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    Explained and Confirmed.

    OR, THE CERTAIN PERMANENCY OF THEIR 1. Acceptation with GOD, 2. Sanctification from GOD.


    AND VINDICATED In a Full Answer to the Discourse of Mr. JOHN GOODWIN against it, in his Book Entituled REdemption .Redeemed.

    WITH SOME DIGRESSIONS CONCERNING 1. The Immediate effects of the Death of Christ. 2. Personall Indwelling of the Spirit. 3. Union with Christ. 4. Nature of Gospell promises, etc.

    ALSO A PREFACE Manifesting The Judgement Of The Antients Concerning The Truth Contended For: With A Discourse Touching The Epistles Of IGNATIUS; The EPISCOPACY In Them Asserted; And Some Animadversions On Dr H: H: His Dissertations. On That Subject.


    ANNO DOM: 1654.


    John Goodwin, in reply to whom the following large treatise on the Doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints was written, has been aptly described by Calamy as “a man by himself.” An Arminian in creed, an Independent in church-government, and a Republican in politics, “he was against every man, and had almost every man against him.” Estranged, by a singular idiosyncrasy of opinions, from all the leading parties of his time, dying in such obscurity that no record of the circumstances in which he left the world has been transmitted, stigmatized with unmerited reproach by the chief historian of his age, and long reputed the very type of extravagance and eccentricity in religion and politics, he has been more recently claimed as the precursor of a most influential religious body, and all honor rendered to him as the Wycliffe of Methodism, — anticipating the theological views of its founder, Wesley, and redeeming them from the charge of novelty.

    Stronger expressions of respect and praise Goodwin never received from his contemporaries than are to be found in the pages of his antagonist, Owen, who, eulogizing his “worth,” his “diligence,” and his “great abilities,” affirms that “nothing not great, not considerable, not in some way eminent, is by any spoken of him, either consenting with him or dissenting from him.”

    He was born in Norfolk in 1593, was made a Fellow of Queen’s College, Cambridge, in 1617, and in 1633, as the choice of the parishioners, was presented to the vicarage of St Stephen’s, Coleman Street, London. He escaped the vengeance of Laud, for some “breach of the canons,” by the premise of amendment and submission for the future. He published in a treatise on justification, entitled “Imputatio Fidei;” in which he maintains that faith, not the righteousness of Christ, “is that which God imputes to a believer for righteousness.” Having rendered himself obnoxious to the Presbyterians during their brief supremacy, partly by his doctrinal sentiments, and partly by his literary efforts against them, he lost his vicarage by a decision of the Committee for Plundered Ministers, in 1645; but he appears to have been reinstated in it during the ascendency of Cromwell, whom he had effectually served by some pamphlets justifying the proceedings of the army against the Parliament in 1648: and more especially by a tract entitled “The Obstructors of Justice,” in which he defended the High Court of Justice in passing sentence of death against Charles I. On the Restoration, by an order of the House of Commons, proceedings were instituted conjointly against John Milton and John Goodwin, for the same crime of publishing in vindication of the king’s death. After a debate of several hours, it was agreed in Parliament that the life of Goodwin should be spared; but as he was declared incapable of holding any office, ecclesiastical, civil, or military, he was again deprived of his vicarage. His death took place in 1665. His private character seems to have been beyond reproach. The odium resting on his memory must be ascribed chiefly to his defense of the execution of Charles I., and to the statements of Bishop Burnet respecting his connection with the Fifthmonarchy Men. On the former point many good men privately held the same opinion as Goodwin; and some, such as Canne and Milton. published in defense of it. When Burnet accuses him of being “thorough-paced in temporal matters” for Cromwell, there might be a color of truth in the charge: but when he speaks of Goodwin as “heading” the Fifth-monarchy Men, filling all men with the expectation of a millennium, “that it looked like a madness possessing them,” and representing kingship as “the great antichrist that hindered Christ being set on his throne;” and when Toplady, improving upon the story, insinuates that Venner, the leader of these fanatics in their insurreetion preached and held his meetings in Goodwin’s place of worship, for no reason that we can discover but that Goodwin and Venner seem to have held their meetings in the same street, we are constrained to question both the accuracy of the statement as well as the spirit from which it emanated. His enemies, such as Prynne and Edwards, never in all they wrote against him urged such an accusation. In his own writings he affirms the lawfulness of civil magistracy, and of monarchy in particular; and in some of his tracts condemns the excesses of the Fifthmonarchy Men. The specific statements of Burner, however, cannot well be met by a general charge against him as an inaccurate historian. Mr. Macaulay has thrown over the bishop the shield of his high authority, denouncing such a charge as “altogether unjust.” Goodwin may have held some millenarian views akin to the notion of a fifth monarchy, while he blames in severe terms the attempt to forestall and introduce it by violence and bloodshed. In one of the passages from his writings, quoted by Professor Jackson, in his able but somewhat impassioned biography of Goodwin, in order to disprove his connection with the Fifth-monarchy Men, there is a sentence which, discriminating the dogma itself from the excesses of its abettors, sustains our conjecture, and we have seen nothing in the other passages inconsistent with it: — “Amongst the persons known by the name of the Fifth-monarchy Men (not so much from their opinion touching the said monarchy, as by that fierce and restless spirit which worketh in them to bring it into the world by unhallowed methods), you will learn to speak evil of those that are in dignity,” etc. On this supposition, while committed to some premillennial notions, on which the representations of the bishop were founded, Goodwin might be altogether undeserving of the odious imputation which they affix upon his memory.

    It was no weak fanatic, therefore, against whom Owen in this instance entered the lists. His work, “Redemption Redeemed,” is a monument of literary diligence and ability; and Owen seems almost to envy the copious and powerful diction which enlivens its controversial details. It was his intention to discuss all the points embraced in the Quinquarticular Controversy; but he overtook only two of them in the work now mentioned, — universal redemption, and the perseverance of the saints.

    The latter topic, occupying about a third part of his work, naturally arose out of the former, when he sought to prove that Christ died for those who ultimately perish, even though for a season they may have been in a state of grace. Owen, in his reply, confines himself to the subject of the perseverance of the saints; first proving the doctrine by general arguments, and then considering its practical effects in the obedience and consolation of the saints, a minute refutation of Goodwin’s views being interwoven with both parts of his work. On the subject of universal redemption our author had already given his views to the world in his treatise, “The Death of Death,” etc. Long as the following treatise is, however, he intimates his desire to enter still farther on some points in which he was at issue with Goodwin. Though the present work was written while he was burdened with heavy duties as Vice-Chancellor at Oxford, the former part of it is prepared with sufficient care, and relieved with some sprightliness in the composition. The leading fallacy of his opponent, in supposing that the perseverance of the saints implied the continuance of men in gracious privilege though they should become wicked to a degree incompatible with genuine faith, and evincing that they never possessed it, — a fallacy which begs the whole question in dispute, — he compares to “a sturdy beggar,’’ which hath been “often corrected, and sent away grumbling and hungry, and, were it not for pure necessity, would never once be owned any more by its master.” The latter part of the work, though able and dexterous in tracking all the sinuosities of the opposing arguments, betrays haste in composition, occasioning unusual difficulty in eliciting, by amended punctuation, the real meaning of many paragraphs and sentences; and the termination is singularly abrupt. He had reserved one of his principal arguments, founded on the oath of God, for the close, as entitled to the “honor of being the last word in the contest;” but concludes without giving it any place in the discussion at all. Perhaps this haste and abruptness are to be explained by the fact that before he had finished this work, the commands of the Council of State were laid upon him to undertake a reply to the Socinian productions of Biddle; — a task which he executed at great length in his “Vindiciae Evangelicae.” On the whole, however, in regard to the present work, there is no treatise in the language so conclusive and so complete in vindication of the doctrine which it is designed to illustrate and defend.

    In the preface a historical account is given of the doctrine from the earliest ages of the church. The confusion alleged to exist in it is not very perplexing, if attention be paid to the “catena patrum,” — the succession of authors to whom he appeals in proof of what the view of the church has been in past ages on the subject of the doctrine under consideration. It is embarrassed, however, by a discussion of the authenticity of the Ignatian Epistles; on which, at the close of the preface, we have appended a note, indicating the present state of the controversy respecting them. The leading head-lines we have given to each chapter will enable the reader, it is hoped, to follow with greater ease the course of discussion. An exact copy of the original title-page has been prefixed; — the only one in our author’s works worth preserving, as curious in itself, and containing his own analysis of the work to which it belongs.

    Besides this work of Owen, in reply to Goodwin the following authors appeared: — Dr George Kendall, rector of Blislaud, near Bodmin in Cornwall, in two folio volumes, “Theocratia, or a Vindication of the Doctrine commonly received,” etc., 1653, and “Sancti Sanciti,” etc.; Thomas Lamb, a Baptist minister, in his “Absolute Freedom from Sin by Christ’s Death,” etc., 1656; Robert Baillie, Principal of Glasgow University, in his “Scotch Antidote against the English Infection of Arminianism,” etc., 1656; Richard Resbury, vicar of Oundle, in his “Some Stop to the Gangrene of Arminianism,” etc., 1651, whom Goodwin answered in his “Confidence Dismounted,” and who again published in reply, “The Lightless Star;” Henry Jeanes, rector of Chedsey, who published “A Vindication of Dr Twisse from the Exceptions of Mr. John Goodwin;” and Mr. John Pawson, in a sermon under the title of “A Vindication of Free Grace.”

    In 1658 Goodwin replied to most of these publications in a quarto of five hundred pages, entitled “Triumviri,” etc. In regard to the following treatise, “he returns,” says Owen, in an epistle dedicatory to his work on the Divine Original of the Scriptures, “a scoffing reply to so much of it as was written in a quarter of an hour.”


    After a careful definition of the terms employed in the controversy, the statement by Mr. Goodwin of the question at issue is objected to, and another proposed as more correct, founded upon a passage in Scripture, Isaiah 4:5. Chap. 1.

    Five leading arguments are adduced in proof of the perseverance of the saints: — It is argued, 1. From the divine nature as immutable; under which head the following passages are considered, Malachi 3:6; James 1:16-18; Romans 11:29; Isaiah 40:27-31, 44:1-8. 2. From the divine purpose as immutable; and here Scripture is first cited to prove the general immutability of the divine purposes, Isaiah 46:9-11; Psalm 33:9-11, etc.; — and then the special purpose of God to continue his grace to true believers is proved by such passages as Romans 8:28; Jeremiah 31:3; John 6:37-40; Matthew 24:24; Ephesians 1:3-5; 2 Thessalonians 2:13,14. 3. From the covenant of grace, the enduring character and the infallible accomplishment of which are proved by the removal of all causes of change by it, the stipulations of Christ as mediator in it, and the faithfulness of God. 4. From the promises of God, which are generally described, and, as intimating the perseverance of the saints, proved to be unconditional, the following promises to this effect receiving full elucidation: Joshua 1:5; Hebrews 13:5; 1 Samuel 12:22; Psalm 89:30-37; Hosea 2:19,20; John 10:27-29. At this point the consideration of the oath of God is deferred, under promise of entering upon it at the close of the discussion; — a promise which the author omits to fulfill. Two interesting digressions follow, affording separate arguments in support of the doctrine; — on the mediation of Christ, as comprehending his oblation and intercession, and on the indwelling of the Spirit. And here the first part of the work concludes. Chap. II.-IX.

    The second part consists in the improvement of the doctrine, by showing how it conduces to the obedience and consolation of the saints, chap. X., and in a refutation of the following arguments of Mr. Goodwin in support of the opposite doctrine, — namely, 1. That it is more effectual in promoting godliness; 2. That it does not make God an accepter of persons; 3. That it has been the doctrine of the most pious men in all ages; 4. That it imparts greater power to the exhortations of the gospel; 5. That upon such a principle alone eternal life can be legitimately promised as the reward of perseverance; 6. That it is proved by the sins into which believers undoubtedly fall; 7. That it tends to the consolation of the saints; and, lastly, That it is affirmed in eight passages of Scripture, Ezekiel 18:24,25; Matthew 18:32-35; 1 Corinthians 9:27; Hebrews 6:4-8, 10:26-29, 38, 39; Matthew 13:20,21; 2 Peter 2:18-22. Chap. XI.-XVII. —ED.


    SIR, THE wise man tells us that “no man knoweth love or hatred by all that is before him.” The great variety wherein God dispenseth outward things in the world, with the many changes and alterations which, according to the counsel of his will, he continually works in the dispensations of them, will not allow them nakedly in themselves to be evidences of the Fountain from whence they flow. Seeing, also, that the want or abundance of them may equally, by the goodness and wisdom of God, be ordered and cast into a useful subserviency to a good infinitely transcending what is or may be contained in them, there is no necessity that in the distribution of them God should walk according to any constant uniform law of procedure, all the various alterations about them answering one eternal purpose for a determinate end. Of spiritual good things there is another reason and condition; for as they are in themselves fruits, evidences, and pledges, of an eternal, unchangeable love, so the want of them in their whole kind being not capable of a tendency to a greater good than they are, the dispensation of them doth so far answer the eternal Spring and Fountain from whence it floweth as, in respect of its substance and being, not to be obnoxious to any alteration. This is that which in the ensuing treatise is contended for. In the midst of all the changes and mutations which the infinitely wise providence of God doth daily effect in the greater and lesser things of this world, as to the communication of his love in Jesus Christ, and the merciful, gracious distributions of the unsearchable riches of grace, and the hid treasures thereof purchased by his blood, he knows no repentance. Of both these you have had full experience; and though your concernment in the former hath been as eminent as that of any person whatever in these later ages of the world, yet your interest in and acquaintance with the latter is, as of incomparable more importance in itself, so answerably of more value and esteem unto you. A sense of the excellency and sweetness of unchangeable love, emptying itself in the golden oil of distinguishing spiritual mercies, is one letter of that new name which none can read but he that hath it. The series and chain of eminent providences whereby you have been carried on and protected in all the hazardous work of your generation, which your God hath called you unto, is evident to all. Of your preservation by the power of God, through faith, in a course of gospel obedience, upon the account of the immutability of the love and infallibility of the promises of God, which are yea and amen in Jesus Christ, your own soul only is possessed with the experience. Therein is that abiding joy, that secret refreshment, which the world cannot give. That you and all the saints of God may yet enjoy that peace and consolation which is in believing that the eternal love of God is immutable, that he is faithful in his promises, that his covenant, ratified in the death of his Son, is unchangeable, that the fruits of the purchase of Christ shall be certainly bestowed on all them for whom he died, and that every one who is really interested in these things shall be kept unto salvation, is the aim of my present plea and contest. That I have taken upon me to present my weak endeavors in this cause of God to your Highness is so far forth from my persuasion of your interest in the truth contended for (and than which you have none more excellent or worthy), that without it no other considerations whatever, either of that dignity and power whereunto of God you are called, or of your peculiar regard to that society of men whereof I am an unworthy member, or any other personal respects whatever, could have prevailed with or emboldened me thereunto. “Sancta sanctis.” The things I treat of are such as sometimes “none of the princes of this world knew,” and as yet few of them are acquainted with. Blessed are they who have their portion in them! When the urgency of your high and important affairs, wherein so many nations are concerned, will lend you so much leisure as to take a view of what is here tendered, the knowledge which you have of me will deliver you from a temptation of charging any weakness you may meet withal upon the doctrine which I assert and maintain; and so that may “run and be glorified,” whatever become of the nothing that I have done in the defense thereof, I shall be abundantly satisfied. That is the shield, which being safe, I can with contentment see these papers die. Unto your Highness I have not any thing more to add, nor for you greater thing to pray, than that you may be established in the assurance and sense of that unchangeable love and free acceptance in Christ which I contend for, and that therein you may be preserved, to the glory of God, the advancement of the gospel, and the real advantage of these nations.


    SIRS, THE dedication of books to the names of men worthy and of esteem in their generation takes sanctuary in so catholic and ancient prescription, that to use any defensative about my walking in the same path cannot hut forfeit the loss of somewhat more than the pains that would he spent therein.

    Now, although, in addresses of this kind, men usually avail themselves of the occasion to deliver their thoughts as to particulars in great variety, according as their concernments may he, yet the reasons which are generally pleaded as directions for the choice of them to whom, with their labors and writings, they so address themselves, are for the most part uniform, and in their various course transgress not the rules of certain heads from whence they flow. To express a gratitude for respects and favors received, by returning things in their kind eternal for those which are but temporal; to obtain countenance and approbation unto their endeavors, in their breaking forth into the world, from names of more esteem, or at least more known than their own; to advance in repute by a correspondency in judgment with men of such esteem, intimated thereby, — are the more ingenuous aims of men in the dedications of their writings.

    Though these, and sundry other pretences of the same kind, might justly be drawn into my plea for this address unto you, yet your peculiar designation and appointment, through the good hand of the providence of God, to the defense of the gospel, and your eminent furnishment with abilities from the same hand for the performance of that glorious duty, is that alone upon the account whereof I have satisfied myself, and hope that I may not dissatisfy others, as to this present application. What there is of my own peculiar concernment, wherein I am like to obtain a more favorable condescension in judgment, as to my present undertaking, from you than from other men, will in the close of my address crave leave to have mention made thereof.

    Brethren! the outward obligations that are upon you from the God of truth, with the advantages which he hath intrusted you withal for the defense of his truth, above the most of men in the world, are evident even to them that walk by the way, and turn little aside to the consideration of things of this nature, importance, and condition; and it is to me an evidence of no small encouragement that God will yet graciously employ you in the work and labor of his gospel, by his constant giving a miscarrying womb to all them who have attempted to defraud the nation and the churches of God therein of those helps and furtherances of piety and literature with whose management for their service you are at present intrusted. Of the jewels of silver and gold whereof, by the Lord’s appointment, the children of Israel, coming out from amongst them, spoiled the Egyptians, did they dedicate to the tabernacle in the wilderness, when the Lord “planted the heavens, and laid the foundations of the earth, and said unto Zion, Thou art my people.”

    Though some outward provisions and furnitures of literature, — now, through the good hand of God, made serviceable to you in your attendance upon the great work and employment committed to you, — were first deposited when thick darkness was over the land, yet that they may be made eminently subservient to the will of God in raising up again the tabernacle of David, that was fallen down, the experience of a few years, I no way doubt, will abundantly reveal and manifest. That in the vicissitude of all things, given them by the mysterious and dreadful wheels of providence, your good things also (as every thing else that is pleasant and desirable, or given of God unto the sons of men, hath done) have fallen into the possession and disposal of men, some enemies, others utterly useless and unfruitful to the Lord in their generations, cannot be denied; but what is there, in his ways or worship, in his works or word, that God hath not, at some season or other, delivered into the power of the men of the world; though they have abused and perverted them to their own destruction? Neither is there any other use of this consideration, but only to inform them of the obligation they lie under to a due and zealous improvement of them to whose trust and care the Lord commits any of his mercies, when he rescues them from the captivity under which they have been detained by ungodly men. This is now your lot and condition in reference to many who, for sundry generations, possessed those places and advantages of eminent service for the house of our God which you now enjoy. What may justly be the expectation of God from you, under this signal dispensation of his goodness; what is the hope, prayer, and expectation of very many that fear him, concerning you in this nation; what are the designs, desires, aims, and endeavors, of all sorts of them who bear ill-will at whatsoever is comely or praiseworthy amongst us, — you are not ignorant. Whatever consideration, at any time or season, may seem to have had an efficacy upon the minds and wills of men under the like sacrament and designment to the service of truth with yourselves, to incite and provoke them to a singularly industrious and faithful discharge of their duty, is eminently pressing upon you also; and you are made a spectacle to men and angels as to the acquitment of yourselves. The whole of your employment, I confess, — both in the general intendment of it, for the promoting and diffusing of light, knowledge, and truth, in every kind whatever, and in the more special design thereof, for the defense, furtherance, and propagation of the ancient, inviolable, unchangeable truth of the gospel of God, — is, in the days wherein we live, exposed to a contention with as much opposition, contempt, scorn, hatred, and reproach, as ever any such undertaking was, in any place in the world wherein men pretended to love light more than darkness.

    It is a hellish darkness which the light of the sun cannot expel. There is no ignorance so full of pride, folly, and stubbornness, as that which maintains itself in the midst of plentiful means of light and knowledge. He that is in the dark when the light of the sun is as seven days, hath darkness in his eye; and how great is that darkness! Such is the ignorance you have to contend withal; stubborn, affected, prejudicate, beyond expression; maintaining its darkness at noonday; expressly refusing to attend to the reason of things, as being that alone, in the thoughts of those men (if they may be so called who are possessed with it), wherewith the world is disturbed. From those who, being under the power of this inthralment, do seem to repine at God that they are not beasts, and clamorously traduce the more noble part of that kind and offspring whereof themselves are, — which attempts do heighten and improve the difference between creatures of an intellectual race and them, to whom their perishing composition gives the utmost advancement, — whose eternal seeds and principles are laid by the hand of God in their respective beings, you will not, I am sure, think it much if you meet with oppositions. Those who are in any measure acquainted with the secret triumphing exaltations of wisdom and knowledge against folly and ignorance, with the principles and conditions wherewith they advance themselves in their gloryings, even then when the precedency of (that which is bestial in this world) force and violence outwardly bears them down with insultation and contempt, will rather envy than pity you in any contest that on this foot of account you can be engaged in. You are not the first that have fought with men after the manner of beasts, nor will be the last who shall need to pray to be delivered from absurd and unreasonable men, seeing “all men have not faith.”

    Men of profane and atheistical spirits, who are ready to say, “Who is the\parLORD? What is the Almighty that we should fear him? or his truth that we should regard it?” whose generation is of late multiplied on the face of the earth, crying “A confederacy” with them who, professing better things, are yet filled with grievous indignation at the sacrifice that hath been made of their abominations before their eyes, by that reformation of this place wherein you have been instrumental, are a continual goad on the other side, and would quickly be a sword in your very bowels, were not “He that is higher than the highest” your dwelling-place and refuge in your generation.

    These are they upon whom God having poured contempt and stained their glory, they, instead of accepting of his dispensations, are filled with wrath, and labor to make others drink of the cup which hath been offered to themselves. With their reproaches, slightings, undervaluations, slanders, do your worth, diligence, integrity, labors, contend from one end of this earth to the other, He that “hath delivered doth deliver; and in him we trust that he will yet deliver.”

    What other oppositions you do meet, or in your progress may meet withal, I shall not mention; but wait with patience on Him who gives men repentance and change of heart to the acknowledgment of the things that are of Him. This in the midst of all hath hitherto been a cause of great rejoicing, that God hath graciously kept off ravenous wolves from entering into your flocks, where are so many tender lambs, and hath not suffered “men to arise from amongst yourselves speaking perverse things, and drawing away disciples after them;” but as he hath given you to “obey from the heart that form of doctrine which hath been delivered unto you,” so he hath preserved that “faith” amongst you “which was once delivered unto the saints.”

    Your peculiar designation to the service of the gospel and defense of the truth thereof, your abilities for that work, your abiding in it notwithstanding the opposition you meet withal, “in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation,” are, as I said before, my encouragements in this address unto you, wherein I shall crave leave a little farther to communicate my thoughts unto you as to the matter in hand. Next to the Son of his love, who is the Truth, the greatest and most eminent gift that God hath bestowed on the sons of men, and communicated to them, is his truth revealed in his word, — the knowledge of him, his mind and will, according to the discovery which he hath made of himself from his own bosom, having magnified his word above all his name. The importance hereof as to the eternal concernments of the sons of men, either in ignorance refusing and resisting, or accepting and embracing of it, is that which is owned, and lies at the bottom and foundation of all that we any way engage ourselves into in this world, wherein we differ from them whose hope perisheth with them. Unto an inquiry after and entertainment of this divine and sacred depositum hath God designed the fruit and labor of that wherein we retain the resemblance of him; which, whilst we have our being, nothing can abolish. The mind of man and divine truth are the two most eminent excellencies wherewith the Lord hath adorned this lower part of his creation; which, when they correspond and are brought into conformity with each other, the mind being changed into the image of truth, there is glory added to glory, and the whole rendered exceeding glorious. By what suitableness and proportion in the things themselves (that is, between truth and the mind of man), as we are men, — by what almighty, secret, and irresistible power, as we are corrupted men, our minds being full of darkness and folly, — this is wrought, is not my business now to discuss. This is on all hands confessed, that, setting aside the consideration of the eternal issues of things, every mistake of divine truth, every opposition to it or rejection of it, or any part of it, is so far a chaining up of the mind under the power of darkness from a progress towards that perfection which it is capable of. It is truth alone that capacitates any soul to give glory to God, or to be truly useful to them who are partakers of flesh and blood with him; without being some way serviceable to which end, there is nothing short of the fullness of wrath that can be judged so miserable as the life of a man. Easily so much might be delivered on this account as to evince the dread of that judgment whereto some men, in the infallibly wise counsel of God, are doomed, even to the laying out of the labor and travail of their minds, to spend their days and strength in sore labor, in making opposition to this truth of God. Especially is the sadness of this consideration increased in reference to them who, upon any account whatever, do bear forth themselves, and are looked upon by others, as “guides of the blind,” as “lights to them which are in darkness,” as the “instructors of the foolish,” and “teachers of babes.” For a man to set himself, or to be set by others, in a way wherein are many turnings and cross paths, some of them leading and tending to places of innumerable troubles, and perhaps death and slaughter, undertaking to be a guide to direct them that travel towards the place of their intendments, where they would be, and where they shall meet with rest; for such an one, I say, to take hold of every one that passeth by, pretending himself to be exceeding skillful in all the windings and turnings of those ways and paths, and to stand there on purpose to give direction, if he shall, with all his skill and rhetoric, divert them out of the path wherein they have perhaps safely set out, and so guide them into those by-ways which will certainly lead them into snares and troubles, if not to death itself, — can he spend his time, labor, and strength, in an employment more to be abhorred? or can he design any thing more desperately mischievous to them whose good and welfare he is bound and promiseth to seek and promote? Is any man’s condition under heaven more to be lamented, or is any man’s employment more perilous, than such an one’s, who, being not only endowed with a mind and understanding capable of the truth and receiving impressions of the will of God, but also with distinguishing abilities and enlargements for the receiving of greater measures of truth than others, and for the more effectual improvement of what he doth so receive, shall labor night and day, dispending the richest treasure and furnishment of his soul for the rooting out, defacing, and destruction of the truth, for the turning men out of the way and paths that lead to rest and peace? I never think of the uncomfortable drudgery which men give up themselves unto, in laying the hay and stubble of their vain and false conceptions upon the foundation, and heaping up the fruit of their souls, to make the fire that consumes them the more fierce and severe, but it forces compassionate thoughts of that sad condition whereto mankind hath cast itself by its apostasy from God.

    And yet there is not any thing in the world that men more willingly, with more delight and greediness, consecrate the flower of their strength and abilities unto, than this of promoting the delusions of their own minds, in opposition to the truth and ways of God. It is a thing of obvious observation and daily experience, that if, by any means whatever, any one closeth with some new and by-opinion, off from the faith delivered to and received by the generality of the saints, be it a thing of never so small concernment in our walking with God in gospel obedience, and in love without dissimulation one towards another, yet instantly more weight is laid upon it, more pains Laid out about it, and zeal dispended for its supportment and propagation, than about all other most necessary points of Christian religion. Have we not a deplorable cloud of examples of men contending about some circumstance or other in the administration of an ordinance, biting and devouring all that stand in their way, roving up and down to gain proselytes unto their persuasion, and in the meantime utterly ignorant or negligent of the great doctrines and commands of the gospel of Jesus Christ, which are, as in him, the head and life of souls? How many a man seems to have no manner of religion at all, but some one error! That is his God, his Christ, his worship; that he preaches, that he discourseth of, that he labors to propagate, until, by the righteous judgment of Gods it comes to pass that such men in all other things wither and die away, all the sap and vigor of their spirits feeding that one monstrous excrescency, which they grow up daily into. Desire of emerging and being notable in the world, esteem and respect in the hearts and mouths of them whom peculiarly they draw after them, with the like unworthy aims of selfadvancement, may, without evil surmising (when such attempts are, as in too many, accompanied with irregularity in conversation), be supposed to be advantages given into the hands of the envious man, to make use of them for the sowing of his tares in the field of the poor seduced world.

    That this procedure is also furthered by the burdensomeness of sound doctrine unto the generality of men, who, having “itching ears,” as far as they care for these things, do spend their time in religion in nothing else but either to tell or to hear some new thing, cannot be denied. Besides, to defend, improve, give and add new light unto, old truths (a work which hath so abundantly and excellently been labored in by so many worthies of Christ, especially since the Reformation), in any eminent manner, so as to bring praise and repute unto the undertakers (which, whether men will confess or no, it is evident that too many are enslaved unto), is no easy task. And for the most part of what is done that way, you may say, “Quis leget haec?” The world, says every one, is burdened with discourses of this nature. How many have we in our days who might have gone to the grave in silence among the residue of their brethren, and their names have remained for a season in the voisinage, where they might have done God the service required of them in their generation, would they have kept themselves in the form of wholesome words and sound doctrine, that have now delivered their names into the mouths of all men, by engaging into some singular opinions, though perhaps raked out of the ashes of Popery, Socinianism, or some such fruitful heap of error and false notions of the things of God!

    I desire not to judge before the time; the day will manifest all things, and the hidden secrets of the hearts of men shall by it be laid open, when all the ways, causes, and occasions, of their deceiving and being deceived shall be brought to light, and every man according to his work shall have praise of God; — only, I say, as to the present state of things, this is evident (not to speak of those locusts from the bottomless pit that professedly oppose their strength to all that is of God, his name, word, worship, truth, will, and commands, razing the foundation of all hopes for eternity; nor of him and his associates who “exalteth himself above all that is called God,” being “full of names of blasphemy,” sealed up to destruction), very many amongst ourselves, of whom we hoped better things, do, some in greater, some in lesser matters, give up themselves to that unhappy labor we before mentioned, of opposing the truth of God, and exalting their own darkness in the room of his glorious light. “Ut jugulent homines, surgunt de nocte latrones:

    Ut teipsum serves, non expergisceres?” f1 Reverend brethren, if other men can rise early, go to bed late, and eat the bread of carefulness, spend their lives and strength to do their own work, and propagate their own conceptions, under a pretense of doing the work of God; if the envious man watcheth all night and waits all advantages to sow his tares, — how will you be able to lift up your heads with joy, and behold your Master’s face with boldness at his coming, if, having received such eminent abilities, endowments, and furnishments from him for his service, and the service of his sheep and lambs, as you have done, you gird not up the loins of your minds, and lay not out your strength to the uttermost for the weeding out of the field and vineyard of the Lord “every plant which our heavenly Father hath not planted,” and for feeding the flock of Christ with sincere milk and strong meat, according as they are able to bear? What you have received more than others is of free grace which is God’s way of dealing with them on whom he lays the most unconquerable and indispensable obligations unto service. Flesh and blood hath not revealed, unto you the truth of God which you do profess, but our Father which is in heaven. You do not upon any endeavor of your own differ from them who are given up to the sore judgment and ever-to-bebewailed condition before mentioned. It hath not been from your own endeavors or watchfulness that you have been hitherto preserved under the hour of temptation, which is come to try the men that live upon the face of the earth. It is not of yourselves that you are not industriously disturbing your own souls and others with this or that intrenchment upon the doctrine of the gospel, and the free grace of God in Jesus Christ; which not a few pride themselves in, with the contempt of all otherwise minded. And doth not the present state of things require the full disbursing of all that you have freely received for the glory of Him from whom you have received it?

    You are not only persons who, as doctors and teachers in a university, have a large, distinct disciplinary knowledge of divinity, but also such as to whom “the Son of God is come, and hath given an understanding to know him that is true;” “into whose hearts God hath shined, to give the light of the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ;” and therefore may say, “‘ What shall we render to theLORD?’ how shall we serve him in any way answerable to the grace we have received?” I speak not this, theLORD knows it, before whom I stand, with reflection on any, as though I judged them neglecters of the duty incumbent on them. “Every one of us must give account of himself to God.” The daily pains, labor, and travail, of many of you in the work of the gospel, the diligence and endeavors of others in promoting other useful literature, are known unto all. Only the consideration of my own present undertaking, joined with a sense of mine own insufficiency for this, or any other labor of this kind, and of your larger furnishment with abilities of all sorts, press me to this stirring up of your remembrance to contend for the faith, so much opposed and perverted. Not that I would press for the needless multiplying of books (whose plenty is the general customary complaint of all men versed in them), unless necessity call thereto. “Scribimus indocti, doctique.” But that serious thoughts may be continually dwelling in you to lay out yourselves to obviate the spreading of any error whatever, or for the destruction of any already propagated, by such ways and means as the providence of God and the circumstances of the matter itself shall call you out unto, is in the desire of my soul.

    Something you will find in this kind attempted by the weakest of your number, in this ensuing treatise. The matter of it I know will have your approbation, and that because it hath His whom you serve. For the manner of handling it, it is humbly given up to his grace and mercy, and freely left to your Christian judgment. The general concernments of this business are so known to all that I shall by no means burden you with a repetition of them. The attempt made by Mr. Goodwin against the truth here asserted was by all men judged so considerable (especially the truth opposed having a more practical influence into the walking of the saints with God than any other by him assaulted, and the defending of it giving more advantage unto an inquiry after the mind of God, as delivered in innumerable places of Scripture, than any of the rest opposed) as that a removal of his exceptions to our arguments, and an answer to his objections, were judged necessary by all. Other reasons manifesting this endeavor to be in order and in season, I have farther communicated in the entrance of the treatise itself. In my addresses to the work, I could by no means content myself with a mere discussing of what was produced by my adversary; for he having kept himself, for the most part, within the compass of the synodal writings of the Remonstrants, which are already most clearly and solidly answered (by one especially, renowned Amesius), to have tied myself unto a contest with him had been merely actum agere, without promoting the cause I had undertaken in the least. As I account it by no means an ingenuous proceeding for men to bear up their own names by standing upon the shoulders of others, to deport themselves authors when indeed they are but collectors and translators; so I am very remote from being so far in love with this way of handling controversies in divinity, as to think it necessary to multiply books of the same matter, without some considerable addition of light and strength to the cause whose protection and promotion are undertaken. On this consideration, besides incident discourses, which I hope, through the grace of Him that supplied seed to the sower, may be of use and have an increase amongst the saints of God, I have made it my aim (and what therein I have attained is, with all submission of mind and judgment, east before the thoughts of men whose senses are exercised to discern good and evil) to place each argument insisted on upon its own proper basis and foundation; to resolve every reason and medium whereby I have proceeded into its own principles, discovering the fountain and wellhead of all the streams that run in the field of this contest; as also to give some clearings and evidences to our conclusions from the several texts of Scripture discussed, by discovering the reason of them and intent of God in them. Some arguments there are, and sundry texts of Scripture, that are usually produced and urged in the defense of the cause under consideration that I have not insisted on, nor vindicated from the exceptions of the adversaries. Not that I judge them indefensible against their most cunning or most furious assaults, and so slighted what I could not hold, — for, indeed, I know not any one text of Scripture commonly used for this end, nor any argument by any sober man framed to the same purpose, that is not capable of an easy and fair vindication, — but merely because they fell not in regularly in the method I had proposed to myself, nor would so do, unless I had gone forth to the issue of my first intendment, and had handled the abode of believers with God at large from its principles and causes, as I had done that part of our doctrine which concerns the continuance of the love of God with and unto them; which the growth of the treatise under my hand would not give me leave to do. What hath been, or may yet farther be, done by others who have made or shall make it their business to draw the saw of this controversy to and fro with Mr. Goodwin, I hope will give satisfaction, as in other things, so in the particulars by me omitted. As to what I have to speak, or at least think it convenient to speak, concerning him with whom in this discourse I have much to do, and the manner of my dealing with him, being a thing of personal concernment, not having any influencing aspect on the merits of the cause, I shall in not many words absolve you of your trouble in the consideration thereof. My adversary is a person whom his worth, pains, diligence, and opinions, and the contests wherein on their account he hath publicly engaged, have delivered from being the object of any ordinary thoughts or expressions. Nothing not great, not considerable, not some way eminent, is by any spoken of him, either consenting with him or dissenting from him. To interpose my judgment in the crowd, on the one side or the other, I know neither warrant nor sufficient cause; we all stand or fall to our own masters, and the fire will try all our works. This only I shall crave liberty to say, that whether from his own genius and acrimony of spirit, or from the provocations of others with whom he hath had to do, many of his polemical treatises have been sprinkled with satirical sarcasms, and contemptuous rebukes of the persons with whom he hath had to do; so that were I not relieved in my thoughts by the consideration of those exacerbations and exasperations of spirit which, upon other accounts besides bare difference of opinion in religious things, have fallen out in the days and seasons which have passed over us, all of them laboring to exert something of themselves on every undertaking of the persons brought under their power, I should have been utterly discouraged from any contest of this nature. Much, indeed, of his irregularity in this kind I cannot but ascribe to that prompt facility he hath in putting abroad every passion of his mind and all his conceptions, not only decently clothed, with language of a full and choice significancy, but also trimmed and adorned with all manner of signal improvements that may render it keen or pleasant, according to his intendment or desire. What the Latin lyric said of the Grecian poets may be applied to him: — “Monte decurrens velut amnis, imbres Quem super notas aluere ripas, Fervet, immensusque ruit profundo Pindarus ore.” f2 And he is hereby plainly possessed of not a few advantages. It is true that when the proof of his opinion by argument, and the orderly pursuit of it, is incumbent on him (a course of all others wherein he soonest faileth), the medium he useth and insisteth on receiveth not the least contribution of real strength from any dress of words and expressions wherewith it is adorned and accompanied; yet it cannot be denied but that his allegorical amplifications, illustrations, and exaggerations of the things he would insinuate, take great impressions upon the minds of them who are in any measure entangled with the seeming probabilities which are painted over his arguments, by their sophistry and pretense of truth. The apostle, giving that caution to the Colossians, that they should take heed mh> tiv aujtouzhtai ejn piqavologi>a| , manifesteth the prevalency of false reasonings when in conjunction with rhetorical persuasion, Colossians 2:4. The great store also of words and expressions, which for all occasions he hath lying by him, are of no little use to him, when, being pressed with any arguments or testimonies of Scripture, and being not able to evade, he is forced to raise a cloud of them, wherewith after he hath a while darkened the wisdom and counsel of that wherewith he hath to do, he insensibly slips out of the cord wherewith he appeared to have been detained, and triumphs as in a perfect conquest, when only an unarticulate sound hath been given by his trumpet, but the charge of his adversaries not once received or repelled. But not anywhere doth he more industriously hoist up and spread the sails of his luxuriant eloquence than when he aims to render the opinion of his adversaries to be “monstrum horrendum, informe ingens, cui lumen ademptum,” — a dark, dismal, uncomfortable, fruitless, death-procuring doctrine, such as it is marvellous that ever any poor soul should embrace or choose for a companion or guide in its pilgrimage towards heaven. Rolling through this field, his expressions swell over all bounds and limits; metaphors, similitudes, parables, all help on the current, though the streams of it being shallow and wide, a little opposition easily turns it for the most part aside; a noise it makes, indeed, with a goodly show and appearance. “ — Agylleus Hercules non mole minor, — Sed non ille rigor, patriumque in corpore robur.

    Luxuriant artus, effusaque sanguine laxo Membra natant.’ — [Stat. Theb., 6:837-842, slightly altered.] This, as I said, prompts, I fear, the learned person of whom we speak to deal so harshly with some of them with whom he hath to do. And it is still feared that “Parata tollit cornua; Qualis Lycambae spretus infido gener, Aut acer hostis Bupalo.” f3 It might, indeed, be the more excusable if evident provocation were always ready at hand to be charged with the blame of this procedure, if he said only, “An, si quis afro dente me petiverit, Inultus ut flebo puer.” f4 But for a man to warm himself by casting about his own pen until it be so filled with indignation and scorn as to blur every page and almost every line, is a course that will never promote the praise nor adorn the truth of God. For what remains concerning him, “Do illi ingenium, do eloquentiam et industriam; fidem et veritatem utinam coluisset.”

    The course and condition of my procedure with him, whether it be such as becometh Christian modesty and sobriety, with an allowance of those ingredients of zeal in contending for the truth which in such cases the Holy Ghost gives a command for, is referred to the judgment of all who are concerned, and account themselves so, in the things of God. As to any bitterness of expression, personal reflections, by application of satirical invectives, I know nothing by myself; and yet I dare not account that I am hereby justified. The calm and indifferent reader, not sensible of those commotions which the discovery of sophistical evasions, pressing of inconsequent consequences, bold assertions, etc., will sometimes raise in the most candid and ingenuous mind, may (and especially if he be an observer of failings in that kind) espy once and again some signs and appearances of such exasperations as ought to have been allayed with a spirit of meekness before the thoughts that stirred them up had been turned out of doors in the expressions observed. Although I am not conscious of the delivery of myself in any terms intimating a captivity under the power of such a snare for a moment, yet what shall to the Christian reader occur of such a seeming tendency I humbly refer it to his judgment, being content to suffer loss in any hay or stubble whatever that I may have laid upon the foundation of truth, which I am sure is firmly fixed by God himself in the business in hand.

    For what farther concerns my manner of dealing in this argument, I have only a few things to mention, reverend brethren, and you will be discharged of the trouble of this prefatory address unto you. The matter in hand, I hope, you will find attended and pursued without either jocular or historical diversions, which are judged meet by some to retain the spirits and entice the minds of the readers, which are apt to faint and grow weary if always bent to the consideration of things weighty and serious. With you, who are continually exercised with severer thoughts and studies than the most of men can immix themselves withal, such a condescension to the vanity of men’s minds and lightness of their spirits I am sure can find no approbation. And as for them who make it their business to run through books of a polemical nature, in what subject soever, in pursuit of what is personal, ridiculous, invective, beating every chapter and section to find only what ought not to be there, and recoiling in their spirits upon the appearance of that which is serious and pressing to the cause in hand, I suppose you judge them not worthy to be attended to with such an imposition upon the time and diligence of those who sincerely seek the truth in love as the satisfying of their vain humor would require. It is, indeed, of sad consideration to see how some learned men (forgetting the loss of precious hours wherewith they punish their readers thereby), in discourses of this nature, do offend against their professed intendments, by perpetual diversions, in long personal harangues, delighting some for a moment, instructing none in the matter inquired into. Some parts of this treatise you may perhaps judge not so closely and scholastically argumentative as the regular laws of an accurate disputation would require.

    In the same judgment with you is the author, when yet he supposes himself not without just apology, and that such as renders his way of procedure not blameworthy; whereas, otherwise, he, should not think any excuse sufficient to expiate such an error. He is worthily blamed who had not rather choose to want a fault than an excuse. The truth is, neither would the matter treated of, nor the persons for whose sakes chiefly this labor was undertaken, admit of an accurate scholastical procedure in all parts of the treatise. The doctrine asserted and the error opposed are the concernment of the common people of Christianity. Arminianism is crept into the bodies of sundry congregations, and the weaker men are who entertain it, the more gross and carnal are their notions and conceptions in and about it. Pela-gins himself was never so injurious to the grace of God as some amongst us. Now, the souls of [the] men whose good is sought in this work are no less precious in the sight of God, though they are unacquainted with philosophical terms and ways of arguing, than the souls of the most learned. Besides, that which we account our wisdom and learning may, if too rigorously attended, be our folly. When we think to sharpen the reason of the Scripture, we may straiten the efficacy of the spirit of it. It is oftentimes more effectual in its own liberty than when restrained to our methods of arguing, and the weapons of it keener in their own soft breathings than when sharpened in the forge of Aristotle. There is a way of persuasion and conviction in the Scriptures that is more divine and sublime than to be reduced to any rules of art that men can reach unto.

    God in his word instructs men, to make them “wise unto salvation.”

    Syllogisms are not, doubtless, the only way of making men wise with human wisdom, much less divine. Some testimonies, on this account, are left at their own liberty, improved only by explanation, that they might lose nothing of their own strength, seeing no other can be added to them.

    Where the corrupt philosophy, or sophistical arguings, or, indeed, regular syllogistical proceedings, of the adversaries, have rendered a more close, logical way of proceeding necessary, I hope your favorable judgments will not find cause to complain of the want thereof. Whatever is amiss, whatever is defective, whatever upon any account cometh short of desire or expectation, as I know none in the world more able to discern and find out than yourselves, so there are none from whom I can expect, and justly promise myself, a more easy and candid censure, a more free and general pardon, a more favorable acceptation of this endeavor for the service of the truth, than from you. Besides that personal amity and respect which God by his providence hath given me (one altogether unworthy of such an alloy of common perplexities in his pilgrimage) with you and amongst you, besides that readiness and ingenuous promptness of mind unto condescension and candid reception of labors in this kind which your own great worth and abilities furnish you withal, exempting you and lifting you above that pedantic severity and humor of censure which possesseth sciolists and men corrupted with a desire of emerging in the repute of others, you know full well in what straits, under what diversions, employments, business of sundry natures, incumbent on me from the relations wherein I stand in the university, and on sundry other accounts, this work hath been carried on. The truth is, no small portion of it owes its rise to journeys, and such like avocations from my ordinary course of studies and employments, with some spare hours, for the most part in time of absence from all books and assistances of that nature whatever. Not longer to be burdensome unto you with things of no greater concernment than what may have respect to one every way so unworthy as myself, what is of the seed which God graciously supplied, I am sure will find acceptance with you; and what is of its worthless author, or that I have added, I am fully content may be consumed by the fire that tries our works of what sort they are.

    My daily prayer, honored brethren, shall be on your behalf, that in the days wherein we see so many fall from the truth and oppose it on the one hand, a great indifference as to the things of God leading captive so many on the other, so few remaining made useful to God in their generations by a conjunction of zeal for the truth and ability unto its defense, and those for the most part so closely engaged in, and their hands so filled with, the work of public beseeching men to be reconciled to God in Christ, and building up of them who are called in their most holy faith, you may receive help from above, and encouragement to engage you by all means possible to spread abroad a savor of the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to labor continually that the truths of God (for whose defense you are particularly appointed) may not be cast down, nor trampled on under the feet of men of corrupt minds, lying in wait to deceive, alluring and beguiling unstable souls with enticing words of human wisdom, or any glorious show and pretense whatever, turning them from the simplicity of the gospel and the truth as it is in Jesus; that you may not faint nor wax weary, notwithstanding all the opposition, contempt, scorn, you do or may meet withal, nor even be turned aside to corrupt dalliances with error and falsehood, as is the manner of some, who yet would be accounted sound in the faith; but keeping close to the form of wholesome words, and answering the mould of gospel doctrine, whereinto you hays been cast, may shine as lights in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, knowing that it is but yet a little while, and he that shall come will come, and will not tarry. Yea, come, Lord Jesus, come.

    So prays your unworthy fellow-laborer and brother in our dear Lord Jesus, John Owen.


    READER, IF thy inquiry be only after the substance of the truth in the ensuing treatise contended for, I desire thee not to stay at all upon this preliminary discourse, but to proceed thither where it is expressly handled from the Scriptures, without the intermixture of any human testimonies or other less necessary circumstances, wherein perhaps many of them may not be concerned whose interest yet lies in the truth itself, and it is precious to their souls. That which now I intend and aim at is, to give an account to the learned reader of some things nearly relating to the doctrine whose protection, in the strength of Him who gives to his [servants] suitable helps for the works and employments he calls them to, I have undertaken, and what entertainment it hath formerly found and received in the church, and among the saints of God. For the accomplishment of this intendment a brief mention of the doctrine itself will make way. Whom in this controversy we intend by the names of “saints” and “believers,” the treatise following will abundantly manifest. The word perseverantia is of most known use in ecclesiastical writers: Austin hath a book with the inscription of it on its forehead. The word in the New Testament signifying the same thing is ejpimonh> . Of them that followed Paul, it is said that he “persuaded them ejpime>nein th~| ca>riti tou~ Qeou~ ,” Acts 13:43; that is, “to persevere.” JUpomonh> is of the same import: JO de< uJpomei>nav eijv te>lov ou=tov swqh>setai , Matthew 10:22, — “He that persevereth to the end.” The Vulgar Latin renders that word almost constantly by persevero. Karteri>a is a word also of the same signification, and which the Scripture useth to express the same thing. Kra>tov is sometimes by a metathesis expressed ka>rtov? thence is karta, valde; and kartere>w , spoken of him who is of a valiant, resolved mind. “By faith Moses left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, toraton wJv oJrw~n ejkarte>rhse ,” Hebrews 11:27; — “As eyeing the Invisible, he endured (his trial) with a constant, valiant mind.” Proskartere>w from thence is most frequently to persevere, Acts 1:14; and +Hsan de< proskarterou~ntev th~| didach~| tw~n ajposto>lwn , Acts 2:42, — “They persevered in the doctrine of the apostles.” Proskarte>rhsiv , once used in the New Testament, is rendered by our translators, “perseverance,” Ephesians 6:18. In what variety of expression the thing is revealed in the Scripture is in the treatise itself abundantly declared. The Latin word is classical: persevero is constanter sum severus. In that sense, as Seneca says, “Res severa est verum gaudium.” Its extreme in excess is pertinacy, if these are not rather distinguished from their objects than in themselves.

    Varro, lib. 4 De Ling. Lat., tells us that pertinacia is a continuance or going on in that wherein one ought not to continue or proceed; perseverantia is that whereby any one continues in that wherein he ought so to do. Hence is that definition of it commonly given by the schoolmen from Austin, lib. 83, qu. 31, who took it from Cicero (one they little acquainted themselves withal), lib. 2 De Invent. cap. 54. It is, say they, “In ratione bene considerata stabilis et perpetua permansio.’

    And this at present may pass for a general description of it that is used in art ethical and evangelical sense. Perseverance was accounted a commendable thing among philosophers. Morally, perseverance is that part of fortitude whereby the mind is established in the performance of any good. and necessary work, notwithstanding the assaults and opposition it meets withal, with that tediousness and wearisomeness which the protraction of time in the pursuit of any affairs is attended withal. Aristotle informs us that it is exercised about things troublesome, lib. 7 cap. 6, Eth.

    Nicom., giving a difference between continence with its opposite vice, and forbearance or perseverance: Tou>twn d j oJ men peri< hJdonav . JO de< peri< lu>pav malakov. He that abides in his undertaken work, so it be good and honest, notwithstanding that trouble and perplexity he may meet withal, is karteriko>v . Hence he tells us that karterkw~v zh~|n , as well as swfro>nwv , is not pleasant to many, lib. 10 cap. 9; and that because so to live implies difficulty and opposition. And he also, as Varro in the place above mentioned, distinguishes it from pertinacy. And of men infected with that depraved habit of mind he says there are three sorts, ijdiognw>monev , ajmaqei~v , and a]groikoi. All these are, in his judgment, ijscurognw>monev , Nicom., lib. 7 cap. 9; which perverse disposition of spirit he there dearly manifests to be sufficiently differenced from a stable, resolved frame of mind, whatever it may resemble it in. Now, though there is no question but that of two persons continuing in the same work or opinion, one may do it out of pertinacy, the other out of perseverance, yet amongst men, who judge of the minds of others by their fruits, and of the acts of their minds by their objects, these two dispositions or habits are universally distinguished, as before by Varro. Hence the terms of “pertinacy” and “obstinacy” being thrust into the definition of heresy by them who renounce any infallible living judge and determiner in matters of faith, to make way for the inflicting of punishment on the entertainers and maintainers thereof. They take no thought of proving it such, but only because it is found in persons embracing such errors. The same affection of mind, with the same fruits and demonstrations of it, in persons embracing the truth, would by the same men he termed perseverance. But this is not that whereof I treat. Evangelical perseverance is from the Scripture at large explained in the book itself. As it relates to our acceptation with God, and the immutability of justification (which is the chief and most eminent part of the doctrine contended for), as it hath no conformity in any thing with the moral perseverance before described, so indeed it is not comprehended in that strict notion and signification of the word itself which denotes the continuation of some act or acts in us, and not the uninterruptibleness of any act of God. This, then, is the cause of perseverance, rather than perseverance itself, yet such a cause as being established, the effect will certainly and uncontrollably ensue. They who go about to assert a perseverance of saints cut off from the absolute unchangeableness of the decree, purpose, and love of God, attended with a possibility of a contrary event, and that not only in respect of the free manner of its carrying on, whereby he that wills to persevere may not will so to do, but also in respect of the issue and end itself, will, I doubt not, if they are serious in what they pretend, find themselves entangled in their undertaking. As perseverance is a grace in the subjects on whom it is bestowed, so it relates either to the spiritual habit of faith or the principle of new life they have received from God, or to the actual performance of those duties wherein they ought to abide. In the first sense it consists in the point of being or not being. Whilst the habit of faith remains, there is in respect thereof an uninterrupted perseverance in him in whom it is; and this we contend for. As it respects actions flowing from that habit and principle, it expatiates itself in a large field; for as it imports not at all a perpetual performance of such acts without intermission (which were naturally as well as spiritually impossible, whilst we carry about us a “body of death”), so neither doth it necessarily imply a constant tenor of proceeding in the performance of them, but is consistent with a change in degrees of performance, and in other respects also not now to be insisted on. Perseverance in this sense being the uninterrupted continuance of habitual grace in the hearts of believers, without intercision, with such a walking in obedience as God, according to the tenor of the new covenant, will accept, upon the whole of the matter it is in its own nature (as every thing else is that hath not its being from itself) liable and obnoxious to alteration; and therefore must be built and reposed on that which is in itself immutable, that it may be rendered, on that supposition, immutable also. Therefore is perseverance in this sense resolved into that cause of it before mentioned; which to do is the chief endeavor of the following treatise. Of the groundlessness of their opinion who, granting final perseverance, do yet plead for the possibility of a final apostasy and an intercision of faith, no more need be spoken but what, upon the account last mentioned, hath been argued already. Some discourses have passed both of old and of late concerning the nature of this perseverance, and wherein it doth properly consist. Many affirm it not really to differ from the habit of faith and love itself; for which Bradwardin earnestly contends, lib. 2 De Cau. Dei. cap. 7, concluding his disputation, that “Perseverantia habitualis est justitia habitualiter preservata; perseverantia actualis est justitiae perseverantia actualis, ipsum vero perseverare, est justitiam praeservare;” whereupon (“suo more:”) he infers this corollary: “Quod nomen perseverantiae nullam rem absolutam essentialiter significat, sed accidentaliter, et relative, charitatem videlicet, sire justitiam, cure respectu futurae permansionis continue usque in finem; et quod non improbabiliter posset dici perseverantiam esse ipsam relationem hujus.”

    And therefore in the next chapter, to that objection, “If perseverance be no more but charity or righteousness, then every one that hath once obtained these, or true grace, must also persevere,” he returns no answer at all, plainly insinuating his judgment to be so; of which afterward. And therefore he spends his 13th chapter of the same book to prove that the Holy Spirit is that “auxilium,” as he called it, whereby any persevere. And, chap. 1, he resolves all preservation from being overcome by temptation, or not being tempted to a prevalency (the same for substance with perseverance), into the will and purpose of God. “Quicunque,” saith he, “non tentatur, hoc necessario est a deo, quod non tentatur. Sicut 11 pars 13 primi probat; et per 22 primi, Deus necessario habet aliquem actum voluntatis circa talem non tentationem, et non nolitionem, quia tunc per decimum primi non tentaretur, ergo volitionem, quae per idem decimum ipsum tentari non siuit,” etc.

    Others render it as a gift superadded to faith and love; of which judgment Austin seems to have been, who is followed by sundry of the schoolmen, with many of the divines of the reformed churches. Hence is that conclusion of Alvarez, De Auxil., lib. 10 disp. 103, “Secundum fidem catholicam asserendum est, praeter gratiam habitualem et virtutes infusas esse necessarium ad perseverandum in bono usque in finem auxilium speciale, supernaturale scilicet donum perseverantiae.”

    And of this proposition he says, “In hac omnes catholici conveniunt.” Of the same judgment was his master, Thomas, lib. 3 Con. Genesis cap. ely.; where, also, he gives this reason of his opinion: “Illud quod natura sua est variabile, ad hoc quod figatur in uno, indiget auxilio alicujus moventis immobilis; sed liberum arbitrium, etiam existens in gratia habituali, ad hue manet variabile, et flexibile a bono in malum: ergo ad hoc quod figatur in bono, et perseveret in illo usque ad finem, indiget speciali Dei auxilio:” — the same argument having been used before him by Bradwardin, though to another purpose, namely, not to prove perseverance to be a superadded gift to saving grace, which, as before was observed, he denied, but to manifest that it was immediately and wholly from God. His words are, lib. 2 cap. 8, Corol., “Sieur secundum primi doter, omne quod est naturale, et non est per se tale, seal est mutabile in non tale, si manere debeat immutatum, oportet quod innitatur continue alicui per se fixo; quare et continue quilibit justus Deo.”

    The same schoolmen also (a generation of men exceeding ready to speak of any thing, though they know not what they speak nor whereof they affirm) go yet farther, some of them, and will distinguish between the gift of perseverance and the gift [of ] confirmation in grace! He before mentioned, after a long dispute (namely, 104), concludes: “Ex his sequitur differentiam inter donum perseverantiae et confirmationis in gratia” (he means that which is granted in via) “in hoc consistere, quod donum perseverantiae nullam perfectionem intrinsecam constituit in ipsa gratia habituali, quod tamen perfectionem intrinsecam illi tribuit confirmatio in gratia.”

    What this intrinsical perfection of habitual grace, given it by confirmation, is, he cannot tell; for in those who are so confirmed in grace he asserts only an impeccability upon supposition, and that not alone from their intrinsical principle, as it is with the blessed in heaven, but from help and assistance also daily communicated from without. Durandus, in 3 d. 3 q. 4, assigns the deliverance from sin, which those who are confirmed in grace do obtain, unto the Holy Ghost. So far well; but he kicks down his milk by his addition, that he doth it only by the removal of all occasion of sin. But of these persons, and their judgment on the point under debate, more afterward.

    For the thing itself last proposed, on what foot of account it is placed, and on what foundation asserted, the treatise itself will discover. That the thing aimed at is not to be straitened or restrained to any one peculiar act of grace will easily appear. The main foundation of that which we plead for is the eternal purpose of God, which his own nature requireth to be absolutely immutable and irreversible. The eternal act of the will of God designing some to salvation by Christ, infallibly to be obtained, for “the praise of the glory of his grace,” is the bottom of the whole, even that foundation which standeth for ever, having this seal, “The Lord knoweth them that are his.” For the accomplishment of this eternal purpose, and for the procurement of all the good things that lie within the compass of its intendment, are the oblation and intercession, the whole mediatory undertaking of Christ, taking away sin, bringing in life and immortality, interposed, giving farther causal influence into the truth contended for. In him and for his sake, as God graciously, powerfully, and freely gives his Holy Spirit;, faith, and all the things that accompany salvation, unto all them whom he accepts and pardons, by his being made “sin for them” and “righteousness unto them;” so he takes them thereby into an everlasting covenant that shall not be broken, and hath therein given them innumerable promises that he will continue to be their God for ever, and preserve them to be, and in being, his people. To this end, because the principle of grace and living to him, as in them inherent, is a thing in its own nature, changeable and liable to failing, he doth, according to his promise, and for the accomplishment of his purpose, daily make out to them, by his Holy Spirit, from the great treasury and storehouse thereof, the Lord Jesus Christ, helps and supplies, increasing of faith, love, and holiness, recovering them from falls, healing their backslidings, strengthening them with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness; so preserving them by his power through faith unto salvation. And in this way of delivering the doctrine contended about, it is clearly made out that the disputes mentioned are as needless as groundless; so that we shall not need to take them into the state of the controversy in hand, though I shall have occasion once more to reflect upon them when I come to the consideration of the doctrine of the schoolmen in reference to the opinion proposed to debate. The main of our inquiry is after the purpose, covenant, and promises of God, the undertaking of Christ, the supplies of grace promised and bestowed in him; on which accounts we do assert and maintain that all true believers, — who are, in being so, interested in all those causes of preservation, — shall infallibly be preserved unto the end in the favor of God, and in such a course of gospel obedience as he will accept in Jesus Christ, That, as was formerly said, which at present I aim at in reference to this truth is, to declare its rise and progress, its course and opposition, which it hath found in several ages of the church, with its state and condition at this day, in respect of acceptance with the people of God.

    Its rise, with all other divine truths, it owes only to revelation from God, manifested in the scriptures of the Old and New Testament. Some of the most eminent places wherein it is delivered in the Old Testament are, Genesis 3:15, <011701> 17:1; Deuteronomy 33:3; Joshua 1:5; Samuel 12:22; Psalm 1:3, 23:4, 6, 37:39, 40, 52:8, 9, 89:31-36, 33:9-11, 42:12, etc.; Isaiah 27:3, 46:4, 59:21, 54:9, 10, 4:5, 6, 40:27-31, 43:1-7; Jeremiah 3:23, 31:31- 34, 32:38-40; Ezekiel 36:25-27; Hosea 2:19,20; Zechariah 10:12; Malachi 3:6, with innumerable other places. In the New Testament God hath not left this truth and work of his grace without witness; as in sundry other places, so it is testified unto Matthew 6:13, 7:24, 25, 12:20, 16:18, 24:24; Luke 1:70-75, 8:8, 22:32; John 3:36, 4:13, 14, 5:24, 6:35-57, 7:38, 39, 8:35, 36, 10:27-30, <4313101> 13:1, 14:15-17, 16:27, 17 throughout; Acts. 2:47, 13:48; Romans 6:14, <450801> 8:1, 16, 17, 28-34, etc.; Corinthians 1:8, 9, 10:13, 14, 15:49, 58; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22; Ephesians 1:13,14, 3:17, 4:30, 5:25-27; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:6, 2:13; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 4:17,18; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 6:19, 10:38, 39, 12:9, 10, 13:5; Peter 1:2-5; 1 John 2:19,27, 3:9, 19, 5:13, 18; Jude 1; Revelation 20:6. So plentifully hath the Lord secured this sacred truth, wherein he hath inwrapped so much (if not, as in the means of conveyance, the whole) of that peace, consolation, and joy, which he is willing the heirs of promise should receive. Whether the faith hereof, thus plentifully delivered to the saints, found acceptance with the primitive Christians, to the most of whom it was “given not only to believe but also to suffer for Christ,” to me is unquestionable. And I know no better proof of what those first churches did believe than by showing what they ought to believe; which I shall unquestionably be persuaded they did believe, unless most pregnant testimony be given of their apostasy. That Paul believed it for himself and concerning others is evident. Romans 8:38,39; Corinthians 1:8, 9; Philippians 1:6; Hebrews 6:9,10, are sufficient proof of his faith herein. That he built up others in the same persuasion, to the enjoyment of the same peace and assurance with himself, is undeniable.

    And if there be any demonstration to be made of the belief of the first Christians, if any evidence comparable unto this, I shall not deny but that it ought to be attended unto. But that we may not seem willing to decline the consideration of what those who went before us in the several ages and generations past apprehended, and have by any means communicated unto us of their thoughts, about the business of our contest (having no reason so to be), I shall, after a little preparation made to that work, present the reader with something of my observations to that end and purpose.

    Of the authority of the ancients in matters of religion and the worship of God, of the right use and improvement of their writings, of the several considerations that are to be had and exercised by them who would read them with profit and advantage, after many disputes and contests between the Papists and divines of the reformed churches, the whole concernment of that controversy is so clearly stated, managed, and resolved by Monsieur Daille, in his book of the “Right Use of the Fathers,” that I suppose all farther labor in that kind may be well spared. Those who intend to weigh their testimony to any head of Christian doctrine do commonly distinguish them into three great periods of time. The first of these is comprehensive of them who lived and wrote before the doctrine concerning which they are called out to give in their thoughts and verdict had received any signal opposition, and eminent discussion in the church on that account. Such are the writers of the first three hundred years, before the Nicene council, in reference to the doctrine of the Trinity; and so the succeeding writers, before the stating of the Macedonian, Eutychian, and Nestorian heresies. In the next are they ranked who bare the burden and heat of the opposition made to any truth, and on that occasion wrote expressly and at large on the controverted doctrines; which is the condition of Athanasius, Basil, Gregory, and some others, in that Arian controversy. And in the last place succeed those who lived after such concussions, which are of less or more esteem, according as the doctrines inquired after were less or more corrupted in the general apostasy of the latter days. According to this order, our first period of time will end with the rise of the Pelagian heresy, which gave occasion to the thorough, full, and clear discussion of the whole doctrine concerning the grace of God, whereof that in whose defense we are engaged is no small portion; the next, of those whom God raised up to make head against that subtle opposer of his grace, with his followers, during the space of a hundred years and somewhat onwards ensuing the promulgation of that heresy. What have been the thoughts of men in the latter ages until the Reformation, and of the Romanists since to this day, manifested in a few pregnant instances, will take up the third part of this design. Of the judgment of the Reformed Churches, as they are commonly called, I shall speak particularly in the close of this discourse.

    For the first of these: Not to insist on the paucity of writers in the first three hundred years, sundry single persons in the following ages have severally written three times as much as we have left and remaining of all the others (the names of many who are said to have written being preserved by Eusebius, Ecclesiastes Hist., and Hierom, Lib. de Script., their writings being perished in their days), nor in general of that corruption whereunto they have almost every one of them been unquestionably exposed, I must be forced to preface the nomination of them with some considerations: — 1. The first [consideration will be found] in that known passage of Hegesippus, in Eusebius Hist. Ecclesiastes, lib. 3 cap. 32: JWv a]ra me>cri tw~n to>te cro>nwn , parqe>nov kaqara< kai< ajdia>fqorov e]meinen hJ ejkklhsi>a? —eijv d j oJ iJerolwn coroforon ei[lhfei tou~ bi>ou te>lov , parelhlu>qei te< hJ genea< ejkei>nh tw~n aujtai~v ajkoai~v th~v ejnqe>ou sofi>av ejpakou~sai kathxiwme>nwn , thnikau~ta th~v ajqe>ou pla>nhv thmzanen hJ su>stasiv , dia< th~v tw~n ejterodidaska>lwn aJpa>thv , oi[ kai< , a]te mhdenolwn leipome>nou , gumnh~| loipoav khru>gmati thnumon gnw~sin ajntikhru>ttein ejpecei>roun . So far he, setting out the corruption of the church, even as to doctrine, immediately after the apostles fell asleep; whereof whosoever will impartially, and with disengaged judgment, search into the writings of those days that do remain, will perhaps find more cause than is commonly imagined with him to complain. 2. The main work of the writers of the first ages being to contend with heathenish idolaters, to convince them of their madness and folly; to write apologies for the worship of God in Christ in general, so to dissuade their rulers from persecution; or in contesting with heretics, for the most part appearing to be men either corrupt in their lives, or mad and brain-sick, as we say, as to their imaginations, or denying the truth of the person of Christ, — what can we expect from them as delivered directly and on set purpose to the matter of our present contest? Some principles may in them possibly be discovered from whence, by a regular deduction, some light may be obtained into their thoughts concerning the points in difference.

    Thus Junius thinks, and not without cause, that the whole business of predestination may be stated upon this one principle, “That faith is the free gift of God, flowing from his predestination and mercy;” and concerning this he saith, “Hoc autem omnes patres uno eonsensu ex Christo et Paulo agnoverunt; ipse Justinus Martyr in Apolog. 2, et gra-vissime veto Clemens Alexandrinus, in hac alioquin palaestra non ita exer-citatus ut sequentia secula,” Hom., lib. 2. “Basilii et Valentini dogma esse dicit, quod tides a natura sit,” Consid. Senten. Pet. Baroni. Without this what advantage can be taken, or what use can be made, for the discovery of the mind of any of the ancients, by cropping off some occasional expressions from their occasions and aims, I know not. Especially would I more peremptorily affirm this could I imagine any of them wrote as Jerome affirms of himself that he sometimes did, Epist. ad August., which is among his epistles, 89.

    T. 2. “Itaque,” saith he, “ut simpliciter fateor, legi haec onmia, et in mente mea plurima coacervans, accito notario vel mea, vel aliena dictavi, nec ordinis, nec verborum interdum nec sensuum memor.” Should any one say so of himself in these days, he would be accounted little better than a madman. Much, then, on this account (or at least not much to the purpose) is not to be expected from the fathers of the first ages. 3. Another observation to our purpose lies well expressed in the ginning of the 14th chapter of Ballarmine’s second book de Grat. et Lib. Arbit. “Prater Scripturas adferunt alia testimonia patrum,” saith he, speaking of those who opposed God’s free predestination; to which he subjoins, “Neque est hoc novum argumentum, sed antiquissimum. Scribit enim S. Prosper in Epistola ad S. Augustinum, Gallos qui sententiam ejusdem Augustini de predestinatione calumniabantur, illud potissimum objicere solitos quod ea sententia doctrinae veterum videbatur esse contraria. Sed respondet idea Augustinus in Lib. de Bono Perseverantiae, veteres patres, qui ante Pelagium floruerunt, quastionem istam nunquam accurate tractasse sed incidenter solum, et quasi per transitum illam attigisse. Addle veto, in fundamento hujus sententiae (quod est gratiam Dei non praeveniri ab ullo opere nostro sed contra, ab illa omnia opera nostra praeveniri, ira ut nihil omnino boni, quod attinet ad salutem sit in nobis, quod non est nobis ex Deo), convenire Catholicos omnes; et ibidem eitat Cyprianum, Ambrosium, et Nazianzenum, quibus addere possumus Basilium et Chrysostomum.”

    To the same purpose, with application to a particular person, doth that great and holy doctor discourse, De Doctrin. Christiana, lib. 3 cap. 33.

    Saith he, “Non erat expertus hanc haeresin Tychonius, quae nostro tempore exorta, multum nos, ut gratiam Dei, quae per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum est, adversus eam defenderemus exercuit, et secundum id quod ait apostolus, “oportet haereses esse, ut probati manifesti fiunt in nobis,” multo vlgilantiores, diligentioresque reddidit, ut adverteremus in Scripturis sanctis, quod istum Tychonium minus attentum minusque, sine hoste solicitum fugit.”

    That also of Jerome in his second Apology against Rufinus, in reference to a most weighty article of Christian religion, is known to all. “Fieri potest,” saith he, “ut vel simpliciter erraverint, vel alio sensu scripserint, vel a librariis imperitis eorum paulatim scripta corrupta sint; vel certe antequam in Alexandria, quasi daemonium meridianum, Arius nasceretur, innocenter quaedam, et minus caute locuti sunt, et quae non possunt perversorum hominum calumniam declinare.” And what he spake of the writers before Arius in reference to the person of Christ, we may of them before Pelagius in reference to his grace. Hence Pererius, in Rom. cap. 8, disput. 22, tells us (how truly ipse viderit, I am not altogether of his mind) that [as] for those authors that lived before Austin’s time, all the Greek fathers, and a considerable part of the Latin, were of opinion that the cause of predestination was the foresight which God had either of men’s good works or of their faith; either of which opinions, he assures us, is manifestly contrary to the authority of the Scriptures, and particularly to the doctrine of St Paul. I am not, as I said, wholly of his mind, partly upon the account of the observations made by his fellow-Jesuit out of Austin, before mentioned, partly upon other accounts also. Upon these and the like considerations, much, I presume, to the business in hand will not be produced on either side from the fathers that wrote before the rise of the Pelagian heresy. And if any one of the parties at this day litigant about the doctrine of the grace of God should give that advice that Sisinius and Agelius the Novatians sometimes gave, as Sozomen reports of them (Hist.

    Eccles., lib. 7 cap. 12), to Nectarius, by him communicated to the emperor Theodosius, to have the quarrel decided by those that wrote before the rise of the controversy, as it would be unreasonable in itself, so I persuade myself neither party would accept of the condition, neither had the Catholics of those days got any thing if they had attended to the advice of these Novatians. But, these few observations premised, something as to particular testimonies may be attended unto.

    That we may proceed in some order, not leaving those we have nothing to say to, nor are willing to examine, whilst, they are but thin and come not in troops, unsaluted, the first writings that are imposed on us after the canonical Scriptures are the eight books of Clemens, commonly called the Apostles’ Constitutions, being pretended to be written by him at their appointment, with the Canons ascribed to the same persons. These we shall but salute: for besides that they are faintly defended by any of the Papists, disavowed and disclaimed as apocryphal by the most learned of them, as Bellarmine, De Script. Ecclesiastes in Clem., who approves only of fifty canons out of eighty-five; Baronius, An. Dora. 102, 14, who adds thirty more; and Binius, with a little enlargement of canons, in Titus Can. T. 1, Con. p. 17; and have been thoroughly disproved and decried by all protestant writers that have had any occasion to deal with them; their folly and falsity, their impostures and triflings, have of late been so fully manifested by Dallaeus, De Pseudepigraphis Apostol., that nothing need be added thereunto. Of him may Doctor H. H. learn the truth of that insinuation of his, Dissert. de Episcop. 2 cap. 6 sect. 3,” Canone apostolico secundo semper inter genuinos habito;” but of the confidence of this author in his assertions afterward. This, indeed (insisted on by Dallaeus, and the learned Usher in his notes upon Ignatius), is childishly ridiculous in them, that whereas it is pretended that these Constitutions were made at a convention of the apostles, as lib. 6 cap. 14, they are brought in discoursing hJmeiv ou+n ejpi< to< aujto< geno>menoi , Pe>trov kai< jAndre>av , jIa>kwzov kai< jIwa>nnhv uiJoi< Zezedai>ou, etc. They are made to inform us, lib. 2 cap. 57, that the Acts written by Luke and read in the churches are theirs, and the four books of the Gospel; whereas the story of the death of James (here said to be together with the apostles) is related Acts 12, and John, by the consent of all, wrote not his Gospel until after the dissolution of his associates. Also, they make Stephen and Paul to be together at the making of those Constitutions, lib. 8 cap. 4 (whereas the martyrdom of Stephen was before the conversion of Paul), and yet also mention the stoning of Stephen, lib. 8 cap. 46. They tell us whom they appointed bishops of Jerusalem after the death of James, and yet James is one of them who is met together with them, lib. 7 cap. 48. Nay, mention is made of Cerinthus, and that Mark the heretic, Menander, Basilides, and Saturninus, were known and taken notice of by the apostles, who all lived in the second century, about the reign of Hadrian, as Eusebius manifesteth, and Clem. Alex., Strom., lib. 7.

    But, to leave such husks as these unto them who loathe manna, and will not feed on the bread that our heavenly Father hath so plentifully provided for all that live in his family or any way belong to his house, let us look onward to them that follow, of whose truth and honesty we have more assurance.

    The first genuine piece that presents itself unto us on the roll of antiquity is that epistle ofCLEMENS which, in the name of the church of Rome, he wrote to the divided church of Corinth; which being abundantly testified to of old, to the great contentment of the Christian world, was published here at Oxford some few years since, — a writing full of ancient simplicity, humility, and zeal. As to our present business, much, I confess, cannot be pleaded from hence, beyond a negative impeachment of that great and false clamor which our adversaries have raised, of the consent of the primitive Christians with them in their by-paths and ways of error. It is true, treating of a subject diverse from any of those heads of religion about which our contests are, it is not to be expected that he should anywhere plainly, directly, and evidently, deliver his judgment unto them. This, therefore, I shall only say, that in that whole epistle there is not one word, iota, or syllable, that gives countenance to the tenet of our adversaries in the matter of the saints’ perseverance; but that, on the contrary, there are sundry expressions asserting such a foundation of the doctrine we maintain as will with good strength infer the truth of it. Page 4, setting forth the virtues of the Corinthians before they fell into the schism that occasioned his epistle, he minds them that ajgwrav te kai< nuktoshv th~v ajdelfo>thtov , eijv to< sw>zesqai met j ejle>ouv kai< suneidh>sewv toGod hath a certain number of elect to be saved, and for whose salvation, by his mercy, the church is to contend with him, is a principle wholly inconsistent with those on which the doctrine of the saints’ apostasy is bottomed. Corresponding hereunto is that passage of his concerning the will of God, p. 12: Pa>ntav ou+n tou~v ajgaphtoumenov metanoi>av metascei~n , ejsth>rixen tw~| pantokratorikw~| boulh>mati aujtou~. A mere consideration of this passage causeth me to recall what but now was spoken, as though the testimony given to the truth in this epistle were not so clear as might be desired. The words now repeated contain the very thesis contended for. It is the beloved of God (or his chosen) whom he will have made partakers of saving repentance; and hereunto “he establisheth them” (for with that word is the defect in the sentence to be supplied) “by,” or with, “the almighty will.” Because he will have his beloved partakers of saving repentance and the benefits thereof; he confirms and establishes them in it with his omnipotent or sovereign will. The inconsistency and irreconcilableness of this assertion with the doctrine of these saints’ apostasy, the learned reader needs not any assistance to manifest to him. Answerably hereunto he saith of God, jEklogh~v me>rov (hJma~v ) ejpoi>hsen eJautw~|, p. 38 and p. 66: mentioning the blessedness of the forgiveness of sins, out of Psalm 32 he adds, Ou=tov oJ makarismoneto ejpi< tounouv uJpo< tou~ Qeou~ dia< jIhsou~ Cristou~ tou~ Kuri>ou hJmw~n. The elect of whom he speaks are those on whom, through and for Christ, God bestows the blessedness of justification; elect they are of God antecedently to the obtaining of that blessedness, and through that they do obtain it: so that in that short sentence of this author, the great pillar of the saints’ perseverance, which is their free election, the root of all the blessedness which afterward they enjoy, is established. Other passages like to these there are in that epistle; which plainly deliver the primitive Christians of the church of Rome from any communion in the doctrine of the saints’ apostasy, and manifest their perseverance in the doctrine of the saints’ perseverance, wherein they had been so plentifully instructed, not long before, by the epistle of Paul unto them.

    He who upon the-roll of antiquity presents himself in the next place to our consideration is the renownedIGNATIUS, concerning whom I desire to beg so much favor of the learned reader as to allow me a diversion unto some thoughts and observations that belong to another subject than that which I have now peculiarly in hand, before I come to give him a taste of his judgment on the doctrine under debate.

    As this Ignatius, bishop of the church at Antioch, was in himself a man of an excellent spirit, eminent in holiness, and to whom, on the behalf of Christ, it was given not only to believe on him, but also suffer for him, and on that account of very great and high esteem among the Christians of that age wherein he lived, and sundry others following, so no great question can be made but that he wrote, towards the end of his pilgrimage, when he was on his way to be offered up, through the Holy Spirit, by the mouths of wild beasts, to Jesus Christ, sundry epistles to sundry churches that were of chiefest note and name in the countries about. The concurrent testimony of the ancients in this matter of her will give as good assurance as in this kind we are capable of; Eusebius reckons them up in order, so doth Jerome.

    After them frequent mention is made of them by others, and special sayings in them are transcribed; and whereas it is urged by some that there is no mention of those epistles before the Nicene council, — before which time it is as evident as if it were written with the beams of the sun, that many false and supposititious writings had been imposed on and were received by many in the church (as the story of Paul and Thecla is mentioned and rejected by Tertull. de Baptis., Hermae Pastor. by others), — it is answered, that they were mentioned by Irenaeus some good while before.

    Lib. 5 cap. 28, salth he, “Quemadmodum quidam de nostris dixit, propter martyrium in Deum adjudicatus ad bestias; quoniam frumentum sum Christi et per dentes bestiarum molor ut mundus panis Dei inveniar.’ Which words, to the substance of them, are found in these epistles, though some say nothin is here intimated of any epistles or writings, but of a speech that might pass among the Christians by tradition, such as they had many among themselves, even of our Savior’s, some whereof are mentioned by Grotius on these words of Paul, “Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.” What probability or ground for conviction there is in these or the like observations and answers is left to the judgment of all. This is certain, that the first mentioning of them in antiquities is to be clearly received (and that perhaps with more than the bare word of him that recites and approves of the Epistle of Jesus Christ to Abgarus the king of the Edessenes, or of him that reckons Seneca among the ecclesiastical writers upon the account of his epistles to Paul), or the following testimonies, which are heaped up in abundance by some who think (but falsely) that they have a peculiar interest inwrapped in the epistles now extant, will be of very small weight or value.

    For my part, I am persuaded, with that kind of persuasion wherein in things of no greater moment I am content to acquiesce, that he did write seven epistles, and that much of what he so wrote is preserved in those that are now extant; concerning which the contests of learned men have drawn deep and run high in these latter days, though little to the advantage of the most that have labored in that cause, as shall be manifested in the process of our discourse.

    A late learned doctor, in his dissertations about episcopacy, or dispute for it against Salmasius and Blondellus, tells us (that we may take a taste of his confidence in asserting), Dissert. 2 cap. 23, sect. 1, that Salmasius and Blondellus “mortalium omnium primi” thought these epistles to be feigned or counterfeit. And with more words, cap. 24 sect. 1, he would make us believe that these epistles of Ignatius were always of the same esteem with that of Clemens from Rome to the Corinthians, of which he treats at large in his fourth dissertation, or that of Polycarpus to the Philippians, which we have in Eusebius; and then he adds, that in the judgment of Salmasius and Blondellus, “Solus Ignatius oi]cetai eujus tamen epistolae pari semper eum illis per universam ab omni aevo patrum nostrorum memoriam reverentia excipiebantur; nec prius a mortalium quovis in judicium vocabantur (multo minus ut in re certa et extra dubium posita inter plane oi]cetai et ki>zdhla rejiciebantur), quam presbyteri Anglicani patribus suis contumeliam facere coepissent iisque aut suppetias ferre, aut rem gratam facere (quibus illecebris adducti nescio), hi duo non ignobiles Presbyteranae causae hyperaspistae in seipsos recepissent.”

    Of his two learned antagonists, one is dead, and the other almost blind, or probably they would have dealt not much more gently with the doctor for his parenthesis (“quibus illecebris adducti nescio”), than one of them formerly did (Salmas. De Subscribendis et Signandis Testamentis seu Specimen Consula. Animad. Heraldi., cap. 1 p. 19, “Nuper quidem etiam nebulo in Anglia, Capellanus ut audio regis, Hammondus nomine, libro quem edidit de potestate clavium Salmasio iratus quod aliam quam ipse sententiam prober ac defendat, haud potuit majus convicium, quod ei dicerit, invenire, quam si grammaticum appellaret”) for his terming him a grammarian; yet, indeed, of him (such was the hard entertainment he found on all hands), it is by many supposed that he was “illecebris adductus” (and they stick not to name the bait he was caught withal), wrought over in a manner to destroy the faith of that which he had before set up and established.

    For the thing itself affirmed by the doctor, I cannot enough admire with what oscitancy or contempt he considers his readers (of which manner of proceeding this is very far from being the only instance), that he should confidently impose such things upon them. He that hath written so much about Ignatius, and doth so triumph in his authority, ought doubtless to have considered those concernments of his author which are obvious to every ordinary inquirer. Vedelius’ edition of Ignatius, at Geneva, came forth with his notes in the year 1623, long before either Salmasius or Blondellus had written any thing about the supposititiousness of these epistles; in the apology for Ignatius, thereto prefixed, he is forced to labor and sweat in the answer of one, whom he deservedly styles Virum doctissimum, arguing (not contemptibly) that Ignatius never wrote any such epistles, and that all those which were carried about in his name were false and counterfeit.

    But perhaps the doctor had taken caution of one of the fathers of his church, that “a Genevensibus istis typographis procter fraudes, et fucos, et praestigias non est quod quicquam expectemus” (Montacu. Appar. l, lib. sect. 47, p. 19), and so thought not fit to look into any thing that comes from them.

    Especially may this be supposed to have had some influence upon him, considering the gentle censure added in the next words by that reverend father of his church concerning the endeavor of Vedelius in his notes on that edition: — “Neque audax ille et importunus Ignatii censor, quicquam attulit ad paginas suas implendas praeter inscitiam, et incuriam, et impudentiam singularem (nec saevi magne sacerdos) dum ad suum Genevatismum antiquitatem detorquet invitissimam, non autem quod oportuit, Calvinis-mum amussitat ad antiquitatem.” And what, I pray, is the reason of his episcopal censure? — that he should deal with poor Vedelius in that language wherewith men of his order and authority were wont to deal with preaching ministers at their visitations? Why, this poor man, in that passage which you have in the Epistle to the Magnesians (in that edition, p. 56), when treating of the ancient fathers’ expectations of the coming of Christ, retains the common reading of eijv keno>that ejlpi>dov h+lqon , referring the word to their expectation of seeing him come in the flesh, (which, upon the testimony of our Savior himself, they desired to see, and saw it not,) not correcting it by a change of keno>thta into koino>that ejlpi>dov so referring it to their faith in Christ and salvation by him, as, in his judgment, he ought to have done, — jIdou< ojli>gon pu~r , hJli>khn u[lh|n ajna>ptei. A little thing would provoke the indignation of a prelate against any thing that came from Geneva.

    I say, I would suppose that this might divert our doctor from casting his eye upon Vedelius, whose defensative would have informed him that these epistles had been opposed as false and counterfeit before ever Salmasius or Blondellus had taken them into consideration, but that I find him sometimes insisting on that Geneva edition.

    For whereas (Dissert. 2 cap. 2 sect. 11) he tells you that he intends to abide only upon the edition of Isaac Vossius, in Greek, published from the archives of the library of Lorenzo de Medici, and the Latin edition published by bishop Usher, out of our library here at Oxford; yet, cap. 8, being pressed with the testimony of the writer of the Epistle to the Magnesians, in that edition, calling episcopacy newterikhxin , plainly intimating a comparative novelty in that order to others in the churches, and fearing (as well he might) that his translation of newterikh< ta>xiv into “the ordination of a young man,” would scarce be received’ by the men of his own prejudice (for surely he never supposed that he should impose on any other by such gross figments), he prefers the Vedelian edition, where these words are not so used, before it, and informs us that “sic legcndum” (as it is in the Geneva edition) “suadet tota epistolae series.” Now, this truly is marvellous to me (if the doctor consulteth authors any farther than merely to serve his present turn), how he could ever advise with that edition of Vedelius, and yet so confidently affirm that Salmasius and Blondellus were the first that rejected these epistles as feigned and counterfeited.

    But yet a little farther: The first edition of these epistles in Latin was Augustine Vindelicorum, anno 1529; in Greek, at Basil, 1566: before which time, I suppose, the doctor expects not that any opposition should be made to them, considering the heaps of filth and dung that, until about that time, were owned for the offspring of the ancient fathers.

    Upon their first appearing in the world, what is the entertainment they receive? One who was dead before either the doctor or either of his antagonists was born, and whose renown among the people of God will live when they are all dead, gives them this welcome into the world: “Ignatium quod obtendunt, si velint quicquam habere momenti; probent apostolos legem tulisse de quadragesima, et similibus corruptelis, Nihil naeniis istis quae sub Ignatii nomine editae sunt putidius. Quo minus tolerabilis est eorum impudentia qui talibus larvis ad fallendum se instruunt,” Calv. Inst., lib. 1 cap. 13 sect. 29.

    Whatever be the judgment of our doctor concerning this man (as some there are of whom a learned bishop in this nation long ago complained, that they are still opening their mouths against Calvin, who helped them to mouths to speak with, Abbot. ad Thom.), he will in the judgment of some be so far accounted somebody as to take off from the confident assertion that Salmasius and Blondellus were “mortalium primi” that rejected these epistles.

    The Centuriators of Magdeburg were esteemed to be somebodies in their days, and yet they make bold to call these epistles into question, and to tender sundry arguments to the impairing of their credit and authority. This then they, Cent. 2 cap. 10, De Episcop. Antioch. ac primum de Ignatio: — “Lectori pio et attento considerandum relinquimus quantum sit illis epistolis tribuendum. Non enim dubitamus quin in lectione earum cuilibet ista in mentem veniant; primum quod fere in omnibus epistolis, licet saris copiosis, occasio scribendi praetermittitur, nec vel divinare licet, quare potissimum ad hanc vel illam ecclesiam literas voluerit mittere. Deinde ipsius peregrinationis ratio non parvum injicit scrupulum considerantibus, quod multo rectiore et breviori itinere, Romam potuerit navigate, ut testatur vel ipsius Pauli exemplum. Expende quam longum sit iter, Antiochia ad littus A Egaei pelagi se recipere, ibique recta sursmn versus Septentrionem ascendere, et praecipuas civitates in littore sitas usque ad Troadem perlustrare, cum tamen Romanum iter sit destinatum versus occasum. Tertio res ejusmodi in istas literas inspersae sunt ut ad eas propemodum obstupescat lector, etc. Haec cure alias non somnolento lectori incidant, non existimaverimus,” etc.

    Thus they, at the world’s first awaking as to the consideration of things of this kind.

    To them add the learned Whitaker, Cont. prima, De Perfect. Script. quaest, sext. c. 12, where, after he hath disputed against the credit of these epistles, jointly and severally, with sundry arguments, at length he concludes, “Seal de his epistolis satis multa, et de hoc Ignatio quid judicandum sit, saris ex its constare potest quae diximus. Ista Papistae non audent tueri,” etc. To whom sundry others might be added, convincing Salmasius and Blondellus not to have been “mortalium primi” that called them into question.

    I have not insisted on what hath been spoken as though I were wholly of the mind of them who utterly condemn these epistles as false and counterfeit; though I know no possibility of standing before the arguments levied against them, notwithstanding the forementioned doctor’s attempt to that purpose, without acknowledging so much corruption in them, additions and detractions from what they were when first written, as will render them not so clearly serviceable to any end or purpose whereunto their testimony may be required, as other unquestionable writings of their antiquity are justly esteemed to be. That these epistles have fallen into the hands of such unworthy impostors as have filled the latter ages with labor and travail to discover their deceits, the doctor himself granteth, Dissert. cap. 2 sect. 6. “Nulla,” saith he, “quidem nobis incumbit necessitas, ut in tanta exemplarium et editionum varietate et inconstantia, nihil uspiam Ignatio interpolatum ant adsutum affirmemus.”

    And, indeed, the foisted passages in many places are so evident, yea shameful, that no man who is not resolved to say any thing, without care of proof or truth, can once appear in any defensative about them. Of this sort are the shreds and pieces out of that branded counterfeit piece of Clemens, or the Apostles’ Constitutions, which are almost in every epistle packed in in a bungling manner, oftentimes disturbing the sense and coherence of the place; yea, sometimes such things are thence transcribed as in them are considerable arguments of their corruption and falsehood: so is that period in the Epistle to the Magnesians, taken from Clemens. Constitut., lib. cap, 2, jAzeddadatwv th~v kefalh~v ajfairei~tai di j oJmoi>an aijti>an. This Abeddadan being mentioned next after Absalom’s dying by the loss of his head is therefore supposed to be Sheba, the son of Bichri; but whence that counterfeit Clemens had that name is not known. That the counterfeit Clemens by Abeddadan intended Sheba is evident from the words he assigns unto him in the place mentioned. Abeddadan said, Oujk e]sti uoi me>rov ejn Dazia ejn uiJw~| jIessai>. And he joins him with Absalom in his rebellion. Such passages as these they are supposed to have received from that vain and foolish impostor; but if it be true, which some have observed, that there is not the least mention made of any of these fictitious Constitutions in the first three ages after Christ, and that the didach< ajposto>lwn mentioned by Eusebius and Athanasius, as also that dia>taxiv in Epiphanius, are quite other things chart those eight books of Constitutions we now have, it may rather be supposed that that sottish deceiver raked up some of his filth from the corruption of these epistles than that any thing out of him is crept into them. Other instances might be given of stuffing these epistles with the very garbage of that beast.

    Into what hands also these epistles have fallen by the way, in their journeying down towards these ends of the world, is evident from those citations made out of them by them of old, which now appear not in them.

    Theodoret, Dial. 3, adv. Haere., gives us this sentence from Ignatius:

    Eujcaristi>an kai< prosforacontai dia< to< mh< oJmologei~n than sa>rka ei+nai tou~ owth~rov hJmw~n jIhsou~ Cristou~ ththti oJ Pathwords you will scarcely find in that Epistle to the Church of Smyrna, from whence they were taken. Jerome also, Dial. 3, con. Pelag., hath this passage of him and from him: “Ignatius vir apostolicus et martyr scribit audacter, elegit Dominus apostolos qui super crones homines peccatores erant;” which words, as they are not now in these epistles, so, as one observes, if ever he wrote them, as is pretended, he did it audacter indeed. But of these things our doctor takes no notice.

    The style of these epistles doth not a little weaken the credit of them, being turgent, swelling with uncouth words and phrases, affected manner and ways of expression, new compositions of words, multiplying titles of honor to men, — exceedingly remote and distant from the plainness and simplicity of the first writers among the Christians, as is evident by comparing these with the epistle of Clemens before mentioned, that of Polycarpus in Eusebius, [and of] the churches of Vienne and Lyons in that same author, and others. Instances for the confirmation of this observation are multiplied by Blondellus; my designed work will not allow me to insist on particulars. In many good words this charge is waived, by affirming that the author of these epistles was an Assyrian, and near to martyrdom, and that in the Scriptures there are sundry words of as hard a composition as those used by him, Ham. Dissert. 2 cap. 3; and, as he says, from this kind of writing an argument of sufficient validity may be drawn to evince him to be the author of these epistles. Jerome was of another mind. Speaking of Didymus, “Imperitus,” saith he, “sermone est, et non scientia, apostolicum virum ex ipso sermone exprimens, tam sensuum nomine quam simplicitate verborum.” But seeing Ignatius was a Syrian, and near to martyrdom (though he writes his epistles from Troas and Smyrna, which, without doubt, were not in his way to Rome from Antioch, and yet everywhere he saith he is going to Rome: Ad Eph., Ta< desma< ajpo< Suri>av mecri< JRw~mhv perife>rw? which in the close he affirms he wrote from Smyrna, whither he was had to his martyrdom), what is it to any man what style he used in his writings, what swelling titles he gave to any, or words he made use of! Who shall call those writings (especially Ignatius being a Syrian) into question!

    But perhaps some farther question may here arise (and which hath by sundry been already started) about the use of divers Latin words in these epistles, which, doubtless, cannot be handsomely laid on the same account, of their author being a Syrian, and nigh to martyrdom. ¸jAkke>pta , depo>sita , dese>rtwr , ejxempla>rion , are usually instanced in, words to whose use no Roman customs, observations, orders, nor rules of government, do administer the least occasion. Of these the doctor tells you he wonders only that in so many epistles there are no more of this kind.

    And why so? The epistles are not so large a volume, a very few hours will serve to read them over; and yet I am persuaded, that in all that compass of reading in the Greek fathers which our doctor owns, he cannot give so many instances of words barbarous to their language, no way occasioned by the means before mentioned, as have been given in these epistles. But he wonders there are no more, and some wonder that all are not of his mind!

    But he farther informs us that a diligent reader of the Scripture may observe many more Latin words in the New Testament than are used in these epistles; and, for a proof of his diligence and observation, reckons up out of the end of Pasor’s Lexicon sundry words of that kind made use of by the sacred writers. I fear, unto some men, this will scarce be an apology prevalent to the dismission of these epistles from under the censure of being at least foully corrupted. Of the whole collection of words of that sort made by Pasor, among which are those especially culled out by our doctor to confirm his observations, there is scarce one but either it is expressive of some Roman office, custom, money, order, or the like; words of which nature pass as proper names (as one of those mentioned by the doctor is, and no otherwise used in the New Testament) from one country and language to another, or are indeed of a pure Greek original, or at least were in common use in that age; neither of which can be spoken of the words above mentioned, used in the epistles, which were never used by any before or after them, nor is there any occasion imaginable why they should. “Parvas habent spes eplstolae, si tales habent.” I would, indeed, gladly see a fair, candid, and ingenuous defensative of the style and manner of writing used in these epistles, departing so eminently from any thing that was customary in the writings of the men of those days, or is regular for men of any generation, in repetitions, affected compositions, barbarisms, rhyming expressions, and the like; for truly, notwithstanding any thing that hitherto I have been able to obtain for help in this kind, I am enforced to incline to Vedelius’ answers to all the particular instances given of this nature, “This and that place are corrupted, — this is from Clemens’ Constitutions, this from this or that tradition;” which, also, would much better free these epistles from the word sigh~v , used in the sense whereunto it was applied by the Valentinians long after the death of Ignatius, than any other apology I have as yet seen for the securing of its abode in them.

    It is not a little burdensome to the thoughts of sober and learned men to consider how frequently, causelessly, absurdly, in the midst of discourses quite of another nature and tendency, the author of these epistles, or somebody for him, breaks in upon the commendation of church officers, bishops and presbyters, exalting them with titles of honor to the greatest potentates on earth, and comparing them to God the Father and Son; whereas none of the sacred writers that went before him, nor any of those good and holy men who, as is supposed, followed after him, do hold the least communion or society with him. jAnagkai~on ou+n ejstin , o[saper poiei~te , a]neu tou~ ejpisko>pou mhdettein uJma~v , Epist. ad Tral. [cap. 2], whereunto is immediately subjoined that doctrine concerning deacons which will scarcely be thought to be exegetical of Acts 6:1-6, Dei~ de< kai< tounouv o]ntav musthri>wn Cristou~ jIhsou~ kata< pa>nta tro>pon ajre>skein? ouj gakonoi , ajlla , > etc. And Ti> ga>r ejstin ejpi>skopov ; ajll j h\ pa>shv ajrch~v kai< ejxousi>av ejpe>keina pa>ntwn kratw~n, [cap. 7] What the writer of this passage intended to make of a bishop well I know not; but thus he speaks of him, Epist. ad Magnes. [cap. 3] Pre>pon ou+n ejsti kai< uJma~v uJpakou>ein tw~| ejpisko>pw~| uJmw~n? kai< kata< mhdegein . Fozeror ejsti (as the apostle speaks concerning God, Hebrews 10:27) tw~| toiou>tw| ajntile>gein . Thus, indeed, some would have it, who, to help the matter, have farther framed such an episcopacy as was never thought on by any in the days of Ignatius, as shall afterward be made evident. And in the same epistle this is somewhat uncouth and strange, [cap. 6:7]: Jenw>qnte tw~| ejpisko>tw| , uJpotasso>menoi tw~| Qew~| di j aujtou~ ejn Cristw~|. \Wsper ou+n oJ Ku>riov a]neu tou~ Patronamai gan? ou[tw kai< uJmei>v a[neu tou< ejpisko>pou mhde< preszu>terov , mhde< dia>konov , mhde< lai`ko>v? mhde< ti faine>sqw uJmi~n eu]logon para< thnou gnw>mhn . Whether the Lord Christ hath bound any such burden upon the shoulders of the saints I much question. Nor can I tell what to make of the comparison between God the Father and the bishop, Christ and the rest of the church, the whole sentence, in word and manner, being most remote from the least countenance from the sacred writings. Epist. ad Philadel. [cap. 5]: OiJ preszu>teroi kai< oiJ dia>konoi kai< oJ loipov klh~rov , a\ma pavti< tw~| law~| kai< toi~v stratiw>taiv , kai< toi~v a]rcousi kai< tw~| Kai>sari (well aimed, however), tw~| ejpisko>tw| peiqarcei>twsan . The Epistle to the Church of Smyrna is full of such stuff, inserted without any occasion, order, coherence, or any color to induce us to believe that it is part of the epistle as first written. One passage may not omit [cap. 9]:

    Ti>ma , fhsia? ejgw< de> fhmi (in the language of our Savior repudiating the Pharisees’ corrupted glosses ti>ma merion , ejpi>skopon de< wjv ajrciere>a , Qeou~ eijko>na forou~nta , kata< meein Cristou~? kai< meta< tou~ton tima~|n crh< kai< basile>a. So Peter’s mistake is corrected. His reasons follow: Ou]te gattwn , h\ paraplh>siov ejn pa~si toi~v ou+sin? ou]te de< ejn ejkklhsi>a| ejpisko>pou ti mei~zon iJerwme>nou Qew~| uJpesmou pantoav , (as was Jesus Christ). And it is added: Eij gamenov , kola>sewv a]xiov dikai>wv genh>setai , w[v ge puralu>wn than , po>ow| dokei~te cei>ronov ajxiwqh>setai pimwri>av oJ a]neu ejpisko>pou ti poiei~n proairou>menov ; etc., iJerwsu>nh gantwn ajgaqw~n ejn ajnqrw>poiv ajnazezhko>v . How well this suits the doctrine of Peter and Paul the reader will easily discern. Caesar or the king is, upon all accounts, thrust behind the bishop, who is said to be consecrated to God for the salvation of the world; him he is exhorted to obey; — and in express opposition to the Holy Ghost, the bishop’s name is thrust in between God and the king, as in a way of pre-eminence above the latter; and to do any thing without the bishop is made a far greater crime than to rise up against the king. As this seems scarce to be the language of one going upon an accusation to appear before the emperor, so I am certain it is most remote from the likeness of any thing that in this affair we are instructed in from the Scripture. Plainly this language is the same with that of the false impostor, Pseudo-Clemens, in his pretended Apostolical Constitutions. At this rate, or somewhat beyond it, have you him ranting: Lib. 2 cap. 2, j jEpi>skopon Qeou~ tu>pon e]cein ejn ajnqrw>poiv , tw~n pa>ntwn a]rcein ajnqrw>pwn , iJere>wn , basile>wn , ajrco>ntwn , pate>rwn , uiJw~n , didaska>lwn kai< pa>ntwn oJmou~ tw~n uJphko>wn? — “All popes, all sorts of persons whatever, priests, kings, and princes, fathers and children, all under the feet of this exemplar of God and ruler of men!” a passage which, doubtless, eminently interprets and illustrates that place of Peter, <600501> Peter 5:1-3, “The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed; feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

    But yet, as if the man were stark mad with worldly pride and pomp, he afterward, in the name of the holy apostles of Jesus Christ, commands all the laity (forsooth) to honor, love, and fear the bishop wJv ku>rion , wJv despo>thn , wJv ajrciere>a Qeou~ , lib. 2 cap. 20. And that you may see whither the man drives, and what he aims at, after he hath set out his bishop like an emperor or an eastern king, in all pomp and glory, he adds, Toupouv a]rcontav uJmw~n kai< basile>av hJmei~sqai nomi>zete , kai< dasmourete . The paying of tribute to them as kings is the issue of these descriptions, that they may have wherewithal to maintain their pomp and greatness, according to the institution of our Lord Jesus Christ and his blessed apostles! But I shall not rake father into this dunghill, nor shall I add any more instances of this kind out of Ignatius, but close in one insisted on by our doctor for the proof of his episcopacy. Dissert. 2 cap. 25, 7, saith he, Quarto Tw~| ejpisko>pw| , prsoe>cete , i[na kai< oJ QeoDens attendat. Ego annam meam libenter eorum loco substitui cuperem quod Anglice optic dicimus” (my soul for theirs), “qui episcopo, presbyteris, et diaconis obsequuntur.” I hope I may without great difficulty obtain the doctor’s pardon, that I dare not be so bold with my soul as to jeopard it in that manner, especially being not mine own to dispose of.

    Upon these and many more the like accounts do the epistles seem to me to be like the children that the Jews had by their strange wives, Nehemiah 13:23,24, who spake part the language of Ashdod, and part the language of the Jews. As there are in them many footsteps of a gracious spirit, every way worthy of and becoming the great and holy personage whose they are esteemed, so there is evidently a mixture of the working of that. worldly and carnal spirit which in his days was not so let loose as in after times. For what is there in the Scripture, what is in the genuine epistle of Clemens, that gives countenance to those descriptions of episcopacy, bishops, and the subjection to them, that are in these epistles (as now we have them) so insisted on? what titles are given to bishops? what sovereignty, power, rule, dominion, is ascribed to them? Is there any thing of the like nature in the writings of the apostles? in Clemens? the epistle of Polycarp, etc., or in any unquestionable legitimate offspring of any of the first worthies of Christianity? Whence have they their three orders of bishops, presbyters, and deacons, upon the distinct observation of which so much weight is laid? Is there any one word, iota, tittle, or syllable, in the whole book of God, giving countenance to any such distinctions? Ephesians 4:11, we have “pastors and teachers.” Romans 12:7,8, “Him that teacheth, him that exhorteth, him that ruleth, and him that showeth mercy.” Philippians 1:1, we have “bishops and deacons;” and their institution, with the order of it, we have at large expressed, 1 Timothy 3:1-13, — “Bishops and deacons,” without the interposition of any other order whatever. Deacons we have appointed, Acts 6:1-6; and elders, Acts 14:23. Those who are bishops we find called presbyters , Titus 1:5,7; and those who are presbyters we find termed bishops, Acts 20:28: so that deacons we know, and bishops who are presbyters, or presbyters who are bishops, we know; but bishops, presbyters, and deacons, as three distinct orders in the church, from the Scripture we know not. Neither did Clemens, in his Epistle to the Corinthians, know of any more than we do, which a few instances will manifest. Saith he, speaking of the apostles, Kata< cw>rav ou+n kai< po>geiv khru>ssontev , kaqi>stanon tasantev tw~| Pveu~mati , ejk ganwn ejge>grapto peri< ejpisko>twn kai< diako>nwn , etc. Bishops and deacons (as in the church at Philippi) this man knows, but the third order he is utterly unacquainted withal. And that the difference of this man’s expressions concerning church rulers from those in the epistle under consideration may the better appear, and that his asserting of bishops and presbyters to be one and the same may the more clearly be evidenced, shall transcribe one other passage from him, whose length I hope will be excused from the usefulness of it to the purpose in hand: Pages 57, 58, Kai< oiJ ajpo>stoloi hJmw~n egnwsan dia< tou~ Kuri>ou hJmw~n jInsou~ Cristou~ , o[ti e]riv e[stai ejpi< tou~ ojnothn ou+n than , pro>gnwsin eijlhfo>tev telei>an , kate>sthsan tounouv , kai< metaxu< ejpinomhkasin , o\pwv , ejaxwntai e[teroi dedokimasme>noi a]ndrev ¸than aujtw~n . Tountav ujp j ejkei>nwn , h\ metaxu< uJf j eJte>rwn ejllogi>mwn ajvdrw~n ¸ouneudokhsa>shv th~v ejkklhsi>av pa>shv, (for so, it seems, was the manner of the church in his days, that their officers were appointed by the consent of the whole church,) kai< leitourgh>santav ajme>mptwv tw~| poimni>w| tou~ Kristou~ meta< uJpo< ta>ntwn , tou>touv ouj dikai>wv nomi>zomen ajpozale>sqai th~v leitourgi>av? aJmarti>a gamptwv kai< oJsi>Wv prosene>gkontav ta< dw~ra th~v ejpiskoph~v ajpoza>lwmen . Maka>rioi oiJ proodoiporh>santev preszu>teroi (or the bishops of whom he was speaking), oi[tinev e]gkarpon kai< telei>an e]scon thlusin , etc. And sundry other discoveries are there in that epistle of the like nature. It is not my design or purpose to insist upon the parity of bishops and presbyters, or rather the identity of office, denoted by sundry appellations, from these and the like places; this work is done to the full by Blondellus, so that our labor in this kind, were that the purpose in hand, is prevented. He that thinks the arguments of that learned man to this purpose are indeed answered thoroughly and removed by Dr Hammond, in his fourth dissertation, where he proposes them to consideration, may one day think it needful to be able to distinguish between words and things.

    That Clemens owns in a church but two sorts of officers, the first whereof he calls sometimes bishops, sometimes presbyters, the other deacons, the doctor himself doth not deny.

    That in the judgment of Clemens no more were instituted in the church is no less evident. And this carries the conviction of its truth so clearly with it that Lombard himself confesseth, “Hos solos ministrorum duos ordines ecclesiam primitivam habuisse, et de his solis praeceptum apostoli nos habere,’ lib. 4 Sen. D. 24. It seems, moreover, that those bishops and deacons in those days, as was observed, were appointed to the office by and with the consent of the people, or whole body of the church; no loss do these words import, Suneudokhsa>shv th~v ejkklhsi>av pa>shv. Our doctor, indeed, renders these words, “Applaudente aut congratulante ecclesia tota;” and adds (saris pro imperio) “nihil hic de acceptatione totius ecclesia, sine qua episcopos et diaconos ab apostolis et apostolicis viris constitutos non esse, ex hoc loco concludit Blondellus, quasi, qui ex Dei jussu et approbatione constituebantur, populi etiam acceptatione indigere putandi essent,” Dissert. 4 cap. 7:8, 10.

    And who dares take that confidence upon him as to affirm any more what so great a doctor hath denied! Though the scope of the place, the nature of the thing, and first most common sense of the word here used, be willingly to consent (as it is also used in the Scripture, for the most part, Acts 8:1, 1 Corinthians 7:12) to a thing to be done, or to the doing of it, yet here it must be taken to applaud or congratulate, or what else our doctor pleases, because he will have it so. jEllo>gimoi a]ndrev, also, must be “viri apostolici,” men with apostolical or extraordinary power, when they are only the choice men of the church where such a constitution of officers is had that are intended, because it is to our doctor’s purpose to have the words so rendered. “Ex jussu Dei et approbatione” is added, as though any particular command or approbation of God were intimated for the constitution of the bishops and deacons mentioned, beyond the institution of the Lord Jesus Christ that elders should be ordained in every church; because this is, it seems, to be exclusive wholly of the consent of the people, as any way needful or required to their constitution; which yet, as it is practically false, no such thing being mentioned by Clemens, who recounteth the ways and means whereby officers were continued in the church even after the decease of the apostles and those first ordained by them to that holy employment, so also is it argumentatively weak and unconcluding. God appointed, designed Saul to be king, approving of his so being, and yet he would have the people come together to choose him: so also was it in the case of David. Though the apostles, in the name and by the authority of God, appointed the deacons of the church at Jerusalem, yet they would have the whole church look out among themselves the men to be appointed. And that the ordaining of the elders was with the people’s election, Acts 14:23, it will ere long be manifested that neither our doctor nor any of his associates have as yet disproved. This poor thing “the people,” being the peculiar people of Christ, the heritage of God, and holy temple unto him, etc., will one day be found to be another manner of thing than many of our great doctors have supposed. But he informs us, cap. sect. 3, from that testimony which we cited before, that the apostles in the appointment of bishops and deacons (for so the words expressly are) are said tw~| Pneu>mati dokima>sai , — that is, saith he, “Revelationibus edoctos esse, quibus demure haec dignitas communicanda esset;” that is, that they appointed those whom God revealed to them in an extraordinary manner to be so ordained, and this is the meaning of tw~| Pveu>mati dokima>santev . And why so? The Holy Ghost orders concerning the appointment of deacons tw~| Pneu>mati dokima>sai , 1 Timothy 3:10.

    That those who are to be taken into office and power in the church had need first to be tried and approved is granted, and this work the apostles give to the multitude of the church, Acts 6:3; — where yet, after the people’s election, and the apostles’ approbation, and the trial by both, one that was chosen is supposed to have proved none of the best; and yet of him and them are the apostles said by Clemens that they did tw~| Pneu>mati dokima>sai . But how shall it be made to appear that “Spiritu probantes,” trying or proving by the Spirit, or spiritually proving them, to try whether they were able ministers of the new testament, not of the letter but of the Spirit, proving them by that Spirit; which was promised unto them “to lead them into all truth,” must needs signify they were taught whom they should appoint by immediate revelation? To prove by the Spirit, or spiritually, the persons that are to be made ministers or bishops, is to have their names revealed to us! Stephen is said to speak ejn tw~| Pneu>mati , Acts 6:10; and Paul purposed ejn tw~| Pneu>mati , Acts 19:21; and we are said to serve God ejn tw~| Pneu>mati , Galatians 5:5; and to make supplication ejn tw~| Pneu>mati , Ephesians 6:18; with many more expressions of the like nature. Does all this relate to immediate revelation, and are all things done thereby which we are said to do in the Spirit? Before we were instructed in this mystery, and were informed that dokima>santev tw~| Pneu>mati did signify to be “taught by revelation,” we had thought that the expression of doing any thing tw~| Pneu>mati had manifested the assistance, guidance, and direction, which for the doing it we receive by the holy and blessed Spirit of God, promised unto us, and bestowed on, in, and through the Lord Jesus Christ. Yea, but he adds that it is also spoken of the apostles, pro>gnwsin praecognitionem, that is, revelationem eijlhfo>tev telei>an , they appointed them bishops and deacons; by the help and presence of the Spirit with them the apostles examined and tried those who were to be appointed bishops, so obtaining and receiving a perfect foreknowledge, or knowledge of them before their admission into office.

    This also expresses revelation (pro>gnwsin eijlhfo>tev ), upon trial it was revealed unto them! and so must any thing else be allowed to be that our doctor will have to be so, now he is asserting to that purpose. But had the ejllo>gimoi a]ndrev who appointed bishops and deacons after the apostles’ time, had they also this special revelation? or may they not be said dokima>sai tw~| Pneu>mati; If not, how will you look upon them under the notion of ejllogi>mwn ajndrw~n who neglected so great a duty? If they did, let us know when this way of constituting church officers by immediate revelation ceased, and what was afterward taken up in the room thereof, and who they were that first proceeded on another account, and on what authority they did so. There is a generation of men in the world which will thank the doctor for this insinuation, and will tie knots upon it that will trouble him to loose.

    Before we return, let us look but a little farther, and we shall have a little more light given us into what was the condition and power of the people in the church in the days of Clemens. Speaking of them who occasioned the division and schism in the church of Corinth, or them about whose exaltation into office, or dejection from it, that sad difference fell out, he gives them this advice: Ti>v ou+n ejn uJmi~n gennai~ov ; ti>v eu]splagcnov ; tinov ajga>phv ; eijpa>tw? Eij di j ejme< sta>siv ¸kai< e]riv , kai< sci>smata , ejclwrw~ a]peimi ou= ejalhsqe ¸kai< poiw~ ta< prostasso>mena uJpo< tou~ plh>qouv? mo>non to< poi>mnion tou~ Cristou~ eijrhveue>tw , meta< tw~n kaqestame>nwn preszute>rwn . It seems the plh~qov , the multitude, or the people, were not such poor, inconsiderable things as they are reported to be, when he advises them to stop and stay the sedition, by yielding obedience to the things by them appointed and commanded. If it were in itself evil, disorderly, and not according to the mind of Christ, that the people should order and appoint things in the church, it had been simply evil for Clemens to have advised any to yield obedience unto things by them so appointed. Where is now Ignatius’ uJpota>ssesqe tw~| ejpisko>tw| and cwricontending about rule and government in the church are advised to stand to the determination of the people, and to cry, Ta< prostasso>mena uJpo< tou~ plh>qouv poiou~men. This is also insisted on by Blondellus, who thence argues “potestatem plebis circa sacra.” Dissert. 5 cap. 8 sect. 4, “Ad verba haec,” saith our doctor, “prodigii instar est quod notandum duxit Dav. Blondellus potestatem plebis circa sacra (de qua tandem integram dissertationem elucubravit) artificiis quibuscunque asserturus. Hic (inquit) nos monet Clemens fideles etiam de episeopatu aut presbyterio contendentes, non ab episcopi singulari kai< uJpere>contov nutu, sed a multitudinis praeceptis pependisse.”

    But let not our doctor be angry, nor cry out so fast of prodigies; a little time will manifest that many things may not be prodigious, which yet are contrary to sundry of his conceptions and apprehensions. I cannot but acknowledge him to be provoked; but withal must say, that I have found very commonly that reasons ushered in by such loud clamors have, on examination, proved to have stood in need of some such noises as might fright men from the consideration of them. What is in the next sections set up to shield the children of episcopacy from being affrighted with this prodigy may perhaps be of more efficacy thereunto than the exclamations before mentioned; he therefore proceeds, sect. 5. “Certe,” saith he, “si serio rem ageret Dav. Blondellus de presbyteris suis (non de episcopis nostris) actum plane et triumphatum erit, nec enim ab universo aliquo presbyterorum collegio, quod ille tam afflictim ardet, seda multitudinis solius arbitrio, turn contendentes de episcopo, tum fideles omnes Corinthios pependisse aeque concludendum erit.”

    If any man in the world hath manifested more desperate affection towards presbytery than this doctor hath done towards episcopacy, for my part solus habeto. But though neither Clemens nor Blondellus speaks any one word about the ordering of things “multitu-dinis solius arbitrio,” yet here is that said by them both which is sufficiently destructive, not only to the episcopacy the doctor contends for, as a thing wholly inconsistent with the power and liberty here granted the people, but of any such presbytery also as shall undertake the ordering and disposing of things in the church of God without the consent and concurrent suffrage of the people. Such a presbytery, it seems, Blondellus does not defend. But yet neither the doctor’s outcry as at a prodigy, nor this retortion upon presbytery is any answer to the testimony of Clemens, nor, indeed, is there the least possible reflection upon an orderly gospel presbytery in any church and over it by what Clemens here professeth to be the power of the people; all the appearance of any such thing is from the terra “solius,” foisted into the discourse of Blondellus by the doctor, in his taking of it up to retort at.

    Clemens in the very next words secures us from any thought that all things depended “a multitudinis solius arbitrio.” His very next words are, Mo>non to< poi>mnoin tou~ Cristou~ eijrhneue>tw , meta< tw~n kaqestame>nwn preszute>rwn . Our doctors and masters (having stuffed their imaginations with the shape and lineament of that hierarchical fabric which the craft, policy, subtlety, avarice, pride, and ambition, of many ages successively had formed and framed according to the pattern they saw in the mount of the world and the governments therein), upon the first hearing of a church, a flock of Christ, walking in orderly subjection to their own elders, concurring with them and consenting to them in their rule and government, instantly, as men amazed, cry out, “A prodigy!” It is not imaginable into what ridiculous, contemptible miscarriages, pride, prejudice, and selffullness, do oftentimes betray men, otherwise of good abilities in their ways and very commendable industry.

    But, sect. 6, the doctor comes closer, and gives his reason why this testimony of Clemens is not of any efficacy to the purpose in hand. Saith he, “At quis (sodes) a fidelibus de episcopatu (ut vis) contra ipsos ab apostolis constitutos episcopos contendentibus; quis a populo contra principem suum tumultus ciente; quis verbis ad retundendum seditionem ad plebem factis, argumenta ad authoritatem populo adjudicandum, principi derogandum duci posse existimavit?”

    Though many words follow in the next section, yet this is all of answer that is given to this signal testimony of Clemens. I know the doctor, for the most part, meets not only with favorable readers, but also partial admirers, or else, certainly, his exclamation would scarce pass for an invincible argument, nor such rhetorical diversions as this be esteemed solid answers.

    There is not by Blondellus any argument taken from the faithful’s tumultuating against the bishops (that “If appointed by the apostles,” which is thrust in, taken for the persons of those bishops, is against the express testimony of Clemens in this epistle), nor from the people’s seditiously rebelling against their prince, nor from any word spoken to the people to repress their sedition; neither was any thing of this nature urged in the least by Blondellus; nor is there any color given to such a collection from any thing in the words cited from the epistle or the context of them. It is the advice of the church of Rome to the persons (whether already in office or aspiring thereunto) about whom the contention and division was in the church of Corinth that is insisted on. It is not the words or plea of them who were in disorder. There is not any reprehension given to the body of the church, the multitude, or people, who are supposed to tumultuate, to quiet them, but a direction given, as was said, by the church of Rome to the persons that occasioned the difference, how to behave themselves, so that a timely issue might be put to the division of the church. To this end are they advised to observe the prosta>gmata , the orders, precepts, decrees, or appointments, of “the multitude,” as, from Acts 15:12, the body of the church is called. It is not that they should yield to their tumultuating, but yield obedience to their orderly precepts. Ta< prostasso>mena uJpo< tou~ plh>zouv are by him approved; and had it not been lawful for them with the presbyters prosta>ttein in the affairs of the church, Clemens, writing this epistle the whole church, could not possibly have led them into a greater snare.

    It is a sad thing to consider the pitiful entanglements and snares that some men run into, who will undertake to make good what they have once engaged for, let what will come against them.

    To return, then: it is evident that in the time of Clemens there were but two sorts of officers in the church, bishops and deacons; whereas the epistles of Ignatius do precisely, in every place where any mention is made of them (as there is upon occasions and upon none at all), insist on three orders, distinct in name and things. With Clemens it is not so. Those whom he calls bishops in one place, the very same persons he immediately calls presbyters, after the example of Paul, Acts 20:28, Titus 1:5,7, and plainly asserts episcopacy to be the office of presbyters. J JAmarti>a , saith he, ouj mikra< hJmi~n e]stai ejamptwv kai< oJsi>wv prosene>gkontav ta< dw~ra th~v ejpiskoph~v ajpoza>lwmen . Maka>rioi oJi proodoiporh>santev preszu>teroi , — namely, because they were in no danger to be cast from their episcopacy. And whereas the fault which he reproves in the church of Corinth is their division, and want of due subjection to their spiritual governors, according to the order which Christ hath appointed in all the churches of the saints, he affirms plainly that those governors were the presbyters of the church: Aijscra< , saith he, kai< li>an aijscra< , kai< ajna>xia th~v ejn Kristw~| ajgwgh~v ajkou>etai , th~n bezaiota>thn , kai< ajrcai>an Korinqi>wn ejkklhsi>an , di j e\n h] du>o pro>swpa ¸ stasia>zein prorouv. And in all places throughout the whole epistle, writing ejkklhi>a| tou~ Qeou~ paroikou>sh| Ko>rinqon , that particular church of Corinth, the saints dwelling there, walking in the order and fellowship of the gospel, where he treats of those things, he still intimates a plurality of presbyters in the church (as there may, nay, there ought to be, in every single congregation, Acts 20:28), without the least intimation of any singular person promoted, upon any account whatever, above his fellows. So in the advice given to the persons who occasioned the division before mentioned, Had there been a singular bishop at Corinth, much more a metropolitan, such as our doctor speaks him to have been, it had been impossible that he should be thus passed by in silence.

    But the doctor gives you a double answer to this observation, with the several parts whereof I doubt not but that he makes himself merry, if he can suppose that any men are so wedded to his dictates as to give them entertainment; for indeed they are plainly jocular. But learned men must have leave sometimes to exercise their fancies, and to sport themselves with their own imaginations.

    First, then, for the mention that is made of many presbyters in the church of Corinth, to whom Clemens, in the name of the church of Rome, exhorts to give all due respect, honor, obedience: He tells you that by “The church of Corinth,” all the churches of Achaia are meant and intended. The epistle is directed only Th~| ejkklhsi>a tou~ Qeou~ paroikou>sh| Ko>rinqon , without the least intimation of any other church or churches. The difference it is written about was occasioned by one or two persons in that church only; it is that church alone that is exhorted to order and due subjection to their elders. From the beginning to the end of the epistle, there is not one word, apex, or tittle, to intimate the designation of it to any church or churches beyond the single church of Corinth, or that they had any concernment in the difference spoken to. The fabric of after ages ties so close to the doctor’s imagination that there is no entrance for the true frame of the primitive church of Christ; and therefore every thing must be wrested and apportioned to the conceit of such an episcopacy as he hath entertained.

    Whereas he ought to crop off both head and heels of his own imagination, and the episcopacy of the latter days, which he too dearly affects, he chooseth rather to stretch and torture the ancient government of the church, that it may seem to answer the frame presently contended for. But let us a little attend to the doctor’s learned argument, whereby he endeavors to make good his assertion: — 1. He tells you that Corinth was the chief city of Achaia, the metropolis (in a political sense and acceptation of the word) of Greece, where the proconsul had his residence, Dissert. 5 cap. 2 sect. 3. Let us grant this to our learned doctor, lest we should find nothing to gratify him withal what then will follow? Hence, saith he, it will follow, sect. 4, that this epistle which was sent, “Ecclesia paroikou>sh| Ko>rinqon , non ad unius civitatis ecclesiam, sed ad omnes totius Achaia Christianos, per singulas civitates et regiones, sub episcopis aut praefectis suis ubique collocatas missa existimetur.” But pray, doctor, why so? We poor creatures, who are not so sharp-sighted as to discern a metropolitan archbishop at Corinth, on whom all the bishops in Greece were dependent, nor can find any instituted church in the Scripture or in Clemens of one denomination beyond a single congregation, cannot but think that all the strength of this consectary, from the insinuation of such a state of things in the church God, is nothing but a pure begging of the thing in question, which will never be granted upon such terms.

    Yea, but he adds, sect. 5, that “Paul wrote his epistle not only to the church of Corinth, but also to all the churches of Achaia; therefore Clemens did so also.” At first view this argument seems not very conclusive, yea, appears, indeed, very ridiculous. The enforcement of it which ensues may perhaps give new life and vigor to it. How, then, is it proved that Paul wrote not only to the church of Corinth, but to all them in Achaia also? Why, saith he, in the second epistle, chap. 1 verse 1, it is so expressed. He writes, Th~| ejkklhsi>a| tou~ Qeou~ th~| ou]sh| ejn Kori>nqw| , suoiv pa~si toi~v ou+sin ejn o\lh| th~| Axai`>a| . Very good. It is indisputably evident that Paul wrote his second epistle to the church at Corinth and all the rest of Achaia, for he expressly affirms himself so to do; and for the first epistle, it is directed not only to the church of Corinth, chap. 1, verse 2, but also pa~si toi~v ejpikaloume>noiv to< o]noma tou~ Kuri>ou hJmw~n jIhsou~ Cristou~ ejn pavti< to>pw| — that is, saith our doctor, in the whole region of Achaia! So, indeed, says the doctor’s great friend, Grotius, to whom he is beholden for more than one rare notion. I say it not in any way of any reproach to the doctor, only I cannot but think his careful warding of himself against the thoughts of men that he should be beholden to Grotius doth exceedingly unbecome the doctor’s gravity and self-denial. This is complained of by some who have tried it in reference to his late comment on the Revelation. And in this Dissertation he is put by his own thoughts (I will not say guilty) to an apology, cap. sect. 24: “Qua in re suffragium suum tulisse Hugonero Grotium tonu ex annotationibus posthumis, nuper editis, et postquam haec omnia typographo transcripta essent, cursim perlectis tum gratulor.” Let not the reader think that Dr Hammond had transmitted his papers full of rare conjectures to the printer before Grotius’ Annotations upon the Revelation were published, but only before he had read them. The doctor little thinks what a fly this is in his pot of ointment, nor how indecent with all impartial men such apologies, subservient to a frame of spirit in bondage to a man’s own esteem and reputation, appear to be. But let this pass, and let the saints that call upon the name of Jesus Christ in every place be the saints in every part of Achaia, — though the epistle itself (written, indeed, upon occasion taken from the church of Corinth, yet) was given by inspiration from God for the use not only of all the saints in the whole world at that time wherein it was written, but of all those who were to believe in any part or place of the world to the end thereof, — although the assertion of it be not built on any tolerable conjecture, but may be rejected with the same facility wherewith it is tendered, what now will hence ensue? Why, hence it follows that Clemens also wrote his epistle to all the churches in Achaia.

    Very good! Paul writing an epistle entitled chiefly to the Corinthians, expressly and rhtw~n directs it to the saints or churches of Achaia, yea, to all that call upon the name of God in every place, so that his epistle, being of catholic concernment, is not to be confined to the church of Corinth only, although most of the particular things mentioned in that epistle related only to that particular church; therefore, Clemens directing his epistle to the church of Corinth only, not once mentioning nor insinuating an intention of extending it to any other, handling in it only the peculiar concernment of that church, and a difference about one or two persons therein, must be supposed to have written to all the churches of Achaia!

    And if such arguments as these will not prove episcopacy to be of apostolical constitution, what will prevail with men so to esteem it! — “Si Pergama dextra Defendi possent, etiam hac defensa fuissent.” — AEn. 2:291, 292.

    And this is the cause of naming many elders or presbyters in one church!

    For my part, I suppose the doctor might more probably have adhered to a former conjecture of his, Dissert. 4 cap. 10: ect. 9. Concerning two sundry different churches, where were distinct officers, in the same city, “Primo,” saith he, “respondeo non usque quaque verum est, quod pro concesso sumitur, quamvis enim in una ecclesia nut caetu plures simul episcopi nunquam fuerint” (pray except them mentioned Acts 20:28, and those Acts 14:23), “nihil tamen obstare quin in eadem civitate duo aliquando caetus disterminati fuerint.” He might, I say, with more show of probability have abode by this observation than to have rambled over all Greece to relieve himself against his adversaries. But yet neither would this suffice.

    What use may or will be made of this concession shall elsewhere be manifested.

    But the doctor hath yet another answer to this multiplication of elders, and the mention of them with deacons, with the evident identity that is between them and bishops through the whole epistle, the same persons being unquestionably intended, in respect of the same office, by both these appellations. Now, this second answer is founded upon the supposition of the former (a goodly foundation!) — namely, that the epistle under consideration was written and sent not to the church of Corinth only, but to all the churches of Achaia, of which Corinth was the metropolitan. 2. Now, this second answer is, that the elders or presbyters here mentioned were properly those whom he calls bishops, diocesans, — men of a third rank and order, above deacons and presbyters in the church administrations and government; and for those who are properly called presbyters, there were then none in the church. To give color to this miserable evasion, Dissert. 4 cap. 10 sect. 11, he discourseth about the government and ordering of church affairs by bishops and deacons in some churches that were small, not yet formed or completed, nor come to perfection at the first planting of them. How well this is accommodated to the church of Corinth, which Clemens calls bezaiotathn kai< ajrcai>an , and which himself would have to be a metropolitical church, being confessedly great, numerous, furnished with great and large gifts and abilities, may be seen with half an eye. How ill, also, this shift is accommodated to help in the case for whose service it was first invented, is no less evident. It was to save the sword of Philippians 1:1 from the throat of the episcopacy he contendeth for. That epistle is directed to the saints or church at Philippi, with the bishops and deacons. Two things do here trouble our doctor: — (1.) The mention of more bishops than one at Philippi; (2.) The knitting together of bishops and deacons, as the only two orders in the church, bringing down episcopacy one degree at least from that height whereto he would exalt it. For the first of these, he tells you that Philippi was the metropolitan church of the province of Macedonia; that the rest of the churches, which had every one their several bishops (diocesan we must suppose), were all comprised in the mentioning of Philippi: so that though the epistle be precisely directed toi~v aJgi>oiv toi~v ou+sin ejn Fili>ppoiv , yet the bishops that were with them must be supposed to be bishops of the whole province of Macedonia, because the church of Philippi was the metropolitan. The whole country must have been supposed to be converted, (and who that knows any thing of antiquity will dispute that!) and so divided with diocesans, as England of late was, the archbishop’s see being at Philippi. But how came it then to pass that there is mention made of bishops and deacons only, without any one word of a third order, or rank of men distinct from them, called presbyters or elders? To this he answers, secondly, that when the church was first planed, before any great number was converts, or any fit to be made presbyters, there were only those two orders instituted, bishops and deacons: so that this church at Philippi seems to have been a metropolitical infant! The truth is, if ever the doctor be put upon reconciling the contradictions of his answers one to another, not only in this, but almost in every particular he deals withal (an entanglement which he is thrown into by his bold and groundless conjectures), he will find it to be as endless as fruitless; but it is not my present business to interpose in his quarrels, either with himself or presbytery. As to the matter under consideration, I desire only to be resolved in these few queries: — 1. If there were in the times of Clemens no presbyters in the churches, not [even] in so great and flourishing a church as that of Corinth, and if all the places in the Scripture where there is mention of elders do precisely intend bishops, in a distinction from them who are only deacons and not bishops also, as he asserts, when, by whom, and by what authority, were elders who are only so, inferior to bishops peculiarly so termed, instituted and appointed in the churches? And how comes it to pass that there is such express mention made of the office of deacons, and the continuance of it, — none at all of elders, who are acknowledged to be superior to them, and on whose shoulders in all their own churches lies the great weight and burden of all ecclesiastical administrations? As we say of their bishops, so shall we of any presbyters not instituted and appointed by the authority of Jesus Christ in the church, “Let them go to the place from whence they came.” 2. I desire the doctor to inform me in what sense he would have me to understand him, Dissert. 2 cap. 29 sect. 21, 22, where he disputes that these words of Jerome, “Antequam studia in religione fierent, et diceretur in populis, ego sum Pauli, ego Cephae, communi presbyterorum consensu ecclesiae gubernabantur,” are to be understood of the times of the apostles, when the first schism was in the church of Corinth, when it seems that neither then nor a good while after was there any such thing as presbyters in the church of Corinth, nor in any other church as we can hear of; as also, to tell us whether all those presbyters were bishops properly so called, distinct from elders who are only so, out of whom one man is chosen to be a bishop properly so called.

    To these inquiries I shall only add, — 3. That whereas in the Scripture we find clearly but two sorts of churchofficers mentioned, as also in this epistle of Clemens, the third, that was afterward introduced, be it what it will, or fall on whom it will, that we oppose. This, saith the doctor, is that of presbytery. Give us churches instituted according to the word of Christ; give us in every church bishops and deacons (rather than we will quarrel, give us a bishop and deacons); let those bishops attend the particular flock over which they are appointed, preaching the word and administering the holy ordinances of the gospel in and to their own flock, — and I dare undertake for all the contenders for presbytery in this nation, and much more for the Independents, that there shall be an end of this quarrel; that they will not strive with the doctor, nor any living, for the introduction of any third sort of persons (though they should be called presbyters) into church office and government. Only this I must add, that the Scripture more frequently terms this second sort of men elders and presbyters than it doth bishops; and that word having been appropriated to a third sort peculiarly, we desire leave of the doctor and his associates if we also most frequently call them so, no ways declining the other appellation of bishops, so that it may be applied to signify the second, and not a third, rank of men. But of this whole business, with the nature, constitution, and frame, of the first churches, and the sad mistakes that men have, by their own prejudices, been engaged into in their delineation of them, a fuller opportunity, if God will, may ere long be afforded.

    To return, then, to our Ignatius: Even upon this consideration of the difference that is between the epistles ascribed to him and the writings of one of the same time with him, or not long before him, as to their language and expression about church order and officers, it is evident that there hath been ill-favored tampering with them, by them who thought to avail themselves of his authority for the asserting of that which never came into his mind.

    As I intimated before, I have not insisted on any of those things, nor do on them altogether, with the like that may be added, as a sufficient foundation for the total rejection of those epistles which go under the name of Ignatius. There is in some of them a sweet and gracious spirit of faith, love, holiness, zeal for God, becoming so excellent and holy a witness of Christ as he was, evidently breathing and working. Neither is there any need at all that, for the defense of our hypothesis concerning the non-institution of any church-officer whatever relating to more churches in his office, or any other church, than a single particular congregation, we should so reject them; for although many passages usually insisted on, and carefully collected by Dr Hammond for the proof of such an episcopacy to have been received by them of old as is now contended for, are exceedingly remote from the way and manner of the expression of those things used by the divine writers, with them also that followed after, both before, as hath been manifested, and some while after the days of Ignatius, as might be farther clearly evinced, and are thrust into the series of the discourse with such an incoherent impertinency as proclaims an interpolation, being some of them also very ridiculous, and so foolishly hyperbolical that they fall very little short of blasphemies, yet there are expressions in all or most of them that will abundantly manifest that he who was their author (whoever he was) never dreamt of any such fabric of church-order as in after ages was insensibly reared. Men who are full of their own apprehensions, begotten in them by such representations of things as either their desired presence hath exhibited to their mind or any after-prejudicate presumption hath possessed them with, are apt, upon the least appearance of any likeness unto that church they fancy, to imagine that they see the face and all the lineaments thereof, when, upon due examination, it will be easily discovered that there is not indeed the least resemblance between what they find in, and what they bring to, the authors in and of whom they make their inquiry. The Papists, having hatched and owned by several degrees that monstrous figment of transubstantiation (to instance among many in that abomination), — a folly destructive to whatever is in us as being living creatures, men, or Christians, or whatever by sense, reason, or religion, we are furnished withal, offering violence to us in what we hear, in what we see with our eyes and look upon, in what our hands do handle, and our palates taste, breaking in upon our understandings with vagrant, flying forms, self-subsisting accidents, with as many express contradictions on sundry accounts as the nature of things is capable of relation unto, attended with more gross idolatry than that of the poor naked Indians who fall down and worship a piece of red cloth, or of those who first adore their gods and then correct them, — do yet upon the discovery of any expressions among the ancients which they now make use of quite to another end and purpose than they did who first ventured upon them, having minds filled with their own abominations, presently cry out and triumph, as if they had found the whole fardel of the mass in its perfect dress, and their breaden god in the midst of it. It is no otherwise in the case of episcopacy. Men of these latter generations, from what they saw in present being, and that usefulness of it to all their desires and interests, having entertained thoughts of love to it and delight in it, searching antiquity, not to instruct them in the truth, but to establish their pre-judicate opinion received by tradition from their fathers, and to consult them with whom they have to do, whatever expressions they find or can hear of that fall in, as to the sound of words, with what is now insisted upon, instantly they cry out, “Vicimus Io Paean!”

    What a simple generation of Presbyters and Independents have we, that are ignorant of all antiquity, or do not understand what they read and look upon! Hence, if we will not believe that in Ignatius’ days there were many parish churches, with their single priests, in subordination to a diocesan bishop, either immediately or by the interposed power of a choreepiscopus, and the like; and those diocesans, again, in the precincts of provinces, laid in a due subjection to their metropolitans, who took care of them as they of their parish priests; every individual church having no officer but a presbyter; every diocesan church having no presbyter, but a bishop; and every metropolitan church having neither presbyter nor bishop properly related unto it as such, hut an archbishop, — we are worse than infidels! Truly I cannot but wonder whether it doth not sometimes enter into these men’s thoughts to apprehend how contemptible they are in their proofs for the fathering of such an ecclesiastical distribution of governors and government, as undeniably lackeyed after the civil divisions and constitutions of the times and places wherein it was introduced, upon those holy persons, whose souls never once entered into the secrets thereof.

    Thus fares it with our doctor and his Ignatius: Oujk i]den , ajll j ejdo>khsen ijdei~n dia< nu>kta selh>nhn . I shall only crave leave to say to him as Augustus of Quintilius Varus, upon the loss of his legions in Germany under his command, “Quintili Vare, redde legiones. Domine doctor, redde ecclesias.” Give us the churches of Christ, such as they were in the days of the apostles, and down to Ignatius, though before that time (if Hegesippus may be believed) somewhat defloured, and our contest about church officers and government will be nearer at an end than perhaps you will readily imagine. Give us a church all whose members are holy, called, sanctified, justified, living stones, temples for the Holy Ghost, saints, believers, united to Christ the head by the Spirit that is given to them and dwelleth in them; a church whose plh~qov is o\pou a]n fanh~ oJ ejpi>skopov that doth nothing by its members apart, that appertains to church-order, but when it is gathered ejpi< to< aujtoplace, spouda>zei pa>nta pra>ssein ejn oJmonoi>a| Qeou~ ¸prokaqhme>nou tou~ ejpisko>pou , acting in church things, in its whole body, under the rule and presidence of its officers; a church walking in order, and not as some, who ejpi>skopon meriv de< aujtou~ pa>nta pra>ssousin , (of whom, saith Ignatius, o[i toiou~toi oujk eujsunei>dhtoi menontai , dia< mewv kat j ejntolhzesqai , such as calling the bishop to the assemblies, yet do all things without him, — the manner of some in our days, — he supposeth not to keep the assemblies according to the command of Christ); — give us, I say, such a church, and let us come to them when they are pa>ntev ejpi< to< aujto< , ejn th~| proseuch~| a[ma sunacqe>ntev , such as the churches in the days of Ignatius appear to have been, and are so rendered in the quotations taken from his epistles by the learned doctor for the confirmation of episcopacy, and, as I said before, the contest of this present digression will quickly draw to an issue. Being unwilling to go too far out of my way, I shall not, — 1. Consider the severals instanced in for the proof of episcopacy by the doctor. Seeing undeniably the interpretation must follow and be proportioned by the general issue of that state of the church in the days wherein those epistles were writ, or are pretended so to be, if that appear to be such as I have mentioned, I presume the doctor himself will confess that his witnesses speak not one word to his business, for whose confirmation he doth produce them. Nor, — 2. Shall I insist upon the degeneration of the institutions and appointments of Jesus Christ concerning church administrations, in the management of the succeeding churches, as principled and spirited by the operative and efficacious mystery of iniquity, occasioned and advantaged by the accommodation of ecclesiastical affairs to the civil distributions and merits of the political state of things in those days. Nor, — 3. Insist much farther on the exceeding dissimilitude and unconformity that is between the expressions concerning church officers and affairs in these epistles (whencesoever they come), and those in the writings of unquestionable credit immediately before and after them, as also the utter silence of the Scripture in those things wherewith they so abound. The Epistle of Clemens, of which mention was made before, was written for the composing and quieting of a division and distemper that was fallen out in the church of Corinth. Of the cause of that dissension that then miserably rent that congregation, he informs us in that complaint that some ouj dikai>wv ajppozale>sqai th~v leitourgi>av, were wrongfully cast from the ministry by the multitude: and he tells you that these were good, honest men, and faithful in the discharge of their duty; for saith he, JOrw~men o[ti ejni>ouv uJmei~v methga>gete , kalw~v politeuome>nouv , ejk th~v ajme>mptwv aujtoi~v tetimhme>nhv leitourgi>av, though they were unblamable both in their conversation and ministry, yet they removed them from their office.

    To reprove this evil, to convince them of the sinfulness of it, to reduce them to a right understanding of their duty and order, walking in the fellowship of the gospel, what course doth he proceed in? what arguments doth he use? He minds them of one God, one Christ, one body, one faith; tells them that wicked men alone use such ways and practices; bids them read the epistle of Paul, formerly written to them upon occasion of another division, and to be subject to their own elders, and all of them to leave off contending, quietly doing the things which the people, or the body of the church, delivered and commanded. Now, had this person, writing on this occasion, using all sorts of arguments, artificial or inartificial, for his purpose, been baptized into the opinion and esteem of a single episcopal superintendent, — whose exaltation seems to be the design of much which is said in the epistles of Ignatius, in the sense wherein his words are usually taken, — and yet never once so much as bid them be subject to the bishop, that “resemblance of God the Father, supplying of the place of Christ,” nor told them how terrible a thing it was to disobey trim, nor pawned his soul for theirs that should submit to him, that all that obeyed him were safe, all that disobeyed him were rebellious, cursed, and separated from God; what apology can be made for the weakness and ignorance of that holy martyr, if we shall suppose him to have had apprehensions like those in these epistles of that sacred order, for omitting those all-conquering reasons which they would have supplied him withal to his purpose in hand, and pitching on arguments every way less cogent and useful? But I say I shall not insist on any such things as these, but only, — 4. I say that there is not in any of the doctor’s excerpta from these epistles, nor in any passage in them, any mention or the least intimation of any church whereunto any bishop was related, but such an one as whose members met all together in one place, and with their bishop disposed and ordered the affairs of the church. Such was that whereunto the holy martyr was related; such were those neighboring churches that sent bishops or elders to that church; and when the doctor proves the contrary, “erit mihi magnus Apollo.” From the churches, and their state and constitution, is the state and condition of their officers, and their relation to them, to be taken.

    Let that be manifested to be such, from the appointment of Jesus Christ by his apostles, or de facto in the days of Ignatius, or before the contemperation of ecclesiastical affairs, occasionally or by choice, to the civil constitution of cities and provinces in those days, as would, or possibly could, bear a rural, diocesan, metropolitical hierarchy, and this controversy will be at an end. When this is by any attempted to be demonstrated, I desire it may not be with such sentences as that urged by our doctor from Epist. ad Eph., jIhsou~v Cristomh , wJv kai< oiJ ejpi>skopoi oiJ kata< ta< pe>rata oJrisqe>ntev jIhsou~ Cristou~ gnw>mh eijsilearned doctor, in his Dissertations, Dissert. 4 cap. 5 hath abundantly discharged this work, and proved the seven bishops of the seven churches mentioned Revelation 2,3, to have been metropolitans or archbishops, so that no just cause remains why we should farther contend.”

    Let, then, the reader pardon this my utmost excursion in this digression, to whose compass I had not the least thought of going forth at the entrance thereof, and I shall return thither whence I have turned aside.

    Dissert. 4 cap. 5, the doctor tells us that “Septem ecclesiarum angeli, non tantura episcopl sed et metropolitae, i.e., archiepiscopi statuendi sunt, i.e., principalium urbium e]xarcoi ad quos provinciae integrae et in iis multarum inferiorum urbium ecclesiae, earumque episcopi tanquam ad archiepiscopum aut metropolitanum pertinebant.”

    The doctor in this chapter commences per saltum, and taking it for granted that he hath proved diocesan bishops sufficiently before, though he hath scarce spoken any one word to that purpose in his whole book (for to prove one superintending in a church by the name of bishop, others acting in some kind of subordination to him by the name of elders and presbyters, will, upon the account of what hath been offered concerning the state of the churches in those days, no way reach to the maintenance of this presumption), he sacrifices his pains to the metropolitical archiepiscopal dignity, which, as we must suppose, is so clearly founded in Scripture and antiquity that they are as blind as bats and moles who cannot see the ground and foundation of it.

    But, first, be it taken for granted that the angels of the seven churches are to be taken for the governors of those churches, then that each angel be an individual bishop of the church to which he did belong; secondly, be it also granted that they were bishops of the most eminent church or churches in that province, or Roman political distribution of those countries in the management of the government of them, I say bishops of such churches, not “urbium e]xarcoi ,” as the doctor terms them; — what advance is made by all this to the assertion of a metropolitical archiepiscopacy I cannot as yet discover. That they were ordinary officers of Christ’s institution, relating in their office and ordinary discharge of it not only to the particular churches wherein they were placed, but to many churches also, no less committed to their charge than those wherein they did reside, the officers, rulers, governors of which churches depended on them, not only as to their advice and counsel, but as to their power and jurisdiction, holding their place and employment from them, is some part of that which, in this undertaking, is incumbent on our doctor to make good, if he will not be supposed to prevaricate in the cause in hand. To this end he informs us, sect. secunda, that in the New Testament there is in sundry places mention made of “churches” in the plural number, as Galatians 1:2,22; Thessalonians 2:14; Acts 9:31, 15:41; 1 Corinthians 16:1; Revelation 1:11; — sometimes of “church” only in the singular number, as Acts 8:1, 11:26; 15:3, 4, 22, Romans 16:1; Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 1:1; 1 Thessalonians 1:1; Revelation 2:1,8,12,18, <660301> 3:1, 7, 14. Now, this is an observation, which as we are not at all beholden to the doctor for it, no more, I suppose, will there be found to be to it when the reason of it shall be a little weighed and considered. The sum is, that the name “church” in the singular number is never used but when it relates to the single congregation in, or of, one city or town; that of “churches” respecting the several churches or congregations that were gathered in any country or province, manifest, then, is it from hence that there is in the New Testament no “church” of one denomination beyond a single congregation; and where there are more, they are always called “churches.” How evidently this is destructive to any diocesan or metropolitical officer, who hath no church left him thereby of Christ’s institution to be related to, another opportunity will manifest. For the present, let us see what use our doctor makes of this observation.

    Sect. 3, says he, “Judea, and the rest of the places where churches are mentioned, are the names of provinces ejparciw~n , quatenus eae paroiki>aiv et dioikh>sesi , contradistinguntur.” If the doctor takes these words in an ecclesiastical sense, he begs that which will, upon such unworthy terms, never be granted him; but if no more be intended but that Judea, Galatia, and the like names of countries, were provinces wherein were many churches, Smyrna, Ephesus, of towns and cities wherein there was but one, we grant it with him.

    And how much that concession of ours is to his advantage hath been intimated. And this seems to be his intendment by his following words: “Provinciarum inquam in quibus plurimae civitates, singulae singularum ecclesiarum sedes, comprehendebantur, ideoque ecclesiae in plurali istius sire istius provinciae dicendae.”

    Well, what then? “Cum tamen unaquaeque civitas, cure territorio sibi adjuncto (lh~rov !) ab episcopo suo administrata, singularis ecclesia dicenda sit; ideoque quod kat j ejkklhsi>an , factum dicitur, Acts 14:23; kata< po>lin , fieri jubetur, Titus 1:5.”

    That in every city there was a singular church in those provinces (I speak of those where any number were converted to the faith) I grant; for the annexed territories let the doctor take care, there being one church at Corinth and another at Cenchrea: so that every single city had its own single church, with its bishops in it, as at Philippi. The passage mentioned by the doctor concerning the Epistle of Dionysius to the Church at Gortyna in Crete is very little to his purpose; neither doth he call Philip, the bishop of that church, the bishop of all the other churches in Crete, as the doctor intimates, but the bishop of them to whom especially and eminently he wrote.

    Sect 4, application is made of the fore-mentioned observation, sect. 2, and the interpretation given of it, sect. 3, in these words: “His sic positis, illud statim sequitur ut (in imperil cognitione) in provincia qualibet, cure plures urbes sint, una tamen primaria, et principalis censenda erat, mhtro>poliv ideo dicta, cui itidem inferiores reliquae civitates subjiciebantur, ut civitatibus regiones, sic et inter ecclesias et cathedras episcopales unam semper primariam et metropoliticam fuisse.”

    In this section the doctor hath most ingenuously and truly given us the rise and occasion of his diocesan and metropolitical prelates. From the aims of men to accommodate ecclesiastical or church affairs to the state and condition of the civil government, and distributions of provinces, metropolitan cities, and chief towns, within the several dependencies (the neighboring villages being cast in as things of no great esteem to the lot of the next considerable town and seat of judicature), did the hierarchy which he so sedulously contendeth for arise. What advantages were afforded to the work by the pancity of believers in the villages and less towns (from which at length the whole body of heathenish idolaters were denominated Pagans); the first planting of churches in the greater cities; the eminence of the officers of the first churches in those cities; the weakness of many rural bishops; the multiplying and growing (in numbers, and persons of gifts, abilities, and considerable fortunes and employments in this world,) in the metropolitan cities, with their fame thereby; the tradition of the abode of some one or other of the apostles in such cities and churches; the eminent accommodation for the administration of civil jurisdiction and other affairs, which appeared in that subordination and dependency whereinto the provinces, chief cities, and territories in the Roman empire were cast; with what opportunities Satan got by these means to introduce the ways, state, pomp, words, phrases, terms of honor of the world into the churches, insensibly getting ground upon them, and prevailing to their declension from the naked simplicity and purity wherein they were first planted, — some other occasion may give advantage for us to manifest. For the present it may suffice that it is granted that the magnific hierarchy of the church arose from the accommodation of its state and condition [to that] of the Roman empire and provinces; and this, in the instances of after-ages that might be produced, will easily be made yet farther evident in those shameful, or, indeed, rather shameless, contests which fell out among the bishops of the third century and downward about precedency, titles of honor, extent of jurisdiction, ecclesiastical subjection to or exemption from one another. The considerableness of their cities, in the civil state of the Roman empire, where they did reside was still the most prevalent and cogent argument in their brawls. The most notable brush that in all antiquity we find given to the great leviathan of Rome, who sported himself in those “gatherings together of the waters of people, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues,” or the “general councils,” as they are called, was from an argument taken from the seat of the empire being fixed at Constantinople, making it become new Rome, so that the bishop of the church there was to enjoy equal privileges with him whose lot was fallen in the old imperial city. Rut our doctor adds, — Sect. 5, “Illud ex Judaeorum exemplari transcripsisse apostoli videntur; cum Mosaica id lege cautum esset, ut judices et ministri in qualibet civitate ordinarentur, Deuteronomy 16:18. Illi vero in rebus dubiis ad judicem (Mosis successorem) synedrio Hierosolymitano cincture recurrere tenerentur,” cap. 17:9.

    And in sect. 6, he proves Jerusalem to have been the metropolis of that whole nation. Egregiam veto laudem! But, — 1. The doctor, I presume, knows before this that those with whom he hath to do will never give him the thing in question upon his begging or request.

    That which alone falls in under our consideration and inquiry is, whether the apostles instituted any such model of church order and government as is by the doctor contended for: to this he tells you that the apostles seem to have done it from the pattern of Mosaical institutions in the church of the Jews. But, doctor, the question is not with what respect they did it, but whether they did it at all or no. This the doctor thought good to let alone until another time, if we would not grant him upon his petition that so they did. 2. This, then, is the doctor’s second argument for his diocesan and metropolitan prelates; his first was from the example of the heathens in their civil administration and rule, this second from the example of the Jews. Not to divert into the handling of the church and political state of the Jews as appointed of God, nor into that dissonancy that is between the institution of civil magistrates and evangelical administrations, this is the sum of the doctor’s reasoning in his 5th, 6th, 7th, and 8th sections: — “God, in the church and among the people of the Jews, chose out one city to place his name there, making it the place where all the types and ceremonies which he had appointed for the discovery and shadowing forth of the Lord Jesus Christ were visibly and gloriously to be managed, acted, and held forth (sundry of them being such as whose typicalness would have been destroyed by their multiplication), and principally on this account making that place or city (which was first Shiloh) the seat of the kingdom, or habitation of the chief ruler for the administration of justice, who appointed judges in all the land, for the good and peace of the people; therefore, the churches of Jesus Christ, dispersed over the face of the whole world, freed from obligations to cities or mountains, walking before God in and with a pure and spiritual worship, having no one reason of that former institution in common with the church of the Jews, must be cast into the same mould and figure.” I hope without offense I may take leave to deny the consequence, and what more I have to say to this argument I shall yet defer.

    But the doctor proceeds to prove that indeed the apostles did dispose of the churches in this frame and order, according to the pattern of the civil government of the Roman empire and that instituted of God among the Jews. The 9th section, wherein he attempts the proof of this assertion, is as followeth: — “Ad hanc imaginem, apostolos ecclesias ubique disponendas curasse, et in omnibus plantationibus suis, minorum ab eminentioribus civitatibus dependentiam, et subordinationem constituisse exemplis quidem plurimis monstrari possit, illud in Syria et Cilicia patet, Act. 16:4; cum enim zh>thma illud, cap. 15:2, Hierosolymas referretur ab ecclesia ijdi>wv Antiochiae, cap. 14:26, 15:3; et decretum ab apostolis denuo ad cos mittere-tur, vet. 22; in epistola, qua decretum illud continebatur simul cum Antiochensibus touan kai< Kiliki>an ajdelfoutandem et Silas Syriam et Cilieiam peragrantes, ver. 41, cap. 16:4, do>gmata kekrime>na uJpo< tw~n ajposto>lwn, singulis elvitatibus observanda tradiderunt, ut quae ad hanc Antiochiae metropolin, ut totidem subordinatae ecclesiae pertinerent; ut et ipsa Antiochia ad Hierosolymas, primariam tam latae (ut ex Philone praediximus) provinciae metropolin pertinebat, et ad eam ad dirimendam litem istam se conferebat.”

    This being all that the doctor hath to produce from the Scripture to his purpose in hand, I have transcribed it at large; for this being removed, all that follows will fall of its own accord: — First, then, the dependence on and subordination of lesser cities to the greater is asserted as an apostolical institution. Now, because I suppose the doctor will not assert, nor doth intend, a civil dependence and subordination of cities as such among themselves; nor will a dependence as to counsel, advice, assistance, and the like supplies, which in their mutual communion the lesser churches might receive from the greater and more eminent, serve his turn; but an ecclesiastical dependence and subordination, such as whereby many particular churches, with inferior officers residing in them and with them, depended on and were in subjection unto some one person of a superior order, commonly residing in some eminent city, and many of these governors of a superior order in the greater cities were in such subordination unto some one of high degree, termed a metropolitan, and all this by apostolical institution, is that which he aimeth at: which being a most gallant adventure in a waking generation, we shall doubtless find him quitting himself like a man in his undertaking.

    Secondly, then, he tells you that the question about Mosaical rites and necessity of their observation was referred to Jerusalem by the single church of Antioch. But how does the doctor make good this first step? which yet if he could, would do him he good at all. It is true that Paul was now come to Antioch, chap. 14:26; also, that he was brought on his way by the church, chap. 15:3; but yet that the brethren who were taught the doctrine contested about, verses 1, 2, were only of the church of Antioch (when it is most certain, from the epistles of Paul to the Galatians, Colossians, Romans, and others, that great disturbance was raised far and wide, in all the churches of the Gentiles, about this controversy), nothing is offered. It seems, indeed, that their disputes grew to the greatest height at Antioch, whither brethren from other parts and churches did also come whilst Barnabas and Paul abode there; but that that single church referred the determining of that controversy to them at Jerusalem, exclusively to others, the doctor proves not. And it is most evident, from the return of the answer sent by the apostles from Jerusalem, verse 23, that the reference was from all the churches of the Gentiles, yea, and all the scattered brethren, perhaps as yet not brought into church order, not only at Antioch, but also throughout Syria and Cilicia. It is then granted, what he next observes, namely, that in the, answer returned from Jerusalem, with them at Antioch those in Syria and Cilicia are joined; the reason of it being manifest, namely, their trouble about the same controversy being no less than theirs at Antioch. It is also granted, that, as Paul passed through the cities, he delivered them the decrees to keep that were ordained by the apostles and elders, chap. 16:4; and that not only to the churches of Syria and Cilicia, which he left, chap. 15:41, but also to those throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, chap. 16:6. What now follows out of all this? What but that Antioch, by apostolical institution, was the metropolitan see of all the churches of Syria and Cilicia! Good doctor, do not be angry, but tell us how this may be proved. Why, doubtless it was so, as Antioch belonged to the metropolitan church at Jerusalem, as he told us out of Philo! (who was excellently acquainted with apostolical institutions.) What Jerusalem was to the whole church and nation of the Jews, whilst the name of God was fixed there, we know; but what was the primitive estate of the churches of Jesus Christ, made up of Jews and Gentiles, tied neither to city nor mountain, I must be pardoned if I cannot find the doctor making any tender of manifesting or declaring. The reason of referring this controversy unto a determination at Jerusalem the Holy Ghost acquaints us with, chap. 15:2; so that we have no need of this metropolitical figment to inform us in it. And now if we will not only not submit to diocesan bishops, but also not reverence the grave metropolitans, standing upon such clear apostolical institution, it is fit that all the world should count us the arrantest schismatics that ever lived since Pope Boniface’s time. The sum, then, of this doughty argument for the apostolical institution of metropolitans (that none might ever more dare to call diocesans into question hereafter) is this: Paul, who was converted about the third or fourth year of Caligula, five or six years after the ascension of Christ, having with great success for three years preached the gospel, went up to Jerusalem with Barnabas, upon the persecution raised against him at Damascus, chap. 9:22-27; whence, returning to his work, he went first to Tarsus, verse 30; thence to Antioch, where he abode one whole year, chap. 11:25, 26; and was then sent to Jerusalem with the collection for the saints, about the fourth year of Claudius, verses 29, 30; thence returning again to Antioch, he was sent out by the command of the Holy Ghost, more eminently and peculiarly than formerly, for the conversion of the Gentiles, chap. <441301> 13:1-3. In this undertaking, in the space of a year or two, he preached and gathered churches (whereof express mention is made) at Salamis, chap. 13:5; at Paphos, verse 6; at Perga in Pamphylia, verse 13; at Antioch in Pisidia, verse 14; at Iconium, chap. 45:1; at Lystra and Derbe, verse 6; and at Perga, verse 25: in all these places gathering some believers to Christ; whom, before they returned to Antioch, he visited all over the second time, and settled elders in the several congregations, chap. 15:21-23. In this journey and travel for the propagation of the gospel, he seems in all places to have been followed, almost at the heels, by the professing Pharisees, who imposed the necessity of the observation of the Mosaical ceremonies upon his new converts; for instantly upon his return to Antioch, where, during his absence, probably they had much prevailed, he falls into dispute with them, chap. 15:1, 2 — and that he was not concerned in this controversy only upon the account of the church of Antioch, himself informs us, Galatians 2:4, affirming that the false brethren which caused those disputes and dissensions crept in to spy out his liberty in his preaching the gospel among the Gentiles, verse 2, — that is, in the places before mentioned, throughout a great part of Asia. For the appeasing of this difference, and the establishing of the souls of the disciples, which were grievously perplexed with the imposition of the Mosaical yoke, it is determined that the case should be resolved by the apostles, Acts 15:2; partly because of their authority in all the churches, wherein those who contended with Paul would be compelled to acquiesce, and partly because those Judaizing teachers pretended the commission of the apostles for the doctrine they preached, as is evident from the disclaimure made by them of any such commission or command, verse 24. Upon Paul’s return from the assembly at Jerusalem, wherein the great controversy about Jewish ceremonies was stated and determined, after he had in the first place delivered the decrees and apostolical salutation by epistle to the church at Antioch, he goes with them also to the churches in Syria and Cilicia, expressed in the letter by name, as also to those in Pamphylia, Pisidia, Derbe, Lystra, Iconium, etc., chap. 16:14, and all the churches which he had gathered and planted in his travels through Asia, whereunto he was commanded by the Holy Ghost, chap. <441301> 13:1, 2. Things being thus stated, it necessarily follows that the apostles had instituted diocesan and metropolitan bishops; for though the churches were so small, and thin, and few in number, that, seven years after this, may we believe our doctor, the apostles had not instituted or appointed any elders or presbyters in them, — namely, when Paul wrote his epistle to the Philippians, which was when he was prisoner in Rome, as appears, Philippians 1:7,13,14, 4:22, about the third year of Nero, — yet that he had fully built and settled the hierarchical fabric contended for, who once dares question! “Audacia — Creditur a multis fiducia.” — [Juven., 13:109, 110.] But if this will not do, yet Ignatius hits the nail on the head, and is ready at hand to make good whatsoever the doctor will have him say, and his testimony takes up the sense of the two next following sections, whereof the first is as follows: — “Hinc dicti Ignatiani ratio constat in epistola ad Romanos, ubi ille Antiochiae episcopus se th~v ejn Suri>a| ejkklhsi>av poime>na , pastorem ecclesiae quae est in Syria appellet, eum ad Antiochiam, scil. ut ad metropolin suam tota Syria pertineret. Sic et author epistolae ad Antiochenos, ejkklhsi>a| Qeou~ paroikou>sh| ejn Suri>a| th~| ejn jAntiocei>a|, eam inscribens totam, Syriam ejus paroiki>an esse concludit.”

    But yet I fear the doctor will find he hath need of other weapons and other manner of assistance to make good the cause he hath undertaken. The words of Ignatius in that epistle to the Romans are, [cap. 9] Mnhmoneu>ete ejn th~| eujch| uJmw~n th~v ejn Suri>a| ejkklhsi>av h=tiv ajnt j ejmou~ poime>ni crh~tai tw~| Kuri>w| . Because he recommends to them that particular church in Syria, which, by his imprisonment, was deprived of its pastor, therefore, without doubt, he was a metropolitical archbishop: “Tityre, tu patulae,” etc. But the doctor is resolved to carry his cause; and therefore, being forsaken of all fair and honest means from whence he might hope for assistance or success, he tries (as Saul the witch of Endor) the counterfeit, spurious title of a counterfeit epistle to the Antiochians, to see if that will speak any comfortable words for his relief or no. And to make sure work, he causes this gentleman so to speak as if he intended to make us believe that Syria was in Antioch, not Antioch in Syria; as in some remote parts of the world, they say, they inquire whether London be in England or England in London. What other sense can be made of the words as by the doctor transcribed? J jEkklhsi>a| Qeou~ paroikou>sh| ejn Suri>a| th~| ejn jAntiocei>a|? “To the church of God dwelling in Syria, which is in Antioch.” Now if this be so, I shall confess it is possible we may be in more errors than one, and that we much want the learned doctor’s assistance for our information. The words themselves, as they are used by the worshipful writer of that epistle, will scarce furnish us with this learned and rare notion: they are at length, Igna>tiov oJ kai< Qeofo>rov (for so he first opens his mouth with a lie), ejkklhsi>a| hJlehme>nh| uJpo< Qeou~ , ejklelegme>nh| ujpo< Cristou~ paroikou>sh| ejn Suri>a| , kai< prw>th| Cristou~ ejpwnumi>an lazou>sh| th~| ejn jAntiocei>a| . What is here more expressed than that the latter passage, “In Antioch,” is restrictive of what went and before was spoken of its residence in Syria, with reference to the name of Christians, first given to the disciples in that place, I know not; and therefore it is most certain that the apostles instituted metropolitan archbishops o[per e]dei dei~xai !

    But to make all sure, the learned doctor will not so give over; but, sect. 11, he adds that the epigraph of the epistle to the Romans grants him the whole case; that is, j jEkklhsi>a| h[tiv proka>qhtai ejn to>pw| cwri>ou JRwmai>wn? , “Ex qua,” saith he, “ecclesiae Romanae, ejusque episcopo super ecclesiis omnibus in urbicaria regione, ant provincia Romana contentis, praefecturam competiise videmus.”

    Although I have spent some time in the consideration of men’s conjectures of those suburbicarian churches, that, as is pretended, are here pointed to, and the rise of the bishop of Rome’s jurisdiction over those churches, in a correspondency to the civil government of the prefect of the city, yet so great a critic in the Greek tongue as Casaubon, Exer. 16 ad An. 150, having professed that expression, jEn to>pw| cwri>ou JRwmai>wn , to be “barbarous” and “unintelligible,” I shall not contend about it. For the presidency mentioned of the church in or at Rome, that it was a presidency of jurisdiction, and not only an eminency of faith and holiness, that is intended, the doctor thinks it not incumbent on him to prove, — those with whom he hath to do are of another mind, — although by this time some alteration might be attempted, yea there was, as elsewhere shall be showed.

    And so much for Ignatius’ archiepiscopacy.

    The example of Alexandria is urged in the next place, in these words: “Idem de Alexandria, de qua Eusebius, Marcum, , jEkklhsi>av prw~to ejp j aujth~v Alexandrei>av susth>sasqai , Ecclesias (in plurali) primum in Alexandria instituisse. Has omnes ab eo sub nomine th~v ejn JAlexandrei>a paroiki>av|, administrandas suscepisse Annianum, Neronis anno octavo idem Eusebius affirmat; qulbus patet primariam Alexandria et patriarchalem cathedram fixam esse, ad quam reliquae provinciae illius ecclesiae a Marco plantatae, ut ad metropoliticam suam pertinebant.”

    Doubtless; for, — 1. There is not any passage in any ancient author more clearly discovering the uncertainty of many things in antiquity than this pointed to by the doctor in Eusebius; for, first, the sending of Mark the evangelist into Egypt, and his preaching there at Alexandria what he had written in the Gospel, is but a report. Men said so, but what ground they had for their saying so he relates not. And yet we know what a foundation of many assertions by following writers this rumor or report is made to be. 2. In the very next words the author affirms, and insists long upon it in the next chapter, that Philo’s book peri< tou~ bi>ou tw~n JAskhtw~n, was written concerning the Christians converted by Mark’s preaching at Alexandria, when it is notoriously known that it treateth of the Essenes, a sect among the Jews, amongst whose observances many things were vain, superstitious, and foolish, unworthy to be once applauded as the practice of any Christian in those days; that same Philo, as far as can be gathered, living and dying in the Jewish religion, having been employed by them with an apology to Rome in the days of Caligula. But, 3. Suppose that Mark were at Alexandria, and preached the gospel there (which is not improbable), and planted sundry churches in that great and populous city of Jews and Gentiles; and that, as an evangelist, the care of those churches was upon him in a peculiar manner; nay, and add farther, that after his death, as Jerome assures us, the elders and presbyters of those churches chose out one among themselves to preside in their convocations and meetings; — if, I say, all this be supposed, what will ensue? Why, then, it is manifest that there was fixed at Alexandria a patriarchal chair and a metropolitical church, according to the appointment of Jesus Christ by his apostles! “Si hoc non sit probationum saris, nescio quid sit saris.” If some few congregations live together in love, and communion, and the fellowship of the gospel in a city, he is stark blind that sees not that to be an archbishop’s see. The reason is as clear as his in the Comedian for the freedom of his wife: — “Sy. Utinam Phrygiam uxorem meam una mecum videam liberam. Dem. Optimam mulierem quidem. Sy . Et quidem nepoti tuo, hujus filio, hodie primam mammam dedit haec. Dem. Hercle, vero, serio, siquidem primam dedit haud dubium quin emitti aequom siet. Mic .

    Ob eam rem? Dem . Ob eam.”

    And there is an end of the contest. The doctor, indeed, hath sundry other sections added to those foregoing; which as they concern times more remote from those who first received the apostolical institutions, so I must ingenuously profess that I cannot see any thing whereon to fasten a suspicion of a proof, so far as to call it into examination, and therefore I shall absolve the reader from the penalty of this digression.

    The truth is, when I first named Ignatius for a witness in the cause I am pleading for, I little thought of that excursion which I have occasionally been drawn out unto. When first I cast an eye, some few months since, upon the dissertations of the learned doctor in defense of episcopacy, and saw it so chequered with Greek and Latin, so lull of quotations divine and human, I began to think that he dealt with his adversaries “hastisque, clypeisque, et saxis grandibus,” that there would be no standing before his shower of arguments. But after a little serious perusal, I must take leave to say that I was quickly of another mind; with the reason of which change of thoughts, could I once obtain the leisure of a few days or hours, I should quickly, God willing, acquaint them who are concerned in affairs of this nature. In the meantime, if the reader will pardon me this digression, having given him an account of my thoughts concerning the epistles of Ignatius, I shall, in a procedure upon my first intention, bring forth some testimonies from him, “et valeant quantum valere possunt.”

    He seems, in the first place, to speak sufficiently clearly to the death of Christ for his church, for believers, in a peculiar manner; which is one considerable bottom and foundation of the truth we plead for: Epist. ad Trall. cap. 8], Gi>nesqe mimhtai< paqhma>twn ( Cristou~ ), kai< ajga>phv aujtou~ h[n hJma>phsen hJma~v , doutron , i[na tw~| ai[mati aujtou~ kaqari>sh| hJma~v palaia~v dussezei>av , kai< zwhschtai , me>llontav , o[son oujde>pw , ajpo>llusqai uJpo< th~v ejn hJmi~n kaki>av .

    And again, Epist. ad. Philad. [cap. 9]: By Christ, saith he, eijsh~lqon jAzraaloi tou~ ko>smou oiJ ajpo>stoloi , kai< hJ nu>mfh tou~ Cristou~ uJpegw| ) ejxe>cev to< oijkei~on ai=ma , i[na aujthsh| with many the like expressions. His confidence also of the saints’ perseverance, for whom Christ thus died, he doth often profess. Speaking of the faith of the gospel, he adds:

    Tau~ta oJ gnoua| kai< pisteu>sav maka>riov , w[sper ou+n kai< uJmei~v filo>qeoi kai< filo>cristoi> ejste , ejn plhrofori>a| th~v ejlpi>dov uJmw~n , h=v ejktraph~nai mhdeni< uJmw~n ge>nhtai .

    And again more clearly and fully to the same purpose Epist. ad Smyrn, [cap.1]: jEno>has ganouv ejn ajkinh>tw| pi>stei , w[sper kaqhlwme>nouv ejn tw~| staurw~| tou~ Kuri>ou hJmw~n jIhsou~ Cristou~ , sarki> te kai< pneu>mati kai< hJdrasme>nouv ejn ajga>ph| ejn tw~| ai]mati tou~ Cristou~ ¸peplhroforhme>nouv wJv ajlhqw~v , etc.

    And this confirmation and establishment in believing he ascribes not their manly considerations, but to the grace of Christ, exclusively to any of their own strength, Epist. ad Smyrn. [cap. 4,]:

    Pa>nta , saith he of himself, uJpome>nw dia< Cristo ejndunamou~ntov ¸ouj ga>r moi tosou~ton sqe>nov .

    To the same purpose, and with the same confident persuasion, he speaks, Epist. ad Ephesians, [cap. 9]: — JRu>setai uJma~v jIhsou~v Cristosav uJma~v ejpi< thtran , wjv li>qouv ejklektounouv eijv oijkodomhav Patronouv eijv ta< u[yh dia< Cristou~ , tou~ uJpentov , scoi>nw| crwme>nouv tw|~ JAgi>w Pne>umati , etc.

    And again in the same epistle [cap. 14]: jArch< zwh~v pi>stiv , te>lov de< ajga>ph? , ta~ de< du>o ejn ejno>thti geno>mena Qeou~ a]nqrwpon ajpotelei~? ta< de< a]lla pa>nta eijv kaloka|gaqi>an ajko>louaqa> ejsti .

    And in his last epistle [ad Romans cap. 7], he gives us that noble expression of his own assurance:

    JO ejmorwtai , kai< oujk e]stin ejn ejmoi< pu~r filou~n ti? u[dwr de< zw~n ajllo>menon ejn ejmoi< , e]swqe>n moi le>gei , Deu~ro prora where we leave the holy soul until the same God gather us to him and the rest of the spirits of just men made perfect.

    And this was the language, these were the exressions, of this holy man; which what they discover of his judgment on the ease under consideration is left to the learned reader to consider. This I am certain, our adversaries have very little cause to boast of the consent of the primitive Christians with them in the doctrine of apostasy, there being in these ancient writers after the apostles, about the things of our religion, not the left shadow cast upon it for its refreshment.

    Add, in the next place, the most ancient of the Latins,TERTULLIAN, that great storehouse of all manner of leaning and knowledge. Saith “Quemadmodum nobis arrhabonem spiritus reliquit, ita et a nobis arrhabonem carnis accepit, et vexit in coelum, pignus totius summae illuc redigendae,” Tertull., De Resur.

    The certain salvation of the whole body of Christ, with whom he hath that communion as to give them his Spirit, as he took their flesh (for he took upon him flesh and blood, because the children were partakers of the same), is evidently asserted; which he could not do who thought that any of those on whom he bestowed his Spirit might perish everlastingly.

    And again, De Praescripti. advers. Haeret.: “In pugna pugilum et gladiatorum, plerumque non quia fortis est, vincit quis, aut quia non potest vinci; sed quoniam ille qui rictus est, nullis viribus fuit: adeo idem ille victor bene valenti postea comparatus, etiam superatus recedit. Non aliter haereses de quorundam infirmitatibus habent quod valent, nihil valentes si in bene valentem fidem incurrant. Solent quidem isti infirmines etiam de quibusdam personis ab haeresi captis redificari in ruinam; quare ille vel illa, fidelissimi, prudentissimi, et usitatissimi in ecclesia, in illam partem transiterunt? Quis hoc dicens non ipse sibi respondet, neque prudentes, neque fideles, neque usitatos aestimandos quos haeresis potult demutare?”

    He plainly denies them to have been believers (that is, truly, thoroughly, properly so) who fall into pernicious heresies to their destruction. CYPRIAN is express to our purpose. Saith he, “Nemo existimet bonos de ecclesia posse discedere. Triticum non rapit ventus, nec arborem solida radice fundatam procella subvertit; Inanes paleae tempestate jactantur, invalidae arbores turbinis incursione evertuntur. Hos execratur et percutit Johannes apostolus, dicens, ‘Ex nobis exierunt, sed non fuerunt ex nobis, si enim fuissent ex nobis, mansissent utique nobiscum,’” Cypr. De Unit. Ecclesiastes [cap. 2] The whole doctrine we contend for is plainly and clearly asserted, and bottomed on a text of Scripture; which in a special manner (as we have cause) we do insist upon. All that is lost by temptations in the church was but chaff; the wheat abides, and the rooted tree is not cast down. Those fall away who indeed were never true believers in heart and by union, whatever their profession was. And yet we are within the compass of that span of time which our adversaries, without proof, without shame, claim to be theirs. One principal foundation of our doctrine is the bestowing of the Holy Ghost upon believers, by Jesus Christ. Where he is so bestowed, there, say we, he abides; for he is given them for that end, — namely, to “abide with them for ever.” Now, concerning him Basil tells us, that “though, in a sort, he may be said to be present with all that are baptized, yet he is never mixed with any that are not worthy; that is, he dwells not with any that obtain not salvation,” Basil, Lib. de Spir. Sanc. cap. 16; — Nu~n mekratai toi~v ajnaxi>oiv? ajlla< ou+n parei~nai dokei~ pw~v toi~v a[pax ejsfragisme>noiv. By that seeming presence of the Holy Ghost with hypocrites that are baptized professors, he evidently intends the common gifts and graces that he bestows upon them; and this is all he grants to them who are not at last (for such he discourses of) found worthy. MACARIUS A Egyptius, Homil. 5, about the same time with the other, or somewhat before, is of the same mind. He tells us that those who are Christians ejn ajlhqei>a| kai< duna>mei , ajsfalei~v eijsin uJpo< tou~ ajrjrJazw~nov , ou= ejde>xanto nu~n , wJv h]dh ejstefanwme>noi kai< basileu>ontev. And how men can be assured of heaven whilst they live here, by the earnest of it which they have received, as well as if they were crowned and reigning in heaven, if those who have received that earnest may lose it again, I know not.

    The words ofAMBROSE to this same purpose, lib. 1 cap. 6. De Jacob. et Vita Beat. are many; but because they do not only fully assert the troth we contend for, but also insist briefly on most of the arguments with which in this case we plead, I shall transcribe them at large, and they are as follow: — “Non gloriabor quia justus sum, sed gloriabor quia redemptus sum; gloriabor non quia vacuus peccatis sum, sed quia mihi remissa sunt peccata; non gloriabor quia profui, nec quia profuit mihi quisquam, sed quia pro me advocatus apud Patrem Christus est, sed quia pro me Christi sanguis effusus est ... Haeredem to fecit, cohaeredem Christi; Spiritum tibi adoptionis infudit ... Sed vereris dubios vitae anfractus et adversarii insidias, cum habeas auxilium Dei, habeas tantam ejus dignationem, ut filio proprio pro to non pepercerit? — Nihil enim excepit, qui omnium concessit authorem. Nihil est igitur quod negari posse nobis vereamur; nihil est in quo de munificentiae divinae diffidere perseverantia debeamus, cujus fuit tam diuturna et jugis ubertas, ut primo praedestinaret, deinde vocaret, et quos vocavit hos et justificaret, et quos justificaret hos et glorificaret.

    Poterit deserere quos tantis beneficiis usque ad praemia prosecutus est? Inter tot beneficia Dei, hum metuendae sunt aliquae accusatoris insidiae? sed quis audeat accusare quos electos divino cernit judicio? hum Deus Pater ipse qui contulit, potest dona sua rescindere, et quos adoptione suscepit, eos a paterni affectus gratia relegate? Sed metus est nejudex severior fiat. Considera quem judicem habeas; nempe Christo dedit Pater omne judicium; poterit to ergo ille damnare, quem redemit a morte, pro quo se obtulit, cujus vitam sure mortis mercedem esse cognoscit? nonne dicet, quaae utilitas in sanguine meo, si damno quem ipse salvavi?

    Denique consideras judicem, non consideras advocatum?”

    The foundation of all our glorying in the love of God and assurance of salvation he lays in the free grace of God, in redemption and Justification; for the certainty of our continuance in that estate, he urges the decree of God’s predestination, the unchangeableness of his love, the complete redemption made by Christ, with his effectual intercession: all which are at large insisted upon in the ensuing treatise.

    Add to him his contemporary,CHRYSOSTOM. Ser. 3, in 2 Corinthians 1:21, 22:

    JO de< bezaiw~n hJma~v susav hjma~v Qeo>v? kai< sfragisa>menov hJma~v kai< doumatov ejn tai~v kardi>aiv hJmw~n .

    Of these words of the apostle he gives the ensuing exposition:

    Pa>lin ajpo< tw~n parelqo>ntwn ta< me>llonta bezaiou~tai? eij gav ejstin oJ bezaiw~n hJma~v eijv Cristostin oJ mh> ejw~n hJma~v parasaleu>esqai ejk th~v pi>stewv th~v eijv tosav hJma~v , kai< douaiv hJmw~n , pw~v ta< me>llonta ouj dw>sei ; eij gaseiv e]dwke , kai< thzan kai< thmatov meta>lhyin ) pw~v ta< ejk tou>twn ouj dw>sei ; eij gadontai , pollw~| ma~llon oJ tau~ta douxei> kai< eij tau~ta ejcqroi~v ou+sin e]dwke , pollw]| ma~llon ejkei~na fi>loiv genome>noiv cariei~tai? dia< tou~to oujde< Pneu>ma ei+pen ajplw~v , ajll j ajrjrJazw~na wJno>masen , i[na ajpo< tou>tou , kai< peri< tou~ pantonai , ei[leto ajn tosai eijkh~ kai< ma>thn .

    The design and aim of our establishment by the Spirit is, he tells us, that we be not shaken or moved from the faith of Christ; [he] so establisheth us that he suffers us not to depart and fall away from the faith. And that the argument which he insists on, — from what we have presently received to an assurance of abode in our condition, to the enjoyment of the full inheritance, — is not contemptible in the cause in hand, is farther manifested in the treatise itself.

    And these instances may suffice for the first period of time mentioned, before the rising of the Pelagian heresy; of which, and those others of the same kind that might be produced, though they may not seem so full and expressive to the point under consideration as those which follow after, yet concerning those authors and their testimonies these two things may be asserted: — 1. That though some expressions may be gathered, from some of the writers within the space of time mentioned, that seem to allow a possibility of defection and apostasy in believers, — occasioned, all of them, by the general use of that word, and the taking the several accounts whereon men, both in the gospel and in common use, are so called, — yet there is no one of them that ever ascribed the perseverance of them who actually and eventually persevere to such grounds and principles as Mr. Goodwin doth, and which the reader shall find at large by him insisted on in the ensuing treatise. The truth is, his maintaining of the saints’ perseverance is as bad, if not worse, than his maintaining their apostasy. 2. That I scarce know any head in religion concerning which the mind of the ancients, who wrote before it received any opposition, may be made out more clearly than we have done in this, by the instances produced and insisted on.

    The Pelagian heresy began about the year 417. The first opposers thereof are reckoned up by Prosper, cap. 2. De Ingrat. The bishop of Rome, the Palestine synod in the case of Pelagius, Jerome, Atticus, bishop of Constantinople, the synod of Ephesus, [of] Sicily, and two in Afric, he mentions in order, concluding them with the second African, gathered to that end and purpose: — “Anne alium in finem posset procedere sanctum Concilium, cui dux Aurelius ingeniumque Augustinus erat? quem Christi gratia cornu Uberiore rigans, nostro lumen dedit aevo, Accensum vero de lumine, nam cibus illi Et vita et requies Deus est; omnisque voluptas Unus amor Christi est; unus Christi est honor illi:

    Et dum nulla sibi quserit bona, fit Deus illi Omnia, et in sancto regnat sapientia templo.” And because I shall not burden the reader, being now entered upon the place and time wherein very many witnesses call aloud to be heard about the difference in hand, of the first opposers of the Pelagian heresy, I shall insist only on him who is indeed “instar omnium,” and hath ever been so accounted in the controversies about the grace of God; and I shall the rather lay this weight on him, because it is evident that he spake the sense of the whole church in those days wherein he lived. This isAUSTIN, of whom saith the same Prosper: “Noverint illi non solum Romanam ecclesiam Africanamque, sod per omnes mundi partes universos promissionis filios, cum doctrine, hujus viri, sicut in tota fide, ita in gratiae confessione congruere,” Epist. ad Rusti.

    And when his writings began to be carped at by the semi-Pelagians of France, Caelestine, bishop of Rome, in his Epist. ad Gallos, gives him this testimony: “Augustinum, sanctae recordationis virum pro vita sua et moribus, in nostra communione semper habuimus, nec unquam hunc sinistrae suspicionis rumor saltem aspersit, quem tantae scientiae olim fuisse meminimus, ut inter magistros optimos etiam a meis praedecesseribus haberetur.”

    His writings also were made use of not only by Prosper, Hilary, and Fulgentius, but generally by all that engaged against the Pelagians. “Zosimus,” saith Prosper, ad Collar. cap. 41, “cum esset doctissimus, adversus libros tamen Pelagianorum beati Augustini responsa poscebat.”

    And Leo, Epist. ad Concil. Arausic., transcribes out of him verbatim the things that he would have confirmed and established. And in his own days, notwithstanding the differences between them, the aged and learned Jerome tells him, Epist. 94, “Mihi decretum est to amare, to suspicere, colere, mirari, tuaque dicta, quasi mea, defeudere.”

    Hence was that outcry in the Palestine synod upon the slighting of his authority by Pelagius “Dixit Pelagius, Quis est mihi Augustlnus? Acclamabant omnes blasphemantem in episcopum, ex cujus ore Dominus universae Africae unitatis indulserit sanitatem, non solum a conventu illo, sod ab omni ecclesia pellendum,” Oros. Apologet. pp. 621, 622. So also Gelas. Biblioth. Pat. Tom. 4, Colum. 553, p. 589.

    Fulgentius also, with them assembled with him at Byzacene, when they were banished Afric by Thrasimundus, in that synodical epistle, gives them this counsel: “Prae omnibus studium gerite libros S. Augustini quos ad Prosperum et Hilarium scripsit, memoratis fratribus legendos ingerere,” Epist. Synod. Byzac. Much more might be added to manifest the judgment of Austin to have been the catholic judgment of the church in those days; so that in his single testimony as great a number are included as in the testimony of any one man in the world whatever.

    Now, the controversy that was between Austin and the Pelagians and semi- Pelagians about perseverance, Hilary thus expresseth in his epistle to him: “Deinde moleste ferunt,” speaking of the semi-Pelagians, “its dividi gratiam, quae vel tunc primo homini data est, vel nunc omnibus datur, ut ille acceperit perseverantiam, non qua fieret ut perseveraret, sed sine qua per liberum arbitrium perseverare non posset; nunc vero Sanctis in regnum per gratiam praedestinatis, non tale adjutorium perseverantiae detur, sed tale, ut eis perseverantia ipsa donetur, non solum ut sine illo dono perseverantes esse non possint, verum etiam ut per hoc donum non nisi perseverantes sint.

    Caeterum quicquld libet donatum sit predestinatis, id posse et amittere et retinere propria voluntate contendunt.”

    The very state of the controversy as now under contest is most clearly expressed in this report of the difference between the semi-Pelagians and the church of God in those days. And because the whole sum of Mr. Goodwin’s book is briefly comprised in the 9th and 10th chapters of Prosper, De Ingrat., I shall transcribe the 10th chapter, to present to the reader the substance and pith of that treatise, as also the state of the controversy in those days: — — “Quam sans tides sit vestra patescat, Gratia qua Christi populus sumus, hoc cohibetur Limite vobiscum, et formam hanc adscribitis illi:

    Ut cunctos vocet ilia quidem, invitetque; nec ullum Praeteriens, studeat communem afferre salutem Omnibus, et forum peccato absolvere mundum; Sed proprio quemque arbitrio parere vocanti, Judicioque suo; mota se extendere mente Ad lucem oblatam, quae se non subtrahat ulli, Sed cupidos recti juvet, illustretque volentes.

    Hinc adjutoris Domini bonitate magistra Crescere virtutum studia, ut quod quisque petendum Mandatis didicit, jugi sectetur amore.

    Esse autem edoctis istam communiter sequam Libertatem animis, ut cursum explere beatum Persistendo queant, finem effectumque petitum Dante Deo, ingeniis qui nunquam desit honestis.

    Sed quia non idem est cunctis vigor, et variarum Illecebris return trahitur dispersa voluntas, Sponte aliquos vitiis succumbere, qui potuissent A lapsu revocare pedem, stabilesque manere.”

    As I said, we have the sum of Mr. Goodwin’s book in this declaration of the judgment of the semi-Pelagians, so also, in particular, the state of the controversy about the perseverance of the saints, as then it was debated; and I doubt not but the learned reader will easily perceive it to be no other than that which is now agitated between me and Mr. Goodwin. The controversy, indeed, in the matter between Austin and the Pelagians was reduced to three heads: — As to the foundation of it, which Austin concluded to be the decree of predestination: which they denied. The impulsive cause of it he proved to be the free grace of God; and the measure or quality of that grace to be such as that whoever received it did persevere, it being perseverance which was given: both which they denied.

    About the kind of faith which temporary professors might have, and fall from it, which were never elected, there was between them no contest at all Of his judgment, then, there were these two main heads, which he labored to confirm: — 1. That perseverance is a gift of God, and that no man either did or could persevere in faith and obedience upon the strength of any grace received (much less of his own ability, stirred up and promoted by such considerations as Mr. Goodwin makes the ground and bottom of the perseverance of all that so do), but that the whole was from his grace.

    Subservient to this, he maintained that no one temptation whatsoever could be overcome but by some act of grace; and that therefore perseverance must needs be a work thereof, it being an abiding in faith and obedience notwithstanding and against temptation. To this is that of his on John, Homil. 53: “Quosdam nimia voluntatis suae fiducia extulit in superbiam, et quosdam nimia voluntatis suae diffidentia dejecit in negligentiam: illi dicunt quid rogamus Deum ne vincamur tentatione quod in nostra est potestate? Isti dicunt, at quid conamur bene vivere, quod in Dei est potestate? O Domine, O Pater, qui es in coelis, ne nos inferas in quamlibet istarum tentationum, sed libera nos a malo.

    Audiamus Dominum dicentem, ‘Rogavi pro to, Petre, ne tides deficiat tua:’ ne sic existimemus fidem nostram esse in libero arbitrio ut divino non egeat adjutorio,” etc.

    That, with both of these sorts of men, the way and work of the grace of God is at this day perverted and obscured, is so known to all that it needs no exemplification: some requiring no more to the conquest of temptations but men’s own rational consideration of their eternal state and condition, with the tendency of that whereto they are tempted; others turning the grace of God into wantonness, and supinely casting away all heedful regard of walking with God, being enslaved to their lusts and corruptions, under a pretense of God’s working all in all; — the latter denying themselves to be men, the former to be men corrupted. And in plain terms the Milevitan council tells us: “Si quis finxerit ideo gratiam esse necessariam ad vitanda peccata, quia facit hominem cognoscere peccata, et discernere inter peccata et non peccata, qua discretione per gratiam habita, per liberum arbitrium potest vitare; is procul,” etc. The light of grace to discern the state of things, the nature of sin, and to consider these aright, the Pelagians allowed, — which is all the bottom of that perseverance of saints which we have offered by Mr. Goodwin; but upon that supply of these means, to abide and persevere in faith, to flee and avoid sin, is a thing of our own performance.

    This the doctors of that council, anno 420, condemned as a Pelagian fiction, as Prosper also presents it at large, cap. 25 against Cassianus the semi-Pelagian, and farther clears and confirms it. So Austin again, De Bono Persev., cap. 2, “Cur perseverantia ista petitur a Deo, si non datur a Deo? an et ista irrisoria petitio est, cure illud ab eo petitur, quod scitur non ipsum dare, sed ipso non dante, esse in hominis potestate? sicut irrisoria est etiam illa gratiarum actio, si ex hoc gratiae aguntur Deo quod non donavit ipse nec fecit.”

    And the same argument he useth again, cap. 6:9, much resting on Cyprian’s interpretation of the Lord’s Prayer; and cap. 26, he farther presseth it, as to the root and foundation of this gift of God: “Si ad liberum arbitrium hominis, quod non secundum gratiam, sed contra eam defendis, pertinere dicis, ut perseveret in bono quisquis, vel non perseverer, non Deo dante sic perseverat, sed humana voluntate faciente.”

    One or two instances more in this kind, amongst hundreds that offer themselves, may suffice.

    De Correptione et Gratia, cap. 14, “Apostolus Judas, cure dicit, autem qui potens est,’ etc., nonne apertissime ostendit donum Dei esse perseverare in bone usque ad finem? quid enim aliud sonat ‘Qui potest conservare nos sine offensione, et constituere ante conspectum gloriae suae, immaculatos in laetitia,’ nisi perseverantiam bonam? quis tam insulse, desiplat, ut neget perseverantiam esse donum Dei, cure dicit sanctissimus Jeremias, ‘Timorem meum dabo in corde eorum ut non recedant a me,’” etc.

    I shall add only that one place more out of the same book (cap. 12), where both the matter and manner of the thing in hand are fully delivered: “In hoc loco miseriarum, ubi tentatio est vita hominum super terrain, virtus in infirmitate perficitur; quae virtus, nisi ‘Qui gloriatur, ut in Domino glorietur?’ Ac per hoc de ipsa perseverantia beni noluit Deus sanctos sues in viribus suis, sed in ipso gioriari, qui eis non solum dat adjutorium quod primo homini dedit, sine quo non possit perseverare si velint, sed in iis etiam operatur et velle; et quoniam non perseverabunt nisi et possint, et velint, perseverandi eis et pessibilitas et voluntas, divinae gratiae largitate, donatur; tantum quippe Spiritu Sancto accenditur voluntas eorum, ut ideo quia sic volunt, ideo sic velint, quia Deus operatur ut velint. Nam si tanta infirmitate hujus vitae ipsis relinquitur voluntas sua, ut in adjutorio Dei, sine quo perseverare non possent, manerent si vellent, ni Deus in eis raretur ut velint, inter tot, et tantas tentationes, infirmitate sua succumberet voluntas, et ideo perseverare non possent, quia deficientes infirmitare voluntatis non velleut, aut non ira vellent, ut possent. Subventum est igitur infirmitati voluntatis humame, ut divina gratia indeclinabiliter, et insuperabiliter ageretur, et ideo quamvis infirma non tamen deficeret.”

    It is not possible that any one should deliver his sense more clearly to the whole of our present contest than this holy and learned man hath done in the words now repeated from him. A gift of God he asserts it to be (and not an act or course of our own, whereto we are prompted by certain considerations, and assisted with such outward means as are also added to us), to the real production of that effect by the efficiency of the grace of God. And for the manner of this work, it is, saith he, by the effectual working the actual will of perseverance in the continuance of our obedience, in a dispensation of grace, different from and beyond what was given to him who had a power of persevering if he would, but received not the will thereof. Now, to Adam’s perseverance there was nothing wanting but his will’s confirmation in obedience, and his actual doing so. Power he had within and means without, abundantly sufficient for that end in their kind. This, then, he asserts to be given to the saints, and to be the work of God in them, even their actual perseverance. Without this he also manifesteth, that, such is the infirmity of our wills, and such the power of our temptations, that what means soever may be supplied and left to their power, or what manlike, rational considerations soever man may engage his thoughts into, it is impossible any should persevere to the end: which Bradwardin more confirms, De Cans. Dei, lib. 2 cap. 8 Coroll., “Omne quod est naturale, et non est per se tale, si manere debeat immutatum, oportet quod innitatur continue alicui fixo per se: quare quilibet justus Deo.”

    And the holy man (Austin, I mean) concludes, that this work of God being wrought in a man, his will is indeclinably and inseparably fixed so to obedience as not to fall off from God. This is the foundation that he lays of the doctrine of the perseverance of saints, it hat it is a gift of God, and that such a gift as he effectually and actually works in him on whom he doth bestow it; — a foundation that will by no means regularly bear the hay and stubble wherewith men think to build up a doctrine of perseverance, making it a fruit that may or may not be brought forth, from our own use of the means allowed for that end and purpose. And, indeed, the asserting of the perseverance of the saints in that way is as bad (if not a worse and more fearful) opposition to, and slighting of, the grace of God, as the denial of it in the way they oppose. By the latter they oppose the grace of God, by the former set up the power and strength of their own will. Thus far Austin is clearly engaged with us, that perseverance is a gift of God, that it is given by him to every one that doth persevere, and that every one to whom it is given is inseparably confirmed in grace, and shall infallibly persevere to the end.

    In that earnest and long contest which that learned doctor insists upon, to prove perseverance to be the gift of God (for which he hath sufficient ground from that of the apostle, 1 Corinthians 1:7,8, “That ye come behind in no gift, waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” etc.), two things he especially aimed at: — First, An opposing of such a perseverance as should not be the fruit and work of the grace of God in us, but the work and effect of our own endeavors, upon a supply of such means, motives, persuasions, and considerations, as we are or may be furnished withal. Secondly, That it is so given and bestowed, as that on whomsoever it is bestowed, he certainly hath it; that is, he doth certainly persevere. As it was heresy to that holy man to deny perseverance to be the gift of God, so it was ridiculous to him to say that that gift was given to any, and yet that they received it not; that is, that they might not persevere. “Nobis,” saith he, De Correp. et Grat., cap. 11, “qui Christo insiti sumus, talis data est gratia, ut non solum poasimus si velimus, sed etiam ut velimus in Christo perseverare.”

    And cap. 12, “Non solum ut sine illo dono perseverantes esse non possint, verum etiam ut per hoc donum non nisi perseverantes sint.”

    And that which he adds afterward is most considerable, concluding from that of our Savior, “Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit.” “Eis,” saith he, “non solum justitiam, verum etiam in ilia perseverantiam dedisse monstravit. Christo enim sic cos ponente ut cant et fructum afferant, et fructus eorum maneat, quis audeat dicere ‘Forsitan non manebunt?

    Though they dare say so who also dare to pretend his authority for what they say! — how falsely, how unjustly, is evident to all serious observers of his mind and spirit in and about the things of the grace of God. 2. As he mentioned perseverance to be such a gift of God as indeclinably wrought in them on whom it was bestowed a will to persevere, and on that account perseverance itself (an assertion as obnoxious to the calumny and clamor of the adversaries of the doctrine under consideration as any we teach or affirm concerning it), so he farther constantly taught this gift and grace to be a fruit of predestination or election, and to be bestowed on all and only elected believers. So De Predestinatione Sanc., cap. 17, “Haec dona Dei dantur electis, secundum Dei propositum vocatis, in quibus estet incipere et credere, et in fide ad hujus vitae exitum perseverare.” And afterward, cap. 9. De Bono Persev. “Ex duobus piis” (of his meaning in that word afterward), “cur huic donetur perseverantia, usque in finem, illi non donetur, inscrutabilia sunt judicia Dei: illud tamen fidelibus debet ease certissimum, hunt ease ex praedestinatis, illum non ease: ‘ Nam si fuiasent ex nobis’ (air unus praedestinatorum qui e pectore Domini biberat hoc secretum) ‘mansiasent utique nobiscum.’ Quae est ista discretio? Patent libri Dei, non avertamus aspectum, clamat Scriptura Divina, adhibeamus auditum, non erant ex eis, quia non erant secundum propesitum vocati: non erant in Christo electi ante mundi constitutionem, non erant in eo sortem consecuti, non erant praedestinati secundum propositum ejus qui omnia operatur.”

    And unto these elect, predestinate believers, he concluded still that perseverance was so given in and for Christ, so proceeding from the immutable will of God, wrought by such an efficacy of grace, that it was impossible that they should not persevere. He compares it farther with the grace that Adam received: Lib. de Correp. et Grat., cap. 12, “Primo itaque homini, qui in eo bono quo factus fuerat rectus, acceperat posse non peccare, posse non mori, posse ipsum bonum non deserere, datum est adjutorium perseverantiae, non quo fieret ut perseveraret, sed sine quo per liberum arbitrium perseverare non posset. Nunc veto sanctis in regnum Dei per gratiam Dei praedestinatis, non tantum tale adjutorium perseverantiae datur; sed tale, ut iis perseverantia ipsa donetur, non solum ut sine isto dono perseverantes esse non possint, verum etiam ut per hoc donum non nisi perseverantes sint.”

    And a little after: “Ipse itaque dat perseverantiam, qui stabilire potens est eos qui stant, ut perseverantissime stent.”

    And in the 8th chapter of the same book, expounding that of our Savior, Luke 22:32, “I have prayed for thee, that thy faith fail not,” he manifesteth how, upon that account, it was impossible that the will of Peter should not actually be established to the end in believing. His words are, “An audebis dicere, etiam rogante Christo ne deficeret tides Petri, defecturam fuisse, si Petrus eam deficere voluisset, idque si cam usque in finem perseverare noluisset? Quasi aliud Petrus ullo modo yeller, quam pro illo Christus rogasset ut vellet: nam quis ignorat tunc fuisse perituram fidem Petri, si ea quae fidelis erat voluntas ipsa deticeret; et permansuram, si voluntas eadem permaneret?

    Quando ergo oravit ne tides ejus deficeret, quid aliud rogavit, nisi ut haberet in fide liberrimam, fortissimam, invictissimam, perseverantissimam voluntatem?”

    And in this persuasion he had not only the consent of all the sound and orthodox doctors in his time, as was before manifested, but he is followed also by the schoolmen of all ages, and not forsaken by some of the Jesuits themselves, as we shall afterward see, when we have added that consideration of the doctrine of this learned man which hath given occasion to some to pretend his consent in opposition to that which most evidently he not only delivered but confirmed. There are in Austin, and those that either joined with him or followed immediately after him (notwithstanding the doctrine formerly insisted on, that actual perseverance is a gift of God, and that it flows from predestination, as an effect thereof, and is bestowed on all elect believers, infallibly preserving them unto the end, — wherein they assert and strongly prove the whole of what we maintain), sundry expressions, commonly urged by the adversaries of the truth in hand, granting many who were saints, believing and regenerate, to fall away and perish for ever. I need not instance in any of their sayings to this purpose; the reader knows where to find them gathered to his hand, in Vossius, Grotius, and Mr. Goodwin, from them. The seeming contradiction that is amongst themselves in the delivery of this doctrine will easily admit of a reconciliation, may they be allowed the common courtesy of being interpreters of their own meaning. What weight in those days was laid upon the participation of the sacramental figures of grace, and what expressions are commonly used concerning them who had obtained that privilege, are known to all. Hence all baptized persons, continuing in the profession of the faith and communion of the church, they called, counted, esteemed truly regenerate and justified, and spake so of them. Such as these they constantly affirmed might fall away into everlasting destruction; but yet what their judgment was concerning their present state indeed, even then when they so termed them regenerate and believers, in respect to the sacraments of those graces, Austin in sundry places clearly delivers his thoughts, to the undeceiving of all that are willing to be free. This he especially handles in his book De Correp. et Grat., cap. 9. “Non erant,” saith he, “filii, etiam quando erant in professione et nomine filiorum; non quia justitiam simulaverunt, sed quia in ea non permanserunt.”

    This righteousness he esteemed not to be merely feigned and hypocritical, but rather such as might truly entitle them to the state and condition of the children of God, in the sense before expressed.

    And again, “Isti cum pie vivunt dicuntur filii Dei, sed quoniam victuri sunt impie, et in eadem impietate morituri, non eos dicit filios Dei praescientia Dei.”

    And farther in the same chapter, “Sunt rursus quidam qui filii Dei propter susceptam temporalem gratiam dicuntur a nobis, nec sunt tamen Deo.”

    And again, “Non erant in numero filiornm, etiam quando erant in fide filiorum.”

    And, “Sicut non vere discipuli Christi, ira nec vere filii Dei fuerunt, etiam quando esse videbantur, et ira vocabantur.”

    He concludes, “Appellamus ergo nos et electos Christi discipulos, et Dei filios, quos regeneratos” (that is, as to the sacramental sign of that grace), “pie vivere cernimus; sed tunc vere sunt quod appellantur, si manserint in eo propter quod sic appellantur. Si autem perseverantiam non habent, id est, in eo quod coeperunt esse non manent, non vere appellantur quod appellantur, et non sunt.” As also, De Doct. Christiana, lib. 3 cap. 32, “Non est revera corpus Christi quod non erit cum illo in aeternum.”

    And these are the persons which Austin and those of the same judgment with him do grant that they may fall away, such as, upon the account of their baptismal entrance into the church, their pious, devout lives, their profession of the faith of the gospel, they called and accounted regenerate believers; of whom yet they tell you, upon a thorough search into the nature and causes of holiness, grace, and walking with God, that they would be found not to be truly and really in that state and condition that they were esteemed to be in; of which they thought this a sufficient demonstration, even because they did not persevere: which undeniably, on the other hand (with the testimonies foregoing, and the like innumerable that might be produced), evinces that their constant judgment was, that all who are truly, really, and in the sight of God, believers, ingrafted into Christ, and adopted into his family, should certainly persevere; and that all the passages usually cited out of this holy and learned man, to persuade us that he ever cast an eye towards the doctrine of the apostasy of the saints, may particularly be referred to this head, and manifested that they do not at all concern those whom he esteemed saints indeed, which is clear from the consideration of what hath been insisted on. Thus far he, of whom what were the thoughts of the church of God in the days wherein he lived hath been declared; he who hath been esteemed, amongst the ecclesiastical writers of old, to have labored more, and to more purpose, in the doctrine of the grace of God, than all that went before him, or any that have followed after him; whose renown in the church hath been chiefly upheld and maintained upon the account of the blessed pains and labors, wherein the presence of God made him to excel, for the depressing the pride of all flesh, and the exaltation of the riches of God’s love, and efficacy of his grace in Jesus Christ, wherewith the whole church in succeeding ages hath been advantaged beyond what is easy to be expressed.

    ThatPROSPER,HILARY,FULGENTIUS, and the men of renown in the congregation of God at the end of that age, did fall in with their judgments to that which Austin had delivered, I suppose will be easily confessed.

    Prosper, ad cap. 7 Gal.: “Quomodo cos habeat praeordinata in Christo electio? cure dubium non sit donum Dei esse perseverantiam in bono usque ad finem; quod istos, ex eo ipso quod non perseverarunt, non habuisse manifestum est.”

    Also, the breaking of the power and frustrating of the attempt of Pelagius by sundry doctors of the church, and synods to that end assembled (whereof Prosper gives us an account, reckoning them up in their order, and Austin before him, Epist. 42 and 47, with special relation to what was done in Afric, and in the beginning of his verses, De Ingratis), with what troubles were raised and created anew to the champions of the grace of God by the writings of Cassianus, Faustus, Vincentius, the Massilienses, with some others in France, and the whole rabble of semi-Pelagians, with the fiction of Sigibert about a predestinarian heresy (whereof there was never any thing in being, no not among the Adrumentine monks, where Vossius hoped to have placed it), the council of Arles, the corruptions and falsifications of Faustus in the business of Lucidus, the impositions on Gotteschalcus, with the light given to that business from the Epistle of Florus, — have exercised the commendable endeavors of so many already that there is not the least need farther to insist upon them. What entertainment that peculiar doctrine, which I am in the consideration of, found in the following ages is that which I shall farther demonstrate.

    After these wasGREGORY I., who, lib. 1 Epist. 99, speaks to the same purpose with them in these words: “Redemptor noster, Dei hominumque mediator, conditionis humanae non immemor, sic imis summa conjungit, ut ipse in unitate permanens ita temporalia, occulto instinctu, pia consulens moderatione disponat, quatenus de ejus manu antiquus hostis nullatenus rapiat, quos ante secula intra sinum matris ecclesiae adunandos esse praescivit; nam et si quisquam eorum inter quos degit, statibus motus ad tempus ut palmes titubet, radix tamen rectae fidei, quae ex occulto prodit, divino judicio virens manet, quae accepto tempore fructum de se ostentare valeat, qui latebat.”

    This is the sum of what we contend for, — namely, that all those whom God hath predestinated to be added to the church, receiving a saving faith, though they may be shaken, yet on that account the root abides firm, their faith never utterly perisheth, but in due time brings forth accepted fruits again.

    And most expressive to our purpose is that discourse of his which you have, lib. 34. Moral. cap. 8. Saith he, “Aurum, quod pravis diaboli persuasionibus quasi lutum sterni potuerit, aurum ante Dei oculos nunquam fuit, qui enim seduci quandoque non reversuri possunt, quasi habitam sanctitatem ante oculos hominum videntur amittere, sed eam ante oculos Dei nunquam habuerunt.”

    The exclusion of those from being true believers who may be seduced and fall away doth most eminently infer the perseverance of all them who are so.

    Add unto theseOECUMENIUS (though he be one of a later date), and these shall suffice for the period of time relating to the Pelagian controversy.

    Saith he, in Epist. ad Ephesians cap. 1:14, j JO ajrjrJazwnun uiJsqesi>an kai< ta< mu>ria ajgaqa> pistou>menov oJ Qeodwken ajrjrJazw~na th~v ejpourani>ou klhronomi>av to< \Agion Pveu~ma . All is confirmed and ratified by the earnest of the Spirit, that is given to them that believe.

    Of those that lived after the days of the forementioned (I mean all of them but the last), that I may not cloy the reader, I shall not mention any, until the business of divinity and the profession of it was taken up by the schoolmen and canonists; who, from a mixture of divine and human principles, framed the whole body of it anew, and gave it over into the possession of the present Romish church, moulded for the most part to the worldly, carnal interests of them on whom they had their dependency in their several generations.

    But yet as there was none of those but, one way or other, was eminently conducing to the carrying on of the mystery of iniquity, by depraving, perverting, and corrupting, one truth or other of the gospel, so all of them did not in all things equally corrupt their ways, but gave some testimony more or less to some truths, as they received them from those that went before them. So fell it out in the matter of the grace of God and the corruption of the nature of man. Though some of them labored to corrode and corrupt the ancient received doctrine thereof, so some, again, contended with all their might, in their way and by their arguments, to defend it; as is evident in the instance of Bradwardin crying out to God and man to help in the cause of God against the Pelagians in his days, in particular complaining of the great master of their divinity. So that notwithstanding all their corruptions, these ensuing principles passed currently amongst the most eminent of them as to the doctrine under consideration, which continue in credit with many of their sophistical successors to this day: — 1. That perseverance is a grace of God, bestowed according to predestination, or election, on men; that is, that God gives it to believers that are predestinated and elected. 2. That on whomsoever the grace of perseverance is bestowed, they do persevere to the end; and it is impossible in some sense that they should otherwise do. 3. That none who are not predestinate, what grace soever they may be made partakers of in this world, shall constantly continue to the end. 4. That no believer can by his own strength or power (incited or stirred up by what manlike or rational considerations soever) persevere in the faith, the grace of perseverance being a gift of God.

    It is true, that, their judgments being perverted by sundry other corrupt principles, about the nature and efficacy of sacraments, with their conveyance of grace “ex opere operate,” and out of ignorance of the righteousness of God and the real work of regeneration, they generally maintain (though Bradwardin punctually expressed himself to be of another mind) that many persons not predestinate may come to believe, yet fall away and perish.

    Now, the truth is, it is properly no part of the controversy under consideration, whether, or how far, and in what sense, men, by reason of the profession and participation of ordinances, with the work and effect of common grace upon them, may be said to be true believers; but the whole, upon the matter of what we plead for, is comprised in the assertions now ascribed to them: which that it is done upon sufficient grounds will be manifest by calling in some few of the most eminent of them, to speak in their own words what their thoughts were in this matter.

    To bring them in, I desire that one who (though none of them) was eminent in his undertakings for a mixture of divinity and law, in those days wherein they had their eminent rise and original, may be heard; and that is\parGRATIAN, who after his manner hath collected many things to the purpose in hand. P. 2, c. 33, q. 3, De Poenit. Dist., can. 2, “Charitas,” saith he, “est juncta Deo inseparabiliter, et unita, et in omnibus semper invicta.”

    And, “Electi quippe sic ad bonum tendunt, ut ad mala perpetranda non redeant; et, potest discursus, et mobilitas spiritus sic intelligi. In sanctorum quippe cordibus juxta quasdam virtutes semper permanet; juxta quasdam vero recessurus venit, venturus recedit: in fide etenim, et spe, et charitate, et bonis aliis, sine quibus ad coelestem patriam non potest veniri (sicut est humilitas, castitas, justitia, atque misericordia) perfectorum corda non deserit: in prophetiae vero virtute, doctrinae facundia, miraculorum exhibitione, suls aliquando adest, aliquando se subtrahit.”

    Answering the objection of the Spirit’s departure from them on whom he is bestowed, he distinguisheth of the respects upon the account whereof he may be said so to do. “In respect of some common gifts,” saith he, “he may withdraw himself from them on whom he is bestowed; but not in respect of habitual sanctifying grace.”

    Among the schoolmen, there is none of greater name and eminency, for learning, devotion, and subtilty, than ourBRADWARDIN, who was proctor of this university in the year 1325, and obtained by general consent the title of Doctor Profundus. Lib. 2, De Causa Dei, cap. 8, this profoundly learned doctor proposes this thesis, to be confirmed in the following chapter: “Quod nullus viator, quantacunque gratia creata subnixus, solius liberi arbitrii viribus, vel etiam cure adjutorio gratiae, possit perseverare finaliter, sine alio Dei auxilio speciali.”

    In the long disputation following, he disputes out of the Scriptures and ancient writers, abundantly cited to his purpose, that there is no possibility of the perseverance of any believer in the faith to the end upon such helps, considerations, and advantages, as Mr. Goodwin proposeth as the only means thereof; that perseverance itself is a gift of God, without which gift and grace none can persevere. And the specialty of that grace he expresseth in the corollary wherewith he closeth the chapter, which is, “Quod nullus viator, solius liberi arbitrii, vel gratiae viribus, aut amborum conjunctim, sine alio Dei auxilio speciali, potest perseverare per aliquod tempus omnino;” farther asserting the efficacy of special grace in and for every good work whatever. His arguments and testimonies I shall not need to recite; they are at hand to those who desire to consult them.

    After the vindication of the former thesis, cap. 9, 10, 11, he proposeth farther this proposition, to a right understanding of the doctrine of perseverance: “Quod perseverantia non est aliquod donum Dei creature, a charitate, et gratia realiter differens.”

    And the corollary wherewith he shuts up that disputation is: “Quod nomen perseverantiae nullam rein absolutam essentialiter significat, sed accidentaliter et relative; charitatem videlicet, sire justitiam cure respectu futurae permansionis usque in finem, et quod non improbabiliter posset dici perseverantiam esse ipsam relationem hujus.”

    After this, knowing well what conclusion would easily be inferred from these principles, — namely, That perseverance is not really distinct from faith and love, that it is such a grace and gift of God that whosoever it is bestowed upon shall certainly persevere, namely, that every one who hath received true grace, faith and love, shall certainly persevere, — he objects that to himself, and plainly grants it to be so indeed, cap. 12. And to make the matter more clear, cap. 13, he disputes, that “Auxilium sine quo nullus perseverat, et per quod quilibet perseverat, est Spiritus Sanctus, divina bonitas et voluntas.”

    Every cause of bringing sinful man to God is called by them “auxilium.’ In these three, “Spiritus Sanctus, divina bonitas, et voluntas,” he compriseth the chief causes of perseverance, as I have also done in the ensuing treatise.

    By “divina voluntas” he intends God’s eternal and immutable decree, as he manifests, cap. 8, 9, whither he sends his reader; his “divina bonitas” is that free grace whereby God accepts and justifies us as his; “Spiritus Sanctus” is sanctification: so that he affirms the perseverance of the saints to consist in the stability of their acceptation with God, and continuance of their sanctification from him, upon the account of his unchangeable purposes and decrees; which is the sum of what we contend for.

    And this is part of the doctrine concerning the grace of God, and his sovereignty over the wills of men, which Bradwardin in his days cried out so earnestly for the defense of to God and man against the Pelagian encroachment, which was made upon it in those days. Thus he turns himself, in the conclusion of his book, to the pope and church of Rome, with zealous earnestness, for their interposition to the determination of these controversies. “Ut os inique loquentiura,” saith he, “obstruatur, flexis genibus cordis mei implore ecclesiam, praecipue Romanam, quae summa authoritate vigere dignoscitur, quatenus ipsa determinare dignetur, quid circa praemissas catholice sit tenendum. Non enim sine periculo in talibus erratur. Simon, dormis? exurge,” speaking to the pope, “exime gladium, amputa quaeque sinistra haereticae pravitatis, defende et protege catholicam veritatem. Porto etsi Dominus ipse in Petri navicula dormiat, nimietate tempestatis compulsus, ipsum quoque fiducialiter excitabo, quatenus Spiritus otis sui tempestate sedata tranquillum faciat et serenum. Absit autem, ut qui in prora hujus naviculae pervigil laborabat, jam in puppi super cervicalia dormiat, vel dormitet,” lib. 3 cap. 53.

    With this earnestness, above three hundred years ago, did this profoundly learned man press the popes to a determination of these controversies against the Pelagians and their successors in his schools. The same suit hath ever since been continued by very many learned men (in every age) of the communion of the church of Rome, crying out for the papal definitive sentence against the Pelagian errors crept into their church; especially hath this outcry with supplication been renewed by the Dominican friars, ever since the Jesuits have so cunningly gilded over that Pelagian poison, and set it out as the best and most wholesome food for “holy mother” and her children. Yea, with such earnestness hath this been in the last age pursued by agents in the court of Rome, that (a congregation de auxiliis being purposely appointed) it was generally supposed one while that they would have prevailed in their suit, and have obtained a definitive sentence on their side against their adversaries. But through the just vengeance of God upon a pack of bloody, persecuting idolaters, giving them up more and more to the belief of lies, contrary almost to the expectation of all men, this very year, 1653, Pope Innocent X., who now wears the triple crown, conjured by the subtlety and dreadful interest of the Jesuits in all nations that as yet wonder after him, by a solemn bull, or papal consistorian determination, in the case of Jansenius, bishop of Ypres, hath turned the scales upon his first suppliants, and cast the cause on the Pelaglan side. But of that whole business elsewhere.

    I shall not perplex the reader with the horrid names of Trombet, Hilcot, Bricot, Sychet, Tartaret, Brulifer, nor with their more horrid terms and expressions. Let the one Angelical Doctor [i.e., AQUINAS] answer for the rest of his companions.

    That this man, then (one of the great masters of the crew), abode by the principles of him before insisted on, may quickly be made evident by some few instances clearing his judgment herein.

    This, in the first place, he everywhere insists on, that no habitual grace received, no improvement that can be made of it, by the utmost ability, diligence, and the most raised considerations of the best of men, will cause any one certainly to persevere, without the peculiar preservation of God.

    Of this he gives his reason, lib. 3 (Contra Gent. Ca. 155, “Illud quod natura sun est variabile, ad hoc, quod figatur in uno, indiget auxilio alicujus moventis immobilis; sed liberum arbitrium etiam existentis in gratia habituali adhue manet variabile, et fiexibile a bono in malum; ergo ad hoc, quod figatur in bono et perseverer in illo, usque ad finem, indiget speciali Dei auxilio.”

    An argument this of the same importance with that mentioned out of Bradwardin; which, howsoever at first appearance it may seem to lie at the outskirts of the controversy in hand, yet indeed is such as, being granted, hath an influence into the whole, as hath been manifested.

    And this the same author farther confirms. Saith he, pp. q. 109, a. 9, “Cum nullum agens secundum agat nisi in virtute primi, sitque taro ritui perpetuo rebellis; non potest homo licet jam gratiam consecutus, per seipsum operari bonum, et vitare peccatum, absque novo auxilio Dei, ipsum moventis, dirigentis, et protegentis; quamvis alia habitualis gratia ad hoc ci necessaria non sit.”

    And the reasons he gives of this conclusion in the body of the article are considerable. This, saith he, must be so, “Primo quidem, ratione generali propter hoe, quod nulla res creata potest in quemcunque actum prodire, nisi virtute motionis divinae.”

    The Pelagian self-sufficiency and exemption from dependence “in solidum” upon God. both providentially and physically as to operation, was not so freely received in the schools as afterward. “Secundo,’ saith he, “ratione speciali, propter conditionem status humanae naturae, quae quidem liter Per gratiam sanetur, quantum ad mentem, remanet tamen in eo corruptio, et infectio quantum ad camera, per quam servit legi peccati, ut dicitur, Romans 7. Remanet etiam quaedam ignorantiae obscuritas in intellectu, secundum quam (ut etiam dicitur, Romans 8. ‘quid oremus sicut oportet nescimus:’ ideo necesse est nobis, ut a Deo dirigamur et protegamur, qui omnia novit, et omnia potest.”

    And will not this man, think you, in his gropings after light, when darkness covered the face of the earth, and thick darkness was upon the inhabitants thereof, with this his discovery, — of the impotency of the best of the saints for perseverance upon the account of any grace received, because of the perpetual powerful rebellion of indwelling lust and corruption, and that all that do persevere are preserved by the power of God unto salvation, — rise in judgment against those who in our days, wherein the Sun of Righteousness is risen with healing under his wings, do ascribe a sufficiency unto men in themselves, upon the bottom of their rational considerations, to abide with God, or persevere to the end?

    And this assertion of the Angelical Doctor is notably confirmed by dacus Alvarez in his vindication of it from the exception of Medina, that we make use of habits when we will, and if men will make use of their habitual grace, they may persevere without relation to any after grace of God. Saith he, “Respondetur, habitibus quidem nos uti cum volumus, sod ut velimus illis uti, praerequiritur motio Dei efficax, praemovens liberum arbitrium, ut utatur habitu ad operandum, et operetur bonum, praesertim quando habitus sunt supernaturales; quia cum pertineant ad superiorem ordinem, habent specialem rationem, propter quam potentia mere naturalis non utitur eisdem habitibus, nisi speciali Dei auxilio moveatur,” Alvar. De Aux. lib. 10 disput. 100.

    Though received graces are reckoned by him as supernatural habits, yet such as we act not by, nor with, but from new supplies from God.

    Having laid down this principle, Thomas proceeds to manifest that there is a special grace of perseverance bestowed by God on some, and that on whomsoever it is bestowed, they certainly and infallibly persevere to the end, pp. quest. 109, a. 10, c.; and Contra Gent. lib. 3, he proves this assertion from p. 6, 1 Peter 5:10; Psalm 16.

    But, to spare the reader, I shall give you this man’s judgment, together with one of his followers, who hath had the happiness to clear his master’s mind above any that have undertaken the maintenance of his doctrine in that part now controverted in the church of Rome; and therein I shall manifest (what I formerly proposed) what beamings and irradiations of this truth do yet glide, through that gross darkness which is spread upon the face of the Romish synagogue; — referring what I have farther to add on this head to the account which, God assisting, I shall ere long give of the present Jansenian controversies, in my considerations on Mr. Biddle’s catechisms, a task by authority lately imposed on me. This is Didacus Alvarez, whose 10th book De Auxiliis treats peculiarly of this subject of perseverance. In the entrance of his disputation, he lays down the same principles with the former concerning the necessity of the peculiar grace of perseverance, to the end that any one may persevere, disp. 103.

    Then, disp. 108, he farther manifests that this gift or grace of perseverance does not depend on any conditions in us, or any co-operation of our wills.

    His position he lays down in these words: “Donum perseverantiae, in ratione doni perseverantiae, et efficacia illius, nullo modo depender effective ex libera co-operatione nostri arbitrii, sed a solo Deo, atque ab efficacia, et absoluto decreto voluntatis ejus, qui pro sua misericordia tribuit illud donum cui vult.”

    In the farther proof of this proposition, he manifests by clear testimonies that the contrary doctrine hereunto was that of the Pelagians and semi- Pelagians, which Austin opposed in sundry treatises. And in all the arguments whereby he farther confirms it, he still presses the absurdity of making the promise of God concerning perseverance conditional, and so suspending it on any thing in and by us to be performed. And, indeed, all the acts whereby we persevere flowing, according to him, from the grace of perseverance, it cannot but be absurd to make the efficient cause in its efficiency and operation to depend upon its own effect. This also is with him ridiculous, that the grace of perseverance should be given to any and he not persevere, or be promised and yet not given; yet withal he grants, in his following conclusions, that our wills, secondarily and in dependency, do co-operate in our perseverance.

    The second principle this learned schoolman insists on is, that this gift of perseverance is peculiar to the elect, or predestinate: Disput. 104, 1, Con. “Donum perseverantiae est proprium praedestinatorum, ut nulli alteri conveniat.” And what he intends by “praedestinati,” he informs you according to the judgment of Austin and Thomas: “Nomine praedestina-tionis ad gloriam, solum eam praedestinationem intelligunt (Augustinus et Thomas). qua electi ordinantur efficaciter, et transmittuntur ad vitam aeternam; cujus effectus sunt vocatio, justificatio, et perseverantia in gratia usque ad finem.”

    Not that (or such a) conditional predestination as is pendent in the air, and expectant of men’s good final deportment; but that which is the eternal, free fountain of all that grace whereof in time by Jesus Christ we are made partakers.

    And in the pursuit of this proposition, he farther proves at large that the perseverance given to the saints in Christ is not a supplement of helps and advantages, whereby they may preserve it if they will, but such as causes them on whom it is bestowed certainly and actually so to do; and that, in its efficacy and operation, it cannot depend on any free co-operation of our wills, all the good acts tending to our perseverance being fruits of that grace which is bestowed on us, according to the absolute unchangeable decree of the will of God.

    This, indeed, is common with this author and the rest of his associates (the Dominicans and present Jansenians) in these controversies, together with the residue of the Romanists, that having their judgments wrested by the abominable figments of implicit faith, and the efficacy of the sacraments of the new testament, conveying, and really exhibiting, the grace signified or scaled by them, they are enforced to grant that many may be, and are, regenerated and made true believers who are not predestinated, and that these cannot persevere, nor shall eventually be saved. Certain it is, that there is not any truth which that generation of men do receive and admit, but more or less it suffers in their hands, from that gross ignorance of the free grace of God in Jesus Christ, the power whereof they are practically under. What the poor vassals and slaves will do upon the late bull of their holy father, casting them in sundry main concernments of their quarrel with their adversaries, is uncertain. Otherwise, setting aside some such deviations as the above mentioned, whereunto they are enforced by their ignorance of the grace and justification which is in Jesus Christ, there is so much of ancient candid truth, in opposition to the Pelagians and semi- Pelagians, preserved and asserted in the writings of the Dominican friars, as will rise up, as I said before, in judgment against those of our days who, enjoying greater light and advantages, do yet close in with those, and are long since cursed enemies of the grace of God.

    To this Dominican I shall only add the testimony of two famous Jesuits, upon whose understandings the light of this glorious truth prevailed, for an acknowledgment of it. The first of these isBELLARMINE, whose disputes to this purpose being full and large, and the author in all men’s hands, shall not transcribe his assertions and arguments; but only refer the reader to his lib. 2, De Grat. et Lib. Arbit. cap. 12, “Denique ut multa alia testimonia,” etc. The other isSUAREZ, who delivers his thoughts succinctly upon the whole of this matter. Lib. 11 De Perpetuitat. vel Amis. Grat. cap. 2, sect. 6, saith he, “De praedestinatis verum est infallibiliter, quod gratiam finaliter seu in perpetuum non amittunt; unde postquam semel gratiam habuerant, ita reguntur et proteguntur a Deo, ut vel non cadant, vel si deciderint resurgant; et licet saepius cadant et resurgant, tandem aliquando ita resurgunt ut amplius non cadant.”

    In which few words he hath briefly comprised the sum of that which is by us contended for.

    It was in my thoughts in the last place to have added the concurrent witness of all the reformed churches, with that of the most eminent divines, which have written in the defense of their concessions, but this trouble, upon second consideration, I shall spare the reader and myself; for as many other reasons lie against the prosecuting of this design, so especially the uselessness of spending time and pains for the demonstration of a thing of so evident a truth prevails with me to desist. Notwithstanding the endeavors of Mr. Goodwin to wrest the words of some of the most ancient writers who labored in the first reformation of the churches, I presume no unprejudiced person in the least measure acquainted with the system of that doctrine which, with so much pains, diligence, piety, and learning, they promoted in the world, with the clearness of their judgments in going forth to the utmost compass of their principles which they received, and their constancy to themselves in asserting of the truths they embraced, — owned by their friends and adversaries until such time as Mr. Goodwin discovered their self-contradictions, — will scarce be moved once to question their judgments by the excerpts of Mr. Goodwin, chap. 15 of his treatise; so that of this discourse this is the issue.

    There remains only that I give a brief account of some concernments of the ensuing treatise, and dismiss the reader from any farther attendance in the porch or entrance thereof.

    The title of the book speaks of the aim and method of it. The confutation of Mr. Goodwin was but secondarily in my eye; and the best way for that I judged to consist in a full scriptural confirmation of the truth he opposed.

    That I chiefly intended; and therein I hope the pious reader may, through the grace of God, meet with satisfaction. In my undertaking to affirm the truth of what I assert, the thing itself first, and then the manifestation of it, were in my consideration. For the thing itself, my arguing hath been to discover the nature of it, its principles and causes, its relation to the goodwill of the Father, the mediation of the Son, and dispensation of the Holy Ghost to the saints thereupon; and its use and tendency in and unto that fellowship with the Father and the Son whereunto we are called and admitted.

    As to the manner of its revelation, the proper seats of it in the book of God, the occasion of the delivery thereof in several seasons, the significant expressions wherein it is set forth, and the receiving of it by them to whom it was revealed, have been diligently remarked.

    In those parts of the discourse which tend to the vindication of the arguments from Scripture whereby the truth pleaded for is confirmed, of the usefulness of the thing itself contended about, etc., I have been, I hope, careful to keep my discourse from degenerating into jangling and strife of words (the usual issue of polemical writings), being not altogether ignorant of the devices of Satan, and the usual carnal attendancies of such proceedings. The weight of the truth in hand, the common interest of all the saints in their walking with God therein, sense of my own duty, and the near approach of the account which I must make of the ministration to me committed, have given bounds and limits to my whole discourse, as to the manner of handling the truth therein asserted. Writing in the common language of the nation about the common possession of the saints, the meanest and weakest as well as the wisest and the most learned, laboring in the work of Christ and his gospel, I durst not hide the understanding of what I aimed at by mingling the plain doctrine of the Scripture with metaphysical notions, expressions of art, or any pretended ornaments of wit or fancy; because I fear God. For the more sublime consideration of things, and such a way of their delivery as, depending upon the acknowledged reception of sundry arts and sciences, which the generality of Christians neither are nor need to be acquainted withal, scholars may communicate their thoughts and apprehensions unto and among themselves, and that upon the stage of the world, in that language whereunto they have consented for and to that end and purpose. That I have carefully abstained from personal reflections, scoffs, undervaluations, applications of stories and old sayings, to the provocation of the spirit of them with whom I have to do, I think not at all praiseworthy, because, upon a review of some passages in the treatise (now irrecoverable), I fear I have scarce been so careful as I am sure it was my duty to have been.


    SEE PAGE 27. [ F7 ] TO remove from the preceding preface the appearance of confusion which it presents, it is enough to remark, that in the course of citing testimonies in proof that his views on the subject of the perseverance of the saints had the sanction of antiquity, Owen, after a passing blow at the Clementine Constitutions, proceeds not only to impugn the integrity of the Ignatian Epistles, Put to assail the reasonings of Dr Hammond in support of Episcopacy. On the former point, admitting generally that the documents known by the name of the Epistles of Ignatius might contain much that was the production of that early martyr, Owen represents them as so adulterated that no valid inference can be drawn from their contents. His reasons are, that high authorities, such as Vedelius, who brought out the Genevan edition of them, Calvin, De Saumaise, Blondel, the Magdeburg Centuriators, and Whitaker, had pronounced much of them to be spurious; that they contained passages from the Clementine Constitutions, a forgery, and of a date subsequent to the age of Ignatius.; that the passages quoted from them by Theodoret and Jerome do not accord with, or rather do not exist in, the version of them extant; that the style of them is replete with turgid expressions, inconsistent with the simplicity of the early Christian writers; that Latin words occur in them, not likely to be employed by a Syrian like Ignatius; and that they contain expressions of overweening deference to the hierarchy, a species of government not in existence in the time of Ignatius. On such grounds, our author holds that these epistles resemble those children of the Jews by their strange wives, who “spake part the language of Ashdod, and part the language of the Jews.”

    No doubt exists that Ignatius was the author of some epistles warning the church of his day against heretical opinions, which had begun to disturb its unity and peace; and early fathers of the church, Polycarp, Irenaeus, Theophilus of Antioch, Origen, and Eusebius, make specific allusion to these epistles· The question is, What epistles are to be regarded as the genuine writings of Ignatius among three different collections purporting to be such; first, twelve epistles in Greek and Latin, with a long and expanded text; secondly, eleven epistles in Greek and Latin, of which seven are in a shorter text; and lastly, the three epistles in Syriac published by Mr. Cureton, of which the text is shorter even than that of the last-mentioned collection?

    From the strong support which many expressions in the first and second of these recensions lend to the hierarchical element in church-government, these documents were of importance in the controversy between Presbyterians and Episcopalians. While the text was yet unsettled, and different editions were issuing from the press, — one by Vedelius in 1623, giving seven Greek epistles, corresponding in name to those mentioned by Eusebius; another by Usher in 1644; another by Vossius in 1646, giving eight epistles, with part of a ninth, founded on a manuscript discovered at Florence, and hence, designated the Medicean Greek text, — certain writers, such as Claude de Saumaise (1641) and Blondel (1646), labored to prove that these epistles bore traces of an age posterior to Ignatius. Dr Hammond (1651), in four dissertations, replied to them, defending the genuineness of the epistles, and episcopal government. It is in answer to this last work that Owen wrote the animadversions which form the digression in his preface to his work on the Perseverance of the Saints.

    Hammond published a rejoinder, in his “Answer to Animadversions on the Dissertations touching Ignatius’ Epistles,’ etc.

    The most important contributions to this controversy followed, and with them for a time it ceased. Daille, in 1666, published a learned work, designed, according to the title-page, to prove three things, — that the epistles were spurious, that they were written after the time of Ignatius, and that they were of no higher authority than “The Cardinal Works of Christ,” a production commonly inserted among the remains of Cyprian. In 1672, Pearson, afterwards bishop of Chester published his ‘Vindiciae Epistolarum S. Ignatii,” — long deemed conclusive by those who were in favor of the genuineness of the epistles, in spite of an able anonymous reply by Larroque in 1674, and the doubts that continued to be felt by many scholars who had made the epistles the subject of keen and critical investigation.

    From this point no advance was made in the discussion, some authors contending for the long recension and some for the shorter, till the conjecture of Usher respecting the probability of a Syriac manuscript was verified, by the discovery of a Syriac version of the Epistle to Polycarp among some ancient manuscripts, procured by Archdeacon Tattam, in 1838 or 1839, from a monastery in the Desert of Nitria. Mr. Cureton, who discovered the epistle among these manuscripts, set on foot a new search for other manuscripts. The result was, that the archdeacon, by a second expedition to Egypt, brought home in 1843 three entire epistles in Syriac, to Polycarp, to the Ephesians, and to the Romans. M. Pacho secured possession of another copy in 1847, which afterwards came under the examination of Mr. Cureton.

    It is the opinion of Mr. Cureten and Chevalier Bunsen that these three Syriac epistles are the only genuine writings of Ignatius; — because the Syriac manuscript, transcribed most probably before A. D. 550, is of greater antiquity than any existing Greek manuscripts; — the epistles in Syriac are shorter than the same epistles as published by Usher in the Medicean text, while the sense comes out more clearly, from the omission of the parts found only in the Greek manuscripts; — passages in the latter, to which objections have been urged, as containing allusions to heresies (Valentinianism, for example) subsequent to the time of Ignatius, and sentences insisting on a superstitious deference to the hierarchy, do not appear in the Syriac; from which it would follow, either that these passages are spurious, and inserted since the time of the Syriac translator, or that he anticipated the objections of modern criticism, and confirmed them as just by deleting these passages; — there is perfect uniformity in the style of so much of these epistles in Greek as corresponds with the three Syriac epistles, while the discrepancy of style existing in the Greek recensions between the Epistle to Polycarp and the rest, the difference of matter in the Epistle to the Romans (in the Greek six times longer than in the Syriac), and the peculiar complexion of two chapters in the Epistle to the Trallians, transferred, as it now appears, from the Epistle to the Romans, had all been noticed previous to the discovery of the Syriac manuscripts, and had thrown an air of suspicion over all the epistles; — and the three epistles in the Syriac collection are the only epistles for which the evidence of antiquity, in the shape of testimonies and allusions in the writings of the early fathers, can be cited for upwards of two centuries after the death of Ignatius.

    On the other hand, it has been argued that the Svriac version is probably an epitome of the Greek epistles; that such abridgments were common in ancient times; that the scope and sense is more clear in the Greek than in the Syriac; that a manuscript printed by Mr. Cureton is a Syriac abridgment of these epistles, differing from that of the three considered by him to be genuine; that the events and opinions which seem to indicate a later age than that of the martyr may be explained by reference to his age; that in the third century quotations are found from all the epistles; and that Eusebius expressly names and describes seven epistles, a testimony repeated by Jerome.

    At present the amount of evidence seems in favor of the three Syriac epistles, as all the genuine remains of Ignatius we possess. It is possible that. Syriac manuscripts of the other epistles may be discovered, although the claim of the former to be not only paramount but exclusive has been argued with great force, on the ground that had the latter existed, they would certainly have been the subject of appeal in many controversies by many fathers who utterly ignore them, as well as from the closing words of the recently discovered manuscripts, “Here end the three epistles of Ignatius, bishop and martyr.” Meanwhile it is satisfactory to know that the Syriac version leaves the argument for the authenticity and genuineness of the Scriptures very nearly where it stood. It contains references to two of the Gospels, to the Acts of the Apostles, and to five of Paul’s Epistles.

    Both the Epistles of Ignatius to the Ephesians and to the Romans, in the Syriac version, assert distinctly the Godhead of Christ.

    But how fares the question of ecclesiastical polity, — the point which brought these epistles into dispute between Owen and Hammond, — by the discovery of the Syriac manuscript? All the passages in favor of the hierarchy disappear in it, except the following from the Epistle to Polycarp, “Look to the bishop, that God also may look upon you. I will be instead of the souls of those who are subject to the bishop, and the presbyters, and the deacons.” Are we to say here, like Neander in reference to all the reek epistles, with the exception of the one to the Romans, which he admitted to possess greater marks of originality than the others, “a hierarchical purpose is not to be mistaken,” to pronounce it an interpolation or challenge the authenticity of the Syriac document? or are we to admit its genuineness, and accept it as evidence that Episcopacy dates so early as the time of Ignatius? or are we to question the import of the term “bishop,” so as to make it quadrate with Congregational or Presbyterian views? But these questions, while they illustrate the present state of the controversy, are beyond our province. —ED.

    CHAPTER 1.

    THE STATE OF THE CONTROVERSY. The various thoughts of men concerning the doctrine proposed to consideration — The great concernment of it, however stated, on all hands confessed — Some special causes pressing to the present handling of it — The fearful backsliding of many in these days — The great offense given and taken thereby, with the provision made for its removal — The nature of that offense and temptation thence arising considered — Answer to some arguings of Mr. G., chap. 9, from thence against the truth proposed — The use of trials and shakings — Grounds of believers’ assurance that they are so — The same farther argued and debated — Of the testimony of a man’s own conscience concerning his uprightness, and what is required thereunto — 1 John 3:7 considered — Of the rule of self-judging, with principles of settlement for true believers, notwithstanding the apostasies of eminent professors — Corrupt teachings rendering the handling of this doctrine necessary — Its enemies of old and of late — The particular undertaking of Mr. G. proposed to consideration — An entrance into the stating of the question — The terms of the question explained — Of holiness in its several acceptations — Created holiness, original or adventitious, complete or inchoate — Typical by dedication, real by purification — Holiness evangelical, either so indeed or by estimation — Real holiness partial or universal — The partakers of the first, or temporary believers, not true believers, maintained against Mr. G. — Ground of judging professors to be true believers — Matthew 7:20 considered — What is the rule of judging men therein given — What knowledge of the faith of others is to be obtained — What is meant by perseverance: how in Scripture it is expressed — The grounds of it pointed at — What is intended by falling away — Whether it be possible the Spirit of grace may be lost, or the habit of it, and how — The state of the controversy as laid down by Mr. G. — The vanity thereof discovered — His judgment about believers’ falling away examined — What principles and means of perseverance he grants to them — The enemies of our perseverance — Indwelling sin in particular considered — No possibility of preservation upon Mr. G.’s grounds demonstrated — The means and ways of the saints’ preservation in faith, as asserted by Mr. G., at large examined, weighed, and found light — The doctrine of the saints’ perseverance, and way of teaching it, cleared from Isaiah 4:— That chapter opened — The 5th verse particularly insisted on and discussed — The whole state and method of the controversy thence educed. THE truth which I have proposed to handle, and whose defense I have undertaken in the ensuing discourse, is commonly called THE PERSEVERANCE OF SAINTS; a doctrine whereof nothing ordinary, low, or common, is spoken by any that have engaged into the consideration of it.

    To some it is the very salt of the covenant of grace, the most distinguishing mercy communicated in the blood of Christ, so interwoven into, and lying at the bottom of, all that consolation which “God is abundantly willing that all the heirs of the promise should receive,” that it is utterly impossible it should be safe-guarded one moment without a persuasion of this truth, which seals up all the mercy and grace of the new covenant with the unchangeableness and faithfulness of God. ( Jude 1; 2 Corinthians 13:8; Isaiah 4:5,6; Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:39,40; Isaiah 59:21; Hebrews 8:10-12; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Philippians 1:6; Romans 8:32-35.) To others it is no grace of God, no part of the purchase of Christ, no doctrine of the gospel, no foundation of consolation; but an invention of men, a delusion of Satan, an occasion of dishonor to God, disconsolation and perplexity to believers, a powerful temptation unto sin and wickedness in all that do receive it. f8 A doctrine it is, also, whose right apprehension is on all hands confessed to be of great importance, upon the account of that effectual influence which it hath, and will have, into our walking with God; — which, say some, is to love humility, thankfulness, fear, fruitfulness; ( Genesis 17:1; Psalm 23:6; Philippians 2:12,13; Hebrews 10:19-22; 2 Corinthians 7:1; 2 Peter 1:3-7, etc.) to folly, stubbornness, rebellion, dissoluteness, negligence, say others. The great confidence expressed by men concerning the evidence and certainty of their several persuasions, whether defending or opposing the doctrine under consideration, — the one part professing the truth thereof to be of equal stability with the promises of God, and most plentifully delivered in the Scripture; others (at least one, who is thought to be pars magna of his companions), that if it be asserted in any place of the Scripture, it were enough to make wise and impartial men to call the authority thereof into question, — must needs invite men to turn aside to see about what this earnest contest is. And quis is est tam potens, who dares thus undertake to remove not only ancient landmarks and boundaries of doctrines among the saints, but “mountains of brass” and the “hills about Jerusalem,” which we hoped would stand fast for ever? The concernment, then, of the glory of God, and the honor of the Lord Jesus Christ, with the interest of the souls of the saints, being so wrapped up, and that confessedly on all hands, in the doctrine proposed, I am not out of hope that the plain discoursing of it from the word of truth may be as “a word in season,” like “apples of gold in pictures of silver.”

    Moreover, besides the general importance of that doctrine in all times and seasons, the wretched practices of many in the days wherein we live, and the industrious attempts of others in their teachings, for the subverting and casting it down from its excellency and that place which it hath long held in the churches of Christ and hearts of all the saints of God, have rendered the consideration of it at this time necessary.

    For the first, these are days wherein we have as sad and tremendous examples of apostasy, backsliding, and falling from high and glorious pitches in profession, as any age can parallel; — as many stars cast from heaven, as many trees plucked up by the roots, as many stately buildings, by wind, rain, and storm, cast to the ground, as many sons of perdition discovered, as many washed swine returning to their mire, as many Demases going after the present evil world, and men going out from the church which were never truly and properly of it, as many sons of the morning and children of high illumination and gifts setting in darkness, and that of all sorts, as ever in so short a space of time since the name of Christ was known upon the earth. ( Revelation 12:4; Jude 12; Matthew 7:26,27; 2 Thessalonians 2:3; 2 Peter 2:20-22; 2 Timothy 4:10; 1 John 2:19; Hebrews 6:4-6.) What through the deviating of some to the ways of the world and the lusts of the flesh, what of others to spiritual wickednesses and abominations, it is seldom that we see a professor to hold out in the glory of his profession to the end. I shall not now discourse of the particular causes hereof, with the temptations and advantages of Satan that seem to be peculiar to this season; but only thus take notice of the thing itself, as that which presseth for and rendereth the consideration of the doctrine proposed not only seasonable but necessary.

    That this is a stumbling-block in the way of them that seek to walk with God, I suppose none of them will deny. It was so of old, and it will so continue until the end. And therefore our Savior, predicting and discoursing of the like season, Matthew 24, foretelling that “many should be deceived,” verse 11, that “iniquity should abound,” and “the love of many wax cold,” verse 12, — that is, visibly and scandalously, to the contempt and seeming disadvantage of the gospel, — adds, as a preservative consolation to his own chosen, select ones, who might be shaken in their comfort and confidence to see so many that walked to the house of God and took sweet counsel together with them, to fall headlong to destruction, that the elect shall not be seduced. Let the attempts of seducers be what they will, and their advantages never so many, or their successes never so great, they shall be preserved; the house upon the rock shall not be cast down; against the church built on Christ the gates of hell shall not prevail. And Paul mentioning the apostasy of Hymeneus and Philetus, who seem to have been teachers of some eminency, and stars of some considerable magnitude in the firmament of the church, with the eversion of the faith of some who attended unto their abominations, Timothy 2:17, 18, lest any disconsolation should surprise believers in reference to their own condition, as though that should be lubricous, uncertain, and such as might end in destruction and their faith in an overthrow, he immediately adds that effectual cordial for the reviving and supportment of their confidence and comfort, verse 19, “Nevertheless” (notwithstanding all this apostasy of eminent professors, yet) “the foundation of God standeth sure, The Lord knoweth them that are his;” — “Those who are built upon the foundation of his unchangeable purpose and love shall not be prevailed against.” John likewise doth the same; for having told his little children that there were many antichrists abroad in the world, and they for the most part apostates, he adds in his First Epistle,1 John 2:19, “They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

    He lets them know that by their being apostates, they had proved themselves to have been but hypocrites; and therefore believers’ dwelling in safety was no way prejudiced by their backsliding. The like occasion now calls for the like application, and the same disease for the same prevention or remedy. That no sound persons may be shaken, because unhealthy ones are shattered, — that those may not tremble who are built on the rock, because those are cast down who are built on the sand, — is one part of my aim and in-tendment in handling this doctrine; and therefore I shall as little dabble in the waters of strife, or insist upon it in way of controversy, as the importunity of the adversary and that truth which we are obliged to contend for will permit. One Scripture, in its own plainness and simplicity, will be of more use for the end I aim at than twenty scholastical arguments, pressed with never so much accurateness and subtilty.

    A temptation, then, this is, and hath been of old, to the saints, disposed of by the manifold wisdom of God to stir them up to “take heed lest they fall;” to put them upon trying and examining “whether Christ, be in them or no;” and also to make out to those fountains of establishment, in his eternal purpose and gracious promises, wherein their refreshments and reserves under such temptations do lie. ( Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 10:12, 11:28; 2 Corinthians 13:5; Revelation 2:24,26; Isaiah 45:22; Malachi 3:6; 2 Peter 3:17; Hebrews 3:12; Habakkuk 3:17,18.) And though our doctrine enforces us to conclude all such never to be sound believers, in that peculiar notion and sense of that expression which shall instantly be declared, who totally and finally apostatize and fall off from the ways of God, yet is it exceedingly remote from being any true ground of shaking the faith of those who truly believe, any farther than shaking is useful for the right and thorough performance of that great gospel duty of trial and self-examination.

    Mr. Goodwin indeed contends, chap. 9, sect 8-11, pp. 108-110, “That if we judge all such as fall away to perdition never to have been true believers” (that is, with such a faith as bespeaks them to enjoy union with Christ and acceptance with God), “it will administer a thousand fears and jealousies concerning the soundness of a man’s own faith, whether that be sound or no; and so it will be indifferent as to consolation whether true believers may fall away or no, seeing it is altogether uncertain whether a man hath any of that true faith which cannot perish.”

    Ans. But, first, God, who hath promised to make “all things work together for good to them that love him,” in his infinite love and wisdom is pleased to exercise them with great variety, both within and without, in reference to themselves and others, for the accomplishing towards them all the good pleasure of his goodness, and carrying them on in that holy, humble, depending frame, which is needful for the receiving from him those gracious supplies without which it is impossible they should be preserved.

    To this end are they often exposed to winnowings of fierce winds, and shakings by more dreadful blasts than any breaths in this consideration of the apostatizing of professors, though of emminency. Not that God is delighted with their fears and jealousies, which yet he knows under such dispensations they must conflict withal, but with the trial and exercise of their graces whereunto he calls them; that is, his glory, wherein his soul is delighted. It is no singular thing for the saints of God to be exercised with a thousand fears and jealousies, and through them to grow to great establishment. If, indeed, they were such as were unconquerable, such as did not work together for their good, such as must needs be endless, all means of satisfaction and establishment being rescinded by the causes of them, then were there weight in this exception; but neither the Scriptures nor the experience of the saints of God do give the least hint to such an assertion. ( Romans 8:28; Psalm 30:6,7; Isaiah 8:17, 54:7-10; 1 Peter 1:7; 1 Corinthians 3:13; 1 Peter 4:12; 2 Corinthians 7:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; Hebrews 12:25,28,29; Isaiah 57:15, 66:2; James 4:6; 1 Peter 5:5; Matthew 7:24,25; Amos 9:9; Luke 22:81; Ephesians 6:10-18, 4:14; Isaiah 49:14-16, 63:9; Acts 9:5; <19A313> Psalm 103:13; 1 Peter 1:7; Romans 8:38,39.)

    Secondly, It is denied that the fall of the most glorious hypocrites is indeed an efficacious engine in the hands of the adversary to ingenerate any other fears and jealousies, or to expose them to any other shakings, than what are common to them in other temptations of daily incursion, from which God doth constantly make a way for them to escape, 1 Corinthians 10:13. It is true, indeed, that if true believers had no other foundation of their persuasion that they are so but what occurs visibly to the observation of men in the outward conversation of them that yet afterward fall totally away, the apostasy of such (notwithstanding the general assurance they have that those who are born of God cannot, shall not sin unto death, John 3:9, seeing their own interest in that estate and condition may be clouded, at least for a season, and their consolation thereupon depending interrupted) might occasion thoughts in them of very sad consideration; but whilst, besides all the beams and rays that ever issued from a falling star, all the leaves and blossoms with abortive fruit that ever grew on an unrooted tree, all the goodly turrets and ornaments of the fairest house that ever was built on the sand, there are moreover “three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and three that bear witness in earth, the spirit, and the water, and the blood,” — whilst there is a teaching, anointing, and assuring earnest, a firm sealing to the day of redemption, a knowledge that we are passed from death to life, ( 1 John 5:7,8, 2:20, 27; 2 Corinthians 1:21,22, 5:5; Ephesians 1:13,14, 4:30; Romans 8:16; 1 John 3:14.) — the temptation arising from the apostasy of hypocrites is neither so potent nor unconquerable but that, by the grace of Him through whom we can do all things, it may be very well dealt withal. This I say, supposing the ordinary presence and operation of the Spirit of grace in the hearts of believers, with such shines of God’s countenance upon them as they usually enjoy. Let these be interrupted or turned aside, and there is not the least blast or breath that proceeds from the mouth of the weakest enemy they have to deal withal but is sufficient to cast them down from the excellency of their joy and consolation, Psalm 30:6,7.

    The evidence of this truth is such that Mr. Goodwin is forced to say, “Far be it from me to deny but that a man may very possibly attain unto a very strong and potent assurance, and that upon grounds every way sufficiently warrantable and good, that his faith is sound and saving,’’ cap. 9 sect. 9.

    But unto this concession he puts in a double exception: — First, “That there is not one true believer of a hundred, yea, of many thousands, who hath any such assurance of his faith as is built upon solid and pregnant foundations.”

    I must, by his leave, enter my dissent hereunto; and as we have the liberty of our respective apprehensions, so neither the one nor the other proves any thing in the cause. Setting aside cases of desertion, great temptations, and trials, I hope, through the riches of the grace and tenderness of the love of the Father, the condition is otherwise than is apprehended by Mr. Goodwin with the generality of the, family of God. The reasons given by him of his thoughts to the contrary do not sway me from my hopes, or bias my former apprehensions in the least. His reasons are, — First, “Because though the testimony of a man’s heart and conscience touching his uprightness towards God, or the soundness of any thing that is saving in him, be comfortable and cheering, yet seldom are these properties built upon such foundations which are sufficient to warrant them, at least upon such whose sufficiency in that kind is duly apprehended: for the testimony of the conscience of a man touching any thing which is spiritually and excellently good is of no such value, unless it be first excellently enlightened with the knowledge, nature, properties, and condition, of that of which it testifieth; and, secondly, be in the actual contemplation, consideration, or remembrance, of what it knoweth in this kind. Now, very few believers in the world come up to this height and degree.”

    Ans. First, There is in this reason couched a supposition which, if true, would be far more effectual to shake the confidence and resolution of believers than the most serious consideration of the apostasies of all professors that ever fell from the glory of their profession from the beginning of the world; and that is, that there is no other pregnant foundation of assurance but the testimony of a man’s own heart and conscience touching his uprightness towards God, and therefore, before any can attain that assurance upon abiding foundations, they must be excellently enlightened in the nature, properties, and condition, of that which their consciences testify unto as true faith and uprightness of heart, and be clear in the disputes and questions about them, being in the actual contemplation of them when they give their testimony. I no way doubt but many thousands of believers, whose apprehensions of the nature, properties, and conditions of things, as they are in themselves, are low, weak, and confused, ( 1 Corinthians 1:26; James 2:5.) yet, having received the Spirit of adoption, bearing witness with their, spirits that they are the children of God, and having the testimony in themselves, ( Romans 8:16; 1 John 5:10.) have been taken up into as high a degree of comforting and cheering assurance, and that upon the most infallible foundation imaginable (for “the Spirit beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth,” 1 John 5:6), as ever the most seraphically illuminated person in the world attained unto. Yea, in the very graces themselves of faith and uprightness of heart, there is such a seal and stamp, impressing the image of God upon the soul, as, without any reflex act or actual contemplation of those graces themselves, have an influence into the establishment of the souls of men in whom they are unto a quiet, comfortable, assured repose of themselves upon the love and faithfulness of God. Neither is the spiritual confidence of the saints shaken, much less cast to the ground, by their conflicting with fears, scruples, and doubtful apprehensions, seeing in all these conflicts they have the pledge of the faithfulness of God that they shall be more than conquerors. ( Matthew 7:25, 16:18; Psalm 77:10; 1 Corinthians 1:9; 1 Thessalonians 5:23,24; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Romans 8:37.) Though they are exercised by them, they are not dejected with them, nor deprived of that comforting assurance and joy which they have in believing. But yet suppose that this be the condition practically of many saints of God, and that they never attain to the state of the primitive Christians, to whose joy and consolation in believing the Holy Ghost so plentifully witnesseth, ( Peter 1:8), nor do live up to that full rate of plenty which their Father hath provided for them in his family, and sworn that he is abundantly willing they should enjoy and make use of, Hebrews 6:17,18, what will hence follow, as to the business in hand, I profess I know not. Must that little evidence which they have of their acceptance with God be therefore necessarily built upon such bottoms, or rather tops, as are visible to them in hypocrites, so that upon their apostasy they must needs not only try and examine themselves, but conclude, to their disadvantage and disconsolation, that they have no true faith? “Credat Apella.”

    Secondly, The comfortableness, he tells us, of the testimony of a man’s conscience concerning his uprightness with God “depends mainly and principally upon his uniform and regular walking with God. Now this being, by the neglects of the saints, often interrupted with many stains of unworthiness, the testimony itself must needs be often suspended. Now, true believers finding themselves outgone!in ways of obedience by them that impenitently apostatize, if from hence they must conclude them hypocrites, they have no evidence left for the soundness of their own faith, which their consciences bear testimony unto, upon the fruitfulness of it, which is inferior by many degrees to that of them who yet finally fall away.” This is the substance of one long section, pp. 109, 110. But, — First, Here is the same supposal included as formerly, that the only evidence of a true faith and acceptance with God is the testimony of a man’s conscience concerning his regular and upright walking with God; for an obstruction in this being supposed, his comfort and consolation is thought to vanish. But that the Scripture builds up our assurance on other foundations is evident, and the saints acknowledge it, as hath been before delivered. Nor, — Secondly, Doth the testimony of a man’s own conscience, as it hath an influence into his consolation, depend solely (nor doth Mr. Goodwin affirm it so to do) on the constant regularity of his walking with God. It will also witness what former experience it hath had of God, calling to mind its “songs in the night,” all the tokens and pledges of its Father’s love, all the gracious visits of the holy and blessed Spirit of grace, all the embracements of Christ, all that intimacy and communion it hath formerly been admitted unto, the healing and recovery it hath had of wounds and from backslidings, with all the spiritual intercourse it ever had with God, to confirm and strengthen itself in the beginning of its confidence to the end. ( Job 35:10; Psalm 77:5-9; Isaiah 40:28-81; Song of Solomon 3:1, 2, 5:4, 5; Psalm 42:6-11; Hosea 2:7, 14:2, 8; Hebrews 3:14.)

    And, — Thirdly, In the testimony that it doth give, from its walking with God, and the fruits of righteousness, it is very far and remote from giving it only, or chiefly, or indeed at all, from those ways, works, and fruits, which are exposed to the eyes of men, and which in others they who have that testimony may behold. It resolves itself herein into the frame, principles, and life of the hidden man of the heart, which lies open and naked to the eyes of God, but is lodged in depths not to be fathomed by any of the sons of men. ( Isaiah 38:3; <19D902> Psalm 139:28,24; Revelation 3:1; Peter 3:4; 2 Corinthians 1:12.) There is no comparison to be instituted between the obedience and fruits of righteousness in others, whereby a believer makes a judgment of them, and that in himself from whence the testimony mentioned doth flow; that of other men being their visibly practical conversation, his being the hidden, habitual frame of his heart and spirit in his ways and actings: so that though, through the falling of them, he should be occasioned to question his own faith as to trial and examination, yet nothing can thence arise sufficient to enforce him to let go even that part of his comfort which flows from the weakest witness and one of the lowest voices of all his store: lie eyes others without doors, but himself within.

    Fourthly, Whereas 1 John 3:7, “Little children, let no man deceive you, he that doeth righteousness is righteous,” is produced, and two things argued from thence, — first, that the caveat, “Be not deceived,’’ plainly intimates that true believers may very possibly be deceived in the estimate of a righteous man; and, secondly, that this is spoken of a man judging himself; and that, emphatically and exclusively, he and he only, is to be judged a righteous man.

    Ans. First, I say, that though I grant the first, that we may very easily be, and often are, deceived in our estimate of righteous persons, yet I do not conceive the inference to be enforced from that expression, “Let no man deceive you,” the Holy Ghost using it frequently, or what is equivalent thereunto, not so much to caution men in a dubious thing, wherein possibly they may be mistaken, as in a way of detestation, scorn, and rejection of what is opposite to that which he is urging upon his saints, which he presseth as a thing of the greatest evidence and clearness; as Corinthians 6:9, 15:33; Galatians 6:7. Neither is any thing more intended in this expression of the apostle than in that of 1 Corinthians 6:9, “Be not deceived: the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” So here, no person not giving himself up to the pursuit of righteousness in the general drift and scope of his life (cases extraordinary and particular acts being always in such rules excepted) is, or is to be, accounted a righteous man.

    Secondly, Also it may be granted (though the intendment of the place leads us another way) that this is so far a rule of self-judging, that he whose frame and disposition suits it not, or is opposite unto it, cannot keep up the power or vigor of any other comfortable evidence of his state and condition; but that it should be so far extended as to make the only solid and pregnant foundation that any man hath of assurance and consolation to rise and flow from the testimony of his own conscience concerning his own regular walking in ways of righteousness (seeing persons that “walk in darkness and have no light” are called to “stay themselves on God,” Isaiah 1. 10, and when both “heart and flesh faileth,” yet “God is the strength of the heart,” Psalm 73:26), is no way clear in itself, and is not by Mr. Goodwin afforded the least contribution of assistance for its confirmation.

    To return, then, from this digression: A temptation and an offense we acknowledge to be given to the saints by the apostasy of professors; yet not such but [that] as the Lord hath in Scripture made gracious provision against their suffering by it or under it, so it leaves them not without sufficient testimony of their own acceptance with God, and sincerity in walking with him. This, then, was the state of old; thus it is in the days wherein we live.

    As the practice and ways of some, so the principles and teachings of others, have an eminent tendency unto offense and scandal. Indeed:, ever since the Reformation, there have been some endeavors against this truth to corrode it and corrupt it. The first serious attempt for the total intercision of the faith of true believers, though not a final excision of the faith of elect believers, was made by one in the other university, who, being a man of a debauched and vicious conversation (no small part of the growing evils of the days wherein he lived), did yet cry out against the doctrines of others as tending to looseness and profaneness, upon whose breasts and teachings was written “Holiness to theLORD” all their days.

    Afterward, Arminius and his Quinquarticulan followers taking up the matter, though they labored with all their might to answer sundry of the arguments whereby the truth of this doctrine is demonstrated, yet for a season were very faint mad dubious in their own assertions, not daring to break in at once upon so great a treasure of the church of God; and therefore in their Synodalia they are forced to apologize for their hesitation nine years before, in their conference at the Hague. But now of late, since the glorious light of Socinianism hath broken forth from the pit, men by their new succors are grown bold to defy this great truth of the gospel and grace of the covenant, as an abomination for ever to be abhorred. f12 “Audax omnia perpeti Gens humana, ruit per vetitum nefas.”

    Hor., Od. 1:3, 25.

    In particular, the late studious endeavors of a learned man, in his treatise entitled “Redemption Redeemed,” for to despoil the spouse of Christ of this most glorious pearl, wherewith her beloved hath adorned her, calls for a particular consideration: and this (discharging a regard unto any other motives) upon chiefly this account, that he hath with great pains and travail gathered together whatever hath been formerly given out and dispersed by the most considerable adversaries of this truth (especially not omitting any thing of moment in the synodical defense of the fifth article, with an exact translation of the dramatical prosopopceias, with whatsoever looks towards his design in hand from their fourth attempt about the manner of conversion), giving it anew not only an elegant dress and varnish of rhetorical expressions, but moreover re-enforcing the declining cause of his Pelagian friends with not-to-be-despised supplies of appearing reasons and hidden sophistry, Colossians 2:4. So that though I shall handle this doctrine in my own method (with the reason whereof I shall instantly acquaint the reader), and not follow that author kata< po>dav , yet handling not only the main of the doctrine itself, but all the concernments and consequences of it in the several branches of the method intended, I hope not to leave any thing considerable in that whole treatise, as to the truth in hand, undiscussed, no argument unvindicated, no objection unanswered, no consequence unweighed, with a special eye to the comparison instituted between the doctrines in contest, as to their direct and causal influence into the obedience and consolation of the saints.

    That we may know, then, what we speak and whereof we do affirm, I shall briefly state the doctrine under consideration, that the difference about it may appear. Indeed, it seems strange to me, among other things, that he of whom mention was lastly made, who hath liberally dispended so great a treasure of pains, reading, and eloquence, for the subverting of the truth whose explanation and defense we have undertaken, did not yet once attempt fairly to fix the state of the difference about it, but, in a very tumultuary manner, fell in with prejudices, swelling over all bounds and limits of ordinary reasoning, rhetorical amplifications, upon a doctrine not attempted to be brought forth and explained, that it might be weighed in the balance, as in itself it is. Whereas there may be many reasons of such a proceeding, it may well be questioned whether any of them be candid and commendable. Certainly the advantages thence taken for the improving of many sophistical reasons and pretended arguments are obvious to every one that shall but peruse his ensuing discourse.

    Although the substance of this doctrine hath been by sundry delivered, yet, lest the terms wherein it is usually done may seem re, be somewhat too general, and some advantages of the truth, which. in itself it hath, to have been omitted, I shall briefly state the whole matter under those terms wherein it is usually received.

    The title of it is, “The Perseverance of Saints.” A short discover of whom we mean by “saints,” the subject whereof we speak, and what by “perseverance,” which is affirmed of them, will state the whole for the judgment of the reader. God only is essentially holy, and on that account the only Holy One. In his holiness, as in his being and all his glorious attributes, there is an actual permanency or sameness, Hebrews 1:10-12. Nothing in him is subject to the least shadow of change, — not his truth, not his faithfulness, not his holiness. All principles, causes, and reasons of alteration stand at no less infinite distance from him than notbeing.

    His properties are the same with himself, and are spoken of one another, as well as of his nature. His eternal power is mentioned by the apostle, Romans 1:20. So is his holiness eternal, immutable. Of this we may have use afterward; for the present I treat not of it. The holiness of all creatures is accidental and created. To some it is innate or original; as to the angels, the first man, our Savior Christ as to his human nature, of whom we treat not. Adam had original holiness, and lost it; so had many angels, who kept not their first habitation. It is hence armored by Mr. Goodwin, that spiritual gifts of God being bestowed may be taken away, notwithstanding the seeming contrary engagement of Romans 11:29.

    From what proportion or analogy this argument doth flow is not intimated.

    The grace Adam was endowed with was intrusted with himself and in his own keeping, in a covenant of works; that of the saints since the fall is purchased for them, laid up in their Head, and dispensed in a covenant of grace, whose eminent distinction from the former consists in the permanency and abidingness of the fruits of it. But of this afterward. To others it is adventitious and added, as to all that have contracted any qualities contrary to that original holiness wherewith at first they were endued; as have done all the sons of men, “who have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” ( Isaiah 6:3; Joshua 24:19; Revelation 15:4; Exodus 3:14; Deuteronomy 32:4; Isaiah 40:28, 41:4, 43:10, 44:6, 48:12; Revelation 1:4,17; Malachi 3:6; James 1:17; 1 Samuel 15:29; Genesis 1:26; Matthew 19:17; Ecclesiastes 7:29; Hebrews 7:25; Ezekiel 36:26,27; Isaiah 4:3,4; Romans 6:4-6; Ephesians 4:22-24.) Now, the holiness of these is either complete, as it is with the spirits of just men made perfect; or inchoate and begun only, as with the residue of sanctified ones in this life.

    The certain perseverance of the former in their present condition being not directly opposed by any, though the foundation of it be attempted by some, we have no need as yet to engage in the defense of it. These latter are said to be sanctified or holy two ways, upon the twofold account of the use of the word in the Scripture; for, — First, some persons, as well as things, are said to be holy, especially in the Old Testament and in the Epistle to the Hebrews, almost constantly using the terms of sanctifying and sanctified in a legal or temple signification, in reference unto their being separated from the residue of men with relation to God and his worship, or being consecrated and dedicated peculiarly to the performance of any part of his will, or distinct enjoyment of any portion of his mercy. ( Exodus 28:36,38; Leviticus 5:15; Ezekiel 22:8; Hebrews 2:11, 10:10; John 17:19.) Thus the ark was said to be holy, and the altar holy; the temple was holy, and all the utensils of it, with the vestments of its officers. So the whole people of the Jews were said to be holy. The particular respects of covenant, worship, separation, law, mercy, and the like, upon which this denomination of holiness and saintship was given unto them and did depend, are known to all. Yea, persons inherently unclean, and personally notoriously wicked, in respect of their designment to some outward work, which by them God will bring about, are said to be sanctified. Distinguishing gifts, with designation to some distinct employment, are a bottom for this appellation, though their gifts may be recalled, and the employment taken from them, Isaiah 13:3. We confess perseverance not to be a proper and inseparable adjunct of this subject, nor to belong unto such persons, as such; though they may have a right to it, it is upon another account. Yet, in the pursuit of this business, it will appear that many of our adversaries’ arguments smite these men only, and prove that such as they may be totally rejected of God; which none ever denied.

    Again; the word is used in an evangelical sense, for inward purity and real holiness: whence some are said to be holy, and that also two ways; for either they are so really and in the truth of the thing itself, or in estimation only, and that either of themselves or others. That many have accounted themselves to be holy, and been pure in their own eyes, who yet were never washed from their iniquity, and have thereupon cried peace to themselves, I suppose needs no proving. It is the case of thousands in the world at this day. They think themselves holy, they profess themselves holy; and our adversaries prove (none gainsaying) that such as these may backslide from what they have and what they seem to have, and so perish under the sin of apostasy. Luke 1:15; Romans 6:19,22; <470701> Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 1:4, 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 3:13, 4:7; Hebrews 12:14, kat j ajlh>qeian, kata< do>xan ; Proverbs 30:12; Isaiah 65:5; John 7:48,49, 9:40, 41; 1 Thessalonians 5:3; Matthew 25:29; 2 Peter 2:20,21; John 6:66. Again, some are said to be holy upon the score of their being so in the esteem of others; which was and is the condition, of many false hypocrites in the churches of Christ, both primitive and modern; — like them who are said to “believe in Christ,” upon the account of the profession they made so to do, yet he would not “trust himself with them, because he knew what was in them.”

    Such were Judas, Simon Magus, and sundry others, of whom these things are spoken, which they professed of themselves, and were bound to answer; and which others esteemed to be in them. These some labor with all their strength to make true believers, that so they may cast the stumbling-block of their apostasy in the way of the saints of God closing with the truth we have in hand. But for such as these we are no advocates; let them go to their “own place,” according to the tenor of the arguments levied against them from Hebrews 6:4-6, 2 Peter 2:1, etc., and other places.

    Moreover, of those who are said to believe, and to be holy really and in the truth of the thing itself, there are two sorts: First, such as, having received sundry common gifts and graces of the Spirit, — as illumination of the mind, change of affections, and thence amendment of life, with sorrow of the world, legal repentance, temporary faith, and the like, which are all true and real in their kind, — do thereby become vessels in the great house of God, being changed as to their use, though not in their nature, continuing stone and wood still, though hewed and turned to the serviceableness of vessels; and on that account they are frequently termed saints and believers. On such as these there is a lower (and in some a subordinate) work of the Spirit, effectually producing in and on all the faculties of their souls somewhat that is true, good, and useful in itself, answering in some likeness and suitableness of operation unto the great work of regeneration, which faileth not. There is in them light, love, joy, faith, zeal, obedience, etc., all true in their kinds; which make many of them in whom they are do worthily in their generation: howbeit they attain not to the faith of God’s elect, neither doth Christ live in them, nor is the life which they lead by the faith of the Son of God, as shall hereafter be fully declared. ( Hebrews 6:4; 1 Samuel 10:10; 2 Peter 2:20; 1 Kings 21:27; Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 27:3,4, 13:20, 21; Mark 6:20; Kings 10:16; Hosea 6:4; 2 Timothy 2:20; John 6:34; Acts 26:28; Matthew 7:26,27; Revelation 3:1; Mark 4:16,17.) If ye now cashier these from the roll of those saints and believers about whom we contend, seeing that they are nowhere said to be united to Christ, quickened and justified, partakers of the first resurrection, accepted of God, etc., ye do almost put an issue to the whole controversy, and at once overturn the strongest forts of the opposers of this truth. Some men are truly ready to think that they never had experience of the nature of true faith or holiness, who can suppose it to consist in such like common gifts and graces as are ascribed to this sort of men. Yet, as was said before, if these may not pass for saints, if our adversaries cannot prove these to be true believers, in the strictest notion and sense of that term or expression, actum est, — the very subject about which they contend is taken away; such as these alone are concerned in the arguments from Hebrews 6:4-6; 2 Peter 2:1, etc. Yea, all the testimonies which they produce for the supportment of their cause from antiquity flow from hence, that their witnesses thought good to allow persons baptized and professing the gospel the name of believers, and of being regenerate (that is, as to the participation of the outward symbol thereof); whom yet they expressly distinguish from them whose faith was the fruit of their eternal election, which they constantly maintained should never fail.

    Of such as these Mr. Goodwin tells us, cap. 9 sect. 7, pp. 107, 108, “That if there be any persons under heaven who may, upon sufficient grounds, and justifiable by the word of God, be judged true believers, many of the apostates we speak of were to be judged such. All the visible lineaments of a true faith were in their faces, as far as the eye of man is able to pierce; they lived godly, righteously, and soberly in this present world. Doth any true believer act zealously for his God? — so did they. Is any true believer fruitful in good works? — they were such. Yea, there is found in those we now speak of, not only such things as upon the sight and knowledge whereof in men we ought to judge them true believers, but even such things, farther, which we ought to reverence and honor, as lovely and majestic characters of God and holiness. Therefore, it is but too importune a pretense in men to deny them to have been true believers.”

    If the proof of the first confident assertion, concerning the grounds of judging such as afterward have apostatized to be true believers, were called into question, I suppose it would prove one instance how much easier it is confidently to affirm any thing than soundly to confirm it. And perhaps it will be found to appear, that in the most, if not all, of those glorious apostates of whom he speaks, if they were thoroughly traced and strictly eyed, even in those things which are exposed to the view of men, for any season or continuance, such warpings and flaws might be discovered, in positives or negatives, as are incompatible with truth or grace. ( Psalm 78:34-36; Job 27:9,10; 2 Kings 10:29; Ezekiel 33:31; Titus 1:16.) But if this be granted, that they have “all the visible lineaments of a true faith in their faces, as far as the eye of man is able to judge, and therefore men were bound to esteem them for true believers,” doth it therefore follow that they were such indeed? This at once instates all secret hypocrites in the ancient and present churches of Christ into a condition of sanctification and justification; which the Lord knows they were and are remote from. Shall the esteem of men translate them from death to life, and really alter the state wherein they are? Whatever honor, then, and esteem we may give to the characters of holiness and faith enstamped, or rather painted on theme — as it is meet for us to judge well of all who, professing the Lord Christ, walk in our view in any measure suitable to that profession, and with Jonadab to honor Jehu in his fits and hasty passions of zeal, — yet this, alas! is no evidence unto them, nor discovery of the thing it, self, that they are in a state of faith and holiness. To say that we may not be. bound to judge any to be believers and godly, unless they are so indeed and in the thing itself, is either to exalt poor worms into the throne of God, and to make them “searchers of the hearts and triers of the reins” of others, who are so often in the dark as to themselves, and never in this life sufficiently acquainted with their own inward chambers; or else at once to cut off and destroy all communion of saints, by rendering it impossible for us to attain satisfaction who are so indeed, so far as to walk with them upon that account in “love without dissimulation,” Romans 12:9.

    Doubtless the disciples of Christ were bound to receive them for believers of whom it is said that they did believe, because of their profession so to do, and that with some hazard and danger, though He who “knew what was in man” would not trust himself with them, because the root of the matter was not in them, John 2:23,24.

    I suppose I shall not need to put myself to the labor to prove or evince the ground of our charitable procedure, in our thoughts of men professing the ways of God, though their hearts are not upright with him. But says Mr. Goodwin, “To say that whilst they stood men were indeed bound to judge them believers, but by their declining they discover themselves not to have been the men, is but to beg the question, and that upon very ill terms to obtain it.”

    Ans. For my part, I find not in this answer to that objection (“But they had the lineaments of true believers, and therefore we were bound to judge them so”), that this did not at all prove them to be so, any begging of the question, but rather a fair answer given to their importune request, that the “appearance of the face, as far as the eyes of men can pierce,” 1 Samuel 16:7, must needs conclude them in the eyes of God to answer that appearance in the inward and hidden man of the heart.

    But Mr. Goodwin farther pursues his design in hand from the words of our Savior, Matthew 7:20, “By their fruits ye shall know them.” “If,” saith he, “this rule be authentical, we do not only stand bound by the law of charity, but by the law of righteous or strict judgment itself, to judge the persons we speak of true believers, whilst they adorn the gospel with such fruits of righteousness as were mentioned; for our Savior doth not say, ‘By their fruits ye shall have grounds to conceive or conjecture them such or such, or to judge them in charity such or such,’ but, ‘Ye shall know them.’

    Now, what a man knows he is not bound to conjecture, or to judge in a way’ of charity to be that which he knoweth it to be, but positively to judge and conclude of it accordingly. If, then, it be possible for men, by any such fruits, works, or expressions, to know true believers, the persons we speak of may be known to have been such.”

    Ans. Though the words of our Savior principally lie on the other side of the way, giving a rule for a condemnatory judgment of men whose evil fruits declare the root to be no better, — wherein we cannot well be deceived, “the works of the flesh being manifest,” Galatians 5:19, and he that worketh wickedness openly, and brings forth the effects of sin visibly in a course, as a tree doth its fruit, Romans 6:16, may safely be concluded, whatsoever pretense in words he makes, to be a false, corrupt hypocrite, — yet, by the way of analogy and proportion, it is a rule also whereby our Savior will have us make a judgment of those professors and teachers with whom we have to do, as to our reception and approbation of them. He bids his disciples taste and try the fruit that such persons bear, and according to that (not any specious pretences they make, or innocent appearances which for a season they show themselves in) let their estimation of them be. Yea, but says Mr. Goodwin, “We do not only stand bound by the law of charity, but by the law of a righteous and strict judgment itself, to judge such persons believers.” This distinction between the law of charity and the law of a righteous judgment I understand not.

    Though charity be the principle exerted eminently in such dijudications of men, yet doubtless it proceeds by the rules of righteous judgment. When we speak of the judgment of charity, we intend not a loose conjecture, much less a judgment contradistinct from that which is righteous, but a righteous and strict judgment, according to the exactest rules whatsoever that we have to judge by, free from evil surmises, and such like vices of the mind as are opposed to the grace of love. By swing it is of charity, we are not absolved from the most exact procedure, according to the rules of judging given unto us, but only bound up from indulging to any envy, malice, or such like works of the flesh, which are opposite to charity in the subject wherein it is. Charity in this assertion denotes only a gracious qualification in the subject, and not any condescension from the rule; and therefore I something wonder that Mr. Goodwin should make a judgment of charity (as afterward) a mere conjecture, and allow beyond it a righteous and strict judgment, which amounts to knowledge.

    It is true, our Savior tells us that “by their fruits we shall know them;” but what knowledge is it that he intendeth? Is it a certain knowledge by demonstration of it? or an infallible assurance by revelation? I am confident Mr. Goodwin will not say it is either of these, but only such a persuasion as is the result of our thoughts concerning them, upon the profession they make and the works they do; upon which we may (according to the mind of Christ, who bare with them whom he knew to be no believers, having taken on them the profession of the faith) know how to demean ourselves towards them. So far we may know them by their fruits and judge of them; other knowledge our Savior intendeth not, nor I believe does Mr. Goodwin pretend unto. Now, notwithstanding all this, even on this account and by this rule, it is very possible, yea very easy, and practically proved true in all places and at all times, that we may judge, yea, so far know men to be or not to be seducers by their fruits, as to be able to order aright our demeanor towards them, according to the will of Christ, and yet be mistaken (though not in the performance of our duty in walking regularly according to the lines drawn out for our paths) in the persons concerning whom our judgment is; the knowledge of them being neither by demonstration nor from revelation, such as “cui non potest subesse falsum,” we may be deceived.

    The saints, then, or believers (of whom alone our discourse is), may be briefly delineated by these few considerable concernments of their saintship: — 1. That whereas “by nature they are children of wrath as well as others,” and “dead in trespasses and sins,” that faith and holiness which they are in due time invested withal, whereby they are made believers and saints, and distinguished from all others whatever, is an effect and fruit of, and flows from, God’s eternal purpose concerning their salvation or election; their faith being, as to the manner of its bestowing, peculiarly of the operation of God, and as to its distinction from every other gift that upon any account whatever is so called, in respect of its fountain, termed “The faith of God’s elect.” ( Romans 8:28,29; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4; 1 Peter 1:2-5; Titus 1:1.) 2. For the manner of their obtaining of this precious faith, it is by God’s giving to them that Holy Spirit of his whereby he raised Jesus from the dead, to raise them from their death in sin, to quicken them unto newness of life, enduing them with a new life, with a spiritual, gracious, supernatural habit, spreading itself upon their whole souls, making them new creatures throughout (in respect of parts), investing them with an abiding principle, being a natural, genuine fountain of all those spiritual acts, works, and duties, which he is pleased to work in them and by them of his own good pleasure. ( 2 Peter 1:1; Romans 8:11; Ephesians 1:19,20, <490201> 2:1, 5, 6, 8, 10; Matthew 7:17, 12:33; Galatians 2:20; 1 John 5:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:23; Galatians 5:22,23; 1 John 3:9; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 1:22,23; Philippians 2:13.) 3. That the holy and blessed Spirit, which effectually and powerfully works this change in them, is bestowed upon them as a fruit of the purchase and intercession of Jesus Christ, to dwell in them and abide with them for ever: upon the account of which inhabitation of the Spirit of Christ in them they have union with him; that is, one and the same Spirit dwelling in him the head and them the members. ( John 14:16,26, 15:26, 16:7-11; Romans 8:10,11; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 5:5; 1 John 4:4,13; 2 Timothy 1:14; 1 Corinthians 6:17, 12:12, 13; Ephesians 4:4.) 4. By all which, as to their actual state and condition, they are really changed from death to life. ( 1 John 3:14; Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13; Romans 6:11,13, 8:2, 10.) from darkness to light. ( Acts 26:18; Ephesians 5:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:4; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9.) from universal, habitual uncleanness to holiness, ( Ezekiel 36:25; Zechariah 13:1; Isaiah 4:3,4; Ephesians 5:25-27; 1 Corinthians 6:11; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 10:22.) from a state of enmity, stubbornness, rebellion, etc., into a state of love, obedience, delight, etc.; ( Romans 6:11; Ephesians 2:12-16; Colossians 1:21; Hebrews 12:22-24.) and as to their relative condition, whereas they were children of wrath, under the curse and condemning power of the law, they are, upon the score of Him who was made a curse for them, and is made righteousness to them, accepted, justified, adopted, and admitted into that family of heaven and earth which is called after the name of God. ( Ephesians 2:3; Galatians 3:13, 4:4- 7; Romans 8:1; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Colossians 2:10; Romans 5:1, 8:32, 33; 1 John 3:1,2; Ephesians 3:15.)

    These alone are they of whom we treat, of whose state and condition perseverance is an inseparable adjunct, Wherein and in what particulars they are differenced from and advanced above the most glorious professors whatever, who are liable and obnoxious to an utter and everlasting separation from God, shall be afterward at large insisted upon; and though Mr. Goodwin hath thought good to affirm that that .description which we have, Hebrews 6:4-6, of such as ([it] is supposed) may be apostates, is one of the highest and most eminent that is made of believers in the whole Scripture, I shall not doubt but to make it evident that the excellency of all the expressions there used, being extracted and laid together, cloth yet come short of the meanest and lowest thing that is spoken of those concerning whom we treat; as shall be manifest when, through God’s assistance, we arrive unto that part of this contest.

    That the other term, to wit, “perseverance,” may be more briefly explicated, I shall take the shortest path. For perseverance in general, he came near the nature of it who said it was “In ratione bene considerata stabilis ac perpetua permansio.’’ The words and terms whereby it is expressed in Scripture will afterwards fall in to be considered. The Holy Ghost restrains not himself to any one expression in spiritual things of so great importance, but using that variety which may be suited to the instruction, supportment, and consolation of believers, ( Romans 15:4.) this grace (as is that of faith itself in an eminent manner) is by him variously expressed. To walk in the name of the Lord for ever; to walk with Christ as we have received him; to be confirmed or strengthened in the faith as we have been taught; to keep the ways of God’s commandments to the end; to run steadfastly the race set before us; to rule with God; to be faithful with the saints; to be faithful to the death; to be sound and steadfast in the precepts of God; to abide or continue firm with Christ, in Christ, in the Lord, in the word of Christ, in the doctrine of Christ;, in the faith, in the love and favor of God, in what we have learned and received from the beginning; to endure; to persist in the truth; to be rooted in Christ; to retain or keep faith and a good conscience; to hold fast our confidence and faith to the end; to follow God fully; to keep the word of Christ’s patience; to be built upon and in Christ; to keep ourselves that the wicked one touch us not; not to commit sin; to be kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation; to stand fast as mount Zion, that can never be removed; to stand by faith; to stand fast in the faith; to stand fast in the Lord; to have the good work begun, perfected; to hold our profession that none take our crown; ( 2 Samuel 7:14,15; Psalm 1:3, 23:6, 37:24. 55:22, 89:31-33, 125:1-3, 128:5; Isaiah 46:4, 54:10; Jeremiah 31:3, 32:39, 40; Zechariah 10:12; Matthew 7:24,25, 12:20, 16:18, 24:24; Luke 8:8, 22:32; John 6:35,39,56,57, 8:12, 10:27-29, 14:16, 17, 17:20-22; Romans 8:1,16,17, 28-37; 1 Corinthians 1:8,9, 10:13, 15:58; 1 John 5:18, 3:9; Peter 1:5; Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 16:13; Philippians 4:1, 1:6; Ephesians 1:13,14, 4:30; Galatians 2:20; Philippians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; 2 Timothy 2:12; 1 Peter 1:2-5; 1 John 2:19,27, etc.) — these, I say, and the like, are some of those expressions whereby the Holy Ghost holds forth that doctrine which we have in hand, which is usually called “The perseverance of saints,” regarding principally their abiding with God, through Christ, in faith and obedience; which yet is but one part of this truth.

    The reasons and causes investing this proposition, that saints, such as we have described, shall so persevere, with a necessity of consequence, and on which the truth of it doth depend, both negatively considered and positively; with the limitation of perseverance, what it directly asserts, what not; with what failing, backsliding, and declensions, on the one hand and other, it is consistent, and what is destructive of the nature and being of it; the difference of it, as to being and apprehension, in respect to the subject in whom it is; with the way and manner whereby the causes of this perseverance have their operation on and effect in them that persevere, not in the least prejudicing their liberty, but establishing them in their voluntary obedience, — will afterward be fully cleared. And hereon depends much of the life and vigor of the doctrine we have in hand, it being oftener in the Scripture held forth in its fountains, and springs, and causes, than in the thing itself, as will upon examination appear.

    As to what is on the other side affirmed, that believers may fall totally and finally away, something may be added to clear up what is intended thereby, and to inquire how it may come to pass. We do suppose (which the Scripture abundantly testifieth) that such believers have the Holy Spirit dwelling in them; ( Ezekiel 36:27; Isaiah 59:21; Luke 11:13; Psalm 51:11; Romans 8:9,11,15; 1 Corinthians 2:12; Galatians 4:6; 2 Timothy 1:14; Romans 5:5; Galatians 5:22; John 14:16,17, 16:13; 1 Corinthians 3:16, 6:19.) and, by his implanting, a new holy habit of grace. ( Matthew 12:33; Corinthians 5:17; 2 Peter 1:4; Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 4:23,24.) The inquiry then is, how believers may come utterly to lose this Holy Spirit, and to be made naked of the habit of grace or new nature bestowed on them. That, and that only, whereunto this effect is ascribed is sin. Now, there are two ways whereby sin may be supposed to produce such effects in reference to the souls of believers: — 1. Efficiently , by a reaction in the same subject, as frequent acts of vice will debilitate and overthrow an acquired habit whereunto it is opposite. 2. Meritoriously , by provoking the Lord to take them away in a way of punishment; for of all punishment sin is the morally procuring cause.

    Let us a little consider which of these ways it may probably be supposed that sin expels the Spirit and habit of grace from the souls of believers.

    First, [As] for the Spirit of grace which dwells in them, it cannot with the least color of reason be supposed that sin should have a natural efficient reaction against the Spirit, which is a voluntary indweller in the hearts of his: he is indeed grieved and provoked by it, ( Ephesians 4:30; Hebrews 3:10,11; Isaiah 63:10.) but that is in a moral way, in respect of its demerit; but that it should have a natural efficiency by the way of opposition against it, as intemperance against the mediocrity which it opposeth, is a madness to imagine.

    The habit of grace wherewith such believers are endued is infused, not acquired by a frequency of acts in themselves. The root is made good, and then the fruit, and the work of God. It is “a new creation,’’ planted in them by “the exceeding greatness of his power,” as “he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead;” which he also “strengthens with all might” Colossians 2:12; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 1:19,20; Colossians 1:11. and all power to the end. Is it now supposed, or can it rationally be so, that vicious acts, acts of sin, should have in the soul a natural efficiency for the expelling of an infused habit, and that implanted upon the soul by the exceeding greatness of the power of God? That it should be done by any one or two acts is impossible. To suppose a man, in whom there is a habit set on by so mighty an impression as the Scripture mentions, to act constantly contrary thereunto, is to think what we will, without troubling ourselves to consider how it may be brought about.

    Farther; whilst this principle, life, and habit of grace is thus consuming, doth their God and Father look on and suffer it to decay, and their spiritual man to pine away day by day, giving them no new supplies, nor increasing them with the increase of God? ( Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 2:19; Ephesians 4:16; 1 Thessalonians 3:12; Philippians 1:6; 1 Corinthians 10:13.) Hath he no pity towards a dying child? or can he not help him? Doth he, of whom it is said that he is “faithful,” and that he “will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able, but will with the temptation make a way to escape,” let loose such flood-gates of temptations upon them as he knows his grace will not be able to stand before, but will be consumed and expelled by it? What, also, shall we suppose are the thoughts of Jesus Christ towards a withering member, a dying brother, a perishing child, a wandering sheep? ( Hebrews 2:17,18, 4:15, 7:25; Isaiah 40:11, 63:9; Ezekiel 34:4,12.) Where are his zeal, and his tender mercies, and the sounding of his bowels? Are they restrained? Will he not lay hold of his strength, and stir up his righteousness, to save a poor sinking creature? Also, “He that is in us is greater than he that is in the world;” and will he suffer himself to be wrought out of his habitation, and not stir up his strength to keep possession of the dwelling-place which he had chosen? So that neither in the nature of the thing itself, nor in respect of him with whom we have to do, doth this seem possible. But, — Secondly, Sin procureth, by the way of merit, the taking away of the Spirit and removal of the habit graciously bestowed. Believers deserve by sin that God should take his Spirit from them, and the grace that he hath bestowed on them: they do so indeed; it cannot be denied. But will the Lord deal so with them? Will he judge his house with such fire and vengeance? ( Isaiah 48:9.) Is that the way of a father with his children? Until he hath taken away his Spirit and grace, although they are rebellious children, yet they are his children still. And is this the way of a tender father, to cut the throats of his children when it is in his power to mend them? The casting of a wicked man into hell is not a punishment to be compared to this; the loss of God’s presence is the worst of hell. How infinitely must they needs be more sensible of it who have once enjoyed it than those who were strangers to it from the womb! Certainly the Lord bears another testimony concerning his kindness to his sons and daughters than that we should entertain such dismal thoughts of him. ( Isaiah 49:15,16, 66:18; Jeremiah 2:1-3; Hosea 2:14, etc.) He chastises his children, indeed, but he doth not kill them; he corrects them with rods, but his kindness he takes not from them. Notwithstanding of the attempt made by the Remonstrants, in their Synodalia, I may say that I have not as yet met with any tolerable extrication of these difficulties. More to this purpose w!ill afterward be insisted on.

    That which we intend when we mention “the perseverance of saints,” is their continuance to the end in the condition of saint-ship whereunto they are called. Now, in the state of saintship, there are two things concurring: — 1. That holiness which they receive from God; and, 2. That favor which they have with God, being justified freely by his grace, through the blood of Christ.

    And their continuance in this condition to the end of their lives, both as to their real holiness and gracious acceptance, is the perseverance whereof we must treat, — the one respecting their real estate, the other their relative; of which more particularly afterward.

    And this is a brief delineation of the doctrine which, the Lord assisting, shall be explained, confirmed, and vindicated, in the ensuing discourse; which being first set forth as a mere skeleton, its symmetry and complexion, its beauty and comeliness, its strength and vigor, its excellency and usefulness, will, in the description of the several parts and branches of it, be more fully manifested.

    Now, because Mr. Goodwin, though he was not pleased to fix any orderly state of the question under debate, — a course he hath also thought good to take in handling those other heads of the doctrine of the gospel wherein he hath chosen to walk (for the main with the Arminiaus) in paths of difference from the reformed churches, — yet having scattered up and down his treatise what his conceptions are of the doctrine he doth oppose, as also what he asserts in the place and room thereof, and upon what principles, I shall briefly call what he hath so delivered, both on the one hand and on the other, to an account, to make the clearer way for the proof of the truth which indeed we own, and for the discovery of that which is brought forth to contest for acceptance with it upon the score of truth and usefulness.

    First, then, for the doctrine of the saints’ perseverance, how it stands stated in Mr. Goodwin’s thoughts, and what he would have other men apprehend thereof, may from sundry places in his book, especially chap. 9, be collected, and thus summarily presented. “It is,” saith he, sect. 3, “a promising unto men, and that with height of assurance, under what looseness or vile practices soever, exemption and freedom from punishment.” So sect. 4, “It is in vain to persuade or press men unto the use of such means in any kind which are in themselves displeasing to them, seeing they are ascertained and secured beforehand that they shall not fail of the end however, whether they use such means or no; — a luscious and fulsome conceit (sect. 5), intoxicating the flesh with a persuasion that it hath goods laid up for the days of eternity; a notion comfortable, and betiding peace to the flesh (sect. 15), in administering unto it certain hope that it shall, however, escape the wrath and vengeance which is to come, yea, though it disporteth itself in all manner of looseness and licentiousness in the meantime. A presumption it is that men (sect. 18) may or shall enjoy the love of God, and salvation itself, under practice of all manner of sin and wickedness; representing God (sect. 20) as a God in whose sight he is good that doth evil; promising his love, favor, and acceptance, as well unto dogs returning to their vomit, or to swine wallowing in the mire after their washing’’ (that is, to apostates, which that believers shall not be is indeed the doctrine he opposeth), “as unto lambs and sheep. A doctrine this whereby it is possible for me certainly to know, that how loosely, how profanely, how debauchedly soever, I should behave myself, yet God will love me, as he doth the holiest and most righteous man under heaven.”

    With these and the like expressions doth Mr. Goodwin adorn and gild over that doctrine which he hath chosen to oppose; with these garlands and flowers doth he surround the head of the sacrifice which he intends instantly to slay, that so it may fall an undeplored victim, if not seasonably rescued from the hands of this sacred officer. Neither through his whole treatise do I find it delivered in any other sense, or held out under any other notion to his reader. The course here he hath taken in this case, and the paths he walks in towards his adversaries, seems to be no other than that which was traced out by the bishops at Constance, when they caused devils to be painted upon the cap they put on the head of Huss before they cast him into the fire. I do something doubt (though I am not altogether ignorant how abominably the tenets and opinions of those who first opposed the Papacy are represented and given over to posterity, by them whose interest it was to have them thought such as they gave them out to be) whether ever any man that undertook to publish his conceptions to the world about any opinion or parcel of truth debated amongst professors of the gospel of Christ, did ever so dismember, disfigure, defile, wrest, and pervert, that which he opposed, as Mr. Goodwin hath done the doctrine of perseverance, which he hath undertaken to destroy, rethinks a man should not be much delighted in casting filth and dung upon his adversary before he begin to grapple with him. In one word, this being the account he gives us of it, if he be able to name one author, ancient or modern, any one sober person of old or of late, that ever spent a penful of ink, or once opened his mouth in the defense of that perseverance of saints, or rather profane walking of dogs and swine, which he hath stated, not in the words and terms, but so much as to the matter or purpose here intimated by him, it shall be accepted as a just defensative against the crime which we are enforced to charge in this particular, and which otherwise will not easily be warded. If this be the doctrine, which, with so great an endeavor, and a contribution of so much pains and rhetoric, he seeks to oppose, I know not any that will think it worth while to interpose in this fierce contest between him and his man of straw. Neither can it with the least color of truth be pretended that these are consequences which he urgeth the doctrine he opposeth withal, and not his apprehensions of the doctrine itself: for neither doth he in any place in his whole treatise hold it out in any other shape, but is uniform and constant to himself in expressing his notion of it; nor doth he, indeed, almost use any argument against it but those that suppose this to be the true state of the controversy which he hath proposed. But whether this indeed be the doctrine of the perseverance of saints which Mr. Goodwin so importunately cries out against, upon a brief consideration of some of the particulars mentioned, will quickly appear.

    First, then, doth this doctrine “promise, with height of assurance, that under what looseness or vile practices soever men do live, they shall have exemption from punishment?” Wherein, I pray? — in that it promiseth the saints of God, that through his grace they shall be preserved from such looseness and evil practices as would expose them to ere:real punishment? ( Psalm 23:6; Jeremiah 31:33; 1 Corinthians 10:13, 1 Peter 1:5.) Doth it teach men that it is vain to use the means of mortification, because they shall certainly attain the end whether they use the means or no? Or may you not as well say that the doctrine you oppose is, that all men shall be saved whether they believe or no, with those other comfortable and cheering associate doctrines you mention? Or is this a regular emergency of that doctrine which teaches that there is no attaining the end but by the means, between which there is such a concatenation by divine appointment that they shall not be separated? Doth it “speak peace to the flesh, in assurance of a blessed immortality, though it disport itself in all folly in the meantime?” Do the teachers of it express any such thing? doth any such abomination issue from their arguings in the defense thereof?

    Or doth the doctrine which teaches believers (saints, who have tasted of the love and pardoning mercy of God, and are taught to value it infinitely above all the world) that such is the love and good-will of God towards them, in the covenant of mercy in the blood of Christ, that having appointed good works for them to walk in, for which of themselves they are insufficient, he will graciously continue to them such supplies of his Spirit and grace as that they shall never depart from following after him in ways of gospel obedience, ( Ephesians 2:10; 2 Corinthians 3:5.) — doth this, I say, encourage any of them to continue in sin that this grace may abound? Or are any doctrines of the gospel to be measured by the rules and lines of the use or abuse that the flesh is apt to make of them? or rather by their suitableness to the divine nature, whereof the saints are made partakers, and serviceableness to their carrying on to perfection in that attainment? Or is this an argument of validity against an evangelical truth, that the carnal, unbelieving heart is apt to turn it into wantonness?

    And whether believers walking after the Spirit, ( Romans 8:1,14.) — in which frame the truths of God in the gospel are savory and sweet to them, — do experience such attendancies of the doctrine under consideration as are here intimated, I am persuaded Mr. Goodwin will one day find that he hath not a little grieved the Holy Spirit of God by these reproaches cast upon the work of his grace.

    Farther; doth this persuasion assure men that “they shall enjoy the love and favor of God under the practices of all manner of sin?” or can this be wrested by any racks or wheels from this assertion, that none indeed enjoy the love and favor of God but only they towards whom it is effectual to turn them from the practices of all manner of sin and wickedness, to translate them from darkness into marvellous light, and from the power of Satan into the kingdom of Jesus Christ; whom the grace that appears unto them teacheth to deny all ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; whom that love constrains not to live unto themselves, but unto him that died for them? Doth it “promise the love and favor of God to dogs returning to their vomit, and swine wallowing in the mire,” when the very discriminating difference of it from that doctrine which advanceth itself into competition with it is, that such returning dogs and wallowing swine did indeed, in their best estate and condition, never truly and properly partake of the love and favor of God, but notwithstanding their disgorging and washing of themselves, they were dogs and swine still? But to what end should I longer insist on these things? I am fully persuaded Mr. Goodwin himself cannot make room in his understanding to apprehend that this is indeed the true notion of the doctrine which he doth oppose. Something hath been spoken of it already, and more, the Lord assisting, will be discussed in the progress of our discourse, abundantly sufficient to manifest to the consciences of men not possessed with prejudice against the truth that it is quite of another nature and consistency, of another complexion and usefulness, than what is here represented. I cannot but add, that this way of handling controversies in religion, — namely, in proposing consequences and inferences of our own framing (wire-drawn with violence and subtilty from principles far distant from them, disowned, disavowed, and disclaimed by them on whom they are imposed) as the judgment of our adversaries, and loading them with all manner of reproaches, — is such as (being of all men in the world most walked in by the Arminians) I desire not to be competitor with any in, “Haud defensoribus istis,” etc.

    Let us now a little, in the next place, consider what Mr. Goodwin gives in for that persuasion which, in opposition to the other, before by him displayed, he contendeth with all his strength to advance. I do not doubt but all that are acquainted with his way of expression (“ elato cothurno”) will, as they may reasonably, expect to have it brought forth meta< pollh~v fantasi>av, adorned with all the gallantry and ornaments that words can contribute thereunto; for of them there is with him store to be used on all occasions, Polu The sum of the doctrine he is so enamored of he gives us, chap. 9 sect. 21, p. 115. “Longa est fabula, longae ambages;” this is “Caput rei.” “It is not any danger of falling away in them that are saints and believers, or probability of it, that he maintains, but only possibility of it; such as there is that sober and careful men may voluntarily throw themselves down from the tops of houses or steeples (though, perhaps, they never come there), or run into the fire or water, and be burned or drowned, having the use of their reason and understanding to preserve them from such unusual and dismal accidents:’’ which seems to be an instance of as remote and infirm a possibility as can likely be imagined. Yea, he tells you farther, sect. 22, “That the saints have as good security of their perseverance as he could have of his life to whom God should grant a lease of it for so long, upon condition that he did not thrust a sword through his bowels, or cast himself headlong down from a tower; so that his doctrine indulgeth to the saints as much assurance as that of perseverance,, but only it grants them not a liberty of sinning:” which, I presume, his own conscience told him that neither the other doth.

    But is this indeed Mr. Goodwin’s doctrine? is this all that he intends his arguments and proofs shall amount unto? “Ad populum phaleras.” Strange, that when there is not so much as a probability or danger of falling away, yet so many and so eminent saints should so fall! How seldom is it that we hear of wise and sober men running into the fire, throwing themselves headlong from towers, thrusting swords through their own bowels! and nothing more frequent than the apostasy of saints, if these things stood upon equal terms of unlikelihood and improbability! The stony field in the parable seems to be every whit as large as the good. ground, whose fruit abideth, Matthew 13:20,21,23. That ground, in Mr. Goodwin’s sense, is true believers, so that a moiety at least must be granted to fall away, and never come to perfection. Doubtless this is not easy to be received, that one half of a company of men in succession should constantly, from one generation to another, fall into ruin in such a way as wherein there is no danger of it, or probability that it should so come to pass. Methinks, we should scarce dare to walk the streets, lest at every step we be struck down by sober men voluntarily tumbling themselves from the tops of houses, and hardly keep ourselves from being wounded with the swords wherewith they run themselves through. Was this indeed the case with David, Solomon, Peter, and others, who totally apostatized from the faith? But if it be so, if they are thus secure, whence is it that it doth arise? what are the fountains, springs, and causes of this general security? Is it from the weakness of the opposition, and slightness of all means of diversion, from walking with God to the end, that they meet withal? or is it from the nature of that faith which they have, and grace wherewith they are endued? or is it that God hath graciously undertaken to safeguard them, and to preserve them in their abiding with him, that they shall not fall away? or is it that Christ intercedeth for them that their faith fail not, but be preserved, and their souls with it, by the power of God, unto the end? or from what other principle doth this security of theirs arise? from what fountain do the streams of their consolation flow? where lie the heads of this Nilus?

    That it is upon the first account, I suppose cannot enter into the imagination of any person who ever had the least experience of walking with God, or doth so much as assent to the letter of the Scripture. How are our enemies there described, as to their number, nature, power, policy, subtlety, malice, restlessness, and advantages! with what unimaginable and inexpressible variety of means, temptations, baits, allurements, enticements, terrors, threats, do they fight against us! Such and so many are the enemies that oppose the saints of God in their abiding with him, so great and effectual the means and weapons wherewith they fight against them, so unwearied and watchful are they for the improvement of all advantages and opportunities for their ruin, that upon the supposal of the rejection of those principles and those means of their preservation which we shall find Mr. Goodwin to attempt, they will be found to be so far from a state of no danger and little probability of falling, or only under a remote possibility of so doing, that it will appear utterly impossible for them to hold out and abide unto the end. Had the choicest saint of God, with all the grace that he hath received, but one of the many enemies, and that the weakest of all them which oppose every saint of God, even the feeblest, to deal withal, separated from the strength of those principles and supportments which Mr. Goodwin seeketh to cast down, let him lie under continual exhortations to watchfulness and close walking with God, he may as easily move mountains with his finger or climb to heaven by a ladder as stand before the strength of that one enemy. Adam in paradise had no lust within to entice him, no world under the curse to seduce him, yet at the first assault of Satan, who then had no part in him, he fell quite out of covenant with God, Psalm 30:6,7.

    I shall give one instance, in one of the many enemies that fight against the welfare of our souls; and “ex hoc uno” we may guess at the residue of its companions. This is indwelling sin, whose power and policy, strength and prevalency, nearness and treachery, the Scripture exceedingly sets out, and the saints daily feel I shall only point at some particulars: — First, Concerning its nearness to us, it is indeed in us; and that not as a thing different from us, but it cleaveth to all the faculties of our souls. It is an enemy born with us, ( Psalm 51:5; Matthew 5:29,30; James 3:5,6.) bred up with us, carried about in our bosoms, by nature our familiar friend, our guide and counsellor, dear to us as our right eye, useful as our right hand, our wisdom, strength, etc. The apostle, Romans 7:17,20, calleth it the “sin that dwelleth in us.” It hath in us, in the faculties of our souls, its abode and station. It doth not pass by and away, but there it dwells, so as that it never goes from home, is never out of the way when we have any thing to do; whence, verse 21, he calls it the “evil that is present with him.” When we go about any thing that is good, or have opportunity for or temptation unto any thing that is evil, it is never absent, but is ready to pluck us back or to put us on, according as it serves its ends. It is such an inmate that we can never be quit of its company; and so intimate unto us that it puts forth itself in every acting of the mind, will, or any other faculty of the soul. Though men would fain shake it off, yet when they would do good, this evil will be present with them. Then, — Secondly, Its universality and compass. It is not straitened in a corner of the soul; it is spread over the whole, all the faculties, affections, and passions of it. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; it is all flesh, and nothing but flesh. It is darkness in the understanding, keeping us, at best, that we know but in part, and are still dull and slow of heart to believe.

    Naturally we are all darkness, nothing but darkness; and though the Lord shine into our mind, to give us in some measure the knowledge of his glory in the face of Jesus Christ, yet we are still very dark, and it is a hard work to bring in a little light upon the soul. Especially this is seen in particular practical things; though in general we have very clear light and eviction, yet when we come to particular acts of obedience, how often doth our light grow dim and fail us, causing us to judge amiss of that which is before us, by the rising of that natural darkness which is in us! It is perverseness, stubbornness, obstinacy in the, will, that carries it with violence to disobedience and sin; it is sensuality upon the affections, bending them to the things of the world, alienating them from God; it is slipperiness in the memory, making us like leaking vessels, so that the things that we hear of the gospel do suddenly slip out, whenas other things abide firm in the cells and chambers thereof; it is senselessness and error in the conscience, staving it off from the performance of that duty which, in the name and authority of God, it is to accomplish: and in all these is daily enticing and seducing the heart to folly, conceiving and bringing forth sin. ( John 3:6; Matthew 6:23, 11:27; Luke 11:34-36; Acts 26:18; Corinthians 6:14; Ephesians 5:8; Isaiah 29:18, 35:5, 42:7; Romans 2:19; Colossians 1:13; 1 Peter 2:9; Luke 4:18; Ephesians 4:18; Revelation 3:17; Matthew 23:16, 4:16; John 1:5; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Luke 14:18; John 8:34; Romans 6:16, 7:18, 8:7, 8; Jeremiah 6:13; Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 13:23; Hebrews 2:1; James 1:14,15.)

    Thirdly, Its power. The apostle calls it “a law, a law in his members, a law of sin,” Romans 7:21,23; such a law as fights, makes war, and leads captive, selling us under sin, not suffering us to do the good we would, forcing us to do the evil we would not, drawing us off from that we delight in, bringing us under bondage to that which we abhor. A powerful, unmerciful, cruel tyrant it is. O wretched men that we are! verse 24. There is no saint of God but in the inward man doth hate sin, every sin, more than hell itself, knowing the world of evils that attend the least sin; yet is there not one of them but this powerful tyrant hath compelled and forced to so many as have made them a burden to their own souls.

    Fourthly, Its cunning, craft, and policy. It is called in Scripture “the old man;” not from the weakness of its strength, but from the strength of its craft,. “Take heed,” saith the apostle, “lest any of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin,” Hebrews 3:13. There is abundance of deceitfulness in it, being ready, fit, and prompt to beguile; lying in wait for advantages, furnished for all opportunities, and ready to close with every temptation: yea, the ways of it are so large and various, its wiles and methods for deceiving so innumerable, its fruitfulness in conceiving and bringing forth of sin so abundant, its advantages and opportunities so many, that it is like “the way of a serpent upon a rock,” — there is no tracing or finding of it out.

    A serious consideration of the opposition made unto our perseverance by this one enemy, which hath so much ability, and is so restless in its warfare, never quiet, conquering nor conquered, which can be kept out of none of our counsels, excluded from none of our actings, is abundantly sufficient to evince that it is not want or weakness of enemies which putteth believers out of danger of falling away. But all this perhaps will be granted. Enemies they have enough, and those much more diligent and powerful every one of them than all we have spoken of that now described amounteth unto; but the means of preservation which God affords the saints is that which puts them almost out of gun-shot, and gives them that golden security mentioned, which cometh not, in administering consolation, one step behind that which ariseth from the doctrine of absolute perseverance. Let, then, this be a little considered, and perhaps it will allay this whole contest.

    Is it, then, that such is the grace that is bestowed upon them, in respect of the principle whence it is bestowed (the eternal love of God), and the way whereby it is for them procured (the blood-shedding and intercession of Christ), with the nature of it (being the seed of God, which abideth and withereth not), and that such seems to be the nature of infused habits, that they are net removed but by the power and immediate hand of him by whom they are bestowed? Is it from hence that their assurance and security doth arise? “Alas! all this is but a fiction. There is no faith that is the fruit of election; Christ purchased it not for any by his death; infused habits are not; the grace that perisheth and that that abideth are the same. These things are but pretences.” Is it, then, that God hath purposed from eternity to continue constant in his love towards them, never to leave them nor forsake them? “Nay, but of all things imaginable this is the greatest abomination, which if the Scriptures did anywhere affirm, it were sufficient to make a rational, considering man to question their authority.” What then? Hath the Lord promised to give them such continued supplies of his Spirit and grace in Jesus Christ as that they shall be supported against all opposition, and preserved from all or any such sins as will certainly make a separation between God and their souls? “Nay, there is not one such promise in all the book of God; they are conditional;, for the enjoyment of the good things whereof believers stand all their days upon their good behavior.” Is it, then, that the Lord Jesus, who is always heard of his Father, intercedes for them that their faith fail not, and that they may be preserved by the power of God unto salvation, and that not only upon condition of their believing, but chiefly that they may be kept and preserved in believing? Or is it that their enemies are so conquered for them and on their behalf, in the death and resurrection of Christ, that they shall never have dominion over them, that their security doth arise? Neither the one nor the other, nor any nor all of these, are the grounds and foundations of their establishment., but they are wholly given up to the powerful hand of some considerations, which Mr. Goodwin expresseth and setteth out to the life, chap. 9 sect. 32-34, pp. l74, 175.

    Now, because the Remonstrants have always told us that God hath provided sufficiently for the perseverance of the saints, if they be not supinely wanting to themselves in the use of them, but have not hitherto, either jointly or severally, that I know of, taken the pains to discover in particular wherein that sufficiency of provision for their safety doth consist, or what the means are that God affords them. to this end and purpose, Mr. Goodwin, who is a learned master of all their counsels, having exactly and fully laid them forth as a solid foundation of his assertion concerning only a remote possibility of the saints’ total defection, let it not seem tedious or impertinent if I transcribe, for the clearer debate of it before the reader, that whole discourse of his, and consider it in order as it lies. “If,” saith he, “it be demanded what are the means which God hath given so abundantly to the saints, to make themselves so free, so strong in inclinations to avoid things so apparently destructive to the spiritual peace and salvation of their souls, as naturally men are to forbear all such occasions which are apparently destructive to their natural lives, so thai they need not to be any whit more afraid of losing their souls through their own actings than men are, or need to be, of destroying their natural lives upon the same terms? I answer, — “First, He hath given them eyes wherewith, and light whereby, clearly and evidently to see and know that it is not more rational or man-like for men to refrain all such acts which they know they cannot perform but to the present and unavoidable destruction of their natural lives, than it is to forbear all sinful acts whatsoever, and especially such which are apparently destructive to their souls. “Secondly, God hath not only given them the eyes and the light we speak of, wherewith and whereby clearly to see and understand the things manifested, but hath farther endued them with a faculty of consideration, wherewith to reflect upon, and review, and ponder, so oft as they please, what they see, understand, and know in this kind. Now, whatsoever a man is capable, first, of seeing and knowing, secondly, of pondering and considering, he is capable of raising or working an inclination in himself towards it, answerable in strength, vigor, and power, to any degree of goodness or desirableness which he is able to apprehend therein; for what is an inclination towards any thing but a propension and laying out of the heart and soul towards it? So that if there be worth and goodness sufficient in any object whatsoever to bear it; and, secondly, if a man be in a capacity of discovering and apprehending this good clearly; and, thirdly, be in a like capacity of considering this vision, — certainly he is in a capacity and at liberty to work himself to what strength or degree of desire and inclination towards it he pleaseth. Now, it is certain to every man that there is more good in abstaining from things either eminently dangerous or apparently destructive to his soul, than in forbearing things apparently destructive to his natural being. Secondly, As evident it is that every man is more capable of attaining or coming to the certain knowledge and clear apprehending of this excess of good to him in the former good than in the latter. Thirdly, Neither is it a thing less evident than either of the former, that every man is as capable of ruminating or re-apprehending the said excess of good as much and as oft as he pleaseth, as he is simply of apprehending it at all. Which supposed as undeniably true, it follows with a high hand, and above all contradiction, that the saints may (and have means and opportunities fair and full for that purpose) plant inclinations or dispositions in themselves to refrain all manner of sins apparently dangerous and destructive to the safety of their souls, fuller of energy, vigor, life, strength, power, than the natural inclination in them which teacheth them to refrain all occasions which they know must needs be accompanied with the destruction of their natural beings. Therefore, if they be more, or so much, afraid of destroying their lives voluntarily and knowingly (as by casting themselves into the fire or the water, or the like) than they are of falling away through sin, the fault or reason thereof is not at all in the doctrine, which affirms or informs them that there is a possibility that they fall away, but in themselves and their own voluntary negligence.

    They have means and opportunities (as we have proved) in abundance to render themselves every whit as secure, yea, and more secure, touching the latter, as they are or reasonably can be concerning the former.”

    Ans. When I first cast an eye on this discourse of Mr. Goodwin, I confess I was surprised to as high a degree of admiration, and some other affections also, as by any thing I had observed in his whole book; as having not met (if without offense I may be allowed to speak my apprehensions) with any discourse whatsoever of so transcendent a derogation from, and direct tendency to the overthrow of, the grace of Christ, but only in what is remembered, by Austin, Hilary, Fulgentius, with some others, of the disputes of Pelagius, Coelestius, Julianus, with their followers, and the Socinians of late, with whom Mr. Goodwin would not be thought to have joined in their opposition to the merit and grace of Christ. As I said, then, before, if this should prove in the issue to be the sum of the means afforded to preserve the saints from apostasy and falling away into ruin, I shall be so far from opposing a possibility of their defection that I shall certainly conclude their perseverance to be impossible, being fully persuaded that, with all the contribution of strength which the considerations mentioned are able of themselves to afford unto them, they are no more able to meet their adversaries, who come against them with twenty thousand subtleties and temptations, than a man with a straw and a feather is to combat with and overcome a royal army. The Scripture tells us, and we thought it had been so, that we “are kept by the power of God unto salvation; and that to this end he puts forth “the exceeding greatness of his power in them that believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ when he raised him from the dead;” whereby he “strengthens them with all might, according to his glorious power,” “making them meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.’’ ( 1 Peter 1:5; Ephesians 1:17-20; Colossians 1:11,12.) It seems, though there be a glorious sound of words in these and innumerable the like expressions of the engagement of the power and faithfulness of God for the safeguarding of his saints, yet all this is but an empty noise and beating of the air; that which is indeed material to this purpose consisting in “certain considerations which rational men may have concerning their present state and future condition.” But let us a little consider the discourse itself.

    First, It is all along magnificently supposed that there is the same power and ability in a rational, enlightened man to deliberate and conclude of things in reference unto the practical condition of his spiritual estate as there is of his natural, and that this ability is constantly resident with him, to make use of upon all occasions, whatever our Savior say to the contrary, — namely, that “without him we can do nothing,” John 15:5.

    Secondly (to make way for that), That such an one is able to know and to desire the things of his peace in a spiritual and useful manner, notwithstanding the vanity of those many seemingly fervent prayers of the saints in the Scripture, that God would give them understanding in these things, and his manifold promises of that grace. ( <19B9144> Psalm 119:144; Corinthians 2:14.)

    Thirdly, That upon such deliberation, men are put into a capacity and liberty, or are enabled, to work themselves to what strength or degree of desire and inclination towards that good considered they please; and according as the good is that men apprehend (as abiding with God is the greatest good), such will be the strength and the vigor and power of their inclination thereto. That they have a law in their members rebelling against the law of their minds, and leading them captive under the law of sin, needs not to be taken notice of. This sufficiency, it seems, is of themselves. He was a weak, unskilful man who supposed that of ourselves we could not think a good thought, seeing we are such perfect lords and masters of all good thoughts and actings whatsoever. ( Romans 7:8-24; Corinthians 3:5.)

    Fourthly, The whole sum of this discourse of the means afforded believers to enable them to persevere amounts to this, that being rational men, they may, first, consider that some kinds of sins will destroy them and separate them from God, and that by obedience they shall come to the greatest good imaginable; whereupon it is in their power so strongly to incline their hearts unto obedience that they shall be in no more danger of departing from God than a wise and rational man is of killing or wilfully destroying himself; the, first part whereof may be performed by them who are no saints, the latter not by any saint whatsoever.

    And is not this noble provision for the security and assurance of the saints enough to make them cast away with speed all their interest in the unchangeable purposes and gracious and faithful promises of God, intercession of Christ, sealing of the Spirit, and all those sandy and trivial supports of their faith which hitherto they have rejoiced in? And whatever experience they have, or testimony from the word they do receive, of the darkness and weakness of their minds, the stubbornness of their wills, with the strong inclinations that are in them to sin and falling away, — whatever be the oppositions from above them, about them, within them, on the right hand and on the left, that they have to wrestle withal, ( Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 12:1; Romans 7:17.) — let them give up themselves to the hand of their own manlike considerations and weighing of things, which will secure them against all danger or probability of falling away; for if they be but capable, first, of seeing and knowing, secondly, of pondering and considering, and that rationally (it matters not whether these things are fruits of the Spirit of grace or no, nay, it is clear they must not be so), that such and such evil is to be avoided, and that t. here is so and so great a good to be obtained by continuing in obedience, they may raise and work inclinations in themselves, answerable, in strength, vigor, and power, to any degree of goodness which they apprehend in what they see and ponder.

    The whole of the “ample sufficient means” afforded by God to the saints to enable them to persevere branching itself into these two heads, — first, The rational considering what they have to do; secondly, Their vigorous inclination of their hearts to act suitably and answerably to their considerations, — I shall, in a word, consider them apart.

    First, The considerations mentioned, of evil to be avoided and good to be attained (I mean that which may put men upon creating those strong inclinations: for such considerations may be without any such consequence, as in her that cried, “Video meliora proboque, deteriora sequor”), are either issues and products of men’s own natural faculties, and deduced out of the power of them, so that as men they may put themselves upon them at any time; or they are fruits of the Spirit of his grace, who “worketh in us both to will and to do of his good pleasure.” ( Philippians 2:18.) If they be the latter, I ask, seeing all grace is of promise, whether hath God promised to give and continue this grace of self-consideration unto believers or no? If he hath, whether absolutely or conditionally? If absolutely, then he hath promised absolutely to continue some grace in them; which is all we desire. If conditionally, then would I know what that condition is on which God hath promised that believers shall so consider the things mentioned. And of the condition which shall be expressed, it may farther be inquired whether it be any grace of God, or only a mere act of the rational creature as such, without any immediate in-working of the will and deed by God? Whatsoever is answered, the question will not go to rest until it be granted that either it is a grace absolutely promised of God, which is all we desire, or a pure act of the creature contradistinct thereunto, which answers the first inquiry. Let it, then, be granted that the considerations intimated are no other but such as a rational man who is enlightened to an assent to the truth of God may so exert and exercise as he pleaseth; then is there a foundation laid of all the ground of perseverance that is allowed the saints in their own endeavors, as men without the assistance of any grace of God. Now, these considerations, be they what they will, must needs be beneath one single good thought, for as for that we have no sufficiency of ourselves; yea, vanity and nothing, for without Christ we can do nothing; yea, evil and displeasing to God, as are all the thoughts and imaginations of our hearts that are only such. ( Corinthians 3:5; John 15:5; Genesis 8:21.) I had supposed that no man in the least acquainted with what it is to serve God under temptations, and what the work of saving souls is, but had been sufficiently convinced of the utter insufficiency of such rational considerations, flowing only from conviction, to be a solid foundation of abiding with God unto the end. If men’s houses of profession are built on such sands as these, we need not wonder to see them so frequently falling to the ground.

    Secondly, Suppose these considerations to act their part upon the stage raised for them, to the greatest applause that can be expected or desired, yet that which comes next upon the theater will, I fear, foully miscarry, and spoil the whole plot of the play, — that is, “men’s vigorous inclination of their hearts to the good things pondered on to what height they please;” for besides that, — First, It is liable to the same examination that passed upon its associates before, or an inquiry from whence he comes, whether from heaven or men; upon which I doubt not but he may easily be discovered to be “a vagabond upon the earth,” to have no pass from heaven, and so be rendered liable to the law of God. Secondly, It would be inquired whether it hath a consistency with the whole design of the apostle, Romans 7. And therefore, — Thirdly, It is utterly denied that men, the best of men, have in themselves and of themselves, arising upon the account of any considerations whatsoever, a power, ability, or strength, vigorously or at all acceptably to God, to incline their hearts to the performance of any thing that is spiritually good, or in a gospel tendency to walking with God. All the promises of God, all the prayers of the saints, all their experience, the whole design of God in laying up all our stores of strength and grace in Christ, jointly cry out against it for a counterfeit pretense. In a word, that men are able to plant in themselves inclinations and dispositions to refrain all manner of sin destructive to the safety of their souls, fuller of energy, vigor, life, strength, power, than those that are in them to avoid things apparently tending to the destruction of their natural lives, is an assertion as full of energy, strength, and vigor, life, and poison, for the destruction and eversion of the grace of God in Christ, as any which can be invented.

    To shut up this discourse and to proceed: If these are the solid foundations of peace and consolation which the saints have concerning their perseverance; if these be the means “sufficient,” “abundantly sufficient,” afforded them for their preservation, that are laid in the balance, as to the giving of an evangelical, genuine assurance, with the decrees and purposes, the covenant, promises, and oath of God, the blood and intercession of Christ, the anointing and sealing of the Spirit of grace, — I suppose we need not care how soon we enter the lists with any as to the comparing of the doctrines under contest, in reference to their influence into the obedience and consolation of the saints; which with its issue, in the close of this discourse, shall, God willing, be put to the trial.

    Now, that I may lay a more clear foundation for what doth ensue, I shall briefly deduce not only the doctrine itself, but also the method wherein I shall handle it, from a portion of Scripture, in which the whole is summarily comprised, and branched forth into suitable heads, for the confirmation and vindication thereof. And this also is required to the main of my design, it being not so directly to convince stout gainsayers, in vanquishing their objections, as to strengthen weak believers, in helping them against temptations; and therefore I shall at the entrance hold out that whereinto their faith must be ultimately resolved, — the authority of God in his word being that ark alone whereon it can rest the sole of its foot. Now, this is the fourth chapter of Isaiah, of which take this short account: It is a chapter made up of gracious promises, given to the church in a calamitous season; the season itself is described, verses 25 and 26 of the third chapter, and the first of this, — all holding out a distressed estate, a low condition. It is, indeed, God’s method, to make out gracious promises to his people when their condition seems most deplorable, — to sweeten their souls with a sense of his love in the multitude of the perplexing thoughts which in distracted times are ready to tumultuate in them.

    The foundation of all the following promises lies in the second verse, even the giving out of the “Branch of theLORD” and the “Fruit of the earth” for beauty and glory to the remnant of Israel. Who it is who is the “Branch of theLORD “ the Scripture tells us in sundry places, Isaiah 11:1; Jeremiah 23:5, 33:15; Zechariah 3:8. The Lord Jesus Christ, the promise of whom is the church’s only supportment in every trial or distress it hath to undergo, he is this branch and fruit; and he is placed in the head here as the great fountain-mercy, from whence all others do flow. In those that follow, the persons to whom those promises are made, and the matter or substance of them, are observable. The persons have various appellations and deseriptions in this chapter. They are called (first) “The escaping of Israel,” verse 2; “They that are left in Zion,”verse 3; “Jerusalem” itself, verse 4; “The dwelling-places and assemblies of mount Zion,” verse 5. That the same individual persons are intended in all these several appellations is not questionable. It is but in reference to the several acts of God’s dwelling with them, and outgoings of his love and good-will, both eternal and temporal, towards them, that they come, under this variety of names and descriptions. First, In respect of his eternal designation of them to life and salvation, they are said to be “Written among the living,” or unto life “in Jerusalem; their names are in the Lamb’s book of life from the foundation of the, world, ( Revelation 3:12, 13:8; Luke 10:20.) and they are recorded in the purpose of God from all eternity. Secondly, In respect of their deliverance and actual redemption from the bondage of death and Satan, which for ever prevail upon. the greatest number of the sons of men, shadowed out by their deliverance from the Babylonish captivity (pointed at in this place), they are said to be “A remnant, an escaping, such as are left and remain in Jerusalem.’’( Revelation 5:9; Ephesians 5:25-27; Zechariah 3:2; John 17:9; Romans 8:33.)

    From the perishing lump of mankind God doth by Christ snatch a remnant (whom he will preserve), like a brand out of the fire. Thirdly, In respect of their enjoyment of God’s ordinances and word, and his presence with them therein, they are called “The daughter of Zion,” and “The dwelling-places thereof.’’ ( Psalm 48:11-14, <191601> 16:1-3, etc.; Jeremiah 50:5; Zechariah 8:2; John 12:15; <19B003> Psalm 110:3; Isaiah 49:14.) There did God make known his mind and will, and walked with his people in the beauties of holiness: these are they to whom these promises are made, the elect, redeemed, and called of God; or those who, being elected and redeemed, shall in their several generations be called, according to his purpose who worketh all things according to the counsel of his own will.

    For the matter of these promises, they may be reduced to these three heads: — first, Of justification, verse 2; secondly, Of sanctification, verses 3, 4; thirdly, Of perseverance, verses 5, 6. First, Of justification, Christ is made to them, or given unto them, for beauty and glory; which how it is done the Holy Ghost tells us: Isaiah 61:10, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,” saith the church. He puts upon poor deformed creatures the glorious robe of his own righteousness, to make us comely in his presence and the presence of his Father, Zechariah 3:3,4. Through him, his being given unto us, “made unto us of God righteousness,” becoming “the Lord our righteousness,” ( 1 Corinthians 1:30; Isaiah 54:17, 45:24, 25; Jeremiah 23:6; Romans 5:1, 8:1; Colossians 2:10.) do we find free acceptation, as beautiful and glorious, in the eyes of God. But this is not all. He doth not only adorn us without, but also wash us within. The apostle acquaints us that that was his design, Ephesians 5:25-27; and therefore you have, secondly, the promise of sanctification added, verses 3, 4. Verse 3, you have the thing itself: they “shall be called holy,” made so, — called so by him who “calleth things that are not as though they were,” and by that call gives them to be that which he calls them. He said, “Let there be light; and there was light,” Genesis 1:3. And then the manner how it becomes to be so, verse 4; first, setting out the efficient cause, “the Spirit of judgment, and the Spirit of burning,” — that is, of holiness and light; and, secondly, the way of his producing this great effect, “washing away filth and purging away blood.” Spiritual filth and blood is the defilement of sin; the Scripture, to set out its abomination, comparing it to the things of the greatest abhorrency to our nature, even as that is to the nature of God. ( Ezekiel 11:19; John 3:5; Romans 8:1; John 16:8-11; Psalm 38:5,7; Proverbs 13:5,6; Isaiah 1:5,6, 64:6; Ezekiel 16:4,5, 24:6; Hosea 8:8; Zechariah 13:1; Romans 3:13; 2 Peter 2:22.) And this is the second promise that in and by the “Branch of theLORD” is here made to them “who are written unto life in Jerusalem.’’ But now, lest any should suppose that both these are for a season only, that they are dying privileges, perishing mercies, jewels that may be lost, so that though the persons to whom these promises are made are once made glorious and comely, being in Christ freely accepted, yet they may again become odious in the sight of God and be utterly rejected, — that being once washed, purged, cleansed, they should yet return to wallow in the mire, and so become wholly defiled and abominable, — in the third place he gives a promise of perseverance, in the last two verses, and that expressed with allusion to the protection afforded unto the people of the Jews in the wilderness by a cloud and pillar of fire; which as they were created and instituted signs of the presence of God, so they gave assured protection, preservation, and direction, to the people in all their ways. The sum of the whole intendment of the Holy Ghost in these two verses seeming to be comprised in the last words of the fifth, and they being a suitable bottom unto the ensuing discourse, comprising, as they stand, in relation to the verses foregoing, the whole of my aim, with the way or method wherein it may conveniently be delivered, I shall a little insist upon them: “Upon all the glory shall be a defense.”

    The words are a gospel promise expressed in law terms, or a new testament mercy in old testament clothes: the subject of it is “All the glory;” and the thing promised is “A defense over it,” or upon it. By “The glory,” some take the people themselves to be intended, who are the glory of God, Isaiah 46:13, in whom he will be glorified, and who are said to be made glorious, chap. 4:2. But the pillar of fire and the cloud lead us another way. As the protection here promised must answer the protection given by them of old, so the glory here mentioned must answer that which was the glory of that people, when they had their preservation and direction from these signs of the presence of God in the midst of them. It is very true, the sign of God’s presence among them itself, and the protection received thereby, is sometimes called his “glory,” Ezekiel 10:4,18; but here it is plainly differenced from it, that being afterward called a “defense.” That which most frequently was called the “glory” in the ancient dispensation of God to his people was the ark. When this was taken by the Philistines, the wife of Phinehas calls her son I-chabod, and says, “The glory is departed from Israel,” 1 Samuel 4:21,22; which the Holy Ghost mentions again, Psalm 78:61, “And delivered his strength into captivity, and his glory into the enemy’s hand.” The tabernacle, or the tent wherein it was placed, is mentioned, verse 60, “He forsook the tabernacle of Shiloh, the tent which he placed among them;” and the people to whom it was given, verse 62, “He gave his people over also unto the sword;” — that ark being the glory and strength which went into captivity when he forsook the tabernacle, and gave his people to the sword. That this ark, the “glory” of old, was a type of Jesus Christ (besides the end and aim of its institution, with its use and place of its abode), appears from the mercyseat or plate of gold that was laid upon it; which Jesus Christ is expressly said to be, Romans 3:25,26, compared with Hebrews 9:5. It is he who is the “glory” here mentioned, not considered absolutely and in his own person, but as he is made “beauty and glory” unto his people, as he is made unto them righteousness and holiness, according to the tenor of the promises insisted on before. And this is indeed all the glory of the elect of God, ( Isaiah 14:25.) even the presence of Christ with them, as their justification and sanctification, their righteousness and holiness.

    The matter of the promise made in reference to this “glory” and them upon whom it doth abide is, that there “shall be a defense upon it.” The word translated here “A defense” comes from a root that is but once read in Scripture, ( Deuteronomy 33:12,) where it is rendered to cover: “The\parLORD shall cover him all the day long.” So it properly signifies. From a covering to a protection or a defense is an easy metaphor, a covering being given for that end and purpose. And this is the native signification of the word “protego,” “to defend by covering;” as Abimelech called Abraham “the covering of Sarah’s eyes,” or a protection to her, Genesis 20:16.

    The allusion also of a shade, which in Scripture is so often taken for a defense, ( Psalm 17:8, 36:7, <195701> 57:1, 58:7, 121:5; Isaiah 30:2, 49:2; Ezekiel 31:6, etc.) ariseth from hence. This word itself is used twice more, and in both places signifies a bride-chamber, Psalm 19:5, Joel 2:16, from the peace, covert, and protection of such a place. The name of the mercy-seat is also of the same root with this. In this place it is, by common consent, rendered “A defense” or protection, being so used either by allusion to that refreshment that the Lord Christ, the great bridegroom, gives to his bride in his banqueting-house, ( Song of Solomon 2:4.) or rather in pursuit of the former similitude of the cloud that was over the tabernacle and the ark, which represented the glory of that people. Thus, this “defense” or covering is said to be “upon” or above the “glory,” as the cloud was over the tabernacle, and as the mercy-seat lay upon the ark. Add only this much to what hath been spoken (which is also affirmed in the beginning of the verse), namely, that this defense is “created,” or is an immediate product of the mighty power of God, not requiring unto it the least concurrence of creature power, and the whole will manifest the intendment of the Lord everlastingly to safeguard the spiritual glories of his saints in Christ.

    As was ‘before shown, there are two parts of our spiritual glory, the one purely extrinsical, to wit, the love and favor of God unto us, his free and gracious acceptation of us in Christ. On this part of our glory there is this defense created, that it shall abide for ever, it shall never be removed. His own glory and excellencies are engaged for the preservation of this excellency and glory of his people. This sun, though it may be for a while eclipsed, yet shall never set, nor give place to an evening that shall make long the shade thereof; whom God once freely accepts in Christ, he will never turn away his love from them, nor cast them utterly out of his favor.

    The other is within us, and that is our sanctification, our portion from God by the Spirit of holiness, and the fruits thereof, in our faith, love, and obedience unto him. And on this part of our glory there is this defence, that this Spirit shall never utterly be dislodged from that soul wherein he makes his residence, nor resign his habitation to the spirit of the world, — that his fruit shall never so decay as that the fruits of Sodom and the grapes of Gomorrah should grow in their room, nor they wherein they are everlastingly, utterly, and wickedly, grow barren in departing from the living God. These two make up their perseverance whereof we speak.

    Whom God accepts in Christ, he will continue to do so for ever; whom he quickens to walk with him, they shall do it to the end. And these three things, acceptance with God, holiness from God, and a defense upon them both unto the end, all free and in Christ, are that threefold cord of the covenant of grace which cannot be broken.

    In the handling, then, of the doctrine proposed unto consideration, I shall, the Lord assisting, show, — First, That the love and favor of God, as to the free acceptation of believers with him in Christ, is constant, abiding, and shall never be turned away; handling at large the principles both of its being and manifestation.

    Secondly, That the Spirit and grace of sanctification, which they freely receive from him, shall never utterly be extinguished in them, but so remain as that they shall abide with him for ever; the sophistical separation of which two parts of our doctrine is the greatest advantage our adversaries have against the whole. And [I shall] demonstrate, — Thirdly, The real and causal influences which this truth hath into the obedience and consolation of the saints, considered both absolutely, and compared with the doctrine which is set up in competition with it.

    In the pursuit of which particulars I shall endeavor to enforce and press those places of Scripture wherein they are abundantly delivered, and vindicate them from all the exceptions put in to our inferences from them by Mr. Goodwin in his “Redemption Redeemed;” as also answer all the arguments which he hath, with much labor and industry, collected and improved in opposition to the truth in hand. Take, then, only these few previous observations, and I shall insist fully upon the proof and demonstration of the first position, concerning the unchangeableness of the love of God towards his, to whom he gives Jesus Christ for beauty and glory, and freely accepts them in him: — First, As to their inherent holiness, the question is not concerning acts, either as to their vigor, which may be abated, or as to their frequency, which may be interrupted; but only as to the spirit and habit of it, which shall never depart. We do not say they cannot. sin, fall into many sins, great sins, which the Scripture plainly affirms of all the saints that went before, (and who of them living doth not this day labor under the truth of it?) but through the presence of God with them, upon such grounds and principles as shall afterward be insisted on, they cannot, shall not, sin away the Spirit and habit of grace (which without a miracle cannot be done away by any one act, and God will not work miracles for the destruction of his children), so as to fall into that state wherein they were before they were regenerated, and of the children of God become children of the devil, tasting of the second death after they have been made partakers of the first resurrection, Revelation 20:6. ( Revelation 2:5, 3:2; Isaiah 57:17,18; Hosea 14:4; Isaiah 59:21; John 14:16; 1 John 3:9, 1:8; James 3:2; 1 Kings 8:38; Isaiah 64:5,6.)

    Secondly, The question is not about the decay of any grace, but the loss of all, not about sickness and weakness, but about death itself; which alone we say they shall be preserved from. Neither do we say that believers are endowed with any such rich and plentiful stock of grace as that they may spend upon it without new supplies all their days; but grant that they stand in continual need of the renewed communication of that grace which hath its abode and residence in their souls, and of that actual assistance whereby any thing that is truly and spiritually good is wrought in them. ( Psalm 23:6; Isaiah 35:1,2, etc.; John 15:3-7; Romans 11:18; John 1:16; Colossians 2:19; Luke 17:5; Philippians 2:13.)

    Thirdly, Whereas there is a twofold impossibility, — first, that which is absolutely and simply so in its own nature, and, secondly, that which is so only upon some supposition, — we say the total falling away of the saints is impossible only in this latter sense, the unchangeable decree and purpose of God, his faithful promises and oath, the mediation of the Lord Jesus, being in the assertion supposed. And, — Fourthly, whereas we affirm they shall assuredly continue unto the end, the certainty and assurance intimated is not mentis but entis, not subjective but objective, not always in the person persevering, but always relating to the thing itself. ( Isaiah 49:14-16; 65:17; Song of Solomon 5:2, 6; Psalm 73:26.)

    Fifthly, That the three things formerly mentioned, acceptance with God, holiness from God, and the defense upon them both unto the end, are that threefold cord of the covenant which cannot be broken. This will appear by comparing these two eminent places together, which afterward must more fully be insisted on, Jeremiah 31:33,34, 32:38-40. In general, God undertakes to be “their God,” and that they shall be “his people,” chap. 31:33, 32:38. And this he manifests in three things: — First, That he will accept them freely, give them to find great favor before him, in the forgiveness of their sins; for which alone he hath any quarrel with them: “I will,” saith he, “forgive their iniquity, and remember their sin no more,” Jeremiah 31:34; as it is again repeated Hebrews 8:12. Secondly, That they shall have sanctification and holiness from him: “I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts,” Jeremiah 31:33; “I will put my fear in their hearts,” Jeremiah 32:40; which Ezekiel 36:27 calls the “putting his Spirit in them,” who is the author of that grace and holiness which he doth bestow. Thirdly, That in both these there shall be a continuance for ever: Jeremiah 32:40, “I will not turn away from them to do them good, but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me;” or, as verse 39, “They shall fear me for ever;” which distinguisheth this covenant from the former made with their fathers, in that that was broken, which this shall never be, chap. 31:32. This is the crowning mercy, that renders both the others glorious: — as to acceptation, he will not depart from us; as to sanctification, we shall not depart from him.

    CHAPTER 2.

    THE PERSEVERANCE OF THE SAINTS ARGUED FROM THE IMMUTABILITY OF THE DIVINE NATURE. The thesis proposed for confirmation — The fivefold foundation of the truth thereof — Of the unchangeableness of the nature of God, and the influence thereof into the confirmation of the truth in handMalachi 3:6, considered and explained — James 1:16-18 opened — Romans 11:29 explained and vindicated. — The conditions on which grace is asserted to be bestowed and continued, discussed — The vanity of them evinced in sundry instances — Of vocation, justification, and sanctification — Isaiah 40:27-31 opened and improved to the end aimed at; also <234401>Isaiah 44:1-8 — The sum of the first argument — Malachi 3:6, with the whole argument from the immutability of God at large vindicated — Falsely proposed by Mr. G.; set right and re-enforced — Exceptions removed — Sophistical comparisons exploded — Distinct dispensations, according to distinction of a people — Alteration and change properly and directly assigned to God by Mr. G. — The theme in question begged by him — Legal approbation of duties and conditional acceptation of persons confounded; as also God’s command and purpose — The unchangeableness of God’s decrees granted to be intended in Malachi 3:6 — The decree directly in that place intended — The decree of sending Christ not immutable, upon Mr. G.’s principles — The close of the vindication of this first argument. THE certain, infallible continuance of the love and favor of God unto the end towards his, those whom he hath once freely accepted in Jesus Christ, notwithstanding the interposition of any such supposals as may truly be made, having foundation in the things themselves, being the first thing proposed, comes now to be demonstrated.

    Now, the foundation of this the Scripture lays upon five unchangeable, things, which eminently have an influence into the truth thereof: first, Of the Nature; secondly, The Purposes; thirdly, The Covenant; fourthly, The Promises; fifthly, The Oath of God; — every one whereof being engaged herein, the Lord makes use of to manifest the unchangeableness of his love towards those whom he hath once graciously accepted in Christ.

    First, he hath laid the shoulders of the unchangeableness of his own nature to this work: Malachi 3:6, “I am theLORD, I change not: therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” These “sons of Jacob” are the sons of the faith of Jacob, the Israel of God, not all the seed of Jacob according to the flesh. ( Romans 9:6, 11:4-6.) The Holy Ghost in this prophecy makes an eminent distinction between these two, chap., 3:16, 17, <4504401> 4:1, 2. The beginning of this chapter contains a most evident and clear prediction and prophecy of the bringing in of the kingdom of Christ in the gospel, wherein he was to purge his floor, and throw out the chaff to be burned, Matthew 3:12. This his appearance makes great work in the visible church of the Jews. Very many of those who looked and waited for that coming of his are cut off and cast out, as persons that have neither lot nor portion in the mercy wherewith it is attended. ( Isaiah 49:3-6; Luke 2:34; Romans 9:30,31.) Though they said within themselves that they had Abraham to their father, and were the children and posterity of Jacob, yet, Malachi 3:5, to them who are only the carnal seed, and do also walk in the ways of the flesh, he threatens a sore revenge and swift destruction, when others shall be invested with all the eminent mercies which the Lord Christ brings along with him. Lest the true sons of Jacob should be terrified with the dread of the approaching day, and say, as David did when the Lord made a breach upon Uzzah, “Who can stand before so holy a God? shall not we also in the issue be consumed?” he discovereth to them the foundation of their preservation to the end, even the unchangeableness of his own nature and being, whereunto his love to them is conformed; plainly intimating that unless himself and his everlasting deity be subject and liable to alteration and change (which once to imagine were, what lieth in us, to cast him down from his excellency), it could not be that they should be cast off for ever and consumed. These are the tribes of Jacob and the preserved of Israel, which Jesus Christ was sent to raise up, Isaiah 49:6; the house of Jacob, which he takes from the womb, and carries unto old age, unto hoary hairs, and forsaketh not, chap. 46:3, 4.

    This is confirmed, James 1:16-18, “Do not err, my beloved brethren.

    Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth.” He begets us of his own will by the word of truth; for whatsoever men do pretend, we are born again, “not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God,” John 1:13. “Now herein,” saith the apostle, “we do receive from him good and perfect gifts, — gifts distinguished from the common endowments of others.” Yea, but they are failing ones perhaps, such as may flourish for a season, and be but children of a night, like Jonah’s gourd. Though God hath begotten us of his own will, and bestowed good and perfect gifts upon us, yet he may cast us off for ever. “Do not err, my beloved brethren,” saith the apostle; “these things come from the ‘Father of lights.’ God himself is the fountain of all lights of grace which we have received; and with him ‘there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning,’ — not the least appearance of any change or alteration.” And if the apostle did not in this place argue from the immutability of the divine nature to the unchangeableness of his love towards those whom he hath begotten and bestowed such light and grace upon, there were no just reason of mentioning that attribute and property there.

    Hence, Romans 11:29, the “gifts and calling of God” are said to be “without repentance.” The gifts of his effectual calling (e[n dia< duoi~n ) shall never be repented of. They are from Him with whom there is no change.

    The words are added by the apostle to give assurance of the certain accomplishment of the purpose of God towards the remnant of the Jews according to the election of grace. What the principal mercies were that were in God’s intendment to them, and whereof by their effectual calling they shall be made partakers, he tells us, verses 26, 27: the Deliverer or Redeemer, which comes out of Sion, shall, according to the covenant of grace, turn them from ungodliness, the Lord taking away their sins.

    Sanctification and justification by Christ, the two main branches of the new covenant ( Jeremiah 31:31-34, 32:38-40; Ezekiel 36:25-28; Hebrews 8:8-12, 10:16, 17), do make up the mercy purposed for them. The certainty of the collation of this mercy upon them, notwithstanding the interposition of any present obstruction (amongst which their enmity to the gospel was most eminent, and lay ready to be objected), the apostle argueth from the unchangeableness of the love of election, wherewith the Lord embraced them from eternity: “As touching the election, they are beloved.” And farther to manifest on that account the fulfilling of what he is in the proof and demonstration of, — namely, that though the major part of “Israel according to the flesh” were rejected, yet that the “election should obtain, and all Israel be saved,” — he tells them that that calling of God, whereby he will make out to them those eternally- designed mercies, shall not be repented of; eminently in that assertion distinguishing the grace whereof he speaks from all such common gifts and such outward dispensations as might be subject to a removal from them on whom they are bestowed. And if, upon any supposition or consideration imaginable, the mercies mentioned may be taken away, the assertion comes very short of the proof of that for which it is produced.

    Against this plain expression of the apostle, that “the gifts and calling of God are without repentance,” Mr. Goodwin puts in sundry exceptions, to weaken the testimony it bears in this case, chap, 8, sect. 57; which because they have been already sufficiently evinced of weakness, falsehood, and impertinency, by his learned antagonist, I shall only take up that which he mainly insists upon, and farther manifest its utter uselessness for the end for which it is produced. Thus, then, he pleads: “The ‘gifts and calling of God’ may be said to be ‘without repentance,’ because, let men continue the same persons which they were when the donation or collation of any gift was first made by God unto them, he never changes or altereth his dispensations towards them, unless it be for the better, or in order to their farther good; in which case he cannot be said to repent of what he had given. But in case men shall change and alter from what they were when God first dealt graciously with them, especially if they shall notoriously degenerate or cast away the principles, or divest themselves of that very qualification on which, as it were, God grafted his benefit or gift; in this case, though he recall his gift, he cannot be said to repent of his giving it, because the terms on which he gave it please him still, only the persons to whom he gave it, and who pleased him when he gave it them, have now tendered themselves unpleasing to him.”

    Two things are here asserted: — 1. That if men continue the same, or in the same state and condition wherein they were when God bestowed his gifts and graces upon them, then God never changeth nor altereth, — his dispensations towards them abide the same. 2. That there are certain qualifications in men upon which God grafts his grace; which whilst they abide, his gifts and graces abide upon them also, and therefore are said to be ‘without repentance;’ but if they are lost, God recalls his gifts, and that without any change. Let us a little consider both these assertions.

    And, first, It being evident that it is spiritual grace and mercy of which the apostle speaks, as was manifested, for they are such as flow from the covenant of the Redeemer, Romans 11:26,27, sanctification and justification being particularly mentioned, let us consider what is the condition of men when God invests them with these mercies, that we may be able to instruct them how to abide in that condition, and so make good the possession of the grace and mercy bestowed on them. And, to keep close to the text, let our instance be in the three eminent mercies of the gospel intimated in that place: 1. Vocation; 2. Sanctification; 3. Justification.

    The gift and grace of vocation is confessedly here intended, being expressly mentioned in the words, hJ klh~siv tou~ Qeou~ , that “calling” which is an effect of the covenant of grace, verse 29. Consider we, then, what is the state of men when God first calls them and gives them this gift and favor, that, if it seem so good, we may exhort them to a continuance therein.

    Now, this state, with the qualifications of it, is a state, — 1. Of death: John 5:25, “The dead hear the voice of the Son of God.”

    Christ speaks to them who are dead, and so they live. ( Isaiah 65:1; Romans 9:25; Hosea 2:23; 1 Peter 2:10; Ephesians 2:12.) 2. Of darkness, Acts 26:18; “God calleth them out of darkness into his marvellous light,” 1 Peter 2:9, — a state of ignorance and alienation from God, Ephesians 4:18. The grace of vocation, or effectual calling, finding men in a state of enmity to God and alienation from him, if they may be prevailed withal to continue in such still, this gift shall never be recalled nor repented of!

    But perhaps the gift and grace of sanctification finds men in a better condition, in a state wherein if they abide then that also shall abide with them for ever. The Scripture so abounds in the description of this state that we shall not need to hesitate about it: Ephesians 2:1,2, “You hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins.” Quickening and renewing grace is given to persons dead in sins, and is so far from depending as to its unchangeableness upon their continuance in the state wherein it finds them, that it consists in a real change and translation of them from that state or condition. The apostle sets out this at large, Titus 3:3-5, “We ourselves were sometimes foolish,” etc. The state of men when God bestows these gifts upon them is positively expressed in sundry particulars, verse 3; the qualifications on which this gift or grace is grafted (of which Mr. Goodwin speaks afterward), negatively, verse 5. It is not on any work that we have done; which is unquestionably exclusive of all those stocks of qualifications which are intimated, whereon the gifts and graces of God should be grafted. The gift itself here bestowed is the “washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,” saving us through “mercy” from the state and condition before described. In brief, that the condition wherein this grace of God finds the sons of men is a state of death, ( Matthew 8:22; Romans 6:13; Colossians 2:13.) blood, ( Ezekiel 16:6; Isaiah 4:4; Job 14:4; John 3:6.) darkness, blindness, ( John 1:5; Ephesians 5:8; Colossians 1:13; Luke 4:18.) enmity, curse, and wrath, disobedience, rebellion, impotency, and universal alienation from God, ( Romans 8:6-8, 5:10; Colossians 1:21; Galatians 3:13; John 3:35.) is beyond all contradiction (by testimonies plentifully given out, here a little and there a little, line upon line) manifest in the Scripture. Shall we now say that this grace of God is bestowed on men upon the account of these qualifications, and continued without revocation on condition that they abide in the same state, with the same qualifications? Let, then, men continue in sin, that grace may abound!

    Is the case any other as to justification? Doth not God justify the ungodly? Romans 4:5. Are we not in filthy robes when he comes to clothe us with robes of righteousness? Zechariah 3:3. Are we not reconciled to God when alienated by wicked works? Colossians 1:21.

    These are the qualifications on which, it seems, God grafts his gifts and graces, and whoso abode in the persons in whom they are is the condition whereon the irrevocableness of those gifts and graces does depend. Who would have thought they had been of such reckoning and esteem with the Lord! And this, considering what is learnedly discoursed elsewhere, may suffice.

    As to the other assertion, that God gives his gifts and graces to qualifications, not to persons: Those qualifications are either gifts of God or not. If not, who made those men in whom they are differ from others? 1 Corinthians 4:7. If they are, on what qualifications were those qualifications bestowed? That God freely bestows on persons, of his own good pleasure, not grafting on qualifications, his gifts and graces, we have testimonies abundantly sufficient to outbalance Mr. Goodwin’s assertion: Romans 9:58, “He hath mercy on whom he will have mercy.” He bestows his mercy and the fruits of it, not on this or that qualification, but on whom or what persons he will; and “to them it is given,” saith our Savior, “to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God, but to others it is not given.” I see no stock that his gift is grafted on but only the persons of God’s good-will, whom he graciously designs to a participation of it.

    Truth is, I know not any thing more directly contradictory to the whole discovery of the work of God’s grace in the gospel than that which is couched in these assertions of Mr. Goodwin; neither is it any thing less or more than that which of old was phrased, “The giving of grace according to merit,” ascribing the primitive discriminating of persons as to spiritual grace unto self-endeavors, casting to the ground the free, distinguishing good pleasure of God, and that graciousness of every gift of his (I speak as to the first issue of his love, in quickening, renewing, pardoning grace) which eminently consists in this, that he is found of them that seek him not, and hath mercy on whom he will, because so it seemeth good to him.

    Not to digress farther, in the discovery of the unsatisfactoriness of this pretense, from the pursuit of the argument in hand: Because God’s gifts are not repented of, therefore do men continue, not in the condition wherein they find them, but wherein they place them; and all qualifications in men whatever that are in the least acceptable to God are so far from being stocks whereon God grafts his gifts and graces, that they are plants themselves which he plants in whomsoever he pleaseth. Yea, the tree is made good before it bear any good fruit, and the branch is implanted into the true olive before it receive the sap or juice of any one good qualification. The sum of Mr. Goodwin’s answer amounts to this: Let men be steadfast in a good condition, and God’s gifts shall steadfastly abide with them; if they change, they also shall be revoked; — which is directly opposite to the plain intendment of the place, namely, that the steadfastness of men depends upon the irrevocableness of God’s grace, and not e contra.

    There is not, in his sense, the least intimation in these words of the permanency of any gift or grace of God with any one on whom it is bestowed, for a day, an hour, or a moment; but, notwithstanding this testimony of the Holy Ghost, they may be given one hour, and taken away the next, — they may flourish in a man in the morning, and in the evening be cut down, dried up, and withered. This is not to answer the arguings of men, but positively to deny what God affirms. To conclude: God gives not his gifts to men (I mean those mentioned) because they please him, but because it pleaseth him so to do, Jeremiah 31:31,32; he does not take them away because they displease him, but gives them so to abide with them that they shall never displease him to the height of such a provocation; neither are the gifts of God otherwise to be repented of than by taking them from the persons on whom they are bestowed. But this heap being removed, we may proceed.

    Furthermore, then, in sundry places doth the Lord propose this for the consolation of his, and to assure them that there shall never be an everlasting separation between him and them; which shall be farther cleared by particular instances. Things or truths proposed for consolation are, of all others, most clearly exalted above exception; without which they were no way suitable (considering the promptness of our unbelieving hearts to rise up against the work of God’s grace and mercy) to compass the end for which they are proposed. Isaiah 40:27-31, “Why sayest thou, O Jacob, and speakest, O Israel, My way is hid from theLORD, and my judgment is passed over from my God? Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, that the everlasting God, theLORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth, fainteth not, neither is weary? there is no searching of his understanding. He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: but they that wait upon theLORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

    Verse 27, Jacob and Israel make a double complaint, both parts of it manifesting some fear or dread of separation from God; for though in general it could not be so, yet in particular believers under temptation may question their own condition, with their right unto and interest in all the things whereby their state and glory is safeguarded. “My way,” say they, “is hid from theLORD;” — “The Lord takes no more notice, sets his heart no more upon my way, my walking, but lets me go and pass on as a stranger to him.” And farther, “My judgment is passed over from my God;” — “Mine enemies prevail, lusts and corruptions are strong, and God doth not appear in my behalf; judgment is not executed on them, and what will be the issue of this my sad estate?” What the Lord proposeth and holdeth out unto them, for their establishment, in this condition, and to assure them that what they feared should not come upon them, he ushers in by an effectual expostulation: Verse 28, “Hast thou not known?” — “Hast thou not found it true by experience?” “Hast thou not heard?” — “Hast not thou been taught it by the saints that went before thee?” What it is he would have them take notice of, and which he so pathetically insinuates into their understandings and affections, for their establishment, is an exurgency of that description of himself which he gives, verse 28: from his eternity , — He is “the everlasting God;” from his power, — He is “the Creator of the ends of the earth;” from his unchangeableness, — “He fainteth not,” he waxeth not weary, and therefore there is no reason he should relinquish or give over any design that he hath undertaken, especially considering that he lays all his purposes in that whereby he describes himself in the last place, even his wisdom, — “There is no end of his understanding.” He establisheth, I say, their faith upon this fourfold description of himself, or revelation of these four attributes of his nature, as engaged for the effecting of that which he encourageth them to expect. “Who is it, O Jacob, with whom thou hast to do, that thou shouldst fear or complain that thou art rejected? He is eternal, almighty, unchangeable, infinitely wise; and if he be engaged in any way of doing thee good, who can turn him aside, that he should not accomplish all his pleasure towards thee? He will work; who shall let him?” It must be either want of wisdom and foresight to lay a design, or want of power to execute it, that exposeth any one to variableness in any undertaking. Therefore, that they may see how unlikely, how impossible a thing it is that “their way should be hid from theLORD,” and “their judgment passed over from their God,” he acquaints them who and what he is who hath undertaken to the contrary. But, alas! they are poor, faint creatures: they have no might, no strength to walk with God; unstable as water, they cannot excel; it is impossible they should hold out in the way wherein they are engaged unto the end. To obviate or remove such fears and misgiving thoughts, he lets them know, verse 29, that though they have, or may have, many decays (for they often faint, they often fail, whereof we have examples and complaints in the Scripture, made lively by our own experience), yet from him they shall have supplies to preserve them from that which they fear. He is eternal, almighty, unchangeable, and infinitely wise; he will give out power and increase strength when they faint and in themselves have no might at all. The Lord doth not propose himself under all these considerations to let them know what he is in himself only, but also that he will exert (and act suitably to) these properties in dealing with them, and making out supplies unto them, notwithstanding all their misgiving thoughts, which arise from the consideration of their own faintings and total want of might. Though in themselves they are weak and faint, yet their springs are in him, and their supplies from him, who is such as he hath here described himself to be.

    Hereupon, also, he anticipates an objection, by way of concession: Verse 30, “Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall.” Men that seem to have a great stock of strength and ability may yet fail and perish utterly; — an objection which, as I formerly observed, these days have given great force unto. We see many who seem to have the vigor of youth and the strength of young men in the ways of God, that have tainted in their course and utterly failed; they began to run well, but lay down almost at the entrance. “And be it so,” saith the Lord; “it shall so come to pass indeed. Many that go out in their own strength shall so fall and come to nothing: but what is that to thee, O Jacob, my chosen, thou that waitest upon the Lord? The unchangeable God will so make out strength to thee, that thou shalt never utterly faint, nor give over, but abide flying, running, walking, with speed, strength, and steadfastness, unto the end,” verse 31. That expression, “They that wait upon theLORD,” is a description of the persons to whom the premise is made, and not a condition of the promise itself. It is not, “If they wait upon theLORD,” but “They that wait upon theLORD.” If it were a condition of this promise, there were nothing promised; it is only said, “If they wait on theLORD, they shall wait on theLORD.” But of the vanity of such conditionals I shall speak afterward.

    A scripture of the like importance you have, Isaiah 44:1-8, “Yet now hear, O Jacob my servant; and Israel, whom I have chosen: Thus saith theLORD that made thee, and formed thee from the womb, which will help thee; Fear not, O Jacob, my servant; and thou, Jesurun, whom I have chosen. For I will pour water upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry ground: I will pour my Spirit upon thy seed, and my blessing upon thine offspring: and they shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the watercourses. One shall say, I am theLORD’s; and another shall call himself by the name of Jacob; and another shall subscribe with his hand unto the\parLORD, and surname himself by the name of Israel. Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his Redeemer theLORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God,” etc.

    I shall not need to insist long on the opening of these words: the general design of them is to give consolation and assurance unto Israel, from the eternity, unchangeableness, and absoluteness of God, with some peculiar references to the second person, the Redeemer, who is described, Revelation 1:8, with the titles, for the substance of them, whereby the\parLORD here holds out his own excellency. I shall only observe some few things from the words, for the illustration of the truth we have in hand, contained in them.

    The state and condition wherein Jacob, Israel, Jesurun (several titles upon several accounts given to believers), are described to be, is twofold: — First, Of fear and disconsolation, as is intimated in the redoubled prohibition of that frame in them: Verse 2, “Fear not;” and verse 2, “Fear ye not, neither be afraid.” Some temptation to farther distance or separation from God (the only thing to be feared) was fallen upon them.

    This they are frequently exercised withal; it is the greatest and most pressing temptation whereunto they are liable and exposed. To conclude because some believers in hypothesi may, under temptation, fear their own separation from God, therefore believers in thesi may be forsaken, yea, that unless this be true the other could not befall them, may pass for the arguing of men who are unacquainted with that variety of temptations, spiritual motions and commotions, which believers are exercised withal This, I say, is the first part of that state wherein they are supposed to be; a condition of the greatest difficulty in the world for the receiving of satisfaction.

    Secondly, Of barrenness, unprofitableness, and withering; which seems, and that justly, to be the cause of their fear: Verse 3, they are as the “thirsty,” and as the “dry ground,” parched in itself, fruitless to its owners, withering in their own souls, and bringing forth no fruit to God. A sad condition on both hands. Within they find decays, they find no active principles of bringing forth fruit unto God; and without desertion, fears at least that they are forsaken. Upon this ye have the foundation that the Lord lays for the refreshment of their spirits in this condition, and reducing of them into an established assurance of the continuance of his love; and that is his free, gracious election and choosing of them: “Thou art Jacob whom I have chosen, Jesurun whom I have chosen,” verses 1, 2, even from eternity; when he “appointed the ancient people, and the things that are coming and shall come,” verse 7; when he purposed mercy for the fathers of old, whom long since he had brought upon that account unto himself.

    This is the “foundation” of doing them good, which “standeth sure;” as the apostle makes use of it to the same purpose, 2 Timothy 2:19. This foundation being laid, Isaiah 44:3, he gives them a twofold promise, suited to the double state wherein they were: — First, For the removal of their drought and barrenness, he will give them “waters’’ and “floods” for the taking of it away; which in the following words he interpreteth of the “Spirit,” as likewise doth the apostle John, John 7:38,39. He is the great soul-refresher; in him are all our springs. Saith the Lord, then, “Fear not, ye poor thirsty souls; ye shall have him as a flood, in great abundance, until all his fruits be brought forth in you.” Secondly, For the removal of the other evil, or fears of desertion and casting off, he minds them of his covenant, or the blessing of their offspring, of them and their seed, acording to his promise when he undertook to be their God, Genesis 17:7. And then, Thirdly, There is a twofold issue of God’s thus dealing with them: — First, Of real fruitfulness: Isaiah 44:4, “They shall be as grass” under perpetual showers, which cannot possibly wither and decay, or dry away, “and as trees planted by the rivers of water, that bring forth their fruit in their season, whose leaf doth not wither,” Psalm 1:3. Secondly, Of zealous profession and owning of God, with the engagement of their hearts and hands unto him, which you have in Isaiah 44:5.

    Every one for himself shall give up himself to the Lord, in the most solemn engagement and professed subjection that is possible. They shall “say,” and “subscribe,” and “surname” themselves, by names and terms of faith and obedience, to follow the Lord in the faith of Jacob or Israel, in the inheritance of the promises which were made to him.

    But now what assurance is there that this happy beginning shall be carried on to perfection, that this kindness of God to them shall abide to the end, and that there shall not be a separation between him and his chosen Israel?

    In the faith hereof the Lord confirms them by that revelation which he makes of himself and his properties, verses 6-8. First, in his sovereignty, he is the “King.” What shall obstruct him? hath not he power to dispose of all things? He is the “LORD and King;” he will work, and who shall let him?

    But hath he kindness and tenderness to carry him out hereunto? Therefore, secondly, he is their “Redeemer;” and do but consider what he doth for the glory of that title, and what the work of redemption stood him in, and ye will not fear as to this nor be afraid. And all this he, thirdly, closeth with his eternity and unchangeableness. He is “the first, and he is the last, and beside him there is no God,” — the first, that chose them from eternity; and the last, that will preserve them to the end; and still the same, — he altereth not. I shall not add more instances in this kind. That the Lord often establisheth his saints in the assurance of the unchangeableness of his love towards them from the immutability of his own nature is very evident.

    Thence comparing himself and his love with a tender mother and her love, he affirms that hers may be altered, but his shall admit of “no variableness, neither shadow of turning,” Isaiah 49:14-16 To wind up this discourse, the sum of this first part of our first scriptural demonstration of the truth under debate amounts to this argument: That which God affirms shall be certainly and infallibly fulfilled upon the account of the immutability of his own nature, and encourageth men to expect it as certainly to be fulfilled as he is unchangeable; that shall infallibly, notwithstanding all oppositions and difficulties, be wrought and perfected.

    Now, that such, and so surely bottomed is the continuance of the love of God unto his saints, and so would he have them to expect, etc., hath been proved by an induction of many particular instances, wherein those engagements from the immutability of God are fully expressed.

    One of these testimonies, even that mentioned in the first place, Malachi 3:6, from whence this argument doth arise, is proposed to be considered and answered by Mr. Goodwin, chap. 10 sect. 40, 41, pp. 203-207. A brief removal of his exceptions to our inference from hence will leave the whole to its native vigor, and the truth therein contained to its own steadfastness in the hand and power of that demonstration. Thus, then, he proposeth that place of the prophet and our argument from thence, whereunto be shapes his answer: “For the words of Malachi, ‘I am theLORD, I change not,’ from which it is wont to be argued that when God once loves a person, he never ceaseth to love him, because this must needs argue a changeableness in him in respect of his affection, and consequently the saints cannot fall away finally from his grace,’ etc. So he.

    Ans. It is an easy thing so to frame the argument of an adversary as to contribute more to the weakening of it in its proposing than in the answer afterward given thereunto; and that it is no strange thing with Mr. Goodwin to make use of this advantage in his disputations in this book is discerned and complained of by all not engaged in the same contest with himself. That he hath dealt no otherwise with us in the place under consideration, the ensuing observations will clearly manifest: — First, all the strength, that Mr. Goodwln will allow to this argument ariseth from a naked consideration of the immutability of God as it is an essential property of his nature, when our arguing is from his engagement to us by and on the account of that property. That God will do such and such a thing because he is omnipotent, though he shall not, at all manifest any purpose of his will to lay forth his omnipotency for the accomplishment of it, is an inference all whose strength is vain presumption; but when God hath engaged himself for the performance of any thing, thence to conclude to the certain accomplishment of it, from his power whereby he is able to do it, is a deduction that faith will readily close withal. So the apostle assures us of the re-implanting of the Jews upon this account. “God,” saith he, “is able to plant them in again,” having promised so to do, Romans 11:23. There are two considerations upon which the unchangeableness of God hath a more effectual influence into the continuance of his love to his saints than the mere objected thought of it will lead us to an acquaintance withal: — First, God proposeth his immutability to the faith of the saints for their establishment and consolation, in this very case of the stability of his love unto them. We dare not draw conclusions in reference to ourselves from any property of God, but only upon the account of the revelation which he hath made thereof unto us for that end and purpose; but this being done, we have a sure anchor, firm and steadfast, to fix us against all blasts of temptation or opposition whatsoever. When God proposes his immutability or unchangeableness to assure us of the continuance of his love unto us, if we might truly apprehend, yea, and ought so to do, that his changeableness may be preserved, and himself vindicated from least shadow of turning, though he should change his mind, thoughts, love, purposes, concerning us every day, what conclusion for consolation could possibly arise from such proposal of God’s immutability unto us? yea, would it not rather appear to be a way suited to the delusion of poor souls, that when they shall think they have a solid pillar, no less than an essential property of the nature of God, to rest upon, they shall find themselves leaning on a cloud, or shadow, or on a broken reed that will run into their hands, instead of yielding them the least supportment? God deals not thus with his saints.

    His discoveries of himself in Christ for the establishment of the hearts of his are not such flints as from whence the most skillful and exercised faith cannot expect one drop of consolation. Whatsoever of his name he holds out to the sons of men, it will be a strong tower and place of refuge and safety to them that fly unto it.

    Secondly, The consideration of that love in its continuance, wherein the Lord settles and puts out of doubt the souls of his, by the engagement of his unchangeableness, or the calling of them to the consideration of that property in him from whom that love doth flow, adds strength also to the way of arguing we insist upon. Were the lore of God to his nothing but the declaration of his approbation of such and such things, annexed to the law and rule of obedience (it might stand firm like a pillar in a river, though the water be not thereby caused to stand still one moment, but only touch it, and so pass on), there were some color of exception to be laid against it.

    And this is, indeed, the prw~ton yeu~dov of Mr. Goodwin in this whole controversy, that he acknowledgeth no other love of God to believers but what lies in the outward approbation of what is good, and men’s doing it; upon which account there is no more love in God to one than another, to the choicest saint than to the most profligate villain in the world. Nay, it is not any love at all, properly so called, being no internal, vital act of God’s will, the seat of his love, but an external declaration of the issue of our obedience. The declaration of God’s will, that he approves faith and obedience, is no more love to Peter than it is to Judas. But let now the love of God to believers be considered as it is in itself, as a vital act of his will, willing, if I may so speak, good things to them, as the immanent purpose of his will, and also joined with an acceptation of them in the effects of grace, favor, and love in Jesus Christ, and it will be quickly evidenced how an alteration therein will intrench upon the immutability of God, both as to his essence, and attributes, and decrees.

    Having thus re-enforced our argument from this place of Scripture, by restoring unto it those considerations which (being its main strength) it was maimed and deprived of by Mr. Goodwin in his proposal thereof, I shall briefly consider the answers that by him are suggested thereunto.

    Thus, then, he proceedeth: “By the tenor of this arguing, it will as well follow, that in case God should at any time withdraw his love and his favor from a nation or body of a people which he sometimes favored or loved, he should be changed. But that no such change of dispensation as this towards one or the same people or nation argueth any change at all in God, at least any such change which he disclaimeth as incompetent to him, is evident from those instances without number recorded in Scripture of such different dispensations of his towards sundry nations, and more especially towards the Jews, to whom sometimes he gives peace, sometimes consumes them with wars, sometimes he makes them the head, and sometimes again the tail of the nations round about them.”

    Ans. The love and favor of God to a nation or people, here brought into the lists of comparison with the peculiar love of God to his saints, which he secures them of upon the account of his immutability, is either the outward dispensation of good things to them, called his love because it expresseth and holds out a fountain of goodness from whence it flows, or it is an eternal act of God’s will towards them, of the same nature with the love to his own formerly described. If it be taken in the first sense, as apparently it is intended, and so made out from the instance of God’s dealing with the Jews in outward blessings and punishments, Mr. Goodwin doth plainly metazai>nein eijv a]llo ge>nov , — fall into a thing quite of another nature, instead of that which was first proposed. “Amphora cum coepit institui cur urceus exit?” There is a wide difference between outward providential dispensations and eternal purposes and acts of grace and good-will, to deal in the instance insisted on by Mr. Goodwin. There being frequent mention in the Scripture, as afterward shall be fully declared, of a difference and distinction in and of that people (for “they are not all Israel that are of Israel,” Romans 9:4-8), the whole lump and body of them being the people of God in respect of separation from the rest of the world and dedication to his worship and external profession, yet a remnant only, a hidden remnant, being his people upon the account of eternal designation and actual acceptation into love and favor in Jesus Christ, there must needs be also a twofold dispensation of God and his will in reference to that people, — the first common and general, towards the whole body of them, in outward ordinances and providential exercises of goodness or.justice. In this there was great variety as to the latter part, comprehending only external effects or products of the power of God; in which regard he can pull down what he hath set up, and set up what he hath pulled down, without the least shadow of turning, these various dispensations working uniformly towards the accomplishment of his unchangeable purposes. And this is all that Mr. Goodwin’s exceptions reach to, even a change in the outward dispensation of providence; which none ever denied, being that which may be, nay is done, for the bringing about and accomplishment, in a way suitable to the advancement of his glory, of his unchangeable purposes. What proportion there is to be argued from between the general effects of various dispensations and that peculiar love and grace of the covenant thereof, wherein God assures his saints of their stability upon the account of his own unchangeableness, I know not. Because he may remove his candlestick from a fruitless, faithless people, and give them up to desolation, may he therefore take his Holy Spirit from them that believe?

    For whilst that continues, the root of the matter is in them. So that, secondly, there is a peculiar dispensation of grace exerted towards those peculiar ones whom he owneth and receiveth, as above mentioned, wherein there are such engagements of the purposes, decrees, and will of God, as that the stream of them cannot be forced back without as great an alteration and change in God as the thoughts of the heart of the meanest worm in the world are liable unto; and on this the Lord asserts the steadfastness of his love to them in the midst of the changes of outward dispensations towards the body of that people, wherein also their external concernments were wrapped up, 1 Samuel 12:22. But this will afterward be more fully cleared. The substance of this exception amounts only to thus much: There are changes wrought in the works which outwardly are, of God, as to general and common administrations; therefore, also are his eternal purposes of spiritual grace liable to the like alterations. Whereas Mr. Goodwin says that this will not import any alteration in God, at least any such alteration as is incompetent to him, I know not of any shadow of alteration that may be ascribed to him without the greatest and most substantial derogation from his glory that you can engage into.

    And this farther clears what is farther excepted to the end of sect. 40, in these words: “Therefore, neither the unchangeableness nor changeableness of God is to be estimated or measured, either by any variety or uniformity of dispensation towards one and the same object; and, consequently, for him to express himself; as this day, towards a person, man or woman, as if he intended to save them, or that he really intended to save them, and should on the morrow, as the alteration in the interim may be, or however may be supposed, in these persons, express himself to the contrary, as that he verily intends to destroy them, would not argue or imply the least alteration in him.”

    Ans. It is true, such dispensations of God as are morally declarative of what God approves, or what he rejects, — not engagements of any particular intendment, design, or purpose of his will, — or such as are merely’ outward acts of his power, may in great variety be subservient to the accomplishment of his purposes, and may undergo (the first in respect of the objects, the latter of the works themselves) many alterations, without prejudice to the immutability of God. The first in themselves are everlastingly unchangeable. God always approves the obedience of his creatures, according to that light and knowledge which he is pleased to communicate unto them, and always condemns and disallows their rebellions; yet the same persons may do sometimes what he approves and sometimes what he condemns, without the least shadow of change in God.

    Whilst they thus change, his purposes concerning them, and what he will do to them and for them, are unchangeable as is his law concerning good and evil For the latter, take an instance in the case of Pharaoh. God purposeth the destruction of Pharaoh, and suits his dispensations in great variety and with many changes for the bringing about and accomplishing of that his unchangeable purpose; he plagues him and frees him, he frees him and plagues him again. All these things do not in the least prove any alteration in God, being all various effects of his power, suited to the accomplishment of an unchangeable purpose. So in respect of persons whom he intends to bring, through Christ, infallibly to himself, how various are his dispensations, both temporal and spiritual! He afflicts them and relieves them, sends them light and darkness, strength and weakness, forsakes and appears to them again., without the least alteration in his thoughts and purposes towards them; all these things, by his infinite wisdom, working together for their good. But now, if by “dispensation” you understand and comprehend also the thoughts and purposes of God towards any for the bringing of them to such and such an end, if these be altered, and the Lord doth change them continually, I know no reason why a poor worm of the earth may not lay an equal claim (absit blasphemia) to immutability and unchangeableness with him who asserts it as his essential property and prerogative, whereby he distinguisheth himself from all creatures whatsoever.

    There is also an ambiguity in that expression, “That God expresseth himself this day towards a man or woman that he really intends to save them, and on the morrow expresseth himself to the contrary.” If our author intend only God’s moral approbation of duties and performances, as was said before, with the conditional approbation of persons with respect to them, there being therein no declaration of any intention or purpose of God properly so called, the instance is not in the least looking towards the business we have in hand. But if withal he intend the purposes and intentions of the will of God, as these terms, “really intend” and “verily intend,” do import, I know not what to call or account alteration and change if this he not. Surely if a man like ourselves do really intend one thing one day, and verily intend the clean contrary the next day, we may make bold to think and say he is changeable; and what apology will be found, on such a supposal, for the immutability of God doth not fall within the compass of my narrow apprehension. Neither is that parenthetical expression, of a change imagined in the persons concerning whom God’s intentions are, any plea for his changeableness upon this supposal; for he either foresaw that change in them or he did not. If he did not, where is his prescience? yea, where is his deity? If he did, to what end did he really and verily intend and purpose to do so and so for a man, when at the same instant he knew the man would so behave himself as he should never accomplish any such intention towards him? We should be wary how we ascribe such lubricous thoughts to worms of the earth like ourselves; “but if a man sin against theLORD, who shall entreat for him?” If one should really and verily intend or purpose to give a man bread to eat tomorrow, who he knows infallibly will be put to death tonight, such an one will not, perhaps, be counted changeable, but he will scarce escape being esteemed a changeling. Yet it seems it must be granted that God verily and really intends to do so and so for men, if they be in such and such a condition, which he verily and really knows they will not be in! But suppose all this might be granted, what is it at all to the argument in hand concerning the Lord’s engaging his immutability to his saints, to secure them from perishing upon the account thereof? Either prove that God doth change, which he saith he doth not, or that the saints may perish though he change not, which he affirms they cannot, or you speak not to the business in hand.

    The 41st section contains a discourse too long to be transcribed, unless it were more to the purpose in hand than it is. I shall, therefore, briefly give the reader a taste of some paralogisms that run from one end of it to the other, and then, in particular, roll away every stone that seems to be of any weight for the detaining captive the truth in whose vindication we are engaged: — First, From the beginning to the ending of the whole discourse the thing in question is immodestly begged, and many inferences made upon a supposal that believers may become impenitent apostates; which,being the sole thing under debate, ought not in itself to be taken as granted, and so made a proof of itself. It is by us asserted that those who are once freely accepted of God in Christ shall not be so forsaken as to become impenitent apostates, and that upon the account of the immutability of God, which he hath engaged to give assurance thereof. To evince the falsity of this, it is much pressed that if they become impenitent apostates, God, without the least shadow of mutability, may cast them off and condemn them; which is a kind of reasoning that will scarce conclude to the understanding of an intelligent reader. And yet this sandy foundation is thought sufficient to bear up many rhetorical expressions concerning the changeableness of God, in respect of sundry of his attributes, if he should not destroy such impenitent apostates as it is splendidly supposed believers may be. “O fama ingens, ingentior armis vir Trojane.” This way of disputing will scarce succeed you in this great undertaking.

    The second scene of this discourse is a gross confounding of God’s legal or moral approbation of duties, and conditional [approbation] of persons in reference to them (which is not love properly so called, but a mere declaration of God’s approving the thing which he commands and requires), with the will of God’s purpose and intention, and actual acceptation of the persons of believers in Jesus Christ, suited thereunto.

    Hence are all the comparisons used between God and a judge in his love, and the express denial that God’s love is fixed on any materially, — that is, on the persons of any, for that is the intendment of it, — but only formally, in reference to their qualifications. Hence, also, is that instance again and again insisted on, in this and the former section, of the love of God to the fallen angels whilst they stood in their obedience. Their obedience, no doubt (if any they actually yielded), fell under the approbation of God; but that it was the purpose and intention of God to continue and preserve them in that obedience cannot be asserted without ascribing to him more palpable mutability than can fall upon a wise and knowing man.

    Thirdly, The discourse of this section hath a contribution of strength, such as it is, from a squaring of the love of God unto the sweet nature and loving disposition of men; which is perhaps no less gross anthropomorphitism than they were guilty of who assigned him a body and countenance like to ours.

    And upon these three stilts, whereof the first is called “Petitio Principii,” the second “Ignoratio Elenchi,” and the third “Fallacia non causae pro causa,’ is this discourse advanced.

    I shall not need to transcribe and follow the progress of this argumentation; the observation of the fallacies before mentioned will help the meanest capacity to unravel the sophistry of the whole. The close only of it may seem to deserve more particular consideration. So, then, it proceedeth: “The unchangeableness assumed by God himself unto himself in the work in hand, ‘I am theLORD, I change not,’ is, I conceive, that which is found in him in respect of his decrees; the reason is, because it is assigned by him as the reason why they were not utterly destroyed: ‘I am theLORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.’ In the beginning of the chapter he did declare unto them his purpose and decree of sending his only-begotten Son, whom he there calls ‘The messenger of the covenant,’ unto them. He predicteth, verses 3, 4, the happy fruit or consequence of that his sending, in reference to their nation and posterity.

    To the unchangeableness of this his decree he assigns the patience which he had for a long time exercised towards them under their great and continued provocations; whereby he implies, that if he could have been turned out of the way of his decree concerning the sending of his Son unto them in their posterity, they would have done it by the greatness of their sins. But insomuch as this his decree, or himself in this his decree, was unchangeable, and it must have been changed in case they had been all destroyed, for the decree was for the sending to their nation and posterity, ‘hence,’ saith he, ‘it comes to pass, that though your sins otherwise abundantly have deserved it, yet I have spared you from a total ruin.’

    Therefore, in these two last Scripture arguments, there is every whit as much, or rather more, against than for the common doctrine of perseverance.”

    Ans. That the unchangeableness of God, which is mentioned in this text, hath relation to the decrees of God is granted; whatever, then, God purposeth or decreeth is put upon a certainty of accomplishment upon the account of his unchangeableness. There may be some use hereafter made of this concession, when, I suppose, the evasions that will be used about the objects of those decrees and their conditionality will scarce waive the force of our arguing from it. For the present, though I willingly embrace the assertion, yet I cannot assent to the analysis of that place of Scripture which is introduced as the reason of it. The design of the Lord in that place hath been before considered. That the consolation here intended is only this, that whereas God purposed to send the Lord Christ to the nation of the Jews, which he would certainly fulfill and accomplish, and therefore did not, nor could, utterly destroy them, will scarcely be evinced to the judgment of any one who shall consider the business in hand with so much liberty of spirit as to cast an eye upon the Scripture itself. That after the rehearsal of the great promise of sending his Son in the flesh to that people, he distinguisheth them into his chosen ones and those rejected, his remnant and the refuse of the nation, being the main body thereof, threatening destruction to the latter, but engaging himself into a way of mercy and love towards the former, hath been declared. To assure the last of his continuance in these thoughts and purposes of his good-will towards them, he minds them of his unchangebleness in all such purposes, and particularly encourages them to rest upon it in respect of his love towards themselves.

    That God intended to administer consolation to his saints in the expression insisted on is not, cannot be, denied. Now, what consolation could redound to them in particular from hence, that the whole nation should not utterly be rooted out, because God purposed to send his Son to their posterity?

    Notwithstanding this, any individual person that shall flee to the horns of this altar for refuge, that shall lay hold on this promise for succor, may perish everlastingly. There is scarce any place of Scripture where there is a more evident distinction asserted between the Jews who were so outwardly only and in the flesh, and those who were so inwardly also and in the circumcision of the heart, than in this and the following chapter. Their several portions are also clearly proportioned out to them in sundry particulars. Even this promise of sending the Messiah respected not the whole nation, and doubtless was only subservient to the consolation of them whose blessedness consisted in being distinguished from others, But let the context be viewed, and the determination left to the Spirit of truth in the heart of him that reads.

    Neither doth it appear to me how the decree of God concerning the sending of his Son into the world can be asserted as absolutely immutable upon that principle formerly laid down and insisted on by our author: He sends him into the world to die, neither is any concernment of his mediation so often affirmed to fall under the will and purpose of God as his death. But concerning this Mr. Goodwin disputes, out of Socinus, for a possibility of a contrary event, and that the whole counsel of God might have been fulfilled by the goodwill and intention of Christ, though actually he had not died. If, then, the purpose of God concerning Christ, as to that great and eminent part of his intendment therein, might have been frustrated and was liable to alteration, what reason can be rendered wherefore that might not upon some considerations (which Mr. Goodwin is able, if need were, to invent) have been the issue of the whole decree?

    And what, then, becomes of the collateral consolation, which from the immutability of that decree is here asserted? Now, this being the only witness and testimony, in the first part of our scriptural demonstration of the truth in hand, whereunto any exception is put in, and the exceptions against it being in such a frame and composure as manifest the whole to be a combination of beggars and jugglers, whose pleas are inconsistent with themselves, as it doth now appear, upon the examination of them apart, it is evident that as Mr. Goodwin hath little ground or encouragement for that conclusion he makes of this section, so the light breaking forth from a constellation of this and other texts mentioned is sufficient to lead us into an acknowledgment and embracement of the truth contended for.

    CHAPTER 3.

    THE IMMUTABILITY OF THE PURPOSES OF GOD. The immutability of the purposes of God proposed for a second demonstration of the truth in hand — Somewhat of the nature and properties of the purposes of God: the object of them — Purposes, how acts of God’s understanding and will — The only foundation of the futurition of all things — The purposes of God absolute — Continuance of divine love towards believers purposed — Purposes of God farther considered and their nature explained — Their independence and absoluteness evinced — Proved from Isaiah 46:9-11; Psalm 33:9-11; Hebrews 6:17,18, etc. — These places explained — The same truth by sundry reasons and arguments farther confirmed — Purpose in God of the continuance of his love and favor to believers manifested by an induction of instances out of Scripture; the first from Romans 8:28 proposed, and farther cleared and improved — Mr. G.’s dealing with our argument from hence and our exposition of this place considered — His exposition of that place proposed and discussed — The design of the apostle commented on — The fountain of the accomplishment of the good things mentioned omitted by Mr. G. — In what sense God intends to make all things work together for good to them that love him — Of God’s foreknowledge — Of the sense and use of the word proginw>skw, also of scisco, and ginw>skw, in classical authors — Pro>gnwsiv, in Scripture everywhere taken for foreknowledge or predetermination, nowhere for pre-approbation — Of pre-approving or pre-approbation here insisted on by Mr. G. — Its inconsistency with the sense of the apostle’s discourse manifested — The progress of Mr. G.’s exposition of this place considered — Whether men love God antecedently to his predestination and their effectual calling — To pre-ordain and pre-ordinate different — No assurance granted of the consolation professed to be intended — The great uncertainty of the dependence of the acts of God’s grace mentioned on one another — The efficacy of every one of them resolved finally into the wills of men — Whether calling according to God’s purpose supposeth a saving answer given to that call — The affirmative proved, and exceptions given thereto removed — What obstructions persons called may lay in their own way to justification — The iniquity of imposing conditions and supposals on the purposes of God not in the least intimated by himself — The whole acknowledged design of the apostle everted by the interposition of cases and conditions by Mr. G. — Mr. G.’s first attempt to prove the decrees of God to be conditional considered — Samuel 2:30 to that end produced — 1 Samuel 2:30 farther considered, and its unsuitableness to illustrate Romans 8:28-31 proved — Interpretation of Scripture by comparing of places agreeing neither in design, word, nor matter, rejected — The places insisted on proved not to be parallel by sundry particular instances — Some observations from the words rejected — What act of God intended in these words to Eli, “I said indeed” — No purpose or decree of God in them declared — Any such purpose as to the house of Eli by sundry arguments disproved — No purpose of God in the words insisted on farther manifested — They are expressive of the promise or law concerning the priesthood, Numbers 25:11-13, more especially relating unto Exodus 28:43, 29:9 — The import of that promise, law, or statute, cleared — The example of Jonah’s preaching, and God’s commands to Abraham and Pharaoh — The universal disproportion between the texts compared by Mr. G., both as to matter and expression, farther manifested — Instances or cases of Saul and Paul to prove conditional purposes in God considered — Conditional purposes argued from conditional threatenings — The weakness of that argument — The nature of divine threatenings — What will of God, or what of the will of God, is declared by them — No proportion between eternal purposes and temporal threatenings — The issue of the vindication of our argument from the foregoing exceptions — Mr. G.’s endeavor to maintain his exposition of the place under consideration — The text perverted — Several evasions of Mr. G. from the force of this argument considered — His arguments to prove no certain or infallible connection between calling, justification, and glorification, weighed and answered — His first, from the scope of the chapter and the use of exhortations — The question begged — His second, from examples of persons called and not justified — The question argued begged — No proof insisted on but the interposition of his own hypothesis — How we are called irresistibly, and in what sense — Whether bars of wickedness and unbelief may be laid in the way of God’s effectual call — Mr. G.’s demur to another consideration of the text removed — The argument in hand freed from other objections and concluded — Jeremiah 31:3 explained and improved, for the confirmation of the truth under demonstration — 2 Timothy 2:19 opened, and the truth from thence confirmed — The foregoing exposition and argument vindicated and confirmed — The same matter at large pursued — John 6:37-40 explained, and the argument in hand from thence confirmed — Mr. G.’s exceptions to our arguing from this place removed — The same matter farther pursued — The exposition and argument insisted on fully vindicated and established — Matthew 24:24 opened and improved — The severals of that text more particularly handled — Farther observations, for the clearing the mind of the Holy Ghost in this place — The same farther insisted on and vindicated Mr. G.’s exceptions at large discussed and removed — Ephesians 1:3-5, Thessalonians 2:13, 14, opened — The close of the second argument, from the immutability of the purposes of God. HAVING cleared the truth in hand, from the immutability of the nature of God, which himself holds out as engaged for us to rest upon, as to the unchangeable continuance of his love unto us, proceed we now to consider the steadfastness and immutability of his purposes, which he frequently asserts as another ground of assurance to the saints of his safeguarding their glory of free acceptation to the end.

    I shall not enter upon the consideration of the nature and absoluteness of the purposes of God as to an express handling of them, but only a little unfold that property and concernment of them whereon the strength of the inference we aim at doth in the same measure depend. Many needless and curious questions have been, by the serpentine wits of men, moved and agitated concerning them; wherein, perhaps, our author hath not been outgone by many; as will be judged by those who have weighed his discourses concerning them, with his distinctions of “desires, intentions, purposes, and decrees,” in God. But this is not the business we have in hand; for what concerneth that, that which ensueth may suffice. God himself being an infinite pure act, those acts of his will and wisdom which are eternal and immanent are not distinguished from his nature and being but only in respect of the reference and habitude which they bear unto some things to be produced outwardly from him. The objects of them all are such things as might not be. God’s purposes are not concerning any thing that is in itself absolutely necessary. He doth not purpose that he will be wise, holy, infinitely good, just: all these things, that are of absolute necessity, come not within the compass of his purposes. Of things that might not be are his decrees and intentions; they are of all the products of his power, — all that outwardly he hath done, doth, or will do, to eternity.

    All these things, to the falling of a hair or the withering of a [blade of] grass, hath he determined from of old. Now, this divine fore-appointment of all things the Scripture assigns sometimes to the knowledge and understanding, sometimes to the will of God: “Known unto him are all his works from the beginning of the world,” Acts 15:18. It is that knowledge which hath an influence into that most infinitely wise disposal of them which is there intimated. And the determination of things to be done is referred to the “counsel” of God Acts 4:28; which denotes an act of his wisdom and understanding, and yet withal it is the “counsel of his own will,” Ephesians 1:11. ( Matthew 6:28-30; Luke 12:6,7; John 4:4-8.)

    I know that all things originally owe their futurition to a free act of the will of God; he doth whatever he will and pleaseth. Their relation thereunto translates them out of that state of possibility, and [from] being objects of God’s absolute omnipotency and infinite simple intelligence or understanding, whereby he intuitively beholdeth all things that might be produced by the exerting of his infinite almighty power, into a state of futurition, making them objects of God’s foreknowledge, or science of vision, as it is called. ( Isaiah 14:24, 19:12, 23:9; Jeremiah 51:29; Romans 8:28, 9:11, 19; <19D911> Psalm 139:11,12; Isaiah 40:28; Hebrews 4:13.) But yet the Scripture expresseth (as before) that act of God whereby he determines the beings, issues, and orders of things, [so as] to manifest the concurrence of his infinite wisdom and understanding in all his purposes. Farther; as to the way of expressing these things to our manner of apprehension, there are held out intentions and purposes of God distinctly suited to all beings, operations, and events; yet in God himself they are not multiplied. As all things are present to him in one most simple and single act of his understanding, so with one individual act of his will he determines concerning all. But yet, in reference to the things that are disposed of, we may call them the purposes of God. And these are the eternal springs of God’s actual providence; which being (“ratio ordinis ad finem”) the disposing of all things to their ends in an appointed manner and order, in exact correspondence unto them, these purposes themselves must be the infinitely wise, eternal, immanent acts of his will, appointing and determining all things, beings, and operations, kinds of beings, manners of operation, free, necessary, contingent, as to their existence and event, into an immediate tendency unto the exaltation of his glow; or, as the apostle calls them, the “counsel of his own will,” according whereunto he effectually worketh all things, Ephesians 1:11.

    Our consideration of these purposes of God being only in reference to the business which we have in hand, I shall do these two things: — First, Manifest that they are all of them absolute and immutable; wherein I shall be brief, not going out to the compass of the controversy thereabout, as I intimated before; my intendment lies another way. Secondly, Show that God hath purposed the continuance of his love to his saints, to bring them infallibly to himself, and that this purpose of God, in particular, is unchangeable; which is the second part of the foundation of our abiding with God in the grace of acceptation.

    I. By the purposes of God I mean, as I said before, the eternal acts of his will concerning all things that outwardly are of him; which are the rules, if I may so speak, of all his following operations, — all external, temporary products of his power universally answering those internal acts of his will.

    The judgment of those who make these decrees or purposes of God (for I shall constantly use these words promiscuously, as being purely of the same import, as relating unto God) to be in themselves essential to him and his very nature, or understanding and will, may be safely closed withal.

    They are in God, as was said, but one; there is not a real multiplication of any thing but subsistence in the Deity. To us these lie under a double consideration: — First, Simply as they are in God; and so it is impossible they should be differenced from his infinite wisdom and will, whereby he determineth of any thing. Secondly, In respect of the habitude and relation which they bear to the things determined, which the wisdom and will of God might not have had. In the first sense, as was said, they can be nothing but the very nature of God, the to< velle of God, his internal willing of any thing that is either created or uncreated; for these terms distribute the whole nature of being. Created they are not, for they are eternal (that no new immanent act can possibly be ascribed to God hath full well of late been demonstrated). Farther; if they are created, then God willed that they should be created, for he created only what he willed. If so, was he willing they should be created, or no? If he were, then a progress will be given infinitely, for the question will arise up to eternity. If uncreated, then doubtless they are God himself, for he only is so; it is impossible that a creature should be uncreated. Again; God’s very willing of things is the cause of all things, and therefore must needs be omnipotent and God himself. That “voluntas Dei” is “causa rerum” is taken for granted, and may be proved from <19B503> Psalm 115:3, which the apostle ascribes omnipotency unto, Romans 9:19, “Who hath resisted his will?” Doubtless it is the property of God alone to be the cause of all things, and to be almighty in his so being. But hereof at present no more. On this supposal, the immutability of the decrees of God would plainly be coincident with the immutability of his nature, before handled.

    It is, then, of the decrees and purposes of God, with respect to the matters about which they are, whereof I speak: in which regard, also, they are absolute and immutable; — not that they work any essential change in the things themselves concerning which they are, making that to be immutable from thence which in its own nature is mutable; but only that themselves, as acts of the infinite wisdom and will of God, are not liable to nor suspended on any condition whatever foreign to themselves, nor subject to change or alteration (whence floweth an infallible certainty of actual accomplishment in reference to the things decreed or purposed, be their own nature what it will, or their next causes in themselves never so undetermined to their production), whereof I treat. That the determining purposes or decrees of God’s will concerning any thing or things by him to be done or effected do not depend, as to their accomplishment, on any conditions that may be supposed in or about the things themselves whereof they are, and therefore are unchangeable, and shall certainly be brought forth unto the appointed issue, is that which we are to prove Knowing for whose sakes ( Matthew 11:25; 1 Corinthians 1:26-28; James 2:5; 2 Timothy 2:10.) and for what end this labor was undertaken, I shall choose to lay the whole proof of this assertion upon plain texts of Scripture, rather than mix my discourse with any such philosophical reasonings as are of little use to the most of them whose benefit is hereby intended. Isaiah 46:9-11, The Holy Ghost speaks expressly to our purpose: “Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executeth my counsel from a far country: yea, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.”

    Verse 9, the Lord asserts his own deity and eternal being, in opposition to all false gods and idols, whom he threatens to destroy, verse 1. Of this he gives them a threefold demonstration: — First, From his prescience or foreknowledge: “There is none like me, declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done;” — “In this am I infinitely discriminated from all the pretended deities of the nations. All things from the beginning to the end are naked before me, and I have declared them by my prophets, even things that are future and contingent in themselves. So are the things that I now speak of. The destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians is a thing to be carried on through innumerable contingencies; and yet as I have seen it so have I told it, and my counsel concerning it shall certainly be executed.”

    Secondly, By his power, in using what instruments he pleaseth for the executing of his purposes and bringing about his own designs: “Calling a ravenous bird from the east;” — one that at first, when he went against Babylon, thought of nothing less than executing the counsel of God, but was wholly bent upon satisfying his own rapine and ambition, not knowing then in the least by whom he was anointed and sanctified for the accomplishment of his will. All the thoughts of his heart, all his consultations and actions, all his progresses and diversions, his success in his great and dreadful undertaking, to break in pieces that “hammer of the whole earth,” with all the free deliberations and contingencies wherewith his long war was attended, which were as many, strong, and various, as the nature of things is capable to receive, were not only in every individual act, with its minutest circumstances, by him foreseen, and much also foretold, but also managed in the hand of his power in a regular subservience to that call which he so gave that “ravenous bird” for the accomplishment of his purpose and pleasure. ( Jeremiah 1:51; Isaiah 44:25-28.)

    Thirdly, By the immutability of his purposes, which can never be frustrated nor altered: “My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure; — I have purposed it, and I will also do it.” The standing, or fixedness and unchangeableness, of his counsel, he manifests by the accomplishment of the things which therein he had determined; neither is there any salve for his immutability in his counsel, should it otherwise fall out. And if we may take his own testimony of himself, what he purposeth, that he doth; and in the actual fulfilling and the bringing about of things themselves purposed, and as purposed, without any possibility of diversion from the real end intended, is their stability and unchangeableness in them manifested. An imaginary immutability in God’s purposes, which may consist and be preserved under their utter frustration as to the fulfilling of the things themselves under which they are, the Scripture knows not, neither can reason conceive. Now, this unchangeableness of his purposes the Lord brings as one demonstration of his deity; and those who make them liable to alteration, upon any account or supposition whatsoever, do depress him, what in them lies, into the number of such dung-hill gods as he threatens to famish and destroy. Psalm 33:9-11, “He spake, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast. TheLORD bringeth the counsel of the heathen to nought: he maketh the devices of the people of none effect. The counsel of theLORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”

    The production and establishment of all things in that order wherein they are, are by the psalmist ascribed to the will and power of God. By his word and command they not only are, but stand fast; being fixed in that order by him appointed. Both the making, fixing, and sustaining of all things, is by “the word of his power.” As the first relates to their being, which they have from creation, so the other to the order in subsistence and operation, which relates to his actual providence. Herein they stand fast. Themselves, with their several and respective relations, dependencies, influences, circumstances, suited to that nature and being which was bestowed on them by his word in their creation, are settled in an exact correspondency to his purposes (of which afterward), not to be shaken or removed. Hebrews 1:3; Revelation 4:11; Acts 17:28, 2:23, 4:28; Genesis 50:20; Ecclesiastes 3:11. Men have their devices and counsels also, they are free agents, and work by counsel and advice; and therefore God hath not set all things so fast as to overturn and overbear them in their imaginations and undertakings. Saith the psalmist, “They imagine and devise indeed, but their counsel is of nought, and their devices are of none effect; but the counsel of theLORD,” etc. The counsel and purposes of the Lord are set in opposition to the counsel and purposes of men, as to alteration, change, and frustration, in respect of the actual accomplishment of the things about which they are. “Their counsels are so and so; but the counsel of theLORD shall stand.” He that shall cast verse 11 into verse 10, and say, “The counsel of theLORD, that comes to nought, and the thoughts of his heart are of none effect,” let him make what pretences he will or flourishes that he can, or display what supposals and conditions he pleaseth, he will scarcely be able to keep the field against him who will contend with him about His prerogative and glory. And this antithesis between the counsels of men and the purposes of God upon the account of unchangeableness is again confirmed, Proverbs 19:21, “There are many devices in a man’s heart; nevertheless the counsel of theLORD, that shall stand.”

    Herein is the difference between the devices of men and the counsel of God: Men have many devices to try what they can do. If one way take not, they will attempt another (“hac non successit, alia aggrediemur via”), and are always disappointed, but only in that wherein they fall in with the will of God. The shallowness of their understanding, the shortness of their foresight, the weakness of their power, the changeableness of their minds, the uncertainty of all the means they use, puts them upon many devices, and often to no purpose. ( Isaiah 8:9,10; Job 8:9, 11:12; Ecclesiastes 8:7, 9:12.) But for Him who is infinite in wisdom and power, to whom all things are present, and to whom nothing can fall out unexpected, yea, what he hath not himself determined, unto whom all emergencies are but the issue of his own good pleasure, who proportions out what efficacy he pleaseth unto the means he useth, — his counsels, his purposes, his decrees shall stand, being, as Job tells us, “as mountains of brass.” By this he differenceth himself from all others, idols and men; as also by his certain foreknowledge of what shall come to pass and be accomplished upon those purposes of his. ( Isaiah 44:7, 46:10.) Hence the apostle, Hebrews 6:17,18, acquaints us that his promise and his oath, those “two immutable things,” do but declare ajmeta>qeton th~v boulh~v, “the unchangeableness of his counsel;” which God is abundantly willing to manifest, though men are abundantly unwilling to receive it. Job determines this business in Job 23:13,14, “He is of one mind, and who can turn him? what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. For he performeth the thing that is appointed for me.”

    Desires are the least and faintest kind of purposes, in Mr. Goodwin’s distinctions; yet the certain accomplishment of them, as they are ascribed unto God, is here asserted by the Holy Ghost.

    Were the confirmation of the matter of our present discourse my only design in hand, I could farther confirm it by enlarging these ensuing reasons: — First, From the immutability of God, the least questioning whereof falls foul on all the perfections of the divine nature, which require a correspondent affection of all the internal and eternal acts of his mind and will.

    Secondly, From his sovereignty, in making and executing all his purposes, which will not admit of any such mixture of consults or cooperations of others as should render his thoughts liable to alteration, Romans 11:33-36. The Lord in his purposes is considered as the great former of all things, who, having his clay in the hand of his almighty power, ordains every parcel to what kind of vessel and to what use he pleaseth. Hence the apostle concludes the consideration of them, and the distinguishing grace flowing from them, with that admiration, + W Ba>qov ! — “O the depth!” etc.

    Thirdly, From their eternity, which exempts them from all shadow of change, and lifts them up above all those spheres that either from within and in their own nature, or from without by the impression of others, are exposed to turning. That which is eternal is also immutable, Acts 15:18; 1 Corinthians 2:7-11.

    Fourthly, From the absoluteness and independency of his will, whereof they are the acts and emanations, Romans 9:15-21. Whatever hath any influence upon that, so as to move it, cause it, change it, must be before it, above it, better than it, as every cause is than its effect as such. This will of his, as was said, is the fountain of all being; to which free and independent act all creatures owe their being and subsistence, their operations and manner thereof, their whole difference from those worlds of beings which his power can produce, but which yet shall lie bound up to eternity in their nothingness and possibility, upon the account of his good pleasure. Into this doth our Savior resolve the disposal of himself, Matthew 26:42, and of all others, chap. 11:25, 26. Certainly men in their wrangling disputes and contests about it have scarce seriously considered with whom they have to do. “Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?’

    Fifthly, From the engagement of his omnipotency for the accomplishment of all his purposes and designs, as is emphatically expressed, Isaiah 14:24-27, “TheLORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: that I will break the Assyrian in my land. This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth; and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For theLORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”

    The Lord doth not only assert the certain accomplishment of all his purposes, but also, to prevent and obviate the unbelief of them who were concerned in their fulfilling, he manifests upon what account it is that they shall certainly be brought to pass; and that is, by the stretching out of his hand, or exalting of his mighty power, for the doing of it; so that if there be a failing therein, it must be through the shortness of that hand of his so stretched out, in that it could not reach the end aimed at. A worm will put forth its strength for the fulfilling of that whereunto it is inclined; and the sons of men will draw out all their power for the compassing of their designs. If there be wisdom in the laying of them, and foresight of emergencies, they alter not, nor turn aside to the right hand or to the left, in the pursuit of them. And shall the infinitely wise, holy, and righteous thoughts and designs of God not have his power engaged for their accomplishment His infinite wisdom and understanding are at the foundation of them; they are the counsels of his will: Romans 11:34, “Who hath known his mind” in them? saith the apostle, “or who hath been his counsellor?” Though no creature can see the paths wherein he walks, nor apprehend the reason of the ways he is delighted in, yet this he lets us know, for the satisfying of our hearts and teaching.of our inquiries, that his own infinite wisdom is in them all. I cannot but fear that sometimes men have” darkened counsel by words without knowledge,” in curious contests about the decrees and purposes of God, as though they were to be measured by our rule and line, and as though “by searching we could find out the Almighty unto perfection.” But he is wise in heart; he that contendeth with him, let him instruct him. Add, that this wisdom in his counsel is attended with infallible prescience of all that will fall in by the way, or in the course of the accomplishment of his purposes, and you will quickly see that there can be no possible intervenience, upon the account whereof the Lord should not engage his almighty power for their accomplishment. “He is of one mind, and who can turn him? He will work, and who shall let it?”

    Sixthly, By demonstrating the unreasonableness, folly, and impossibility, of suspending the acts and purposes of the will of God upon any actings of the creatures soever; seeing it cannot be done without subjecting eternity to time, the First Cause to the second, the Creator to the creature, the Lord to the servant, disturbing the whole order of beings and operations in the world.

    Seventhly, By the removal of all possible or imaginary causes of alteration and change, which will all be resolved into impotency in one kind or other; every alteration being confessedly an imperfection, it cannot follow but from want and weakness. Upon the issue of which discourse, if it might be pursued, these corollaries would ensue: — First, Conditional promises and threatenings are not declarative of God’s purposes concerning persons, but of his moral approbation or rejection of things.

    Secondly, There is a wide difference between the change of what is conditionally pronounced as to the things themselves and the change of what is determinately willed, the certainty of whose event is proportioned to the immutable acts of the will of God itself.

    Thirdly, That no purpose of God is conditional, though the things themselves, concerning which his purposes are, are oftentimes conditionals one of another.

    Fourthly, That conditional purposes concerning perseverance are either impossible, implying contradictions, or ludicrous, even to an unfitness for a stage. But of these and such like, as they occasionally fall in, in the ensuing discourse.

    II. This foundation being laid, I come to what was secondly proposed, — namely, to manifest, by an induction of particular instances, the engagement of these absolute and immutable purposes of God as to the preservation of the saints in his favor to the end; and whatsoever is by Mr. Goodwin excepted as to the former doctrine of the decrees and purposes of God, in that part of his treatise which falls under our consideration, shall, in the vindication of the respective places of Scripture to be insisted on, be discussed.

    The first particular instance that I shall propose is that eminent place of the apostle, Romans 8:28, where you have the truth in hand meted out unto us, full measure, shaken together, and running over. It doth not hang by the side of his discourse, nor is left to be gathered and concluded from other principles and assertions couched therein, but is the main of the apostolical drift and design, it being proposed by him to make good, upon unquestionable grounds, the assurance he gives believers that “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose;” the reason whereof he farther adds in the following words: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the first-born among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” What the good aimed at is, for which all things shall work together, and wherein it doth consist, he manifests in the conclusion of the argument produced to prove his first assertion: Verses 35-39, “Who shall separate us from. the love of Christ? shall tribulation,” etc. The good of believers:, of them that love God, consists in the enjoyment of Christ and. his love. Saith, then, the apostle, “God will so certainly order all things that they shall be preserved in that enjoyment of it whereunto in this life they are already admitted, and borne out through all oppositions to that perfect fruition thereof which they aim at; and this is so unquestionable, that the very things which seem to lie in the way of such an attainment and event shall work together, through the wisdom and love of God, to that end.” To make good this consolation, the apostle lays down two grounds or principles from whence the truth of it doth undeniably follow, the one taken from the description of the persons concerning whom he makes it, and the other from the acts of God’s grace, and their respective concatenation in reference to those persons.

    The persons, he tells you, are those who are “called according to God’s purpose.” That their calling here mentioned is the effectual call of God, which is answered by faith and obedience, because it consists in the bestowing of them on the persons so called, taking away the heart of stone and giving a heart of flesh, is not only manifest from that place which afterward [it] receives in the golden chain of divine graces, between predestination and justification, whereby the one hath infallible influences into the other, but also from that previous description which is given of the same persons, namely, that they love God, which certainly is an issue and fruit of effectual calling, as shall afterward be farther argued; for to that issue are things driven in this controversy, that proofs thereof are become needful.

    The “purpose” according to which these persons are called is none other than that which the apostle, chap. 9:11, terms the “purpose of God according to election;” the “election of grace,” chap. 11:5; as also the knowledge and “foundation of God,” 2 Timothy 2:19; as will in the progress of our discourse be made farther appear, although I know not that this is as yet questioned. The immutability of this purpose of God, chap. 9:11, 12, the apostle demonstrates from its independency on any thing in them or in respect of them concerning whom it is, it being eternal, and expressly safeguarded against apprehensions that might arise of any causal or occasional influence from any thing in them given thereunto, they lying under this condition alone unto God, as persons that had done neither good nor evil. And this, also, the apostle farther pursues from the sovereignty, absoluteness, and unchangeableness of the will of God. But these things are of another consideration.

    Now, this unchangeable purpose and election being the fountain from whence the effectual calling of believers doth flow, the preservation of them to the end designed, the glory whereunto they are chosen, by those acts of grace and love whereby they are prepared thereunto, hath coincidence of infallibility as to the end aimed at with the purpose itself, nor is it liable to the least exception but what may be raised from the mutability and changeableness of God in his purposes and decree, Hence, in the following verse, upon the account of the stability and immutability of this purpose of God, the utmost and. most remote end in reference to the good thereby designed unto believers, though having its present subsistence only in that purpose of God and infallible concatenation of means thereunto conducing, is mentioned as a thing actually accomplished, Romans 8:30.

    Herein, also, lies the apostle’s second eviction of consolation formerly laid down, even in the indissoluble concatenation of those acts of grace, love, and favor, whereby the persons of God’s purpose, or the “remnant according to the election of grace,” shall be infallibly carried on in their present enjoyment and unto the full fruition of the love of Christ. If we may take him upon his word (and he speaks in the name and authority of God), those whom he doth foreknow, or fixes his thoughts peculiarly upon from eternity (for the term these is evidently discriminated, and the act must needs be eternal which in order of nature is previous unto predestination, or the appointment to the end by means designed), those, I say, he doth predestinate and appoint, in the immutable purpose of his will, to be conformed unto the image of his Son, as in afflictions, so in grace and glory.

    To fancy a suspension of these acts of grace (some whereof are eternal) upon conditionals, and they not intimated in the least in the text, nor consistent with the nature of the things themselves or the end intended, casting the accomplishment and bringing about of the designs of God, proposed as his for our consolation, upon the certain lubricity of the wills of men, and thereupon to propose an intercision of them as to their concatenation and dependence, that they should not have a certain influence on the one hand descending, nor an unchangeable dependence on the other ascending, may easily be made to appear to be so plain an opposition to the aim and design of the apostle as it is possibly capable of.

    But because these things are really insisted on by Mr. Goodwin, I shall choose rather to remove them, — as with much rhetoric, and not without some sophistry, they are by him pressed, — than farther anticipate them, by arguments from the text itself, of their invalidity and nullity.

    The discussion of our argument from this place of Scripture he enters upon, chap. 10 sect. 42, p. 207, and pursues it, being much entangled with what himself is pleased to draw forth as the strength of it, unto sect. 52, p. 219.

    Now, though Mr. Goodwin hath not at all mentioned any analysis of the place insisted on, for the making out of the truth we believe, to be intended in it, nor ever once showed his reader the face of our argument from hence, but only drawn something of it forth in such divided parcels as he apprehended himself able to blur and obscure, yet to make it evident that he hath not prevailed to foil that part of the strength of truth (his adversary) which he voluntarily chose to grapple withal, I shall consider that whole discourse, and manifest the nullity of his exceptions unto this testimony given in by the apostle to the truth we have in hand.

    To obtain his end, Mr. Goodwin undertaketh these two things: — first, To give in an exposition of the place of Scripture insisted on, “whence no such conclusion as that which he opposeth,” saith he, “can be drawn;” secondly, To give in exceptions to our interpretation of it, and the inferences thereupon by us deduced. The first [is] in these, words: — “For the scope of the apostle, in the sequel of this passage, is clearly this, as the particle ‘for’ in the beginning of verse 29 plainly showeth, to prove and make good that assertion of his, verse 28, that ‘all things work together for good to those that love God.’ To prove this he showeth by what method and degrees of dispensations God will bring it to pass. ‘Whom he foreknows,’ saith he, that is, pre-approves (the word ‘knowledge’ frequently in Scripture importing approbation), as he must needs do those that love him, ‘these he predestinates to be conformed to the image of his Son;’ and therefore as all things, even his deepest sufferings, wrought together for good unto him, so must they needs do unto those who are predestinated or pre-ordinated by God to a conformity with him. ‘To give you yet,’ saith our apostle, ‘a farther and more particular account how God, in the secret of his counsels, hath laid things in order to the bringing of them unto an actual conformity with the image of his Son, to wit, in glory, whom he predestinated thereunto (who are such as love him, and thereupon are approved by him), you are to understand that whom he hath so predestinated he hath also called, — that is, hath purposed or decreed to call to the knowledge of his Son or of his gospel, — that is, to afford a more plain and effectual discovery of him unto them than unto others whom he hath not so predestinated.’ By the way, this call doth not necessarily suppose a saving answer given unto it by the called, no whit more than the calling mentioned, Matthew 20:16, 22:14. It only supposeth a real purpose on God’s part to make it very sufficient to procure such an answer to it from those that are called. The apostle advanceth towards his proposed end, and addeth, ‘Those whom he called, them he also justified;’ that is, according to our last exposition of the word ‘called,’ he hath purposed or decreed to justify, — to wit, in case the called obstruct him not in his way, or by their unbelief render not themselves incapable of justification. The clause following is likewise to be understood with the like proviso as this: ‘Whom he hath justified, them he also glorified;’ that is, hath purposed or decreed to save, in case they retain the grace of justification, confirmed upon them to the end.”

    Ans. First, let it be granted that the design of the apostle is to make good that assertion, “All things work together for good to them that love God,” and the consolation for believers which thence he holds forth unto them; yet he doth not only show by what method, degrees, or steps, God will bring it to pass, but also, as the fountain of all that ensues, lays down the unalterable purpose of God concerning that end, which is intended in and accomplished by all those steps or degrees of his effectual grace after mentioned. This Mr. Goodwin passeth over, as not to be wrested into any tolerable conformity with that sense (if there be any sense in the whole of what he insists upon for the sense of this place) which he intends to rack and press the words unto. To save stumbling at the threshold (which is malum omen), he leaps at once over the consideration of this purpose and design of God, as aiming at a certain end, without the least touch upon it.

    Farther, that God will bring it to pass that all things shall work together for good to them that love him, is not intended by Mr. Goodwin as though it should infallibly be so indeed, but only that God will so way-lay them with some advantages that it may be so, as well as otherwise. What consolation believers may receive from this whole discourse of the apostle, intended properly to administer it unto them, as it lies under the gloss ensuing, shall be discovered in our following consideration of it. Thus, then, he makes it out: — “Whom he foreknows, that is, pre-approves (the word ‘knowledge’ in Scripture frequently importing approbation), as he must needs do those that love him, them he predestinates.”

    Ans. First, That to “know” is sometimes taken in Scripture for to approve may be granted; but that the word here used must therefore signify to preapprove is an assertion which I dare not pretend to so much foreknowledge as to think that any one besides himself will approve. Mr. Goodwin, I doubt not, knows full well that prepositions in Greek composition do often restrain simple verbs, formerly at liberty for other uses, to one precise signification. The word proginw>skw , in its constant sense in other authors, is “praescio” or “praedecerno;” ginw>skw itself, “to determine or decree;” so is “scisco” among the Latins, the ancient word “to know.” So he in Plautus: “Rogitationes plurimas propter vos populus scivit, quas vos rogates rumpitis.” And nothing more frequent in Cicero. “Quae scisceret plebs, nut quae populus juberet,” etc.; and again, “Quod multa perniciose, multa pestifere sciscuntur in populus;” and, “Plancus primus legem seivit de publieanis.” In like manner is ginw>skw frequently used: ]Egnwsan tou~to mh< poiei~n? — “They determined not to do that thing.” ]Adika e]gnwke peri< ejmou~ oJ Zeu>v , says he in Lucian; “He hath determined unrighteous things against me.” Hence, gnw>mh is often taken for a decree, or an established purpose, as Budaeus manifesteth out of Plutarch. In Scripture the word is sundry times used, and still in the sense before mentioned; sometimes for a simple foreknowledge. So Paul uses it of the Jews who knew him before his conversion: Acts 26:5, Proginw>skonte>v . It relates not to what they foreknew, but what they knew before, or in former days. And as the simple verb, as was showed, is often taken for “decemo, statuo,” “to decree, order, or determine,” so with this composition it seems most to be restrained to that sense. 1 Peter 1:20, it is said of Christ that he was proegnwsme>nov pro< katazolh~v ko>smou, — he was “foreknown,” or “fore-ordained, before the foundation of the world;’ which is opposed to that which follows, fanerwqeitwn tw~n cro>nwn di j uJma~v , — “manifested in the last times for you,” — and relates to the decree or fore-purpose of God concerning the giving of his Son. Hence pro>gnwsiv is joined with wJrisme>nh| Boulh~, God’s “determinate counsel,” as a word of the rome importance: Acts 2:23, Tou~ton de< wJrisme>nh| boulh~| kai< prognw>sei, etc.: if there be any difference, the first designing the wisdom, the latter the will, of God in this business. In Romans 11:2 it hath again the same signification: “God hath not cast off ton aujtou~ o[n proe>gnw ,” or the remnant which among the obstinate and unbelieving Jews were under his everlasting purpose of grace; in which place, causelessly and without any attempt of proof, the Remonstrants wrest the word to signify pre-approbation, Dec. Sent., art. 1, the whole context and design of the apostle, the terms “remnant” and “election,” whereby the rome thing is afterward expressed, undeniably forcing the proper acceptation of the word. Not only the original sense and composition of the word, but also the constant use of it in the Scripture, leads us away from the interpretation here pinned upon it.

    Farther; what is the meaning of pre-approving? God’s approving of any person as to their persons is his free and gracious acceptation of them in Christ. His pre-approving of them in answer hereunto must be his eternal gracious acceptation of them in Christ. But is this Mr. Goodwin’s intendment? Doth God accept any in Christ antecedently to their predestination, calling, and justification (for they are all consequential to this act of pre-approbation)? This, then, is that which is affirmed: God approves and accepts of men in Christ; thereupon he predestinates, calls, and justifies them. But what need [for] all these if they be antecedently accepted? I should have expected that this foreknowledge should have been resolved rather into a middle or conditionate prescience than into this pre-approbation, but that our great masters were pleased (in the place newly cited), though without any attempt of proof, to carry it another way.

    That God should approve of, love, accept persons, antecedently to their predestination, vocation, and justification, is, doubtless, not suitable to Mr. Goodwin’s principles; but that they should love God also before they fall under these acts of his grace is not only openly contradictions to the truth, but also to itself. The phrase here of “loving God” is confessedly a description of believers; now, to suppose men believers, that is, to answer the call of God, antecedently to his call, will scarce be salved from a flat contradiction with any reserved considerations that may be invented.

    This solid foundation being laid, he proceeds: “Those who thus love him, and he approves of them, he predestinates to be conformed to the image of his Son.” It is true, the apostle speaks of them and to them that “love God,” but doth not, in the least, suppose them as such to be the objects of the acts of his sovereign grace after mentioned. If God call none but those that love him antecedently to his call, that grace of his must eternally rest in his own bosom, without the least exercise of it towards any of the sons of men. It is those persons, indeed, who, in the process of the work of God’s grace towards them, are brought to love him, that are thus predestinated and called; but they are so dealt withal, not upon the account or consideration of their love of God (which is not only in order consequential to some of them, but the proper effect and product of them), but upon the account of the unchangeable purpose of God appointing them to salvation; — which I doubt not but Mr. Goodwin studiously and purposely omitted to insist upon, knowing its absolute inconsistency with the conclusion (and yet not able to waive it, had it been once brought under consideration) which from the words he aimeth to extract. As, then, to make men’s loving of God to be antecedent to the grace of vocation is an express contradiction in itself; so to make it, or the consideration of it, to be previous unto predestination is an insinuation of a gross Pelagian figment, giving rise and spring to God’s eternal predestination, not in his own sovereign will, but the self-differencing wills of men. “Later anguis” also in the adding “grass” of that exegetical term “pre-ordinated,” — predestinated, that is, pre-ordinated. Though the word, being considered in the language whereof it is, seems not to give occasion to any suspicion, yet the change of it from pre-ordained into pre-ordinated is not to be supposed to be for nothing in him who is expert at these weapons To ordain is either “ordinare ut aliquid fiat,” or “ordinem in factis statuere,” or, according to some, “subjectum disponere ad finem.” To pre-ordain is of necessity precisely tied up to the first sense; — to pre-ordinate, I fear, in Mr. Goodwin’s sense, is but to predispose men by some good inclinations in themselves, and men pre-ordinated are but men so predisposed; which is the usual gloss that men of this persuasion put upon Acts 13:48.

    Thus far, then, we have carried on the sense affixed to these words, if it may so be called, which is evidently contradictious in itself, and in no one particular suited to the mind of the Holy Ghost.

    He proceeds: “‘To give you yet,’ saith our apostle, ‘a farther and more particular account how God, in the secret of his counsel, hath belaid things in order,’” etc.

    This expression, “God hath belaid things in order to the salvation of them that love him,” is the whole of the assurance here given by the apostle to the assertion formerly laid down for the consolation of believers; and this, according to the analogy and proportion of our author’s faith, amounts only thus far: “You that love God, if you continue so to do, you will fall under his predestination; and if you abide under that, he will call you, so as that you may farther obey him, or you may not. If you do obey him, and believe upon his call (having loved him before), he will justify you; not with that justification which is final, of which you may come short, but with initial justification; which if you continue in and walk up unto, solvite curas when you are dead in your graves.” This is called God’s belaying of things in his secret counsel; whereby the total accomplishment of the first engagement is cut off from the root of God’s purposes, and from the branches of his effectual grace in the pursuit thereof, and grafted upon the wild olive of the will of man, that never did, nor ever will, bear any wholesome fruit of itself to eternity. What is afterward added of the qualification of those whom God predestinates, being an intrusion of another false hypothesis, for the confirmation of an assertion of the same alloy, is not of my present consideration. But he adds, “Ye are to understand that whom he hath predestinated he hath also called, hath purposed or decreed to call, to the knowledge of his Son, or his gospel,” as before, etc.

    Ans. How he hath predestinated them is not expressed, but being so predestinated, God purposes to call them; — that is, them and only them; for it is a uniform proceeding of God towards all whom he attempts to bring to himself which is here described. That is, when men love him and are approved of him, and are thereupon pre-ordinated to conformity with Christ, then he decrees to call them, or, as the calling here mentioned is described (that ye may not mistake, as though any internal effectual work of grace were hereby intended, but only an outward moral persuasion, by a revelation of the object they should embrace), “he gives a more plain and effectual discovery of Christ to them than to any others.” Doubtless it is evident to every one that (besides the great confusion whereinto the proceedings of God in bringing sinners to himself, or belaying their coming with some kind entertainments, are cast) the whole work of salvation is resolved into the wills of men; and instead of an effectual, operative, unchangeable purpose of God, nothing is left on his part but a moral approbation of what is well done, and a proposing of other desirable things unto men upon the account of former worthy carriage. And this is no small part of the intendment of our author in this undertaking.

    That God decrees to call them, and only them, who love him, and upon that account are approved of him, when all faith and love are the fruits of that calling of his, is such a figment as I shall not need to cast away words in the confutation of it. ( Deuteronomy 7:7; Ezekiel 16:6; Matthew 11:26; Ephesians 2:1-7.)

    Yet, lest any should have too high thoughts of this grace of vocation, he tells them by the way “that it doth not necessarily suppose a saving answer given to it by the called, no whit more than the calling mentioned, Matthew 20:16, 22:14.”

    First, By Mr. Goodwin’s confession there is as yet no great advance made towards the proof of the assertion laid down in the entrance, and for the confirmation whereof this series and concatenation of divine graces is insisted on. Though men love God, are predestinated and accepted, yet when it comes to calling they may stop there and perish everlastingly; for “many are called, but few chosen.” They are indeed belaid by a calling, but they may miss the place of its residence, or refuse to accept of its entertainment, and pass on to ruin. But, — Secondly, They are so called as upon the account thereof to be justified; for “whom he calls, them he also justifies.” “Yea, in case they obey.” But this is the interpretation of the new apostle, not the old; neither hath the text any such supposition, nor will the context bear it, nor can the design of the apostle consist with it, nor any more consolation be squeezed from this place upon the account of it than of milk from a flint in the rock of stone.

    Neither, — Thirdly, Doth the calling here mentioned hold any analogy with that of the many that are called but not chosen, pointed at in the second place instanced in, being indeed the effectual calling of the few who are chosen: for as our Savior, in those places of Matthew, mentioned two sorts of persons, some that have a general call, but are not chosen, and others that, being chosen, are therefore distinguished from the former as to their vocation; so Paul here tells you that the calling he insists on is the peculiar call of God “according to his purpose” (the same purpose intimated by our Savior); which, being suited of God to the carrying on and accomplishing of that purpose of his, must be effectual, unless he through mutability and impotency come short of accomplishing the design of his will and wisdom.

    Neither is this salved by what follows, “that it is the intention of God to make this call sufficient for the end purposed;” yea, this part of the wallet is most filled with folly and falsehood: for as general purposes of giving means for an end, with an intention to bring that end about, that may or may not attain it, are most remote from God, and, being supposed, are destructive to all his holy and blessed attributes and perfections, as hath been shown; so the thing itself, of sufficient grace of vocation, which is not effectual, is a gross figment, not, whilst this world continues, by Mr. Goodwin to be made good, the most of his arguments being importunate suggestions of his own hypothesis and conceptions. But he goes on, — “The apostle advanceth towards his proposed end, and adds, ‘Those whom he called, them he also justified,’ or decreed to justify, in case the called obstruct him not in his way, or by their unbelief render not themselves incapable of justification.”

    Ans. That exception, “In case they obstruct him not,” is a clue to lead us into all the corners of this labyrinth, and a key to the whole design in hand.

    Such a supposal it is as not only enervates the whole discourse of the apostle and frustrates his design, but also opens a door for the questioning of the accomplishment of any purpose or promise of God whatever, and, in one word, rejects the whole efficacy of the grace of the gospel, as a thing of naught. What strength is there in the discourse and arguing of the apostle, from the purpose and ensuing series of God’s grace, to prove that “all things shall work together for good to them that love God,” if the whole issue and event of things mentioned to that end depend not on the efficacy or effectual influences of those acts of God, one upon another, and all upon the end, they being all and every one of them, jointly and severally, suspended upon the wills of the persons themselves concerning whom they are (which yet here is concealed, and [not] intimated in the least)? How doth it prove at all that they shall never be separated from the love of Christ, that they shall be made conformable to him in glory, notwithstanding all opposition, upon the account of the dispensation of God’s eternal and actual love towards them, when the whole of their usefulness to the end proposed is resolved ultimately into themselves and their endeavors, and not into any purpose or set of God? Such as is the foundation, such is the strength of the whole building. Inferences can have no more strength than the principle from whence they are deduced. If a man should tell another that if he will go a journey of a hundred miles, at each twenty miles’ end he shall meet with such and such refreshments, all the consolation he can receive upon the account of refreshments provided for him is proportioned only to the thoughts he hath of his own strength for the performance of that journey.

    Farther; if in such expressions of the purposed works of God, we may put cases and trust in what supposals we think good, where there is not the least jot, tittle, or syllable of them in the text, nor any room for them, without destroying not only the design and meaning of the place, but the very sense of it, why may not we do so in other undertakings of God, the certainty of whose event depends upon his purpose and promise only? For instance, the resurrection of the dead: may we not say, God will raise up the dead in Christ, in case there be any necessity that their bodies should be glorified? What is it, also, that remains of praise to the glorious grace of God? This is all he effects by it: In case men obstruct him not in his way, it doth good. God calls men to faith and obedience; in case they obstruct not his way, it shall do them good. But how do they obstruct his way? By unbelief and disobedience: take them away, and God’s calling shall be effectual to them. That is, in case they believe and obey, God’s calling shall be effectual to cause them to believe and obey!

    The cases then foisted into the apostle’s discourse, in the close of this interpretation of the place (if I may so call it), — namely, that God will justify the called in case they obstruct not his way, and will glorify them whom he hath justified in ease they continue and abide in the state of justification, — are, first, thrust in without ground, warrant, or color of advantage, or occasion given by any thing in the text or context; — and, secondly, are destructive to the whole design of the Holy Ghost in the place whereinto they are intruded; injurious to the truth of the assertion intended to be made good, that “all things shall work together for good,” proposed upon the account of the unchangeable purpose of God, and infallible connection of the acts of his love and grace in the pursuit thereof; and resolve the promised work and designed event wholly into the uncertain, lubricous wills of men, making the assurance given not only to be liable to just exceptions, but evidently to fail and be falsified in respect of thousands; — and, thirdly, render the whole dispensation of the grace of God to lackey after the wills of men, and wholly to depend upon them, giving in thereby, as was said, innumerable presumptions that the word, for whose confirmation all these acts of God’s grace are mentioned and insisted on, shall never be made good or established.

    Take, then, in a few words, the sense and scope of this place, as it is held out in the exposition given of it by Mr. Goodwin, and we will then proceed to consider his confirmations of the said exposition: “O ye that love God, many afflictions, temptations, and oppositions, ye shall meet withal; but be of good comfort, all shall work together for your good, for God hath appointed you to be like his Son, and ye may triumph in every condition on this account. For if ye, before any act of his special grace towards you, love him, he approves you, and then he predestinates you” (what that is I know not). “Then it is in your power to continue to love him, or to do otherwise. If ye abide not, then ye perish: if ye abide, he will call you. And when he doth so, either ye may obey him or ye may not, If ye do not, all things shall work together for your hurt, and ye will be like the devil; — if ye do, then he will justify you; and then, if ye abide with him, as perhaps ye may, perhaps ye may not, he will finally justify you, and then all shall be well.” This being the substance of the interpretation of this place here given, let us now consider how it is confirmed.

    That which, in his own terms, he undertaketh to “demonstrate,” and to “vindicate from all objections,” in his ensuing discourse, he thus expresseth, page 209, sect. 43: “These decrees, or purposed acts of God, here specified, are to be understood in their successive dependencies, with such a condition or proviso respectively as those mentioned, and not absolutely, peremptorily, or without condition.”

    Ans. The imposing of conditions and provisos upon the decrees and purposes of God, of which himself gives not the least intimation, and the suspending them, as to their execution, on those conditions so invented and imposed, at the first view reflects so evidently on the will, wisdom, power, prescience, and unchangeableness of God, who hath said, “his counsel shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure,” especially when the interruption of them doth frustrate the whole design and aim of God in the mentioning of those decrees and purposes of his, that there will be need of demonstrations written with the beams of the sun to enforce men tender and regardful of the honor and glory of God to close with any in such an undertaking. Let us, then, consider what is produced to this end, and try if it will hold weight in the balance of the sanctuary. “This,” saith he, “appears, — “First, By the like phrase or manner of expression, frequent in the Scripture elsewhere. I mean, when such purposes or decrees of God, the respective execution whereof is suspended upon such and such conditions, are, notwithstanding, simply and positively, without any mention of condition, expressed and asserted: ‘Wherefore theLORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that try house, and the house of thy father, shall walk before me’ (meaning in the office and dignity of the priesthood) ‘for ever: but now saith theLORD, Be it far from me.’ ‘I said indeed;’ that is, ‘I verily purposed or decreed,’ or ‘I promised:’ it comes much to one. When God made the promise, and so declared his promise accordingly, that Eli and his father’s house should walk before him for ever, he expressed no condition as required to the execution or performance of it, yet here it plainly appears that there was a condition understood. In the same kind of dialect Samuel speaks to Saul: ‘Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of theLORD thy God: for now theLORD had established try kingdom upon Israel for ever; but now try kingdom shall not continue.’ ‘The\parLORD had established;’ that is, he verily purposed or decreed to establish it for ever, — to wit, in case his posterity had walked obediently with him.”

    Here we have the strength (as will be manifest in the progress of our discourse) of what Mr. Goodwin hath to make good his former strange assertion. Whether it will amount to a necessary proof or no may appear upon these ensuing considerations: — First, The reason intimated being taken neither from the text under debate, nor the context, nor any other place where any concernment of the doctrine therein contained is touched or pointed at, there being also no coincidence of phrase or expression in the one place and the other here compared, I cannot but admire by what rules of interpretation Mr. Goodwin doth proceed to make one of these places exegetical of the other.

    Though this way of arguing hath been mainly and almost solely insisted on of late by the Socinians, — namely, “Such a word is in another place used to another purpose, or in another sense, therefore this cannot be the necessary sense of it in this,” — yet it is not only confuted over and over as irrational and unconcluding, but generally exploded as an invention suited only to shake all certainty whatever in matters of faith and revelation. Mr. Goodwin in his instance goes not so far (or rather he goes farther, because his instance goes not so far), there being no likeness, much less sameness of expression, in those texts which he produces to weaken the obvious and literally-exposed sense of the other insisted on therewith.

    To waive the force of the inference from the words of the Holy Ghost (seeing nothing in the least intimated in the place will give in any assistance thereunto), first, this thesis is introduced: “The purposes and decrees of God (confessedly engaged in the place in hand) are, as to their respective executions, suspended on conditions in men;” — an assertion destructive to the power, goodness, grace, righteousness, faithfulness, wisdom, unchangeableness, providence, and sovereignty, of God, as might be demonstrated did it now lie in our way. To prove that this must needs be so, and that that rule must take place in the mention that is made of the purposes and decrees of God, Romans 8:28-30, 1 Samuel 2:30 is produced, being a denunciation of God’s judgments upon the house of Eli for their unworthy walking in the honor of the priesthood, whereunto they were by him advanced and called, and which they were intrusted withal, expressly upon condition of their obedience.

    Let us, then, a little consider the correspondency that is between the places compared for their mutual illustration: — First, In the one there is express mention of the purpose of God, and that his eternal purpose; in the other, only a promise, expressly conditional in the giving of it, amounting to no more than a law, without the least intimation of any purpose or decree. Secondly, The one encompasseth the whole design of the grace of the gospel; the other mentions not any special grace at all. Thirdly, The one is wholly expressive of the acts of God, and his design therein; the other declarative of the duty of man, with the issue, thereupon depending.

    This, then, is the strength of this argument: “God, approving the obedience of a man, tells him that upon the continuance of that obedience in him and his, he will continue them an office in his service (a temporal mercy, which might be enjoyed without the least saving grace); and which upon his disobedience he threateneth to take from him (both promise and threatening being declarative of his approbation of obedience, and his annexing the priesthood thereunto in that family): therefore God, intending the consolation of elect believers, affirms that all things shall work together for their good, upon this account, that he hath eternally purposed to preserve them in his love, and to bring them to himself by such effectual acts of his grace as whose immutable dependence one upon the other, and all upon his own purpose, cannot he interrupted. and therefore such as shall infallibly produce and work in them all the obedience which for the end proposed he requires; — his purpose, I say, thus mentioned, must be of the same import with the declaration of his will in the other place spoken of.”

    If such a confounding of the decrees and denunciations, absolute purposes and conditional promises, spiritual things with temporal, and the general. administration of the covenant of grace in Christ with special providential dispensations, may be allowed, there is no man needs to despair of proving any thing he hath a mind to assert.

    Secondly, There are two things that Mr. Goodwin insists upon, to make good his arguing from this place: — First, That these words, “I said indeed,” hold out the real purpose and decree of God. Secondly, That in the promise mentioned there was no condition expressed or required to the execution or performance of it.

    By the first he intends that God did really purpose and decree from eternity that Eli and his house should hold the priesthood for ever; by the second, that no condition was expressed, either in terms, or necessarily implied in the thing itself, which is of the same import.

    If neither of these, now, should prove true, what little advance Mr. Goodwin hath made for the weakening of the plain intendment of the words in the place under consideration, or for the confirmation of his own gloss and interposed conditionals, either by this or the following instances, that are of the same kind, will plainly appear. Now, that these words, “I said indeed,” are not declarative of an eternal decree and purpose of God concerning the futurition and event of what is asserted to be the object of that decree, the continuance of the priesthood in the house of Eli, may be evidenced, as from the general nature of the things themselves, so from the particular explanation of the act of God whereunto this expression, “I said indeed,” doth relate.

    First, From the general nature of the thing itself this may be manifested. To what hath been formerly spoken I shall add only some few considerations, being not willing to insist long on that which is but collateral to my present design. First, then, When God decreed and purposed this (if so be he purposed it, as it is said he did), he either foresaw what would be the issue of it, or he did not. If he did not, where is his infinite wisdom and understanding? — if we may not be allowed to say his foreknowledge. How are “all his works known to him from the beginning of the world?” ( Acts 15:18; Isaiah 46:10.) How doth he “declare the end from the beginning, and the things that are yet to come?” distinguishing himself from all false gods on this account, If he did foresee the event, that it would not be so, why did he decree and purpose it should be so? Doth this become the infinite wisdom of God, to purpose and decree from all eternity that that shall come to pass which he knows will never come to pass? Can any such resolution fall upon the sons of men, to whom God is pleased to continue the use of that little spark of reason wherewith they are endued? If you say, “God purposed it should continue in case their disobedience hindered it not,’“ I ask again, Did God foresee the disobedience that would so hinder it, or did he not? If he did not, the same difficulties will arise which formerly I mentioned. If he did, then God decreed and purposed that the priesthood should continue in the house of Eli, if they kept themselves from that disobedience which he saw and knew full well they would run into! Cui fini?

    Secondly, If God did thus purpose and decree, he was able to bring it about, and accomplish his design by ways agreeable to his goodness, wisdom, and righteousness, or he was not. If he was not, where is his omnipotency, who is not able to fulfill his righteous designs and purposes in ways corresponding to that state of agents and things which he hath allotted them? How can it be said of him, “He will work, and none shall let him?” That God engageth his power for the accomplishment of his purposes was showed before. If he were able to accomplish it, why did he not do it, but suffer himself to he frustrated of his end? Is it suitable to the sovereign will and wisdom of God eternally to purpose and decree that which, by means agreeable to his holiness and goodness, he is able to bring to pass, and yet not to do it, but to fail and come short of his holy and gracious intendment? Thirdly, The obedience of the house of Eli, on which the accomplishment of the pretended decree is suspended, was such as either they were able of themselves to perform, or they were not. To say they were, is to exclude the necessary assistance of the grace of God, which Mr. Goodwin hath not in terms declared himself to do, nor are we as yet arrived at that height, though a considerable progress hath been made. If they were not able to do it without the assistance of the Spirit and concurrence of the grace of God, did the Lord purpose to give them that assistance, working in them both to will and to do of his own good pleasure, or did he not? If he did so purpose, why did he not do it? If he did not purpose to do it, to what end did he decree that that should come to pass which he knew could not come to pass without his doing that which he was resolved newer to do? It is all one as if a man knew that another were shut up in a prison, from whence it was impossible that any body but himself should deliver him, and should resolve and purpose to give the poor prisoner a hundred pounds, so that he would come out of prison to him, and resolve withal never to bring him out. Fourthly, God from eternity foresaw that the priesthood should not be continued to the house of Eli; therefore he did not from eternity purpose and decree that it should. To know that a thing shall not be, and to determine that it shall be, is a sce>siv rather beseeming a half frantic creature than the infinitely wise Creator. Again; upon what account did God foresee that it should not be so? Can the futurition of contingent events be resolved in the issue into any thing but God’s sovereign determination? God, therefore, did not determine and purpose that it should be so, because he determined and purposed that it should not be so.

    Whatsoever he doth in time, that he purposed to do from eternity. Now, in time he removed the priesthood from the house of Eli; therefore he eternally purposed and determined so to do: which surely leaves no place for a contrary purpose and decree (not so much as conditional) that it should so continue for ever. The truth is, the mystery of this abomination lies in those things which lie not in my way now to handle. A disjunctive decree, a middle science, creature-dependency, are father, mother, and nurse, of the assertion we oppose, whose monstrous deformity and desperate rebellion against the properties of God I may, the Lord assisting, hereafter more fully demonstrate.

    But you will say, “Doth not the Lord plainly hold out a purpose and decree in these words, ‘I said indeed?’ Did he say it? Will you assign hypocrisy to him, and doubling with the sons of men?”

    I say, then, secondly, that the expression here used holds out no intention or purpose of God as to the futurition and event of the thing itself, that the priesthood should continue in the house of Eli, but only his purpose and intention that obedience and the priesthood should go together. There is a connection of things, not an intendment or purpose of events, in the words intimated. The latter cannot be ascribed to God without the charge of as formal mutability as the poorest creature is liable to. Mr. Goodwin, indeed, tells you, sect. 43, p. 209, “That the purpose of God itself, considered as an act or conception of the mind of God, dependeth not on any condition whatever; and all God’s purposes and decrees, without exception, are in such respect absolute and independent.”

    How weak and unable this is to free the Lord from a charge of changeableness upon his supposal needs little pains to demonstrate. The conceptions of the minds of the sons of men, and their purposes as such, are as absolutely free and unconditional as the nature of a creature will admit; only the execution of our purposes and resolves is suspended upon the intervention of other things, which render them all conditional. And this, it seems, is the state with God himself, although in the Scripture he most frequently distinguisheth himself from the sons of men on this account, that they purpose at the greatest rate of uncertainty imaginable, as to the accomplishment of their thoughts, and therefore are frequently disappointed, but his purposes and his counsels stand for ever: so Psalm 33:10,11. The expresaion then here, “I said,” relates plainly to the investiture of Aaron and his seed in the priesthood. There was a twofold engagement made to the house of Aaron about that office, — one in general to him and his sons, the other in particular to Phinehas and his posterity. the latter to Phinehas is far more expressive and significant than the other. You have it Numbers 25:11-13, “Phinehas, the son of Eleazar, the son of Aaron the priest, hath turned my wrath away from the children of Israel, while he was zealous for my sake among them, that I consumed not the children of Israel in my jealousy. Wherefore say, Behold, I give unto him my covenant of peace: and he shall have it, and his seed after him, even the covenant of an everlasting priesthood; because he was zealous for his God, and made an atonement for the children of Israel.”

    Here is a promise indeed, and no condition in terms expressed; — but yet being made and granted upon the condition of obedience, which is clearly expressed once and again, that the continuance of it was also suspended on that condition, as to the glory and beauty of that office, the thing principally intended, cannot be doubted; yea, it is sufficiently pressed in the occasion of the promise and fountain thereof. this; was not that promise wherein Eli’s was particularly concerned. Indeed, his posterity was rejected in order to the accomplishment of this promise, the seed of Phinehas returning to their dignity, from whence they fell by the interposition of the house of Ithamar.

    That which this expression here peculiarly relates unto is the declaration of the mind of God concerning the priesthood of Aaron and his posterity, which you have Exodus 28:43, 29:9, where the confirming them in their office is called “a perpetual statute,” or “a law for ever.” The signification of the term “for ever,” the Hebrew especially, relating to legal institution, is known. Their “eternity” is long since expired. That, then, which God here emphatically expresses as an act of grace and favor to the house of Aaron, which Eli and his had an interest in, was that statute or law of the priesthood, and his purpose and intention (not concerning the event of things, not that it should continue in any one branch of that family, but) of connecting it with their obedience and faithfulness in that office. It is very frequent with God to express his approbation of our duty under terms holding out the event that would be the issue of the duty, though it never come to pass; and his approbation or rejection of the sons of men under terms that hold out the end of their disobedience, though it be prevented or removed. In this latter case he commands Jonah to cry, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown;” not that he purposed the destruction of Nineveh at that time, but only effectually to hold out the end their sin, that it might be a means to turn them from it, and to prevent that end, which it would otherwise procure. His purpose was to prevent, at least prorogue, the ruin of Nineveh; and therefore [he] made use of threatening them with ruin, that they might not be ruined. To say that God purposed not the execution of his purpose but in such and such cases, is a plain contradiction. The purpose is of execution, and to say he purposed not the execution of his purpose, is to say plainly he purposed and purposed not, or he purposed not what he purposed. The examples of Pharaoh and Abraham, in the precepts given to them, are proofs of the former. But I must not insist upon particulars.

    This, then, is all that here is intended: God making a law, a statute, about the continuance of the priesthood in the family of Aaron, affirms that then he said “his house should walk before him for ever;” that is, with approbation and acceptation, for as to the right of the priesthood, that still continued in the house of Aaron, whilst it continued, notwithstanding the ejection of Eli and his. Now, whether there were any conditions in the promise made, which is Mr. Goodwin’s second improvement of this instance, may appear from the consideration of what hath been spoken concerning it. It is called “a law and statute,” “the act.” On that account, whatever it were that God here points unto is but a moral legislative act, and not a physical determining act of the will of God, and, being a law of privilege in its own nature, it involves a condition; which the acts of God’s will, vital and eternal, wherewith this law is compared, do openly disavow.

    Let us now see the parallel between the two places insisted on for the explanation of the former of them; which, as it will appear by the sequel, is the only buckler wherewith Mr. Goodwin defends his hypothesis from the irresistible force of the argument wherewith he hath to do: — First, The one speaks of things spiritual, the other of things temporal; secondly, The one of what God will do, and the other of what he approves to be done, being done; thirdly, The one holds out God’s decree and purpose concerning events, the other his law and statute concerning duties; fourthly, The one not capable of interposing conditionals without perverting the whole design of God revealed in that place, the other directly including conditions; fifthly, The one speaking of things themselves, the other only of the manner of a thing; sixthly, In the one God holds out what he will do for the good of his, upon the account of the efficacy of his grace; in the other, what men are to do if they will be approved of him. And how one of these places can be imagined to be suited for the illustration and interpretation of the other, which agree neither in name nor thing, word nor deed, purpose nor design, must be left to the judgment of those who desire to ponder these things, and to weigh them in the balance of the sanctuary.

    The other instances, in the case of Saul and Paul, being more heterogeneous to the business in hand than that of Eli, which went before, require not any particular help for the removal of them out of the way.

    Though they are dead as to the end for which they are produced, I presume no true Israelite in the pursuit of that Sheba in the church, the apostasy of saints, will be retarded in his way by their being cast before him. In brief, neither the connection of obedience and suitable rewards, as in the case of Saul, nor the necessity of means subservient to the accomplishment of purposes (themselves also falling under that purpose of Him who intends the end and the fulfilling of it), as in the case of Paul, is of the least force to persuade us that the eternal, immanent acts of God’s will, which he pursues by the effectual, irresistible acts of his grace, so as to compass the end which he hath from everlasting determinately resolved to bring about, are suspended upon imaginary conditions, created in the brains of men, and, notwithstanding their evident inconsistency with the scope of the Scripture and design of God therein, intruded into such texts of Scripture as on all hands (which will be evident in the sequel of this discourse) are fortified against them.

    Besides, in the case of Paul, though the infallibility of the prediction did not in the least prejudice the liberty of the agents who were to be employed for its accomplishment, but left room for the exhortation of Paul and the endeavors of the soldiers, yet it cuts off all possibility of a contrary event, and all supposal of a distinctive purpose in God, upon the account whereof he cannot predict the issue or event of any thing whatsoever. But of this more largely afterward.

    But this is farther argued by Mr. Goodwin, from the purposes of God in his threatenings, in these words: “Most frequently the purpose and decree of God concerning the punishment of wicked and ungodly men is expressed by the Holy Ghost absolutely and certainly, without the least mention of any condition, or relaxation, or reversion; yet., from other passages of Scripture, it is fully evident that this decree of his is conditional in such a sense which imports a non-execution of the punishment therein declared upon the repentance of the persons against whom the decree is. In like manner, though the purpose and decree of God for the justification of those who are called (and so for the glorifying of those that shall be justified) be, in the scripture in hand, delivered in an absolute and unconditional form of words, yet it is no way necessary to suppose (the most familiar, frequent, and accustomed expressions in Scripture in such cases, exempting us from any such necessity) that therefore these decrees must needs bring forth against all possible interveni-nces whatever: so that, for example, he that is called by the word and Spirit must needs be justified, whether he truly believe or no; and he that is justified must needs be glorified, whether he persevere or no.”

    Ans. First, That the threatenings of God are moral acts, not declarative, as to particular persons, of God’s eternal purposes, but subservient to other ends, together with the law itself, whereof they are a portion (as the avoiding of that for which men are threatened), is known. They are appendices of the law, and in their relation thereunto declare the connection that is between sin and punishment, such sins and such punishments.

    Secondly, That the eternal purposes of God concerning the works of his grace are to be measured by the rule and analogy of his temporal threatenings, is an assertion striking at the very root of the covenant of grace, and efficacy of the mediation of the Lord Jesus, yea, at the very being of divine perfections of the nature of God himself. This there is, indeed, in all threatenings, declared of the absolute purpose and unchangeable decree of God, that all impenitent sinners shall be punished according to what in his wisdom and righteousness he hath apportioned out unto such deservings, and threateneth accordingly. In this regard there is no condition that doth or can, in the least, import a non-execution of the punishment decreed, neither do any of the texts cited in the matin of our author prove any such thing. They all, indeed, positively affirm [that] faithless, impenitent unbelievers shall be destroyed; which no supposal whatsoever that takes not away the subject of the question, and so alters the whole thing in debate, can in the least infringe. Such assertions, I say, are parts of the law of God revealing his will in general to punish impenitent unbelievers; concerning which his purpose is absolute, unalterable, and steadfast.

    The conclusion, then, which Mr. Goodwin makes is apparently racked from the words by stretching them upon the unproportioned bed of other phrases and expressions, wholly heterogeneous to the design in this place intended. Added here are supposed conditions in general, not once explained, to keep them from being exposed to that shame that is due unto them when their intrusion, without all order or warrant from heaven, shall be manifested, only wrapped up in the clouds of possible interveniences; when the acts of God’s grace, whereby his purposes and decrees are accomplished, do consist in the effectual removal of the interveniences pretended, that so the end aimed at in the unchangeable counsel of God may, suitably to the determination of his sovereign, omnipotent, infinite, wise will, be accomplished. Neither doth it in the least appear that any such calling by the word and Spirit as may leave the persons so called in their unbelief, — they being so called in the pursuit of this purpose of God to give them faith and make them conformable to Christ, — may be allowed place or room in the haven of this text. The like may be said of justification wherein men do not persevere. Yea, these two supposals are not only an open begging of the thing in contest, but a fiat defying of the apostle as to the validity of his demonstration, that “all things work together,” etc.

    Notwithstanding, then, any thing that hath been objected to the contrary, the foundation of God mentioned in this place of Scripture stands firm, and his eternal purpose of safeguarding the saints in the love of Christ, until he bring them to the enjoyment of himself in glory, stands, clear from the least shadow of change or suspension upon any certain conditionals, which are confidently, but not so much as speciously, obtruded upon it.

    The next thing undertaken by Mr. Goodwin is, to vindicate the forementioned glosses from such oppositions as arise against them from the context and words themselves, with the design of the Holy Ghost therein. These things doth he find his exposition obnoxious unto, — the exposition which he pretends to give no strength unto but what is foreign, on all considerations whatsoever of words and things, to the place itself.

    This, it seems, is to “prophesy according to the analogy of faith,” Romans 12:6.

    First, then, sect. 44, to the objection, that those who are called are also justified, and shall be glorified, according to the tenor of the series of the acts of the grace of God here laid down, he answereth “That where either the one or the other of these assertions be so no, it must be judged of by other scriptures. Certain it is, by what hath been argued concerning the frequent usage of the Scripture point of expression, that it cannot be concluded or determined the scripture in hand.” The sum of this answer amounts to thus much: “Although the sense opposed be clear in the letter and expression of this place of Scripture, in the grammatical sense and use of the words; though it flows from the whole context, and answers alone the design and scope of the place, which gives not the least countenance to the interposing of any such conditionals as are framed to force it to speak contrary to what, gumnh~| th~| kefalh~| , it holds forth; — yet the mind of God in the words is not from these things to be concluded on; but other significations and senses, not of any word here used, not from the laying down of the same doctrine in other places, with the analogy of the faith thereof, not from the proposing of any design suitable to this here expressed, but places of Scripture agreeing with this neither in name nor thing, expression nor design, word nor matter, must be found out in the sense and meaning of this place, and from them concluded, and our interpretation of this place accordingly regulated.” “Nobis non licet,” etc.

    Neither hath Mr. Goodwin produced any place of Scripture, nor can he, parallel to this, so much as in expression, though treating of any other subject or matter, that will endure to have any such sense tied to it as that which he violently imposeth on this place of the apostle. And if the sense and mind of God in this place may not safely be received and closed withal from the proper and ordinary signification of the words (which is always attended unto without the least dispute, unless the subject-matter of any place, with the context, enforces to the sense less usual and natural), with the clear design and scope of the context in all the parts of it, universally correspondent unto itself, I know not how, or when, or by what rules, we may have the least certainty that we have attained the knowledge of the mind of God in any one place of Scripture whatever.

    What he next objects to himself, namely, “That though there be no condition expressed in the instances by him produced, yet there are in parallel places, by which they are to be expounded” (but such conditions as these are not expressed in any place that answers to that, which we have in hand), it being by himself, as I conceive, invented to turn us aside from the consideration of the irresistible efficacy of the argument from this place (which use he makes of it in his first answer given to it), I own not; and that because I am fully assured, that in any promise whatsoever that is indeed conditional, there is no need to inquire out other scriptures of the like import to evince it so to be, — all and every one of them that are such, either in express terms, or in the matter whereof they are, or in the legal manner wherein they are given and enacted, do plainly and undeniably hold out the conditions inquired after. His threefold answer to this objection needs not to detain us. Passing on, I hope, to what is more material and weighty, he tells us, first, sect. 44, that if this be so, “then it must be tried out by other scriptures, and not by this;” which evasion I can allow our author to insist on, as tending to shift his hands of this place, which, I am persuaded, in the consideration of it grew heavy on them. But I cannot allow it to be a plea in this contest, as not owning the objection which it pretends to answer. The two following answers being not an actual doing of any thing, but only fair and large promises of what Mr. Goodwin will do about answering other scriptures, and evincing the conditionals intimated from such others as he shall produce (some, doubtless, will think these promises no payment, especially such as having weighed money formerly tendered for real payment have found it too light), I shall let them lie in expectation of their accomplishment. “Rusticus expectat, dum defluat amnis,” etc.

    In the meantime, till answers come to hand, Mr. Goodwin proffers to prove by two arguments (one clear answer had been more fair), that these acts of God, calling, justification, and so the rest, have no such connection between them, but that the one of them may be taken and be put in execution, and yet not the other, in respect of the same persons.

    His first reason is this: “If the apostle should frame this series or chain of divine acts with an intent to show or teach the uninterruptibleness of it, in what case or cases soever, he should fight against his general and main scope or design in that part of the chapter which lieth from verse 17, which clearly is this, to encourage them to constancy and perseverance in suffering afflictions: for to suggest any such thing as that, being called and justified, nothing could hinder them from being glorified, were to furnish them with a ground on which to neglect his exhortation; for who will be persuaded to suffer tribulation for the obtaining of that which they have sufficient assurance given that they shall obtain whether they suffer such things or no? Therefore, certainly, the apostle did not intend here to teach the certainty of perseverance in those that are justified.”

    Ans. That this argument is of such a composition as not to operate much in the case in hand will easily appear; for, — First, These expressions, “In what case or cases soever,” are foisted into the sense and sentence of them whom he opposes, who affirm the acts of God’s grace here mentioned to be effectually and virtually preventive of those eases, and of [that] which might possibly give any interruption to the series of them.

    Secondly, Whatsoever is here pretended of the main scope of the chapter, the scope of the place we have under consideration was granted before to be the making good of that assertion, premised in the head thereof, that all things should work together for good to believers, and that so to make it good, that upon the demonstration of it they might triumph with joy and exultation; which it cannot be denied but that this uninterruptible series of divine acts, not framed by the apostle, but revealed by the Holy Ghost, is fitted and suited to do.

    Thirdly, Suppose that be the scope of the foregoing verses, what is there in the thesis insisted on and the sense embraced by us opposite thereunto? “Why, to suggest any such thing to them as that, being called and justified, nothing could possibly interpose to hinder them from being glorified, — that is, that God by his grace will preserve them from departing willfully from him, and will in Jesus Christ establish his love to them for ever, — was to furnish them with a motive to neglect his exhortations.” Yea, but this kind of arguing we call here petitio principii, and it is accounted with us nothing valid; the thing in question is produced as the medium to argue by. We affirm there is no stronger motive possible to encourage them to perseverance than this proposed. “It is otherwise,” saith Mr. Goodwin; and its being otherwise in his opinion is the medium whereby he disproves not only that, but another truth, which he also opposeth! But he adds this reason, “For who would be persuaded to suffer,” etc.; that is, it is impossible for any one industriously and carefully to use the means for the attainment of any end, if he hath assurance of the end by these means to be obtained. What need Hezekiah make use of food, or other means of sustaining his life, when he was assured that he should live fifteen years?

    The perseverance of the saints is not in the Scripture, nor by any of those whom Mr. Goodwin hath chosen to oppose, held out on any such ridiculous terms as whether they use means or use them not, carry themselves well or wickedly miscarry themselves, but is asserted upon the account of God’s effectual grace preserving them in the use of the means, and from all such miscarriages as should make a total separation between God and their souls. So that this first reason is but a plain begging of those things which, to use his own language, he would not dig for.

    But perhaps, although this first argument of Mr. Goodwin be nothing but an importune suggestion of some hypotheses of his own, with an arguing from inferences not only questionable but unquestionably false, yet if his second demonstration will evince the matter under debate, he may be content to suffer loss in the hay and stubble of the first, so that the gold of the following argument do abide. Now, thus he proceedeth in these words: “And, lastly, this demonstrates the same thing yet farther. If God should justify all without exception whom he calleth, and that against all bars of wickedness and unbelief possible to be laid in their way by those who are called, then might ungodly and unbelieving persons inherit the kingdom of God. The reason of the connection is evident, it being a known truth that, the persons justified are in a condition or present capacity of inheriting the kingdom of God.”

    Ans. But “carbones pro thesauro.” If it be possible, this, being of the same nature with that which went before, is more weak and infirm, as illogical and sophistical as it. The whole strength of it lies in a supposal that those who are so called as here is intimated in the text, — called according to the purpose of God, called to answer the desist of God to make them like to Jesus Christ, so called as to be hereupon justified, — may yet lay such bars of wickedness and unbelief in their own way, when they are so called, as not to be justified, when that calling of theirs consists in the effectual removal of all those bars of wickedness and unbelief which might hinder their free and gracious acceptation with God; that is, that they may be called effectually and not effectually. A supposal hereof is the strength of that consideration which yielded Mr. Goodwin this demonstration. His eminent way of arguing herein will also be farther manifest, if you shall consider that the very thing which he pretends to prove is that which he here useth for the medium to prove it, not varied in the least! “Si Pergama dextra,”etc. But Mr. Goodwin foresaw (as it was easy for him to do) what would be excepted to this last argument, — to wit, that the calling here mentioned effectually removes those bars of wickedness and unbelief, a supposal whereof is all the strength and vigor it hath; and in that supposal there is a plain assuming of the thing in question, and a bare contradiction to that which from the place we prove and confirm. Wherefore, he answereth sundry things: — First, That “Judas, Demas, Simon Magus, were all called, and yet laid bars of wickedness and unbelief, whereby their justification was obstructed.”

    And to the reply, that they were not so called as those mentioned in the text, not called according to God’s purpose, with that calling which flows from their predestination to be conformed unto Christ, with that calling which is held out as an effectual mean to accomplish the end of God in causing all things to work together for their good, and therefore that the strength of this answer lies in the interposition of his own hypothesis once more, and his renewed request for a grant of the thing in question, — he proceeds to take away this exception by sundry cross assertions and interrogations. Sect. 45, “It hath not been proved,” saith he, “by any man, nor I believe ever will be” (sir, we live not by your faith), “that the calling here spoken of imports any such act or work of God whereby the called are irresistibly necessitated savingly to believe. If it import no such thing as this, what hinders but that the persons mentioned might have been called by that very kind of calling here spoken of?”

    Ans. It is known what Mr. Goodwin aims at in that expression, “Irresistibly necessitated savingly to believe;” we will not contend about words. Neither of the two first terms mentioned is either willingly used of us or can be properly used by any, in reference to the work of conversion or calling. What we own in them relates, as to the first term, “irresistibly,” to the grace of God calling or converting; and in the latter, “necessitated,” to the event of the call itself. If by “irresistibly” you intend the manner of operation of that effectual grace of God (not which conquers in a reaction, which properly may be termed so, but) which really, and therefore certainly (for “unumquodque, quod est, dum est, necessario est”), produces its effect, not by forcing the will, but, being as intimate to it as itself, making it willing, etc., we own it. And if by “necessitated” you understand only the event of things, — that is, it is of necessity as to the event that they shall savingly believe who are effectually called, without the least straitening or necessitating their wills in their conversion, which are still acted suitably to their native liberty, — we close with that term also, and affirm that the calling here mentioned imports such an act of God’s grace as whereby they who are called are effectually and infallibly brought savingly to believe, and so, consequentially, that the persons whose wickedness and unbelief abide upon them were never called with this calling here contended about. They who are not predestinated a parte ante, nor glorified a parte post, are not partakers of this calling. I must add, that as yet I have not met with any proof of Mr. Goodwin’s interpretation, nor any exception against ours, that is not resolvable into the same principle of craving the thing in question, producing the thing to be proved as its own demonstration, and asserting the things proved against him not to be so because they are not so. From the design and scope of the place, the intendment of the Holy Ghost in it, the meaning of the words, the relation and respect wherein the acts of God mentioned stand one to another, the disappointment of God’s purpose and decree in case of any interruption of them or non-producing of the effects, which lena the subjects of whom they are spoken from one to another, we prove the infallible efficacy of every act of God’s grace here mentioned as to their tendency unto the end aimed at; and this he that is called to believe may infallibly do. “But,” says Mr. Goodwin, “this is otherwise.” Well, let that pass. He adds, secondly, “Suppose it be granted that the calling here spoken of is that kind of calling which is always accompanied with a saving answer of faith, yet neither doth this prove but that even such called ones may obstruct and prevent, by wickedness and unbelief, their final justification, and consequently their glorification. If so, then that chain of divine acts or decrees here framed by the apostle is not indissolvable in any such sense which imports an infallibility, and universal exertion or execution of the ]after whensoever the former hath taken place.” In this answer Mr. Goodwin denies our conclusion, to wit, that the chain of divine acts of grace in this place is in-dissolvable (which that it is we make out and prove from the words of the text, the context, and scope of the place), and adds his reason, “Because they who are justified may lay bars in their way from being finally so, or being glorified;” — that is, it is not so, because it is not so; for the efficacy of the grace asserted is for the removal of the bars intimated, or wherein may its efficacy be supposed to consist, especially in its relation to the end designed? And so this place is answered. Saith the Holy Ghost, “Those whom God justifieth he glorifies.” “Perhaps not,” saith Mr. Goodwin; “some things may fall in or fall out to hinder this.” Eligite cui credatis.

    Were I not resolved to abstain from the consideration of the judgments of men when they are authoritatively interposed in the things of God, I could easily manifest the fruitlessness of the following endeavor to prove the effectual calling of Judas by the testimony of Chrysostom and Peter Martyr; for neither hath the first, in the place alleged, any such thing (least of all is it included in Mr. Goodwin’s marginal annotation, excluding compulsion, necessity, and violence, from vocation); and the latter, in the section pointed to and that following, lays down principles sufficiently destructive to the whole design whose management Mr. Goodwin hath undertaken. Neither shall I contest about the imposing on us in this dispute the notion of final justification distinct from glorification, both name and thing being foreign to the Scripture, and secretly including (yea, delivering to the advantage of its author) the whole doctrine under consideration stated to his hand. If there be a gospel justification in sinners or believers in the blood of Christ not final or that may be cut off, he hath prevailed.

    But Mr. Goodwin proceeds to object against himself, sect. 46, “But some, it may be, will farther object against the interpretation given, and plead, — 1. That the contexture between these two links of this chain, predestination to a conformity with Christ and calling, is simply and absolutely indissolvable, so that whoever is so predestinated never fails of being called; 2. That it is altogether unlikely that, in one and the same series of divine actions, there should not be the same fixedness or certainty of coherence between all the parts.”

    The first of these being the bare thesis which he opposed, I know not how it came to be made an objection. I shall only add to the latter objection, which includes something of argument, that the efficacy of any one act of God’s grace here mentioned, as to the end proposed, depending wholly on the uninterruptible concatenation of them all, and the effectual prevalency and certainty (as to their respective operations) of every one of them being equal to the accomplishment of the purpose of God in and by them all, I willingly own it, especially finding how little is said, and yet how much labor taken, to dress up a pretended answer unto it. Of this there are two parts, whereof the first is this: “I answer,” saith he, — “First, by a demur upon the former of these pleas;” which was, that the connection between the predestination of God mentioned and his calling is uninterruptible. “Somewhat doubtful to me it is whether a person who, by means of the love of God which is in him at present, falls under his decree of predestination, may not possibly, before the time appointed by God for his calling, be changed in that his affection, and consequently pass from under that decree of predestination, and fall under another decree of God opposite thereunto, and so never come to be called.”

    Ans. I confess this demur outruns my understanding, equis albis, neither can I by any means overtake it, to pin any tolerable sense upon it, though I would allow it to be suited only to Mr. Goodwin’s principles, and calculated for the meridian of Arminianism. For who, I pray, are they in any sense (in Mr. Goodwin’s) that do so love God as to fall under, as he speaks, that pendulous decree of predestination, and to whom this promise here is made? Are they not believers? Are any others predestinated, in our author’s judgment, but those who are actually so? Is not the decree of predestination God’s decree or purpose of saving believers by Jesus Christ? or can any love God to acceptation without believing? If, then, they are believers, can they alter that condition before they are called? We supposed that “faith had been by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” Romans 10:17, and that it is of necessity, in order of nature, that calling should precede believing. What are men called to? Is it not to believe?

    Here, then, is a new sort of men discovered, that believe and fall from faith, love God and forsake him, all antecedently to their vocation or calling. I am confident that Mr. Goodwin may be persuaded to withdraw this demurrer, or if not, that he will be overruled in it before the judgment-seat of all unprejudiced men. It will scarcely as yet pass currently that men are born believers, and after such and such a time of their continuance in that estate of belief, and being predestinated thereupon, God then calls them.

    Neither do I understand the meaning of that phrase, “Never come to be called,” used by him who maintains all to be called; but this is but a demurrer. The answer follows.

    For the great regard I bear unto the author’s abilities, I shall not say that his ensuing discourse doth not deserve to be transcribed and punctually insisted on; but this I may say, I hope, without offense, that it is so long and tedious, so remote from what it pretends unto, to wit, an answer to the forementioned argument, that I dare not venture upon the patience of any reader so far as to enter into a particular consideration of it.

    The sum of it is, “That there is no unlikelihood in this, that though one part of the chain of divine graces before mentioned cannot be dissolved or broken, yet another may (notwithstanding that a dissolution of any one of them renders the design of God in them all wholly frustrate and fruitless).”

    This he proves by proposing a new series of divine acts in actual dependence one upon another, some whereof may be uninterruptible, but the others not so. He that shall but slightly view the concatenation of divine acts here proposed by Mr. Goodwin for the illustration of that dependence of them and their efficacy which we insist upon, will quickly find it liable to some such small exceptions as render it altogether useless as to the end proposed; as, — First, That the case here proposed, and pretended to be parallel to that under our consideration, is a fictitious thing, a feigned concatenation of feigned decrees of God, being neither in any one place delivered in the Scripture, nor to be collected from any or all the texts in the Bible; which course of proceeding, if it may be argumentative in sacred truth, it will be an easy and facile task to overthrow the most eminent and dearly-delivered heads of doctrine in the whole book of God.

    Secondly, That it is a case surmised by him, suitable to his own hypotheses, neither true in itself nor any way analogous to that wherewith it is yoked, being indeed a new way and tone of begging the thing in question. For instance, it supposeth, without the least attempt of proof,1. Conditional decrees, or a disjunctive intendment of events in God, — it shall come to pass, or otherwise; 2. A middle science conditional, as the foundation of those disjunctive decrees; with, 3. A futurition of things, antecedent to any determining act of the will of God; and, 4. A possibility of frustrating, as to event, the designs and purposes of God; and, 5. That all mediums of the accomplishment of any thing are conditions of God’s intentions as to the end he aims at; and, 6. That God appoints a series of mediums for the compassing of an end, and designs them thereunto, without any determinate resolution to bring about that end; and, 7. That the acts of God’s grace in their concatenation, mentioned in this place of Romans 8, are severally conditional, because he hath invented or feigned some decrees of God which he says are so; — all which, with the inferences from them, Mr. Goodwin knows will not advance his reasonings at all as to our understanding, we being fully persuaded that they are all abominations, of no less base alloy than the error itself in whose defense and patronage they are produced.

    To our argument, then, before mentioned, proving an equal indissolvableness in all the links of the chain of divine graces, drawn forth and insisted on from the equal dependence of the design and purpose of God on the mutual dependence of each of them on the other, for the fulfilling of that purpose of his, and obtaining the end which he professes himself to intend, this is the sum of Mr. Goodwin’s answer: “If I can invent a series of decrees and a concatenation of divine acts, though indeed there be no such thing, neither can I give any color to it without laying down and taking for granted many false and absurd supposals; and though it be not of the same nature with that here proposed by the apostle, nor anywhere held out in the Scripture for any such end and purpose as this is; neither can I assign any absolute determinate end in this series of mine, whose accomplishment God engages himself to bring about (as the case stands in the place of Scripture under consideration), — then it is meet and equitable that, laying aside all enforcements from the text, context, nature of God, the thing treated on, all compelling us to close with another sense and interpretation, we regulate the mind of the Holy Ghost herein to the rule, proportion, and analogy, of the case as formerly proposed.” This being the sum of that which Mr. Goodwin calls his answer, made naked, I presume, to its shame, “valeat quantum valere potest.”

    I shall only add that, — 1. When Mr. Goodwin shall make good that order and series of decrees here by him mentioned from the Scripture, or with solid reason from the nature of the things themselves, suitably to the properties of Him whose they are; — and, 2. Prove that any eternal decree of God, either as to its primitive enacting or temporal execution, is suspended on any thing not only really contingent in itself and its own nature, in respect of the immediate fountain from whence it flows and nature of its immediate cause, but also as to its event, in respect of any act of the will of God, that it may otherwise be, and so the accomplishment of that decree left thereupon uncertain, and God himself dubiously conjecturing at the event (for instance, whether Christ should die or no, or any one be saved by him); — and, 3. Clearly evince this notion of the decrees and purposes of God, that he intends to create man, and then to give him such advantages, which if he will it shall be so with him, if otherwise it shall be so; to send Christ if men do so, or not to send him if they do otherwise; and so of the residue of the decrees mentioned by him; — and, 4. That all events of things whatsoever, spiritual and temporal, have a conditional futurition, antecedent to any act of the will of God: when, I say, he shall have proved these, and some things like to these, we shall farther consider what is offered by him, yea, we will confess that “hostis habet muros,” etc.

    Of the many other testimonies to the purpose in hand, bearing witness to the same truth, some few may yet be singled out, and, in the next place, that of Jeremiah 31:3 presents itself unto trial and examination: “Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee.”

    It is the whole elect church of the seed of Jacob of whom he speaks, the foundation of whose blessedness is laid in the eternal love of God. Who the persons are thus beloved, and of whom we are to interpret these expressions of God’s good-will, the apostle manifests, Romans 11:7, as shall afterward be more fully discoursed and cleared. He tells you it is the “election” whom God intends; of whom he says that they obtained the righteousness that is by faith, according to the purport of God’s good-will towards them, though the rest were hardened, God (who adds daily to his church such as shall be saved, Acts 2:47) drawing them thereunto upon the account of their being so elected. He calls them also the “remnant according to the election of grace,” and the “people which God foreknew,” verses 1, 2, 5, or from eternity designed to the participation of the grace there spoken of, as the use of the word hath been evinced to be. These are the “thee” here designed, the portion of Israel after the flesh which the Lord, in his free grace, hath eternally appointed to be his peculiar inheritance; which in their several generations he draws to himself with loving-kindness. And this everlasting love is not only the fountain whence actual loving-kindness, in drawing to God, or bestowing faith, doth flow (as they believe who are ordained to eternal life, Acts 13:48), but also the sole cause and reason upon the account whereof, in contradistinction to the consideration of any thing in themselves, God will exercise lovingkindness towards them for ever. That which is everlasting or eternal is also unchangeable; God’s everlasting love is no more liable to mutability than himself, and it is an always equal ground and motive for kindness. On what account should God alter in his actual kindness or favor towards any, if that on the account whereof he exercises it will not admit of the least alteration? He that shall give a condition on which this everlasting love of God should be suspended, and according to the influence whereof upon it it should go forth in kindness or be interrupted, may be allowed to boast of his discovery.

    That of the apostle, 2 Timothy 2:19, is important to the business in hand, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” Some persons of eminency and note in the church, yea, stars, it seems, of a considerable magnitude in the visible firmament thereof, having fallen away from the truth and faith of the gospel, and drawn many after them into ways of destruction, a great offense and scandal among believers thereon (as in such cases it will fall out) ensued; and withal a temptation of a not-to-be-despised prevalency and sad consequence (which we formerly granted to attend such eminent apostasy) seems to have laid hold on many weak saints. They feared lest they also might be overthrown, and, after all their laboring and suffering in the work of faith and patience of the saints, come short of “the mark of the high calling” set before them. Considering their own weakness and instability, with that powerful opposition whereunto, in those days especially, they were exposed, upon the contemplation of such apostasies or defections, they were opportune and obnoxious sufficiently to this temptation. Yea, their thoughts upon the case under consideration might lead them to fear a more general defection: for seeing it is thus with some, why may not this be the condition of all believers? and so the whole church may cease and come to nothing, notwithstanding all the promises of building it on a rock, and of the presence of Christ with it to the end of the world; nay, may not his whole kingdom on earth on this account possibly fall to utter ruin, and himself be left a head without members, a king without subjects? This, by Mr. Goodwin’s own confession, is the objection which the apostle answereth, and removes in and by the words under consideration: Chap. 14 pp. 359, 360, “Seeing these fall away, are not we likewise in danger of falling away, and so of losing all that we have done and suffered in our Christian profession? To this objection or scruple the apostle answereth in the words in hand.” So he. Thus far, then, are we agreed. About the sense of the words themselves, and their accommodation to the removal of the objection or scruple mentioned, is our difference. I know not how Mr. Goodwin comes to call it “an objection or scruple” (which is the expression of thoughts or words arising against that which is, in the truth of it), seeing it is their very state and condition indeed, and that which they fear is that which they are really exposed unto, and which they ought to believe that they are exposed to. In his apprehension, they who make the objection, or whose scruple it was, were in his judgment as liable unto, and in the same danger of failing away, or greater (their temptation being increased and heightened by the apostasy of others) than they that fell the day and hour before; neither could that falling away of any be said to raise a scruple in them that they might do so too, if this were one part of their creed, that all and every man in the world might so do.

    The answer given by the apostle is no doubt suited to the objection, and fitted to the removal of the scruple mentioned; which was alone to be accomplished by an effectual removing away the solicitous fears and cares about the preservation of them in whose behalf this is produced. This, therefore, the apostle doth by an exception to the inference which they made, or through temptation might make, upon the former considerations.

    Me>n toi are exceptive particles, and an induction into the exemption of some from the condition of being in danger of falling, wherein they were concluded in the objection proposed. The intendment, I say, of the apostle, in that exceptive plea he puts in, “Nevertheless,” is evidently to exempt some from the state of falling away, which might be argued against them from the defection of others. Neither doth he speak to the thing in hand, nor are the particulars mentioned exceptive to the former intimation, if his speech look any other way. Moreover, he gives yet farther the account of this exception he makes, including a radical discrimination of professors, or men esteemed to be believers, expressing also the principle and ground of that difference. The differing principle he mentioneth is, the foundation of God that stands sure, or the firm foundation of God that is established or stands firm; this is not worth contending about; — an expression parallel to that of the same apostle, Romans 9:11, “That the purpose of God according to election might stand.” Both this and that hold out some eternal act of God, differencing between persons as to their everlasting condition. As if the apostle had said, “Ye see, indeed, that Hymeneus and Philetus are fallen away, and that others with whom you sometimes walked in the communion and outward fellowship of the gospel, and took sweet counsel together in the house of God with them, are gone after them; yet be you, true believers, of good comfort: God hash laid a foundation” (which must be some eternal act of his concerning them of whom he is about to speak, or [else] the solemn assertion of the apostle, than which you shall not easily meet with one more weighty, is neither to the case nor matter in hand) “which is firm and abiding, being the good pleasure of his will, accompanied with an act of his wisdom and understanding, appointing some (as is the case of all true believers) to be his, who shall be exempted on that account from the apostasy and desertion that you fear. This,” saith the apostle, “is the fountain and spring of the difference which is among them that profess the gospel. Concerning some of them is the purpose of God for their preservation: ‘they are ordained to eternal life.’” And herein, as was said, lies the concernment of all that are true believers, who are all his, chosen of him, given to his Son, and called according to his purpose.

    With others it is not so; they are not built on that bottom, they have no such foundation of their profession, and it is not therefore marvellous if they fall.

    The words, then, contain an exception of true believers from the danger of total apostasy, upon the account of the stable, fixed, eternal purpose of God concerning their salvation, answerable to that of Romans 8:28-30, the place Last considered. The “foundation” here mentioned is the good pleasure of the will of God, which he had purposed in himself, or determined to exert towards them, for the praise of the glory of his grace, Ephesians 1:9; according to which purpose we are predestinated, verse 11. And he calls this purpose the “foundation of God,” as being a groundwork and bottom of the thing whereof the apostle is treating, — namely, the preservation and perseverance of true believers, those who are indeed planted into Christ, notwithstanding the apostasy of the most glorious professors, who, being not within the compass of that purpose, nor built on that foundation, never attain that peculiar grace which by Jesus Christ is to them administered who have that privilege. And this farther appears by the confirmation of the certainty of this foundation of God which he hath laid, manifested in the next words, “It hath this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” Whether ye will take this either for a demonstration of the former assertion, a posteriori, from the peculiar love, favor, tenderness, and care, which the Lord bears to them which are his, who are built on the foundation mentioned, whereby, in the pursuit of his eternal purpose, he will certainly preserve them from perishing, knowing, owning, and taking care of them in every condition; or for the prescience of God, accomplishing his eternal purpose, designing them of whom he speaks as his (for his they were, and he gave them unto Christ), — is to me indifferent. Evident it is that this confirmation of the purpose mentioned is added to assure us of the stability and accomplishment of it, in that none who are built thereon or concerned therein shall fall away. And herein doth the apostle fully answer and remove the fore-mentioned objection. “Let men,” saith he, “appear never so eminent in profession, if once they prove apostates, they manifest themselves to have been but hypocrites; that is, such as never had any of the faith of God’s elect, which is their peculiar who are ordained to eternal life.”

    This, then, beyond all colorable exception, is the intendment of the apostle in the words under consideration: “Though many professors fall away, yet you that are true believers be not shaken in your confidence; for God hath laid the foundation of your preservation in his eternal purpose, whereby you are designed to life and salvation, and by the fruits whereof you are discriminated from the best of them that fall away. Only continue in the use of means; let every one of you depart from iniquity, and keep up to that universal holiness whereunto also ye are appointed and chosen.” And this is the whole of what we desire demonstration of, neither will less in any measure answer the objection or remove the scruple at first proposed.

    But, it seems, we are all this while beside the intendment of the apostle, whose resolution of the objection mentioned is quite of another nature than what we have hitherto insisted on, which Mr. Goodwin thus represents, page 359, chap. 14 sect. 14: — “To this objection or scruple the apostle, in the words now in hand, answereth to this effect, that notwithstanding the falling away of men, whoever or how many soever they be, yet the glorious gospel and truth of God therein stands, and always hath stood, firm and steadfast: which gospel hath the matter and substance of this saying in it, as a seal for the establishment of those who are upright in the sight of God, namey, ‘The Lord knoweth,’ that is, takes special notice of, approveth, and delighteth in, ‘those that are his,’ — that is, who truly believe in him, love and serve him; yea, and farther hath this item, tending to the same end, ‘Let every one that calleth upon the name of Christ,’ that is, makes profession of his name, ‘depart from iniquity.’ So that in this answer to the scruple mentioned the apostle intimateth, by way of satisfaction, that the reason why men fall away from the faith is partly because they do not consider what worthy respects God beareth to those who cleave to him in faith and love, partly also because they degenerate into loose and sinful courses, contrary to the law imposed by the gospel; and consequently, that there is no such danger of their falling away who shall duly consider the one and observe the other.

    In asserting the stability of the truth of God in the gospel, by the way of antidote against the fears of those that might possibly suspect it, because of the defections of others from it, he doth but tread in his own footsteps elsewhere in this very chapter, ‘If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful, and cannot deny himself.’” Ans. If that necessity were not voluntarily chosen which enforceth men to wrest and pervert the word of God, not only to mistaken, but strange, uncouth, and inconsistent senses, their so doing might perhaps seem not to be altogether without colorer and pretext; but when they willingly embrace those paths which will undoubtedly lead them into the briers, and, contrary to abundance of light and evidence of truth, embrace those persuasions which necessitate them to such courses, I know not what cloak they have left for their deviations. An example of this we have before us in the words recited. A sense is violently pinned upon the apostle’s words, not only alien, foreign, to the scope of the place and genuine signification of the words themselves, but wholly unsuited for any serviceableness to the end for which the author of this gloss himself confesseth these expressions of the apostle to be produced and used.

    The sum of Mr. Goodwin’s exposition of this place is this: The “foundation of God” is the gospel or the doctrine of it; its “standing,’’ or “standing sure,” the certain truth of the gospel; the “seal” mentioned is the substance or matter of that saving, “God knows who are his,” contained in the gospel; and the answer to the objection or scruple lies in this, that the reason why men fall from the gospel (which neither is nor was the scruple, nor was it so proposed by Mr. Goodwin) is because they consider not the love that God bears to believers, — that is, that he approves them whilst they are such, which is indeed one main part of the gospel; so that men fall from the gospel because they fall from the gospel, and this must satisfy the scruple proposed. It is an easy thing for men of ability and eloquence to gild over the most absurd and inconsistent interpretation of Scripture with some appearance of significancy; though I must needs say I know not rightly when nor by whom, pretending to any sobriety, it hath been more unhappily or unsuccessfully tempted than by Mr. Goodwin in this place, as upon due consideration will be made farther appear. For, — 1. To grant that “the foundation of God” may be said so far to be the gospel, because his eternal purpose, so expressed, is therein revealed, which is the interpretation Mr. Goodwin proposeth, I ask, — Whether the apostle applies himself to remove the scruple ingenerated in the minds of believers about their own falling away, upon consideration of the apostasy of others, and to answer the objection arising thereupon? This Mr. Goodwin grants in the head, though in the branches of his discourse he casts in inquiries quite of another nature, — as, that a reason is inquired after why men fall from the gospel, and a suspicion is supposed to arise of the truth of the gospel because some fell from it; things that have not the least intimation in the words or context of the place, nor are of any such evidence for their interest in the business in hand that Mr. Goodwin durst take them for ingredients in the case under consideration when he himself proposed it: so that he was enforced to foist in this counterfeit case to give some color to the interpretation of the words introduced. But yet this must not be openly owned, but intermixed with other discourses, to lead aside the understanding of the reader from bearing in mind the true state of the case by the apostle proposed and by himself acknowledged. So that this discourse “desinit in piscem,” etc. 2. The case being supposed as above, I ask whether the apostle intended a removal of the scruple and answer to the objection, as far, at least, as the one was capable of being removed and the other of being answered? This, I suppose, will not be scrupled or objected against, being indeed fully granted in stating the occasion of the words; for we must at least allow the Holy Ghost to speak pertinently to what he doth propose. Then, — 3. I farther inquire, whether any thing whatever be in the least suited to the removal of the scruple and objection proposed, but only the giving of the scruplers and objectors the best assurance that upon solid grounds and foundations could be given, or they were in truth capable of, that what they feared should not come upon them, and that, notwithstanding the deviation of others, themselves should be preserved? And then, — 4. Seeing that the sum of the sense of the words given by Mr. Goodwin amounts to these two assertions, — 1. “That the doctrine of the gospel is true and permanent;” 2. “That God approves for the present all who for the present believe;” supposing that there is nothing in the gospel teaching the perseverance of the saints, I ask yet whether there be any thing in this answer of the apostle, so interpreted, able to give the least satisfaction imaginable to the consciences and hearts of men making the objection mentioned? for is it not evident, notwithstanding any thing here expressed, that they and every believer in the world may apostatize and fall away into hell? Say the poor believers, “Such and such fell away from the faith; their eminent usefulness in their profession, beyond perhaps what we are able to demonstrate of ourselves, makes us fear that this abominable defection may go on and swallow us up, and grow upon the church to a farther desolation.” The answer is: “However, the gospel is true, and God bears gracious respects to them that cleave to him in love, whilst they do so.” “Quaestio est de alliis, responsio de cepis.” Methinks the apostle might have put them upon those considerations which Mr. Goodwin proposes, as of excellent use and prevalency against falling away, that they put men out of danger of it (chap. 9), rather than have given them an answer not in the least tending to their satisfaction, nor any way suited to their fears or inquiries, no, not [even] as backed with that explanation, that “they fall away because they degenerate into loose and sinful courses;” that is, because they fall away. A degeneracy into loose and sinful courses amounts surely to no less. 5. Again, I would know whether this “foundation of God” be an act of his will commanding or purposing, — declarative of our duty or his intention?

    If the first, then [I would know] what occasion is administered to make mention of it in this place? — whether it were called in question or no? and whether the assertion of it conduces to the solution of the objection proposed? Or is it in any parallel terms expressed in any other place?

    Besides, seeing this “foundation of God” is in nature antecedent to the “sealing” mentioned, or God’s “knowing them that are his,” and the object of the act of God’s will, be it what it will, being the persons concerning whom that sealing is, [I would know] whether it can be any thing but some distinguishing purpose of God concerning those persons in reference to the things spoken of? Evident, then, it is, from the words themselves, the occasion of them, the design and scope of the apostle in the place, that the “foundation of God” here mentioned is his discriminating purpose concerning some men’s certain preservation unto salvation; which is manifestly confirmed by that seal of his, that he “knoweth them” in a peculiar, distinguishing manner; — a manner of speech and expression suited directly to what the same apostle useth in the same case everywhere, as Romans 8:28-30,9; 11:1,2; Ephesians 1:4-6. “But,” saith Mr. Goodwin, “this is no more than what the apostle elsewhere speaks: Romans 3:3, ‘What if some did not believe? shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect?’ — that is, ‘Shall the unbelief of men be interpreted as any tolerable argument or ground to prove that God is unfaithful, or that he hath no other faith in him than that which sometimes miscarrieth, and produceth not that for which it stands engaged?’ implying that such an interpretation as this is unreasonable in the highest.”

    But truly, by the way, if it be so, I know not who in the lowest can quit Mr. Goodwin from unreasonableness in the highest; for doth he not contend in this whole discourse, that the faith of God in his promises, for the producing of that for which it stands engaged (as when he saith to believers he will “never leave them nor forsake them”), doth so depend on the faith of men as to the event intended, that it is very frequently by their unbelief rendered of none effect? Is not this the spirit that animates the whole religion of the apostasy of saints? Is not the great contest between us, whether any unbelief of men may interpose to render the faith of God of none effect as to the producing of the thing he promiseth? “Tibi, quia intristi, exedendum est.”

    But, 2. Let it be granted that these two places of the apostle are of a parallel signification, what will it advantage the interpretation imposed on us? What is the “faith of God” here intended? and what the “unbelief” mentioned? and whereunto tends the apostle’s vehement interrogation?

    The great contest in this epistle concerning the Jews (of whom he peculiarly speaks, verses 1, 2) was about the promise of God made to them, and his faithfulness therein. Evident it was that many of them did not believe the gospel; as evident that the promise of God was made peculiarly to them, to Abraham and his seed. Hence no