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chap. xiii. 44, 45, 46, and many parallel places.) If an unsanctified man thinks he is willing, he does not know his own heart. If he professes to be willing, he does not know what he says. The difficulty and cost of it is not in his view: and therefore he has no proper willingness to comply with the cost and difficulty. That which he is willing for, with a moral sincerity, is something else, which is a great deal easier, and less cross to flesh and blood. Suppose a king should propose to a subject his building him such a tower, promising him a certain reward. If the subject should undertake it, not counting the cost, thinking within himself that the king meant another sort of tower, much cheaper; and should be willing only to build that cheap one, which he imagined in his own mind; when he would by no means have consented to build so costly a tower as the king proposed, if he had understood him right : such a man could not be said properly to be willing to comply with his prince's proposal, with any sincerity at all. For what he consents to with a moral sincerity, is not the thing which the king proposed.
The promises of unsanctified men are like the promises of the man we read of (Luke ix. 57, 58.) who said, Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest. To whom Christ replied, The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath not where to lay his head. When he made his promise, he probably quite mistook the thing, and did not imagine, that to follow Christ wherever he went would be to follow him in such poverty and hardship. I suppose, the rich young man we read of (Mark x. 17, &c.) might have what is called moral sincerity. But he had no sincerity in the covenant of grace.
When he came to Christ to know what he should do to have eternal life, it is probable he ignorantly thought himself willing to yield himself to Christ's direction. Yet when it came to a trial, and Christ told him he must go and sell all that he had, and give to the poor, it proved that he had no sincerity of willingness at all for any such thing.–So that it is evident, however unsanctified men may be morally sincere in some things, yet they have no sincerity of any sort in that covenant, of which the sacraments are seals; and that moral sincerity, distinct from gracious, in this covenant, is a mere imagination, there being indeed no such thing.
II. Another argument against this notion of moral sincerity, giving a right to church communion, is this: A quality that is transient and vanishing, can be no qualification of fitness for a standing privilege. Unsanctified men may be very serious, greatly affected, and much engaged in religion; but the scrip. ture compares their religion to a lamp not supplied with oil, - which will go out, and to a plant that has no root nor deepness of earth, which will soon wither; and compares such unsanctified men to the dog that will return to his vomit, and to the sow which though washed ever so clean, yet her nature not being changed, will return to her wallowing in the mire.
Mr. W. allows, that persons in order to come to sacraments must have deep convictions, an earnest concern to obtain salvation, &c. Now every one who is in any degree acquainted with religious matters, knows that such convictions are not wont to last a great while, if they have no saving issue. Mr S. in his sermon on the danger of speedy degeneracy, (p. 11.) says, “ Unconverted men will grow weary of religious duties. And our author himself, (p. 78.c.) speaking of those professors in the primitive churches that fell away to heresy and other wickedness, takes notice that the apostle observes, IT WILL BE SO, that they which are approved, might be made manifest: and, says Mr. W. upon it, evil and unsanctified men, by such sins, will discover their hypocrisy.
Now seeing this is the case with moral sincerity and common religion, how can it be a qualification for a standing privilege? Nothing can be a fitness for a durable privilege, but a durable qualification. For no qualification has any fitness or adaptedness for more than it extends to; as a short scabbard cannot be fit for a long sword. If a man going a journey in the night, needs a lamp to light him in his way, who will pretend that a flaming wick without oil, which will last but a few
rods, is fit for his purpose ? Or if a man were building a house for himself and family, should he put into the frame pieces of timber known to be of such a nature as that they would probably be rotten in a few months; or should he take blocks of ice, instead of hewn stone, because during a present cold season they seemed to be hard and firm ; and withal should for a covering put only leaves that will soon fade away, instead of tiles or shingles, that are solid and lasting ; would not every spectator ridicule his folly !
If it should be said, that unsanctified men, when they lose their moral sincerity, may be cast out again : this is far from helping the case, or shewing that such men were ever fit to be admitted. To say, a piece of timber, though not of a durable nature, is fit to be put into the frame of a building, because when it begins to rot, it may be pulled out again, is so far from proving that it was ever fit to be put in, that the speedy necessity of pulling it out rather proves the contrary. If we had the power of constituting a human body, or it were left to us to add members to our own bodies, as there might be occasion ; we should not think such a member was fit to be added to the frame, that had already radically seated in it a cancer or gangrene, by which it could last but a little while itself, and would endanger the other members; though it were true, that when the discase should prevail, there were surgeons which might be procured to cut that member off.
But to consider a little further this point of moral sincerity qualifying persons for the privileges of the church. I would lay down this proposition as a thing of clear evidence: Those persons have no fitness in themselves to come to the privileges of the church, who, if they were known, would not be fit to be admitted by others. For to say, they are fit to be members, and yet not fit to be allowed to be members, is apparently absurd. But they who have no better fitness than moral sincerity, if that were known, would not be fit to be admitted by others; as is allowed by Mr. W. For lie holds, that in order to be fit to be admitted by others, they must credibly appear to them to have something more than moral sincerity, even gospel-holiness. And it is evident in itself, as well as allowed by Mr. W. that if such were known, they would not be fit to be admitted, only on their moral sincerity, and the profession and promises they make from such a principle ; and that for this reason, because such a principle alone would not be fit to be trusted. God himself has taught his church, that the religion of unsanctified men is not fit to be trusted; as a lamp without oil, and a plant without root, are things not to be trusted.--God has directly taught his church to expect, that such religion will fail; and that such men having no higher principle, will return to their wickedness. (Job. xxvii. 8, 9, 10.)“ The hypocrite-will he delight himself in the Almighty? will he always call upon God ? "Dan. xii. 10. The wicked will do wickedly. And therefore God does not require his church to accept their profession and proniises. If he has taught us not to credit their profession and promises, then certainly he has taught us not to accept them.
111. Another argument against this supposed rule of allowing and requiring unsanctified men with moral sincerity, to come to sacraments, is this; That rule, which if fully attended, would naturally bring it to pass, that the greater part of communicants would be unfit, even according to that very rule, cannot be a divine rule. But this supposed rule of moral sincerity is such a rule. For if this rule be universally attended, then all unsanctified men, who have present convictions of conscience sufficient to make them morally sincere, must come into the communion of the church. But this conviction and common religion, if it do not issue in conversion, (as has been observed,) commonly vanishes away in a short time. And yet still these persons, if not convicted of open scandal, are left in the communion of the church, and remain there, without even moral sincerity.—Experience gives us abundant reason to think, that of those who some time or other have considerable convictions of conscience, so as to make them for the present to be what is called morally sirr
cere, but few are savingly converted.* And if all these must be admitted, (as they must, if this rule be fully attended,) then their convictions going away, and their sincerity vanishing with it, it will hereby be brought about, that the Lord's table is chiefly surrounded with the worst sort of morally insincere persons, viz. stupid backsliders, that are in themselves far worse ihan they were before, according to the scripture account, Matt. xii. 45. and 2 Pet. ii. 20.- And this as the natural conse. quence of the forementioned rule, appointing moral sincerity to be the qualification for communion. Thus this supposed rule supplants its own design.
IV. Another argument that moral sincerity is not the qualification to which God has annexed a lawful right to sacraments, is, That this qualification is not at all inconsistent with a man's living at the same time in the most heinous wickedness in a superlative degree contrary to the Christian religion.
It was before observed to be a thing evident in itself, and allowed by Mr. W. that there are some sins, which, while wilfully continued and lived in, though secretly, do wholly disqualify persons for Christian sacraments, and make it unlawful for men to partake of them. Now if it be thus with some sins, doubtless it is because of the heinousness of those sins, the high degree of wickedness which is in thein. And hence it will fol. low, that those sins which are in themselves most heinous, and most contrary to the Christian religion, do especially disqualify persons for Christian sacraments, when wilfully lived in.
Let it therefore now be considered, whether it will not fol. low from these premises, That for men to live in enmity against God and Christ, and in wilful unbelief and rejection of Christ, (as the scriptures teach, and as Mr. S. and Mr. W. too assert, is the case with all unsanctified men under the gospel,) wholly disqualifies them for Christian sacraments. For it is very manifest, by scripture and reason, that to live in these things, is to live in some of the most heinous kinds of wickedness; as is allowed by Calvinistic divines in general, and by Mr. S. in particular, who says, (Safety of Ap. p. 224. d.) “ You cannot anger God more by any thing, than by continuing in the neglect of Christ. This is the great controversy God has with sinners; not that they have been guilty of these and those particular transgressions, but that they abide in the rejection of the gospel.” Again, he says, (Ibid. p. 249. e.) "The great sin that God is angry with you for, is your unbelief. Despising the gospel is the great provoking sin.”
* How small a proportion are there the vast multitudes, that in the time of the late religious commotion through the land had their consciences awakened, who give hopeful abiding evidences of a gaying conversion to God ?
A man's continuing in hatred of his brother, especially a fellow-communicant, is generally allowed to disqualify for communion. The apostle compares it to leaven in the passoyer, 1 Cor. v. 6, 7, 8. But now certainly it is as bad, and as contrary to the nature and design of Christian sacraments, for a man to live in hatred of Christ, and 10 remain a hateful and accursed enemy, (if I may use Mr. W.'s own language,) to the glorious Redeemer and Head of the Christian church.
None will deny, that lying and perjury are very gross and heinous sins, and (if known) very scandalous; and therefore it follows from what was observed before, that such sins, if lived in, though secretly, do disqualify persons for Christian sacraments in God's sight. But by our author's own account, all unsanctified men that partake of the Lord's supper, live in ly. ing and perjury, and go on to renew these crimes continually; since while they continue ungodly inen, they live in a constant violation of their promise and oath. For Mr. W. often lays it down, that all who enter into covenant with God, promise spiritual duties, such as repentance, faith, love, &c. And that they promise to perform these henceforward, even from the present moment, unto the end of life ; (see p. 25. c. e. 26. a. 28. a. c. 76. a. b.) and that they not only promise, but swear to do this. (p. 18. d. 100. c. 101. a. 1:29. a. 130. c. 140. b.) But for a man to violate the promises he makes in covenanting with God, Mr. W. once and again speaks of it as lying. (p. 24. d. e. p. 130. c.) And if so, doubtless their breaking the oath they swear to God, is perjury.--Now lying to men is bad ; but lying to God is worse. (Acts v. 4.) And without doubt, perjury towards God is the worst sort of perjury But if unsanctified men, when they entered into covenant with God, promised and swore, that they would immediately thenceforward accept of Christ as their Saviour, and love him, and live to him ; then while they continue in a wilful rejection of him, (which according to Mr. W. all unregenerate men do,) they live continually in the violation of their promise and oath.*
* Here I would observe, that not only in the general do unsanctified men, notwithstanding their moral sincerity, thus live in the most heinous wickedness; . but particularly according to Mr. W.'s own doctrine, their very attendance on the outward ordinances and duties of worship, is the vilest, most fagrant, and abomi. nable impiety. In his sermons on Christ a King and Witness, (p. 77, 78.) he says, “If a man could perform all the outward acts of worship and obedience, which the Bible requires, from the begin ing to the end of it, and not do them from faith in Christ and love to God, and not express by them the thoughts, desires, and actings of his soul : they would be so far from being that obedience which Christ requires, that they would be a mocking of God and hateful to him. These out. ward acts ought to be no other, and in religion are designed to stand for nothing else, but to be representations of a man's soul, and the acts of that. And when they are not so, they are in their own nature a lie, and false pretence of something within, which is not there: Therefore the Lord abhors them, and reckons these false pretences the vilest wickedness. Now when a man performs all outward