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and are to be admitted under that notion, and with respect to such a character appearing on them ; yet he holds at the same time, that the Lord's supper is a converting ordinance, an ordinance designed for the bringing of some men that have not such a character, to be of such a character, p. 14, 15, 35, 83, 100, 101, 126, 127. It is evident that the meaning of those divines who speak of the Lord's supper as a converting ordinance, is not merely that God in his sovereign providence will use it as an occasion of the conversion of some; but that it is a converting means by his institution given to men, appointing them to use it for this purpose. Thus Mr. Stoddard expressly declares, “That the Lord's supper is INSTITUTED to be a means of regeneration (Doct. of Inst. Churches, p. 22). INSTITUTED for the conversion of sinners, as well as the confirmation of saints, Appeul, p. 70, 71. That the direct end of it is conversion, when the subject that it is adininistered unto stands in need of conversion,” Ibid. p. 73, 74. And thus Mr. Williams, after Mr. Stoddard, speaks of the Lord's supper “as by Christ's APPOINTMENT a proper means of the conversion” of some that are unconverted, p. 100, 101. So he speaks of it as instituted for the conversion of sinners, through p. 126 and 127.
Now if so, what need of men's being to rational charity converted already, in order to their coming to the Lord's supper? Is it reasonable to suppose God would institute this ordinance directly for that end, that sinners might be converted by it; and then charge his ministers and churches not to admit any that they had not reasonable ground to think were converted already ? Mr. Williams, in p. 83, supposes two ends of Christ's appointing the cominunion of the Christian church; “ that such as have grace already should be under proper advantages to gain more, and that those who have none, should be under proper advantages to attain grace." But this ill consists with other parts of his scheme. If a king should erect a hospital for the help of the poor, and therein has two ends; one, the nourishing of such as are in health, and the other, the healing of the sick; and furnishes the hospital accordingly, with proper food for the healthy, and proper remedies for the sick : but at the same time charges the officers, to whom he commits the care of the hospital, by no means to admit any, unless it be under a notion of their being in health, and from respect to such a qualification in them, and unless they have reasonable ground, and moral evidence, to induce them to believe that they are well. And if this pretence should be made to justify such a conduct, that the hospital was indeed designed for the healing of the sick, yet it was designed to confer this benefit only on such diseased people as were hypocrites, and made a profession and pretence of being in health ; will any man presume to say, that such a conduct is agreeable to the dictates of the understanding of rational beings? And to suppose, that such should be the conduct of the infinitely wise God, is as unscriptural, as it is unreasonable. We often read in God's word, of men's being convinced of their wickedness and confessing their sins, as a way to be healed and cleansed from sin. But where do we read of men's pretending to more goodness than they have, and making a hypocritical profession and show of goodness, in order to their becoming good men ?* Where have we a divine institution, that any who are wolves should put on sheep's clothing, and so come to his people, that
Mr. Williams, p. 42, owns, that persons must make a “profession wherein they make a show of being wise virgins," in order to come into the visible Church. And, p. 35, he owns, that “all visible saints who are not truly pious, are hypocrites.” Again, it may be observed, he abundantly insists, that men who have no more than common grace and moral sincerity, may lawfully come to sacraments; and yet by what he says, p. 35, they must profess more. So that men who have no more must profess more ; and this, it seems, according to divine institution! Again he says, p. 35, that one end God designed hy appointing men to be brought into the Church is, that through divine grace, they might effectually be
they may believe them to be sheep, and under this notion receive them into the fock, to the end that they may truly become of his sheep?
But to examine this matter, of the Lord's supper being a converting ordinance to ungodly men professing godliness, a little more exactly. If Christ has appointed the Lord's supper to be a converting ordinance to some such as these, then he has appointed it either only for such of them as are mistaken, and think themselves godly when they are not; or he has appointed it not only for such, but also for such as are sensible they are ungodly.
If the former, if it be appointed as a converting ordinance only for such as are mistaken, and think themselves godly, or converted; then here is an institution of Christ, which never can, in any one instance, be made use of to the end for which he has appointed men to use it. It cannot be made use of for this end by those who admit members, and adıninister the ordinance. For they, as Mr. Williams says, must admit none but such as they are bound by the rule of Christ to look upon as godly men already, and to administer the sacrament to them under that notion, and with respect to such a character. Neither can it be made use of to such a purpose by any of the communicants. For by the supposition, they must be all such as think they are converted already, and also come under that notion. So that by this scheme of things, here is an institution appointed to be upheld and used in the church, which the institution itself makes void and impossible. For, as was observed before, the notion of a converting ordinance has not a reference to any secret decree of God, how he in his sovereign pleasure will sometimes use it. But to his institution given to men, appointing the end for which they should use it. Therefore, on the present supposition, the institution appoints the Lord's supper to be used in some cases for the conversion of sinners, but at the same time forbids its being either given or received under any other notion than that of the coinmunicant's being converted already : which is in effect to forbid its being either given or received for the conversion of the communicant, in any one instance. So that the institution effectually destroys and disannuls itself. But God forbid, that we should ascribe any such inconsistent institutions to the divine Head of the church!
Or if the other part of the disjunction be taken, and it be said, the Lord's supper is appointed for the conversion of some that are sensible that they are ungodly or unconverted, the consequence is no less absurd, on Mr. Williams's principles. For then the scheme is this. The institution requires some men to make a pretence of real piety, and to make a public, solemn profession of gospel holiness, which at the same time they are sensible they have none of; and this, to the end that others may look upon them to be real saints and receive them to the Lord's supper under that notion. Not putting on a disguise, and making a show of what they have not, through mistake, but doing it consciously and wilfully, to the honor and glory of God. And all this strictly required of them, as the instituted means of their becoming real saints, and the children of God.
Mr. Williams says, p. 14, “ Since it is God's will, that his church should admit all such visible saints-(viz., such as he had been speaking of), it follows that the Lord's supper is a converting ordinance to such of them as are unconverted.” But Mr. Williams is mistaken as to his consequence. The Lord's supper is not instituted to be a converting ordinance to all unconverted men, whom it is God's will the church should admit. For it may be the church's duty, and so God's will, to admit those that live secretly in the grossest wickedness, as adultery, buggery, deism, &c. Such men as these may make a fair profession, and the church may be ignorant of their secret wickedness, and therefore may have no warrant to reject them : but yet it will not follow, that God by his institution has given such a lawful right to the Lord's supper, having appointed it to be a converting ordinance to them.
brought to Christ, "to give him the whole possession of their hearts ;" and yet in the very next paragraph, p. 35 and 36, he speaks of it as unlawful for men to come to sacraments till they "give up all their hearts io Christ."
The Notion of moral Sincerity's being the Qualification which gives a lawful Right to
Christian Sacraments, examined.
Though our author disdains the imputation of any such notion, as that of men's being called visible and professed saints from respect to a visibility and profession of moral sincerity: yet it is manifest, that in his scheme ( whether consistently or no, others must judge) moral sincerity is the qualification which entitles, and gives a lawful right, to sacraments. For he holds, that it is lawful for unsanctified men who have this qualification, to come to sacraments; and that it is not lawful for them to come without it. Therefore I desire this notion may be thoroughly examined.
And for the greater clearness, let it be observed what sincerity in general is. Now sincerity, in the general notion of it, is an honest conformity of some profession or outward show of some inward property or act of mind, to the truth and reality of it. If there be show or pretence of what is not, and has no real existence, then the pretence is altogether vain; it is only a pretence, and nothing else : and therefore is a pretence or show without any sincerity, of any kind, either moral or gracious.
'I now proceed to offer the following arguments against the notion of moral sincerity's being the qualification, which gives a lawful right to sacraments.
I. There is no such thing as moral sincerity, in the covenant of grace, distinct from gracious sincerity. If any sincerity at all be requisite in order to a title to the seals of the covenant of grace, doubtless it is the sincerity which belongs to that covenant. But there is only one sort of sincerity which belongs to that covenant ; and that is a gracious sincerity : the covenant of grace has nothing to do with any other sincerity. There is but one sort of faith belonging to that covenant; and this is saving faith in Jesus Christ, called in Scripture unfeigned faith. As for the faith of devils, it is not the faith of the covenant of grace.
Here the distinction of an internal, and external covenant, will not help at all; as long as the covenant, of which the sacraments are seals, is a covenant of salvation, or a covenant proposing terms of eternal salvation. The sacraments are seals of such a covenant: they are seals of the New Testament in Christ's blood, Matt. xxvi. 28, Luke xxii. 28, a testament which has better promises than the old, Heb. viji. 6, and which the apostle tells us, “makes us heirs of the eternal inheritance,” Heb. ix. 15. Mr. Williams himself speaks of the covenant sealed in baptism, as “ the covenant proposing terms of salvation," p. 23. So he speaks of the covenant entered into by a visible people, as the covenant" in which God offers everlasting happiness," p. 24, 25. But there is no other religion, no other sincerity, belonging to this covenant of salvation, but that which accompanies salvation, or is saving religion and sincerity. As it is written, Psal. li. 6, “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts."
There is such a thing, as what may be called a moral sincerity, in distino
tion from saving, in many moral things; as in loving our friends and neighbors, in loving our country, in choosing the Protestant religion before the Popish, in a conscientious care to do many duties, in being willing to take a great deal of pains in religion, in being sorry for the commission of such and such acts of wickedness, &c. But there are some duties, which, unless they are done with a gracious sincerity, they cannot be done at all. As Mr. Stoddard observes, Safety of Ap. p. 216, “ There are some duties which cannot be done but froin a gracious respect to God.” Thus there is but one sort of sincerity in loving God as God, and setting our hearts on him as our highest happiness, loving him above the world, and loving holiness above all the objects of our lusts. He that does not do these things with a gracious sincerity, never really doth them at all : he that truly does them, is certainly a godly man; as we are abundantly assured by the word of God. So, there is but one sort of sincere and cordial consent to the covenant of grace, but one sort of giving all, our hearts to Jesus Christ; which things Mr. Williams allows to be necessary, to come to sacraments. That which a man's heart is full of reigning enmity to, he cannot with any reality at all, cordially consent to and comply with : but the hearts of unsanctified men are full of reigning enmity to the covenant of grace, according to the doctrine of Scripture, and according to the doctrine of Mr. Stoddard and Mr. Williams too, as we have seen before. .
However, if there were any such thing, as being heartily willing to accept Christ, and giving all our hearts to Christ, without a saving sincerity, this would not be a complying with the terms of a covenant salvation. For it is self-evident, that it is only something which is saving, that is a compliance with the terms of salvation. Now Mr. Williams himself often allows (as has been observed) that persons must comply with the terms of the covenant of grace, in order to come to sacraments. Yet because he also in effect denies it, I shall say something further in confirmation of it.
(1.) The sacraments are covenant privileges. Mr. Williams calls them so, p. 5. Covenant privileges are covenant benefits, or benefits persons have a right to by the covenant. But persons can have no right to any of the benefits of a covenant, without compliance with its terms. For that is the very notion of the terms of a covenant, viz., terms of an interest in the benefits of that covenant. It is so in all covenants whatsoever; if a man refuses to comply with the conditions of the covenant, he can claim nothing by that covenant.
(2.) If we consider the sacraments as seals of the covenant, the same thing is evident, viz., that a man can have no right to them without a compliance with the terms. The sacraments are not only seals of the offer on God's part, or ordinances God has appointed as confirmations of the truth of his covenant, as Mr. Williams seems to insist, p. 74, 75. For considered merely as seals and confirmations of the truth of the gospel, they are (as miracles and other evidences of the Christian religion) seals equally given to Christians, Jews, Deists, moral and vicious, and the whole world that knows of them. Whereas, it is manifest, in the nature of the thing, sacraments are seals of the covenant to be applied to the communicant, and of which he is the immediate subject, in a peculiar manner, as a party in covenant. Otherwise what need would there be of his being one of God's covenant people, in any sense whatsoever ?
But now it is not reasonable to suppose, that the seal of the covenant belongs to any man, as a party in the covenant, who will not accept of and comply with the covenant. He that rejects the covenant, and will not comply with it, has no interest in it: and he that has no interest in the covenant, has no right to the seals : for the covenant and its seals go together. It is so in all covenants among mankind; after a man has come into a bargain proposed and offered by afiuther, yielding to the terms of it, he has a right to have the bargain sealed and confirmed to him as a party in the covenant ; but not before.
And if what the communicant does, be a seal on his part also, as the nature of the thing demonstrates, seeing he is active in the matter, and as Mr. Williams seems willing to allow, p. 75, it will follow, with equal evidence, that a man cannot lawfully partake, unless he yields to, and complies with the corenant. To what purpose is a man's sealing an instrument or contract, but to confirm it as his own act and deed, and to declare his compliance with his part of the contract. As when a servant seals his indenture, it is a testimony and ratification of his compliance to the proposed contract with his master. And if a covenant of friendship be proposed between two parties, and they both put their seal to it, hereby they both testify and declare their mutual friendship.
It has been already observed, that unsanctified men, while such, cannot, with any sincerity at all, testify a present cordial compliance with the covenant of grace : and as they cannot do this, so neither can they with any sincerity promise a future compliance with that covenant. Mr. Williams often allows, that in order to Christian communion men must promise a compliance with the covenant, in its spiritual and saving duties; that they will believe and repent in the sense of the covenant, willingly accept of Christ and his salvation, love him and live to him, and will do it " immediately, henceforward, from this moment," p. 25, 26, 28 and 76. But how absurd is this! When at the same instant, while they are making and uttering these promises, they are entirely averse to any such thing; being “ then enemies to Christ, willingly rejecting him, opposing his salvation, striving against it, laboring to find out all manner of difficulties and hinderances in the way of it, not desiring it should come yet,” &c., which our author, in a place forecited, says is the case with all unsanctified men.
And when unsanctified men promise, that they will spend the rest of their lives in universal obedience to Christ, there is no sincerity in such promises ; because there is not such a heart in them. There is no man but a true disciple of Christ, that is willing thoroughly to deny himself for him, and follow him in a way of obedience to all his commands, unto the end, through all difficulties which Christ has given his followers reason to expect, or cofòmanded them to prepare for; as is evident by Christ's frequent declarations, Luke xiv. 25– 33, Matt. x. 37, 38, 39, chap. xiji. 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 that he conceives of, which is a great deal easier, and less cross to flesh and blood. If 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 with 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 wil. ling 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