Page images

have an ill affection to him, and are adversaries to his felicity.” Ibid. p. 97. Three Serm. p. 38, 39. “ That they are governed by a spirit of selflove, and are wholly destitute of love to God; that some of them do confess that they have but little love to God; but indeed they have not one spark of love to God in their hearts. Three Serm. p. 48. That they set their interest at the right hand of God's if God's honor were not to be regarded, compared with their interest, &c. &c.Ibid. p. 62, 63.

So Mr. Williams himself(Christ a king and witness, p. 145.) plainly supposes, that before conversion, men love the world more than God. For, speaking of the nature of the change wrought in conversion, he says, “ things are quite turned about, God and Christ are got into the place the world had befote.” Again (Ibid. p. 18.) he says, “ You must know that there is no man who is not either a true subject to Christ, or his enemy. That man who does not submit to Christ as his King and Lord, by bearing true faith and allegiance to him, is the enemy of Christ and his kingdom. Such are all they who will not depend on him, believe in him, give up themselves, and all to him," And again, p. 106, 107, “ Man, since the fall,,has a natural unlikeness to God, and hates the holiness and purity of the divine nature." And in his sermon on Isa. xlv. 11. he says, to his hearers, “ If your nature remain unrenewed and unsanctified-you are the enemies of God and Christ by wicked works, and an impure heart.” But yet now it seems, some of these may profess real friendship to Christ and loving him above the world, and speak true.

And these things are no less inconsistent with what Mr. Williams says in the very book under consideration. He here says, p. 36. “Why should any divine now tell us, that these same professions do not imply that there are any pretences of any real friendship, that they import no pretence of loving God more, yea, not so much as his enemies, no pretence to love God above the world ?" When he himself is the divine that tells us so, or plainly supposes so in this very book of his. For, in p. 8, 9, having mentioned the profession communicants may be required to make, he then says, that U such a profession contains all that is essential to true relig. ion in it; and if this is the fruit of the love of God, it is true godliness :" Plainly supposing, that persons may have these things without the love of God; as the reader will see more evidently if he views the place. So that the profession must imply real friendship, and love to God, even above the world ; and yet must contain only such things as may be with or without the love of God, indiscriminately.

Mr. Williams allows, that in order to come to sacraments men ought to profess a “ subjection to Christ with all their hearts, p. 10, and to be devoted to the service of God, p. 49, and to give up themselves to Christ, to be taught, ruled and led by him in a gospel way to salvation.” P. 31 and 32. And though he and Mr. Stoddard taught, that it is lawful for some unsanctified men to come to sacraments, yet Mr. Wil. liams supposes it to be unlawful for any to come to sacraments serving two masters ; and says, Mr. Stoddard taught that they ought to covenant with God with their whole hearts, and give up all their hearts and lives to Christ.” We are therefore to understand Mr. Williams, that some unsanctified men can profess all these things, and speak true. Strange doctrine for a Christian divine ! Let us see whether Mr. Stod. dard taught such doctrine. He taught that " faith in Christ is the first act of obedience, that any sinner does perform ;

that it is by faith that a man first gives himself to be God's servant.” Safety of Ap. p. 228, 229. That « all those that are not converted, are under the domin. ion of sin, enemies to God.” Ibid. p. 5. That “there is no obedience to God in what they do," who have only common grace ; that “ they do not attend the will of God.” Ibid. p. 7. That “ all ungodly men are servants of Satan, and live in'a way of rebellion against God.” Ibid. 94. That “ they are enemies to the authority of God; to the wisdom, power and justice of God, yea, to the very Being of God; they have a preparedness of heart to all wickedness that is committed in the world, if God did not restrain them ; that if they were in the circumstances that the fallen angels are in, they would be as the very devils ; Ibid. p. 95, that their hearts are like the

hearts of devils, as full of sin as a toad is full of poison, have ing no inclination to any thing that is good.” Guide to Christ, p. 68. see also Benef. of the Gosp. p. 103. That “ they utterly neglect the end they were made for, and make it their bų siness to serve themselves ; they care not whether God's glory sinks or swims.” Three Serm. p. 62. That “they hate God, because God crosses them in his laws.” Ibid. p. 38. These are the men, which Mr. Williams supposes must, and may (some of them) truly profess a subjection to Christ with all their hearts, and to be devoted to Christ ; and the men which he would bear us in hand, that Mr. Stoddard taught, might covenant with God with their whole hearts, and give up all their hearts and lives to Christ. Mr. Stoddard taught, that « Men that have but common grace, go quite in another path than that which God directs to.”—That “they set themselves against the way of salvation God prescribes ;" Safety. p. 10. That “man in his natural state is an enemy to the way of salvation ;” That “ he is an enemy to the law of God, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.” Ibid. p. 106.

But yet these, if we believe Mr. Williams, may truly profess a subjection to Christ with all their hearts, and give up themselves to him, to be taught, ruled, and led by him in a gospel way of salvation. Yet if we believe him, we must have the trouble of disbelieving him again ; for in these things he is as inconsistent with himself, as he is with Mr. Stoddard. For in his Sermon on Isa. xlv. 11, p. 26, 27, he says to those whose natures are unrenewed and unsanctified, “ If you are without Christ, you are in a state of slavery to sin, led about of divers lusts,t and under the reigning power and dominion of your corruptions, which debase your souls and bring them down from the dignity of their nature, to the vilest, most shameful and accursed bondage. And by means of sin ye are in bondage to the devil, the most hateful and accursed enemy of God and your own souls ; and are opposing all the means of your own deliverance. The offers of grace,

+ And yet now it seems, some such do serve but opo master, and give up themselves to Cbrist to be led by him.

the calls and invitations of the gospel have been ineffectual to persuade you to accept of deliverance from a slavery you are willingly held in. Nay you strive against the liberty of the sons of God." And yet some of these are (if we believe what Mr. Williams now says) such as are subject to Christ with all their hearts, give up all their hearts and lives to Christ, and give up themselves to be taught, ruled, and led by him in a Gospel way to salvation.

Mr. Williams, in his sermons on Christ a King and Witnes8, p. 18, under a use of examination is giving marks of trial, says, “ Have you unreservedly given up your souls and bodies to him ? (viz Christ] you must be all Christ's and have no other master. You must be given to him without reserve, both in body and spirit, which are his.” But now it seems these are no discriminating evidences of true piety : He says, p. 118, “ A man naturally hates God should reign." And p. 119, speaking of the natural man, he says, “ He hates to be controled, and in all things subjected to God. ....He really owns no God but himself.” But if so, then certainly he is not subject to God with all his heart.

Our author in the book more especially attended to, says, p. 31, He “ knows of nobody who has any controversy with me in what he calls my loose way of arguing," in my saying, « The nature of things seems to afford no good reason why the people of Chris: should not openly profess a proper respect to him in their hearts, as well as a true notion of him in their heads.". And then in that and the following page, proceeds to shew what respect Mr. Stoddard, and those that think with him, suppose men must profess in order to come to the Lord's supper ; and in p. 33, speaks of such a profession as equally honorable to Christ with a profession of saving grace. And as according to Mr. Williams. no profession, discriminating what is professed from common grace, can be required, so common grace must be supposed to be a proper respect to Christ in the heart. Now let us see what Mr. Stoddard says. “ There is (says he) an opposition between saving and common grace ;....they have a contrariety one to another, and are at war one with the other, and would destroy one the other. Common graces are Lusts, and do oppose saving grace."

Nat. of Sav. Conv. p. 9.) ** Men that are in a natural condition.....such of them as are addicted to morality and religion, are serving their lusts therein. The most orderly, natural men do live an ungodly life ; yea their very religion is iniquity.(Ibid, p. 96, 97.) 66 Their best works are not only sin. ful, but properly sins ; they are acted by a SPIRIT OF LUST in all that they do." ( Saf. of Anp. p. 168.) “Moral virtues do not render men acceptable to God; for though they look like virtues, yet they are Lusts.” (Ibid. p. 81.) Now the question plainly is, whether Lust can be a proper respect to Christ in the heart? And, whether a profession which implies no more in it, be equally honorable to Christ, as a credible profession of a gracious respect to him?


Concerning visibility, without apparent probability:

MR. STODDARD, (Appeal p. 16) says thus : “ Such persons as the apostles did admit into gospel churches, are fit to be admitted into them ; but they admitted many that had not a thorough work of regeneration. Indeed by the rule that God has given for admissions, if carefully attended, more unconverted porsons will be admitted, than converted.”.

This passage I took notice of in my book, where I say, “ I would humbly inquire, how those visible qualifications can be the ground of a rational judgment, that a person is circumcised in heart, which nevertheless, at the same time, we are sensible, are so far from being probable signs of it, that they are more frequently without it, than with it,” &c. This seems to be a terrible thing in Mr. Williams's way, which he strikes at from time to time, and is an impediment, he boggles at exceedingly. One while he pretends, he can give a sufficient answer ; p. 7, 8. At another time he pretends, that I remove the difficulty myself ; p. 12. Then again, in the same VOL. I.


« PreviousContinue »