THE PAGANS Debt, and Dowry.

OR A Brief Discussion of these Questions, Whether, How far, and in what Sence, such Persons of Mankinde amongst whom the Letter of the Gospel never came, are notwithstanding bound to Believe on Jesus Christ (with some other particulars relating hereunto.)

Returned by way of Answer to a Discourse in Writing, lately sent without Name (together with a Letter, subscribed only, T. S.) unto Mr John Goodwin; the Author as yet being unknown to him, yet (as appears by the said Discourse) a Person of worth, and learning, and (as he supposeth) a Minister of the Gospel.

By the said JOHN GOODVVIN, Minister of the Gospel.

Who in times past suffered all Nations to walk in their own ways: Neverthe­less he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, &c.
Act. 14 16, 17
But I say, Have they not heard? Yes verily, their sound went into all the Earth, and their words unto the ends of the world,
Rom. 10. 18.
There is no speech nor language where their voyce is not heard.
Psal. 19. 3.
Caeterum Crux ista [Christi] & in Britannia est, & in India est, & in universo Orbe Terrarum.
Hieron. in Psal. 95 10.

London, Printed by J. Macock, for H. Cripps, and L. Lloyd, and are to be sold at their shop in Popes head Alley. 1651.

THE PAGANS Debt, and Dowry.

SIR,

ABout a Moneth since I received some Papers from you by Mr Ro­binson, Bookseller, together with a Letter, full of respects, and such acknowledgments, which I should neither satisfie my self, nor (I sup­pose) you, to own, though you were pleased to spread the snare in my way. Nevertheless to deal freely with you (be­cause I finde you a man of a far better spirit, more in­genuous then I have yet met with in any Antagonist) my sence is, that every mans estimate of himself for Gifts and Parts, ought to be commensurable to the [Page 4] Grace of God vouchsafed unto him in these things, lest by an undervaluation of himself, his hand be dis­abled from such service, which God upon the account of such gifts expecteth from him. But Sir, neither my genius, nor time, will suffer me to anti-complement with you: onely I cannot but kindly resent that wor­thy disposition in you, to put honor where it was want­ing, and to help with your respects to fill up the pit, which others have digged in the field of my reputati­on, to finde the treasure of their own. I am sorry that my time, since the receipt of your Papers, hath been from day to day, and from hour to hour, so drunk up by other occasions, that I could not, until now, compass any convenient liberty for a perusal of them. Nor in­deed have I now obtain'd it without the regret of some other engagements on my hand.

Concerning the weighty business discoursed in your Papers, I greatly desire it at the hand of my God, both yours and mine, that I may be able to give you satisfaction in it, or that himself will please to do it by some other hand. For though I verily beleeve that you have pleaded the cause of that which is not, with as much ingenuity and strength, as any other man what­soever could have done, yet I conceive withall, that whatsoever you have said to encumber the conclusive validity of that Argument, about which you profess your self (and I confess, not without grounds worthy a learned man) dissatisfied, may be fairly taken off, and to very reasonable satisfaction, whether God will vouchsafe to do it by me, or no. And sorry I am for your sake, that I should (at present) be so deeply and indispensably engaged in more publique employ­ments, that I am in no capacity of leasure to follow [Page 5] you [...] in your writing with those particularities of satisfaction, which every passage therein respective­ly requireth. The truth is, that (according to my Prin­ciples concerning God) I am rather [...], then [...], more intent (of the two) to promote the concernments of the good of the generality of men, then the accomodations of my particular Friends; though as far as [...] will extend, I am desirous also to observe the just Laws of Friendship as invio­lably as any other man: And though I very much honor you (how ever unknown) for those signal parts of Christian worth and ingenuity, which by the light of your Papers sent unto me I sufficiently discern in you; yet should I scarce have been entreated to have made you any so large return in writing as this, had I not conceived, that what I should draw up for the satisfaction of your desire herein (though probably not of your scruple) might by the publishing of it turn to some account of a more publique benefit and edifi­cation. The consideration of the subject matter of your Papers, will fall directly & of course in my way, if God should judg it meet to spare me life and health and liberty otherwise, for the composure of the second part of my Book of Redemption, wherof I give some o­verture towards the latter end of the book already pub­lished: my purpose is there to discuss the contents of your Papers more particularly. In the mean time you shall perform the part of a Friend to me (and it will be no point of unkindnes, or ill consequence to your self) to consider, that the stress of my Judgement, standing as it doth about the extent of Redemption by Christ, doth not lie, or lean, upon the demonstrative clearness or evidence of Truth in that Argument, about which [Page 6] you are scrupled, nor indeed so much upon any other of the Grounds or Reasons insisted on in my Book for the defence thereof, no nor yet upon them all; as upon the express pregnancy of the Scriptures themselves from place to place, which (to my understanding) cānot by any congruous or rational Interpretation be drawn another way; as also upon the scantness and defective­ness of proof universally found in those Passages and Texts, which are with greatest plausibleness alledged and argued (proof-wise) for the contrary Opinion. So that though all my Arguments should fall to the ground and sink, yet if the Scriptures argued by me in favor of that my Judgment, will stand in those re­spective sences, wherein I interpret them, and (as I judg) without any violation or breach (in the least) of the best, and best-known Laws of Interpretation, yea and with the Observation of them all, the Doctrine maintained by me will stand impregnable, and like the good Word of God it self, irreprovable. I do not speak this, as if I were either conscious, or jealous, of any weakness, or non-concludency, in any of my Arguments proposed and discussed in the 18. Chapter of my Book of Redemption: but to let you know, where, or in what, the first-born of my strength and confidence of Truth, in what I hold concerning Re­demption, resideth: and what weapons of all others they are, which you must take from me, before I can surrender.

But Sir, very briefly, and according to the short tedder of my time, to touch some of the more mate­rial Heads of your Discourse, though (haply) not in the same order, unto which I might be directed by your Papers, but onely as they come to remembrance, [Page 7] some days after my perusal thereof, as not having lea­sure for a second review.

1. By your Judgment, which stands for a possibili­ty of Repentance (I presume you mean that which is true, and accompanying Salvation, because otherwise you should not counter-argue me in my Notion) with­out Faith, I perceive you are a man of the same con­scientious confederacy with me in leaving the road, when you judg the Truth lies beside it: Notwith­standing at this turn I conceive you leave it with­out cause. For if there may be a Repentance found and saving without Faith, either it must be a work or fruit of the Law (whether natural, or positive, it varieth not the case we now speak of) or else of some third Covenant made by God with Men in order to their Salvation, really di­stinct both from the Covenant of Works in the Law, and from the Covenant of Grace in the Gospel. For you cannot affirm it to be a work, or fruit, of the Go­spel, because you hold, 1. That it is required of those, to whom the Gospel is never vouchsafed: And, 2. That there is no Law or Commandment given un­to such persons, which are in no capacity of yeelding obedience to it: (which latter Principle will do you worthy service at many turns, if you will work it ac­cordingly.) That the Repentance you speak of, is any fruit or work of any third Covenant, is not (I pre­sume) in your thoughts: however, I am not able to comprehend what this third Covenant should be. That it cannot be any work of the Law, or of the Covenant of Works, is evident from hence; because by the Works of the Law shall no flesh be justified; where­as this Repentance is judged by you to be both justi­fying [Page 8] and saving. Besides, it is the common and known Opinion of learned Divines (and doubtless of good accord with the Truth) that the Law knoweth no Repent­ance. For the Tenor of the Law is more district and inexorable: Cursed is every man that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them, Galat. 3. 10. By the way, your Notion that Adam, during the interìm between his Fall, and the Evangelical Promise of the womans seed made unto him, was obliged to Repentance, is but a mistake. Such an interìm supposed, Adam was therein no more obliged to Repentance, then the Devil is since his Fall.

The Premisses considered, when I argued the Com­mand of God to Beleeve, from his Command unto Men to Repent, Acts 17. 30. you had no commend­able cause of that false demand; Sed quid hoc ad Iphicli boves? But I consider how hard a thing it is for a man not to be a little warm in a contest; and I could for Iphiclus his Oxen, return Balaams Ass in exchange: but I shall not go forward with the bargain. Certainly when God commands Men to Repent, he doth in the very substance and import of this duty, command them also to Beleeve; in as much as that Repentance, which he at any time commands, is Evangelical, and of a saving tendency; and so can be no work of the Law, unless it be the Law of Life, (I mean, the Gospel.)

From the said Premisses it further appeareth, That the Gentiles, to whom the letter, or written letter, of the Gospel never came, and amongst whom the Name of Christ (haply) was never named, may yet in suffici­ent propriety of speech, and with largeness enough of [Page 9] Truth (though not in that critical formality of the sig­nification of the words [...], and praedicare, which you urge from Grammarians and Civilians; a curio­sity of dialect which the Holy Ghost commonly neg­lecteth, yea and Grammarians and Civilians them­selvesMultos hoc decipit, quod Christum arbi­trantur ubique exacte & solli­cité, quomodo Aristoteles aliquis, locu­tum fuisse; quod est a vero al [...]num. Ca­mero. Myroth. p. 72.) may be said to have, and to have had, the Gospel preached unto them. The Gospel is said to have been preached unto the ancient Jews, Heb. 4. 2, 6. yet Christ by Name was not preached unto them, nor known amongst them. And as the Rock, out of which Moses, or God by Moses, gave them water to drink, is said to have been, Christ, viz. spiritually, in type, or representation: in like manner, yea and with much more pregnancy and neerness of signification, and re­velation, the patience, and goodness, and bountiful­ness of God dayly vouchsafed unto the Heathen, may be termed, Christ. And upon this account the Apostle clearly implieth, that the goodness of God leadeth men to Repentance, (Rom. 2. 4.) and consequently (the Pre­misses evincing it) unto Faith in Christ, whether known, or not known, by them. For God being by the Light of Nature, known, or at least [...], knowable, to be infinitely just, infinitely bent in hatred and severity against sin; when notwithstanding he shall express himself in goodness, and patience, and bountifulness towards those, who know themselves to be sinners, hereby he sufficiently testifieth and declareth unto them, that his justice and severity against sin have been (and this must in reason needs be supposed to have been, by a way or means proportionable to so great and glorious an effect) satisfied, and that he hath so far accepted an attonement for them, that in case they shall truly Repent of their former sins, and per­severe [Page 10] repentant unto the end, they shall escape the punishment due unto their sins, and consequently be saved. And what is this, being interpreted, but to have [...], the effect or substance of the Gospel preached unto them? The Scriptures in seve­ral places (which I have not leasure at present to exa­mine or discuss) plainly insinuate a capacity in the Heathen, yea in all men by the Light of Nature (I mean, where this Light is given, and shineth) by such a regular and rational process of discourse, as that mentioned, to attain or make out this Evangelical Conclusion, That some Mediation, some Attonement or other, hath been made, and accepted by God, for the sins of men. But I demand (saith the Apostle Paul,) Rom. 10. 18. Have they not heard? Yes verily (saith he) their sound went forth into all the Earth, and their words unto the ends of the World. He had said in the Verse imme­diately foregoing, that Faith comes by hearing: In this Verse, he shews (in an Answer which he gives to a de­mand or question put by him) what hearing it is, by which Faith comes; or at least what hearing is suffi­cient to beleeve upon, or to produce Faith. This hear­ing, he saith, is the hearing of that sound, and of those words, which the Heavens, and the Day, and the Night speak, and that are gone forth into the ends of the World, (as appears by the place,Psal. 19. 4. in Psal. 19. from whence these words are cited.) If you ask me, but what is the sound, or what are the words which the Heavens, and the Day, and the Night, i. e. the constant course of the Providence of God, in the Government of the World, speak in the ears of all Nations, and of all People, that Faith should come by the hearing of them? I answer: they are the words of Eternal Life [Page 11] too, as well as those, which (as Peter acknowledgeth) our Saviour himself had to speak; yea and did speak upon all occasions; onely they are not so plainly spo­ken, as he was wont to speak: their Parable is some­what more dark, and harder to be understood. But the sence and import of what the Heavens moving still in their natural course, and the gracious Providence of God, joyntly speak in the ears of all flesh, is, that God is taken off from the fierceness of his Displeasure a­gainst sin, and that he holds forth his white flag, and offers terms and conditions of Peace unto the World; and that upon their coming into him by Repentance, they shall be received into grace and favor. And what is this but the very tenor, sum, and substance of the Gospel? which yet is more plain from that of the same Apostle,Act. 14. 16, 17. Acts 14. to the men of Lystra. Who (saith he, speaking of God) in times past suffered all the Gentiles to walk in their own ways. Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from Heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. In respect of what was it, that God left not himself without witness amongst the Gentiles, even then when he suffered them to walk in their own ways? (viz. without admonishing and directing them how to walk, and what to do, after any such manner as now he doth by the letter of the Gospel sent amongst them:) what did the witnesses the Apo­stle here speaks of, witness concerning God, or, on his behalf? Doubtless he doth not speak here of his Godhead, nor of his Power, nor of his Wisdom, as if his meaning were, that God left not himself with­out witness of these (though it be true, that he did not leave himself without witness, i. e. means of con­vincing [Page 12] men, of these also,) but the Works of Crea­tion, as distinguished from the Works of Providence (whereof he here speaks) are sufficient witnesses of these,Rom. 1. 20. according to the tenor of Rom. 1. 20. and be­sides there are natural impressions of these in the spi­rits and consciences of men, which are witnesses on Gods behalf thus far. But doubtless, that in God, or concerning God, which (as the Apostle here saith) God intended should be testified or witnessed on his behalf unto men, was somewhat, more secret, more out of the way (as it were) of mens, common thoughts or apprehensions; and particularly it was that gracious and good affection which he bears unto the World through Jesus Christ, his inclination unto Peace with Men, upon their Repentance (which is the substance of the Gospel.) This appears, 1. By the nature or quality of the witnesses here spoken of, which were, Gods giving men rain from Heaven, and fruitful seasons, his filling their hearts with food and gladness. Such witnesses as these, are onely proper to testifie grace, and love, and desire of the good of those, to whom they are given, in him that giveth them. They plainly shew, that he that bestows them, is not extream, useth not extremity against those that do amiss; and consequently that he is by one means or other, taken off from the rigor of his Justice, and severity of his Wrath against sinners. And, 2. It appears from hence; because Paul, who was not one­ly a diligent and faithful Preacher of the Gospel where ever he became, but was in special manner de­signed to be an Apostle to the Gentiles, preached no o­ther Doctrine but this at Lystra (a City of the Gen­tiles) upon that great opportunity that was now offer­ed [Page 13] him. We cannot think that he should onely preach a Philosophical or Metaphysical Sermon, concerning the Essence or natural Properties of God onely; but that which was Evangelical, and favoring of the Go­spel. Now the Holy Ghost recording either the whole, or (at least) the sum and substance of what he preached in this place, reporteth nothing Evangelical as spoken by him, except this be acknowledged for such. So that clear it is from the Scriptures, That all the World, even those that are most straitened and scanted in this kinde, those that have not the letter of the Gospel, have yet sufficient means of beleeving granted unto them; of beleeving I mean, 1. That God is, 2. That he is a Rewarder of those that diligently seek him: which is all the Faith or Belief that the Apostle makes simply and absolutely necessary to bring a man unto God,Hebr. 11 6. i. e. into grace or favor with him, Heb. 11. There are several other Scriptures that speak home to this point, besides those argued; particularly, that Rom. Rom, 2. 4. 2. 4. Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness, and forbearance, and long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to Repentance? The long-suffering and goodness of God are said to lead Men to Repentance, because they testifie, according to a rati­onal and clear Interpretation, a willingness and readi­ness in God, to receive all such into grace and favor with himself, who shall unfeignedly repent of their sins. There is no other consideration, but this (at least, none without this) in respect whereof, the patience or bountifulness of God, can be said to lead, i. to perswade or invite, to Repentance. There is no motive or per­swasive, whereof sinners are capable, unto Repentance, without hope of Pardon upon Repentance. In the [Page 14] mean season, you see it clear from the Scriptures (and the Scriptures, as ye have seen, run parallel with evi­dent and clear reason all along in this point) that even Heathen men, and those that want the History of the Gospel, have yet a sufficiency of means whereby to beleeve, and so to prevent the wrath and indignation which is to come: in which regard, they are altoge­ther unexcusable, if they do it not.

Consonant unto these things argued from the Scriptures, are the Judgments of our best Protestant Divines, at least when overshadowed with the Spirit of Truth. For-though (saith Calvin) there will be found nothing in the World worthy the Favor of God, yet he sheweth himself PROPITIOUS UNTO THE WHOLE WORLD in that HE CALLS ALL MEN WITH­OUT EXCEPTION TO BELEEVE IN CHRIST, which is nothing else but an entrance into Life. Tametsi eaim in mundo nibil reperietur savo­re Dei digaum, se tamen [...] mundo propiti­um oftendit, cum sine excep­tione omnes ad Fidem Christi vocat, quae ni­hil aliud est, quam ingressus in vitam. Cal­vin. in Job. 3. 15, 16. So like­wise Wolfgangus Musculus, After the same manner it is in this Redemption of Mankinde, of which we speak: That Reprobates and desperately wicked men partake not of it, IS NOT THROUGH ANY DEFECT OF THE GRACE OF GOD: nor is it meet, that, for the sons of Perdition sake, it should lose the Glory and Title of an UNIVERSAL REDEMPTION, since it is PREPA­RED [or, procured] FOR ALL, AND ALL ARE CALLED TO ITAdeum modum habet & Redemptis istae generis ou­mam, de qua loquiatur, quod illam homines reprobi, ac de­plorate impii non accipiant, ne (que) defectu sit gratiae Dei, at­que justam est ut illa propter filios perditio­nis, gloriam ac titulum uni­versalus Re­demptionis a­mittat, cum sit parata cunctis, & omnes ad illam vocen­tur. Musculus, Loc. De Re­dempt. Gene­ris Humani. Our English Divines themselves in the Synod of Dort, express themselves to the same purpose thus: So then Christ dyed for all Men, THAT ALL AND EVERY ONE, by the Mediation of Faith, MAY through the vertue of this Ransom, obtain Remis­sion of Sins, and Eternal Life. So that the express sence of these men is, That even the Heathen them­selves, omnes & singuti, to whom the Gospel was ne­ver [Page 15] preached (in your sence, I mean) by men, and in the letter of it, are yet called by God to it, yea and may so beleeve, that by the Mediation of their Faith, through the Ransom payd for them, they may obtain Salvation.

But suppose we (for Argument sake) that the Hea­then, to whom the Gospel was never orally preached, were not in an immediate capacity of beleeving it (up­on those terms of beleeving lately signified,) yet this proves not but that they might be in a remote capacity of beleeving it; such a capacity I mean, which by a regular and conscientious exercise and acting of those worthy abilities, which God had conferred upon them, might, by the ordinary blessing, and according to the standing course of the gracious Providence of God in such cases, have risen up and grown to an im­mediate capacity in this kinde. So that (for example) an Heathen man, who never heard of the Name of Christ, may notwithstanding, by means of the [...], i. e. the effect of the Law written in his heart, quit himself to such a degree of well-pleasing unto God, that God will not fail to reveal or make known his Son Christ unto him, after some such manner and degree, which shall be saving unto him. This is the express Doctrine of learned M. Bucer. Here (saith he, writing upon Rom. 2.) let us observe two things: That God in no Age whatsoever left Men destitute of the Doctrine of Salvation. Therefore who ever at any time perished perished through their own default [or neglect.] For God so bedeweth [or be­sprinkleth] Nature with his Light, that they onely remain strangers unto Righteousness, who willingly and of their own accord cast it from them. There are at this day Nati­ons [Page 16] not a few, to whom the Gospel of Christ is not sincerely preached: others there are, WHO HEAR NOTHING OF IT. But if these did not voluntarily put from them­selves the desire of Righteousness, the Lord (QUESTION­LESS) would so antmate [or enliven them] with his Spirit, that they should [or, might] perform the things of the Law, commit themselves wholy to his [grace, or] goodness, and do unto their Neighbors what they would that they should do unto them. Hence it would come to pass that God would sooner send an Angel unto them, as he did unto Cornelius, then suffer them to remain ignorant of his Christ. But whilest through impious ingratitude, they de­tain his Truth revealed unto them in Unrighteousness, they do not onely deserve to have no more of the good Spirit of God given unto them, but even to be given up to a repro­bate sence, &c. The other thing to be taken notice of, is, That we our selves also harken unto the work, or effect of the Law, which is written in our hearts, that same right and divinely impressed sence of things within us, whereby we are continually called upon for holy and honest courses, and called back from those that are dishonest, &c. After­wards, upon Vers. 25. of the same Chapter, he hath these words: But (as we formerly also shewed) this was rather that which Paul intended, viz. to offer to the con­sideration of the Jews, that the Gentiles, even before Christ was revealed unto them, were Partakers of true Righteousness Hic duo ob­servemus: De­um nullis un­quam seculis homines Doc­trina salutis destituisse; proinde, qui­cunq, unquam perierunt, sua culpa periisse. Naturam ita perfundit sua lucc Deus, ut hi tantum a justicia aliem maneant qui eam ultro a se rejiciunt. Sunt & hodie Gen­tes non paucae quibus Evan­gelium Christi liaudquaquam sinceriter prae dicatur; sunt, quae de to ni­hil ptorsus au­diunt. Hi au­tem si non ul­tro justiciae studium repu­diarent, Do­minus INDU­ [...]IE Spiritu suo sic eos an­imaret, ut quae legis sunt, prae­starent, com­mitterent se totos ipsius bonitati, prox­imis faccrent, quae cupiunt fieri sibi. Hinc fieret ut Deus citius Ange­lum cis mit­teret uti fecit Corailio, quam ut ignorare cos Christum suum pateretur. Sed dum impie in­grati iniquitate sua detinent revelatam jam ipsis veritatem, merentur, non solum ut nihil praeterea boni spiritus acciptant, sed etiam ut dentur in sensum reprobum, &c. Alterum hic observandum est, ut ipsi quo (que) huic operi legis, quod insctiptum est cordibus nostris, recto illi (ut divinitus impresso) sensui, quo perperuo vocamtr ad fancta & honesta studia, revocamur a pravis, auscultemus, &c. Buter in Enar, ad Roman. c. 2. v. 14 Sed ut supe­rius quo (que) ostendimus, magis id ex instituto Pauli fuit, ut objiceret Iudaeis Gentes etiam ante cis revelatum Christum, verae justiciae fuiffe compotes. Idem in vers. 25. ejusdem Cap.. The clear result of this Discourse is, [Page 17] That the Heathen, who never had the Gospel, or Christ, de facto preached in the letter, or by men, unto them, were yet in a sufficient capacity of doing such things, upon the account whereof God would have revealed them unto them by one means or other, and this upon such terms, which should have been available to Sal­vation. I might add much from Calvin and other Protestant Writers of best account, of like import, who very frequently and familiarly in their Writings promise with greatest confidence, the super-vening of the saving Grace of God, unto the regular industry and diligence of men, in the improvement of the light they have received. Yea, the substance of this Doc­trine is ever and anon preached by those, who are by some counted Pillars of the Ministry amongst us at this day: who notwithstanding again destroy that Faith, which they build up in such a Doctrine, by de­nying the Universality of Redemption by Christ. Mr Edmond Calamy (in a Sermon preached by him Jan. 12. 1644. on 2 Chron. 25. 2.) amongst many other Passages pointing the same way, taught his People and Hearers thus: A wicked man may do that, which is right in the sight of the Lord, by the Light of Nature, and by the help of common Grace. And although God be not bouna to reward him for it, yet I DOUBT NOT but God, out of the abyss of his Mercies, if he make use of common Grace; I DO NOT DOUBT (I say) but God out of his abundant Mercy, though he be not bound unto it, yet will give him spiritual [or, special] Grace: if he make use of common Nature well, God will finde some way or other to do good to that mans Soul. Luk. 16. 11. If therefore you have not been faithful in the unrighteous Mammon, who shall commit to your [Page 18] trust the true riches? This place seems to hold out thus much; That if a man improves the outward Mercies of God, or the work of common Grace, God will entrust that man with better riches; God will finde out a way to do that man good. Afterwards (in the same Sermon) thus: Thou oughtest to do according to the gift and power, which God hath given thee in a natural way: and that God, which hath given thee power to do it in a natural way, will (NO DOUBT) assist thee with power to do things in a spiritual way. For that man which improves his natural Talent, God will one time or other entrust him with a spiritual Talent. For there was never any man went to Hell for, CANNOT, but for, WILL NOT. If you shall please further to peruse my Answer to Mr Jenkin, entituled, [...], pag. 69, 70, 71, &c. you shall finde the concurrent Judgment of some others of no mean esteem for Learning, Piety, and whatso­ever is called Orthodox amongst us. And the truth is, that in such a Doctrine as this, they cleave to the Scriptures themselves, and are one spirit with them. For when our Saviour, towards the cloze of the Par­able of the Talents, teacheth thus: For unto every one that hath, shall be given, and he shall have abundance; but from him that hath not, shall be taken away, even that which he hath; he clearly avoucheth this for Truth, That whatsoever a mans original stock, in gifts or en­dowments in one kind or other, from Gods hand shall be, be it never so weak, small, or inconsiderable, yet by a careful employment, it shall, through the grace and blessing of God hereupon, improve to a spiritual estate, which is therefore compared to an abundance, because the possessor hereof is enriched above mea­sure by it. For that our Saviour by, him that hath, and [Page 19] to whom he promiseth, that more shall be given, doth not mean a person already converted, regenerate, or endued with true Faith, saving grace, or the like, so neither, by him that hath not, him that wanteth saving grace, is evident; 1. Because by the servants who received the Talents, as in a glass, is represented the state and condition, not of Beleevers onely, or those that shall be saved, but of the generality of Mankinde, or (at least) as well of such who will perish, as of those who shall be saved. This is evident from that which the Parable relateth concerning the unprofitable ser­vant, who went and hid his Talent in the Earth; for which his Lord commands him to be cast into outer darkness, where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. Now the words under debate were uttered by our Saviour, upon occasion of this severe award (as it may seem) which the Lord passed against this unpro­fitable servant; Take therefore the Talent from him, and give it unto him that hath ten Talents. Of the equity of this order, he gives an account in the said words: For unto every one that hath, shall &c. plainly imply­ing, that by him that hath, he meaneth, him that hath upon improvement, or (which comes to the same) him that sheweth and declareth that he hath [some­what given him] by his employment and improve­ment of it: for otherwise, he that had his Talent ta­ken from him because of his hiding, or non-employ­ment, of it, had, as well as the other, by original gift. And if by, him that hath, he should mean, him that hath, simply, or, in any consideration, then he that had received the one Talent, notwithstanding his hiding it, should have had given unto him, and so had more abun­dantly, as well as the other. Again, 2. there is no [Page 20] ground, nor (I suppose) colour of reason, or ground, to conceive, but that all the Talents (mentioned in the Parable) the five, the two, the one, were all of one and the same nature, or kinde; and that none of them sig­nified any supernatural, or necessarily-saving grace, but onely natural gifts, or endowments, such as men unregenerate were capable of, as well as regenerate. Nor do either Calvin himself, Musculus, or any other of our Protestant Expositors, give the least intimati­on of their sence to the contrary, in their Commen­taries upon the said Parable; though Musculus be more assertive and express in the point, then any of the rest that I have seen. Amongst the ancient, Ambrose, by these Talents, understands the gifts or endowments of natural Reason nam in terra abscondisse dicit, quod ra­tionem quae ad imaginem & st. m [...]l [...]tudinem data est nobis, studio volupta­tis obeuit, & tanquam in so­vea ca [...] ab­scondit. Ambr. 1. 3. l. 8. Com­ment. in Luc. c. 8. circa finem Nam illa Talenta, quae cui (que) distribuuntur [...], nego significare posse vitam ae­ternam, Ratio certissima, quia illa distribuuntur servis om­nibus, non tan­tum frugi, sed etiam nequam.; which differs not at all in any thing material from the sence of our late Orthodox Interpreters. If then by the Talents be signified en­dowments or gifts of Nature, and such as the genera­lity of men receive from God in some measure and degree, or other, evident it is from the clause under consideration, unto him that hath shall be given, &c. that by a faithful and careful use of those natural abi­lities, that light of Reason,Et paulo post; Itaque necesse est referri [Ta­lenta] ad gra­tias temporales, quas Deus com­municat, non piis tantum sed etiam impi [...]s; non Electis tan­tum, sed etiam rep obis. Cha­mier. Panstr. 1. c. 3. l: 8. c. 3 Sect, 15, 16 Conscience and Under­standing, which every person of Mankinde under Heaven receiveth from God, he may and shall receive from him yet further, that which shall be of a saving import and consequence unto him. For that, by that which is (in the Parable) promised to be given, and that in abundance, to him that hath, must of necessity be meant somewhat that is of a spiritual and saving nature, is evident from the carriage of the same Par­able; where the servants, who had received the Ta­lents, and employed them faithfully (by whom are [Page 21] typified our Saviours, [...], those that have, as was lately said) are graciously invited by their Master into his joy: Enter thou into thy Masters joy: So to the other; Enter thou into thy Masters joy. Now if either God, or Christ, be signified and meant by the Master of these servants (as I suppose no man questions, but that either the one, or the other, are typified hereby) by, entering into their joy, cannot be meant a receiving of a greater measure of natural gifts or endowments, nor of receiving any reward which belongs to persons qualified onely with such Endowments as these, but, Salvation, or Eternal Blessedness and glory. If so, it roundly follows, that by what Christ promiseth shall be given to him that hath (in the sence declared) is meant somewhat of a saving consequence, as regene­rating Grace, the sanctifying Spirit of God, Faith, and the like. And promising, not onely, or simply, that to him that hath, shall be given, but further, that he shall have abundantly, he clearly signifieth, that in case men will provoke, stir up, and lay out themselves ac­cordingly in the improvement of such abilities and gifts, which shall from time to time be vouchsafed unto them, they may, by vertue of the Bounty and gracious Decree of God in that behalf, attain and re­ceive from God what proportion or measure of the Spirit of Grace, and of God, they can desire.

What hath been argued, and (I suppose) demon­stratively proved from the Parable of the Talents, and more especially from this promise or engagement of our Saviour, To him that hath, shall be given, viz. that upon a regular and reasonable improvement of those principles or abilities (which we more common­ly, then properly, call, natural) vouchsafed by God [Page 22] unto men, they shall certainly receive from him that which is spiritual and saving, might be further evi­denced and confirmed from many other Scriptures; as from Mat. 13. 12. Mark 4. 25. Luk. 8. 18. (where the same promise, almost in the same words, upon a like occasion, is made, and taught for sound Doctrine, by our Saviour;) so likewise from Mat. 10. 11, 13. Mark 12. 34. Luk. 8. 15. & 11. 52. Joh. 6. 27, 45. Eph. 5. 14. Rom. 1. 19, 20, 21, &c. Hebr. 11. 6, &c. (besides twenty more.) In all which places there is a perfect eye of the Notion contended for, visible enough to him that shall narrowly look upon them, and enquire into them. And indeed the Opi­nion or Doctrine it self, which we now plead, is so ra­tional, so intimously comporting with, and suitable to, the Genius and main Design of the Gospel, which is to advance Godliness, and all excellent and wor­thy ways and works amongst men, that there is no­thing can be alledged against the truth of it, but what upon due consideration will be found manifestly pre­judicial and obstructive to the practice of Godliness, and of things worthy and honorable amongst men.

From these Discussions then it clearly follows, That the Heathen, who onely have, or have had, the benefit and help of the Light of Nature, together with those impressions of Good and Evil which ac­company it, are, and have been, by means hereof, in such a capacity of having the Gospel, if not preach­ed, yet (which is altogether as much, or rather more) revealed unto them, and consequently of beleeving it, that were they, had they been, true and faithful to the dear Interest of their own Peace and Happi­ness, they may, and might beleeve it, If so, the want [Page 23] of the letter, or oral preaching of it unto them, doth not excuse them from sin in their non-beleeving it; unless we shall say, that the committing of one sin, excuseth from the guilt of another, or that the neg­lect of one duty, dischargeth from the obligation of another.

3. (And lastly) Suppose and grant we yet further (for Argument sake) that the Heathen actually want­ing the letter and external Ministry of the Gospel by men, were in no capacity at all of coming to the knowledg of it, either by the Works of Creation and Providence, nor yet by any improvement of their natural Abilities (possible unto them;) yet it must needs be acknowledged that they were in a capacity of being made Partakers even of the letter and oral Administration hereof, in such a sence, as all Nations are in a capacity of having and enjoying such mer­chandize or commodities, which are exportable from any one Nation under Heaven, and may be had by recourse and equitable applications made to this Na­tion for them. When God erected and set up, first his Tabernacle, and afterwards his Temple, amongst the Jews, together with that entire systeme or body of his Ceremonial Worship, wherein, though under Types and Figures, he discovered his gracious Coun­sel and Intentions by Jesus Christ towards the world, and (indeed) preached the Gospel, though his intent and purpose herein was to priviledg and accommo­date this Nation above any other People and Nation under Heaven, yet was it no part of his minde, that these Discoveries of Himself, or the great Blessing accruing thereby unto men, should be so confined or appropriated unto this People, but that all the World, [Page 24] and all the Nations round about them, far and neer, yea and every particular person, born or dwelling in any of these Nations, might, if they pleased, have had part and fellowship with them in all this Grace and Blessedness, as many actually had, who became Proselytes to the Religion and Worship of this Na­tion. Yea all the priviledg or prerogative which this Nation had above others, in, or about the Word, and Worship of God, the Apostle Paul resolveth into this, [...], Rom. 3. 2. that they were entrusted with, made Feoffees (as it were) in trust of that great treasure, the Oracles of God, not for them­selves, nor their posterities onely, but for the World, or generality of Mankinde; even as the same Apo­stle, speaking of himself, and of the Gospel, saith (in the same word, [...], Gal. 2. 7.) that he was entrusted with it for the Gentiles, or Gen­tile part of the World, as Peter was for the Circumci­sion, i. e. the Jews. This Apostle, as in considerati­on that the said Ceremonial Worship, or Mosaical Gospel, was committed, or deposited in trust with the Jews, he calls it, theirs, (Rom. 9. 4.) So because they were entrusted with it on the behalf of the World, elsewhere calls it, in respect of the several mem­bers, parts, and veins of it, [...], the rudi­ments, or elements, of the world, (Gal. 4. 3. Colos. 2. 8, 20.) meaning, those Mosaical Ceremonies and Observations, which God delivered unto Jews by Moses, for the nurture and training up of the World (during the infancy and pupillage of it) in the Know­ledg of God, and the things of their Eternal Peace. In like manner, in that Spirit of Prophecy, which God poured out so abundantly upon this Nation, in those [Page 25] Prophets which he raised up and sent unto them from time to time, to instruct, admonish, reprove, declare unto them things to come, &c. he had respect, as well to the Nations of the World, as to the Jews them­selves, as appears by sundry particular Prophecies, which much more neerly concerned other States and Nations, as Babylon, Egypt, Tyre, Edom, Moab, &c. then the Jews. Athanasius (among the Fathers) very excellently and fully to this point discourseth in his Treatise concerning the Incanation of the Word of God: where, having affirmed that the Grace of that Image stamped upon men according to the likeness of God, is, and was, sufficient to afford unto men the Knowledg of the Word of God; and yet, that, in case men should neglect to know him, by looking in­to themselves, he had provided this remedy for such their weakness, viZ. That by the Works of Nature they might understand him to be the Workman, &c. he advanceth his discourse in words to this effect. But when as the negligence of men by degrees grew worse and worse, God yet again provided for this weakness also, send­ing unto them Laws and Prophets familiar with them [or, which might be well known to them,] that in case it were troublesom unto them to look up towards Heaven, they might receive instruction from their Neighbors, [or, neer at hand.] For one man may learn of another that which is excellent, neerer hand. So then they might by lifting up their eyes to the vast magnitude of the Heavens, and con­sidering the sweet harmony of Nature [or, the Creation] come to know the Word of the Father to be the Captain [or Guider] hereof, and that by his Providence over all things, he discovers and makes known the Father unto all Men, and that he therefore gives motion unto all [Page 26] things, that all Men by him may know God. Or if this were grievous to them, they might converse with Saints [or, holy men,] and from these learn to know God the Maker of all things to be the Father of Christ, and that the worshiping of Idols is impiety, and full of all ungodli­ness. They might also by the Knowledg of the Law abstain from all Transgression, and live righteously [or, vertu­ously.] For the Law was not [brought into the world] for the Jews onely, nor were the Prophets sent onely for them [or, their sakes.] They were sent indeed unto the Jews, and of the Jews were persecuted: but they were the sacred and publique School of the whole World, to in­struct men as well in the Knowledg of things appertaining unto God, as in matters relating to the Discipline and Go­vernment of the Soul [...], &c. Athanas. de Incarn. Verbi. p. 39, 40. Edis. Commel.. Consonant to the import of this Discourse, is that of Calvin also, transcribed by me, pag. 508, 509. of my Redemption Redeemed: to­ward the cloze whereof he speaketh words to this purpose: Although indeed there was no necessity to seek him [God] very far, by reason that each one might finde him in his own self, being that we are all kept and preser­ved by his vertue dwelling in us. In the mean time, to [Page 27] manifest more imply his goodness and infinite clemency a­mongst men [or, towards men] he hath not contented himself to instruct them by all such documents, as those we have exprest, but hath specially given to understand his Voyce to a certain People, &c. [meaning, that from, and by means of, these, the rest of the World might have opportunity to receive the Knowledg of those things, which were revealed unto them, not for their own sakes onely, but for the accommodation and be­nefit also of all others.] If you please to peruse the Commentaries of our best Protestant Writers upon those passages of Christ, Joh. 4. 36, 37, 38. sent you to reap that, whereon you bestowed no labor: other men labored, &c. you will find many things directly point­ing towards the Notion in hand. Calvin himself ac­knowledgeth that some understand these passages as well of the Gentiles, as the Jews; and confesseth, that in all ages there were some grains [or, seeds] of Piety [or, true Religion] scattered over the whole World Et sunt qui promiscue tom de Gentibus, quam de lu­daeis haec ex­ponant. Fateor quidem piera­tis [...]aenam grana semper in toto Orbe fuisse sparsa, &c. Calvin. in Ioh. 4. 36.. Gualter writing upon the said Verses, plainly affirm­eth, That the Fathers and the Prophets, by their diligent husbandry about the Lords Field, sew the seeds of true Pi­ety all the World over Promittit ergo illos ejus gaudii consor­tes fore, in quod jam olim ingrests sint sancti Patres & Propherae, qui agrum Domini studiose co­lendo, vetae pieratis femina in toto Orbe sparserunt. Gualter. Homil. 31. in Iohan.. Again, a little after he saith, that God used the Labor and Ministry of the Patriarchs and Prophets in tilling or culturing the World, and pre­paring it for the Evangelical Harvest f. Afterwards he sheweth at large, into what Countries, first the Parti­archs travelled, spreading abroad where they came, the sweet savor of the true Knowledg of God; and [Page 28] then, how the Prophets following them, by the spreading of their Sermons and Prophecies into di­vers Nations far and neer, advanced the same service: which also he further saith was much promoted by means of the Captivities and Banishments of the Jews, in Assyria, Babylon, and over all the East. Having hereunto added the Consideration of the Translation of the Scriptures (then extant) or of the Old Testa­ment, into the Greek Tongue, procured by Ptolomy Philadelphus King of Egypt after the Babylonian Cap­tivity, which (as he truly saith) was of very great con­sequence for the Propagation of the Knowledg of the true God through the World, he concludes that these particulars did much facilitate and help forward the Work and Labors of the Apostles in the Conversion of the World. Hugo Grotius likewise upon the same place to the same purpose: The Field was broke up, and brought into tilth, by the Prophets, who not onely in Judea, but in many other Countries and Nations a­mongst the Gentiles, both by word and writing awakened men to the Worship of the One God, which is the seed of an Evangelical Harvest, or Enerease Subactum est arvum a Prophetis, qui non tantam in lucae, sed &­per dispersio ne [...] varias acpud gentes vo­ce ac lcriptis homines ad u­nius Dei cul­tum excita­rant, quod se­men est Evan­gelicae frugi [...]. Hug. Grot. in Iob. 4. 38.

Thus then you see that it is not my sence alone, but the Judgment likewise of many wiser and more learn­ed men, That God in setting up that great Light of the Knowledg of himself in the Land of Judea, which some conceive to be the Center or middle part of the habitable World, and amongst the Jews, as upon a Candlestick, did intend the benefit and blessing of the shining of it throughout the great House of the whole World. And as many did partake of this Be­nefit and Blessing, who inhabited Countries far re­mote from the Jews, joyning themselves unto the people [Page 29] of the God of Abraham, so had all others the opportu­nity of doing likewise. And though remoteness of Country, or dwelling, from Judea, might haply be some extenuation or mitigation of the sin of mens re­maining ignorant of God, his true Worship, and Ser­vice, and of those spiritual Mysteries, which were to be learned in Judea; yet was it no adequate or suffi­cient excuse thereof.

These things duly weighed and considered, the particulars objected by you against that Proposition of mine, about which (it seems) you are at present dissatisfied, appear reconcilable enough to it, and fairly answerable.

For, 1. whereas you argue, that all Men have not a legal tye or obligation upon them to beleeve on Jesus Christ, and upon this account cannot stand bound to beleeve on him; I answer, by denying your Antecedent, and affirm, That all Men [i. e. all men not wholy disabled, either through want of years, or defect of natural capacity, to beleeve; though there be a sence, which the Schoolmen term, sensus divisus, wherein even such persons as these are under a tye of beleeving,] but all others (I affirm) are simply and directly under an obligation of beleeving on Jesus Christ.

Whereas you further argue; If so, then are they under this obligation, either by the Law of Nature, or else by some positive Law of God; and affirm, that by neither; and hence conclude, not at all: I answer; The obligation you speak of lieth upon them, by the force and authority of both these Laws. First, The Law of Nature requireth all Men, teach­eth all Men, 1. To seek and enquire after God, i. e. [Page 30] the Knowledge of his Nature, Attributes, Excellency and Perfection of Being. 2. After the richest and best Discoveries of his Will and Pleasure concerning men, which are any where to he found. 3. (And lastly) This Law requireth likewise of all Men, to submit unto every part of the Will and Pleasure of God concerning them, being any ways made known to them. Otherwise we must hold, either that this Law teacheth not men, to regard, minde, look, or listen after any Manifestation or Dicovery, which God makes of himself in any part of the World, but onely neer to them, and (as the saying is) under their noses, or within their own thresholds; or else that it teacheth them to rest satisfied with such. Discoveries in this kinde, which are imperfect, and unsatisfacto­ry: or lastly, that it doth not teach them to submit to the Will of God in all things, as far as it shall be dis­covered unto them. None of all which can be affirm­ed with truth, or likelyhood of truth. First then, if the Law of Nature requireth of all Men (except the before excepted) to enquire after the best and fullest Discovery, which God any where maketh of himself, his Will and Pleasure concerning Men; And, 2. if the Gospel be the fullest and richest Discovery in this kinde, which he hath made, or which is to be found (which I presume is no Christian mans Question:) And lastly, if it be the express revealed Will of God in this Gospel-Discovery of himself, That all Men who hear of it, or come to the knowledg of it, should beleeve in his Son Jesus Christ; it roundly follows, That by the Law of Nature, all Men of years and competent understanding, stand obliged to beleeve in Christ, either in sensu composito, as viz. if they have, [Page 31] or have had, the letter of the Gospel, or live, or have lived, under the found of the Ministry of it; or else in sensu divisa, viz. in case the Gospel hath never yet in the Letter or Ministry of it been revealed unto them.

Nor is that which you alledg concerning the inabi­lity of the Light of Nature to discover, that there was, or ever would be, such a Man and Mediator as Jesus Christ, much considerable to your purpose, though it should be granted in as ample terms, as you propound it. For what though the Light of Nature be not sufficient to make such a Discovery, yet is it sufficient to teach men that it is their Duty to enquire and harken out what Discoveries God maketh of himself in the World: and when they have heard of, or found out, the Discovery you speak of (I mean of such a Man and Mediator as Jesus Christ) it is able to inform and teach them that it is their Duty to beleeve in him ac­cordingly. The Light of Nature (probably) is not sufficient to inform every Member or Subject in a State or Commonwealth what Laws or Statutes the Par­liamentary or Legistative Authority of their State, will enact, or impose upon the respective Members hereof. Nor can it reasonably or equitably be expect­ed from the persons invested with the Legislative Power, that they should cause all the Laws which they enact from time to time for the due Government of their State, to be proclaimed by an Officer of State at every particular mans door, no nor yet in every particular Village or Town, to oblige the Inhabitants to a subjection unto them. It is sufficient for such an end and purpose as this, if they be proclaimed, pub­lished, or promulgated in the Metropolis or head [Page 32] City of this State, where, or from whence all and every the respective Inhabitants and Subjects hereof, may and ought to receive information of them, what they be. And they that live most remote from the said Metropolis, or place, where the Publication of the said Laws is made, are notwithstanding as well ob­liged to the observation and keeping of them, as the Inhabitants of this City it self, though these, by rea­son of their dwelling, have a readier and better op­portunity to come to the knowledg of them. In like manner God being the Absolute Monarch of, and Lawgiver unto, the World, it is sufficient for him, and as much as can reasonably be expected from him, onely that he should take care and provide, that that great Law of Life and Death, the Gospel, should be published, and promulgated in some eminent place, or places of the World, from whence all other parts of the World round about might have an opportuni­ty to receive the Knowledg of it. Nor are any of the respective Subjects of this great Kingdom of the World, priviledged or exempted from yeelding O­bedience and Subjection to their King in that great Law of his Gospel, because of any remoteness of their dwellings from those places, where he hath made any solemn Publication of it, or because he hath not sent a publique: Officer of Heaven, an Authorized Minister of this Gospel home to their Houses, to pro­claim or publish it within their doors. So that (by the way) the meaning of those Demands of the Apostle, on which you insist, How shall they beleeve on him, of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear with­out a Preacher? and how shall they preach, except they be sent? the meaning (I say) of these Interrogato­ries, [Page 33] or any of them, is not, either as if no man could possibly beleeve the Gospel, but he that had person­ally heard it preached by a Minister, or that men could never come to hear it, but onely from the mouth of such a Minister; or that none could publish it upon such terms, as to cause it to be beleeved by men, but some such Minister onely; all such suppositions as these are palpably irrelative to the minde of the Apo­stle in those Demands. His meaning in them is onely to imply, 1. That the World, having generally so corrupted themselves with all manner of wickedness, and voluntarily estranged their hearts and minds from God, were in no likely posture or condition to be brought to beleeve on him by means of Christ, or on Christ himself, without the opportunity and advan­tage of some declaration or report of the Gospel made in one kinde or other unto them. 2. That they were not like to hear of God, or of Jesus Christ, in the Gospel, had there not been some, one, or more, to have preached, or published it in the World. 3. (And lastly) That there was no likelyhood, that any such man, or number of men, would ever have been found or heard of, who should, or would, have preached or published the Gospel, or Name of Jesus Christ, up and down the World, had they not been sent, i. e. had they not received both instructions from God concerning the truth, tenor, and substance of the Gospel, and how they were to proceed in the preaching of it, as also a special charge and injuncti­on from him to preach it accordingly. None of these particulars give the least intimation, as if no man were either in a capacity, or under an obligation, to beleeve the Gospel, but onely they to whose habita­tions [Page 34] some Minister of the Gospel was, or should be, sent to preach it. It is sufficiently known, and gene­rally granted by Divines, that there were, and are, several Nations and Countries in the World, unto which none of the Apostles ever came to preach the Gospel: yet the Apostle Paul informeth us, and that with an emphatical asseveration, [...], translated, verily, that their sound went forth into all the Earth, and their words unto the end of the World, Rom. 10. 18. How can this assertion of his stand, but in the strength of this rational supposition, That their preaching and publishing the Gospel in such parts and places of the World, where they came and had opportunity to do it, was vertually and constructively a preaching and publishing of it throughout the whole World; and that those Nations, unto which the Apostles did not preach it personally, had yet a gracious opportunity to come to the Knowledg of it, by means of their preaching and spreading of it so far, and in such Countries, as they did? And unless such a supposi­tion as this be admitted, we must fall hard and heavy in our censures upon the Apostles, and conceive of them as men unfaithful and defective in the Executi­on of that High Commission, and most weighty Charge, imposed on them by the Lord Christ, con­cerning the preaching of the Gospel; the Tenor whereof (as we know) was, that they should go, and teach ALL Nations, baptizing them, &c. Mat. 28. 19. And again (as another Evangelist draweth it up) that they should go into ALL the World, and preach the Gospel to EVERY Creature. No Interpretation of what the Apostles did, in, or about the discharge of this their Commission (the equity of this Commission [Page 35] salved) can render them obedient and faithful there­in unto their great Lord and Master, but onely that which supposeth every Creature to have been suffici­ently Evangelized or taught by them, in the Teach­ings of that party of the Creature, or of those parti­cular Creatures, which were actually and personally taught by them: and that all the World was put into a sufficient capacity of beleeving, or (which is the same) into a way of having the Gospel even in the letter of it made known unto them, by their enligh­tening those parts of the World with the Knowledg of it, in which they preached it. Nor can that of the Apostle claim the honor of truth, where, speaking of the Gospel, he saith, it was [...] (the word so emphatically urged by you) [...], i. e. preached unto every Creature which is under Heaven, (Col. 1. 23.) but upon the account and war­rant of such a construction.

But, 2. neither will my Principles allow me to gratifie you with my belief of this your saying (un­less very rigidly understood, and in such a sence wherein it will little accommodate your cause) That the Light of Nature, neither can, nor ever could, disco­ver to Mankinde, that there was, or ever would be, such a Man, and Mediator as Jesus Christ, &c. What the Light of Nature hath de facto discovered unto Man­kinde, may much better be known and judged of, then what it can, or could, discover. I confess my appre­hensions concerning the extent of the Power and Abi­lities of the Light of Nature carefully preserved, pru­dently managed, and industriously improved and im­ployed, run very high: and I judg that the greatest part of what this Light hath hitherto discovered unto [Page 36] Mankinde, is not commensurable to the least part of what it is, and hath been, able to discover. But what if it be granted, That it neither is, nor hath been able to discover, that there was, or ever would be, such a Man and Mediator, as Jesus Christ, viz. in all particulari­ties relating to his Person, wherein the Gospel pre­senteth him to the World, yet may it be able so far to discover him, that a man by the discovery may be ra­tionally perswaded, through, or by means of him, to depend upon God, for the Pardon of his Sins, and Salvation of his Person, yea and this to the real ob­taining of both at the hand of God. I have no ground at all to beleeve or think, that such Jews, who before, and under, yea and long after Moses, did beleeve in God unto Salvation, had Jesus Christ discovered un­to them in any such Vision of Particularities, as that exhibited in the Gospel. The sum and substance of what they (at least the far greater part of them) appre­hended, knew, or beleeved concerning Christ, amount­ed not (I suppose) to much more then this; viz. That God had found out, and pleased himself in, a way or means, how to shew Mercy and to forgive the Sins, and save the Souls, of such who should put their trust in him, and live righteously and holily in this pre­sent World. For that God did not declare, [i. e. make plainly and fully known in the World] upon what account of Righteousness or Justice, he pardoned sin committed in the World before the great Attonement made by the Death of Christ, until this Attonement was actually made, is evident by this passage of the Apostle, Rom. 3. 24, 25, 26. Being justified freely by his Grace through the Redemption that is in Jesus Christ; whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation through Faith [Page 37] in his Blood, TO DECLARE HIS RIGHTEOUS­NESS FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS THAT ARE PAST, through the forbearance of God; [mean­ing, that God through his great patience, or strength of forbearance, [...], remitted sin, even long before any Satisfaction or Attonement made for it;] To declare, I say; at this time [viz. when Christ suffered in the flesh] his Righteousness, that he might be just, and a Justifier of him that is of the Faith of Jesus, i. e. that he might appear to be, and to have been, just, in justifying him [i. e. every one, or whosoever] [...], that was, is, or shall be a Beleever in Christ. From this last clause, [...], that is of the Faith of Jesus, i. e. that beleeves, or depends, on Christ for Righteousness (relating in special manner to the beleeving Jews before the coming of Christ in the flesh,) it is observable, that they are reputed by God (and consequently, ought to be so reputed by men al­so) Beleevers in Christ, not onely who know him by Name, or in the hypostatical union of the two Na­tures, or the like, and beleeve on him under such a Notion as this (for thus the beleeving Jews, who were justified by God before the Coming of Christ, nei­ther knew him, nor beleeved on him, as was formerly said,) but also they that beleeve on God by, or through him (as Peter expresseth it, 1 Pet. 1. 21.) i. e. who ei­ther by Grace purchased or procured by him, or by any Providence, or Dispensation, one or more, issued by God for his sake, or upon his account, in the World, are brought, or prevailed with, to depend on God for the forgiveness of their sins upon their Re­pentance. And that the Jews I speak of, when they did beleeve on God unto Justification, did not expli­citely, [Page 38] or by Name, beleeve in Jesus Christ, seems to me very apparant from those words of Christ to his Apostles, Joh. 14. 1. Ye beleeve in God: beleeve also in me. If they had beleeved in him as explicitely, and distinctly, as they did beleeve in God, there had been no more ground, why he should exhort or encourage them to beleeve in him, then in God: nor why he should have owned them in their belief in God, more then in their belief in himself. And that that their belief in God, which our Savior here acknowledgeth in them, was unto Justification, I suppose that you neither will, nor reasonably can, deny. Now then if such a Faith, which had Jesus Christ onely vertually and interpre­tatively in it, and none but God himself explicitely, and directly, was notwithstanding available to the Justification of the Jews, who had better opportuni­ties of means for an explicite Knowledg of him, then the Gentiles; much more reasonable is it to conceive that the like Faith will be accepted in the Gentiles to their Justification; especially considering, 1. That same Divine Attribute, which the Scripture calls, [...], a non-acceptation of persons (so frequently asserted and inculcated by the Holy Ghost in the Scriptures:) and, 2. That the Justification of men, is a judiciary act awarded, according to the Tenor of a known Law, by God.

Besides, That Jesus Christ is in such a Faith, by which men are actually enabled to come with accep­tation unto God, I presume you will not deny, con­sidering what Christ himself saith, No man cometh un­to the Father, but by me, Joh. 14. 6. That by such a Faith, whereby a man beleeves, 1. That God is: 2. That he is a Rewarder of them that diligently seek him, [Page 39] he is enabled thus to come unto God, is the express Doc­trine of the Apostle, Hebr. 11. 6. And that the Hea­then, who never had the advantage of the letter of the Gospel, were notwithstanding, partly by the Light of Nature, partly by the Works of Creation, partly by the patient and gracious Administrations of God in the course of his Providence towards the World, in a very sufficient capacity of attaining such a Faith as this, if I judged it matter of question, ei­ther to your self, or any other considering man, might be largely demonstrated, not onely from the Scrip­tures, but even by many pregnant Testimonies extant in the Writings of the Heathen themselves. Not to impose any great tax upon you, though for your own satisfaction, in this kinde, if you will please to peruse onely the fifth and nineteenth Chapters of the L. du Pless is de Veritate Religionis Christianae, you will find by several passages drawn together by this learn­ed Author from the Writings of such Heathens as we now speak of, 1. That the Light of Nature was suffi­cient to discover unto them somewhat concerning Christ: And, 2. (and more clearly) That they did (I mean, many of them, and consequently, that more, yea, that all, might) beleeve, both that God was, and that He is a Rewarder of those, who diligently seek him. And I presume you know that much more of this latter import might readily be cited from the Books and Writings of several others of them, not menti­oned by the late named Author. Again,

2. That the Heathen we speak of (and consequent­ly, all Men without exception) had, and at this day have, a tye upon them by the Law of Nature to be­leeve in Jesus Christ, is evident upon this considera­tion; [Page 40] viz. because this Law obligeth all Men to do that, which is essentially conducing to their soveraign Welfare and Peace, and without which it is unpossible for them to escape ruine, and destruction. And if men stand bound by the Law we speak of, to use such means for the preservation of their natural Lives and Beings, without which they cannot reasonably ex­pect or judg that they should be preserved; much more must they needs be obliged by the same Law to provide things needful for their eternal safety and well-being, and without which they cannot, upon any reasonable account, expect or look for these so impor­tantly-necessary accommodations. Now the Scrip­ture saith expresly; Neither is there Salvation in any other, [meaning, but in Jesus Christ,] for there is none other Name under Heaven given among men whereby we [men] must be saved, (Acts 4. 12.) and this by be­leeving on this Name, Joh. 20. 31. These latter words, There is no other Name UNDER HEAVEN gi­ven, &c. clearly overthrow two of the main Pillars of your Discourse, which are these; 1. That this Law of Salvation, Whosoever beleeveth, shall be saved, respecteth onely such, unto whom the Letter, or vo­cal Ministry of the Gospel is sent, and that there is an­other Law, Covenant, or Promise, by which others shall, or may, be saved, (which by the way, I look upon as a very adventurous Position, and of danger­ous consequence.) 2. That such a Repentance, which neither includeth, nor supposeth Faith in Christ, in one kinde or other, and whereof persons unevange­lized (in the sence oft mentioned) are capable, is a­vailable to these persons unto Justification and Salva­tion. For if there be none other Name [but that of Jesus [Page 41] Christ] UNDER HEAVEN given among men, where­by &c. i. e. no other method, course, way, or means whatsoever vouchsafed by God unto men for their Salvation, it demonstratively follows, 1. That this Law of Salvation, Whosoever beleeveth on Jesus Christ, shall be saved, with that of Condemnation (opposite to it) He that beleeveth not, shall be damned, doth not respect onely persons Gospelized (in the sence decla­red,) so that these onely shall be either saved, or con­demned, according to the different tenor and import of them; but the generality or universality of Man­kinde, where ever the Faculties of Reason, Judgment, Conscience, Understanding, &c. are found in any competent growth or maturity. 2. That no Repent­ance whatsoever, which hath not the Name, i. e. the vertue, grace, merit, influence (in one kinde or o­ther) of Christ in it, will avail any man unto Sal­vation.

Nor is that of the Apostle, Rom. 2. 12. any ways contradicting that which hath been now said: For as many as have sinned without Law, shall also perish with­out Law: and as many as have sinned in the Law, shall be judged by the Law. For the intent and purport of this passage onely is to shew, that God in the Judg­ment and Condemnation of wicked men, will have respect to the different degrees of means and oppor­tunities, which have been vouchsafed unto them re­spectively, for the restraining of them from the ways of sin and wickedness; and to imply withall, that be­cause the Letter and oral Ministry of the Scriptures, or Word of God (frequently termed, the Law) super­added to the Law and Light of Nature, and those o­ther advantages (common unto all men) of the Works [Page 42] of Creation, Providence, &c. are a means of greater efficacy and a more potent tendency to restrain from sin, then those other alone, and without these, there­fore they, who shall be found to have lived wickedly and ungodlily under these, shall receive a greater Damnation, then those who have lived sinfully under the want of them.

If it be yet further objected (against the Argument in hand) That the Law of Nature cannot oblige men to things unpossible, no not in order to their own Pre­servation, or Peace; and therefore cannot oblige those to beleeve in Jesus Christ, to whom he was ne­ver preached, this being unpossible unto such persons, as these: To this I answer,

1. That the sinews of this reasoning have been al­ready cut, where we proved, that Jesus Christ, is so, so far, and upon such terms, preached, or made known unto all Men without exception, that no man lieth under an impossibility of beleeving in him; I mean, of beleeving in him upon such terms, which will be available to his Salvation, (as hath been formerly de­clared.) But,

2. I answer yet further, That if the positive, or written, Law, or Word, of God, bindeth men unto that which is unpossible, what Reason can there be given, why the Law of Nature may not do the like? (especially considering that this is the Law of God, as well as that.) But that the positive or written Law of God requireth things unpossible of men, is (I sup­pose) your own Sence and Judgment; certain I am, it is the general Sence of those, who are Enemies to the Doctrine of Universal Attonement.

3. (And lastly) Were it granted that the Law of [Page 43] Nature doth not binde to things impossible, in sensu diviso, yet it may very equitably and well binde to things unpossible, in sensu composito. As for example; suppose I have a Childe, or Wife, lying sick in an up­per Chamber, or room in my House, and at present I am below; the Law of Nature in this case bindeth me to visit them, which yet is unpossible for me to do, whilest I remain below, and in my present posture of absence from them. But because I may very possibly go and get up to them by the opportunity of such stairs or steps, which are purposely provided to make the way into this Chamber passable for men, there­fore the tye which is upon me by the Law of Nature, to visit them, is no ways hard, or unreasonable. In like manner, were it granted, that men who never heard of the Name of Christ, are, in their present condition, posture, and frame, under an impossibility of beleeving on him, and so not bound by the Law of Nature to beleeve on him, during this incapacity; yet this no ways proveth, but that they may stand bound by this Law to beleeve on him, yea and that this be­leeving is possible enough to them, in sensu diviso, (as hath been said) though not in sensu composito, that is, by using such means, and applying themselves to such a course, whereof they are, actually, and de pre­senti, capable, and which have a proper and direct tendency to enable them to beleeve actually in due time. Sed de his, priùs. Nor do I beleeve that any person whatsoever of Mankinde (such only excepted, who have sinned the sin unto death, as John expresseth it, who, in and by the said sin, cast in their lot with Devils, and deserve no longer to be numbered a­mongst men) liveth under any simple, absolute, or in­vincible [Page 44] impossibility of being saved. Yea if it shall be supposed, that any other person lieth under such an impossibility, it must needs take off from the hearts and consciences of men much of that fear and dread, which are of a very soveraign consequence and im­port to preserve them from the horrid guilt of that sin. And thus (I trust) I have given a fair and satis­factory account unto you of the truth of this Doc­trine, That all Men stand bound by the Law of Na­ture to beleeve on Jesus Christ; or at least (in your own phrase) somewhat that seems to me very like to such an account. Again,

2. That the like Obligation is imposed by God upon all Men (in the sence explained, and avouched) by a written, or positive Law, is (I suppose) of a like ready and easie demonstration. When the Holy Ghost by the mouth of the Kingly Prophet admonisheth and calls upon the Kings and Judges of the Earth, thus: Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled, &c. (Psal. 2. 12.) 1. By the Son, evident it is (and Interpreters generally con­sent) that the Lord Christ is meant. 2. That by kiss­ing this Son, is meant such subjection to him, which includeth, or presupposeth Faith (at least) in him, is so evident likewise, that I know no Expositor other­wise minded. And besides, this clause, lest he be an­gry, and ye perish, &c. plainly evinceth it; in as much as no kissing him, or subjection to him, without beleev­ing on him, will prevent his anger. 3. (And lastly) That by the Kings and Judges of the Earth, he doth not (in the first place) mean some of these onely, as (for example) those who have the Gospel preached unto them, with an exclusion of the rest; nor, 2. That [Page 45] by Kings and Judges of the Earth, he means the meer persons of men invested with these dignities, but (by a Synecdoche, and according to the frequent dialect of the Scriptures) those entire Bodies and Communities of men, of which Kings and Judges are the Heads, are things, both so rational in themselves, and so de­monstrable also from the first Verse of the Psalm, and indeed from the whole carriage of it, that to give any further proof of them, were but to light up a Candle to the Sun. Or if it shall be importunely, and as it were by the teeth, held and maintained, that none but the persons themselves of Kings and Judges are here meant; yet will it even from hence, and this with a no­toriety of consequence, follow, That all their Sub­jects, and consequently, all the World, stand bound, by vertue, as well of the same Command, as of the same Caveat, or Threatening, to exhibit the same Subjection unto the Son of God. Musculus may be consulted upon the placeExpenda­mus etiam quanta sitista Christi Filii hominis majestas, potentia, & gloria, quod ad pedum illius oscula Reges terrae, absque ulla discriminatione, quanti quanti sint, vocantur. Quis nam mortalium ab hac sub­missione excipitur, quando illa ipsis quoque regibus imponitur? Musculus, in Psal. 2. Vers. 12..

Again, when the Apostle John asserteth this to be the Commandment of God, that we should beleeve on the Name of his Son Jesus Christ, (1 Joh. 5. 23.) he can­not be conceived to speak onely of Saints, or such who are Beleevers already, as if these onely were the men, whom God commands to beleeve in the Name of his Son: for then it would follow, that every Be­leever in the first act of beleeving super-erogates, and doth more then God requires of him by any Law, Precept, or Commandment of his. Nor, 2. can he [Page 46] reasonably be conceived to speak of such onely, who have the Letter or oral Ministry of the Gospel sent, or granted, unto them: because then (in like process of consequence) it will follow, that in case any of those, to whom the said Priviledges are not vouchsafed, shall beleeve in Christ, he also shall super-erogate, and do more in a way of righteousness, then God command­eth him. Therefore when this Apostle saith, It is the Commandment of God, that WE should beleeve, &c. his meaning is not, either, 1. That WE Saints, with the exclusion of all others; nor, 2. That WE who have the Gospel preached by men to us, with the ex­clusion of all others: But, 3. (and lastly) That WE Men, with the inclusion of all other men whatsoever, should beleeve.

If it be objected and said; That such men, who have neither the Letter, nor oral Ministry of the Go­spel, are in no capacity, no possibility of beleeving: and therefore to argue, that in case they should be­leeve, they should super-erogate, is to argue, not onely from an unsound, but even from an unpossible suppo­sition; and no better, then if a man should argue, thus; If a stone, or a brute beast, should with an au­dible, or intelligible voyce, magnifie God, they should super-erogate, because there is no Commandment imposed upon them by God to do such a thing: To this I answer,

1. That it hath been already sufficiently proved, that the supposition which this Objection faulteth, is neither impossible, no nor yet unsound; but that such persons, who neither have the letter of the Gospel, nor yet the preaching of it by men, are notwithstanding in a capacity of beleeving. I add,

[Page 47] 2. That if there be an impossibility that such per­sons should beleeve, then their beleeving supposeth, or includeth, some other thing which is unpossible al­so. For this is a true Rule, and of unquestionable evi­dence: Possibile est, quo posito, nihil sequitur impossible: That is possible, upon the supposal whereof no im­possibility followeth. Now in case it should be sup­posed that a man without the Letter, or oral Ministry of the Gospel, should, or might, beleeve, it cannot reasonably be imagined what impossibility would follow (I mean, in argument, or supposal) hereupon. Therefore there is no impossibility that such a person as we speak of, should beleeve.

3. (And lastly) In case men destitute at present of the Letter, and Ministry of the Gospel by men, should not stand bound by some Law, or Commandment of God, to beleeve, then, in case either the said Letter, or Ministry shall at any time hereafter be vouchsafed unto them, they must either be supposed to remain still as much disobliged from beleeving, as before (which, I presume, is none of your thoughts,) or else, that there is some new Commandment imposed upon them by God, which was not imposed on them be­fore. Now with God (the Scripture plainly affirm­eth) there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, [or, change, Jam. 1. 17.] Nor doth he create, or make new Laws to subject men unto upon emergent or accidental occasions: but all his Laws were made, given unto, and imposed upon, men, before any new emergency, or change of circumstance, or condition, befalleth them. So that (for example) he that hath formerly been very poor, but hath of late a great and plentiful Estate cast upon him by God, doth not now [Page 48] stand charged to distribute, to do good, to be rich in good works, &c. by any new Commandment of God im­posed on him since his advancement in the World, which did not oblige him before, but by vertue of such a Command, whereunto he was subject all the time of his poverty, as well as since his being made rich, although he stood not bound by it to act accord­ing to the tenor of it, but onely then, or at such a time, when and in case he should become rich; and now al­so not continually, but upon due and regular occasions onely. This Commandment of God, Thou shalt wor­ship the Lord thy God, obligeth a man as well sleeping, as waking, as well in the midst of his lawful employ­ment, as at times of liberty and convenience for his actual worshiping of him: otherwise God must be said to take off this Law from men, as oft as they go to sleep, or to the labor of their ordinary Callings; and again to lay it on them anew, as oft as they awake, or cease from their labor; or rather as oft (and as oft onely) as they have opportunity actually to worship him. Yet doth it not oblige any man to worship him at such a time, when, or whilest he is sleeping (suppo­sing his sleep in respect of the time or season of it law­ful) nor yet whilest he is at the work of his Calling, supposing that herein he doth but that which is his du­ty to do. I make no question but you have often met with that common Maxim of Divines: Praecepta af­firmativa semper obligant, sed non ad semper: Affirma­tive Precepts always binde, but not unto always, i. e. not to a perpetual or uninterrupted practice of that du­ty, whereunto they binde. A rich man stands always bound to distribute to the poor, but not to distribute always, but onely upon all Christian Occasions and [Page 49] Opportunities. So a Minister stands always bound to preach to his People: but he doth not stand bound to preach always or continually to them. In like manner suppose it were granted, that an Heathen, who never heard of the Gospel, nor of the Name of Christ, nor ever had opportunity to hear of either, doth not stand bound to beleeve (formally, or explicitely) in Christ, whilest he remains under these disadvantages for such a beleeving; yet this proveth not, but that even such a person, stands simply and absolutely bound to beleeve in him, and this upon the terms specified: or in case the Gospel shall at any time afterwards be sent unto him by God, that he now stands bound to beleeve by a Commandment newly given or imposed upon him by God, and not by vertue of that Commandment, wherewith he stood charged before.

Nor is that Text Acts 17. 30. cited by me to prove an universal Obligation positively imposed by God upon all Men to beleeve on Christ, disabled by any attempt made by you in that behalf; the words being these: And the times of this ignorance God winked at: but now commandeth all Men every where to repent, &c. For, 1. We have demonstratively (I suppose) proved already, That the Repentance here mentioned, and commanded by God unto all Men every where, inclu­deth, or presupposeth, Faith in Christ, and that no Repentance whatsoever, is, or can be, actually saving, but onely such, which is influenced or raised by Faith in Christ, of one kinde or other, either formal and explicite, or else consequential, implicite and inter­pretative. 2. It hath been in like manner proved, that these Universals, all Men, every where, cannot reasonably, nor with that Reverence and Honor [Page 50] which are due to Scripture-expressions, be here con­fined to such, either persons, or places, to whom, or where, the Gospel had been then actually sent, and preached, when the words were uttered by the Apo­stle, or should afterwards be thus sent and preached; but are to be extended to all Men simply, and to every Nation under Heaven; in as much as there is no ne­cessity for such a cautionary, or restrictive Interpre­tation.

Whereas you further argue from the Antithesis here made by the Apostle, between the [...], the times of ignorance, and the [...], the present times (when the Apostle spake the words) or times of the Gospel-Light, that how ever God in these latter, commands all Men every where to Repent, yet under those other he did not; I answer, 1. That the Con­clusion which you hence infer, fights directly (if I mistake not) against your own sence (otherwhere as­serted in your Papers) both concerning an Obligati­on lying upon Adam to repent, in the interim between his Fall, and the Promulgation of the Gospel to him; as likewise concerning the like Obligation lying upon all his posterity (without exception, unless onely of such, who either through defect of years, or of un­derstanding, or through inexpiableness of guilt, are uncapable of Repentance) whether the Letter or Mi­nistry of the Gospel hath been vouchsafed unto them, or no. For by what Law persons, who never heard of the Gospel, stand now, or whilest the Gospel shines in other parts of the World, bound to Repent, by the same they stood bound to Repent-likewise, be­fore the coming of the Gospel into the World. Therefore you cannot with the safety of your own [Page 51] Principles, but confess, that all Men every where, e­ven [...], under those times of ignorance of which the Apostle speaks, and before [...], or the times of the Gospel, stood bound to Repent, so, or with such a kinde of Repentance, which you affirm to be meant in the Scripture in hand, i. e. such a Repentance which is conform to the Law of Nature, and which includes not Faith in Christ; and which you acknowledg also the unevangelized Heathen stand now bound unto.

2. Neither doth the Antithesis or opposition be­tween the two differing times mentioned import any such different Dispensation of God, under the one, and the other, as if he had left men free from all and all manner of Command and Obligation to Repent, under the former, and onely charged them with this duty under the latter; but onely sheweth, or suppo­seth, that that Obligation to repent, which lay upon men under the former, the times of ignorance, was but weak, faint, obscure, and with little authority upon the Consciences of men, in comparison of that tye, obligation, or engagement hereunto, which God by an express Command imposeth upon the World un­der the latter (the times of the Gospel.) This to be the genuine and true import of the said Antithesis, ap­pears, 1. By the frequent and familiar usage of the Scripture in like cases: 2. By consideration of the state and condition of the Heathen throughout the World in the Point in question, before the times of the Gospel.

First, It is a thing of frequent Observation amongst Expositors and Divines, that the Holy Ghost intend­ing to mention and assert any considerable encrease or [Page 52] advance of some former Dispensation, is wont to ex­press it in simple, positive, and absolute terms, and as if it were a new kinde of Dispensation, and which had not formerly been known, or heard of in the WorldNon enim musitatum aut rarum est in Scriptura eas­dem Premissi­ones, vel Prae­dictiones, velres alias semel jam datas & commemora­tas, postea di­versis tempo­ribus tanquam novas denuo tradere & commemora­re. Pererius in Gen. 35. 9.. Thus the Promises made to Abraham, Gen. 12. concerning the multiplication of his seed, and their inheriting the Land of Canaan, are afterwards, as viz. Cap. 17. 2, 4, 5, &c. again mentioned and expressed as if they had now been new, or first made, onely because they are expressed more largely, fully, and emphatically. When Christ spake thus to his Dis­ciples after his Resurrection, These are the words which I spake unto you, whilest I was yet WITH YOU, (Luk. 24. 44.) in this latter clause, whilest I was yet with you, he insinuates his present being with them, by way of Antithesis to his former being with them (viz. before his Death) not as if he were not now present with them, as well as he had been formerly, but because his being now with them,Solet [Chri­stus] de his rebus quae a­lio modo, quam ante, post Resurrec­tionem eg [...], ita loqui, qua si non egerit. Maldonatus in Mat. 26. 29. was of a more transcendent and peculiar nature and consideration, then his former presence had been; in as much as he was now in the estate of the Resurrection, whereas in his former being with them, he was but in the ordinary condition of men. When Moses and the Priests spake thus unto all Israel; Take heed, and harken, O Israel, that this day thou art become the People of the Lord thy God; (Deut. 27. 9.) their meaning was not to imply, that they ne­ver had been the People of the Lord until now, [i. e. a People whom God had owned and countenanced from Heaven, taken into Covenant with himself, &c.] but that God by the constant Tenor of his gracious Administrations towards them from time to time un­til that day, had made them now more his People, [Page 53] then ever, had further declared himself to be their God, and to accept and own them for a People pecu­liar to him, then formerly: and that upon this account it concerned them more neerly, then ever, to harken unto him, and obey his voyce. In like Notion our Saviour promiseth his Disciples that he will pray the Father, and that he should give them another Comforter, even the Spirit of Truth, when as in the very same pe­riod or passage of speech, he affirmeth that this Com­forter, or Spirit, was already given them, or (which is the same) dwelt now with, or in, them, Joh. 14. 15, 16. So that he mentioneth a larger Effusion or Dona­tion of the same Spirit, as if it were the primitive or first gift thereof. In like manner, when being now upon his Journey for the raising of Lazarus from the dead, he saith to his Disciples, I am glad for your sakes that I was not there, to the intent that you MIGT BE­LEEVE, (Joh. 11. 15.) he expresseth their beleeving to a further degree, as if it were the first of their be­leeving, and that they had not beleeved before. Whereas it is evident from Joh. 2. 11, 22. and other places, that they had beleeved on him before. When the Apostle affirms this to be Gods end in chastising his People, That they might be Partakers of his Holiness, (Hebr. 12. 10.) he doth not suppose that they were in no degree partakers of his Holiness before their chastise­ment; but he expresseth a fuller and richer participa­tion hereof, as if it were a simple, absolute, or original participation in this kinde. So again when the Evan­gelist John saith, that the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because Jesus was not glorified, (Joh. 7. 39.) his mean­ing is not, that the Spirit had in no measure been for­merly given, (for questionless all those who under [Page 54] the Law beleeved, and so those, who in the days of our Saviours converse on Earth, before his Glorification, beleeved unto Justification, were led hereunto by the Spirit here spoken of;) but he expresseth that a­bundant and most remarkable Donation and pouring out of it upon the Apostles and others, after, upon, and by vertue of Christs Ascention into Glory, as if it had been the first, and only giving of it. And it is a good rule or observation, which Testardus delivers hereupon. Those things (saith he) are said not to be, or not to be done, before the times of the Gospel, which do less [or, not] ap­pear, or are less perceived [or, felt] before this fulness of times Verum ea non esse, aut non fieri ante Evangelii tempora di­cuntur, quae minus appa­rent, aut mi­nus sentiuntur ante istam temporum plenitudinem. Testard. Synops. Doctr. de Nat. &c. Thes [...]. 118. So that when the Apostle saith (in the Scrip­ture under debate) that God now [in the times of the Gospel] commandeth all men every where to repent, it doth not necessarily imply, that God never till now commanded the same thing. (I mean, Repentance) unto them; but that now he commanded it upon other terms, with more expressness and particularity of Command, upon more lively and pregnant grounds, or motives, with another edg of Authority, under greater severity, of punishment threatened in case of disobedience, then he had commanded it formerly. Many instances from the Scriptures have been presented unto you, (and ma­ny more, I doubt not, upon a little further search might be added unto them,) wherein such a construc­tion as this must of necessity be admitted. And that this is the true and genuine sence of the place in hand, appears yet further by the latter consideration men­tioned, which respects the state or condition of all Mankind under the times of that ignorance, of which the Apostle speaketh, and before the days of the Go­spel. For that the World was then under a Command [Page 55] from God to Repent, is evident from hence, viz. be­cause otherwise their impenitency, and obdurate pro­ceedings in such ways and practises, which are contra­ry to the Law of God, yea and the Law of Nature it self, had been no sin in them, nor obligatory unto pu­nishment, the Apostles assertion being express, that it is the Law that worketh Wrath, [i. e. that subjecteth men unto punishment,] because where no Law is, there is no transgression, (Rom. 4. 15.) meaning (as he expresseth himself upon the account in the Chapter following, vers. 13.) that sin is not imputed [i. e. charged upon men, or punished] where there is no Law. So that un­less we shall suppose the World to have been absolute­ly lawless, and that the generality of men might with­out contracting any guilt, or making themselves liable unto punishment, have committed all the abomina­tions, which they did commit, yea and ten times more, until the times of the Gospel, we must of necessity make or suppose them subject to some Law, or other of God, whereby he commands Repentance unto men. Yea the Apostle himself, in the same Sermon, and a very few verses before the words in contest, plainly supposeth the men we speak of, even all the Nations of men, to have been, all the time before the Gospel, under an engagement or obligation from God, to have sought him, which supposeth (at least) their repentance. And hath made of one blood all Nations of men, for to dwell on all the face of the Earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitations, that THEY SHOULD SEEK THE LORD, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us, &c. Act. 17. 26, 27. His meaning is, that God hath taken such a wise and gracious course, [Page 56] 1. In the creation and forming of men. 2. In dispo­sing and governing them, that they might be in a good capacity of seeking him, and this so as to finde him (and consequently to enjoy him, and to be made hap­py and blessed by him) although their minds and un­derstandings were much darkened through corrupt principles, which they had voluntarily drank in, and sinful practices wherein they had walked, in as much as he was neer enough to them all, to have been found by them, even by groping, or feeling, as men use to seek for things in the dark; meaning, that by a very low strain of industry, an ordinary diligence and en­quiry they might have discovered and found him out, so far as to have worshipped and served him with ac­ceptation, and this under all those great disadvantages for the finding him out, which they had brought upon themselves. These things import much more then their being under a simple Command from God to Repent; though it is true, that a Command to Repent, vertually and with interpretation, contains and com­prehends the whole duty of man.

Nor do these words, which you urge and insist up­on, And the times of this ignorance God winked at, import any thing contrary to what hath been now argued, or as if God had neither taken, nor meant to take, any account at all of those Heathen, who, before the times of the Gospel, had only the Books of Nature, Provi­dence, and Creation, to instruct them, for their mis­demeanors in sinning. The Apostle expresly saith, that as many as have sinned without the Law, shall perish without the Law, Rom. 2. 12. And a little before: Tri­bulation and anguish upon every Soul of him that doth evil; of the Jew first, and ALSO OF THE GENTILE, [Page 57] (to omit much more that might be readily cited from the same Apostle to the same purpose.) Therefore when God is said [...] to have over-looked, or winked at the times of ignorance, [i. e. the ways and do­ings of men under these times,] it is to be understood in a comparative sence, implying onely some such thing as this, That whilest means for the Conversion of Men from Sin to Righteousness, and for the bring­ing of them to the true Knowledg and Fear of God, were but low, scant, and weak in the World, in com­parison of what they are now advanced unto by the shining of the Light of the glorious Gospel of Christ amongst men, God was nothing so severe to mark what was done amiss, nothing so swift to execute Judgment, or take Vengeance on Transgressors, as now he is, and intends to be, under the Gospel; the vouchsafement whereof unto the World, is as the lay­ing of the Ax to the root of the Trees, upon which fol­lows the hewing down, and casting into the fire, every tree, that bringeth not forth good fruit, Mat. 3. 10. This sence is both very agreeable to the Scripture-phrase, which frequently and familiarly expresseth a compa­rative sence in a positive and absolute form, (see Joh. 6. 27. 1 Cor. 1. 17. Luk. 12. 4. Joh. 7. 39. Gal. 4. 9. not to mention other places of like purport, without number,) and likewise perfectly accordeth with that Principle of Righteousness and Equity, in and about the punishing of sin and sinners, which the Scripture from place to place ascribeth unto God; and which inclineth him to punish sins, committed against greater Light, against means and motives of greater Efficacy and Power, with more severity proportionably, then those, which (though otherwise the same) are perpe­trated, [Page 58] where means and motives for the refraining of such sins, are either fewer, or less effectual. See upon this account, Amos 3. 2. compared with Lam. 1. 12. and Dan. 9. 12. Deut. 6. 12. with 15. Matth. 11. 21, 24. Luk. 12. 47, 48. Jer. 32. 31. compared with Vers. 33. besides many other passages of like import. Calvin, reading the words in present consi­deration between us, thus, Et tempora quidem hujus ignorantiae cùm hactenùs dissimulaverit Deus, neither approves your sence of them, nor mine, though his censure falls much heavier on yours, then on mine. He affirms, that Pauls intent was not to extenute the sins of men, but onely to magnifie the Grace of God, which had now on the sudden shone upon the World: and labors to confute such an Interpretation, from that of the same Apostle (lately cited,) They that have sinned without the Law, shall notwithstanding perish without the Law Alii secu [...] in­terpretantur, Deum igno­rantiae peper­cisse, quasi conniveret, punire nolens. Sed tale com­mentum pror­sus alienum est a mente Pauli, & con­silio; cui mi­nime proposi­t [...]m fuit exte­nuare homi­num culpam, sed Dei grati­am, quae re­pente astulse­rat, magnifa­cere. Et ex a­liis locis sal­sum esse coar­guitur, quia qui sine leg peccaverint, sine lege ni­hilominus peribunt. His sence of the words is onely this, God winked at, or dissembled, the times of that ig­norance, i. e.-that during the long tract and continu­ance of these times, God did not discover, or reveal him­self unto men In summa, nihil aliud sibi volunt verba Pauli, quam caec [...]tati addit­ [...]os fuisse ho­mines donec se illis pate fecit Deus.. I finde some other modern Exposi­tors of good note steering the same course of Inter­pretation with him. Some conceive that the Apostle speaks of the times past with those that were then liv­ing, and that his meaning is, that God would not lay to their charge [i. e. punish, or destroy them for] their Idolatries past, if now they were willing to repent. Of this Judgment was Chrysostom, and after him, Oecumenius. Neither of these Interpretations fall in with the genius of your inference from the words, nor yet endamage my Notion in the least; which saith, That the Heathen here spoken of, were under a Com­mand [Page 59] from God to Repent, even all along the times of the ignorance, of which the Apostle speaketh. But besides what hath been already offered to countenance the Interpretation of the words awarded by me, I conceive this passage of the Apostle, Hebr. 8. Vers. 8, 9, &c. doth better the account: For finding fault with them, he saith: Behold, the days come (saith the Lord) when I will make a new Covenant with the House of Israel, and the House of Judah: Not ac­cording to the Covenant that I made with their Fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the Land of Egypt, because they continued not in my Co­venant, AND I REGARDED THEM NOT (saith the Lord:) For this is the Covenant that I will make, &c. These words, And I regarded them not, seem to run somewhat parallel with those in question, And the times of this ignorance God winked at; and withall to carry some such sence and import as this; That God, considering the weakness and imperfection of that Covenant, which he made with them at Mount Ho­reb, upon their Deliverance from Egypt, how little spirit and life there was in this Covenant to render them a people excellent and worthy God, in compa­rison of that Covenant which he purposed to make with them afterwards in the Gospel, upon their great Deliverance from Sin and Hell to be accomplished by Jesus Christ, did accordingly expect no great matters from them, but was content [...] (as the Apostle speaks, Acts 13. 18.) to bear with their manners, to over-look many miscarriages, neglected to punish and take vengeance on them for such sins, the com­mission whereof under a Covenant of more grace he would have vindicated most severely. But this one­ly by the way.

[Page 60] Towards the Conclusion of your Writing, you make this ingenuous and Christian Promise (which contains as much, as I can with Reason, or a good Conscience, expect from you) That if I can make it appear (upon just, and carrying grounds) that Infants, Naturals (to whom God hath not given the use of Reason) and those many millions in all ages, who never heard the Gospel, are bound to beleeve in Christ for Salvation, then you shall grant my Minor, and admit my Argument to be good; viZ. That Christ dyed for all without exception, because all without exception are bound to beleeve. I sup­pose I have, and this upon no worse or weaker grounds then you require, made it fully apparant, that all the three sorts of persons you speak of, are, in a sence, which, I (with many others) call, sensus divisus, and which I have explained, bound to beleeve on Christ for Salvation. As for the sence, which (haply) you mean, and which I have termed, sensus compositus, your self have in a former passage (and herein done nothing neither, but what Reason and Ingenuity, together with the Interest of your own Credit and Conscience, ob­liged you unto) acquitted me and my Doctrine from intending it in reference to the two former sorts of persons, Infants, and Naturals. Nor do I conceive that your self judg it any ways prejudicial to the Sal­vation of either of these by Christ, that they are, in this sence, utterly uncapable of beleeving on him; unless you either judg them salvable by the Law of Nature, and without Christ (which I judg you can­not reasonably do) or not at all; which I suppose to be further from your thoughts, then the other. So that whether Infants, or Naturals, be capable, or not capable of beleeving in Christ, yet if they be [Page 61] salvable by him, it undeniably follows, that he dyed for them.

Concerning the third and last sort, persons who though competent of understanding, yet never from first to last tasted of the letter of the Gospel, I have proved at large (and I trust, to your satisfaction, and other mens) That such men as these, stand bound, both by the Law of Nature, and by positive Law from God, to beleeve in Jesus Christ, and that with­out the letter of the Gospel they are in a capacity of beleeving in him, so, or so far, as to be accepted there­in unto Salvation. Thus having performed your con­ditions, I trust I may upon a legitimacy of claim de­mand the courtesie of your Promise, being nothing but what is very lawful for you to grant, the admit­ance of my Minor, and consequently the concluding validity of my Argument.

Whereas you somewhere in your Papers represent it as a thing very irrational, and unworthy belief, that Christ should dye for those, who he knew were in no capacity, or possibility, of receiving benefit thereby, as all those were, who had perished in their sins, and were eternally condemned, before his Death: my Answer is; That as at Christs riding into Jerusalem, as well the multitudes that went before, as those that followed, cryed, Hosanna to the Son of David, (Matt. 21. 9.) so those that lived in the World before his In­carnation, and Sufferings, were in a blessed capacity of receiving Remission of Sins, and the great Blessing of Salvation, by his Death, by beleeving on him as then to come, as well as those, who take their turns of Mortality after him, and beleeve on him as already come. Otherwise how should Abraham, [Page 62] Isaac, and Jacob have been in a capacity of sit­ing down and eating bread in the Kingdom of God? So that how ever the persons you speak of, who were under an irreversible sentence of Condemnation for their sins, at the time when our Saviour dyed, and in this respect were in no possibility of receiving benefit by his death; yet there was a time, viZ. whilest they lived in the World, when they were under the same possibility with other men of receiving the great be­nefit and blessing of Salvation by him: and in this re­spect he may properly enough be said to have dyed for them; i. e. to have dyed upon such terms, that they beleeving on him, whilest the day of Grace last­ed, as intending, or as being to dye for them in time, might have been saved by his death. And if this Ob­jection were of any force, neither can it truly be said that he dyed for Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob, or for other Saints, who had dyed in the Faith (as the Apostle speaketh) before his coming in the Flesh, at least it cannot be said that he dyed for the remission of their sins, because they having obtained already, and being in full possession of, this heavenly Priviledg, were in no possibility of obtaining it by Christ at the time of his death. Nor is it (nor can it reasonably be imagined that it should be) the intent of the Doctrine, which teacheth that Christ dyed for all men without excep­tion, to affirm or teach withall, that he dyed upon such terms for all men, that all men at any time, or in every state and condition, whether living, or whether dead, whether free from, or whether insnared with, the guilt of the unpardonable sin, &c. should be in a capacity, or under a possibility, of being saved by him. The intire and clear meaning of the said Doctrine (as it is [Page 63] in effect stated by me Cap. 17. §. 1. of my Book of Redemption) is, That all persons of Mankind whatso­ever, are, or were, put into such a capacity of Salvation by the Death of Christ, that if their own voluntary neglect, and notorious unworthiness, do not intervene and hinder, they may, or might, be all actually saved thereby.

And thus I have, in the midst of many distractions, and under much encumbrance of business otherwise, faithfully, with a single and upright heart, and as in the presence of God, endeavored to satisfie your request touching the clearing and removing such scruples and difficulties, which, as you signifie, rendered this Pro­position of mine, All men, without exception, stand bound to beleeve on Christ, questionable, or rather unquestion­ably false, unto you. Whether any thing that hath been said will turn to so happy an account unto you, as satisfaction, I cannot prophecy: only I find you a man dis-ensnared from the superstition of vulgar cre­dulity, and that will not sell the Truth for the gain or price of that corruptible Crown of being reputed Or­thodox; and this is a door of hope opened unto me, that such things, which are agreeable both to the course and current of the Scriptures, and no less to clear Principles of Reason, will over-rule you into such acknowledgments, which in the day of Jesus Christ will (I question not) be your honour, and peace. I confess I was extreamly unwilling to have been taken off from some other engagements lying upon my hand, by such a diversion, as the drawing up of this Answer to your Papers, must needs occasion: but God having over-ruled that inclination in me, I have so much the more hope that he hath somewhat of con­sequence [Page 64] to do with his Providential interposure in this kind. I may very truly say, that the Work, in respect of the undertaking of it, was very signally and emphatically, His, having scarce had so much of my will in it, as in that respect, to bear that denomination of being called, mine. Notwithstanding being engaged, it was once in my thoughts to have made some fur­ther attempt upon your Judgement by some other Ar­guments, to evince an Universal Obligation upon all Flesh to yield the Obedience of Faith unto the Gospel, and to beleeve in Jesus Christ. But upon considera­tion, judging you so propense in affection to the Truth, as to be ready to meet it half way in its advance towards you; and being a little unwilling too far to anticipate my intendments for a larger Discussion of the Particulars discoursed in your Papers, I resolved rather to contain my self at present within the narrow bounds of this Answer. The excrescency whereof to prevent, I forbare the printing of your Papers with it; and this the rather, because I had no commission from you to publish them. If your desire yet be to have them published, my best assistance shall be yours for the procuring, and best ordering of it. The God of all Grace and Truth, break up the Fountains of the great Depths of Spiritual Knowledg, and Heavenly Understanding in his Word, before both you, and me, and all others, who love the Truth at a better rate, then to fear the shame of being counted erroneous for the profession of it; that the Waters of Life may flow out abundantly from us, for the watering and refresh­ing of the dry and barren root of the World round a­bout us.

Yours in Jesus Christ, as your self, and your own Soul, J. Goodwin.

Post-script;
To be read in Pag. 8. lin. 13. immediately after these words, since his Fall.

THat Adam, during the interìm between his Fall, and the Promulgation of the Evangelical Pro­mise unto him, was under no Obligation to Repent, is evident from hence; because if so, this tye (accord­ing to your distribution) must be upon him, either by vertue of the Law of Nature, written in his heart, or else, of some positive Law of God. But, 1. For any positive Law, there was none made or given unto him by God, during the time we speak of: nor was there any of this import given unto him before; I mean, whereby he was commanded to repent, in case he sinned, or rebelled against God. 2. If the Re­pentance we speak of, was required of Adam as due by the Law of Nature, then was it required either in or­der to his Salvation, and as sufficient and available hereunto; or else as matter of meer Duty, without any reference to a Reward. If it were required of him in order to his Salvation, then was there a Principle vested by God in the Nature of Man, whereby he was enabled to recover and save himself, in case of sin and disobedience: yea and this Principle must be suppo­sed to have been carryed over by Adam, unmaimed and in sufficient strength for action, out of his estate of Righteousness or Innocency, wherein he was cre­ated, into that estate of Sin and Misery, wherein he [Page 66] plunged himself by his Fall. And if so, then must it be supposed also to remain in the same vigor and strength in all his posterity, (for there is no reason to imagine a difference in this point between Adam fallen, and his posterity:) And if so, then all, and every Person of Mankinde without exception, must be supposed to be in a capacity of Salvation, yea to be in an immediate capacity of doing such things which accompany Salvation. And if so, then Christ must of necessity be supposed to have dyed for them all, in as much as without shedding of Blood there is no Remission, and consequently no Salvation, or ca­pacity or possibility of being saved.

If it be said, That that Repentance which we en­quire after, was required of Adam as meer matter of Duty, and not in reference to any Reward intended to be given unto him by God thereupon; 1. This (I presume) is contrary to your own sence, who (if I mistake you not) conceive, That the Heathen, without Faith in Christ, are in a capacity of such a Repentance, which, in reference to them, is available unto Salvati­on. 2. It seems contrary to the course and current of the Scriptures, that God should require service or obedience from his Creature, otherwise then in order to their Happiness. See to this purpose: Gen. 4. 7. Deut. 6. 24. & 10. 12, 13. Psal. 19. 11. & 81. 13, 14, &c. Isai. 45. 19. Rom. 2. 10. (besides many o­thers.)

FINIS.

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