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and a.credible profession of gospel holiness ;" and since he might not lawfully come without some qualifications he had not, viz. such a friendship for Christ, as is above lukewarmness, and above serving two masiers, Christ and mammon, and a giving up all his heart and life to Christ, and a real determination of his judgment and affections for Christ's word, &c.
22. If it be true, as Mr. Williams allows, that ministers and churches ought not to admit adult persons to sacraments, without a frious character appearing on them, and their professing and exhibiting moral evidence of gospel holiness, then no good argument can be brought against such a way of admis. sion, from the success of ministers in another way, or in any way whatsoever.
Besides these plain and obvious consequences of Mr. Williams's concessions, some of her consequences will hereafter be observed under particular heads.
Thus Mr. Williams has not only abundantly given up the main point in that controversy I have lately been engaged in, and the main point which I have written in defence of; but he has in effect given up every point belonging to the whole controversy, every thing material insisted on through that whole book which he undertakes to answer. He has estab. lished every part of the scheme I have appeared in, and every particular argument I have used to confirm it ; and answered, and overthrown every argument which he brings or pretends to support against it. And I should have no further occasion to say any thing in reply to him, if he had not really through great part of his performance, argued for other things, opposite to those that have been rehearsed, which he so strenuously insists belong to his scheme; which arguing may seem to support another scheme, though nothing akin to his, any otherwise than as his scheme is indeed a mixture of many schemes, one clashing with, and destroying another ; as will appear in the ensuing part of this reply.
The Inconsistence of the forementioned Concessions
with the Lawfulness of unsanctified Persons com- ing to the Lord's Supper, and their Right to Sa
craments in the sight of God.
MR. WILLIAMS in the book under consideration, which he entitles the true state of the question, insists upon it that the question to be debated is the question Mr. Stoddard debated in his dispute with Dr. Mather; in whose scheme Mr. Williams declares himself to be. Mr. Stoddard in his dispute with Dr. Mather asserted, “ that it was lawful for some unsanctified men to come to the Lord's supper, and that they had a right so to do in the sight of God." And he declares that this was the point in dispute between him and Dr. Mather; as in Appeal, p. 20. “That which I am to shew is, that some unsanctified men have a right before God to the Lord's supper.” So Mr. Blake (who is so great an author with Mr. Williams) says, in his treatise on the covenant, p. 244. “ That faith which is the condition of the promise, is not the condi. tion in Foro dei (before God) of a title to the seal.” And there (in the next p.) he insists, that " it is a common faith, that is believed by men not justified," which gives this title. Agree. ably to these things Mr. Williams says (p. 132) some men have " a lawful right to the sacrament without sanctification." Which is the same thing as to say, they have a right in the sight of God. For if they have no right in the sight of God to come to the Lord's supper, then it is not lawful in the sight of God that they should coine.
Here I would lay down this as a maxim;
There is some inward religion and virtue or other, some sincerity of heart, either moral or saving, that is necessary to a right to sacraments in the sight of God, and in order to a lawful coming to them. No man, I trust, will say, that a man has a right in God's sight, who has no sort of serious
ness of mind ; and that merely outward sounds and motions, give him this right in God's sight, without regard to any property or quality of mind, and though this outward shew is joined with the most horrid and resolved secret irreligion and wickedness. Mr. Williams in particular utterly disclaims such doctrine as this in 3d and 4th pages of his preface, and always maintains that in order to men's lawful coming, they must be morally sincere; as there in his preface, and also in p. 25, 27, 30, 35, 111. In p. 115, he supposes, that if a inan makes a doubt of his moral sincerity, no divine will advise him to come until he knows.
Having observed this, I now desire it may be considered, whether it be reasonable to suppose, as Mr. Williams does, that God would give men that are without grace, a lawful right to sacraments, so that this qualification itself should be nothing necessary to a proper and rightful claim to these ordinances ; and yet that he would wholly forbid them to come, and others to admit them, without their making some pretence to it, and exhibiting moral evidence that they have it : That moral sincerity is the qualification which by God's own appointment invests persons with a lawful right to sacraments, and that by his institution nothing more is requisite to a law, ful right ; and yet that he has commanded them not to come, nor others to allow them to come, without making a profession of something more than moral sincerity, as Mr. Williams says. Mr. Williams supposes that God requires us, before we admit persons, to seek credible evidence of true piety, and to see to it that we have reasonable ground to believe they have it; otherwise, not to allow them to come : And yet that God does not look on such a qualification requisite in itself, when all is done, and that he has given them as true and lawful a right to come without it, as with it. If God insists upon it, as Mr. Williams supposes, that members should be admitted under no other notion than of their being truly godly, and from respect to such a character appearing on them, is it not plain, that God looks on such a character in itself requisite, in order to a persons's being a rightful subject of such a privilege ? If the want of this qualification does not in the least hinder a
person's lawful right to a thing, on what account can the want of an appearance of it and pretence to it, warrant and oblige others to hinder his taking possession of that thing?
That we should be obliged to require a credible pretence and evidence of the being of a thing, in order to a certain purpose, the being of which is not requisite to that purpose ; or that some evidence of a thing should be necessary, and yet withal no necessity there should be any foundation of such evidence, in the being of the thing to be made evident ; that it should be necessary for us to seek evidence that something is true, and yet there be no need in order to the intended purpose, that there be any such truth to be made evident ; If these things are the dictates of common sense, I am willing all that are possessed of any degree of common sense should be judges.
If God has plainly revealed, that gospel holiness is not nec.essary in itself in order to men's lawful right to sacraments, as Mr. Williams greatly insists, then his churches need not believe it to be necessary ; yea, it is their duty to believe that it is not necessary, as it is their duty to believe what God says to be true. But yet Mr. Williams holds, that God forbids his churches to admit any to sacraments, unless they first have some rational cvidence obliging them to believe that they have gospel holiness. Now how palpable is the inconsistence, that we must be obliged to believe men have a qualification in order to our suffering them to come, which yet at the same time we need not believe to be necessary for them to have in order to their coming, but which God requires us to believe to be unnecessary ? Or in other words, that God has made it necessary for us to believe or suppose men are truly pious, in order to our lawfully allowing them to take the sacraments, and yet at the same time requires us to believe no such thing as their being pious is necessary in order to their lawfully taking the sacraments ?
Mr. Stoddard (whose principles Mr. Williams in preface, p. 3, declares himself to be fully established in) not only says, that some unsanctified men have “ a right before God to the Lord's Supper," but strongly asserts, over and over, « that they are Fit to be admitted to the Lord's Supper, that they are DULY QUALIFIED, FIT MATTER for church membership,” (Appeal, p. 15, 16) and Mr. Williams argues that such qualifications as some unsanctified men bave, are SUFFICIENT 10 bring them into the church.” Now if it be so, what business have we to demand evidence or a pretence of any thing furTher? What case in the world can be mentioned parallel to it, in any nation or age ? Arethere any such laws or ruşulations to be found in any society, nation, city or family, civil society, military or academic, stated society or occasional, ihat the society should be required to insist on some credible pretence and evidence of a certain qualification, in order to persons being adınitted to the privileges of the society ; prohibiting their being admitted under any other notion than as persons possessed of that qualification, or without a respect, in their admission, to such a character appearing on them : And yet at the same time, by the laws of that very society, or the head of it, that qualification is not necessary ; but persons are declared, without any such qualification, to have a LAWFUL RIGHT, to be Fit MATTER, to be DULY QUALIFIED, and to have SUFFICIENT qualifications to be admitted to these privileges, without that qualification ?
If some men have a right in the sight of God to sacraments, without true piety, and are fit, and duly qualified without it, in his sight, and by his institution, and yet the church must not admit them unless they are truly pious in their sight; then the eye of man must require higher terms, than the infinitely holy eye of God himself; they must look for something that the eye of God looks not for, and which he judges them duly qualified without.
Mr. Williams when speaking of the evidence, on which hc supposes the church ought to judge persons to be real saints, from time to time adds, that on such evidence “ the church is obliged, in their external carriage, to treat them as saints, and admit them to the external privileges of the church." So p. 9, 12, &c. p. 13 and 14, and in other places. But what does he mean by treating them as saints, in admitting them to the external privileges of the church ? If sinners have as much