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such a vast multitude as John baptized are viewed, the admitter should be peremptory in it, that his judgment has not failed so much as in a single instance; the very reverse of what I had expressed. In like manner, Mr. Williams treats the matter from time to time. As in p. 55.“ The thing to be proved from hence is, that the apostles and primitive Christians, not only thought that these persons were Christians, by reason of their external calling, and professed compliance with the call ; but had formed a positive judgment concerning EVERY ONE OF THEM SINGLY, that they were real saints.” Here the expression is plainly used as a very strong one; asimi plying much more than esteeming so great a multitude, when taken in the gross to be generally true saints, and with a manifest design to carry the same idea in the mind of the reader as was before mentioned. See another like instance p. 62.
V. However, my opinion is not represented bad enough yet; but to make it appear still worse, Mr. Williams is bold to strain his representation of it to that height, as to suggest that what I insist on, is a certainty of others' regeneration : Though this be so diverse from what I had largely explained in stating the question, and plainly expressed in other parts of my book, * and also inconsistent with his own representations in other places. For if what I insist on be a probability that may fail once in ten times, as he says it is p. 63, then it is not a certainty that I insist on; as he suggests, p. 141. Speaking of the evil consequences of my opinion, he says, “ the notion of men's being able and fit to determine positively the condition of other men, or the certainty of their gracious estate, has a direct tendency to deceive the souls of men.” So again in p. 69. And he suggests, that I require more than moral evidence, in p. 6, and p. 139.
* In stating the question, p. 5, I explained the requisite visibility, to be some outward manifestation, that ordinarily renders the thing probable. To the like purpose, is what I say in p. 11, and p. 12. And in p. 106, I say ex. pressly. “ Not a certainty, but a profession and visibility of these things, must be the rule of the church's proceeding."
VI. Mr. Williams represents me as insisting on some way of judging the state of such as are admitted to communion, by their inward and spiritual experiences, diverse from judging by their profession and behavior. So p. 7. “If their outward profession and behavior be the ground of this judgment, then it is not the inward experience of the heart." p. 55. “ Which judgment must be founded on something beyond and beside their external calling, and visible profession to comply with it, and to be separated for God : And therefore this judg, ment must be founded, either upon revelation, or a personal acquaintance with their experiences,” &c. In like manner he is abundant, from one end of his book to the other, in representing as though I insitsted on judging of Men by their inward and spiritual experiences, in some peculiar manner. Which is something surprizing, since there is not so much as a word said about relating, or giving an account of experiences, or what is commonly so called, as a term of communion. Mr. Williams (p. 6) pretends to quote two passages of mine, as an evidence, that this is what I insist on. One is from the 5th page of my book. It is true I there say thus, « It is a visibility to the eye of the public charity, and not a private judgment, that gives a persón a right to be received as a visible saint by the public." And I there say, “ a public and serious profession of the great and main things wherein the essence of truo religion or godliness consists, together with an honest character, an agreeable conversation, and good understanding of the doctrines of Christianity, and particularly those doctrines that teach the grand condition of salvation, and the nature of true saving religion ; this justly recommends persons to the good opinion of the public ; whatever suspicions and fears any particular person, either the minister, or some other, may entertain, from what he in particular has observed ; perhaps the manner of his expressing himself in giving an account of his experiences, or an obscurity in the order and method of his experiences, &c.” But the words do not imply, it may be demanded of the candidate, that he should give an account of his experiences to the minister or any body else, as the term
of his admission into the church ; nor had I respect to any such thing: But I knew it was the manner in many places for those who hoped they were godly persons, to converse with their neighbors, and especially with their minister, about their experiences ; whether it was required of them in order to their coming into the church, or no ; and particularly, I was sensible, that this was the manner at Northampton, for whose sake especially I wrote ; and I supposed it the way of many ministers, and people, to judge of others' state, openly and publicly, by the order and method of their experiences, or the manner of their relating them. But this I condemn in the very passage that Mr. Williams quotes ; and very much condemn, in other writings of mine which have been published ; and have ever loudly condemned, and borne my testimony against.
There is one passage more, which Mr. Williams adds to the preceding, and fathers on me, to prove that I require an account of experiences in order to admission ; pretending to rehearse my words, with marks of quotation, saying as follows, p. 6, and as he further explains himself elsewhere ;“ the proper visibility which the public is to have of a man's being a saint, must be on some account of his experience of those doctrines which teach the nature of true saving religion.” I have made long and diligent search for such a passage in my writings, but cannot find it. Mr. Williams says “ I thus explain myself elsewhere :" But I wish he had mentioned in what place.
If there be such a sentence in some of my writings (as I suppose there is not) it will serve little to Mr. Williams's purpose. If we take the word experience according to the common acceptation of it in the English language, viz. a person's perceiving or knowing any thing by trial or experiment, or by immediate sensation or consciousness within himself : In this sense, I own, it may from what I say in my book be inferred, that a man's profession of his experience should be required as a term of communion : And so it may be as justly and as plainly inferred, that Mr. Williams himself insists on a profession of experience as a term of communion ; experience of a deep conviction of a man's undone state with. out Christ ; experience of a persuasion of his judgment and conscience, that there is no other way of salvation ; experience of unfeigned desires to be brought to the terms of the covenant : For such things as these, he says, must be professed : Sop, 75, and in indumerable other places. There is no such thing possible as a man's professing any thing within himself or belonging to his own mind, either good or bad, either common or saving, unless it be something that he finds, or (which is the same thing) experiences, within himself.
I know the word experience is used by many in a sort of peculiar sense, for the particular order and method of what passes within the mind and heart in conversion. And in this sense, Mr. Williams knows I disclaim the notion of making experiences a term of communion. I say he knows it because (in p. 6) he quotes and rehearses the very words wherein I do expressly disclaim it. And I am very large and particular in testifying against it in my book on Religious Affections : A book I have good reason to think Mr. Williams has seen and read, having been thus informed by a man of his own principles, that had it from his mouth. There, in p. 300 and 301, I say as follows: “ In order to persons' making a proper pro. fession of Christianity, such as the scripture directs to, and such as the followers of Christ should require in order to the acceptance of the professors with full charity, as of their society, it is not necessary they should give an account of the particular steps and method, by which the holy Spirit, sensibly to them, wrought, and brought about those great essential things of Christianity in their hearts. There is no footstep in the scripture of any such way of the apostles, or primitive ministers and Christians requiring any such relation in order to their receiving and treating others as their Christian breth. ren, to all intents and purposes; or of their first examining them concerning the particular method and order of their ex. periences. They required of them a profession of the things wrought; but no account of the manner of working was required of them. Nor is there the least shadow in the scripture of any such custom in the church of God, from Adam to the
death of the Apostle John.” To the same purpose again I express myself in p. 302, and in the preface to the book that Mr. Williams writes against, I make particular mention of this book on Religious Affections, wherein these things are said ; and there declare expressly, that when I wrote that book, I was of the same mind concerning the qualifications of communicants that I am of row. But,
VII. To make my scheme still more obnoxious and odious, Mr. Williams once and again insinuates, that I insist on an account of such inward FEELINGS, as are by men supposed to be the certain discriminating marks of grace (so p. 7, and 141) though I never once used the phrase any where in my book. I said not a word, about inward feelings, from one end of it to the other : Nor is any inward feeeling at all more implied in my scheme, than in his. But however, Mr. Williams knew that these phrases, experiences and inward feelings, were become odious of late to a great part of the country; and especially the latter of them, since Mr. Whitefield used it so much : And he well knew, that to tack these phrases to my scheme, and to suggest to his readers that these were the things I professed to insist on, would tend to render me and my scheme contemptible. If he says, though I use not that phrase, yet the things I insist on, are such as are inwardly felt ; such as saving repentance, faith, &c. I answer, these things are no more inward feelings, than the things he himself insists on ; such as a deep conviction of a man's undone state, unfeigned fervent desires after Christ, a fixed resolution for Christ, engagedness for heaven, &c.
VIII. Mr. Williams abundantly, in almost all parts of his book, represents my principles to be such as suppose men to be the SEARCHERS of others hearts. For which I have given no other ground, than only supposing that some such qualifications are necessary in order to communion, which have their seat in the heart, and so not to be intuitively seen by others; and that such qualifications must by profession and practice, be made so visible or credible to others, that others may rationally judge they are there. And Mr. Williams supposes the same thing as much as I. Inp, 111, he expressly speaks