Vindiciae Legis & Foederis: OR, A REPLY TO Mr. PHILIP CARY'S SOLEMN CALL.

WHEREIN He pretends to Answer all the Argu­ments of Mr. Allen, Mr. Baxter, Mr. Sydenham, Mr. Sedgwick, Mr. Roberts, and Dr. Burthogge, for the right of Believers Infants to BAPTISM, BY Proving the Law at Sinai, and the Cove­nant of Circumcision with Abraham, were the very same with Adam's Covenant of Works, and that because the Gospel-Covenant is Absolute.

By John Flavel Minister of the Gospel in Dartmouth

Membra laxata inepta sunt ad sua munera obeunda, & gravissimo dolore corpus afficiunt. P. Martyr.
Cum consensu videtur deponi fraternitas. Aretius in Heb. 13. 1.

LONDON, Printed for M. Wotton at the Three Daggers in Fleetstreet, 1690.

A Friendly Preface to the Author of the SOLEMN CALL, and the more discreet and charitable of the Party concerned with him in this Con­troversie.

Christian Friends,

WHen we open our Bibles and read that Text, 1 Cor. 1. 10. we have cause to deal with it, as Ori­gen once did by another Scripture; even close the Book, and weep over it, in consideration of the weak and feeble influences such melting words, deli­vered with such a Pathos, have upon the hearts of Professors this day. Now [Page] I beseech you, Brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joyn­ed together in the same mind, and in the same judgment.

I beseech you] He dips the nail in oyl, that it may drive the easier. I beseech you, Brethren] a compella­tion breathing sweetness, and affection, and should drop from our lips into each others ears, with the same effect that word once did upon the ears of Benhadads Servants, my Brother Benhadad. Sirs (said Moses to the striving Israelites) ye are Brethren. O when shall the Church become a true Philadelphia!

I beseech you Brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ] or as you love Jesus Christ, ut quantum ipsum amant, tantum studeant concordiae, saith Calvin. Be as studious of con­cord, as you are free in professing love to Christ.

[Page] That there be no divisions] or rents among you, a [...] Schism, or rent in the Church is much the same, and altogether as dangerous as a [...] or Sedition in the Common-wealth; and harder to be cured. For as the Lord Verulam truly observes, diffe­rences amongst persecuting Enemies and the Church, are like the strivings of the AEgyptian with the Israelite; which Moses quickly ended, by knock­ing down the AEgyptian; but dissenti­ons in the Church, are like the striving of one Israelite with another; and all that Moses can do to quiet and part these, is only by fair, and gentle words; and reminding them that they are Bre­thren.

Great is the mischief of divisions among Christians, and the less the grounds and causes are, the greater al­ways is the sin and mischief of them. In the Primitive Church contentions grew fervent about meats lawful, and unlawful; which did not profit, the [Page] meaning is, it greatly damnified them that were occupied therein, Heb. 13. 9. practical Religion among them grew cold, as disputations about these trifles grew fervent.

The readiest way to cool such heats is by discovering the trivial nature of the matter contended about; as De­mosthenes appeased the tumult among the people rais'd by a small occasion, by relating to them the story of a man that had hired an Ass to carry him a jour­ney, but the Sun shining servent, he was forced to quit her back, and betake himself to her shadow; the owner with­stood him, alledging that he had hired the body of the Ass, but her shadow was not in the bargain; and so the contention between them grew as hot as the Sun. Many such trifles have raised great contentions in the world, witness the great contention betwixt the Eastern and Western Church, about keeping of Easter.

Other points there are of greater mo­ment, [Page] about which good men contend; and yet these oftentimes are magnified much above their true intrinsecal value. So I am sure it is in the Controversie be­fore us. Mr. Cary tells us, that these things will be found at length to be of highest concernment unto us, and must therefore be our most serious practice, pa. 243. If so, then the proper subject of Baptism must be one of those that is of greatest weight, and the profession thereof, the very Schibboleth to distinguish one person from another in matters of Religion. No wonder therefore the fires of con­tention are blown up to such a vehement heat, even in such an improper season: much like the contentions among the English Fugitives at Francfort, when their brethren were frying in the flames at Smithfield. Just so must we be scuffling, whilst thousands of our Bre­thren are bleeding in Ireland. Had we a true sense of the quality of the Sub­ject, or the unseasonableness of the [Page] Time, it would certainly allay these heats among us. Did we see who stand by, and look with pleasure upon our follies, it wou'd quickly allay our heats. Tertullian tells the Christians of his time, that they were like the Funambulones, or men that walk upon Ropes; the least tread awry might be their ruin; so narrowly did their enemies watch them.

Sirs, the peace, safety and honour of the dissenting interest, are things of too great value to be hazarded amongst the hands of our common enemies. You may fancy they will neglect the advan­tage you give them, but if they do, the Devil will call them fools for it. Mr. Herle tells us of a Kings fool, who wrote down the King himself in his Table among his brother fools, because he had trusted an African Stranger with 4000 l. to buy Barbary Horses. The King asked him how he would make him amends, if the Stranger should come again? why then (said he) I'le blot your name out of my Table of [Page] Fools, and write down the African in your stead. Think not our Enemies are such Fools to neglect the advantage we cast into their hands. 'Tis a weighty note that of Livy, Consilia non dant homines rebus, sed res hominibus. Men don't counsel things, but times and things counsel men. Methink [...] the postures of times and affairs giv [...] us better counsel than we seem to be go [...] verned by in such work as this. Di­visions of forty years standing and more, about Infants Baptism, have eaten up the times, wasted the spirits, and alienated the hearts of English Professors; divided them both in So­ciety, and Love; by reason whereof Gods pleasant Plant in this resembles the Bramble, which taking root at both ends by reason of the rancounters of the sap; commonly withers in the middle. Your Brethren in their Narrative from their general Assembly, make a sad and sensible complaint of withering in the power of Godliness. And truly we [Page] as well as they may complain with the Church, We do all fade as a Leaf: the Lord help us to discern the true cause, whether it be not the mis-placing of our Zeal, our being cold where we should be fervent, and fervent hot where we should be cool; & whether the eating up of so much time and study about Bap­tizing of Infants, have not kept us these forty years in the Infancy of our Graces?

I well remember that blessed time, when Ours and Yours were terms almost unknown among Professors in England. When their affections and prayers melt­ed and mingled together sweetly in days of humiliation, and other duties of edifying and heavenly Communion; and then Churches began to flourish, and the Graces of Christians every where flou­red, and became fruitful. But no soon­er did the Saints divide in Society and Affection; but these pleasant blos­soms were nipt by it as by a Frosty morning. The Church formed it self as it were into two Armies, set in Bat­talia [Page] against each other. It was now with us much like as its said of the Amphisbena, that hath an head at either end; of which neither can well move, without the consent of both; but if each move a contrary way, the body tears in the middle. I doubt not but many that differed from us, belonged to Christ, the same Head with us; and yet 'tis past doubt, that many who seem­ed to be of us, were headed by Satan; and quickly discovered themselves to be so by running farther than we first, or you next imagined, even into Quake­rism, Socinianism, Ranterism, and the foulest puddle, and sink of compli­cated errors; of which an impartial stranger under the name of Honorius Reggius, [...], Georgi­us Hornius having heard the report in his own Countrey came over on purpose into England for his particular and perfect information, and hath given the foreign Churches a full and sad ac­count thereof in a Latin Narrative, [Page] which I have by me; whereby I find, that if the Lord in mercy to us had not let in a third party with the common calamity upon us all, we our selves must in all pro­bability have mutually ruin'd each other. But God saw other hands fitter for such dirty work than ours; and now it was time to reflect upon former follies, and renew our ancient acquaintance in the Common Goals. And through the good­ness of God this did somewhat allay the heats of good men, and gave us fresh hopes of an hearty, and lasting redintigration. We hoped the Furnace might have purged our dross, and melt­ed our hearts into Unity, both by dis­covering the evils for which the Lord afflicted us, and the sincerity of the sufferers hearts under those trials. Christians (saith Mr. Jenkins) if we must dye, let us dye like men, by an unanimous holy contention a­gainst the common enemy; not like Fools, by giving him our Sword, and destroying one another by Schisms in our own bowels.

[Page] But alas! alas! no sooner is the rod off our backs, and a respit from suffer­ings given us; but we are presently sounding an allarm to the Battle again, and to my sorrow my self unavoidably engaged therein.

Friends, I have a witness in many of your bosoms, how peacefully and re­spectfully I have always carried it to­wards you; even to such a degree, as began to bring me under the suspition of some of your party, that I was inclining to their Opinion, though I did not openly profess it. But the true reasons of my moderation in this point were, (1) That I ever did, and still do look upon many of you as Christians, sound in the other great Doctrines of the Gospel. (2) That there are diffi­culties in this Controversie which may puzzle the minds of well-meaning Christians. (3) I highly valued the peace of the Church, and durst do no­thing that tended to keep open the breaches upon a Controversie of this na­ture; [Page] you being for purity in Doctrine and Worship in most other controverted points, as well as we. (4) I observed how rare a thing it is for engaged parties to give ground.

Qui velit ingenio cedere, rarus erit.

(5) My head, heart, and hands have been filled with better employments, from which I am extreamly loth to be diver­ted. If Bellarmine turned with loath­ing from School-divinity, because it wanted the sweet juice of Piety; much more may I turn from such perverse disputes as these: Sure I may find as fair expositions of Scripture, and as acurate, and legitimate distinctions among the School-men; as in Mr. Tombes his Examen and Apology; or (which for the most part is but a transcript of both) in Mr. Cary's So­lemn Call. But I see I must not be my own chuser, I cannot now be both silent and innocent; for in this Solemn [Page] Call I find the great Doctrines of Gods Co­venants abused by my Neighbour. The Book's dispersed into many families related to me in this place, one of them delivered to me by the Authors own hand, with a pressing desire to give my judgment upon it. Several Objections which I privately and seasonably sent him to prevent the sin and folly of his attempt, pretended to be answer­ed from p. 164. ad p. 183. Thus am I ne­cessarily brought into the field of Contro­versie, whither I come not a Volunteer, but a press'd man; not out of choice, but necessity. And now I am here, I resolve to be only Adversarius litis, non personae, an Adversary in the Controversie, not to the person, especially of my friendly Neighbour. Neither would I have appeared thus pub­lickly against him, if differences could have been accommodated, and the evil prevented in a more private way, in order whereto, I have punctually observed and kept the rules and measures of friendship.

'Tis possible some may judge my style against him to be too sharp, but if they please to read the Conclusion of his Call, and my Answer; I presume they will find enough to make atonement for that fault, if it be a fault. 'Tis from the nature of the matter [Page] before me, not from defect of Charity to the person, or party, that I am forced to be so plain and pungent as I am.

To conclude, I suspect this very Preface may be also censured for its plainness, and tediousness. I confess when times are busie, we should be brief; and I am perswaded a sufficient Preface may be contracted into four words, [...], with­out Preface, or Passions. However, I have a little eased my own heart, by dis­charging my duty to my differing Brethren, and pleased my self, if not them.

The God of peace create peace in all the borders of Sion, beat our Swords into Plow-shares, and our Spears into Pruning-hooks; I mean our polemicals into pra­cticals, that Jerusalem may once more be a City compact, and no more terrible to her self; but only to her enemies, as an Army with Banners. This Brethren, is the pray­er, and shall ever be the endeavour of

Your Friend and Ser­vant in Christ

John Flavell.


BEfore we enter into the main Contro­versie, it will be necessary to ac­quaint the Reader, why I begin with the middle of the Book; and it is be­cause I there find these three Principles, or Positions, on which the other parts of his Discourse are superstructed; and these being destroyed, his other Dis­courses are but arenae, sine calce. I pro­perly therefore begin with the Foun­dation.

Next, I shall shew how far we are greed in the matters here controvert­ [...]d, and where it is in each of these, that [...]he Controversie indeed lies betwixt us; [...]nd as to

I Position, viz.

That the Sinai-Law is the same with [...]am's Covenant of Works, made in Para­ [...]ice.

The difference betwixt us here is not [...].) Whether both these be called Co­ [...]enants in Scripture? nor (2.) Whether [Page] [Page] [...] [Page] [...] [Page] [Page] there were no Grace at all in both, or either of them: For we are agreed, it is Grace in God to enter into Covenant with Man, whatever that Covenant be; nor (3.) Whether the Sinai-law be not a Covenant of Works to some Men, by their own fault and occasion? nor (4.) Whether the Scriptures do not many times speak of it in that very sense and notion wherein Carnal Justiciaries appre­hend and take it? and by rejecting Christ make it so to themselves? nor (5.) Whe­ther the very matter of the Law of Nature be not reviv'd and represented in the Sinai Law? These are not the Points we contend about: But the Question is, Whether the Sinai Law do in its own nature, and according to Gods purpose and design in the promulgation of it, revive the Law of Nature, to the same ends and uses it served to in Adam's Co­venant; and so be properly and truly a Covenant of Works? Or whether God had not gracious and evangelical ends and purposes, viz. by such a dreadful representation of the severe and impra­cticable terms of the first Covenant, in­stead of obliging them to the personal and punctual observance of them fo [...] [Page] righteousness and life; he did not rather design to convince them of the impossi­bility of legal righteousness, humble proud Nature, and shew them the ne­cessity of betaking themselves to Christ, now exhibited in the New Covenant, as the only refuge to Fallen Sinners. The latter I defend according to the Scrip­tures, the former Mr. Cary seems to as­sert, and vehemently argue for.

2ly. In this Controversie about the Sinai Law, I do not find Mr. Cary distin­guishing (as he ought) betwixt the Law considered more largely and complexly, as containing both the Moral and Ceremo­nial Law, for both which it is often ta­ken in Scripture, and more strictly, for the Moral Law only, as it is sometimes used in Scripture. These two he makes one and the same Covenant of Works; though there be some that doubt whe­ther the meer Moral Law may not be a Covenant of Works; yet I never met with any Man before, that durst affirm the Ceremonial Law, which is so full of Christ, to be so; and to this Law it is that Circumcision appertains.

3ly. The Moral Law strictly taken for the Ten Commandments, is not by him [Page] distinguished (as it ought to be, and as the Scripture frequently doth) accord­ing to Gods intention and design in the promulgation of it, which was to add it as an Appendix to the promise, Gal. 3. 19. and not to set it up as an oppo­site Covenant, Gal. 3. 21. and the car­nal Jews mistaking and perverting the use and end of the Law, and making it to themselves a Covenant of Works, by making it the very rule and rea­son of their Justification before God, Rom. 9. 32, 33. Rom. 10. 3. these things ought carefully to have been distinguish­ed, forasmuch as the whole Controversie depends on this double sense and intenti­on of the Law; yea, the very denomi­nation of that Law depends hereon: For I affirm it ought not to be denomi­nated from the abused and mistaken end of it amongst carnal men; but from the true scope, design and end for which God published it after the Fall: And though we find such expressions as these in Scrip­ture, The man that doth them, shall live in them. And cursed is every one that con­tinueth not in all things, &c. yet these re­specting the Law not according to Gods intention, but Mans corruption and a­buse [Page] of it, the Law is not thereby to be denominated a Covenant of Works. Gods end was not to justifie them, but to try them by that terrible dispensation, Ezod. 20. 20. whether they would still hanker after that natural way of self­righteousness; for this end God pro­pounded the terms of the first Covenant to them on Sinai, not to open the way of self-justification to them, but to con­vince them, and shut them up to Christ; just as our Saviour, Matth. 19. 17. puts the young man upon keeping the Command­ments, not to drive him from, but neces­sitate him to himself in the way of Faith.

The Law in both these Senses is excel­lently described, Gal. 4. in that Allegory of Hagar and Sarah, the figures of the two Covenants. Hagar in her first and proper Station, was but a serviceable Hand-maid to Sarah, as the Law is a Schoolmaster to Christ; but when Hagar the Hand-maid is taken into Sarah's Bed, and brings forth Children, that aspire to the Inheritance, then saith the Scrip­ture, Cast out the bond-woman, with her son. So it is here; take the Law in its primary use, as God designed it, as a School-master, or Hand-maid to Christ [Page] and the promise; so it is consistent with them, and excellently subservient to them; but if we marry this Hand-maid, and espouse it as a Covenant of Works, then are we bound to it for life, Rom. 7. and must have nothing to do with Christ. The Believers of the Old Testament had true apprehensions of the right end and use of the Law, which directed them to Christ, and so they became Children of the Free-woman. The carnal Jews trusted to the works of the Law for righteous­ness, and so became Children of the Bond-woman; but neither could be Chil­dren of both at once, no more than the same Man can naturally be born of two Mothers. This is the difference betwixt us about the first Position; and as to the

II Position.

That Abraham's Covenant, Gen. 17. is an Adam's Covenant of Works also, because Circumcision was annexed to it, which obli­ged Men to keep the whole Law.

The Controversie betwixt us in this point, is not whether Circumcision were an Ordinance of God, annexed by him to his Covenant with Abraham? nor (2.) Whether Abraham's ordinary and extra­ordinary [Page] Seed ought to be, and actually were signed by it? nor (3.) Whether it were a Seal of the righteousness of Faith to any individual Person; for he allows [...]t to be so to Abraham? nor (4.) Whe­ [...]he it pertain'd to the Ceremonial Law, and so must cease at the death of Christ? But the difference betwixt us is, Whether [...]1.) it was a Seal of the Covenant to [...]one but Abraham? and (2.) Whether [...]n the very nature of the Act, or only from the intention of the Agent it did oblige men to keep the whole Law, as Adam was obliged to keep it in inno­ [...]ency? (3.) Whether it were utterly [...]bolished at the death of Christ, as a condition of the Covenant of works; or being a sign of the same Covenant of Grace we are now under, it be not suc­ [...]eeded by the new Gospel-sign, which is Baptism? Mr. Cary affirms that it was [...] it self a condition of the Covenant of Works, and being annexed to Gods Covenant with Abraham, Gen. 17. it made [...]hat a true Adam's Covenant of works [...]lso. This I utterly deny, and say, [...]raham's Covenant was a true Covenant [...]f Grace. (2.) That Circumcision was Seal of the righteousness of Faith, and [Page] therefore could not possibly belong to the Covenant of Works. (3.) That as it was applied both to the ordinary and extraordinary Infant-seed of Abraham, during that administration of the Cove­nant; so it is the will of Christ that Baptism should take its place under the Gospel, and be applyed now to the Infant-seed of all Abraham's Spiritual Children. These are the things where­in we differ about the second Position. And lastly, as to the

III Position.

That neither Moses's Law, Exod. 2 [...] nor God's Covenant with Abraham, Ge [...] 17. can be any other than an Adam's Cov [...] ­nant of Works, because they have each [...] them conditions in them on Man's part; [...] the Gospel-Covenant hath none at all, but [...] altogether free and absolute.

The Controversie here betwixt us [...] not (1.) Whether the Gospel-Covenan [...] requires no duties at all of them tha [...] are under it? nor (2.) Whether it re­quires any such conditions as were [...] Adam's Covenant, namely, perfect, per­sonal, and perpetual obedience unde [...] [Page] the severest Penalty of a Curse; and admitting no place of Repentance? Nor (3.) Whether any condition required by it, on our part, have any thing in its own nature Meritorious of the Bene­fits promised? Nor (4.) Whether we be able in our own Strength, and by the Power of our Free Will, without the preventing, as well as the assisting Grace of God, to perform any such Work or Duty as we call a Condition? In these things we have no Controversie, but the only Question betwixt us, is,

Whether in the New Covenant, some act of ours, (though it have no Merit in it, nor can be done in our own single Strength) be not required to be per­formed by us, antecedently to a Blessing or Priviledge consequent by vertue of a Promise? And whether such an Act or Duty, being of a Suspending Nature to the Blessing promised, it have not the true and proper Nature of a Gospel Con­dition? This I affirm, and he positively denies.

These three Positions being confuted, and the contrary well confirmed, viz. That the Law at Sinai was not set up by God as an Adam's Covenant, to open [Page] the old way of Righteousness and Life by works: but was added to the promise, as subservient to Christ in its design and use; and consequently can never be a pure Adam's Covenant of Works. And secondly,

That Abraham's Covenant, Gen. 17. is the very same Covenant of Grace we are now under; and (2ly.) that Circumci­sion in the nature of the act, did not ob­lige all men to keep the whole Law for Righteousness. And (3ly.)

That the New Covenant is not abso­lute and wholly unconditional; though notwithstanding a most free and graci­ous Covenant: the Pillars on which Mr. Cary sets his new Structure sink under it, and the building falls into ruins.

I have not here taken Mr. Cary's two Syllogisms, proving Abraham's Covenant to be a Covenant of Works; because I find my self therein prevented by that ingenuous and learned man Mr. Whiston, in his late Answer to Mr. Grantham. Nei­ther have I particularly spoken to his 23 Arguments to prove the Sinai Law to be a pure Adam's Covenant, because frustra sit per plura, quod sieri potest per pauciora, I have overthrown them all together at [Page] one blow; by evincing every Argument to have four terms in it, and so proves nothing. But I have spoken to all those Scriptures which concern our four Posi­tions, and fully vindicated them from the injurious senses to which Mr. Cary (fol­lowing Mr. Tombes) had wrested them.

These things premised, I shall only further add, that if Mr. Cary shall attempt a Reply to my Answer, and free his own Theses from the gross absurdities with which I have loaded them; he must plain­ly and substantially prove against me,

(1.) That the Sinai Law, according to its true scope and end, was promulged by God for man's Justification and Hap­piness in the way of personal Obedience; and that the Jews that did accordingly endeavour after Righteousness by the works of the Law, did not mistake its true end and meaning; or if they did, and thereby made it what God never in­tended it to be, a Covenant of works to themselves; that the Sinai Law ought rather to be denominated from their mi­stake and abuse of it, than from its pri­mary and proper use, and God's design in its promulgation.

[Page] (2.) He must prove against me with like evidence of truth, that Circumcision discovered no more of Man's Native Corruption, nor any more of his remedy by Christ; nor sealed to any Person whatsoever the Righteousness of Faith, than Adam's Covenant in Paradise did; and that it did in its own nature oblige all upon whom it passed, to the same terms of Obedience that Adam's Cove­nant obliged him: And,

(3.) That there is not to be found, in the new Covenant, any such Act or Duty of ours, as hath been described and limited above; which is of a suspending Nature to the Benefits therein granted: And,

(4.) That the respective Expositions he gives of the several Texts by me ex­plained and vindicated, are more con­gruous to the Scope and Grammar than mine are, and more agreeable to the cur­rent Sense of Orthodox Expositors, and then he shall be sure to receive an an­swerable return from me, else 'tis but labour lost to write again.

A REPLY TO Mr. Philip Cary's Solemn Call.

THE Book I have undertaken to animadvert briefly upon, bears the Title of A Solemn Call; but I am not so much concerned with the Solemnity, as I am with the Authority of this Call. Not how it is, but whose it is. If it be the Call of God, it must be obey'd, tho it be to part not only with the Priviledges, but Lives of our dearest Children; but then we had need be ve­ry well assur'd it is the Call of God, else we are guilty at once of the highest Fol­ly and basest T [...]eachery to part with so rich an Inheritance, convey'd by God's Covenant with Abraham, to us believ­ing [Page 2] Gentiles, and our Seed, at Mr. Cary's Call.

You direct your Solemn Call to all that would be owned as Christs faithful Wit­nesses.

Here you are too obscure and gene­ral; Do you mean all that would be owned by you, or by Christ? If you mean that we must not expect to be owned by you, till we renounce Infants Baptism, you tell us no news; for you have long since turn'd your back upon our Ministry and Assemblies; yet me­thinks 'tis strange, that we who were lately own'd as Christs faithful Witnes­ses under our late Sufferings, must now be disown'd by you, when we have li­berty to amplifie and confirm our Testi­mony in the peaceful improvement of our common Liberty.

But if your meaning be (as I strongly suspect it is) that we must not expect to be own'd by Christ, except we give up Infants Baptism; then I say it is the most uncharitable, as well as unwarrant­able, and dangerous Censure that ever dropt from the Pen of a sober Christian, 'Tis certainly your great evil to lay Sal­vation [Page 3] it self on such a point as the pro­per Subject of Baptism, and to make it Articulus Stantis, vel cadentis Religionis, the very Basis on which the whole Chri­stian Religion, and its Professors Salva­tion must stand. I hope the rest of your Brethren are more charitable than your self; but however it be, I do openly profess, that I ever have, and still do own you, and many more of your Per­swasion, for my Brethren in Christ, and am perswaded Christ will own you too, notwithstanding your many Errors and Mistakes about the lesser and lower mat­ters of Religion. Nor need your Cen­sure much to affect us, as long as we are satisfied you have neither a Faculty, nor Commission thus solemnly to pro­nounce it upon us.

But what's the condition upon which this dreadful Sentence depends? why, it is our attendance, or non-attendance to the primitive purity of the Gospel Doctrine.

Sir, I hope we do attend it, and in some respects better than some greater Pretenders to primitive Purity; who have cast off, not only the initiating Sign [Page 4] of Gods Covenant, (this did not Abra­ham) but also that most comfortable and ancient Ordinance of singing Psalms; and what other primitive Ordinance of God may be cashier'd next, who can tell?

We have a Witness in your Bosom, that the Defence of Christs pure Wor­ship and Institutions hath cost us some­thing; and as for me, were I convinced by all that you have here said, or any of your Friends, that in baptizing the In­fants of Believers we did really depart from the Primitive purity, I would re­nounce it, and turn Anabaptist the same day.

But really Sir, this Discourse of yours hath very much convinc'd me of the weakness and sickliness of your Cause, which is forc'd to seek a new Foundati­on, and is here laid by you upon such a Foundation as must inevitably ruin it, if your Party, as well as your self, have but resolution enough to venture it there­upon.

And it appears to me very probable, that they intend to fight us upon the new ground you have here chosen, and mark'd out for them, by the high Encomiums [Page 5] they give your Book in their Epistles to it, wherein they tell us, Your Notions are of so rare a nature, that you are not beholding to any other for them; and it is a wonder if you should, for I think it ne­ver entred into any sober Christians Head before you, that Abraham's Cove­nant, Gen. 17. was the very same with Adam's Covenant made in Paradise; or that Moses, Abraham, and all the Elect of God in those days were absolutely under the very rigour and tyranny of the Covenant of Works, and at the same time under the Covenant of Grace, and all the Blessings and Priviledges thereof, with many other such rare Notions, of which it is pity but you should have the sole propriety.

I am particularly concern'd to detect your dangerous mistakes, both in love to your own Soul, and care of my Peoples, amongst whom you have dispersed them; though I foresee by M. E's Epistle to your Book what measure I am like to have for my plain and faithful dealing with you: For if that Gentleman, upon a meer surmise and presumption, that one or other would oppose your Book, dare adventure to call your unknown [Page 6] Answerer, before ever he put Pen to Paper, a Man-pleaser, a Quarreller at Reformation, and rank him with the Papists, which opposed the Faithful for their non-conformity to their Inventi­ons: What must I expect from such rash Censurers, for my sober, plain, and ra­tional confutation of your Errors!

As to the Controversie betwixt us, you truly say in your Title Page, and many parts of your Book, and your Brethren comprobate it in their Epistles, that the main Arguments made use of by the Pae­do-Baptists for the support of their pra­ctice are taken from the Covenant of God with Abraham, Gen. 17. You call this the very hinge of the Controversie; and therefore if you can but prove this to be the very same Covenant of Works with that made with Adam in Paradise, we shall then see what improvements you will quickly make of it.

Ay Sir, You are sensible of the Ad­vantage, no less than a compleat Vi­ctory you shall obtain by it; and there­fore being a more hardy and adventurous Man than others, put desperately upon it (which never any before you durst at­tempt) to prove Abraham's Covenant, [Page 7] which stands so much in the way of your Cause, to be a meer Covenant of Works, and therefore now abolished.

My proper Province is to discover here, that part of the Foundation (I mean Abraham's Covenant) whence our Divines, with great Strength and Evi­dence, deduce the Right of Believers In­fants to Baptism now. Next, to evince the Absurdity of your Assertions and Arguments you bring to destroy it: And lastly, To reflect briefly upon the An­swers you give in the beginning of your Book, to those several Texts of Scrip­ture pleaded by the learned and judicious Divines you oppose, for the Justification of Infants Baptism.

(1.) Those that plead God's Cove­nant with Abraham, Gen. 17. as a Scrip­ture Foundation for Baptizing Believers Infants under the Gospel, proceed gene­rally upon these four Grounds or Prin­ciples.

(1.) That God's Covenant with Abra­ham, Gen. 17. was the same Covenant for substance, we Gentile Believers are now under, and they substantially prove it from Luke 1. from the 54. to the 74. Verse, which place evidently shews the [Page 8] sameness of the Covenant of Grace they were, and we are now under; and from Matt. 21. 41, 43. the same Vineyard and Kingdom the Jews then had, is now let out to us Gentiles; and from Rom. 11. that the Gentile-Christians are grafted into the same Olive-Tree, from which the Jews were broken off for their Un­belief; and that the Blessing of Abraham cometh now upon the Gentiles, Gal. 3. 8, 14, 16. and in a word, that the Parti­tion Wall betwixt them and us, is now pulled down, and that we, through Faith, are let into the self-same Covenant, and all the Priviledges they then enjoy'd, Ephes. 2. 13.

(2.) They assert and prove, That in Abraham's Covenant, the Infant-Seed were taken in with their Parents, and that in token thereof, they were to have the Sign of the Covenant applied to them, Gen. 17. 9.

(3.) They affirm and prove, That the Promise of God to Abraham and his Seed, with the Priviledges thereof to his Children, do, for the Substance of them, descend to Believers now, and their Seed, Acts 2. 38, 39. and though the ex­ternal Sign, viz. Circumcision be changed, [Page 9] yet Baptism takes its place under the Gospel, Col. 2. 11, 12.

(4.) They constantly affirm, That none of those Grants or Priviledges, made to the Infant-Seed of Abraham's Family, were ever repealed or revoked by Christ or his Apostles; and therefore Believers Children now are in the right­ful Possession of them; and that there­fore there needed no new Command or Promise; in Abraham's Command we find our Duty to Sign our Children with the Sign of the Covenant, and in Abra­ham's Promise we find God's gracious Grant to our Children, as well as his, especially since the Apostle directs us, in this very respect, to the Covenant of God with Abraham, Acts 2. 38, 39.

These, Sir, are the Principles, on which we lay (as you say) great Stress, and which to this day you have never been able to shake down; here there­fore you attempt a new Method to do it, by proving this Covenant is now abolished; and this is your Method in which you promise your self great Success: Three things you pretend to prove;

  • [Page 10] (1.) That the Sinai Covenant, Exod. 20.
  • (2.) That Abraham's Covenant, Gen. 17. are no Gospel-Covenants, and that because,
  • (3.) The Gospel-Covenant is Abso­lute and Unconditional.

How you come to hook in the Mosaick Covenant into this Controversie, is not very evident, unless you think it were easie for you to prove that to be a Cove­nant of Works, and then Abraham's Covenant Gen. 17. being an Old Testa­ment Covenant, were the more easily proved to be of the same nature. I am obliged to examine your three Positions above noted, and if I evidence to the World the Falsity of them, the Cause you manage is so far lost, and the right of Believers Infants to Baptism stands firm upon its old and sure Foundation. I begin therefore with your

I Position.

That the Covenant made with Israel on Mount Sinai, is the very same Covenant of Works made with Adam in Innocency, [Page 11] P. 122. and divers other places of your Book the very same.

Now, if I prove that this Assertion of yours doth naturally and regularly draw many false and absurd Consequents upon you, which you are, and must be forced to own; then this your Position cannot be true, for from true Premisses, nothing but truth can naturally and regularly follow; but I shall make it plain to you, that this your Position regularly draws many false Conclusions and gross Absur­dities upon you, some of which you own expresly, and others you as good as own, being able to return nothing rational or satisfactory in your own defence against them.

(1.) From this Assertion, that the Sinai Covenant was a pure Covenant of Works, the very same with Adam's Co­venant, it regularly and necessarily fol­lows, that either Moses and all Israel were Damned, there being no Salvation possible to be attained by that first Cove­nant; or else that there was a Covenant of Grace at the same time running pa­rallel with that Covenant of Works; and so the Elect People of God were at one and the same time under the first, as [Page 12] a Covenant of Death and Condemnati­on; and under the second, as a Cove­nant of Grace and Justification.

This Dilemma pinches you, to assert, that Moses, and all the Elect of God un­der that Dispensation were damned, you dare not; and if you had, you must have expunged the 11th Chapter to the Hebrews, and a great part of the New Testament, together with all your hopes of sitting down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. The latter therefore (seeing you cannot avoid) you are forc'd upon, and in plain words yield it, p. 174, 175. That Moses, and the whole body of the Children of Israel, without exception of any, were under, yea absolutely under the severest pe­nalties of a dreadful Curse; That the Co­venant they were under could be no other than a Covenant of Works, a ministration of Death and Condemnation; when yet it is al­so evident from the same Holy Scriptures of Truth, that at the same time both Moses, and all the Elect among that People, were under a pure Covenant of Gospel-grace; and that these two Covenants were just opposite the one to the other; but to this you have nothing to say, but with the Apostle in another case, O the depth!

[Page 13] Here Sir, you father a pure and per­fect contradiction upon the Holy Scrip­tures, that it speaks things just opposite, and contradictory the one to the other, and of necessity one part or member of a contradiction must be false; this all the rational World knows; but so it is, say you, and fly to the infinite Wis­dom to reconcile them; for you say, you know not what to say to it. Just so the Papists serve us in the Controversie about Transubstantiation, when they can­not reconcile one thing with another, they fly to the Omnipotent Power to do it.

But Sir, I wonder how you hold and hug a Principle that runs naturally into such gross absurdities: Do you see what follows from hence by unavoidable con­sequence? you must, according to this Principle, hold, That Moses, and all Gods peculiar elect People in Israel, must during their Life, hang mid-way be­tween Justification and Condemnation, and after Death, between Heaven and Hell.

(1.) During Life they must hang mid-way between Justification and Con­demnation; justify'd they could not be, [Page 14] for Justification is the Souls passing from Death to Life, 1 John 3. 14. John 5. 24. This they could not possibly do, for the ministration of Death, and Condemna­tion hindred. He that is under Con­demnation by the Law, cannot, du­ring that state, pass into Life. And yet to be under Condemnation is as impossi­ble on the other side; for he that is justi­fied, cannot at the same time be under Condemnation, Rom. 8. 1. John 5. 24. What remains then, but that during Life they must stick mid-way betwixt both, neither justify'd, nor condemned; and yet both so and so. Justification is our Life, and Condemnation our Death in Law: Betwixt these two which are privatively oppos'd, there can be no Me­dium of participation, and yet such a Medium you here fancy.

(2.) And then after Death they must necessarily hang betwixt Heaven and Hell; to Heaven none can go that are under the very rigour and tyranny of the Law, a pure Covenant of Works, as you say they were. To Hell they could not go, being under the pure Covenant of Grace: What remains then, but some third state must be assigned them; and [Page 15] so at last we have found the Limbus Pa­trum, and your Position leads us right to Purgatory; a Conclusion which, I be­lieve, you your self abhor as much as I.

(2ly.) This Hypothesis pinches you with another Dilemma, viz. Either there was pardon on Repentance in Moses his Covenant, and the Sinai Dispensation of the Law, or there was none; if you say [...]one, you directly contradict Lev. 26. 40, 46. If there were, then it cannot be Adam's Covenant of Works.

You answer, pag. 179. That God pro­miseth pardon for the Breach of Moses his Covenant and of Adam's Covenant too, but neither Adam's Covenant, nor the Jewish legal Covenant promised any pardon upon repen­tance, but rather threatens and inflicts the contrary.

Reply. Either this is a direct Answer to my Argument, to prove the Law at Sinai cannot be a pure Adam's Covenant, because it had a promise of pardon an­nexed to it, Lev. 26. 40. but Adam's Co­venant had none. If your Answer be direct, then 'tis a plain contradiction, in saying it had, and it had not a pro­mise of pardon belonging to it; or else it is a meer Evasion, and an eluding of [Page 16] the Argument; and your only meaning is, That the Relief I speak of, is not to be found in any promise belonging to the Sinai Dispensation, but in some other Gospel-Covenant or Promise. But, Sir, this will not serve your turn; you see I cite the very promise of Grace made to the Israelites on Mount Sinai by the hand of Moses; wherein God promi­seth, upon their humiliation, to remem­ber his Covenant for their good. Now, Sir, you had as good have stood to your first Answer, which is self-con­tradictory, as to this which is no less so, as will evidently appear by a nearer and more particular view of the place, and gathering up your own Concessions about it; that this Text, Lev. 26. 40. hath the nature of a gracious Gospel-promise in it, no Man can deny, except he that will deny, that Gods remembring of his Covenant, for the relief of poor broken-hearted Sinners, is no Gospel-promise pertaining to the Covenant of Grace: That it was made to the peni­tent Israelites upon Mount Sinai, and there delivered them by the hand of Moses for their relief, is as visible and plain as the Words and Syllables of the 46th [Page 17] Verse are to him that reads them. Let the Promise then be considered both ways, (1.) In your Sense, as a plain di­rection to the Covenant of Grace made with Abraham for their relief; for so you say it was, p. 180. Or let it be considered absolutely, as that which contained re­lief in it self, for the penitent Israelites that should live towards the end of the World, after they should be gathered from all their Dispersions and Captivi­ties as you there speak, and more fully explicate in your accommodation of a Parallel Promise, p. 111, 112, 113. First let us view it in your sense as a relative promise to the Covenant of Grace made with Abraham, Gen. 12. to which, say you, it plainly directs them; and then this legal Dispensation can never be the same with Adam's Covenant; for to that Covenant no such Promise was ever annexed, which should guide and plainly direct them to Christ and Pardon; as that Star which appeared to the Wise Men directed their way to Christ. If there be any such relative promise be­longing to Adam's Covenant in Paradise, as this which I plainly shew you was made on Mount Sinai, be pleased to pro­duce [Page 18] it, and you end the Controversie but if you cannot (as you know you can not) then never say the legal Dispensa­tion at Sinai, and the Covenant of Work with Adam in Paradise, are the very same Covenant. Secondly, Let us con­sider this Promise absolutely in it self, an [...] then I demand, was there Mercy, Relie [...] and Pardon contained in it for any pen [...] tent Sinner present, or to come? Ye [...] say you, it extends Relief to Penitent [...] after God shall gather them from a [...] their Captivities at the end of th [...] World; very Good. Then 'tis a ver [...] vigorous Promise of Grace, which no [...] only reaches 430 years backward, as fa [...] as the first Promise to Abraham; b [...] also extends its Reliefs and Comfort [...] many thousand years forwards, even t [...] the purest times of the Gospel, just be­fore Christ's coming to Judgment; an [...] can such a Promise as this be denie [...] to be in it self a Gospel-Promise? Su [...] it can neither be denied to be such nor yet to be made upon Mount Sinai b [...] the Hand of Moses. This Dilemma is a [...] pinching as the former.

[Page 19] Perhaps you will say, this Promise did not belong to the Moral Law given at Sinai, but to the Ceremonial Law; if so, then I should reasonably conclude, that you take the Ceremonial Law (of which you seem to make this a Branch, Page 181.) to be a Covenant of Grace, seeing one of its Branches bears such a gracious Promise upon it. No, that must not be so neither, for say you Page 151. the Ceremonial Covenant is of the same nature with the Covenant of Works, or Law written in Tables of Stone; whither then shall we send this Promise? To the Covenant of Grace we must not send it, unless only as an Index or Finger to point to it, because it was made upon Mount Sinai, and deli­vered to Israel by the Hand of Moses; to the Gospel-Govenant we must not there­fore annex it; and to the legal Dispen­sation at Sinai you are as loath to annex it, because it contains so much Relief and Grace in it for poor Penitents; and that will prove, that neither the Moral nor Ceremonial Law (place it in which you please) can be a pure Covenant of Works as Adam's was.


[Page 20] Moreover, In making this the Pro­mise which must Relieve and Comfort the distressed Israelites in the purest Gospel-times, towards the end of the World, you as palpably contradict your self in another respect; for we shall find you by and by stoutly denying, that the Gospel-Promises have any Conditions or Qualifications annexed to them; but so hath this which you say relates to them that shall live at the end of the World. If their uncircumcised Hearts be humbled, and if they accept the punishment of their Iniquities, then will I remember my Covenant, &c. But be this Promise Con­ditional or Absolute, two things are un­deniably clear. (1.) That it is a Pro­mise full of Grace, for the relief of Law-Transgressors, ver. 40. (2.) That it was a Mount Sinai Promise, ver. 46. and such a Promise as you can never shew in Adam's Covenant.

Besides, It is to me an unaccountable thing, that a Promise which hath a double comfortable Aspect, 430 years back, and some thousands of years for­ward; should not cast one comfortable glance upon the Penitents of the present Age when it was made, nor upon any [Page 21] till near the end of the World. What think you Sir, of the 3000 Jews prick'd at the Heart? Acts 2. had they no Relief from it, because their Lot fell not late enough in time? Were the Penitent Jews in Moses and Peter's days, all born out of due time, for this Promise to relieve? O what Shifting and Shuffling is here! Who can think a Man that twists and winds every way, to avoid the dint of an Argument, can possibly have a Moral Assurance of the truth of his own Opinion?

(3.) You say, Page 134. That through Christ's satisfaction there is no repugnancy or hostile contrariety betwixt the Law and Promise, but an Agreement betwixt them, and that they differ only in respect of Strength and Weakness, the Gospel is able to go through stitch with it, which the Law can­not do.

Reply. Well then, the Law considered as a Covenant of Works, whose Terms or Condition is, do this and live, and the Promise or Gospel, whose Condition is, Believe and thou shalt be saved, are not specifically different, but only gradually in point of Strength and Weakness; and the Reason you give, is as strange, that [Page 22] this comes to pass through the satisfaction of Christ. Good Sir, enlighten us in this rare Notion. Did Christ die to purchase a Reconciliation betwixt the Covenant of Works as such, and the Covenant of Grace; as if both were now by the Death of Christ agreed; and to be justi­fied by Works and by Faith, should after Christ's Death make no Odds or Disse­rence between them? If it be so, why have you kept such a coil to prove Moses's and Adam's Covenant, yea, Abraham's too, being Covenant of Works can never consist or mingle with the Gospel-Cove­nant? And then I say, you contradict the Apostle, who so directly opposes the Covenant of Works as such, to the Covenant of Grace, Gal. 3. 18. and tells us, they are utterly inconsistent and exclusive of each other; and this he spake after Christ's Death and actual satisfaction: But

(4.) That which more amazes me, is the strange Answer you give to Mr. Sedgwick, Page 132, 133. in your return to his Argument, That if the Law and the Promise can consist, then the Law can­not be set up as a Covenant of Works. You answer, That the Law and the Promise [Page 23] having divers ends, it doth not thence follow, that there is an inconsistence betwixt them, and that the Law, even as it is a Covenant of Works, instead of being against the Pro­mise, tends to the Establishment of it. And Page 133. That by convincing Men of the Impossibility of obtaining Rest and Peace in themselves, and the necessity of betaking them­selves to the Promise, &c. the Law is not against the Promise, having so Blessed a Subserviency towards the Establishment thereof. Here you own a Subserviency, yea, a Blessed Subserviency of the Law to the Promise, which is that Mr. Sedgwick and my self have urged, to prove it cannot be so, as it is a pure Adam's Co­venant; but that therefore it must come under another Consideration; only here we differ, you say it hath a Blessed Sub­serviency to the Promise, as it is the same with Adam's Covenant, we say it can ne­ver be so as such, but as it is either a Covenant of Grace, though more ob­scure, as he speaks; or though the mat­ter of it should be the same with Adam's Covenant, yet it is subserviently a Co­venant of Grace as others speak; and under no other Consideration can it be reconciled to the Promise. But will you [Page 24] stand to this, that the Law hath no Hostile Contradiction to the Promise, but a Blessed Subserviency to it, as you speak, Page 173. where you say, That if we preach up the Law as a Covenant of Life, or a Covenant of Faith and Grace (which are equipollent Terms) let us distin­guish as we please, between a Covenant of Grace Absolutely aud Subserviently such; then we make an ill use of the Law; by per­verting it to such a Service as God never intended it for, and are guilty of mingling Law and Gospel, Life and Death together.

Reply. Here, Sir, my Understanding is perfectly posed, and I know not how to make any tolerable Orthodox Sense out of this Position: Is the Law preached up as a pure Covenant of Works (that is, pressing Men to the personal and punctual Obedience of it, in order to their Justification by Works) no way repugnant to the Promise; but altoge­ther so, when preached in Subserviency to Christ and Faith? This is new Divi­nity with me, and I believe must be so to every Intelligent Reader. Don't I oppose the Promise, when I preach up the Law as a pure Covenant of Works, which therefore as such must be Exclu­sive [Page 25] of Christ and the Promise; and do I oppose either, when I tell Sinners the Terrors of the Law serve only to drive them to Christ, their only Remedy, who is the end of the Law for Righteous­ness, to every one that Believeth, Rom. 10. 4.? are Works and Grace more consistent than Grace with Grace? Explain your meaning in this Paradoxical Expression, and leave not your self and others in such a Maze. I read Gal. 3. 19. for what end God published the Law 430 years after the Promise was made to Abraham, and find it was added because of Trans­gression, [...] it was put to, not set up by it self alone, as a distinct Cov [...] nant, but added as an Appendix to the Covenant of Grace; whence it is plain, that God added the Sinai Law to the Promise, with Evangelical ends and Pur­poses. If then I preach the Law to the very same Evangelical Uses and Purposes for which God added it to the Promise, do I therein make an ill use of the Law, and mingle Life and Death together? But preaching it as a pure Covenant of Works, as it holds forth Justification to Sinners by Obedience to its Precepts; do I then make it blessedly subservient [Page 26] (as you speak) to the Promise, or Co­venant of Grace? The Law was added because of Transgression, that is, to re­strain Sin in the World, and to convince Sinners under guilt, of the necessity of another Righteousness than their own, even that of Christ; and for the same ends God added it to the Promise; I al­ways did, and still shall Preach it; and I am perswaded without the least danger of mingling Law and Gospel, Life and Death together, in your Sense.

'Tis plain to me, that in the Publica­tion of the Law on Sinai, God did not in the least intend to give them so much [...] a Direction how to obtain Justification [...]y their most punctual Obedience to its Precepts, that being to Fallen Man ut­terly impossible; and beside, had he pro­mulged the Law to that end and pur­pose, he had not added it, but directly opposed it to the Promise; which its ma­nifest he did not, Gal. 3. 21. Is the law then against the promise of God? God for­bid. And ver. 18. makes it appear, that had it been set up to that end and pur­pose, it had utterly disannulled the Promise; for if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more by promise. What then [Page 27] can be clearer, than that the Law at Si­nai was published with gracious Gospel-ends and purposes, to lead Men to Christ; which Adam's Covenant had no respect nor reference to? and therefore it can never be a pure Adam's Covenant, as you falsly call it; neither is it capa­ble of becoming a pure Covenant of Works to any Man, but by his own Fault, in rejecting the Righteousness of Christ, and seeking Justification by the works of the Law, as the mistaken car­nal Jews did, Rom. 10. 3. and other legal Justiciaries now do. And upon this ac­count only it is, that Paul, who so high­ly praises the Law in its subserviency to Christ, thunders so dreadfully against it, as it is thus set by ignorant mistaken Souls in direct Opposition to Christ.

(5ly.) And further, to clear this Point, the Apostle tells us, Rom. 10. 4. That Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Whence I argue, That if Adam's Covenant had one End, namely, the Justification of Men by their own personal Obedience; and the Law at Sinai had a quite contrary End, namely, To bring Sinners to Christ by Faith for their Righteousness; [Page 28] the one to keep him within himself, the other to take him quite out of himself, and bring him for his Justification to the Righteousness of another, even that of Christ; then the Sinai Law cannot pos­sibly be the same thing with Adam's Co­venant of Works; but the Antecedent is true and plain in the forecited Text, therefore so is the Consequent.

Christ is the end of the Law for Righteousness. Take the Law here, either more strictly for the Moral Law, or more largely, as it comprehends the Ceremonial Law; still Christ is the end of the Law. The Moral Law shuts up eve­ry Man to Christ for Righteousness, by convincing him (according to Gods de­sign in the Publication of it) of the im­possibility of obtaining Justification in the way of Works.

And the Ceremonial Law many ways prefigured Christ, his Death and Satis­faction by Blood, in our room, and so led Men to Christ, their true Propitiati­on; and all its Types were fulfilled and ended in Christ. Was there any such thing in Adam's Covenant? You must prove there was, else you will never be able to make them one and the same Co­venant.

[Page 29] (6ly.) It seems exceeding probable from Acts 7. 37, 38. That the Sinai Covenant was delivered to Moses by Jesus Christ, there called the Angel. This is he that was in the Church in the Wilderness, with the Angel that spake to him in the Mount Sinai, and with our Fathers, who received the live­ly Oracles to give unto us. Now, if Christ himself were the Angel, and the Precepts of the Law delivered by him to Moses were the Lively Oracles of God, as they are there expresly affirm'd to be, then the Law delivered on Mount Sinai cannot be a pure Adam's Covenant of Works: For it is never to be imagined that Jesus Christ himself should deliver to Moses such a Covenant, directly opposite to all the ends of his future Incarnation; and that those Precepts (which if they were of the same nature, and revived to the same end, at which Adam's Covenant directly aimed) should be called the Lively Oracles of God: When contrary­wise, upon your Supposition they could be no other than a Ministration of Con­demnation and Death: But that they were Lively Oracles, viz. in their Design and Intention, is plain in the Text; and that they were delivered to Moses by Je­sus [Page 30] Christ, the Angel of the Covenant, seems more than probable, by compa­ring it with the former Verses.

(7ly.) Neither is it easie to imagin how such a Covenant, which by the Fall of Adam had utterly lost all its Promises, Priviledges and Blessings; and could re­tain nothing but the Curses and Punish­ments annexed to it, in case of the least Failure, could possibly be numbred a­mong the chief Priviledges in which Gods Israel gloried; as it apparently was, Rom. 9. 4. Who are Israelites, to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises.

These things considered, with many more (which the intended Brevity of this Discourse will not now admit) I am fully satisfy'd of the Falsity of your Position, and so may you too, when you shall re­view the many gross and palpable Absur­dities with which I have clogg'd and loaded it; with many more regularly and fairly deducible from it, which I could easily produce, did I not suspect these I have produced have al­ready pressed your Patience a littly too far: But if ever I shall see (which I ne­ver [Page 31] expect) a fair and Scriptural Solution of these weighty Objections, you may expect from me more Arguments against your unsound Position, which at the pre­sent I judge needless to add.

To conclude, Those Premises (as before I noted) can never be true, from whence such, and so many gross and notorious Absurdities are regularly and unavoida­bly deducible. For Ex veris nil nisi ve­rum, from true Premises nothing but Truth can regularly follow.

Had you minded those things which I seasonably sent you, you had avoided all those Boggs into which you are now sunk, and been able fairly to reconcile all those seeming Contradictions in Paul's Epistles, with respect to the Law at Sinai: But however, by what hath been said, your first Position, That the Sinai Covenant is the same Covenant of Works with Adam's in Paradise, vanishes before the Evidence of Scripture-truth and sound Reason.

But yet, though what I have said de­stroys your false Position, I am not wil­ling to leave you, or the Reader, igno­rant wherein the Truth lies in this con­troverted Point betwixt us; and that [Page 32] will appear by a due consideration of the following Particulars.

(1.) 'Tis plain and uncontroverted, That Adam's Covenant in Paradise con­tained in it a perfect Law and Rule of natural Righteousness, founded both in God's Nature, and in Mans, which in its perfect state of Innocency was every way enabled perfectly to comply therewith: For the Scripture tells us, Eccles. 7. 29. That God made Man upright, and his punctual complying therewith was the Righteousness by which he stood.

(2.) This Covenant of Works being once broken, can never more be avail­able to the Justification and Salvation of any Fallen Man: There was not now a Law found that could give Righteousness; the broken Covenant of Works lost im­mediately all the Blessings and Priviledg­es, which before it contain'd, and re­tain'd only the Curse and Punishment; in token whereof Cherubims with flaming Swords turning every way, were set to keep the way of the Tree of Life, Gen. 3. 24.

(3.) Soon after the Violation of the Covenant of Works, God was graciously pleased to publish for the relief of Man­kind, [Page 33] now miserable and hopeless, the Second Covenant, which we call the Co­venant of Grace, Gen. 3. 15. which is the first opening of the Grace of God in Christ to Fallen Man; and though this first Promise of Christ was but short and obscure, yet it was in every Age to be opened clearer and clearer, until the promised Seed should come. After the first opening of this new Covenant in the first Promise of Christ, the first Co­venant is shut up for ever, as a Cove­nant of Life and Salvation; and all the World are shut up to the only way of Salvation by Christ, Gal. 3. 23. it being contrary to the Will of God, that two ways of Salvation should stand open to Man at once, and they so opposite one to another, as the way of Works and the way of Faith are, Acts 4. 12. John 14. 6. Gal. 2. 21.

(4.) 'Tis evident however, that after the first opening of the Promise of Christ, Gen. 3. 15. God foreseeing the Pride of Fallen Man, who naturally in­clines to a Righteousness of his own in the way of doing, was pleased to re­vive the Law of Nature, as to its mat­ter, in the Sinai Dispensation, which [Page 34] was 430 Years after the first Promise had been renewed, and further opened unto Abraham, of whose Seed Christ should come; and this he did not in op­position to the Promise, but in subser­viency thereto, Gal. 3. 21. And though the matter and substance of the Law of Nature be found in the Sinai Covenant, strictly taken for the Ten Commandments, yet the Ends and Intentions of God in that terrible Sinai Dispensation were two-fold: (1.) To convince Fallen Man of the sinfulness and impotency of his Nature, and the impossibility of obtaining Righteousness by the Law, and so by a blessed necessity to shut him up to Christ, his only Remedy. And (2.) To be a standing Rule of Duty both towards God and Man, to the end of the World: But if we take the Sinai Covenant more largely, as inclusive of the Ceremonial with the Moral Law, (as it is often taken, and is so by you, in the New Testament) then it did not only serve for a Conviction of Impotency, and a Rule of Duty, but exhibited and taught much of Christ, and the Myste­ries of the New Covenant in those its Ceremonies, wherein he was prefigured to them.

[Page 35] (5.) Whence it evidently appear that the Sinai Covenant was neither re­pugnant to the New Covenant in its scope and aim. The law is not against the promise, Gal. 3. 21. nor yet set up as co-ordinate with it, with a design to open two different ways of Salvation to Fallen Man, but was added to the Promise, in respect of its Evangelical pur­poses and designs; on which account it is call'd by some a Covenant of Faith or Grace, in respect of its subserviency un­to Christ, who is the end of the Law for righteousness, Rom. 10. 4. and by others a Subservient Covenant, according to Gal. 3. 23, 24. and accordingly we find both Tables of the Law put into the Ark, Heb. 9. 4. which shews their Con­sistency and Subordination with, and to the method of Salvation by Christ in the New Covenant.

(6.) This design and intention of God was fatally mistaken by the Jews, ever since God promulg'd that Law at Sinai, and was by them notoriously per­verted to a quite contrary end to that which God promulged it for, even to give Righteousness and Life in the way of personal and perfect Obedience, Rom. [Page 36] 10. 3. for they being ignorant of Gods righ­teousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted them­selves unto the righteousness of God. Hence Christ came to be slighted by them, and his righteousness rejected; for they rest­ed in the Law, Rom. 2. 17. were married to the Law as an Husband, Rom. 7. 2, 3. and so might have no Conjugal Commu­nion with Christ. However, Moses, Abraham, and all the Elect discerned Christ as the end of the Law for righte­ousness, and were led to him there­by.

(7ly.) This fatal Mistake of the Use and Intent of the Law, is the ground of those seeming Contradictions in Paul's Epistles. Sometimes he magnifies the Law, when he speaks of it according to Gods end and purpose in its Promulga­tion, Rom. 7. 12, 14, 16. but as it was fatally mistaken by the Jews, and set in opposition to Christ; so he thunders against it, calls it a ministration of Death and Condemnation, and all its appendent Ceremonies, weak and beggarly elements; and by this distinction, whatsoever seems repugnant in Paul's Epistles, may be sweetly reconciled; and 'tis a distinction [Page 37] of his own making, 1 Tim. 1. 8. We know that the Law is good, Rom. 10. 3. Rom. 2. 17. if we use it lawfully. There is a good and an evil use of the Law. Had you attended these things, you had not so confidently and inconsiderately pronounced it a pure Covenant of Works.

II Position.

Secondly, you affirm with like Con­fidence, That the Covenant of Circum­cision is also the same, viz. The Covenant of Works made with Adam in Paradise.

This I utterly deny, and will try whether you have any better Success in the Proof of your second, than you had in your first Position; and to convince you of your mistake, let us consider what the general nature of this Ordinance of Circumcision was, what its ends were, and then prove that it cannot be what you affirm it to be, the very same Cove­nant God made with Adam before the Fall, but must needs be a Covenant of Grace.

[Page 38] (1.) Circumcision in its general Na­ture, was (1.) an Ordinance of God's own Institution in the 99th year of Abra­ham's Age, at which time of its Institu­tion, God renewed the Covenant with him, Gen. 17. 9, 10. (2.) That it con­sisted (as all Sacraments do) of an ex­ternal Sign, and a Spiritual Mystery sig­nified thereby. The external part of it (which we call the Sign) was the cutting off the Foreskin of the Genital part of the Hebrew Males, on the eighth Day from their Birth. The Spiritual Mystery thereby signified and represented, was the cutting off the Filth and Guilt of Sin from their Souls, by Regeneration and Justification, called, the Circumcision of the heart, Deut. 10. 16. And though this was laid upon them by the Com­mand, as their Duty, yet a gracious Promise of Power from God to perform that Duty, was added to the Command, Deut. 30. 6. The Lord thy God will cir­cumcise thy heart to love him, &c. just as Promises of Grace in the New Testa­ment, are added to commands of Duty: (3.) Betwixt this outward visible Sign, and Spiritual Mystery, there was a Sacra­mental Relation, from which Relation [Page 39] it is called the Token of the Covenant, Gen. 17. 12. The Sign and Seal of the Covenant, Rom. 4. 11. yea, the Covenant it self, Acts 7. 8.

(2.) Next let us consider the ends for which Circumcision was instituted and ordained of God, of which these were the Principal.

(1.) It was instituted to be a convictive Sign of their natural Corruption, propa­gated by the way of natural Generation. For which reason this natural Cor­ruption goes in Scripture under the name of the Uncircumcision of the heart▪ [...]. 9. 26.

(2.) It also signified the putting off of this Body of Sin, in the vertue of Christ's Death, Col. 2. 11.

(3.) It was appointed to be the in­itiating Sign of the Covenant, or a token of their Matriculation and Admission into the Church and Covenant of God, Gen. 17. 9, 10, 11.

(4.) It was ordained to be a discri­minating Mark betwixt God's Cove­nanted People, and the Pagan World, who were Strangers to the Covenant, and without God in the World: And accordingly, both Parties were from [Page 40] this Ordinance denominated the Cir­cumcision and the Uncircumcision, Col. 3. 11.

(5.) It was also an obliging Sign to Abraham and his Seed, to walk with God in the Uprightness and Sincerity of their Hearts, in the performance of all covenanted Duties, in which Duties Abra­ham and the Faithful wa [...]ked Obedientially with God, looking to Christ for Righte­ousness; but the carnal Jews resting in, and trusting to those Duties and Ordi­nances for Righteousness and Justifica­tion, made it a Covenant of Works to themselves, and Circumcision it self a Bond of that Covenant.

(6.) Now for as much as Circumcision prefigured Christ, who was to come of this Holy circumcised Seed of Abraham, and his Death also was pointed at there­in, Heb. 2. 16. Col. 2. 11. of necessity this Ordinance must vanish at the Death of Christ, and accordingly did so.

These things duly pondered, how ir­rational is it to imagine this Covenant of Circumcision to be the very same with the Paradisical Covenant! Did that Co­venant discover native Corruption, and direct to its remedy in Christ as this did? Surely it gave not the least glimps [Page 41] of any such thing. Did that Covenant separate and distinguish one Person from another as this did? No, no, it left all under equal and common Misery, Eph. 2. 3.

Had Adam's Covenant a Seal of the Righteousness of Faith annexed to it as this had? Rom. 4. 11. He received Cir­cumcision a Seal of the Righteousness of Faith. The Righteousness of Faith is Evange­lical Righteousness, and this Circumci­sion sealed. Say not it was to Abraham only, that it sealed it; for 'tis an inju­rious Restriction put upon the Seal of a Covenant, which extended to the Fa­thers as well as to Abraham, Luke 1. 72. But you admit however, that it sealed Evangelical Righteousness to Abraham; but I hope you will not say, that a Seal of the Covenant of Works ever did or could Seal Evangelical Righteousness to any individual Person in the World. So then turn which way you will, this truth still follows you, and will fasten upon you; That the Covenant of Circumcision was not a pure Covenant of Works, but a Gospel-Covenant, which I thus prove.

Argument I.

If Circumcision be a part of the Cere­monial Law, and the Ceremonial Law was dedicated by Blood; and whatso­ever is so dedicated, is by you confessed to be no part of the Covenant of works; then Circumcision is no part of the Cove­nant of works, even by your own con­fession. But it is so, Ergo.

That it is a part of the Ceremonial Law, was never doubted or denied by any Man: That it was dedicated by Blood, and therefore no part of the Moral Law, you your self not only ac­knowledge, but vehemently plead for it, Page 148. where you blame Mr. Sedg­wick with some Sharpness, and unbe­coming Reflection, for making no di­stinction betwixt the Ceremonial Cove­nant which was dedicated by Blood, and the Law written in Tables of Stone; which was not so dedicated, and there­fore could not be the same with the Moral Law, which you make the Cove­nant of works; telling him, that this Dedication by Blood ought to distin­guish it from the Moral Law, or Sinai [Page 43] Covenant of works, as you say it doth, and ought to do; how then can Circum­cision be the same with, and yet quite another thing from the Sinai Covenant? was the Ceremonial Law dedicated by [...]lood? Yes, the Apostle [...]lainly asserts it from Exod. Heb. 9. 18, 19. [...]4. 7, 8. Moses took the Book [...]f the Covenant, and read it in the audience [...]f the people, and took the blood, and sprink­ [...]d it upon the people, and said, behold the [...]lood of the Covenant, which the Lord hath [...]ade with you concerning these things. But [...]hat kind of Covenant then was this Co­ [...]enant that was sprinkled with Blood? [...]ou tell us, Page 147. it could not possi­ [...]y be the Law written in Stones (which [...]ou make the Covenant of works) but [...]as indeed another Covenant delivered [...] a distinct Season, and in a distinct [...]ethod. What Covenant then must this [...]e, seeing it could not possibly (as you [...]y) be the Sinai Covenant written in [...]ones? It must either be the Covenant [...]f Grace, or none. No, say you, that [...] was not neither; for it was of the same [...]ture with, and is no other than a Co­ [...]enant of works, Page 151. it was the [...]me, and yet could not possibly be the [Page 44] same. Mr. Sedgwick, that Learned-Grave Divine, is check'd Page 148. for con­founding the Ceremonial Law that wa [...] sprinkled with Blood, with the Mora [...] Law (which you call the Covenant o [...] works) that was not sprinkled wit [...] Blood; and say you, Page 147. It coul [...] not possibly be the same: And then P. 151 you say, It's clear, these two, viz. th [...] Moral and Ceremonial Law, were both [...] the same nature, that is, no other than [...] Covenant of Works. How doth this han [...] together? Pray reconcile it if you ca [...] You say it is an ungrounded Supposition [...] Mr. Sedgwick's, that that Covenant whi [...] was so confirmed by Blood, must of necessi [...] be confirmed by the Blood of Christ als [...] Page 148. But Sir, the truth you oppos [...] viz. That the Book of the Ceremoni [...] Law was sprinkled by Typical Bloo [...] and therefore confirmed by the Blo [...] of Christ for the time it was to contin [...] shines like a bright Sun-beam in yo [...] Eyes, from Heb. 9. 14, 23. was not t [...] Blood that sprinkled this Law, the [...] gure or Type of Christ's own Blood whose Blood was it then, if not Christ' [...] How dare you call this an unground [...] Supposition? was not that Blood Typ [...] [Page 45] cal Blood? And what, I pray you, was the Antitype but Christ's Blood? And did not the Holy Ghost signifie the one by the other? Heb. 9. 8. I stand amazed at these things: You distinguish and confound all again. You say it could not possibly be the same with the Law written in Stone, and you say it's clear both were of the same nature, no other than a Covenant of works. At this [...]ate you may say what you please, for [...] see Contradiction is no Crime in your Book.

Argument II.

If Circumcision was the Seal of the Righteousness of Faith, it did not per­ [...]ain to the Covenant of works, for the Righteousness of Faith and Works are Opposites, and belong to two contrary Covenants.

But Circumcision was the Seal of the Righteousness of Faith, Rom. 4. 11. He [...]i. e. Abraham) received the sign of Cir­ [...]umcision, a seal of the righteousness of Faith. Therefore it pertains not to the Cove­ [...]ant of Works, but Grace.

[Page 46] A Man would think it impossible to evade so clear and Scripture an Argu­ment as this is. The Major Proposition is even self-evident and undeniable; the Minor, the plain words of the Apostle.

And what is your Reply to this? cer­tainly as strange a one as ever I met with, Page 205. You say, 'Tis true, Cir­cumcision was a Seal of the Righteousness of Faith to Abraham, but it was so to him only, in his extraordinary Circumstance [...] but it was not so to any of his natural S [...] in its ordinary use.

I cannot deny but I have met with such an Assertion before in Mr. Tombes and I can tell you too, that Bellarmine in­vented it before Mr. Tombes was born, and that Dr. Ames fully confuted it in his third Tome, Page 27. proving that there was no extraordinary cause o [...] Abraham's account, why God should justifie or seal him more than any other Believer; and that Abraham had nothing to glory in before God. But to restrain▪ as you do, the publick Seal of a Cove­nant, that comprehended and equally concerned the whole Church and People of God, to one single Person, so tha [...] neither Isaac nor Jacob, who were b [...] [Page 47] name enrolled in that great Charter, [...]hould have any right to the Seal of it; [...]s such a Conceit as amazes an intelligent Reader. We know Abraham was the [...]rst that received it, but utterly deny [...]hat he received only for himself; but [...]e received it as the Father of all them [...]hat Believe, whether Jews or Gentiles, [...]s the very next words tell us, he re­ [...]eived it that he might be the Father of [...]ll that Believe, that is, for himself, and [...]ll his Spiritual Children. One half of his Sacrament of Circumcision you allow, [...]age 205. to the rest that were under [...], viz. to be a sign of the Covenant; but [...]e other half you cut off, and say it [...]as only a Seal to him. What good [...]ouchers have you for this Exposition [...]f the Text? Have you the Concurrence [...] Orthodox Expositors? Or is it the rash [...]d bold Adventure of your own head? [...]am sure it no ways agrees with the drift [...]d scope of the Apostles Argument, [...]hich evidently is to prove, that both [...]ws and Gentiles are justified by Faith, as [...]braham was; and that the Ground of [...]stification and Blessedness, is common [...]th to the uncircumcised Gentiles, and [...]cumcised Jews; and that Abraham, [Page 48] and all other Believers, have but one way of Justification and Salvation; and that how great soever Abraham was, in this case he hath found nothing whereof to Glory, ver. 1, 2. and is not your Ex­position a notable one, to prove the Com­munity of the Priviledge of Justification, because the Seal of it was peculiar to Abraham alone? rectifie it, and better consider it.

Argument III.

In the Covenant of Circumcision▪ Gen. 17. God makes over himself t [...] Abraham and his Seed to be their God or give them a special Interest in him­self.

But in the Covenant of Works, God doth not, since the Fall, make over him­self to any to be their God by way o [...] special Interest.

Therefore the Covenant of Circum­cision cannot be the Covenant of Work [...]

This is so plain and clear, that no [...] can doubt or deny it, that understand the nature of the two Covenants. A [...] now Sir, what course do you take [...] avoid this Argument? such a one sure, [...] [Page 49] no Man that ever I met with took before you; and that's this, you boldly cut Abraham's Covenant Gen. 17. into two parts, and make the first to be the pure Covenant of Grace; which is the pro­missory part, to the ninth Verse, and the Restipulation (as you call it) Page 205. [...]o be as pure a Covenant of Works. What hard shift will some Men make [...]o maintain their Opinion! You say [...]ruly Page 205. that at the seventh and [...]ighth Verses was their Restipulation, why [...]hen do you say, Page 224. that at Verse [...]he seventh, he proceeds to speak of ano­ [...]her Covenant than what he had been [...]eaking of before? Does the Promise [...]nd the Restipulation make two Cove­ [...]ants, or are they just and necessary parts [...]f one and the same Covenant? You [...]lso tell us, that the Covenant Gen. 17. [...], 2, 3, 4. was a plain Transcript of [...]veral free Promises of the Gospel, under [...]e denomination of a Covenant. But [...]hy then don't you take the Restipula­ [...]on, verse 7, 8, 9, 10. to be a part of [...]? Oh, no, there is something required [...] Abraham's and his Posterities part, [...]ey must be circumcised, and that spoils [...]l. Why, but Sir, if the requiring of [Page 50] Circumcision alters the case so greatly, as to make it a quite contrary Covenant, how comes it to pass, that in the Cove­nant to Abraham, he himself was first required to be circumcised? Why this is the reason, here is somewhat required on their part as a Condition, and a Con­dition quite alters the nature of the Co­venant. Very well, but tell me then, why you say, Page 223. and in many other places, that the Covenant made with Abraham in Gen. 12. was a Gospel-Covenant, and yet there Abraham is obliged to walk before God, and be perfect? Does not that also there alter the nature of the Covenant, as well as here in the seventeenth Chapter? You also grant the Covenant made with Abraham, Gen. 22. was a pure Gospel-Covenant, or if you deny it, the Apostle proves it, Heb. 6. 13. and yet there is more appea­rance of respect to Abraham's Obedience in that Covenant, than is in submitting to Circumcision; see Gen. 22. 16, 17. By my self have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because thou hast done this thing, &c. That in Blessing I will bless thee; and in multiplying I will multiply thee.

[Page 51] I will trouble you on this Head but with one Query more: If the four first Verses of the Seventeenth of Genesis, con­tain a pure Gospel-Covenant as you say, and the Restipulation in the following Verses make a Covenant of works, be­cause it thereby becomes Conditional: Then tell me, if you please, whether what God graciously granted to Abraham in the former Verses, be not all null'd, and made void again by their Restipu­lation? Does not this seem Harsh? Here you have brought Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the believers of Abra­ham's race, just into the same case you brought Moses and all the Israelites be­fore, under two opposite Covenants, where one cuts off all that the other granted.

But there is a stronger reason urged than the conditionality of the Covenant, to prove it a Covenant of Works, and that is, Circumcision is made the Condi­tion of Abraham's Covenant; and that's the worst of all conditions; for it ob­liges a man to keep the whole Law, Gal. 5. 3. 'tis the yoke of bondage, and to whatsoever Covenant it be so annexed, it makes it become a bondage Legal Co­venant. [Page 52] If we be circumcised, Christ shall profit us nothing. Thus it was in the Covenant. Gen. 17.

Great use is made of this in many parts of your Discourse; but Sir, you are greatly mistaken in applying these Texts to the Purposes you do. For the Apostle all along in that Epistle to the Galatians argues against the false Teachers, who taught and pressed the necessity of Circumcision, as a Bond obliging them to the strict and perfect Obedience of the Law, in order to their Justification thereby, or at least to joyn it with the Righteousness of Christ, as a Con-cause of Justification; see Gal. 2. 4, 5. and the 3. 1. Now against this Abuse of Circumcision it is that the Apostle argues thus, and tells them, that in submitting to it on that account, they made the Death of Christ of no Effect, and obliged themselves by it to the whole Law; for Circumcision did not simply and absolutely, in the nature of the work or action, oblige Men to the whole Law in the way of Justification by it, but it did so from the Intention of the worker, and the Supposition of such an Opinion of it, and design in it; for in it self, and with re­spect [Page 53] to Gods design in the Institution of it, it was to be a Seal of the Righte­ousness of Faith, Rom. 4. 11. and so it was an excellent useful instructive Ordi­nance to all Believers, as long as the Ceremonial Law stood; and even when it was expiring, as the Gospel began to open more and more clearly, there was yet some kind of Toleration of it, to such as were born of Jewish Parents: Thus Paul himself circumcised Timothy, his Mother being a Jewess, Acts 16. 1, 3. but Titus being a Greek was not circum­cised; and that because of these false Teachers, that would make an ill use of that their Liberty, Gal. 2. 3, 4. this Paul could never have done, in case Circum­cision, in the nature of the act, had bound Timothy to keep the Law for Justification. By which it appears that the action in its own nature, did not oblige to the keeping of the whole Law, but from the Intention of the Agent; and there­fore as the Apostle rightly argues, if a Man be circumcised with this design to be justified by it, he would thereby bind himself to the whole Law, and frustrate the Death of Christ to himself; but it was now to have its Funeral with all [Page 54] other parts of the Ceremonial Law which vanish'd, and were accomplished in the Death of Christ; and it falling out that such a vile use was made of it at that time, the Apostle thus thunders against it. Had this been observed, as also the like abuse of the Moral Law, you would have known how to have re­conciled the Apostles Encomiums of them both, with his sharp Invectives against the one, and the other. But being Igno­rant of these two great and necessary Distinctions of the Law, according to Gods Intention in the Promulgation of it at Sinai, and the carnal Jews Sense of it, as a pure Covenant of works, against which the Apostle so sharply inveighs in the places by you cited, all your 23 Arguments from Page 183. to Page 187. fall to the Ground at one stroke, your Medius Terminus having one sense in your Major Proposition, and another in your Minor; and so every Argument hath four Terms in it; as will easily be evinced by the particular consideration of the respective places from whence you draw them.

So in like manner in your arguing here against Circumcision, as a Bond to [Page 55] keep the whole Law; and as such va­cating the Death of Christ, is a stumble at the same stone, not distinguishing as you ought to have done, betwixt an Obligation, arising out of the nature of the work, and out of the end and inten­tion of the Workers, and this every learned and judicious Eye will easily dis­cern. But we proceed to

Argument IV.

That which in its direct and primary end, teacheth Man the Corruption of his Nature by Sin, and the Mortification of Sin by the Spirit of Christ, cannot be a condition of the Covenant of works; but so did Circumcision in the very direct and primary end of it.

This Ordinance supposeth the Fall of Man, points to the Means and Instru­ments of his Sin and Misery; and also to the Remedy thereof by Christ. (1.) It singles out that Genital part, by which original Sin was propagated, Gen. 17. 11. Psalm 51. 5. to this the Sign of the Cove­nant is applied in Circumcision, for the Remission of Sins past, and the Extirpa­tion of Sin for the future. (2.) There­fore it was instituted of God, that Men [Page 56] might see both the necessity and true way of Mortifying their Lusts, in the vertue of Christ's Death and Resurrection; whereof Baptism, that succeeds it, is a Sign now, as Circumcision was then; as is plain from Col. 2. 11, 12. In whom also ye are circumcised with the Circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the Sins of the Flesh, by the Circumcision of Christ, buried with him in Baptism, where­in also ye are risen with him, through the Faith of the operation of God, who raised him from the dead. 'Tis clear then, that Cir­cumcision directed Men to the Death and Resurrection of Christ, as the true and only means of mortifying their Lusts; and if it did so, sure it was not the Co­venant of Works, for that gives Fallen Man no hint of a remedy. (3.) It was also a discriminating Sign or Token, be­twixt the Church and the World. God's People, and the Heathens, who were accordingly denominated from it, the Circumcision and the Uncircumcision, the Holy Seed and the Gentiles. And now under the New Testament, the Children of Abraham by Faith, and the Children of the Flesh. This also shews it can­not be the Covenant of Works; for in [Page 57] that Covenant all are equally and alike concluded under Sin and Misery, Ephes. 2. 3. and there is no difference made by that Covenant betwixt Person and Per­son, State and State.

If this be not enough to evince, that the Covenant of Circumcision is a Co­venant of Grace, I promise you many more Arguments to prove it, as soon as I shall find these refuted, and your con­trary Assertion well discharged from the gross Absurdities with which it is clog'd and loaded. You see how genuine, na­tural and congruous to Scripture the no­tion of it as a Covenant of Grace is, and all the World may see how harsh, alien, and repugnant to Scripture your Notion of Circumcision, as a Covenant of Works, is. You see into what Boggs you are again driven in defence of your Opinion. Exemp. gra.

That Circumcision is a part of the Ceremonial Law, which was dedicated with Blood, and therefore could be no [...]art of the Moral Law or Ten Com­mandments, which was (say you) the Co­ [...]enant of Works; and yet that it is of [...]he same nature; and that it's clear [...] is no other than a Covenant of [Page 58] Works. Don't you there distinguish and confound all again? blame and check Mr. Sedgwick without Cause, and commit a greater Absurdity present­ly than you charged him with? Don't you question whether that Covenant that was typically sealed by Blood, was sealed by Christs Blood? Pray, Sir, consider where-ever God commands typical Blood to be applyed, it relates to Christs Blood Spiritually apply'd, or to nothing.

Are not you forced in defence of your erroneous Thesis, to say with Bellarmine, That Circumcision was extraordinary in its Institution, and applyed as a Seal to none but Abraham himself? it exclu­ded even Isaac the Type of Christ, and Jacob a Prince with God. O what will not Men venture upon in defence of their darling Opinions!

Are you not forced for your Security from the danger of the Third Argument to cut one and the same Covenant made with Abraham just in two, and of the pure promissory part to make a Cove­nant of Grace; and of the other part, which you your self call a Restipulation, to make another quite opposite Cove­nant? Don't you magnifie the Bounty [Page 59] and Grace of God to Abraham in the first four Verses, and then destroy it all, by putting him at once under a contrary Covenant, and so cut off all capacity to enjoy one of those mercies?

Don't you make Circumcision in its own Nature, without respect to the in­tention of the Person, an Obligation to the whole Law, and that which frustrates the Death of Christ, and yet must grant, that Paul himself took Timothy and cir­cumcised him, and yet thereby brought him under no such dangerous obligation to the Law? In a word,

You reject all those Covenants as le­gal, that have any conditions in them, or respect to any thing that is to be done by us, and allow Gen. 12. and Gen. 22. to be pure Gospel-Covenants of Grace; and yet in the first Abraham is bound to walk before God and be perfect; and in the other God saith, For because thou hast done this thing, surely blessing I will bless thee.

And so much for Abraham's Covenant.

III. Of the Conditionality of the New Covenant.

Come we next to consider that Opi­nion of yours, which led you into these [Page 60] other gross mistakes and absurdities, and that is this, That the Covenant of Grace is absolute, and whatever Covenant is not so, but hath any condition upon our part, must needs for that reason be a Covenant of Works. See Page 229. It is observable (say you) that as the Co­venants mentioned Gen. 2. Exod. 20. &c. were all conditional, and therefore legal Covenants, requiring strict and perfect Obe­dience, as the condition propounded, in or­der to the enjoyment of the mercies con­tained in them, which are all therefore done away in Christ; so on the other hand we see, that the Covenant God made with Abra­ham, Gen. 12. 2, 3. and Gen. 17. 2, 3. and Gen. 22. 16, 17, 18. was wholly free and ab­solute, and therefore purely Evangelical, &c. We will review these things anon, and see if you truly represent the matter; but in order to it, let me first tell you

  • (1.) What we mean by a Gospel-Condition.
  • (2.) Prove that there are such in the Gospel-Covenant.
  • (3.) Shew you the absurdity of your Opinion against it.

[Page 61] (1.) What we mean by a Condition in the Gospel-Covenant. By a Condition of the Covenant, we do not mean in the strictest rigid Sense of the Word, such a Restipulation to God from Man of perfect Obedience in his own Person, at all times, so as the least Failure therein forfeits all the mercies of the Covenant: That's rather the condition of Adam's Covenant of Works, than of the Evan­gelical Covenant; nor do we assert any meritorious condition, that in the nature of an impulsive Cause, shall bring Man into the Covenant and its Priviledges, or continue him in when brought in. This we renounce as well as you; but our Question is about such a Condition, as is neither in the Nature of it, an Act per­fect in every degree, nor meritorious in the least of the Benefit conferr'd, nor yet done in our own strength. But plainly and briefly; our Question is, Whether there be not something as an Act required of us in point of Duty, to a Bles­sing consequent by vertue of a promise? Such a thing, whatever it be, hath the nature of a Condition, inasmuch as it is antecedent to the Benefit of the Promise, and the Mercy or Benefit granted is su­spended, [Page 62] until it be performed. The Question is not, Whether there be any intrinsecal worth or value in the thing so required, to oblige the Disposer to make or perform the Grant or Promise: but meerly that it be antecedent to the en­joyment of the benefit; and that the disposer of the benefit do suspend the benefit, until it be performed. Thus an Act or Duty of ours, which hath nothing at all of Merit in it, or answerable va­lue to the benefit it relates to, may be in a proper Sense a Condition of the said benefit. For what is a Condition in the true Notion of it, but Conditio est su­spensio alicujus dispositionis, tan­tisper dum ali­quid futurum fiat. Navarr. Enchirid. 482. the Suspension of a Grant until something future be done? or Est verborum adjectio in futu­rum suspendenti­um, secundum quam disponens vult dispositum regulari. as others to the same pur­pose, the adding of words to a Grant for the fu­ture of a suspending qua­lity, according to which the Disposer will have the benefit he disposeth to be regulated. This properly is a Condition, though there be nothing of equivalent value or merit in the thing required: [Page 63] And such your Brethren in their Narra­tive, pag. 14. do acknowledge Faith to be, when they assert none can be actu­ally reconciled, justifyed, or adopted, till they are really implanted into Jesus Christ by Faith, and so by vertue of this their Union with him, have these funda­mental benefits actually conveyed unto them, which contains the proper Noti­on of the Condition we contend for.

And such a Condition of Salvation we assert Faith to be in the New Covenant Grant; that is to say, the Grant of Sal­vation by God in the Gospel-Covenant is suspended from all Men, till they be­lieve, and is due by Promise, (not Merit) to them as soon as they do truly believe. The Notes or Signs of a Condition given by Civilians or Moralists are such as these, If, If not, unless, but if, except only, and the like. When these are added in the Promise of a Blessing, or Benefit for the future, they make that Promise condi­tional; and your Grammar (according to which you must speak, if you speak pro­perly and strictly) will tell you, that Si, sin, modo, dum, dummodo are all condi­tional Particles; and it is evident, that these conditional Particles are fre­quently [Page 64] inserted in the Grants of the Blessings and Priviledges of the New Testament: As for example, Mark. 9. 23. [...], If thou canst believe. Acts 8. 37. [...], If thou believest with thy whole heart, thou mayest, &c. Rom. 10. 9. [...], That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, and believe with thy heart, &c. thou shalt be saved. Matth. 18. 3. [...], Except ye be convert­ed, and become as little Children, you shall not enter into the Kingdom of heaven. Mark 5. 36. [...], Only believe. Mark 11. 26. [...], But if ye forgive not, &c. with multitudes more, which are all condi­tional Particles inserted in the Grants of Benefits.

(2.) Having shewn what the nature of a Condition is, I shall, I hope, make it plain to you, That Faith is such a Con­dition in the Gospel-grant of our Salva­tion; for we find the Benefit suspended till this Act of Faith be performed, John 3. 36. He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see Life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. And most plainly, Rom. 10. 9. having shewn before what the Condition of Legal Righteousness was, [Page 65] he tells us there what the Gospel-condi­tion of Salvation is, The righteousness which is of Faith, speaketh on this wise, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thy heart, that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. I ask you, Sir, whether it be possible to put Words into a Frame more lively expressive of a Condition than these are? Do but compare Mark 16. 16. He that believeth, and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. Do but compare, I say, that Scripture-phrase with the Words of Jacob's Sons, which all allow to be con­ditional, Gen. 43. 4, 5. If thou wilt send our brother with us, we will go down; but if thou wilt not send him, we will not go down; and judge whether the one be not as conditional as the other: More par­ticularly,

Argument I.

If we cannot be Justifyed or Saved till we believe, then Faith is the Condi­tion on which those consequent Benefits are suspended.

[Page 66] But we cannot be Justisied or Saved till we believe. Ergo.

The Sequel of the Major is evident; for as was said before, a Condition is the Suspension of a Grant, till something future be done. The Minor is plain in Scripture, Rom. 4. 24. Now it was not written for his sake alone, that righteousness was imputed to him, but for our sakes also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe. [...], Qibus futurum est ut imputetur, to whom it shall come to pass, that it shall be imputed, if we believe: And Acts 10. 43. Whosoever believeth on him, shall receive remission of sins. John 3. 36. He that believeth not, shall not see life, but the wrath of God remaineth on him; with multitudes more. Now, Sir, lay seriously before your Eyes such Scriptures as these, that promise Salvation to Be­lievers, and threaten Damnation to all Unbelievers, as Mark 16. 16. doth, and then give a plain and clear Answer to this Question; either the positive part of that Text promises Salvation abso­lutely to Men, whether they believe, or believe not, and consequently Unbeliev­ers shall be saved as well as Believers: and the negative part threatens Damna­tion [Page 67] absolutely to Sinners, as Sinners; and consequently all Sinners shall be damned, whether they believe, or believe not; or else if you allow neither to be abso­lute, but that none can be saved till they believe, nor any damned when they do believe; is not that a conditional Pro­mise and Threatning?

Argument II.

If Gods Covenant with Abraham, Gen. 12. 2, 3. and that Gen. 17. 2, 3. were (as you say) pure Gospel-Covenants of Grace, and yet in both some things are required as Duties on Abraham's part, to make him partaker of the Benefits of the Promises; then the Covenant of Grace is not absolute, but conditional.

But so it was in both these Cove­nants. Ergo.

The Minor only requires proof, for which let us have recourse to the places, and see whether it be so or not.

(1.) For the first you instance in as a pure Gospel-Covenant made with Abra­ham, Gen. 12. 2, 3.. I must confess, as you dismember the Text, pag. 229. by choosing out the second and third Verses, [Page 68] and leaving out the first, which was the Trial of Abraham's Obedience in for­saking his native Country, and his Fa­thers House; I say, give me but this liberty to separate and dis-joyn one part of a Covenant from the other, and it's easie to make any conditional Covenant in the World to become absolute: For take but the Duty required, from the Promise that is made; and that which was a conditional, presently becomes an absolute Grant. Suppose, Sir, that Abraham had refused to leave his dear native Country and nearest Relati­ons, as many do; think you that the promised mercies had been his? I must plainly tell you, you assume a strange li­berty in this matter, and make a great deal bolder with the Scriptures than you ought; and the very same usage the o­ther Scriptures hath.

(2.) For when you cite your Second Covenant with Abraham, you only cite Gen. 17. 2, 3. and then call it an absolute Gospel Covenant; when indeed you made it so, by leaving out the first Verse, which contains the Condition o [...] Duty required on Abraham's part; fo [...] thus run the three first Verses. An [...] [Page 69] when Abraham was ninety nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abraham, and said unto him, I am the Almighty God, walk thou before me, and be thou perfect, and I will make my Covenant between me and thee, &c. Here an upright Conversation before God is required of him, at God's en­trance into this Covenant with him; but that is, and must be omitted, and cut off, to make the Covenant look ab­solute. I am really grieved to see the Scriptures thus dealt with, to serve a design.

Argument III.

If all the Promises of the Gospel be absolute and unconditional, requiring no Restipulation from Man, then they cannot properly and truly belong to the New Covenant.

But they do properly and truly belong to the New Covenant: Therefore they are not all absolute and unconditional.

The Sequel of the Major is only lia­ble to doubt, or denial, namely, That the Absoluteness of all the Promises of the New Testament cuts off their Re­lation to a Covenant; but that it doth [Page 70] so, no Man can deny, that understands the difference between a Covenant and an absolute Promise. A Covenant is a mutual Compact, or Agreement betwixt Parties, in which they bind each other to the Performance of what they re­spectively promise: So that there can be no proper Covenant, where there is not a Restipulation, or Re-obligation of one part, as well as a Promise on the other. But an absolute Promise binds only one Party, and leaves the other wholly free, and unobliged to any thing in order to the enjoyment of the good promised. So then if all the New Testa­ment Promises be unconditional and ab­solute, they are not part of a Covenant, nor must that Word be applied to them; they are absolute Promises, binding no Man to whom they are made, to any Duty, in order to the enjoyment of the Mercies promised: But those Persons that are under these absolute Promises, must and shall enjoy the Mercies of Par­don and Salvation, whether they re­pent, or repent not; believe, or believe not; obey, or obey not. Now, to what Licentiousness this Doctrine leads Men, is obvious to every Eye. Yet this ab­soluteness [Page 71] of the Covenant (as you im­properly call it) is by you asserted, pag. 229, 230. there is (say you) no condi­tion at all, 'tis wholly free and abso­lute, as the Covenant with Abraham, Gen. 12. 2, 3. Gen. 17. 2, 3. Thank you, Sir, for making them so; for by cutting off the first Verses, where the Duty requi­red on Abraham's part is contained, you make them what God never intend­ed them to be. And the same foul play [...]s in Deut. 30. where you separate the plain condition contained in vers. 1, 2. from the Promise, vers. 6. Or if the Condition, vers. 1, 2. be not plain enough, [...]ut you will make it part of the Pro­ [...]ise, I hope that after in vers. 10. is too [...]lain to be deny'd. As to the other Texts more anon: Mean time see how [...]ou destroy the Nature of a Cove­ [...]ant.

Object. But, say you, pag. 233. To im­ [...]ose new Conditions, though never so [...]ild, is a New Covenant of Works with me Mercy, but not a Covenant of race, properly so called.

Sol. T's true, if those Works or Acts ours, which God requires, be under­ [...]od of meritorious Works in our own [Page 72] Strength and Power to perform, it de­stroys the Free Grace of the Covenant; but this we utterly reject, and speak on­ly of Faith wrought in us by the Spirit of God, which receives all from God, and gives the entire Glory to God, Ephes. 2. 5, 8.

Obj. But you will say, If Faith be the Condition, and that Faith be not of our selves, then both the Promise and the Condition are on Gods part; (if you will call Faith a Condition) and so still on our part the Covenant is absolute.

Sol. This is a mistake, and the mistake in this leads you into all the rest; though Faith (which we call the Condition on our Part [...]e the Gift of God, and the power of Believing be derived from God; yet the act of believing is pro­perly our act, though the power by which we believe be of God; else i [...] would follow when we act any Grace, as Faith, Repentance or Obedience, tha [...] God believes, repents, and obeys in us and it is not we, but God that doth al [...] these. This, I hope, you will not dar [...] to assert: They are truly our Works though wrought in Gods Strength, Is [...] 26. 12. Lord, thou hast wrought all o [...] [Page 73] works in us, (i. e.) Though they be our Works, yet they are wrought in us by thy Grace, or Strength.

As for Dr. Owen, 'tis plain from the place you cite in the Doctrine of Justi­fication, pag. 156. he only excludes Con­ditions as we do, in respect of the dig­nity of the Act, and is more plain in his Treatise of Redemption, pag. 103, 104. in which he allows Conditions in both the Covenants, and makes this the dif­ference, That the Old required them, but the New effects them in all the Fe­derates.

I know no Orthodox Divine in the World that presumes to thrust in any Work of Mans into the Covenant of Grace, as a Condition, which in the Ar­minian Sense he may, or may not per­form, according to the power and plea­sure of his own Free-will, without the preventing or determining Grace of God; which preventing Grace is contain­ed in those Promises, Ezek. 36. 25, 26, 27. &c. Nor yet that there is any meritori­ous Worth, either of Condignity or Congruity in the Popish Sense, in the very justifying Act of Faith, for the which God justifies and saves us. But we say, [Page 74] That though God in the way of prevent­ing Grace works Faith in us, and when it is so wrought, we need his assisting Grace to act it; yet neither this assisting nor preventing Grace makes the act of Faith no more to be our Act: 'Tis we that believe still, tho in Gods Strength, and that upon our believing or not be­lieving, we have, or have not the Bene­fits of Gods Promises; which is the ve­ry proper Notion of a Condition.

Argument IV.

If all the Promises of the New Co­venant be absolute and unconditional, having no respect nor relation to any Grace wrought in us, nor Duty done by us; then the Trial of our Interest in Christ by Marks and Signs of Grace is not our Duty, nor can we take comfort in Sanctification, as an Evidence of Ju­stification.

But it is a Christians Duty to try his Interest in Christ by Marks and Signs, and he may take comfort in Sanctificati­on, as an evidence of Justification. Ergo.

[Page 75] The Sequel of the Major is undeniably clear, for that can never be a Sign or Evidence of an Interest in Christ, which that Interest may be without; yea, and as Dr. Crispe asserts, according to his Antinomian Principles, Christ is ours (saith he) before we Dr. Crispe 2d Vol. of Christ exalted. Serm. 14. have gracious Qualifications. Every true Mark and Sign must be inseparable from that it signifies. Now, if the works of the Spirit in us be not so, but an Interest in Christ may be where these are not; then they are no proper Marks or Signs; and if they are not, it cannot be our Duty to make use of them as such; and conse­quently if we should, they can yield us no Comfort.

The Minor is plain in Scripture, 1 John 2. 3. Hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his Commandments. The meaning is, we perceive and dis­cern our selves to be sincere Believers, and consequently that Christ is our Pro­pitiation; when Obedience to his Com­mands is become habitual and easie to us. So 1 John 3. 19. Hereby we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before him, (i. e.) by our sincere cordial [Page 76] love to Christ and his Members, as v. 18. this shall demonstrate to us, that we are the Children of Truth; and again, 1 John 3. 14. We know that we are passed from death to life; because we love the Bre­thren. With Multitudes more to the same purpose, which plainly teach Chri­stians to fetch the Evidences of their Justification out of their Sanctification, and to prove their Interest in Christ, by the works of his Spirit found in their own Hearts.

And this is not only a Christians Li­berty, but his commanded duty; to bring his Interest in Christ to this Touch-stone and Test, 2 Cor. 13. 5. Examine your selves, prove your selves, &c. 2 Pet. 1. 10. Give all diligence to make your calling and election sure, (i. e.) your Election by your calling. No Man can make his Election sure a priori, nor can any Man make it surer than it is in se, therefore it is only capable of being made sure to us a poste­riori, arguing from the work of Sancti­fication in us, to God's eternal choice of us.

And as the Saints in all Ages have taken this course, so they have taken great and lawful Comfort in the use of [Page 77] these Marks and Signs of Grace, 2 Kings 20. 3. 2 Cor. 1. 12.

I am sensible how vehemently the Anti­nomian Party, Dr. Crispe, Mr. Eyre and some others do oppugn this truth, re­presenting it as legal and impracticable (for they are for the absolute and un­conditional Nature of the new Covenant as well as you) but by your espousing their Principle, you have even run Ana­baptism into Antinomianism, and must by this Principle of yours, renounce all Marks and Tryals of an Interest in Christ, by any work of the Spirit wrought in us. You must only stick to the imme­diate Sealings of the Spirit, which if such a thing be at all, it is but rare and ex­traordinary.

I will not deny but there may be an immediate Testimony of the Spirit, but sure I am his mediate Testimony by his Graces in us, is his usual way of seal­ing Believers. We do not affirm any of these his works to be meritorious causes of our Justification, or that con­sidered abstractedly from the Spirit, they can of themselves Seal or evidence our Interest in Christ. Neither do we affirm, that any of them are compleat [Page 78] and perfect Works; but this we say, that they being true and sincere, though imperfect Graces, they are our usual and standing Evidences to make out our Interest in Christ by. And I hope you and the whole Antinomian Party will find it hard, yea, and impossible, to remove the Saints from that comfortable and scriptural way of examining their In­terest in Christ, by the Graces of his Spirit in them; as the Saints who are gone to Heaven before them, have done in all Generations.

Argument V.

If the Covenant of Grace be altoge­ther Absolute and Unconditional, re­quiring nothing to be done on our part, to entitle us to its Benefits; then it can­not be Man's Duty in entring Covenant with God, to deliberate the Terms, count the Cost, or give his consent by word or writing, explicitly to the Terms of this Covenant.

But it is Man's Duty, in entring Co­venant with God, to deliberate the Terms, and count the Cost, Luke 14. 26. to 34. and explicitly to give his [Page 79] consent thereto, either by Word or Writing, Ergo,

The Sequel of the Major is self-evi­dent; for where there are no terms or Conditions required on our part, there can be none to deliberate or give our consent to; and so a Man may be in Co­venant without his own consent.

The Minor is undeniable in the Text cited. If you say these are Duties but not Conditions; I reply, they are such Duties, without the performance of which, we can have no Benefit by Christ and the new Covenant, Luke 14. 33. and such Duties have the true suspending nature of Conditions in them. If you say they are only subsequent Duties, but not antecedent or concomitant Acts; the 28th Verse directly opposes you, Let him first sit down and count the cost: And for those overt acts whereby we expli­citly declare our consent to the terms of the Covenant, at our first entring into the Bond of it, I hope you will not say that's a legal Covenant too, Isa. 44. 3, 4. I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and flouds upon the dry ground; I will pour my spirit upon thy Seed, and my Blessing upon thine Off-spring, and they shall spring [Page 80] up as among the grass, as willows by the water-courses. One shall say I am the Lords, and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the Lord, &c. A plain allusion to Souldiers, when they List themselves under a Captain or General. What re­mains now, to reply to these Arguments? but either that the places by me cited and argued upon, do not intend the new Covenant under which we are, or that this new Covenant hath its Conditions, and is not altogether Absolute, as you have asserted it to be.

And thus Sir, you are fairly beaten off (if I mistake not) from the new Ground you had chosen and marked out to raise your Battery upon, to demolish that strong Fort which secures the Right of Believers Infants to Baptism, and you must return again to the old answers of Mr. Tombes and others, to our solid and substantial Arguments from Abraham's Covenant, Gen. 17. which have been bassled over and over by Baxter, Blake, Sydenham, and many other stout Cham­pions for Infants Baptism.

[Page 81] All that I am further concerned about, is to examine so many of those Scriptures as you have spoken to, which are by us produced in defence of those four Grounds or Principles mentioned in the beginning of this Discourse, whereon we establish the Right of Infants Baptism; and to vindicate those Scriptures from your strained and injurious Interpreta­tions of them. Which being done, they will each of them stand in those emi­nent places of Service, where they have been so long useful to the Cause we de­fend.

As for your pretended Solutions of the incomparable Mr. Baxter's, and the learned and acute Dr. Burthogg's Argu­ments; I admire at your Confidence therein; and let me tell you, without breach of Charity, 'tis an high piece of Confidence in you, to throw the Gantlet and bid Defiance to two such Worthies yet alive, and easily able to detect your Folly in the Weakness and Impertinency of your Answers. Alas! my Friend, you little know what it is to have such weak and inartificial Discourses as yours, brought under the strict Examen of such acute and judicious Eyes. But

[Page 82]
——Sic Dama leonem
Insequitur, audet (que) viro concurrere Virgo.

Nor will I presume to anticipate either of their Answers to your Discourse, (if they shall think it worthy of an Answer) but rather briefly reflect upon what you return to the Arguments of those emi­nent Divines that are gone to Glory, in the Faith of that Truth you oppose; and are not capable of defending their solid and regular Interpretations of Scriptures, against the Notions you force upon them, contrary both to the Grammar and Scope of several of them.

And here Sir, in the beginning, let me mind you what a learned and judicious Person saith, about all Interpretations of Scriptures. Four things (saith he) commend an Interpretation, and establish it as a King upon the Throne, against whom there is no rising up.

  • (1.) If the Letter and Grammar of the Text will fairly bear it.
  • (2.) If the Scope and Argument of the place will close directly with it.
  • [Page 83] (3.) If the Interpretation set up a­gainst it, cannot stand before both, or either of the former.
  • (4.) If the Judgment of learned, wise and impartial Men, be found gene­rally agreeable to it.

According to these Rules (whereat you can have no just Exception) I shall briefly, yet I hope clearly and sufficiently, answer some of the Replies you make to the Arguments of those deceased Wor­thies: And

(1.) In Page 1. you produce Mr. William Allen's Argument ad hominem against your Practice. He tells you your own Principle condemns you, for you reject the Baptizing of Infants; because there is no Example in the New Testament for it; and yet baptize Persons at Age, whose Parents were Christi­ans, which is as much without a Gospel-pre­sident or example as the former. The Sum of your Reply is, That though it should be granted, that there is no express example for the Baptizing of such in Scripture, yet there are Examples enough concerning the Baptism of Believers.

[Page 84] Reply. Here you grant all that Mr. Allen objects, viz. That you are altogether with­out Example or President for your Pra­ctice; And object to him and us what neither he nor we ever scrupled or de­nied, viz. The Baptizing of some adult Persons upon the personal Profession of their Faith. I have done it my self, and in like Circumstances am ready to do it again. Once you clearly yield it, that you have no President nor Example for your Practice in the Gospel. That's all that he seeks, and what he seeks you plainly grant. As to the Precept and Examples of Baptizing adult Believers, whose Parents were Unbelievers, and themselves never baptized in Infancy; that's not the Point you are now to speak to: Nor have we any Controversie about it. Certainly you are none of the fittest Persons in the World, to clamour so loudly against us for want of express Presidents for Infant Baptism, whilst your self confesses you want even one Presi­dent in the New Testament to legitimate your own Practice; and in the mean time are found in the sinful neglect of a sweet and heavenly Gospel-Ordinance, viz. the singing of Psalms, for which [Page 85] you have both Precept and President in the Gospel, Col. 3. 16. James 5. 13. 1 Cor. 14. 26.

(2.) It is objected against you, Page 2. That if the Commission Matt. 28. ex­cludes none from Baptism, but such as are to be excluded by the order therein to be observed, and if Baptizing and Teaching are to precede or follow one the other, as there named by Christ, then these two Con­clusions will follow. (1.) That Infants are not there excluded from Baptism. (2.) That a Person may be baptized before he be taught; for there we have First [...]. Disciple all Nations, make them Disciples or Christians. Secondly, We have [...], which literally to translate is Baptizing-teaching. Now then Discipling being a general word, that contains in it the two others that follow, viz. Baptizing and Teaching; and being the Imperative Mood, whereas the other two are Participles; it is manifest, that the whole Command or Commission is given in that, and the mode of Execution in these; and if the mode of executing that gene­ral Commission be expressed in these, where Baptizing is first, and teaching comes after; what is become of the order [Page 86] the Antipoedobaptists have so long talk'd of?

The Summ of your Answer is, That if Baptizing be first, and teaching comes after; then it will follow, that the Apostles understood not their Commission aright, for they first preached, and then baptized them that by their preaching believed, Acts 8. Acts 10. Acts 2. with many other places you heap up to the same purpose, and therefore Infants must be excluded by that Commission, because uncapable of being taught. And therefore let us criticize as we please, upon Imperative Moods and Participles, the case is clear, Teaching must go before Bap­tizing.

Reply. It had been more modest to suspect, that you understood not the Text aright, than that the Apostles un­derstood not their Commission aright. The order of the words (as this well fortified Objection declares, and you can­not deny) puts Teaching after Baptizing; and though we should allow you that they discipled adult Persons by teaching, and taught others Baptized in Infancy, after their Baptizing them; in both they followed their order and commission in Discipling the Parents by Preaching, and [Page 87] teaching their Children Baptized by ver­tue of the promise to them, after their Baptism: For he declares, Acts 2. the Promise is to them, and to their Chil­dren, which gives a right of both unto Baptism; and so teaching, according to the order of this Commission, may be an antecedent Duty to the Parent, and a subsequent Duty to him and his baptized Children: For if [...] includes Teaching before Baptizing, why should not [...], which is put after Bapti­zing, respect the subsequent Duty of teaching both the one and other?

(3.) Mr. Allen's next Argument, men­tioned by you, pag. 5. is taken from Matth. 19. 14. Suffer little Children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. Whence he ar­gues against your Objection of the In­capacity of Infants for Baptism, That if they are capable of Interest or Member­ship in the Kingdom of Heaven, or Church, they are equally capable of the Sign or Cognizance, which is Baptism.

To this you reply three things: (1.) That it remains to be prov'd, that these lit­tle Children were Infants, and not grown Boys or Girls, capable of making an actual [Page 88] profession of their Faith in Christ. (2.) 'Tis doubtful whether they were for present in the Kingdom of God, or were only elected, and so in time should be of his Kingdom. And (3.) Whatever they were, they were brought unto Christ, who himself baptized not; not to his Disciples, who did baptize.

Reply. Your first Exception is vain and groundless; that they were very young and little ones, appears not only by Christs taking them in his Arms, but from the very Notation of the Word [...], a Diminutive Word, signifying a little Child or Infant. So John was call'd when New-born, Luke 1. 76. and Christ when he lay in the Manger, and Moses when among the Flaggs. And if this be not enough, St. Luke gives them another Name, Luke 18. 15. [...], Infants, a word given to a Child in the Womb, Luke 1. 41. And for what you object out of Piscator, that the same word is us'd of Timothy, who knew the Scriptures from a Child; 'Tis an evident mistake, or shift, for the word is [...], He knew them not being an In­fant, but from his Childhood or Infan­cy; that is, when he had past his Infant State, in which State th [...]se were that [Page 89] were brought unto Christ. And (2.) Whereas you question their present Right in the Kingdom of God, or whether it were not future by vertue of their Ele­ction? The Text will not allow your Interpretation, [...], of such is, not [...], shall be the Kingdom of God. Their present Church-mem­bership asserted by Christ, is also a known Rule to regulate for the future, the Disciples Carriage towards them, which was too severe, harsh, and there­fore highly displeasing to Christ; but by telling them they were Members of the Church, or Kingdom of Heaven (they being very probably the Infants of be­lieving Parents, as their bringing them unto Christ with such affection, through the Frowns and Repulses of the Disci­ples, shews) he gives them a known and plain Rule how to distinguish Infants, and regulate their Carriage towards them, which God's Election can never be, that being an unrevealed Secret. And (3.) Whereas you say Christ did not Baptize them. I reply, We never ur­ged this Scripture to prove he did so, but only to prove their Chruch-membership; which methinks Christ asserts as plainly [Page 90] as words can assert it, when he saith, Of such is the Kingdom of Heaven; and tho you use to quibble at the word [...], of such, as though it respected not the pre­sent Infants, but grown Persons, resem­bling them in humble and innocent qua­lities; Mr. Sydenham hath sufficiently baffled that Interpretation, by shewing its inconsistence with the Scope and Ar­gument of the place, and how ridiculous this Sense would be, when reduced to a formal Argument.

(4.) The fourth Argument you pre­tend to answer, pag. 8. is drawn from 1 Cor. 7. 14. Else were your Children un­clean, but now are they holy. To this you answer two things. (1.) That the Holi­ness here spoken of, is not a Federal, but a Matrimonial Holiness, namely, Legiti­macy, and is as much as to say, your Children are no Bastards, seeing one of you is a Believer.

Reply. If this be true, and the genuine Sense of this Text, then all the Children in the World, not immediately descen­ded from one or both believing Parents, must of necessity be all Bastards, and their Parents, how solemnly soever mar­ried, [Page 91] must live in uncleanness; and what mad Work (think you) will this Assertion make in the World? And how many Millions of Persons will it nearly touch, both in point of Honour, and Inheri­tance?

(2.) You say, Though the Holiness here spoken of should be allow'd to be a Federal or Covenant Holiness, yet for want of an express Institution, it will not warrant our Practice.

Reply. The Holiness of the Children being granted to be a Covenant Holiness, none can deny them to be within the Covenant; how else come they to be holy by Covenant? and if within the Covenant, who can deny them the Ini­tiating Sign, which is Baptism? Or how shall they ordinarily be visibly admitted into the Visible Church without it? The Connection betwixt their Federal Holi­ness and right to Baptism, will appear plain enough from Acts 2. 38. which you come next to speak to.

(5.) You attempt to answer Mr. Allen's argument from Acts 2. 38. Be baptized, or the promise is unto you, and to your Chil­ [...]ren, and unto all that are afar off, even [...]s many as the Lord our God shall call.

[Page 92] On this Text you know we lay very great stress, for the Proof of Infants Baptism; and it deserves a remarque, that you wholly Suppress our Arguments drawn from that Text, but however re­turn an Answer to them all, such as it is. You first tell us, The Promise here spoken of, is not a promise of any external privi­ledges, but the promise of the Gospel, or the Grace of God in Christ Jesus.

Secondly, That the Promise was not to their Children as Believers Seed, nor to them, or any other uncall'd by the Lord, but only a promise of remission of Sins, and re­ceiving the Holy Ghost, upon their actual Repentance, which Infants cannot perform, and therefore cannot here be intended. This is the true and whole Sense of your Answer.

Reply. Now because you have wholly omitted our Argument from this Text, (for which doubtless there was some reason) I think my self oblig'd to let the World know how we expound it, and what we duly infer from that Exposition of it: And then let the Reader judge, whether by the forementioned Rules of a just Interpretation, you or we are in the right.

[Page 93] (1.) We observe this famous Text to contain the first Argument used by the Apostle, after Christs Ascension, to per­swade the Jews to embrace Christianity, by repenting, and submitting themselves to Baptism, the initiating Sign of it; and therefore here we justly expect much Light about this controverted Point; nor doth the Apostle in this Text de­ceive our expectation.

(2.) We take it for granted, that the direct and proper Scope of this place, is to perswade the Jews (to whom St. Peter preach'd) to repent and be baptized. This you allow, when you say, pag. 10. He uses it as a Motive why they and theirs should actually repent and be baptized. In these two then there is no Controversie.

(3.) We take it for certain, that the Promise here referr'd to by Peter is that gracious Promise, Gen. 17. 7. I will be a God to thee and thy Seed; the adjoyn­ing of their Children to them (saith Cal­vin (and with him runs the general current of Expositors) depends on the Words of that Promise, Gen. 17. 7. If you be not satisfied with this, but rather will refer it to Joel 2. 28. you are then oblig'd to answer Mr. Sydenham's Argu­ments [Page 94] a fortiori, from that reference. But you make no Exception at all to this Accomodation of it: And then the Sense must be this, The Promise shall run as before, to you and to your Chil­dren.

(4.) We say, that except it had had relation to the Covenant with Abraham, there had been no occasion or reason at all here to have mentioned Children, as well as Parents; The promise is to you, and to your Children: It had been enough, if he had only intended the believing Pa­rents, exclusive of their Infant Seed, to have said, The Promise is made to as many as the Lord our God shall call. What reason or occasion was there to bring in their Children at all?

(5.) We find here the Children both of believing Jews and Gentiles mention­ed in the Promise, accompanying the Precept of Baptism, and the Precept to them built upon the Promise, as that which gave them their Title to Baptism, [...], for the Promise is to you and to your Children. In the same Line that he mentions Baptism, he also mentions the Promise, upon which their Right is founded; and in the same [Page 95] Breath with which he mentions their Children, he also mentions the Promise; which he would never have done, had his design been to have excluded their Chil­dren from both, or either of them; especially seeing their Children had been so long in the possession of both. These things are obvious, natural, and every way agreeable both to the Grammar and Scope of the Text; whence we argue

Arg. If the Promise be the same to Believers under the Gospel, that ever it was to Abraham, and his natural Seed, then the Children of Believers by ver­tue thereof, have as good a Title to Baptism, as Abraham's Children had to Circumcision.

But the Promise is the same, Ergo, &c.

Next, let us consider your Answers.

(1.) You say, The Promise here spoken of is not a Promise of any external Privi­ledges, but the Promise of the Gospel.

Reply. Your Distinction is vain and groundless, for it opposeth Promises that contain external Priviledges, to Gospel Promises, contrary to 1 Tim. 4. 8. Godliness hath promise of the Life that now is, and of that which is to come. Secondly, [Page 96] Circumcision then, and Baptism now, which have both their Foundation in that Promise, contain Priviledges in them of both sorts. This no Man can deny, but he that thinks it no Priviledg to be admitted into the Vi­sible Church by the external initiating Sign, and to be thereby distinguished from the Pagan World. You have no Warrant therefore to divide those things which God hath united.

(2.) You say the Promise was not to them as Believers Seed, nor to any uncalled by the Lord.

Reply. Your meaning is, that these Words [as many as the Lord shall call] are a Limitation of the Promise to them only, whether Parents or Children, that are actually called; let this your In­terpretation be compared with, and ex­amin'd by the Scope of the Text, which you confessed before to be a Mo­tive to perswade them and theirs to Repentance and Baptism, and see if it can stand before it, as ours doth: For if this be the meaning, then the Apo­stle's Argument must run thus: I ex­hort you, convinced Jews, to Repen­tance and Christian Baptism; for [Page 97] whereas you and your Children have hitherto been an holy Seed, and the Pro­mise formerly was to them as well as you; but now the case is alter'd; if you your selves repent and be baptiz'd, you shall have the benefit of the Promise; but as for your Children, they shall be in the self-same case and state with the Chil­dren of Pagans and Infidels: Indeed, if any of your Children shall hereafter be­lieve, they shall have benefit by the Pro­mise, but no more than the Childen of Pagans and Infidels, which upon Repen­tance shall be equal with them. Repent ye therefore, and be baptized, for the pro­mise is unto you, and to your Children. This, and no other, must the Apostles Motive be, according to your Interpretation and Limitation of his Words.

We make the Motive or Argument to run thus: God hath now remembred his Covenant to Abraham, in sending that blessed Seed, in whom he promised to be the God of him and his Seed; yea, and of all believing Gentiles, as well as Jews and their Children: Don't you therefore by your Unbelief deprive both your selves, and your dear Children, of the mercies and priviledges of so great a [Page 98] Promise? Repent therefore, and be baptized, for the Promise is unto you, and to your Children, &c. Let the im­partial Reader judge both, and the ac­knowledged Scope of the place determine the matter: And as it cannot stand with the scope of the place, so neither (as Mr. Sydenham hath plainly evin'd) with the Grammar Infant-Baptism, pag. 45, 45. of the Text, nor Rules of Logick, by which (according to your Exposition) the Word [Children] must be redundant and superfluous, as being neither comprehended under Jews or Gentiles, those that are near, or far off; into which two Classes or Ranks the Text distributes the whole World, but must stand out of the Text, as a Party by themselves; though expresly men­tioned in it, as those to whom the Pro­mise belongs. But enough of this.

(6.) Having vindicated Acts 2. 38, 39. which confirms our Fourth Assertion, viz. The Identity of the Promise the Jews were, and we are under: We pro­ceed next to vindicate 2 Col. 8. 9, 10, 11, 12. whereby we prove the Succession of Baptism to Circumcision, and vindicate it from that Foreign Sense you force upon [Page 99] it, to the great Injury of the Text, as well as of our Infants, whom you ex­clude from any concernment therein.

Without any representation at all of the grounds on which we proceed, to prove the Succession of this Ordinance to that, you as rashly as confidently call it a groundless Inference; which, whether it be or no, let the Impartial judge, when they shall see the grounds on which we build that Assertion.

(1.) 'Tis out of Controversie, that the Scope of this place is to take off the Colossians from Circumcision, and other Jewish Rites and Ceremonies, which the False Teachers at that time earnestly en­deavoured to reduce them to, as appears vers. 4. to be his plain design, And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words; and he saith it with great concernment of mind, as appears vers. 1.

(2.) 'Tis as plain that the Argument by which he establishes them in the truth of the Gospel, and secures them against the danger of returning to those Jewish Rites, especially Circumcision, is drawn from their Compleatness in Christ without it, vers. 9. & 10. and that whatsoever they had under Circumcision, they now [Page 100] enjoy in as compleat and full a measure and manner, as ever Abraham and his Seed did. And ye are compleat in him, i. e. in Christ.

(3.) To evince this he instanceth in the very case then under Debate, viz. Circumcision, vers. 11, 12. And first di­stinguishing of a two-fold Circumcision, one made with, and the other without Hands, which he calls the Circumcision of Christ: He tells them, as to both of these, namely, Inward Circumcision of the Heart, and the external Sign thereof too, both are fully answered in Baptism, in whom also ye are circumcised with the Cir­cumcision made without hands in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh, by the circumcision of Christ, buried with him in Baptism, ver. 11, 12. that is, look as before inward Circum­cision of the Heart was signified by out­ward Circumcision of the Flesh, as the proper, direct and appointed Sign of it: So now, the same inward Circumcision or Regeneration of the Soul, is as really and fully signif [...]ed to you by the new Gospel Sign of it, which is Baptism: And therefore you are as compleat, in respect both of outward and inward Priviledges now, as ever Abraham and [Page 101] his Seed were. Do but convert the Pro­position, and suppose the Apostle's Design had been to take them off from Baptism, and bring them back to Circumcision, and in order to it had said, In whom ye are also baptized with the Baptism of Christ, being circumcised with him: Would not the Substitution of Circum­cision in the place of Baptism have been clear? And why is not this as clear as that would have been?

(4.) We further say, That except he had intended in these Words to have placed Baptism as an external Ordinance, in place and stead of outward Circum­cision, he could never have pitch'd upon a worse Instance than that of Circumci­sion, which was so much valued by them: Yea, from the very instance he brings, he had put a strong Objection into their Months against his Assertion, vers. 10. That we are every way as compleat without it, as the Jews were with it; for then their Children enjoyed an Ordinance of great value, which ours are deprived of, having none under the Gospel in lieu of it. Hence we argue,

[Page 102] Argument. If the Ordinance of Bap­tism now be appointed to answer the same ends that Circumcision did to the Jews, and to make us every way as com­pleat in Priviledges, as Circumcision did them, then it comes in the place and room of it; and our Children have the same right to this, as theirs had to that.

But the Antecedent is plain from the Scope and Argument of the Apostle in this Text and Context.

Ergo, So is the Consequent.

The Sum of your Answer is, (1.) That Circumcision in the Flesh is neither express'd, nor meant here, but that of Christ in his own Person. (2.) That if Baptism had been intended to have come in the place of Circumcision, then it would follow that Fe­males must be excluded from Baptism.

Reply. Your first Answer is manifest­ly false; for if the Apostle distinguishes of a two-fold Circumcision, one made with Hands, the other made without Hands, then 'tis manifest he means Cir­cumcision in the Flesh, which is now abolished, and all its ends and uses an­swer'd in Gospel-Baptism. And where­as you say, the Circumcision here spoken [Page 103] of, is no other but the Circumcision of Christ in his own Person; I would gladly know how the Colossians are said to be circumcised in Christs personal Circum­cision only? And whether the Baptism here spoken of, wherewith they are said to be buried with him, be not meant of Christs personal Baptism too? and con­sequently there is no need of the out­ward Ordinance to pass upon them or us; but especially 'tis worth while for you to explain the Reason why he calls the Co­lossians Circumcision a Circumcision of Christ made without hands, if he only intends Christs personal Circumcision; when we all know that Christs personal Circumcision was a Circumcision made with Hands; and could not possibly be such a Circumcisiou as theirs was, consist­ing in the putting off of the Body of the Sins of the Flesh, or Mortification of their Corruptions. Christ had no Sin by Propagation to put off or mortifie in his own Person.

(2.) Your Second Answer is no less absurd, That if Baptism, according to our Argument, succeeds in the place of Cir­cumcision, then Females must be excluded from Baptism. You had as good have [Page 104] said, That the enlargement of the Pri­viledg under the Gospel, is no good Medium to prove we are as compleat now under Baptism, as they were under Circumcision: Cannot Baptism stand in the place of Circumcision, because it an­swers all its ends, with an advantage? This to me is a very strange Answer; however it must stand in the place of a better, rather than Baptism shall stand in place of Circumcision.

Obj. But if Baptism succeed in the room of Circumcision, and there be such an Analogy betwixt them as you pre­tend, then it will follow, that you are oblig'd to Baptise your Children the Eighth Day, as they Circumcised theirs.

Sol. The Objection is frivolous and vain; no Man that I know doubts but the Lords Supper succeeds in the room and place of the Passover. Christ was the substance of that as well as this, and that was abrogated by his Institution of this, the very same Night, as soon as he and his Disciples had celebrated the one, the other was instituted, and immediately succeeded it; and yet Chri­stians are not oblig'd to the same Month, Day, or Hour for the Celebration of the [Page 105] Lords Supper: the Analogy is betwixt the substantial parts of both, amongst which the Spiritual Mystery, Principal Ends, and proper Subjects are of principal Con­sideration; not the minuter Circum­stances of time and place. In the Pass­over and the Lords Supper there is a Correspondence betwixt the proper Sub­jects of both: No uncircumcised Person, or Stranger to the Covenant might eat of that, Exod. 12. 43, 48. No unbe­lieving Person, uncircumcised in Heart, hath a right to this, 1 Cor. 11. 27, 28. So in the other, The Infants of God's Covenanted People were the proper Sub­jects of Circumcision then, and so they are (say we) of Baptism now; for the same Promise is still to Believers and their Children, Acts 2. 38, 39. Here lies the Analogy, and not in the variable circumstances of time.

Whereas you say, pag. 12. Baptism cannot succeed Circumcision, because it leaves no Character or Mark upon the Body, as that did. This very Objecti­on of yours is borrowed in express Words from Socinus, that Enemy of Christ, in Disp. de Bap. pag. 113. and ful­ly answered by Maccovius, Loc. Com. pag. 830, 831.

[Page 106] Object. But it will be further said, that according to our Opinion there can be no Analogy or Correspondency betwixt the very Subjects of both Ordinances; for Infants at eight days Old were the proper Subjects of Circumcision, but the Subjects of Baptism were adult believers, from the time of it's first in­stitution. And so the Analogy fails in the very Subjects.

Sol. This Objection is grounded upon a great Mistake, 'tis your Opinion not ours that destroys it. For with us it lyes fairly in these three respects of it (1.) We find that at the first institution of Circumcision, Abraham the Father, at Ninety Years old, and all the Men of his House, were first Circumcised, Gen. 17. 25, 26, 27. Answerably, at the first in­stitution of Baptism, Parents, Masters of Families, &c. being adult believers, were first Baptized. (2.) After the Cir­cumcision of Abraham and the Men of his House their Infant Seed were also Cir­cumcised, the promise belonging to them, as well as their Parents. Answerably under the Gospel the whole Families of believers were Baptized, and the promise runs to their Infants under the Gospel as [Page 107] it did before, Acts 2. 39. (3.) As in the days of Circumcision, if any stranger that had not been Cicumcised in his In­fancy, should afterwards become a Prose­lyte, and joyn himself to the Lord, he was to be Circumcised, of what ever Age he was: So now, if any Infidel shall be con­verted, he is to be Baptized upon his Per­sonal Profession of Faith. And so much for the Analogy. As for your Correspondency of Identity I cannot understand it.

I meet with little more in your first Part, werein I have any concernment; only there I find four Arguments in Mood and Figure against the Innovation of Symbolical Rites by Humane Authority, into the Worship of God; which is cer­tainly the best Page in your Book. And of them I have nothing to say, but that they are good Ware, and I very well know the Mark and Number of that Parcel of Goods, and to whom they properly belong.

But yet before I dismiss your Book I think my self concern'd to Vindicate one place of Scripture more, viz. Rom. 11. 16, 17. Which I alledg'd in the beginning, for the confirmation of our first Proposi­tion, viz. That Gods Covenant with Abra­ham, [Page 108] Gen. 17. is the same Covenant for Substance we Gentile Believers are now under. If the first Fruits be holy, the lump is also holy. And if the root be holy, so are the bran­ches; and if some of the branches be broken off, and thou being a wild Olive were'st graf­ted in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the Olive Tree: boast not against the branches, &c. This place is deservedly of great value with us, to prove that we Gentile Believers, with our Infant Seed, are invested un­der the Gospel with the same Substan­tial Priviledges that the Jews and their Infants formerly enjoy'd. Here without opening one term, you proceed in your wonted manner, confidently to deny the Arguments of our Learned Divines from this place. I shall therefore open this Fa­mous Text, and regularly deduce the right of Gentile believers Infants to Baptism from it; and here, keeping to the rules above,

(1) I note that ver. 13, 14, 15. give us the true level and scope of the Apostles Argument, which is to prove the calling in again of the Jews, though for the pre­sent broken off; and on this ground to excite himself to all diligence for their [Page 109] conversion, and suppress all glorying and boasting in the Gentile Believers, as if they were more worthy than those, be­cause they fill their Rooms and places.

(2) To prove the calling again of the Jews he argues strongly, ver. 16. from the Federal Holiness derived to the branches from their root or Ancestours, namely, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, with whom the Covenant was made, Gen. 17. For if the first fruit be holy, the lump is also holy. And if the root be holy, so are the branches, (i. e.) Abraeham, Isaac and Jacob being in Covenant with God. A Federal Holiness is from them derived to the branches. And this can be no other than a Federal Holiness, because those their Ancestours were utterly uncapable to transmit any inherent Holiness to them; That being the Incommunicable Prerogative of God. This Federal Ho­liness lying still in the root, (the Co­venant with Abraham) will recover the branches again to Life, though at pre­sent many of them be broken off, as Job speaks in another case, Job. 14. 7, 8, 9. There is hope of a Tree though it be cut down, that it will Sprout again; and that the tender branch thereof will not cease [Page 110] though the root thereof wax old in the Earth, and the Stock thereof dye in the ground; yet through the scent of water it will bud, and bring forth boughs like a plant.

(3) We affirm by the Authority of this Text, that all the Jewish Nation was not broken off, but only a part of it: So the 17th. ver. plainly declares; And if some of the branches be broken off, &c. Not all, but some. For many of them were converted to Christ. We read of Three Thousand at one Sermon, Acts 2. And multitudes more at other times; all these converted Jews stood in the Apostles time, as branches in the true Olive, still enjoying all their priviledg­es: And that which brake off them that were broken off, was nothing else but their own unbelief, ver. 20. Well then, because of unbelief they were broken off. For at the promulgation of the Gospel, a new Article was added to their Creed; namely, that this same Jesus whom they had crucifyed, is the promised and true Messiah. This some believed, and so stood by Faith, still enjoying all their ancient priviledges of the Covenant: others believed not, and their unbelief broke them off.

[Page 111] (4.) We find in this place two sorts of Branches growing upon this Root Abraham; some natural Branches, name­ly Jews by Nature, embracing Christ by Faith; others wild and foreign Branches, viz. Gentiles by Nature, but ingrafted by Faith, and by their Ingrafture growing among the natural Branches, and with them partaking of the Root and Fat­ness of the Olive-tree, vers. 17. that is, the rich Priviledges of the Covenant, and Promise to Abraham, Gen. 17. I will be a God to thee, and to thy Seed. This is the sweet Juice or Fatness of the Olive-tree, which both sorts of Branches live upon, vers. 17. some on the external, others on the internal, some on both.

(5.) These naturally wild, but now engrafted Branches, viz. the Believing Gentiles, being grafted by Faith amongst the natural Branches, and with them sucking the Fatness of the same Root and Olive, that is to say, the Priviledges, Ordinances and Franchises of the Church; we cannot but judge it to be a natural, clear and necessary Consequent, that the same Priviledges the natural Branches once had, and the remaining Branches, amongst whom the Gentile Believers were [Page 112] ingrafted, then had; the very same the Gentile Believers and their Children do now enjoy, by vertue of their Interest in the same Root; else we cannot un­derstand how we should be said to par­take with them of the root and fatness of the Olive: Certainly the Sap is the same, which the Root sends into all the Branches, whether they be natural, or ingrafted ones; and is as plentifully communicated to the ingrafted, as to the natural Branches: For the watering of this Olive with the more rich and plenti­ful Grace of the Gospel, must make the Olive-tree as s [...]t and flourishing as e [...]r it was to supply all its Branches, and [...]ore than ever before.

Seeing then we Gentiles have (1.) The same grafting into the true Olive. And (2.) That our present grafting in, is an­swerable to their present casting out. And (3.) That their re-ingrafting in the end of the World, shall be the same for substance that ours now is, and their own first was: For when they were first taken in, they and their Children were taken in together; when they were bro­ken off, they and their Children were broken off together; and when they [Page 113] shall be taken in again, they and their Children shall be taken in again. And (4.) Seeing all these their expected mer­cies are secured to them by the Cove­nant with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, which will extend again to them, when their Unbelief shall be taken away: Me­thinks (as was said before) nothing can be clearer than this Conclusion, That we Gentile Believers are now invested with the same Priviledges they once enjoy'd, and our Children have the same Federal Holiness, or relation to the Covenant theirs had, by be­ing grafted amongst them, and living on the same Sap they did, and that by the [...]ame Promise, Acts 2. 39.

But you will say, There's no mention [...]ere made of the grafting in of our Children with us. We reply, Neither [...]s there any mention here made of the [...]reaking off of their Children with them, [...]hich yet was so. Nor was there need [...] say it, seeing both their Infants and [...]urs, are comprehended in the Parents, as [...]wigs are comprehended in the Branch, [...] Buds in the Graft; and the one be­ [...]g holy, so is the other: And this Fede­ [...]l Holiness of the Children is not only [...]entioned in this Chapter, vers. 16. but [Page 114] also in 1 Cor. 7. 14. Now are your Chi [...] dren holy. And the very same Promis [...] which conveigh'd the Fatness of th [...] Olive to Abraham's natural Seed, man [...] festly extends it self to the Gentile Be [...] lievers Seed, Acts 2. 38, 39. And [...] Men will not shut their Eyes, and stud [...] Evasions, what can be plainer fro [...] Scripture in this Explication and Appli­cation of this place! We have with [...] the Consent of the generality of Orth [...] dox Expositors; the Sense it self is g [...] nuine, easie, and unconstrained; agre [...] able with the Letter and Scope of t [...] Text; whether the Sense you set [...] against it be as probable as this, [...] come next to examine. And truly, Si [...] your Answer is as ambiguous as a D [...] phic Oracle: For (1.) You tell us, pag. [...] That the ingrafting spoken of in this place, into the invisible Church by election. We s [...] it is into the visible Church by Profess [...] of Faith; for we know not how to [...] derstand any breaking off from the i [...] visible Church, nor falling from Elec [...] on: But 'tis like you better consider [...] the Consequents of that Opinion dra [...] upon you by Mr. Sydenham in his 85 [...] Page, and therefore nauseating th [...] [Page 115] Dregs of Arminianism, you speak more Orthodoxly to the Point, pag. 27, where you honestly acknowledge, That the Church of the Jews and Gentiles, as to the true Essence and inward Substance of either, is one and the same; in which respect the believing Gentiles (according to the Apostles Metaphor) are here said to be grafted in amongst them, and with them to be made Partakers of the Root and Fatness of the Olive-tree; and in reference hereunto it's rightly added by the Apostle, that the gifts and callings of God are without repen­tance. The inward Substance of the Church and Covenant of Grace whereon it is found­ed, being invariable, and which shall for ever remain immoveable, though the outward Form and Administration be not so. Well then, from hence we have gained two things: (1.) That the Church of the Jews and Gentiles are essentially and sub­stantially the same Church. (2.) That the Jews were not broken off from the invisible Church, or from Faith and Election; for these you truly say are invariable and immoveable; and if you had deny'd it, the Apostle assures us, that the foundation of God stands sure; and that the gifts and callings of God are with­out [Page 116] repentance. But what then was their breaking off, and the Gentiles grafting in, which made this great alteration in the Church? Can it be any thing else but our ingrafting into the Visible Church by the Profession of our Faith, from whence the Jews were broken off from their unbelief? For certainly from the Invisible Church they were not bro­ken off, and into the Invisible Church multitudes of professing Christians are not ingrafted. 'Tis evident therefore, by grafting us into the Olive-tree, he means the Visible Church; and by the Fatness thereof, the Ordinances and Pri­viledges of that Church: Though we deny not but all sincere Professors are Members of the Invisible Church also, and do belong to the Election of Grace; but that's not the breaking off, or graft­ing in here spoken of. And now having given up Mr. Tombes his Notion of the Invisible Church and Election, you are again put to your Shifts, and must ei­ther shuffle, and seek to hide your self in an heap of strange and unintelligible Distinctions, or (which had been much fairer) honestly have yielded the Cause; and where-ever you met with them, I [Page 117] find a whole Troop of distinctions ral­lied together, for this purpose pag. 23, 24.

This grafting in (say you) may be either into the visible, or invisible Church; either by Faith, or profession of Faith; or by some outward Ordinance. Children may be either grown Men or Infants. The ingrafting [...]n, may be either certain, or probable. Certain, either by reason of election, or their natural Birth; being Children of believers. Proba­ble, as being likely; either because frequently, or for the most part it happens so: Though necessary, and so not certain; the thing to be prov'd is, That the Children of be­lievers are in the Covenant of free grace, in Christ, and by vertue thereof to be Baptized into the communion of the vi­sible Church.

Reply. Words enough, and distincti­ons enough to reduce the Text to an in­divisible point. But whither doth all this tend? I will ask you Two or Three plain Qestions, and then make what use you please of your distinctions. (1.) Whe­ther the Breaking off of the Jews and the ingrafting of the Gentiles here spoken of, have Relation to the invisible Church by election, or to the visible Church by profession of Faith, and some outward [Page 118] Ordinance? (2.) Whethether if it were into the visible Church by profession of Faith, that the Gentile believers were grafted in; as doubtless it was (and by relinquishing the former sense you here seem to yield it, saying this ingrafture may be certain upon the account of na­tural Birth, being Children of believers;) then I would fain know why you so state the Question, as to make the certainty of Believers Childrens interest in Christ, to be the only ground of their admission into the Communion of the visible Church? This (say you) must be prov'd, or no Baptism for them.

Alas poor Infants, to what hard terms are they here tyed up! Very much harder than the terms any of your one Society are tyed to; and if Baptism must be su­spended till this point can be clear'd, that the person to be Baptized be first in Christ, and in the Covenant of free grace, as to the saving benefits thereof; Then fare­wel to all Baptism both of Infants, and adult prof [...]ssours too. For how can you prove that the persons you Baptiz [...] are all or any of them really in Christ? May they not deceive you as Simon Magus did Peter? I did not think you had proceeded [Page 119] in this matter upon a Certainty, but a Probability; and if you proceed with yours upon the grounds of Probability, how come you to tie up the Children of Believers to a certainty of their Interest in Christ, as the antecedent suspending condition of their Baptism? We need dispute no more about the proper Sub­jects of Baptism, for by this account we have lost the Ordinance of Baptism it self.

We thought, Sir, that our Childrens Title to Baptism was derived to them from their believing Parents, as the Children of the Jews was to Circum­cision, from their circumcised and pro­fessing Parents; and that the same Pro­mise which conveigh'd their Childrens Priviledge to them, Gen. 17. had con­veig'd the right of Believers Children to Baptism unto them also, Acts 2. 38, 39. and that the root being holy, the branches are holy also, that is, federally holy, Rom. 11. 16. But to this you make such an Answer as astonishes me to read, pag. 26. where allowing Abraham to be the Root, you say, The Holiness here spoken of, is first in respect of Gods Election; Holiness per­sonal, and inherent in God's intention, Ephes. [Page 120] 1. 4. He hath chosen us in him, that we should be holy. (2.) 'Tis also Holiness derivative, but not from any Ancestors, but from Abraham only; and that not as a natural, but a spiritual Father, wherein he is a lively Image or Figure of Christ; and is derived from the Covenant of Grace, which passed in his Name to him and his Seed. And lastly, It shall be inherent, being actu­ally communicated by the Spirit of God, when they shall be actually call'd.

Reply. Here we see into what Brakes and Pits Men run themselves, when they depart from the plain and safe Path in Explications of Scripture. Here is such a tripartite Distinction of Holiness, as I never met with before. (1.) Here is personal Holiness inherent in Gods intention. By this you must either mean Sanctifica­tion decreed for them, and to be be­stowed on them at the time of their Calling; and then it is coincident with the third Member of your Distinction: Or else you mean, that it is Holiness in­herent in the Intention of God, as an Accident in its Subject; and then the Simplicity of Gods Nature resists your incongruous Notion. But it would be a less Crime, to confound the first with the [Page 121] last Member of your vain and self-created Distinction, than to speak things so re­pugnant to the simple and uncompound­ed Nature of God.

Or if your meaning be, That this Holiness is in God by way of Intention, but in them by way of Inhesion; that will not deliver you out of your Confu­sion neither, but run you into greater; for then you confound the immanent with the transient Acts of God, and make the same thing, at the same time, to be pure­ly in Intention, and in Execution; or to be only in Gods Purpose to bestow here­after, and yet at present inherent in the Persons he intends it for; so that I must leave your strange Notion of Personal Holiness inherent in Gods Intention, to be clear'd by a more Metaphysical Head than mine; or else to stand among other rare and unintelligible Notions, to be admired and applauded by the ignorant Reader.

But then, when we come to the Se­cond Member of your Distinction, I am as much at a loss to find your Sense as before: For there you tell us, The Holi­ness here spoken of is a Derivative Holiness also, and that from Abraham only, and [Page 122] from him not as a natural, but a spiritual Father, resembling Christ herein.

Reply. This word derivative is an equivocal word, and may signifie either inherent personal Holiness, or Federal Holi­ness, for both of them are derived. If you say the former, it looks too black and horrid for me to believe you mean it, though you should say you mean it; for then you make Abraham not only the Figure and Image of Christ (as you speak) but Christ himself, by attribu­ting to Abraham Christs incommunicable Property and Prerogative. Then Abra­ham may say to all his Children, as Christ doth, John 15. 4, 5. I am the vine, ye are the branches, &c. I am he that sanctifies you: But if you mean the last, (as necessarily you must, if you mean any thing that hath Orthodox Sense in it) then this derivative Holiness you speak of is not personal Holiness, or internal Sanctification, but federal Holiness, deri­ved from Covenanted Ancestors or Pa­rents to their Children; and therein you come over to us, and to the true Sense of the Text. But why must this be squeezed from you with so much difficulty? And why did you hide this federal Holiness under an equivocal term, lest you should [Page 123] seem to yield the Controversie with a Word? this is not fair.

Object. If you say we are too hasty, and triumph before the Victory; for though you do yield it to be a federal Holiness, yet it is such as can be derived from no other Father or Progenitor but Abraham only.

Sol. Yes, Sir, I hope you will allow Isaac and Jacob at least to be the Root and First Fruit as well as Abraham, see­ing the Covenant was joyntly and ex­presly made with them all three; and thereby they became the Root and First Fruit of that holy Nation: And if that People be called the Seed of Abraham, they are also called the Seed of Jacob; and if Fatherhood he ascribed to Abraham, it is ascribed to Jacob too, Isa. 58. 14. And if Abraham be first named in the Covenant, so is Jacob, see Levit. 26. 42. But if you allow these three Patriarchs, belike that's all you will allow; for you seem to say that no federal Holiness can be derived from any other Progenitors. Good Sir, whatever your own private Opinion be in this matter, allow us to believe otherwise, as long as those Scriptures, 1 Cor. 7. 14. and Acts 2. 39. stand in our Bibles; for we cannot [Page 124] think but the federal Holiness of Children results from the immediate Parents Faith or Covenant Interest, as well as from the remoter Progenitors; else we cannot un­derstand how the Corinthians Children should be holy, or how the Promise should belong to the Children of them that are afar off, viz. the Gentiles, who could derive no such thing to their Children by a Lineal Descent from Abra­ham, but only as they became ingrafted Branches by Faith; and so suck the Fat­ness of the Olive to themselves, and to their Buds, or Childrn, as the natural Branches did. I desire you to consider also how this Covenant passed, as you say it did, to Abraham and his Seed in Christs Name, if it be the same with Adam's Covenant? Did that pass to Adam in Christs Name too?

I have now dispatched what I at first promised and intended, viz. The Con­futation of my Friends Mistakes about the Covenants, and the Vindication of those Scriptures, by which our Arguments deduced from one of them, are confirm­ed. And now I have no further concern­ment with Mr. Cary's Solemn Call, save only to note his high Confidence, rash [Page 125] and most unchristian censures of all his differing Friends and Brethren with which he concludes his discourse, where­in he calls Infants Baptism,

(1.) A great abuse in the Divine Worship. Pag. 242, 243. And yet he that so calls it, never looked half way into the Con­troversie, nor is able without manifest shuffling, and contradiction both to the Words of God, and his own Words, to Answer our Arguments; as is here made too evident.

(2.) That it is no other, than a change of a Divine Institution, and making void the Commandment of Christ, the horrid Sin charged by Christ upon those Hypocrites, the Scribes and Pharisees, Math. 15. 6. With no better than these doth he rank and assiociate the many thousands of Gods choice and dear People, who differ in this circumstantial Point from him.

(3.) He compares it with the Sin of Nadab and Abihu. And with that of Israel, with respect to the Ark, 1 Chron. 15. 13. a Sin which provoked the Lord to execute Judgment by an immediate Stroke in Fire from Heaven upon them. Thus Mr. Cary is ready to call for Fire from Heaven upon his Brethren, Alas! [Page 126] Poor Man, he knows not what Spirit he is of, as Christ told the Disciples in a like case. 'Tis well we are not in his hands to execute the Wrath, as well as charge the guilt upon us. But I hope all this is but Rashness in him.

(4.) He affirms it to be no less than a transgressing of the Law, a changing of the Ordinances; And a breaking of the ever­lasting Covenant. If it be a transgressing of the Law, he should have shewn us in what Scripture that Law that forbids it is, or where God hath repealed his former Grant to the Children of his Co­venant People: And for the changing of the Ordinances, I am of Opinion 'tis he that is guilty of that Sin and not we; for we have proved God setled this privi­ledge upon the Infant Seed of his People, that the Promise under the Gospel con­tinues still to them, and if he exclude them from Baptism, he changes the Or­dinance of God. And for breaking the everlasting Covenant, for which he cites Isa. 24. 5, 6. the Lord make him sensi­ble of the Danger he hath put himself under from that very Text he produces against us; for it's manifest that the Co­venant there spoken of, is Gods Cove­nant [Page 127] with Abraham, renewed with the Israelites at Sinai, which in that Text is truly called an everlasting Covenant; when mean time Mr. Cary hath pro­nounced it to be an Adam's Covenant, and now utterly abolished. Who is it Sir, that Fights against and changes this everlasting Covenant, you or we that are for its continuance to us and our Chil­dren?

(5.) He affirms these things to be of highest concernment to us. If so, then sure it must follow, that Repentance from dead Works, and Faith towards our Lord Jesus Christ, must be inferior things to them; for nothing can be higher than the highest, or equal with it. And then by making them the chief Funda­mentals in Religion, as that Expression doth, (if it be not a vain and Sinful Hyperbole) the Salvation or Damnation of Men depends upon compliance, or non-compliance with them. And then whither must you send all Gods People in the World that differ from you? Sir, I find your Brethren in the Appendix to their confession of Faith, Pag. 110, pla­cing one of these which you make of high­est concernment, among the other circum­stances [Page 128] of Religion: And doubtless that is it's Proper place. Nor do I see how they can free themselves from Participa­tion in your Sin, 'till they have admo­nished you for it, and caused you to ex­punge it out of your Book.

(6.) That it is a Setling of our Thre­sholds by Gods Threshold. The Words you recite from Ezek. 43. 8. which speaks of the Idolatrous Kings of Judah and Israel, building Temples and Altars for their Idols, in, or near the Courts of the Temple of God: As the English An­notations on the Text will inform you, an Abomination that defiled Gods Holy Name, a Wickedness not to be Named, and for which the Lord consumed them; And calls it Whoredome in the next Words. Here Sir, you have exceeded all the Bounds of Society and Christian Cha­rity; And made this circumstantial dif­ference about the Proper Subject of Bap­tism, the Grossest Heathenish Idolatry in the World: And consequently dis­solved the Bond of Christian Charity, and broken off all communion with us; for with such Idolaters you ought not to have any communion.

[Page 129] Your more wise and moderate Bre­thren in the place above cited, tell us, they are loath hereby to alienate their Affecti­ons or Conversations from any that fear the Lord, and are willing to participate of the Labours of those whom God hath endued with Abilities above themselves; Qualified and called to the Ministry of the Word; Desirous of Peace and not of renewed Con­tests hereabout. This is a Language of an­other Air. And if they be (as I dare not suspect but they are) sincere in that Profession, they dare not Comprobate such a desperate and unchristian censure as yours is: If they do, then we may easily guess what our Lot and Treatment shall be whenever Anabaptism get the Ascendent in England. We may expect as civil usage as is due to gross Idolaters, and no better. But I hope better things.

(7.) You say, that as these things are of highest concerment, so they ought to be our most serious Practice and endeavour, pag. 243. l. ult. Good Lord, whither hath Zeal for an Opinion Transported you! Our most serious Practice and endea­vour, Sir! I thought the most serious Practice of a Minister had been to Preach Christ, and Salvation to the Souls of [Page 130] Men; And not to Baptize. I am sure St. Paul reckned so, Christ sent me not to Baptize, but to Preach. That is, Bap­tism is not my principal Work, or main business. And ver. 14th. he thanks God he had Baptized none of them, but Crispus and Gaius. I believe he never utter'd such an expression about his o­ther Work of Preaching Christ. And for all Christians, I thought, the secure­ing of their Interest in Christ, living in the duties of communion with him, Watching their Hearts, and mortifying their corruptions, had been the Object matter of their most serious Practice, and Faithful endeavour; and not the Litigations about Baptism. But I hope these were only inconsiderate expressions, falling from your Pen whil'st you were in a Paroxism of Zeal, or a transport in the height of a conceited Triumph. But whatever was the cause, I am sure you ought to revoke and repent such Words.

(8.) You wish your Testimony rise not up at last as a Witness against us. Sir, we do not apprehend any Cause we have to fear your Testimony against us, or se­verest Censures of us, whilst we are [Page 131] satisfy'd, that as you neither have a Fa­culty or Commission to be our Judge, so neither is there any convincing Evidence in your Reply to our Arguments. But I think you have much more Cause to fear, lest those Arguments should come in at last as a Witness against you, who deny and contemn them; when mean time you are put to most lamentable Shifts, even Contradictions, and somewhat worse, to escape the Point and Edge of them.

(9.) To conclude, You tells us we must not expect the special Presence of Christ to be afforded to us, without our compliance in these Points with you.

Sir, We never yet deserted the Judg­ment or Practice of Infants Baptism, and yet have had (blessed be Jesus Christ for it) great and manifold, sweet and signal Proofs and Evidences of his Presence with us: He hath owned and blessed our Ministry to the Conversion of many; and there are some, and those not mean or few, of our Spiritual Children, now in your Societies in England, who have acknowledged us to be the Instruments of their Conversion: The Lord lay it not to their Charge, who now desert [Page 132] that Ministry in which they first received Christ. But as for the Departure of his Presence, I assure you, Friend, I am more afraid of the Rents and Divisions you now renew so unseasonably among the Churches of Christ, than of any one thing amongst us beside it. It grieved my Soul to see you Quiet a movere, awake a sleeping Controversie, especially in such a Season, when we are little more than half deli­vered from our Enemies and Dangers; you take us by the heel, as Jacob did his Brother, whilst but yet in the Birth. Sir, except you return to a more quiet and Christian Temper than you seem here to be in, I am out of hope that ever you and I shall see those blessed days we have so often with pleasure comforted our selves with the hopes of. [...]wever extend your Charity (if you have any left) so far, as to believe that I am one notwithstanding all this) that am studi­ous of the Churches Peace, and [...]quisi­tive into the Rules of Duty, not daring to hold any Truth of God in Unrighte­ness; and yet well satisfy'd I am in the Path of my Duty, wherein, though we cannot walk together, yet I hope to meet you at the end of our way in our [Page 133] Fathers House, where perfect Light and Peace dwells.

And here I had put an end to this De­bate, had I not received your Return to some of these Sheets, whilst the last of them was under my Hand; wherein I on­ly find four things in which I am con­cerned. In general, you tell me, You are not convinced of any Error, by what I have said. I am sorry to hear it: But consi­dering the nature of Error on one side, and the difficulty of Self-denial on the other, you have not much deceiv'd my Expectation. More particularly,

(1.) You say, As to your hooking the Sinai Covenant into this Controversie, I gave you the first occasion of it; for when you shew'd me your Papers about God's Covenant with Abraham, I told you that you were best first to try if you could prove the Covenant at Sinai to be a Covenant of Works; forasmuch as our Divines are so far from conceiting the Covenant with Abraham to be a Cove­nant of Works, that they will not al­low the Sinai Law it self to be so; and to convince you of it, I lent you Mr. Roberts and Mr. Sedgewick on the Cove­nant, to enlighten and satisfie you about [Page 134] it: But little did I think you had had Confidence enough to enter the Lists with two such learned and eminent Divines, and make them to follow your trium­phant Chariot, shackled with the incom­parable Baxter and Allen, Sydenham and Burthogg, like three pair of Noble Pri­soners of War. But whatever was the occasion, (setting aside your Sin) I am not sorry you have given a fit opportu­nity to enlighten the World in that Point also.

(2.) You seem to fancy in your Let­ter, that I was once of your Opinion about the Moral Law, because you find these Passages in a Sermon of mine upon John 8. 36. If the Son therefore shall make you free, then are you free indeed, viz.

That the Law required perfect working, under pain of the Curse; accepted no short Endeavours, admitted no Repentance, and gave no Strength. But finding me here pleading for the Law, you think you find me in a Contradiction to that Doctrine.

The Words I own, the Contradiction I positively deny; for I speak not there and here ad idem: For in that Sermon, and in those very Words you cite, I speak against the Law, not as God intended it, when he added it to the Promise, but as [Page 135] the Ignorance and Infidelity of unrege­nerate Men make it to themselves a Co­venant of Works, by looking upon it as the very rule and reason of their Justification before God. This was the Stumbling Stone at which all Legal Justiciaries then did, and still do stumble, Rom. 9. 31, 32, 33. In this Sense the Apostle in his Epi­stles to the Romans and Galatians argues against the Law, and so do I in the Words you cite; but vindicate the Law in the very same Sermon you mention, as consistent with, and subservient to Christ, in the former Sense; and there tell you, The Law sends us to Christ to be justified, and Christ sends us back to the Law to be regulated. The very same double Sense of the Law you will find in this Discourse, and from the mistaken end and abuse of the Law, which the Apostle so vehemently opposeth, I here prove against you, that the Law in this Sense cannot consist with, or be added to the Promise, and therefore make it my Me­dium to prove against you, That the true Nature and Denomination of the Sinai Law can never be found in this Sense of it, but it must be estimated and denominated from the Purpose and In­tention of God, which I have proved [Page 136] to be Evangelical. Try your skill to fasten a Contradiction betwixt my Words in that Sermon and this Discourse. I know you would be glad to find the shadow of one, to make some small Ex­cuse or Attonement for the many faults of that nature you have here committed.

(3.) Your Letter also informs me, that you hear you are answered by one hand al­ready, and for ought you know many more may be employed against you, and I for one; and so we shall compass you about like Bees.

Reply. I have only seen Mr. Whiston's little Book against your Brother Gran­tham, wherein he hath baffled two of your principal Arguments; but you on­ly come in collaterally there, and must not look upon it as a full Answer to your Book, but only as a Lash for your Folly en passant. And for our compassing you about like Bees, methinks you seem to be greatned in your own Fancy by the sup­position or expectation of a multitude of Opponents. You know as well as I, who it is that glories in this Motto, Unus contra omnes. Sir, I think your Mind may be much at rest in that matter. Of all the six famous Adversaries mentioned [Page 137] in your Title Page, there are but two living; and you know mortui non mor­dent; and of the remaining two, one of them, viz. Mr. Baxter is almost in Hea­ven, living in the daily Views and chear­ful Expectations of the Saints everlasting rest with God; and is left for a little while among us, as a great Example of the Life of Faith: And it is questionable with me, whether such a great and Hea­venly Soul can find any leisure or dispo­sition to attend such a weak and trivial Discourse as this.

And as for my self, you need not much fear me; I have not, neither do I intend to vibrate my Sting against you, unless I find you infecting or disturbing that Hive to which I belong, and to which I am daily gathering and carrying Ho­ney; and then who but a Drone would not sting?

(4.) To conclude, in the Close of your Letter you fall into the former strain of Love, assuring me, That the ancient Friend­ship of so many years shall still continue on your part.

Reply. All that I shall return to this, is only to relate a short Story out of Plu­tarch, in the Life of Alexander; where [Page 138] he tells us, That whilst he was warring in the Indies, one Taxiles an Indian King came with his Company to meet him, and saluting Alexander, said, What need you and I to fight and war one upon another? if thou comest not to take away our Water, and the necessaries of Life from us, for which we must needs fight: As for other Goods, if I am richer than thee, I am ready to give thee of mine; and if I have less, I will not think scorn to thank thee for thine. Alexander highly pleased with his Words, made him this Reply, Thinkest thou that this meeting of ours can be without fighting? no, no; thou hast won nothing by all thy fair words; for I will fight and contend with thee in Honesty and Courtesie, and thou shalt not exceed me in Bounty and Liberality.

I say with Taxiles, I had never armed against you, had you not come to take away our Water, and the necessaries of Life, I mean, the Covenant of God with Abraham, which contains the rich Charter of the Gentile Believers Children, and make it an abolished Adam's Covenant, and told us, that we must come up to the Primitive Purity in these things, that is, in renouncing it as a Covenant of Grace, and relinquishing Infants Baptism, as ground­ed thereon.

[Page 139] Sir, Were my one Father alive, I must and would oppose him, should he attempt what here you do. Infant Baptism with you is not; Singing of Psalms, that plain and Heavenly Gospel-Ordinance, with you is not, and will you take away our Benja­min also? What! the Covenant of God with Abraham and his Children in their Generations? all these things are against us. No, Sir, we cannot part with that Co­venant as an abolish'd Adam's Covenant; nor will I give it up for all the Friend­ship in the World.

And yet I will say with Alexander, I will contend with you in Friendship and Courtesie, even whilst I earnestly contend against you for the Truths of God, which you have here opposed, and I have endeavoured to vindicate.

One Word more before I part with you, I do assure you, and the whole World, that in this Controversie with you, I have not knowingly or advisedly misre­presented your Sense: If you shall say I did so in my second Argument from the Words p. 179. I assure you, both my self and others could understand you no o­therwise than I did in the Papers I sent you; and when you told me, you meant [Page 140] there was no pardon in either of those Covenants, but that it plainly directed to Abraham's Covenant, you will find I have given you as fair a Choice as you can de­sire, either to stand to your words in the first Sense wherin I understood them, (or which will be the same to me) to your own Sense in which you afterwards ex­plained it to me. And whereas I blame you over and over in my Epistle and Conclusion, for putting the proper Subject of Baptism among the highest things in Religion: Let the Reader view your Conclusion, and see whether you do or not: If you say you speak of the Covenant there as well as of baptism: I allow that you do so; yet I hope 'tis equally as bad, nay indeed and truth, a great Aggravation of your Fault, to make this Article, viz. Gods Covenant with Abraham, Gen. 17, is an abolished Adam's Covenant, one of the highest concernments of a Christian; the Baptism only of Adult Believers another. My consequences from your Words are just and regular, how start­ling soever they seem to you.

If you think fit to rejoyn to this my Answer, I desire you will avoid as much as you can a tedious Harangue of Words, and speak strictly and re­gularly to my Arguments, by limiting, distinguish­ing, or denying, as a Disputant ought to do: If so, I promise you a Reply; but if I find no such thing, it shall pass with me but for waste Paper; nor will I wast time about it. The Lord give us Unity in things necessary, Liberty in things indifferent, and Charity in all things.


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