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and apply it unto all particulars, it must needs be very false. And I am confident, you dare not avouch the truth of it in such a latitude; or, if you dare, you are no more able to maintain it than I can believe these two contrary propositions at once, “that Jesus Christ died for All," and yet “that he died for a very small number.”—(2) It is not the judgment of my charity, but the certainty of my faith, that must give me assurance and comfort in this particular.-(3) Charitable judgment is a fair standard to measure the doubtful actions of our neighbour by, and commands us to cover his infirmities and stifle the too light conception of suspicions and sinister opinions touching him, but binds us not to preach falsehood to him, to induce him (against his own reason) to foster too good an opinion of himself.—When I see a man present himself to the holy Sacrament, the judgment of charity persuades me, (knowing nothing to the contrary,) that he addresses himself to it with that preparation of heart that becomes a good Christian. But that “such as are rightly prepared and qualified, do partake thereof to their salvation,”—this I believe by the judgment of faith, which admitteth nothing that is or can be false. So when I see a sick man render his soul up, with much devotion and resignation, into the hands of Christ, I believe charitably, “that he, dies as becomes a faithful Christian.” But, “ that God communicateth his salvation to such as die in the profession and obedience of the right faith,”—this I believe by the certainty of faith ; wherein it is impossible I should be deceived, though the judgment of charity deceives us very often.-In a word, the judgment of charity is a good standing measure betwixt man and man; but it is not current betwixt man and his own conscience, much less betwixt him and God. I know, I am not to be relieved but by such succours as are levied upon the Divine promises ; and those promises having their foundation and infallibility in the undeceivable truth of God, they require such a certainty of faith as will admit no mixture of any thing false or doubtful. Besides, when I do enquire which act of faith hath the priority, viz. “ to believe in Christ," or “to believe Christ to be my Saviour," (in particular) I am taught by some of your Divines, (Maccovius by name,) that I “must, in the first place, believe that Christ is my Saviour, and that is the cause of the other act,” or the reason why I place my faith in him. Now if Christ died only for a few particular
hough the incoment of charity not current be
persons, and if all the promises (made in him) belong to those few only, unless I could find some mention of my name amongst them, or could receive some revelation from heaven to that effect, how can I with any certainty or assurance build my faith upon it, that I am one of them?
Take-o'-TRUST.-We are bound to think, every one is of the number of the Elect, till it appears to the contrary. · Til. Tent.—This is but singing the old note over again. This is still your judgment of charily; which, though it suppresseth all suspicion in you towards me, yet can it not cure those fears and jealousies which I have (but with too great reason) conceived of myself. As for your appearances to the contrary, I cannot understand them, much less set any value upon them: For “ by such outward things,” the Synod is ready to tell us, “we can never perceive any thing of what belongs to the state of Election or Reprobation.” I am beholding to you, that, waving the severity of your reason, you will make use of a charitable supposition to flatter me into an opinion that I am one of that "little flock” for which Christ died. But there is nothing can secure and comfort me, but a full and certain persuasion that I am one of them; which you will never be able to work in me, denying that Christ died for all, unless you can find some particular and undeniable evidence of my interest in him.'
INDEFECTIBLE.-You should reflect upon your former experience of God's gracious work in you. That Spirit of adopa tion sent out into the hearts of God's Elect “to bear witness to their spirits,” though he may become silent, and not speak peace to them in such an audible language of comfort as is always apprehended by them, yet “abides with them for ever.” Spiritual, enjoyments are different from these outward and carnal ones: We may lose their taste and relish, as to sensible refreshment ; but not their real presence, as influencing to'salvation.
Til. TENT.—Some comfortable apprehensions might be awakened and kindled in those bosoms that have been warmed with such sweet and heavenly experiences, if they were not all overcast and darkened again by other black and dismal clouds, which the observation of some of your greatest Divines have spread over them. For Mr. Calvin himself saith, “ The heart of man hath so many starting-holes and secret corners of vanity and lying, and is clothed with so many colours of guileful hypocrisy, that it oftentimes deceiveth itself. And, besides, experience sheweth, that the Reprobates are sometimes moved with the same feelings that the Elect are, so that in their own judgment they nothing differ from the Elect.”* (Instit. I. 3, chap. ii, sec. 10, 11.) But the truth is, though I have lived a good moral life hitherto, and in a way of duty have had a comfortable dependence upon the mercy of God in Christ Jesus, yet, I am now afraid, I have had none of those extraordinary suavities and refreshments of God's Spirit, and consequently have no assurance of the presence of that Comforter who, it is promised, shall “ abide with us for ever."
KNOWLITTLE.—You are to consider, that all the Elect are not called at the same hour.
Til. Tent.--I should not stand upon the hour; I could be content, that God may take his own time to call me, if you could, in order to my present comfort, insure me that I shall be called, though it be but at the hour of death. But this is that, for [whichy I am afraid you have no grounds.
Take-o'-TRUST.--You may be confident, that Christ is dead for you, and that you have an interest in him, so you can believe it.
Til. Tent.— I would desire to ask but these two questions: (1) Whether this comfort be applicable to all and every sick and afflicted persons ?-And (2) Whether it be grounded upon the truth ? For if it be not to be applied unto ALL, I may be amongst the excepted persons, and so am not concerned in it; or, if it be not grounded upon THE TRUTH, you offer me a delusion instead of comfort.
TAKE-o'-TRUST.--It is applicable unto all and every one, and grounded upon the unquestionable truth of the Holy Gospel.
Til. Tent.-If it be applicable to all and every one, as you affirm, and grounded upon the truth, (that is, as I conceive, a truth antecedent to their believing, then it follows undeniably, that Christ DIED FOR ALL in general and for every one in special, -else how can the comfort of this doctrine be so applied to them, as you would have it?-But if your meaning be, that it will become true to me or to any other person “that Christ died for us,” by that act of faith which you would have me or any such other person give unto your speeches,then
See Heb. vi, 4, 5,
you run into a manifest absurdity, maintaining, “that the object of faith, or the thing proposed to be believed, doth receive its truth from the act of the believer, and depend upon his consent;" whose faith and approbation can no more make true that which in itself is false, than make false by his unbelief that which in itself is true. Well may the infidel deprive himself of the fruit of Christ's death ; but he cannot bring to pass, by his unbelief, that Christ hath not suffered it as a proof of his love to mankind. On the other side, the believer may receive benefit from the death of Christ; but his act of faith doth not effect, but necessarily suppose that death as suffered for him, before it can be exercised about it or lay hold upon it. Nay, my believing is so far from procuring Christ's death for me, that, on the contrary, our great Divines do maintain, quod nemo unquam fidem habeat, nisi morte et meritis Christi procuratam, “that I cannot have faith, unless it be procured for me by the merits and death of Christ.” And because I cannot find this faith in me, I may conclude, He hath not procured it for me, and consequently that He hath not died for me, neither : And this, you know, is the ground of all my trouble.
Dr. DuBrus.-Sir, I wish you to take heed of that “evil heart of unbelief,” as the Apostle calls it; (Heb. iii.) and to that end remember the words of our Saviour, “He that believeth on the Son, hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son, shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him.” (John iii, 36.)
Til. Tent.--Sir, instead of lending me a clue to guide me out of that maze of difficulties into which the prodigious divinity of the Synod hath led me, you entangle me much more in it. For whereas the Apostle saith, that “God sends strong delusions to such as will not receive the love of the truth, that they may be saved,” (2 Thes. ii,) you, governing your discourse by those principles, would first persuade men to believe a false proposition, when you exhort every man to believe that Christ died for him, which is false according to that doctrine ; and then, having believed this falsehood, they are punished by the spirit of error to believe a lie! I beseech you, which way would you have me turn myself, to get out of these perplexities ? ; having instructed me to believe a doctrine, that turns my obedience into punishment, and makes my following the truth (according to that calculation) the sure way to aggravate my damnation.
For if the Synod saith true, and Christ be not dead for themi that believe not in him, how do they deserve to be punished for not believing that which is false? And those that do obey the commandment and believe in his death, (though but for a time,) why suffer they the punishment due only to the refractory and incredulous, which is to believe a lie ?
KNOWLITTLE.—Sir, you must not think to beguile us with your “vain philosophy.” We are too well established in these saving truths, to be perverted by such sophistry.
Til.-If you have no better cordials for afflicted consciences, nor firmer props to support the necessity of your ministry, than what the doctrines of the Synod will afford you, I am afraid the most vulgar capacities will find logic enough to conclude, from the premises, that your office is altogether useless and impertinent. Laying aside therefore the person of the Infidel, Carnal, Tepid, and Afflicted, whose parts I have hitherto acted, to make a practical trial of the efficacy of your ministry upon them, according to the tenor and consequence of those doctrines, I beseech you sadly to reffect upon what hath already passed betwixt us; and consider further what a vertiginous spirit presided in that Synod, that led those Divines (maugre all the reason to the contrary,) to deny some things which the scripture expressly doth affirm, and to affirm other things which the Scripture doth as expressly deny.—They deny the universality of the merits of Christ's death, which the Scripture abundantly proclaimeth; and yet they do exhort and enjoin all men, upon peril of damnation, to believe in him,--as if the Author of all truth did not only allow, but also command, some men to believe falsehood.—They exhort and command every one to believe “that he is elected to salvation,” (though indeed he be a very reprobate,) and “ that he cannot lose faith and grace once received,” which the Scripture in express terms denieth. And as the denial of Christ's universal redemption takes away all the solid ground of comfort, so the asserting Cofy the Saints' indefectibility overthrows the necessity of exhortation, with the usefulness of promises and threatenings to enforce it. For who will value such admonitions, * when he is instructed to believe, that he can never be so far wanting to the grace of God, nor harden his heart, nor fall from his standing, so far as
* Harden not your hearts, take heed lest ye fall, receive not the grace of God in vain.