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were fixed,' so that his goodness should not be as the morning cloud and as the early dew, which quickly passeth away. Besides, we are naturally as conscious of our volitions and affections, as we are of our speculations; and therefore we are as capable of knowing what we choose and love, as what we believe and therefore, we may as well know that we love God and Christ, if we really do, as know that we have right speculative ideas of the true and real character of God and Christ, and of the doctrines of revealed religion, in which they are exhibited. Many are confident they believe aright, who are heretics; and many are confident they love aright, who are hypocrites: and yet this hinders not but that true saints, who believe aright, and love in sincerity, may know it: and know the one as well as the other. And it cannot be proved, but that there are as many who have doubts about the truth of Gospel doctrines, as there are that have doubts about the sincerity of their love to Gospel doctrines. It cannot be proved, that there is one professor who doubts the sincerity of his love, who has an infallible assurance which is the right scheme of religion, among all the schemes in vogue. It is very evident, that there is a great degree of scepticism among the professors of Christianity in this age, and as much among the learned as among the unlearned; as is obvious to every one who is acquainted with books and men. And, for aught that appears, it might be as difficult to find men who believe Christianity to be true, real Christianity I mean, to that degree as to have no doubts about what is truth; as to find men that love it, so as to have no doubts about their love. This is certain, that it was the constant doctrine of Mr. Stoddard, that no unregenerate man does know the Gospel to be true, as every one knows who is acquainted with his writings. And it is also certain, that in the apostolic age, it was the universally received doctrine of the whole Christian church, that whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ, is born of God. 1 John v. 1. And it was in that age believed, that the unregenerate, however they might, for a time, believe and rejoice; yet neither their faith, nor their affections, were fixed,' because they had no root in themselves and therefore in time of temptation they would

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fall away from both. Mat. xiii. And therefore, if we open the door wide enough to let in the unregenerate, as such, into the church, we must not insist on their being 'fixed' what to believe, or fixed' what to do; for there is no root in them. Much less must we affirm, that they must be infallibly certain' that they are fixed,' when, if the bible is the word of God, it is infallibly certain, that they are not 'fixed.' And their very confidence, that they are fixed,' is a full proof that they do not understand and believe the Gospel, which declares that they are not fixed,' that they have no root in themselves.

But to return:



Our author says, (p. 79.)" If it is a real gracious state, that gives us a real right to join with the church; then it is a known gracious state that gives us a known right.' And he adds, This is a self-evident proposition.' And this he says in order to prove, that no man can, with a good conscience, make this profession, without as certain a knowledge of the gracious state of his own heart, as he must have of any particular fact about which he is called to give an evidence in a civil court.' But if this argument is conclusive, then his own scheme is overthrown. For, turn the tables, and the argument stands thus:


"If it is real orthodoxy, that gives us a right to join with the church; then it is known orthodoxy, that gives us a known right." And I may add, this is a self-evident proposition.' And therefore, according to Mr. M. "no man can with a good conscience, join with the church, without as certain a knowledge of his orthodoxy, as he must have of any particular fact about which he is called to give an evidence in a civil court." So then, according to Mr. M. unregenerate, graceless men, must be as certain which of all the various schemes of religion in vogue, in the Christian world, is the right one, as they are of any fact which they see with their eyes, to the truth of which they can make oath; or they cannot, with a good conscience, join with the church. i. e. they must have as high a degree of infallibility as the apostles had under inspiration, or they cannot, with a good conscience, join with the church. But does Mr. M.

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believe this? Does he look upon his graceless, conscientious church-members, as infallible as the apostles?

To say, that real orthodoxy is not a requisite qualification, is to give up his own scheme.. To say, that although real orthodoxy is a requisite qualification, yet a degree of infalli bility, equal to that which the apostles had under inspiration, is not necessary to qualify a man, with a good conscience, to join with the church, is to give up his argument. For the apostles were not more certain, which was the orthodox scheme of religion, than we are of facts, which we see with our eyes, and which we can swear positively, that we did see. And our certainty must be equal to this, he says, or we cannot, with a good conscience, join with the church. Every conscientious, graceless church-member, therefore, according to Mr. M. is as infallible, in points of orthodoxy, as was the apostle Paul. But does Mr. M. believe this? No, by no means. What then does he mean? Why, he means to confute our scheme, by an argument built on a principle which he himself does not believe to be true; and which, were it true, would overthrow his own scheme,



Ojection. But I know that I believe such and such doctrines; yea, I can swear I believe them.

Answer. You can swear that you believe your own creed; but can you swear that your own creed is orthodox? For not a confident belief, but real orthodoxy is, according to Mr. M. a requisite qualification to church-membership. Thereføre, according to him, you must be certain that your creed is orthodox even as certain as you are of facts which you see, and to the truth of which you can make oath before the civil magistrate; which is a degree of certainty equal to that which the apostles had under inspiration.



The Arians, the Socinians, the Pelagians, the Papists, &c. &c. can swear that they believe their schemes; but does this qualify them to be church-members? Would Mr. M. receive them to communion? If so, then it is no matter what scheme of religion men believe, if they do but believe it confidently. And then orthodoxy is not a requisite qualification for church-membership, but rather bigotry!



Our author says, p. 78, 79. This affair of covenanting with God, Moses styles, Deut. xxix. 14. This covenant and this oath.' And will it do to tell people, that they may give a positive evidence, when they have only a prevailing opinion about the fact?' That is, will it do, to tell people that they may enter into covenant with God, and bind themselves under the solemnity of an oath, as the Israelites did to keep covenant, (Deut. xxvi. 27. Thou hast avouched the Lord this day to be thy God, and to walk in his ways, and to keep his statutes, and his commandments, and his judgments, and to hearken to his voice,) when they have only a prevailing opinion, that they have such an heart in them; but have not a certain knowledge of it, as they have of facts, which under oath, they can positively declare to be true?

Answer 1. When men have not such a heart in them, they are not qualified to enter into this covenant and this oath. And therefore, if unregeneracy consists in being without such an heart, and in having an heart opposite hereunto, agreeable to St. Paul's doctrine, Rom. viii. 7. then unregeneracy disqualifies us for entering into covenant with God.

2. No man can, with a good conscience, enter into this covenant, unless he is conscious to himself, that he has such an heart, to such a degree of clearness, as to be satisfied in his conscience, that he indeed has such an heart. And therefore, for men who know that they have not such an heart, to enter into this covenant, is gross immorality. But he who is satisfied in his conscience, that he has such an heart, may with a good conscience enter into this covenant. That is, his conscience will approve of his conduct in so doing.

3. A man may be satisfied in his conscience, that he has such an heart by prevailing evidence, short of strict certainty. For instance, Mr. Mather was satisfied in his conscience, that it was his duty to write in the defence of the external covenant, upon prevailing evidence of its truth; but yet if it were put to him, he would not positively declare under oath, that he knows it to be true; as he knows the truth of facts which he sees with his eyes. For he declares in his preface, 'Yet I am not so fond of my own judgment, or tenacious of my own practice, but that I stand ready to give them both up

when any one shall do the friendly office of setting light before me.' And therefore he cannot swear that his scheme is the true Scripture scheme. He knows that he has writ ten on this subject. This fact he is certain of. He could give oath to this before a civil court. Nor could he give up the truth of this fact, let all the light in the world be set before him. Nor could he with a good conscience, offer to give up the truth of this fact, on any condition: because he knows that the fact is true. He knows it with certainty, with infallible certainty. But he has not equal certainty that his scheme is true. It was only his prevailing opinion. And so, he offers to give it up on further light. Yet he acted conscientiously in writing in its defence. That is, his conscience, instead of condemning, approved of his conduct. For the truth of this I appeal to Mr. M. The application is easy. And yet,


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4. It is readily granted, that we are to blame for every wrong judgment we make in moral matters, relative both to truth and duty, how conscientious soever we were in making the judgment. Thus, for instance, Paul, before his conversion, was conscientious in judging and acting against Christianity; but still he was to blame for judging and acting as he did. And if Mr. M.'s external covenant is unscriptural, how conscientious soever he has been in believing and acting as he has, yet he is to blame. So, if we judge that we have such an heart, when in fact we have not, how conscientious soever we have been, yet still we are criminal. For we might have known better. It was our fault that we did not know better. And in this world, or in the next, we shall know that the blame lies at our door. Therefore,

5. Those words of our blessed Saviour ought to be attended to and regarded, by every one who entertains thoughts of making a profession of his holy religion. Luke xiv. 25-35. And there went great multitudes with him, and instead of pressing them to an inconsiderate profession of his religion, as a means of their conversion, he turned and said unto them, if any man come to me, by an open public profession, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren and sisters, yea, and his own life also, so as to have an

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