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in our sins—for he cannot behold us in our sins. Hath he not put away sin? hath he not washed us, and are we not complete in him? We cannot be the sinful members of Christ; for all our sins are abolished in his blood, and we are more pure than heaven itself.
Oh! what a burst of glory there was, when our departed friend first saw Christ in heaven! What acclamations of praise came from his lips, when Christ Jesus welcomed the travail of his soul, the purchase of his blood, to all the joys of heaven, and to all the love of the Father's heart: "Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." In the resurrection state our eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off. We shall be as free from sin as Christ is. Here we have two great burdens—the one is sin, and the other mortality. There we shall for ever be freed from the body of sin and death, and have minds suited to behold Christ, to give him the glory of salvation, and magnify his great name for what he hath done for us. We shall appear as his beloved, clothed in his righteousness, as having purity, righteousness, and blessedness in him. We cannot be more acceptable. We shall see Christ, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead, our portion, joy, and rejoicing, our Beloved. We shall behold him as loving us with a love never to be expressed. Then, farewell sin, farewell all dear brethren! we shall meet again to enjoy the same joy in the same blessed object. "Christ is our life," we want no more; this makes our hearts dance for joy. We have abundant cause to lift up our hearts in gratitude to the Lord, who hath given another proof of his faithfulness, and will continue to do the same, until he hath brought home the whole election of grace to his kingdom and glory. Then the last trumpet shall sound, and the song from every living stone will be, "grace, grace, grace!" unto Father, Son, and Spirit. Amen. S. E. P.
LETTER TO THE EDITOR.
Recently having fallen in with a copy of the " Declaration of the Assembly of Divines," and the orders of both Houses of Parliament, relative to a publication by "John Archer, sometime preacher at Allhallows, Lombard Street," I enclose them with a request that they may be laid before your readers. I have read at various times, with considerable interest, your views of the awful subject on which that proscribed volume treats, and trust this communication will not be unacceptable.
Your's to serve,
A Short Declaration of the Assembly of Divines, by way of detestation of this abominable and blasphemous Opinion, that God is, and hath an hand in, and is the Author of the Sinfulness of his People; mentioned in a Book, entitled, ' Comfort for Believers, about their Sins and Troubles.' Together with the Orders of both Houses of Parliament, for the Burning of the said Book by the hand of the common Hangman.—Printed by John Field, for Ralph Smith, at the sign of the Bible, in Cornhill, next the Royal Exchange, July 25, 1645.
Die Sabbathi, July 12, 1645.
Complaint being this day made to the Lords in Parliament by the Assembly of Divines, that a certain blasphemous and heretical book, entitled, "Comfort for Believers about their Sins and Troubles," is printed and published, being written by John Archer, M. A. sometime preacher at Allhallows, Lombard-street, London, deceased; which unless suppressed will prove very mischievous and derogatory to this Church and State. Their Lordships much abhorring the said blasphemies, do award and adjudge,
1. That the said book shall be burnt by the hand of the common, hangman in the new Palace, Westminster, in the midst of Cheapside, and in the middle of Smithtield, in the County of Middlesex, with all convenient speed.
2. That the Printer shall be found out, who is to declare to this House by-what authority and by whose direction he printed and published the said book.
3. That all the said books shall be called in, and no more to be sold, upon the displeasure of this House. And that all such, who have any of the said books in their hands, as well private persons as booksellers, shall bring them unto the Sheriffs of London, or one of 4hem, as they will answer the contrary at their perils unto this House.
4. That the Assembly of Divines are desired to draw up a detestation of the said book, which is publicly to be read by an officer at the burning hereof, and that some of the said Assembly be present at the same time. J. Brown, Cleric. Parliumentorum.
Die Luna, 14 July, 1645.
Ordered by the Commons assembled in Parliament, that a book entitled, "Comfort for Believers about their Sins and Troubles," shall be forthwith publicly burnt by the hand of the common hangman; some of them in the Palace-yard, and other some in Cheapside, Smithfield, St. Paul's Church-yard, and the Exchange: and that the Master and Wardens of the Company of Stationers, and every other person in whose hands any of them do now remain, do deliver the same to the Sheriffs of London and Middlesex, who are hereby required to see this Order put in due execution.
H. Elsynge, Cler. Pari. D. Com.
Ordered, that the Assembly of Divines do appoint some of their members to be present at the burning of these books, and to declare to the people the abominableness of it, and if there be cause, to vindicate the Author. H. Elsynge, Cler. Pari. D. Com.
'Vol. IV.—No. 44. 2 D
A SHORT DECLARATION OF THE ASSEMBLY OF DIVINES.
As it hath pleased the Honourable Houses of Parliament, out of their pious care for preserving religion pure from the leaven of pernicious and blasphemous doctrine, to order the burning of this most scandalous book; so have they further appointed us to declare the abominableness thereof unto the people. And we doubt not but every good christian as soon as he shall hear the scope and contents of it, will, together with us, detest the horrid blasphemy therein asserted, and acknowledge the godly zeal, wisdom, and justice of authority in commanding it, as an execrable thing to be taken away, that it may not remain amongst us to provoke God's wrath and to produce such perilous and pernicious fruits, whereby the souls of many may be corrupted to their everlasting destruction. _
For whereas, that most vile and blasphemous assertion, whereby God is avowed to be the Author of sin, hath hitherto by the general consent of christian teachers and writers, both ancient and modern, and these as well Papists as Protestants, been not disclaimed only, but even detested and abhorred; yet in this book it is not closely intimated, or occasionally hinted, or inconsiderately and through inadvertency stumbled upon, but openly, and in express terms, and in a very foul manner propounded, maintained, and purposely at large prosecuted, to wit,
'That God is, and hath an hand in, and is the Author of the sin
* fulness of his people.'—Page 37.
'That he is the Author, not of those actions alone, in and with 'which sin is, but of the very pravity, ataxy, anomy, irregularity, and
* sinfulness itself which is in them.'—Page 36.
'That God hath more hand in men's sinfulness than they them
* selves.'—Page 37.
'That the creature's sin doth produce the greatest good, either in 'God's glory, or in the creature's happiness, as the next cause
* thereof, and that all that good is only brought about by sin.'— Page 38 and 39.
'That it is as incongruous and inconvenient to make God the
* Author of the afflictions of the creature, as of the sins.'—Page 39.
'That by sins believers are as much nurtured and fitted for heaven, 'as by anything else.'—Page 48.
'That God fits believers for service in this world, by leading them 'into sins.'—Page 48.
'That no course is so full to remove or prevent sinful or pernicious «troubles for sin, as this, looking on God the Author of it, and the 'good which he brings about by it; which because it is rarely done 'by believers, and indeed hardly known, he therefore professeth to 'have enlarged himself upon it.'—Page 52.
In these and in many other like terms hath he set forth this blasphemous doctrine.
And further, he condemneth our orthodox writers, for that they have only granted,
'That God is willing sin should be, and that he permits it, and 'orders circumstances about its production, and overrules it, and hath
* an hand in, and is the Author of the physical or moral act, in and
• with which sin is, saying that they have herein erred on the other 'hand, and made sin more of the creature, and itself, and less from « God than it is.'—Page 36 and 37.
Besides, the main scope of the book is to persuade men,
'Not to be oppressed or perplexed in heart, for any thing whatso'ever befalls them either in sin or affliction.'—Page 4.
As if our Saviour when he saith, "Let not your hearts be troubled," (for that is the ground upon which he builds) had intended to dehort his disciples from being troubled for their sins.
Very great is both the danger and scandal which would from so detestable a position as this arise, if it should be suffered without control to be published and dispersed abroad, especially in such a time as this, when on the one hand multitudes make use of the specious name of liberty, for a cloak of naughtiness, and of admitting and professing many perverse and corrupt opinions, exceedingly injurious to the gospel of Christ, and to the power of godliness; and on the other hand, many watch for our halting, and glory in nothingmore against us, than in those advantages which the weakness and instability of such as are carried about with every wind of doctrine, and are not settled and rooted in the truth, doth most unhappily minister unto them, to the unspeakable prejudice of the church of Christ, and obstructing of that blessed Reformation which is by all good men so earnestly desired.
Exceeding dangerous it is unto the souls of men, both as a means to instil into them blasphemous and impure conceits of the Majesty of our most holy God, as also by working them to a slighting and disregarding of sin, and consequently letting loose the reins to all corrupt and licentious living (for by how much the less the trouble is after sin committed, by so much the greater usually is the boldness in the committing of it.
And the scandal hence arising, is every whit as great, both in regard of the offence which is thereby given unto the reformed churches, who in their public confessions, make satan, and man himself, the only causes or authors of sin, and some of them do in those their confessions by name damn this wicked position. And also in regard of the great advantage which it giveth to our common adversaries, the papists, who have hitherto only calumniously charged the doctrine of the reformed churches with so odious a crime (in the mean time confessing that we do in words deny it, as well as they themselves) whereas now should this book be tolerated, they might justly insult over us, and publish to the world, that now in the church of England, it was openly and impugnly maintained that God is the Author of sin, than which there is not any one point, whereby they labour in their sermons and popular orations to cast a greater odium (though most injuriously) upon the reformed churches.
And albeit, the person mentioned to be the Author of this book, hath been of good estimation for learning and piety; yet since it hath so deeply wounded the honour and truth of God, we ought not at all to be by any such just consideration withheld from declaring our just detestation of so odious a book: for if any man, yea if an angel fromheaven preach any thing contrary to the gospel of Christ, the apostle is not afraid to pronounce him accursed: and indeed it is a very dangerous thing (and so much the more dangerous, by how much the more ordinary and usual) to take up new and corrupt opinions upon trust, only on this inducement, a persuasion which we have of the sanctity of those persons, who are the authors of them; for we ought to try the spirits whether they be of God, and to search the scriptures whether the things taught us be so or no ; and having tried all things, to hold fast that which is good, and upon no pretence whatsoever to depart from the form of sound words in the scriptures delivered unto us, or for the reverence and estimation of any man's person to entertain any such opinions as do in the very words of them asperse the honour and holiness of God, and are- by all the churches of Christ rejected. And therefore most justly hath authority appointed execution in this manner to be done upon this book.
Henry Robrough, Scriba. July 17, 1645. Adoniram Byfield, Scriba.
[Both the propriety and expediency of the disgrace to which the author of "Comfort for Believers" was subjected, may be questioned by many; but we are thankful for the opportunity given us of expressing our utter detestation and abhorrence of the principle vindicated in that work. We recollect, some time since, reading an unqualified approbation of the book from the pen of a public writer, who professes to publish a monthly defence of the gospel. Professing ourselves to be * high' in doctrine, we must acknowledge we are yet so 'low,' that our faith must expand her wings, and attempt a much bolder flight, ere she reaches so lofty and so dangerous an eminence. It is sufficient for us to know, "By the law is the knowledge of sin," and by faith we receive the atonement."]—Editor.
DEATH AND LIFE CONTRASTED, ACCORDING TO SCRIPTURE REVELATION.
(Concluded from page \&T.)
Reader, pause awhile! ponder the word, it is a comprehensive one, and no finite mind can enter into the horrors of the same; but let us for a moment hover over the confines thereof, and take a view, as we may, of the depth beneath! First, natural death; even this hath its horrors, especially to the unrenewed mind. This corporeal death began the moment Adam and Eve transgressed, as before observed; and is the inevitable consequence of sin with respect to all their posterity, as well as to themselves: it commences in the womb of nature, and makes rapid, awful strides in the womb of time; hence thousands are passing into eternity every day, nay, every hour; for it hath been computed that upwards of four thousand souls