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dard, it must look like a strange medley to tack to them,—That he was a weak beggar of his question ; a supposer of what was proved ; taking for granted the point in controversy; inconsistent with himself ; ridiculously contradicting his own arguments." These expressions, which Mr. Williams speaks of as tacked to those honorable epithets, he represents as expressions which I had used concerning Mr. Stoddard : and his readers that have not consulted my book, would doubtless take it so from his manner of representation. Whereas, the truth is, no one of these expressions is used concerning Mr. Stoddard anywher: in my book; nor is there one disrespectful word spoken of him there. All the ground Mr. Williams had to make such a representation, was, that in arguments against my opinion I endeavored to show them to be weak (though I do not find that I used that epithet), and certainly for one to pretend to answer arguments, and yet allow them to be strong, would be to show himself to be very weak. In answering some of these arguments, and endeavoring to show wherein the inconclusiveness of them lay, I have sometimes taken notice that the defect lay in what is called begging the question, or supposing the thing to be proved. And if I had said su concerning Mr. Stoddard's arguments, speaking of them as his, I do not know why it should be represented as any personal reflection, or unhandsome, dishonorable treatment of him. Every inconclusive argument is weak; and the business of a disputant is to show wherein the weakness lies: but to speak of arguments as weak, is not to call men weak. All the ground Mr. Williams has to speak of me as saying that Mr. Stoddard ridiculously contradicted his own arguments, is, that in p. 11, citing some passages out of Mr. Stoddard's Appeal, I use these words: “But how he reconciled these passages with the rest of his treatise, I would modestly say, I must confess myself at a loss.” And particularly I observed, that I could not see how they consist with what he says, p. 16, and so proceed to mention one thing which appears to me not well to consist with them. But certainly this is not indecently to reflect on Mr. Stoddard any more than Mr. Williams indecently reflects on the FIRST REFOXMERS, in his answer to Mr. Croswell, p. 74, 75, where speaking of their doctrine of a particular persuasion as of the essence of saving faith, he says, “they are found inconsistent with themselves, and their doctrine lighter than vanity." And again, p. 82, "if ever (says Mr. Williams) any men were confuted from their own concessions, these divines are." And more to the like purpose. Which gives me a fair occasion to express the like wonder at him, as he does at me, p. 131, but I forbear personal reflections.
Mr. Williams, in the same page, has these words : “And to say, that all unsanctified men do profess and seal their consent to the covenant of grace in the Lord's supper, when they know at the same time they do not consent to it, nor have their heart at all in the affair, is something worse than begging the question.” That is, as I suppose (the same that he charged me with before), telling a manifest untruth. By which he plainly suggests that I have said thus. Whereas I nowhere say, nor in any respect signify, that I suppose all unsanctified communicants do KNOW that they do not consent to the covenant of grace. I never made any doubt, but that multitudes of unsanctified communicants are deceived, and think they do consent to it.
In p. 132, he says of me, “ The author endeavors to show, that the admitting unsanctified persons tends to the ruin and reproach of the Christian church; and to the ruin of the persons admitted.” But how widely different is this from what I express in the place he refers to! Inq. p. 121. That which I say there, is, that “ by express liberty given, to open the door to as many as please, of those who have no visibility of real saintship, and make no profes
sion of it, nor pretension to it, is a method which tends to the ruin and great reproach of the Christian church, and also to the ruin of the persons admitted.” I freely grant, and show abundantly in my book, it is never to be expected, that all unsanctified men can be kept out, by the most exact attendance on the rules of Christ, by those that admit members.
In p. 136, Mr. Williams, wholly without grounds, speaks of me as representing, that “unconverted men make pretension to nothing but what God's enemies have, remaining in open and avowed rebellion against him.” Whereas, I suppose that some natural men do profess, and profess truly many things, which those have not, who are open and avowed enemies of God. They may truly profess that sort of moral sincerity in many things belonging to morality and religion, which avowed enemies have not: nor is there any sentence or word in my book, which implies or intimates the contrary.
In p. 141, Mr. Williams evidently insinuates, that I am one of those who, “if men live never so strictly conformable to the laws of the gospel, and never so diligently seek their own salvation, to outward appearance, yet do not stick to speak of them, and act openly towards them, as persons giving no more public evidence, that they are not the enemies of God and haters of Jesus Christ, than the very worst of the heathen.” But surely every one that has read my book, every one that knows my constant conduct, and manner of preaching, as well as writing, and how much I have written, said and done against judging and censuring persons of an externally moral and religious behavior, must know how injurious this representation of me is.
Instances of the second thing mentioned as exceptionable in Mr. Williams's Method
of managing this controversy, viz., his misrepresenting what is said in the writings of others, that he supposes favors his opinion.
Perhaps instances enough of this have already been taken notice of; yet I would now mention some others.
In what he says in reply to my answer to the eighth objcction, he says, p. 108, “Mr. Stoddard does not say, if sanctifying grace be necessary to a person's lawful partaking of the Lord's supper, then God would have given some certain rule, whereby those WHO ARE TO ADMIT THEM, may know whether they have such grace, or not.” Mr. Williams there intimates (as the reader may see) as if Mr. Stoddard spake so, that it is to be understood disjunctively, meaning he would either have given some certain rule to the church who admit them, or else to the persons themselves : so that by one means or other, the Lord's supper might be restrained to converted men. And he exclaims against me for representing as though Mr. Stoddard's argument were concerning a certain rule, whereby those who are to admit them, may know whether they have grace (see the foregoing page), and speaks of it as nothing akin to Mr. Stoddard's argument. Now let the reader take notice of Mr. Stoddard's words, and see whether his argument be not something akin to this. He says expressly, hopeal, p. 75, “ God does not bind his CHURCH to impossibilities. If he had made such an ordinance, he would give gifts to his church, to distinguish sincere men from hypocrites, whereby the ordinance might have been attended. The minor is also evident : he has given no such rule to his CHURCH. whereby it may be restrained to converted men. This appears, because by the rule they are to go by, they are allowed to give the Lord's supper to many unconverted men. For all visible signs are common to men converted, and unconverted.” So that Mr. Stoddard in fact does say, “ If sanctifying grace be necessary to a person's lawful partaking of the Lord's supper, then God would have given some certain rule, whereby the church (those who are to admit them), may know, whether they have grace, or not. Though Mr. Williams denies it, and says, this is nothing akin to Mr. Stoddard's argument; contrary to the plainest fact.
In p. 99, Mr. Williams, replying to my answer to the sixth objection, misrepresents Mr. Hudson, in the following passage. “ This [i. e., baptism], says Mr. Hudson, makes them members of the body of Christ. And as for a particular, explicit covenant, besides the general, imposed on churches, I find no mention of it, no example nor warrant for it in all the Scripture.” Here Mr. Williams is still manifestly endeavoring to discredit my doctrine of an explicit owning the covenant of grace ; and he so manages and alters Mr. Hudson's words, as naturally leads the reader to suppose that Mr. Hudson speaks against this: whereas, he says not a word about it. What Mr. Hudson speaks of, is not an explicit owning the covenant of grace, or baptismal covenant ; but a particular church covenant, by which a particular society binds themselves explicitly, one to another, jointly to carry on the public worship. Mr. Hudson's words are, p. 19, “I dare not make a particular, explicit, holy covenant to be the form of a PARTICULAR church, as this description seemeth to do; because I find no mention of any such covenant, besides the general imposed on churches, nor example nor warrant for it in all the Scripture.” And then afterwards Mr. Hudson says, “But it is the general covenant sealed by baptism, and not this, that makes them members of the body of Christ.” Mr. Williams, by citing distant passages in Mr. Hudson, and joining them, in his own way, by particles and conjunctions, which Mr. Hudson does not use, and leaving out These words—To be the form of a particular church, as this description seemeth to do-quite blinds the mind of his reader, as to Mr. Hudson's true sense, which is nothing to Mr. Williams's purpose. Mr. Hudson says not a word here against, or about an express or explicit covenanting, or owning the covenant, in my sense : but in other places, in the same book, he speaks of it, and for it, as necessary for all Christians. Thus, in p. 69, “ There is one individual, EXPRESS, external covenant; not only on God's part, but also it is one external, visible covenant, on men's part; which all Christians, as Christians, enter into, by their PROFESSED acceptance, and EXPRESS restipulation, and promised subjection and obedience; though not altogether in one place, or at one time." He speaks again to the same purpose, p. 100.
Instances of the third thing observed in Mr, Williams's manner of arguing, viz, his
pretending to oppose and answer arguments, by saying things which have no reference to them, but relate to other matters perfectly foreign to the subject of the argument.
Such is his answer (p. 37) to my argument from Isa. Ivi. Particularly from those words, v. 6, 7, “ Also the sons of the stranger, that join themselves to the Lord, to serve him, to love the name of the Lord, to be his servantseven them will I bring to my holy mountain, and make them joyful in my house of prayer,” &c. For I say nothing under that argument (as Mr. Williams in his answer presumes) which supposes any antithesis or opposition here between the state of the Gentiles and eunuchs under the Old Testament, and under the gospel, as to terms of acceptance to God: nor any opposition as to a greater necessity of sanctifying grace, to the lawful partaking of ordinances, under the gospel, than under the law; as Mr. Williams also supposes in his arguings on this head. But the opposition I speak of, as plainly pointed forth in the chapter, is this: that whereas under the law, not only piety of heart and practice were required, but something else, even soundness of body and circumcision, it is foretold, that under the gospel, piety of heart and practice only should be re- ; quired; that although they were eunuchs or uncircumcised, yet if it appeared that they loved the name of the Lord, &c., they should be admitted. ENÝ So when I argued, that Christ, in the latter part of the 7th chapter of Matt. representing the final issue of things, with regard to the visible church in general, speaks of all as being such as had looked on themselves to be interested in him as their Lord and Saviour, and had an opinion of their good estate; though the hope of some was built on the sand, and others on a rock : Mr. Williams, in his reply, p. 40, 41, entirely overlooks the argument, and talks about other things. He says, “ Christ does not fault those that cried Lord, Lord, for entering into covenant, but for not keeping covenant," p. 41. Here he runs back to another thing, relating to another argument, to which this has no reference, which he dwells wholly upon; and says nothing to the argument I use in that place. 6.So in his reply to what I say on the parable of the wheat and tares, p. 98, &c. He has entirely overlooked the argument. He says, to vindicate the objection p. 99, “ Which we think shows us the mind and will of Christ in this matter is, that his servants shall proceed only on certain established rules of his visible kingdom, and not upon any private rules of judging about thein." Whereas, I never said, or supposed, that Christ's servants must not proceed on certain established rules of his visible kingdom, or that they ought to go upon any private rules of judging ; but particularly and largely expressed my mind to the contrary, in my explaining the question : and say, Ing. p. 5, " That it is properly a visibility to the eye of the public charity, and not of a private judgment, that gives a right to be received as visible saints by the public.”. And repeat the same thing again, p. 125.
* And as to what Mr. Williams says in this place about infants being born in the church, it entirely diverts the reader to another point (which I shall hereafter particularly consider) wholly distinct from the subject of the argument; which is about rules of admission in the church, whenever they are admitted. If persons are born in the church in complete standing, as Mr. Williams supposes, then they are not admitted at all, but in their ancestors. But however, the question returns, whether ancestors that are unsanctified, can have a lawful right to come into the church ? Mr. Williams holds they may. The subject of the argument is about bringing in tares into the field, whenever they are brought in, whether sooner or later : and whenever tares have a lawful right, by warrant from Christ, to be in the field ; supposing this to intend the church of Christ. The argument I produced to the contrary was, that the tares were introduced contrary to the owner's design, through men's infirmity, and Satan's procurement. Which argument, being entirely overlooked by my opponent, I desire it may be now particularly considered.
When the Devil brought in the tares, it is manifest, he brought in something that did not belong there; and therein counteracted the owner of the field,
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and did it under that very notion of crossing his design. An enemy (says the parable) hath done this. But how does this consist with the tares having a lawful right, by the owner's warrant and appointment, to have a standing in his field ? It CHRisT by his institution has, in mercy to unsanctified men, given them a lawful right to come into the church, that it may be a means of their conversion; then it is a work of his kindness, as the compassionate Redeemer of souls, to bring them in; and not the doing of the great enemy and destroyer of souls. If the great Physician of souls has built his church, as an infirmary, in compassion to those that are sick, for this end, that they may be brought in and healed there; shall it be said with surprise, when such are found there, How came these sick people here? And shall the compassionate physician, who built the hospital, make answer, An enemy hath done this ? '
Besides, if Christ had appointed that unsanctified men should come into the church, in order to their conversion, it would be an instance of the faithfulness of his servants to bring in such. But the bringing in tares into the field, is not represented as owing to the faithfulness and watchfulness of the servants; but on the contrary, is ascribed to their sleepiness and remissness : they were brought in while they slept, who ought to have done the part of watchmen in keeping them out, and preventing the designs of the subtle enemy that brought them in. Perhaps some would be ready to make the reflection, that those churches whose practice is agreeable to the loose principles Mr. Williams espouses, do that at noonday, in the presence of God, angels and men, which the devil did in the dread of the might, while men slept !
Again, Mr. Williams, in his reply to my argument from that Christian brotherly love, which is required towards aïl members of the visible church, goes entirely off from the argument, to things quite alien from it. His first answer, p. 69, is, that “ the exercise of this Christian love is not the term of communion or admission into the visible church ;” which is perfectly foreign to the business. For the argument respects the object of this love, viz., visible saints that are to be thus beloved ; and not at all the qualifications of the inherent sub ject of it, or the person that exercises this love. If they that are admitted, are to be loved as true saints, or for the image of Christ appearing in them, or supposed to be in them (as Mr. Williams allows, p. 68), then it will follow that none are to be admitted, but such as can reasonably be the objects of Christian love, or be loved as true saints, and as those who have the image of Christ appearing in them. Whether the exercise of this love be the term of communion, or not; yet if we are commanded to exercise this love to all that are admitted to communion, then it will certainly follow, that some reasonable ground for being thus beloved, must be a term of communion in such as are admitted. To suppose it appointed, that we should love all that are admitted as true saints, and yet that it is not appointed that such as are admitted should exhibit any reasonable grounds for such a love, is certainly to suppose very inconsistent apr pointments.*
Mr. Williams's second answer, p. 70, is no less impertinent, viz., “ That men's right to communion in gospel ordinances does not depend upon the corruptions of other men, in their forbearing to love them.” As if my argument
*"The apostles looked on all those, whom they gathered into churches or Christian congregations to eat the Lord's supper, as having the truth dwelling in them; and so they behoved, every one of them, to look upon one another : seeing they could not love one another as brethren in the truth, without acknowledg. ing that truth as dwelling in them. Anl so we see the apostles, in their writings to the churches, supposing all their members objects of this brotherly love. Christ's visible church then is the congregation of those whom the apostle could call the saints and faithful in Christ Jesus."-Glass's Notes on Scripture Texts, Numb. 5, p. 32.