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you; but a stronger title, (if stronger may be,) by the right of a dear purchase, made by no lower a price than his own blood. These obligations, as common equity hath drawn them up, so (with respect to the benefit that would accrue to you hereby,). your own ingenuity hath drawn you on to subscribe and seal them. You have been solemnly devoted unto God and listed a sworn soldier under the banner of your Redeemer. Are you under his pay, and fight against his interest ? Do you wear his livery, and eat his provisions, and expect his reward, and yet spend your time and strength and talents in the service of his mortal enemy? How execrable is the sacrilege of this ingratitude and rebellion! Remember, it will not be long ere the justice of God sends the trumpet of the law, (which will be so much the shriller if it be sounded by the hollow lungs of death,) to give your now-secure conscience a hot alarum. And when you are once awakened with the terror of those dreadful threatenings, you will be amazed at the horror of that apprehension, when you shall behold all those shoals and swarms of sin (you are guilty of) mustered up in their several ranks and files to charge and fight against you, for the momentary and trifling pleasures whereof you have so improvidently forfeited all the comforts of a good conscience and refreshments of the Holy Ghost, with your portion in heaven and your interest in God's favour. In exchange whereof, like a foolish merchant, you have procured nothing but the coals of eternal vengeance and the flames of hell, which the crowds of your condensed sins have thrust wide open, rearly to swallow up and devour you, unless you presently prevent it, by an unfeigned repentance and universal reformation.
Til. Carnalis.--Sir, I beseech you, suffer not your zeal of a holy life to transport you beyond the rule of sacred truth; lest, while you pretend to honour God on earth, you cast re-, proach upon his eternal designs in heaven. I am jealous, Tilenus Infidelis hath so disturbed your passions, that you know not where you are : For you have quite forgotten your Synod and your principles, and (I think) your own name too, and seem to have lost your creed in your commandments. Recollect your senses, and recal your wandering phantasy, and awaken your judgment to consult the oracle of your belief, (your Synod,) and speak accordingly, for “whatsoever is not of faith will be sin" in you. And is it not one of the articles of that creed which
you profess?, that “all the good and evil whatsoever that happens in the world, doth come to pass by the only immutable and ineluctable decree of God, and by his most effectual ordi. nance; that the First Cause doth so powerfully guide and impel all second causes, and the will of man amongst the rest, that they cannot possibly either act or suffer sooner than they do, or in any other manner.” I am sorry I am no more master of myself and my own actions, that I am so divested of my liberty and carry a nature about me so debauched, that I cannot choose but suffer myself to be carried captive under the power of those sins that reign in me: But, my comfort is, I am ássured, by the judgment of such sound Divines as yourself, that the secret will of God (which procured Judas's treason no less than Paul's conversion) hath so decreed it. And you know it is not in my power to procure a writ of ejectment, to cast out that sin which came in and keeps possession by the uncontrollable order of the Divine Predestination. I cannot get grace, when God will not give it me ; nor keep it, when he is pleased to take it away from me. I have no lure to throw out, that the Dove of heaven will vouchsafe to stoop unto. The Spirit blows where He pleases, inspires whom He pleases, retires when He pleases, and returns when He pleases. And so if it comes with an intent to amend me, it will be as impossible then to put him back as it is now to draw him on. It were an intolerable presumption in me, to make myself so much a taska master over the Holy Spirit, as to prescribe him the time and hour when he shall effect that work for me, whereunto I am able to contribute no more than to mine own birth or resurrection. * I can affirm with confidence, I never was so much an Atheist as to entertain the least distrustful thought of the Divine Power. When he hath been four days dead and lies stinking in his grave, Lazarus may be raised; and the more putrid I am in my corruptions, the triumphs of the Divine grace will be so much the more glorious in my restitution; but it may be the last hour of the day with me, before the Dayspring doth thus visit me. In the mean while, to shew my detestation of that arrogant doctrine of the Arminians, I will not strive to do the least endeavour towards piety ; lest, by attributing some liberty to myself, I should eclipse the glory of God's grace, which I acknowledge [to be] as well most free in her approaches, as unresistible in her working. I confess, for the present, my sins have brought such a damp upon my grieved spirit, that he doth not afford me so much grace as to cry, “ Abba, Father!” Nevertheless I can call to mind, I have sometimes heretofore had such heavenly motions and gracious inspirations in my heart, as could be breathed from no other than the Spirit of the Almighty, and hereby there hath been begotten in me a faith in Christ's merits, not only true (which can never be lost,) but so firm also, that I am even now “persuaded nothing shall be able to separate me from the love of God towards me in Christ Jesus.” This faith is rooted in a rock, which all the powers of darkness are not able to root up, though to your present apprehension (for want of the fruits and blossoms of piety and devotion,) it be as trees and herbs in winter, which seem dry, dead, and withered, but are not so. Besides, being one of God's Elect (as every one is bound to believe, according to the doctrine of the Synod of Dort, or is declared “foresworn" by that of Alez,) it follows, by the same doctrine, that my sin, though never so abominable, doth co-operate to my salvation ; yea, and that my pardon is sealed already; and this, Mr. Fatality, you intimate yourself, in your exhorting me to repentance: For repentance (you know) is of no worth without faith, and faith itself is defective except it believes the forgiveness of all sins, past and to come. However, if I be a Reprobate, (which no temptation shall induce me to believe, contrary to my duty, as I am instructed by the doctrine of the Synod,) yet, unless you have a commission to disannul the decrees of heaven, your threatenings and exhortations cannot avail me: but may do me this disadvantage, that they may anticipate my hell-terrors, and beget a worm in my bosom to torment me before the time.
* Atque hæc est illa tantopere in Scripturis prædicata regeneratio, nova creatio, suscitatio e mortuis, et vivificatio, quam Deus SINE .NOBIS in nobis operatur.-Cap. 12, Art. 3 & 40, Synodi Dordracenæ." And this is that regeneration, second creation, raising from the dead and quickening, (so often inculcated in the Holy Scriptures,) which God worketh in us, but not WITH us.”-Old English Translation : Printed by John Bill, 1619,—the very year in which the Synod of Dort was held.
Take-o'-TRUST.- I like it well, you are so fully persuaded of the All-sufficiency of the Divine grace, and that you profess so much averseness to the proud conceits of the Arminians, (not daring to ascribe any thing to your own endeavours,) and that you are so careful to avoid the comfortless suspicion of your being under the state of Reprobation. But I much bewail your dangerous error in one thing, and must endeavour your correction in that, as the most likely foundation of all your practical miscarriages. . Til. CARNAL.—1 beseech you, what may that be? I should be glad to have it discovered to me. · Take-o'-TRUST.–Because (as you argued very well according to the mind of the Synod,) the Holy Spirit doth immediately produce repentance in the sinner's heart, therefore you seem to set light by the ordinance of the word; and this is a very dangerous error in you: For the word (preached especially) with threatenings and exhortations are the means and instruments by which the Holy Ghost worketh, to the conversion and correction of a sinner.
Til. Carnal.-When we take our principles, without any examination, upon the credit of our admired authors, we are apt to embrace their contradictions as points of faith, and their absurdities as parts of our belief. And so it hath happened to yourself in this particular : For you must observe, that that manner of working only is called “immediate” wherein no means do concur. Now, if the repentance and conversion of a sinner be attributed to the immediate working of the Holy Ghost, it implies a manifest contradiction to say, that “exhortations and threatenings are the instruments and means thereof." Besides, the very essence and being of an instrument is placed in the aptitude and fitness which it hath for the use and office to which it is designed : so a knife is a knife, in that respect only
—that the quality and form of its matter give it an aptitude to cut: an eye is therefore an eye, because it is apt to see. So every instrument hath a suitable fitness to that office for the performance whereof it is designed to be an instrument; and therein lies its subserviency to the principal efficient.
TAKE-oʻ-TRUST.-By this very reason I conclude, the ministry of the word to be the means and instrument of the sinner's conversion and repentance: For it is most apt to inform his understanding of his duty, and to quicken his will and affections to pursue and follow the same, i
Til. CARNAL.—Sir, you are much mistaken ; indeed if a moral efficiency would serve the turn, there are most excellent arguments of persuasion to work upon a reasonable creature: But this is the very thing that the Arminians do plead for. Our Synod, and the Divines thereof, teach us otherwise, namely, that “the conversion of a sinner cannot be wrought but by a physical or hyper-physical action; an impression of grace that is irresistible ; to which effect the ministry of the word (as exhortations and commands, promises and threatenings,) can no more avail, (having no more aptitude thereunto,) than to the raising of the dead, or the creation of the world.” · IMPERTINENT.—We do read, at the raising up of Lazarus, and the creation of the world, that “God spake the word and it was done.” (Gen. i, 3, 6.-John xi, 43.)
Til. Carnal.The word that produced those effects, was not the word of exhortation, such as we speak of; no, nor yet that outward word consisting of sound and syllables, which did but signify what God was about to work by his irresistible omnipotency. But it was the word of his power, * which is said to be his Son. † And as there could be no resistance made against that power, exerted and put forth for that creation and resurrection; so your Synod teach us to believe, that “that power, which is employed to effect the conversion of a sinner from the error of his ways, is equally irresistible;" but that the ministry of the word hath no such power or energy, appears too manifestly, in the frequent and almost general contempt and frustration of it. This therefore having no aptitude to such an use or office, (which nothing but an irresistible force can accomplish,) it can with no propriety of speech be said to be the means and instrument thereof.
KNOWLITTLE.—Then you will allow the ministry of the word to be of no use at all in the Church of God.
Til. CARNAL.-One function it hath, and no more, according to the consequence of the Synod's doctrine; it serves for a sign or object, to represent outwardly what the Spirit works inwardly, as well in the will as in the understanding. But, because it is like the raising of the dead and the creation of the world, it requires an omnipotent and irresistible operation ; therefore the Scripture, though it represents and urgeth conversion so many sundry ways, (as by way of command, exhortation, promise, and threatening,) yet, to speak congruously to our principles, it can imply and signify it but as a work of God's, not as a duty