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First, by Regeneration they mean, not our being born again by Water-baptifm, of which Regeneration I shall treat in the 23d Chapter; but the renewing of the inward Man by the Mortification of our evil inclinations, implanting good ones, &c. For Mr. Barclay (b) faies, As many as refift not this Light, but receive the fame, it becomes in them a boly, pure,and fpiritual birth, bringing forth holiness, purity, and all thofe other bleffed fruits, which are acceptable to God. This is what the Scriptures call being born of God, and born of the Spirit; and I fhall afterwards fhew, that 'tis a kind of Regeneration. But then 'tis to be ascribed, not to the pretended Light, but to the Holy Ghoft; and if our Adverfaries will acknowledge him to be the Author of it, we will have no farther difpute about it.

Secondly, by Sanctification they mean, as we do, our being made holy. This appears from Mr. Barclay, who to the Words juft now quoted immediately fubjoins, by which holy Birth, viz. Jefus Chrift formed within us, and working his works in us, as we are fanctified, so are we justified, &c. This Sanctification we attribute to the Operation of the Holy Ghoft; and if our Adverfaries will do the fame, we are perfectly agreed.

But then our Adverfaries affirm, as I have formerly obferved, that (c) in whom this pure and holy birth is fully brought forth, the body of Death and Sin comes to be crucified and removed, and their hearts united and fubjected to the truth; so as not to obey any suggestions and temptations of the evil one, to be free from actual finning and tranf greffing of the Law of God, and in that refpect per

(b) Apol. prop. 7. P. 364. (6) Apol. prop.8. p. 387.




fect. Yet doth this perfection still admit of a growth; and there remaineth alwaies in fome part a poffibi lity of finning, where the mind doth not moft diligently and watchfully attend unto the Lord. This Question therefore is concerning the Degree of Sanctification, whether it be poffible for a Man to be not only holy, but perfect alfo. I think it neceffary to speak fomething upon this Head; because tho' we herein do agree with our Adverfaries in the Main, yet they have taken occafion to reproach us, as if we gave encouragement to Sinners.

Religious Perfection therefore (to use the Words of Dr. (d) Lucas) is nothing else, but the Moral accomplishment of Human Nature, fuch a maturity of Virtue, as Man in this Life is capable of. Converfion begins, Perfection confummates the habit of Righteousness. In the one Religion is, as it were, in its Infancy; in the other in its Strength and Manhood. So that Perfection, in short, is nothing else, but a ripe and fetled habit of true Holiness. According to this notion of Religions perfection, he is a perfect Man, whofe Mind is pure and vigorous, and his Body tame and obfequious; whofe Faith is firm and fteady, his Love ardent and exalted, and his Hope full of Affurance; whofe Religion has in it that ardor and conftancy, and his Soul that tranquillity and pleasure, which befpeaks him a Child of the Light and of the Day, and partaker of the Di vine Nature, and raised above the corruption which is in the World thro' Luft. So that (e) this is the utmost Perfection Man is capable of, to have his

(d) Religious Perfection, or a Third Part of the Enquiry after Happiness, fect. 1. chap. 1. p. 2. Lond. 1704.

(e) Ibid. p. 16.

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Mind enlightned, and his Heart purified, and to be informed, acted and influenced by Faith and Love, as by a vital Principle. And all this is effential to habitual Goodness. Now fuch Perfection as this, we readily acknowledge to be, not only poffible, but what every Chriftian is obliged to endevor after. And I am perfuaded, our Adverfaries themselves will acquiefce in this Definition of Perfection.

But then it is fill a Question between us, whether he who is in this Senfe perfect, may live without Sin. That all Men have at fometime or 0ther fallen into fin, is agreed on both fides. For Mr. Barclay (f) faies, all Men have finned. And that the perfect Man may fin, is alfo agreed on both, Sides. For Mr. Barclay faies, as has been fhewn, there remaineth alwaies in fome part a poffibility of Sinning, where the mind doth not most diligently and watchfully attend unto the Lord. But may not the perfect Man, when perfect, wholly abftain from Sin for the future? Now before I Anfwer this Queftion, I think it neceffary to obferve, that there are two forts of Sins, viz. wilful Sins, and Sins of infirmity. Wilful Sins (g) are thofe deliberate tranfgreffions of a Divine Law, which Man commits in oppofition to the direct Remonstrances of Confcience. He knows the Action is forbid; he fees the Turpitude and Obliquity of it; he is not ignorant of the Punishment denounced against it; and yet he ventures upon it. A Sin of infirmity is fuch as does (b) not imply a deliberate wickedness in the will, much less an habitual one; but it (i) has in it fo much of voluntary as to make it fin, so much of invo luntary as to make it frailty. It has fo much of the

(f) Quakerifm confirmed, sect.4. p.628. (g) Lucas's Relig. perfect. fect. 2. chap. 5. P. 313. (h) Ibid. p. 334. (i) Ibid.

Will in it, that it is capable of being reduced; and yet fo much of Neceffity in it, it is never utterly to be extirpated. It has fomething in it Criminal enough to oblige us to watch against it, and repent of it; and yet so much pitiable and excufable, as to entitle us to pardon under the Covenant of Grace.

This being premifed, I anfwer, that he who is perfect in the Senfe above mention'd, as every one muft endevor to be, may certainly for the future live without wilful Sins; and if this be all that our Adverfaries mean by a total freedom from Sin, we are throughly agreed. But as for Sins of infirmity, they feem infeparable from us in this World. For the best of Men ever did, and do feel them, and lament them. For (k) what understanding is there which is not liable to Error? What will, that does not feel fomething of impotence, fomething of irregularity? What Affections that are mere human, are ever conftant, ever raised? Where is the Faith, that has no fcruple, no diffidence; the Love, that has no defect, no remiffion; the Hope, that has no fear in it? What is the State that is not liable to ignorance, inadvertency, furprise, infirmity? Where is the Obedience that has no reluctancy, no remiffness, no deviation? This is a truth which, whether Men. will or no, they cannot chufe but feel. The Confeffions of the holiest Men bear witness to it.

Now our Adverfaries, either do confefs, that the perfect Man has fuch infirmities as I have mention'd; or they do not. If they do not confefs it, I defire them only to name a fingle Inftance of a Person that had not fuch Infirmities. I fhould be heartily glad to hear, that God's Laws have at any time been fo exactly obey'd. But let not our Ad

(k) Ibid. p. 308.

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verfaries inftance in themselves; for I fhall foon prove, that they are guilty of manifeft breaches of our Savior's Commands in their neglect of Water-baptifm and the Lord's Supper. But if our Adverfaries do confefs, that the perfect Man has fuch infirmities as I have mentioned; then those infirmities either are Sins, or they are not. If they are Sins, then the perfect Man cannot live wholly free from Sin. But if they are not Sins, the difference between us is not great, nor fhall I dispute the Merits of that Cause at present. For (1) then the whole Controverfy is reduced to this 3 we agree in the Thing, but differ in the Name. And in this difference we are not only on the humbler, but the fafer fide too. For acknowledging them Sins, we shall be the better difpofed fure to be forry for them, to beg pardon of them, and watch against


I fhall conclude this Point in the words of the fame Author, whom I have often quoted. If any Man (faies (m) he) be apprehenfive, that 'tis impoffible to affert the doctrine of perfection, without looking a little too favorably towards Pelagianifm, or Enthusiasm, or fomething of this kind; I do here affure fuch a one, that I advance no perjection that raifes Men above the use or need of Means, or invites them to neglect the Word, Prayer, or Sacraments, or is raifed on any other foundation than the Gospel of Chrift.I am perfuaded, that the strength of Nature is too flight a foundation to build Perfecti on on. I contend for freedom from no other fin than actual, voluntary, and deliberate. And let Concupifcence, or any unavoidable Distemper or diforder of our Nature be what it will, all that I aim at here,

(1) Ibid. chap. 6. p. 356. (m) Ibid. introdu&.

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