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must not only be endowed with Christian piety in appearance; but that they must be so in profession. P. 3, 41, 44, “ That they make a shew of being wise virgins by the nature and purport of their profession.” P. 42, And he insists with great strenuousness, over and over, upon its being their scheme, “ that they ought to make a profession of real saintship." P. 132, Yea, he holds, that there must be not only some visibility and profession of real piety, but moral evdence of it, p. 139. He often uses notes of distinction, distinguishing between moral sincerity, and real piety; and insists much upon it as belonging to their scheme; that there must be a visibility of the latter, as thus distinguished from the former. So, he rejects with great contempt any suggestion of its being the scheme of my opposers, that moral sincerity is that saintship, which is to be professed and made visible; and in distinction from this, he asserts, that it is real holines8, p. 4, and 5. And again p. 35, he uses a note of distinction, and insists that the opposers of my opinion hold, that communicants must make a profession of something more than common grace and moral sincerity.” And again p. 139, he uses notes of distinction or discrimination, and says, that " they must exhibit a credible profession of gospel holiness, and NOT MERELY of moral sincerity ; and says, it is not the visibility of moral sincerity, but the moral evidence of gospel sincerity, which God's word makes the rule of judging." And as he holds,that communicants must profess gospel holiness,so he seems to suppose that these professors must judge this of themselves ; several things he says, seem plainly to imply it. This appears evidently implied in that interrogation put by Mr. Williams p. 35, “ Mr. Stoddard rightly supposes all visible saints who are not truly pious, to be hypocrites ; and the scripture supposes and calls them so too : But will it
church without any notion of their being godly, or any respect to such a character appearing on them, be unaccountable. By these things it is evident, Mr. Stod. dard's scheme was far from being what Mr. Williams represents it to be, and pretends to maintain as his. And if the question he had to controvert with me, were Mr. Stoddard's question, as he asserts, yet he greatly mistakes the true state of the question, though that be given as the title of his book,
therefore follow, that all hypocrites know they are so ?" And he in effect asserts, “ that men should look at such a qualifi. cation, as sanc:ifying grace, in themselves, and inquire whether they have it, or no, in order to determine whether they should present themselves to gospel ordinances :" For he greatly finds fault with me for suggesting, as if those of a different opinion from me supposed, that persons have no manner of need to look at any such qualification in themselves, or at all inquire, whether they have it, in order to present themselves to sacraments. He refers to that passage in my book p. 55. “ I cannot conceive what should move Philip to utter those words, or what he should aim at in them, if he at the same time supposed that the Eunuch had no manner of need to look at any such qualification in himself, or at all to inquire whether he had such a faith, or no, in order to determine whether he MIGHT present himself as the subject of baptism.” It is plain the qualification I have respect to, is grace, or saving faith. And so Mr. Williams himself understands me ; as appears by his reflections, p. 49. Where, after quoting this passage, he consigns me over to another judgment, for suggesting that my opposers hold what I had there expressed, and for “ representing the matter, as if they looked on it as no matter whether a person coming to gospel ordinances had any GRACE or no, and that he had no manner of need to inquire any thing about his sincerity."*
# Now let all who have been acquainted with the controversy between me and my people at Northampton, consider these things, which Mr. Williams earnestly insists do belong to his scheme; and judge whether they be agreeable to the scheme which my opposers there have so vehemently and long contended for ; yea, whether they are not very opposite to it; or whether in these things Mr. Williams has not intirely yielded up, yea, vehemently asserted the chief things concerning which they contested with me; and so, whether he has at all helped their cause by writing his book, or rather, on the contrary, has fought against thein,
Some of the plain consequences of the foregoing
concessions of Mr. Williams.
1. If it be as Mr. Williams says, that " The church ought to admit none to their holy communion, in special ordinanc.. es, but visible saints, and that this visibility must be such as to a judgment of rational charity, makes them appear as real saints, and those that are admitted must be such as profess real saintship, gospel holiness, in distinction from moral sincerity ;” then the whole of my first argument, from the nature of a visibility and profession of Christianity, is allowed by him, in both premises and consequence. And indeed Mr. Williams does this not only consequentially, but he is express in it. In p. 4, taking notice of this argument, he says, “ The sense and force of it wholly lies in this compass; A visible saint is one that to the view, appearance and judgment, of the church, is a real saint ; and since none but visible saints are 10 be admitted by the church, therefore none are to be admitted but such as appear to the view and judgment of the church to be real saints." But these things, which Mr. Williams himself allows as the sum of the argument, both premises and consequence, are expressly allowed by him in what there follows.
2. If there must be a visibility and profession of real piety in distinction from moral sincerity, so that it can be truly said, as Mr. Williams says with discretive terms, and notes of discrimination, that “ NOT MERELY the one must be professed, BUT the other; and that MORE than moral sincerity must be professed,” &c. Then it follows (or rather it is the same thing) that men must profess religion with some discrimination or marks of difference in their words, distinguishing what is professed from moral sincerity ; contrary to what Mr. Williams strenuously and frequently asserts. (P. 6, 9, and many other places) For if the profession is made in worde Vol. I.
that signify no difference, then nothing different is signified or professed by those words; and so nothing MORE ; contrary also to what Mr. Williams also asserts.
3. If it be as Mr. Williams says, that “ The scripture has determined Rone ought to be admitted but such as make an open profession and declaration of an hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace, such as covenant with God with their whole hearts, and profess gospel holiness ;” Then the whole of my second argument, concerning explicit covenanting with God, is expressly allowed, in both premises and consequence; though Mr. Williams seems at the same time with so much labor and earnestness, to militate against it. For the prenuises are, that all ought openly and explicitly to own God's covenant, or consent to the terms of it : This is the same thing that he asserts as above. And the consequence, or thing which I inferred from it, was, that all that are admitted ought to make a profession of real Godliness : And this also he expressly and often allows.
4. Since it is supposed, that in order to admission, men ought to profess real friendship to Christ, and love to him above the world, and to firofess a proper respect to Christ in their hearts, as well as a true notion of him in their heads ; and that they ought to profess gospel holiness, and not merely moral sin. cerity : Therefore the whole of what belongs to my third argument, is allowed, both premises and consequence. The premises were, that the nature of things affords as much reason for professing a proper respect to Christ in the heart, as a true notion of him in the head : This he allows. What I endeavor to infer from hence, was, that therefore men ought to profess true piety, and not moral sincerity only : And this is also allowed by him.
5. It appears that the whole of my fourth argument, both premises and consequence, is allowed. The premises were, that the scripture reckons all visible saints who are not truly pious, to be hypocrites : This Mr. Williams expressly allows, p. 25. The consequence I inferred, was, that visible saints are such as make a profession of true godliness, and not moral sincerity only: This also is very fully allowed by him, p. 139.
6. Since it is supposed, that when Christ's rules are attended, they that come to sacraments, do not know themselves to be hypocrites, but must look at such a qualification in themselves, as grace, and make such a pretence and profe88 gospel holiness ; Therefore all is in effect allowed, that I endeavored from the Jatter part of the 7th chapter of Matthew, which was to shew that professing Christians in general, all those that said Lord, Lord, both those that built on the sand, and those that built on a rock, were such as imagined themselves to have a saving interest in Christ, and pretended to be his real disciples, and made such a profession. The same was what I endeavored .to shew from the parable of the ten Virgins. And therefore all that I argued from thence is in like manner allowed.
7. Hence in vain is all the opposition Mr. Williams makes to what I allege from the Acts of the Apostles, from chap. ii. from the story of the Eunuch, and other parts of that book, .concerning the manner and circumstances of the admission of members into the primitive Christian church, and the profession they made ; seeing he grants the main point I endeavored to prove by it, viz. That they did make, and all adult persons that are admitted into the church, must make a profession of something more than moral sincerity, even gospel holiness.
8. Hence, in vain is all he says in opposition to my eighth argument, taken from the manner of the apostles treating and addressing the primitive churches in their epistles ; since he does either expressly or virtually grant each of those three things, which he himself reckons up as the sum of what I intend under that argument, viz. (1.) “ That the apostles speak to the churches, and of them, as supposing and judging them to be gracious persons. (2.) That the members of these churches had such an opinion of themselves. (3.) That they had this judgment one of another." Mr. Williams allows all these. He abundantly allows and asserts, that the members of churches, are such as are supposed and judged, and rationally judged, to be gracious persons, by those that admit them; that they are taken in under that notion, and from respect 10 such a character appearing on them ; and that they are rationally judged to be so by their fellow Christians ;