redemption by Christ's Death and Merits in the Flesh was not then wrought: Because the word Redeeming is oft taken for a merciful Delivering, though without a price; and also because the Price was promised from the beginning. But thus the word REDEEMER is equivocal, signifying either the Deity as a promising, undertaking Sa­viour, or the Mediator who was promised, and who performed the undertaken means.

§. 8. The MEDIATOR himself being purely the Gift of the Divine Love and Mercy, it was no inconvenience, that God then had all the Glo­ry, and that Faith then acknowledged no other existent Saviour, but God himself the infinite Good.

[Page 91]§. 9. It troubleth men much to open, how Christ was any true Cause of our Pardon and Salvation as a Mediator, before his Incarnation? And what his merits, sacrifice and intercession could do, before they did exist? And the common Answer is, That Moral (though not Physical) Causes may cause before they exist, and so ope­rate as foreseen, foredecreed or willed. But these Logical notions must not be used to put off the Question, instead of satisfactorily answering it. This tells us not whether by a Moral Cause they mean a True Cause of some moral Being, or some­thing morally called a Cause which indeed is not so, but quasi causa: Nor yet whether they mean a Cause efficient, final or constitutive: Nor yet whe­ther they mean a Cause of any thing in God, or only of some following effect.

§. 10. It must be concluded that Christ's merits, sacrifice and Intercession make no real Change in God, his Understanding or Will, and therefore have no such Causality.

§. 11. But God's Promise first, and Christ's Me­rits and Sacrifice next make a Change in the state of things, laying that Ground-work or necessary Antecedent and Condition, upon which it becometh meet, right and just for God to give the rest of his mercy which this is the Condition of, and the true meritorious Cause: And so the Change was neither on GOD, nor immediately on Man, but for Man on the state of things which God and man were both concerned in: It is a causa ordinis, while that is done first, which is prerequisite to what is to follow: And it is a causa rei (benefici [...]) while it not only removeth moral Impediments of our Pardon and Salvation, but also setteth matters in [Page 92] such a state, in which it becometh congruous, meet, right and just for God to pardon and save us; which is a remote disposing the fall'n sinner to be a due Recipient of God's following promised Grace. And thus it is in both senses a moral Cause, as it is a Cause of our Right, and of Congruity, and as it is, though not indeed, yet morally, reputative­ly, or Quasi causa physica realis, of our Pardon, Grace and Salvation, by making them become just, right and due. And being thus far a Cause of the effects ad extra, per extrinsecam denominationem ex conno­tatione & relatione ad objectum, it may be called (with cautelous sobriety) a Cause of God's own In­tellections and Volitions: For though in themselves they are God's Essence, yet for God [to know us to be redeemed and to will our present Pardon and Sal­vation as Redeemed ones,] are words that speak more than God's Essence as in it self, and include the termination of his Acts on these Objects as such; and so denominate God's Essence distinctly from the Objects, which else would never be distin­guished, nor have but one name; being really but one.

§. 12. Yet all these diversifying, distinguishing, denominating Causes of God's Intellections, Voli­tions and Operations, must not (even denomina­tively or relatively) be counted or called Efficient Causes of God's Acts, nor strictly final but objective. And therefore here it must be considered what Cause an Object is, which Philosophers are not well agreed in. But I think I may safely say, That as to mo­ral acts, the Object is to be reduced to such a cause materialis or constitutiva as they are capable of, not of the Act as an Act, but as this act, in specie, denominated from the receptive terminating mat­ter [Page 93] or object. And though to Man, to know this or that, and to will this or that ad extra, seem some­what really different (or modally at least) from knowing and willing our selves or some other Object, yet in God it is not to be called ex parte sui, a real or modal difference at all.

§. 13. Yet I assert not that the Ratio prima of all these Diversities of the Divine Acts is ex ter­minis seu recipientibus: For the first Reason is in and of God himself: For it is God that maketh all di­versities of Effects and Changes; and so it is from those divers Effects of his own Will, that his Will is relatively ex connotatione termini diversly denomi­nated. But that in God which is the Ratio prima diversitatis, is not divers, but his one simple essential Will; so that it is the diversity of Objects which is the immediate Reason of distinguishing God's acts, (of which before).

§. 14. These things premised, I come nearer to the Question, if that which existeth not do tru­ly cause, it must be either efficiently, constitutively, or finally. The two first are denied by the com­mon Reason of Mankind. That which is not, cannot effect: Nothing can do nothing. And to say it is not, is to say, it constituteth not. And as it is certain, that causa finalis non efficit, yea, is but causa metaphorice operans, so it is certain, that no Creature causeth any thing in God, no not finally.

§. 15. Those that say, That Christ and his death and merits did not cause before Existence, in esse existenti, but in esse cognito, as constituting the Divine Idea's, 1. Must remember that the esse cog­nitum, as they call it, is no esse rei cognita at all; Therefore if only the esse cognitum do cause, then [Page 94] it was not Christ and his Merits that caused. 2. In Man for an esse cognitum, to cause his further acts, is but for one Thought to cause another Thought, or a Volition or Nolition. And these Thoughts and Volitions are really divers, and constituted by re­ception of intromitted Objects: But God is no Recipient, nor knoweth any Object as we do by intromission; Nor hath he any such Thoughts or Idea's of Creatures as are really divers ex parte Dei, but only by extrinsick denomination.

§. 16. If it be said, That then God should know nothing till it is, because a denomination must be from something, and nothing can be no Object or terminus; and so of his Will. I Ans. 1. God doth not know any thing as existent now, which doth not exist now. But our Now is in his Eternity, and his Eternity without partition comprehendeth all our Times; prae and post, ab and ad are Prepositions of no signification in and of Eternity; but only [In]. And therefore as Augustine saith, his Pre­science is but his Science so denominated from the Order of Objects, but noteth not any difference in him, who hath neither prae nor post. How this is to be understood without making the Creature eternally exist, I have elsewhere fully opened.

§. 17. That plain truth therefore which must here satisfie us is, That God, who is the first efficient and ultimate final Cause of all things, and caused by none, did of his free abundant Mercy undertake the saving of sinful Man, and not­withstanding his Threatning and Man's Defect, re­solving to make advantage of our Sin and Mise­ry, for the Glory of his Wisdom, Love, Mercy and Justice, he promised that the Eternal Word should in due time assume Man's nature, and there­in [Page 95] do and suffer that which should glorifie him more than Man's Perdition would have done, and which should make it just and meet for him to save the Guilty, both inceptively at the present under the Promise (for 4000 years) and afterward more fully at Christ's Incarnation, and finally to perfect all in Glory.

So that the Work of our Salvation is one entire frame, composed by Divine Wisdom and Love; where one part is the Reason of another, though none be the Cause of any thing in God: And Christ's Mediation, though coming after 4000 years, yet was then to do that which should make it meet and right and just for God to pardon Sin before: Even as in a Building the several parts may be the reason of each other, because they must be all compaginated and fitted to their rela­tive places and uses: And though the Foundation make not the Superstructure, it upholdeth [...]it [...] And as Aquinas briefly faith, Deus non propter hoc vult hoc, sed vult hoc esse propter hoc; nothing is the Cause of God's Will, but it is God's Will that one thing shall be for another: And when all his Work must be one Frame, the part last made may be a reason of the former. And so Christ's me­rits and sacrifice, though after 4000 years, per­form that for which it became just and meet be­fore for God to pardon Sinners. For though it was not then existent, yet (besides the Decree) the Promise, Prediction and Publication made it useful to its ends, in respect to GOD and Man.

§. 18. So then, though the Cause be not truly a Cause till it exist, and though all the Pardon and Salvation given for 4000 years, was before the [Page 96] existence of the merits and sacrifice of Christ, yet the Promise and Notification of the Mediator and his merits and sacrifice, as the reason of this Par­don, did then exist, and was the cause of that Pardon, which Christ was afterward to merit.

§. 19. It is therefore no absurdity, that the existence of Man's Faith and Repentance should be necessary, when the Mediator's Existence and his Merits was not necessary: For it was not then an existent Mediator (and Sacrifice, &c.) that was the Object of Faith, but only a Promised Me­diator.

§. 20. And whereas it is a doubt, seeing the Head is essential to the Church, and the Divine Nature only was Head of the Church before the Incarnation, and the Divine and Humane united was afterward the Head, whether it follow not the Church before the Incarnation and after (and so Faith and Religion) were divers in specie, and not the same? I answer, That while we agree all de re, that so much difference there is, it is not worth our trouble to strive about the Name or Logical Notion of [Sameness of Species.]

§. 21. When God hath chosen to save Man by way of a Mediator, and by his Sacrifice and Merits, as that way in which his Wisdom, Love, Holiness, Mercy and Justice are eminently glo­rified, it seemeth to me too bold Presumption to dispute, Whether he could not have saved us otherwise, and pardoned Sin without a Saviour? as it would be to dispute, Whether he could not illuminate the Earth without the Sun? He wanteth not Power to do whatsoever is meet for God to do; but all the question is, Whether it be meet, supposing Man's Nature and Sin to be what they are?

[Page 97]§. 22. God did illuminate the World without the Sun, till the Sun was made: But it was the imperfect World, and before the perfecting of his Work: And so God did save Man without an Existent Mediator, (unless God may be called a Mediator between himself and us, which is a harsh Phrase). But it was before the Work of our Sal­vation was brought to maturity; for the Cure of Man is perfectest at last.

§. 23. We must take great heed, that in consi­dering of the parts of our Redemption by Christ, we look not all at one and over-look the rest, nor set not those Works of Christ in opposition which must be taken in conjunction: But his Incarnati­on, Obedience, Contempt of the World, Victory over Satan, Suffering, Resurrection, Ascension, Glory, Intercession, Reign, Raising the Dead, Judgment, glorifying his Church, must be all conjoined, though not confounded.

§. 24 The Benefits of Redemption, or recove­ring Mercies, are not all given in the same way: We must carefully distinguish of those that God giveth absolutely and antecedently; that is, before any Condition or Duty on Man's part, and those that he giveth consequently upon Man's Duty per­formed as the means of Reception.

§. 25. Antecedent Mercies are some common to all men, and some proper to some Countries, Ages and Persons, as the free Benefactor pleaseth.

§. 26. Of the former sort is the Sustentation of Nature, reprival from deserved miseries, the Law of Grace, as to the tenor, and some degree of pro­mulgation, with all the common Mercies, Means, Duties which tend to Recovery. Of the later sort are the greater degrees of such mercies and means, [Page 98] which God freely giveth to some more than others.

§. 27. Therefore we must not say that Infidels or wicked men have no Mercies, or no Right to what they do possess as from God, as being no Consenters to the Covenant or Performers of it: Because there are Antecedent Mercies given before such Consent or Performance; not as to Covenanters but as to miserable men, invited to enter Covenant with God in Christ. Though these are so forfei­ted by their refusal, that they have no assurance of their continuance, but God may soon take them all away.

§. 28. The consequent Mercies are Pardon, Iusti­fication, Adoption, the Spirit, a secured filia [...] Right to all outward Mercies that are good and suitable to us, and final Glory, and whatever God hath pro­mised on Conditions by us to be performed.

§. 29. The question of universal Redemption, and special, I shall pretermit till I speak of univer­sal Grace.

§. 30. Seeing Life, Health, Food, Hope, and all that is truly good, were forfeited by Sin, and none of them can be due to us by the Law of Innocency, it followeth, that wherever they are given, it is upon other terms, which can be no other than those of the Law of Grace, as fruits of our Re­deemer's Mercy (antecedently or consequently.) And where the Fruits are apparent, we may know the Cause.

§. 31. The Fruits of Redemption are one entire frame consisting of various and unequal parts, to divers persons (yet mutually related:) And there­fore it will not follow, that nothing but what cer­tainly inferreth the person's Salvation is any such effect of Man's Redemption.

CHAP. XII. Of the several Laws or Covenants of God.

§. 1. THough the order of the matter require, that I should have spoken of the Law of Innocency before I had spoken of Sin and Redem­ption, yet thinking that the sort of Readers for whom I now especially write, will best understand things, if I treat of all God's Laws together, I will at this time fetch my method from their intended benefit.

§. 2. The nature of a Law in general, and of God's Laws in special, I have elsewhere so oft and largely spoken of (pretending somewhat to clear up that Doctrine from several mistakes) that I must here pretermit it.

§. 3. Though the word [Law] do principal­ly signifie the regulating Imposition of our Duty, and the word Covenant doth principally signifie a mutual Contract; yet it is the same Divine Instru­ment, which is meant oft and usually in Scripture, by both these Names: (Of which see Grotius at large in his Preface to his Annotations in Nov. Testa­mentum.) It is called a Law in one respect, and a Covenant in another, but the thing is the same.

As a Law, the parts of it are, 1. The Precept (and Prohibition) constituting our Duty. 2. The Retribution, Premiant and Penal constituting the Dueness of Rewards and Punishments, as the duty is performed or neglected.

[Page 100]As it is a Covenant it containeth, 1. The Benefit (which is the Reward) freely given, yet on con­dition of a due and suitable Reception and use of prescribed Means: 2. The Condition described, and Means prescribed, in the said Preceptive part. 3. And the Threatning in case of Ingratitude, Refusal and Disobedience. Which are the same things as in the Law of Grace, considering the Covenant but as Instituted and Offered: For [...] signifiethAnd where [...] is taken for a Testament, the Parts and Acts are the same with the Relation of it to the Death of the Testator, who as his last Will, giveth such gifts on such Terms. And Christ did put his Com­mands unto his Testament, John 14, & 15, & 16. usually but the Resolved declared terms of Life and Death, or the Divine Ordination by which he will Rule and Judge us. And so it is oft called a Covenant before Consent by Man, which maketh it to be [...] a Mutual Contract. And even a Law as Received by a voluntary subject is Consented to, and becometh a Contract. If any think that I give not the true dif­ference of God's Laws and Cove­nants, let him tell me more, and I suppose we shall agree de re, though not de rati­one nominis: And let it now suffice to tell you how I would be understood my self: Though the word Law be some time taken more narrowly, and the word Covenant oft for Mutual Contract (which is but a Law consented to) yet being to speak of each term as signifying that Regulating Frame by which God Ruleth us and will Judge us, and by which he giveth us his Gifts and Rewards, I mean the same thing, in several respects called by the several names; The absolute Antecedent Gifts of our Great Benefactor being supposed inclusively in both.

SECT. I. Of the Law or Covenant of Innocency made to Adam.

§. 1. I Shall in this order Treat briefly of the Divine Laws. I. Of the Law of Inno­cency to Adam. II. Of the Law of Media­tion to Christ. III. Of the Law of Grace to fallen Man. And there, 1. As in the first Edition to Adam and Noah: 2. As in the same Edition joined with the Jewish Law of Peculiarily to Abra­ham, and of Works by Moses to Abraham's Seed. 3. Of the Law of Graces as in the second Edition by Christ:

§. 2. 1. The Law of Innocency contained a Pre­cept and Prohibition, and a Retributive part to which Adam was bound to be a Voluntary Subject, and therefore to Consent (which will allow it the name of a Covenant.) But here the brief Narra­tive in the Scripture calleth to us to distinguish of things certain, and things uncertain (whoever as­sert them.)

§. 3. 1. The Preceptive part was revealed by Nature, or Supernaturally (by Voice, or Inspira­tion, or Vision, &c.) The former being Lex na­tura integrae, the Law of Intire Nature, though the Chief is least spoken of in Gen. because it is supposed legible in Nature it self.

§. 4. The Law of Nature, properly so called, is in esse Objectivo, that signification of God's Will con­cerning Man's Duty, which was discernible in the Universa rerum Natura in all God's Works; but principally in Mans own Nature, as related to God and all Persons, and Things about him.


[Page 114]§. 5. But Improperly or Metonymically so called, the Law of Nature is in esse subjectivo the Com­munes notitiae, which Man had and was to have from the said Objective Law of Nature. But pro­perly this is rather the Knowledge of the Law, than the Law it self, being not perfect in Adam himself at first, but was to be perfected as he came to know more and more of the Works of God, and varying much now in several Persons. Yet may it well be called God's Law written in the Heart, when we have the Knowledge and Love of his primary proper Law.

§. 6. This Law of Nature bound Adam to per­fect Devotedness to God as his Owner, and perfect gratitude to God as his Antecedent Benefactor, and to perfect Obedience to God as his Ruler, and to perfect Love to God as his ultimate most amiable End. And this perfect Obedience was to be per­petual.

§. 7. It was Adam personally that the Law bound to this perfect perpetual Obedience, and not ano­ther for him, or that he should obey by a Representa­tive, or a Delegate, a Servant, or by any other.

§. 8. Nature, even in its depraved state, now telleth us, that all Sin against God deserveth Pu­nishment; Therefore the Law of Nature had a Penal part.

§. 9. It is a great doubt with many Divines whether the Law of Nature had any premiant part or promise, and so was a Covenant; because, say they, Duty obligeth not God to reward us. But it seemeth to me as far past doubt as the penal part. For the question is not, what our Duty performed obligheth God to, much less in point of Commuta­tive Iustice, where no Creature can Merit of God, [Page 115] Iob 35. 6, 7, 8. If thou be Righteous, what givest thou him, &c. But it is presupposed that God first became Man's Benefactor and his Ruler, and his Law is the Instrument of his Government; and his Promise is but the signification of his Will, what he will give, and on what Terms: And God in Na­ture signified his Will to bless the Obedient, and love those that love him; For as a Ruler he is Iust; and if he differenced not the Righteous from the Sinner, what were his Justice? Were there no other Reward, but the Continuance of the Paradise-Blessing freely given him (which Sin would for­feit) it would have been a great Reward: And if God equally take away his Gifts from Good and Bad, it is not Governing Iustice, though as the Act of a Proprietor it be neither Iust nor Unjust, so that the very essence of Undertaken Government, containeth a discovery of God's Rewarding Will; which is the promissory or premiant part of the Law of Nature.

§. 10. The Degree and Kind of the Natural Reward, must be gathered, 1. From the state that Man was in. 2. From the nature of his Duty. 3. From the state of Perfection which his Nature was made inclined to desire and seek.

§. 11. 1. Man being freely placed in the state of Innocency and God's Favour in the Earthly Pleasures of Eden, as a Sanctified state of Com­munion with God, seeing Sin was to be punished with the privation of these, we may gather, that the Innocent should not have been deprived of them.

§. 12. 2. Man's great Duty being to Love God perfectly (according to his present Ability) and to please him, and delight herein, we may gather, [Page 116] that the Innocent should have the felicity which is herein contained, even in the Delights of loving and pleasing God.

§. 13. 3. Man's Nature being not made in its ut­most perfection, but in via, with a desire of knowing God, loving him, pleasing him, and delighting in him yet more, according to his Capacity, we may gather, That obedient Man should have attained that Perfection: For God maketh not the capacities, dispositions and desires of Nature in vain.

§. 14. But whether all this should have been gi­ven on Earth or in Heaven, is not so clear in Na­ture or Scripture: But, 1. The Translation of Henoch and Elias maketh it probable, that so Man should have been translated. 2. And so doth the Glory purchased by the Redeemer. 3. And the matter is the less, because where-ever the place be, the same state of Enjoyment would make it a Hea­ven to such a person.

§. 15. Neither doth Nature now tell us, How long Man must have obeyed before he had merited the full Reward of his Perfection. But only that he must conquer all the Temptations that God would try him with, and must persevere till God should please to translate him, not appointing him any deter­minate time. Nature and Scripture favour this.

§. 16. There are some who considently con­clude (without either natural or Scripture-proof) That had Adam performed but one Act of Obedi­ence to God, before his Sin, he had been confirmed is the Angels, as his Reward: And what a Sin­ner do they make Adam before he sinned, if he performed not one Act of Love and Obedience to his Maker▪ This Fancy I dismiss.

[Page 117]§. 17. Others say, That if he had overcome one Temptation he should have been confirmed; but I find no Promise or Proof of it in Nature, nor in Scripture; and I suppose they feign not a secret conditional Will of God.

§. 18. Though it be agreed on by most Prote­stants, That Adam had been an Heir of Death and Hell if he committed the least Sin, even an idle thought or word, though he had not eaten the for­bidden Fruit, and so that the Law of Nature made Hell the due punishment of the least Sin, and doth so still if it be not pardoned, yet the Law of Nature in our lapsed state is herein somewhat dark, and the Scripture not so clear for it as some imagine: But thus much methinks Nature it self still spea­keth.

§. 19. 1. That the least sin deserveth some de­gree of Punishment. 2. That God hath various degrees of Punishment, suited to the degrees of Sin. 3. That the least Sin hath a tendency to more, and that still to more, till Man be utterly mise­rable. And that both in its own Nature, and in the forfeiture of some measure of God's Grace or Help. 4. That if you suppose that vain thought or word to consist still with true Love to God, God could not immediately hate and damn that Soul that so loved him. But if that Person perish, it must be by that idle thought or word producing worse, till it had turned his love from God to the Creature. 5. That antecedently to Gods underta­king to be the Ruler of Man, no doubt but as an absolute Owner, he might have taken away all that he gave him, even his Life and Being, without any fault in Man: for he may do as he list with his own: And therefore he might have done the [Page 118] same for the smallest fault, which he might have done without it. And therefore he might have inflicted any Pain, which to Man is not worse than Anni­hilation, for ever. But whether his three fore­mentioned Acts; 1. Antecedently placing Man as he did. 2. Making him such Duty as he made him. 3. And such Inclination to better, do not imply that God would not punish him unless he sin­ned, and then but according to the degree of his Sin, I leave to Consideration.

§. 20. But whether God must, and whether he might, punish the least Sin with Hell, are different questions: Whether by the Law of Nature he must do it or be unjust, and so a vain thought was not pardonable by or under that Law, and so Adam was an Heir of Hell when his thought first failed, before he did eat or consent to eat the forbidden Fruit, are questions which I cannot resolve from Nature, and are to me more difficult in Scripture than to wiser men.

§. 21. The supernatural part of the Law is known to us only by Scripture, but perhaps the Fathers before the Flood might know more of it by Tradi­tion, than God hath thought meet to write for our times.

§. 22. The preceptive part was the not eating the forbidden Fruit, and consequently the overcoming all Temptations thereto: The Law of Matrimony and the Sabbath also, are partly supernatural (called Positive.)

§. 23. The Penalty is called Death, which sig­nifieth Undoing and Misery: But whether it was only temporal Death or also Hell, Divines are not agreed. They that are for the former, seem chiefly drawn to it, by comparing the Law with the [Page 119] Iudgment and Execution, thinking it indecent to say, that God fulfilled not his Threatning, but dis­pensed with it: And therefore seeing Temporal Death only is in the Sentence and Execution, they think that no more was meant: And consequently that Christ did not by Redemption, prevent the sen­tence and execution of that Death, but only when it was fulfilled, deliver us from continuance under it by a Resurrection.

§. 24. But I would have such remember, 1. That the Soul was made naturally immortal, that is, not tending to Annihilation, unless God should against Nature or settled Course annihilate it. And if it were not annihilated, it must be in some state, good or bad. If it was to be penally annihilated, Christ prevented that: And such an annihilation is as little desirable as a tolerable degree of Pain. 2. And that God's Law determining directly but de debito poenae, what should be Man's due, and not absolutely and peremptorily then de eventu, God reserved to himself a pardoning Power, so it were done upon valuable Considerations, more fully glorifying him and his Government and Law, than Man's Destra­ction would have done. And thus to dispense with his Law is no dishonour to God.

§. 25. It is the Wrath to come that Christ delive­reth us from, and Hell and the Power of Satan that he redeemed us from: Therefore it seemeth that it was no less that our Sin deserved. And spiritual death is contained in Sin and Apostacy it self.

§. 26. What the Reward was to be, besides what I said before from Nature, it is not easie to gather out of Scripture, nor to find there any plainer a Promise of Life; but in both I think it is certain­ly implied.

[Page 120]§. 27. It is ordinary to say, That the Condition of Adam's Confirmation was, That he should have ea­ten first of the Tree of Life: But to find that among the Commands, much less the Condition with a Pro­mise of Confirmation, requireth more discerning than I have; notwithstanding the words [Lest he eat and live, &c.] from which they gather it.

§. 28. How far this Law is yet in force, is also difficultly disputed. In brief, 1. The general Com­mand of perfect Love and Obedience for the future, and the Commands of the unalterable Duties of Na­ture, are still so far in force as to oblige us. 2. But whether sub poena mortis is the doubt? Punishment is due either absolutely and statedly, and so it ma­keth it due only to the Impenitent and Unbelie­vers. Or only in primo instanti, inceptively, with an annexed Remedy: And so every Sin maketh Punish­ment so far due to the Faithful, as that they have need of the Grace of Christ, and the new Covenant to pardon it. 3. But the premiant part of the Law of Innocency, from whence it is named a Covenant, is now truly null. Which maketh our Divines say, That the Law of Nature (which they call moral) bindeth as a Rule of Duty, but the Covenant cea­seth.

§. 29. This was not done by GOD but Man, who ceased to be a capable Subject of that Covenant, Promise or Reward: And so the Condition (Innocen­cy or perfect Obedience) being become naturally im­possible, we must not feign God to say to Sinners [On condition you be no Sinners you shall live]. But Cessante capacitate subditi cessat promissio conditionalis, & transit in sententiam.

But of the Cessation of the Law and Covenant of Innocency, see more after Sect. 5, §. 32, &c.

[Page 121]§. 30. They pervert this Covenant by their un­proved Fictions, who say, that the sence of it was [Thou, or one for thee, shall obey, and if thou Sin, thou or Christ shall suffer.] And so that we are justi­fied by this same Covenant which condemneth us, as having been innocent and perfectly righteous (habitually and actually) in and by Christ.

SECT. II. Of the Law of Mediation or Covenant with CHRIST.

§. 1. AS the Mediator in Person and Office, dif­fered from all other Creatures, so he was under a Law and Covenant, proper to him­self.

§. 2. This Law and Covenant was made to and with Christ incarnate: For so he was a Subject under Law. It is too bold, improper and offensive a Phrase to call God's eternal Decree of Redemption by the Name of a Law, yea, or a Covenant of God with Himself, that is, of the Father with the Son.

§. 3. Therefore all the Descriptions of it in the Old Testament, are but Prophecies and Promises containing the terms of the future Covenant; (as we call a form of Prayer, a Prayer, though it be but matter fitted to be a Prayer when it hath the for­mal act.) But Christ had truly a Law and Promises.

§. 4. The Preceptive or imposed part was, in general, that he do the Office of a Mediator: par­ticularly, 1. That habitually and actually he per­fectly fulfill all the Law of Nature, which he was ca­pable [Page 122] of. 2. That he fulfill also the Law of Moses. 3. That he also do those things proper to the Me­diator, in his Miracles, Sacrifice, Resurrection, Inter­cession, Tea [...]hing, Government, &c. which he under­took.

§. 5. Christ took the Nature of Man, but not strictly the Real or Reputative Person of any man, but himself, much less of every Man or every Belie­ver: I mean, that his Person was not the natural Person of any other, nor esteemed of God so to be; nor yet was he the full and proper Representative or Civil Person of any man, much less of all men; that is, One that the Law allowed us to do and suffer by, so that in Law-sence his doing and suffering should be reputed ours; as a man payeth a Debt by his Servant or Substitute; which is morally or reputatively his Act and Deed, or accepted in the same sort and to all the same effects and purposes, as if he had paid it with his own hands. The person of the Mediator was not in Law-sence, nor God's account, nor Christ's undertaking the person of the Sinner himself.

§. 6. Else Christ should have been in God's ac­count a Sinner, and the greatest Sinner in the World, and hated as such by God above any other Sinner; which whoever shall affirm, shall speak presumptuously and blasphemously.

§▪ 7. Yea, else Christ should have been many millions of persons in Law-sence, and many millions of Sinners; which is not agreeable to God's Word.

§. 8. Christ neither was a Sinner, nor reputed a Sinner by God: And his being made sin for us, sig­nifieth, 1. That he was made a Sacrifice for Sin, and was taken and used by God as one that undertook to suffer for our sins, in our stead, though not in [Page 123] our person. 2. And that he was really accounted a Sinner by those that crucified him, and used as such.

§. 9. First, Christ did not fulfill the Law of In­nocency in our several persons; He did not all those things materially that Adam was obliged to do; nor which most of us are obliged to do. We did not reputatively fulfill that Law by him, so as that his Perfection is taken as ours, in Habit and in Act.

§. 10. Secondly, Christ did not fulfill the Law of Moses in the person of all them that were ne­ver bound themselves to fulfill it; so as that they are reputed Fulfillers of it in and by Christ: For since his Ascension it is abrogated even to the Iews themselves, and now bindeth none in the World (as Mosaical.)

§. 11. Thirdly, Christ did not work Miracles, rise, ascend, intercede, reign, teach, give Laws, and Ministers, and Grace, in the Person of every or any other, but only in his own Person as the great Mediator and Saviour of Man.

§. 12. If any will use the word [PERSON] in a private, narrow and improper sence, and say, That [He who undertook in the person of a Mediator to obey and merit for our Iustification, and to suffer in our stead to save us from deserved suffering, may therefore be called The Person of every one that he merited and suffered for, though I will not so pre­sume to thrust Phrases on the Church which Scri­pture never used, when their obvious sence is perni­cious, yet if that man will by Explication of the word PERSON (or REPRESENTATIVE) notifie to the World, that he taketh it in a sound [Page 124] sence, I will not quarrel about an unfit word, while Religion is safe.

§. 13. John 12. 32. John 7. 39. & 6. 60, 61, 62, 63, 54. Joh. 5. 22, 23, 24, 25. Joh. 10. 2, 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, 14, 15, 16. & 2. 16, &c. Heb. 13. 20. Joh. 6. 33, 34, 35, 48, 51, 53, 63. & 8. 12, 13. & 10. 10. & 11. 25. & 14. 6, 7. & 20. 31. Rom. 5. 17, 18, 19, 20. & 8. 1, 2, 3. Col. 3. 3, 4. 2 Tim. 1. 1. Tit. 1. 2. 2 Pet. 1. 3. Joh. 12. 25. & 17. 2, 3. Tit. 3. 5, 7. 1 Joh. 1. 2. & 2. 25. & 5. 11, 12, 13, 20. 1 Tim. 1. 16. Joh. 4. 14. Gal. 6. 8. Christ undertook not on­ly to merit and suffer for Man, but also to draw all men to him, and to send forth his Spirit and Ministry, and to gather together the Elect of God that are scattered through the World, and to intercede for them, and to give them eternal life, having raised them up at the last day.

§. 14. The premiant part of the Law of Media­tion, or the Promise of God in this Covenant to Christ, was, That All Power should be given him in Mat. 28. 19. Joh. 17. 1, 2, 3. Rom. 14. 9, 10. Eph. 1. 20, 23. Phil. 2. 7, 9. Joh. 5. 22. Col. 1. Joh. 3. 16, 38. Mat. 28. 20. Eph. 4. 7, 8, &c. Rom. 8. 9. 2 Tim. 1. 7. Rom. 8. 1, [...]o 28, 34. Heb. 7. 25. Rom. 8. 30, 35. Heaven and Earth, and he should be Lord both of the Dead and of the Living, and Head over all things to the Church, and that he should be glorified at God's right hand, and have a Name above every Name, at which every knee should bow, and that Principalities and Powers should be subject to him. That he be authori­zed to give Laws to the World, (all Iudgment being committed to him) and to make with Men a Cove­nant of Grace and Life, and send forth Ministers to proclaim it, and [Page 125] the Spirit to effect the gathering of his Church; that his Intercession for them shall be accepted, and that he shall Iudge all the World, and justifie and glorifie his Chosen according to the tenor of his Covenant of Grace: Which is all accordingly performed.

§. 15. Though if Christ as a Creature had sin­ned, he had deserved Punishment, yet the suppo­sition being of a thing impossible, by reason of the Union of the Divine Nature, it is improper to talk of any penal part of the Law that was given him: For penal Laws are for those that have need by fear to be restrained from Sin, or constrained to Duty; which Christ needed not.

§. 16. Christ's entire Righteousness (as before his exaltation) habitual, active, passive, elevated by union with the Divine Perfection, was his perfor­mance of the Condition of his Covenant with the Father: And his performance of that Condition was his me­ritorious Title to God's promised Effects: And that as it was one entire Righteousness or Condition per­formed: And our Justification and Salvation are part of those promised Effects: Therefore it is abusive subtilty to divide Christ's Performance into little Parcels, and then say, This Parcel is imputed to me for this use, and that for that use, and by one he merited this, and by the other that, when (though each part of his Condition or Duty had its proper reason, yet) it was only the entire performance that was the Condition of the Benefits, and so of our Iusti­fication and Salvation.

§. 17. But I say, [before his Exaltation] be­cause the Benefits being of several sorts, some of them were given upon Christ's merit presently, and some upon Man's believing, and some not till long after by application: But to all these, what Christ [Page 126] did only as under the Law of Mediation, was proper­ly his merit, by which they were procured: But his [undertaking] what he after did, (in gathering his Church and interceding and ruling) may be num­bered with the parts of his foresaid merit; and still, as a Creature, he is under his Creator's Law, even the Law of perfect uniting Love, and so doth eminently merit.

§. 18. It was neither the Covenant nor Will of the Father and Son, that we should either have full possession, deliverance, or right thereto, imme­diately upon Christ's Merit and Sacrifice (as we should if we had done all by him as our Person): But that we and all things being delivered to Christ's Power and Will, he should convey the Benefits of his Death and Merits, upon terms, and in an Order suitable to the interest of his Wisdom, Love, Mercy, and Justice, even by a Law of Grace, and a Ministry and Means adap­ted to the end, and in the time and degrees which his Wisdom should make choice of: Which accor­dingly is done. This Covenant which giveth Right and Reward to Christ, is not it that giveth any Right or Reward to us.

SECT. III. Of the Law or Covenant of Grace in the first Edition.

§. 1. AS God delivered the Law of Innocency partly by natural and real, and partly by supernatural and verbal significations of his will, so hath he done the Law of Grace; which is the [Page 127] signification of his Will concerning Pardon and Life granted to guilty Sinners, and the terms thereof.

§. 2. The Promise, Gen. 3. 15. The seed of the Woman shall break the Serpents head, &c. was a Bre­viate of the supernatural signification; but it is not unlikely, that God did more fully acquaint them with his Law of Grace and Redemption, than those words alone could make us understand: Be­cause we find in their sacrificing, some such inti­mation; (and in other signs.)

§. 3. God's actual Continuance of forfeited Life, Liberty, Health, and other comforts, and his actual Collation of many great Mercies by the course of Nature, to such as by Sin have deserved present Damnation, is a degree of signification of his par­doning will and mercy by these natural signs: (which they were not before sin and forfeiture.)

§. 4. Man being after guilt of death, thus re­prieved and enriched with manifold Mercies, and his life and faculties continued with many instructing providential helps and means, the very Law of Nature now obligeth him to love and thankfulness to God that sheweth him so great kindness.

§. 5. And the same Law of Nature obligeth him to take that God still for a God of Love and Mer­cy, and to believe, that what Mercy he hath alrea­dy shewed the World and us, is on terms which he knoweth to be very well consistent with his Holiness, Truth and Justice: And it obligeth us therefore to seek to him for Mercy, and to use all possible means for further hope and pardon and recovery, and not to sit down in despair.

§. 6. The common sence of all Mankind from Adam to this day, acquainteth us by that expe­rience, [Page 128] That these Hopes and Duties are found in the Law of lapsed Nature: For all the World that never heard the Gospel, do yet take God to be a merciful, forgiving God, and take themselves to be under some duty for the obtaining of further mer­cy, recovery and felicity.

§. 7. Though want of the sense of Sin, and its desert, and Man's misery may be thought by some to be the only cause of this, and so that it is but sinful presumption, and no part of Nature's obli­gation; yet this upon trial will prove false. (Though what they alledge be one part of the Cause). For, 1. These men do acknow­ledge themselves Sinners, and to deserve punish­ment from God. 2. They find some misery and fear more. 3. It is not presumption to judge God to be merciful, when they and all the World do find him so. 4. It is not presumption to judge, that he can and will pardon Sin, when full Expe­rience assureth us, that he hath already pardoned much. To remit the Sin, is (as we now speak of it) to remit the deserved punishment. And He that giveth Man forfeited life, health, time, and all the abundant Mercies which the World is full of, doth thereby so far actually forgive Sin: Saith Christ, Whether is it easier to say thy sins be forgiven thee, or to say arise, take up thy Bed and walk, that is, Executively to forgive them, which is the full forgiveness, by taking away the punish­ment. 5. It is no presumption to believe such Duty to be incumbent on us, as the remaining Law of Nature doth oblige us to. 6. Nor yet to take God's own Encouragements to seek our own recovery and felicity.

[Page 129]§. 8. The Light and Law of lapsed Nature doth convince men of the duty of repenting and retur­ning to God, and oblige them to it. So that as Perfect Obedience was the duty of entire Nature, so Repentance is the duty of laepsed Nature: And I think few will say that all men are not hereby obliged to repent, and that in hope of mercy.

§. 9. Hence it is that it is found among the Communes notitiae, and all the World as well as Christians acknowledge it and plead for it.

§. 10. They that by God's Patience and Mercy are invited to Repentance, which is a return from sin to God, and are by Nature obliged to it, ought to believe that it is not made their Duty in vain, nor shall they lose by it if they perform it; for that were to accuse God of making Mans Duty in vain, or to his loss, which is not to be suspected.

§. 11. Therefore they are bound not to despair of Pa [...]don and Salvation; for an obligation to use means as tending to recovery, is inconsistent with an obligation to despair. Therefore hope of Mercy and use of some means Mankind is obliged to by the Law of lapsed Nature.

§. 12. This is not the obligation of the Law or Covenant of Innocency; for that Law bound us only as Innocent to keep our Innocency and perfect­ly therein obey: But it giveth no pardon, nor ap­pointeth Man any Duty in order to pardon and recovery: Whatever doth this, is a Law of Grace.

§. 13. The sum of that Duty which the Law of Nature now obligeth Man to, is, To consider of all the Mercies which God vouchsafeth Sinners, and thankfully to improve them; to repent of sin, and turn to this God, who sheweth himself a merciful [Page 130] [...]ae [...]doni [...]g God; To resign themselves to him as their Owner, to obey him as their Ruler, and to love and seek him as their ultimate End; and to believe that his Mercy will not let us be losers in so doing, nor to do it in vain.

§. 14. But the Supernatural Revelation telleth us much more than all this, Of the promised Seed, the means of our Salvation, and of our Duty in belie­ving them, and of the Certainty and Nature of the Pardon, Deliverance, and Blessedness which we shall attain.

§. 15. The [...]receptive part at first was not to Believe as much of Christ, as is necessary since his Ascension; but to Believe what God promised and revealed of him to the Church at that time.

§. 16. Even under the Old Testament, God in­creased his Revelation of the Messiah gradually: The Prophets spake plainlier of him, than any thing written before. Therefore a more extensive and distinct belief, was needful in one Age than in a former.

§. 17. Yet, even the Apostles were in a state of Salvation, before they understood and believed, that Christ must D [...] for Sin, rise again, Ascend and Intercede in Heaven for his Elect.

§. 18. Yet all this was partly revealed before by the Prophets, and plainly foretold them by Christ himself: Therefore it was not of absolute necessity to Salvation then, to believe all of Christ which had been before Revealed, though it was a duty to them that knew it.

§. 19. Therefore under the Covenant of Grace, the Condition of our right, is narrower than the Duty which we are commanded to perform.

§. [...]. The Promised Benefits (presupposing the [Page 131] Common Antecedent Mercies) were Summarily, Christ and Life in him: That is, that for the sake of Christ's future Merits we should have Pardon, Justification, Reconciliation with God, Adoption, Sanctification and Glory, and all necessary Helps and Means thereunto.

§. 20. The Penalty was, 1. TheJohn 3. 18, 19. Matth. 28. 20. Heb. 10. 29, & 2. 3. P [...]ivation of Recovery; 2. and a far sorer punishment for Ingratitude and contempt of Christ and Mercy.

§. 21. This Law or Covenant in this first Edition was made with Adam as the Father of all Mankind, and so with all Mankind in him, as truly and as much as the Covenant of In­nocency was: For, 1. God's Word maketh no difference. 2. Adam was as much after the Com­mon Father of Mankind, and all we as much in him, as before the Fall. And he that will say that God arbitrarily Judgeth otherwise of us, must prove it if he can. 3. The express Word of God in many places proveth it, joyning Children with their Parents in such Blessings, and therefore inclu­ding the Children of Adam.

§. 22. The same Covenant with some positive Additions, it pleased God to renew to and with Noah, because he was as a second Head and Fa­ther to the generality of all Mankind, all coming from his Loins as they did from Adam's.

§. 23. As all Mankind was made the Subjects of God under this Law of Grace, so by it they were all to be Governed and Judged, allowing a diver­sity of Degrees, in the Promulgation, Mercies and Penalties thereof.

SECT. IV. Of the same Law with Abraham's Covenant of Peculiarity, and the Mosaical Iewish Law of Works.

§. 1. ABraham being a subject to this same Law of Grace, did so faithfully Believe and Obey it, that it pleased God to reward him extraor­dinarily, by, 1. Renewing the Covenant by special Application to him, and by the promises of Peculiar Privileges to him and his seed.

§. 2. Not that his Infant seed was the first that was taken into Covenant. For the Covenant of Grace had from the beginning been made with the Faithful and their Seed, as well as the Cove­nant of Innocency was.

§. 3. The Peculiarities of this Covenant were Initially promulgate to Abraham, Isaac and Iacob; and more fully to the Iews as a Politick Body, by Moses in the Law; with some particular Sub-addi­tions by David and the Prophets.

§. 4. 1st. The Promise to Abraham was, besides the Common Covenant of Grace, renewed. 1. A promise of peculiar Favour to his Seed increased to a political Society in Canaan, and differenced by special Mercies from all the People of the Earth. 2. A promise that the Messiah should be of his Seed.

§. 5. This Covenant did not Discovenant the rest that the World, nor put them into any worse Condition than they were before.

§. 6. The peculiar Precept of that Covenant was, That by Circumcision as a Seal and Symbol, and by peculiar Gratitude and Obedience, and re­linquishing [Page 133] the Sins of the Degenerate World about them, they should difference themselves from others, as God's peculiar People.

§. 7. As the Covenant of Peculiarity was not a separated state, but an additional Privilege and Reward to Abraham as faithful to the Common Covenant of Grace; so Circumcision was the Sym­bol neither of Abraham as under the Law of Grace alone, nor as under the Covenant of Peculi­arity alone (for that was never alone) but as of One under both, even under the latter as a Reward for his special Fidelity in the former. And so it was [...] Seal of the Righteousness of the Faith in the Common Covenant of Grace, which he had being yet Uncircumcised, though a Symbol also of his after Peculiarities, Rom. 4. 1, 2, &c.

§. 8. Infants interest in the very Covenant of Peculiarity, and Iewish Church-state, was not infe­parable from Circumcision. As Infants were ever Members in the Common Church and Covenant of Grace with their Parents before Circumcision, so they were also without it Members of the Iewish Church, when as all the Females were Members, and all the Males in the Wilderness, who for Forty Years were Uncircumcised: Yet is it called, The Church in the Wilderness, when except very few at last it was an Uncircumcised Church, Acts 7. 38.

§. 9. Much less did God lay such a necessity on the outward Sacramental Act, as to deny Salvation to the Uncircumcised aforesaid, as some would have us think that even under the Gospel he doth by Sa­craments. The Covenant was still necessary as consent­ed to by the Adult for themselves and their Infant [Page 134] seed, but not alway the outward sacrament or symbole.

§. 10. The gathering of Israel into a Policy by Moses, as a Theocracy, and their receiving a Law from God himself as a Political Body, was but the full Establishment of the Covenant of Pecu­liarity, in performance of what God had promi­sed to Abraham, and in Circumcision had begun.

§. 11. This Law of Moses therefore must be Considered as an Affix or Appendix to the Com­mon Law of Grace, and so either as related to it, or as considered simply and distinctly in it self without that relation. And as it was a Divine Political Law, for the Government of a Repub­lick as such.

§. 12. The Common Covenant of Grace was the Soul as it were of this Political Jewish Law; and therefore was really expressed in it, in the Decalogue and other parts: As it was the Soul of their state of Peculiarity, which was the Reward of Abraham's Faithfulness in the Common Cove­nant: And their peculiar Promise to Abraham's Seed as the Nations Blessing, with their Types and Prophecies all led them to Christ more plainly than he was revealed to others.

§. 13. The Law as such an Appendix, contained Preceptively the Decalegue as the Summary and stamina, and the particular Determinations under it, as belonging to the First and Second Table; For all those (not accurately distinguished as Moral, Political and Ceremonial,) are but the particular Determinations of the things only Generally ex­pressed in the Decalogue, according to which they are fitlier distributed.

§. 14. It pleased God to make the particular Precepts (about Worship and Political Converse) [Page 135] so many, and the Sacrifices so Costly, and the Penal­ties so Severe, as that it became a very operous Employment to doActs 15. 10. Gal. 5. 1. & Rom. 7. & 8. 3, 4. Gal. 3. & 4. & 5. Heb. 7. & 10. Rom. 3. & 4. & 5. Mat. 5. the External Acts of it; which the People made a Snare of to them­selves: For, 1. Thereby they were so taken up with the outward Work, that they neglected the in­ward spiritual exercises of the Soul, without which all the rest are dead and carnal things. 2. And they hereby grew into so high a conceit with the Letter of the Law it self, and these External Duties, as that they thought the very doing of them was enough to make them just and acceptable to God, and forgot the true Doctrine of the Promised Messiah, and Righte­ousness by him. 3. And hereby they grew Proud as if they had for these Externals, been so much better than all other People, that all the World was Abominable save they. 4. And they were so intent on the present Political Punishments to be escaped or suffered, and Rewards to be won or lost, that they much overlook'd the everlasting Punishments and Rewards: And this Corruption increased till Christ came to Cure it; who found the S [...]ducees not believing a Life to come, and the Pharise [...]s deceived by their External Legal Works and Righteousness, and most of the People too, ignorant of the true Spiritual Righteousness re­quired by the Law it self.

§. 15. It may seem to some a difficult Questi­on whether God by such a Law made them Hap­pier or Worse than the rest of the World? And whether Christ's Abrogation of it was not a re­turning them to the common, easier and better Condi­tion [Page 136] of Mankind? Ans. 1. You must know, that though God made a common Covenant of Grace with Mankind, the rest of the Nations about them were fall'n into Ignorance and Idolatry; and the Jewish Law much tended to cure both, and to make them better know God and the meaning of the Co­venant of Grace, and to return to him from Idols, and worship him aright. So that the Jews were happier than other Nations. 2. The abuse of their Law was through their fault and folly, and the Law by the faithful among them was better understood and used. 3. Christ, after setting up a better Covenant in its stead, did bring the Church into a better state than the Jews were: But the Unbelievers and idolatrous World, that had not Christ's better Covenant, were still left in a worse state than the Jews were before Christ's Incar­nation.

§. 16. And God by this operous Law would hum­ble the Jews, that by their peculiarity were apt to be puffed up with Pride▪ And as all his works grow to Perfection by degrees, even the Works of Grace in particular Souls, so did his Means of Grace, and the welfare of his Church; which was to begin at their Rudiments, and grow up to better means and knowledge: yet so that all were to be judged according to the Law that they were under.

§. 17. It is this operous Law of Moses which Paul meaneth usually by the [Law of Works, and the old or former Covenant] and neither the Law or Covenant of Innocency made to Adam, nor yet as if this Law of Moses were of the same Tenor or Conditions, and so called a Covenant of Works, as making Innocency its Condition: But this Law [Page 137] which was an Appendix to the Law of Grace, and was a peculiar Law of Grace it self, is called, The Law of Works, because of the great and bur­densome and costly Externals before mentioned, and because as a political Law it so much insisteth comparatively on those Externals, and the Do­ctrine of Grace is comparatively more obscure in it than in the Gospel; and because the Jews had by their abusive Interpretation overvalued the Externals and operous Ceremonies and Sacrifices of it.

§. 18. The mistake of Paul's meaning in this Phrase [the Law of Works, or old Covenant] hath led some men to a new frame of Theology in a great part, and engaged others in Errors, and fruitless Contentions.

§. 19. By the words [He that doth these things shall live by them] as distinguished from believing, Paul meant not that the Condition of the Jewish Covenant of Peculiarity or Law, was the same perfect Innocency as was required in the first Law of Adam; for when Man was actually guilty, it was impossible that he should ever become one that had not sinned: And we must not put such a scorn on the infinitely wise and righteous Go­vernour of the World, as to suppose him to have such a Law or Covenant as this [If you that are sinners are not sinners you shall be saved], much less to make this a Covenant of peculiar favour.

§. 20. Nor doth Paul mean, That the Laws Condition was [If you will never sin more, I will pardon all that's past]. For God never made such a Law with man; not to sin being morally impossi­ble to them, and Pardon never offered on such terms.

[Page 138]§. 21. To put all out of doubt, 1. God be­fore hand proclaimed the Name of that God from whom they received their Law, Exod. 34. 6, 7. The Lord, the Lord God, merciful and gracious, long suffering and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping Mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity, transgr [...]ssion and sin, though he will by no means clear the guilty. (That is, He will not judge a Sinner to be no Sin­ner, nor the Wicked to be Godly, nor pardon and save any contrary to the established terms of his Covenant.) 2. And the Law it self hath ma­ny express means of forgiveness of Sin appointed, as sacrificing, confessing, &c. which sheweth that it was a Law of Grace.

§. 22. By the Law, Paul usually meaneth the written Law of Moses, as contained in the very words now in our Bibles: As by the Word of God we usual­ly mean the Scripture. Therefore though it con­tain much of the Law of Nature, yet as a written Law, and part of a Law of Peculiarity and Policy of that Nation, even the Decalogue may be said to be done away, though as the Law of Nature and of Christ it still remain.

§. 23. By the Works of the Law then, which Paul mostly disputeth of, and by [He that doth these things shall live in them] is meant, That this Law, besides the sweet and easie Precepts of faith and Love, did as part of the Matter of the Jews Obedience, require abundance of burdensome Ex­ternals, and he that would not do all those must die (for Obedience even to those commanded Tasks was then made necessary by God): And as to tem­poral death, it was not by that Law to be esca­ped, but on the strict terms thereby required: So that doing these things, was necessary to life tempo­ral, [Page 139] (and to eternal in sincerity): And the driving on the People by temporal punishments to these externals, was that Body of the Law which the mistaking Jews had separated from the Soul of it.

§. 24. And he saith, None could be justified by the Works of the Law, because this written political Law and its externals, were in this Dispute put in opposition to Christ, and the Law taken for the meer Body of Moses's Law, separated from the Law of Grace, which was its Soul; and no doubt, 1. It is Faith in the Redeemer and Covenant of Grace, which is the Condition of constituting Men Iust, (which they must have before any Obedience to their particular Laws could be sincere and ac­ceptable:) and the faithful keeping of the Law of Grace, which is made the Condition of salvation. 2. And to dream that legal Strictness, Ceremonies, Sacrifices, or other legal Works, would justifie them without Christ and Faith in him, or any otherwise than as Acts of Obedience to their Re­deemer, by which their fidelity to the Covenant of Grace was to be expressed while that Law was in force, was contrary to the true meaning of their Law it self.

§. 25. The rest of the World were not in the Covenant, nor under the Law of Peculiarity or Jewish Policy. And as such (as is said) it is now all abrogated, even the Decalogue it self, though its Matter be still in force, as aforesaid.

SECT. V. Of the Law or Covenant of Grace in the last Edi­tion, or the Gospel.

§. 1. VVHether the Covenant of Grace in the first edition to Adam, and this of the second edition by Christ, shall be called One or Two, the same or dive [...]s, and the old Church and the Gospel-Church the same or not the same in specie, are but needless questions about the bare Name of Oneness, as long as we agree wherein they differ, and wherein they differ not. In some respects they may be called the same, and in some not the same.

§. 2. The Parties in the first Covenant of Grace were really but two: GOD and Man (unless you could prove that Christ had then such a superange­lical Nature in which he mediated, as some before mentioned hold). But the Parties in the new Cove­nant of Grace are really Three, viz. GOD as the absolutely Supreme, who gave us a Mediator; and Christ the Mediator, as the supreme Subad­ministrator to whom all Power is given, and Man the Subject to both.

§. 3. The Benefits of the first Edition, respected a future Saviour and his future Righteousness, Sacri­fice, and M [...]rits: But the Benefits of the second Edition respect an existent Mediator and his merits and sacrifice already performed, and accepted of God.

§. 4. The revelation of life eternal and Man's spiritual felicity and duty, is far clearer in the second Edition than in the first.

[Page 141]§. 5. As there is more done for us, so there are more full and excellent means provided for Man's information, conversion, sanctification and salva­tion, in Apostles, Scriptures, Miracles, spiritual Ordinances, than under the first.

§. 6. As the means excel, so the Spirit is given in a greater measure, answerable to the greater Re­velation and means: And is specially Christ's Wit­ness and Agent in the World, and the mark of his peculiar ones.

§. 7. And as more is done for us, so more is now to be believed by us: Many necessary Articles are added to our Faith: That this Iesus is the Mes­siah, that he was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under P. Pilate, was crucified, dead and buried, descended to Hades, rose again the third day, ascended to Hea­ven, is there glorified in our Nature, Head of all, &c. are all new Articles of our Faith, which before were not required, because not revealed, or the matter extant.

§. 8. This second Edition is both the Covenant of Grace, and a Covenant of Peculiarity, far excel­ling the Iewish Covenant of Peculiarity: Believers are a holy Nation, a royal Priesthood, a peculiar People, &c.

§. 9. This Covenant supposeth the antecedent gifts of a Saviour to be incarnate, and do his me­ritorious and sacrificing part, and all such Prepara­tories, and of Life, Gospel and Opportunities gi­ven to the Sinner.

§. 10. The parts of the Covenant are, 1. The Conditional Gifts or Benefits. 2. The Condition or Terms of Right. 3. The Rule of Duty. 4. The [Page 142] Penalty for violation or neglect of the Cove­nant.

§. 11. 1. The Gifts are, God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost in their Cov [...]n [...]n [...]-Relation to us, and the love of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the Communion of the Holy spirit. Or as it is briefly expressed in 1 Ioh. 5. 10, 11. Christ and life in him, that is, Pardon, Iustification, the Spirit, Ado­ption and Glory, at first in right, and after in pos­session; and all means and mercies which God seeth meet to bring us to it.

§. 12. 2. The Condition of our first Right is, 1. That of natural necessity, viz. Repentance and Return to God; 2. Of natural and instituted neces­sity, Belief and Confidence in Christ, and Cove­nant-Consent.

§. 13. The Condition of our continued and con­summate Right and full Possession, is the former Faith and Consent continued, Repentance renew­ed when we knowingly sin, and sincere Obedience and Perseverance.

§. 14. 3. Seeing sincere Obedience supposeth a Law, we must know that more is in the Precept than in the Condition: Therefore we distinguish of necessitas praecep [...]i & medii. The Precept requi­reth perfect Obedience as due: But Sincerity is the Condition, and will save without Perfe­ction.

§ 14. The Precepts or Law of Christ now con­tain, 1. The Law of Nature (for all Things and Iudgment are given up to him.) 2. The new pe­culiar Laws of Grace, containing our special Faith in Christ, and his special Institutions of Church-Order, Ministery, Worship, &c.

[Page 143]§. 15. The Penaelty of the Law of Grace in this Edition, is as in the first. 1. A Privation of its Be­nefits to Nonconsenters or Insidels, with a greater d [...]gree of punishment for Ingratitude. 2. And with­drawings of the Spirits help for our quenching and resisting it, and abusing Mercy. 3. And tem­poral castigatory Punishments to Believers for their saults.

§. 16. The Sum of all essential to this Covenant, is in Baptism, and the Lords Supper, which are there­fore Sacraments and Symbols of it; and Baptism was appointed by Christ himself to be the solemn Initiation, Badge, and Character of his Disciples and Church-Members.

§. 17. The History of Christ's Life and Suffer­ings, and of his Apostles Life and Preaching, and all the [...]est of holy Scripture, is God's Word, and his Doctrine belonging to the Gospel-Covenant. But it is the Covenant it self, or Law of Grace, which all that are under it, must be ruled and judged by, and constituteth the Essentials of Chri­stianity.

§. 18. This Covenant did constitute Christiani­ty many years (suppos [...]d eight) before any part of the New Testament was written, as now extant, and near seventy years before it was all writ­ten.

§. 19. As Man hath an Intellect, a Will, and an Executive power, and the Gospel is to work on all, so the Creed is the Summary of our Belief, the Lords Prayer, of our Desire; and the Christian De­calogue and Institutions, of our practice, as expound­ing what Baptism generally expresseth.

§. 20. Though to the Iews that were bred up under the use of the Old Testament, and that ex­pected [Page 144] the Messiah, the Apostles staid not long in­structing them, before they baptized them, when they professed Repentance and Faith in Christ; yet it cannot be conceived, but that with the ignorant Gentile Christians, all Teachers took pains to make them understand, first what they were to profess and promise; for ignorant doing they know not what, pleaseth not God. And therefore that the Faith contained in the three Baptismal Articles, was certainly explained in more words and accord­ingly professed; which must be in substance that called the Apostles Creed, which the Churches pre­servation and use, with the Custom of long instru­cting Catecumens, giveth us notice of, as well as the reason of the thing.

§. 21. When we find Christ commanding his Apostles to disciple the Nations, and baptize them in the Name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and teach them all his Commandments; and when we dai­ly see, after people have learned to say, They believe in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, how long it is ere they understand the meaning of those three Ar­ticles; and when we know that it is not bare words, without the sence, that constituteth the Christian Faith; no sober Man will doubt, whether the per­sons to be baptized were taught the sence as well as the words; which must be done by more words. And it is certain that those Words were not to alter Christ's Baptismal Covenant, nor the Nature and Terms of Christianity, but to expound them. And it is certain, that multitudes were so weak, that had those Words been very long and many, they would rather have burdened them, than become their own profession, as understood and remembred. And it is certain, that the changing of words doth [Page 145] easily turn to a change of the sense; and that even then Heresies quickly multiplied; which made it necessary to the Church to be careful to preserve sound Doctrine. From all which it clearly follow­eth, that a Creed (that is, a Summary Profession of Belief explaining the Baptismal Articles) was in common use in all the Churches many years be­fore the writing of the New Testament. And it is not likely that in the Apostles days the Churches did receive it from any but themselves.

§. 22. Yet it is not probable that they compo­sed exactly such a Form of Words as might not at all be altered, and used still the very same terms; for the Creeds recited by Irenaeus, Tertullian, Mar­cellus in Epiphanius, and others, do all differ in some words from one another, and some Articles have been added since the rest (of which see Usher and Vossius de Symbolis.) But (except those few Ad­ditions) they all agree in Sence; which may per­swade us that the ancient Churches kept still to Words which signified the same matter of the Arti­cles of our common Creed, and admitted no vari­ation of the Words, but such as was small, and endangered not the Doctrine.

§. 23. Though Baptism explained by the Sym­bol of Faith, Lords Prayer, and Decalogue, contain at least the Constitutive Essentials of Christianity, yet the Integrals are much larger, and all that Christ commanded was to be taught the Church. And though this was done by Voice many years by the Apostles before they wrote any part of the New Testament, yet the Memory of men from Ge­neration to Generation, would have been a very unsafe and treacherous Preserver of so many things, had they been committed to Memory alone▪ [Page 146] Therefore it pleased the Wisdom and Love of God, to inspire the Apostles prophetically and infalli­bly to commit the Sum of the History of Christ's Life, Sufferings, and Death, &c. with all the Inte­grals of his Word, to those durable and sacred Records which we call the Holy Scriptures, for the easier and fuller Propagation and Preservation of the Christian Faith, and all its Integrals, especially his Example and sacred Precepts; yea, and the ne­cessary Accidentals, or Appurtenances.

§. 24. Because the Scriptures contain both in Words and Sence, much more than the Essentials of Christianity, and so more than is of absolute neces­sity to Salvation; many a million may be saved, that understand not all that is in the Scriptures; nay, no man on Earth understandeth it perfectly: And he that understandeth and receiveth the Es­sentials, shall be saved, though he were ignorant of a thousand particular Texts.

§. 25. Therefore it is that the Church hath ever selected the great and most necessary Truths, and taught Children and Catechised Persons these before the rest, by way of Catechism; of which the foresaid Creed, Lords Prayer, and Decalogue are the Sum, and the Sacramental Covenant is that Sum yet more contracted. And it hath not been the Churches way to teach Children or Converts the Bible over in order indifferently, without se­lecting first the Marrow out of the whole, which the Ignorant cannot do for themselves.

§. 26. Besides the Method or Order of the Scripture books, there is specially to be studied by those that will be more perfect than the rude [...] fort, the true Method of the Body of Doctrine, contained in all the Scriptures: For all the parts [Page 147] of that Doctrine have that Place, Order, and Re­spect each to other, as maketh up the Beauty and Harmony which is in the whole. And even in the Covenants, the Creed, Lords Prayer, and Deca­logue, there is a most excellent Order and Method, above all that is found in Aristotle, or any humane Writers, though, alas! too few perceive it.

§. 27. Therefore they that gather true Systems of Theology, do not add to the Scripture, nor feign it to have a Method which it hath not (no more than Catechisms do) but only gather out that Doctrine which is there, and deliver it in the true Scripture-method; not as it lieth in the or­der of Words, but in the order of Relation that one Truth hath to another. And to despise this real Method, because every dull and slothful Wit doth not see it in the Scriptures, is indeed to despise the Matter and Design of the Scripture, and to despise all true and clear Knowledge of things Divine: For to see Truths placed in their proper Order, doth differ from a knowing of some confused parcels, as knowing the parts of a Man, a Picture, a Clock, a House, a Ship, &c. duly compaginated, and seeing all the parts cast confusedly on a heap. But to draw up a true Me­thod is the Work of a skilful hand; and mistaken ones so seduce, that one Error in the Order leads to many.

§. 28. Yet even Catechumens and young Chri­stians should learn what they learn in method: And that is first the said Baptismal Covenant, and our Relation to the Trinity thereby; and all that is added to their Knowledge daily (be it never so little) should be methodically added: For a weak head may perceive the true method of the [Page 148] few Essentials (being great and plain), though the strongest cannot follow the due Distribution of in­numerable Integrals and Consequent Truths: As the first partitions of the Tree into its greater Boughs, are easily perceived, though not the in­numerable sprigs thence arising.

§. 29. Accordingly a wise Teacher will pro­ceed with Infidels in proving the Christian Religion, (yea, and with himself); and will first prove the Truth of the Essentials (which are delivered us both in Scripture, and other infallible Tradition) be­fore he undertake to prove all the Scriptures to be the Word of God: For he that will begin here, 1. Must shew the Book which he will so prove; and when he cannot vindicate it from variety of Lections, and the Errors of Scribes and Printers (to say nothing of the greater of Translators) it will stop him in his Designs. 2. And when he hath so many thousand Words to prove to be Divine, and so many Integrals and Accidentals to make good, he maketh his Work difficult, by allowing his Scho­lar to doubt as much of the Essentials of Religi­on, as he shall doubt of the Truth of any particu­lar Book or Text, History, Genealogy, &c. in the whole Scripture. A blind Zeal for Scripture hath led some to this dangerous way; but the an­cient Churches did otherwise, and so will all that well understand what they do. And really on supposition it could be proved (as it cannot) that any Penman of the Scripture erred in a Ci [...]ation, a Genealogy, the Circumstance of a bye-History, &c. it would not follow, that we must be therefore un­certain of all our Religion, even the Essentials; and they ignorantly betray their Faith, that say, It would so follow.

[Page 149]§. 30. So far is it from being true, that the Scripture is too narrow, as to the matter of Di­vine Faith and Duty, without the additional mat­ter of Tradition, that indeed, as the compleat Body of a Man hath more than his Essentials, yea, or Inte [...]rals, even Hair and Nails, as Accidents, so hath the Holy Scripture, as to the matter of Di­vine Faith and Duty. There is more than is ab­solutely necessary to Salvation, but not less.

§. 31. They that in peevish opposition to others, tell us, That Christ made no Law, and that the Gospel is not a Law, if they strive not a­bout equivocal Words, but mean that Christ is not a Legislator, nor hath a Law and Covenant by which he will govern and judge the World, do deny all our Christianity at once: For Christ is not Christ, if he be not the King of the Church; nor is he King, if he be not a Lawgiver; nor doth he Rule and Iudge, if he have no Law; which is so far from Truth, that there is now no Law of God that we are under, but what is truly the Law of Christ: For he is Lord of all, and Head over all things to his Church; and all power in Hea­ven and Earth is given to him; andJohn. 17. 2. & 13. 3. Matt. 28. 19. Rom. 14. 9. John 5. 22. Eph. 1. 23. the Father (alone, or meerly as Creator, by the Law of Innocency) judgeth no man, but hath committed all Iudgment to the Son, as Redee­mer and Universal Administrator. The lapsed World, and the Law which they are under, as ra­tional Creatures, are now delivered up to the Re­deemer, whose Law (as is aforesaid) hath two parts; 1. The Law of lapsed Nature, (common­ly called the Moral Law.) 2. The Remedying Law of Faith; of which before.

[Page 150]§. 32. But it is not to be supposed, that the very preceptive part of the Law of Innocency is now in force to us, as it was to Adam: For it bound him to be perfectly innocent in Act and Dispositions. But to a Man that hath lost his Innocency, and is already in Act and Habit sinful, it is not to be supposed, that the Law saith, Thou shalt be innocent: For that were to command not only a Moral, but a Physical absolute impossibility, as saying, Thou shalt not have sinned.

§. 33. Obj. God changeth not his Law when man changeth his capacity: Therefore the Law may be the same as in Innocency, both as to the Precept, Threat­ning, and Promise: God may still say, 1. Sin not, or be innocent: 2. And if thou be perfect, thou shalt live: 3. Else thou shalt die. And if man will make himself uncapable, it's his own change.

§. 34. Answ. I spake to this before, and now further add; God's Law is not to be taken for a meer script of Words considered as standing in a Book not obliterated, or as written on stone, and not broken, or cast away: The signum materially may stand, and the Law be changed, and the significa­tion cease: As a repealed Statute may be still in the Books and Records: God's Law is signum voluntatis divinae, debitum constituentis: Therefore if it sig­nifie not God's Will as constituting what shall be due from us, and to us, it is no Law. And that it may so signifie his Will, and constitute Dueness (Debitum or Ius) (or as they use to say, oblige and give) the Subject must be in a natural capacity: For where there is no Subject to be obliged, there is no Law. And where natural capacity ceaseth (as in a dead corps) there is no Subject to be govern­ed: And the Law is Instrumentum regiminis. So [Page 151] that if you do not only say, This was God's Law, but This is God's Law, you must mean, Thus he n [...]w obligeth man, and This he threatneth now, and This he conditionally giveth him. So that if it be an unchanged Law to us, just as it was in Innocency, you must make this the sence of precept, threat, and promise. 1. [Preserve thine Innocency, and sin not in act or habit, but be thou a pe [...]fect Obeyer of my Laws;] and this to one that hath sinned already, and is habitually inclined to more: q. d. [Let not that be which is, or quod factum est infectum fiat. 2. If thou sin, thou shalt be an Heir of Death.] When we are Sinners, and Heirs of Death alrea­dy: 3. [If thou be, and continue sinless and per­fect, thou shalt not die but live.] When we are Sin­ners and dead before. In which Case, all Law and Reason saith, That the Law doth transire in sen­tentiam, vel rem judicatam.

§. 35. So that, as was before-said, the Cove­nant of Works is ceased; yea, the Law or Precept bindeth not now, as it is a Law of Innocency made to innocent Nature for its preservation, for Nature is not innocent: But the Law of Nature is now the Law of lapsed redeemed Nature, and not of inno­cent Nature. And it obligeth us for the future to as much perfection of Duty, as we are naturally ca­pable of performing at that time, though viciously indisposed, it being only natural disability, and not moral vicious unwillingness that hindereth Obliga­tion: But though (not to do all that we can) be pec­care, yet it is not to sin unto Death or Damnation, if he perform so much as is made by Christ the Condition of life. In short; 1. Before mans sin, he was under the proper Law and Covenant of Innocency, which made perfect personal Innocen­cy [Page 152] the Condition of life. 2. Immediately after sin­ning, before the Promise, man was not under any Promise of life on condition of Innocency, nor yet under the Command of being innocent, nor of seeking and hoping for life on that Condition: For upon the Impossibility these ceased, without a Re­peal, cessante capacitate subditi: But man was then under no Covenant or premiant Law: But under, 1. The Command of perfect Obedience for the future. 2. The Obligation to Punishment, not peremptory, but due for every sin, unless it should be pardoned on due satisfaction: These two Obli­gations man was under between the Fall and the Promise.

3. But next, sinful condemned man, with his said Obligation, was delivered into the hands of the Redeemer, who now continueth the said Law of lapsed Nature (making perfect Obedience de fu­turo due, or Death for sin in primo instanti;) but adding the Remedying Law of Grace, giving Christ, Pardon and Life to penitent Believers.

§. 36. The Question, What Punishment is due to Venial sin, must be resolved from the sence of the Law that obligeth us: And the Question is not what Punishment would have been due to the smal­lest sin, if the Covenant of Innocency had conti­nued; but what is due to it by the Law of Redeem­ed Nature and of Grace, which is in force.

§. 37. There is a three-fold Dueness (or Desert) here considerable (without distinguishing of which, many such Questions cannot be answered.) 1. A Due­ness of natural Congruity, without any Remedy which the Law gave, or took notice of: So Death was due for every sin by the Law of Innocency (as I think).

[Page 153]2. A Dueness of natural Congruity with an affix­ed Remedy, which hindereth the guilt from being compleat and fixed. And such is the Dueness of punishment to the least real sin, by the Law of Re­deemed Nature, to which the Law of Grace is an­nexed, giving a Conditional Pardon to all the World for the Merits of the Redeemer. As if God said, [Thy sin in strict Iustice is worthy of death, but I will forgive thee, if thou repent and believe in Christ.] Here is so much Dueness as needeth pardon; but it is virtually, conditionally pardoned as soon as com­mitted; and so it is not a plenary Obligation to punishment.

3. A Remediless Dueness (or Guilt) by natural Congruity and peremptory determination of the Law­giver: And such was the Guilt of temporal death for sin against the Law of Innocency, (at least the eating of the forbidden Fruit) (for so far it is not forgiven); and the Guilt of perpetual misery to impenitent Unbelievers and ungodly Ones, that so die.

§. 38. By this it appeareth, that sins of meer Infirmity, consistent with sincere Faith, Repentance, and Holiness, in the second sence deserve punishment (not all alike, but) according to the degree of the Offence: But not in the first sence, or the last.

§. 39. Accordingly a great Question must be de­termined, Whether the sins of the Faithful de­serve any more than a temporal Chastisement? And whether they may pray for pardon of perpetual pu­nishment, or need any such pardon? Ans. The sins of the Godly deserve everlasting punishment in the second Sence, or Degree of Desert or Dueness; which is so far as to need a Saviour and Pardon, and so as they must pray for, and receive that par­don: [Page 154] But not in the first or third Sence.

§. 40. It is the Law of Christ, or of Grace, which is norma officit & judicii, and by which we must be judged at the last day.

§. 41. It is of great importance in the Contro­versies of Justification, to know whether, or how far we shall be judged by the Law of Innocency, or whether only by the Law of Grace.

He that is judged by the Law of Innocency, must be justified by personal, perfect, perpetual Obedience (not by anothers) or be condemned: But he that is judged by the Law of Grace, must be justified by Christ's Merits and Sacrifice (or Righteous­ness) as purchasing his Grant of a Pardon and life, or Right to Impunity and Glory, given by the Covenant of Grace conditionally, with his own per­formance of that Condition.

CHAP. XIII. Of the Universality and Sufficiency of Grace.

§. 1. IT was not only the Nature of the Elect, but of all Mankind, that Christ assumed in his Incarnation.

§. 2. It was not to Adam only, as the Father of the Elect, but as the common Father of Mankind (lapsed) that God made the Promise, or conditional Law, or Covenant of Grace, Gen. 3. 15. And so re­newed it with Noah.

§. 3. It was not the sin of the Elect only, but of all Mankind that were the occasion of Christ's [Page 155] sufferings, (called by some, An assumed meritorious Cause, because by his consent they were loco Cau­sae meritoriae.)

§. 4. It is not to the Elect only, but for all the World (as to the Tenor of it) that Christ hath purchased, and given a conditional Pardon of sin, and a conditional Donation of Life eternal in the Covenant of Grace, both of the first and second Edition: That is, the conditional Grant is Uni­versal; Whoever believeth shall be saved: Though the Promulgation of it may have many stops.

§. 5. It is not to the Elect only, but to All, that Christ hath commanded his Ministers to proclaim this Law or Covenant, and offer the Benefits, and require their Consent, as far as the said Ministers are able.

§. 6. It is not only to the Elect, but to all Man­kind, that many Mercies procured by pardoning and reconciling Grace are actually given, which were forfeited (or not due) by reason of sin a­gainst the Law of Innocency.

§. 7. These Mercies given to all Mankind after sin, and contrary to desert, are not given by Gods Mercy alone, without respect to the Blood and Me­rits of Christ: But his Blood and Merits are the Cause of them, as truly as of the greater Mer­cies of the Elect. And they that say, That God doth give all these Mercies without a Saviour's Merits, as the Cause, prepare the way for Infidels to inferr, That then he might have done so by the Mercies of the Elect.

§. 8. All these actual Mercies given to mankind, contrary to Merit, are a degree of Promulgation of the Law of Grace, telling all the World, That God doth not now rule and judge them meerly by the [Page 156] Law of Innocency, but upon Terms of Mercy (as is aforesaid)

§. 9. Hereby it is signified to all the World, that God is as he proclaimed his Name to Moses, Exod. 34. 5, 6, 7. The Lord, the Lord God, mer­ciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, for­giving iniquity, and transgression, and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty (by false judging:) and that the World have no cause to despair of forgiveness, as if they were Though this be said before, a new Case here causeth me to repeat it. un­der the remediless (or unreme­died) Sentence of Damnati­on.

§. 10. There are no People on Earth that are not obliged to the use of some means appointed them to be used for their full Pardon and Salvati­on, else Despair would be their Duty, and they should not be judged Sinners for neglecting any such means. And were they not bound to do any thing for their own Salvation, their Sin and Mi­sery that neglect so to do, would be far less than it is.

§. 11. Therefore all People have some such Means, that have a tendency to Recovery and Sal­vation afforded them by God.

§. 12. They that say, That all the Mercies of the Non-elect, are no Mercies, because through mens Sin, they end in their Misery, do perverse­ly extenuate Gods Mercies and Man's Sin, and teach Sinners falsely to plead in Judgment, That they never abused, or sinned against Mercy, which God and their own Consciences will easily con­fute.

[Page 157]§. 13. In the Controversie, Whether Christ died for the Elect only, or for all Mankind, it seemeth to me, that we little differ about the matter, but only strive about ambiguous Words; even about one Syllable [for.] If to die [for] signifie [for their sins,] under the reason of a Cause of Christ's Death, so (as Paraeus doth) we must all grant, that Christ died [for] all.

2. If (for) signifie [eorum loco] in their stead, so the Phrase hath yet great Ambiguity, and will require a great deal of distinguishing for its due Explication: The various kinds and degrees of Benefits to which the Intention is limitted, do leave the word liable to various Sences. Christ died so far in the stead of all Mankind, as to suffer Death (by his voluntary sponsion) as a punishment de­served to themselves by sin, to free them all from it, on condition of their suitable acceptance of his Grace. But if by [for] be meant (in the civil person of all men, as representing them) the Word is still among Lawyers and all Writers, ambigu­ous. In a large sence he may be said to (perse­nate or represent) another who doth it but secun­dum quid, and not simpliciter, in parte aliqua, vel in tantum & ad hoc, and not in omni, vel ad omne. And if any will so far stretch the Phrase, and because Christ suffered in the common Nature of man, will say that he suffered in every man's Per­son; or because he had a special purpose of saving his Elect, will thence say, He died in the person of Peter, Iohn, and every elect Sinner; I will not strive against mens Phrases, if they will explain them soundly: But in strict Sence, as Represent­ing a man, or doing it in his Person, signifieth, that Christ so died (and merited) in several [Page 158] mens Persons, as that the Law or Lawgiver doth take it to have been in sensu civili, their own suffering, and doing, and meriting, or to all intents, purpo­ses, and uses, all one to them, as if they had so died and merited themselves:] thus Christ neither died, nor obeyed for any man (as shall be here­after proved.)

But if by [for] is meant [for mens benefit or good] so it is yet ambiguous, and liable to a threefold sence, viz. 1. Intentionally, 2. Aptitu­dinally, 3. Eventually, for their good. And, 1. Intentionally, the Controversie either speaketh of Christ's Divine Nature and Will, or of the Humane: Concerning the former, the Question is the same with that about Election, or Gods Decrees, which is before spoken to, viz. How far God decreed good to all men by Christ's Death. As to Christ's Humane Nature and Will, it will prove but an ar­rogant unprofitable Question, Whether Christ as Man, kn [...]w the Names of every individual person in the World, or of every one of the Elect, and had a distinct Intent to save every one of those by Name that are saved: It's better let such Questi­ons alone. 2. And [Aptitudinally,] there is no question but there is that in Christ's Sufferings and Obedience, Sacrifice and Merit, which is in its mo­ral Nature adapted to the Good and Salvation of all, and hath that sufficiency thereto, which would accomplish it, if it were duly accepted and im­proved.

3. And as to the Event, we are agreed, viz. That some, and not all are saved by Christ's Death and Merits; but that all have great Mercies, which are the fruits of these, though many wilfully turn them to their Sin and Misery.

[Page 159]§. 14. By all this it appeareth, that it is a most unfavoury thing for men called Divines to dispute hotly, That Christ did or did not die and merit for all, and bitterly revile their Adversaries in the Controversie, without ever explaining that one ambiguous syllable [FOR], or telling men what they mean. And when it is well explained, we scarce know how to differ.

§. 15. For few will deny but that Christ suffered, not immediately because Man sinned (as if Suffering were due to him meerly because we sinned) but because he undertook so to do, and was obliged so to do by the Law of Mediation: But remotely he suffered, not only because the Elect had sinned, but because all Mankind had sinned. That is, The Con­ditional Pardon and Mercies given to all Mankind, are such as Christ's Sacrifice and Merits must be congruously the Causes of, as well as the actual Pardon of Believers.

§. 16. But if the stress of the Controversie be laid on Christ's personating or representing this man or that, by that time this (humane, invented, am­biguous, unscriptural) Phrase is explained, either we shall be [...]ound to be all of a mind, or else some will run into an intolerable errour about [Christ's dying and meriting in our civil person, and our dying and meriting by his natural person]; or else they will dispute themselves into a Wood of Uncer­tainties, and be lost about the sence of a word that cannot be sufficiently explained.

§. 17. And they that will lay the stress of the Controversie on the Aptitude or the Event, must be men of some singular Conceits, and not of the common judgment of the Reformed Churches, the Lutherans, the Iesuites, or the Dominicans, if they [Page 160] will disagree; for here we are commonly agreed.

§. 18. But as far as I can discern, most Conten­ders lay the Controversie upon the point of Di­vine Intention, Purpose or Decree: viz. Whether Christ as God did purpose to justifie and save all men by his death? or else, Whether he purposed to do good to all men by his death? Which Purpose is nothing but God's eternal Will or Decree. And why then do they make two Controversies of Election and Redem­ption, when they mean the same in both? And here methinks there cannot easily be a difference. For (in a few plain words) whatever good Christ giveth to any, that he from Eternity decreed to give them: But we are agreed that he giveth not Salva­tion to all men, and yet that he doth give many and great Mercies to all men, and especially, that he hath given to the World (and not only to the Elect) an express conditional Pardon of Sin, and con­ditional Iustification, Reconciliation▪ Adoption and Right to Glory: And sober Divines had rather say that this universal conditional Deed of Gift, is the effect of Christ's Sacrifice and Sufferings, than that God giveth it to one part of Men for Christ's death, and to the other part not for his death, but as with­out it. And we are agreed, that Christ doth give to some such special Grace, as shall and doth infalli­bly prevail with them to repent and believe, and also actual Pardon, Justification, Adoption and Salvation.

§. 19. Therefore in this sence Christ died for all, but not for all alike or equally; that is, He intended good to all, but not an equal good with an equal inten­tion. Whatever Christ giveth men in time as the fruit of his death, that he decreed from Eternity to give them. And whatever he never giveth [Page 161] them, he never decreed to give them. What he giveth them absolutely, he decreed to give them absolutely. And what he giveth them but condi­tionally, he decreed to give them but conditio­nally. Therefore being agreed of the fact and event, we must be agreed of the Intention or De­cree, and what needs there more?

And by this time you may answer their Objecti­on that say, Why not a common and conditional Ele­ction, as well as a common and conditional Redem­ption?

Ans. Neither of them are conditional as to the Act of God and Christ: There is no act of ours the Condition of God's decreeing ex parte Dei, but only of the thing decreed; nor of Christ's Death or Intent, but only of the benefit: That a conditional Act of Grace, or Deed of Gift of Christ and Life to all Mankind in common (in the tenor of it) should be made, was both decreed by God and purchased by Christ. But, 1. This is not the whole of God's Decree or Christ's Purchase and Intent. 2. And this is not to be called Election, as it signifieth a choosing of some from among the rest: Common Redemption and the Decree of Common Grace, both antecede that which is pro­perly called Election, in order of Nature in esse ob­jectivo; that is, God decreeth to give Faith and Salvation effectively to some of them that had com­mon Grace.

§. 20. The old Solution which Schoolmen and Protestants have acquiesced in, is, That Christ died for All, as to the sufficiency of his death, but not as to the efficiency of their salvation: Which is true, but must be thus explained: Christ's Death and Obedi­ence were not only sufficient but effectual as to their first effects; that is, They effected that which is [Page 162] commonly called, Satisfaction and Merit; and hence and from the Covenant of God they were also effectual to procure the Covenant of Grace as of universal tenor, and therein a free pardon of Sin and gift of Right to life-eternal to all, on condition of due acceptance: This conditional Gift of Christ and Life is effected: And this efficacy of the antecedent Mercies, must either be called part of the sufficiency of Redemption, as to the consequent Mercies (viz. Actual Pardon and Salvation) or else an efficiency beyond the sufficiency, antecedent to the said spe­cial efficiency. That Christ's Death hath effectu­ally procured the Act of Oblivion or conditional Gift of Life to all Mankind; but it doth not effect the actual salvation of all: To the universal Grace it is both sufficient and efficient; but to the special Grace and actual Salvation it is sufficient to All (as after shall be opened) but not efficient, (which is by the Refuser's fault and forfeiture.)

§. 21. When we say, that either Christ's Death or Grace is sufficient to more than it effecteth, the meaning is, that it hath all things on its part which is absolutely necessary to the effect, but that some­what else is supposed necessary to it, which is wan­ting.

§. 22. As there is a common Grace actually ex­tended to Mankind, (that is, common Mercies contrary to their merit) so thereOf Sufficient grace. is such a thing as sufficient Grace in su [...] genere, which is not effectual. So that though it be disputable in what cases this is found, and what not, yet that there is such a thing is past dispute.

§. 23. By sufficient Grace here I mean such without which Man's Will cannot, and with which [Page 163] it can perform the commanded Act toward which it is moved, when yet it doth not perform it; and this with­out any other degree of help than that which procureth not the act. So that it is not all that is useful to the effect, nor all that is necessary to easie or prompt performance, or to the infallible ascertaining of the act, nor to the melius esse only that we speak of; but so much as is necessary ad esse, and efficient of the true posse: When you can properly say that a Man can do this, you say that he hath all that is of necessity to the doing of it.

§. 24. Iansenius himself is so far from denying this Grace called Sufficient, that he asserteth that by this, improved by free-will, (without such special Grace, as of it self, giveth the Act as well as the Power) the good Angels stood when the bad ones fell, and Adam stood till the time of his Fall: And so that such a thing there hath been.

§. 25. And seeing God is still the same, and man's will the same in its natural faculties, and God seem­eth to us to delight in Constancy, it is very impro­bably imagined, that God did for so short a time Rule Angels and Men by such a Grace, as he would never after make use of in the World; and that Man's free-will did for so short a time do its Duty by that Sufficient Grace, and never after do any one act by the like Grace, in any one to the World's end.

§. 26. It's true, that such Grace will not serve our turn to do that now in our lapsed state, which Adam could have done in Innocency (no, nor will all our effectual Grace yet reach it) that is, to have continued sinless: But it is incredible, that no common Grace of God now is as sufficient to the per­formance of the least good act (which is good but [Page 164] secundum quid) as Adam's was to the fulfilling of all God's Law; and that the best unregenerate man is not able to do any better than he doth, or for­bear some Evil that he doth, as well as Adam to have forborn all.

§. 27. At least, to the Regenerate such a Grace must be acknowledged: For though of the rest Iansenius will say, They do no good, because they love not God and goodness (and on the like reasons others will say, That the Regenerate do no good, be­cause all hath sinful mixture or imperfection); yet he will not say so of the godly: And must we be­lieve that no godly man can do any more good than he doth? and so, That he hath no meerly­sufficient Grace to any one act in all his life?

§. 28. The Controversie about sufficient Grace is the same in the true meaning of it with that of the Power of Mans Free-will. For when by sufficient Grace we mean nothing but the enabling a Man to the act, or giving him Power to do it, the stress of the Question is, Whether Man hath truly any Power to do more than he doth? For if he have such a Power, Grace hath given it him, if it be for a Work that Grace is needful to. So that indeed were it not for Custom and Expectation, this Question should be handled under that of the Po­wer and Liberty of Man's Will.

§. 29. No man hath at the present Grace suffi­cient for his Salvation, if he have longer time to live: Because the Grace or help of the present hour is not sufficient for the next, but there must be continual Supplies from God; supposing that we distinguish of Grace by the distinct numerical acts and hours for and in which we need it: But if you distinguish of Grace by the species of Acts for [Page 165] which it is needful, and not by the numerical acts, then it may be truly said, that the same Grace (in specie) which a Believer hath to day, may be suffi­cient to his Salvation, or to his life's end.

§. 30. But if you speak de gradu, that Grace may be sufficient to one thing, which is not sufficient to another: And so, 1. An Infidel may have Grace sufficient to forbear some Sin, or avoid some Tem­ptation, or use some means that tendeth to Faith and Repentance, who hath not Grace sufficient to be­lieve and repent unto Salvation. 2. A man may have Grace sufficient to enable him to believe and repent unto Justification, and yet not have at that instant Grace sufficient to enable him to love God above all as God, with a fixed habitual Love, and to live an holy life (for the Spirit and Sanctification are promised on condition of Faith and Repentance). 3. A sanctified man that is yet but weak, may have Grace sufficient to live to God a holy life at pre­sent, and yet not have Grace sufficient for greater trials of Duty and Temptation: And therefore Augustine and all his Followers still say, That the Grace of Perseverance is a Gift over and above the Grace of meer Sanctification in the weakest degree.

§. 31. By all this it is evident, that he that disputeth of the sufficiency of Grace, must first di­stinctly tell us,

  • 1. Whether he mean extrinseck Grace, or in­trinseck.
  • 2. If extrinseck, Whether he mean it compre­hensively of all extrinseck Grace together, or only of some particular part of sort.
  • 3. If the latter, Whether he speak of the sufficien­cy of Christ's Death and Righteousness, Sacrifice, Me­rit, Intercession, &c. or of the sufficiency of the Gospel-Covenant [Page 166] or Promise; or of the sufficiency of Preach­ing, Praying, and other means; or of the Scri­pture-Records, &c.
  • 4. If he speak of intrinseck Grace, Whether the Question be of Sufficiency ex parte Dei agen­tis, (which none must question); or ex parte effecti.
  • 5. If the latter, What is the effect whose sufficien­cy he questioneth? 1. Is it a Grace or Power to do some more common good, use some means, forbear some evil, as the Unregenerate may do? 2. Or is it a Power truly to repent and believe? 3. Or to love God habitually, and live holily? 4. Or to over­come greater Temptations, and persevere?
  • 6. And he must tell you whether he speak, 1. De specie, whether the Grace or Power sufficient to this sort of Acts or Duty be sufficient to another, or to all. 2. Or de gradu, Whether this degree be sufficient against a greater degree or sort of Tempta­tion. 3. Or as men use to distinguish Grace and Help by numerical Acts and Hours, Whether the Grace of this Hour and Act be sufficient for the next, or for all? The sence of all these Questions is distinct.
  • 7. But his last and greatest difficulty will be, to tell you truly and plainly what is that Grace which is the subject of his Question, of its sufficiency in the general nature of it, and as related to the thing which it is called sufficient to.

§. 32. For, by Grace he meaneth, 1. Either somewhat ex parte Dei agentis, 2. Or ex parte effecti, or, 3. Quid medium; 1. Grace, as it is in God the Agent; 2. Or as it is in Man the Recipient; 3. Or as it is somewhat between both.

[Page 167]§. 33. I. Grace, as it is in God, is nothing but his Essence, not as Essence, but as an essential Power, Intellect and Will denominated by Connotation from the effect: This is commonly agreed on: God doth operate per essentiam, and not by Accidents.

§. 34. II. If they mean any mediate thing be­tween God and the Effect, either they speak of the first effect or a second, and so on: If they speak but of secondary effects, and the meaning be on­ly whether one effect be a sufficient Cause for ano­ther, they mean either an outward or an inward Grace or Effect. If an outward, then the sence of the Question is, Whether some other Work of God be sufficient to move the Will of Man? And then it must be told what other Work you mean: Whether an Angel, or the Planets, or the Word or Preacher, or an outward Mercy or Affliction, or what it is? But if you speak of the very first effect, then the fancy is almost proper to Aureolus among the Schoolmen, to think that there is something from God antece­dent to the Creature and Motion, which may be called Action or Energy, or Efflux, which is neither the Creator nor a Creature, neither Cause substan­tial nor Effect, but Causation: As if some Beam of Virtue or Force went from God to produce every Creature and Motion, which is neither God, nor the Creature, or Motion. But this is commonly and justly rejected, as feigning a third sort of Entity between God and the Creature, which it passeth the wit of Man to conceive of what it should be.

☞ And if God do immediately per essentiam, cause that middle Entity, or Action, or Force, which [Page 168] he saith is no Creature, why may he not as well immediately per essentiam, cause the Creature and motion it self? This therefore cannot be the thing meant by Grace in this Question.

To question the sufficiency of God's Essence is intolerable: To question the sufficiency of a me­diate divine Efflux or Action, which is between God and the Creature and Effect, is to dispute in your Dream of a Chimera, an unproved, and a disproved, and commonly-denied Entity. To dispute of the sufficiency of Angels, Scripture, Sermons, &c. to work Grace, is not the thing commonly intended in this Controversie of Grace: Each several sort of means may be sufficient in its own kind and to its own use; but no one of them is sufficient to the effect. But if you will put the Question as of All together, it must be so explained.

§. 35. III. The Grace therefore meant in this Question can be no other than either some effect on the Soul, as tending to a further effect, or the afore­said comprehension of necessary extrinseck means. If the former be meant (as it is by almost all School­men and Disputers of this Case) then, 1. It must be enquired, Whether such a thing be? and, 2. What it is if it be?

§. 36. 1. Bradwardine, and some that go his way, do deny the being of any such thing as we now dispute of; and say, That God's essential will, as a will, is the immediate Efficient, and the Act of Man is the Effect, (e. g. Faith,) and because God willeth that Act, it doth immediately exist, as the World did, by his creating will: And so here is no place for the Dispute of Sufficient Grace: For God's Will is certainly sufficient to cause what he will cause: And Man's Act either is existent or not: [Page 169] And there is no Grace antecedent to it, to be called insufficient, unless you will vainly say, that Gods essential Will is sufficient to nothing but what he preduceth, which is a Dispute unfit for sober men.

§. 37. 2. But because the contrary Opinion is far more common, that there is an inward Grace (e. g. to believe or consent) antecedent to our Act, whose sufficiency is questioned, it poseth the Wits of all the Schoolmen (much more is it above many Contenders that never so much as studied it) to say, what it is. The Notions of Alvarez (who calls it motus) and of Vasquez, and others I have elsewhere considered, and here pass by: And I have shewed, that I take it to be so far past man's reach, as to be unfit for hot Contention. But so far as we may conceive of it, it must be in this two­fold notion: 1. As it is some Divine Impress on the Soul, which is Analogus to the Vis impressa received from the Mover in the Patient in cor­poral Motion. 2. That this Impression received, doth in primo instant [...], put the Faculty into such an immediate Ability to the Act, or such a state of Disposedness to the Act, as may be called a Moral Power (the natural Faculty being supposed) and puts the Will in such a state as to the act of Consent, as that it can do it, but is not necessi­tated to it, nor actually determined, but can for­bear. And this is called sufficient Grace. 3. And in the next instant when the Will doth consent, God and Man are both Causes or Agents, and the Grace is effectual by both Causes, God the first, and Man the second.

§. 38. 2. The Pelagians and some others seem to think that God doth not operate immediately on [Page 170] mans Soul, as to proximity of Causation, but im­mediately on superiour Causes and Means (as An­gels, Word, Objects, &c.) and that when all means are duly ordered, man may be said to be able in his meer natural powers for the Act, because those means are now Grace sufficient to excute it. And that when one Means of an hundred is wanting, it is insufficient Grace.

§. 39. We all confess, that God worketh by means, and we cannot name an Act on us, which he always or ordinarily doth without any means, or second Cause. And we acknowledge that there are gracious means, and that ordinarily these must have a sufficiency in their kind: But withal we must say, that God worketh immediately as to proximi­ty of Causation, when he worketh not so imme­diately as without second Causes: And that whe­ther by means, or without means (as he pleaseth) there must be such a Disposition communicated to a depraved, undisposed Soul, as shall be a moral power, and put it into an immediate capacity to consent (or act): And to dispute the sufficiency of the means, is one thing, and to dispute the suf­ficiency of this inward Disposition or Power, is an­other. And this must be the question.

§. 40. The common disputed question is, Whe­ther all men have Grace sufficient to believe? which must be negatively answered; They have not. Those that never heard the Gospel, have not.

§. 41. But, 2. have all that hear the Gospel suf­ficient Grace to believe?

Ans. No: many of them are hardened by former sinning, so as to be set at a greater distance and enmity, than many Hea­thens.

§. 42. But, 3ly. All the World hath Grace (or merciful Help) sufficient to enable them to do less evil, and more good than they do, and to use some means better than they do, which tend to further Grace. And they that do not this, are justly de­nied further Help.

§. 43. 4. But the sticking difficulty is, Whether any men in the World have Grace sufficient to repent and believe savingly, who do not?

To which I an­swer, 1. The Question is of less moment than it's commonly made to be; seeing those are unex­cusable who use not that Grace which was suffici­ent to their foresaid use of means, and less resistance to God's Grace: 2. But certainly to answer the question negatively or affirmatively, I cannot; as not knowing any more of Gods working on mens Souls, than he himself hath told us of. 3. But if we may conjecture upon Probabilities, it seemeth to me most likely, that there is such a sufficient Grace or Power to repent and believe savingly in some that use it not, but perish. For, 1. if Angels had, and used such a sort of Grace: 2. And if Alam had such a sort of Grace, and used it a while: 3. And if unregenerate men have such a grace for lower Acts, which tend to Faith: 4. And if the Faithful have such a grace to do more good, and less evil than they do: 5. It seemeth very impro­bable, that only to the fifth Instance (to repent and believe) none in the World should have such a suf­ficient grace.

§. 44. And though Iansenius seem very singu­lar in denying that there is now any such sufficient grace of Christ in the World, which is not effectu­al either to believe, or to do any other good; that is, That Christ's grace enableth no man to do any more [Page 172] good than he doth; yet indeed it is most in two am­biguous Words, that Iansenius differeth from others, (though many unskilful Disputants suppose it to be much more material a difference) viz. 1. In one Syllable [GOOD.] For he will call no­thing good in man's Actions, but Holy Love and its Effects; and so saith, That no unsanctified Man doth good, and therefore hath not Grace sufficient to do it. But moral [Good] is taken in three Sences (or Degrees) 1. Good, se­cundum quid, in a degree not predomi­nant: See of this my Discourse of Sa­ving Faith. And so Infidels and ungodly Christians have some good. 2. Good, secundum quid, vel imperfectum, but in a degree pre­dominant. And so the Godly do good, though mixt with evil. 3. Good in perfection and unmixt with evil: and so none do good till they are perfected in Glory. (To say nothing of [essential simple Good per se, and independant;] for so none is good but God only.) And all this is the Effect of Grace.

§. 45. 2. But, saith Ian senius, there is some grace which is not grati [...] Christi, the grace of Christ; and such is all that cometh from meer fear without Love, which is a kind of providential preparatory grace, but not the grace of Christ. Ans. It is not that eminent and special grace of Christ: But to think that it befalleth men without Christ's procure­ment, and is not a commoner sort of Christ's grace, when all Power in Heaven and Earth is put into his Hand, and he is made Head over all things to the Church, is below a Christian Divine to ima­gine▪ and too injurious to Christ. But by all this it appeareth, that even Iansenius differeth from others more about the Names of [Good] and [Christ's Graces] than about the Matter.

CHAP. XIV. Of Mans Power and Free-will since the Fall.

§. 1. SO much is said, Chap. 9. of Mans natural Power and Free-will, and so much now, Chap. 13. of grace, and the Power given by it, as may allow me to be short in what is here to be ad­ded.

§. 2. All that natural Power and Liberty which was essential to the Will, remaineth in it since the Fall: For Man is of▪ the same Species.

§. 3. The Will is still a self-determining Prin­ciple, supposing, 1. God's necessary Influx, as he is the first Cause of Nature, 2. And the Being and convenient Position of Objects, 3. And the Per­ception of the Intellect, 4. And the concourse of necessary concomitant second Causes.

§. 4. The three Faculties of mans Soul are all vitiated by sin. 1. The vital active Power is so far dead to God and Holiness, as to need the cure of quickening, and strengthening, and exciting Grace. 2. The Intellect is so far blinded, as to need the cure of illuminating grace. 3. And the Will is so far turned by Enmity from God, to the inordinate Love of carnal self-interest and Creatures, as to need the cure of converting, sanctifying Grace.

§. 5. Grace healeth the Will of this Enmity and vitious perverseness, so far as it prevaileth; which is, 1. common Grace enableth it to common good, and prepareth it for better. 2. Special Grace causeth it actually and habitually to will and love [Page 174] special Good; that is, God as God, and the Crea­ture for God, and Holiness as his Image. 3. Per­fecter Grace bringeth up the Will to perfecter ho­ly Acts and Habits.

§. 6. Nature it self is not in lapsed man, di­vested of all moral or Divine Principles, Abilities, and Inclinations: In the Intellect there are com­men Notices of a Deity; that is, That there is one God who is infinitely powerful, wise, and good: And in the Will there are some Inclinations still to good as good, and therefore to God as far as he is truly conceived of as good; and so far as that con­ception is not conquered by a cross Conception of some Enmity: And so of other Good.

§. 7. Nature and common Grace may cause a man to go as far in Love and Religion, as those whom we call the highest Hypocrites, or almost-Chri­stians may do (which our practical Preachers do frequently tell the People at large in Books and Sermons.

§. 8. Such may have a common sort of Faith in Christ (even formerly to the working of Mi­racles), and of Repentance, and Reformation, and of good Desires, and love to goodness and good Men; yea, to God himself.

§. 9. For men are not so corrupt by Nature (much less under the Effects of common grace) as to hate all goodness, or to hate all that is in God: They may love God as he is the Almighty Creator, Preserver, and Natural-Orderer of the World, and the Cause of its Being, Motion, Beauty, Harmony, and all natural Good: And they may love him as he is the Giver of life▪ and all natural Blessings to themselves, and as he is the Preserver of them, and their only Security and Help in Danger, and not [Page 175] only as his Blessings gratifie their Senses, but as all their Hope of everlasting Happiness is in his Power and Love: They may love him as he doth this good to others also, and is the common Benefactor to the World, without whom it could not subsist a moment. And they may love him as he maketh such Laws as preserve their lives, and Properties, and Rights, from Fraud and Violence, and by ma­king other Men conscionable just, and charitable to all, do both gratifie themselves, and tend to the common Order, Peace, and Welfare of Societies, and of Mankind.

§. 10. I am not able to confute or deny what Adrian (afterwards Pope) hath written (in his Quodlibets) That an unsanctified Man (not in a state of Salvation) may so far love God, even above himself, as to consent rather to die, and be annihi­lated, than (were it possible) God should be anni­hilated, or not be God. For a Heathen might con­sent to die for his Country: And he is a B [...]ast and no Man, that would not rather be annihilated, than all the World, yea, or all the Kingdom, or all the City should be annihilated, or than the Sun should cease to be, or to shine. And he that knoweth that if there were no God, there could be no World, no Being, Motion, Knowledge, Goodness, or Felici­ty in the World; besides, that which is worse, the Cessation of the Infinite Good himself; must be yet more unmanly, if he would not rather be an­nihilated alone (if per impossible, you suppose he could live alone) than all this greater Evil should come to pass. He that tells men, that they shall be saved, if they would rather be annihilated, than that there should be no God, doth make them a promise which God hath not made.

[Page 176]§. 11. But (as the same Author observeth) that which the unholy cannot do, is, to love God as God, as the ultimate Object, and most amiable Good to be known, and by Love and Holiness enjoyed, and pleased by a holy Soul; and this above all sen­sual terrene Delights, and to love him as the holy Ruler of the World, who forbiddeth all sinful sensuality, and all mens inordinate Conceits, De­sires, Delights, and Practices, and requireth holi­ness and purity of Mind, and Life, and Sobriety, and Temperance, and Self-denial in all that will be saved. And as he is a just Judge who will exe­cute all these Laws, and condemn the ungodly to endlers Misery. They love not God, as he is the holy Go [...]our, and righteous Iudge of men, that would restrain them from their sinful Wills and Pleasures, and damn them if they will not be ho­ly. And consequently they love not his Laws, and other means by which this is to be done: Because loving the pleasure of their Lusts, and being averse to things spiritual, high and holy, they love not that holiness and rectitude in themselves, which God commandeth, Rom. 8. 5, 6, 7, 8, &c.

§. 12. Though God, as the Fountain of Na­ture, continue the natural power and liberty of the Will, yet its moral Impotency, Pravity, or ill Dis­position, by which it is averse to Holiness, and prone to Sensuality, must be cured by Grace; where common Grace and special, cause common and special Effects in the Cure.

§. 13. The moral Power given by Grace, con­sisting in the right Disposition of the Will, is not of the same kind with the Natural Power or Fa­culty: And the Words [CAN] and [CANNOT] used of both sorts, have not the same signification, [Page 177] but are equivocal; otherwise Sin and Grace should change mans Species. Those Disputants there­fore that confound them for the sounds sake, de­ceive the Auditors.

§. 14. We must say then, That quoad vires, vel potentiam naturalem, every man can believe, who hath the use of Reason, Objects revealed, and ex­trinseck necessary Causes; that is, He wanteth not the natural Faculty or Power, nor needeth an­other natural Faculty, but only the Excitation, Il­lumination, and right Disposition of that which he hath: But as to the said right Disposition, or moral Power, no one can truly repent and believe without that Grace which must so dispose him: Common Grace must dispose him to a common Faith, and special Grace to a saving Faith.

§. 15. It is more proper to say, That an Un­believer, and unholy Sinner will not repent and believe, than that he cannot; though that also may be truly said, if well explained. But the meaning is not, that he cannot, though he sincerely would: Nor yet that he cannot be willing, for want of the natural Power of willing: But, 1. That he hath a Logical, and, 2. A moral Impotency; that is, an In­disposition; he wanteth both Disposition, Habit, and Act, but not the Faculty.

§. 16. It is an abusive miscarriage of those Dis­putants, who in the Words [CAN] and [CANNOT] use to confound not only, as afore­said, natural and moral Power, but even Logical also, which is neither, and signifieth no more but that in ordine probandi; such Premises being put, the Conclusion Can or Cannot follow: For so it may be truly said, That no man can do, speak, or think any other than he doth; and nothing can ever come [Page 178] to pass, but what doth come to pass; even from Gods fore-knowledge this will follow: For seeing nothing ever will be otherwise than God foreknoweth it will be, a Disputant will say, It can be no other­wise; but he must only mean that posita praescientia divina, the Conclusion cannot be true, that the Event will be otherwise: when yet as to the nature of Causation, we must say, sensu physico & morali, that it Can be otherwise oft-times, though it will not be otherwise.

§. 17. These things considered, it appeareth that we are commonly agreed as followeth: 1. That all Men have natural Powers and Free-will to good, even spiritual good; that is, Whenever such good is chosen or willed, it is done by the natural Power or Faculty; and when it is not willed, it is not for want of a natural Faculty, but its due Dispo­sition.

§. 18. 2ly. That as to Civil or Law-power and Liberty, all men have much more than Li­berty granted them by God to repent and believe. For Helps and a Command are more than Leave or Liberty: But Liberty from the Penalty for sin, belongeth only to the pardoned.

§. 19. 3ly. That as to Ethical Power and Li­berty, which lieth in a right Disposition of mans Faculties, every man hath it so far as Grace hath prevailed, and wrought it in him, and none any further.

§. 20. Or as Liberty is denominated from the Evil which we are free from, 1. All mens wills are free from being constrained to sin, 1 By natural in­clination of the faculties themselves; 2. Or by the senses; 3. Or by Objects; 4. Or by Men; 5. Or by Devils; 6. Or by God: Because the rest cannot [Page 179] and God will not; no, not physically premove and predetermine it thereto.

§. 21. 2. The wills of all men are free from any Commands to Sin: that is, God cannot command it (for else it were no Sin) and if men command it, their Commands are null, and lay no obligation on the will to obey them.

§. 22. 3. We are free from sinful Dispositions so far as Grace freeth us, and no further: Therefore by common Grace men have common Liberty, and by special Grace saving Liberty; but none perfect Liberty here; and no unsanctified man hath saving Liberty of Will: that is, such by which he is duly disposed to such acts as have a flat Promise of Sal­vation: And where now doth our difference re­main?

§. 23. Obj. The difference is, Whether a bad man can change his own will?

Ans. Your [can] meaneth the natural Power, or the due disposition: As to the first, he can, that is, he hath those facul­ties which want not natural Power to act better: But as to the latter, he cannot without Grace, that is, through indisposition he will not.

§. 24. Q. But is not Grace the only cause of the Change?

Ans. Grace only causeth the first Im­press on the Soul, which moveth it to act; but the Soul (or will) it self is a Cause of the Act, else it were not Man but GOD that doth repent, be­lieve, obey, &c.

§. 25. Q. But is it Grace or Free-will that is the chief Cause?

Ans. Grace no doubt: Which is commonly acknowledged by the several Parties.

§. 26. The very marrow then of all the questi­on about the Power and Liberty of the Will, is that so often before mention'd, Whether Man's [Page 180] Will be made of GOD such a self-determining Power, as can truly do any more good than it doth, or forbear more evil, without any more Grace from God, than that which it hath while it doth no more: And whether ever the Will can and do make a various use of the same degree of Divine Assistance: And this as is said, is confessed of the Angel's Case and Adam's: For if Adam had not Power to have stood when he fell, by the same Grace that was given him, but fell because God withdrew or with-held such necessary Grace without which he could do no other than he did, we may then lay by these Controversies, and think how to answer Infi­dels.

§. 27. Those persons that make others odious by their revilings, for holding Free-will, or denying Free-will, without telling men what Freedom it is that they mean (natural, ethical, legal or logical, Freedom from Coaction, necessitating Premotion, na­tural Inclination, or vi [...]ious Disposition, &c.) should be rebuked by the Lovers of Truth and Peace, as the Peace-breakers of the Church and World, that presume in their proud ignorance to reproach others for that which they understand not.

§. 28. They that say, That the Liberty of the Will as natural is not violated, but by Coaction, and that Coaction, is nothing but making a man will against his Will in the same respect and act, and so that to will and to will freely is all one, and that to will by Coaction is a contradiction, viz. to will and nil the same, and that God predetermineth all mens wills to all sinful habits and acts in specie as circumstantiated, by immediate, necessita­ting or unresistible premotion, and yet taketh not away their Liberty, because he maketh them will [Page 181] and not nil the sin. These do but play with the name of Free-will, and are confuted as aforesaid from the instance of Adam, and from the scope of Scripture, and do subvert the Foundations of Chri­stianity. To will is the proper act of my will; and if he that moveth me by prime physical effi­ciency to will the circumstantiated act of Sin, de­prive me not of my Liberty, because it is willing that he maketh me do, then if Men or Devils had Power to make me will Sin, as I cause my Pen to write, or the Fire to burn this or that, it would be no loss of Liberty. But of this more largely elsewhere.

CHAP. XV. Of Effectual Grace, and how God giveth it.

§. 1. AS I said before about Sufficient Grace, so here about Effectual; the first thing to be done by Disputers, is, to agree what that is which they here call [Grace] as the Sub­ject of the Question. And as I there shewed, 1. It cannot or must not be God's essential Will or Power, for that is simple and immutable, and not in it self (save relatively) distinguishable into sufficient and effectual. 2. An Efflux or vis, which is neither God nor the Effect, there is none, or none prove­able. 3. It is not Faith it self that is meant here by Grace, for it is the Grace that effecteth Faith; and it were absurd to ask what Faith is effectual to make or cause it self: This is true both of the Act and Habit. The meaning is not, what Habit [Page 182] of Faith is effectual to the Act, nor what Act to the Habit or it self, but what Grace of God is effe­ctual to cause both Act and Habit. 4. Therefore there is nothing left to be meant by Grace, but the two things before mentioned, viz. 1. The gracious Means or second Causes appointed by God to cause our Faith. 2. The first moving Impress on the Soul, as it is antecedent to Act and Habit, (supposing that such there is, Some say, that God's meer will causeth man's act, as willing it, without any other Influx or Impress on Man's Will, save our Act it self effected: But though it be only God's essential will, which is the first Cause, yet the thing received by us from God seemeth to be a certain Impress, Impulse, or vis, or Disposition to act in order of Nature, before the act it self, which Impress sometime is made uneffectual by a prevalent Indisposition or Resistance of the Will. though some deny that there is any such thing.)

§. 2. And for the first, all means will be uneffe­ctual without God's inward Operation by his Spi­rit: He must work on the Speaker and on the Hearer, to make means effectual, as is agreed on. But whether as God worketh in Naturals accor­ding to the aptitude of natural second Causes, so he work Faith and other Graces by a settled propor­tion of Concourse, agreeable to the Aptitude of gra­cious second Causes (or Means of Grace) is a Questi­on too hard to be boldly and peremptorily deter­mined by us that are in so much darkness.

§. 3. But it seemeth to us, that God would not have made it so great a part of his Government to establish a Course of Means, if he did not in­tend to work ordinarily by them, and according to their fitness. Christ is the chief Means, and insti­tuteth the rest; Scripture, Ministers, Example, good [Page 183] Company, merciful Providences, Afflictions, Medita­tion, Books, Prayer, Sacraments, &c. are all appoin­ted for such effects: And if God would ordinarily work immediately without means, what need all these? This teacheth Infidels to say, that he may do it without Christ. The Spirit first indited the Word (as we cut a Seal to be the instrument of Impression) and then by that word doth work on Souls.

§. 4. But if God did tie himself not only ordi­narily, but alwaies to apt means, no mortal could say what means is sufficient, and what is insufficient, and what is more than sufficient, even ne­cessarily efficacious: For the means, 1. are very many and more than we can take notice of; and if one be wanting, it may render the rest insufficient or uneffectual, how excellent soever in themselves. 2. And that means is fitted to one Hearer that is not fitted to another: All have not the same tem­ptations, hindrances, prejudices, objections, weak­nesses, nor obstinacy: And God only knoweth when means are adequately fitted to the desired effect upon mens Souls.

§. 5. And though many of the means operate ex parte sui, necessarily, yet so do not all: For Preachers and Instructers are free Agents, and so it must be other effectual means that must first move them to do their Duty for a Sinner's good: Which who can judge of?

§. 6. But God is the Arbitrary Absolute Lord of all means, and therefore he can change and dis­pose of them as he pleases, and yet work by them. So that the Effect is nevertheless from God's free or arbitrary Volition, though he never went be­yond the aptitude of means: When even a silly [Page 184] man can turn the natural course of Water and Wind to move his Mill or Sails at his pleasure, without any alteration of their natures: A Fisher can use his Bait as may serve his end; and a Phy­sician can vary his Medicines to cure the Disease without changing their nature, or curing without them.

§. 7. But there is no question but God can work without means, and Intellectual Souls being so near to the first Cause, it is utterly uncertain to us, whether in Works of Grace God have not a dou­ble operation on the Soul, one by his appointed means, and another by immediate In­flux Though before I shewed that this seemed not necessary to all acts of Man, & will not over­throw Durand.; and if it be so, how these concurr to one and the same effect, and also how God doth immediately move Souls, are all past Man's reach, and should be acknowledged above our Disputes.

§. 8. II. God hath more inward operations on Man's Soul than one or two (whether with means or without) to bring us to Faith and Re­pentance: The mind must be enlightened, the dull faculties must be excited, especially Conscience and Will, and the Will must be touched with the gust of Divine Love to breed a holy Complacency in good, and many Impediments must be removed, some by outward acts of Providence, and some by inward Grace. And where Impediments are not removed, no doubt but there needeth more of the other Acts of Grace, to bring such a Soul to Faith and Repentance, than in one where there is less resistance.

[Page 185]§. 9. And seeing that Recipitur ad modum reci­pientis, and the disposition of the Recipient hath so great a hand as common Experience telleth us in almost all the Changes in the World, (what won­derful variety of Effects doth the same Action of the Sun produce throughout the World, by the di­versity of receptive dispositions)? Therefore no mortal man can say when the efficacy or success of Divine Grace is more to be ascribed to the Prepa­ratory Disposition of the Recipient by a former act of Grace, and when more to the present moving Influx? nor what proportion these alwaies bear as comparable. And what man dare say that he can search out the waies of God?

§. 10. When we know so little of the secret Energies of natural Principles, nor how God pro­duceth Animals in the Womb, nor how he causeth our Food to nourish us, nor how any of our Sen­ses do their Office, nor how our Souls do use the Corporeal Spirits, &c. And when Christ hath told us, That the Wind bloweth where it listeth, and we hear the sound of it, but know not whence it cometh, and whither it goeth; and so is he that is born of the Spi­rit, Ioh. 3. 8. Should not this, with the expe­rience and consciousness of our Ignorance, suffice to keep us from bitter Contendings about that which is certainly beyond our reach, and from presumptuous boldness with the unsearchable things of God?

§. 11. Whether you will with Bradwardine and many others say, That it is God's meer Vo­lition that effecteth all things ad extra; or whe­ther you will say with the most, That it is not his Will alone, but his Will as operating by his executive Power, the meaning seemeth to be the [Page 186] same, and the difference to be but notional, as is aforesaid: For they that speak in the first man­ner, mean, That it is not God's Will as in it self immanently considered, but his will as going forth to produce an effect; which emanation or exertion is, from the effect, called by those that speak in the second manner, God's Executive Power.

§. 12. The prime Reason of the Effect, is God's Wisdom, Will, and Power as the Cause: And so the prime reason why Means and Grace become effe­ctual whenever they are effectual, must be from God the prime Cause.

§. 13. The first Impress on the Soul moving it toward the Act (e. g. Faith) is the first Grace in­ternal (sub ratione effecti): And this God him­self worketh on man as on a meer Patient; tho' not antecedently to all former acts of Man, or all preparative dispositions, (usually) yet ante­cedent to that Act of Man to which it moveth: So that as to this, 1. Man is passive, 2. and the Divine Operation (or the powerful Will of God) is not only sufficient but effectual; for that Impress or Motus is effected.

§. 14. Though God being a Spirit moveth not by such Contact as Bodies do on each other, yet must we conceive of his motion, and the motion of all Spirits on Bodies, as analogous to corporeal Con­tact, and as a motion by Efflux and eminent Con­tact of Virtue and Essence, according to the more excellent nature and operation of Spirits; or else we cannot conceive positively of them.

§. 15. It is already proved, that God useth various degrees of Impress or Motion on Souls; of which some do by their proper power or degree so ascertain the effect, that the Argument is alwaies [Page 187] good as a causa, [where-ever God doth so move, there the Effect (that is the Act, e. g. Faith or Consent) followeth: And this Grace is effectual ex propria vi vel virtute: But that God sometime ope­rateth by a less Impress or Motion, which doth not from its own force inferr the effect, but so far disposeth the Mind or Will to the Act, that the man can do it without any more grace; which is it that is called Sufficient Grace, as aforesaid.

§. 16. It is a thing not to be believed, that this latter degree of Divine motion is never eventual­ly effectual to the Act: Seeing, 1. it is granted, that there is such a Power in Man's Will as c [...]n act in some cases by that degree of Grace called Suffici­ent: And frustra fit potentia quae nunquam reducitur in actum. 2. And it's granted, that the Angels and Adam did act by such help. Therefore as to acts preparatory before special Faith, few do af­firm that they are all done by such Grace as is necessarily effectual ex propria vi alone, but that sufficient Grace leaveth them often to Man's Will.

§. 17. Therefore all that remaineth, is to re­solve what is the reason of the certain effect when we believe? To which I say, 1. It is ever an effect of two Causes (at least) God's motion and man's faculty, and so both must be said to be the Cause of the effect. 2. But man's will is no Cause (save a recipient Cause) of God's Part or Impress. 3. God sometimes, at least, maketh so powerful an Impress, as doth necessarily determine man's will, by a Necessity consistent with his Liberty. 4. It cannot be proved by any man, that no man be­lieveth by that sufficient Motion, which doth not necessarily determine his will; seeing many prepa­ratory [Page 184] [...] [Page 185] [...] [Page 186] [...] [Page 187] [...] [Page 188] acts are done by such a motion. And it's probable that it is oft so. 5. But the certainty of this, or when and how oft it is so, no man can know.

§. 18. But by which degree of Grace soever the effect be produced, still God's Will is the chief cause of it; which can procure the effect infallibly, when it doth not necessitate: Yea, and his premo­tion or impress called Sufficient, is incomparably more the cause than Man's Concourse is; though God leave some part of the Causation to man's Free-will.

§. 19. But when the Effect doth not follow, that is, when men believe not, it is man's will by omission and resistance, that is the chief cause, and culpable, and not God's omission or non-de­termination.

§. 20. The same degree of divine Impress or Motion, which prevaileth with a Soul predispo­sed by common Grace, is not enough to prevail with some others that are ill or indisposed: Though God's Absolute Will and Answerable Operation would prevail with any, how bad so­ever.

CHAP. XVI. Of the State of Heathens and others, that have not the Gospel.

§. 1. THE opening of the several Laws or Covenants of God before, hath taken up most that is necessary to be said about this [Page 189] point: The question, Whether any but Christians are saved, is agitated on both sides by so much the sharper Censures, by how much the nearer it seemeth to concern the Fundamentals of Reli­gion.

§. 2. On one side some say, That nothing is more fundamental than God's Nature, and Go­vernment, and Beneficence, and the Attributes which belong to him in respect to each: And they say, That for God to be the Ruler and Be­nefactor of the World, and to be alsoExod. 34. 5, 6, 7. Heb. 11. 6. gracious and merciful and Love it self, and a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, are our Fundamentals; which are not consistent with this, That all the World since Adam, except a few Believers or Jews and Christians, that were born from Adam, under as absolute a necessity of being remedilesly dam­ned, as of dying.

§. 3. Here they use first to consider of the number, viz. 1. That it is not past the sixth part of the World that are called Christians. 2. That the far greatest part of these (perhaps twenty to one) have not competent means to understand what that Christianity is which giveth them their name, and which, as to the name, they profess. The Cir­cassians, Mengrelians, and other Georgians, the Ar­menians, the Muscovites, the Cossacks, the most of the Greeks and Abassines, yea, and Papists, besides the Copties, Syrians, Nestorians, Iacob [...]tes, Maro­nites, Christians of St. Thomus, &c. and too many Protestants are bred up in so great ignorance, that multitudes of them never are sufficiently taught to understand the Essentials of the Christian Religion which they (nominally) profess; and therefore [Page 190] are really much in the case of common Heathens.

§. 4. 2. They consider their impossibility of being saved: For it is not only morally (by Vice) but naturally impossible to believe that which was never heard, read or understood: So that their Damnation seemeth unavoidable, especially to such as live in the vast Countries of America, and much of Africa and Asia, that are quite out of the reach of any Instructions for the Christian Faith.

§. 5. 3. And lastly, they consider the goodness and mercifulness of God, declared in his Word, and in his great and manifold mercies to all the World, and that he would have a righteous man to be merciful even to his Beast, much more to the Bodies of Men, and most of all to their Souls, and that our Rule and Motive is, Be merciful as your Heavenly Father is merciful.

§. 6. And they think that the contrary-min­ded, by over-doing, are the greatest Hinderers of the Christian Faith, and Promoters of Infidelity, while they make it seem so contrary to God's own Attributes, and to humane Interest, and to be a Do­ctrine not of glad but of saddest tydings to Man­kind, viz. That none shall be saved that hear not the Gospel, when it is few comparatively that ever heard it or can hear it.

§. 7. On the other side it is thought a dange­rous undermining of Christianity, to say that it is not absolutely necessary to Salvation, Act. 13. 48. Mark. 16. 16. Joh. 3. 36. Joh. 14. 6. Ro. 10. 10. &c. Mat. 11. 27. Luk. 10. 22. Mat. 16. 17. Rom. 1. 16, 17. 1 Cor. 2. 10, &c. 2 Cor. 4. 3. Rom. 8. 1, 9, 13. Luk. 19. 10. and that any besides Christians may be saved: And it seemeth to them to be contrary to Christ's words, that He [Page 191] that believeth not, shall be damned; and that He is the way, the truth, and the life, and no man cometh to the Father, but by him. And how shall they call on him on whom they have not believed, &c.? No man knoweth the Father, but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal him, &c. And it seemeth to con­found the Church and the World, to say, That any are saved out of the Church.

§. 8. In this great Controversie, that which must satisfie us, is to agree in so much as is certain, and to leave that which is uncertain and unknown, undetermined: For we shall know it never the more for a confident pretending that we know it, when we do not.

§. 9. And here the first thing to be enquired af­ter, is, What Law of God the World that heareth not of Christ, is now under, as the Rule of Duty and of Judgment. And then, 2. to enquire, Whether they so keep that Law, as to be saved by it? We can say nothing to the second, without the first.

§. 10. And we have here nothing to doubt of, but, 1. Whether they are under any Law or none? 2. If any, Whether it be the Law of Innocency as made to Adam, or the Law of Grace? 3. And if the Law of Grace, whether of the first or second Edi­tion? It must be one of these.

§. 11. And, 1st. It is certain, That they are under a Law (and not only under a Physical Go­vernment, as a Ship at Sea, or Brutes are): For else God were not their Ruler, and they his Sub­jects, so much as by Right and Obligation; and then they were bound to no Duty, nor in hope of any Reward, nor in Danger of any Punishment for [Page 192] Disobedience: For where there is no Law, there is no Transgression.

§. 12. It is certain, That they are not under the Rule of the Covenant of Innocency made to Adam, or the Law of Innocency, as containing the Precept, pre­miant and penal parts, which is the same with the Covenant as offered. This I proved before: (Though I was long ignorant how far that Cove­nant was repealed, till Mr. Lawson's Papers (which I laboured to confute) did begin to enlighten me.) God now saith to no man [I give thee life on condition thou be personally innocent, and perfectly obedient:] Nor doth he say [I command thee to be perfectly innocent, sinless, and obedient, that thou ma [...]st live:] For no man is a Subject capable of such a Command or Promise, being already a Sin­ner.

§. 13. If any should think that they are under the bare preceptive part of the Law of Innocency, with the penal part, without any Promise, or pre­miant part, or hope of life, this is certainly a mi­stake.

Because, 1. God hath no such Law, nor never had, which hath no Promise, or premiant part; and is not in a Covenant-form, what he doth by the Devils, belongeth not to our Question; but as to Men, they must be under a Covenant of Works, or of Grace. And it were a hard Conceit to think, that the far greatest part of Mankind had never any means to use for their Salvation, nor any thing to do for it, but were under a meer Sentence of De­spair and Damnation, as the Devils are, without any offer of Help or Hope; and consequently that none of them all are guilty of refusing any such Mercy, or neglecting any such Means and Duty.

[Page 193]2. The very nature of Law and Government tell us, That if God command any Duty, it is that the Subject may be the better for it; and he never saith to any [obey me perfectly, and thou shalt be never the better for it.]

§. 14. Besides, the very Precept is not in force in that sence as it stood in the Law of Innocen­cy; for so it bound only innocent Man to keep his Innocency: But God saith not, Keep that which thou hast lost.

§. 15. Obj. God is not bound to change his Law, if man sin.

Ans. I answered this before, That God is not the Changer: But the Law will not continue to be a Law, but by continuing to signifie God's govern­ing Will: And it cannot so signifie his governing Will, when there is no Subject to be a capable ter­minus: So that it ceased, cessante capacitate subdi­ti, vel cessante termino. To say, That the Law still signifieth what God would have had man do while he was capable, is true; but that saith no more but that [It was once a Law, and now is none:] For so it may do by the dead, yea, were they annihilated, even tell others what God would have had them do, but this is not a ruling Act; but Lex transit in sententiam. And to say, That at least the Law bindeth a Sinner to perfect Obedience for the time to come, is to say, That it binds not as the Law of Innocency, but as some other Law, of which we are enquiring.

§. 16. And it is a clear Truth (before pro­ved) That God brought all Mankind in Adam un­der a Law and Covenant of Grace, founded in the Promise of the Victory of the Woman's Seed: And his dealing with all men ever since, doth fully confirm [Page 194] it. And this Law made to Mankind in Adam and Noah, was never repealed to the World, but per­fected by a perfecter Edition to those that have the Gospel. Therefore we have two Questions here to consider. 1. What Law the World was un­der before Christ's Incarnation: And, 2. whether Christ repealed it to them?

§. 17. 1st. And it is proved, That on God's part the said Law of Grace continued: And man's Disobedience could not here nullifie the Law, as it did that of Innocency: Because it was a Law that allowed Repentance till the time of Death: So that when they sinned never so much, they were still obliged by it to repent, that they might be saved. Their Rebellion deprived them of the Benefit, but did not end the Law, nor rendered them uncapable of its Obligation. God made A­dam, and after him the Heads of Families his Priests: He had then publick Worship natural, and instituted sacrificing, and the distinction of clean and unclean Beasts, Sabbath and Marriage, as well as calling on the Name of the Lord, are expressed: As the Covenant to Noah was the same with that to Adam, with some small Addition, so no doubt were the Precepts of Noah. As the Canaani [...]es sacrificed, so their marrying in the prohibited Degrees, is called one of their Abominations: It's very probable, that not only the Decalogue in sence; but also all, or most of the particular Mo­saical Precepts, which are but the Instances, Ex­plications, and Applications of those Generals, were given before the Flood; and some more, which even the Nations Traditions kept some remem­brance of, though not named particularly in the Text.

[Page 195]§. 18. And it was not God's Covenant of Pe­culiarity with Abraham and the Iews, that ended it to the rest of the World (as I before pro­ved.)

§. 19. So that though there be difficulty in opening the Terms of the Law of Grace, as it stood to all Mankind besides the Iews, there is no difficulty to prove, that it did indeed so con­tinue.

§. 20. And that Christ hath not repealed or nullified that Law of Grace to the World that ne­ver have the Gospel, which they were under be­fore his coming, is evident. 1. Because he came for the Benefit, and not the Destruction of the World, to make their Condition better, and not worse: But had he nullified that Law of Grace to all the World, and given them no better in its stead, save to a few, he had come directly by himself to take away their Mercies, and make them miserable. For it is certain, that though the Apostles Commission was to preach the Gospel to all Nati­ons, and every Creature, yet it is comparatively but a small part of the World that ever heard it, or had the means to know and believe in Christ. And all the rest were under a Law of Grace before, and therefore are so still. 2. And [...] Christ re­pealed that Law, by which Act did he do it? Not by making a better Edition, for that could not have any such Effect to them that never did, or could know of that Edition: And there is no other Re­peal to be found in Scripture. 3. And if the Law of Grace be nullified to all the World that hear not the Gospel, are they since under any Law of God, or none; if none, they are either no Men or dam­ned Men; for they are no governed Subjects: If they [Page 196] are under any, what is it? The Law of Innocency I have proved it is not: And the GOSPEL (or second Edition of the Law of Grace) it is not: For that cannot oblige where it never is promul­gate: It being a supernatural Revelation, can ex­tend to none to whom it is not (directly or in­directly) sent: Therefore it is evident, that Christ leaveth such under that Law which he found them under.

§. 21. What this Law to the World contain­eth, having before opened, Chap. 12. §. 3. I shall not repeat it, but only here add, 1. It is cer­tain, that though this Law make perfect Obedience for the future to be a Duty (to them and us) yet not to be the Condition of Salvation; but that it doth hereto accept sincerity. 2. That it maketh not the particular Articles of our present Creed about Christ's person, Birth, Life, Death, Re­surrection, heavenly Intercession in our Nature, necessary to their Salvation: For before Christ's Coming, no Jewish Believers could believe, That this Iesus, in his demonstrable Person, is the Christ, but that Christ should come: And after he had long taught them, and pronounced them blessed, the Disciples knew not that he must die, rise, a­scend, interced [...] in Heaven, come again, &c. 3. It is certain, that all that the Prophets had any way foretold of Christ to the Iews, was not of absolute necessity to Salva­tionLuke 24. to the Iews themselves to be understood, much less to the World that never heard it: For Christ proved out of the Prophets, That he was to die, and rise, and so to be glorified; when yet the Apostles had not understood it till that time. And the Jewish Believers had very dark [Page 197] (if not erroneous) Notions of the person of the Messiah to come. And to believe that he should be of Abraham's S [...]ed, as it was part of Abraham's Covenant of Peculiarity, so it seemeth to be neces­sary only to such as were under, or knew that Covenant, and not to all.

§. 22. And it is certain, that when the Messiah was come, they were not bound to believe that he was yet to come (though they knew not of his coming) because it was then an Untruth.

§. 23. The proclaimed Name of God, Exod. 24. with Psal. 19. Prov. 1. Act. 10. and 14. and 17. Rom. 1. and 2. Heb. 6. 11. do seem to be the Expo­sitions of the true Sence and Tenour of that Law of Grace, Gen. 3. 15. which the World before Christ's coming, was under, and yet is, where the Gospel cannot be had.

§. 24. The Texts that say, He that believeth not shall be damned, plainly refer to such as hear the Word to be believed, and speak of the Unbelief of what is revealed, and not of what is unre­vealed.

§. 25. Rom. 10. saith no more, but that no man can believe in Christ without the Revelation of him by preaching or declaring; and that no man that heareth, can be saved without believing in him, nor no man saved at all without that Faith, which the Law that he is under, maketh necessary to Sal­vation. But if all were damned that believed not that this Iesus is personally the Christ, all before his Incarnation must be damned: But if not all before, then the same thing was never made necessary after to all that could not possibly hear of it.

§. 26. The same I say of Ioh. 14. 6. No man cometh to the Father, but by me. 1. No man is re­conciled [Page 198] to God, and pardoned, and hath right to life (in all Ages of the World) but for the sake of the meritorious Sacrifice and Righteousness of Christ, as promised, Gen. 3. 1. before, and performed after: But this was the part of God and our Redeemer, which he promised in his part of the Covenant, and performed: For God was in Christ reconciling the World to himself, not imputing to them their sins, (so far forgiving them, as to make an Act of Grace and Pardon, which he committed to his Ministers to proclaim,) 2 Cor. 5. 19. But, 2. on mans part it is not the knowledge and belief of this Iesus incarnate personally, that was made necessary to all before his coming, and therefore not to all after. No man ever came to the Father, but by the Son's Merit and Spirit; nor without a consent­ing Belief and Affiance in God's redeeming or re­covering, pardoning, saving Mercy, and true Re­pentance, and a sanctified Soul, which is in love with God and goodness: And whatever was ab­solutely necessary in the terms of the first Edition of the Covenant of Grace, even to all the World before Christ's Incarnation. But Christ never meant, that no man before his Incarnation (or since, that heard not of him) did come to the Fa­ther without believing that which the Apostles themselves long believed not, after they followed Christ.

§. 27. The rest of the World were not bound to know so much of the Messiah as the Iews, as having not the same Revelation.

§. 28. 1. Having proved that it is a Law of Grace that all the World is to be ruled and judged by, it remaineth to be enquired, Whether any of them that have not the Gospel, do keep the Conditions [Page 199] of this Law, and so are justified by it, and sa­ved?

To which I answer, 1. That being a matter of fact, it is not of so great Importance for us to be certain of it, as some imagine: And who can be certain of the Affirmative, unless the Scrip­ture affirm it; when if we knew all the World, one man cannot be certain of anothers Sinceri­ty? And much less can any be certain of the Negative, without Scripture Negation, seeing no man can know every man in the World, and every Heart.

§. 29. 2. But it is exceeding probable, at least, That God would never govern many hundred parts of the World (compared to the Iews) before Christ's Incarnation, and five sixth parts since his Incarnation, by a Law of Grace, which yet no person should ever have effectual Grace to keep as far as was necessary to his Salva­tion. Every Law of God is a Means, and ap­pointeth the Subjects the use of much Means for their own Salvation: These means they are bound to use, and shall be condemned, if they use them not; and that none should ever use them savingly, is an Assertion so unlikely, that he that hath the boldness to affirm it, should bring certain Proof of it, which the Scripture; I think, doth not afford him.

§. 30. But what numbers do perform the Con­dition and are saved, no mortal man can tell: But in general we know, that God usually work­eth in Congruity to his appointed means, and conse­quently that far fewer are saved where less means is vouchsafed, than among Christians who have herein the unvaluable pre-eminence above others.

[Page 200]§. 31. For as the Jews had both the common Covenant of Grace, and also the Covenant of Pecu­liarity, setting them above all others; so the Chri­stian Church hath both the common Covenant of Grace, and by the second edition of it a Covenant of Peculiarity; both sealed by Baptism and the Lord's Supper, as the Jews Covenant was by Cir­cumcision and the Passover: Yea, our Covenant. Privileges set us above the World, incomparably higher than the J [...]ws were.

§. 32. Yet should we take warning by the example of the Jews Pride, who were so confi­dent that none were saved or beloved but them­selves, that they despised the rest of the World, and provoked God to cut them off, and call the Gentiles into higher privileges: So some Chri­stians so trust to their Gospel-Peculiarities, (as the Jews did to their Law) that they despise all the World besides themselves, and can easilier believe that God will damn a thousand millions that never heard the Gospel than one of them, who have no more real Holiness, than many of those whom they despise. But it is our Duty to be thankful both for our excellent Peculiarities, and also for the commoner Mercies unto others.

And I wish the impartial Reader to study, Mal. 1. 10, 11. whether even this be not the sence, [Nor will I accept an Offering at your hand, for from the rising of the Sun to the going down of the same, my name is great among the Gentiles, and in every place Incense offered to my name, and a pure Offering: For my name is great among the Heathen, saith the Lord of hosts; but ye have polluted it.] Our Translators have, as Expositors, thrice (at the least) added the future Tense [shall be]. But [Page 201] all the old Translations, Syriack, Calde [...] Paraph. Greek, Latin, &c. put it in the present Tense [is great, is offered.] I do but desire the Reader to study it. It's strange, that all the ancient Churches should misunderstand it. It seems more probable by the Context that the Hebrew Text un­derstood the present Tense (none being expres­sed.)

§. 33. If we might imitate our Father Abraham (who yet saw Christ's day and rejoiced) we should suppose the number of the saved through the world, to be very considerable: For as I said elsewhere, though God had told him, that Sodom was so much worse than the rest of the World, that God would destroy it, yet Abraham thought there might be fifty righteous persons there. It's like he thought not worse of the rest of the World.

§. 34. Obj. You seem to make the rest of the World happier than the Iews; for they had a Law that would justifie them, and so had not the Iews.

Ans. The second assertion is false: The Jews were under the Law of Grace, which Paul calleth the Promise, and might be justified by it, and had greater helps to know and keep it than the rest of the World had. But when they foolishly se­parated their Mosaical Law from the Promise or common Law of Grace, Paul tells them, by the Deeds of that Law no flesh could be justified.

§. 35. Obj. Do you not thus confound the World and the Church?

Ans. No: I ask you, Did he confound them before Christ's Incarnation, who thought that more than the Jews were saved? Certainly no: No more do I now.

§. 36. The word [Church] is sometime taken so properly and strictly, as to signifie only those [Page 202] that are under the Covenant of Peculiarity: And so the Jews before Christ's Birth, and Christians since, make up the Church, (and some few per­haps before the Iews Covenant.) But sometimes it is taken more largely, for the Kingdom of God: For all that are in a state of Salvation, under the several editions of the Law of Grace. And so Iob and his Friends, and Melchizedeck and many others, before, and all now that love God and Holiness sincerely, are of the Church. Accor­dingly by the [World] is meant, either, 1. All Men as under the Redeemer's Law of Grace, antece­dently to their Consent; and so all the World be­long to God's Kingdom, as subditi obligati. 2. Re­bels that refuse Consent: And so they are of the Kingdom by obligation, but condemnable for Re­bellion: And these are the [World] in the worst sence. 3. Consenting Subjects under the Common Law of Grace, who yet were not Iews, nor are not in the Covenant of Peculiarity: And such are in a state of Salvation, though not in the Church of the peculiar (as the Subjects of Melchizedeck, Sem, &c.) and so are both in the Church and in the World, in several sences.

§. 37. Having delivered that in this great Que­stion which seemeth to me agreeable to God's Word, I advise those that use to assault such things with reproach, which they find reproached by their Party, to remember, that God is Love, and Christ is the Saviour of the World, and the Pharisaical Appropriators of Mercy and Salvation, do seldom know what spirit they are of.

CHAP. XVII. Of the Necessity of Holiness, and of Moral Uirtue.

§. 1. HOLINESS is our Dedication, Separa­tion, or Devotedness to God, and alie­nation from all that stands in compe­titionZech. 14. 20, 21. 2 Tim. 1. 9. Heb. 3. 1. 1 Pet. 1. 15, 16. & 2. 5, 9. 2 Pet. 3. 11. Exod. 19. 6. Deut. 7. 6. & 26. 19. & 28. 9. Isa. 62. 12. Rom. 11. 16. or contrariety to God.

§. 2. It is our Separation to God as the Creator of our Nature, and our Redeemer, and the Author of Grace, and our Felicity, and the Cause of Glory: As the first Efficient, supreme Dirigent, and ulti­mately final Cause.

§. 3. It is our separation to God as our Owner by Resignation, as our Ruler by Obedience, and as our Benefactor and ultimate End by Thankfulness and Love, in the acknowledgment of his infinite power, wisdom and goodness, as essential to himself, and re­lated to his works.

§. 4. Holiness is our dispositive, actual, and rela­tive separation to God; 1. When our Souls are habitually inclined to God and to his Will. 2. When we actually give up our selves to God and to his will; by Consent first, and Obedience and Love after. 3. It signifieth the relation of the Person as thus [Page 204] habitually and actually separated. (A holy Priest­hood, 1 Pet. 2. 5, 9, 11.)

§. 5. Holiness is the Habit and Act of all the three Faculties of the rational Soul; viz. 1. Of the vitael Active Power by1 Thes. 5. 23. Eph. 1. 18, 19. Act. 26. 18. 1 Cor. 3. 17. & 7. 14, 34. Quickening and Strength. 2. Of the Intellect by Illumination. 3. Of the Will by Conversion, Love or Compla­cency.

§. 6. The Soul as sensitive, and the body it self, are said to be sanctified, so far as they are dis­positively and actually subject and subservient to a holy Soul in Holiness, and related accordingly as se­parate to God.

§. 7. Our Holiness is no alienation from the Creature as a Creature, in its due place and subor­dination to the Creator, but contrarily containeth our Honour of, and Love to, all God's Creatures for his sake and impress, and a devoting of all that is ours to his use: But it containeth a renunciation of that which is a­gainstLuk. 14, 26, 27, 31, 33. his Honour and Government and Love, as such.

§. 8. As God communicateth Holiness really and relatively to Man, so holy persons communicate such Holiness to Creatures below them, as consist­eth in the use and relation of things separated to God, by a due separation of them by their dedica­tion and holy use: and that in various de­grees.

§. 9. True Holiness is the Health, the Rectitude, the Honesty, the Justice of man'sHeb. 12. 14. Col. 1. 22. Eph. 1. 4. & 5. 27. 1 Pe [...]. 1. 16. Soul; and therefore necessary, as his Duty by God's Law, even [Page 205] of Nature, and to his Happiness both in the very nature of the thing, and by the determination of God's Law. It is a contradiction to be happy and unholy, Rev. 20. 6.

§. 10. Holiness is the end or perfection of our Nature, and God's chief Interest in man, and is be­gun by Grace and perfected in Glory.Eph. 5. 27. & 4. 16, &c.

§. 11. The Fear of God and his Iudgments, and a Care of our own Souls, and a Sorrow for Sin, and a desire of Happiness, may be not only Prepa­ratives, but lower parts of Holiness; but the true formal specifying nature of it consisteth in a love of God's infinite goodness, and a Will addicted to obey his Will, or a Pleasedness in pleasing Him Col. 1. 10. 1 Thess. 2. 4. 1 Iohn 3. 22. Heb. 13. 21. Col. 3. 20. Heb. 11. 5.: This is Holiness.

§. 12. Because a man is denominated according to the predominant bent of his Will (or Soul) he is not to be called Holy who hath some slight in­clination to please God, and more to please his own carnal Appetite and Will; or greater love to the Creature than to God.

§. 13. Christ himself came into the World to recover sinful Man by Holiness Luk. 1. 75. Eph. 4. 24. 1 Thess. 4. 7. Heb. 12. 10. Rom. 8. 1, 9. to God, and disdained not to be a means of Man's Sanctification, and to make this the notable operation of his Holy Spirit on us.

§. 14. Whatsoever Law Men are under, before Christ or since, Jew or Gentile, Works or Grace, no man can be saved and happy without Holi­ness; that is, unless they be devoted in Obe­dience [Page 206] and Love to GOD and Goodness.

§. 15. No man can be damned that is holy, while such; nor can God hate and make misera­ble those that truly love him and his governing Will.

§. 16. Yet a person that is holy may deserve Damnation, by deserving to be denied that help of the Holy Spirit by which his Holiness must be continu­ed: And as to be saved is to be perfectly sanctified, so to deserve Hell, is to deserve to be forsaken, to the [...]o [...]al loss of Holiness. And so though it be hard for us to know whether Adam's first loss of Inno­cency was a total loss of Holiness, yet if it were not, it was a forfeiture of divine help, and so a mediate loss of it. And so a man that loveth God sincerely, may by great Sin deserve to be de­prived of the Spirit, and therefore we must pray for the pardon of such desert for the sake of Christ, though we cannot be damned or miserable while holy.

§. 17. Obj. But how doth God love a holy Soul if he forsake him, and with-hold his Spirit? And if he be not loved of God, he is miserable? If he be loved, he will not be forsaken.

Ans. Answer this your self as to the Case of the Angels and Adam. God loved them, and yet not so as to secure them from the loss of Grace: But he so far loved them efficiently, as to give them that grace by which they could persevere; but not that by which they necessarily should per­severe; and he loved them complacentially, ac­cording to the goodness which was in them, and yet they lost it.

§. 18. Obj. That is because they were left to their Free will, and had but sufficient Grace, and [Page 207] not efficacious determining Grace: But it is now other­wise with all true Believers.

Ans. True Believers have not determining efficacious Grace, to prevent all sin, nor all such sin as Noah, Lot, David, Peter did commit: And that sin deserveth an answerable desertion of God, it being a deserting him first so far: And though God pardon it, yet the desert is presupposed to the pardon; for it is desert of punishment that is pardoned.

§. 19. Quest. If a man were holy, (that is, an obedient Lover of God and Goodness) without Faith in Christ, would that save him?

Answ. 1. The Covenants of Grace requireth various degrees of Faith, according to its several editions and promulgations: It is not the same degree of Faith, as to the Objects extensively, which was required of Jewish Believers before Christ's Incarnation, as is now of us, nor the same degree that was required of all the rest of the World as of the Jews. 2. But such a Faith in God our Redeemer as that Law which men are un­der maketh necessary to Salvation, is necessary to Holiness: And to ask what God will do with a man that is holy without Faith, is to talk of a non­existent Subject: There is no such man; for without Faith it is impossible to please God: for he that cometh to God must believe that God is, and that he is the Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, notwithstanding original and actual Sin, and the Law of Innocency condemning us; and there­fore that he is under a pardoning and rewarding Law of Grace, Heb. 11. 6. No man can be san­ctified without the Merit, Doctrine and Spirit of Christ, nor without that degree of Faith which [Page 208] the Covenant which he is under requireth.

§. 20. Quest. What if a man that was sancti­fied by believing, should retain his Holiness, or Love and Obedience, and lose his Faith in Christ?

Answ. It is a thing that never was nor will be; and not to be disputed of.

§. 21. Moral Virtue in the proper sence of the word, is the same thing as Holiness taken com­prehensively, as containing our Love and Duty to God, and to man for God's sake: But as Holiness is taken narrowly for our Love and Duty to God, as distinct from our Love and Duty to Man, so Moral Virtue is the genus, and Holiness the chief species of it. And thus we take Moral Virtue and Moral Action, and so all Morality, as contradi­stinct from Physicks or things meerly natural, not falling under the genus moris: And so Virtue and Vice (or Sin) are all that is Moral, that is, Moral Good and Moral Evil: And this is the first and most notable sence of the word.

But some of late have used Moral as contra­distinct from Holiness or Grace, or from infused Habits, or from Faith and Christianity; and some tell us confidently but falsly, That this is the most fit and famous sence, and the word so to be taken when not otherwise explained. It's the sad case of Mankind, that we have no words but what are liable to ambiguity: And it's the unhappiness of the Church that hath so many Teachers that will dispute, write, and wrangle about words unex­plained, and in the end shew, that under di­vers terms they mean the same matter in which they are agreed and know not their Agree­ment.

[Page 209]§. 22. As Holiness is sometimes taken so large­ly, as to comprehend all that God commandeth, and sometimes for the natural part of our Duty (Love and Obedience) as distinct from Faith in Christ, which is the mediate Grace, and of super­natural revelation; so is Morality or moral Virtue distinguished.

§. 23. They that take moral Virtue Phil. 4. 8. 2 Pet. 1. 3, 5. Pro. 12. 4. 31. & 31. 29. so narrowly and improperly, as to mean no other moral Virtue than Heathens had, or than is taught in Aristotle's Ethicks, should first tell us, That this is their sence; and then they may boldly declaim against those Preachers that take this for sufficient; or that preach no other: For Scripture and Christianity were to little pur­pose if they taught us no more than the Wri­tings of Philosophers do.

§. 24. And no doubt but it is a pitiful sign and an odious Crime in a Minister of Christ, to say little to the People of the Mysteries of Man's Redemption, the Person, and Offices, and Works of Christ, the Covenant of Grace, and the spe­cial Blessings given by it, our Union with Christ, Justification, Adoption, and the special Works of the Spirit on Mens Souls, and all the Duties and Pleasures of a Heavenly Conversation, in the love of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit, and all this un­der pretence of magnitying and preaching up the Love of our Brethren, and Charity to the Poor, and Iustice, and Temperance; as if Man were our God, and to wrong man were the only Sin, and to wrong God were none, or God could be no other­waies wronged.

[Page 210]§. 25. But Covetousness and Pride contradicteth their own Doctrine: For among their good works those of Piety are first extolled; and those are the enriching of the Church, and that is themselves; and why them more than the poorer People about us? Because they are sacred persons, and belong to God, and serve at his Altars? Very good. And is Piety to a sacred person (and such as they) so great a Duty, and yet our Piety as immediately to God himself, an indifferent thing, in comparison of our Duty to Man? Yea, some usually make that part of their Piety which consisteth in the obser­vance of their own Traditions and unnecessary In­junctions, to seem of great weight, while the holy observance of God's own Laws is perhaps ac­cused as too much preciseness or hypocris [...]s; when in­deed the Hypocrite is he, that instead of the life and serious practice of true Christian-Holiness, sets up and resteth in the Image of Holiness, and certain formalities, that are lifeless, to deceive himself and others.

§. 26. Where there is no Faith and Love to God, nor Duty done in obedience to God, there is no true moral Virtue, but somewhat equivocally so called, whatever good such may do to the Common-wealth or to their Neighbors; for it wanteth the principle, end and object that should inform it.

§. 27. An Hypocrite may be said to have moral Virtue, as he may be said to have Holiness, that is, only secundum quid, yea, but analogically; yea, but equivocally, in that he hath no other sort of Faith and Love and Obedience.

§. 28. An Infidel's moral Virtue, and all unsan­ctified Heathens or other persons, is of the same sort only with this described of the Hypocrite: [Page 211] And they err not that say, They have no true moral Virtue, but analogical.

§. 29. Yet Nature and common Grace do give men that which is truly good (and not only minus malum) and may do much good to others, and some to them­selves, and is truly laudable and amiable, considered without the mixture simply in it self: But because the contrary evil is still the predominant part in all the unsanctified, it will not properly denominate them good men, nor the whole action a good action, save equivocally, analogically or secundum quid; because the form denominateth, which is here wanting.

§. 30. But if any one think otherwise, that the name of moral Virtue, yea, or Holiness, is due to the best actions or habits of Heathens, Hypocrites, or any unsanctified men, it is but a Controversie de nomine, and no otherwise to be regarded, while we agree of the things signified by that name.

§. 31. It is certain, that now there is no moral good, in any man on Earth, that is not the effect of some Grace of God, common or special; for even Nature now as reprieved, and maintained is an effect of common Grace; much more further gifts: But it is perverseness in some School-men, who make com­mon Grace and special (at least as to Faith) to be differenced only in the Causation, one being not in­fused and the other infused, but the same in act, and so that no man can know whether he have infused or acquired Faith (which some call but a Moral Virtue.)

CHAP. XVIII. Of the necessity of Faith in Christ, where the Gospel is made known.

§. 1. INfidels take scandal from Christ's making Faith in himself to be so necessary to our Salvation, as if it tended only to his Honour, and were in its own Nature of no necessity to our hap­piness, but arbitrarily made so.

§. 2. And their reason also against this neces­sity, is, because believing is an act of the Intellect; and Intellection is not free, and in its self is no mo­ral Act. A man cannot know or believe what he would, no, though he most earnestly desired it: And will God condemn men for that which they fain would do, and cannot? Especially when mens intellectual Capacities do so greatly differ, that some seem to differ but little from the Brutes.

§. 3. This Scandal ariseth from their not well understanding the Nature and Reasons of our Faith in Christ. 1. They falsely suppose it to be only an Act of the Intellect (where many Divines have given them the Scandal.) 2. They falsely sup­pose, That the Intellect herein is necessitated to un­belief. 3. And they consider not the Ends and Uses of our Faith.

§. 4. 1. The true nature of our Faith, is our Trusting in Christ, as our Saviour, who hath reconciled us to God, by his Sacrifice and Merit, that he may bring us to God, by Iustification, Adoption, Sanctifica­tion, and Glory. It containeth Assent, Consent, [Page 213] and Affiance, though through penury of Words, we are fain to call it by some one of these names oft-times, as the occasion requireth: But indeed the very sence of [...], fides, and Trust, includeth all. And when the Act of the Intellect only is named, it is as including, or informing both the other.

§. 5. 2. Though the Intellect be not free of it self, it is free by participation, being quoad exer­citum, under the Empire of the Will that is free. And the Will by commanding it to act, search, think, of the Evidences of Verity, may do so much towards the specifying of the Act, as that the meer weakness of Understanding without the fault of a vicious Will, shall keep no man in damnable Un­belief.

§. 6. For Christ hath many ways provided a­gainst meer Weakness of our Understanding: 1. By the fewness and plainness of necessary Articles of Faith: 2. By the fulness of Evidence of Credibili­ty: 3. By great Means and Helps for our Faith, which he appointeth: 4. And by the powerful Helps of his Spirit, which is ready to illuminate us by these means.

§. 7. No man was ever yet known, that could say [I have done my best to have obtained Faith, and did not obtain it.] Though many can say, I earnestly desired to believe, and could not: Because those may desire it, that yet use not the means a­right and faithfully, and that indulge their own Prejudices, or carnal Lusts, which hinder it.

§. 8. 3: In the saving of Sinners, there is consi­derable: 1. The great Benefits already given in the Purchase, Merits and Covenant: 2. The grea­ter Benefits offered, and to be received hereafter:

[Page 214]3. The Means to be used on our part for obtaining them. 4. The danger and loss, if we miss of them. 5. The ultimate End of him that giveth them.

§. 9. And, 1. will not any reasonable Infidel confess, That Thankfulness is naturally due for great and inestimable Benefits? And how can a man be thankful for that which he believeth not was ever done for him, or given him? Or can he be thankful to he knoweth not whom?

§. 10. 2. Do not great Benefits freely offered, require Acceptance? And how can a man accept of that which he believeth not was ever purchased, procured, or offered him? Will you accept a sha­dow?

§. 11. 3. Christ never meant to carry Slug­gards asleep to Heaven, but to save them in the use of his appointed means. 1. They must learn and obey his Doctrine; and can they obey it that believe it not? 2. They must take Heaven procured by a Redeemer for their Hope and Portion, and love, de­sire, and seek it above all: And who will do this, that believeth it not, and the Word that promiseth it? 3. They must take Christ for their Guide, and Mediator, and Intercessor, to bring them thither; and they must forsake all here that stands in com­petition, that they may obtain it: And can you do this, and not believe and trust him that must save you? Will you venture your life in the Hands of a Physician, and take his Medicines, if you be­lieve not that he hath Skill and Will to cure you? Will you leave your Country, and follow one o­ver Seas, that promiseth you a Kingdom, if you trust him not?

[Page 215]§. 12. 4. And who will avoid Sin, Temptati­ons, and Hell, that believeth not him that tells them of the evil, and of the danger that is before him?

§. 13. 5. And God can have no lower End ulti­mately than Himself, and the Glory of our Redee­mer is more excellent than mine or yours. And therefore if We have the Salvation, it is meet and necessary that God and our Redeemer have the Love and Thanks, the Praise and Glory of it.

§. 14. Yet hath not God arbitrarily made Faith more necessary than it is in the true Reason and Aptitude of it to its Ends. He hath not made to all a Faith so necessary of Christ, and his Interces­sion; and therefore though Infants and Ideots can­not actually believe, they may be saved by Christ: And though those before Christ believed not all that we must now believe, nor the Gentiles before, so much as the Iews, yet neither of them were thereby excluded from Salvation.

§. 15. Quest. Hath not Christ made the Case of Christians harder than it was before his Incarnation, to Believers, by making so many more Articles of our Faith, and those of necessity to our Salvation?

Ans. No, no more than it is our Misery to accept of more Mercies and Benefits than were offered to others. Our Belief is not of numerous unnecessary difficulties, but it is of such things as we must receive, and be Partakers of; it is the means of our use and fruition: Who would take it for a Misery to be­lieve that the King will give him a Lordship, or that a rich Man will give him so much Money, if he will come and thankfully accept it? Every act of belief is but a means to some Benefit to be re­ceived.

§. 16. As Christ is the way to the Father, and the Mediator is to bring us unto God, so Faith in Christ is the Mediate, or healing Grace to help us to Holiness, or the Love of God, which being its End, is as much more noble than Faith in Christ: And Faith kindling Love to God, and Goodness, and Men; and Love kindled by Faith, is the Sum of the Christian Religion. And it is no Disparage­ment to Christ and Faith in him, to be taken for a Means; or to trust him, as one that will save to the uttermost all that come to God by him.

CHAP. XIX. Of the State of Infants as to Salvation.

§. 1. I Have said so much of this in two Books a­gainst the Anabaptists, and in my Christian Directory, that I shall therefore here be brief. What measure of Glory, and holy intellectual ope­rations Infants shall have after Death, we know not; but we have reason to judge, that they shall not be like Brutes, nor so unintelligent as in the Body, nor sleep in an unactive Potentiality; but be, intellectual Agents.

§. 2. The Conceits of a middle state of those unbaptized, as having poenam damni, and not p [...] ­nam sensus, we know not what to make of, unless they suppose them to be not actually, but only po­tentially intelligent: For one that is deprived of true felicity, must by knowing it, have the sense of his Privation. Nor do we find in Scripture any Proof [Page 217] of their middle State, however Reason may think it congruous.

§. 3. They that think all Infants saved, go on these different grounds: 1. Some think that they have no sin: But if Pelagians could prove that, it would be no Proof that they shall have Heaven or Happiness. 2. Others think that Christ hath pardoned them all that sin which was derived from Adam: But either they mean, that his Sacrifice and Merit immediately pardoned it; or that he hath pardoned them all by the Covenant, or Law of Grace. But, 1. Christ's Sacrifice and Merits are given to God for Man, and pardon no man immediately, but only Merit a pardoning Covenant. 2. And that Covenant doth indeed in tantum, pardon all men as far as common Mercy amounteth to (for the remitting any part of the punishment, is so far to remit the sin.) But the saving-pardon in question, it giveth to no man actually before the Condition be performed; for it is but a conditio­nal Pardon: Therefore as no one at age, so no Infant hath any Pardon given him by that Cove­nant, that I can find, but only conditionally.

§. 4. All grant, That the Covenant pardoneth the Adult only conditionally; and if it should par­don all Infants absolutely, their Condition would be so much more happy than that of the Adult, as is not consistent with what Scripture, Reason, and Experience speaketh. And there is no such thing said of them in the Word of God, and there­fore not to be believed.

§. 5. Those that think not all Infants (so dy­ing) to be saved and glorified, are also of se­veral minds. 1. Some think that none are glorified, as being uncapable Subjects (whom I will not be­stow [Page 218] the labour to confute, nor to open the ill Consequents of it.) 2. Some think, that some are glorified, but none are positively punished with the poena sensus. These seem to me less rational than the former: For either Infants will have actual In­tellection, and answerable Joys and Sorrows, or not: If not, the former, who reduce them all to meer Potentiality, or the state of Brutes, are in the right (of whom some will have them to be Via­t [...]res after Death in vehiculo a [...]reo, and some are for their Transmigration, and return to Earth.) If yea, then as one part will have rational Joys, the other must have rational Sorrows, unless some re­turn to Earth, or some middle state, be better pro­ved than I have yet seen.

§. 6. 3. Some think, that all that are baptized, are saved, and no other, (though the rest have no Pain.) But, 1. this is not suitable to the Nature of God, as a Spirit, and as most wise and merci­ful; nor yet to the Tenor of his Word, to lay mens Salvation and Rejection upon a meer outward [...]eremony, or Act of Baptizing. The Seed of Be­lievers may want it in many Cases of Impedition; and the Children of Cannibals and Infidels, might by Souldiers be taken away by thousands and bap­tized against the Parents Wills, and then turned to them again to be educated: And who can believe that barbarous Souldiers that must themselves [...]e damned, can thus save thousands at [...] plea­sures? There are many Infants that have no right to Baptism; and why then should it save them▪

§. 7. 4. Some think, that all that are baptized by the Parents Con [...]int, are saved▪ But what if a Hea [...]hen, or Infidel, or Athent say, I believe not [Page 219] in God or Christ my self, but for worldly Ends, I desire my Child may be baptized (whether he say, I will, or I will not educate him u [...]to Christianity.) There is no shew of Reason, much less of Scripture, that this should save the Chil­dren that are no better offered to God.

§. 8. 5. Some say, That all that any Christi­an (Sinner or Hypocrite) offereth to God, and is so baptized, shall be saved; that is, That hath Christian Godfather or Godmother. But if so, then what if Christians take Heathens Children against their Wills, and baptize them, and then turn them home again? Are they saved by the Ceremony, or by Consent to the Covenant? Not by the meer Ge­remony, as is, and shall be shewed: Not by Con­sent of any such Christian that hath no right to them, nor power to represent them; else all the Children on Earth should be saved: For Christians would sit at home and consent for them, and dedi­cate them to God unseen: And sure God would not refuse to save them, because of distance, nor be­cause unseen (for the Godfather may be blind); nor because unbaptized; when it cannot be had, and the Child hindereth it not.

§. 9. 6. Some say, That it is the Churches Faith, and dedicating them to God in Baptism that is the Condition of their Salvation: But this is not in­telligible. If by the Church they mean all the Christian World, or all a National Church, or all a Diocesan Church, yea, or all a Parish-Church, they use not to be all Godfathers, nor to offer other folks Children to be baptized; nor did I ever know one that had so common a [...]ote, or was so offered: If they mean that the Churches Faith [...]er­veth whoever be the Covenanter or Offerer, then [Page 220] all the Pagan World may have their Children sa­ved by the Churches Faith, or all that can be catcht up and baptized (and so the Ceremony doth it.) But if they mean by that Church the Bishops or Presbyters, whether it must be all the Bishops of the World, or of the Nation, or one Bishop, or the Pre­sbyter that baptizeth, every one may speak accord­ing to his own Invention and Fancy, but with no Proof from the Word of God or Reason (as the aforesaid Disproofs do manifest.)

§. 10. 7. Some say, That any one baptized by a Godfather's offer, who undertaketh for his Chri­stian Education, shall be saved, and no other. But, 1. The Godfather may have no Propriety in the Child, but steal him, shall that save him? 2. The Godfather may be an Hypocrite, and mean no­thing that he promiseth; and shall the Child be saved by his Lye that damneth the Lyer himself? 3. Why should a Promise of future Education save a Child that must die to morrow, or ere long? 4. But if it be the meer opus operatum of Baptizing that must save, that may be a Profanation when unduly applied; and the Priest's sin that damneth himself, cannot save others.

§. 11. 8. Some lay the hope upon Ancest [...]rs Faith, and say, That if the Great Grandfathers, or others before them were faithful, the Infants shall be saved: But then are all Men saved for Noah's Faith? Or how far must our Confidence ascend?

§. 12. 9. Most of the Anabaptists with us, hold, That there is no Promise, nor Assurance of the saving of any particular Infants in the World, either Christians or Heathens; but only that God electeth some, whom he will sanctifie and save, and [Page 221] reprobateth others, whom he will damn; without any notice given to the World who they be, or how many, or how few. So that we can­not say, that he will save Ten, or that he will damn Ten of all the World; nor have the Faithful any more promise than Heathens of the Salvation of their Infants, and so are not to baptize them.

§. 13. 10. The commonest Opinion among the English Calvinists, is, That God hath made no cer­tain Promise of the Salvation of any particular In­fant, but by his general Promise of mercy to the Seed of the Faithful, hath given us cause to hope that more of them than of others, shall be saved; and therefore that they are by Baptism to be entred into the visible Church, as we baptize the Adult, while we are not certain but they may be Hypo­crites.

§. 14. But I think this would not warrant their Baptism, nor give us any certain hope of any ones Salvation. God hath but one Covenant of Grace, which giveth us Christ and Life; and God hath or­dained no Baptism, but what is for the Remission of Sin, and making us Members of Christ, if we have the Conditions of Right to Baptism. The Adult profess Faith and Repentance; if they have them in sincerity, and consent with the Heart as well as the Tongue, they are certainly pardoned: If they are Hypocrites, and consent only with the Lips, they have notoriously the Qualification which the Church must require, and so are received to outward Communion, but not that which God re­quireth to Remission and Salvation. But if an Infant be the Child of a true Believer, he hath all that God and the Church require: And therefore if he [Page 222] be to be baptized, he is certainly put into a state of Life, because no Condition is wanting on his part.

§. 15. 11. Others say, That the Children of all Christians (Sinners, or Hypocri [...]es) if baptized, are in a state of Pardon and Salvation; and that God will not punish the Child for the Hypocrite or prophane Parents Sin. But by that rule Heathens Children should be in as safe a case, because God will not punish them for their Parents sin. Either something on the Parents part is a Condition of the Child's Right, or nothing. If nothing, Heathens and Christians Children are equal: If something, it must be true Faith (as to God's acceptance): For whatever the Church must do, (that knoweth not the Heart) it is incredible that God should have such a Covenant [Thy Child shall be saved if thou wilt, (though lyingly) offer him to me, tho▪ thou shalt be damned for that Lye.]

§. 16. 12. That which I acquiesce in is this: That God who visited Adam's Sin on all his Poste­rity, hath in the Covenant of Grace also so joined Infants to the Parents,See the full proof in my two Disput. of Original Sin. that till they have a Will to chuse for themselves, their Parents may chuse for them, and dispose of them for their good, and God taketh them as Members of the Parents so far: And so he hath made many express Promises of mercy to the Faith­ful and their Seed, (and Threatnings to the Wic­ked and their Seed): And that this Mercy can­not be consistent with their Damnation; for it is to be their God, and to love and bless them, which cannot stand with damning them. And God ha­ving but one Covenant, seeing they are in the same [Page 223] Covenant with their Parents, and not another, if it give Pardon to the Parents, it doth so also to the Child, of whom no Condition is required, but that he be offered by a believing Parent to God; whose Acceptance is Salvation.

§. 17. Therefore I think that the Synod of Dort truly conclude, Act. 1. 17. That faithful Pa­rents need not doubt of the Election and Salvation of their Children dying in infancy: The Covenant cer­tainly pardoneth and saveth them.

§. 18. But this is not only because they are born of their Bodies, nor yet is their Faith the efficient Cause of it; but there are two things go to qua­lifie the Receiver as the dispositive Condition, that is, 1. That he be the Child of a faithful Parent, who devote [...]h himself sincerely to God. 2. And that he be by the Parent devoted to God, by Consent, that he be in the mutual Covenant: Which virtually all the Faithful do that have Infants, because they devote themselves and theirs to God to the utmost of their Capacity. And the Recipient Sub­ject being thus qualified, God▪, Covenant pardoneth him, as the efficient Instrument, by signifying God's Will.

§. 19. Though the Promise here be not so plain, I deny not, that all true Propriet [...]rs, whose own the Child is, here be as Parents.

§. 20. God having not made the Case of Infants so plain to us as our own, that are Adult, there are difficult Objections against this way; but as it seems to me, much more against all the rest.

§. 21. The grand Objection is, That then some Infants lose a state of Salvation when they come to age. Ans▪ This will follow; but far ha [...]der [Page 224] things from all the rest: But, 1. This was thought no Absurdity for a Thousand years after the Apo­stles, when I cannot prove, that any one man thought that none of the Adult themselves fall away from true Sanctification and right to Life: When even Augustine the famous Defender of Election and Grace against Pelagius, thought that all the Elect only persevered, and that more were justified and sanctified than were Elect, and that the rest all fell away. 2. Davenant answereth this, That Infant-grace may be lost, and yet not the Grace of the Adult: Because it is but a Relative Regeneration, and an Extrinseck Remission of Sin, that giveth them Right to Impunity and Life, or if they are said to have the Spirit, it is not in a fixed Habit of Grace. If you say, They cannot be saved without real Holiness, I an­swer;

§. 22. 3. Distinguish of Holiness, and of the Season of it. 1. Infants have not actual Faith, nor necessarily a proper Habit, which is a disposition to facile acting that same act: But a semen, a Seed, (as Amesius rather calleth it than a Habit at first even in the Adult:) And Calvin saith, That some men, semen fidei qualecunque perdunt. Adam had such a Holiness as might be lost: And why may we not say, that Infants first▪ Grace is of such a sort or degree? 2. And yet that none are saved without more; but that upon this first degree they have a right to Salvation, and that their fur­ther Holiness shall be given them whom God will, as part of their Salvation, to which they have right: At furthest, at death, in the same time and manner as perfect Holiness and Mortificati­on of Sin is given to Believers that are till death [Page 225] imperfect. A loseable degree of Holiness like Adam's, may be the way to more in all that so die.

§. 23. Divines use to mention three degrees of Grace in order to Faith it self. 1. So much Grace as maketh a man able to believe, (which they call Sufficient Grace.) 2. So much more as efficiently determineth him to the Act of Believing: This they call effectual special Grace, and Protestants call it our Vocation effectual. 3. So much more as giveth him a fixed habit of Faith, Love, and all Holiness to­gether. This Papists call Iustification, and Prote­stants Sanctification. Vid. Amesii Medull. de voc. & sanct. Rolloc. de vocat. Bishop Downame against Pemble Append. to his Treatise of Perseve­rance, &c.

§. 24. Now some hold all these loseable: some hold only the last not loseable; and almost all hold the first loseable. Now, 1. What if we think that Infant's first Holiness, besides relative (Pardon, and jus ad impunitatem & regnum) is but of the first degree? Though a meer moral Power to be­lieve be not enough to the Adult, because the Act is necessary to them, yet say Pro­testants, The Habit is not necessary to their first Covenant-Right, but is given by the Spi­rit in sanctification as a Covenant-Benefit. And why may not Infants be in a pardoned state, that at first have but that Grace which giveth a moral Power to believe when they come to age? Con­sider of the matter.

§. 25. I have so fully elsewhereIn two Treatises for Infants Church-membership; and in my Review of Infant-Baptism. proved, That Infants Church-membership [Page 226] was instituted both in the Covenant of Innocency, in the first edition of the Covenant of Grace; in the Covenant of Peculiarity with Abraham, and in the last edition of the Covenant of Grace by Christ; and also that God never had a Church on Earth, of which Infants were not Members, if the adult Members had Infants, that I will now supersede that Work.

CHAP. XX. Of the Nature of Saving-Faith.

§. 1. SO much of this came in before on the by, as will excuse my brevity here. I have before shewed, That the Faith now in question is not meerly our general Belief and Trust in God, as a part of our Holiness, but the mediate Belief and Trust in God our Redeemer and our Saviour, which is made the Condition of the Covenant, & the means of our sanctification: And also that as the editions of the Covenant vary, and promulgation of it, so it is not the same degree or acts of Faith, as to the particular credenda or Articles to be believed, that was and is necessary to all persons in all times.

§. 2. Though the word [Belief] in English, and Assent in Latin, signifie strictly only the act of the Understanding, and Saving Faith is oft na­med from one act, yet really that Faith which in Scripture is made the Condition of Pardon and Salvation, doth essentially contain the Acts of every Faculty, even Assent, Consent, and Affiance; [Page 227] and [...] and fides do properly signifie Trust, even a consenting or voluntary Trust upon believing; as is afore said.

§. 3. We do very aptly call both the Act and Object by the same name fides in Latin, (and Faith in English, oft-times): For Faith is a trusting on another's Faith, Fidelity or Trustiness; and so the fides asserentis seu promittentis, & fides credentis, are related.

§. 4. The Faith that hath the promise of our Justification, is not to be called one only Physical act in specie (much less in numero): (That were but prophanely to jest with holy things); but it is a moral act or work of the Soul, containing many physical acts. Otherwise we should be all con­founded, not knowing how to distinguish of all our physical acts of Faith secundum speciem, and then to know which of them is the right: And it would be but some very little of the true Objects of Faith, that justifying Faith must be constituted by: In a word, the Absurdities are so numerous that would follow, that I will not be so tedious as to name them.

§. 5. Saving Faith is such a moral work as we use to express by the names, Believing, Trusting, Consenting, Taking, Accepting, Receiving, in Con­tracts personal with men. If we say [You shall Trust such a Physician, or take such a man for your Physician] all men understand us, and none is so logically mad, as to think that by Taking or Trusting we mean only some one physical act of the smallest distribution. If we say [I take this man for my King, my Master, my Commander or Captain, or this woman to be my Wife, &c.] every one knoweth here what Taking meaneth: viz. our Consent to [Page 228] that Relation, according to the nature and ends of it.

§. 6. Therefore though we use divers names for this Faith, and also on several occasions, give several half-descriptions of it, we mean still the same thing, and suppose what we omit to make the description entire.

§. 7. When we call Faith [a Believing] or [Assent] we mean such an Assent as prevaileth with the Will, to accept Christ with his Grace as offered in the Gospel, and consent to the Baptismal Cove­nant; and this indeed as a fruit of the assenting act, but as essential to justifying Faith.

§. 8. When we call it [Consent] or Acceptance, or [Receiving Christ] we mean, that as Man's Soul hath an Intellect and Will, and a true actus huma­nus vel moralis, is the act of both, but of the Intel­lect as directive, and of the Will as more perfe­ctive, or as the Faculty, primarily moral; so the same Faith which is initially in the intellect's Assent, is perfectlier in the will's Consent: And it is the Receiving of a Saviour believed, or the Consent to a believed Covenant: We suppose Assent when we name it Consent.

§. 9. And when we name it Affiance or Trust, we include both the former, and mean a resol­ved practical Trust, and dedition of our selves ac­cordingly to one that covenanteth to bring us from Sin and Misery to GOD and Glory; where Belief and Consent to that Covenant are supposed.

§. 10. And the Terminus a quo, and the renun­ciation of Competitors and Opposites, is connoted, if not essentially included in Saving Faith: And [Page 229] therefore Christ doth so often tell us, of forsa­king all, if we will be his Disciples.

§. 11. I use to express it by this similitude: A Prince redeemeth a Slave, and also promiseth him great Possessions and Honours in a Kingdom in the East Indies, or at the Antipodes, if he will leave his Servitude and his Country, and all that he hath there, and go with him in his Ship, and patiently endure the Sea-trials till he come thi­ther. Here he must, 1. believe that the Prince hath paid his ransome: 2. That he is a wise man, and knoweth what he promised, and skilful to conduct him safely through all the perils of the Seas: 3. That he is an honest man, and intendeth not to deceive him: 4. That he is sufficient or able to perform his word: 5. And if upon this belief he trust him, he will let go all and venture in his Ship, and follow him. And here one tells him that the Ship is unsound; another tells him that the Prince is a Deceiver, unable to perform his Word, or unskilful, or dishonest, and some way untrusty; and another tells him that small matters in his own Country, are better than grea­ter with so much hazard; and sets out the dangers and terribleness of the Seas: Now if the man be ask'd [Do you believe, or will you trust me, or will you not?] here every one by believing and trusting knoweth, that a practical Trust is meant, which lieth in such a confidence as forsaketh all, and taketh the promised Kingdom for all his hope. Such is our Saving Faith.

§. 12. As many Acts and many Objects go to constitute Saving Faith, so if you will logically anatomize it, all these following must be taken in.

[Page 230]§. 13. 1. The principal Efficient Cause is God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost respectively, ac­cording to their several operations.

§. 14. 2. The Instrumental Cause is the Word of God, and the Preaching and Preachers of it, or Parents, Friends, or some that reveal the Word unto us.

§. 15. 3. Subordinate auxiliary means are Providential Alterations, by some awaking Judg­ments, or inviting Mercies, or convincing Exam­ples, &c.

§. 16. 4. The Soul of Man in all its three Faculties, Vital-active, Intellective, and Volitive, is, 1. the Recipient of the Divine Influx, and then, 2. the immediate Efficient or Agent of the Acts of Faith.

§. 17. 5. Preparatory Grace and Duty is ordina­rily Man's Disposition, as he is the Recipient of God's Grace, and the Agent of believing. But God is free, and can work on the unprepared; but it is not to be taken for his ordinary way.

§. 18. 6. The formal Object of the assenting Act of Faith, is veracit as Dei revelantis, the Veracity or Truth of God revealing his Will.

§. 19. 7. The formal Object of the accepting and receiving Act, is the Goodness of the Benefits offered us by the Covenant, as offered.

§. 20. 8. The formal Object of our Trust or Affiance is God's fides, Fidelity, because of his afore­said Veracity in promising, and his Power, Wisdom and Benevolence as a Performer; and this full Act comprehendeth all the rest: It is God's Trustiness.

§. 21. 9. The material Objects of the assenting Act in genere, are all God's Assertions or Revela­tions: [Page 231] More especially the Gospel, or the Christian Faith objective; according to the Edition of the Covenant which we are under.

§. 22. The Essentials of our objective Christian Faith constitute the Essence of our active Saving Faith; and the Integrals of it constitute the In­tegrity.

§. 23. And it is of great importance to distin­guish here (as to the Word and Objects) between 1. the signa or words, 2. the signification or sence, 3. the things, matter or incomplex objects, as distinct from words and sence, viz. God, Christ, Grace, Heaven, Goodness, Iustice, Men, &c. And to hold, 1. That the words are not ne­cessary for themselves, but for the sence; and therefore Translations, or any words which give us the same sence, may serve to the being of Saving Faith. 2. That the sence it self is not ne­cessary for it self ultimately, as if Holiness lay in notions, but for the things which that sence re­vealeth, viz. God to be loved and obeyed, Christ to be received, the Holy Ghost to be received and obeyed, Holiness and all Grace to be received, lo­ved, used, encreased; our Brethren to be loved, Heaven to be desired, &c. All sence will not bring us to the reception of the things; for all is not apt; but any that doth this (which must be divine and apt) will constitute us true Belie­vers.

§. 24. 1. The material Objects of our acceptance and consent, are the Word of God commanding, offering, and promising, and the good of Duty and Benefit commanded, offered and promised; that is, All that is given us in the baptismal Covenant, God the Father and his Love, the Son and his Grace, [Page 232] and the Holy Ghost and his Communion: The Fa­ther as reconciled and adopting us, the Son as having redeemed us, to teach, rule, justifie and save us; the Holy Spirit to sanctifie, comfort, and perfect us.

§. 25. 11. The material Object of our Trust or Affiance is God himself, the prime Truth, Power and Good, and Christ as his Messenger and our Saviour, and the Holy Ghost as the Author of the Word, and the Word as being the Word of God: You must pardon us as necessitated to call God a material Object, analogically, for want of words.

§. 26. 12. The ultimate or final Objects of Saving Faith are, 1. God himself, the ultimate ul­timum; that is, the perfect Complacency of his will in his Glory eternally shining forth in our Glory and the Glory of Christ with all the Church tri­umphant. 2. Next to that, This Glory it self (which is a created thing) and the Perfection of the Universe, and of Christ's Church and our selves▪ in which it consisteth. And therein our own Perfection, and our perfect sight, love and praise of our glorious God, and our Redeemer. 3. And next under that, the first fruits of all this in this World, in the foresaid love of the Father and Grace of the Son, and Communion of the Holy Spirit and the Church.

§. 27. If therefore we were put to give a full description of Saving Faith, we must be as large as this following, or such-like in sence, viz.

[‘The Faith which the Adult must profess in Baptism, as having the Promise of Justificati­on and Salvation, is a sincere fiducial practical Assent to Divine Revelations, and especially to the Gospel, revealing and offering us God [Page 233] himself to be our God and reconciled Father, Christ to be our Saviour, viz. by his Incarna­tion, meritorious Righteousness and Sacrifice, Resurrection, Doctrine, Example, Government, Intercession and final Judgment; and the Holy Ghost to quicken, illuminate and sanctifie us, that so we may live in the Love of the Father, the Grace of the Son, and the Communion of the Holy Spirit, and of the Christian Church, being saved from our Enemies, Sin and Misery initially in this Life, and perfectly in eternal perfect Glory: With a fiducial acceptance of the Gifts of the Covenant according to their nature, and a sincere federal Consent; and with a sincere devoting and giving up our selves to God the Father, Son and Holy Ghost; and renouncing of all that is inconsistent with this Covenant: Which Assent, Consent and Trust are the effects of the Gospel and Spirit of Christ, and are founded on God's Fidelity, that is, on the Veracity, Love and Sufficiency of God Almighty, most wise and good, and on Christ the Father's great Apostle, and on Christ's sub-Apostles; and on the Gospel and especially the Covenant of Grace, as on God's revealing and donative Instrument; and on the manifold ob­signant operations of the Holy Ghost (miracu­lous and sanctifying) as God's infallible Atte­station to the Gospel-Verity.’]

§. 28. Historical Tradition of the Words, Books, and Matters of Fact, are subordinate neces­sary means of transmitting the Objects to our sense of Hearing, who live at such a distance from the Time, Place and Facts.

[Page 234]§. 29. But though all these things aforesaid are in true Faith, yet a distinct Perception or De­scription of them all is not necessary in him that hath them. But a more general Conception of it, which will but consist with the true Reception of the Things signified by the Words (God, Christ, Grace &c.) may be certainly saving to a plain and simple-hearted Christian; when one that can describe it accurately, may be graceless: For it is Believing, and not Defining Faith, which God hath made necessary to Salvation.

§. 30. Therefore we do ordinarily well use shorter Descriptions to the People, and sometime we say, That Faith in Christ, is our Christianity; that is, our Assent and Consent to the Baptismal Covenant, and our Self-dedition to God there­in. For in Scripture it is all one to be a Believer, a Disciple of Christ, and a Christian.

§. 31. Sometimes we say, That saving Faith is a fiducial-practical Assent to the Truth of the Gospel, and Consent to the Covenant of Grace; or an Acce­pting of all the Benefits of the Covenant, as they are, and on the terms offered; or an Accepting of Christ and Life in, and with him there offered us.

§. 32. Sometimes we say, It is a practical Af­fiance, or trusting on Christ as our only Saviour for Sal­vation, or to bring us to God and glory: And in all these and the like we speak truly, and mean the same thing; some terms being used on occasion, while the rest are implyed, and to be under­stood.

§. 33. Those that will needs call no act by the name of Faith, but Assent, and confine it to the Intellect, do yet seem to differ with us but de nomine, about a Word, and not the Matter: For they con­fess, [Page 235] if there concur not a Consent of the Will, it is not saving, but as some call it [...]ides informis; and so that Assent and Consent make up our necessary Condition, or means of our Union with Christ, or Interest in the Covenant-Rights or Gifts. And then seeing we are agreed so far of the matter, it's not worth much striving, whether one only, or both Acts shall be called Faith.

§. 34. When the first Reformers had to do with men that commended uncertainty of our Sin­cerity and Salvation, and kept People under a Spi­rit of Bondage, and tempted them (contrary to the Nature of Faith) to love this World better than the next, and to be afraid of dying, by be­ing doubtful whether they should be saved; in the heat of opposition, some of them called Faith, As­surance, or certain or full Persuasion of our own personal Election, Pardon, and Salvation. But those that came after them, and those that conversed practically with Men of troubled Consciences, and observed the state of the greatest part of good Christians, followed not this Example, but spake more cautelously and soundly, and described Faith as I before have told you. For they found that not one of a multitude of godly Christians could say they were certain of their Election, Sincerity, or Salvation: And some that were forwardest to say so, were none of the best, and had not what they said they had.

§. 35. But whatever the transmarine Divines say, I can witness, that except ignorant Antinomi­ans, or such Sectaries, rejected by the Orthodox, I remember not that I have met these forty years with one Divine that taketh saving-Faith to be such Assurance of our personal Election, Justification or [Page 236] Salvation, especially the first act, which is not to believe that we are justified, but that we may be justified.

§. 36. Indeed you would think those few must hold this, who say, That Justification is an immanent eternal Act of God. But, 1. this is but a diffe­rence about the word [Iustification]: All con­fess, that God's essential Volition of our Justifica­tion is eternal, as being himself; but some think that his Will may be denominated an Eternal Iusti­fication; and others better say, Not: But all con­fess that the Law of Grace doth justifie no man till he believe, much less the Sentence of Christ as Judge. And though some call our Perswasion that we are justified, by the name of Faith, yet they deny not another act of Faith antecedent to this, that maketh us true Christians.

§. 37 And indeed, besides Mr. Pemble and Dr. Twisse (both excellent Men) it's rare to meet with any English Divine that talks for Eternal Iu­stification: And Mr. Pemble, who let fall some such things in his Vindiciae Gratiae, did set all right again in his Treatise of Iustification (being very young when he wrote even the last:) And Dr. Twisse, who in his Vindic. Gratiae, hath some such words, speaketh elsewhere soundly, as Mr. Iessop his Scholar hath shewed in a Treatise purposely written to prove it, when I had taken exceptions against his words.

§. 38. It is therefore shameless Calumny of those who perswade their Followers, That the Reformed Churches take Faith for such an Assu­rance or Belief, that we are justified or elected, and shall be saved; only because they find some such word in some former disputing Doctors of [Page 237] ours; when as all, or near all have so long re­nounced that Opinion, that he would be a Wonder among us in England, Scotland, or Ireland (and I think abroad) that should hold it.

§. 39. Yet we still say, That saving Faith is not only a believing that God's Word is true, but a believing it with personal Application to my self.

§. 40. But that Application is such as follow­eth. 1. I believe that Christ hath died for my sins as well as for the rest of the World. 2. I be­lieve that the Gospel offereth Pardon and Salvati­on to me as well as to others. 3. I believe that God will have mercy on me, and Christ and Life shall [...]e mine, if I shall truly believe and repent; and Glory, if I persevere. 4. Hereupon I accept the Offer and Consent to the Covenant of Grace, which giveth me right to these Benefits, if I con­sent. 5. And so far as I can say that I am sincere in my repenting and believing, so far my Faith help­eth me to conclude that I am justified.

§. 41. But this last is a mixt act, and a ratio­nal Conclusion helped by Grace, whereof the ma­jor only is de fide [He that believeth is justified] but not the Minor [I believe.] Therefore we u­sually call it a fruit of Faith.

§. 42. Some incautelous Divines in the heat of Dispute do indeed say, That it is de fide divina, or a Divine Word, that [I am a true Believer.] And Chamier too unhappily goeth about to prove it by saying, That it is the Word of the Spirit in us, which is the [Word of God:] As if the Spirit spake in us new Articles of Faith, or a new Word to be believed, whose work in those that are not in­spired Prophets, is but, 1. to cause us to believe that [Page 238] Word already given: 2. To be a witnessing Evi­dence that we are God's Children, by making us holy as he is holy, as similitude witnesseth a Child to be his Fathers. 3. And to help us to discern that Holiness or Evidence, and to exercise it, and to gather Comfort from such discerning it, and ex­ercise.

§. 43. We now commonly disown all such As­sertions; I meet with no sober Divine that own­eth them, because we grant, that Conclusio semper sequitur partem debiliorem: But yet we find that those few that call it de fide, do most of them mean no more, but that it's partly de fide, because the Major Proposition is so; and so they differ but about a Logical Notion.

§. 44. Some have said indeed (beyond-Sea) That a man cannot believe, and not know it; but we know thousands may believe, and yet doubt whether it be a sincere and saving sort of Faith.

But I have written so many Books of these mat­ters, that I here add no more.

CHAP. XXI. Of the nature of Righteousness, Iustification, and Pardon.

§. 1. THE Controversies about Justification have made a great noise; but I think that those de re are few, in comparison of those de nomine, e­ven among all sorts of Christians; and the con­founding them by unskilful Heads, who have made [Page 239] the ignorant believe, that those which are but de nomine, are de re, hath kindled foolish Wrath, and quenched Christian Love, and taken up poor Souls with a deceitful Zeal, who have thought that they were contending for great and necessary Truths, when it was but for Logical Notions, Names, and Modes of Expression, over-commended to them by their several Teachers.

§. 2. The Words Iustice (Righteousness) and Iustification, are very ambiguous used in many sen­ces in the Scriptures, and in the Writings of Di­vines, and in the common use of men, which I have opened in so many Books, and so largely, as shall here excuse my brevi [...]y: The Sences which we are now most concerned to take notice of, are these following.

§. 3. Righteousness is considered materially, or formally: Materially it is, 1. immediately; 1. A righteous Action: 2. A righteous Disposition or Habit; 2. And thence a righteous Person.

§. 4. Righteousness materially is, 1. in some or other particular Action,: 2. Or, in the main bent of Heart and Life: 3. Or, in Perfection. The first de­nominateth the Person Righteous in hoc, or secun­dum quid: The second denominateth him a sincere­ly Righteous Man: The third, a perfectly Righte­ous Man.

§. 5. In the notion of the material Cause, is included also the Comparative or Relative State and Proportion of Actions: When the Action is duly qualified and modified in its physical Nature and Circumstances, it is materially just.

§. 6. The form enquired of, is Quid morale? And it is the Relation of the Action, and Habit, and Person, as congruous to the justitia mensurans, [Page 240] or the Rule of Righteousness. The Rule or Law first maketh jus vel debitum, and saith, This shall be your Duty, and your Neighbour's Due (and de­clareth God's Due:) And the jus being constituted by the Law (natural or positive) that which agreeth to it, is j [...]stum. So that Righteousness formally is a moral Relation resulting from the physical mode and relation of Actions and Habits, as compared with the Law or Rule. A moral Relation founded in a physical Congruity.

§. 7. Righteousness is both materially and for­mally distinguishable as towards God or Man: Ma­terially, as it is God or Man that we deal [...]ustly or injuriously by: Formally, as it is God himself, or Men ruling under him, who give us Laws, and make the debitum vel jus, or dispose of Proprie­ty.

§. 8. Righteousness towards God being Relative to his Laws, is to be distinguished according to the several Laws that men are under, and according to the several parts of the Law, which give the word divers Sences.

§. 9. 1. Righteousness as related to the Precept as such, is nothing but Obedience, whether parti­al, sincere, or perfect: He that doth righteousness is righteous.

§. 10. 2. Righteousness related to a meer Con­dition (of Pardon or Salvation, &c.) is the per­formance of that Condition, which may be the Causa judicanda.

§. 11. 3. Righteousness, as related to the pre­miant or donative part of the Law or Promise, is our jus ad praemium, our Right to that Reward or Gift.

[Page 241]§. 12. 4. Righteousness, as relative to the pe­nal part, is our jus ad impunitatem, or when pu­nishment is not due to us according to that Law.

§. 13. 1. Righteousness, as related to the Pre­cept of the Law of Innocency, is materially perfect, personal, continued Obedience to our Creator.

§. 14. 2. Righteousness, as related to the Con­dition of that Law, is the same; because nothing but the said perfect Obedience is there made the Condition of Life.

§. 15. 3. Righteousness related to the reward­ing part of that Law is right to that Life which is there promised; that is, to God's Love and Feli­city.

§. 16. 4. Righteousness related to the Penalty of that Law, is a Right to Impunity, as to the Death which it threatneth to Sinners.

§. 17. 1. Righteousness, as related to the meer preceptive part of the Law of Grace, is also per­fect Obedience for the future (not Innocency, as to the time past) for even Christ maketh perfect O­bedience our Duty, though he pardon sin.

§. 18. 2. Righteousness, as related to the Con­dition of the Law of Grace, is sincere Faith and Re­pentance, as the Condition of our first Right to the present▪ Gifts of the Covenant, and also sincere Love and Obedience to the end, as the Condition of our final Iustification and Glory.

§. 19. 3. Righteousness, as related to the Re­ward of the Law of Grace, is our Right to our Re­lation to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and all the Gifts of the Covenant, Christ, Grace, and Glory.

§. 20. 4. Righteousness, as related to the pe­nal part of the Law of Grace, is our Right to [Page 242] Impunity, as to the Punishment threatned specially by that Law.

§. 21. The meritorious Cause of both these last (our Right to Impunity, and to Life) is the Righteousness of Christ; for the sake of which the Condonation and Donations of the Covenant of Grace are given us.

§. 22. This Righteousness of Christ is his ful­filling the Conditions of his own proper Law or Co­venant of Mediation: which is materially, 1. His habitual, 2. and actual Perfection in Resignation, Obedience and Love; 3. and therein his Humilia­tion and offering himself a Sacrifice for sin: 4. And all this exalted to acceptable Dignity by the Conjunction of the Divine Perfection.

§. 23. The Donative Covenant of Grace to Man being but a meer Instrument of Donation and Condonation, that which procured it, is the procu­ring Cause of Pardon and Life; that is, Christ's meritorious Righteousness.

§. 24. Though this Covenant pardon and ju­stifie no man till he perform the Condition, and be a capable Subject by that moral Disposition, yet when that Condition is performed, its performance ma­keth us but meet Recipients, and it is still the meri­torious Righteousness of Christ, for which we have the free gift of Pardon and Life; for the perfor­mance of the Condition doth but remove the re­ceptive Incapacity of the Patient, and the suspension of the Donation.

§. 25. Iustification signifieth, 1. making us righ­teous and judicially justifiable. 2. Iudicial Justifi­cation (1. By Plea, 2. By Evidence and Wit­ness, 3. By Sentence.) 3. Using us as Righteous by Execution: Or, 1. Constitutive, 2. Iudicial, and 3. Executive Iustification.

[Page 243]§. 26. No man of common Understanding will deny the real difference of these three: And if the Name only beGen. 6. 9. Hos. 14. 9. Heb. 10.▪ 38. & 12. 23. Luke 1. 17. & 2. 25. & 14. 14. & 15. 7, Matth. 10. 41. 2 Pet. 2. 8. 1 Tim. 1. 9. Rom. 5. 7. Mat. 13▪ 17. 1 Jo. 3. 7. 1 Pet. 3. 12. & 4. 18. Heb. 11. 4. Mat. 13. 43. & 25. 37. 46. Rom. 10. 6, 10. & 8. 4. 10. & 6. 13, 16, 19, 20. & 5. 17, 21. Rom. 2. 26. Act. 10. 35. Luk. 1. 75. Mat. 5. 6, 20. questioned, no man will reasonably deny, That in humane use the name is accordingly applicable to each: And that use of it is easily proved also in the Scripture; 1 Cor. 6. 11. Tit. 3. 7. Rev. 22. 11. &c. And the word Righteous and Righteousness, is so frequently used in Scripture for that called Inherent, or Self-perform­ed Righteousness (incomparably oster than in any other Sence) as will help to inform us what Con­stitutive Iustification is: And if any dislike the Name; let them call it [Making us righteous] if that will please them better than the word justifying.

§. 27. Constitutive Iustification is ever first: God never judged a man righteous, that was not righteous.

§. 28. No man on earth is righteous by the Condition, or by the rewarding Part of the Law of Innocency. Not by the Condition as performed, for that Condition is perfect, perpetual, personal Inno­cency, which no man hath; nor is any righteous in conformity to the Precept, unless secundum quid, as a damnable Sinner's less unrighteousness may be called Righteousness: Nor is any one justified by the Retributive or Promissory part of that Law, be­cause perfect Innocency is its Condition.

§. 29. Though that Law perfectly justifie Christ, who perfectly fulfilled it, we are not therefore [Page 244] righteous in the sence of that Law, or justified by it, because Christ fulfilled it (of which more a­non:) Because the sence of the Law was not [Thou shalt obey, or another for th [...]e.] (It never mention­ed a vicarious Obedience:) But [thou thy self shalt perfectly obey.]

§. 30. We are justified from, or against the curse of that first Law, by deliverance or grace; but it is by a Redeemer, and not by that Law.

§. 31. The Causes of our whole Iustification (whose parts were before-mentioned) are these: 1. The constitutive Causes (called Material and Formal) are before opened, being divers in their divers parts: In brief, our Righteousness now is [our Interest in the meritorious Righteousness of Christ, and our own performing of the Conditions of that Interest, or of the New Covenant by his Grace, and thereupon our Right to Impunity and Life (or to Salvation from destructive Punishment, and to Glory.) 2. The efficient Causes are, 1. Principal, God: 2. Mediatory and meritorious, Christ and his Righ­teousness: 3. Instrumental (as to our jus ad impu­nitatem & gloriam) the Condonative and Donative Covenant. 4. The material Dispositio receptiva of this Right, is our Faith and Repentance, or perfor­mance of the Covenant's Condition hereof. 5. The principal Cause of this Faith or Disposition, is the Holy Ghost. 6. The instrumental, is the Word. 7. The mediate Agent is Man.

§. 32. That Justification which consisteth in our jus impunitatis quoad poenam damni & sensus, our right to impunity (as to Loss and Sense) is the same thing with Pardon of sin, whether you take both actively or passively.

§. 33. Obj. If the Law of Innocency as a Co­venant ceased upon Adam's Fall, no man but he and Eve was ever under it: And if so, they deserved not Damnation for any Sin but final Unbelief and Impeni­tency, according to the Law of Grace: And if so, no such desert is forgiven them by Christ.

§. 34. Ans. The Law of Grace taketh in the Law of Nature (naturae lapsae), though not on the Terms of the first Covenant, as it was naturae inte­grae, for preservation of Innocency: And still all that God commandeth is our Duty, and all that he forbiddeth, is Sin; and every sin deserveth death in the nature of it (for it cannot be Sin and not deserve Punishment): but the difference is, That under the Law of Innocency it was Desert unreme­died; but now it is Desert with present Remedy, or an affixed Pardon to every penitent Believer. So much of the Law of Nature remaineth as maketh Punishment due in primo instanti naturae, conjunct with a Pardon which maketh Impunity due in se­cundo instanti: As if the King should grant a fu­ture Pardon by a Law to every man that will list himself in his Wars under his Son, lest in pri­mo instanti, their faults deserve punishment, while they are daily pardoned.

§. 35. II. Publick judicial Iustification (for private I pass by) is virtually in the Law, or constitutive Justification before described: For when a man is righteous, the Law justifieth him virtually: And this is the sence that we are said to be justified by Faith in, primarily in Scripture: A Believer is made just indeed, and so is justifiable in Iudgment, that is, justified virtually by the Law: As we use to say, The Law doth justifie such a man.)

[Page 246]§. 36. 2. But actual judicial Iustification is prin­cipally by our Iudge and subordinately by Christ as our Advocate, by Plea; and by Evidence and Wit­ness; which is chiefly by the Righteousness of the Cause laid open to all the World.

§. 37. It is by the Law of Grace (the edition which men lived under) that Christ will judge the World: Therefore we must accordingly judge of his Justification.

§. 38. Seeing the thing to be judged of is the meritum causae, the Merits of a man's Cause; there­fore the same may be the meritorious Cause and the material of this judicial Justification; and they err that take this for an Absurdity.

§. 39. Though the great end of God's Judgment of Man will be to glorifie his own Iustice, Mercy and Wisdom, and to glorifie Christ's Righteousness, yet the Cause of the day, which is to be decided, is not whether Christ be righteous, but We: Nor whether he fulfilled his mediatorial Law; which is presupposed.

§. 40. Iustification being related to (real or possible) Accusation, so many things as the Accusa­tion may extend to, the Justification must extend to if perfect.

§. 41. But no man is perfectly and absolutely just or justifiable: For instance, 1. If we be accused to have sinned, we cannot be justified directly against this Accusation, but must plead guilty by Confession. For factum non potest fieri infectum, and that Fact will for ever be culpable: [Adam did sin] will for ever be a true assertion. The Guilt of fact or fault is never done away in it self; [that it was really a fault] and [that we real­ly [Page 247] did it,]. will be an everlasting Truth: Of which more afterward.

§. 41. 2. If the Accusation be, That [in Adam we deserved Death,] it must be confessed: Yea, temporal Death and correcting Punishments are not only deserved but inflicted, and not pardoned, nor we justifiable herein.

§. 42. 3. If the Accusation be, that we deser­ved to have Abatements of Grace, With-holdings of the Spirit, and abatement of what Glory we might else have had, all this must be confessed.

§. 43. 4. Yea, if it be said, That our Sin primo instanti deserved Hell, it must be confessed, and against all this there is no direct Justification.

§. 44. But against these Accusations we must be justified: 1. If it be said, that we are of Right to be damned, or have no Right to Heaven but to Hell, this must be denied: And we must be justi­fied by these several Causes: 1. Because God's Iustice and the Ends of the violated Law are satis­fied by Christ, and by his Righteousness, a free Gift of Pardon and Life are merited for us: 2. And this free donation is the Law that we are to be judged by, which giveth us Christ to be our Head, and Pardon and Life with him.

§. 45. 2. If it be said, That we are Unbelie­vers, impenitent or unholy, and did not fulfill the Conditions of the Covenant of Grace, we must de­ny it, and be justified against this by our Faith, Repentance and Holiness it self; or else we must be condemned and perish; for nothing else will do it.

§. 46. And seeing it will be the work of the day, to judge men as performers or non-perfor­mers of the said Conditions of the Law of Grace, [Page 248] therefore it is that the Scripture speaketh so much of inherent or performed Righteousness, and of Christ's judging men according to their works, that is, their works which are the performance of that Condition.

§. 47. To be judged according to our Works, is to be justified or condemned according to our Works: For to be judged is the genus, and to be justified or condemned are the species. Iudging is justifying or condemning.

§. 48. While all are agreed, that all men shall be justified or condemned according to their Works, it is unreasonable to quarrel at that height that many do, about the syllable [BY] (whether men be justified and condemned by their works) as if [according to them] and [by them] had a diffe­rent sence; when as to judicial justification the sence is the very same, though as to the ma­king of men just, the sence may differ.

§. 49. We are commonly agreed, that no man is justified by Works in any of these following sences.

  • 1. No man is justified either constitutively or judiciarily by his Works done according to the Law of Innocency, that is, by perfect personal Obedience and Love, (because we have it not.)
  • 2. No man is justified constitutively or judicia­rily, by his Works done according to the Mosai­cal Iewish Law as such.
  • 3. Much less by any Works of his own or other mens invention, which he accounteth good and are not so.
  • 4. No man is justified by any Works set in oppo­sition to or competition or co-ordination with Christ, but only in subordination to him and his [Page 249] Righteousness by which we are redeemed, and for which we are all first conditionally pardoned and justified by the Law of Grace.
  • 5. No man could be justified by his Gospel-Obe­dience, or his Faith, if he were to be judged by the Law of Innocency, as not redeemed.
  • 6. No man's Faith or Obedience will justifie him in Judgment against this accusation, [Thou art a Sinner] or this [Thy sin deserved Death.] Nor as one that hath fulfilled all the preceptive part of the law of Christ.
  • 7. No Works do justifie us, as meriting Life of God in proper commutative Justice.
  • 8. No man is justified by Tasks of working, as contradistinct from believing and trusting on Free Grace: or by external works, without Christ's Spirit and spiritual Evangelical Duties.
  • 9. No good Work or Act of Man was a Condi­tion of God's giving us a Redeemer, or giving us a conditional justifying Law of Grace.
  • 10. Man's true Faith and Repentance is not be­fore the Grace which worketh it, and therefore is no Condition of that Grace.
  • 11. Man's antecedent common Works, while he is impenitent, merit not properly the special Grace which causeth Faith and Repentance.
  • 12. We have no Works that are acceptable to God, but what are the fruits of his Spirit and Grace.

§. 50. And on the other side we are agreed, 1. That we are justified by the Works of Christ, as the Meritorious Cause of our Justification.

2. That the Justification purchased and given us by Christ, is given us by a Law or Covenant of Grace, which giveth (as God's Instrument) Right [Page 250] to Impunity and to Life to all true penitent Belie­vers: And therefore he that is justified according to this Law of Grace, from the charge of Impeni­tence and Unbelief, must be justified by his Repentance and Faith materially, as being the Righteousness in question, as is aforesaid.

3. That without Holiness none shall see God: And if any be accused as unholy (and on that account no Member of Christ or Child of God, or Heir of Heaven) his Holiness must be the matter of his Justification.

4. That though our Faith, Repentance and Ho­liness be no universal absolute Righteousness, yet they are that on which the judiciary Scrutiny must pass, and which will be the question of the great day, on which our Life or Death will depend as on the Condition or moral Qualification of the Re­ceiver.

5. That in this sence all men shall be judged, by Justification or Condemnation according to their Works, or what they have done; that is, as they have performed or not performed the Conditions of that Law of Grace which they were under (as aforesaid.)

6. That therefore they that will be justified at last, must trust in Christ that redeemed them, and be careful to perform the Conditions of his Law of Grace, and both must concurr.

7. That that which is the Righteousness which must justifie us in Judgment, is the same that must now constitute us just.

8. That when our Right to Salvation is the thing in question to be judged, that which justifieth our Right to Salvation, justifieth the Person as to that Right; and so far the same thing is the Condition [Page 251] of our Right to Salvation and to our Justifica­tion.

9. And if any with Augustine will mean by [Iustification] God's making us such as the Iudge will justifie by Sentence and Execution, then our Con­version is part of that Justification.

10. That Scripture sometimes taketh Justificati­on in that sence, and most frequently by [Righte­ousness] meaneth that which consisteth in our Acts and Habits: In all this there is no place for Con­troversie or Disagreement.

§. 51. They that say, That we must have inhe­rent and performed Righteousness, but that no man is at all justified by it, must take justifying in some particular limitted sence, (which therefore they should explain by distinction) or else they speak gross contradiction: For it is no Righteousness if it constitute not the owner righteous, so far, or in that point; nor yet if the owner may not be justified by it in Iudgment, against the accusation of being in that point or so far unrighteous. If he that doth Righteousness is righteous, that Righteousness will materially justifie him against the false accusation of the contrary.

§. 52. Yea, while they make Faith, Repentance and Holiness but Signs and Evidences of our right to Life-eternal, they thereby allow it some place in Justification: For Evidence hath its place in Judgment: And they are moral Evidences, and not physical only.

§. 53. If men understood how atheological and perilous it is to conceit, that either Faith or any thing of ours, (no though we were innocent,) is any proper efficient Cause of God's own internal acts in our Justification, and would understand that [Page 252] all can be no more than dispositio receptiva, which Dr. Twisse calls causa dispositiva, a meer receptive Aptitude, which is but the Qualification causae ma­terialis, that is, of the Subject to be justified, it would presently lead them out of their vain Con­tention about Faith and Gospel-Obedience herein, and shew them how each in several respects and instances qualifie Man for the beginning or continu­ance of Justification, or for Right to Glory.

§. 54. It seemeth strange to some, to find the whole Old Testament, and all Christ's Sermons, and all the other Apostles, inculcating inherent and performed Righteousness, as that which Men must be judged about, to Life or Death, and yet to find Paul so oft pleading against Justification by Works. But if we will take the Scripture to­gether, and not by incoherent scraps, the recon­ciliation is evident.

‘Man is now sinful, and condemned by the first Law, and is now under a Law of Grace, that freely giveth Pardon and Life through a Redeemer, to those that believingly accept the Gift according to its nature, and consent by Re­pentance to turn to God, and live a holy life in sincerity: Now God doth through all the Scri­pture tell us, That no one shall pass with God for a just man, or be saved, that will not do this, but shall be condemned further for refusing it: And thus he that doth Righteousness is righ­teous, and all shall be judged according to their works, thus required by the Law of Grace.’ To deny this, is to deny the scope of the whole Scri­pture, and the Government of God.

‘But Paul disputed against those that taught that the Gentiles must be proselyted, and keep the Law of Moses, or else they could not be [Page 253] accounted just men, nor be saved: And he pro­veth, that the Gentiles being under the Law of Grace, may pass with God for just men and be saved, if they [Believingly accept the Gift of Grace according to its nature, and consent by Repentance to turn to God, and live a holy life in sincerity] though they keep not the Jewish Law: Yea, further, that though the Jewish Fathers were obliged to keep that Law, it was as it belonged to the Covenant of Grace and of Faith, and that before that Law was given Abraham and others, were just and saved by Faith, according to the universal Law of Grace; and that the Task of Works, accor­ding to the Mosaical Law, will of it self make no man just or savable, and consequently no other Task of Works, which would make the Reward to be not of Grace but of Debt, and is opposed to, or separated from Redemption and the free condonation and donation of the Covenant of Grace.]’ This is the plain drift of Paul.

§. 55. Works of Evangelical gratitude, love, and obedience, according to the Law of Grace, subordinate to, and supposing Redemption and the free gift of Pardon and Life to penitent believing Accepters, are those that Christ and Iames and all the Scripture make necessary to Salvation; and our Consent and Covenant so to obey is necessary to our first or initial Iustification; and our actual Obedience to the Continuance and Confirmation of it. But a Task of Works either of Moses's Law or any other set against Redemption and free Grace, or not as aforesaid, duly subordinate to them, is disclaimed by Paul and all Christians, as that which [Page 254] can constitute no man just in God's account, nor such a one as hath right to Salvation.

§. 56. I verily think, that were their verbal and notional differences discussed, and men under­stood themselves and one another, it will prove, that this aforesaid is the true meaning of almost all Christians, and that they agree in this sence, while they mischievously contend about ill or un­explained words.

§. 57. What I have said of Justification, is mostly true of Pardon of Sin: Pardon is threefold, 1. Constitutive, which is God's giving us a Right to Impunity: This is God's act by the pardoning Co­venant or Law of Grace. 2. By Sentence, judging us so pardoned. 3. Executive, taking off, or not inflicting Punishment deserved.

§. 58. God's non punire, and nolle punire, not­punishing and his will not to punish, are true pardon when the Sinner, and Sin and Guilt are pre­existent: But they are no pardon before; be­cause not capable of such a relation and denomination for want of a real terminus. Therefore God's eter­nal will to pardon, or his not punishing man from Eternity before Man was Man, or sinful, must have no such name; which afterward it may have with­out any change in God, but in man only.

§. 59. Some worthy men say, that Pardon is not Justification, nor to be pardoned is to be righteous; and that Righteousness is never taken in Scripture for Pardon, but many score or hundred times for our performance of our Duty according to the Law of Grace: Therefore they would have Righteous­ness and Pardon still distinguished.

§. 60. But I have plainly before proved, that Righteousness hath many parts, and the word many [Page 255] sences, and though Pardon be not that Righteous­ness which consisteth in a Conformity to the Pre­cept, (and so is not our universal Righteousness) yet Pardon is (passive) that Righteousness which consist­eth in our right to Impunity both as to the punish­ment of Loss and Sence: And Pardon with Adoption or the Gift of Life, is that Righteousness which consisteth in our right to Life eternal.

§. 61. 1. All mens sins are pardoned potentially and conditionally in the Law of Grace. 2. No mens sins are pardoned actually (as to a right of Impunity) till they are penitent Believers, or consent to the Covenant of Grace (if at age.) 3. These peni­tent Believers sins are pardoned virtually before they are committed, supposing them but Sins of Insir­mity, but this is properly no Pardon, nor so to be called, because it is but the position of those things which will cause Pardon hereafter. To be only virtual, is not to exist, but to be in causis.

But it is too grosly inferred hence by some, That it is not God then that actually justifieth, but Man that performeth the Condition; as if the Condi­tion which is but a suspension of the Donation, (and the performance a removal of the suspending Cause) were the donative Efficient; and so the Receiver were the Giver. As if he that opened the window were the Sun or efficient Cause of the Light; or he that lets off a Crossbow by removing the Stop, were the spring that effecteth the motion of the Arrow.

§. 62. Neither Pardon nor Justification are per­fect before death: For there are some correcting Pu­nishments to be yet born, some Sins not fully de­stroyed, some Grace yet wanting, more Sins to be forgiven, more Conditions thereof to be perfor­med. The final and executive Pardon and Justifi­cation are only perfect.

CHAP. XXII. Of the Imputation of Righteousness.

§. 1. THE great Contentions that have been a­bout this Point, tell us how needfull it is to distinguish between real and verbal Contro­versies: The opening of the Doctrine of Redem­ption before, Chap. XI. hath done most that is need­ful to the solution of this Case, we are commonly agreed in these following Points.

§. 2. 1. That no man hath a Righteousness of his own performance, by which he could be justi­fied, were he to be judged by the Law of Inno­cency; that is, all are Sinners, and deserve ever­lasting Death.

§. 3. 2. That Jesus the Mediator undertook to fulfil all the Law which God the Father gave him, even the Law of Nature, the Law of Moses, and that which was proper to himself, that there­by God's Wisdom, Goodness, Truth, Justice, and Mercy, might be glorified, and the ends of God's Government be better attained, than by the De­struction of the sinful World; and all this he per­formed in our Nature, and suffered for us in our stead; and was the second Adam, or Root to Be­lievers.

§. 4. 3. That for this, as the meritorious Cause, God hath given him power over all Flesh, that he might give eternal Life to as many as are drawn to him by the Father, and given him, Joh. 17. 2. He is [Page 257] Lord of all, and all power in Heaven and Earth is given him, Matth. 28. 19. and he is made Head over all things to the Church, Eph. 1. 22, 23. Rom. 14. 9: And for these his Merits, a Covenant, or Law of Grace is made to sinful Man, by which all his sins are freely pardoned, and Right to Impunity and Life is freely given him, if he will accept it, and penitently turn to God.

§. 5. 4. Whenever a man is pardoned and justi­fied (or hath Right to Life) this Law of Grace doth it, as God's donative Instrument: And whoever is so pardoned and justified, it is for and by these Merits of Christ's Righteousness.

§. 6. 5. But Christ doth initially pardon and justifie none by this Covenant but penitent Believers, and therefore hath made it our Duty to repent and believe, that we may be forgiven, and have right to life; as the Condition, without which his do­native and condonative Act shall be suspended.

§. 7. 6. God never judgeth falsely, but know­eth all things to be what they are: And therefore he reputeth Christ's meritorious Righteousness and Sacrifice, to be the meritorious Cause of all mens Justification, who are justified (and of the condi­tional Pardon of all the World, 2 Cor. 5. 18, 19, 20.) and as sufficient and effectual to the assigned ends, as our own personal righteousness or suffering would have been, and more (though it be not so ours, as that of our own performance would have been, nor so immediately give us our Right to Impunity and Life, but mediately by the Cove­nant.)

§. 8. 7. And as God reputeth Christ's Righte­ousness to be the prime meritorious Cause for which we are justified by the Law of Grace, as afore-said, [Page 258] so he truly reputeth our own Faith and Repentance (or Covenant-consent) to be our moral Qualification for the gift, and our Holiness and Perseverance to be our moral Qualification for final Iustification and Glory; which Qualification being the matter of the Command of the Law of Grace, and the Condition of its Promise, is so far our righteousness indeed, and oft so called in the Scripture, as is afore­said.

§. 9. 8. Therefore God may in this Sence be truly said, both to impute righteousness to us, and to impute Christ's righteousness to us, and to impute our Faith for righteousness to us in several re­spects.

§. 10. Thus much being commonly agreed on, should quiet the Minds of Divines that are not wise and righteous overmuch; and it beseemeth us not to make our arbitrary Words and Notions a­bout the Doctrine of our Peace with God, to be Engines to break the Church's Peace, seeing Angels preached to us this great Truth; That Christ came into the World for GLORY to God in the highest, and for PEACE on Earth, and for GOOD-WILL or LOVE from God to Man (or mutual compla­ [...]ency;) and his Servants should not turn his Go­spel into matter of strife.

§. 11. That which we are yet disagreed about, is the Names and Notions following: As, 1. What is meant by the Phrase of [Imputing] in several Texts of Scripture; as Rom. 4. 11. [That righte­ousness might be imputed (or reckoned) to them also.] Ans. The words seem to me to have no difficulty, but what men by wrangling put into them. To have righteousness impu [...]ed to them, is to be reputed, judged, or accounted as righteous [Page 259] Men, and so used (the cause being not in the Phras [...] it self, but fore-described.)

§. 12. So what is meant, Rom. 4. 6. by imputing righteousness without works? Ans. Plainly, repu­ting, or judging a man righteous without the works which Paul there meaneth.

§. 13. So what is meant by Not imputing sin, Psal. 32. 2. 2 Cor. 5. 19. Rom. 5. 13. Lev. 7. 18. 1 Sam. 22. 15. 2 Sam. 19. 19. Rom. 4. 8? Ans. Not-judging a man as a Sinner guilty of punish­ment, not charging his sin upon him in Judgment; which is as 2 Sam. 19. 19. &c. because he is not truly guilty; or as Rom. 4. 8. &c. because he is forgiven.

§. 14. 2. What is meant by [imputing our Faith to us for righteousness?] But of that more purposely anon.

§. 15. 3. Whether imputing Christ's righteous­ness to us, be a Scripture-phrase? Ans. Not that I can find.

§. 16. 4. Whether it be a fit or lawful Phrase, and whether in so great matters, departing from Scripture-phrase, and pretending it necessary so to do, be not adding to God's Word, or the cause of Corruptions and Divisions in the Church, and an intimation that we can speak better than the Holy Ghost? Ans. God hath not tied us to use only Scripture-words or Phrases; and use may make them convenient and needful for some times and places, which else are less significant or congruous. And in this case I see not, but that the Phrase is lawful well explained. But if any will pretend their own Phrases to be more necessary than they are, and will calumniate those as not Orthodox, who will not use them, or subscribe to them, I [Page 260] cannot justifie such from the guilt of Presumption, and Injury to the Church, the Truth and Christ, and the Love of Brethren.

§. 17. 5. Whether they that affirm, That Christ's Righteousness is imputed to us, or those that deny it are to be accounted Orthodox?

Ans. Perhaps both, if they both hold the same sound Doctrine under various Phrases: And per­haps neither, if by their various Phrases, each mean something that is unsound.

§. 18. They heinously err, who deny Christ's Righteousness to be so far imputed to us, as to be reputed the meritorious Cause of our Pardon and Right to Life (or our Justification) performed by our Mediator, as the Sponsor of the New Cove­nant, (for our sakes, and his Sufferings in our stead) as is afore-expressed.

§. 19. And they heinously err, and subvert the Gospel, who say, that Christ's Righteousness is so imputed to us, as that God reputeth, or judg­eth Christ to have been perfectly holy and righteous (or obedient) and to have suffered, though not in the Natural, yet in the Legal or Civil Person of the Sinner or Believer, as their strict and pro­per Representer; and reputeth us to have been perfectly holy, righteous, or obedient in Christ, as our Representer, and so to have our selves fulfilled all righteousness in and by him, and in him to have sa­tisfied Justice, and meri [...]ed Eternal Life, and Christ's Righteousness to be ours in the same sence of Propriety, as it was his own: For his Divine Righteousness is the Essence of God, and his Hu­mane his Habits, Acts, and Relations, which are the Accidents of his own Person only as the Sub­ject, and cannot be in another (as is after shewed.)

[Page 261]§. 20. Though most of us now leave this Do­ctrine to the Antinomians or Libertines, yet so many Protestants formerly have seemed to own it by their unmeet Phrases, in extreme opposition to the Papists, or at least to come too near it, as hath greatly scandalized and hardened their Adver­saries, and injured the Reformed Churches.

§. 21. The Person of our Mediator was neither in the Sence of the Law, or in God's account, properly the person of the Sinner; Christ and we are distinct persons.

§. 22. Had we been perfectly holy, innocent, and obedient in Christ, it would follow, 1. That we are justified by the Law of Innocency, as having perfectly done all that it commanded us, which is not true: It is by the pardoning Law of Grace that we are justified.

§. 23. 2. That we have no need of Pardon, nor of Christ's Sufferings for our Pardon, nor of Prayer for Pardon, nor any means for it; for he needeth no pardon that is perfectly innocent.

§. 24. 3. Therefore they assert Contradictions when they say, that we both perfectly obeyed by, and in Christ, and yet suffered or satisfied in, or by him for our Disobedience.

§. 25. 4. It would follow, that all penalties (even corrective) laid on us by God, are in­juries, or no penalties, because we are inno­cent.

§. 26. 5. And that God's denying us any helps of his Spirit, and permitting the remnant of our Sin yet unhealed, and the weakness of our Graces, are an injurious denying us our Right.

§. 27. 6. It would follow, that we have present Right to the present possession of the whole Re­ward, [Page 262] both Grace and Glory, and that our delay is our wrong; because he that is supposed to have done all that the Law maketh his Duty from his Birth till his Death, hath right to the Reward by the Law or Covenant.

§. 28. 7. And it would follow, That no Duty could be required of us as a Condition of any Be­nefit purchased by Christ, nor any sin charged on us so far as to be indeed our sin, because we are reputed perfectly holy and innocent.

§. 29. Many other such Consequents I pass by, and other Arguments against this Opinion, and the Confutation of the contrary, because I have done it all elsewhere, especially in a peculiar Di­scourse on this Against Dr. Tul­ly's Accusations. Subject, and in my Disputations of Justifica­tion.

§. 30. Christ's own Righteousness habitual or actual, is not ours, as it is his, in strict sence in it self, as if we were the Proprietors, the Subjects of his Habits, or the Agents of his Acts: For it is impossible that the Accidents of several Subjects should be the same.

§. 31. And the form of Christ's Righteousness is therefore no more ours, than the Matter: For Righteousness in Christ, and Righteousness in each Believer, are distinct Righteousnesses.

§. 32. Many Divines have pleaded, That Christ's Righteousness is the form of ours; and others, that it is the Matter; and others, that it is the me­ritorious Cause; and have too much troubled the Church with Logical Notions. The meritorious Cause it is undoubtedly; and they that say, That it cannot then be the material Cause, must con­sider, [Page 263] that we mean, that it is the Matter of the meritorious Cause: And had we been innocent our selves, would not our Innocency have been both the Matter of our righteousness (or Merit) and the meritorious Cause of our right to Life.

§. 33. But this supposeth that the Matter of the Gospel subordinate righteousness which consisteth in that Repentance, Faith, and Holiness, which is required in us to our right to life, is to be found in our selves, and not in Christ for us.

§. 34. But the form of Christ's righteousness cannot be the form of ours, as is aforesaid; but it is the form of that which is the meritorious Cause of ours: But what need have we of th [...]se Di­sputes?

§. 35. The Not imputing of sin, is called also by some, the Form of Iustification; and by others, that, and the Imputation of righteousness conjunct; and by others, that, and God's accepting us as righ­teous; others call these the Matter of Iustification; and thus mens Logick, ill-managed, troubleth the Hearers, which I would not mention, had it not been necessary to disintangle them.

§. 36. They that will dispute what is the form of Iustification, must first confess the Ambiguity of the Word, and tell us in which Sence they take it: There are so many things that are truly the form of Iustification taken in many Sences, that with­out such distinguishing to dispute of the form of Iustification, is worse than to say nothing: Iusti­fication taken actively, as the Act of the Iustifyer▪ hath one form: Iustification passively taken for the state of the justified, hath another form: And [...]ch of these are subdivided into many Acts, and many Effects, which have each their form. The Act of [Page 264] pardoning sin, is one thing, and therefore hath one form: The Act of making us inherently righte­ous, or performers of the Condition of the Co­venant of Grace hath another form: The Act of esteeming us righteous, hath another: The Act of our Advocate defending our righteousness, another. The Act of Justifying-evidence and Witness, an­other: The Act of sentencing us righteous, an­other: And the Act of executive Justification, or rewarding and saving us, as righteous, another. And accordingly Iustification passively taken, hath as many forms as it signifieth various Effects. To be in a state of conditional Iustification, to be Performers of the Condition of the Law of Grace, to have jus impunitatis, right to Impunity (that is, to be pardoned) and to have jus Doni & Praemii reg­ni coelestis, a right to Glory, as a gift, and as a re­ward (in several respects) are all Effects of God's foresaid Acts, and every one hath its proper Being and Form: And all this as given us; for the Merits of Christ's righteousness, concur to make up our whole Iustification as constitutive and virtual in Law; and each part hath its proper form: And then A­pologetick, Judiciary (or Sentential) and Execu­tive Justification, are also various Species, which have their Forms.

§. 36. Obj. Unius rei unica est forma: Justi­fication is one thing, and therefore hath but one form.

Ans. 1. One Iustification is but one thing; but there are divers things so called, even in Scripture. When Christ saith, By thy words thou shalt be justified, Mat. 12. and Paul saith, that we are justified by the [...]pirit of God, 1 Cor. 6. 10. and Iohn saith, He that is just, let him▪ be justified still, Rev. 22. they have not all the same Sence. 2. One thing may [Page 265] have one form, and yet its many parts have many forms: Our righteousness taken for the whole of it, is one whole, whose form is signified by that general Name of our total righteousness; and yet its parts are all those before-mentioned, which yet each severally are commonly called righteous­ness. But of these things before.

§. 37. Either then let us meddle as little as may be, with arbitrary Logical Notions in Theo­logy, or let us handle them exactly, or else un­skilful using them in weighty matters, becomes a vain entangling of poor Souls, and a childish way of troubling the Church of God. The truth is, the forms of such Acts are best known by their bare Names, if they be rightly named; and by the Name many understand what they are, where nei­ther they nor their Teachers can find other words by which to give you a fair Definition of them, which maketh me think of some of our over-wise, and over-righteous Catechizers of the ig­norant, who use to turn plain, honest persons from the Sacrament of Communion, if they can­not tell them what God is, what Holiness is, what Faith, Repentance, Sanctification, Iustifica­tion, Adoption is, by some congruous Descripti­on, when yet a wise Examination might shew, that by the Name they understand the Matter it self, though not by distinct Notions; and when the Catechizer too often would be found shamefully to seek, if he were put to answer his own Questions by a true Definition (as I have tried.)

§. 38. To conclude, there are many sharp Volumes written of late, which reproach Imputed [Page 266] Righteousness, to which they seem induced by some mens misexplication of it; and by such unwarran­table words as some Independents use of it, in their Savoy-Confession: And they dream that we deny all necessity of Personal fulfilling the Con­ditions of the Law of Grace, as a means of our Justification and Salvation: But they utterly wrong the generality of Divines of my acquain­tance and notice: And I must tell them, for the Independents, that they did not subscribe or vote that Confession, as some present assure me, but on­ly a very few men brought it in and read it, and none spake against it: And some worthy per­sons of that Assembly, upon conference, assure me, That how ill soever it be worded, they them­selves did mean it as I and other Protestants do, and did disclaim the obvious ill sence.

And I add, Had these Contenders but taken up with the distinction of Imputation which Mr. Brad­shaw giveth in the Preface to his reconciling Tractate of Iustification, it might have quieted them; by in­forming them, in what sence Christ's Righteous­ness is imputed to us, and in what not: And they would have seen that which is not ours, as Pro­prietaries of the thing it self in se, may be called ours, because the Effects are ours, and it was gi­ven to God, for the meriting of those Effects for us.

CHAP. XXIII. How Faith justifieth; and how it is imputed to us for Righteousness.

§. 1. ABout this also there are many needless notional Controversies among men that are agreed in the matter it self: As whether Faith justifie as it receiveth Christ in all his mediatorial Office, as Prophet, Priest and King? Or only as in his Priestly Office? And whether, as it receiveth him in all the parts of that Office, or which? Or as it receiveth his Righteousness only? Whether Faith justifie us as an Instrument only? Or as a Condition? Or as meritorious? Whether it justifie us by being it self imputed to us for Righteous­ness, or it be Christ's righteousness only that is so imputed? Whether Faith alone justifie us, or al­so Repentance, Desire, Hope, or any other acts of the Soul towards Christ? Whether only Faith in Christ justifie, and not Faith in God the Father, or belief of the Promise, or of Heaven? &c. Of all which briefly.

§. 2. I. The word [Receiving] (Christ, Grace, &c.) hath two different sences necessarily to be distinguished: 1. Physical Receiving is the strict sence, as pati and recipere are all one: Which is, 1. To receive the meer Act of the Agent ter­minatively; or, 2. To receive a further effect of that Act.

[Page 268]2. Moral receiving is nothing but accepting of an offered thing by consent of Will: And so to receive supposeth an offer, and is nothing but Con­sent to it.

§. 3. To receive Grace in the strict physical sence, is to be made gracious, or to be the Patients of the Operation of Grace if it be real: But to re­ceive relative Grace physically, is nothing but to be made so related: So to receive Sanctification is to be sanctified, and to receive Justification or Par­don, is nothing but to be justified or pardo­ned.

§. 4. But how is Christ himself physically re­ceived? That were easily known, if you knew how he is physically given. But for a Gift of Christ's person by physical attingency, we can say nothing of it by Scripture-warrant, that I know of: It is no matter for our Disputes. But in two sences Christ is said to be given to us: 1. In Relation, as a King to his Subjects, or a Husband to his Wife: And so we physically receive those Relations, as aforesaid: That is, we are made related to him. 2. In the real Communication of the Spirit of Christ to us: And so we physically receive the Spirit in its operations; that is, He worketh them on us: This is the first sence of Receiving.

§. 4. But morally to receive Grace, or Christ, is but to consent that Grace and Christ be ours: As a Subject, a Servant, a Wife, consent to their Relati­on; and this is our Faith, and not the former.

§. 5. Where note, That moral Receiving (or Con­sent) is but a Means of physical Receiving (or Ha­ving) and a means which maketh not the thing ours▪ any otherwise, than as the Will of the Giver doth appoint, and give it its Power thereunto. [Page 269] This moral receiving or accepting is but dispositio recipientis, as to having or physical reception; as there must be in all things dispositio materiae ad formam recipiendam: He that will not accept the Gift, is accounted by the Giver morally unfit for it.

§. 6. But this is not spoken of every Gift; but of such as are offered by the Giver on the Con­dition of thankful acceptance. For God giveth many things absolutely; as Christ was given to be Man's Redeemer, and Christ gave his Covenant, Gospel, and Apostles, and sendeth the word to many that before have it not, and giveth the first Grace, which causeth mens acceptance of the other, and all this not on the Condition of their acceptance: But the Gifts bestowed by the Baptismal Covenant of Grace, are all given on Condition of our moral receiving or acceptance.

§. 7. This necessary distinction of receiving be­ing premised, I answer the question as followeth: 1. To be justified, is to be the physical Receiver of Goa's justifying act, and nothing else in proper sence.

§. 8. 2. No man physically receiveth Christ's Person (as far as we can prove or understand) nor Christ's own Righteousness in it self; but we physically receive our relation to Christ, and the Spirits operations, and our Right to Impunity and Life.

§. 9. 3. We at once sensu physico, receive our relation to Christ as our Head, that is, our redeeming Owner, Ruler and Saviour, or Prophet, as Priest and King; and not to one first, and to another after.

§. 10. 4. In the same instant of time that we receive our relation to Christ, as aforesaid, we re­ceive with him, as his Grace, by the same donative [Page 270] act of the Covenant, our Right to Impunity and Life, even to the complacential special Love of the Father, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost, and so are justified.

§. 11. 5. Our moral receiving of Christ himself as our Saviour, is the antecedent Condition of our foresaid physical reception or participation, being appointed by God to that use or office.

§. 12. 6. This moral receiving is that Faith which I before at large described, and is sometime called Believing, and sometime Trusting, because it is in whole a believing fiducial Consent.

§. 13. 7. This Belief and Consent or Acce­ptance, hath essentially for its object all that is essential to Christ, as our Saviour; his Natures, Person, his Humiliation, Obedience, his Sacrifice and Resurrection, his Intercession, Dominion, Judgment, together with his Doctrine, Promises, and Grace; besides God himself and the Heaven­ly Glory: And it is not true Faith that hath not all this, at least confusedly and in some de­gree.

§. 14. 8. They that say, Faith justifyeth as it receiveth Christ's Righteousness, and not as it recei­veth Christ himself in relation, or at least not as Teacher, Lord, Intercessor, &c. do draw men into deceit by a Phrase which intimateth a false sup­position, or two, viz. 1. It is false that Faith ju­stifieth us, if they mean efficiently; as shall be shewed anon. But it is true, (though some de­ny it) that Faith justifyeth constitutively, so far as it is it self our personal inherent Righteousness, (of which after): But this they mean not: Nor is Faith in Christ's righteousness any more our inhe­rent Righteousness than Faith in his Promises, [Page 271] his Intercession or his Government, or in God the Father. 2. It is false, that Faith as Faith doth justifie; either as it is Faith in this or that or the other part of the Office of Christ; for then we should be justified, as they call it, by that [...]o credere; and then if God had not made Faith the Condition of Justification, yet qua talis it would have justified.

§. 15. 9. But the Case is very plain: There is considerable in Faith, 1. Its Nature, and that is only its material Aptitude to its Office: 2. The Office it self, and that is to be the Condition appoin­ted by God the Donor, of our Interest in his Gifts (and so of Justification). Now it justifieth not efficiently at all (unless you take Justification for making us Holy). But it is the Condition of Justi­fication, and so we are said to be justified by it as by a Condition; but it is not a Condition, qua fides, or as it receiveth Christ's Righteousness, but as it is made by God a Condition in his Covenant. But Faith, as Faith in Christ, is the Matter of this Condition: Or its Aptitude to its Office is in Faith qua talis: And no other had been so fit: But then it is not only our belief or acceptance of Christ's Righteousness that is this Aptitude: No­thing but entire Faith in its essentials is this matter and aptitude, and the formal reason of its place or office about our Justification, is its being the Con­dition appointed thereto in the Instrument of Do­nation.

§. 16. 10. Were the Question about physical Receiving, it were true, that a man is justified qua­tenus, as he receiveth Justification, and adopted as he receiveth Adoption, and sanctified as he receiveth Sanctification, and glorified as he receiveth Glorifi­cation, [Page 272] and not something else; as he is rich as he receiveth Riches, and honourable as he receiveth Honour, &c. But moral acceptance of one thing is oft made the Condition of our having another thing; and here our acceptance of whole Christ is our undi­vided Condition-title to him and his Gifts. We are no more justified for or by consenting to be justi­fied, than for or by consenting to be sanctified, and to learn of Christ, and obey him.

§. 17. Yea more; men use to put that into the Condition of something which the Person fain would have, which he is more backward to, and would not else do or have. A Physician useth not to say, Thou shalt be cured if thou consent to be cured; but if thou consent to take my Medicines and follow my Prescript. A Father will not say to the Child, I will give thee this Apple if thou wilt have it; but if thou wilt thank me for it, and do thy Duty: So if we might make a difference in the reason of the thing, we should say, That God saith not only, Thou shalt have Christ's righ­teousness, or justification by it, if thou wilt have it; no more than [Thou shalt be saved from Hell if thou wilt] (and who would not be forgiven?) But [thou shalt have Christ and Life, Pardon, Grace and Glory, if thou wilt thankfully take them together as they are, or wilt be taught and ruled by Christ, and renounce the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, and take God and Glory for thy all.]

§. 18. Christ's own righteousness being not essen­tially given to us in it self, but given for us; and to us in the Effects, to say, That the receiving of that which is not given, is the only justifying act of Faith, is to say, That we are not justified by Faith at all. But if they mean the Effects of Christ's Righteousness, [Page 273] then it is but to say, We are justified by no act of Faith, but by consenting to be justified by Christ's Me­rits: Which is not true.

§. 19. They contradict themselves that make Christ's Priestly Office the only Object of Justifying Faith, and yet make his whole Righteousness and Merit that Object: For who knoweth not, that all Christ's Righteousness was not performed by him only as Priest.

§. 20. And Christ's Priesthood hath many other actions belonging to it, besides his Merits offered for us: Even his present Intercession: Which must be excluded, if Christ's Righteousness here, as un­der the Law, were the only Object of this Faith.

§. 21. II. The second Question I had never troubled the World about so much as I have done, had I not found too many Protestants scandalize the Papists, by laying too much on the Nation of Instrumentality, ill explained. But the judicious are here all in sence of the same mind.

§. 22. For by an Instrument they mean not, 1. an instrumental efficient Cause of Justification: 2. Nor of making Christ's Righteousness ours: For we give it not to our selves. 3. But they take the word Instrument mechanically or less ac­curately, and tell us, that they mean a receiving Instrument, as a Boy Dr. Kendal. catch­eth a Ball in his Hat: But so as that it is a moral Instrument, that is, both materially a mo­ral act, and the Instrument of a moral not physi­cal reception.

§. 23. But when they have all done, they do but entangle and trouble themselves and others with an unapt Logical notion: For (as it is so easie to [Page 274] confute the gross Conceit, That Faith is an instru­mental efficient Cause (either God's or Man's) of our Justification; (which I have done so oft, that I will here pretermit it, so) this Notion of a Passive Instrument is unapt, because, 1. The Act of Assent is essential to this justifying Faith, as well as Acceptance; and so is Trust, which yet are no more Instrumental in reception, than many other Acts, even Love, Desire, Hope. 2. Because our Consent to other things, as well as to be justi­fied, and our Faith in God the Father, are as truly the Condition of our Iustification, as our Consent to be justified. 3. And because this Meta­phorical use of the Word Instrument, leadeth peo­ple to dream of proper Instrumentality, and mis­leadeth them from the apter Notions: The Co­venant-Donation is the justifying Instrument.

§. 24. I conclude therefore summarily, 1. Faith, as Faith in the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, in the Sence of the Baptismal Covenant, is the apt Mat­ter to be the Condition of our Justification by the Gift of that Covenant.

2. If Justification be taken for making us just Performers of the Conditions of the Covenant of Grace; so Faith justifieth us, 1. Constitutively ini­tially, as it is the beginning of that Righteousness it self. 2. And by a moral efficiency, as it is a cause of Love and Obedience.

3. If Justification be taken for the Gift, or right to Impunity and Life in and with Christ, so Faith is the Condition of it, and no otherwise justifi­eth.

4. But if any will call this by the name of a Submerit, with the Ancients, meaning but that it meriteth Justification, as a Child meriteth a piece [Page 275] of Gold from his Father, by putting off his Hat, and saying, I thank you, and humbly taking it, instead of scornful or neglectful refusing it, I will not quarrel with any such.

§. 25. But remember, that as wise men seldom make any thing a Condition of a gift, which hath no worth in it to please them; so God saw, and put such a worth or aptitude in Faith, or else he had not so much as commanded it.

§. 26. But yet a Condition simply as such, sig­nifieth neither Merit nor Causality at all; but on­ly the terms on which the gift shall be suspended, till they be performed: And so the performance of a Condition as such, is no efficien [...] of the gift, but a removing of the suspending impediment.

§. 27. Therefore Dr. Twisse oft calleth Faith Causam dispositivam justificationis, which belongeth not to the efficient, but material or recipient Cause; and the true Legal Notion of its next Interest in our Justification, is its being [Conditio praestita] and the true Logical Notion is to be [Dispositio moralis materiae, sive subjecti recipientis] call it Cau­sam vel Conditionem dispositivam, as you please: And I think this Question needs no more.

§. 28. III. As to the third Question, the truth is obvious, That Christ's righteousness is imputed, and yet Faith is imputed to us for righteousness in several Sences; that is, each is reputed to be to us what indeed it is. Two things make up the Sence of Faith's being imputed to us for righteousness: 1. Faith is really the Condition of the Covenant of Grace, which whoso performeth, he is righteous against the Charge of Non-performance of that Con­dition; and it is reputed our subordinate, Evangeli­cal [Page 276] personal, righteousness: 2. And supposing Christ's Merits and our Redemption by him, this Gospel-righteousness is all that is required of us on our parts, instead of all that perfect Obedience which the Law of Innocency required. So that our Faith (taken in the Scripture-sence) is our real righte­ousness related to the Condition of the New Co­venant, and instead of a more perfect righteousness of Innocency; forasmuch as after Christ's Redem­ption, is required to be performed by our selves.

§. 29. This, no Christians that are sober, can deny, as to the thing: And as to the Name, it is plain to the impartial that will see that Paul, Rom. 4. 22, 23, 24. and Iam. 2. 23. by Faith means Faith it self indeed, and not only Christ the Ob­ject of Faith, as some affirm, with too great Scan­dal: read over the Texts, and try what Sence it will be, if you put [Christ] instead of [Faith.]▪

§. 30. Obj. But it is not Faith in, and of it self that's meant, but as connoting the Object.

Ans. The latter clause is true: it is Faith, as connoting the Object, Christ: But the former is a contradi­ction. For Faith it self essentially connoteth the Object: If you speak not of Faith in genere (for it is not any kind of Faith that is our righteous­ness) but of the Christian, or New Covenant Faith in specie, who knoweth not that the Object specifieth it? And therefore if it be Christian faith, as connoting the Object, it is Christian faith as Christian faith.

§. 31. But will any sober Christian deny, that [...]ur righteousness in one sence, and Faith [...]inate [...] in another, and that both are accord­ [...]ed to us? How fain would some men [Page 277] differ, if they could, or seem to do it, when they do not?

§. 32. IV. As to the fourth Question, I an­swer, 1. We are all agreed, That God will not pardon, justifie, or save any, without both Faith and Repentance, and Desire, as necessary moral Qualifi­cations of the Receiver: And this shall serve turn, if any like not the term [Condition] and be wil­ling to be quiet.

§. 33. 2. Faith in a narrow Sence, as signi­fying meer Assent, is distinct from Repentance; but Faith in that sence as is meant in Bap­tism, and hath the Promise of Justification and Life, is more the same with Repentance than ma­ny perceive. For Repentance is the change of the mind from evil to good? And the Good necessary to our Salvation, is a fiducial practical Consent to the Covenant of Grace, or a practical Faith in God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost: And to turn to this, is to repent and be converted; even to turn from the contrary Acts and Objects to this fidu­cial consenting Belief in God the Father, Son, and Spirit; and what else is repenting, but this Change?

§. 34. 3. It was never Paul's meaning, under the name of Works, to exclude Repentance, and all Acts of Faith, save one, and Thankfulness, and Desire, and Hope, and Prayer, &c. while they keep their place in subordination to Christ: They do but confound sacred Doctrines and mens minds, that so imagine.

§. 35. And the same Spirit that saith, He that believeth, shall be saved, saith also, He that calleth [Page 276] [...] [Page 277] [...] [Page 278] on the Name of the Lord, shall be saved, Rom. 10. 13. And we are saved by Hope, Rom. 8. 24. and we are saved by the wash­ing Act. 12. 21. of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost, Tit. 3. 5, 6. and by believing the Ar­ticles of the Creed, 1 Cor. 15. 2. and blessed are they that kee [...] his Commandments, that they may have right to the Tree of Life (that right is our righ­teousness) and may enter in, &c. Rev. 22. 14. By taking heed to himself and to Doctrine, Timothy was to save himself and his Hearers, 1 Tim. 4. 16. Ma­ny such Texts I have elsewhere cited, which are all true.

§. 36. V. As to the fifth Question, it is an­swered before in the Description of Faith: As the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, are one God, so Faith in them is, one Faith; and no man can truly be­lieve in Christ, that believeth not in the Father; our belief in God, as God, and Love to him, is that Salvation to which Christ is to bring us: And the Consent to use the remedy, includeth the consent to have Health or to be saved: And our Be­lief in God, as our Redeemer, even Christ, is the chief part of our mediate Faith: In a word; all that Belief which is necessary to the Baptized, is necessary to our Iustification: But that is our Be­lief in Father, Son, and Holy Ghost (in the mea­sure that they are revealed.)

CHAP. XXIV. Of Assurance of our Justification, and of Hope.

§. 1. ASsurance of Perseverance and Salvation, is not here to be spoken of, but only of our present Iustification: And they are distinct Questions. 1. What Assurance is desirable. 2. What Assurance is attainable. 3. What Assurance we actually have, and who have it. 4. What is the nature and grounds of this Assurance.

§. 2. I. Some pleaded so much for the useful­ness of Uncertainty and Doubting, as if it were the safest condition to keep us humble and watchful, as excited Luther and other Reformers to take them for utter Enemies to Christian Comfort. And cer­tainly Assurance is a most desirable thing; it kindleth in us the love of God; it maketh Duty sweet; it maketh Sufferings easie, and Death less terrible, and Heaven more desired, and consequently cureth an earthly Mind, and leadeth man to a heavenly Con­versation, and putteth Life into all his Endeavours: Whereas a man that is still utterly in doubt of his state of Salvation, and right to Life, will be loath to die, and therefore love this present World, and have less thankful and loving Thoughts of God and his Redeemer, and so all sin will have advan­tage, and Holiness a great impediment. An In­fidel will confess, that such Assurance is exceeding desirable.

[Page 280]§. 3. II. And no doubt but a comfortable de­gree of Assurance is attainable, or else God would never have so fully differenced the Righteous and the Wicked, and commanded all to examine and try themselves, and to make sure: But this I have often elsewhere proved.

§. 4. III. But all true Believers have not As­surance of their Justification, because they are not certain that their Faith is such as hath the promise of Justification: He that believeth perceiveth that he believeth, but yet may be uncertain that his Faith is so sincere, as no unjustified man can have.

§. 5. Their Justification is real, or true, or certain in it self; but the Evidence of it may be dark, and their perception of the Evidence defe­ctive; from whence it is to them uncertain; that is, not known with that full satisfaction of mind, which we call Assurance.

§. 6. Yea, Experience telleth us, That it is but a small part of the most religious Christians, who will say themselves▪ That they are certain of their Iustification; and of those few that are for­wardest to say so, all have it not.

§. 7. Therefore justifying Faith is not Assurance that we are justified; otherwise all should have as­surance that have Faith; and justifying Faith in order of Nature, goeth before Iustification, but Assurance that we are justified, followeth it; we cannot be assured that we are justified, but by be­ing assured that we believe: But it's absurd to say, [I am assured I am justified, because I am assured that I am justified.] But this is only against the Antinomians.

[Page 281]§. 8. No man hath perfect Assurance, that is the highest degree in this Life: For if all our Graces be imperfect, our Assurance must needs be imper­fect.

§. 9. IV. This Assurance then is not properly Divine Faith, or a Belief of God's Word; but it is a clear and satisfying perception of our own Justi­fication, because we are clearly satisfied, that God's Promises are true, and that we are true Be­lievers.

§. 10. This Certainty is not by an immediate Word or Revelation of the Spirit in us; but yet the Spirit is all these ways the cause of it in the Faith­ful. 1. The Spirit working us to God's Image and Will, is our assuring-Evidence, or the Minor in that Argument, whose Conclusion we are assured of (as the Spirit in the Word is the Major.) 2. The Spirit in Believers helpeth them to perceive his own Works in them, and know their Evidence: 3. And also to rejoyce in that perception. This is the Witness of the Spirit which we mean, and not immediate Revelation.

§. 11. Though Hope be sometimes about things certain, yet it is often also about that which we are not certain of: And more have true Hopes of Salvation, than have Assurance of it, or of their Title to it: For Hope may be exercised upon pro­babilities, and most usually it is so.

§. 12. Strong Probability, with little reason of doubting, may cause such strong Hopes as may cause us to live and die with comfort: If doubting be small, and Hope be great, the Peace and Ioy will be greater than the fear and trouble.

[Page 282]§. 13. Bellarmin's Moral Certainty is more than most Christians attain to, and his, and other mens Concession thereof tell us, That in this Point our difference is less than those have thought, who have said it was sufficient Cause of our Separation from Rome.

§. 14. While we are certain that this World is fading Vanity, and that there is no hope of Felicity on Earth, and that therefore Godliness can cost us the loss of nothing but Vanity, a Faith short of Certainty, and mixt with doubting, about the very Truth of the Promise it self, and Life Eternal, may engage a man savingly in a holy Life, and the forsaking of all for the hopes of Glory: And such doubting, even of the Life to come, or of the Go­spel, as keepeth not men from trusting to it for their Felicity, and seeking it above all, and for­saking all for it, will keep no man from Salvati­on, though it be his sin, and the cause of other sins.

Much more may this be done when men doubt not of God's Word, or the State of Glory, but only of their own Sincerity, Justification and Sal­vation.

CHAP. XXV. Of good Works and Merit, and trusting to any thing of our own.

§. 1. HEre are several Controversies that trouble our Peace, but few of them that are so great as they are commonly imagined: [Page 283] As, 1. What are good Works (which indeed is of great weight, and the chief in which we really differ about Works.) 2. Whether they are ne­cessary to Justification or Salvation. 3. Whether they are meritorious or rewardable. 4. What place they have, and what is their use and neces­sity. 5. Whether we may trust to them.

§. 2. I. It is one of the Devil's chief Policies in the World, to cast out Christ's Interest by its Counterfeits: To expugn true Wisdom by counter­feit Wisdom, and true Faith by counterfeit Faith, and true Zeal and Piety by counterfeit Zeal and Piety, and true Unity, and Concord, and Peace, by their Counterfeits, and true Worship, Ministry, Discipline, by their Counterfeits; and true Com­fort by counterfeit Comfort; and so also it is by counterfeit good Works, that good Works are oft cast off.

§. 3. The measure of all created Goodness, is the Will of the Creator, who is the prime, essen­tial Good; and no Work of Man is morally good, but what is made so by the Will of God; that is, 1. Efficiently, by his operative Will: 2. Directive­ly, by his commanding Will: And, 3. Finally and Objectively, by his pleased, or fulfilled Will. Man's Wit, Will, or Interest cannot serve to make any action morally good.

§. 4. He that intendeth God's Honour, and the pleasing of his Will, and the good of his own or o­thers Souls, or the safety of Religion, or the Church, or State, and useth means hereto, not com­manded, or any way appointed him of God (much more if directly forbidden) doth not a Work that is truly good, but only secundum quid.

[Page 284]§. 5. Could we be sure that such a Work would save Souls, or save Church, or State, or our Neigh­bours lives, it would not make it morally a good Work; but only make the Effect to be physically good to others that are benefited by it.

§. 6. Therefore to build Churches, or Hospitals, to feed and cloath the Poor, to save Mens Lives, to preach the Gospel, are all such as finally do a physical good, and they are the matter of moral good; but forma denominat: Those Actions are not mo­rally good, unless, 1. done in obedience to God's commanding, or ruling Will: 2. And finally to please his Will.

§. 7. Those Priests therefore that set carnal, ungodly Sinners (Fornicators, Murderers, Glut­tons, Drunkards, Lyers, Perjured, &c.) on ex­piating their Sins by good Works, without teach­ing and perswading them to that internal repentance, and Conversion of their Wills, and holy devotedness to God, by which their Works must have a right Prin­ciple, End, and Form, do but delude men, and cheat them by flattery into perdition.

§. 8. Much more pernicious is it, to take Sin, Folly, and Superstition, for good Works, and look to be saved by that which deserveth Damnation, and to expiate sin by sin; such are the Works of Persecuters that think they serve God by unjust kil­ling, or imprisoning his Servants, or causeless si­lencing his faithful Ministers; such were the Wars of the Cro [...]sad [...]'s against the Waldenses and Albi­genses; and such are the Works of the Inquisition, and their persecuting Executioners; such are Re­bellions that have fair Pretences, as were those a­gainst the German Emperors, Fredericks, Henry, &c. and of many of such Agents oft against the [Page 285] Kings of England; such hath been the zealous killing of Kings, and burning of honest desirable Dissenters; and such is the alienating Mens Estates from better Uses, to maintain a supernumerous sinful, vicious, idle Monastery, or their prelatical needless Pomp and Pride; or to buy Pardons or Masses for departed Souls; or to build useless Stru­ctures to the Honour of some Saint or Angel; or to set up useless Formalities and Shadows, as Candles by day-light, and abundance such: And such are long Pilgrimages to the Shrines of such as the Pope hath Canonized, and to visit Relicks, and the carrying about of Relicks, with an ungrounded carnal con­sidence in them; with many such like.

§. 9. So wosully hath the Papal Party, and not they only, but in too great a measure, the Greeks, Moscovites, Armenians, Syrians, Coptics, Abas­sines, and most of the Churches corrupted the Chri­stian Religion by their useless or seducing Fop­peries called good Works, that they have among them defiled its Purity, rejected its Primitive Sim­plicity, obscured and dishonoured its Glory, and made it seem contemptible to Mahometans and Heathens; and made it less fit to destroy sin, and frustrate Satan, and to please God, and to sancti­fie and save mens Souls.

§. 10. II. Were all Sects and Parties of Chri­stians, well agreed what Works are truly good, it would be a shame to us, should we not agree in the main how far they are necessary, when the Case is so plain throughout the Scripture: I think we are commonly agreed as followeth.

[Page 286]§. 11. 1. Perfect Obedience is not of absolute necessity to Salvation, because we are under a Co­venant that hath easier terms.

§. 12. 2. The Works of the Mosaical Jewish Law, are neither necessary necessitate praecepti vel medii, that Law not binding us as such.

§. 13. 3. Obedience to Man's Laws is not ne­cessary, when the matter is forbidden us by God's Laws, or when they are Laws without pow­er; that is, such as men have no Authority to make.

§. 14. 4. No Works of special Grace are ante­cedently necessary to our reception of that Grace, o [...] of its necessary means.

§. 15. 5. No external acts of sincere Obedience, distinct from internal Faith, and Repentance, and Consent, are necessary before to our first Justifi­cation; that is, to our right to Impunity and life in Christ.

§. 16. 6. Even internal Obedience to Christ as Christ, distinct from our Obedience to God as God, and our Subjection to Christ (or Consent to be his Subjects, and obey him) is not before necessary to our part in Christ, or our Union, or Justifica­tion, as in its first state or beginning.

§. 17. 7. Therefore if we should suppose that a Man should die immediately upon his first internal Faith and Consent to the Covenant, before he had time to do one Act internal or external of formal Obedience to Christ, as Christ, that Man would be saved. But the Supposition is so utterly improbable, that it is not to be put as a matter of Dispute: The Thief on the Cross per­formed some Obedience.

[Page 287]§. 18. 8. No Works of Man's are necessary to profit God, or can add to his Perfection or Felicity: He needeth not us nor any of our doings.

§. 19. 9. No Works of ours are necessary to make up any defects in the Merits of Christ, or to any use which is proper to Christ or his Me­rits or efficacious Grace.

§. 20. 10. No preparatory Works of Man's (I think) are absolutely before necessary to God's effectual converting of him, (unless you will call the Acts of Nature, by which he is fit to hear and think, preparatory Works unfitly): For God can give his Grace to unprepared Souls.

§. 21. On the affirmative also we are agreed, 1. That all Mankind are under God's Government by some Law, and owe Him Obedience to that Law.

§. 22. 2. That it is only Disobedience that God punisheth according to the Penal part of that Law which men live under.

§. 23. 3. That it is only Obedience which God rewardeth, according to the rewarding or promissory part of the Law that men are un­der.

§. 24. 4. That the Law of Grace (and not only that of Innocency) hath its Commands of Obedience, and Promises of Reward.

§. 25. 5. That men must believe that there is a God before they can believe that Christ is the Anointed of God and the Mediator between God and man; and therefore must first believe God's Soveraign Government.

[Page 288]§. 26. 6. God commandeth men to believe in Christ, (and so maketh it their Duty) and to take him for their Lord and Saviour by Faith.

§. 27. 7. Men ought thus to believe in Christ and accept him, in obedience to this Command of God, believing that it is his Will.

§. 28. 8. Therefore there is some sort of Re­lief in God, and Obedience to God, which is in order before our Faith in Christ: And Faith in Christ as it is voluntary and free, is an Act of such Obedi­ence to God.

§. 29. 9. Yet is it the antecedent Teaching of Christ (by Nature, by the Word, or Spirit, or all) by which we now come to know God to be God, and that he is to be believed and obeyed. There­fore Christ is mens Teacher, and thereby bringeth them to believe first in God, before he is known to be their Teacher, and believed on himself. As the Sun­beams before its rising give some Light to the Earth.

§. 30. 10. God hath commanded men that hear not of Christ, the use of some means, which Mercy hath (through Christ) afforded them, which have a tendency to their Salvation, and should be used to that end. And his bare Command to use such means (much more as seconded with a­bundance of Mercies) tell us, that he bids not men use them in vain, or without any hope of good success (of which before).

§. 31. 11. He that heareth of Christ and belie­veth not, or believeth uneffectually, and is not a con­verted sound Believer, is under God's Command to use certain means allowed him, to procure Faith and true Conversion, and that not without all hope of good success.

[Page 289]§. 32. 12. It is God's ordinary way to give his first special converting Grace, to predisposed Sub­jects, prepared by his commoner Grace; in which Preparation some Acts of Man have their part: And the unprepared and undisposed cannot equal­ly expect it.

§. 33. 13. Faith and Repentance are Acts of Man, and pre-requisite to Justification: Therefore as Acts and Works are words of the same sence, so Works, even Works of Special Grace are pre-requisite to Justification.

Obj. But not as Acts, but for the Object?

Answ. That's a contradiction. Christ is Christ whether we believe in him or not; and it's one thing to say Christ is necessary, and another thing to say, Believing in him is necessary: It is not neces­sary meerly as an Act in genere, but as this Act in specie; and it is specified (as is aforesaid) by its Object. Not only Christ believed in, but Believing in Christ is pre-requisite as a moral disposition to Justification: And in that sence a Work or Act of Man.

§. 34. 14. It is before shewed, that this Faith is a moral Work, containing (not one only, but) many physical acts: He that believeth in Christ, be­lieveth in him as sent of God, to reconcile us to God, to bring us to Glory, to save us from Iu­stice, Sin, and Enemies, to sanctifie us by his Word and Spirit, with many such acts that make up the Essence of Saving-Faith: This is the Work of God, that ye believe on him whom the Father hath sent, Joh. 6. 28, 29.

§. 35. 15. The Faith that hath the Promise of Justification, is essentially a subjecting our selves to Christ; that is, a taking him for our Lord and [Page 290] Saviour by Consent: Which is a Consent to obey him for the future.

§. 36. 16. Though this actual Obedience to Christ (besides Subjection) be not pre-requisite to our first being justified, it is requisite to the Con­tinuance of our Justification: For we consented to obey, that we might indeed obey, and are per­ [...]idious if we do not.

§. 37. 17. The World and Conscience will judge us much according to our Works.

§. 38. 18. The same Law of Grace being the Rule of Duty and of Iudgment, God will judge all men according to their Works, required by that Law, by justifying or condemning them.

§. 39. 19. Final justification and glorification are the Rewards of Evangelical Obedience; and the reason rendered of Christ's justifying Sentence, Matth. 25. (& passim) is from such acts of Man, as qualifying them for the free Gift of God.

§. 40. 20. There is a moral goodness in these Works of Man, by which through Christ, they are pleasing to God, which is their aptitude to this acceptance and reward.

In all this I think all sober Christians must needs confess that they agree.

§. 41. III. And as to the Case of Merit, a few words with understanding men may dispatch it. We are agreed on the negative; 1. That no Man or Angel can merit of God in proper Com­mutative Justice, giving him somewhat for his Benefits that shall profit him, or to which he had not absolute right.

[Page 291]2. No man can merit any thing of God, upon the terms of the Law of Innocency, (but Pu­nishment)

3. No man can merit any thing of God, un­less it be supposed first to be a free Gift and merited by Christ.

§. 42. And affirmatively we are (I think) a­greed; 1. That God governeth us by a Law of Grace, which hath a Promise or Premiant part, which giveth (not the antecedent, but many conse­quent benefits) by way of Reward: To deny the rewarding act, is to deny God's Law, and the man­ner of his Government.

§. 43. 2. That God calleth it his Iustice to reward men according to his Law, and give them what it gave them right to. Insomuch, that it is made the second Article of our Faith, Heb. 11. 6. to believe that God is the rewarder of them that di­ligently seek him. And he giveth it as a righteous Iudge, 2 Tim. 4. 8.

§. 44. 3. That this supposeth that such Works of Man have a moral Aptitude for that Reward; which consisteth in these things: 1. That they are efficiently from God's Spirit. 2. They are in their measure agreeable to God's governing Will. 3. They are done in Love, to his glory, and to please him. 4. They are done by a Member of Christ. 5. They are profitable to Men, our selves and others. 6. The Habits and Acts are God's own Image. 7. They have the Promise of his Re­ward. 8. They are washed in the Blood of Christ, that is, Their faultiness is pardoned through his Merits. 9. They are presented to God by Christ's Intercession. 10. And lastly, they are Man's Ap­titude for the Reward in their very nature; yea, [Page 292] part of it themselves as they are of God; Holiness being the beginning of Happiness, or of that love of God which in its Perfection is Heaven it self: Such an Aptitude, as that a holy person cannot be misera­ble, nor can God hate and damn a holy Soul that truly loveth and obeyeth him.

§. 45. 4. This moral Aptitude for the Reward is amiable and pleasing to God; and therefore he calleth the Reward in the Gospel usually [...], which properly signifieth Wages, which men give by Commutative Iustice: But that is only metapho­rically, because God that cannot be profited by man, is yet pleased in that which profiteth our selves and one another, and glorifieth him by declaring his Perfections: And as if this were profiting him, he calleth it Wages, for some similitude, but not in proper sence.

§. 46. 5. This moral Aptitude, for the Reward is called oft in Scripture Worthiness, [...], which is of the same signification with Merit: To be worthy and to deserve, are here all one: So that so far Merit (Worthiness) is a Scripture Phrase.

§. 47. 6. This Worthiness or Merit is only in point of Paternal Governing-Iustice, according to the Law of Grace, ordering that which in it self is a free Gift merited by Christ.

§. 48. For no Man or Angel can have any thing of God, but by free Gift: What have we which we receive not, when our being is of God? Therefore it must be of governing ordering Iustice only: The thing is a Gift; but God will give this Gift to his Children so wisely as to the Order of it, as shall be fittest to attain his ends. Therefore it is not by Governing Justice after the Law of Innocency or Works, but according to the Law of [Page 293] Grace. So that the sum of the Solution is, That 1. the Good received in its value, as Good is of God as a Benefactor and a free Gift. 2. But in Order of Collation, it is of God as a wise and righte­ous Governour, even a governing Father, and so on­ly it is a Reward, and so it is merited.

§. 49. This is easily understood by Parens, who intend to give their Children freely, out of meer love, their Inheritance, and what else they want: And yet they will give them Gold or Clothes or Food, in so wise a manner, as shall engage them to their Duty, and will say, Put off your Hat and thank me, or Do this or that (which is for their own good) and I will give you this. Here it is a Gift as to the Goodness, and a Reward as to the order of giving it.

§. 50. 7. The ancient Christians (as the Wri­tings of all the Ancients commonly shew) did use the word Merit without any scruple; and I re­member not that any Christians did ever gainsay it or take the use of it for a fault: Yet did they contradict mens carnal erroneous Conceits of Man's Merit, as well as we: Yet now our oppo­sition to Popery hath brought the word into so great distate with many good Protestants, as that they take it to signifie some dangerous self-arro­gating Doctrine: So great is the power of Preju­dice and Contest.

§. 51. It is true, That when Hereticks have put an ill sence upon a good word, we must use it more cantelously than at other times and places: But if thence we absolutely reject and [...]ccuse it, we shall harden our Adversaries, and strengthen the Error which we oppose, by running into the contrary extream, which will soon disgrace it self.

[Page 294]§. 52. It is a great advantage to the Papists, that many Protestants wholly disclaim the word, and simply deny the Merit of Gospel-obedience: For hereupon the Teachers shew their Scholars, that all the Fathers speak for Merit, and so tell them, that the Protestants Doctrine is new and heretical, as being contrary to all the ancient Do­ctors: And when their Scholars see it with their Eyes, no wonder if they believe it, to our disho­nour.

§. 53. All Orthodox Christians hold the fore­described Doctrine of Merit in sence, though not in words: For they that deny Merit, confess the [Rewardableness] of our Obedience, and confess that the Scripture useth the term [Worthy] and that [...] and [...] may be translated Meriting and Merit, as well as Worthy and Worthiness; and we think it fitter to expound such Scripture-words than to accuse and reject them: And they all confess, that man's Duty hath God's Promise of Reward, and that Holiness in its nature is suitable to the End or Reward, as disposing us to enjoy it, and is plea­sing unto God and glorifieth him: And this is all the same thing in other words, which the ancient Christians meant by Merit. And to hear many godly persons at the same time, most earnestly ex­tol Holiness, and desire that Preachers should con­vince the People that the Righteous is more excellent than his Neighbour, and yet denying all Merit, and reviling all that assert it; this doth but shew, that they understand not the word; and think others also misunderstand it: And so we are re­proaching one another, where we are agreed and know it not: Like the Woman that turned away her Servant upon the Controversie, Whether the [Page 295] House should be swept with a Bro [...]m or with a Be­som; or the Physicians that let the Patient die, because they could not agree whether he should take a Potion or a Draught, a bit or a morsel, or take Ambar, or Electrum or Succinum or Ca­r [...]be.

§. 54. And the partial Teachers are the Cause of all this, while instead of opening the Doctrine truly to the People, in what sence we have or have not any Worthiness or Merit, they without distin­ction cry down Merit, and reproach those that do otherwise: And if they do but say, [Such a Man or such a Book speaketh for Merit and Free-will] they have sufficiently rendered him odious or much suspected with their followers; when yet all so­ber Christians in all Ages have been for Merit and Free-will in a sound sence: And is not this to be Incendiaries and Adversaries to Truth, and Love, and Peace?

§. 55. I have formerly thought, that though we agree in the thing, it is best omit the name, because the Papists have abused it: And I think so still, as in such Companies and Cases where the use of it not understood will scandalize men, and do more harm than good: (For why should I use words against mens edification?) But in other cases I now think it better to keep the word, 1. lest we seem to the ignorant to be of another Religion than all the ancient Churches were. 2. Lest we harden Papists, Greeks and others, by denying sound Doctrine in terms, which they will think we deny in sence. 3. Because our [...]enury of Words is such as for my part I remember no other word so fit to substitute instead of [Merit] or [Desert] or [Worthiness.] The word [Re­wardable] [Page 296] is long and oft harsh: And what other have we? And it is nothing else that we mean.

§. 56. Some Papists are against the very word [Merit] also. Some own the word, but differ not from the Protestants about the Doctrine▪ some of them ignorantly drive the poor People by ill preaching into carnal Conceits of their own Works, and to trust an hundred Fopperies for Salvation: But he that readeth most of their School-Doctors, must either confess, that they dif­fer from us about the meritoriousness of true Go­spel-obedience, rather in words than in deed; and that we really mean the same thing, or else he must see with better or worser Eyes than I do (I speak not this of them all.)

§. 57. And Romaeus, who prateth of Merit in point of commutative Iustice, disclaimed by the rest (and some such other ignorant Scriblers) are not to be taken for the Index of their Doctrine, nor yet their superstitious, abusive Application; no more than our Deniers of all Merit are the Index of ours; nor the prophane ones abuse of it, who are rea­dy, when we perswade them to a holy Life, to tell us, That God saveth not Men for their Holiness or Works, and that ours deserve no more than theirs, but he will have mercy on whom he will have mercy; and it is not of him that willeth or runneth.

§. 58. Not only Waldensis, Contarenus, Arimi­nensis, and many others expresly say as much against Merits as we: But Medina, and many of the Th [...] ­mists say the same in Sence, and the Scotists and many others say, That Merit [...]riseth but ex pacto, from God's Promise; and to be meritorious, is no more [Page 297] than to be a Work which God hath promised a Re­ward to: And do any of us deny this?

§. 59. Object. But others say, That Merit is ex dignitate operum, from the worthiness of our Works.

Ans. Is it the Name [Worthiness] or the meaning that displeaseth you? If the Name, read Luke 20. 35. and 21. 36. Acts 5. 41. 2 Thess. 1. 5, 11. R [...]v. 3. 4. Matth. 8. 10, 11, 13, 37, 38. and 22. 8. 1 Cor. 11. 27, 29. Eph. 4. 1. Col. 1. 10. 1 Thess. 2. 12. and see whether God use not the same Phrase. And as to the Sence, one Writer understands what he saith better, and another worse, and several men may have several Sences; but they mostly seem to mean, That holy Obedience is in the very nature of it so pleasing to the most holy God, as rendereth it apt to be the matter of that Condition on which his Covenant promiseth to reward us, the Imperfection being par­doned, and we and our Works accepted, upon the Re­demption wrought by the Merits of Christ, and upon his Intercession, and presenting them to God. And is this to be denied by any Christian? Doubtless there is something in the very Nature of Divine Faith, Love, and Obedience, which maketh it fitter to be accepted and rewarded, than Infidelity, Hatred of God, and Sin, or Rebellion. Speak Christians, is it not so? And yet it is from God's Promise and meer Bounty only, that our Right to the Reward result­eth, though the material Aptitude be in the quali­fication to which that promise is made: All this is plain and sure.

§. 60. Obj. But some talk of a Proportion be­tween the Work and the Reward.

Ans. We commonly hold degrees of Glory ac­cording to the degrees of Holiness; and if any a­busive Doctor mean any more, that's nothing to [Page 298] the rest. And it's pity that Men that are agreed, should hate or revile each other as differing.

§. 61. Vasquez the Jesuit is one that is supposed to say most for Merit, who saith so much against it, as I dare not say: For he tells us, That God doth not reward us at all as an Act of Justice, either Com­mutative, or Distributive: Commutative Iustice he easily disapproveth, and in that we all agree: But the generality of Christians, Papists, Protestants, Greeks, &c. hold, That God rewardeth us in go­verning-paternal-distributive Iustice, as a Father giveth Benefits to a thankful Child that humbly taketh them, and not to the contemptuous or rebellious that spit in his Face. But Vasquez saith, That God hath not so much as Distributive Justice in our Rewards. And yet, I think, he differeth but in words, and real­ly meaneth as we all do. And he that dare for Words, revile Consenters, is bolder than I would have any good Man be: And yet I doubt not but I and this Writing shall be so reviled by many that differ not from me, when they think they do, (through Faction and Prejudice) when I am dead, even for these words.

§. 62. IV. The fourth Point is so far dispatched in the second, that I need here but to say; 1. That our Obedience to God is a Duty resulting from our very natural Being, and cannot but be so while we are Men: 1. As it is God's due. 2. As it is part of the right Order of the Universe, and co [...]du­cible to common Good. 3. As it is our own Or­der, Rectitude and Health.

2. That Christ is the Saviour and Physician to give us this Health, which is the end of his medici­nal Grace.

[Page 299]3. That the Soul cannot be complacentially a­miable to God, nor fit for Communion with him here or in Heaven without it. Resignation to God our Owner, Obedience to God our Ruler, and Love and Praise to God our Father, and the infinite Good, make up that Holiness which is our Salva­tion it self, and the Image and Glory of God upon us.

§. 63. V. About the next Question I may yet be shorter, How far any Works of ours may be trusted in?

I think all agree, 1. That nothing of ours (or any Creature) should be trusted to for any thing proper to God, or proper to Christ, or any thing that belongeth not truly to it self. He that ascribeth any thing to our Faith, Love, or Obedience, which is proper to Christ's Merits, or God's Mercy, and so trusteth them, doth greatly sin, and he that trust­eth them for more than God hath assigned to them to do.

§. 64. 2. That we must take heed of scanda­ous Language, and therefore must not talk of trust­ing on any act of our own, when it is like to be understood, as put in Competition with God or with Christ's Merits; as if the Question were, Whether we must trust God, or our selves, Christ's Righte­ousness or our own? For our own is not in the least measure to be trusted for that which belong­eth only to Christ's Righteousness to be, or do.

§. 65. 3. That yet it is a great Duty to trust every means of Salvation appointed by God, in its own place, and for its own part alone, even to preach­ing, Sacraments, Afflictions, &c. And accordingly to trust our own Faith, Love, Prayer, Obedience, so far as they are Means, and have God's Promise, [Page 300] and no further; which is no more than to trust in God, that he will bless such means. He that trust­eth his Sword, doth not trust it to fight of it self, without his Hand. When God hath promised Mercy upon Prayer, and to the Obedient or Penitent, for a man to think that God will yet do no more for us, if we repent, pray, and obey, than if we do not, is to be Unbelievers, and say rebelliously, It is in vain to serve the Lord. He is so far to trust to Faith, Repentance, praying, hearing, medi­tating, diligence, as to trust that God will bless them, and reward them, and look for more from him when we use means, than when we do not.

CHAP. XXVI. Of Confirmation, Perseverance, and Danger of falling away.

§. 1. I Shall reduce all that needs to be said on this point to these following controverted Questions: ‘1. Whether all Grace procured and given by Christ, be such as is never lost? 2. Whe­ther that degree of Grace be ever lost, which giveth the posse credere without the act of Faith (commonly called sufficient Grace) in Adult or Infants? 3. Whether any lose actual true justi­fying Faith? 4. Whether any lose true Holiness, or love of God in the Habit? 5. Whether any degree of this be ever lost? or all special Grace have such Confirmation as the Angels have? 6. Whether, if Holiness be never lost, it be pos­sible to lose it, and be in danger? 7. Whether [Page 301] there be a state of confirmed Persons besides the meerly sanctified, that from the degree or kind of their grace, never fall away? 8. Or whether Perseverance depend on meer Election and God's Will, which secureth only some of the justified? 9. Whether all, or most, or many Christians are themselves sure to persevere? 10. Whether Certain­ty of perseverance be fit for all the justified? 11. Whether it be unfit for all, and a more unsafe Condition than doubting? 12. Whether the Comfort of most Christians lie upon the Doctrine of such Certainty? 13. Whether the Doctrine of Eventual Apostacy infer any mutability in God? 14. Why God hath left this point so dark? 15. What was the Judgment of the ancient Chur­ches after the Apostles? 16. Whether it be an Article of such evidence and weight, as to be put into our Church-Confessions, and we should force men to subscribe to it, or make it necessary to Mi­nistration, Communion, or Christian Love and Concord?’

§. 2. Q. I. Whether all Christ's Grace given us, be such as is never lost?

Ans. No: except Iansenius and his Followers, I know of no Christians that e­ver affirm it; and he doth it on this false supposi­tion, That the common Grace which worketh only preparatorily by fear, is not the Grace of Christ, but a grace of other Providence, and only Love is the grace of Christ. But it is injurious to Christ, who is the Lord, and Light, and Saviour of the World, and God's Ad­ministrator-general, into whose Hands all Things and Power is given, to say, That since the Fall there is any Grace in the World that is not his Grace; and that our preparatory grace, and all that's com­mon, [Page 302] is aliunde, some other way. He that readeth Ioh. 15. Matth. 13. Heb. 6, and 10. may see the contrary.

§. 3. Q II. Whether sufficient grace to believe, which giveth the meer power of believing to Infants or Adult, be ever lost?

Ans. These Questions sup­pose that there are these several sorts of Graces disputed of by Divines: 1. Common grace: 2. Pow­er to believe and repent: 3. Actual Faith and Repen­tance given by that called special Vocation: 4. The Habit of love and all grace, called Sanctification: (to pass by Relative grace, as Justification, &c.) 5. Confir­mation of these Habits. And we now speak only of the second: And the very Being of that Grace is con­troverted, Whether God ever give (besides the natural Power) a moral Power to believe, to any that never do believe? And, 1. it is certain by Adam's instance, that he gave him a power to have per­fectly obeyed, when he did not: 2. And therefore no man can prove, that nowOf this more before. he giveth no man a moral Power to be­lieve, that doth not. 3. But it seemeth most probable that he doth, because his Govern­ment and Man's Nature are not, tota specie, chang­ed. 4. And it is certain that still all men have power to do more good than they do. 5. And even the Dominicans grant this Sufficiency of grace. 6. But yet for my part, I am not certain of it.

§. 4. But if there be such a power given, which never acteth Faith (which I think most probable) it is either in the Adult or Infants: if in the A­dult, no doubt it's lost; for they that will not believe (to the last) retain not still the moral power in their Rebellion.

[Page 303]§. 5. But in the Case of Infants, I think those of them that die before the use of reason, lose it not, nor any of the Elect that live to full Age: But as to others, afterHow far Infants Grace is loseable. long doubt, How far Infant-Grace is loseable, this seemeth now the most probable so­lution to me.

§. 6. Viz. There is a Grace that reacheth but to a moral Power to repent and believe, before men have the Act or proper Habit: Such Grace to persevere, did put Adam in a present state of Life, or acceptation with God, this Grace Adam lost: Accordingly such grace that containeth but this m [...]al power in an Infant's Disposition (with relative grace of Pardon) is sufficient to prov [...] his right to Salvation, if he so die; because he is not bound to the Act, nor capable of it; and even the Adult upon the Act, have right to Ac­ceptance and to the Spirit to cause the Habit, in or­der of Nature, before they have the Habit: There­fore Infants may be in a state of such Right and Life before the Habit, though they shall not pos­sess Glory without it: And yet the Adult are not in a state of such right by the meer Power, before the Act, because the Act it self is made necessary to their Justification, but so is it not to Infants: So that Infants and Adult may receive a meer pow­er to repent and believe, and lose it after (at age) by actual sin, though this be a loss of a state of Iustification to the one sort (their fins of Nature being pardoned), but not to the other (who are not pardoned without the Act:) And yet it fol­loweth not hence, that the grace of habitual Sancti­fication is lost in any.

[Page 304]§. 7. If this solution please not, let them that can, give us one that is less inconvenient, and we shall thankfully accept it; but it must be none that yet I have heard of; not the Anabaptists, nor those of their Adversaries, who leave us no certainty of the Salvation of any particular Infants, but only say, God will save them that are Elect, but no one knoweth who they are, nor how few or many, nor can tell us of any promise made to any upon any antecedent Character or Condition, nor give Be­lievers any more assurance of their own Childrens Salvation, than of any Heathens.

Nor theirs that say, Baptized Infants are saved by relative Grace alone, without any internal real Grace.

Nor theirs that say, They have the Spirit, but tell us not in what operation; or say, it is only right to the Spirit hereafter.

Nor theirs that say, That all Baptized Infants (at least of godly Parents) have habitual Holiness (Faith, Love, &c.) such as the Adult in Sanctifi­cation have, and that some at Age do lose it: I think this less inconvenient than any one of these.

§. 8. Q. III. Whether any lose true actual Faith and Iustification?

Ans. That a common uneffectual Faith may be lost, is no doubt: But concerning the other, there are three Opinions. 1. Some say, No; it cannot be lost, because that Faith hath the Promise of the Sanctification of the Spirit, as well as of Pardon and right to Life. Therefore seeing habitual Holiness is not lost, that which hath the Promise of it, is not lost.

[Page 305]2. Others say, That actual Faith at first is like Adam's loseable Grace; and that it giveth us actu­al Pardon and right to Life, if we so die, and right to the Spirit (in relation) to sanctifie us in time, and by degrees: But that every one that hath the Spirit, hath not the Habits of Love and Holiness, but he sometimes is causing many Acts before he produce a Habit (ad modum acquisitorum.)

3. Others say, That both Faith and habitual Ho­liness are oft lost. I delay the solution till the rest be considered.

§. 9. Q. IV. Whether habitual Love, or Holiness (or the Spirit) be ever lost?

Ans. That there is a confirmed state or degree of Holiness that is never lost, I do hold; and that this is attainable, and in that state men may be certain of Salvation: But whether the least degrees of ha­bitual grace be utterly loseable, which prove a pre­sent right to life, till they are lost, I must plainly profess I do not know; much may be said on both sides: And if my Ignorance offend any, it offend­eth me more: but how shall I help it, I think it is not for want of study, nor of impartial willing­ness to know the Truth: And Ignorance of the two is safer than Error, by which we trouble and seduce those about us. And in this case so many great and excellent Men have erred (either Augu­stine, with the generality of the ancient Churches, or Calvin, Zanchy, and most of the Reformed) that my Ignorance is pardonable where their Error it self is pardoned. But let those that are wiser rejoyce in the greater measure of their Wisdom: But yet think not, that taking up either Opinion upon the trust of their Party, is such.

§. 10. Q. V. To the next, some have said, That had Adam done but one act of Love or Obedience, he had been confirmed as the Angels in a state of Impeccability: And that so are all that once truly believe in Christ. But Experience ut­terly confuteth that: For all men sin after be­lieving.

§. 11. Others say only, That men may sin, and may lose acquired Grace, but no degree of that which is infused: But we have small reason to think that our encreased degrees are not as much in­fused as the first degree was: And yet Experience proveth, that such added degrees may be lost.

§. 12. Others say, All added degrees may be lost, but none of that which was first infused: Indeed could we prove, that God alwaies at first infuseth only the least degree consistent with Sal­vation, then this must be held by all that deny that any fall from Justification: But for ought we know God may the first minute give one man more Grace than to another in long time, and that first degree may be lessened by his sin.

§. 13. Q. VI. Whether it be possible to lose that Holiness which never will be lost?

Ans. The word [Possible] respecteth either a Consequence in Arguing, and is a Logical Possibi­lity; or it respecteth the natural power of Causes, and is called, Physical Possibility. In the first sence it is impossible that any thing should come to pass that doth not; because God knoweth it will not: And it is a good consequence, God knoweth that this will not come to pass; therefore it will not: And it is impossible that this Consequence should be false.

But as to the natural Possibility, no doubt but [Page 307] of our▪ selves we can sin; nay, it is not an act o [...] Power, but of Impotency, or from a defect of Po­wer: And the Habit given us is not a sufficient Power to ascertain our Perseverance of it self. But if you speak with respect to the Power of God, by which we are preserved, we must thus answer: That it is impossible for us or any Crea­ture to overcome God's Power or Will: And if it be first proved, that God will cause us to per­severe by the way of Physical irresistible determi­nation by Power, then it must be called Impossible to fall away, or commit any Sin which he so sa­veth us from. But if he keep any as a free Agent by the sapiential disposal of his Free-will, and so procure the event of a contingent action, then it must be said, that this and many things are pos­sible which never come to pass, That God only decreeth, that we shall not fall away, and not, that it shall be impossible: Thus Dr. Twisse and the Do­minicans themselves use to speak: But for my part I [...]ake God's manner of working on and for us, to be so unsearchable, and this notion of Possibility or Impossibility, of so little moment when we are agreed what will be the event, that I think the Con­troverfie not worth the handling, but made among other snares of Satan, to trouble the Church, and draw us to vain Janglings about words that edifie not, from the Simplicity that is in Christ.

§. 14. Q. VII. Wheth [...]r there be a state of Con­firmation here?

Ans. 1. Undoubtedly there are some Christians that are strong, rooted, settled, established; and some that are weak, and like Children toss'd up and down, Rom. 4. 20. & 15. 1. Heb. 5. 12, 14. 1 Ioh. 2. 14. 1 Cor. 16. 13. Eph. 6. 10. 2 Tim. [Page 308] 2. 1. 1 Cor. 15. 58. 1 Pet. 5. 9. Col. 2. 5. Eph. 3. 16, 17. Col. 2. 7. There is a need of strengthening Grace, 1 Pet. 5. 10. Luk. 22. 32. Rev. 3. 2. Act. 9. 22. Col. 1. 11. 2 Tim. 4. 17. Psal. 138. 3. Phil. 4. 13.

§. 15. 2. It is agreeable to Scripture, Reason and Experience to judge, that strengthened Chri­stians stand faster than the weak, and that it is in it self more unlikely that they should be seduced and forsake Christ.

§. 16. Seeing it is so doubtful, whether any that are sincere fall away; we have great reason to think that it will hardlier be proved of the Confirmed: I know that Strength hath several de­grees, and it's hard to determine just what this Confirmation is, but I am perswaded, that abundance of confirmed Christians there are, who have taken hold of Christ by Faith and Love, and have clear light and great experience, and so much Grace, as that from that Confirmation it may be inferred, that they never fall away and perish: and consequently that Certainty of Salvation, and not only of pre­sent Justification, is attainable in this Life. And some of the Papists themselves are of this mind, though others of them say, That even a state of Confirmation may be lost.

§. 17. Q. VIII. Whether Perseverance depend on meer Election?

Ans. It was Augustine's Judgment (and his Followers) That Election is the ascertaining Cause of Perseverance, giving the special Grace of Perse­verance; but what that Grace was besides Divine Volition and Preservation (whether any special confirming degree or kind) it is not easie to gather out of him: And I think it past doubt, That God [Page 309] doth elect some to Perseverance, and all persevere whom he so electeth, and because he electeth them and no other: But whether many also are truly sancti­fied and justified that are not elect, and so do not per­severe, as Austin held, I said before, I do not know.

§. 18. Q. IX. Are all or most Christians certain that they shall persevere?

Ans. No: For, 1. most Christians in the World hold, that Perseverance is uncertain to the godly; and how can they be certain of it to them­selves?

2. Most that hold otherwise, hold it but as un­certain, and are not themselves certain that it is true, though they call it certain: I am uncertain: And I find not by other signs that the most have more knowledge than my self: And he that is not certain of the Premises, is not by them certain of the Conclusion.

3. Most Christians are uncertain that they are sincere and justified: And such cannot be certain to persevere in that which they are not certain that they have.

§. 19. Q. X. Certainty of their present state of Iustification is not fit for those that sin as much, and are as bad as ever will stand with sincerity (till they repent:) Therefore certainty of Perseve­rance must needs be unfit for them. And therefore God never giveth it to such.

§. 20. Q. XI. Certainty of Grace, Iustification and Perseverance and Salvation, is a most excellent desirable thing, above all the Treasures of the World, and to be earnestly sought by all: and tendeth not of it self to carnal security, but to fill the Soul with holy Love and Thankfulness and [Page 310] Joy, and make our Lives likest to Heaven on Earth: O blessed are they that do attain it: And woe to them that dispraise it and perswade men to causeless doubting. It is the height of our attainment here in it self, and the improve­ment, and maketh us live a Heavenly Life, and long to be with Christ: But we cannot therefore say that those have it that have it not: But all should promote and seek it.

§. 21. Q. XII. They that are certain that all true Believers persevere▪ have one great help to­wards their own Consolation: But if they be un­certain, that they themselves are true Believers, this will not comfort them. As they that are per­swaded only that all Confirmed Christians perse­vere, must know that they are confirmed before this can give them the comfort of Assurance.

§. 22. But I have elsewhere fully proved, 1. That most Christians have not the comfort of their own certain Perseverance, for want of the Certainty of their Sincerity, if not of the Doctrine it self. 2. And that thousands and millions of Christians live and die in Peace and Comfort, that have not a proper Certainty of Salvation. 3. Much more may such live in Joy that are sure of their present state of Grace, though not of their Perseverance.

§. 23. For Experience telleth us, that though most of the Christian World are against the Do­ctrine of Certain Perseverance of all true Belie­vers, yet many of them live and die in Com­fort.

§. 24. And Church-History and the Ancients Writings tell us, That though for many hundred years the Christian Doctors commonly held, That [Page 311] some lose true justifying Faith, and perish, ye [...] multitudes lived and died in Joy, and went with boldness through the fla [...]es.

§. 25. And we see in all things that men are af­fected according to what is predominant; and he that hath far more Hope than fear and doubting, will have more joy than sorrow, though he be not certain, but some doubting do remain.

§. 26. It is certain in it self, that God's Promi­ses in the Gospel are all true: But every one that truly believeth it, is not properly certain of it, past all doubt: And he that hath the least doubt of the truth of the Gospel, must needs doubt as much of that Salvation which is expected on the Gospel-Promise: And yet such Believers may have Peace and Joy according to the measure of their Faith and Hope.

§. 27. We see among men no Wife is certain one day or night that her Husband will not forsake or murder her; no Child is certain that his Father will not kill him; nor any one of his dearest Friend: And yet we can have Love, Peace and Comfort in our Relations, without such certainty: For it's melancholy folly to live in fears of things utterly unlikely, and to cast away the Comforts of great probability.

§. 28. Yea, no godly man is certain that he shall not fall into such hainous Sin as Noah, Lot, David, Peter did; or that he shall not kill his dearest Friend, or himself: And yet when a man is conscious that his Nature, his Reason, his Expe­rience, and his Resolution, do all make him hate such a wicked act, and that there is no probable cause to move him to it, and when we know God is ready with his Grace to help us, how few lose [Page 312] the Comfort of their Lives, by fear of such impro­bable things? Certainty therefore is very desira­ble, but a hope of great probability may give us joyful thankful Hearts, or else few Christians would have such.

§. 29. And the Doctrine of Perseverance hath its difficulties too as to mens comfort: For he that holdeth, That no man falleth from a state of Grace, and seeth many, that to all possible humane judg­ment, were once excellent persons, fall quite a­way, can himself have no assurance that he is so much as justified at the present, unless he be sure that he is better than the best of all those persons ever were, which doubt the other side are not cast upon.

§. 30. Q. XIII. Whether the Doctrine of Apo­stacy infer any mutability in God?

Ans. No: there's no shew of it, unless you hold, that his absolutely Elect fall away. It was no change in God when he gave us grace, and justified us; and it would be no more if he cease, than it was to begin. It was no change in God when I was born, and it will be no more when I die: The Change is only in Man, and his receptive Disposition. Even the Law of the Land, without any Diversity or Change, doth virtually condemn a thousand Malefactors, and justifie the Just; and will cease to justifie them, and begin to condemn them, if they cease to be just, and begin to be Offenders. The Changes that God him­self maketh in all the World, are made without any Change in him: Therefore what man doth, or undoth, cannot change him.

§. 31. Q. XIV. Why did God ledve this Case so dark?

Ans. It is not fit for us to call for any reason [Page 313] of his doing, but what he hath given us: But while he hath made it sure to us, that he will cause all his Elect to persevere, and will deny his Grace to none that faithfully seek it, and will save all that do not wilfully and finally reject it, and giveth us no cause to distrust his Mercy, his holy Ends are by this attained in his Peoples Uprightness and Peace: And he seemeth by leaving the rest so ob­scure, to tell us, that it is not a matter of so great use to us, as some imagine, and that it is not a point fit for to be the measure of our Communion or Peace.

§. 32. XV. What was the judgment of the an­cient Churches of this Point?

Ans. Vossius in his Pelagian History, hath truly told you, and copiously proved it in the main. Before Augustine's time it was taken commonly as granted, That men might fall away from a state of Grace, and that many did; but the Case was not curiously discussed: But some thought that con­firmed Christians never fell: But upon Pelagius his Disputes, Augustine defending the honour of Grace, laid all upon Election, and maintained, That though the Non-elect did fall away from the Love of God and Justification, and a state in which they had been saved, had they died; yet none of the E­lect did fall so as to perish, but that the preser­vation of Grace in perseverance, was the fruit of Election. Thus Prosper, and Fulgentius after him; and some Passages in him and Macarius, and some others, intimate that they thought there was a confirmed degree of Grace, which was never lost; but they all took it for granted, that some fell from a state of Iustification and perished: And I remem­ber not o [...] Writer that I have read and noted, [Page 314] to be of the contrary mind for a thousand years af­ter the writing of the Scriptures, nor any mention of any Christian that was so; unless Hierome be to be believed of Ievinian, who saith, that he held, That the godly could not sin; which Report is much to be suspected on many accounts.

§. 33. What Use is to be made of this, I leave to others; but it beseemeth no good Man to de­prave or deny the Truth of such History: And some great Divines are to be blamed for reproach­ing Vossius for a true Historical Report, when they neither can confute him, nor attempt it. Two or three Sentences out of Austin are cited by some, but meerly mistaken, as if they spake that of all the Justified, which he speaketh only of the Elect.

§. 34. Q. XVI. By all that is said, it is past de­nial, that Certainty of perseverance should be most earnestly sought, and that state of Confirmation which is likest to obtain it; but that few have it, e [...]en of the truly godly, and that it is not the com­mon ground of Christians Peace and Comfort, but Hopes upon great Probability, do sustain the most; and that the difficulty of the point is such, as that it should in all Churches be left free, and neither side made necessary to our Christian Love, Peace, Con [...]ord, Communion, or Ministery.

CHAP. XXVII. Of Repentance; late Repentance; the time of Grace, and of the unpardonable Sin.

§. 1. REpentance, as a Pain, and involuntary, is part of the Punishment of sin by the Law of Works; but Repentance as a returning to God, [Page 315] and a recovery of the Soul, is a Grace and Duty proper to the Subjects of the Redeemer under the Law of Grace.

§. 2. Yea, it is a great and excellent part of the Law of Grace to give Repentance unto life, and to admit of Repentance after sin, which the Law of Innocency did not admit of.

§. 3. Therefore Iohn and Christ himself did preach the Gospel or Law of Grace, when they preached Repentance; which was a great part, even of Christ's own preaching.

§. 4. Therefore the Antinomian Libertines know not what they talk of, when they call it Legal Preaching, and set Repentance as in opposition to Faith, as if Faith were all that the Gospel did command, or Repentance did not belong to Faith.

§. 5. Yet it must be confessed, that of late times many have laid more upon the sorrowing, weep­ing, and fearing part of Repentance, than was meet, and said too little of the turning of the Soul from worldly and fleshly sinful Pleasures, to the delightful Love and Praises of God, and willing Obedience and Conformity to his Will, which is the principal part of true Repentance. And, I think God permitted the Antinomians to rise up, and cry up Free-Grace, and call the Ministers Legallists, to re­buke our Error in this point, and to call us to preach up his Grace more plentifully, and to con­sider better that Gospel-obedience doth chiefly con­sist in Thankfulness, Love and Ioy, and in the words of Praise, and Works of Love. I am sure this use we should make of their Abuses.

§. 6. Repentance is either general, or particular; General (or Universal) Repentance is a turning of [Page 316] the Understanding, Will, and Practice (with repent­ing Sorrow) from the inordinate Estimation, Love, and seeking of temporal Things for the Pleasure and Prosperity of the Flesh (or sensual powers) to God, his Will, and Service, and the Hopes of everlasting glory, through Faith.

§. 7. This Repentance is the same thing with Con­version, and as I said before, Faith it self includeth Repentance in its Essence, as denominated from the terminus a quo, it being a Turning from Unbelief to God by believing in him as God, and to Christ by believing in him, as our Saviour, and to the Holy Ghost by believing in him, as the Agent and Witness of Christ and our Sanctifier.

§. 8. Particular Repentance is our turning with Sorrow from a particular Sin, to our contrary obedi­ence to God.

§. 9. Without that universal Repentance or Conversion, which turneth the Mind, Will, and Life to God, from created Vanity and this World, no Man can be saved; because he continueth an I­dolater and Rebel, and doth not indeed take God for his God, nor Christ for his Saviour, nor the Holy Spirit for his Sanctifier; but is an ungodly Man, and a Forsaker of God and his own Felici­ty.

§. 10. Repentance, as towards God, is sometime distinguished from Faith in Christ: And then Re­pentance is our turning to God, as God, by Faith (Trust) Love, and Obedience, resigning our selves to him as our Owner, subjecting our selves to him as our Ruler, and loving him as our Benefactor, and chiefly as the Infinite Good in himself, our ultimate objective End. And this is the greater Duty respe­cting God, as our End, even the same with Love to [Page 317] God, for the procuring of which Christ came into the World, and Faith is given us: And then Faith in Christ is the mediate grace and duty by which we are brought to this Repentance.

§. 11. Not that any man can truly take Christ for his Saviour, before he taketh God for his God, (for the Love and Intention of the End, is before our Choice and Use of the Means:) But Christ be­ing our Teacher first bringeth us to assent to the Truth of God's Perfections and Relations to us, and then to the Truth of his own Gospel, and by this Assent bringeth us (first to a common, and then) to a special Consent at once, that God be our God, and Christ our Saviour; but so that we desire God as our End, and Christ as Mediator, as the Means.

§. 12. Universal Repentance (or Conversion) doth virtually contain all particular future Repen­tance, but not actually. Therefore where this is, that Soul may be saved without actual Repentance for some particular sins (or sorts of sin): As, e. g. if we are ignorant that such or such a thing is sin, for want of necessary Instruction, or if in a crowd of busi­ness some sinful Thought, Passion, or Word pass unobserved, or if we do our faithful endeavour to find out a sin, and cannot, remember it (as who can remember at Conversion one of many that he has committed in Unregeneracy, and after many are forgotten:) And every Man dieth in some sin, which he hath no time here to repent of; viz. in some sinful imperfection of all grace and du­ty, and omission of due degrees of Love, and other Acts: For all which virtual repentance will be ac­cepted.

§. 13. But great and heinous sins must needs have actual repentance, because it will not consist with the [Page 318] Truth of Holiness to be so indifferent or eas [...]e to­wards them, as not to observe them, and remem­ber them: And if they be known and remembred, they will be repented of, when the Soul hath op­portunity to consider what it hath done. For ha­bitual repentance is necessary to Salvation; and Ha­bits will act when they are not extraordinarily hindred, having notable Objects and Opportu­nity.

§. 14. Yet some sins that are great materially in their nature, may be lessened much to some persons by unavoidable ignorance, and so may not have an actual repentance: As, e. g. in times of War, to kill men in a wrong Cause, is one of the greatest [...]ins in the World; and yet when by the darkness of State-cases, the Question who is in the right, is so difficult, that very few can decide it; and after their utmost search, each Party thinks that God bindeth them to fight for their King or Country, such persons cannot have a particular repentance, while they are not able to see that they were de­ceived.

§. 15. It is therefore a Case of exceeding diffi­culty, what sins may stand with Iustification, not par­ticularly repented of, and what not; or as some speak, which are mortal, and which venial sins, or sins of Infirmity.

§. 16. But he that hath a care of his Salvation, must hate all sin in the general as sin, and keep up his watch, and be willing to know all the worst in himself, and diligently use the means to know it, and resolve to forsake it to his power, when he knoweth it, that so he may not be wilfully impeni­tent. And he that will sin as far as he thinks will [Page 319] stand with grace, either hath no true grace, or shall not know that he hath it.

§. 17. The time of repentance or mercy, may be said in two Sences to be past; 1. When a man shall not be accepted and pardoned, though he should repent: And so the Day of grace is never past in this Life (and the Damned do not truly repent in our present Sence;) so that for a penitent person to fear that the Day of grace is past, or his Repen­tance too late (if true) is to contradict the Scope of the Gospel, which giveth pardon to every one that truly repenteth. 2. When a man that before had some motions and helps to repent, and obstinate­ly resisted them, shall be given up to his Obstina­cy, and never have such motions more. Thus the Day of grace may be past with many: And such persons turn from God to Wickedness, and are hardened in the love of sin, and usually blinded to defend it, and hate a holy Life: But those that do repent, or fain would repent, or yet feel God mo­ving them to repent, have no cause to think that God hath thus forsaken them. For it is only ob­stinate and continued forsaking God, that is the sign of one forsaken by him.

§. 18. And this also is no proof to us, that such a Person is finally forsaken. For many that have re­jected grace many years, are afterward converted by that grace: So that all that we can say, is, That such as God hath forsaken, do continue to the end to reject his Mercy, and prefer their Lusts; but that he will so continue to the end, no man himself can tell before the end.

§. 19. About the unpardonable sin there are two Co [...]oversies: 1. What it is. 2. Whether it be abs [...]ely unpardonable.

[Page 320]That final impenitency is unpardonable, is un­doubted: But the sin in question is called, The Blasphemy against the See Mr. Hales of the sin against the H. Ghost; and Paraphrase on Matth. 12. lately published. Holy Ghost; of which having writ­ten a special Tractate, I now only say, That it is the Sin of such as believing not Christ to be the Son of God, but a Deceiver, and yet being con­vinced of his, and his Disciples Miracles, do in their judgments think, and blasphemously say and maintain, that they were done by the power of the Devil to de­ceive men. These men rejecting the last convincing means of Faith, are left by themselves remedi­less.

§. 20. But, 2. the Papists and many Ancients say, That by [not forgiven] is meant only [very hardly and rarely;] but most Protestants expound the words absolutely, as they run; which the Rea­der will think most probable, I leave to his consi­deration.

§. 21. Some think that the Novatians denied all pardon to such as committed any great sin after Baptism; but Alb [...]spinaeus, Petavius, and others have truly proved that it was not so, but only that they denied Power in the Church to pardon such Backsliders; which yet, no doubt, was their Error, seeing as God on his part pardoneth men as oft as they truly repent; so the Church must pardon as far as belongs to them, such as seem truly to re­pent: But frequent gross sinning doth so much dis­prove mens verbal repenting, that such mens cre­dit being forfeit, their words are not to be taken till they amend their lives.


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