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given us in our creation, enabling us unto rewardable obedience. Do this and live,' was the sole rule of our relation unto God. There was nothing in religion originally of that which the gospel celebrates under the name of the grace, kindness, and love of God, whence all our favourable relation unto God doth now proceed, and whereinto it is resolved; nothing of the interposition of a mediator with respect unto our righteousness before God and acceptance with him; which is at present the life and soul of religion, the substance of the gospel, and the centre of all the truths revealed in it. The introduction of these things is that which makes our religion a mystery, yea, a great mystery, if the apostle may be believed; 1 Tim. iii. 16. All religion at first was suited and commensurable unto reason; but being now become a mystery, men for the most part are very unwilling to receive it. But so it must be; and unless we are restored unto our primitive rectitude, a religion suited unto the principles of our reason, which it hath none but what answer that first state, will not serve our turns.
Wherefore, of this introduction of Christ and grace in him, into our relation unto God, there are no notions in the natural conceptions of our minds, nor are they discoverable by reason in the best and utmost of its exercise; 1 Cor. ii. 14. For before our understandings were darkened, and our reason debased by the fall, there were no such things revealed or proposed unto us; yea, the supposition of them is inconsistent with, and contradictory unto, that whole state and condition wherein we were to live to God; seeing they all suppose the entrance of sin. And it is not likely that our reason, as now corrupted, should be willing to embrace that which it knew nothing of in its best condition, and which was inconsistent with that way of attaining happiness which was absolutely suited unto it. For it hath no faculty or power but what it hath derived from that state. And to suppose it is now of itself suited and ready to embrace such heavenly mysteries of truth and grace, as it had no notions of, nor could have, in the state of innocency, is to suppose that by the fall our eyes were opened to know good and evil, in the sense that the serpent deceived our first parents with an expectation of. Whereas, therefore, our reason was given us for our only guide in the first constitution of our natures,
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as mystery, namely, of the introduction to our relation unto nite wisdom had dealon as mere folly, by the en of the world, as the Neither was the faith of world, without an act of in its renovation. And thing more needful to enable mysteries of the gospel in a peoposal of the doctrine therevation of our nature by the wholly renounce that grace ered. Wherefore, reason (as acting on and by its own ines conveyed unto it from its orirupted, is repugnant unto the by Christ into our relation unto eavour, therefore, to reduce the what is declared therein, concernthe grace of God in Christ, unto us of the minds of men, or reason entrance of sin, under the power conceptions of things religious,
state and condition, is to dewe shall see in sundry instances), rejection.
is to keep up doctrinally and prac to the reality and spiritual height naturally do neither understand refore, every attempt to accommoles and inbred notions of corrupt punto many, yea, unto the most. sa men speak and declare, are with ay exercise of faith or prayer, withmination, easily intelligible, and exsense of mankind. But whereas, a stories of the gospel can obtain no ad
mission into the minds of men but by the effectual working of the Spirit of God, Eph. i. 17-19. it is generally looked on as difficult, perplexed, unintelligible; and even the minds. of many, who find they cannot contradict it, are yet not at all delighted with it. And here lieth the advantage of all them who in these days do attempt to corrupt the doctrine of the gospel, in the whole or any part of it; for the accommodation of it unto the common notions of corrupted reason, is the whole of what they design. And in the confidence of the suffrage hereof, they not only oppose the things themselves, but despise the declarations of them as enthusiastical canting. And by nothing do they more prevail themselves, than by a pretence of reducing all things to reason, and contempt of what they oppose as unintelligible fanaticism. But I am not more satisfied in any thing of the most uncontrollable evidence, than that the understandings of these men is no just measure or standard of spiritual truth. Wherefore, notwithstanding all this fierceness and scorn, with the pretended advantages which some think they have made by traducing expressions in the writings of some men, it may be improper, it may be only not suited unto their own genius and capacity in these things, we are not to be 'ashamed of the gospel of Christ, which is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.'
Of this repugnancy unto the mystery of the wisdom and grace of God in Christ, and the foundation of its whole economy in the distinct operations of the persons of the holy Trinity therein, there are two parts or branches,
1. That which would reduce the whole of it unto the private reason of men, and their own weak imperfect management thereof. This is the entire design of the SociBians. Hence,
(1.) The doctrine of the Trinity itself is denied, impugned, yea, derided by them, and that solely on this account. They plead that it is incomprehensible by reason; for there is in that doctrine, a declaration of things absolutely infinite and eternal, which cannot be exemplified in, nor accommodated unto, things finite and temporal. This is the substance of all their pleas against the doctrine of the Holy Trinity, that which gives a seeming life and sprightly vigour to their objections against it; wherein yet under the pretence of the
use and exercise of reason, they fall and resolve all their reasonings into the most absurd and irrational principles, that ever the minds of men were besotted withal. For unless you will grant them, that what is above their reason, is therefore contradictory unto true reason; that what is infinite and eternal, is perfectly comprehensible, and in all its concerns and respects to be accounted for; that what cannot be in things finite and of a separate existence, cannot be in things infinite whose being and existence can be but one; with other such irrational, yea, brutish imaginations; all the arguments of these pretended men of reason against the Trinity, become like chaff that every breath of wind will blow away. Hereon they must, as they do, deny the distinct operations of any persons in the Godhead, in the dispensation of the mystery of grace. For if there are no such distinct persons, there can be no such distinct operations. Now as upon a denial of these things no one article of faith can be rightly understood, nor any one duty of obedience be performed unto God in an acceptable manner, so in particular, we grant that the doctrine of justification by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, cannot stand.
(2.) On the same ground the incarnation of the Son of God is rejected as ἀτόπων ἀτοπότατον, the most absurd conception that ever befel the minds of men. Now it is to no purpose to dispute with men so persuaded about justification. Yea, we will freely acknowledge, that all things we believe about it are yoawdeis μúloι, no better than old wives' tales, if the incarnation of the Son of God be so also. For I can as well understand, how he who is a mere man, however exalted, dignified, and glorified, can exercise a spiritual rule in and over the hearts, consciences, and thoughts of all the men in the world, being intimately knowing of and present unto them all equally at all times (which is another of their fopperies), as how the righteousness and obedience of one should be esteemed the righteousness of all that believe, if that one be no more than a man, if he be not acknowledged to be the Son of God incarnate.
Whilst the minds of men are prepossessed with such prejudices, nay, unless they firmly assent unto the truth in these foundations of it, it is impossible to convince them of the truth and necessity of that justification of a sinner, which
is revealed in the gospel. Allow the Lord Christ to be no other person but what they believe him to be, and I will grant there can be no other way of justification than what they declare; though I cannot believe that ever any sinner will be justified thereby. These are the issues of an obstinate refusal to give way unto the introduction of the mystery of God and his grace, into the way of salvation and our relation unto him.
And he who would desire an instance of the fertility of men's inventions in forging and coining objections against heavenly mysteries in the justification of the sovereignty of their own reason as unto what belongs to our relation unto God, need go no farther than the writings of these men, against the Trinity and incarnation of the eternal word. For this is their fundamental rule in things divine and doctrines of religion, that not what the Scripture saith is therefore to be accounted true, although it seems repugnant unto any reasonings of ours, or is above what we can comprehend, but what seems repugnant unto our reason, let the words of the Scripture be what they will, that we must conclude that the Scripture doth not say so, though it seem never so expressly so to do. Itaque non quia utrumque Scriptura dicat propterea hæc inter se non pugnare concludendum est; sed potius quia hæc inter se pugnant, ideo alterutrum a Scriptura non dici statuendum est,' saith Schlichting. ad Meism. def. Socin. p. 102. Wherefore, because the Scripture affirms both these (that is, the efficacy of God's grace and the freedom of our wills), we cannot conclude from thence, that they are not repugnant; but because these things are repugnant unto one another, we must determine, that one of them is not spoken in the Scripture; no, it seems, let it say what it will. This is the handsomest way they can take in advancing their own reason above the Scripture, which yet savours of intolerable presumption. So Socinus himself, speaking of the satisfaction of Christ, saith in plain terms; 'Ego quidem etiamsi non semel sed sæpius id in sacris monumentis Scriptum extaret, non idcirco tamen ita prorsus rem se habere crederem, ut vos opinamini; cum enim id omnino fieri non possit, non secus atque in multis aliis Scripturæ Testimoniis, una cum cæteris omnibus facio; aliqua, quæ minus incommoda videretur, interpre