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heaven, and they judge in the room of Christ. 1 Cor. v. 4, 5. 2 Cor. ii. 11. Whom the church casts out, and bids depart to satan, Christ doth. Whom the church receives to itself, Christ doth. We should receive in none but such as have visible right to Christ, and communion of saints. None have a right to Christ in his ordinances, but such as shall have communion with Christ at his coming to judge the world. Hence, if we could be so eagle-eyed as to discern them now that are hypocrites, we should exclude them now, as Christ will, because they have no right. But that we cannot do; the Lord will therefore do it for his churches. But yet let the churches learn from this to do what they can for the Lord now. The apostle gives a sad charge, Heb. xii. 15. Look diligently, lest a root of bitterness grow up. The apostle doth not say, it is no matter what roots you set in Christ's garden; only when they spring up, and begin to seed and infect others, then have a care of them but look there be not a root there.-Look diligently to it.—It is ill counsel to the gar dener to say, Have a care to weed your garden; but it is no matter, God looks not that you should be careful of your seed, so long as it be seed. Nay, the Lord that forbids me to suffer weeds to grow, forbids my carelessness in sowing what seeds I please. It is the judgment of some divines, that the first sin of Adam and his wife, was in suffering the serpent to enter into the garden, uncalled for. The ruin of a church may be the letting in of some one ill member.
Objection. But the primitive church never received in any with such strict confessions, and large examination; three thousand in a day were admitted.
'Ans. I remember a godly divine, in answering an objection of late repentance from the example of the thief; having whipt it with many other rods, at the last lasheth it with this, it is an extraordinary case; and hence not to be brought in for an ordinary example. Hence he speaks thus; when therefore the time comes that Christ shall come and be crucified again, and thou one of the thieves to be crucified with him, and it fall out that thou be the best of the two, then shalt thou be saved by Christ, that despising Christ now, puts off thy repentance till then; so I say here, there is somewhat
imitable and ordinary in the apostle's example, in admitting three thousand in a day, but something unusual, and far different from our condition now; and therefore that I would say, when the time comes, that the spirit is poured out on all flesh; and that time is known to be the spring-tide, and large measure of the Spirit, when ministers are so honoured as to convert many thousands at a sermon; and so God and reason call for quickness; when elders of churches are as sharpsighted as the apostles, when the conversion of men also shall be most eminent, and that in such places where it is death, or half hanging, to profess the Lord Jesus; as that they shall be pricked at their hearts, gladly receive the word, lay down their necks on the block, cast down all their estates at the church's feet, out of love to God's ordinances; when men shall not have Christian education, the example and crowd of Christians, from the teeth outwardly, to press them to the door of the church, as those times had not; then, for my part, if three hundred thousand were converted, I should receive them as gladly, and as manifestly, as they receive Christ. But truly there is such little takings now, that we have leisure enough to look upon our money, and the hypocrisy of the world gives us good reason to stay and see.' Mr. Shepard's sermons on the parable, &c. part 2. p. 184, &c. This sermon was preached at Cambridge, near Boston, about the year 1640, and so about. 130 years ago, ten years after they began to settle Boston, by one of the most godly and most celebrated ministers then in the country, a few years before his death. And this passage shows us the spirit of the godly in New-England, in those early days. And to all godly people in the country, the name of Mr. Shepard is precious to this day, and Mr. M. knew it; and therefore, to keep himself in countenance, thinks fit to bring in him as a friend to his external covenant. But is not this an extraordinary method? To omit the rest, we will mention but one instance
6. Another extraordinary method Mr. M. takes to support his scheme, is to bring arguments against us, built on principles which he himself does not believe to be true; and which, if they were true, would infallibly overthrow his own
scheme. Nay, and persist in such arguments, after their fallaey has been pointed out, without saying one word in excuse for such a piece of conduct.
Thus he insists upon it, that if infants may have the seal of the covenant without saving grace, then also may the adult. And therefore, saving grace is not needful to qualify any one for sealing ordinances. And therefore, the covenant to be sealed, is not the covenant of grace, but an external covenant, distinct from the covenant of grace,' which only requires, as a necessary qualification for sealing ordinances, that sinners should be under such convictions,' as to come to a fixed resolution to forsake all known sin, and practise all known duty.' But have all infants these convictions, and such a fixed resolution? Does be believe they have? Is there any evidence of it? No; he does not believe they have. Nor is there any evidence, that there ever was one infant since the world began, that had these convictions, and such a fixed resolution. What then does Mr. M. mean? Does he mean to give up infant baptisın? no, by no means. What then does he mean? Odd as it is, he means to confute our scheme by an argument which confutes his own; i.e. by an argument, built on a principle which he himself does not believe to be true, viz. That the same qualifications are necessary in infunts as in the adult, to qualify them for baptism. For Mr. M. does not believe this principle to be true. For he does not believe that infants need any qualification at all. And yet he does believe that the adult must have some qualification. Now how extraordinary is it, for a man of learning to conduct thus ; and to go on and persevere in this conduct without a blush, or the least excuse, in the sight of all the country, after the absurdity had been pointed out before his eyes, in my former book, p. 64, 65, 66.
And thus again, he insists upon it, that if saving grace is necessary, then no man can with a good conscience join with the church, without assurance, an assurance equal to that certainty which we have of facts, which we see with our own eyes, and to the truth of which we can give oath before any civil court. p. 78, 79. But ninety-nine in a hundred of true believers' are destitute of this assurance, he says, (p. 80.)
and therefore, saving grace is not needful. Nothing more is needful, than to come to a fixed resolution to forsake all known sin and practise all known duty. But does Mr. M. believe that no man can, with a good conscience, join with the church, without being thus infallibly certain that he has the requisite qualifications? for on the supposed truth of this proposition is his argument built. But does Mr. M. believe this proposition? does he teach his people to believe it? had all his church-members this high degree of infallible assurance, that they had the requisite qualifications, when they joined with the church? and have they the infallible assur ance every time they attend sealing ordinances; an assurance equal to that certainty, which they have, that they ever saw the sun shine! That they are come to a fixed resolution to forsake all known sin, and practise all known duty? Does he insist upon it in his public preaching, and in his private instructions, that without this high degree of assurance, without this infallible certainty, they cannot with a good conscience come to baptism or to the Lord's table? that they are guilty of gross prevarication, and double-dealing with God,' if they do? p. 82. Because no man ought to come without this infallible certainty, that he has the requisite qualifications : I say, does Mr. M. believe these things himself? or does he teach them to his own people? I appeal to his conscience. I appeal to his people, for my witnesses. Mr. M. does not believe that men must have this infallible certainty, that they have the requisite qualifications, in order to attend sealing ordinances with a good conscience. Nor does he teach this doctrine to his people. What then does he mean, in all he says upon this subject to us? Why, he means to confute our scheme, by an argument built on a principle which he does not believe to be true; and which, were it true, would effectually overthrow his own scheme. And all this, after the fallacy of this manner of reasoning had been pointed out before his eyes, as clear as the sun, in Mr. Edwards' last piece on the sacramental controversy, to which no answer has ever been made. Now is it not extraordinary, that a man of so good sense, should urge against us arguments built on principles which he himself does not believe; and which, if
they were true, would effectually overthrow his own scheme? For no unregenerate man in this world is, or ever was, or ever will be, while such, infallibly certain, as he is of what he sees with his eyes, that his resolution to forsake all known sin, and practise all known duty, is fixed,' so that his religion will not prove like that of the stony and thorny ground hearers. For if the common protestant doctrine of the saints' ance is scriptural, yet Mr. M. does not believe the doctrine of the perseverance of graceless sinners, in their religious resolutions, is taught in scripture. So that there is no possible way in which an awakened sinner can be certain that his resolution is fixed,' without an immediate revelation from heaven, to give him this assurance. But Mr. M. does not believe, that an immediate revelation from heaven ever was, or ever will be, made for this purpose. But he well knows, that without any such revelation, Peter was able to say, Lord, thou knowest all things, thou knowest that I love thee. And he well knew that the saints in the apostolic age are spoken of, without exception, as having received the spirit of adoption, whereby they cried Abba, Father ; with an assurance that they were the children of God. Rom. viii. 14, 15, 16. Nor is there one instance, among all the apostolic converts, that can be mentioned, of a doubting saint. Nor does it appear, by the acts of the apostles, or by their epistles, but that' assurance did in those days attend the first acts of faith among all their converts.' See Acts ii. 41–47. and viii. 39. and x. 44 -47. and xvi. 30-34. For, to use the apostolic language,
Being justified by faith, they had peace with God, and rejoiced in hope of the glory of God: because the love of God was shed abroad in their hearts by the Holy Ghost." Rom. v. 15. And they knew that they had passed from death to life. 1 John iii. 14. And this renders the conduct of Mr. M. so much the more extraordinary, that he with so much zeal, should push an argument, which, were it well grounded, is much more against his own scheme than it is against the apostolic practice. For it does not appear but that their converts universally knew that they were passed from death to life. Whereas it is capable of full proof, that no one unregenerate man ever did know that his religious resolutions.