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Cod, which equally concerns all the Elect. That immutable love wherein God elected them, doth exert itself and prompt Him infallibly to confer the grace of repentance upon them first or last, into how great and how many sins soever they run. And if men bad the will to improve this most excellent comfortable doctrine, the advantage of it would be unspeakable. Men do beat their brains and exhaust their treasure in experiments to find out and extract the Elixir of Paracelsus, to preserve them in life and health to perpetuity. But here is the only infallible medicine, ten thousand times more sovereign than the poets' fabulous Amorosia, or Medea's charms that are said to have restored Jason's father to his youth. Here is a moral antidote against death, easy to be made and pleasant to be taken; a receipt to make us shot-free, sword and pistol-proof; the ingredients are not many, nor chargeable, nor hard to be attained. Let a man get a firm persuasion that he is elecled, (which, the Synodists say, every one is bound to believe,) then let him be sure to espouse some beloved lust, and keep it very warm in his bosom, being careful (as he hath free-will to evil, Matt. xvii, 12; John xix, 11; Dan. v, 19;) not to cast it off by repentance; and he may venture himself securely in the midst of the greatest perils. Let such elect persons
up arms against their lawful governors, in the pretended defence of their religion, rights, and liberties, and they shall hew down thousands of their enemies before them, and none of them shall fall in the attempt, (for they cannot die in sin,)-unless some few, whose pusillanimity and cowardice do melt their hearts into an unseasonable relenting and repentance of their rebellion, while they are in pursuit of their design.
IMPERTINENT.—But, Mr. Tepidus, to grant you, “that the Elect can never fall from grace,” (which is our avowed tenet,) yet, certainly, we are bound “to be rich in good works,” out of gratitude, that God may have the more glory.
Til. Tepid. I need not tell you, that it will be all our business to glorify God in heaven ; and so we may adjourn that work, till we come thither : For our Divines hold, “that sin is as much a means for the setting forth of God's glory as virtue is, and that God decreed to bring it into the world to that purpose;" and if it be the riches of his grace that we should glorify, how can we glorify that better than by an absolute resignation of ourselves up to it, (in despite of raging sin,) and a confident
dependance upon the free pardon thereof? And, doubtless, if God would really have me shew my gratitude in any other way of service, he would irresistibly press me to it: For “whatsoever the Lord pleases, that he thus effecteth;” (Ps. cxxxv, 6.) --for to that purpose this text is alleged by our Divines. And therefore it is the resolution of Maccovius, (he instanceth in David committing murder and adultery,) “that if we consider the power of the regenerate, in respect of the Divine decree, and in respect of the actual Divine providence, and in respect of the permission of sin, then (and in these respects, which are not in our power,) a man can never do more good than he doth, nor commit less evil than he committeth.” His reason is, otherwise the will of man might be said to act independently to the will of God.” Now if it be thus impossible to “add one cubit to the stature of the new MAN,” it will (by our Saviour's argument, Matt. vi. 27,) be impertinent and ridiculous to take thought about it. See Luke xii, 26.
Knowlittle. -Mr. Tepidus, Mr. Tepidus! Whatever you say, the doctrine of the Synod doth not overthrow the practice of piety and the power of godliness, as you go about to infer from it: For we know, the Doctors of that assembly were very worthy, godly men ; and so are many (as you cannot deny,) that embrace their tenets.
Til. Tepid.- Though the persecution and banishment of their brethren, (only for dissenting from them in these opinions,) be no great sign of godliness, yet I speak not concerning the quality of the persons that hold such opinions, but of the nature and tendency of the doctrine, the conclusions which immediately and necessarily flow from it. They may be good men : But, then, they are ill logicians at least, Candy order not their works by their faith or principles : and their godliness is not the result of these principles, but flows from some other, with which these are inconsistent, if they were rationally improved and practised, -as is now evident to you from this three-fold experiment already made.
IMPERTINENT.-The power of grace will subdue such carnal reasonings.
Til. Tepid.—That is, in those men who suffer their reason to be debauched, and then arrested by such principles. But you have yet another part for me to act: I shall not be satisfied till that is over. Another main end of the office ministerial,
is, to comfort the afflicted and doubtful; and, I am persuaded, this is rendered ineffectual by the doctrine of the Synod and its adherents, as well as the other fore-mentioned: For proof whereof, I desire I may now have leave to exhibit my complaints and grievances under the person and title of Tilenus TENTATUS.
IV. TILENUS TENTATUS. DR. CONFIDENCE.Let us hear what they are.
Til. Tentatus.—Time was when I did walk comfortably before God in my christian profession, feeling such inundations of spiritual consolation flowing into my soul from his gracious presence, as put me in mind of “the hidden manna," mentioned Rev. ii, 17, whose ravishing sweetness nothing but experience can make credible; and hath made me cry out in a holy extasy of admiration, “It is good for me to be here !" But now I feel the tide is turned, my wine is mixed with water, or rather my joys turned into extreme bitterness: For being continually alarumed by the cries of an accusing conscience, I apprehend the terrors of the Divine vengeance set in battle-array against me, and the curses of the law thundering out my sentence of condemnation, and the mouth of hell gaping wide open to swallow me up and devour me. These frightful apprehensions are my constant attendants ; they lie down and
rith me, and pursue me so uncessantly that I am become a burden to myself.
Dr. CONFIDENCE.—This is some sudden storm raised in your bosom through the power and subtilty of Satan. But there is refuge at hand, -an immoveable rock to anchor on, that will not suffer you to be overwhelmed. Remember that “ Jesus Christ is the propitiation for our sins, and hath purchased eternal redemption for us." By the sacrifice of himself, “He hath purged our sins, and delivered us from the curse of the law, and from the wrath to come, and satisfied the Divine justice, and obtained reconciliation with the Father for us." Every one that is sensible of his misery by reason of sin, and understands what need he hath of a Redeemer, and runs into the arms of Jesus Christ, and embraceth him for his Saviour, and depends upon his merits and mediation, and pays a dutiful subjection to his sceptre and authority, by a true and lively faith, - he hath an interest in all those benefits, (as actually applied to him,) he receives the privilege of justification and adoption, and “ being justified by faith, he hath peace with God.” (Rom. v, 1.)
Til. Tent.-Sir, I know these are excellent cordials to the soul that is persuaded she hath a real interest in them : but they are designed only for a very small number, as the doctrine of the Synod hath determined. For those Divines tell us, “that Almighty God did by an absolute decree elect certain particular persons to salvation,-neither considering the death of his Son, nor the faith of those elect, in that decree,--but then decreed to give his Son to die for them, and irresistibly to work in them a saving faith to lay hold upon that his Son, and actually to apply all the said benefits to themselves; for whose salvation only they (the benefits) were all prepared and designed. Now all the promises of salvation in Christ, how universally soever propounded, being by your doctrine restrained only to these Elect, (amongst whom that I should reckon myself, neither any particular mention of me in Scripture, nor any revelation by Angel or Prophet out of it, doth assure me,) and the number of them according to your computation being so small in proportion to the Reprobates, there is so much odds against me, that I have reason to be afraid, that I am enlisted under the grea ter multitude. When Christ said to his Apostles, “One of you shall betray me,” though the odds were eleven to one on the innocent party's side, yet it raised so much scruple and suspicion in all their bosoms, as made them very anxious and inquisitive:
Master, is it I ?” (Matt. xxvi, 22.) Were the number of the Reprobates, “for whom," you say, “Christ died not," far more disproportionable to the Elect; yet the sad apprehension of those eternal torments fatally linked to the end of that horrible decree, would prompt me to entertain fears and jealousies more than enough, lest I should be filed upon that chain, having no assurance to the contrary. How much more should “fearfulness and trembling surprize me," when I consider how few the Elect are, even among the vast multitudes of such as are CALLED!
SIMULANS.-Seeing it hath pleased the wisdom of Almighty God, to keep his immutable decrees,-as well that of reprobation as that of election,-locked up in the secret cabinet of his own unsearchable counsel ; we are to govern our judgment by the rule of charity, “which believeth all things, and hopeth all things.” (1 Cor. xiii.)
Til. Tent.-I confess, (1) the judgment of charity is a tried and equal beam in many cases; but if you extend it generally 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