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ed, but also.enjoined, † and practised. "Our rejoicing (or glorying) is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not by fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world." (2 Cor. i, 12.) "Let every man prove his own works,” (performed in the faith of Christ, and through the power of his grace,)" and then shall he have rejoicing, (glorying, boasting,) in himself." (Rom. xv, 17.-Gal. vi, 4.)—It is the same word in these two places, with that in the text objected, Rom. iii, 27. DR. DAMMAN.-Are these your tenets consonant to the Articles of the Synod of Dort? What opinion have you of that, and the doctrine held forth by the Divines in that assembly?
TIL.-I have had as great a reverence for that Synod as any man living; the principles, therein delivered, being instilled into me from my youth. But, I thank God, studying the best method for the cure of souls, and the opportunity of reading better books, have already altered my judgment quite.
DR. DAMMAN.-Do you think you have changed so much for the better, that you have reason to give God thanks for it?
TIL.-Yes, truly; and, I persuade myself, you would be of that mind too, if you would patiently attend to my objec tions against their doctrine, and weigh them without prejudice or partiality. But, before I propound those objections, it will be requisite that we take a brief view of that doctrine; which I shall therefore concisely, yet truly and clearly, sum up in these Five Articles following:
They hold,-1. That God by an absolute decree hath elected to salvation a very little number of men, without any regard to their faith or obedience whatsoever; and [hath] secluded from saving grace all the rest of mankind, and appointed them by the same decree to eternal damnation, without any regard to their infidelity or impenitency.
2. That Christ Jesus hath not suffered death for any other, but for those elect only; having neither had any intent, nor commandment of his Father, to make satisfaction for the sins of the whole world.
3. That by Adam's fall his posterity lost their free-will, being put to an unavoidable necessity to do, or not to do, whatever they do or do not, whether it be good or evil; being thereunto predestinate by the eternal and effectual secret decree of God.
4. That God, to save his elect from the corrupt mass, doth beget faith in them, by a power equal to that whereby he created the world and raised up the dead; insomuch that such unto whom he gives that grace, cannot reject it; and the rest, being reprobate, cannot accept of it, though it be offered unto both by the same preaching and ministry.
5. That such us have once received that grace by faith, can never fall from it finally nor totally, notwithstanding the most enormous sins they can commit.
DR. DAMMAN.—I confess you have done the Divines of that Synod no wrong in setting down their tenets. But what objections have you against the doctrine.
TIL.-I shall insist only upon this, (and it is so comprehensive I need mention no more,) It doth not only evacuate the force and virtue, but quite frustrateth the use, of the ministry of the word, and all other holy ordinances instituted by our Saviour Christ, and commanded to be continued, for the edification and benefit of his church, to the world's end.
DR. DUBIOUS.-How can you make that appear?
TIL-For the ministry of the word, it is employed either about the wicked or the godly. The wicked are of two sorts,— either infidels despising, or carnal persons professing, the holy gospel. The godly are of two sorts, or two tempers likewise, or we may consider them under a two-fold estate, either as remiss and tepid, or else as disconsolate and tempted: so that the ministry of the word is designed to a four-fold end, in respect of
1. The conviction and conversion of an infidel. 2. The correction and amendment of the carnal.
3. The quickening and provocation of the tepid and slothful. 4. The comfort and consolation of the afflicted and tempted. But the former doctrine of the Synod of Dort, is so far from being serviceable to any of these four ends, that it is directly repugnant to them all, and therefore not consonant to that holy Scripture given by inspiration of God, which is profitable for all those ends, as the Apostle saith,-" for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God, who is a helper of the people's joy,* may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto every good work.” (2 Tim. iii, 15, 16.)
* 2 Cor. i, 24.
That this may the more evidently appear, I desire you with whom that doctrine is in so high esteem, to make a practical attempt of it: Herein I desire you to be true to your own principles, and not to shuffle, as usually in your popular sermons, wherein the Synodical and Calvinian principle in your DOCTRINE, is always confuted by an Arminian exhortation in your APPLICA TION. In the mean while, I am content to personate successively those four sorts of men; and, for method's sake, I pray address your discourse, FIRST, for the conversion of TILENUs Infidelis. I. TILENUS INFIDELIS.
DR. ABSOLUTE.-Most gladly will we undertake this task; that we may convince you of the errors in which we see you are immersed; provided you do not study to be obstinate, nor allege any other reasons to justify your recusancy and averseness to the Christian faith, than what you clearly deduce from the doctrine of the Synod and the Divines thereof.—To begin the work then, we will take it for granted that you acknowledge a Deity; and [we] demand of you, with what attributes this Deity is, according to your apprehension, invested and clothed.
TIL. INFIDELIS.-The school of nature hath determined that question by so many irrefragable arguments, that I am convinced long since, that there is a Sovereign Power called GoD; and when I consider such beams and characters of wisdom and knowledge in the soul of man, such impressions of truth and justice upon his conscience, with so great a variety of goodness in all creatures, I must conclude, that God, the Maker of all these, is an Eternal Being, infinitely wise, good, and just. I believe further, that this most wise God in communicating so much goodness unto man, intended hereby to oblige him to pay, according to his ability, such homage and service as is due to his sovereign excellency and bounty, and in performance hereof we may be confident to find protection and reward.
SIMULANS.-The God whom we profess and worship, and he alone, is such a God as you have described; but more merciful and gracious, infinitely, than you have been acquainted with; to whose service, therefore, we do most earnestly invite you.
TIL. INFID.-I thank you for your pretended kindness. But if you can produce no fairer glass to represent the nature of your God, than the doctrine of that Synod, I must tell you, I shall have no temptation or inducement at all to believe in him: For that doctrine is so far from exalting the attributes of
wisdom, goodness, and justice in him, that it doth in a high measure impeach them all.
FATALITY.-You will never be able to make that good.
TIL. INFID.-I beseech you, hear me patiently. For his WISDOM first I conceive that is extremely eclipsed, in that he hath made choice of no better means to advance his own honour, but hath stooped to such mean and unworthy designs to compass that end, as all but tyrants and bankrupts would be
DR. DUBIUS.-How so?
TIL. INFID.-Your doctrine, if it does not belie the Majesty you profess to worship, supposeth him to have made a peremptory decree, whereby his subjects are necessitated to trade with hell and Satan for sin and damnation, to the end he may take advantage out of that commerce to raise an inconsiderable impost to augment the revenues of his own glory.
PRETERITION.-We have his own word for it, "Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?" (Matt. xx, 15.)
TIL. INFID.-(1) Your Scripture must not conclude me, while I personate the Infidel.-But (2) We are not now arguing what God may do by his absolute power and right of dominion, but what is agreeable to his infinite wisdom.—And (3) Your text speaks of a free disbursement of his favours: but our discourse proceeds upon the account of appointing men to sin and punishment. Now I hope you will not call SIN "God's own," though your doctrine concludes him fairly to be the Author of it; and for the punishment, he is pleased to call that opus alienum, not his own but "a strange work." But if your God, for his mere pleasure only, and to make demonstration of his absolute power, hath appointed to eternal torments the greatest part of his noblest creatures without any respect to sin, as some of your Synod do maintain, not regarding his own image in them,-what is this but to play the tyrant? and where then is that infinite goodness, which you profess to be in your God, and which I expect to be in that God whom I fear and honour?" A righteous man regardeth the life of his beast;" (Prov. xii, 10.) yet his mercy is to be but a a copy transcribed from that original in God. * But if your God be of that temper, the righteous man may very well be a precedent of mercy unto him.
PRETERITION-Indeed some of the Synod do maintain that rigid way, but the Synod itself determined otherwise, viz. that
* Luke vi, 36.
Almighty God, looking upon mankind as fallen in the loins of Adam, passed over the greatest part of them, leaving them in that lapsed estate, not affording them sufficient grace for their recovery, ordaining finally to condemn them.
TIL. INFID.-If for the sin of another man, and that pardoned to him that did wilfully commit it, but imputed to his posterity, (who never were in a capacity to taste the pleasure of it, to consent unto it, or protest against it,) your pretended God deals thus cruelly with them, depriving them for ever of his grace which should enable them to repent, and sealing them up by an irrevocable decree under an irresistible necessity continually to sin and then to perish everlastingly for so sinning ;where is that infinite JUSTICE, accompanied with that superabundant MERCY and graciousness, [which] you affirmed to be in him? I have heard, that the God whom Christians do adore, is so infinitely merciful, that he "will have all men to be saved, and none to perish ;" and [that] not able to swear by a greater, The swears by himself, that he "wills not the death of a sinner, but that he may repent and live;" that he protesteth the sufficiency of his own applications, and bewaileth their wilful obstinacy, and expostulateth most earnestly: "What could have been done more that I have not done? O that there were such a heart in you! Why will ye die?" Indeed there is so much grace and sweetness in these expressions, they would bring a poor wretch presently upon his knees to such a God.
DR. DUBIUS. These are all the very expressions of that God whom we serve, into whose gracious arms and bosom we so earnestly desire to bring you.
TIL. INFID.If you could teach me how to reconcile these expressions to the doctrine of your Synod, I should say something but I conclude that impossible.
SIMULANS. I shall willingly undertake that work, as hard as you make it, and a great deal more too, to gain your soul out of the state of infidelity. There is a three-fold distinction used amongst our Divines, that will untie the knot presently. (1) Mr. Calvin (in Ezek. xviii, 23,) hath very learnedly observed, that God hath two wills: One outward and revealed, whereby he doth most sweetly invite sinners to his grace, and most graciously calls them to repentance, seeming as though he were most earnestly desirous of their salvation. The other will is inward and secret, which is irresistible and takes effect infallibly;