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all condemn thee for coming in hither without a wedding.garment: but, friend, how camest thou in hither without a wedding-garment ? And no wonder; the case is too plain to allow of any other than such a lamentable refuge, as this is. If the wedding.garment be saving grace, which is not denied ; and if coming into the king's house be coming into the visible church, as Mr. W.owns; then if the king condemns the man for coming into the house without a wedding-garment, he condemns him for coming into the visible church without saving grace.
It is plain, the thing the man is blamed for, is something else than simply a being without grace, or without a weddinggarment. The king's words have respect to this as it stands in connection with coming into the king's house. If Christ has commanded men who are not converted, to come into the church, that they may be converted; he will never say to them, upon their obeying this command, friend, how camest thou in hither before thou wast converted? Which would be another thing than blaming him simply for not being converted. If a man, at his own cost, sets up a school, in order to teach ignorant children to read; and accordingly ignorant children should go thither in order to learn to read; would he come into the school, and say in anger to an ignorant child that he found there, How camest thou in hither, before thou hadst learnt to read ? Did the apostle Paul ever rebuke the Heathen, who came to hear him preach the gospel, saying, How came you hither to hear me preach, not having grace? This would have been unreasonable, because preaching is an ordinance appointed to that end, that men might obtain grace. And so, in Mr. W.'s scheme, is the Lord's supper. Can we suppose, that Christ will say to men in indignation, at the day of judgment, How came you to presume to use the means I appointed for your conversion, before
you were converted ? It is true, the servants were to invite all, both bad and good, to come to the feast, and to compel them to come in: but this does not prove, that bad men, remaining in their badness, have a lawful right to come. The servants were to invite the vicious, as well as the moral; they were to invite the Heathen, who were especially meant by them that were in the highways and hedges: Yet it will not follow, that the Heathen, while remaining Heathen, have a lawful right to come to Christian sacra. ments. But Heathen men must turn from their Heathenism, and come : so likewise wicked men must turn from their wickedness, and come.
I endeavoured to prove, that that brotherly love, which is required towards the members of the Christian church in general, is such a love as is required to those only whom we have reason to look upon as true saints. Mr. W. disputes, through two pages, (p. 66, 67.) against the force of my reasoning to prove this point ; and yet when he has done, he allows the point. He allows it (p. 68. d. e.)as an undisputed thing, that it is the image of God and Christ appearing or supposed to be in others, that is the ground and reason of this love. And so again, (p. 71. d. e.) he grants, that there must be some apprehension, and judgment of the mind, of the saintship of persons, in order to this brotherly love. Indeed he pretends to differ from me in this, that he denies the need of any positive judgment: But doubtless the judgment or apprehension of the mind must be as positive as the love founded on that apprehension and judgment of the mind.
In p. 78, 79. he seems to insist, that what the apostle calls unworthy communicating, is eating in a greedy, disorderly and irreverent manner : as though men might communicate without grace, and yet not communicate unworthily, in the apostle's sense. But if so, the apostle differed much in his sense of things from Mr. W.-The latter says, in his sermon on Christ a King and Witness, (p. 77. 78.) “ These outward acts of worship, when not performed from faith in Christ, and love to God, are mocking God-in their own nature a lie—the vilest wickedness :instead of being that religion, which Christ requires, it is infinitely contrary to it—the most flagrant and abominable impiety, and threatened with the severest damnation.” Is not this a communicating unworthily enough of all reason?
In p. 132, 133. Mr. W. strenuously opposes me in my supposition, that the way of freely allowing all that have only moral sincerity to come into the church, tends to the reproach and ruin of the church. On the contrary, he seems to suppose it tends to the establishing and building up of the church. But I desire that what Mr. Stoddard says, in his sermon on the danger of speedy degeneracy, may be considered under this head. He there largely insists, that the prevailing of unconverted men and unholy professors among a people, is the principal thing that brings them into danger of speedy degeneracy and corruption. He says, that where this is the case, there will be many bad examples, that will corrupt others; and that unconverted men will indulge their children in evil, will be nego ligent in their education ; and that by this means their children will be very corrupt and ungoverned ;* that by this means the godly themselves that are among them, will be tainted, as sweet liquor put into a corrupt vessel will be tainted ; that thus a people will grow blind, will not much regard the warnings of the word, or the judgments of God; and that they will grow weary of religious duties after awhile; and that many of their leading men will be carnal; and that this will expose a people to have carnal ministers and other leading men in the town and church.
* If we have reason to expect it will be thus with ungodly parents, with respect to their children, then certainly such cannot reasonably expect ministers and churches should admit their children to baptism, in a dependence that ey give them
up to God, and will bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, if they make no profession that implies more than moral sincerity; and none but what wicked men may as well make as the godly, and speak true.
And I desire also, that here may be considered what Mr. W. himself says, in that passage forecited, (p. 86, 87.) of his sermons on Christ a King and Witness; where, in explaining what it is to promote the kingdom of Christ, he says nega. tively, “ That it is not to do that which may prevail on men to make pretences, that they are Christians, and that they own Jesus Christ as their Saviour, and to call him Lord, Lord, when really he is not so." Which he supposes is the case with all unsanctified professors; for in the same book, he abundantly declares, that they who make such pretences, and have not true faith and love, make false and lying pretences; as has been several times observed.
The impertinence of arguments, that are in like manner against
the schemes of both the controverting parties : And this exemplified in what Mr. W. says concerning the notion of Israel being the people of God, and his manner of arguing concerning the members of the primitive Christian church.
Inasmuch as in each of the remaining instances of Mr. W.'s arguing, that I shall take notice of, he insists upon and urges arguments, which are in like manner against his own scheme, as against mine, I desire, that such a way of arguing may be a little particularly considered.
And here I would lay down this as a maxim of undoubted verity; That an argument, brought to support one scheme against another, can avail nothing to the purpose it is brought for, if it is at the same time against the scheme it would support, in like manner as against that which it would destroy.
It is an old and approved maxim, That argument which proves too much, proves nothing, i. e. If it proves too much for him that brings it-proves against himself in like manner as against his opponent—then it is nothing to help his cause.—The reason of it is plain: The business of a dispute is to make one cause good against another, to make one scale heavier than the other. But when a man uses an argument which takes alike
out of both scales, this does not at all serve to make his side preponderate, but leaves the balance just as it was.
Arguments brought by any man in a dispute, if they be not altogether impertinent, are against the difference between him and his opponent, or against his opponent's differing from him : for wherein there is no difference, there is no dispute.But that can be no argument against his opponent differing from him, which is only an argument against what is common to both, and taken from some difficulty that both sides equally share in. If I charge supposed absurdities or difficulties against him that differs from me, as an argument to shew the unreasonableness of his differing ; and yet the difficulty is not owing to his differing from me, inasmuch as the same would lie against him, if he agreed with me, my conduct herein is both very impertinent and injurious.
If one in a dispute insists on an argument, that lies equally against his own scheme as the other, and yet will stand to it that his argument is good, he in effect stands to it that his own scheme is not good; he supplants himself, and gives up his own cause, in opposing his adversary; in holding fast his argument, he holds fast what is his own overthrow; and in insisting that his argument is solid and strong, he in effect insists that his own scheme is weak and vain. If my antagonist will insist upon it, that his argument is good, that he brings against me, which is in like manner against himself; then I may take the same argument, in my turn, and use it against him, and he can have nothing to answer; but has stopped his own mouth, having owned the argument to be conclusive. Now such sort of arguments as these Mr. W. abundantly uses.
For instance, the argument taken from the whole nation of Israel being called God's people, and every thing that Mr. W. alledges, pertaining to this matter, is in like manner against his own scheme as against mine: And that, let the question be what it will; whether it be about the qualifications which make it lawful for the church to admit, or about the lawfulness of persons coming to sacraments ; whether it be about the profession they should make before men, or the internal qualification they must have in the sight of God. And what Mr. W. says to the contrary, does not at all deliver the argument from this embarrassment and absurdity. After all he has said, the argument, if any thing related to the controversy, is plainly this, That because the whole nation of Israel were God's visible people, (which is the same as visible saints,) therefore the scripture notion of visible saintship is of larger extent than mine: and the scripture supposes those to be visible saints, which my scheme does not suppose to be so.
But if this be Mr. W.'s argument, then let us see whether it agrees any better with his own scheme. Mr. Blake, (Mr. W.'s great author) in his book on the Covenant, (p. 190. 6.) in. sists, that Israel at the very worst is owned as God's covenantpeople, and were called God's people: and (p. 149. e.) that all the congregation of Israel, and every one of them, are called holy and God's own people, even Korah and his company. And p. 253. e. 254. a.) he urges, that every one who is descended from Jacob, even the worst of Israel, in their lowest state and condition, were God's people in covenant, called by the name of God's people. And Mr. W. herein follows Mr. Blake, and urges the same thing; that this nation was God's covenantpeople, and were called God's people, at the time that they were carried captive into Babylon, (p. 24. d.) when they were undoubtedly at their worst, more corrupt than at any other time we read of in the Old Testament; being represented by the prophets, as over-run with abominable idolatries, and other kinds of the most gross, heaven-daring impieties, most obstinate, abandoned, pertinacious and irreclaimable in their rebellion against God, and against his word by his prophets. But yet these, it is urged, are called the people of God; not agreeable to my notion of visible saintship, but agreeable to Mr. W.'s. What his notion of visible saints is, he tells us in p. 139. He there says expressly, that he “ does not suppose persons to be visible saints, unless they exhibit a credible profession and visibility of gospelholiness." Now do those things said about those vile wretches in Israel, agree with this? Did they exhibit moral evidence or gospel-holiness ?—But if we bring the matter lower still and say, the true notion of visible saintship is a credible appearance and moral evidence of moral sincerity; does this flagrant, open abandoned, obstinate impiety consist with moral evidence of such sincerity as that? It is apparent, therefore, in Mr. W.'s scheme as mine, that when these are called God's people, it is in some other sense than that wherein the members of the Christian church are called visible saints. And indeed the body of the nation of Israel, in those corrupt times, were so far from being God's church of visibly pious persons, visibly endowed with gospel-holiness, that that people, as to the body of them, were visibly and openly declared by God, to be a whore and a witch, and her children bastards, or children of adultery. Isa. lvii,3. “Draw near hither, ye sons of the sorceress; the seed of the adulterer and the whore. We have the like in other places. And so the body of the same people in Christ's time-which Mr. W. supposes even then to be branches of the true olive, in the same manner as the members of the Christian church were in the apostles' times are visibly declared not to be God's children, or children of the true church, but bastards, or an