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creature, he had by a partial and unwise election, of his mere arbitrary will and pleasure, chosen some particular persons to eternal lise and blessedness; and also, without the least mercy or compassion, had cruelly and unjustly, £SV. reprobated all the rest of mankind to dishonour and wrath. These opinions naturally tend to remove from the minds of men almost every motive to the practice of virtue, and to expel from thence all restraints from the sensual gratification of their vitious lusts and passions; to prompt and encourage them without remorse or sear to the wilful commission of all ungodliness, and unrighteousness. For if these principles are true, no kind of wickedness can ever endanger the happiness of the elect; nor the strictest virtue prevent the divine wrath and vengeance from being poured out upon the reprobate, and consigning them all to the unspeakable remediless miseries of hell. And as presumption, or despair naturally results from those false, I might have said wicked, blasphemous, and soul destroying principles, so injurious to, and unbecoming the majesty of heaven, the tender, compassionate Parent of the whole universe, who does good to all, and whose tender mercies are over all his works; who has sworn that, he hath no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turn from his way and live; and in the most compassionate manner intreats them to turn from sin, that they may escape death, and inherit lise, Ezek. xxxiii. n : so with respect to the false principles set forth by the assembly of divines, it is rather to be wondered at, that any persons, who believe them, should be truly religious, and kept from the daring iin of presumption, or of sinking into the depths of despair, than that everlasting ruin should thereby be brought upon many, who might otherwise have escaped the misery, which it is greatly to be seared hath been the unhappy consequence of them to many fouls. And what Mr. Mole Jays 1 is very true, that, 4 If . . . our education . . . has 4 consisted in learning and blindly receiving the creeds, 4 catechisms, or other compositions of fallible men, and 'being taught to take the doctrines thereof for the truths of 6 Christianity, upon no arguments, but the authority of 4 those, who compiled, or authorised, or acquainted us
* with those systems j such education consists in folly and
* falfhood, and to cultivate all the effects of such educ cation, would be to confirm ourselves in the absurd de
1 Grounds, £sV, p. 58.
* lusions and mistakes, which others had led us into, and 4 which God knows is the case of myriads.'
And moreover, the books of the last and some former ages, abounding so much with those unworthy notions of God, together with the zeal with which these and other doctrines of the like kind were then taught, and contended for, by Christians in general, may justly be looked upon as the fatal seeds of that infidelity, which hath now produced so general a desection from Christianity in this age. For if men once come to be persuaded, that principles so contrary to the nature and persections of God, are really contained in the bible; how can it be supposed they should ever believe such a revelation to come from him, or that the christian religion should ever be divine? But in consequence of those false doctrines, and the supposed necessity of infant-sprinkling, many ministers, as well as other Christians, have been ready enough, with the author of Christianity not sounded on Argument, to denounce damnation, declaring, that such infants as die unbaptizcd, cannot be saved, that there are such in hell a span long. Shocking opinion indeed! And tho' Mr. Mole, and the reft of his brethren here in England, are generally come off from those corrupt principles; yet I question, whether any of them would care to sprinkle a child, which was not born of christian parents. But our established church is not so partial, for she generously opens her arms to all infants, and is willing to conser the grace of baptism, and receive them into her bosom, whether they be the children of believers, or of unbelievers; and hath taken care to provide them two other sureties, besides one godfather, and the parent, who is always supposed to be under the highest obligation to instruct them in the ways of piety, and train them up in the christian faith.
SECT. SECT. IV.
Remarks on Mr. Mole's grounds of the christian faith rational.
TH E suggestion reserred to page 32. is thus introduced by Mr. Mole. » 4 But when it is added 44 And to distinguish still further our established church "in particular, as the mode the most conformable to 44 that divine plan ;" 4 this is what I would neither desire 4 him to grant, nor grant him, if he should desire it,' [equally as soon, as I would to Mr. Mole, and the kirk of Scotland, and he has full as much reason to do it too] 4 with4 out his first proving, that this is part of the task, which
* is required of us by God. This is [also] to introduce a
* difficulty into the case far greater, than all that was in 4 it before amounted to; and which, I (hall readily con4 cur with this author, in supposing, that our reason is 4 altogether unequal to. The arguments, which abun4 dantly evince the truth and authority of Christianity, 4 are calculated to prove something else of our established
* church;' [ and the kirk of Scotland too ] 4 but by no
* means the truth of [their] doctrines, or authority of 4 [their] decisions, as such.' And to what this fame author has said, p. 10. 4 That we are to address ourselves to 4 heaven to inculcate the full complement of our belief, 4 will help us to a just and uniform account of its whole 4 nature, whilst it points readily back to its source of bap4 tifm:' Mr. Mole replies after this manner, ♦ 4 Such a
* faith indeed, as derives merely from baptism, has. that 4 for its source, and nothing else, may possibly be in this 4 manner supported; being of an irrational original, it 4 may be cultivated in a method conformable exactly to 4 to that of its implanting: but for such source, and such 4 support of faith, we must, I imagine, look somewhere 4 else than in the scriptures.' If Mr. Mole means in our established church, or the church of Rome either; we may as well look to Scotland, and find the fame just cause for reflection upon the Presbyterian church there, and upon all the branches of it amongst his own party
3 Ibid. p. Ioz. * Ibid. p. 65.
here in England, notwithstanding the faith which it is pretended infants derive from their parents, or that Christianity and federal hclinejs they imagine them to have before, intitling them to baptism: or that pureness and perfeilion with which they fancy infants are clad, when they conser, what is stiled the grace of baptism, upon them. For, as I before quoted from the fame writer, s * It is im
* possible, surely, when we consider to whom we must
* ascribe them, that any such absurd schemes can any.
* longer be supposed, that we can ever imagine, that the 1 great author and finisher of our faith should have con-»
* trived us an irrational one, to be afterwards superseded,
* or even confirmed by a rational one.'
And as Mr. Mole very justly observes from the 6 fame author, * If any should be so unhappy, as to be trained 'up in this method,' "and Upon notice from his sureties "of the condition, they had ingaged him in, should u think of appealing, or making any further search for *« the certainty of that knowledge, in which he had been "instructed, and positively refuse to stand to what they "had done in his name, til) they had laid the grounds "and reasons of their proceedings before him to his satis44 faction," 4 or he had inquired into them for that pur
* pose; he would be so far from deserving the odious cha
* raster of a perverse apostate, that he must truly be look4 ed upon, as in great measure a stranger to Christi4 anity till he had done so: his so doing would be a ne
* cessary step to his becoming a real or rational Christian j * and it is not those, who do this, but those who do not, 4 who are in danger of deserving the character of aliens 4 from the faith of Christ; tho' not perhaps of receiving
* it from some certain quarters.'
I readily agree with this sentiment of Mr. Mole's, and think the passage very applicable to the members of his own church, as well as to those of other Fædobaptists, to whom he has not only given the greatest encouragement for their reformation, by taking upon them a rational prosession of Christianity with the baptized churches, upon the true scripture plan, free from all human mixtures: but hath also enforced the fame with the strongest motives, to prevent any hesitation about forsaking those respective congregations, into which their parents had them rantized or sprinkled; and has furnished th«m with very cogent G reasons,
reasons, why they should absolutely renounce such education principles, such an human, unscriptural and unchristian method of gathering churches, or making Christians, as a necessary step to their becoming real or rational Christiam. And hereby they will be Jo far from deserving the odious character of perverse apostates, that according to -him they must truly be looked upon, as in great measure, strangers to Christianity, till they have done so, and are in danger of deserving the character of aliens from the faith of Christ. But notwithstanding all this, I find such a thorough reformation is never to be hoped for, nor in the least expected to proceed from himself and his brethren, or from any such ministers, because he assures us, t4 They,
* who prosess even a true religion, originally built uponra
* tional grounds, and have themselves established it on a 4 different foundation, and have led the people into a belief
* of it on that false bottom, are likely to be for keeping the
* rational grounds of it out of their sight; lest coming to 4 the knowledge of them they should see the absurdity 4 and hurtful consequences, of having religion stand up4 on any foot but its own.' [Whether Mr. Mole speaks this of his own knowledge and experience, 1 shall not pretend tofay: but as he further observes] * The truly rational and scrip
* tural method of propagating faith is very different from
* this, it cannot be interested in, or justly answerable for 4 the absurdities, it is chargeable with. Training up 4 children, as God fays Abraham would his, to do justice
* and judgment; or as" Solomon speaks, in the way they
* Jhould go; or as St. Paul exhorts, in the nurture and
* admonition of the Lord; is a quite different thing from
* training them up in the belief of doctrines, which are
* commanded to be assented to, or the practice of rites,
* which are commanded to be observed by any civil or
* church law whatsoever.' [either in England, Scotland, tr Rome.]
And the reasons, why we must not expect so much good, nor hope for such a reformation from their ministers, seem to be assigned in p. 76; where he honestly consesses, that4 since Christianity has been established under human
* forms, with the sanction and authority of civil laws,
* and a clergy has been settled as a principle part of such
* religious establishments; the plan of religion has been 4 greatly altered, and the work of its ministers greatly en
* larged. By this means desending the rights of those,
? Ibid p. 71: