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ers of hearts, even with regard to their moral sincerity; and so argues, p. 106, that Christ might give Judas the sacrament, when not morally sincere. If Christ, as head of the visible church might admit Judas to his table, when he knew he was not morally sincere, and when it was not lawful for Judas himself to come; then it is lawful for men to admit some, for whom it is not lawful to be there; contrary to Mr. Williams's assertion in p. 86.
It is true, that persons may become grossly scandalous, after having been regularly admitted on Mr. Williams's principles, on a profession in words of indiscriminate signification. And so they may, after being regularly admitted, according to my principles, on a credible profession of gospel holiness in words of a determinate meaning : and therefore, the gross wickedness of such apostates as we read of in Scripture, is no more an objection against my principles, than his.
Just in the same manner is Mr. Williams's arguing, p. 59, 60, 61, 62, 63, concerning the members of churches mentioned in the epistles, equally against his own scheme and mine. He largely insists upon it, that the apostle speaks of many of them as grossly scandalous, notoriously wicked persons, idolaters, heretics, fornicators, adulterers, adulteresses, &c. &c. In his arguing from these things, he is inconsistent with his own principles, two ways. (1.) Such a character is as plainly inconsistent with the character he insists on as necessary to render it lawful for persons to come to sacraments, as mine. And, (2.) It is utterly inconsistent with what he often declares to be his notion of visible saintship, necessary to a being admitted by others; so no more an argument against my opinion of visible saintship, than his own.
The great Argument from the Jewish Sacraments, of the Passover and Circumcision,
As has been observed concerning the argument from the Jewish nation, so the argument from the Jewish ordinances, if it be against my scheme, is as plainly, in every respect, against Mr. Williams's.
This grand argument, as plainly expressed, or implied in Mr. Stoddard's words (which Mr Williams insists I should attend to), is this :
God did expressly comınand all the nation of Israel to be circumcised ; and he also expressly commanded the whole nation to come to the passover ; excepting such as were ceremonially unclean, or on a journey. Therefore it was lawful for unsanctified men to come. (See Mr. Stoddard's sermon on the Controv., p. 8, and Appeal, p. 51.) The want of sanctification never was alleged by any man as a reason for forbearing the passover, Appeal, p. 51. Unsanctified persons' attending this ordinance is never charged on them as a sin in Scripture, Ibid. Jesus Christ himself partook of the passover with Judas; which proves it to be lawful for unsanctified men to come to the passover. But such as might lawfully come to the passover, may lawfully come to the Lord's supper.
Now let us consider what are the qualifications, which are necessary, according to Mr. Williams's scheme, to a lawful coming to Christian sacraments; and then see whether this objection, in every part of it, and every thing that belongs to it, be not as plainly and directly against his own scheme, as mine.
According to Mr. Williams, it is not lawful for a man to come, unless he is morally sincere, Pref., p. 2, 3, 21, 25, 30, 35, 36, 111, 115. And, according as he has explained this moral sincerity, which is necessary in order to come to sacraments, it implies “a real conviction of the judgment and conscience of the truth of the great things of religion ; a deep conviction of a man's undone state without Christ, and an earnest concern to obtain salvation by him ; a fervent desire of Christ and the benefits of the covenant of grace, with an earnest purpose and resolution to seek salvation on the terms of it; a man's being willing to do the utinost that he can, by the utmost improvement of his natural and moral power, in the most earnest and diligent use of the ordinances of salvation; being resolved for Christ, coming to a point, being engaged for heaven; having a settled determination of the judgment and affections for God; giving up all his heart and life to Christ, &c. &c."* Such moral sincerity as this is necessary, according to Mr. Williams, to be found in professing Christians, in order to their lawful coming to Christian sacraments. And he says they are received into the church,“ on like terms, by entering into covenant in like manner, as the Jews; and that their holiness, both real and federal, is the same with theirs, p. 56, 57, 61, 65. So that according to this scheme, none but those that had such qualifications as these, such a sincerity and engagedness in religion as this, might lawfully come to the passover. But now do the things alleged agree any better with this his scheine, than with mine? If the case be so, to what purpose is it alleged, that God, in Numb. chap. ix., expressly commanded all of that perverse, rebellious and obstinate generation in the wilderness, and the whole nation of Israel, in all generations, to keep the passover, excepting such as were ceremonially unclean or on a journey, without the exception of any other ? Was every one else of such a character as is above described ? Was every one under deep convictions, and persons of such earnest engagedness in religion, of such settled, strong resolution to give up their utmost strength and all their heart and life to God, &c. ? Mr. Williams suggests, that “those who had not moral sincerity are expressly excepted from the cominand," p. 93. But I wish he had mentioned the place of Scripture. He cites Mr. Stoddard, who says, “God appointed sacrifice to be offered for scandal, with confession.” But where did God appoint sacrifice for the want of such sincerity, for the want of such deep conviction, earnest desire, and fixed resolution, as Mr. Williams speaks of? And where are such as are without these things expressly excepted from the command to keep the passover? And besides there were inany scandalous sins, for which no sacrifice was appointed : as David's murder and adultery, and the sin of idolatry which the nation in general often fell into), and many other gross sins. Nor was there any precept for deferring the keeping of the passover, in case of scandalous wickedness, or moral uncleanness, until there should be opportunity for cleansing by sacrifice, &c., as was in the case of ceremonial uncleanness.
Mr. Stoddard says, “ The want of sanctification was never alleged by any man as a reason for forbearing the passover.” So, where do we read in any part of the Bible, that ever the want of such deep conviction, &c., as Mr. Wiljiams speaks of, or indeed any scandalous moral uncleanness, was erer alleged by any man as a reason for forbearing to eat the passover? Mr. Stoddard urges that unsanctified persons'attending the passover was never charged on them as a sin. And where do we read of persons' coming without such moral sincerity being any more charged on them as a sin, than the other ? We have reason
P 10, 11, 30, 31, 35, 36, 53, 83, 125, and many other places.
to think, it was a common thing for parents that had no such moral sincerity, yea, that were grossly and openly wicked, to have their children circumcised; for the body of the people were often so: but where is this charged as a sin? Mr. Stoddard says (Serin. p. 7), Ishniael was circumcised, but yet a carnal person. And there is as much reason to say, he was not of the character Mr. Williams insists on,“ under deep convictions, having earnest desires of grace, a full and fixed determination, with all his heart, to the utmost of his power, to give his whole life to God,” &c. Mr. Stoddard says (Serm. p. 8), Hezekiah sent to invite the people of Ephraim and Manasseh, and other tribes, to celebrate the passover, though they had lived in idolatry for some ages.” But if so, this was as much of an evidence, that they were not of such a character as Mr. Williams insists on, as that they were without sanctifying grace. Mr. Williams says, p. 91,“ The Israelites had carefully attended the seal of circumcision, from the time of its institution, till the departure out of Egypt.” But surely most of them at the same time were without Mr. Williams's moral sincerity; for it is abundantly manifest, that the body of the people fell away to idolatry in Egypt. See Lev. xvii. 7, Josh. xxiv. 14, Ezek. xx. 8, and xxiii. 3, 8, 27. And there is not the least appearance of any more exception, either in the precepts or history of the Old Testament, of the case of moral sincerity, in such as attended these ordinances, than of ungodliness, or an unsanctified state.
Mr. Stoddard urges that “ Jesus Christ himself partook of the passover, with Judas ;” and thence he would argue that it was lawful for an unregenerate person to partake of the Lord's supper. But there can be no argument, in any sort, drawn from this to prove that it is lawful for men to partake of the Lord's supper without sanctifying grace, any more than that it is lawful for them to partake without moral sincerity : for it is every whit as evident, that Judas was at that time without moral sincerity, as that he was unregenerate. We have no greater evidence, in all the Scripture history, of the moral insincerity of any one man than Judas, at the time when he partook of the passover with Christ; be having just then been and bargained with the high priest, to betray him, and being then in prosecution of the horrid design of the murder of the Son of God.
If any thing contrary to my principles could be argued from all Israel's being required, throughout their generations, to come to the passover and circumcision, it would be this ; that all persons, of all sorts, throughout all Christendom, might lawfully come to baptism and the Lord's supper, godly and ungodly, the knowing and the ignorant, the moral and the vicious, orthodox and heretical, Protestants and Papists alike. But this does not agree with Mr. Williams's principles, any better than with mine.
Concerning Judas's partaking of the Lord's Supper.
I think, we have a remarkable instance of tergiversation, in what Mr. Williams says in support of the argument from Judas's partaking of the Lord's supper. By those on his side of the question, it is insisted upon, as a clear evidence of its being lawful for unsanctified men to come to the Lord's table, that Christ gave the Lord's supper to Judas, when he knew he was unsanctified. In answer to which, I showed, that this is just as much against their own principles, as mine; because Christ knew as perfectly that he was not morally sin. cere, as that he was not graciously sincere ; and they themselves hold, that it is not lawful for such as are not morally sincere, to partake. Mr. Williams ridicules this, as very impertinent and strange; because “ Christ did not know this as head of the visible church, but only as omniscient God and searcher of hearts.” And what does this argue ? Only, that although Judas was really not fit to come, yet inasmuch as Christ, acting as king of the visible church, did not know it, he might admit him: but not that it was lawful for Judas himself to come, who knew his own heart in this matter, and knew his own perfidiousness and treachery; for Mr. Williams denies, that it is lawful for such to come, as have no moral sincerity. So that here the question is changed, from “Who may lawfully come ?" to “ Who may lawfully be admitted ?" Mr. Williams does abundantly, in his book, insist that the question is not,“ Who shall be admitted ? but who may lawfully come?" Not, whether it be lawful to admit those who have not a visibility of saintship, or do not appear to be true saints ? But whether those who are not true saints, may lawfully partake? And this he insists upon in his discourse on this very argument, p. 104. And to prove this latter point, viz., that “ those who are not real saints, may lawfully come,” the instance of Judas's coming to the Lord's supper is produced as an undeniable evidence. But when it is answered, that the argument does not prove this, any more than that the morally insincere may lawfully come; because Judas was morally insincere : then Mr. Williams, p. 106, to shelter himself, dodges, and evidently changes the question at once, to that which he had so much exclaimed against as not the question. Now, to serve his turn, the question is not whether Judas might lawfully come? But, whether Christ might lawfully admit him, acting on a public visibility? And he makes an occasion to cry out of me, as talking strangely, and soon forgetting that I had said, Christ, in this matter, did not act as searcher of hearts. Whereas, let the question be what it will, the argument from Judas's partaking (should the fact be supposed), if it proves any thing relating to the matter, is perfectly and in every respect, against the one, just as it is against the other. If the question be about profession and visibility to others, and whom others may lavofully admit, then Judas's being admitted (if he was admitted) no more proves that men may be admitted without a visibility and profession of godliness, than without a visibility of moral sincerity. For it no more appears, that he was without a profession and visibility of the former, than of the latter. But if the question is not about visibility to others, or who others may admit, but who may lawfully come, then Judas's coming no more proves, that a man may come without grace, than without moral sincerity ; because he was in like manner without both : and Christ knew as perfectly, that he was without the one, as the other ; and was not ignorant of the one case, as king of the visible church, any more than of the other. So that there is no way to support this argument, or to make any thing at all of it; but the only way left is, to hide the question, by shifting and changing it; to have one question in the premises, and to slip in another into the conclusion. Which is according to the course Mr. Williams takes. In the premises, p. 104, 105, he expressly mentions Mr. Stoddard's question, as now in view ; and agreeably must here have this for his question, “ Whether it was lawful for a man so qualified to come to the Lord's supper ?" Who, according to Mr. Williams's own doctrine, p. 111, ought to act as a discerner of his own heart. But in his conclusion, p. 106, he has this for his question, " Whether Christ might lawfully admit a man so qualified,” therein not acting as the searcher of hearts ?- What shuffling is this !
Concerning that great Argument, which Mr. Williams urges in various parts of his
Book, of those being born in the church, who are Children of Parents that are in Covenant.
It is hard to understand distinctly what Mr. Williams' would be at, concerning this matter, or what his argument is. He often speaks of parents that are in covenant, as born in covenant, and so born in the church. (For to be in covenant, is the same with him as to be members of the visible church. See p. 98, 88, 89, 59, 60, 136.) And he speaks of them as admitted into the church in their ancestors, and by the profession of their ancestors, p. 135, 136. Yea, for ought I can see, he holds that they were born members in COMPLETE STANDING in the visible church, p. 3.
And yet he abundantly speaks of their being admitten into the church, and MADE members, after they are born, viz., by their baptism. And his words (unless we will suppose him to speak nonsense) are such as will not allow us to understand him, merely, that baptism is a sign and public acknowledgment of their having been admitted in their ancestors, in preceding generations. For he speaks of baptism as “ the ONLY rite (or way) of admission into the visible church," applying it to the baptism of children; and as that which “MAKES them members of the body of Christ,” p. 99. And he grants, that " it was ordained for the ADMISSION of the party baptized into the visible church," p. 99, 100. That “ baptism is an admission; and that they were thus before admitted," p. 100, still speaking of the baptism of infants, and of admission of members into churches. But surely these things do not harmonize with the doctrine of their first receiving being in the church (as a branch receives being in the tree, and grows in it and from it), or their being born in the covenant, born in the house of God. And yet these repugnant things are uttered as it were in the same breath by Mr. Williams, p. 99. And he joins them together in the same line, p. 46, in these words : “ Baptism instituted by him, as a rite of ADMISSION into his church, and being CONTINUED in covenant with God." Certainly a being then admitted into the church, and a being continued in covenant (or in the church) into which they were admitted before, are not the same thing, nor consistent one with another. If infants are born meinbers in complete standing, as it seems Mr. Williams holds, then their baptism does nothing towards making them members; nor is there any need of it to make the matter more como plete.
Again, in p. 3 (the same page where he speaks of infants as members having a complete standing in the church), he maintains, that nothing else is requisite in order to “ communion and privileges of members in complete standing, but only that they should be capable hereof, and should desire the same, and should not be under censure, or scandalously ignorant or immoral.” See also p. 100, to the same purpose. Mr. Williains says this in opposition to my insisting on something further, viz., making a profession of godliness. And vet he himself insists on something further, as much as I; which has been obseryed before. For he abundantly insists on a personal, explicit profession and open declaration of believing that the gospel is indeed the revelation of God, and of a hearty consent to the terms of the corenant of grace, &c. And speaks of the whole controversy as turning upon that single point, of the degree of evidence to be given, and the kind of profession to be made, whether in words of indiscriminate meaning ? See p. 5, 6. And consequently not, whether they