AN ANSWER TO Mr. Thomas Grantham's Book; CALLED, A DIALOGUE Between the Baptist and the Presbyterian.

By MARTIN FINCH, Pastor of a Church of Christ in Norwich.

My Council shall stand, and I will do all my Plea­sure, Isaiah 46.10.

Who hath enjoyned him his way? or who can say, thou hast wrought Iniquity? Job 36.23.

In whom also we have obtained an Inheritance, being pre­destinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things according to the Council of his own Will, Eph. 1.11.

For of him, and through him, and to him are all things; to whom be glory for ever, Amen. Rom. 11.36.

Therefore hath he mercy on whem he will have mercy; and whom he will, he hardeneth, Rom. 9.18.

Husbands, love your Wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it, Ephes. 5.25.

LONDON, Printed by T. S. for Edward Giles Bookseller in Norwich, near the Market-place; and Tho. Parkhurst at the Bible and three Crowns in Cheapside. 1691.

TO THE READER.

THOSE that would set up to make a Par­ty, and draw Disciples after them, have a mighty advantage in the Armi­nian way.

1. Because there is a strong Inclination in cor­rupt Nature, to quarrel with the absolute Lord­ship and Dominion of God over his Creatures, to do with them, for his own Glory, what semmeth good in his sight. Men would fain be from under the Lordship and Dominion of God, but it can­not be.

2. Because it is natural to Men to think, that if they be saved it must be by their own Merits, and Worthiness, and not from the special, and distinguishing Grace of God. And 'tis that which Arminianism brings Men to at last: For if God have not made a difference amongst the Children of Men by his special Grace in Election, Redempti­on, and Regeneration then they, with what helps they had common to them that are saved, and to them that perish, do make themselves to differ.

The way is prepared before them that would teach Men in the Arminian way, 'tis suited to Corrupt Nature. But to bring Men to own the Sovereign­ty of God over them, to bring Men to be sensible of the Holiness and Justice of God, to bring them to cry guilty before God, to acknowledge [Page]their own vileness, to wonder that God should save any, who might justly have damned all for sin: To say in their Hearts, if God take Vengeance upon them for ever, yet he is Righteous, to say, let me live, and I shall praise thee for ever: To wonder that God was ever manifest in the flesh, and suffered as Mediatour, and Surety to save Sinners: to see nothing in our selves, not so much as a good thought, or good inclination, but what God puts into us. To see, that we cannot believe, re­pent, and turn to God, but by his giving us a new Heart, and a new Spirit; infusing Grace into us, making us new Creatures; that if we be saved, when others perish, it is from free and special Grace, that is to be adored to Eternity: I say, to have our Hearts brought to these things, is hard in­deed, yea impossible, except God be pleased to touch our Hearts, and turn them with his Al­mighty hand. He can give our Hearts a saving turn in a moment, easier than we can think a thought. His willing to do it for us, is the doing of it for us, in the way and time of his own appointment.

Men may hold some Errours Notionally, and not Practically, else there were more danger in Ar­minianism as to Eternal Salvation than Men are a­ware of.

For 1. An Arminian, if he should act accor­ding to that Doctrine, he can never pray to God for special Grace, that God would determine and fix his Will to himself, by his especial Grace, that God against all opposition from corrupt nature would give a new Heart. All that an Arminian can pray for, according to that Doctrine, is, that God would propound, and urge Arguments and Mo­tives to him, and that still he may be left to himself [Page]what he will do, which is but mocking of God in­stead of praying unto him.

2. An Arminian, if he act according to that Doctrine, cannot thank and praise the Lord for special and distinguishing Grace in Election, Re­demption, and Vocation; but must thank him­self, if he be saved, (when others perish) by impro­ving that universal Grace, which others did not improve. There would be but cold singing before the Throne in Heaven to Eternity, for that Grace that brought them thither, if it were not special Grace that saved them, when others go into ever­lasting punishment in Hell. Let my Soul be ga­thered to that people, who have a Principle and Heart given them of God, to say to Eter­nity, Not unto us, O Lord, not unto us, but unto thy name be all the praise.

3. The Arminian Doctrine, whilst it pretendeth to give great encouragement to Sinners to hope for Salvation by Christ, their Doctrine doth (if it were true) take away all possibility and hope of Salvation for any Man or Woman now living upon the face of the Earth; which I make out by these two particulars.

1. It is clear from the Scripture, that those that shall have Eternal Salvation in Heaven are Be­lievers in Christ, and are sanctified in part in this life, that he that dieth an Ʋnbeliever the wrath of God abideth on him, John 3. ult. And without Holiness no man shall see the Lord, Heb. 12.14.

2. It is clear from the Scripture, that by na­ture we are dead in Trespasses and Sins, Eph 2.1. That the carnal mind is enmity against God, for it is not subject to the Law of God, nei­ther [Page]indeed can be, Rom. 8.7. That except God do absolutely give a new Heart, there can be no true Faith and Holiness in any man. The Heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked, Jeremiah 17.9.

Therefore, I say, if there be not such a special love in God to some, whereby he will most cer­tainly and infallibly, against all opposition from the World, the Flesh, and the Devil, give them a new Heart, give them converting and keeping Grace, there is no possibility of the Salvation of any Man. Arminian universal Grace can never bring any Man to Heaven; it must be special, effectual, omnipotent Grace that must do it, or else all must perish for ever. This Author directs his discourse against the Presbyterians, as if they only main­tained the Doctrine of Election and Reprobation in the sense that he opposeth; but I have shewn by the Articles of Lambeth 1595. and by the Articles of Ireland 1615. that the Episcopal Divines have maintained the same Doctrine, and that those whom he calleth Presbyterians, next to the Scrip­tures, learnt that Doctrine from the old Episcopal Divines. Those that maintain the Doctrine of the Sovereignty, Immutability, and Omnipotency of God, may be bold to say what they are able on Gods behalf against vain man, that would en­joyn him his way, that would dictate to the Al­mighty what he should do.

Those that maintain that Christ, God-man, dyed so effectually for all those for whom he dyed, that he will certainly and infallibly bring them to Grace and Glo­ry, have no cause to be ashamed of their Doctrine.

Those that maintain that, no man can come to Christ, except the Father draw him, and that [Page]with such a drawing, as that they shall freely, and yet most certainly and infallibly come to Christ, and be eternally saved, have truth on their side: And all the Sophistry Cavils and Evasions of Arminians, are as nothing to overthrow this Do­ctrine. Whosoever shall observe the Book that I answer, will find that this Author doth scarce at­tempt to argue and prove any thing, except it be in a very few places, but only raises outcries against others. Therefore what I have written, is only oc­casioned by this Author to clear up these points, ra­ther than to answer any Arguments he hath produced for his opinions; but that little Argument he hath used, I have taken into consideration.

If any Reader thinks that I have now and then used too much sharpness against this Author, he may be pleased to take notice, that those that know me, can testifie that I have a greater Latitude as to any rigid judging of men, as to their Eternal Estates, because they hold many erroneous opinions, than some others have. Those that are truly built upon Christ, upon his Merits and Righteousness as their Foun­dation, though they may in their Superstructure have much Hay and Stubble, yet God will graci­ously pardon them in Christ. But when this Author tramples not only upon the Assembly of Divines, but upon Calvin, Zuinglius, Beza, and many other Di­vines of the Reformed Churches; and extolls Mi­chael Servetus, one of the greatest Blasphemers of the Sacred Trinity that ever was in the World: It may be some Readers will think I have not been sharp enough against such a confident Boy­sterous person.

There is printed with this Authours, a Book of Mr. Haggars, I never heard of the person, or of [Page]his Book before, though it seems it hath been printed five times. It may be it hath been answered, or none have thought it worth the answering.

The Book is almost nothing but Errours and Mi­stakes: I do not remember that ever I read a Book more confused, or where the Author sheweth him­self more ignorant of the true meaning of the Scrip­tures he makes use of, except it were in some Books of the Quakers.

The Apostle Paul saith, Ephes. 1.3, 4, 5. Bles­sed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all Spiritual Blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him, before the Founda­tion of the World, was laid.

The Apostle there sheweth.

1. That there are Spiritual Blessings bestowed upon some. These Spiritual Blessings are effectual Calling, Justification, Adoption, Perseverance in Grace, and the Heavenly inheritance.

2. He shews that all these Spiritual Blessings are conferred upon us through the Lord Jesus Christ the Mediator, as the Meritorious cause. God pur­posed to do all for the Heirs of Salvation, in and through him.

3. He shews the Eternal Designation of the persons that shall in due time partake of these Spiritual Blessings, he saith they were chosen in Christ, before the foundation of the World.

4. He shews that they were not chosen upon any foresight of their Holiness, by improving those com­mon helps they had equal with others; but that God chose them that they might be Holy; that is, he would in due time give them Faith and Holiness: And this is yet more evident from v. 5. having pre­destinated [Page](that is fore-ordained) us to the Adopti­on of Children, by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his Will: So that it is most ma­nifest, that those whom God chose, he chose them so, as that he would himself make them holy, and that the moving cause was not any worthiness or toward­liness in them, which God foresaw: But the Apostle saith, it was the good pleasure of Gods will, his espe­cial undeserved free Love, and good will to their persons that was the moving cause of their Election.

Now let the Reader observe what this Author saith to this Scripture: Though God calleth men elect from the Foundation of the World, yet they are not elect, until the very day of their Conversion, and turning from Sin to God, for God calleth things that are not, as if they were; From whence it is evident, they were not elect­ed, though so called. page 2.

What a strange passage is this? As much as to say, though the Scripture saith it was so, yet it was not so well; but saith this Author, it is said of Abraham, Rom. 4.17. As it is written, I have made thee a Father of many Nations before him, whom he believed, even God who quickens the dead, and calleth things that are not, as if they were.

Now saith this Author, Abraham was not yet a Father of many Nations, but it was so before God who calleth things that are not, as if they were.

For the understanding of this Scripture.

1. Observe, that though it was but at that time spoken of, and declared to Abraham, Gen. 17.4, 5. that he should be a Father of many Nations, yet God hath made and appointed him so to be from Eternity. Tho' Gods Decrees and Intentions what he will do, are manifested to men in time, yet they are all from Eternity.

2. Observe, that when God did declare to Abra­ham his Eternal Counsel, that he should be a Fa­ther of many Nations, Abrahams Body was dead as to Masculine Vigour. But the Apostle shews, that nothing can hinder Gods Purposes and Decrees; for God quickneth the Dead, (dead Souls, and dead Bodies when he pleases,) and calleth things that are not, as if they were, that is, calleth for what he pleaseth, and it is done. As in the Cre­ation, God did but say, Let there be Light, and there was Light. The Apostle is shewing Gods Omnipotency: That God having appointed Abra­ham to be a Father of many Nations, nothing can hinder his eternal purpose, for saith the Apostle, he quickens the dead, and calleth things that are not, as if they were. Ut majorem ejus rei facilitatem in deo declaret, to shew the great facility of this Work to God, to whom it is as easy to make any thing to be, as it is for us to call for a thing, and easier too; as one Expositor notes well upon the place: So that this Author quite mistakes the mean­ing of the place, for God did not tell Abraham that he was a Father of many Nations, when he was not: But God told him, that he had made him, that is, appointed him so to be, which should be per­formed in the appointed Time and Season, by his Om­nipotency against all natural impossibilities; because he is the Almighty God that quickneth the dead, and calleth things that are not, as if they were. When he calleth for any thing to be done, to be effected ac­cording to his purpose, it exists the same moment.

The Context in Rom. 4. with other Scriptures concerning Abraham, may give much light into this Controversy.

1. Terah the Father of Abraham, and Abra­ham [Page]himself were at first Idolaters, and served other Gods, Joshua 24.2, 3. Yet Abraham be­ing a person that God had chosen to Salvation from Eternity, he was called, and converted in the Lords appointed time, though he was such an unlikely per­son to obtain Mercy,

2. As the Lord had from Eternity chosen A­braham to be a Vessel of Mercy, so he had also made, appointed, and decreed from Eternity, that he should be a Father of many Nations, and that of him as concerning the flesh, Christ should come, and nothing could hinder Gods pur­pose being fulfilled in its Season, because God is Omnipotent, he quickens the dead, and calleth things that are not, as if they were. From whence we may gather, that whatsoever God hath graciously purposed to do for any, he will certainly and infal­libly perform it against all Natural and Moral Impossibilities, for he quickneth the Dead, and calleth things that are not, as if they were. When he pleases to call any thing to exist, and be, by the word of his power, it doth certainly and infallibly exist.

Another Text that this Author bringeth to prove, that a thing may be said to be done, when it is not done, is Rev. 13.8. and all that dwell upon the Earth shall Worship him, (the Beast) whose names are not written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World.

Ʋpon which he saith, Christ is called the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World, tho' he was not slain many thousand years after.

I answer, Christ was slain in God's Decree and Purpose, from Eternity; he was fore-ordained, be­fore [Page]the Foundation of the World, to be Me­diator, 1 Pet. 1.20. fore-ordained to be crucified and slain, as the Sacrifice for the Sins of the Elect, 1 Cor. 2.7. But we speak the Wisdom of God in a Mystery, even the hidden Mystery which God ordained before the World, unto our Glo­ry. This manifold Wisdom of God, and the exceed­ing Riches of his Grace, in saving the Elect by the Blood of his Son, was ordained before the World was made, and consequently from Eternity, Prov. 8.23. I was set up from Everlasting, from the Begin­ning, or ever the Earth was. V. 30, 31. Then I was by him as one brought up with him, and I was daily his Delight, rejoycing always before him, rejoycing in the habitable parts of his Earth, and my Delights were with the Sons of Men.

In these Words, Christ, the Essential Wisdom of God, doth declare, not only that he was from Ever­lasting, as the Son of God, but that he was also set up from Everlasting, as Mediator; that he was appointed to be incarnate, to take upon him Humane Nature in Time, and to be slain for the Redemption of his People that were given unto him of the Father; and upon the prospect of this he saith, his delight was with the Sons of Men: He rejoyced in the Thoughts of his redeeming the Children that were given him. It was upon the account of the Decree, that Christ was to take upon him Humane Nature, and die for his Church; that as soon as ever Man fell, it was declared that there should come one that should bruise the Serpent's Head, Gen. 3.15. And upon the account of this Decree it was, that Be­lievers under the Old Testament did really partake of the Vertue of Christ's Death, as if he had been [Page]slain; and to encourage their Faith, Christ was ty­pically slain in their bloody Sacrifices, before he came in the Flesh.

So that this Text is nothing to this Author's pur­pose, but if it be rightly understood, gives much light against the Arminian Doctrine: It shews that God decreed Christ's Death from Eternity: Ay, It was not only decreed from Eternity, that the Son of God should take upon him the Nature of Man in Time; but it was decreed from Eternity, that he should take that particular Body, and not another; that holy Thing that was conceived miraculously in the Womb of the blessed Virgin; that That holy Thing should be taken into personal Ʋnion with his Godhead, and that at the set Time which God's Council from Eternity had determined it should be done, he should then be crucified and slain, to make an end of Sin, and bring in Everlasting Righteousness.

This Author should learn to distinguish between God's Decrees, and the Execution of them. All God's Decrees and Purposes what he would do, in making the World, Angels and Men, and dispo­sing of things for his own Glory, were from Eternity: The Execution of his Decrees are in Time.

The Arminians holding that Christ died for all Adam's Posterity, are wonderfully confounded with this Objection.

If Christ died for all Adam's Posterity, then surely God would so order it in his Providence, that all Adam's Posterity should have Christ preached to them, and have the outward Means to come to the Knowledge of him.

To this Objection some of them say, that the Sun, Moon and Stars, and other Works of Creation preach Christ, though but darkly.

[...]
[...]

I answer, that the Sun, Moon and Stars, and other Works of Creation, declare no more, now Man is fallen, than whilst Adam stood; that is, they de­clare the Glory of God as a Creator, they declare his Eternal Power and Godhead; but they declare not a Word of God manifest in the Flesh, and Redemption by the Blood of his Cross.

Ay, but this Author saith, pag. 10. All that worship any thing for a God, do by that ac­knowledge that there is a God; and all that do offer Sacrifice to a God, do thereby confess there is a God offended, and that he is reconcileable by a Sacrifice.

I answer, These Words tend to the Subversion of true Religion. The Heathens, by Tradition from the Jews, took up a way of Sacrifices; but the Apostle Paul saith, 1 Cor. 10.20. The things which the Gentiles sacrifice, they sacrifice to Devils, and not to God. What though the Gentiles do know there is a God, and this leaves them without Excuse for their gross Idolatry, in changing the Glory of the in­corruptible God into the Image of corruptible Man, and to Birds, and four-footed Beasts, and creeping Things? Rom. 1.20, 21, 22, 23. What if the Heathen by natural Conscience do think that God is offended? And what if they have, by Tradition from the Jews, taken up a way of offering Sacrifices to ap­pease a Deity? Still they have no sufficient Light, and Means of Salvation, because they do not know Christ the Mediator, the only true Sacrifice for Sin. All the Sacrifices they offer are an Abomination to the Lord, and make them more abominable unto him.

That which I have written in answer to Mr. Gran­tham, may stand for an Answer to Mr. Haggar's Book. Why should I trouble my self and the [Page]Reader with so many impertinent things, yea, unsavoury to good Christians, as are in that Au­thor's Book?

That which I aimed at in this Ʋndertaking, was not so much to deal with these Authors, as to throw down the whole Arminian Doctrine, and in the most plain and popular way that I could, to set forth the Truth of God to the Capacity of ordinary Christians. The Lord add his Blessing, and give us Ʋnderstand­ing in all things.

M. F.

THE CONTENTS.

  • Chap. I. AN Examination of Mr. Grantham's Title Page.
  • Chap. II. A Vindication of Dr. Col­linges.
  • Chap. III. That Christ did not die for all Adam's Posterity.
  • Chap. IV. Ten Arguments to prove that all that Christ died for shall be saved.
  • Chap. V. Of Election and Reproba­tion.
  • Chap. VI. Of God's Eternal Decrees; what shall come to pass in time.
  • Chap. VII. Of the Father's drawing the Elect to Christ.
  • Chap. VIII. Of the Saints Perseve­rance in Grace.
  • Chap. IX. An Answer to Mr. Gran­tham's Queries.

CHAP. I. Examination of the Author's Title Page.

THE Person with whom I have now to do, calls his Book, A Dialogue between the Baptist and the Presbyterian; and stileth himself Messenger of the Baptized Churches in Lincolnshire. It is fit to enquire a little into these two Titles he giveth himself. He stileth himself the Baptist. Indeed, we read, Mat. 3.1, 2, 3. In those days came John the Baptist, preach­ing in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repens ye, for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand; and this is he that was spoken of by the Prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. So we read of John the Baptist, that was prophesied of by Esaias, who is already come: but I find no Prophecy of any Thomas the Bap­tist, that was to be sent of God. John is cal­led the Baptist, because he Baptized Christ him­self, and because he was sent in an extraordina­ry way to Baptize the people of the Jews. I think it is too high a Title for any man now living in the World to call himself the Baptist.

2. This Author stiles himself Messenger of the Baptized Churches in Lincolnshire. I suppose, that all the Churches and Congregations in Lin­colnshire, [Page 2]of all perswasions, do think, that the Members of their Churches are Baptized, tho' not in this Author's way, and is he the Mes­senger of them all? But take it for the Church­es of his own Perswasion. Let us enquire how he is their Messenger. We read of Messengers of the Churches, 2 Cor. 8.23.24. Whether any do en­quire of Titus, he is my partner and fellow-helper: or our Brethren be enquired of, they are the Messengers of the Churches, and the glory of Christ. Wherefore shew ye to them, and before the Churches, the proof of your Love, and of our boasting on your behalf. As for the Messengers of the Churches here spoken of, as such, they were only chosen by some Church­es to travel up and down to other Churches for a short space, to get Contribution and Relief for other Churches, that were in great want by being spoiled of their Goods by Persecutors, or by some other means brought to some great out­ward necessities. And if this Author be a Messen­ger of Churches in that way, he hath undertaken a good work; and I hope, that those he is so violent against, will be as Charitable to relieve the necessities of other Christians, though not of their Perswasion, as he can expect. But when he calleth himself Messenger of the Bap­tized Churches in Lincolnshire, he hath another meaning. We read of the Angels of the seven Churches, Rev. 1.20. Now by the Angels of those Churches, is meant, Messengers of the Lord to those Churches: The Lord's Messen­gers to declare his Mind and Will to them. Here were several Angels and Messengers of the Seven Churches; but one Man was not the An­gel or Messenger of several Churches. The [Page 3]Angel of the Church of Ephesus was not the Angel of the Church of Pergamos, and of the rest of the Seven Churches. So that it is like­ly, that this Author counteth himself to have Jurisdiction and Authority over many Churches. And truly if he be the Baptist, a Title given on­ly to John hitherto, and be Messenger at the same time, of several Churches, we know not how many, and have Spiritual Power over them, he is an extraordinary person, and 'tis no wonder that he deals with so many persons and things. Yet truly, I should think, if he were more than an ordinary Presbyter, he should visit with more Mildness and Moderation.

There is another thing in the Title Page that is very bold and daring to the most high God. He represents the Presbyterians as holding Cru­el and Soul-devouring Doctrines, making God the ordainer of all the Sins of Men and De­vils; and reprobating the greatest part of man­kind without any help of Salvation.

1. Concerning God's ordaining of all the sins of Men and Devils, I shall speak (God willing) in answer to your Book, and shew in what Sense God ordained and decreed to leave Angels and Men to themselves, and so to sin.

2 As to Reprobating the greatest part of mankind, without any help of Salvation; this you call, A Cruel and Soul-devouring Doctrine.

I answer, 1. That I suppose your self hold, that the greatest part of mankind do in the end perish eternally. I am sure our Saviour declared, that few there be that find the strait gate and narrow way to Heaven. That 'tis but a little Flock to whom God gives the Kingdom of [Page 4]Heaven. That tho' many are called, yet few are chosen. Not but those that are saved, are a Multitude which no Man can number, Rev. 7.9. yet comparatively they are few; they are few in comparison of those that perish.

2. Whether they that perish were ordained of old from Eternity to Condemnation for their sins; or reprobated in time, as you hold: Tru­ly this little alters the case. As for the great­est part of mankind, reprobated they are, and cast into Hell at last, without any help, or hope of Salvation; and if this be cruel Doctrine, have a care that you don't contend and strive with the holy Sovereignty and Justice of God; and when you argue with men about these things, have a care you don't quarrel with God him­self. Do you think that those that do not a­dore the incomprehensible Greatness and Holi­ness of God can ever be satisfied that God pu­nishes mens temporary sinning with Eternal Pu­nishment. 'Tis not talking of a common love of God to mankind, and talking of Universal Re­demption, when in the Conclusion God takes Vengeance for ever upon so many of mankind for their Sin and Folly: That will really take off men from quarrelling with God: But the humble acknowledgment of his absolute Lord­ship over the Works of his Hands; and that he is infinitely Just and Righteous in all that he doth; tho' we, poor Dust and Ashes, cannot comprehend it: This must silence Man.

This Author sets down a Scripture in the Title Page, Psalm 64.7, 8, 9. But God shall shoot at them with an Arrow; suddenly shall they be wounded, so they shall make their own Tongue to [Page 5]fall upon themselves: This is to reflect upon the Presbyterians, who, he had said before, are pu­nished by their own Pens. I pray God that you, as well as others, may not be punished for your Pen, for your Writings. Lord enter not into Judgment with any of us; but pardon us for Christ's sake. And as to those words you quote, God shall shoot at them, suddenly shall they be wounded: How do you apply these words to the Presbyterians, against whom you write? They hope to be pardoned and saved by the Free Grace of God in Christ. God might shoot at them, and you with an Arrow. Let us have a care of being proud Pharisees. And truly you seem to shoot your Arrow against the Sovereignty of the God of Heaven, have a care it doth not fall upon your own Head. You do, as it were, arraign God at your Bar, about his Lordship over the Creature; and he must do so and so, or else he is not Just. Repent, and turn to God, lest he arraign you at his Bar-Tremble at this word, at this Scripture you have set down. And for making mens Tongues fall upon themselves, let us all fear and trem­ble. Those upon whom God is pleased to be­stow such Grace, as that they say from their Hearts, that they do not stand upon terms with God; but acknowledge God might have had no thoughts of Eternal Love to them; but might have decreed to leave them to their sins, and to glorifie his Justice upon them for ever: and that if it had not been for special discrimi­nating Grace, they had never come to Christ; tho' they had those common helps that others think are sufficient. I say, these are not so like [Page 6]to have their Tongues fall upon themselves a­nother day, as those that say, That notwith­standing any thing that God freely decreed as to their particular persons; and notwithstand­ing any thing Christ did for them in Redempti­on, or the Holy Ghost in working upon their Hearts, they might have been damned; but their own Will had the Casting-Voice, and was so towardly, that they shall be saved. When those that God on his part did every way as much, as for them, do perish in Hell for ever.

CHAP. II. A Vindication of Dr. Collings, from the Errour that this Author charges upon him.

THE Author of this Dialogue visiting these Parts, first wrote a Contentious Letter to Mr. B. K. Then next he falls upon that Learned and Pious Divine, Dr. Collings, who is now at rest with the Lord. Tho' the Dr. was dead, yet this Author must print what had passed about this Controversie: And tho' the Ignorant and Erro­neous may think, he hath done great matters a­gainst the Dr. yet he hath done nothing at all: Yea, this Author gives up the Cause to the Dr. in his second Letter, in these words, Page 7.

You cannot fairly collect from my Paper that God can be resisted in the thing wherein he will act Om­nipotently, for then he should cease to be God.

Now this is the very thing that the Dr. main­tained [Page 7]in his Book, and in his Answer to this Author's Letter: So that this Author's Tongue hath fallen upon himself, Psalm 115.3. Our God is in the Heavens; he hath done whatsoever he pleased. Isa. 46.10. My Counsel shall stand, and I will do all my Pleasure. When any say that God acts Omni­potently in this, or that which he purposes in him­self to do, I suppose, none have such gross concep­tions of God, as to think that God is hardly put to it to effect any thing that he pleases to do. When we read of God's Right-hand, and the exceeding greatness of his Power in some Acts of God, 'tis only to shew the greatness of those Works above some other Works of God; but not at all to shew that God is hardly put to it to do those Works. It is as easie for God, who is Omnipotent, to do the greatest Work that he pleases to do, as to do the least Works he pleases to do. He doth all things that he pleases to do with the greatest facility. He made the World with the word of his Power: He upholds it as long as he pleases with the word of his Power: He converts Souls by the word of his Power: He raises the dead by the word of his Power: His willing in this sense, is his effecting what he Wills: He doth whatsoever he pleases to do, as easily, and more easily than we can speak a word.

But still I fear, this Author doth not under­stand what he saith, and what others say in this matter; for if he had, he would have done with this Contention.

For he adds, Doth God never act Seriously when he doth not act Omnipotently?

I answer, As for such a phrase as God acting Seriously, I do not love to use it. It seems to [Page 8]me, that tho' we use such an expression as to Men, yet I think it is below the Divine Ma­jesty; and the Dr. using that word in his Book, you catch at it; and it is all the advantage you have against him. What Man upon Earth, not infallibly inspired, but may sometimes use a word that may not be so proper; but for that which the Dr. intended in that expression in his Book, and explained in his Letter, it will stand against you and all the World. That is, What­soever the great and glorious God hath purposed, and intended he will do, shall certainly be effected by his glorious Power.

That which this Author does not understand, which would set his Judgment right in this Controversie, is this; There are Laws, Precepts, and Commands of God, whereby he shews what is our duty to do: This we may call the Will of God, in respect of Precepts and Commands to us, what we ought to do: But then the Will of God is often taken in another sense for his Eternal Purpose, what he will do in us, for us, and with us: and this is always effected in the time appointed by him. God's Will in respect of his Precepts or Commands, is, that none should sin at all: but God did not purpose to keep every one from sinning; no, he did not pur­pose to keep the Elect from all sin after their Conversion: in this life, so far as God purposed to restrain sin in any, he doth effect it. Tho' the Creatures don't do what he commands them to do, yet he always doth effect, and doth whatsoever he purposes to do in them, for them, or with them.

How the Dr. quoting those words, Rom. 9.19. [Page 9] For who hath resisted his Will? You make those words to be the words of some Caviller and Objector, and you say, that the Dr. and you have resisted God's Will.

I answer, The Apostle had said in the verse before, Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardeneth. Now let it be so, that the whole of the 19th Verse, is the Allegation of one that objects against God's giving Grace, or denying Grace to parti­cular persons, as he pleases: Yet observe, tho' the Apostle in the following words answereth to the beginning of the 19th. Verse, Why doth he yet find fault? The Apostle doth not an­swer as you have done, but, O vain Man! (O proud Clay) shall not the Potter have power over the Clay, to make of the same lump, one Vessel to honour, and another to dishonour? So confirming what he had said, that God hath mercy upon whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he harden­eth, Vers. 18. If then the latter part of the 19th. Verse, be the words of a Caviller, or Objector against God's Sovereignty, in giving or denying his Grace to whom he will, the Apostle acknowledges that to be a truth, Who hath resisted his Will? In his everlasting Decrees and Pur­poses: But to take the meaning of the words as you do, who hath resisted his Will? I say, taking it for the Will of God in respect of his Precepts and Commands to Men: Every one knows they had resisted God's Will in that sense; that is, broken his Commands: and if that were the meaning of, Who hath resisted his Will? the Apostle would have made answer, all have sinned, and come short of the glory of [Page 10]God: and not, O man, who art thou that re­pliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, why hast thou made me thus? He asserts the Sovereignty, Lordship, and Dominion of God over the Creatures; and so he goes on, Vers. 22, 23. The Apostle by the Spi­rit of God knew how to answer him that finds fault with God about his Decrees: He shews the absolute Power and Lordship of God, that he may save one by his Grace, and condemn ano­ther for his Sins, as he pleases; and that it is not for Man to dispute and contend with God as many do.

Again you say to the Doctor, you seem to hold that God cannot affect an end, (I suppose you mean he cannot convert a Sinner) without a willing the utmost of his power to effect it. But you can­not give an instance where he ever did exert, or put forth his power to the utmost in any thing that ever he did. We must take heed, lest we limit the power of the Almighty; lest whilst we accuse others, we our selves be found most ignorant of Gods Om­nipotency.

I Answer, all this is against your self, for seeing Gods power is infinite, and his greatness is unsearchable: Therefore he doth effect, and bring to pass whatsoever he wills and pleases to do, in the conversion of any Man he pleases to Convert, or in any other thing that it is his Will and Pleasure to effect and do. When the Doctor saith, when God affects an end (that is, purposes to bring a thing to pass,) he must needs put forth the utmost of his power to effect it: The plain meaning is, not that God in any Act of his puts forth all his power: But so much power, [Page 11]as to effect and bring to pass infallibly what he purposed, and intended to do: And that when it is the Lords Gracious purpose and intention to Convert a Soul, he doth exert, and put forth his power, so as that the Soul shall cer­tainly and infallibly be Converted.

And whereas you say, you cannot give an in­stance where God did ever exert and put forth his power to the utmost in any thing that ever he did, this makes for the Doctors position; for it sup­poses, if there were a thousand thousand times more opposition and difficulty in the Converting of a Man, or in any other thing that he pleases to do, yet nothing is too hard: Yea, all is easy for God to do, if it pleases him to do it. I think you have been over-ruled by the All-govern­ing hand of God to justifie the Doctor, and to con­fute your self with your own pen.

Your fourth Paragraph runs all upon the old mistake, that you do not distinguish between the will of God, in respect of his precepts which he commands us as our Duty, and his pur­pose and intention what he will do.

That which the Doctor puts you to prove, is this, that God willed within himself the Conversion of the old World, the Jews and Pharisees that never were Converted: That is, whether God decreed purpo­sed, and intended to Convert those of the old World, those of the Jews and Phriasees, or any other person that never are Converted. You endeavour to prove that God did so will and purpose in him­self.

1. You say as to the old World, that God was so serious and inwardly concerned, that he strove with them by his Spirit, and it grieved him at the Heart, [Page 12]that they were Disobedient, and he gave them an hundred years to repent in, and this shews he in­wardly willed their Repentance. I am sure that if they had Repented, God would not have destroyed them; for he hath taught us so to judge of his threatnings to a Sinful Nation.

I Answer, 1. God is said to strive with the old World. How did he strive with those that pe­rished? The Lord did reprove them by the preaching of Noah for their Sins, and by Con­victions of Conscience; but is this enough to Convert men? if God had purposed and intend­ed to save them, surely he would have done more for them: He would have given them a new Heart, and a new Spirit, he would have taken away the Heart of Stone, and given them an Heart of Flesh. This expression of Gods stri­ving with Man, must not be strained: Surely God is greater than Man, and can prevail over the most Stubborn and Rebellious Heart in the World, and give it a saving turn in one Mo­ment

2. You say it grieved God at his Heart that they were Disobedient: It is said indeed, Gen. 6.6. And it repented the Lord that he had made man, and it grieved him at his Heart: This is spoken by a Figure called Anthropopathia. In another place it is said, God is not as Man, that he should repent When God is said to repent or grieve, 'tis spoken by a Figure, and must not be properly taken, and so likewise, when God is said to have Eyes, Hands, Face, if we be not careful to understand these things aright, we shall mightily dishonour God. So that these things are spoken after the manner of Men, in [Page 13]condescention to us Poor, Weak, Shallow, Crea­tures; but must be careful to understand them, so as to consist with the immutability and per­fection of God. We must not have such low thoughts of the Majesty of God, as to think that God ever had, or can have Perturbation or Sorrow at any thing, for that is inconsistent with his insinite Happiness and Perfection: But this expression of Gods repenting that he had made Man, and that it grieved him at the Heart, is only to set forth the extream, extraordinary wick­edness of the old World, not the least perturbation and sorrow in God, for he is infinitely above such things: Ah! What need of Humility and Pray­er to God for guidance for the understanding of the Scripture.

3. You say that God gave them a Preacher of Righteousness, and an bundred years space to Re­pent in.

I Answer, if they had had a thousand thou­sand Preachers of Righteousness as good as Noah was, and better, and had not only a hundred years space to repent in, but had had never so many thousand of years, this was not enough to Convert one of them, without Gods special Grace working a new Heart in them, and as to Noah him­self, he was as bad by nature as the rest: But Noah found Grace in the sight of the Lord, Gen. 6.8. not only to preserve him and his Family when the Floud came; but Noah found Grace in the sight of the Lord, to make him a real Saint, and to be Righteous before God in that Genera­tion: If the rest had found Grace in the sight of the Lord, they had been turned to God too.

4. You add that you are sure if they had Repen­ted, God would not have desiroyed them; for he hath taught us so to judge of his threatnings to a sinful Nation.

I Answer that Repentance is twofold.

1. There is such a Repentance as Ahab had: A change of mens Thoughts and Conversations meerly out of slavish fear of outward Judg­ments here, or of Hell hereafter; and upon such Repentance God may please, God doth please sometimes to defer outward Judgments, and to bestow outward Mercies, and when it is so, God purposed to give such Repentance in order to that end, for we must by no means ad­mit that there can be any new immanent Acts in God, any new purposes and intentions in him with whom there is no variableness: There is no mutability in the Divine Majesty, from Eternity to Eternity.

2. There is saving Repentance, or Repentance to Salvation, such as Gods Children have given them, when God takes away the Heart of Stone, and gives them an Heart of Flesh, that is, Sor­row for Sin, accompanied with Faith and Reli­ance on Gods free Mercy in Christ, for pardon of Sin, and desire and endeavour to walk so as to please God, to be sure such shall never pe­rish in the World to come, though they suffer in common Calamities here in this World.

There is a Connexion between true Repen­tance and Salvation, not for any Merit in our Repentance: But so hath the Lord in infinite Wisdom ordained from Eternity, and hath in time manifested it in his word, that those that he is pleased to bestow glory upon hereafter, [Page 15]he bestows upon him them the beginnings of of grace here, both were intended eternally to their particular persons, and from his meer good plea­sure, and the exceeding Riches of his Grace. Those that God had a purpose of grace to from Eternity, them he calls in time, according to his purpose, Rom. 8.28. Whom he hath predestinated, them he hath also called, v. 30. 2 Tim. 1.9. Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our Works; but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the World began. Others besides the elect, are called by the Preaching of the Word, yea, and may have inlightning and Con­victions of the Spirit, and God hath Wise and Holy ends in it:

To Restrain some of them from being Perse­cutors of the Church, and to restrain them from gross Idolatry, and such like Sins, where­by they are less punished in Hell.

2. That his elect may adore for ever his Free, Special and Discriminating Grace, that they should be savingly Converted, when some that lived under the same outward means of Grace, and some of them had great Convictions and Enlightning too, and exceeded many of them, it may be in notional knowledge, and such com­mon gifts of the Spirit: And yet they are sa­vingly turned to God, when others are never so changed: Many other Holy ends might be mentioned, why God affordeth the Preaching of the Word to many, upon whom he never purposed, and intended to bestow special and saving Grace. But to the Elect, God gives spe­cial Grace; and this the Apostle saith, is not ac­cording [Page 16]to their works, that is, not for any worthiness or towardliness in them above others, but according to his own Purpose and Grace, which was given them in Christ Jesus, before the World began: That is, was promised them to Christ in the Covenant of Redemption between the Father and the Son from Eternity: For which purpose and Grace, they shall be enabled to praise God to Eternity.

2. Then you come to the Jews, and say to the Doctor, is it possible you should call in question Gods Seriousness to the Jews? Did not God say to them, Psal. 81.13. O that they had hearkned unto me, and that Israel had walked in my ways! With v. 8. and 10.

I answer, as to God's Seriousness, and be­ing Serious, I told you before, I do not like that such words should be used, when we speak of the most high God: but that which the Do­ctor put you to prove, is, that God purposed or in­tended to Convert those Jews that in the Conclusion were not Converted. As for these words, O that they had hearkened unto me! and that Israel had walked in my ways!

1. Some observe, that the words that we translate [O that] might be rendered [O if] so they are rendred by the Septuagint, and the Targum; and so they only shew the issue of their Obedience, if they had obeyed the Law of the Lord.

2. This is spoken of Israel only; what is that to all mankind? The Jews had some peculiar Pro­mises as to being preserved in the Land of Ca­naan, and to give them plenty of outward things, if they continued to worship the True-God, [Page 17]and observe his Ordinances, tho' but in an outward way, tho without Spirituality and Sincerity. God had said to them, Vers. 9. There shall be no strange God in thee, nei­ther shalt thou worship any strange God: But they fell to Idolatry and so forfeited God's protection to them in the Land of Canaan, and so the Lord shews, that if they had hearkened unto him, to have no strange Gods, and to walk in his ways tho', as I said, but formally and out­wardly) God would soon have subdued their Ene­mies, Vers. 14. and the Lord saith, he would have fed them with the finest of the Wheat, and with Honey out of the Rock would he have satis­fied them, Vers. 16. So that this place speaks of Temporal Blessings only. Nothing of God's Intention and Pleasure to give Eternal Salvati­on to all that People, and so is nothing to the purpose. See what is said of the generality of that People of the Jews, Deut. 29.2, 3, 4. God hath not given you a Heart to perceive, and Eyes to see, and Ears to hear unto this day. No doubt God gave to Moses, and his Elect amongst them, a new Heart; but as to the generality of the People, God did not give them Hearts to per­ceive, Eyes to see, and Ears to hear, which he doth infallibly give to them, to whom he pur­posed and intended to do it for them. No Text of Scripture must be understood so as to make God Impotent instead of Omnipotent, which he should be if he could be disappointed in bringing to pass what he hath purposed and intended to do.

You say that Christ was inwardly serious in his endeavours to gather Jerusalem, appears by his words and tears which are such as may break a Heart of Stone.

I answer, The Texts, tho' you don't set them down, are Matt. 23.37. Luke 19.41, 42, 43, 44. And when he was come near, he beheld the City, and wept over it, saying, if thou hadst known, even thou at least, in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine Eyes; for the days shall come upon thee that thine Enemies shall cast a trench about thee, &c.

So that our Saviour is not speaking about the Eternal Damnation of the Jews, but of the Temporal Destruction of Jerusalem, and the People of the Jews, which came upon them a­bout forty years after. It was such a Desolati­on as never was, according as our Saviour had foretold. But observe, notwithstanding the Destruction that came upon that People, all the Elect amongst them were Converted; and between this Prophecy, and Threatning, and the Destruction of Jerusalem, there was a great and famous Church at Jerusalem, as we may see in the Acts: So that our Saviour doth not mean, that the things that belonged to their Spiritual and Eternal Peace, were hid from all the People of the Jews; for many of them be­lieved, and were saved after this time: but that the things that belonged to the outward peace and safety of their City and Land, were now so hid from the Eyes of the generality of that People, and that God would lay their City and Land waste in a short space.

And for that place, Matt. 23.37. O Jerusa­lem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the Prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy Children together, even [Page 19]as a Hen gathereth her Chickens under her Wings, and ye would not! behold your House is left unto you desolate: and in the next Chapter, Mat. 24. he shews what Desolation should come upon Je­rusalem. As if Christ had said, You have had many Prophets before, that called you to Re­pentance, and you have stoned, and killed them, and how often would I have gathered you for your safety, to prevent your Ruin by the Roman Eagles, that will as easily kill and destroy you, as the Eagle doth the Chickens, and ye would not.

Our Saviour, as he was God, so he was Man; and some Speeches and Actions belong to him as Man. Christ as Man preached to the Jews as a Minister of the Circumcision: He was a Minister and Prophet to the Jews, and would have gathered them as Man, whom he would not gather as God­man Mediator. Surely as God he could have gathered them, so as to prevent both their Tem­poral and Eternal Destruction, if he had pleased; and as God-man Mediator he did gather the E­lect amongst them as to Eternal Salvation.

And for what you say concerning Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, such as may break a Heart of Stone:

I pray consider, this may give more light in­to this whole business; that this is spoken of Christ only as he was man, and not as he was God: And so it is said when Christ went to Lazarus's Grave, Jesus wept, John 11.36. Surely when Christ wept over Jerusalem, and over Lazarus, it was only as man, he did not weep as he was Gods As he was Man he had such sinless Passions as Humane Nature hath; but as he was God he [Page 20]was above all weeping and sorrow whatsoever.

But when you say that Christ's Tears over Je­rusalem were such as might break a Heart of Stone: you must know, that Christ's pouring out of Tears as Man, is not sufficient to break an Heart of Stone. It is only Christ pouring out of his Spirit upon us, as he is God-man Mediator, that can break an Heart of Stone: So that you have done nothing to prove, that when God doth graciously purpose and intend to convert a Man, that he doth not effect it.

Ay, but you add, that sure you are, that God's Mind in sending Christ to them, was to turn every one of them from their Iniquities, Acts 3. ult.

Let us enquire into the meaning of that Scrip­ture, Acts. 3.25, 26. Peter preaching to the Jews, saith, Ye are the Children of the Prophets, and of the Covenant made with our Fathers, say­ing to Abraham, In thy Seed shall all the kindreds of the Earth be blessed: unto you first God having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his Iniquities.

The Apostle Peter was now preaching to the Jews, and tells them, that they had been so wicked, as to deliver up Christ to Pilate, deny­ed him to be the Messiah, and had killed the Prince of Life, Vers. 13, 14, 15. yet he exhorts them to Repent, and be Converted that their sins might be blotted out, Vers. 19. Now whereas those that were Convinced, that be­sides their other sins, they had been guilty of Crucifying the Lord of Glory, they might think there was no hope for their Salvation. He tells them, that they were the Children of A­braham, [Page 21]to whom God promised, that by the Messiah, who came of his Seed, according to the Flesh, all the Kindreds of the Earth; all the Elect amongst the Gentiles, as well as the Jews, should be eternally blessed: Therefore, tho' these Jews should be greatly humbled for their having a hand in Christ's death, yet they should not despair of Mercy: For unto you first God having raised up his Son Jesus, hath sent him to bless you, in turning every one of you from his Iniquities; that is, that they should obtain Mer­cy, be blessed, and saved, any one, every one of these Jews to whom Peter preached, notwith­standing all the evil that they had done, if now the Lord were pleased to give them a Heart to believe in Christ, whom they had Crucified. The Jews, notwithstanding they had Crucified Christ, were to have a priority in having Christ preached to them, and Salvation by him. This is all that is intended in the words. It was far from Peter's meaning, that God purposed to save every particular man and woman of the Jewish Nation then living, and to turn them from their Iniquities, for then it should have been effected, for the Counsel of the Lord stand­eth sure, and the Thoughts of his Heart to all Generations. What do men mean in wresting Texts of Scripture, thus to dishonour the most high God, as if he were uncertain to effect what he purposes, and intends to do, as if he were like Man, whose Purposes are often broken off and disappointed: No, our God is wonder­ful in Counsel, and mighty in working; his Counsel shall stand, and he will do all his Plea­sure. As to this of the Jews, compare Scrip­ture [Page 22]with Scripture, and you will find, that God never sent Christ to save and convert all the Jews, Isaiah 8.14, 15. 'Tis a Prophecy of Christ, and he shall be for Sanctuary (to the E­lect amongst them) but for a stone of stumbling, and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Is­rael (to the generality and Body of the Jews) for a gin and for a snare to the Inhabitants of Jerusalem; and many amongst them shall fall, and be broken, and be snared, and taken. And the Apostle Pe­ter, 1 Epist. 2.8. after he had said that Christ was precious to those that believe, he adds, and a stone of stumbling, and rock of offence to them that stumble at the Word, being disobedient, whereunto also they were appointed: And Simeon spake by the Holy Ghost, Luke 2.34. Behold this Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel, and for a sign that shall be spoken against. And when the Disciples said unto Jesus, why speak­est thou to them in Parables? he answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the Mysteries of the Kingdom of Heaven, but to them it is not given, Matt. 13.10.11. and Luke 8.10. Ʋnto you it is given to know the My­steries of the Kingdom, but to others in Parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand. 'Tis said too in another place, when they were alone he expounded all things to his Disciples; yea (tho' others are ready to dispute, and quarrel with God about it) when Chorazin, Bethsaida and Capernaum repent­ed not: At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of Heaven and Earth, because thou hast bid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes, even [Page 23]so Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight, Matth. 11.25, 26. These Scriptures make it plain, that God never purposed nor intended to convert and save the generality of the Jews, but only them, whom he had ordained unto Life Eternal.

4. You say, as to the Pharisees, God did by his Servant John seriously call them to Repen­tance: yea, his Counsel was of God, Luk. 7.29. who never said to the House of Jacob, seek ye my Face in vain.

I answer, as to that place, Luk. 7.29.30. the words are, And all the people that heard him, and the Publicans, justified God, being Baptised with the Baptism of John, but the Parisees and Lawyers rejected the Counsel of God against themselves, be­ing not Baptised of him: For the understanding of this Scripture observe,

1. What is meant by this. That the genera­lity of the Jews that were Baptized of John, they justified God? the meaning is, that they ac­knowledged, that God had sent them a great Prophet to call them to Repentance, and they submitted to the Ordinance of Baptism that he was sent to administer, not that the generality of the people that were Baptized of John, were truly converted; for John's Preaching and Baptism came to little: for when he carried them fur­ther in his Preaching, to set forth, that Jesus was the Messiah, the Saviour that was to come into the World, they would not own him to be the Christ. Indeed John was a burning and shining light, and for a season the people re­joiced in his light; but the generality of the Jews did not believe that Jesus was the Christ: [Page 24]But tho' some of them did admire him for his Miracles and Preaching for a while, yet the Pharisees, at the last, did carry it with the ge­nerality of the people of Jerusalem, and they cryed out, Let him be Crucified; and said, His Blood be upon us, and on our Children.

2. Consider what is meant by the Pharisees and Lawyers rejecting the Counsel of God against them­selves, not being Baptized of him. The meaning is, that they wholly rejected the Command of God by his Servant John; they did not so much as make a shew of Repentance, nor were Baptized of him, as many of the common people were; nor would own at all, that Jesus was the Christ, as John preached he was. What is all this to prove, that God purposed and intended to con­vert these Pharisees, and yet they were not con­verted. As for those words you mention, I­sai. 45.19. He hath not said to the House of Ja­cob, seek ye me in vain: 'Tis certain, that never any Jew or Gentile that ever did seek God with all their Heart, diligently and sincerely in Christ the Mediator, that ever it was in vain: But you are quite off from the business in hand, which is to prove, that God doth purpose and intend to give any persons Hearts to seek him aright in Christ, and that God fails in the effecting and doing of it. Then you conclude your Letter to the Dr. that Ministers, may boldly assure poor Souls, that God wills not their death, but that they turn and live; yea, he hath sworn, that he hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked.

To speak a little of this; Preachers had need have a care that they speak right things of God.

1. As to assuring men that God wills not their death, take it as to particular persons; take any man that is yet in his Sins, how can you tell him, and assure him, that God wills not his death? Hath not the Lord said, The Soul that sinneth, it shall die? and cursed is every one that continueth not in every thing that is written in the Book of the Law, Gal. 3.10. so that all men are con­demned by the Law. Well, come to the Go­spel; He that believeth not shall be damned: Sure­ly, according to the way of the Gospel, if God do not give them Faith and Repentance, God wills their death and damnation; for none can be damned but those whose Damnation God wills, to glorifie his Justice. God wills the Salvation of all that are saved, and he wills the Death and Damnation of all that are damned: Surely, you hold, that God wills the death of those that are never converted.

2. As to assuring men, that God wills that they turn and live: take it in this sense, that where the Gospel is preached, God commands men to turn unto him and live; and that all that do turn unto him, all to whom God giveth Grace to turn to him, shall live: But canyou tell a company of People that are yet in their sins, that you can assure them, that God will give them Grace to turn unto him, that they may live. That man that could indeed assure all people that come to hear him, that God will certainly and infallibly give them a new Heart to turn unto him and live; this were a rare Preacher, indeed: but this no mortal man can assure all people of.

The way that Preachers are to go, is, first, [Page 26]to shew men, how all have sinned, and come short of the Glory of God, and that God is Righte­ous, tho' he should take vengeance upon them for e­ver. To shew them that there is no help and hope in their own Righteousness or Strength; and to shew, Christ is an Alsufficient Saviour to all Believers; that whosoever believeth on him, shall not perish, but have everlasting life: And to exhort them to pray to God to give them true Faith and Re­pentance, to shew them that they have not a good thought or desire, but what God works in them; that it is not enough for Conversion, to have Commands, Promises, and Threatnings set before them tho' God makes use of these; but to tell them as our Saviour did, that none can come to Christ, but those whom the Father draws: None but those to whom it is given of the Father; and that Sighs and good Moods, and Resolutions in their own Strength are far short of true Conversion; and that they pray and wait in the use of God's Ordinances, that the Lord, of the exceeding riches of his Grace, would give them a new Heart and Spirit, that they may find, that God hath put his fear in their Hearts, that thro' his Grace they may find not only some sudden flashes, and sudden reso­lutions to turn to God, but a penitent frame of Heart for sin, a prizing of Christ, adoring of God's free Grace in him, and desire and endea­vour to walk with God. But to entertain peo­ple with Discourses of By-opinions and Contro­versies, and to talk of Universal Redemption is but to do people hurt instead of good: yea, upon preaching of Universal Redemption, Ex­perience hath shewn, that people generally are [Page 27]more Carnal and Prophane in their lives.

Now to explain Ezekiel 18.32. I have no plea­sure in the death of him that dieth: and Eze­kiel 33.11. As I live, saith the Lord God, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way, and live; turn ye, turn ye, from your evil ways, for why will ye dye, O House of Israel?

1. This is spoken to the House of Israel, not of all mankind. They were the Children of Abraham, his Friend, they were under the ex­ternal Dispensation of the Covenant of Grace; what is this to all mankind? The Gentiles, they were aliens to the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the Covenant of Promise, having no Hope, and without God in the World, Eph. 2.12.

2. God hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, as it is the pain and misery of the Crea­ture; so God hath no pleasure in the torments of the Devils, and damned in Hell: yet it is his holy plea­sure to punish them there to Eternity, for the glorifying of his Justice. And when God Com­mands the people of Israel, saying, Turn ye, turn ye, why will you dye? he shews them that Obedience is acceptable to him, but not that e­ver he purposed, and intended to give all their Hearts a saving turn, which he could have done, if it had pleased him.

3. Compare Scripture with Scripture: God saith, Ezekiel 5.11. Neither shall mine Eye spare, neither will I have any pity, v. 13. Thus shall mine anger be accomplished, and I will cause my fury to rest upon them, and I will be comforted; Minuit vindicta dolorem. Isai. 1.24. Ah, I [Page 28]will ease me of mine Adversaries, and avenge me of mine Enemies: in the Hebrew it is, I will com­fort my self] in shewing my Wrath and Justice upon them, Proverbs 1.25.26. but ye have set at nought all my Counsels, and would have none of my Reproofs, I also will laugh at your Calamity, and mock when you Fear cometh. All these texts of Scripture; those in Ezekiel 18.32.33.11. and those in Isaiah 1.24. Ezekiel 5.11, 13. Pro­verbs 1.25, 26. must be understood with great Caution and Sobriety. God doth often speak af­ter the manner of men to our shallow Capaci­ties, but we must understand all Scripture so as to know that there are no Passions in God's immutable Essence, nor any change in his Purposes for ever. So much in answer to this Author's Letter to Doctor Collings.

But he is up with the Doctor again, Pag. 17. concerning Voluntas signi, and Voluntas beneplaci­ti; but surely he doth not rightly english volun­tas beneplaciti, or else his Printer hath not done right, for he calls it (his acceptable Will.) That which Divines mean by voluntas beneplaci­ti, is what God himself hath decreed shall infallibly come to pass: But as this Author speaks, this di­stinction of Divines would be no distinction at all; for to be sure, what God commands is ac­ceptable to him: but the meaning of Divines by voluntas beneplaciti, is not what is acceptable to God from Man as his duty, but what God him­self pleases to do, or suffers to be done for his Glory.

This distinction of Divines being well under­stood, is a great help to the understanding of many places of Scripture: God gives out Pre­cepts [Page 29]and Commands to men for several wise and holy Ends.

1. To shew his Lordship and Authority, that he hath an absolute dominion over them, to command what he pleases.

2. To shew what is good and acceptable to him, to shew what is their Duty.

3. To shew them their inability, weakness, and in­sufficiency; that man may see what cause he hath to be humbled, and lye low before God; for man of himself can do nothing of what God commandeth, from a right Principle, and to a right End, but what God pleases to work in us, and do for us; that is another thing, indeed as to his Elect, what he commands them as their Duty he purposes and promiseth to do for them of his meer Grace and good pleasure. Tho' man by his fall hath lost his power to obey, yet surely God hath not lost his power to command: God gives some Grace to obey, to others he doth not give Grace: Who shall dispose of his Grace but him­self?

Further to illustrate this distinction of Di­vines concerning God's Will of Precept, what he commands men to do; and his Will of Pur­pose, what he will certainly and infallibly do himself: Let it be observed, that God's Will, as to some Precepts and Commands to men do vary, and alter as it pleaseth him. As for ex­ample, several ritual Commands about the Worship of God, which he required in his Worship under the Old Testament, are altered under the New Testament: But take God's Will for his Purposes and Intentions, what he will do, and he is of one mind, unchangeable from Eternity to Eternity.

Yea, to make this Distinction far more evi­dent, God doth sometimes give out a Command to Man to do a thing, and yet may absolutely purpose and intend to hinder a Man from doing of it; as in the case of God's Command to Abraham, to offer his Son Isaac, Gen. 22.2. And he said, take now thy Son, thine only Son Isaac, and get thee to the Land of Moriah, and offer him there upon one of the Mountains that I will tell thee of: Abraham prepared all things to obey this Com­mand of God: and v. 10, 11, 12. and after he had bound his Son, stretched out his Hand, and took the Knife to slay his Son, the Lord called unto him, and said, Lay not thy Hand upon thy Son, neither do thou any thing unto him: Here we see that God gave out a Command to do a thing which he never purposed and intended to be be done; yea, which he resolved to hinder the doing of; therefore it is one thing for God to command us to do a thing, and another thing for God to purpose and intend this thing shall cer­tainly be effected: Yea, take another instance concerning Pharaoh, Exod. 4.21. And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into E­gypt, see that thou do all those wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine Hand; but I will harden his Heart, that he shall not let the people go. God sent a Command to Pharaoh to let the People of Israel go out of his Land, Exod. 5.1. but before ever Moses came to Pha­raoh with this Message and Command, God said to Moses, I am sure that the King of Egypt will not let you go, no not by a mighty hand, Exod. 3.19. So here you see, that God, as So­vereign Lord, may give out a Command to [Page 31]shew his Authority over Man, and require a thing of Man as his Duty, when he doth not intend to enable a Man to do it: Yea, when God intends to harden a Man's Heart; that is, intends to leave Man to the Corruption of his own Heart, that he shall never do what God commands him. If you will not adore the In­comprehensible Majesty and Ways of God, but compare him with Man, put Laws upon God, that he must do, as Man is bound to do; then, I say, this borders upon Blasphemy, if it be not down-right Blasphemy against the most high God.

CHAP. III. An Answer to this Author's Letter to Mr. H. wherein this Author pre­tends to bring several places of Scripture for Ʋniversal Redemption.

IT seems Mr. H. sent a Paper of Verses to this Author: He answereth these Verses by a Letter, and with this very Humble and Civil Direction [To the Nameless and Nonsensical Poet] indeed I have seen these Verses, and truly, to speak my Judgment of them, tho' this Author calls them Nonsensical, yet they were written with great Judgment [excepting the Scriptures which this Author quotes, which are excellent in themselves, however wrested and mistaken by Men;] I think there is more Truth and good Sense in those Verses, than in all this Author's Book. [Page 32]'Tis true, he that made those Verses did not shew himself to be a good Poet; but he shewed himself a knowing Christian; and tho' I have known the Person many years, yet I could not have expected, that he could have framed so many solid Arguments against Universal Re­demption; and if I had known before hand, that he would have written to this Author, I would have advised him to have written in Prose, and not in Verse. Good Poetry is one thing, and good Sense is another.

These Verses were against Universal Re­demption: This Author in Answer to this Let­ter brings several Scriptures for Universal Re­demption which are now to be explained.

When the Papists bring for Transubstantiati­on the words of our Saviour; This is my B dy: We deny Transubstantiation, but we don't de­ny the words of our Saviour; but shew the meaning of the words to be otherwise than they understand them: So in dealing with this Author, we do not deny the Scripture; we hold, that Christ dyed for all, for every Man, for the whole World; that is, for all the Elect, for all Believers of all Nations, of all Ranks throughout the whole World; and we say no more is intended in any of those Expressions, but that this Author, and those that are of his Opinion, mistake the meaning of the Scrip­tures.

Before I come to explain the Scriptures this Author brings for Universal Redemption:

1. Let it be considered. that the words [all] [every] [the World] [and the [whole World] do not always signify all Adam's Posterity, but [Page 33]must be taken in a limited, restrained Sense; yea, sometimes but for a few, that there is no­thing can be concluded from those Expressions, but by considering the Subject matter spoken of, and the Circumstances of the places of Scripture where those Expressions are used.

1. As for example of the word [all] it is not always meant of all Adam's Posterity, but sometimes of but few Persons, Psal. 145.14. The Lord upholdeth all that fall: whereas Men fall into sin and misery; yea, the greatest part of mankind into Hell it self, and the Lord doth not prevent these things: The meaning is on­ly, that those that are upheld, and kept out of Sin and Misery here, or Hell hereafter, he it is that upholds them; but this all that the Lord upholds, are indeed but a small number in comparison of those that God doth not up­hold. The Jews said to John, chap. 3.26. He to whom thou barest witness, behold the same Bap­tizeth, and all Men come to him; when it was so few that came to Christ, so that John saith, vers. 32. that no Man (comparatively) received his Testimony.

2. For that Expression [every Man.] it is of­ten to be taken in a limited restrained Sense, Luk. 16.16. The Law and the Prophets were un­til John, since that time the Kingdom of God is preached, and every Man presseth into it: It was only some of all sorts, and very few in compa­rison of those that were then living in the World, 1 Cor. 12.7. But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to every Man to profit withal; when indeed the manifestation of the Spirit there spoken of, the extraordinary gifts of the [Page 34]Spirit are given to few, very few; but the meaning is only, that to every one of those to whom this Manifestation of the Spirit is given, it is, that they may profit others with it. A­gain, 1 Cor. 4.5. the Apostle speaking of the Day of Judgment, saith, That then shall every Man have praise of God; which is meant only of every true Believer; for the greatest part of Adam's Posterity shall not then have praise of God, but have the Sentence of Eternal Damna­tion pass against them.

3. As for the word [World] and [whole world] these Expressions are sometimes taken too in a limited, restrained Sense, John 12.19. The Pharisees therefore said amongst themselves, Perceive ye how ye prevail nothing? Behold the World is gone after him: whereas it was but few, very few of Men then living in the World that went after Christ, and owned him in any Sense, it was only of a few in that little Country of Judea that were there spoken of, Luk. 2.1. And it came to pass in those Days, that there went out a Decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the World should be taxed; it was but all the Jews, as some Expositors think; however it was but all that were subject to the Romans, which were far from being all Mankind then living in the World.

I might give many more Instances that the word, all, and every Man, the World, and all the World, are taken in a limited and restrained Sense sometimes; and that nothing can be col­lected rightly from such Expressions, but as the Matter treated of, and the Circumstances of the place shall require.

2. I would enquire in what Sense we are to [Page 35]understand Christ's dying, that we may know what we dispute about: Let us consider,

1. Who it was that dyed for Sinners, and this may give light into this Controversie, tho' it was only the Humane Nature of Christ that dyed, or was capable of dying; yet the Person was God, the fellow of the Lord of Hosts: therefore God is said to purchase the Church with his own Blood, Act. 20. 28. If Christ, indeed, had not been God by nature, then People might have had such low, underva­luing thoughts of his Death, as that he might dye in vain as to some; yea, as to all he dyed for: But we that do believe he was God-man, cannot believe but that he will infallibly save all that he dyed for. Indeed, if we did not be­lieve the Doctrine of the Trinity, and that Christ is the second Person of the for ever bles­sed and glorious Trinity: and that he is the Son of God by Ineffable Eternal Generati­on, very God as the Father is; and that he took upon him Human Nature, that he might suffer the Punishment of our Sins, and redeem and save us; we would never contend about his Death, who he dyed for; because, if he had not been the Brightness of the Father's Glory, and the express Image of his Person, he could never, by himself, have purged away our Sins by the Sacrifice of himself. It is to be feared, that some Arminians are Socinians too: Anti­trinitarians, as Michael Servetus was, of whom I shall speak afterwards, if God permit. And in­deed Arminianism prepares the way to Socinia­nism, if God does not graciously stop Men in the way of Errour. So that this I lay down as [Page 36]a Basis and Foundation for an Enquiry who Christ dyed for; that all would consider the Eminency, yea, the Infiniteness of the Person that dyed for us. It was he that was in the form of God, and thought it not robbery to be equal with God, tho' he took upon him the form of a Servant, and was found in fashion as a Man, and was obe­dient to Death, even the Death of the Cross, to redeem his Church. This was the greatest wonder that ever was done in this World: It is the astonishment of Angels and Men to E­ternity; and can any imagin, that God was manifest in the Flesh, and dyed in vain for any for whose sake he bare the Punishment of their Sins, and went through unutterable pain and suffering for their Redemption.

2. Let us consider what is the sense and mean­ing of Christ's dying for us; It is, that Christ dyed in our stead, as our Surety, and as a proper Sacrifice for our Sins. Christ dyed, not only for our good; as the Socinians speak; but in our stead, as well as for our good: Our Iniquities were laid upon him, Isai. 53.6. He bare our Sins in his own Body upon the Tree, 1 Pet. 2.23. He suffered for Sins, the Just for the Ʋnjust, 1 Pet. 3.18. for all the Sins whatsoever of them, for whom he dy­ed, Rom. 4. ult. Who was delivered for our Offences, and was raised again for our Justification. Those for whom Christ dyed, he made an absolute, perfect satisfaction for all their [...] yea, pur­chased Converting and Keeping Grace for them here, and Glory hereafter: He did not do the work of Mediator and Saviour by halves, He obtained Eternal Redemption for those for whom he dyed, Heb. 9.12. he gave himself for [Page 37]those for whom he dyed, to Merit and Purchase for them Faith, Repentance, Grace and Glory to be infallibly bestowed upon them in the Lords appointed time and season, 1 Pet. 1.18, 19. Titus 3.13, 14. as I shall endeavour to shew in a Chapter by it self.

But as for this Author, and those of his way, though they make a great noise about Christs dying for all Adams Posterity: Yet they do real­ly deny that Christ dyed for any Man or Woman in the World, in a true Scripture Sense; that is, that Christ so dyed for any, as to make Satisfaction for all their Sins, and to purchase saving Grace here, and Glory hereafter, to be infallibly be­stowed upon their particular persons; For they say that notwithstanding Christs Death, there might not one Man or Woman in the World have been saved. The truth is, though some may mean well, and think they exalt Christ by the Doctrine of Universal Redemption: Yet they do debase and dishonour Christ, and bring all at last to Mans Meriting his own Salvati­on.

1. I say that Arminians do Debase, Dis­grace, and Dishonour Christ, and that Glori­ous, and for ever to be adored Redemption by him. They talk indeed of Universal Redemp­tion by Christ, but indeed it is an Ʋniversal, no­thing in comparison of that True, Perfect and Eter­nal Redemption that our Lord Jesus Christ hath wrought for those for whom he dyed; which shall infallibly bring them to Grace here, and Glory hereafter, as shall, God willing, be manifested afterwards.

2. I say that Arminians, (whether they do [Page 38]really intend it or no,) bring all at last to Man Meriting his own Salvation. For if God the Father did no more in Electing a particular per­son to Grace and Glory, and the Son of God in Redemption, and the Holy Ghost in infusing a new Heart for those that are Saved, than for those that perish for ever: Then those that are Saved, it is by their own Merits, Worthiness, Towardliness and Goodness above others; and so they are not Saved by meer Grace, not by any Special Discriminating Grace from the Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost to them; and so, whereas God hath ordered it so, that no Flesh should glory and boast in his presence; These lay a Foundation for pride and self-conceit, and make poor provision for admiring free special Discriminating Grace here, and to Eternity in Heaven. Yea, one of the Arminians in answer to that question, who maketh thee to differ? would not mince the matter as some others do: But boldly and roundly answered to the Apostles question, I make my self to differ.

These things being premised, I shall now close with you upon the Scriptures you bring, and shall make it manifest (if the Lord put in by his Spirit to give Light) they do not hold forth that Christ dyed for all Adams Poste­rity.

1. The first you name is Hebrews 29. We see Jesus made a little lower than the Angels, for the suffering of Death, Crowned with Glory and Ho­nour, that he by the Grace of God should tast death for every Man.

This Scripture this Author cites in the first place, and Mr. J. C. in his Book called Re­demption [Page 39]redeemed, counts this Text the ful­lest of all other places for Universal Redempti­on; but indeed 'tis a notable Text against it, and may give us much light how to understand the word [all,] and [every Man] and [the World] in other places of Scripture.

1. The Apostle shews what was the cause of Gods giving his Son to tast Death for us, it was the grace of God; the for ever to be Adored grace of God, the exceeding Riches of his grace that ever was, or can be to those persons that God gave his Son to dye for.

2. He expresseth what Christ suffered for them in pursuance of Gods eternal and infinite grace to those persons whose Surety and Mediator he was, and that is set forth by tasting of Death for them; whereby is meant, the bitter Passion of Christ, suffering in his Soul and Body, to bear the Curse of the Law; the Wrath of God due to their Sins, that so they might not bear it themselves.

3. He shews who it was that Christ tasted Death for, this bitter Death; in the Greek it is [ [...]] which, lest any should think is meant of all Adam's Posterity, it is restrained by the Apostle himself; he shews it was only for the Elect: for it follows, v. 10. For it be­came him, for whom are all things, in bringing ma­ny Sons unto Glory, to make the Captain of their Salvation perfect through Sufferings: So that the Apostle shews, that the all that Christ tasted Death for, are all the Sons that are to be brought to Glory: all that God hath Predestinated to the Adoption of Children, Christ tasted Death for all them, and only them.

Again, he shews who were intended by the all that Christ tasted Death for, by calling him, The Captain of their Salvation; that those that Christ, as their Captain and Leader, would in­fallibly conduct to Salvation, v. 11. For both he that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified are all of one: The all, and every one, that Christ tasted Death for, is restrained by the Apostle again, to all those that are, or shall be sanctified by the Blood and Spirit of the Lord Jesus their Sanctifier, and in the end of v. 11. it is said, For which cause he is not ashamed to call them Brethren: and v. 12. I will declare thy Name unto my Brethren, in the midst of the Church will I sing Praise unto thee: So that the all that Christ tasted Death for, is all that he makes Believers, makes his Brethren, makes his Church; and v. 13. Behold, I and the Children which God hath given me: So that those that Christ tasted Death for, is limited to those that the Father hath given him, and are the Children of God by Faith in Jesus Christ; such as are given to Christ, to bring all of them, at last, to be actually the Children of God: So that all things considered, as I said before, we have the Apostles example in enquiring into the true meaning of any Scripture that speaks of Christ's dying for all, giving himself a Ransom for all, his being a Propitiation for the Sins of the whole World: to restrain and limit such Expressions to the Sons that were to be brought to Glory: to those that Christ was to make Brethren: to those that are, or shall be sanctified by him, to his Church; to those that were given him of the Father, to be certainly and infallibly brought to Glory.

2. The next place this Author bringeth for Universal Redemption, is, 1 John 2.2. Who is a Propitiation for our Sins; and not for ours only, but also for the Sins of the whole World. Now for the finding out the true meaning of this Scripture,

1. Observe, that this Epistle was written to the Jews, v. 7. Brethren, I write no new Com­mandment unto you, but an old Commandment, which ye had from the beginning: It was the Jews that had the Commandments of God; the sum of which old Commandments was, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine Heart, and thy Neighbour, as thy self, Matth. 22.37, 38, 39. As for the Gentiles, they had not the written Law committed to them, Psal. 147.19, 20. He sheweth his Word unto Jacob, his Statutes and his Judgments unto Israel; He hath not dealt so with any Nation; and as for his Judgments they have not known them.

2. Consider, that when the time came, that the Lord would visit the Gentiles, and that the Gospel should be preached unto them, it was expedient that there should be such Expressions used, that Christ was the Propitiation for the Sins of the whole World, not only to encou­rage the Gentiles to look after Christ, but also, in respect of the Jews, who did generally de­spise the other Nations of the World, and thought the Messiah was only for them; yea, for a time, the Jews that believed could hardly bear to hear of the calling of the Gentiles. Therefore the Apostle shews that Christ was not only a Propitiation for the Sins of Believers amongst the Jews, but for the Believers a­mongst the Gentiles throughout the whole World.

3. The word [Propitiation] will give light into the meaning of the place, and determine the true sense and meaning of it; for what is it for Christ to be a Propitiation for our Sins? it is to make Satisfaction and Reconciliation for our Sins; an absolute and perfect Satisfaction for all our Sins, to the Law and Justice of God; and this is laid up with the Faithful­ness of the Father to be certainly and infalli­bly bestowed upon us in the Lord's appointed time. Those that Christ hath died for, he hath made such an absolute and eternal Satisfaction and Reconciliation for their Sins, for all their Sins, that they shall certainly be Called, Sanctifi­ed, and Eternally Saved: So that as Divines have observed the true sense and meaning of this place before us, is the same with what we have, John 11.51, 52. And this spake he, not of himself; but being High-Priest that year, he pro­phesied, that Jesus should die for that Nation, (that is, the Nation of the Jews) and not for that Nation only, but that also he should gather to­gether in one, the Children of God that were scat­tered abroad: that is, the Elect amongst the Gen­tiles throughout the whole World.

3. Then he cites, 1 Tim. 2.6.7. Who gave himself a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time, whereunto I am ordained a Preacher, and an Apo­stle; (I speak the truth and lie not) a Teacher of the Gentiles in Faith and Verity; for the under­standing of this Scripture.

1. Consider, that when the Apostle wrote this Epistle, the Magistrates were Gentiles, and not Jews; and they were generally wicked Per­secutors, whereupon the Professors of the Gos­pel [Page 43]through their Corruption and Weakness did many of them neglect to pray for them, but rather prayed against them: Now the Apostle puts them upon Prayer for these Magistrates, and shews them, that if God do not please to Con­vert them, yet he can so over-rule them, that they may live peaceable lives, and enjoy the li­berty of God's Worship in their Dominions; yea, the Apostle goes further, he would have them pray for the Conversion of those Wicked, Persecuting Magistrates, and saith, v. 4. That God would have all Men to be saved, and to come un­to the knowledge of the Truth. Some of all sorts and ranks, some Kings and great ones, as well as mean People; and that for any thing they know, God will save, and bring to the knowledge of the Truth, those Wicked Magistrates, that did then persecute the Church; all those that God will have to be saved, he will bring them to the knowledge of the Truth: He can easily do it, tho' for the present they be ignorant of the Truth, therefore he would have them pray, that God would convert them: and whereas some Professors of the Gospel then, were Jews, and were much alienated from the Gentiles, the A­postle would take off their Prejudice from those Kings, and those that were in Authority, because they were Gentiles; and tells them, that there is but one Mediator between God and Man, and that he gave himself a Ransom for all; that is, for all the Elect, whether Jews or Gentiles, and saith, I am a Preacher to the Gentiles; and God hath made me an Instrument in his Hands for the Conversion of many Gentiles; therefore why might not the Lord save, and bring to the [Page 44]knowledge of the Truth, these Kings and great Men, as well as others, if he pleases: and tho' great Men have great Spirits, high, proud Spirits many times, and say, Who is the Lord? yet the King's Heart is in the Hand of the Lord (as well as another Man's) and he turneth it as the Rivers of Water, which way soever he pleases, Prov. 21.1. therefore, v. 8. I will that Men lift up holy Hands without Wrath (for these Kings, and those that are in Authority, tho' they be wicked Persecutors for the present) and without doubting of God's Power to Convert them if he pleases. This Paraphrase upon the words may give light into the true meaning of the place.

2. That which may put all out of doubt con­cerning the meaning of this place. Let it be considered, what it is for Christ to give him­self a Ransom for Men, [ [...]] Christ's Ransoming Souls was not like others Ransom­ing: He gave his Life a Ransom, Matth. 20.28. there never was such a Ransom as he gave; he that was God-man gave his Life a Ransom for many, 'tis said in that place of Matthew; for all, in this place to Timothy; both signify the same, the many that Christ gave himself a Ransom for, are all the Elect Jews or Gentiles. This Ransom that Christ gave, was an Infinite Ran­som, of infinite worth and value; it makes sure and certain the discharge of all those for whom he gave himself a Ransom. When Men do well consider of it, they will not so disparage him, that was God-man, as to think that he gave himself a Ransom for Men, and that yet they should be Prisoners in Hell for ever. If Christ had only died as an Example, as the So­cinians [Page 45]say, or for Mens good, some way or o­ther, it had been another case: but Christ dy­ing in the room and stead of Men, and giving himself a Ransom for them, this Ransom will do all for them to secure their Salvation: And as to Faith, Repentance, and Perseverance in Grace, they all follow upon Christ's giving himself a Ransom; for Christ would not give himself a Ransom at random, at uncertainties, but made sure to purchase such inherent Grace for all those that he gave himself to be a Ran­som, that they shall be effectually converted, adore this Grace that Christ, God-man, should give himself a Ransom for them, and love him, and live to him: So that, I say, the very con­sideration, what it was for Christ, God-man, to give himself a Ransom, is sufficient to restrain, and limit the word all, to all the Elect, to all, and only them that shall be saved.

4. Then this Author brings, 2 Cor. 5.14.15. For the love of Christ constraineth us, because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: and that he died for all, that they which live, should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

1. For the Explanation of this Text.

This Text speaks only of Believers, the word all is restrained, and limited by the word [us,] those that have believed in Christ, or shall hereafter believe in him to life everlasting: for surely the love of Christ constraineth Be­lievers only to love him, and to live unto him, the love of Christ hath no such effect but upon Believers.

2. The Apostle shews, that they which live [Page 46]by Christ, they were by nature Children of Wrath, as well as others: All dead Men, as being under the Curse of the Law, as well as others, and that Christ died for them, not only that they might be delivered from the Curse of the Law, not only that they might live in that sense, but that those that are a­live from the Law, as to Condemnation, should not live to themselves, but to him that died for them, as to Sanctification also: That is, that Christ intended and purchased for all those, for whom he died, not only that they should live, as to Justification, but as to Holi­ness and Sanctification too; he procured both for them, and both shall be infallibly bestowed upon them; so that the Apostle's meaning is, not only that the Love of Christ in dying for us, is a strong Argument, why they that he dyed for, should live, not to themselves, but to him: But also, that Christ both intended and purchased this grace to be certainly confer'd upon them, that they should be so Sanctified, that they should not live to themselves, but unto him that dyed for them, and rose again, accor­ding to Titus 2.14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purifie to himself a peculiar People, Zealous of good works.

So that this Text duely considered, is a not a­ble place against Ʋniversal Redemption: For it holds forth, that all that Christ dyed for, he did not only intend and purchase that they should be certainly and infallibly delivered from Con­demnation, but that they should also be sure to be Sanctified, that they might live to Christ in Holiness and Righteousness.

5. This Author mentions the words of our Saviour. John 6.51. The Bread that I will give, is my Flesh; Which I will give for the Life of the World: For the Explanation of this Text.

Consider that our Saviour Preached but in that little Country the Land of Judea, and at first forbad his Disciples to go and Preach a­mongst the Gentiles. And the Jews to whom our Saviour spake these words, had a strong conceit (as was hinted before) that the Messiah was for that Nation only: Therefore now the time drew near, that many of the Gentiles were to be Converted; our Saviour tells them, that he will give his Life for the World, not only for those which the Father had given him a­mongst the Jews, but amongst the other Nati­ons of the World: Amongst whom many now were to be Converted, for this was a great My­stery, that Christ was to be Preached unto the Gen­tiles, and be believed on in the World, 1 Tim. 3.15. for though there were many Prophesies of the Conversion of the Gentiles, yet they were little understood, and Ephes. 3, 4, 5, 6. the A­postle saith that this was a Mystery which in other Ages was not made known to the Sons of Men, (that is, not clearly made known) that the Gentiles should be Fellow-Heirs of the same Body, and par­takers of his promise in Christ by the Gospel: And this is the reason why Christ said that he gave his Life for the World, not that he gave his Life for all Adams posterity, but for all that the Father had given him amongst the Gentiles as well as Jews.

6. The next place this Author brings, is, 1 Tim. 4.10. for therefore we both labour and suf­fer [Page 48]reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all Men, especially of those that believe: For Explanation of this place of Scripture, the Apostles went through great ha­zards and dangers in preaching the Gospel, yet they went on in their work, trusting in the liv­ing God, who is the preserver of Men, that is, the meaning of the Saviour of all Men. In this Text God doth afford wonderful outward preservation to all Men in their callings, when he pleases; but he is the Saviour and Preser­ver of Believers especially, who are exposed to more outward dangers from Enemies, than other Men are, and especially Ministers, they are in danger of Death often, yet God preserves them from many and unknown dangers, until they have done their work, and served their Generations according to the will of God. Therefore the Apostle and others of the Faith­ful, would trust in the living God, they would leave all to Gods Providence, would not be a­fraid of any amazement, but go on in the way of their Duty; this is the meaning of the words, the Apostle is not here speaking of Christ as Mediator, and of Spiritual and Eter­nal Salvation by him, but of the Providence of God, as the Preserver of Men, of which Men in general have Experience, but Faithful Ministers, and other Believers, especially so far as God sees fit.

7. Then this Author quotes, 1 Tim. 2, 3, 4. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour, who will have all Men to be saved, and to come unto the Knowledge of the Truth.

I have opened these words before, when I [Page 49]discussed, 1 Tim. 2.6. but to say a little more. The meaning of these words is, that God will have some of all Nations, some of all ranks, Princes as well as Subjects: Yea, though those Princes and Magistrates be wicked Persecutors, yet they may be saved, and come to the know­ledge of the Truth: Therefore the Apostle would not have the professors of the Gospel exasperated against them, as they are apt to be; but saith, it is good and acceptable in the sight of God to pray for them, if perhaps God will give them Repentance, to the acknowledg­ment of the Truth, and they have Encourage­ment to pray; because God will glorifie his free grace in Christ, in Converting and saving some of all Nations, and of all Ranks, and some that for a time make havock of the Church. If Men will not be content with this exposition of the words, that by [all] is not meant all Adams Posterity, but only some of all sorts; It may be, that they think that all Adams Po­sterity shall be saved, though they don't think fit to say so openly: For when it is said, God would have all Men to be saved, to understand it of all individuals in the World, they must either say that God cannot do what he will, which is Blasphemy, or else they must hold that all Adams Posterity shall be saved, and indeed, Universal Redemption hath a tendency to that Opinion; but Men dare not say so, whatsoever they think, because so many ex­press Texts of Scripture are against it: But if God would have all Adams Posterity saved, and come to the Knowledge of the Truth, who could let it, for he doth whatsoever he pleases; [Page 50]his Counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure.

8. The next place is, 2 Pet. 3.9. The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some Men count slackness; but is long-suffering to us-ward, not willing that any should Perish, but that all should come to Repentance.

For the understanding of this Text, let is be considered what is meant by that expression, the Lord is not slack concerning his promise. By the promise is meant Christ's promise to come the second time without Sin to Salvation, Heb. 9. last. Our Saviour at his first coming, had the Sins of his People to satisfie for, and he hath done that work, he hath offered one Sacrifice for Sin for ever; but he is to come the Second time without Sin to Salvation, without any Sin of his People to make atonement for, but then he shall come in all his glory: And when Christ who is our Life shall appear, his peo­ple shall appear with him in glory. But it might be said, why is he so long before he comes, seeing that he hath promised to come the Second time? The Apostle answereth, that the Lord is not slack concerning his promise of coming, but there is a set appointed time for it; and there are yet of the Elect to be Converted, Gentiles and Jews, and the Lord is long-suffer­ing to us ward; by the [us] is meant the Elect amongst the Jews and Gentiles; not willing that any, that is, that any one of the Elect should Perish, but that [all] should come to Repen­tance, that is, all the Elect. So that the mean­ing of the words is, that though the World be so full of Sin, yet Christ doth not come pre­sently [Page 51]to execute Judgment, until all the Elect are brought to Repentance, and then he will come in all his glory, all the Elect must be born, and born again before Christ comes to Judgment: He is not willing that any one of them should Perish, but that all of them should come to Repentance.

9. Then we are to consider, Acts 17.29, 30, 31. Forasmuch then as we are the off-spring of God, we ought not to think that the God-head is like unto gold, or Silver, or Stone graven by Art, and Mans Device; and the times of this ignorance God win­ked at, but now commandeth all Men every where to Repent, because he hath appointed a day, in the which, he will Judge the World in Righteousness, by that Man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all Men, in that he hath raised him from the Dead.

To open this place a little, Paul Preached to the Men of Athens, who were greatly addict­ed to Idolatry: He shews them what a gross conceit it was, and indeed contrary to the light of Nature, to think that the Godhead is like unto Gold, or Silver or Stone graven with Art and Mans Device: Yet he shews them that God had given up the Gentiles to this gross Ido­latry, as Rom. 1.21, 22, 23. and Acts 14.16. God had suffered all Nations to walk in their own ways, and here v. 30. the times of this Ig­norance, God winked at; which must not be un­derstood, as if God had not punished them here, and in Hell, for their Idolatry and other Sins: But the meaning is, that God let them alone to walk in their Blindness and Ignorance. Gods Election then ran chiefly, and almost wholly [Page 52]amongst the Jews, but [now] that Gods Ele­ction runneth among the Gentiles: Now the time is come to visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a People for his Name, he command­eth Men every where, in all Nations where we his Ministers come, to repent of their Idolatries, and other Sins in a more especial manner, than ever he did before, that Men turn from Idols to serve the living God; and this is a notable startling Argument to move them to Repent, and turn to God: For there is a Terrible Day of Judgment to come, when God will Judge the World in Righteousness by that Man [Christ,] whom he hath ordained to be Judge of the quick and the dead.

What is this to Christs dying for all Adams Posterity but against it? For we see there how God suffered the Nations to walk in their Ido­latrous courses, and did not send any to Preach the way of Salvation to them: And whereas [now] God commanded Men to Repent by the Preaching of the Apostles; this was to bring in the Elect among the Gentiles, and observe, that as to the Elect, the Lord doth not only command them to Repent, by the Preaching of his Ministers, but gives them Repentance it self by his Spirit.

10. The next place is, Rom. 5.18. As by the Offence of one Judgment came upon all Men to Condemnation, even so by the Righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all Men unto justification of Life.

For the understanding of this Text.

1. Consider that the first Man Adam, and the second Man the Lord from Heaven were both [Page 53]publick persons. The first Adam stood in the room of his Seed: The second Adam in the room of his Seed.

2. Consider that the Apostles scope in this Text and Context, is not at all to compare the two Adams as to the number of their Seed, as if Christs Seed were equal in number with the first Adams Seed; but the Apostles intent is on­ly to compare the Power and Influence of the first Adams sin, to bring Condemnation upon all his Seed, with the power, Efficacy and Vertue, of the Second Adams Righteousness, to bring the justification of Life: And to that end, the Apostle shews that the first Adam by one sin, by one offence, brought his Seed into a State of Condemnation: And the Second Adam by his Active and Passive Obedience, did take away for his Seed, not only the Sin that came upon them by the first Adam, but their many Offences committed in their own per­sons, v. 16. So that, let it be well observed, the scope of the Apostle is to shew, that as Death and ondemnation came inevitably upon all the first Adams Posterity by his fall, so shall the free gift of Righteousness come infallibly upon all in whose room and stoad Christ dyed, as their second Adam, their Surety and Mediator. The first Adams [all,] was all Mankind, the second Adams [all] was all the Elect, and most cer­tainly and infallibly, shall both Justification and Sanctification come upon all Christs Seed, whose publick person he was, all for whom he obeyed the Law, and bare the Curse of it. So that tho' every ordinary reader may not be able to take up the right sense of this place, the [Page 54]Apostles scope is, that as Death came in by one publick person, so Life and Salvation came in by another publick person: And that the Lord Jesus will infallibly justifie, and save his [all] for whom he undertook, and dyed as their Head Representative, second Adam, Sure­ty and Mediator. This Text and Context right­ly understood, throws down the conceit of Uni­versal Redemption to the ground.

11. then the Author puts two Scriptures to­gether, but nothing to the purpose, 1 Cor. 15.22. For as in Adam all dye, even so in Christ shall all be made alive: And John 5.29. They that have done good unto the Resurrection of Life, and they that have done evil unto the Resurrection of Damnation.

As to the first Text. As in Adam all dye, so in Christ shall all be made alive: The Apostle there is speaking of the Resurrection of the Bo­dy; and though all shall be raised up at the se­cond coming of Christ, yet in this 22 v. and the next, the Apostle is speaking only of the Re­surrection of the Bodies of the Saints: He first shews how Man came to be liable to natural Death, and saith, in Adam all dye; by his sin and fall, Man came to be liable to natural Death, as it was penal indeed, not only natu­ral, but spiritual, and liableness to Eternal Death came upon us by Adam. But the Apo­stle here is speaking only of Natural Death; well, saith the Apostle, in Christ shall all be made alive: But saith he in the next Verse, every one in his own order, Christ the first Fruits, and af­terward they that are Christs at his Coming. Christ the Head of the Church; He was the first that [Page 55]rose from the dead by his own power, as he was God, and he was the chief, the most ex­cellent person that ever was, or shall be rai­sed from the Dead; and then he saith, that they that are Christs, they shall be raised at his com­ing, as Christ the Head, is raised from the Dead: So they that are Christs, all that are the Mem­bers of his Mystical Body, they shall be raised at his second coming: And the other Text John 5.29. shews, that as Believers shall be raised at the last day, that they may be glori­fied not only in their Souls, but in their Bodies too: So the wicked they shall be raised too at the day of Judgment, that in their Bodies as well as in their Souls, they may be punished for ever. I wonder that this Author should so much as name these two Texts for Universal Redemption.

12. The next place is, 2 Pet. 2.1. But there were false Prophets also among the People, even as there shall be false Teachers among you, who pri­vily shall bring in Damnable Heresies, even deny­ing the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift Destruction. As to this place,

1. Tis very considerable, what is said by the Learned Dr. Ames, for the understanding of these words, that is, that the word [ [...]] here used, is not wont to be applyed to the Son; but appropriated to the Father, and that [ [...]] is constantly given to the Son, the Lord Christ: And so he Explains it by Deut. 32.6. Is not he thy Father, that has bought thee? Hath he not made thee, and established thee? So that the words may be understood of God as Creator, and common Benefactor that had [Page 56]bought them by outward and common Mercies, as he is said to ahve bought Israel of old: O­thers take notice, that the word [ [...]] which we translate bought, doth often signify Freeing, making Free; so that these false Teach­ers might be said, by the power of common En­lightning, to be made free from many gross Er­rors, and gross Sins for a time; and yet after­wards, were entangled in vile Doctrines and Practices, and returned with the Dog to the Vomit: This Exposition will stand very well.

2. But if their being bought, should be un­derstood of their being bought by Christ, then the meaning is only this, That these Apostates once thought, that Christ had bought them, as well as others, and the Brethren in the Judgment of Charity thought them to be such too, as Christ had redeemed: But if Christ had indeed bought them by the inestimable and infinite price of his Blood, who is God as well as Man; he would either have kept them out of those vile Heresies and Practices they fell into, or would, after their fall, have renewed them again to Repentance; for Christ, God-man, is able to get and keep what he hath bought with his pre­cious Blood, and will certainly and infallibly do it.

13. Then for Rom. 2.16. In the day when God shall judge the Secrets of Men by Jesus Christ according to my Gospel.

The Scope of the Apostle in that place, is to shew the different degrees of Light and Knowledge the Jews and Gentiles had, and that they should be judged accordingly. The gene­rality of the Gentiles had only the dim light of [Page 57]Nature, which yet did reveal some things unto them, as that there was a God, that Parents were to be honoured, and that they ought to be kind and just one to another, and the like: But the Jews had the written Law, which declared more of the Will of God to them: Now the Apostle sheweth, v. 12. That as many as have sinned without Law, that is, that never had the written Law, they shall perish without Law; that is, they shall not be judged and condemned for breaking the written Law that was given by God to Moses; but they shall be judged and condemned for sinning against the Light of Na­ture: But whereas it might be objected, How could they be guilty of Sin, who never had the Written Law? the Apostle answers, v. 14. That the Gentiles which have not the (Written) Law, do by nature the things contained in the Law: These (saith he) having not the Law, are a Law unto themselves: that is, in some few things they have the Light of Nature to be a Law, and Light to them: This the Apostle sets forth yet further, v. 15. which shews the work of the Law written in their Hearts; that is, that tho' they had not that Supernatural Writing of God's Law promised to the Elect, in the Covenant of Grace, yet they have a Natural Writing of the Law in their Hearts, in some few Particu­lars (as was said before) and the Apostle gives this Demonstration of it, that these Gentiles have some knowledge of Good and Evil; be­cause their Consciences sometimes accuse them, and bear witness against them; and sometimes their Consciences excuse them as to some Acts; but the Apostle shews, that their Consciences [Page 58]will more fully accuse them in the Day of Judg­ment; so that they shall have nothing to say, why they should not have the Sentence of Con­demnation pass against them: Then the Apostle shews, that God will judge the World by Jesus Christ at the last Day, according to my Gospel; that is, according to the Doctrine that I Preach: This Doctrine Paul preached upon all occasions, that God would judge the World by that Man [Christ] whom he had ordained: This short Paraphrase may give light into this Context; I wonder that any should bring this place for U­niversal Redemption.

14. Another place he brings, Coloss 1.23. If ye continue in the Faith, grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the Gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every Creature which is under Heaven.

The scope of the Apostle is to shew, that ac­cording as Christ had commanded, the Apostles had preached the Gospel all over, to every Man and Woman to whom God gave them Opportunity, but the Gospel had not been ge­nerally preached before to all Nations; nor hath it been so generally preached since the A­postles time: But in opposition to Judea, the Gospel was preached all over, it was not confined to Judea: Not that the Apostles, or any other, did at that extraordinary time preach the Gospel to every individual person then in the World, but to a great number then in all Nations then known: Surely there were not then Preachers enough to go to every Town; but the time being come to call the Elect amongst the Gentiles, the Lord ordered [Page 59]so much Preaching every where, as should be sufficient to bring those to believe who were or­dained unto Life. Christ being preached to a Nation, or a Town, is no proof that Christ died for all that Nation or Town, but when the Lord orders by his Providence, that the Preaching of the Gospel is sent to a place, it is a sign that there are some Elect, and ransomed People there, whom the Lord will call out of Darkness into his marvellous Light.

15. I should have named one Text before, that this Author sets down, and that is, John 3.17, 18. God sent not his Son into the World, to condemn the World, but that the World through him might be saved: He that believeth on him is not condemned; but he that believeth not is con­demned already, because he hath not believed in the Name of the only begotten Son of God: For the understanding of this Scripture, we must ob­serve, that our Saviour speaks these words to the Jews, and they had an Opinion, that the Messiah was to come only for them: They looked for the Messiah to come as some great Monarch to tread down all the other Nations of the World, and to set up the Jews in a glo­rious Estate, as to outward Dominion. The generality of the Jews were so blinded, that they did not look for the Messiah as a Spiritual Saviour, but as one that should destroy the Na­tions of the World by outward force: there­fore our Saviour tells them, that he was not sent now, at his first coming, to destroy, judge, and condemn any; but he was sent to save the Elect, not only amongst the Jews, but amongst the Gentiles throughout the whole World, and that [Page 60]whosoever believeth on him, whether he be a Jew by nature, or a sinner of the Gentiles, is not condemned, but he that believeth not for the present, nor hereafter, is condemned alrea­dy, viz. by the Sentence of the Law, Gal. 3.10. under which Sentence of Condemnation he must abide, because he hath not believed on the Son of God, which is the only way and means to deliver any from the Sentence of Con­demnation, which the Law hath passed upon them.

16. Micah 6.8. He hath shewed thee, O Man, what is good, &c.

God sheweth to all Men, by the light of Na­ture, something of what is Morally good, something of what God, as Creator, requireth of them; and to the Jews, the House of Israel, to whom those words are spoken, as is plain to be seen in that Chapter, God did shew to them more of his Mind and Will, what he com­manded and required of them; what is this for Christ's dying for all Adam's Posterity?

17. Then he quotes Psalm 103.8. The Lord is Gracious and full of Compassion, and of great Mercy: 'Tis certain, that the Lord is Gra­cious, and full of Compassion, and of great Mercy: But he hath Mercy on whom he will have Mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth, Rom. 9.18. The Grace and Mercy of God is to be adored for ever, that he saves any that have sinned a­gainst him: Sinning against the Divine Maje­sty is so hemous, that God's Grace and Mercy is unconceivable in saving any, tho' it had been much fewer persons than he doth save; and his holy Justice is to be adored for ever in punish­ing [Page 61]so many with Eternal Damnation for Sin: There is such infinite Mercy in God, that he could have pardoned all the Angels that sinned; and could have saved all Adam's Posterity if he had pleased; there might have been no Hell, no place of Torment for Devils or Men, if he had pleased, there might have been no place but Heaven for all the Angels, and all the Chil­dren of Men to sing Halelujahs to Eternity; but we must not order what God shall do, how he shall exert and put forth his Attribute of Mercy: O that there were more Reverence of the Divine Majesty, more holy trembling be­fore him, more wondring that he should shew Mercy to any, and especially to our selves! for he hath his Glory not only in them that are saved, but in them that perish: In them that are saved he hath the Glory of his Grace, and in them that perish, he hath the Glory of his Justice.

18. Psalm 145.9. The Lord is good to all, and his tender Mercies are over all his Works. I an­swer:

1. God is good to all, as a Creator, during the Day of his Patience and Long-suffering; and what Mercies he affords may be called Ten­der Mercies, considering our Vileness and Sin­fulness, who deserve every moment to be cast into Hell. We are to adore the common Boun­ty of God to all, in his Patience and Long-suf­fering for a time in this World.

2. This place of Scripture may be applied to the Saints only; for it follows, All thy Works shall praise thee, O Lord, and thy Saints shall bless thee: They shall speak of the Glory of thy Kingdom, [Page 62]and talk of thy Power, v. 10, 11. So I say the words may be understood, that the Psalmist is speaking of Gods being good, in an especial manner, to all those whom he makes his People, and that his tender Mercies are over them; over all the Saints, who are the Works of his Hands, in an especial manner, that are made new Creatures by him, his new Creation in Christ, Ephes. 2.10.

3. Take [all] for all Mankind, 'tis certain that the Lord is not pleased to shew them such Goodness and tender Mercy, as to give them a new Heart, so as to take away the Heart of Stone, and to give them a Heart of Flesh, and save them for ever; which he could easily have done, if he had pleased; and the more are they beholden to his, for ever to be adored, Grace, to whom he is so good towards, whom he shew­eth such tender Mercy, as to take away, and remove all Mountains of Guilt and Rebellion that stand in the way to hinder their Eternal Salvation.

Thus I have explained those Scriptures this Author brings for Universal Redemption, which, indeed, intend no such thing: If the Lord be not pleased to give us light into the meaning of Scripture, we shall father our Er­rours and Mistakes upon the word of God; we must compare Scripture with Scripture; we must bring a humble Mind to the study of the Scriptures: We must pray continually to the Father of Lights, and of Spirits, that he would lead us into all Truth: We must not interpret any Scripture, so as to derogate from the Per­fection of the Divine Attributes; we must not [Page 63]interpret any Scripture, so as to derogate from the Infinite and Eternal Vertue and Merit of our Saviour's Death; 'tis always new, and of Infinite Efficacy, for all he died for, to Eter­nity,

Then it follows in this Author, By these Au­thorities I teach, that Christ died for all.

I answer, that so do others that you op­pose, they teach that Christ died for all, that is, all the Elect, all that the Father hath given him, all that believe and trust in him; but if you teach that Christ died for all Adam's Posterity, you teach you know not what.

I pray consider, that when our Lord and Sa­viour died as a Surety and Mediator, it was near four thousand years from the Creation, and there were multitudes then in the Prison of Hell, from whence there is no Redemption; and do you think that Christ, God-man, died upon the Cross, and bare such unutterable Dolour for them, to redeem them that were then in Hell?

There was reason, indeed, that Christ should die for those Saints that were in Heaven before he died, because they were pardoned and saved, upon the account of his having undertaken, as Surety for them, to make satisfaction to the Justice of God for their Sins, Heb. 9.15. And for this cause he is the Mediator of the New Testa­ment, that by means of death, for the Redemption of the Transgressions that were under the first Testa­ment, they which were called might receive the Promise of the Eternal Inheritance. The Father trusted Christ, (as we may express it) upon his Covenant, and undertaking, as Surety, to make satisfaction to Justice; and so he pardoned and [Page 64]saved the Saints of the Old Testament before Christ actually died for them: And as for the Elect that were then living, and were to live afterwards in their Generations, Christ trusted the Father with the Payment and Satisfaction he made for them by his Death, that they should have the benefit of his Death in due time be­stowed upon them: It sounds well enough in the Ears of Christians, that Christ was but once to offer himself a Sacrifice, and that therefore when he died, he bore the Sins of the Saints in Heaven, because they came there upon the account of his Covenant and Undertaking with the Father, that he would, in the fulness of time, take upon him Humane Nature, and would, as their Surety, make Satisfaction for their Sins: But surely it will sound very harshly in the Ears of all Christians, that Christ, God­man, should sweat drops of Blood, and die, bearing the Curse of the Law for them, who were then in Hell when he died; except Armi­nians think that the damned in Hell shall be saved at last. Indeed, some passages of those of that Judgment, have a tendency to such an Opinion; but such Doctrine is contrary to ma­ny places of Scripture, Matth. 25.41. and the last Verse, 2 Thess. 1.9.

Then this Author goes on, Sir, shew me, if you can, where the Scripture saith, that Christ, died but for some only, not for all.

I answer, this is but strife of words; Christ did not die only for some of the Elect, but for all the Elect, but he died not for all A­dam's Posterity, as hath been sufficiently de­monstrated.

He goes on, and saith to this person, Seeing you think that Christ died but for some, shew me sufficient testimony from the Scripture, that he died for your self.

I pray, what Call hath this Author to put this Person upon declaring to him sufficient Te­stimony that Christ died for him? and what is this to the purpose, if this person had not yet attained what Paul saith, Gal. 2.20. He loved me, and gave himself for me. But I hope this Person hath a comfortable assurance, that Christ died for him: Christ died for all Believers; and if he finds upon Self-examination, that he is in the Faith, and Christ lives in him; he may conclude, that Christ died for him: But why he should give this Author sufficient Testimony of his Faith I know not: It may be, some will say, this is but a hectoring, boysterous way of dealing.

The Author concludes his Letter, saying to this Person [Name one in this great City for whom Christ died not:] What is this to the purpose, to prove Universal Redemption? Tho' Christ did not die for all Adam's Posterity; and tho' there be in this City, many ignorant and prophane People; yet it would be presumption to say of a­ny particular person in this City, yea, in the whole World, that Christ did not die for that Per­son; except one knew that the Person had com­mitted the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is a sin which few are guilty of; and for such we are not to pray for them, 1 John 5.16. but for any other particular person, tho' for the present he be never so ignorant of God, and abound in Transgressions, who can say, but that this person may be one of those that God hath or­dained [Page 66]to Eternal Life, and that Christ hath died for? and therefore we are to exhort them to Repentance, and pray for them, and if it be so, that they be such as God hath chosen to Salvation, and that Christ hath dyed for them, the Lord will at one time or other before they dye, turn them from Darkness unto Light: Deliver them from the Power of Darkness, and Translate them into the Kingdom of his dear Son.

CHAP. III. Ten Arguments from the Scripture, to prove that those that Christ dyed for, shall all of them be called, justified and glorified in Heaven.

I have said enough already, I hope, to clear those Scriptures that this Author brings for Universal Redemption. Now through the Lords Assistance, I shall shew, that though Armini­ans make such a poor, low, common thing of the precious Blood of Jesus Christ, who was God, as well as Man; That they say, that Men may be Damn'd in Hell for ever, notwithstanding Christ dyed for them; I shall prove the contrary by many Scriptures.

1. John 10.15, 16. I lay down my Life for the Sheep, and other Sheep I have, which are not of this Fold: Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my Voice; and there shall be one Fold, and one Shepherd.

1. Observe, that there are some that are cal­led Christs Sheep, before their Conversion, given to Christ, that he should be the Shepherd and Bishop of their Souls, in the appointed time, to bring them to Grace and Glory.

2. These Sheep are the Elect, both of Jews and Gentiles, some are of the Fold of the Jews, some of the Fold of the Gentiles.

3. That Christ laid down his Life for these Sheep.

4. That Christ hath undertaken to bring in and Convert those Sheep that he laid down his Life for, that not one of them be missing and Perish: Therefore Christ puts [a must] upon it. I must bring, as if he had said, because of my engaging to the Father in the Covenant of Re­demption, to bring them to Grace and Glory; as also because of my own free and everlasting love to them, I must bring them home.

Ay, but some might say, True, Christ may use some means outward and inward, to bring in these Sheep that he dyed for, but peradven­ture, they will stop the Ear, and their wills be rebellious: Ay, but saith Christ, they [shall] hear my Voice, that is, they shall certainly and infallibly be Converted.

2. Rom. 5.10. For if when we were Enemies, we were reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, much more being reconciled, we shall be saved by his Life.

1. Observe that those that Christ dyed for, he Reconciled them to God, made Satisfaction and Reconciliation for all their Sins. Christ dying, was no small matter; It was not a thing of small Power and Vertue; it was not to make [Page 68]God meerly Reconcileable; but it was a perfect and eternal Reconciliation: Though the benefit of his Reconciliation is given out in a certain order, and manifested by degrees, as seemed good to the Counsel of Gods Will, yet Christ did all by way of Merit and satisfaction for sin, when he dyed upon the Cross.

2. Observe, that such a Reconciliation be­ing made by the Death of Christ, the Apostle saith, how much more shall we be saved by his Life? That is, by his Resurrection and Ascension, and Intercession for them for whom he dyed. Those for whom Christ dyed, for them he rose again. Rom. 4. and last v. Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our Ju­stification. Christ as the Head and Surety for those for whom he dyed, was discharged of the debt of their sins by his Resurrection: So that, as he dyeth no more, death hath no more Do­minion over him: So all that he dyed and rose again for, shall be brought into such a state by Vertue of his Death and Resurrection, that death shall not have Dominion over them. Christ also ascended into Heaven as a publick person, and Representative of those for whom he dyed. For all them whose high priest he was, Heb. 6.20. Whither the forerunner is for us entred, even Jesus made a high Priest for ever, after the order of Melchisedec, for them he ever liveth to make Intercession, until they be all brought to Glory, he presents his Merits, his Blood, his Satisfaction in the Holy of Holies for them. So, that unless Men will say that Christ did not rise again and ascend into Hea­ven, and doth not ever live to make interces­sion, [Page 69]it must needs be, that all that he dyed for, shall be eternally saved: For saith the Apostle, if we were Reconciled to God by the Death of his Son, how much more being Reconciled shall we be saved by his Life? If there were such Merit in his Death as to Reconcile us to God: Then Christ rising again, ascending into Heaven, and ever living to make Intercession for those for whom he dyed, they shall all be certainly and infallibly brought to Glory.

3. Rom. 8.32. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall be not with him also freely give us all things?

1. Observe the [all] here is not all Adams Posterity, but all that God hath an Eternal purpose of Grace to, which are in due time called according to his purpose, viz. the Elect v. 33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of Gods Elect? Those whom he did predestinate to be conformed to the Image of his Son, v. 29.

2. The Apostle makes this to be a wonder­ful thing, that God should not spare his Son, but deliver him up to Death as Mediator, and Surety for us: In this was manifested the Love of God towards us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the World, that we might live through him, 1 John 4.9. God manifests his love in giving other things, but in this, the love of God was most of all manifested, that God sent his Son to dye for us, that he spared not his Son, but delivered him up to bear the Curse of the Law in our stead. Thanks be to God for his unspeakable gift, 2 Cor. 9.15. Consider the [Page 70]person that he delivered up to dye for us, he was his own Son, his proper natural Son, and tis said, he spared him not, he spared him not from nor in dying, but made him to bear un­utterable grief in Soul and Body, as Surety and Mediator for those for whom he dyed.

3. The Apostle doth positively conclude, that all those that God hath such love to, as not to spare his own Son, but to deliver him up to Death for them, that God would certainly and infallibly, and freely give them all things, that is, all things necessary to their Eternal Hap­piness. Those for whom God would give his Son, to them he will freely give Faith, Grace and Glory: The new Heart is the gift of God, and a great gift, but nothing to Gods not spa­ring his own Son, but giving him to dye for us. Gods giving his Son to dye for any person, was the highest expression of his love to that person, that ever was, or ever could be: If God had such a love to give his Son to dye for a Man, he will stick at nothing to bring about the Eternal Happiness of that person. He spared not his Son, that he might spare that person: He punished his Innocent Son, as Surety, that he might not punish that person for his Sins: He was at cost indeed to Redeem a person by the price of the Blood of his own Son: But as to giving that person a new Heart, He can more easily do it, than we can speak a word; There is such strength in the Apostles ar­guing, as carries all before it, throws down all Cavils and Objections whatsoever.

4. We may draw another Invincible Argu­ment, from Rom. 8.34. Who shall Condemn? [Page 71]Christ hath dyed, yea, rather is risen again, who is even at the Right Hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

1. The Apostle here shews, that those that Christ dyed for, he rose again for them, he sits at Gods Right Hand for them, he makes Intercession for them, that they may infallibly obtain all that he Merited and Purchased for them, by his Death.

2. The Apostle in the Name of all that Christ dyed for, makes a challenge; Who saith, he shall Condemn? Christ hath dyed: Ay, but the Law and Justice may Condemn; no Christ hath dyed: Christ hath delivered them, for whom he dyed from the Curse of the Law, being made a Curse for them, Gal. 3.13. he hath made sa­tisfaction for their Sins, by his Death. But those that hold universal Redemption, may say, O Paul, why do you Argue thus, that if Christ dyed for us, we cannot be Condemned to Hell? Ay, but Paul knew what he said, he knew how to argue from Christ dying for us, that we shall never be Condemned to Hell. Those that hold that Christ dyed for all Adams Po­sterity, of which the greatest number are, or shall be Condemned to Hell for ever, make nothing, or next unto nothing, of Christs dy­ing for a person: But Paul makes it such a great thing for Christ to dye for us, that he is bold to say, who shall Condemn? Christ hath dyed.

5. John 17.2. As thou hast given him power over all Flesh, that he should give Eternal Life to as many as thou hast given him.

Our Saviour often speaks of them that were[Page 72] given him of the Father, that is, the Elect peo­ple, there was a Covenant of Redemption be­tween the Father and Christ, wherein he un­dertook to bring them to Glory, and that he might not fail of saving every one of them; Christ as the Mediator, had power given over all Flesh: Yea, over all Devils too, that no­thing should hinder, but that he should infal­libly give Eternal Life to as many as the Father had given him to Redeem and Save. Christ as God had all power of himself: Christ as Mediator, had power given him over all persons, and things in such a perfect manner, that nothing should hin­der the Salvation of those that were given him. Christ as Mediator hath absolute power over the Hearts and Wills of Men, to alter, change and frame the Wills of all that the Father hath giv­en him, to bring every thought into Obedience to him, that all the Elect shall be a willing peo­ple in the day of his power, he puts forth his pow­er irresistibly, so far as infallibly to Convert them, and puts forth his power after their Conver­sion irresistibly, so far as to preserve them to the Heavenly Kingdom. Christ is mighty as God, and mighty as Mediator; Hath absolute power over all Flesh, over their very Hearts and Wills, to open their Hearts to receive him, to work their Wills to embrace him whensoe­ver he pleases; and will certainly do it for those that the Father hath given him to Redeem and Save.

6. John 17.19. And for their sakes, I san­ctifie my self, that they may be Sanctified through the truth: Our Saviour being now near his Death, he declares who he was to dye for, not [Page 73]for all Adams Posterity; but for those whom the Father had given him to be the Mystical Bo­dy, whereof he is the Head, and declares, v. 9. I pray for them, I pray not for the World, but for them whom thou hast given me, for they are thine: As if Christ had said, I am so far from dying for all Adams Posterity, that I will not so much as pray as Mediator, for any but those whom thou hast given me. I dye to bring the many Elect Sons to Glory, and for their sakes, sanctifie I my self, that is, I Consecrate and Dedicate my self as their High-Priest, to of­fer my self a Sacrifice for them, that they may be sanctified through the Truth, that is, that they may be justified and sanctified through him, that they might not any one of them miss of Eternal Salvation.

7. Gal. 2.20. Who loved me, and gave himself for me.

The Apostle Paul is here setting forth the Love of Christ to him, and as an Astonish­ing Demonstration and proof of the for ever to be adored love of Christ to him, he saith that Christ gave himself for me, that amongst those that Christ had such great and special love's to, as to dye for them: He was one, he gave him­self for me. Paul thought that Christ dying for him, was the greatest Love that Christ could shew to him: But now those that hold that Christ dyed for all Adams Posterity, might say, O Paul, do you make such a great business of Christs giving himself for you, and that this shall secure your Salvation. We hold he dyed for Multitudes that are, and shall be in Hell for ever: Ay, but Paul knew better than Armi­nians [Page 74]do, both what unspeakable love it was for Christ to die for a person, and he knew the certainty of the Eternal Salvation of all those for whom Christ died, he rejoices, and triumphs in this, that he knew he was one of those whom Christ loved, and gave himself for.

8. Ephes. 5.25, 26, 27. Husbands love your Wives, as Christ also loved his Church, and gave himself for it, that he might sanctifie and cleanse it, with the washing of Water by the Word, that he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having Spot or Wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be Holy, and without blemish.

Here the Apostle exhorts Husbands to love their Wives, and with a great and special Love, as Christ loved his Church, and gave himself for it Now, if Christ had loved all Adam's Po­sterity so, as to give himself for them; this had been no Argument for Husbands to love their Wives with a great and special Love: but rather an allowance to Husbands to love other Women with as great and special Love as their Wives: But the Apostle shews it was a great and special Love that Christ had to his Church, such a Love as he gave himself for it.

By the Church, here, is meant, all the E­lect; all that by the Decree of God from Eter­nity, were to be the Lord's, the Lamb's Spouse; for this Church only that Christ as Mediator was to be Head and Husband of, did Christ give himself. This Church he was to Sanctifie, this Church he was to wash from their Sins in his own Blood; and whatsoever they were in themselves, polluted, defiled with Sin, yet he undertook both to Justifie them, and Sancti­sie [Page 75]them, who also will infallibly do it.

9. The ninth Argument to prove, that all that Christ died for, shall certainly be saved, shall be taken from those Scriptures that make it manifest that those that Christ died for, he pur­chased Faith and Sanctification for them, as well as Reconciliation for their Sins, Gal. 1.4. Who gave himself for our Sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil World, according to the Will of God, and our Father.

1. Observe, that those that Christ died for, the Heart of the Father was in this thing, it was from the Will, the great Love and good Plea­sure of the Father, that he should give himself for them.

2. That Christ did give himself for their Sins, that is, to take away their Sins, and that he might deliver them from this present evil World, that is, not only from the Guilt and Punishment due to them for their Sins, that so they might not be condemned with the World; but that he might deliver them from the evil Manners of the World, from the wickedness of this present evil World, and to make them new Creatures, he purchased Sanctification for them, to be cer­tainly and infallibly bestowed upon them, Ti­tus 2.14. Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all Iniquity, and purifie to himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

See in the Verse before, who it was that gave himself for us; the Apostle calls him, the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ. Ay, this puts infinite value into his dying for us, that he is God as well as Man, and so cannot be frustra­ted in the Ends, which he had in his Death: [Page 76]and the Apostle here shews, that his End was to purifie to himself a peculiar People, zealous of good Works: He intended for all for whom he died, not only to redeem them from the guilt of all their Sins, but purchased Sanctifying Grace for them, whereby they might be made a peculiar People, zealous of good Works, which according to his mighty Power, where­by he is able to subdue all things to himself, he will certainly do.

1 Pet. 1.18, 19. For as much as ye know, that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, as Silver and Gold from your vain Conversation re­ceived by Tradition from your Fathers; but with the precious Blood of Christ, as a Lamb without blemish, and without spot.

Our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, shed his precious Blood, not only to take away the guilt of Sin, but to Sanctifie them; to deliver them for whom he died, from the Vanity of their Minds, and from their Vain Conversation, that so they may be brought to walk with God here, and come to Heaven hereafter; and all that do partake of Mortification of Sin, and Vivi­fication in Grace; it is by Vertue from the Death of Christ: he hath given Sin a mortal wound by his Death, he hath nailed it to his Cross, that at last, all that he died for shall be wholly freed from it for ever.

10. The last Argument that all those that Christ died for, shall certainly be saved, is taken from several passages in the 53th Chap. of Isaiah, where we have such an illustrious Prophesie of Christ.

1. There the Prophet speaks of the great Suf­ferings of Christ the Mediator, He was wounded [Page 77]for our Transgressions, he was bruised for our Ini­quities, v. 4. and the Iniquities of all the Israel after the Spirit; that is, all the Elect of God were laid upon him, to bear the Punishment due to their Sins.

2. The Prophet shews the effects of Christ's Death, what benefit comes to them for who he died, he saith, by his Stripes they are healed, v. 5. He shews what Grief and Sufferings he went through to make Satisfaction for Sin, and compares our Saviour in his Death to a Woman in Travail: Ay, Christ had a hard Travail, and sore Pains in Soul and Body to expiate Sin; but he saith, He shall see his Seed, v. 10. he shall see of the tra­vail of his Soul and be satisfied; he shall not bring forth Wind, such a windy, empty, poor Redemption as Arminians talk of, who say, that notwithstanding any thing that Christ did in the Work of Redemption, there might not one Man or Woman in the World have been saved; but he brought forth a Perfect, Glorious, Eter­nal Redemption, so that all the Children of his Cross, all that he had that hard travail for upon the Cross, shall be eternally saved; and so as the Apostle saith, Heb. 12.2. For the Joy that was set before him he endured the Cross, despising the Shame: The Joy that was set before Christ, as Mediator, when he endured the Cross, when he died upon the Cross, was not only the Glory that should follow to his Humane Nature, but the Glory that the manifold Wisdom, infinite Grace, and the holy Justice of God should have to Eternity, by saving the Elect in such a won­derful way by his Cross; and likewise this was part of the Joy set before Christ, when he died [Page 78]upon the Cross, that all that he died for should be eternally saved, and stand before the Throne as his Redeemed People.

Thus I have endeavoured, for the Honour of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, for the Com­fort of those that believe on him, to maintain, that he hath not failed in the Work of Re­demption; but for all that he undertook to die, as their Surety and Mediator, he will bring them to Eternal Blessedness. Now to the Fa­ther that sent him, to the Son that was willing to take our poor Humane Nature upon him, and die for our Sins; and to the Holy Ghost that doth cer­tainly, and infallibly apply this glorious Redemption that Christ hath wrought to all, for whom he died, be Glory for ever and ever, Amen. And for those that catch at a few Words and Phrases in the Scrip­ture, to make this Redemption by the great God, and our Saviour Jesus Christ, to be inef­fectual to any for whom he died; I bow my Knees, and pray to God for them, that he may please to give them Light and Understanding, that they may be taken off from their erroneous Conceits concerning our Saviour, and the for ever to be adored Redemption by him which standeth sure for ever.

But to remove what Doubts and Temptation may arise in the thoughts of some upon two places of Scripture: It is said, Rom. 14.15. But if thy Brother be grieved with thy Meat, now walk­est thou not charitably, destroy not him with thy Meat, for whom Christ died; and through thy Knowledge shall thy weak Brother perish, for whom Christ died, 1 Cor. 8.11. from these two places some maintain, that those that Christ died for may be damned in Hell.

Now for the understanding of these two Texts, observe, that some walked very uncharitably towards those that were fellow Members with them; they pretended more Light, and that they saw their Liberty further than those which they counted weak Brethren, did about eating of some Meats which others scrupled: Now, saith the Apostle, to those that accounted themselves strong: Destroy not him with thy Meat for whom Christ died: Those that are fellow Mem­bers in the Church, you ought to judge of them with a Judgment of Charity, that they are the Elect of God, and such as Christ died for; therefore don't do that which tends to their de­stroying and ruin; and thro' thy Knowledge, thy pretence of having more Knowledge, and to have a greater Latitude, shall thy weak Brother perish for whom Christ died; if with­out Light and Satisfaction in his own Conscience, he should be emboldened to do those things, by your Example you draw him to sin, which deserves Damnation; but that eventually, any shall perish for whom Christ really died, cannot be collect­ed from these Scriptures, or any others; those that we in Charity think are such as Christ died for, may perish, we ought to think in Charity, that all that are Members with us in the Church, are partakers of the Heavenly Calling, and such as Christ died for, tho' in foro dei, in the sight of God, who knoweth infallibly who are his, they are such as Christ never died for: our Judgment of Men that Christ died for them, is but a Judgment of Charity, not a Judg­ment of Infallibility: But can any one think, that if Christ, God-man, did really die for a [Page 80]Person, had such inconceiveable Love to him, and had endured so much for his Salvation in his Agony in the Garden, and upon the, Cross that he would not take such care, that this poor Soul should not eternally perish, and be de­stroyed by the uncharitable carriage of some proud, giddy Professor: yea, if Christ really died for any Person, all the Wiles and Devices, and fiery Darts of all the Devils in Hell shall ne­ver be able to destroy and ruin such an one, tho' other Professors be uncharitable and hard-heart­ed, to give offence to the weak, and shake them, and endanger them; yet Christ the Meek, the Pitiful and Merciful, and Almighty High-Priest, will not suffer a bruised Reed to be broken, nor smoking Flax to be quenched: but tho they may fall, yet shall they rise again; Christ saith to the Sheep, that he laid down his Life for, that they shall never perish; and that none, whe­ther Men or Devils, shall pluck them out of his Hand, John 10.27, 28.

CHAP. V. Of Election and Reprobation.

THis Author in his Dialogue with the Pres­byterian, Pag. 17. doth cite a passage in the Confession of the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.

By the Decree of God for the manifestation of his Glory, some Men and Angels are Predestina­ted unto everlasting life, and others fore-ordain'd to [Page 81]everlasting destruction: and those Angels thus Pre­destinated and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed, and their number so certain and definite, that it cannot be either encreased or diminished.

'Tis either for want of acquaintance with Books, or want of Ingenuity, that this Au­thor falls upon the Presbyterians, as if they only were of this Opinion. The Assembly of Divines at Westminster published their Confession of Faith but about 46 years ago.

But first I shall shew that the Episcopal Di­vines, long before them, printed and published the same Doctrine.

2. Consider of the Doctrine it self.

1. Whereas this Author would suggest, as if the Presbyterians only held this Doctrine, and so cast an odium upon them, I shall shew, that the Episcopal Divines did publish the same Doctrine long before.

1. The Articles of the Church of England in the Year 1552 say, Predestination to Life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby (before the Foundation of the World was laid) he hath con­stantly decreed by his Counsel secret to us, to deliver from Curse and Damnation, those whom he hath chosen out of Mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting Salvation, as Vessels made to Honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God, be called according to God's purpose, by his Spirit working in due season, they through Grace be justified freely, they be made the Sons of God by Adoption, they be made like to the Image of his only begotten Son, Jesus Christ: they walk reli­giously in good Works, and at length, by God's Mer­cy, [Page 82]they attain to everlasting Felicity, Article 17. Here is plainly asserted, that there is an Eternal Election of certain Persons, that they shall be certainly and infallibly called to Grace and Glo­ry by Jesus Christ.

And as for the 31th Article which this Au­thor mentioneth, tho' he did not think fit to meddle with the 17th. Christ is a perfect Re­demption, Propitiation, and Satisfaction for all the Sins of the whole World, both Original and Actual.

They having before asserted the Doctrine of God's Eternal Election of some, this Article may fairly be interpreted, that Christ is a per­fect Redemption, Propitiation, and Satisfacti­on for all the Sins of the whole World, of the Elect, or of all the Elect in all Ages, and of all Nations throughout the whole World, and for them only: and their words being well conside­red, will constrain such an Interpretation: To be sure they did not hold, that all Mankind should be saved; and therefore saying that Christ is a perfect Redemption, Propitiation, and Satisfaction for all the Sins of the whole World, they cannot be understood to mean any more than this, that there is no other name under Heaven, by which Men can be saved, but the name of Jesus Christ; there is not Salvati­on in any other. It is he alone that is a Perfect Redemption, Propitiation, and Satisfaction for Sin; so that whoever are saved in any Age or Place throughout the whole World, are saved by him only.

2. The first Articles of the Church of England, being not so explicit and plain about Predestina­tion, and Arminianism being broached, there was [Page 83]a meeting at Lambeth-house on the 20th Day of November, 1595. (now almost an hundred Years since.) There was John, Archbishop of Canter­bury, Richard, Bishop of London; Richard, E­lect Bishop of Bangor; Dr. Tindal, Dean of Ely; Dr. Whitaker, Professor of Divinity in Cambridge; and sundry other Reverend and Learned Divines there present, with the concurrent Approbation of of the Right Reverend and Learned Prelate, Mat­thew, Archbishop of York, for the determining certain Arminian Points of Controversie, they com­posed, agreed upon, and published these Nine Assertions following.

1. Deus ab aeterno praedestinavit quosdam ad vitam; quosdam reprobavit ad mortem.

1. God from Eternity hath predestinated cer­tain Men to Life; he hath reprobated some unto Death.

2. Causa movens, aut efficiens Praedestinatio­nis ad vitam non est praevisio fidei, aut bono­rum operum, aut ullius rei quae insit in perso­nis praedestinatis, sed sola voluntas beneplaciti Dei.

2. The moving or efficient cause of predestination unto Life is not the foresight of Faith, or of good Works, or of any thing that is in the persons pre­destinated, but only the good Will and Pleasure of God.

3. Praedestinatorum praefinitus & certus est numerus, qui nec augeri nec minui possit.

3. There is a predetermined and certain number of the predestinated, which can neither be augmented nor diminished.

4. Qui non sunt praedestinati ad salutem, ne­cessario propter peccata sua damnabuntur.

4. Those that are not predestinated to Salvation, shall be necessarily damned for their Sins.

5. Vera viva, ac justificans fides, & Spiritus Dei justificantis non extinguitur, non excidit, non evanescet in electis, aut finaliter, aut totaliter.

5. A true living and justifying Faith is not ex­tinguished, it fails not, it vanisheth not away in the Elect, either finally or totally.

6. Homo vere fidelis, id est, fide justificante praeditus certus est plerophoria fidei, de remis­sione peccatorum suorum, & salute sempiterna sua per Christum.

6. A true believer, that is, such a one as is en­dued with a justifying Faith, is certain with the full assurance of Faith of the pardon of his Sins, and of his Everlasting Salvation by Christ.

I suppose they did not mean, that a true Be­liever may not have doubts and fears, whe­ther he be in Christ or no; but that he may have a full assurance of his Justification, without such extraordinary Revelation as the Papists speak of. This Article is directed especially against the Papists, whose Doctrine is, that no Believer can attain a full assurance of his Salvation in this Life, except he have an extra­ordinary Revelation from God.

7. Gratia Salutaris non tribuitur, non commu­nicatur, non conceditur, universis hominibus qua Servari possint, si velint.

7 Saving Grace is not given, is not communicated, is not granted to all Men, by which they may be saved if they will.

8. Nemo potest venire ad Christum, nisi datum ei fuerit, & nisi pater eum traxerit: Et omnes homines non trahuntur a Patre ut veniant ad filium.

8. No Man can come unto Christ, unless it shall be given unto him, and unless the Father shall draw him, and all Men are not drawn of the Father, that they may come unto the Son.

9. Non est positum in arbitrio aut potestate unius cujusque hominis servari.

9. It is not in the Will and Power of every one to be saved.

3. I come to the Articles of Religion, agreed upon by the Archbishops, Bishops, and the rest of the Clergy of Ireland, in the Convocation holden at Dublin, 16.5.

Article 11. God from all Eternity did by his unchangeable Counsel, ordain whatsoever in time should come to pass, yet, so as no Violence is offered to the Wills of the Reasonable Creatures, and neither the Liberty, nor the Contingency of second causes is taken away, but rather Established.

Article 12. By the same Eternal Counsel God hath predestinated some unto life, and reprobated some unto Death, of both which there is a certain number known only to God, which can neither be encreased nor diminished.

Article 13. Predestination unto Life, is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby before the Foun­dations of the World were laid, he hath constantly Decreed in his Secret Counsel, to deliver from Curse and Condemnation, those whom he hath chosen in Christ out of Mankind, and to bring them by Christ, unto everlasting Salvation, as Vessels made to Honour.

Article 14. The cause moving God to Predesti­nate unto Life, is not the foreseeing of Faith, or Perseverance, or of good works, or of any thing which is in the person Predestinated, but only the [Page 86]good pleasure of God himself. For all things being ordained for the manifestation of his glory, and his glory being to appear both in the works of his mercy, and of his justice: It seemed good to his Heaven­ly Wisdom, to choose out a certain number, towards whom he would extend his undeserved Mercy, leav­ing the rest to be spectacles of his Justice.

Article 15. such as are predestinated unto Life, be called according to Gods purpose, (his Spirit working in due Season,) and through Grace they obey the calling, they be justified freely, they be made Sons of God by Adoption, they be made like the Image of his only begotten Son Jesus Christ, they walk Religiously in good Works, and at length by Gods Mercy, they attain to everlasting felici­ty, but such as are not predestinated to Salvation, shall finally be condemned for their Sins.

Article, 25. The condition of Man after the fall of Adam, is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself by his own natural strength, and good works to Faith and calling upon God, where­fore we have no power to do good works, pleasing and acceptable unto God, without the Grace of God preventing us, that we may have a good Will, and working with us when we have that good Will.

Article 32. None can come to Christ, unless it be given to him, and unless the Father draw him, and all Men are not so drawn by the Father, that they may come unto the Son, neither is there such a sufficient measure of Grace vouchsafed unto eve­ry Man, whereby he is enabled to come unto ever­lasting Life.

Article 33. All Gods Elect are in their time inseparably united unto Christ, by the effectual and vital influence of the Holy Ghost, derived from [Page 87]him, as from the Head, unto every true Mem­ber of his Mystical Body, and being thus made one with Christ, they are truly regenerated, and made partakers of him, and all his benefits.

Article 38. A True, Lively, Justifying Faith, and the Sanctifying Spirit of God is not extinguished, nor vanisheth away in the Regenerate, either finally or totally.

I have cited these Articles to shew this Au­thor, and others of his mind, that there is no cause for any to fly out against the Assembly of Divines, or any Presbyterians, for what they hold about Election and Reprobation, and such points, as if it had been some new Doctrine that they had broached, but every one may now see, that next to the Scriptures, they learnt this Doctrine of the Episcopal Divines that were before them.

2. Let us consider the Doctrine it self.

1. Concerning the Doctrine of Election, let us see what this Author saith, page 27.

1. That God did choose in Christ unto Salvati­on, all that part of the fallen race of Mankind, that dye in their Innocency, or accept of his Mercy and Grace, according to the means he gives them, and this Decree proceeds from his own goodness, and is not built upon any goodness in the Creature.

1. He saith, that God did choose in Christ to Salvation, all that part of the fallen Race of A­dam, that dye in their Innocency.

1. I Answer 1. This Author quotes not one Scripture for this strange Assertion.

2. I wonder who they are of the fallen Race of Mankind, that can dye in their Innocency? [Page 88]I suppose he means young Infants, those that dye in their Infancy. But though those be cal­led Innocent comparatively, yet besides the guilt of Adams Sin, which is upon every one of his Posterity by Nature, as a consequent of it, all have lost the Image of God in Holiness and Righteousness; and have contracted by Adams fall, such an Universal Depravedness, that they have the Root, the Spawn and Seed of all Sin in them, Psal. 51.5. Behold I was sha­pen in Iniquity, and in Sin did my Mother con­ceive me. This Corruption of Nature, is inhe­rent in every one that comes by Adam, in a way of ordinary Generation: So that not one is born without it. It comes by propagation from Adam, and if a Child dye the first day it is born into the World, it doth not dye in Innocency; but if it be saved, it is washed, and made white in the Blood of the Lamb, and hath the habit, and principle of Grace infused into it, though with­out outward means: God that formeth the Spi­rit, the Rational Soul that the Infant hath, can form Grace in the Soul of the Child, as he pleases, can Sanctifie it in the Womb, or as soon as it is born, if he be graciously pleased so to do. But how doth the Infant dye in In­nocency? Alas, there is an Universal depraved­ness in the Soul of an Infant, which if it live to be capable to express it, will discover it self: A young Cub of a Fox or Wolf, doth not presently discover its ravenous Nature, but it is inherent in it, bred with it, and Men kill those young Cubs, though they never yet did any mischief; because it is their Nature to be Ravenous and Mischievous; An Infant hath the [Page 89]same reasonable Soul, that it hath, if it live to be a Man, though it doth not express it self, as it doth when it lives to Age. So an Infant hath the Seed of all Sin, a corrupt Na­ture, though it doth not Act, as it doth when Age comes on; and I say, that God may for the Guilt of Adams Sin, and because there is such Enmity, Rebellion and Wickedness in Mans Nature against him, he may if he please, glorifie his Justice upon them; though they dye in their Infancy, they are far from dying in Innocency.

I do not think God would have destroyed the old World, and called them the World of the Ungodly, amongst whom, no doubt there were many Infants, and destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, and made them suffer the Vengeance of Eternal Fire, amongst whom, no doubt there were many Infants, if every Infant were In­nocent. I will not meddle to determine the Eternal Estate of those that dye in Infancy, to be sure, you go too far to assert what you do, you are not the Soveraign Lord, and Judge of all.

3. You say that God did choose those that accept of his Grace and Mercy, according to the means he gives them.

1. I hope you mean his Grace and Mercy in Christ, that they know him, and believe in him, for else there is no Salvation: If the Gospel be hid, if Christ as Mediator, be not some ways made known to Men, they are lost for ever. 2 Cor. 4.3. He that believeth on the Son, hath Life, and he that believeth not on the Son, hath not Life. But you seem to hold, that 'tis not of [Page 90]necessity to Salvation to know Christ, and him Crucified as Mediator, but to have some gene­ral Notions of Universal Grace and Mercy in the Divine Essence, which Men do own and accept of, and truly you say, that few knew the Mediator by the Name of Jesus Christ, till he was born of the Virgin, page 21. That is nothing to the purpose, all that were saved, knew the Mediator as the Seed of the Woman that was to break the Serpents Head, Gen. 3.15. As he that was to offer himself a Sacrifice for Sin, and therefore God taught them to offer Sacrifices presently after the fall, by which they looked to Christ that was to come: Jacob called him Shiloah, the Saviour, the Peace-maker that was to come, Job called him his Redeemer. All that ever were saved before Christ came, were sa­ved not by meer believing that God was Mer­cifull and Gracious; But that he would send his Son to dye, to be a Sacrifice for Sin: And they embraced the promise of Christ, the only Mediator and Sacrifice for Sin that was to come: And all that are saved, since our Sa­viours coming, do in some measure know and believe in Jesus Christ, that dyed without the Gate of Jerusalem: You will leave us a strange Creed, if you leave out the promised Messiah, and that it is not necessary to believe in him to everlasting Lise?

Ay, but you say, the Turks themselves begin al­most every Chapter in their Alcoran, with these words, In the Name of God, Gracious and Merci­ful, page 21.

And what then, are the Turks in a State of Salvation, who deny the Trinity, deny Christ [Page 91]to be God, deny Christ to have dyed, but one in his Room; and put up Mahomet an Impostor as the great Prophet? Indeed your Friend Ser­vetus, Conversed much with the Turks, and would have had a Reconciliation of the Turkish and Chri­stian Religion.

It may be, this Author doth not understand the danger of these Opinions, but they tend to the Subverting of the Christian Religion. What if the Turks have a Notion that God is Merciful and Gracious: They, and all others will, find that except they come to God by Christ the Mediator, the Sacrifice for Sin, they will find God to be a consuming fire to them.

This Authors mentioning of the Turks, puts me in mind of a Discourse I once had with a Quaker, one of the most knowing Men that ever I knew of that way, and he said, the Turks were as good Saints, as any were in Eng­land. Indeed, the Arminians and Quakers they run all upon this, that there is a sufficient light, that God gives to all Mankind, that if they do but heed that Light, it will bring them to Sal­vation: Ay, and so our Lord and Saviour Je­sus Christ, the Knowledge of him, and Faith in him, must be but an indifferent thing, and not absolutely necessary, that they may maintain their Opinion of Universal Grace. What dark­ness is coming upon this Land, that the blind, lead the blind after this manner?

2. Well, then set that question aside for the present, what that Mercy and Goodness of God is, that if Men accept God from the beginning, chose them to Salvation in Christ: What, is this the Election, the Scripture speaks of? [Page 92] Here is not a Syllable of Gods purposing of his meer Grace infallibly to give them a new Heart, to give them Faith and Repentance; and so they must thank themselves if they be saved: The Armi­nians will allow God only to decree, that all shall be saved that are so wise and careful as to believe in Christ, by improving that common and universal Grace that is afforded to them that are damned, as well as those that are saved: They will not allow that God hath elected any Persons from Eternity, so as that he will cer­tainly call them, and that they shall obey that Calling; that those Persons from God's special and distinguishing Grace, shall be infallibly saved, thro' our Lord Jesus Christ.

If there were no other Election but this, there might not one Man or Woman in the World have been saved, but blessed be the Name of God for ever: God hath from Eter­nity chosen particular persons to Salvation: chosen them so as to give Christ for them, and certainly and infallibly to give Christ with all his Benefits to them.

Acts 13.48. As many as were ordained to Eter­nal Life believed: they were not ordained to E­ternal Life, because they believed, but they be­lieved because they were ordained to Eternal Life: there were some of the Hearers that God had from Eternity ordained to Eternal Life, that were now to be savingly called, and to them God gave a new Heart, Faith and Re­pentance, when others contradicted and blas­phemed.

Ephes. 1.3, 4, 5, 6. Blessed be the God and Fa­ther of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us [Page 93]with all Spiritual Blessings in Heavenly places in Christ, according as he hath chosen us in him be­fore the Foundation of the World, that we should be Holy, and without blame before him in Love, having predestinated us to the Adoption of Chil­dren by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his Will, to the praise of the Glory of his Grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the Beloved.

1. Here we see, that those that God blesseth with Spiritual Blessings, Justification, Sanctifi­cation, Adoption, Grace and Glory, it is by Jesus Christ, all is communicated through him.

2. Those that God doth in time Justifie and Sanctifie, he purposeth to do it for those very per­sons before all Time, even from Eternity; 'tis ac­cording as he had chosen them before the Foun­dation of the World was laid. God from Eter­nity chose Christ to be their Mediator and Head, and chose them to be the Members of his Mystical Body: He did not choose them up­on any foresight of Holiness in them; but chose them to make them Holy, and without Blame be­fore him in Love.

3. If any ask the Question, Why God chose those individual persons, and not others, the A­postle shews, that it was the good pleasure of his Will, v. 5. to the praise of the Glory of his Grace, v. 6. to the praise of the Glory of his Discri­minating, Distinguishing Grace, who will be gra­cious to whom he will be gracious, and will have compassion on whom he will have compassion; what­soever Men and Devils say against it.

Revel. 13.8. And all that dwell upon the Earth shall worship him (that is, the Beast) whose names [Page 94]are not written in the Book of Life, of the Lamb slain from the Foundation of the World. As Christ, the Mediator, was fore-ordained before the Foundation of the World, to be Mediator, and was slain in the Decree and Purpose of God from Eternity: so there were the Names of those he should be slain for in time, written in the Book of Life; not that God uses Books and Writing, as Men do, but the Persons of those that were Elected from Eternity, were as certain, so many, and no more, as if they had been written in a Book: And because they were thus Elected, God will not suffer them to be finally deceived to worship the Beast, 1 Thes­sal. 1.4, 5. Knowing Brethren, beloved, your E­lection of God, for our Gospel came not to you in Word only, but in Power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much Assurance.

So far as we can know that the Gospel comes with Saving Power upon the Hearts of any; so far we know their Election before the Foun­dation of the World: Men are not elected when, or because the Gospel comes with saving Power upon their Hearts; but because God had elected them to Life from Eternity, therefore he sets home the Gospel in due season with Saving Power upon their Hearts.

2 Thess. 2.13. But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, Brethren, that God hath from the beginning chosen you to Salvation through Sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth.

1. God's choosing from the beginning unto Salvation, is meant, of his choosing them from Eternity, to the End, viz. to Eternal Salva­tion.

2. Through Sanctification and belief of the Truth, shews the way by which God eternally intended to bring them to Salvation.

3. The Apostle shews, that God did in his eternal choosing of them, freely purpose to bring them into this Grace wherein they stood; that is, he decreed to give them that Sanctifi­cation of the Spirit, and belief of the Truth, which he had now actually bestowed upon them: Those whom God hath chosen to the End, Sal­vation; them he hath chosen to the Means, to make them partakers of special Grace to be in­fallibly bestowed upon them.

Rom. 8.29, 30. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born amongst ma­ny Brethren: Moreover, whom he did predestinate them he also called, and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he al­so glorified.

1. There are some that God did in an especial manner foreknow: God did from Eternity fore­know all Persons and Things: Ay, but God is said to foreknow some in an especial manner [ [...]] signifies a foreknowing with Love, and Favour, and special Regard: He also did Predestinate to be conformed to the Image of his Son, to make them Holy like Christ in their measure; he shews, that that Fore-knowledge, that Free-love, was the cause of predestinating them to Grace and Glory.

2. To make it plainer, he saith that whom he hath predestinated, them he hath also called; those whom God did Predestinate to Life, from Eternity, them he calls in time: They [Page 96]are called according to his purpose, v. 28.

Observe, God did not predestinate Species, or Kinds, or Qualities, but Persons: not pre­destinate Men that he foresaw would believe in Christ; but he predestinated them to be savingly, certainly, and effectually called: and this God effects in all that he hath predestinated to Life. There is not one whom the Lord hath prede­destinated to Life, from Eternity, but he calls him effectually in his own time.

Rom. 11.5, 6, 7. Even so at this present time also, there is an Election of Grace; and if by Grace, then it is no more of Works; otherwise Grace is no more Grace, but if it be of Works, then it is no more Grace; otherwise Work is no more Work. What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for, but the Election hath obtain­ed it, and the rest were blinded.

The Body of the People of the Jews they were cast of, they were left to their own un­belief, and blindness of Heart: Now lest any should wonder at this, the Apostle saith, God hath not cast off his people whom he fore­knew, that is, whom he had Elected unto Life: God never fails of Converting and Saving them; and shews, that as in the great defection in the time of Elias, God had a Remnant, a few that did cleave unto him; even so now at this pre­sent time also, there is a Remnant according to the Election of Grace; tho' the generality of the Jews do not believe in Christ, yet there are some do believe, the Elect do. He lets them know, that there is an Election, and that of Grace, of meer Grace; and that tho' others do not believe in Christ, yet the Remnant, the [Page 97]few that God of his Grace had Elected they be­lieved, and were saved.

And v. 6. he shews, that both Election, Vo­cation and Justification are of meer Grace in Christ, and not of Works and Worthiness in the Creature at all, that those that are elected, and do believe in Christ, when others are not elected, and so never have it given them to come to Christ, it was purely from the free Grace of God to them; and so concludes: The Election, that is, those who are elected to Sal­vation, they obtain Grace and Glory, and the rest of Men and Women then, and so likewise in all Ages they are blinded, they are left to themselves, and to their Sins.

I might mention many other Scriptures but these may suffice.

Ay, but saith this Author in that 27th page, No Man that is an unregenerate Sinner is actual­ly elected, till he turns from Sin, and accepts God's Mercy by Faith, Revel. 17.14. These shall make War with the Lamb. and the Lamb shall overcome them, for he is Lord of Lords, and King of Kings; and they that are with him are Called, and Chosen, and Faithful.

To say that no Man is actually elected till he turns from his Sin, and accepts of God's Mer­cy by Faith, is to confound the immanent Acts of God with his transient Acts. Election is an im­manent Act of God 'tis the Purpose of God to­wards Persons from Eternity. Conversion is a transient Act of God in time, wherein he puts forth his Power, and Converts according to his Eternal Purpose and Grace; and for that only Text this Author brings, it seems plainly to [Page 98]be meant, of those that shall destroy the Whore of Babylon, who may be said to be called and chosen, and faithful in that Work, tho' they were never called to be Saints; never elected to Salvation, never truly faithful: As Cyrus of old was called God's Anointed, and his Servant, in being an Instrument of God's taking Ven­geance, tho' he was a Heathen, Carnal-man: But take it for Effectual Calling, being chosen to Salvation, and faithful in Christ, it signifieth nothing at all to your purpose. I hope that they that are chosen from Eternity, may be said to be chosen to all Eternity: Once chosen of God and ever chosen: It may be said here in this Life, and a thousand of Years hence, and to all Eternity, that they are the chosen of God, for he abides by his choice for ever.

Then you say, that none are actually Reproba­ted, till they depart from God, or reject his Mer­cy and Goodness, which he graciously holds forth to them, Rom. 1.28. And even as they did not like to retain God in their Knowledge, God gave them over to a Reprobate Mind, to do those things which are not convenient.

The Scope of the Apostle is to shew, that the Gentiles that he speaks of, had so much knowledge of God, as to leave them without excuse, v. 20. so have all that perish: But those Gentiles that the Apostle there speaks of, had not so much as sufficient outward means to bring them to know God in Christ; but they so grosly prevarica­ted against the Light of Nature, to change the Glory of the Incorruptible-God, into an Image of Cor­ruptible-Man, and to Birds, and four-footed Beasts, and creeping things: that God in his [Page 99]Righteous Judgment gave them up to vile Af­fections: they did not like to retain God in their Knowledge; that is, they did not walk accor­ding to that Knowledge of God they had by the Light of Nature, (for knowledg of God in Christ, which alone can bring Men to Eternal Life, they had none) therefore God gave them over to a Reprobate Mind: They had a Re­probate Mind by Nature, and so have all Men; that is, a Mind void of Judgment and Under­standing, till God takes it away. God's Decree to deny his Grace to Persons from Eternity, is one thing, and a Reprobate Mind, a Mind void of Understanding, is another thing; and is more or less, as God gives up Men to them­selves: and this, saith he, is so clear, that those who are our Adversaries are forced to allow it; for thus they speak, chap. 11. of their Confession of Faith, God did from all Eternity decree to justi­fie the Elect, notwithstanding they are not justified till the Holy Spirit doth in due time actually apply Christ to them.

I answer, that when the Assembly of Divines say, that God did from all Eternity Decree to justifie the Elect, yet they are not justified till the Holy Spirit doth actually apply Christ: You seem to have quite forgotten what you were treating of, and so instead of casting a slur up­on the Assembly of Divines, you cast a great slur upon your self, as if you did not at all un­derstand what you write of: for observe, you are writing of Election, and you bring a pas­sage of the Assembly about Justification; you would prove, if you could, that none are actu­ally Elected until they believe; and say, that [Page 100]the Assembly are forced to allow, that none are actually justified till they do believe. Surely that grave Assembly of Divines was never so abused as by you: they knew well enough what they said: I would you had the thousandth part of the Knowledge they had: The Assembly say well, that God decreed to justifie the Elect from Eterni­ty, and so he decreed to Sanctifie them from Eter­nity, but they are neither actually Justified nor Sanctified, until the Holy Spirit do call them. E­lection is one thing, Justification is another: E­lection is an Immanent Act of God, and from Eternity: Justification is a transient Act of God towards the Elect in time. Ay, but this Au­thor will make this matter evident to every considerate Reader, viz. that none are actually Elected until they be Converted.

Saith he, All that are actually elected have an Inheritance in the Kingdom of God, and none can lay any thing to their charge, 1 Pet. 1.2, 3, 4. Rom. 8.33. But no unbelieving Drunkard, Whore­monger, hath any Inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ, and of God, Eph. 5.5. And these Impie­ties may be laid to their charge; therefore no unbe­lieving Drunkard, Whoremonger, or Idolater is actually Elected.

1. To explain this, 1. There is an Eternal Predestinating some Persons to the Heavenly Inheritance, by the meer good pleasure of God's Will, Ephes. 1.11. In whom also we have obtain­ed an Inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him, who worketh all things accor­ding to the Counsel of his own Will. Here the A­postle shews, that whether they be Jews, who first trusted in Christ, or Gentiles, who were [Page 101]brought to trust in Christ after the Jews, v. 12, 13. yet whatsoever they are, Jews or Gentiles, that truly trust in Christ, they have ob­tained a right to the Heavenly Inheritance: Then he shews, how they come to be partakers of this Grace, to have Christ given for them, and given to them; and this he shews in these words, Being predestinated according to the pur­pose of him, who worketh all things according to the Counsel of his own Will: He would have them know, that all that God doth for them in time, is, because he had predestinated them, and chosen them from Eternity to Grace and Glory. So let that be well observed, that all that God hath predestinated to Life, have the Heavenly Inheritance allotted and appointed to them, it is theirs by Predestination, by Election.

2. There is a Title to the Heavenly Inheritance by the purchase of Christ the Mediator.

3. There is an actual right to the Heavenly In­heritance by Regeneration and Adoption. These three things considered, the Answer to this Au­thor is, That all that are saved, had a Title to the Heavenly Inheritance from Eternity by Electi­on; by the Gracious Decree of God, the King­dom of God was prepared for them to Eterni­ty, Matth. 25.34. Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the Foundation of the World: As if our Saviour had said, You that are saved, look to the first cause of it, you were Blessed of my Father, he elect­ed you from Eternity, he gave me to die for you, he called you in due season, and made you a peculiar People, zealous of good Works; and thus you come to inherit the Kingdom.

Again, The Elect, before Conversion, have Right, in Christ their Head, to the heavenly Inheritance, before they be called, because Christ hath purchased it for them. Yea, Eternal Life was promised to Christ for them, as their Head in the Cove­nant of Redemption, before the World began, Tit. 1.12. But when the Apostle saith, that no wicked Man hath any Inheritance in the King­dom of God, Ephes. 5.5. the meaning is only, that though God may have purposed in his E­ternal Counsel to give the Heavenly Inheritance to a Man that for the present is ungodly, and Christ the Mediator may have purchased the Heavenly Inheritance, yet this is a secret thing known only to God himself: But for what ap­pears yet to the unregenerate Man himself, or to others, he hath no Part nor Lot in that Hea­venly Inheritance.

As for those Words, Rom. 8.33. Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's Elect? The Apo­stle had said, Ver. 30. Whom he predestinated, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glori­fied. The Apostle seems in this place to answer to two Objections that some might make.

1. That it is long before some that are prede­stinated, are called; and if they be not called, they cannot be justified; and so if they should die before they are called, What will become of them? The Apostle shews, that though God hath not yet called them, he will call them; and though there might be a Charge of innume­rable Sins against an elect Person, before he be converted, yet, Who shall lay them to the Charge of God's Elect, to damn them in Hell? [Page 103]They are Elect, and God's Election stops any Arrest of an Elect Person, so as that he cannot be thrown into Hell. The Elect have a Re­prieve, in order to their Pardon in God's Time.

2. It might be objected, That whereas the Apostle had said, Ver. 30. Whom he hath cal­led, them he also justified: Have not the Elect, after they are called, if they live any long time after their Conversion, committed many Sins that might be laid to their Charge? They did not sin only before they were called, but sin much after they are called: How then are they justified? The Apostle answers, Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's Elect, with effect, so as to bring them to Damnation in Hell? Though every Sin they commit doth deserve E­ternal Damnation, yet 'tis God with whom they have to do; and seeing he will not take Ven­geance, but glorifie his Free Grace in Christ to them, who hath to do with it? God that may do it, he justifies them.

Yea, the Apostle goes on, and shews, v. 34. that the Elect are secured from Eternal Damna­tion in Hell, not only by Election, but by Re­demption: That though they have deserved it as well as others, yet, saith the Apostle, who shall condemn (that is, the Elect) eventually and eternally? Indeed, they are condemned by the Law, till they be in Christ: But who shall con­demn them, so as to get Execution against them in Hell, seeing they are God's Elect, and Christ hath died for them?

Men know not what they do, when they set their Wits on work to deny that God hath set his free and unchangeable Love upon some from Eternity, where­by [Page 104]he will certainly and infallibly bring them to Grace here, and Eternal Glory hereafter, through our Lord Jesus Christ. For observe, Take away Election, and you take away Redemption; for Redemption is grounded upon Election, Joh. 17.6. Thine they were, and thou gavest them me: Thine they were by Election, and therefore thou gavest them me to redeem, and bring to Glory.

Take away God's Eternal Election of a certain number of Persons to Grace and Glory, and you take away Effectual Calling, and Conversion. For if God, of his mere Grace and good Pleasure, had not so elected them, there had never been any Person effectually called. 'Tis God alone that doth inwardly and effectually call any, so as that they are savingly converted; and if he had not freely predestinated and elected them, he had never called and converted them: Whom he hath predestinated, them he hath also called, Rom. 8.30.

Take away God's Eternal, Special and Un­changeable Love to a certain Number, that he will set them before his Face for ever; and if we were in Heaven, we could not be sure to continue there. What a Multitude of Angels sinned and were thrust down to Hell? It was Election that setled the Angels that see God's Face for ever. The Angels that stand are cal­led the Elect Angels, 1 Tim. 5.15. God decreed from Eternity to determine and fix their Wills unto himself for ever. It is from this Eter­nal and Unchangeable Love of God in Ele­ction, that the Angels and Saints in Heaven are upheld in Love and Praise unto God for ever.

It hath been an old Objection of Arminians, and revived by this Author, pag. 26. That many have despaired of Mercy, and have laid violent hands upon themselves; and many, he saith, in this City: He mentions it, that they fall into this Despair because they are told Christ died but for a few.

1. I answer, This Objection useth to be brought too against Election. For my part, I do not remember that ever I knew any in my whole Life, that laid violent hands upon them­selves because they heard that Christ did not die for all Adam's Posterity, or that they were not elected. The truth is, those that make away themselves may sometimes get such things into their Thoughts, as that they have committed the Sin against the Holy Ghost, and that they are not elected, and Christ did not die for them: But the true cause of their laying violent hands upon themselves is some extraordinary worldly Sor­row, which worketh Death, (in that sense,) or Excess of Melancholy, whereby they are so distract­ed, that they are not themselves.

2. As to Despair of Mercy; If God give up a Man to Satan, and his own Heart, how easily may any Man fall into it, though he hold Uni­versal Redemption, and deny Election? For our Saviour saith plainly, Matth. 7.14. Few there be that find the strait Gate, and narrow Way. Yea, I will maintain, that the Doctrine of E­ternal Redemption, and of Christ's dying only for the Elect, and that the Elect whom Christ died for shall certainly and infallibly be saved, is an Antidote against Despair, if the Lord please to put in with it: And that the denying of Ele­ction, and holding Universal Redemption, is [Page 106]the way to bring those that have a deep Sense of their own Sinfulness and Unworthiness, is the way to bring such to utter Despair of Mercy.

I make it out thus: Take a Person that is throughly convinced of Sin, that sees, and is sen­sible that he hath a Depth of Sin in his Nature, that sees himself vile and abominable, by reason of the universal Corruption of his Nature, as well as actual Sins, more than the Hairs of his Head, which cannot be numbred: You come to this humbled, convinced Person, with your Armi­nian Doctrine, and tell him that God did not decree any Person to Salvation from Eternity, of mere Grace to give them infallibly both Grace and Glory, but that Christ died for all Adam's Posterity. Saith the convinced, hum­bled Sinner, Shall all be infallibly saved that Christ died for? You must tell him, according to the tenour of your Doctrine, No, there were many of them in Hell when he died, and never shall be set at liberty from their Everlasting Chains of Darkness. Yea, you can tell them, according to your Doctrine, that notwithstand­ing Christ's Death, there might not one Man or Woman in the World have been saved. Tru­ly, this Doctrine is enough to drive Men into Despair. Ay, but you can tell them, that who­soever believeth, shall be saved: Ay, and so can others tell them, as well as you, though they hold Election, and that Christ died only for the Elect: For if God gives Faith, that is a certain sign of Election, and that Christ died for that Person.

Well, Now let us see what those that hold Election, and that Christ died only for the E­lect, can say, in a Ministerial and Doctrinal Way, to keep a convinced, humbled Sinner from De­spair of Mercy; I say, in a Ministerial, Doctri­nal Way; for it is God alone that can do it in­wardly and effectually. Now therefore our Do­ctrine can say to such a convinced, humbled Sin­ner, that is ready to despair; God hath from Eternity decreed, of his mere Grace in Christ, to give Grace and Glory to certain Persons; and some of these Persons that God intended to make everlasting Monuments of his Free Grace, are not only by Nature Children of Wrath, as well as others, but in time are Monsters in re­spect of Actual Sin; as Manasseh, the Thief up­on the Cross, and Paul, for persecuting the Church of God; but being elected to Life, and Christ dying for them, they are converted and saved: And who knows but that you are of that number? There is a May be, that you are an Object of this Special Grace; and 'tis certain, if that you, being convinced of Sin, do venture and trust in God's free Mercy in Christ, you shall be saved. All that the Father giveth unto Christ to redeem and save, shall come to him; and he that cometh unto him, he will in no wise cast out. And if the humbled Sinner says, If I should put my Trust in Christ, the Arminian tells me, that I may be a Child of God to Day, and a Child of the Devil to Morrow: There­fore why should I, that know what a vile Heart I have, ever think of any Hope of Salvation? but sink in utter Despair. Our Doctrine assures them, if the Lord be pleased once to unite them [Page 108]to Christ by a true and lively Faith, the Lord will give them from time to time such Influen­ces and Supplies of his Spirit, as that they shall be kept in the state of Grace, until they come to the state of Glory. Therefore let all that are wise and spiritual judge which Doctrine gives grounds of most Encouragement, Support and Comfort, if the Lord please to set it home by his Spirit.

CHAP. VI. Of God's Eternal Decrees, what should come to pass in Time; and of his governing and disposing of things in the World for his own Glory.

THis Author, in his Epistle to his Book, falls upon the Assembly of Divines, con­cerning God's Decrees, and (according to the manner of the Man) leaves out that which should clear their Sense and Meaning, that so he might expose them.

The Words in the Assembly's Confession are these:

God from all Eternity did, by the most wise and holy Counsel of his own Will, freely and unchangea­bly ordain whatsoever comes to pass; yet so as there­by neither is God the Author of Sin, nor is Violence offered to the Will of the Creatures, nor is the Liber­ty or Contingency of Second Causes taken away, but rather established.

This Article is almost word for word the same with the Eleventh Article of the Episcopal Di­vines in Ireland, 1615. long before the Assem­bly at Westminster; so that one would think it was taken thence.

God from all Eternity did, by his Ʋnchangeable Counsel, ordain whatsoever in Time should come to pass; yet so, as thereby no Violence is offered to the Wills of the Reasonable Creatures, neither the Liber­ty, nor the Contingency of the Second Causes taken away.

The Reader may see what a Harmony there is about God's Decrees, between the old Epis­copal Divines, and the Assembly of Divines at Westminster.

There have been two sorts of Atheists in the World; the first sort of Atheists denied the Exi­stence and Being of God, the second sort of A­theists denied God's governing the World; the Lord keep this Age from being Atheists either of these ways.

If the Evills of Afflictions that befall us came merely by Second Causes and Instruments, and were not determined and decreed by God, how should we sanctifie God's Name, and humble our selves under the mighty Hand of God? As Job did, when he said, The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away: Blessed be the Name of the Lord.

This Men drive at in this Atheistical Age, to throw down the Soveraignty, Independency and Immutability of God, to make him change in his Purposes and Intentions, as Men do; and to make Contingencies to God, as there is to Man.

It is come to this daring Boldness, that Men have asserted in Print, that God hath not deter­mined the Period of Men's Lives, nor other things of that nature: But who, I pray, shall or­der what shall come to pass, but that blessed God who hath made àll things for himself, for his own Glory, for the Glory of his Wisdom, Power, Justice and Mercy? And who is fit to govern the World, but he that made it?

Ay, but the great Objection that blinds the Ignorant is, That if God have from Eternity decreed all things that come to pass, then he hath decreed that Men shall fall into those Sins that they do fall into.

Answer. And what then? Do not we say that yet God is not the Author or Approver of Sin, nei­ther is there any Violence offered to the Will of the Creatures? Men sin as freely as if there were no De­cree of God to leave them to commit those Sins. We say that God's Decrees are not the Cause of Sin, nei­ther is God the Author of Sin. Nihil isto contradi­centius, aut impossibilius, nempe Deum esse Autho­rem peccati: Nothing is more contradictory or im­possible than this Proposition, that God is the Author of Sin, saith Dr. Twisse: Yet he is one that this Author puts in his Black Bill.

Well, but this Author scrapes together seve­ral Passages quoted by Mr. Pierce, and other Writers, out of Calvin, Luther, Zuinglius, Be­za, and others; which are very strange con­cerning God's determining Men's Sins. What do you say to these Expressions?

I answer: 1. That Mr. Pierce and this Author might have spent their Time better, than to quar­rel with Calvin, Luther, and those eminent In­struments [Page 111]in the Reformation. This is very pleasing to the Papists, and those that are Po­pishly affected; for they hate the Names of Cal­vin, Luther, Zuinglius, and those Divines that God made use of, to communicate so much Light to the World. And if this Author knows it not, I will now tell him, that Bellarmine long since, in his Writings, doth inveigh against them upon this very Account, concerning God's Decrees and Over-ruling Hand about the Sins of Men.

2. I say, I shall not meddle with any of his Quo­tations. One may cut out Snips out of Authors, whereby the true Sense and Meaning of the Au­thors may be quite altered.

3. I say, I shall not take upon me to justifie all the Phrases and Expressions of Learned and Godly Men: They may sometimes in haste express themselves not so prudently and warily in such a tremendous Mystery as this is. The truth is, God's myste­rious Administration concerning Sin, in order­ing and over-ruling it to his own Glory, is past our finding out: 'Tis best to say, O the Depth! And that to be sure, though we cannot compre­hend it, he is righteous in all his Ways, and holy in all his Works. I would have all Persons very cautious about this Point, both of the one side and the other, and keep close to Scripture-Ex­pressions, which I shall now set before this Au­thor, and those of his Way; and do fear that till they learn more Sobriety, Awe and Reverence of God, they would openly quarrel against the Scri­pture it self in this Matter, if they durst. Let us then hear what the Scripture saith in this Matter.

When Joseph's Brethren did wickedly and un­naturally sell him into Egypt, Gen. 45.5. saith Joseph, God sent me before you, to preserve Life. And Ver. 7. God sent me before you, to preserve you a Posterity in the Earth. And Gen. 50.20. But as for you, ye thought evil against me, but God meant it for good.

1 King. 22.19, 20, 21, 22, 23. And he said, Hear thou therefore the Word of the Lord: I saw the Lord sitting on his Throne, and all the Host of Heaven by him, on his Right Hand, and on the Left. And the Lord said, Who shall persuade Ahab to go up, and fall at Ramoth Gilead? And one said on this manner, and another said on that manner. And there came forth a Spirit, and stood before the Lord, and said, I will persuade him. And the Lord said, Wherewith? And he said, I will go forth, and be a Lying Spirit in the Mouth of all his Prophets. And he said, Thou shalt persuade him, and prevail also: Go forth, and do so. Now therefore the Lord hath put a Lying Spirit in the Mouth of all these thy Prophets, and the Lord hath spoken Evil concerning thee.

Exod. 4.21. And the Lord said unto Moses, When thou goest to return into Egypt, see that thou do all these Wonders before Pharaoh, which I have put in thine Hand; but I will harden his Heart, that he shall not let the People go.

When Job's Substance was stolen by the Sa­beans and Chaldeans, and his Servants slain, Job worshipped, and said, The Lord hath given, and the Lord hath taken away, Chap. 1.20, 21.

Concerning God's All-governing Providence, it is said, Eccles. 3.14. I know that what God doth, it shall be for ever; nothing can be put to it, [Page 113]nor any thing taken from it: And God doth it, that Men should fear before him.

Concerning the Assyrian, the great Enemy and Spoiler of Israel, it is said, Isa. 10.5. O As­syrian, the Rod of mine Anger, and the Staff in their Hand is my Indignation: I will send him a­gainst an hypocritical Nation.

Isa. 13.16, 17. Their Children also shall be dash­ed in pieces before their Eyes, their Houses shall be spoiled, and their Wives ravished. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them.

Psal. 105.25. He turned their Heart to hate his People, and to deal subtilly with his Servants.

Matth. 6.13. And lead us not into Temptation.

Prov. 16.4. He hath made all things for him­self, and the Wicked for the Day of Evil.

When Shimei cursed David, 2 Sam. 16.10. he said, The Lord hath said unto him, Curse Da­vid.

Rom. 1.24. God gave them up to Ʋncleanness, through the Lusts of their own Hearts. Ver. 26. God gave them up unto vile Affections.

2 Thes. 2.11, 12. And for this Cause God shall send them strong Delusions, that they should believe a Lye, that they all might be damned who believed not the Truth, but had pleasure in Ʋnrighteousness.

Though God had a glorious Design in the Death of Christ, yet they were wicked Hands that crucified him: God's Decrees do not justifie Men's Sins. It was a most horrid Act of the Jews to crucifie the Lord of Glory, yet Peter saith, Act. 1.23. Him being delivered by the deter­minate Counsel and Fore-knowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked Hands have crucified and slain. Act. 4.27, 28. For of a truth, against thy holy [Page 114]Child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, and the People of Israel were gathered together, to do whatsoever thy Hand and thy Counsel determined before to be done. The Hand and Counsel of God determined before, even from Eternity, that Christ should at that very time die, as Mediator for his Church; and the Jews, by their wicked Hands, to satisfie their Malice, did crucifie him, as if he had been a Malefactor. O the depth of the Wisdom and Knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his Judgments, and his Ways past finding out.

But of all the Reformed Divines, this Au­thor shews most Wrath and Indignation a­gainst Calvin, who in his Time was a glorious Light in the Church. Mr. Richard Hooker, that wrote against him about Church-Discipline, yet confesseth him to be the wisest Man that ever the Church of France bred. And another Episcopal Divine saith, He never heard any good Man speak of him without Honour. But this Author makes scurrilous Verses of him, and directs them too to Calvin himself, though he hath been so long dead; and compares Calvin to Cain, and Mi­chael Servetus to Abel. Let us enquire what this Servetus was. This Author is much mistaken, to think that he was put to death for being of this Author's Judgment about Baptism; it was for Blasphemy against the Blessed and Holy Trinity.

Indeed, this Author saith, he was a learned and worthy Man, though perhaps mistaken in some things, pag. 27. Ah, Do you put a Perhaps he was mis­taken in some things, when he denied and blas­phemed the Holy Trinity? Waving what Sleidan, Ross, and others say of him, let us hear what [Page 115]Dr. Owen, in his Answer to the Antitrinitarians and Socinians, saith of this Servetus, pag. 44.

Servetus stuffed all his Discourses with hor­rid Blasphemies. Beza tells us, he called the Trinity, Tricipitem Cerberum, (Words not fit to be Englished, they are so full of Blasphe­my;) and wrote, that Moses was a ridiculous Impostor, Beza, Epist. 1. And there are Pas­sages cited out of his Book of the Trinity, (which I have not seen,) that seem to have as much of the Devil in them, as ever yet was written or spoken by any of the Sons of Men. If, saith he, Christ be the Son of God, Debuis­sent ergo dicere quod Deus habebat uxorem quan­dam spiritualem, vel quod solus ipse Masculo-faemi­neus aut Hermaphroditus, simul erat pater & ma­ter, nam ratio vocabuli non patitur ut quis dicatur sine matre pater: Et si Logos Filius erat natus ex patre sine matre, dic mihi quomodo peperit eum; per ventrem, aut per latus? To this heighth of Atheism and Blasphemy had Satan wrought up the Man; so that I must needs say, he is the only Person in the World, that I ever heard or read of, that ever died upon the Account of Religion, in reference to whom, the Zeal of them that put him to death may be acquit­ted.’ Thus he.

Although this Author thinks that God doth not, for the Manifestation of his own Glory, over-rule the Children of Men, yet it is mamni­fest that God hath given him a Spirit of Slum­ber, as a Check and Punishment to him, that he should be left of God to desame such a Man as Calvin, and extol Servetus, an Antitrinitarian, and one of the greatest Blasphemers of the for [Page 116]ever Blessed Trinity, that ever was in the World. By this you have lost all Credit and Esteem, with all wise and knowing Christians that Worship the Holy Trinity, God the Fa­ther, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost, three Persons, and one God, to whom be glory for ever.

CHAP. VII. Of the Lords Drawing and Ʋniting of the Elect to Christ, in effectual calling.

1. VVHen Arminians have made great flourishes of Gods having the same love of good will to all Adams Posterity, they are exceedingly grated with this Objection that follows.

If God have the same love of good will to all the Children of Adam, why are but some saved, and not all, why doth not God convert all?

1. Some of them are ready to say, that God cannot Convert them, they are so stubborn and rebellious, though he desires to do it; but this is down-right Blasphemy, to say that God can­not convert those whom he purposeth, intend­eth and desireth to Convert, he that made the Heart, can change the Heart, can turn it as the Rivers of Water, which way soever he pleaseth, [Page 117]with the greatest facility, easilier then we can stir a finger.

I heard above forty years since, an Arminian Preach, Mr. H.D. a Man of as great Learning and Ability, as most of that way in England, this Man was inveighing against Election and special Grace, at last he came to answer an Objection to this purpose: You will say, Is not this a meer beating of the Air, a meer flourish of words, to tell you that God hath such a Love to all Adams Posterity, that he would have them all saved, and yet they are not saved, suppose (saith he) that a Mother should say, that she had a great Love for her Child, and she sees this simple Child running into a fire, that would burn it to Death, and the Mother could prevent it, and pull the Child back, but she suffers it to go on and Perish, who will say that such a Mother had such a true and tender Love to the Child? So said this Preacher, If God have such great and tender Love to all Adams Posterity, and sees them through their folly, inadvertency and corruption of their Hearts, running into Hell-fire, and he could stop them, and save them, and doth not, where is his Love and Desire to save them?

Though I cannot remember the very words, yet it was to this purpose that he brought in an Objection, he urged it very strongly, I think over-ruled by God, to confute himself, I wondred how he would answer the Objection, his An­swer was this, what (saith he) if I say God cannot, that is, that God could not Convert them, and so left it: To such Absurdities and Blasphemies doth Arminianism lead.

2. Others of them say, that God indeed can [Page 118]change the Rebellious Will of Man, but they alledge two things.

1. They say it is Dishonourable to God, to go any further for the Conversion of a Sinner, than to set before him Arguments, Threat­nings and Promises, and urge these Arguments by inward Convictions; but they say, it is not for the Honour of God to put forth such irresistible power, as shall infallibly change and turn the Heart to God.

I answer, that God hath promised to some, absolutely promised to the Elect, that which Divines call the first Grace, Jer. 31. Heb. 8. I will put my fear in their Hearts, I will write my Law in their Hearts, Ezek. 36.26, 27. A new Heart also will I give you, a new Spirit I will put within you, and I will take away the Heart of Stone (that is, take away the stubbornness and rebellion of your Wills and Affections) and I will give you a Heart of Flesh, that is, I will give you a penitent, soft, plyable Will towards me and my Precepts; this God of his infinite Grace, hath promised to his Elect, with­out which, not one Man or Woman in the World had ever been Converted and Saved; and dare any say, that 'tis Dishonourable to God, to shew this Grace and Favour? Is it come to this, that where God hath a gracious Respect to a person, that though the person be ignorant, foolish and desperate, that it should be Dishonour­able to the Physician of Heaven, to cure the Man of his Spiritual Phrensy, and bring him to a right mind? Surely this is so far from being Disho­nourable to God, that the Elect, and Ransomed People shall Adore him, and praise him for [Page 119]ever, for this great, free and undeserved Grace to them.

2. They say, it is Dishonourable to the Will of Man, yea, impossible for the Will of Man to be forced, therefore they say, that all that God doth towards the Conversion of any, is by Moral swasion, and urging Arguments to this great Queen, the Will of Man, but she her self must not be touched.

I answer, if God did not touch, yea, by an Om­nipotent sweetness change and turn the Will of Man to himself, there had never been any one Con­verted in this World: God works upon the Will in Conversion, to make it of unwilling willing, and to make it as willing to turn to God, as ever it was unwilling, before God touched and changed the Will.

Indeed this Author saith, you present Christ not serious, because he will not save Men whe­ther they will or no, page 22. I say this is a very ignorant Speech, and shews the Author to be little acquainted with the Scripture, or the cor­ruption of his own Heart; for though Men when they hear of Hell and Damnation, would be saved from Misery, yet there is not any one that would be saved in the way that God hath appointed, until God by his immediate Hand, do secretly touch and change his Will, i. e. that though all would be saved from Hell under the Notion of a State of Misery, yet till God give special grace, a new Heart, put a new bent upon the Will and Affections, there is no Man would be saved in Gods way, in the Gos­pel way; that is,

1. To be made so poor in Spirit, as to be taken [Page 120]off from all standing upon Terms with God, but acknowledge his Soveraignty, and his Righteousness, that he might take Vengeance upon us for ever.

2. To acknowledge that we have not the least Worthiness and Righteousness, but to creep under the Robe of Christs Righteousness.

3. To be willing to part with Sins, that are as dear to corrupt Nature, as Right Hands, and Right Eyes, to be willing to take up the Cross, and follow Christ, to be willing to walk in all the Command­ments and Ordinances of the Lord, so far as he shall please to make known his mind to us.

Ay, it were well if in stead of this bluster­ing about these things, that all of us did exa­mine whether we our selves have been so graci­ously wrought upon by the Spirit of God, as that we are willing to be saved in Gods way, in the Gospel way.

Alass, Men are of this Opinion, and the other, and like the Pharisees, are industrious to make Proselytes to their Opinions, and yet know nothing of the new Birth, of the work of Grace upon their own Souls: Therefore let us all be much in self Examination, and pro­ving what work of Faith in Christ, what work of Repentance for Sin, what love to God and to his people and ways, is begun in us by the Holy Spirit, that so we may not think our selves something, when we are nothing, deceiving our own Hearts.

2. Arminians turn the Covenant of Grace, into a Covenant of works; they quite mistake, the rea­son why God doth work Faith and Sanctificati­on in those whom he bringeth to Eternal Life, it is not to be the Righteousness in which they [Page 121]are to stand Righteous before God for their Justification at Gods Bar, for we are justified freely by his Grace, through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ, whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through Faith in his Blood, Rom. 3.24, 25. So that the Righteousness by which we stand Righteous at Gods Bar, is a Righteous­ness imputed to us; neither Faith as in act or work, nor our Sanctification and good works, are our Righteousness in the Covenant of Grace, as Obedience to the Law, was to be our Righteousness to justifie under the Cove­nant of works; but Faith is wrought [...]n those that are saved, as a passive instrument where­by they receive and embrace Christ [...]o be the Lord their Righteousness, and so are t [...]ught to know and adore the way whereby they are sa­ved, and Sanctification is wrought is to se that are saved, that they may have the first fruits of Holiness here, that they may in some measure walk with God, and glorifie God he [...]e, and be preparing for perfect Holiness and [...]ommu­nion with God in Heaven. But this lie at the bottom of Arminianism, that there is Merit, the Popish Merit of Condignity, or h [...]w ever of congruity in our Holiness and good Works, and upon Discourse with a Minister [...] great Note in the Arminian way, I found him to be as unsound in the Doctrine of Justification, as any Popish writer I had ever met with.

3. Arminians make Conversion an easy [...]ork, a small matter, tis true, tis easie to God [...] work in any, easier than for us to speak a wo [...]; but in it self, it is a great work, and imposs [...]le for any to believe and Repent, except Go [...] give [Page 122]them a new Heart, and infuse this habit and principle of Grace into them. Indeed they say, that the Lord doth require easie Terms, upon which Men may have Eternal Life, but they don't know what they say; for us that are universally blinded and corrupted by the fall of Adam, for us to go out if our selves to Christ, for us to mourn for Sin, is it's an offence to God, for us to desire and endeavour after Ʋniversal Holiness, is ten thousand times harder work than for Adam to have coninued obedient to the Law, for which he had a Cncreated Principle, a Habit of Holiness infused [...]nto him by Creation, only it was muta­ble, and left to the Managing of his own free Will.

1. B [...]t let it be observed, that the way of Salvati [...]n by Christ seems to be Foolishness to a Natura [...] Man, that we should look to be sa­ved b [...] one that dyed himself, Paul saith, this is to them that Perish Foolishness, it is a great work of God upon our understandings to en­lighte [...] us, and convince us, that this way of Salvaon is the only way, and that it is a glo­rious [...]ay, that the manifold Wisdom of God, the exeeding Riches of his Grace, and his Re­venging Justice against Sin, will shine to Eterny in this way of saving Sinners by a Crucied Christ.

2. [...]et it be observed, that when a Sinner is covinced and humbled indeed, and sees what Majesty he hath offended by his Sins, it is no easie thing to set his hope in Christ, who [...] he never saw; but that the Holy Ghost doth ecretly and inwardly reveal him to the Soul as the only and all-sufficient Mediator, [Page 123]and unites the Heart to him, to trust and rely upon him for Salvation.

3. It is no easie thing for one that hath such a corrupt Nature, and hath delighted in Sin, to be willing that Christ should Reign over him, to de­sire that Christ would put down all the Rule and Authority of Sin, that he might be for Christ, and not for another.

When Christ saith, his Yoak is easy, and when the Apostle saith, his Commandments are not grievous, the meaning is not, that Christs Yoak is easy to the Flesh, and corrupt Nature, but easy and sweet, when God gives a principle of grace, a new Heart and Spirit, so far as we are re­newed, and are led by the Spirit, so far Christs Yoak is easie, and his ways pleasant to our Souls.

The truth is many take up opinions and wrangle, and dispute, but 'tis to be feared, that few have experience of a Saving work of Con­version upon their Souls, they do not seem to have a Spiritual Savour in their Discourses, but of these things God will Judge.

CHAP. VIII. Concerning the Saints Perseverance, as being kept by the power of God, through Faith unto Salvation.

THis Author hath something about this point, page 19.

He saith, some may depart from the Faith, giv­ing heed to seducing Spirits.

I answer, none ever doubted but Men may fall from the Doctrine of Faith, from the profes­sion of Faith, and from an Historical Notional Faith, from common Grace, from common Enlightning.

But the Doctrine maintained by the Assem­bly of Divines, and, as I have shewed, by the Lambeth Articles, and by the Articles of Ire­land, is, that none that are truly regenerated, that have saving justifying Faith, shall be so left to themselves, as to fall totally and finally, but shall be preserved unto the Heavenly Kingdom.

Believers may be left to themselves at times, as David, Hezekiah, Peter and others, that they may fall foully to the Dishonour of God, and to the wounding of their own Souls; but God will graciously recover them again, Grace is in a swoun in them, but not dead.

The Doctrine of the Saints perseverance is grounded,

1. Ʋpon the free and Eternal, Ʋnchangeable love of God to the Elect.

2. Ʋpon the perfect and eternal Redemption Christ hath wrought for them, and his praying as Me­diator, that they may be kept, and that their Faith fail not.

3. The Inhabitation of the Spirit, who abideth in them for ever.

4. The promises of God to them, that they shall not depart from him; the Nature of the Covenant of Grace, which they are brought under, is, that God will guide them by his Counsels, and after­wards bring them to his glory.

But I shall not enlarge upon these things, but let us attend upon what this Author saith upon [Page 125]this point: Truly though the Assembly of Di­vines had positively declared for the Doctrine of the Saints Perseverance, yet according to the faculty of the Man to catch at something, [he saith] nor need any Man say more concerning falling away, than they do, for as they deny not but there are Temporary Believers (and truly such are all that fall away) so they plainly tell us, that the purest Churches in Heaven, are subject to mix­ture and Error, and some have so degenerated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan. Now saith he, surely the purest Church­es under Heaven, are true Believers, and if these may become Synagogues of Satan, it is too much to prove the point.

Truly either this Author is more Ignorant than I took him to be, before I saw his Book, or else which is far worse, hath not an honest Mind, but is resolved to wrest Mens words contrary to what he knows they intended, as we shall see.

1. He saith, the Assembly deny not but there are Temporary Believers.

I answer, what Ignorance or worse is this? When Divines speak of Temporaries, or Tempo­rary Believers, they call them so, to Distinguish them from true Believers, those that have a true lively justifying Faith: I suppose the phrase was taken up from the Parable of the four sorts of grounds, Luke 18.13. Our Saviour there compares some Hearers of the Word, to the High-way-side, that the Word doth not affect them at all, a second sort to the Stony Ground, that hear the Word with Joy, but they have no Root of grace in them; Ay, and if such do abide to [Page 126]their Lives end with no other but such a kind of Faith as they have, they could not be saved, but they often, especially if Persecution come, lose that Historical, Notional Faith, and com­mon enlightning they had; the Hearts of these were never made good ground, they were never ploughed up, and sown with the Seed of spe­cial Grace, to bring forth Fruit unto God. The Scope of our Saviour in that Parable, is, that some are affected with the Word, and after a sort believe, and yet never have the Root of the Matter, a New Heart.

To explain this further, John 2.23, 24. It is said, many believed on him, when they saw the Miracles; but Jesus would not commit himself to them, for he knew all Men, he knew what is in Man; the meaning is, that though they believed after a sort, yet he would not commit himself to them, and trust them as true Disciples, and true Friends to him, for he knew all Men, he knew they were not sound Believers, he knew they had not that precious Faith of Gods Elect.

And so it's said of Simon Magus, Acts 8.13. That he believed and was Baptized, and yet Peter tells him, That his Heart was not right in the sight of God, but was in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of Iniquity.

Men may be enlightened and convinced, and after a sort, be Believers, and yet never be truly humbled for Sin, as Sin; never be taken off from all Confidence in their own Righteousness, never re­ly upon Christ alone for Justification, never have that Faith that worketh by Love, Gal. 5.6. Those that fall away have but an Historical, Notional [Page 127]Faith, such as the Apostle James calls Faith without Works, a dead Faith; Saving, Justifying Faith, differs not only in degree but in its Kind and Nature, from this Faith that they have that falls away, 1 Jo. 2.19. They went out from us, but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, no doubt they would have continued with us, but they went out from us, that they might be made manifest, they were not all of us; that is, that those who were Professors and Believers after a sort, they went out from us, they fell away because they were not of us, they were not of the Elect and Ransomed People, they were not par­takers of like precious Justifying Faith with us, for if they had been so, no doubt, (the A­postle puts a no doubt upon it) they would have continued with us, and never have fallen to Ju­daism or Heathenism again; but they went out from us, fell off from their Profession and com­mon enlightning, that they might be made manifest, that they were not all of us; but he tells them that had true Justifying Faith, they have an anointing from the Holy one, v. 21. and v. 27. the anointing which ye have received abideth in you, v. 27. Every one, the least as well as the strongest that have justifying Faith, they have The Spirit of God dwelling in them, they have another manner of work of the Spirit upon them, than any that fall away; they are new Creatures, they are partakers of the Divine Nature, and this Anointing with the Spirit of Grace, and with the Graces of the Spirit abideth in them against all opposition from the remainders of Corruption, against all opposition from Men or Devils: The Lord, to humble them, and to [Page 128]shew them, that it is of his meer Grace in Christ, that they are saved, may leave them in part to themselves at times, and they may be as a Tree cut down, but yet there is the Root of the Matter, the Root of Grace always in them, and through the scent of the Water of Life, thro' new Influences, Supplies, and quickenings of the Spirit, they shall put forth Buds and Blossoms of Grace again.

God hath promised to every true Believer, that he will never leave him nor forsake him, Heb. 13.5. i. e. he will never leave him nor forsake him totally, or finally, and 'tis God's not leaving or forsaking them, that keeps them from not leaving or forsaking of him: Let it be well observed, that we all by our fall in Adam, have forsaken God, the Fountain of Living Wa­ters; we have left God, and God hath left us, as to any help by a Covenant of Works, that Covenant was Mutable and Conditional; God would not leave and forsake Man upon condi­tion that Man did not leave and forsake him, as to exact and perfect Obedience; but Adam, and all of us in him, did presently leave and forsake God, Rom. 5.12. and so God hath left and forsaken all Adam's Posterity, as to Bles­sing them upon the terms of the Covenant of Works. But Blessed be God for a Covenant of Grace, and Jesus the Mediator, whom ever the Lord takes internally into this Covenant, he will never leave them nor forsake them, and hath himself undertkaen to keep them, that they shall never totally and finally leave nor for­sake him, Jer. 32.40. Hos. 14.4, 5. Isai. 54.9.10. Isai. 55.3.

2. The Assembly say in their Confession of Faith;

That the purest Churches under Heaven are sub­ject to Mixture and Error, and have been so de­generated, as to become no Churches of Christ, but Synagogues of Satan.

Upon which this Author saith, surely the purest Churches are True Believers, and if these purest Churches may become Synagogues of Sa­tan, it is too much to prove the point.

I answer, That the Point in hand, is, whether one, whom the Lord hath endued with a lively Justifying Faith, shall not be actually and infal­libly kept by the Grace and Power of God un­to Salvation.

Now this Position of the Assembly doth con­sist very well with that point of Doctrine which they maintained about the perseverance of the Saints.

The Assembly of Divines are not speaking of the Invisible, Mystical Church, who are in­separably united to Christ, but of particular Churches and Congregations of those that are Professors of the Gospel, and they say rightly,

1. That the purest of these Churches of Pro­fessors are subject to mixture; i. e. that there may be in the purest Churches, unsound Profes­sors, that never had a Saving Work of Grace wrought in their Hearts.

2. That the purest Churches are subject to Er­ror; as to lesser Errors, the purest Churches in the World may be guilty before God: Christ may not only have a few things, but many things a­gainst the best Churches, either for Errors in Doctrine or Worship, or failings in Conversa­tion [Page 130]in Ministers and People, who can under­stand his Errors, all his Errors; the purest Churches had need to be very Humble, and not boast of their Purity, but pray continually, that God would pardon and reform what he sees amiss in them.

3. The purest Church may so degenerate, as to be no Church of Christ, but the Synagogue of Sa­tan: All that the Assembly of Divines here say, is very true, and no contradiction at all to themselves in their maintaining the certain per­severance of particular Saints; for tho' the purest Church may so degenerate in time, as to be no true Church of Christ, but the Synagogue of Satan; yet if there be any True Believers in a Church, they are kept, notwithstanding the Apostacy of the Church whereof they were Mem­bers; tho' the Church doth so degenerate, as to lose their Church state, yet if there were a­ny one sound Christian in that Church, he shall hold his spiritual Estate and Ʋnion with Christ for all that. If Christ have a few names in a Church that degenerates, those shall be safe, whatso­ever becomes of the rest, as to their Church Estate, and Eternal-state, Revel. 3.4. Thou hast a few Names even in Sardis, which have not de­filed their Garments, and they shall walk with me in white; i. e. they shall walk with Christ in the white of Grace here, to their lives end, and in the white of Glory for ever: Tho' the Lord do remove the Candlestick, the Church-Estate, and will not own a People any longer to be a True Church; yet if there be any sound Chri­stians amongst them, they shall never be cast off: Therefore, how vainly doth this Author [Page 131]say from this passage of the Assemblies Confes­sion of Faith, here is too much to prove the Point, when there is not the least shadow of a­ny thing they say, to prove, that any True Be­liever may fall totally and finally: Tho' those that were Professors of the Gospel, and were in Churches, may so degenerate, as to lose their Church-estate; yet if there were any in those Churches that were True Believers, the Gates of Hell shall not prevail against them: A De­generate Church may Excommunicate the Sound Members, may prosecute them to Death, but can never separate them from the Love of Christ. The truth is, when a Church doth so wofully degenerate, as to be accounted no longer a Church of Christ, but the Synagogue of Satan, the Lord is pleased many times to stir up those that are Sound Christians amongst them, that they are more Lively and Spiritual than ever they were, and love not their Lives unto the Death, in bearing witness to the Truth.

Now let us hear this Author declare, what his Opinion is about the Saints Perseverance.

Saith he, Pag. 20. For my part, tho' I doubt not but there is a State attainable in this Life, from which, by the Grace of God, Christians shall not fall, yet I hold it a vanity for any Man to affirm of himself, or of any other person in particu­lar, that it is impossible for him to fall, I hold it far better for the best, as well as others, to take heed lest they fall.

I answer, This passage is very dark and ambi­guous, wherein this Author rather hides than declares his Judgment about the Point in hand.

The word Christian, may be taken largely, for those that are Christians by Profession only; no doubt but they may fall from their Profession; or the word Christian may be taken strictly, for those who are Christians inwardly in the Heart and in the Spirit, as well as outwardly by Profession: Now this we maintain from the Scripture, as hath been declared before, that all such have attained such an Estate, by their Ʋnion with Christ, by their Justification, Adoption and Rege­neration, that they shall never fall totally or finally.

This Author must intend some new Notion (if he understand himself) which must be, that though every one that is Really and Spiritually in Christ, is not in such an Estate, as that he shall certainly persevere in Grace, yet he who hath attained an extraordinary degree of Grace, or to an absolute Perfection, such as the Quakers talk of, may, by the Grace of God, keep his standing. This is a wondrous dark Passage, and I shall leave the Author in his Clouds; but we main­tain,

1. That none attain to an absolute perfection in this life, Rom. 7. Gal. 5.17. Eccles. 7.20.

2. That the strongest Saints in the World cannot keep themselves one day, but are upheld by the se­cret Influences and Supplies of the Spirit, Phil. 1.13. 1 John 5.5. 2 Cor. 3.5.

3. That the Lord, who keeps strong Believers, keepeth also the weakest True Believer most certain­ly and infallibly, Phil 1.6. where he hath begun the good work of Special Saving Grace, he will perform it to the day of Jesus Christ; that the weakest of Christ's Sheep and Lambs shall have Eternal Life, and shall never perish, John 10.27, 28. [Page 133]that Christ will not break (nor suffer to be broken) the bruised Reed, nor quench the smoking Flax, Matth. 12.20. that is, where there is but a little Special Grace, that can but smoke, though it cannot flame, Christ will keep it, that it shall never be quenched, but shall at last flame out in Love and Praise, and singing in Heaven to all Eternity.

God keeps True Believers in a state of Grace till they come to Glory, not because they are strong, but because they are his Elect, because they are redeemed by the Blood of his Son, and at their effectual Calling, adopted to be his Children, and saith the Apostle, If Children, then Heirs of God, and joint Heirs with Christ, Rom. 8.17. The least Babe in Christ is God's Child, as well as the Eldest, and strongest Believer, and shall in­fallibly be an Heir of God, and joint Heir with Christ: For as many as believed, to them he gave power to become the Sons of God, John 1.12. The same Day and Hour that a Soul truly receiveth Christ, the Lord doth actually adopt that Soul, though it be a secret thing to the Soul, yet it is as if God should say, I did predestinate thee to the Adoption of my Child by Christ, and now I do adopt thee to be my Child, to be an Heir of Eternal Life; and such shall certainly be preserved to the Heavenly Kingdom, 1 Pet. 1.4, 5. The Inheri­tance is reserved in Heaven for all that are be­gotten again to a lively Hope by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, and they are kept whilst they are in this World, by the Power of God through Faith, till they come to the Heavenly Inheri­tance.

2. This Author saith, I hold it a Vanity for any Man to say of himself, it is impossible for him to fall.

I answer, 1. It is a Vanity indeed, for any Man to say of himself, it is impossible for him to fall, taking it for falling into Sin at all, for there is no Man that liveth and sinneth not; yea, it would be Vanity, Pride, and Presumption for the best Saint on Earth, to say, it is impossible for him to fall into gross Sins, seeing David and Peter fell so foully, though they were gra­ciously recovered again.

2. It would be great Vanity for the best Saint on Earth to say, in any the least Confidence in his own Strength, that it is impossible for him to fall a­way totally and finally; for indeed, if they were left to themselves, it is impossible that they should stand in a state of Grace one day; if everlasting Arms were not underneath them, if they were not kept by the Power of God; If Christ did not hold them fast, it were impossible that any of the Saints should stand.

3. I say, That it is no Vanity, but a Triumph of Faith and Thankfulness to the God of all Grace, for a True Christian, when God sheds abroad his Love in his Heart, by the Holy Spirit, to say, Who shall separate me from the Love of Christ? Was it Vanity in David to say, Surely Goodness and Mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the House of the Lord for ever? Psal. 23.6. and Psal. 73.26. Thou shalt guide me with thy Counsel, and afterwards bring me to Glo­ry: Was it Vanity in the Apostle Paul to say, Henceforth there is laid up for me a Crown of Righteousness, which the Lord, the Righteous Judge will give unto me, and not to me only, but to all them [Page 135]that love his appearing? 2 Tim. 4.8. I suppose this Author may be of the Judgment of Bellar­mine, and other Papists, that none can have As­surance in this Life of their Eternal Salvation, except it be by extraordinary Revelation.

Then, as to what he saith, That it is a Vanity to tell any other particular Person, that it is impossible for him to fall; I answer, that if he intends falling totally and finally, I suppose it is not ordinary to say to any particular person, it is impossible for you to fall away; and if one do say so to any par­ticular person, it is upon a Supposition, that the Person is savingly united to Christ, as if a parti­cular Person under desertion saith, I once had Hope, through Grace, but now God will be gracious no more; I shall one day fall by the hand of Sin and Satan, one may assure him, that if e're God hath begun the good Work of Special, Saving Grace, he will perform it to the Day of Jesus Christ; Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it, 1 Thess. 5.24.

Ay, but saith this Author, It is far better for the best to take heed lest they fall. I answer, It is very well consistent with the Doctrine of the Saints Perseverance, to take heed lest they fall, and to work out their Salvation with an Holy Fear and Trembling, looking diligently, lest they fail of the Grace of God.

1. They that have the fullest assurance of Sal­vation are to take heed lest they fall into Sin; because Sin is Sin in a Believer as well as in ano­ther Man; yea, in some sence it is more hei­nous in a Believer, than in another Man, and tho' there be no Condemnation to those that are in Christ, so that God will not cast his Chil­dren [Page 136]into Hell for their Sins, yet he may sore­ly chastize them upon Earth, both by Inward Terrors of Conscience, and outward Afflictions.

2. Such Cautions, as, take heed lest you fall, and the like, are one means by which God keeps his People from falling; God's infallibly keep­ing his People doth not take them off from their Duty of Watching and Praying, but en­courageth them to their Duty: But still if the Lord did not hold every Believer with a strong hand, notwithstanding all their care and taking heed, they would fall; yea, and fall as low as Hell.

For what the Author adds, That good Laws were not made against Traytors and Felons, to make Men Traytors and Felons, but to keep Men from being Traytors and Feions. I answer, God's Laws and Precepts were not made to make Men wicked, but to restrain Men from Sin; and that they do, so far as God is pleased to give Men either Common and Restraining Grace, or Special and Sanctifying Grace: But the aim of this Author, is to make his ignorant and unwa­ry Reader, think, that there are no other De­crees of God, but Laws and Precepts set forth to Men as their Duty, which is a gross mistake, and is such a Vail upon this Author, that till it be taken away, he will never understand these things. God's Eternal Decrees and Purposes, are his Intentions, what he himself will do for the manifestation of his own Glory; God's Laws and Precepts are his Commandments to us as our Sovereign Lord; but of these things I spake before in my Vindication of Dr. Col­lings.

Before I end this Chapter, I would make this Observation, which may be of use to his own Soul, if the Lord please to put in by his own Spirit; however, it may be of use to o­thers; and it is this, that this Author, though he talks of a general Love of God to all Adam's Posterity, and of God's setting forth good Laws, yet he seems to have had such a dark Education, that he is not acquainted with the free Covenant of Grace, and the free Promises of Grace, that are made to some Persons. Some Scriptures declare what God requires of us in Precepts and Commands, and in other Scri­ptures he doth freely and absolutely promise to some, to all the Elect, to all the Spiritual Israel, that he will do it for them, of his Free Grace in Christ: And indeed, if the Lord had not freely and ab­solutely promised to do these things for some, there had not, there could not have been any of Adam's Posterity saved.

The first Promise of Grace, Gen. 3.15. that the Seed of the Woman shall bruise the Serpent's Head, doth virtually contain all other Promises set forth afterward. This Seed of the Woman is our Lord Jesus Christ, who being God by Na­ture, was to take upon him Humane Nature, of a Woman: It was declared that he should bruise the Serpent's Head, give him a mortal Wound for all whose Surety and Mediator he was, that he should destroy the Works of the Devil, that he should certainly and infallibly bring all the Elect to Glory, notwithstanding all that the Devil had done to bring Adam and all his Poste­rity under the Curse of the Law. The Words hold forth no less than a full, perfect and eter­nal [Page 138]Rescue, in due time, from the Devil and Sin; that all, whose Surety and Mediator Christ was, shall certainly be Partakers of.

In one Text, Deut. 10.16. it is said, Circum­cise the Fore-skin of your Heart: In another, Deut. 30.6. it is promised to the Elect, The Lord thy God will circumcise thine Heart. It is commanded in Ezek. 18.31. Cast away from you all your Trans­gressions, and make you a new Heart: And it is promised to the Elect, that God will do this for them, in Ezek. 36.26, 27. A new Heart also will I give you, and a new Spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the Heart of Stone, and give you an Heart of Flesh. Let it be considered how absolutely God undertakes for his Elect, in the Covenant of Grace; I will, and I will. So Jer. 31.33. I will put my Law in their inward parts, and write it in their Hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be my People. Ver. 34 They shall all know me. There are Promises unto Grace, and Pro­mises to give Grace, to work Grace infallibly in the Elect: And if we do not partake of those ex­ceeding great and precious Promises, that the Lord will work Grace in our Hearts, against all Opposition, we cannot be saved, Joh. 6.37. All that the Father giveth me, shall come to me, Psal. 110.3. Thy People shall be willing in the Day of thy Power. Joh. 10.16. Other Sheep I have, which are not of this Fold: Them also I must bring, and they shall hear my Voice.

To conclude this Chapter, I would have this Author, and all that shall read what I have writ­ten, take notice, that I shall not meddle with those few Passages that he quotes out of other Writers, for some of his Opinions. Indeed, he [Page 139]seems as if he would put out another Book with Quotations taken out of Mr. Pierce, and o­thers out of the Ancients, for some of his Opi­nions; If this Author will trouble the World with more Books to no purpose, who can help it? He may do it with great ease, though it may be he ne­ver saw the Books themselves; but Mr. Pierce and Mr. J. G. will furnish him with Quotations out of the Greek and Latin Fathers, to his hand. But I shall not, I say, meddle with any Quota­tions of that nature, for these Reasons: Be­cause,

1. That before Pelagius broached his Errours, the Fathers did not speak so distinctly and wari­ly about the Points of Grace.

2. That this way of deciding Controversies is endless: As we see when our Protestant Divines took that way with the Papists, we took the meaning of certain Passages one way, and they another. A learned Episcopal Divine, and a Pro­fessor of Divinity in Cambridge, long since said very well: The Fathers, in some things, are for the Papists, against us; in some things they are for us, against the Papists; and in some things they dif­fer both from the Papists and us. But because this makes Controversies endless, and casts a Mist before the Eyes of the Common People, a learn­ed Man amongst the Papists gives this Advice to those that have to do with Protestants, Get them, saith he, out of their Castle of the Scriptures, into the large Field of the Fathers: And then he made account they could do well enough with them.

3. That it is Scripture, one Scripture compared with another, that must decide Controversies. As [Page 140]one of the Ancients said, I would hear, Thus saith the Lord. It is not what learned and Godly Men say, but what the Scripture saith, being rightly understood, and one place thereof compared with another, that must decide Controversies. And there are certain Rules agreeing with the whole scope of Holy Writ, that must be attend­ed to; as that no Scripture must be interpreted so, as in the least to reflect upon the Soveraign­ty, Immutability and Omnipotency of God: No Scripture must be so interpreted, as to dis­parage and dishonour that perfect and eternal Redemption that Christ, God-Man, hath ob­tained for us; as if he died in vain for any, for whose Sins he made his Soul an Offering: No Scripture must be so interpreted, as to puff up proud Man with a Conceit that he doth merit his Salvation, when others perish by his To­wardliness and Care for himself, in improving his Talent better than others; but that all our good Inclinations, every good Thought, and all holy Desires, are freely given us of God: It is he that worketh in us to will, and to do; and that not for any Worthiness and Towardliness in us, above others, but of his own good Pleasure, of his free Mercy in Christ. It is by Grace we are sa­ved, wholly by Grace, from first to last: Ele­ction was of mere Grace, our Redemption was of mere Grace, our Conversion of mere Grace; all is from special, discriminating, distinguishing Grace: We have not the least thing to glory in, as if we had made our selves to differ from those that perish; but we must wonder here, and to all Eternity in Heaven, that we should find Grace in the sight of the Lord.

CHAP IX. An Answer to the Author's Queries at the End of his Book.

THis Author did send me a Letter contain­ing Six Queries; now he hath added a Se­venth, and hath styled me Preacher to the inde­pendents, which he did not in the Letter which he sent to me.

As for the Title of Independents, we own it not; we are Dependents upon God, his Word, and upon other Churches, for Help, and Brotherly Ad­vice, and Counsel in the Lord: But we desire to keep our selves independent upon this Author, or any other that shall pretend to have any spiri­tual Jurisdiction over us; for we hold, that there are no Churches of Christ's Institution, under the New Testament, but particular Congrega­tions; and that those particular Congregations have not power over one another, but ought to be helpful and assisting one to another, as the Matter shall require.

Independent is too high a Title for any Saints on Earth, or in Heaven; yea, it is too high a Title for the holy Angels; it is only fit for the Almighty and Everlasting God: And I heartily wish that this Author would but acknowledge God to be Inde­pendent, Absolute and Ʋncontrollable, and then he would never write such a Book as he hath. Ar­minianism is a Quarrelling with God about his Independency and Soveraignty in his Decrees and Dispensations; as if God were not Inde­pendent, [Page 142]Absolute and Uncontrollable, but must be, and must do, as Men shall enjoyn him his Way, Job 36.23.

If this Author saw fit to publish his pro­found Queries, it had been but common Hone­sty to have published also mine Answer; for I sent him an Answer in a few Days, and had ano­ther Letter from him, which I also answered: And out of that second Letter of mine, he takes occasion for his Seventh Query. It was well that I kept a Copy of my Letters.

A true Copy of my Answer to Mr. Grantham, when he sent me his queries.

SIR,

INstead of Answering directly to your Quar­rellings, I do, out of true Love to you, be­seech you, in the Fear of God, to consider of these following Particulars, that may give you more Light into those Points about Election, Redemption and Conversion.

1. Consider the Infinite and Incomprehensible Ma­jesty of God, and the Inconsiderableness of all the Children of Men, the Grashoppers and Worms of the Earth, Isa. 40.15, 17, 22. This may prepare our Hearts to think of his Decrees and Dispen­sations to the Children of Men, with an holy Fear and Trembling.

2. Consider that God hath made all things for himself, for the Manifestation of his own Glory, one way or other; for the Glory of his Mercy, or for the Glory of his Justice. This was God's End, Prov. 16.4. Rom. 11.36. Rev. 4.11.

3. Consider that God hath an absolute Soveraign­ty, an absolute Lordship and Dominion over the [Page 143]Children of Men, to do with them as he pleaseth, Isa. 46.10. Exod. 33.19. Rom. 9.15, 16, 17, 18.

4. Consider that none of us hold, that God pun­isheth any but for Sin, and that all having Sinned, and come short of the glory of God, he might have spared none of the Children of Men, and his Throne have been guiltless from our Blood for ever. Rom. 3.19, 23. — 5.12.

5. Consider that the exceeding Riches of God's Grace, is to be adored for ever, that God should Predestinate any of the Children of Men, to the Adoption of Children by Jesus Christ, give him to Redeem them, and his Spirit to Sanctifie them, Ephes. 1.4, 5, 6, 7. 1 Pet 1.3.

6. Consider well, that it is one part of the Cor­ruption of our Nature by the fall, to quarrel with the Great and Holy God, concerning his Dispensati­ons; Gen. 3.12. Adam discovered this Temper, when once his Nature was Corrupted; The Wo­man which thou gavest me, she gave me of the Tree, this was nothing but quarrelling with God; and Eve she said, the Serpent beguiled me, as if she had said, why didst thou per­mit the Devil to tempt me? Ah, let there be an Holy Trembling, and if the Lord do not for one, as for another, should Men quarrel with the Lord: Luke 4.23. to 30. When our Sa­viour told the People, that none could come to him, except it were given unto him of the Father, John 6.65. from that time many of his Disciples went back, and walkt no more with him, V. 66. In stead of being humbled at their own Impo­tency and Inability, to come to Christ, and looking to God to give them Faith by special Grace, they quarrel with this Doctrine of the [Page 144]Effectual Grace of God, and fall off: We may conceive it to be the temper of the Damned in Hell, to quarrel with the Holy Soveraignty of God, as, why did God suffer the Devil to tempt our first Parents, which was the first inlet to all our Misery, seeing he could have hindered it? Why did God make our first Parents mutable in their Estate of Holiness and Happiness, when as he fixt the Elect An­gels in their Holiness and Happiness? Why did God suffer the Devil and false Teachers to draw us to Errours of Judgment, and Sins of Life, which encrease our Condemnation, when he knew how prone we were to Sin? Why did God choose the other Company in Heaven, and leave us to our selves? Why had he not the same Love for us? Why did he not give his Son to be an absolute and compleat Re­demption for us, and send his Spirit to turn us Effectually and Infallibly, as he could have done, and hath done for some as bad or worse than we by practice, till the Lord turn­ed them? I say, we may conceive, that the Damned in Hell do thus quarrel with the So­veraignty of God in his Dispensations, which should make us on Earth to have a care of all things that tend to a quarrelling with God's Dispensations, for it is the Spirit and Frame of the Devils and Damned in Hell: Therefore the way we are to take for our Salvation, is to lay to Heart the Soveraignty and Greatness and Holiness of him with whom we have to do, to be sensible of the Heinousness of Sin, and to acknowledge that God is Righteous, though he should take Vengeance on us, to [Page 145]hearken to the Report of the Gospel, that Je­sus Christ came into the World to save Sinners and that he that believes on him, shall be sa ved, and to pray and wait upon God to work upon our Hearts, by an Invincible overcoming Power of his Spirit, to believe that Jesus is the Son of God, to rely on, and trust in his Mediation and Righteousness, and to give up our selves to be governed and sanctified by him.

7. Consider that the Ʋniversal Common sufficient Grace to all Mankind, which Men cry up, though the Preachers of it may do it in the Simplicity of their Hearts, and think they advanced the Glory of God by it, yet, it is Satans design thereby to rob God of the Glory of the Salva­tion of those that shall inherit everlasting Life, and to make them their own Saviors; for if, notwithstanding what the Father did for any in Election, the Son in Redemption, the Ho­ly Spirit in working upon their Hearts, they might have perisht for ever, then the chief praise must be to themselves, to their ingenu­ity, towardliness and care for themselves.

8. Consider that if there were no other Election, Redemption and Power of the Spirit for Conver­sion than Arminians speak of, there had never any of the Children of Men been saved, or would be.

9. Consider, that though the Lord do Condescend to speak after the manner of Men, as for Instance Psal. 81.13. Deut. 32.29. Yet all such Expressions must be understood, so as to comport with the Im­mutability and Omnipotency of God.

10. Consider, that the true State of the Questi­on between us and the Arminians, is whether Christ [Page 146]dyed for any? For whilst the Arminians make a great Noise of Christs dying for every Man and Woman of the Race of Adam, they do indeed deny that he dyed for any in a Scripture Sense, that is, absolutely to make satisfaction for all their Sins, absolutely to purchase Converting and Keeping Grace for them, to be infallibly be­stowed on them in the Lord's appointed time, and so indeed, they make but a mock of that glorious Redemption by our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they make it an insignificant thing, they make little, or rather nothing of it.

Sir, I perceive you take it ill, that I do not seek Acquaintance and Familiarity with you, truly it is my Natural Temper to love Retire­ment, and not to have much Acquaintance; but as to your self, I confess I do not desire in­timacy with you, because I told you the first time, I ever spake with you about fifteen years since, that one of your own Judgment about Baptism, had charged you in Print, that you set the Houses of God on fire, where ever you came, and that you pretended to be an Arch-bishop, and to have Jurisdiction over other Churches, or words to that purpose; and since you came to live at Norwich, you have been so quarrelsom with those of your own perswasion about Baptism, and likewise with my worthy Friend Dr. Collings, that I would observe the Counsel of the Scripture, Prov. 22.24. make no Friendship with an angry Man, and with a furious Man, thou shalt not go. If any of my Friends have spoken so rudely and harshly of you, as you write, I am sorry for it, it doth not become Christians, Tit. 3.23. [Page 147]and if you, or any other that differ from me, are Instruments of Real good to any, I do therein rejoyce, if you draw any to Error, and make the weak to stumble, I pray God to Con­vert them from the Error of their way. I love all Men, I hope the best of them that differ in Judgment, I hope many hold some Errors but notionally, and that in their dealing with God about their Eternal Conditions, they make use of better Principles than they profess. You find fault with Preachers having Curled Peri­wigs, truly I am not for Preachers having frizled Periwigs, or Plush Capes upon their Coats, I like them not, some are for a great­er Latitude in these things, than I am; but I Love and Honour Godly Men, though they can do some things that I durst not do my self. Sir, I pray do not trouble me with more Let­ters, I have something else to do, than to spend my time in vain janglings. The God of Love and Peace be with you.

Your Affectionate Friend, M. F.

After this, I Received an Answer to mine, wherein he doth not own that he was the Person intended in that Book I saw, so I desire however, that the Reader of my Letter would wholly wave that part of the charge against him.

Well, in my first Letter to him, I did not directly Answer to his queries, but it seems I must do it, but I would be very brief in it, for I have spoken of Election and Repro­bation already.

It seems that in a Sermon which I Preacht twenty four years since, from this Text, 2 Cor. 13, 14. I had two passages that do not please this Author; it being so long time since, it was with Difficulty that I got the Sermon.

The passage, pag. 13. opening that Scripture, the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the Love of God, and the Communion of the Holy Ghost be with you: I shewed that the meaning of the Apostle, is amongst other things, ‘That these Believers might always have the Sence and Comfort of the Love of God, in choosing them before the Foundation of the World, to be Vessels of Mercy; it is as if the Apostle had said, Oh! That you may always see the special and distinguishing Love of God the Fa­ther towards you, that when he had so many Millions of Souls in his Eye, that he should choose you to everlasting Life, and pass by so many that you should be Jacobs, whom he hath loved, and not Esaus, whom he hath hated; that he hath not appointed you to wrath, but to obtain Salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ; the Sence and Comfort and As­surance of this Unspeakable Love of God be with you.’ This is the first passage in that Sermon, that offended this Author.

Now upon this, saith this Author, both sorts being supposed to be living, when you wrote thus;

Qu. Wherefore did the Lord pass by the Millions? And after what manner did he hate them? Did he afford them no Means; that they might be saved? I answer,

1. This Author saith, both sorts being sup­posed [Page 149]to be living, when you wrote thus; How impertinent is this? Did I write, 2 Cor. 13, 14. did not the Apostle Paul write it to the Church at Corinth, and Prayeth that the love of God may be with them (as I have opened it in some measure) no doubt there are of the Elect, and of those that are passed by, now living on the Earth, both in the Sence that I hold Election, and in the Sence that he holds Election; but that which I said was to open the meaning of the Apostle Paul's Benediction or Prayer for the Church at Corinth, not mentioning the persons to whom I spake, whether they were Elected, or not Elected.

2. But for the Query, wherefore did the Lord pass by the Millions, and after what manner did he hate them? did he afford no means, that they might be saved?

I Answer, that the Apostle speaking of the Love of God (in the Text I opened) which to be sure, must be understood of the special Love of God, it seems that, because Paul is not now alive for you to quarrel with, there­fore you must send Queries to me about God's Especial Love, and wherefore God had not the same Love for all Adam's Posterity, and you must know of me, how God hated those whom he did not choose to Salvation? It is sufficient to tell you, that he did not Love them to Elect them to Salvation, to Grace and Glory, but Decreed to leave them to their Sins, and to glorifie his Justice upon them for their Sins; and who are you that shall say unto God, What dost thou? must God give you an Ac­count? He saith, I will be gracious, to whom [Page 150]I will be gracious; He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will, he hardens.

Yea, but you say, did he afford no means whereby they might be saved?

I Answer, 1. The fallen Angels that were far more glorious Creatures, than the Children of Men never had any means that they might be saved.

2. As for the Children of Men, the great­est part of Mankind never had so much as the Outward means of Salvation, and none but the Elect, have inward, sufficient Means of Salvation; there is nothing short of God's giving actually a new Heart, and infusing Grace, so as to make dead Souls live, is sufficient to Unite the Soul to Christ; indeed the Quakers hold, and they grow upon the Root of Arminianism, that all Men have a sufficient Light within, to bring them to Salvation, if they would but heed it; but if the Light in us be Darkness, how great is that Darkness?

Q. 2. What are the People, to whom you write, better than other Men, and why do you call them Jacobs?

I pray, who did I write to? I only open­ed what Paul wrote to the Corinthians, and if you ask what were they better than other Men? The Apostle sheweth, 1 Cor. 6.9, 10, 11, 12. they to whom he wrote, had been some of them much worse than many other Na­tural Men, but through the Exceeding Riches of God's grace in Christ, they were washed, they were Justified, they were Sanctified in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and by the Spirit of our [Page 151]God; And this was a Fruit and Effect of Gods free and eternal Love to them.

This Author adds, Or did you mean it of the Dead? Truly all the Corinthians are dead, to whom Paul wrote concerning this special Love of God; but no doubt there are many now living, that are partakers of the same grace; and as to those that are not Elected, I suppose you do not question but there are Millions, who are so passed by, as that they are now in the Prison of Hell.

Q. 3. You take your self for a Jacob, and me for an Esau (as I suppose.)

I Answer, Truly Sir, I am sorry you should thus disgrace your self; If you had not written your Name to the Queries you sent me, I should have thought they had been sent me by some Im­pertinent Woman, rather than by a Man. Why do you say, that you suppose, I take you for an Esau? You may be Elected to Salvation for any thing I know; Our Doctrine doth not allow us to say of any particular Man yet liv­ing, that God hath appointed him to Wrath, except we had grounds to think that he hath committed the sin against the Holy Ghost, which is a sin that is very rarely committed, and I never knew that person in my whole Life, that I was so uncharitable to, as to think that person had Committed that sin.

But you say, that you are mine Ancient Ac­quaintance and Neighbour, and now a Stranger in this City, and I never had the Humanity to invite you to my House; had a Neighbor's Dog come to you out of Lincoln-shire, would you not have been more kind to him, than you have been to me?

I answer, That those that do not know things may think that you and I have been great Ac­quaintance in Lincolnshire, and that we lived very near together, either in the same Town, or within a few miles one of another: Sir, Re­collect your self, I cannot remember that ever I saw your face more than three times in my Life, before I saw you lately in Norwich. The first time I saw you, was upon the Road on Horse­back, I met a Friend upon the High-way, that you were travelling with, I saluted him, and he told me your name, and so after a few words, you went your way, and I mine. The second time was about fifteen years since, going to see a Neighbour that lay Bed-rid (he was one of your way, but I think a Godly Man, and I visited him several times in Love) you was there, and we had two Hours Discourse, and all about Controversies. The third time was a­bout eight Years since you came into a Friends House, where I was upon a Journey, and stay­ed about an hour. This was all our acquain­tance, and as for our being Neighbours, it is true, that in some sence, all are our Neighbors: but I suppose you and I liv'd twenty Miles Distant, though I am not certain where you lived, for as you never were at mine House in Lincoln­shire, so I never was at yours. What a poor business is it, that the World should be troubled about our Acquaintance and Neighbourhood? Sir, though you and I differ in several points of Re­ligion, yet I love all Men, and though I do not desire intimacy with any Man, that is of a Contentious Spirit (I love Peace and Quiet­ness) yet if you please to let me know when [Page 153]you are in any want, you shall find that not only my self will relieve you; but that I shall get others of my Friends to Minister unto you, otherwise I do not desire Acquaintance with you, whilst you are so violent and abusive.

Then you say, that some of my Jacobs have called you Rogue, and wisht that you were put out of the Town: I am sorry that you should use such passionate Speeches, as to call any persons my Jacobs; and as to calling you Rogue, I hope none of the Congregation that I belong to, ever used such unseemly words of you, for my part, I have always spoke of you in Compa­ny with good Respect, till you put forth the Book: I love to speak the best I can of every Man.

Q. 4. You tell me, that in pag. 19. God chose us, so many, and no more; I pray, who are those us whom you call us, surely you speak of the Living? I answer, Let the Reader hear with Patience what is said Pag. 19. the words are these, This is especially applied to the Father in Scrip­ture, to choose us before the Foundation of the World, to foreknow us, to predestinate us to be conformable to the Image of his Son; therefore in that Scripture, 1 Pet. 1.2. where you have the proper and distinct Work of Fa­ther, Son and Holy Ghost about the Ves­sels of Mercy, the Apostle saith, We are E­lect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through Sanctification of the Spirit, un­to Obedience, and sprinkling of the Blood of Je­sus Christ; observe here, our Election is ascri­bed to God the Father, he chose us, so many and no more, this Man and not the other, Jacob and not [Page 154]Esau; then you have the proper work of the Son in those words, the sprinkling of the Blood of Jesus Christ, it is he who washeth us from our Sins in his own Blood, he purchaseth all good things, the second Person in the Trini­ty: He is the Lord our Righteousness, he is the Propitiation for our Sins, he is our Mediator; it is not the Father that is Mediator, nor the Holy Ghost, but the Son; it is he that took upon him our Nature, it was the Word that was made Flesh; not the Father nor the Holy Ghost; it was the Son that died upon the Cross for our Sins, not the Father nor the Holy Ghost; then you have the special Work of the Holy Ghost about our Sanctification, in these words, through Sanctification of the Spirit unto Obedience: It is the Holy Ghost, who in our Conversion doth Sanctifie us, and bring us to the Obedience of Faith; he applieth Redempti­on as the Son hath wrought Redemption; when the appointed time, when the fulness of time is come to call home an Elect Ves­sel, he convinceth the Soul of Sin, he reveal­eth Christ to the Soul, he infuseth the Habit of Grace, and after Conversion, is with us, to mortifie our Corruptions, comfort us, and lead us and to carry us to the Heavenly Kingdom.’

Now, What Cause had this Author to say, Who are these, Ʋs? Surely, you speak of the Liv­ing?

I answer, I speak, as the Scripture speaks in those Texts that I have mentioned, of all the Elect, of all the Redeemed, of all that are or shall be sanctified; and how strange and cap­tious [Page 155]is it for this Author to go on, and say, You have good Thoughts of your self, for you must be one of the Ʋs: And shew me how many, and no more; or, at least, name One, to make good the Word Ʋs; and prove by the Word of God, that You Two were undoubtedly chosen to Salvation? Surely, this Au­thor was not in frame when he wrote thus; this is just like a Woman scolding and quar­relling in the Streets, I am heartily sorry for him.

Qu. 5. and 6. Are both about the same thing, about Jacob and Esau? Now, concerning Jacob and Esau, note,

1. That Esau was not saved appears by Heb. 12.15. Lest there be any Fornicator, or profane Person, as Esau, who for one Morsel of Meat, sold his Birth-right. This Observation may give much Light into this Matter, that when any that were real Saints under the Old Testament are spoken of in the New Testament, all their sinful Failings are covered, and their Grace only mentioned: So it is with Abraham, Sarah, Job, Sampson, Lot; though they had many sinful Failings, yet (I say) they are covered in the New Testament, and their Faith, Patience and Holiness only mentioned. Or if there be an hint of their sin­ful Failings, as of Rahab and Elijah, there is mention also of their Faith and Prayer, and the Grace of God bestowed upon them. But when Esau comes to be mentioned in the New Testament, the Holy Ghost leaves him upon Record, that he was a profane Person, [ [...],] one that de­spised, set light by, and contemned holy things. So that let it be observed, that Esau, after he had been so long dead, is, in the New Testament, [Page 154] [...] [Page 155] [...] [Page 156]where the sinful Failings of the Saints of the Old Testament are covered, is left under this black Character, that he was a profane Person.

2. As to what is said, Rom. 9.13. As it is writ­ten, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated, let it be observed that the Apostle, in that Chapter, from the Beginning to the End, is not treating a­bout outward things, but about spiritual things; and to shew them, that amongst them that enjoy Church State, and Church-Privileges and Or­dinances, some are from Eternity elected to Salva­tion of God's mere Grace, and others are passed by: And the Apostle maintains the Sovereignty of God, that he might do so for his own Glory. That this is the Apostle's Scope, appears from Ver. 11, 12, 13. Eor the Children not being yet born, neither having done Good or Evil, that the Purpose of God according to Election might stand, not of Works, but of him that calleth; it was said unto her, The Elder shall serve the Younger: As it is written, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated. As if the Apostle had said, You may see a Type of Election and Reprobation in Jacob and Esau, that before they were born, and con­sequently from Eternity, God had determined their Eternal Estate for his own Glory, as it pleased him. Let Men cavil what they please, God will be God, and do whatever he will.

Yea, but some may say, How doth Paul make out this from what was spoken to Rebekah, The Elder shall serve the Younger?

I answer, The Apostle knew by the Spirit of God, that there was a Mystery in these Words; not only that two Nations were to come out of Jacob and Esau, but that which was primarily [Page 157]intended was, that the Person of Jacob was lov­ed, and chosen to Eternal Life, and not Esau.

Yea, but how came the Apostle to mention what is written in Malachy, concerning Jacob and Esau's Posterity?

I answer, The Apostle brings what is written there, by way of Accommodation and Allusion, thus: That as God made a great Difference as to Jacob's and Esau's Posterities, so much more as to Jacob's and Esau's Persons. Some of Jacob's Posterity were afflicted in Egypt, and at other times, as well as Esau's; and Jacob personally did never get Dominion over Esau, as to out­ward Things, but the Apostle sheweth that the Person of Jacob was from Eternity elected of God, and not Esau. If we cannot see how the Apostle could collect this from that place in Genesis, and that in Malachy, yet, I pray, let us reverence and believe the Scriptures, and not quarrel with the Pen-men, who were infallibly inspired. I have heard indeed of an Arminian Preacher, that wished that Paul had never writ any thing, and especially not Rom. 9. that Cha­pter will confute all the Arminians in the World.

Now, that the Apostle speaks here of God's Eternal Decree and Purpose concerning Jacob and Esau, doth evidently appear by what fol­loweth: Is there Ʋnrighteousness with God? That is, in not purposing to bestow his Grace upon some, Job 36.3. but passing them by, the Apo­stle saith, God forbid: Surely, we should ascribe Righteousness to our Maker, Ver. 14. And Ver. 15, 16. For he saith to Moses, I will have Mercy on whom I will have Mercy, and I will have Com­passion [Page 158]on whom I will have Compassion. So then, it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that run­neth, but of God that sheweth Mercy. As if he had said, There is no Unrighteousness with God, it is infinite Mercy that he saveth any; for he might glorifie his Justice, in the Dam­nation of all for their Sins: And that God should shew Mercy to one, and not to another, who shall dare to question God about this? I will do, saith God, what I will; I will have Mercy on whom I will have Mercy. Ver. 17. The [...]postle sheweth, that God raised up Pharaoh for that very purpose, to manifest his own Glory; made him a Man, a King, gave him Power over the Children of Israel, left him to the Corrup­tion of his own Heart, for the same purpose, to manifest his Glory in his Confusion and Destru­ction. If any contend with God about his So­veraignty, I pray God give him Repentance here, or else they will be confounded before his terrible Majesty hereafter. The Apostle goeth on, Ver. 18. Therefore he hath Mercy on whom he will have Mercy, and whom he will he hardneth. Yea, but then if all be as God wills, as God will have it, Ver. 19. Thou wilt say then to me: Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his Will? The Doctrine of God's Sove­raignty cannot go down with unhumbled Men, that never were made truly sensible of their own Meanness and Sinfulness, and of the Infi­nite Majesty of God; therefore, Ver. 20, 21. Nay, but, O Man, who art thou that repliest against God? That must be challenging, and disputing, and quarrelling with God? Shall the thing form­ed say unto him that formed it, Why hast thou made [Page 159]me thus? Hath not the Potter power over his Clay, of the same Lump, to make one Vessel unto Honour, and another unto Dishonour? And, as he shew­eth in the following Verses, What if God, wil­ling to shew his Wrath, and to make his Power known, endured with much Long-suffering the Ves­sels of Wrath, fitted to Destruction? And that he might make known the Riches of his Glory on the Vessels of Mercy, which he had afore prepared unto Glory.

God is from Everlasting, he was infinitely happy in himself; that he made Angels and Men was merely from the pleasure of his Will: He could have made all the Angels, and all the Posterity of Adam, Eternal and Immutable Ves­sels of Honour, if so it had pleased him. But what if God, the great and glorious God, who is to be adored and feared of all; What if God pleased to make Angels and Men, for the Ma­nifestation of his own Glory, one way or other? Who shall say unto him, Why did God make Angels and Men at all, of whom, so many shall be so miserable, that it had been good for them that they had never had a Being? But what if the great and glorious God, willing to shew his Wrath and holy Justice, and to make his Power known, did decree to leave some to themselves, and to their Sins, and to glorifie his Justice upon them? Yea, but may some say, As to the Children of Men, they were all left to fall in Adam, and are alike by Nature: But what if God have afore prepared some to Glory by his Eternal Election, and redeems them by the Blood of his Son, and calls them in due time by his Grace and Spirit, as those whom he hath [Page 160]chosen to be Vessels of Mercy, who shall que­stion God for what he doth? They that perish, perish for Sin; the Throne of the Holy God is guiltless for ever: They that are saved, are saved by the exceeding Riches of his Grace and Kindness towards them, through Christ Je­sus.

Thus I have answered the Author's Six Que­ries, he sent me in a Letter: Now I come to his Seventh and last Query.

Qu. 7. Because, saith he, I preach God's Love to Mankind to be such, that he gave his Son to be the Propitiation for the Sins of the whole World, this you call Arminianism, the Life and Soul of Popery? I answer,

This is utterly false, that ever I said so: Let him look upon my Letter, and see how he hath wronged me in print. I wrote to him in my second Letter, that Arminianism was the Root of Quakerism; and that a good Divine saith, that it is the Life and Soul of Popery. But as for God's giving his Son to be a Propitiation for the Sins of the whole World, it is a Scri­pture-Truth, 1 Joh. 2.2. And the meaning of that Phrase, as I have made it evident, when I opened that Text in this present Book, is only this; That Christ died for the Elect, not only for the Jews, but also for the Gentiles, throughout the whole World. But I maintain, that Arminians deny that God gave his Son to be a Propitia­tion, in a true Scripture-Sense, for the Sins of any one Man or Woman in the World: Whilst they pretend to hold Universal Redemption, they hold not Redemption at all; but do ac­knowledge that, notwithstanding any Propitia­tion [Page 161]Christ made, there might not one Man or Woman in the World ever have been sa­ved.

I said in that Letter, (though he did not think fit to mention it,) that Arminianism was the Root of Quakerism; which I shall now de­monstrate thus: Arminians hold that Men have sufficient Grace to bring them to Salvation, if they improve their Talent; that is, Nature, and what Helps they have, as they should do: Hence the first Quakers, being Arminians, for­med this into other Words, but the same for substance; That there is a sufficient Light in all Men, that if they do but heed, it will bring them to Salvation: And so Arminianism is the Fundamental Point of that Sect.

I said also in my second Letter, that a good Divine (I did not name him, but it was Mr. L.) said, that Arminianism is the Life and Soul of Po­pery. Upon which, he saith, Sure, you do not know what Popery is!

I will maintain what this Divine said, thus: Though the Papists hold many other Errours, yet the Life and Soul of Popery is, their Doctrine of Man's Merits, either by way of Condignity, or Congruity; the Generality of them being ignorant of Christ's being an absolute Propitiation and Purgation for Sin, by his Death: They look to be reconciled and purged by their own Merits, and thinking that Faith alone in that Propitiation and Purgation by the Blood of Christ, is not sufficient to justifie them that come unto God by him, therefore they trust to the Merit of their own Works; and thinking that such good Works as are appointed in the Word are not sufficiently meritorious, they have invented many [Page 162]superstitions Observations; and then, lest all should fail, they count upon a Purgatory after this Life, where they shall be purified from their Sins, by their suffering the Pains thereof. So that Arminianism, which makes the Dving of Christ for a Person, such a low, insignificant thing, makes them look out for better Helps, as they think, than from Christ the only Mediator: And I suppose that upon such grounds that Divine called Arminia­nism the Life and Soul of Popery.

As for what he adds Whether your conceit, that God hated so many millions before there was any cause of hatred in them; yea, before they had a Being; yea, before the World was; yea, from E­ternity, be not the life and Soul of Calvinism? I answer, God from Eternity had all in his Eye, knew them as really as if they had then had a Being, and loved and chose to Salvation through Christ, whom he pleased; and for the rest, let it be observed, that God is not said properly to hate any (no not the Devils and damned in Hell) all that we say is, that he never purposed to bestow that Grace upon them that perish, which of his good Pleasure, he purposed to be­stow upon others, but to leave them to their Sins, and to Condemnation for their Sins: And whereas he speaks of the Life and Soul of Cal­vinism, as I had done of the Life and Soul of Popery, it should seem as if he made Calvinism as ill as Popery (yea, it may be he thinks it much worse) It puts me in mind of what I have of­ten heard, that some of this Author's Judgment should say, That truly, if they were to change, they would turn Papists rather than to any other Perswasion in the Land. I speak this by the [Page 163]way; not that I charge this Author with any thing more than he will freely own himself.

But to shew what Promoters the Papists are of Anminianism, I would have two things re­membred and taken notice of.

1. A Letter dated, March 1628 from a Je­suit to the Rector of Bruxels, wherein there are these words, Whilst King James lived (you know) he was very violent against Arminianism, and interrupted (with his pestilent Wit, and deep Learning) our Designs;— Now we have planted that Sovereign Drug, Arminianism, which we hope will purge the Protestants from their Heresie, and it flourisheth and will bear Fruit in due season. This Letter was long since Printed.

2. In the Year 1653, Pope Innocent the Tenth, by a solemn Bull, or Papal Consistorial Deter­mination, in the Case of Jansenius. Bishop of Ypres, declared for the Pelagian Tenets: Now the Arminians follow the Pelagians. I have set down these things, that Protestants may take notice, that Pelagianism and Arminianism are more suited to the Popish than to the Protestant Religion. It came into my Mind, upon this Author's talking of Calvinism, to set down these two Passages, which, it may be, few have been acquainted with.

Now I have done with this Author, and do appeal to any Sober, Judicious Person. Whe­ther this Author hath in his Queries dealt like a modest man; yea, like a fair, honest, moral man? He hath put me to a great deal of pains to Answer his Book, considering my Age, and what bad Eyes I have had some years, whereby both [...]eading and Writing are made hard to me. [Page 164]If he write again, I do not intend to meddle with him any more; I know in some measure all the Sophistry, Cavils, and Evasions of the Arminians, and whatsoever he can write, will be but a meer shew and shadow of an Answer, a quarrelling at some by-expressions, I know that what I have written already, will stand as an Answer to all that he can write here­after.

I bow my Head, and worship the Father of Lights, who hath so far enabled me to clear up these Points, that I hope the Faithful shall understand them, and be rooted and grounded in the Truth. All the Weakness and Imperfection in handling these things, is mine; all that is good to the use of Edi­fying the Church in my Labours, is from God, to whom be Glory for ever and ever. Amen.

FINIS.

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