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of our's. And then, why should we trouble ourselves about it, any more than Adam troubled himself about the creation of Eve, or Lazarus about his own resurrection?, especially seeing we must believe it is nothing in our power to help it forward, and that God, in pursuance of his own decrees, will infallibly perform it, though we be cast into as deep a sleep (of security) as Adam was, or lie stinking in the grave of our corruptions (though insensible of it) as did Lazarus.
DR. DUBIUS. Do you then think the use of the ministry a thing indifferent, and purpose to decline it?
TIL. CARNAL.-Seeing the most the word can do, is, to make us moral men, (if yet it can do that!) which are of no great esteem in God's kingdom, as our Divines generally have resolved; seeing the Spirit is no more bound to wait upon the preaching thereof, than to be at our command; and seeing when He does come, He needs none of those auxiliary forces to atchieve his irresistible conquest over our rebellions; and yet God hath been pleased, (out of his unsearchable wisdom, and to shew his own dominion and liberty,) so to order the matter, that, although the word cannot really promote our spiritual good, (which is a work far above the sphere of its power and activity,) yet, receiving it in vain, (though it be not in our power, confessedly, to receive it otherwise,) it will aggravate our condemnation ;-for this cause I think it prudent to avoid the certain danger, which the no-probable good that, according to those principles of the Synod, will accrue by it.
NARROWGRACE.-If you be of that mind, be of that mind, we must leave you to the mercy of God and the use of your own prayers, which are the only reserve we can commend to your assistance and benefit.
TIL. CARNAL.-Alas! Sir, you are as much out of the story now as ever: For the grace of prayer (without which the duty will be a vain oblation, if not abominable,) must be derived from the same Supernal Fountain; and we cannot pump it up ourselves, it comes freely; and when it comes, it is so impetuous, and overflows the soul with such inundations of the Spirit, that it is impossible to resist it. And since you see me altogether silent to this office, you may conclude, that this silence begins in ̧ heaven, and that God will not have me pray, in that he denies me his grace to that effect. But, Sir, you do well to take your leave of me; for it is evident that God hath not employed you,
as intending my amendment by your ministry; since I find the confusion of your doctrine more apt to furnish a cushion for the secure and careless, or a halter for the doubtful and despairing, than any SACRED AMULET against the charms and poison of impiety. And yet because, when the wheel is once in motion, a little strength will be sufficient to continue it, and the fire is easily blown up after it is once kindled; therefore you may please to make your third experiment upon Tilenus TEPIDUS. I am afraid you can produce no argument to quicken his remissness into a more thorough-pace of devotion, which the dexterous use of that buckler (of the Synod's doctrine) will not be able to put by. Let us hear therefore how you will urge him to a further progress in piety.
III. TILENUS TEPIDUS.
EFFICAX.-Do but reflect upon Peter's redoubled exhortation, 2 Pet. i, 4. He supposeth, that "they had escaped the (foul) corruption that is in the world through lust." And, "Besides this," saith he, "giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue," &c.; and "give diligence to make your calling and election sure." (vcrse 10.)
TIL. TEPIDUS.-If Saint Peter had understood "our calling and election" in the same sense [as that in which the Synod understands them, his exhortation had been to little purpose: For (in that sense) it is as sure already, as the wisdom, truth, and power of God, or as the blood of Christ or the seals of the Divine decrees, can make it. "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his." (2 Tim. ii, 19.) It were arrogance to go about to lay any other foundation; and a folly to imagine we are able to fortify it by our endeavours.
SIMULANS.-But, Sir, we should make a conscience of the duty, though there were no other necessity of it, but necessitas præcepti, "because it is the will of Almighty God."
TIL. TEPID.-I perceive, Sir, you have forgotten your own. distinction, though it is so little while since you used it. You told us, God hath a two-fold will,—an outward revealed will, and an inward secret will.-His outward will is signified by his commands:" "But," saith Piscator, "they are not properly. God's will, for sometimes he nills the fulfilling of them. As for example, * He commanded Abraham to offer up Isaac, yet
* Gen. xxii, 2, 12,
he nilled the execution of it." But his secret will is the will of his good pleasure, which he hath therefore decreed shall ever come to pass. Whereupon, one of your Divines concludes, "there is a kind of holy simulation in God," Unde percipitur esse simulationem quandam sanctam, &c. Now, whereas you urge me to give all diligence that 1 may grow in grace, if this were the will of God's beneplaciture he would move and impel me indeclinably to effect it. But if it be only his outward will, and improperly so called, (He having, by an irrevocable decree, predetermined my not doing of it, though it be outwardly commanded,) then my not doing his outward will, is the performance of his secret will; and this being his proper will, wherein consists his good pleasure, my compliance therewith must needs be the more acceptable; especially since to this he affords me his providential concurrence, which he denies me towards the accomplishment of the other.
KNOWLITTLE. We are taught, that there are degrees of glory," One glory of the sun, another of the moon, and another of the stars ;" and so there shall be in heaven. (1 Cor. xv.) Now, grant that you are secure (as you presume) as to the estate of glory; yet you should be earnest in your endeavours to capacitate yourself for the highest degrees of it.
TIL. TEPID.-There are some [who] have made a question of those different degrees of glory. In the parable, every one at the end of the day received his penny, as much they that had wrought but one hour, as they that had "borne the heat and burden of the day." And the righteous shall all shine as the sun in the kingdom of the Father; and every one shall enter into the joy of the Lord, which is "fulness of joy." But, beside this, "if a sparrow falleth not to the ground without God's provi dence," and if "the hairs of our heads be all numbered," (as our Saviour saith they are,) shall we not think as well, that every degree of happiness and every beam of glory and spark of joy, are likewise apportioned and predetermined for all the Elect?
DR. ABSOLUTE.-It is true, the state of eternal bliss, as to all the degrees of joy and glory in it, is firmly and irreversibly decreed to all the Elect; but yet, through your remissness, and especially if that betrays you to any wasting sin, you may damp your hopes, and lose the sense and comfortable apprehension of the influences and effects thereof, which, you know, was David's case: "O Lord, rebuke me not in thine anger,
neither chasten me in thy hot displeasure. Have mercy upon me, O Lord, for I am weak. O Lord, heal me, for my bones are vexed. My soul is also sore vexed; but thou, O Lord, how long? Return, O Lord, deliver my soul: O save me for thy mercies' sake, and restore to me the joy of thy salvation!" (Ps. vi.) "For in death there is no remembrance of thee." (Ps. li.) From hence, you see, there is ground enough for the Apostle's exhortation: "We desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence, to the full assurance of hope firm unto the end." (Heb. vi, 11.)
TIL. TEPID.-I know, Mr. Diodati, in his Annotations upon the fifth verse of that sixth Psalm, saith: "Hereby is shewn the fear of God's children, anguished and pressed by the feeling of his wrath, lest they should die out of his grace unreconciled; and by that means be excluded and debarred from their desired aim, to be everlastingly instruments of his glory." But it is probable David had no intelligence of that comfortable doctrine, (defined by the Synod in this last age,) as appears by his fearful complaint and expostulation, (if that Psalm were his,) in the Seventy-seventh Psalm: "I remembered God and was troubled. I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed: My soul refused to be comforted. Will the Lord cast off for ever, and will he be favourable no more? Is his mercy clean gone for ever? Doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? Hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies ?" There could not have been this conflict of diffidence and anxiety in him, if he had been established in the principles of the Synod: For, annexing the Lord's public declarations, (by the mouth of Samuel touching him,) to the conscience of his own integrity, he might have collected a certainty of his present regeneration, (when he was anointed king,) and from thence have concluded undeniably his election from all eternity, and consequently the impossibility of his rejection from God's favour. But there is some likelihood, he thought, that in the designation of his everlasting mercy towards them, God considered men as faithful, (according to the way of the Arminians,) and as persevering in their faithfulness. For he saith, "Know that the Lord hath set apart him that is godly for himself." (Ps. iv, 3.) If that text will not serve the turn, yet
* 1 Sam. xiii, 14, & xvi, 6, 7.
there is one unavoidable: "The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, upon them that fear him to such as keep his covenant: and to those that remember his commandments to do them." (Ps. ciii, 17, 18.) And "to him that ordereth his conversation aright, will I shew the salvation of God." (Ps. 1, 23.) And governing his persuasions by these principles, there is no wonder he was so exceedingly transported with a fear of God's displeasure. And that such were his principles, may be collected also from hence, in that, when the paroxysm of the temptation was somewhat over, he doth not make his recourse to the immutable decree of God's Election, to cure the remanent palpitation of his spirits; but only to former experience of God's merciful dispensations towards his people. "I will remember the works of the Lord: Thou hast with thine arm redeemed thy people, &c. Surely I will remember thy wonders of old: &c. Thy way, O God, is in the sanctuary. Who is so great as our God?" (Ps. lxxvii, 11-15.) But since the clearing up of this soul-settling doctrine by the great judgment and piety of the Synod, he that hath once tasted the graciousness of the Lord in his effectual vocation, and firmly believes "that the things concerning his everlasting happiness are so established and carried on by the irresistible power of an irrespective decree," (as is there taught,)—he may cast away all anxiety and care, and repose himself with confidence under the wings of that security.
DR. ABSOLUTE.-But the Synod declares, Fidelibus perpetuò esse vigilandum et orandum, ne in tentationes inducantur, &c. "That the faithful must watch and pray, lest they fall into temptations; and that when they grow remiss and torpid, quit their guard and neglect their duty, (as you do,) they are many times surprised of the flesh and the world, and carried captive into heinous and enormous sins; whereby they offend God, and grieve the Holy Spirit, and incur the guilt of death," and the like.
TIL. TEPID.-It was well you stopped there, Mr. Doctor. But I had thought your worship had been better versed in this point. For my part, such Mormoes and bug-bears never trouble me. I am taught by the Synod to believe, "that ALL THE SINS IN THE WORLD shall never be able to separate an elect person from the love of God;" but [shall rather make for his greater advantage.