King James Bible Adam Clarke Bible Commentary Martin Luther's Writings Wesley's Sermons and Commentary Neurosemantics Audio / Video Bible Evolution Cruncher Creation Science Vincent New Testament Word Studies KJV Audio Bible Family videogames Christian author Godrules.NET Main Page Add to Favorites Godrules.NET Main Page




Bad Advertisement?

Are you a Christian?

Online Store:
  • Visit Our Store

  • TO THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE COUNCIL OF STATE, [AND] TO HIS HIGHNESS, THE ENSUING


    PREVIOUS CHAPTER - NEXT CHAPTER - HELP - FACEBOOK     

    VINDICATION OF THE GLORY AND DOCTRINE OF THE GREAT GOD AND OUR SAVIOUR JESUS CHRIST, WRITTEN UPON THEIR COMMAND, Is Humbly Dedicated By Its Unworthy Author, J. O.

    TO THE RIGHT WORSHIPFUL, HIS REVEREND, LEARNED, AND WORTHY FRIENDS AND BRETHREN, THE HEADS AND GOVERNORS OF THE COLLEGES AND HALLS, WITH ALL OTHER STUDENTS IN DIVINITY, OR OF THE TRUTH WHICH IS AFTER GODLINESS, IN THE FAMOUS UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.

    OF this second address unto you in this kind, whereunto I am encouraged by your fair and candid reception of my former, I desire you would be pleased to take the ensuing account. It is now, as I remember, about a year ago since one Mr Biddle (formerly a master of arts of this university, by which title he still owns himself) published two little Catechisms, as he calls them, wherein, under sundry specious pleas and pretences, which you will find discussed in the ensuing treatise, he endeavors to insinuate subtilely into the minds of unstable and unlearned men the whole substance of the Socinian religion. The man is a person whom, to my knowledge, I never saw, nor have been at all curious to inquire after the place of his habitation or course of his life. His opposition some years since to the deity of the Holy Ghost, and now to that of the Father and Son also, is all that he is known to me by. It is not with his person that I have any contest; he stands or falls to his own master. His arguments against the deity of the Holy Ghost were some while since answered by Cloppenburgh, then professor of divinity at Franeker, in Friesland, since at rest in the Lord; and, as I have heard, by one in English. His Catechisms also are gone over the seas; whereof farther mention must afterward be made. At their first publishing, complaint being given in by some worthy persons to the Honorable Council against them, as abusive to the majesty and authority of the word of God, and destructive to many important truths of the gospel (which was done without any knowledge of mine), they were pleased to send for me, and to require of me the performance of that work which is here presented unto you. Being surprised with their request, I labored to excuse myself to the utmost, on the account of my many employments in the university and elsewhere, with other reasons of the like nature, which to my thoughts did then occur. [Not prevailing with them, they persisting in their command, I looked on it as a call from God to plead for his violated truth; which, by his assistance, and according as I had opportunity, I was in general alway resolved to do. Having, indeed, but newly taken off my hand from the plough of a peculiar controversy about the perseverance of the saints, in the following whereof I was somewhat tired, the entrance into the work was irksome and burdensome unto me. After some progress made, finding the searching into and discussing of the important truths opposed of very good use to myself, I have been carried through the whole (according as I could break off my daily pressing occasions to attend unto it) with much cheerfulness and alacrity of mind. And this was the reason why, finding Mr Biddle came short of giving a fair occasion to the full vindication of many heads of religion by him oppugned, I have called in to his assistance and society one of his great masters, namely, Valentinus Smalcius, and his Catechism (commonly called the Racovian), with the expositions of the places of Scripture contended about by the learned Grotius, as also, on several occasions, the arguments and answers of most of the chief propugners of Mr Biddle’s religion. Now, besides your interest in the truths pleaded for, there are other considerations also inducing me to a persuasion that this endeavor of mine will not be unacceptable unto you. Mr Biddle’s Catechisms, as I said, being carried over and dispersed in sundry places of the United Provinces, the professors of their academies (who have all generally learned the English tongue, to enable them for the understanding of the treatises of divinity in all kinds written therein, which they begin to make use of to the purpose) cry out against them, and professedly undertake the refutation thereof. Now, certainly it cannot be for our advantage in point of repute amongst them, that they (who are yet glad of the occasion) should be enforced to undertake the confutation of a book written by one who styles himself a master of arts of this university (which they also take notice of), wherein they are so little concerned, the poison of it being shut up from their people under the safe custody of an unknown tongue. Nicolaus Arnoldus, the professor of divinity at Franeker, gives an account of this book, as the most subtile insinuation of the Socinian religion that ever was attempted, and promises a confutation of it.

    Maresius, professor at Groningen, a man well known by his works published, goes farther, and, on the account of these Catechisms, charges the whole nation and the governors of it with Socinianism; and, according to the manner of the man, raises a fearful outcry, affirming that that heresy hath fixed its metropolitical seat here in England, and is here openly professed, as the head sect in the nation, displaying openly the banners of its iniquity: all which he confirms by instancing in this book of a master of arts of the university of Oxford. Of his rashness in censuring, and his extreme ignorance of the state of affairs here amongst us, which yet he undertakes to relate, judge, and condemn, I have given him an account, in a private letter to himself.

    Certainly, though we deserved to have these reproaches cast upon us, yet of all men in the world those who live under the protection and upon the allowance of the United Provinces are most unmeet to manage them; their incompetency in sundry respects for this service is known to all.

    However, it cannot be denied but that, even on this account (that it may appear that we are, as free from the guilt of the calumnious insinuations of Maresius, so in no need of the assistance of Arnoldus for the confutation of any one arising among ourselves speaking perverse things to draw disciples after him), an answer from some in this place unto those Catechisms was sufficiently necessary. That it is by Providence fallen upon the hand of one more unmeet than many others in this place for the performance of this work and duty, I doubt not but you will be contented withal; and I am bold to hope that neither the truth nor your own esteem will too much suffer by my engagement herein. Yea (give me leave to speak it), I have assumed the confidence to aim at the handling of the whole body of the Socinian religion, in such a way and manner as that those who are most knowing and exercised in these controversies may find that which they will not altogether despise, and younger students that whereby they may profit. To this end I have added the Racovian Catechism, as I said before, to Mr Biddle’s; which as I was urged to do by many worthy persons in this university, so I was no way discouraged in the publishing of my answer thereunto by the view I took of Arnoldus’ discourse to the same purpose, and that for such reasons as I shall not express, but leave the whole to the judgment of the reader.

    From thence whence in the thoughts of some I am most likely to suffer, as to my own resolves, I am most secure. It is in meddling with Grotius’ Annotations, and calling into question what hath been delivered by such a giant in all kinds of literature. Since my engagement in this business, and when I had well-nigh finished the vindication of the texts of Scripture commonly pleaded for the demonstration of the deity of Christ from the exceptions put in to their testimonies by the Racovian Catechism, I had the sight of Dr Hammond’s apology for him, in his vindication of his dissertations about episcopacy from my occasional animadversions, published in the preface of my book of the Perseverance of the Saints. Of that whole treatise I shall elsewhere give an account. My defensative, as to my dealing with Grotius’ Annotations, is suited to what the doctor pleads in his behalf, which occasions this mention thereof: — “This very pious, learned, judicious man,” he tells us, “hath fallen under some harsh censures of late, especially upon the account of Socinianism and Popery.” That is, not as though he would reconcile these extremes, but being in doctrinals a Socinian, he yet closed in many things with the Roman interest; as I no way doubt but thousands of the same persuasion with the Socinians as to the person and offices of Christ do live in the outward communion of that church (as they call it) to this day; of which supposal I am not without considerable grounds and eminent instances for its confirmation. This, I say, is their charge upon him. For his being a Socinian, he tells us, “Three things are made use of to beget a jealousy in the minds of men of his inclinations that way: — 1. Some parcels of a letter of his to Crellius; 2. Some relations of what passed from him at his death; 3. Some passages in his Annotations.”

    It is this last alone wherein I am concerned; and what I have to speak to them, I desire may be measured and weighed by what I do premise. It is not that I do entertain in myself any hard thoughts, or that I would beget in others any evil surmises, of the eternal condition of that man that I speak what I do. What am I that I should judge another man’s servant? He is fallen to his own master. I am very slow to judge of men’s acceptation with God by the apprehension of their understandings. This only I know, that be men of what religion soever that is professed in the world, if they are drunkards, proud, boasters, etc., hypocrites, haters of good men, persecutors and revilers of them, yea, if they be not regenerate and born of God, united to the head, Christ Jesus, by the same Spirit that is in him, they shall never see God.

    But for the passages in his Annotations, the substance of the doctor’s plea is, “That the passages intimated are in his posthuma; that he intended not to publish them; that they might be of things he observed, but thought farther to consider;” and an instance is given in that of Colossians 1:16, which he interprets contrary to what he urged it for, John 1:1-3. But granting what is affirmed as to matter of fact about his Collections (though the preface to the last part of his Annotations will not allow it to be true f2 ), I must needs abide in my dissatisfaction as to these Annotations, and of my resolves in these thoughts give the doctor this account. Of the Socinian religion there are two main parts; the first is Photinianism, the latter Pelagianism, — the first concerning the person, the other the grace of Christ. Let us take an eminent instance out of either of these heads: out of the first, their denying Christ to be God by nature; out of the latter, their denial of his satisfaction.

    For the first, I must needs tell the apologist, that of all the texts of the New Testament, and Old, whereby the deity of Christ is usually confirmed, and where it is evidently testified unto, he hath not left any more than one, that I have observed, if one, speaking any thing clearly to that purpose. I say, if one, for that he speaks not home to the business in hand on John 1, I shall elsewhere give an account; perhaps some one or two more may be interpreted according to the analogy of that. I speak not of his Annotations on the Epistles, but on the whole Bible throughout, wherein his expositions given do, for the most part, fall in with those of the Socinians, and oftentimes consist in the very words of Socinus and Smalcius, and alway do the same things with them, as to any notice of the deity of Christ in them. So that I marvel the learned doctor should fix upon one particular instance, as though that one place alone were corrupted by him, when there is not one (or but one) that is not wrested, perverted, and corrupted, to the same purpose. For the full conviction of the truth hereof, I refer the reader to the ensuing considerations of his interpretations of the places themselves. The condition of these famous Annotations as to the satisfaction of Christ is the same. Not one text of the whole Scripture, wherein testimony is given to that sacred truth, which is not wrested to another sense, or at least the doctrine in it concealed and obscured by them. I do not speak this with the least intention to cast upon him the reproach of a Socinian; I judge not his person.

    His books are published to be considered and judged. Erasmus, I know, made way for him in most of his expositions about the deity of Christ; but what repute he hath thereby obtained among all that honor the eternal Godhead of the Son of God, let Bellarmine, on the one hand, and Beza, on the other, evince.

    And as I will by no means maintain or urge against Grotius any of the miscarriages in religion which the answerer of my animadversions undertakes to vindicate him from, nor do I desire to fight with the dust and ashes of men; yet what I have said is, if not necessary to return to the apologist, yet of tendency, I hope, to the satisfaction of others, who may inquire after the reason of my calling the Annotations of the learned man to an account in this discourse. Shall any one take liberty to pluck down the pillars of our faith, and weaken the grounds of our assurance concerning the person and grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and shall not we have the boldness to call him to an account for so sacrilegious an attempt? With those, then, who love the Lord Jesus Christ in sincerity, I expect no blame or reproach for what I have endeavored in this kind; yea, that my good will shall find acceptance with them, especially if it shall occasion any of greater leisure and abilities farther and professedly to remark more of the corruptions of those Annotations, I have good ground of expectation. The truth is, notwithstanding their pompous show and appearance — few of his quotations (which was the manner of the man) being at all to his purpose, f3 — it will be found no difficult matter to discuss his assertions and dissipate his conjectures.

    For his being a Papist, I have not much to say. Let his epistles (published by his friends) written to Dionysius Petavius the Jesuit be perused, and you will see the character which of himself he gives, as also what in sundry writings he ascribes to the pope.

    What I have performed, through the good hand of God in the whole, is humbly submitted to your judgment. You know, all of you, with what weight of business and employment I am pressed, what is the constant work that in this place is incumbent on me, how many and how urgent my avocations are; the consideration whereof cannot but prevail for a pardon of that want of exactness which perhaps in sundry particulars will appear unto you. With those who are neither willing nor able to do any thing in this kind themselves, and yet make it their business to despise what is done by others, I shall very little trouble myself. That which seems, in relation hereunto, to call for an apology, is my engagement into this work, wherein I was not particularly concerned, suffering in the meantime some treatises against me to lie unanswered. Dr Hammond’s answer to my animadversions on his dissertations about episcopacy, Mr Baxter’s objections against somewhat written about the death of Christ, and a book of one Mr Home against my treatise about universal redemption, are all the instances that I know of which in this kind may be given. To all that candidly take notice of these things, my defense is at hand. I do not know that I am more obliged to answer a treatise written against, myself than any other written against the truth, though I am not particularly named or opposed therein; nor do I intend to put any such law of disquietness upon my spirit as to think myself bound to reply to every thing that is written against me, whether the matter and subject of it be worth the public ventilation or no. It is neither name nor repute that I eye in these contests: so the truth be safe, I can be well content to suffer. Besides, this present task was not voluntarily undertaken by me; it was, as I have already given account, imposed on me by such an authority as I could not waive. For Mr Horne’s book, I suppose you are not acquainted with it; that alone was extant before my last engagement.

    Could I have met with any one uninterested person that would have said it deserved a reply, it had not have lain so long unanswered. In the meantime, I cannot but rejoice that some, like-minded with him, cannot impute my silence to the weakness of the cause I managed, but to my incompetency for the work of maintaining it. To Mr Baxter, as far as I am concerned, I have made a return in the close of this treatise; wherein I suppose I have put an end to that controversy. Dr Hammond’s defensative came forth much about the time that half this treatise was finished, and being about a matter of so mean concernment, in comparison of those weighty truths of the gospel which I was engaged in the defense of, I durst not desert my station to turn aside thereto. On the cursory view I have taken of it, I look upon what is of real difference between that learned person and myself to be a matter of easy despatch. His leaves are much more soft and gentle than those of Socinus, Smalcius, Crellius, and Schlichtingius. If the Lord in his goodness be pleased to give me a little respite and leisure, I shall give a farther account of the whole difference between the learned doctor and me, in such a way of process as may be expected from so slow and dull a person as I am. In the meantime, I wish him a better cause to manage than that wherein against me he is engaged, and better principles to manage a good cause on than some of those in his treatise of schism, and some others. Fail he not in these, his abilities and diligence will stand him in very good stead. I shall not trouble you with things which I have advantages other ways to impart my thoughts concerning; I only crave that you would be pleased candidly to accept of this testimony of my respects to you, and, seeing no other things are in the ensuing treatise pleaded for but such as are universally owned amongst you, that, according to your several degrees, you would take it into your patronage or use, affording him in his daily labors the benefit of your prayers at the throne of grace, who is your unworthy fellow-laborer, JOHN OWEN OXON.CH.CH.COLL., April 1 [1655.] THE PREFACE TO THE READER.

    To those that labor in the word and doctrine in these nations of England, Scotland, and Ireland, with all that call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, John Owen wisheth grace and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. THAT so mean a person as I am should presume in this public manner to make address to all those comprised in the title of this epistle, I desire it may be ascribed to the business I come about and the message that I bring.

    It is about your great interest and concermnent, your whole portion and inheritance, your all, that I am to deal with you. If he who passes by his neighbor’s house, seeing a thief breaking up its foundations or setting fire to its chief materials, will be far from being censured as importune and impudent if he awake and call upon the inhabitants, though every way his betters (especially if all his own estate lie therein also), although he be not able to carry one vessel of water to the quenching of it, I hope that, finding persons endeavoring to put fire to the house of God, which house ye are, and laboring to steal away the whole treasure thereof, wherein also my own portion doth lie, I shall not be condemned of boldness or presumption if I at once cry out to all persons, however concerned, to take heed that we be not utterly despoiled of our treasure, though when I have so done, I be not able to give the least assistance to the defense of the house or quenching of the fire kindled about it. That of no less importance is this address unto you, a brief discovery of its occasion will evince.

    The Holy Ghost tells us that we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom we are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit,” Ephesians 2:20-22.

    And thus do all they become the house of Christ “who hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end,” Hebrews 3:6. In this house of God there are daily builders, according as new living stones are to be fitted to their places therein; and continual oppositions have there been made thereto, and will be, “till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ,” Ephesians 4:13.

    In this work of building are some employed by Jesus Christ, and will be so to the end of the world, Matthew 28:19,20, Ephesians 4:11,12; and some employ themselves at least in a pretense thereof, but are indeed, to a man, every one like the foolish woman that pulls down her house with both her hands. Of the first sort, “other foundation can no man lay,” nor doth go about to lay, “than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ,” Corinthians 3:11; but some of them build on this foundation “gold, silver, and precious stones,” keeping fast in the work to the form of “wholesome words,” and contending for “the faith that was once delivered unto the saints.”

    Others, again, lay on “wood, hay, and stubble,” either contending about “foolish questions,” or “vain and unprofitable janglings,” or adding to what God hath commanded, or corrupting and perverting what he hath revealed and instituted, contrary to the proportion of faith, which should be the rule of all their prophecy, whereby they discharge their duty of building in this house. Those with whom I am at present to deal, and concerning whom I desire to tender you the ensuing account, are of the latter sort; such as, not content, with others, to attempt sundry parts of the building, to weaken its contexture, or deface its comeliness, do with all their might set themselves against the work [rock?] itself, the great foundation and corner-stone of the church, the Lord Jesus, who is” God blessed for ever.”

    They are those, I say, whom I would warn you of, in whom, of old and of late, the spirit of error hath set up itself with such an efficacy of pride and delusion, as, by all ways, means, [and] devices imaginable, to despoil our dear and blessed Redeemer, our Holy One, of his “eternal power and Godhead;” or to reject the eternal Son of God, and to substitute in his room a Christ of their own, one like themselves, and no more; to adulterate the church, and turn aside the saints to a thing of naught. If I may enjoy your patience whilst I give a brief account of them, their ways and endeavors for the compassing of their cursed ends; of our present concernment in their actings and seductions; of the fire kindled by them at our doors; of the sad diffusion of their poison throughout the world, beyond what enters into the hearts of the most of men to imagine, — I shall subjoin thereunto those cautions and directions which, with all humbleness, I have to tender to you, to guide some, and strengthen others, and stir up all to be watchful against this great, and I hope the last considerable attempt of Satan (by way of seduction and temptation) against the foundation of the gospel.

    Those, then, who of old opposed the doctrine of the Trinity, especially of the deity of Christ, his person and natures, may be referred to three heads, and of them and their ways this is the sum: — The first sort of them may be reckoned to be those who are commonly esteemed to be followers ofSIMON MAGUS, known chiefly by the names of Gnostics and Valentinians. These, with their abominable figments of aeons, and their combinations, conjugations, genealogies, and unintelligible imaginations, wholly overthrowing the whole revelation of God concerning himself and his will, the Lord Jesus and the gospel, chiefly, with their leaders, Marcus, Basilides, Ptolemaeus, Valentinus secundus (all following or imitating Simon Magus and Menander), of all others most perplexed and infected the primitive church: as Irenaeus, lib. i.; Tertullian, Praeserip. ad Haeret. cap. 49; Philastrius, in his catalogue of heretics; Epiphanius in Panario, lib. 1 tom. 2; and Augustine, in his book of Heresies, “ad quod vult deus manifeste.” To these may be added Tatianus, Cerdo, Marcion, and their companions (of whom see Tertullian at large, and Eusebius, in their respective places.) I shall not separate from them Montanus, with his enthusiastical formal associates; in whose abominations it was hoped that these latter days might have been unconcerned, until the present madness of some, commonly called Quakers, renewed their follies; but these may pass (with the Manichees), and those of the like fond imaginations, that ever and anon troubled the church with their madness and folly.

    Of the second rankCERINTHUS is the head, with Judaizing Ebion; both denying expressly the deity of Christ, and asserting him to be but a mere man; even in the entrance of the Gospel being confounded by John, as is affirmed by Epiphanius, Haer. 51. “Hieronymus de Seriptoribus Ecclesiasticis de Johanne.” The same abomination was again revived by Theodotus, called Coriarius (who, having once denied Christ, was resolved to do so always); excommunicated on that account by Victor, as Eusebius relates, Hist. Ecclesiastes lib. 5 cap. ult., where he gives also an account of his associates in judgment, Artemon, Asclepiodotus, Natalius, etc.; and the books written against him are there also mentioned. But the most notorious head and patron of this madness was Paulus Samosatenus, bishop of Antioch, anno 272; of whose pride and passion, folly, followers, assistants, opposition, and excommunication, the history is extant at large in Eusebius. This man’s pomp and folly, his compliance with the Jews and Zenobia, the queen of the Palmyrians, who then invaded the eastern parts of the Roman empire, made him so infamous to all Christians, that the Socinians do scarce plead for him, or own him as the author of their opinion. Of him who succeeded him in his opposition to Jesus Christ, some fifty or sixty years after, namely, Photinus, bishop of Sirmium, they constantly boast. Of Samosatenus and his heresy, see Euseb. Hist.

    Ecclesiastes lib. 7 cap. 29, 30 and Hilary, De Synodis; of Photinus, Socrat.

    Ecclesiastes Hist. lib. 2 cap. 24, 25. And with these do our present Socinians expressly agree in the matter of the person of Christ. f7 To the third head I refer that deluge ofARIANISM, whose rise, conception, author, and promoters, advantages, success, and propagation; the persecutions, cruelty, and tyranny of the rulers, emperors, kings, and governors infected with it; its extent and continuance, — are known to all who have taken care in the least to inquire what was the state of the church of God in former days, that heresy being as it were the flood of water that pursued the church for some ages. Of Macedonius, Nestorius, and Eutyches, — the first denying the deity of the Holy Ghost, the second the hypostatical union of the two natures of Christ, and the last confounding them in his person, — I shall not need to speak. These by the Socinians of our days are disclaimed. f8 In the second sort chiefly we are at present concerned. Now, to give an account, from what is come down unto us, by testimonies of good report and esteem, concerning those named, Theodotus, Paulus, Photinus, and the rest of the men who were the predecessors of them with whom we have to do, and undertook the same work in the infancy of the church which these are now engaged in when it is drawing, with the world, to its period, with what were their ways, lives, temptations, ends, agreements, differences among them, and in reference to the persons of our present contest (of whom a full account shall be given), is not my aim nor business. It hath been done by others; and to do it with any exactness, beyond what is commonly known, would take up more room than to this preface is allotted. Some things peculiarly seem of concernment for our observation, from the time wherein some of them acted their parts in the service of their master. What could possibly be more desired, for the safeguarding of any truth from the attempts of succeeding generations, and for giving it a security above all control, than that, upon public and owned opposition, it should receive a confirmation by men acted by the Holy Ghost, and giving out their sentence by inspiration from God? That, among other important heads of the gospel (as that of justification by faith and not by works, of Christian liberty, of the resurrection of the dead), this most glorious truth, of the eternal deity of the Son of God, underwent an open opposition from some of them above written, during the life of some of the apostles, before the writing of the Gospel by John, and was expressly vindicated by him in the beginning thereof, is acknowledged by all who have in any measure inquired into and impartially weighed the reports of those days. What could the heart of the most resolved unbeliever desire more for his satisfaction, than that God should speak from heaven for the conviction of his folly and ignorance? or what can our adversaries expect more from us, when we tell them that God himself immediately determined in the controversy wherein they are engaged? Perhaps they think that if he should now speak from heaven they would believe him. So said the Jews to Christ, if he would come down from the cross when they had nailed him to it, in the sight and under the contempt of many miracles greater than the delivery of himself could any way appear to be. The rich man in torments thought his brethren would repent if one came from the dead and preached to them. Abraham tells him, “If they will not hear Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.”

    Doubtless, if what is already written be not sufficient to convince our adversaries, though God should speak from heaven they would not believe, nor indeed can, if they will abide by the fundamental principles of their religion. Under this great disadvantage did the persuasion of the Soci-nians set out in the world, that Christ is only yilonature no more but a man; so that persons not deeply acquainted with the methods of Satan and the darkness of the minds of men could not but be ready to conclude it certainly bound up in silence for ever. But how speedily it revived, with what pride and passion it was once and again endeavored to be propagated in the world, those who have read the stories of Paulus Samosatenus are fully acquainted, who gumnh~| th~| kefalh~| , blasphemed the Son of God as one no more than a man. In some space of time, these men being decried by the general consent of the residue of mankind professing the name of Jesus Christ, and their abomination destroyed by the sword of faith, managed in the hands of the saints of those days, Satan perceiving himself at a loss and under an impossibility of prevalency, whilst the grossness of the error he strove to diffuse terrified all sorts from having any thing to do therewith, he puts on it, by the help of Arius and his followers, another gloss and appearance, with a pretense of allowing Christ a deity, though a subordinate, created, made, divine nature, which in the fullness of time assumed flesh of the virgin; — this opinion being, indeed, no less really destructive to the true and eternal deity of the Son of God than that of theirs before mentioned, who expressly affirmed him to be a mere man, and to have had no existence before his nativity at Bethlehem; yet having got a new pretense and color of ascribing something more excellent and sublime unto him than that whereof we are all in common partakers, it is incredible with what speedy progress, like the breaking out of a mighty flood, it overspread the face of the earth. It is true, it had in its very entrance all the advantages of craft, fraud, and subtilty, and in its carrying on, of violence, force, and cruelty, and from the beginning to its end, of ignorance, blindness, superstition, and profaneness, among the generality of them with whom it had to deal, that ever any corrupt folly of the mind of man met withal. The rise, progress, cruelty, and continuance of this sect, with the times and seasons that passed with it over the nations, its entertainment by the many barbarous nations which wasted, spoiled, and divided among themselves the Roman empire, with their parting with it upon almost as evil an account as at first they embraced it, are not, as I said, my business now to discover. God purposing to revenge the pride, ingratitude, ignorance, profaneness, and idolatry of the world, which was then in a great measure got in amongst the professors of Christianity, by another more spiritual, cruel, subtile, and lasting “mystery of iniquity,” caused this abomination of Arianism to give place to the power of the then growing Roman antichristian state, which, about the sixth or seventh century of years since the incarnation of the Son of God, having lost all church order and communion of the institution of Jesus Christ, fell into an earthly, political, carnal combination, authorized and animated by the spirit of Satan, for the ends of superstition, idolatry, persecution, pride, and atheism; which thereby ever since [have been] vigorously pursued.

    With these Arians, as was said, do ourSOCINIANS refuse communion, and will not be called after their name: not that their profession is better than theirs, or that they have much to blame in what they divulge, though they agree not with them in allowing a pre-existing nature to Christ before his incarnation; but that generation of men having made themselves infamous to posterity by their wickedness, perjuries, crafts, and bloody cruelties, and having been pursued by eminent and extraordinary judgments from God, they are not willing to partake of the prejudices which they justly lie under.

    From the year 600, for divers ages, we have little noise of these men’s abominations, as to the person of Christ, in the world. Satan had something else to busy himself about.

    A design he had in hand that was like to do him more service than any of his former attempts. Having, therefore, tried his utmost in open opposition to the person of Christ (the dregs of the poison thus shed abroad infecting in some measure a great part of the east to this day), by a way never before heard of, and which Christians were not exercised with nor in any measure aware of, he subtilely ruins and overthrows all his offices and the whole benefit of his mediation, and introduceth secretly a new worship from that which he appointed, by the means and endeavors of men pretending to act and do all that they did for the advancement of his kingdom and glory. And therefore, whilst the fatal apostasy of the western world, under the Roman antichrist, was contriving, carrying on, and heightening, till it came to its discovery and ruin, he stirs not at all with his old engines, which had brought in a revenue of obedience to his kingdom in no measure proportionable to this, which by this new device he found accruing to him. But when the appointed time of mercy was come, that God would visit his people with light from above, and begin to unravel the mystery of iniquity, whose abominations had destroyed the souls of them that embraced it, and whose cruelty had cut off the lives of thousands who had opposed it, by the Reformation, eminently and successfully begun and carried on from the year 1517, Satan perceiving that even this his great masterpiece of deceit and subtilty was like to fail him, and not to do him that service which formerly it had done, he again sets on foot his first design, of oppugning the eternal deity of the Son of God, still remembering that the ruin of his kingdom arose from the Godhead of his person and the efficacy of his mediation. So, then, as for the first three hundred years of the profession of the name of Christ in the world, he had variously opposed the Godhead of our blessed Savior, by Simon Magus, Ebion, Cerinthus, Paulus Samosatenus, Marcus, Basilides, Valentinus, Calarbasus, Marcion, Photinus, Theodotus, and others; and from their dissipation and scattering, having gathered them all to a head in Arius and his abomination, — which sometimes with a mighty prevalency of force and violence, sometimes more subtilely (putting out by the way the several branches of Macedonianism, Nestorianism, Eutychianism, all looking the same way in their tendency therewith), — he managed almost for the space of the next three hundred years ensuing; and losing at length that hold, he had spent more than double that space of time in carrying on his design of the great anti-christian papal apostasy; being about the times before mentioned most clearly and eminently discovered in his wicked design, and being in danger to lose his kingdom, which he had been so long in possession of, intending if it were possible to retrieve his advantage again, he sets on those men who had been instrumental to reduce the Christian religion into its primitive state and condition with those very errors and abominations wherewith he opposed and assailed the primitive professors thereof, — if they will have the apostles’ doctrine, they shall have the opposition that was made unto it in the apostles’ times: his hopes being possibly the same that formerly they were (but assuredly Christ will prevent him); — for as whilst.the professors of the religion of Jesus Christ were spiritual, and full of the power of that religion they did profess, they defended the truth thereof, either by suffering, as under Constantius, Valens, and the Goths and Vandals, or by spiritual means and weapons; so when they were carnal, and lost the life of the gospel, yet endeavoring to retain the truth of the letter thereof, falling on carnal, politic ways for the supportment of it, and the suppressing of what opposed it, Satan quickly closed in with them, and accomplished all his ends by them, causing them to walk in all those ways of law, policy, blood, cruelty, and violence, for the destruction of the truth, which they first engaged in for the rooting out of errors and heresies. “Haud ignota loquor.” Those who have considered the occasions and advantages of the bishop of Rome’s rise and progress know these things to be so. Perhaps, I say, he might have thoughts to manage the same Or the like design at the beginning of the Reformation, when, with great craft and subtilty, he set on foot again his opposition to the person of Christ; which being the business chiefly under consideration, I shall give some brief’ account thereof.

    Those who have formerly communicated their thoughts and observations to us on this subject have commonly given rise to their discourses from Servetus, with the transactions about him in Helvetia, and the ending of his tragedy at Geneva. The things of him being commonly known, and my design being to deal with them in their chief seat and residence, where, after they had a while hovered about most nations of Europe, they settled themselves, I shall forbear to pursue them up and down in their flight, and meet with them only at their nest in Poland and the regions adjoining. The leaders of them had most of them separated themselves from the Papacy on pretense of embracing the reformed religion; and under that covert were a long time sheltered from violence, and got many advantages of insinuating their abominations (which they were thoroughly drenched withal before they left the Papacy) into the minds of many who professed the gospel.

    The first open breach they made in Poland was in the year (something having been attempted before), most of the leaders being Italians, men of subtile and serpentine wits. The chief leaders of them were Georgius Blandrata, Petrus Statorius, Franciscus Lismaninus; all which had been eminent in promoting the Reformation. f10 Upon their first tumultuating, Statorius, to whom afterwards Socinus wrote sundry epistles, and lived with him in great intimacy, was summoned to a meeting of ministers, upon an accusation that he denied that the Holy Spirit was to be invocated. Things being not yet ripe, the man knowing that if he were cast out by them he should not know where to obtain shelter, he secured himself by dissimulation, and subscribed this confession: “I receive and reverence the prophetical and apostolical doctrine, containing the true knowledge of God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and freely profess that God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, ought to be worshipped with the same religion or worship, distinctly or respectively, and to be invocated, according to the truth of the holy Scripture. And, lastly, I do plainly detest every heretical blasphemy concerning God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, whether it be Arian, Servetian, Eunomian, or Stancarian.’’ And this confession is to be seen in the acts of that convention, under his own hand, to this day; which notwithstanding, he was a fierce opposer of the doctrine here professed all his days afterward.

    And I the rather mention this, because I am not without too much ground of persuasion that thousands of the same judgment with this man do at this day, by the like dissimulation, live and enjoy many advantages both in the Papacy and among the reformed churches, spreading the poison of their abominations as they can. This Statorius I find, by the frequent mention made of him by Socinus, to have lived many years in Poland, with what end and issue of his life I know not, nor more of him but what is contained in Beza’s two epistles to him, whose scholar he had been, when he seemed to have had other opinions about the essence of God than those he afterward settled in by the instruction of Socinus.

    And this man was one of the first heads of that multitude of men commonly known by the name of Anabaptists among the Papists (who took notice of little but their outward worship), who, having entertained strange, wild, and blasphemous thoughts concerning the essence of God, were afterward brought to a kind of settlement by Socinus, in that religion he had prepared to serve them all; and into his word at last consented the whole droves of Essentiators, Tritheists, Arians, and Sabellians, that swarmed in those days in Silesia, Moravia, and some other parts of Germany.

    For Blandrata, his story is so well known, from the epistles of Calvin and Beza, and others, that I shall not insist much upon it. The sum of what is commonly known of him is collected by Hornbeck.

    The records of the synods in Poland of the reformed churches give us somewhat farther of him; as doth Socinus also against Weik. Being an excellent physician, he was entertained, at his first coming into Poland, by Prince Radzivil, the then great patron of the reformed religion in those parts of the world, — one of the same family with this captain-general of the Polonian forces for the great dukedom of Lithuania, a man of great success in many fights and battles against the Muscovites, continuing the same office to this day. To him Calvin instantly wrote, that he should take care of Blandrata, as a man not only inclinable to, but wholly infected with, Servetianism. In that, as in many other things he admonished men of by his epistles, that wise and diligent person had the fate to tell the truth and not be believed. See Calvin’s epistles, about the year 1561. But the man on this occasion being sent to the meeting at Pinckzow (as Statorius), he subscribes this confession: — “I profess myself to believe in one God the Father, and in one Lord Jesus Christ, his Son, and in one Holy Ghost, whereof each is essentially God. I detest the plurality of Gods, seeing to us there is one only God, indivisible in essence. I confess three distinct persons, the eternal deity and generation of Jesus Christ, and the Holy Ghost, true and eternal God, proceeding from them both. f13 This did the wretched man think meet to do, that he might preserve the good esteem of his patron and reserve himself for a fitter opportunity of doing mischief; which also he did, obtaining a testimonial from the whole meeting of his soundness in the faith, with letters to Prince Radzivil and to Calvin signifying the same.

    Not long after this, by the great repute of his skill in physic, he became known and physician to Stephen, king of Poland; by whose favor, having no small liberty indulged him, he became the patron of all the Antitrinitarians of all sorts throughout Poland and Transylvania. What books he wrote, and what pains he took in propagating their cause, hath been declared by others. The last epistle of Socinus, in order as they are printed (it being without date, yet evidently written many years before most of them that went before it), is to this Blandrata, whose inscription is, “Amplissimo clarissimoque viro Georgio Blandratae Stephani invictissimi regis Poloniae, etc., archiatro et conciliario intimo, domino, ae patrono suo perpetua observantia colendo; et subscribitur, Tibi in Domino Jesu deditissimus cliens tuus F. S.” To that esteem was he grown amongst them, because of his advantages to insinuate them into the knowledge of great men, which they mostly aimed at; so that afterward, when Socinus wrote his answer about magistrates to Palaeologus, in defense of the Racovians, Marcellus Squarcialupus, his countryman, a man of the same persuasion with him, falls foully on him, that he would venture to do it without the knowledge and consent of this great patron of theirs.

    But though this man by his dissimulation and falsehood thus escaped censure, and by his art and cunning insinuation obtained high promotions and heaped up great riches in the world, yet even in this life he escaped not the revenging hand of God. He was found at length with his neck broke in his bed; by what hand none knoweth. Wherefore Socinus, observing that this judgment of God upon him, as that on Franciscus David (of which mention shall be made afterward), would be fixed on in the thoughts of men to the prejudice of the cause which he favored, considering more what was for his interest than what was decent or convenient, decries him for an apostate to the Jesuits before he was so destroyed, and intimates that he was strangled in his bed by a kinsman whom he had made his heir, for haste to take possession of his great wealth. f15 The story I have adjoined at large, that the man’s ingenuity and thankfulness to his friend and patron may be seen. He tells us, that before the death of Stephen, king of Poland, he was turned from their profession by the Jesuits. Stephen, king of Poland, died in the year 1588, according to Helvicus. That very year did Socinus write his answer to Volanus, the second part whereof he inscribed with all the magnifical titles before mentioned to Blandrata, professing himself his devoted client, and him the great patron of their religion! So that though I can easily believe what he reports of his covetousness and treachery, and the manner of his death, yet as to his apostasy (though possibly he might fall more and more under the power of his atheism), I suppose the great reason of imputing that to him was to avoid the scandal of the fearful judgment of God on him in his death.

    For Lismaninus, the third person mentioned, he was accused of Arianism at a convention at Morden, anno 1553, and there acquitted with a testimonial. f15a But in the year 1561, at another meeting at Whodrislave, he was convicted of double dealing, and after that wholly fell off to the Anti-trinitarians, and in the issue drowned himself in a well. f16 And these were the chief settled troublers at the first of the Polonian reformed churches. The stories of Paulus Alciatus, Valentinus Gentilis, Bernardus Ochinus, and some others, are so well known, out of the epistles of Calvin, Beza, Bullinger, Zanchius, with what hath of late from them been collected by Cloppenburgius, Hornbeck, Maresius, Becmannus, etc., that it cannot but be needless lab, our for me to go over them again.

    That which I aim at is, from their own writings, and what remains on record concerning them, to give a brief account of the first breaking in of Anti-trinitarianism into the reformed churches of Poland, and their confused condition before headed by Socinus, into whose name they have since been all baptized.

    This, then, was the state of the churches in those days: The reformed religion spreading in great abundance, and churches being multiplied every day in Poland, Lithuania, and the parts adjoining; some tumults having been raised, and stirs made by Osiander and Stancarus about the essential righteousness and mediation of Christ (concerning which the reader may consult Calvin at large); many wild and foolish opinions being scattered up and down, about the nature of God, the Trinity, and Anabaptism, by many foreigners, sundry being thereby defiled, the opinions of Servetus having wholly infected sundry Italians: the persons before spoken of, then living at Geneva and about the towns of the Switzers, that embraced the gospel, being forced to flee for fear of being dealt withal as Servetus was (the judgment of most Christian rulers in whose days leading them to such a procedure, how rightly I do not now determine), scarce any one of them escaping without imprisonment and abjuration (an ill foundation of their after profession), they went most of them into Poland, looked on by them as a place of liberty, and joined themselves to the reformed churches in those places, and continuing many years in their communion, took the opportunity to entice and seduce many ministers with others, and to strengthen them who were fallen into the abominations mentioned before their coming to them.

    After many tergiversations, many examinations of them, many false subscriptions, in the year 1562, they fell into open division and separation from the reformed churches. The ministers that fell off with them, besides Lismaninus and his companions (of whom before), were Gregorius Pauli, Stanislaus, Lutonius Martinus Crovicius, Stanislaus Paclesius, Georgius Schomanus, and others, most of whom before had taken good pains in preaching the gospel. The chief patrons and promoters were Johannes Miemoljevius, Hieronymus Philoponius, Johannes Cazaccovius, the one a judge, the other a captain, the third a gentleman, — all men of great esteem.

    The year that this breach was made,LAELIUS SOCINUS, then of the age of thirty-seven years, who laid the foundations that his nephew after built upon, died in Switzerland, as the author of the life of Faustus Socinus informs us. The man’s life is known: he was full of Servetianism, and had attempted to draw sundry men of note to his abominations; a man of great subtilty and cunning, as Beza says of him, f18a incredibly furnished for contradiction and sophism; which the author of the life of Socinus phrases, he was “suggerendae veritatis mirus artifex.” He made, as I said, many private attempts on sundry persons to entice them to Photinianism; on some with success, on others without. Of his dealing with him, and the advantage he had so to do, Zanchius gives an account in his preface to his book “De Tribus Elohim.” f18b He was, as the author of the life of Faustus Socinus relates, in a readiness to have published his notions and conceptions, when God, by his merciful providence, to prevent a little the pouring out of the poison by so skillful a hand, took him off by sudden death; and Faustus himself gives the same account of the season of his death in an epistle to Dudithius, f19 At his death,FAUSTUS SOCINUS, being then about the age of twenty-three years, seizing upon all his uncle’s books, after a while returned into Italy, and there spent in courtship and idleness in Florence twelve years; which he afterward grievously lamented, as shall be declared. Leaving him a while to his pleasure in the court of the great duke, we may make back again into Poland, and consider the progress of the persons who made way for his coming amongst them. Having made their separation, and drawn many after them, they at length brought their business to that height that they came to a disputation with the reformed ministers at Petricove (where the parliament of the kingdom then was) by the permission of Sigismund the king, in the year 1565, whereof the ensuing account is given by Antonius Possevine the Jesuit, in Atheis, sui saeculi, cap. 13 fol. 15.

    The assembly of states was called against the Muscovians. The nobility desiring a conference between the ministers of the reformed churches and the Antitrinitarians, it was allowed by Sigismund the king. On the part of the reformed churches there were four ministers; as many of the other side came also prepared for the encounter. Being met, after some discourse the chief marshal of the kingdom, then a Protestant, used these words, “Seeing the proposition to be debated is agreed on, begin, in the name of the one God and the Trinity.” Whereupon one of the opposite party instantly cried out, “We cannot here say Amen, nor do we know that God, the Trinity.’’ Whereunto the ministers subjoined, “We have no need of any other proposition, seeing this hath offered itself; for, God assisting, we will, and are ready to demonstrate that the Holy Ghost doth not teach us any other God in the Scripture, but him only who is Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; that is, one God in trinity.” f23 This colloquy continued three days. In the first, the ministers who were the opponents (the other always choosing to answer), by express texts of Scripture in abundance, confirmed the truth. In the beginning of their testimonies they appealed to the beginning of the Old and New Testament; and upon both places confounded their adversaries. The second day the testimonies of the ancient writers of the church were produced, with no less success. And on the third, the stories of Arius and some other heretics of old. The issue of the disputation was to the great advantage of the truth; which Possevine himself cannot deny, though he affirms a little after that the Calvinists could not confute the Trinitarians, as he calls them, though they used the same arguments that the Catholics did, cap. 14 p. 366.

    Possevine confesses that the ministers (as they called themselves) of Sarmatia and Transylvania, in their book of the False and True Knowledge of God, took advantage of the images of the Catholics; for whose satisfaction, it seems, he subjoins the theses of Thyreus, wherein he labors to prove the use of those abominable idols to be lawful: of which in the close of this address.

    And this was the first great obstacle that was laid in the way of the progress of the reformed religion in Poland; which, by Satan’s taking the advantage of this horrible scandal, is at this day, in those parts of the world, weak and oppressed. With what power the gospel did come upon the inhabitants of those countries at the first, and what number of persons it prevailed upon to forsake their dumb idols, which in Egyptian darkness they had long worshipped, is evident from the complaint of Cichovius the priest, who tells us that “about those times, in the whole parliament of the dukedom of Lithuania, there were not above one or two Catholics,” as he calls them, “besides the bishops.” Yea, among the bishops themselves, some were come off to the reformed churches; amongst whom Geor-gius Petrovicius, bishop of Sarmogitia, is reckoned by Diaterieus, Chron. p. 49.

    Yea, and so far had the gospel influenced those nations, that in the year 1542, upon the death of King Sigismund II., during the interregnum, a decree was made in parliament, with general consent, that no prejudice should arise to any for the protestant religion, but that a firm union should be between the persons of both religions, popish and protestant; and that whosoever was chosen king should take an oath to preserve this union and the liberty of the protestant religion. — Sarricius, Annal. Pol. lib. 8 p. 403.

    And when Henry, duke of Anjou, brother to Charles IX., king of France, was elected king of Poland (being then a man of great esteem in the world, for the wars which in France he had managed for the Papists against the Prince of Conde and the never-enough-magnified Gasper Coligni, f28 being also consenting at least to the barbarous massacre of the Protestants in that nation), and coming to the church where he was to be crowned, by the advice of the clergy, would have avoided the oath of preserving the Protestants and keeping peace between the dissenters in religion, John Shirli, palatine of Cracovia, took up the crown, and making ready to go away with it out of the convention, cried out, “Si non jurabis, non regnabis,” — “If you will not swear, you shall not reign;” and thereby compelled him to take the oath agreed upon.

    This progress, I say, had the doctrine of the gospel made in those nations, so considerable a portion of the body of the people were won over to the belief of it, when, through the craft and subtilty of the old enemy of the propagation thereof, by this apostasy of some to Tritheism, as Gregorius Pauli, of some to Arianism, as Erasmus Johannes, of some to Photinianism, as Statorius and Blandrata, some to Judaism, as Seidelius (of whom afterward), the foundation of the whole building was loosened, and, instead of a progress, the religion has gone backwards almost constantly to this day. When this difference first fell out, the Papists not once moved a mouth or pen for a long time against the broachers of all the blasphemies mentioned, hoping that by the breaches made by them on the reformed churches they should at length be able to triumph over both; for which end, in their disputes since with Protestants, they have striven to take advantage of the apostasy of many of those who had pretended to plead against the Papacy in behalf of the reformed churches and afterward turned Antitrinitarians, as I remember it is particularly insisted on in an English treatise which I saw many years ago, called “Micheus, the Converted Jew.” And indeed it is supposed that both Paulus Alciatus and Ochinus turned Mohammedans. f30 Having thus, then, disturbed the carrying on of the Reformation, many ministers and churches falling off to Tritheism and Samosatenianism, they laid the foundation of their meeting at Racovia; from which place they have been most known since and taken notice of in the world. The first foundation of what they call the “church” in that place was made by a confluence of strangers out of Bohemia and Moravia, with some Polonians, known only by the name of Anabaptists, but professing a community of goods and a setting up of the kingdom of Christ, calling Racovia, where they met, the New Jerusalem, or at least professing that there they intended to build and establish the New Jerusalem, with other fanatical follies; which Satan hath revived in persons not unlike them, and caused to be acted over again, in the days wherein we live, though, for the most part, with less appearance of holiness and integrity of conversation than in them who went before.

    The leaders of these men, who called themselves their “ministers,” were Gregorius Pauli and Daniel Bielenscius: of whom Bielenscius afterward recanted; and Gregorius Pauli, being utterly wearied, ran away from them as from a hard service, and, as Faustus Socinus tells us, in his preface to his answer to Palaeologus, in his old age left off all study, and betook himself to other employments. Such were the persons by whom this stir began.

    This Gregorius Pauli, Schlusselburgius very ignorantly affirms to have been the head of the Antitrinitarians and their captain, when he was a mere common trooper amongst them, and followed after others, running away betimes, — an enthusiastical, antimagistratical heretic, pleading for community of goods. But this Gregory had said that Luther did but the least part of the work for the destruction of antichrist; and hence is the anger of Doctor Conradus, who everywhere shows himself as zealous of the honor of Luther as of Jesus Christ. So was the man, who had some divinity, but scarce any Latin at all.

    Be pleased now to take a brief view of the state of these men before the coming of Faustus Socinus into Poland and Transylvania, both these nations, after the death of Sigismund II., being in the power of the same family of the Bathori. Of those who professed the reformed religion and were fallen from the Papacy, there were three sorts, — Lutherans, and Calvinists, and the United Brethren; which last were originally Bohemian exiles, but, professing and practising a more strict way of church order and fellowship than the other, had very many of the nobility of Poland and the people joined to their communion. The two latter agreed in all points of doctrine, and at length came, in sundry meetings and synods, to a fair agreement and correspondency, forbearing one another wherein they could not concur in judgment. Now, as these grew up to union amongst themselves, the mixed multitude of several nations that had joined themselves unto them in their departure out of Egypt fell a lusting after the abominations mentioned, and either withdrew themselves or were thrown out from their communion.

    At first there were almost as many minds as men amongst them, the tessera of their agreement among themselves being purely opposition to the Trinity, upon what principle soever. Had a man learned to blaspheme the holy Trinity, were it on Photinian, Arian, Sabellian, yea, Mohammedan or Judaical principles, he was a companion and brother amongst them! To this the most of them added Anabaptism, with the necessity of it, and among the Papists were known by no other name. That they opposed the Trinity, that they consented not to the reformed churches, was their religion. For Pelagianism, afterward introduced by Socinus, there was little or no mention [of it] among them. In this estate, divided amongst themselves, notwithstanding some attempts in their synods (for synods they had) to keep a kind of peace in all their diversities of opinions, spending their time in disputes and quarrellings, were they when Faustus Socinus came into Poland; who at length brought them into the condition wherein they are, by the means and ways that shall be farther insisted on.

    And this state of things, considering how not unlike the condition of multitudes of men is thereunto in these nations wherein we live, hath oftentimes made me fear that if Satan should put it into the heart of any person of learning and ability to serve his lust and ambition with craft, wisdom, and diligence, it were not impossible for him to gather the dispersed and divided opinionatists of our days to a consent in some such body of religion as that which Socinus framed for the Polonians. But of him, his person, and labors, by what ways and means he attained his end, it may not be unacceptable, from his own and friends’ writings, to give some farther account.

    That Faustus Socinus, of Sienna, was born of a good and ancient family, famous for their skill in the law, in the month of December in the year 1539; that he lived in his own country until he was about the age of twenty years; that then leaving his country after his uncle Laelius, he went to Leyden, and lived there three years; that then, upon the death of his uncle, having got his books, he returned into Italy, and lived in the court of the great Duke of Tuscany twelve years, about the close of which time he wrote his book in Italian, “De Authoritate Sacrae Scripturae;” that leaving his country he came to Basil in Switzerland, and abode there three years and somewhat more, — are things commonly known, and so little to our purpose that I shall not insist upon them.

    All the while he was at Basil and about Germany he kept his opinions much to himself, being intent upon the study of his uncle Laelius’ notes, as the Polonian gentleman who wrote his life confesseth; whereunto he added the Dialogues of Bernardus Ochinus, as himself acknowledgeth, which about that time were turned into Latin by Castalio, as he professed, to get money by his labor to live upon (though he pleads that he read Ochinus’ Dialogues in Poland, and as it seems not before), and from thence he was esteemed to have taken his doctrine of the mediation of Christ.

    The papers of his uncle Laelius, of which himself often makes mention, were principally his comment upon the first chapter of St John, and some notes upon sundry texts of Scripture giving testimony to the deity of Christ; among which Faustus extols that abominable corruption of John 8:58, of which afterward I shall speak at large, Socin. Respon. ad Eras.

    Johan. His comment on the first of John, Beza tells us, is the most depraved and corrupt that ever was put forth, its author having outgone all that went before him in depraving that portion of Scripture.

    The comment itself is published by Junius, “in defensione sanctae Trinitatis,” and confuted by him; and Zanchius, at large, “De Tribus Elohim, lib. 6 cap. ii., et deinceps;” Faustus varying something from his uncle in the carrying on of the same design.

    His book, “De Jesu Christo Servatore,” he wrote, as the author of his life assures us, whilst he was in and about Basil, as also many passages in his epistles and other writings manifest.

    About the year 1575 he began it, which he finished about the year 1578, although the book was not printed till the year 1594; for upon the divulging of it (he then living at Cracovia), a tumult was raised against him by the unruly and disorderly students, wherein he was dragged up and down and beaten, and hardly escaped with his life; [against] which inhumane precedence he expostulates at large in an epistle to Martin Vaidovita, a professor of the university, by whose means he was delivered from being murdered. But this fell out in the year 1598, as is evident from the date of that epistle, four years after the book was printed.

    The book is written against one Covet, whom I know by nothing else but what of his disputes with Socinus is by him published. Socinus confesseth that he was a learned man, and in repute for learning; and, indeed, if we may take an estimate of the man from the little that is there delivered of him, he was a godly, honest, and very learned man, and spake as much in the cause as might be expected or was needful, before farther opposition was made to the truth he did defend. Of all the books of him concerning whom we speak, this his disputation, “De Jesu Christo Servatore,” is written with the greatest strength, subtilty, and plausibility, neither is any thing said afterward by himself or the rest of his followers that is not comprised in it. Of this book he was wont afterward to boast, as Crellius informs us, and to say, “That if he might have some excellent adversary to deal withal upon the point, he then would show what could farther be spoken of the subject.” f40 This book, at its first coming out, was confuted by Gregorius Zarnovecius (as Socinus testifies in his epistle to Vaidovita) in the Polonian language: which was afterward translated into Latin by Conradus Huberus, and printed at Franeker, anno 1618; also by one Otho Casmannus; and thirdly, at large, by Sibrandus Lubbertus, anno 1611, who, together with his refutation, printed the whole book itself, I hope to no disadvantage of the truth, though a late apostate to Rome, whom we called here Hugh Cressey, but is lately commenced B. Serenus Cressey, a priest of the order of Benedict, and who would have been even a Carthusian (such high honor did the man aim at), tells us that some of his scholars procured him to do it, that so they might get the book itself in their hands. But the book will speak for itself with indifferent readers, and for its clearness is extolled by Vossius. Generally, all that have since written of that subject, in theses, common-places, lectures, comments, professed controversies, have made that book the ground of their procedure.

    One is not to be omitted, which is in the hands of all those who inquire into these things, or think that they are concerned in the knowledge of them; this is Grotius’ “Defensio Fidei Catholicae de Satisfactione Christi, adversus Faustum Socinum Senensem.” Immediately upon the coming out of that book, animadversions were put forth against it by Harmanus Ravenspergerus, approved, as it seems, by our Doctor Prideaux. f43 The truth is, those animadversions of Ravenspergerus are many of them slight, and in sundry things he was mistaken; whereby his endeavors were easily eluded by the learned Vossius, in his vindication of Grotius against him. Not that the dissertation of Grotius is free from being liable to many and just exceptions, partly in things wherein he was mistaken, partly wherein he failed in what he undertook (whereby many young students are deluded, as ere long may be manifested), but that his antagonist had not well laid his action, nor did pursue it with any skill.

    However, the interpretations of Scripture given therein by that learned man will rise up in judgment against many of the annotations which in his after-comments on the Scripture he hath divulged. His book was at length answered by Crellius, the successor of Valentinus Smalcius, in the school and society of Racovia, after which Grotius lived about twenty years, and never attempted any reply. Hereupon it has been generally concluded that the man was wrought over to drink in that which he had before published to be the most destructive poison of the church; the belief whereof was exceedingly increased and cherished by an epistle of his to Crellius, who had subtilely managed the man, according to his desire of honor and regard, and by his annotations, of which we shall have causer to speak afterward.

    That book of Crellius has since been at large confuted by Essenius, and enervated by a learned and ingenious author in his “Specimen Refutationis Crellii de Satisfactione Christi,” published about the same time with the well-deserving labor of Essenius, in the year 1648.

    Most of the arguments and sophisms of Socinus about this business are refuted and dissolved by David Paraeus, in his comment on the Romans, not mentioning the name of him whose objections they were.

    About the year 1608, Michael Gitichius gathered together the sum of what is argumentative in that book of Socinus against the satisfaction of Christ; which was answered by Ludovicus Lucius, then professor at Hamburg, and the reply of Gitichius confuted and removed out of the way by the same hand. In that brief rescript of Lucius there is a clear attempt to the enervating of the whole book of Socinus, and that with good success, by way of a logical and scholastical procedure. Only, I cannot but profess my sorrow that, having in his first answer laid that solid foundation of the necessity of the satisfaction of Christ, from the eternal nature and justice of God, whereby it is absolutely impossible that, upon the consideration and supposition of sin committed, it should be pardoned without a due compensation, in his rejoinder to the reply of Gitichius, he closes with a commonly known expression of Augustine, “That God could, if he would, have delivered us without satisfaction, but he would not;” so casting down the most stable and unmovable pillar of that doctrine which he so dexterously built up in spite of its adversaries.

    I dare boldly acquaint the younger students in these weighty points of the religion of Jesus Christ, that the truth of this one particular, concerning the eternal justice of God indispensably requiring the punishment of sin, being well established (for which end they have not only the consent but the arguments of almost all who have handled these controversies with skill and success), will securely carry them through all the sophisms of the adversaries, and cut all the knots which, with so much subtilty, they endeavor to tie and cast upon the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ; as I have in part elsewhere demonstrated. From this book also did Smalcius take the whole of what he has delivered about the death of Christ in his Racovian Catechism, not adding any thing at all of his own; which Catechism, as it was heretofore confuted by Frederick Bauldwinus, by order of the university of Wittenburgh, and is by several parcels by many removed out of the way, especially by Altingius and Maccovius, so of late it is wholly answered by Nicolaus Arnoldus, now professor at Franeker; which coming lately to my hands prevented me from proceeding to a just, orderly refutation of the whole, as I was intended to do, although I hope the reader will not find any thing of importance therein omitted.

    To close the story of this book of Socinus, and the progress it hath made in the world: this I dare assure them who are less exercised in these studies, that though the whole of the treatise hath at first view a very plausible pretense and appearance, yet there is a line of sophistry running through it, which being once discovered (as, indeed, it may be easily felt, with the help of some few principles), the whole fabric of it will fall to the ground, and appear as weak and contemptible a piece as any we have to deal withal in that warfare which is to be undertaken for the truths of the gospel. This also I cannot omit, as to the rise of this abomination of denying the satisfaction of Christ, that as it seems to hay been first invented by the Pelagians, so in after ages it was vented Petrus Abelardus, professor of philosophy at Paris; of whom Bernard, wrote against him, saith, “Habemus in Francia novum de vetere magtheologum, qui ab ineunte aetate sua in arte dialectica lusit, et nunc inScripturis sanctis insanit:” and in his epistle (which is to Pope Innocent) about him, he strongly confutes his imaginations about this very business; whereupon he was condemned in a council at Rome, held by the same Innocent. f52 This part of our faith being of so great weight and importance, the great basis and foundation of the church, you will find it at large insisted on and vindicated in the ensuing treatise.

    The author of the life of Socinus tells us (as he himself also gives in the information) that whilst he abode about Switzerland, at Basil and Tigurum [Zurich], he had a dispute with Puccius; which also is since published.

    This was before his going into Poland in the year 1578. f52a The story of this Puccius, because it may be of some use as to the present estate of the minds of many in the things of God, I shall briefly give from Socinus himself (Ep. 3, ad Matthew Radec.), and that as a tremendous example of the righteous judgment of God, giving up a person of a light, unstable spirit to fearful delusions, with a desperate issue. Originally he was a merchant of a good and noble family, but leaving his profession he betook himself to study, and for his advantage therein came hither to Oxford. After he had stayed here until he began to vent some paradoxes in religion, about the year 1565 (being not able here to prevail with any to close with him), he went to Basil, where there was a dispute between him and Socinus, before mentioned; in the issue whereof they both professed that they could agree in nothing in religion but that there was a God that made the world. At Basil he maintained universal redemption and a natural faith, as they then termed it, or an innate power of believing without the efficacy of the grace of God, for which he was compelled thence to depart; which doing he returned again into England, where, upon the same account, he was cast into prison for a season; thence being released, he went into Holland, from whence by letters he challenged Socinus to dispute, and went one thousand miles (namely, to Cra-covia in Poland) afterward to make it good. After some disputes there (both parties condescending to them on very ridiculous conditions), So-cinus seeming to prevail, by having most friends among the judges, as the other professed, he stayed there a while, and wrote a book, which he styled “The Shut Bible, and of Elias,” wherein he labored to deny all ordinances, ministry, and preaching, until Elias should come and restore all things. His reason was taken from the defection and apostasy of the church; wherein, said he, all truth and order was lost, the state of the church being not again to be recovered, unless some with apostolical authority and power of working miracles were immediately sent of God for that purpose. How far this persuasion hath prevailed with some in our days, we all know and lament. Puccius at length begins to fancy that he shall himself be employed in this great restoration that is to be made of the church, by immediate mission from God! Whilst he was in expectation of his call hereunto, there come two Englishmen into Poland, men pretending discourse with angels and revelations from God: one of them was the chief at revelations (their names I cannot learn), the other gave out what he received, in his daily converse with angels, and the words he heard from God, about the destruction of all the present frame of the worship of God. To these men Puccius joined himself, and followed them to Prague in Bohemia, though his friends dealt with him to the contrary, assuring him that one of his companions was a mountebank and the other a magician; but being full of his former persuasion of the ceasing of all ordinances and institutions, with the necessity of their restitution by immediate revelation from God, having got companions fit to harden him in his folly and presumption, he scorned all advice, and away he went to Prague. No sooner came he thither but his prophet had a revelation by an angel that Puccius must become Papist, his cheating companion having never been otherwise. Accordingly he turns Papist; begs pardon publicly for his deserting the Roman church, is reconciled by a priest, in whose society after he had a while continued, and labored to pervert others to the same superstition with himself, he died a desperate magician. Have none in our days been led into the like maze? hath not Satan led some in the same circle, setting out from superstition to profaneness, passing through some zeal and earnestness in religion, rising to a contempt of ministry and ordinances, with an expectation of revelations and communion with angels? And how many have again sunk down into Popery, atheism, and horrible abominations, is known to all in this nation who think it their duty to inquire into the things of God. I have given this instance only to manifest that the old enemy of our salvation is not playing any new game of deceit and temptation, but such as he hath successfully acted in former generations. Let not us be ignorant of his deceits.

    By the way, a little farther to take in the consideration of men like-minded with him last mentioned: of those who denied all ordinances, and maintained such an utter loss and defection of all church state and order that it was impossible it should be restored without new apostles, evidencing their ministry by miracles, this was commonly the issue, that being pressed with this, that there was nothing needful to constitute a church of Christ but that there were a company of men believing in Jesus Christ, receiving the word of God, and taking it for their rule, they denied that indeed now there was or could be any faith in Jesus Christ, the ministers that should beget it being utterly ceased, and therefore it was advisable for men to serve God, to live justly and honestly, according to the dictates of the law of nature, and to omit all thoughts of Christ beyond an expectation of his sending persons hereafter to acquaint the world again with his worship.

    That this was the judgment of Matthew Radecius, his honored friend, Socinus informs us; though he mollifies his expression, p. 123, ascribing it to others. Whether many in our days are not insensibly fallen into the same abominations, a little time will discover. The main of the plea of the men of this persuasion in those days was taken from the example of the Israelites under that idolatrous apostasy wherein they were engaged by Jeroboam. “In the days of Elijah there were,” said they, “seven thousand who joined not with the residue in their false worship and idolatry, but yet they never went about to gather, constitute, and set up a new church or churches, but remained in their scattered condition, keeping themselves as they could from the abominations of their brethren;” — not considering that there is not the same reason of the Judaical and Christian churches, in that the carrying on of the worship of God among them was annexed to one tribe, yea, to one family in that tribe, and chiefly tied to one certain place, no public instituted worship, such as was to be the bond of communion for the church, being acceptable that was not performed by those persons in that place: so that it was utterly impossible for the godly in Israel then, or the ten tribes, to set up a new church-state, seeing they neither had the persons nor were possessed of the place, without which no such constitution was acceptable to God, as not being of his appointment.

    Under the gospel it is not so, either as to the one or other. All places being now alike, and all persons who are enabled thereunto having liberty to preach the word in the order by Christ appointed, the erecting of churches and the celebration of ordinances is recoverable, according to the mind of God, out of the greatest defection imaginable, whilst unto any persons there is a continuance of the word and Spirit.

    But to proceed with Socinus. Blandrata having got a great interest with the king of Poland and prince of Transylvania, as hath been declared, and making it his business to promote the Antitrlnitarians, of what sort soever, being in Transylvania, where the men of his own abomination were exceedingly divided about the invocation and adoration of Jesus Christ, Franciscus David carrying all before him in an opposition thereunto (of which whole business I shall give a farther account afterward), he sends for Socinus, who was known to them, and, from his dealing with Puccius, began to be famed for a disputant, to come to him into Transylvania, to dispute with and confute Franciscus David, in the end of the year 1578; where what success his dispute had, in the imprisonment and death of David, shall be afterward related.

    Being now fallen upon this controversy, which fell out before Faustus’ going into Poland, before I proceed to his work and business there, I shall give a brief account of this business which I have now mentioned, and on which occasion he was sent for by Blandrata into Poland, referring the most considerable disputes he had about that difference to that place in the ensuing treatise where I shall treat of the invocation and worship of Christ.

    After way was once made in the minds of men for the farther work of Satan, by denying the deity of our blessed Lord Jesus, very many quickly grew to have more contemptible thoughts of him than those seemed to be willing they should from whose principles they professed, and indeed righteously, that their mean esteem of him did arise. Hence Franciscus David, Georgius Enjedinus, Christianus Franken, and sundry others, denied that Christ was to be worshipped with religious worship, or that he might be invocated and called upon. Against these Socinus, indeed, contended with all his might, professing that he would not account such as Christians who would not allow that Christ might be invocated and was to be worshipped; which that he was to be, he proved by undeniable testimonies of Scripture. But yet when himself came to answer their arguments, whereby they endeavored to prove that a mere man (such as on both sides they acknowledged Christ to be) might not be worshipped with religious worship or divine adoration, the man, with all his craft and subtilty, was entangled, utterly confounded, silenced, slain with his own weapons, and triumphed over, as I shall afterward manifest in the account which I shall give of the disputation between him and Christianus Franken about this business: God in his righteous judgment so ordering things, that he who would not embrace the truth which he ought to have received should not be able to maintain and defend that truth which he did receive; for having, what in him lay, digged up the only foundation of the religious worship and adoration of Christ, he was altogether unable to keep the building upright. Nor did this fall out for want of ability in the man, no man under heaven being able on his false hypothesis to main-rain the worship of Christ, but, as was said, merely by the just hand of God, giving him up to be punished by his own errors and darkness.

    Being hardened in the contempt of Christ by the success they had against Socinus and his followers, with whom they conversed and disputed, some of the men before mentioned stayed not with him at the affirming of him to be a mere man, nor yet where they began, building on that supposition that he was not to be worshipped, but proceeded yet farther, and affirmed that he was indeed a good man and sent of God, but yet he spake not by the spirit of prophecy, but so as that whatever was spoken by him and written by his apostles was to be examined by Moses and the prophets, whereto if it did not agree it was to be rejected: which was the sum of the first and second theses of Franciscus David, in opposition to which Socinus gave in his judgment in certain antitheses to Christopher Barthoraeus, prince of Transylvania, who had then cast David into prison for his blasphemy. f58 To give a little account, by the way, of the end of this man, with his contempt of the Lord Jesus: — In the year 1579, in the beginning of the month of June, he was cast into prison by the prince of Transylvania, and lived until the end of November. That he was cast into prison by the instigation of Socinus himself and Blandrata, the testimonies are beyond exception; for this is not only recorded by Bellarmine and others of the Papists (to whose assertions, concerning any adversary with whom they have to do, I confess much credit is not to be given), but by others also of unquestionable authority. This, indeed, Socinus denies, and would willingly impose the odium of it upon others; but the truth is, considering the keenness and wrath of the man’s spirit, and the thoughts he had of this miserable wretch, it is more than probable that he was instrumental towards his death. The like apology does Smalcius make in his answer to Franzius about the carriage of the Samosatenians in that business of Franciscus David; where they accused one another of craft, treachery, bloody cruelty, treason. Being cast into prison, the miserable creature fell into a frenetical distemper, through the revenging hand of God upon him, as Socinus confesseth himself. In this miserable condition the devils (saith the historian) appeared unto him; whereupon he cried out, “Behold who expect me their companion in my journey,’’ whether really, or in his vexed, distempered imagination, disordered by his despairing mind, I determine not; but most certain it is that in that condition he expired, not in the year 1580, as Bellarmine, Weik, Raemundus, and some of ours from them, inform us, but one year sooner, as he assures us who best knew. And the consideration of this man’s desperate apostasy and his companions’ might be one cause that about this time sundry of the Antitrinitarians were converted, amongst whom was Daniel Bielenscius, a man afterward of good esteem. f67 But neither yet did Satan stop here, but improved the advantage given him by these men to the utter denying of Jesus Christ: for unto the principle of Christ’s being not God, adding another of the same nature, that the prophecies of the Old Testament were all concerning temporal things, some amongst them at length concluded that there was no promise of any such person as Jesus Christ in the whole Old Testament; that the Messiah or king promised was only a king promised to the Jews, that they should have after the captivity, in case they did not offend but walk with God. “The kingdom,” say they, “promised in the Old Testament, is a kingdom of this world only; but the kingdom which you assert to belong to Jesus of Nazareth was a kingdom not of this world, a heavenly kingdom, and so, consequently, not promised of God or from God;” and therefore with him they would not have aught to do. This was the argument of Martin Seidelius, in his epistle to Socinus and his companions.

    What advantage is given to the like blasphemous imaginations with this, by such Judaizing annotations on the Old Testament as those of Grotius, time will evidence. Now, because this man’s creed is such as is not to be paralleled, perhaps some may be contented to take it in his own words, which are as follow: — “Caeterum ut sciatis cujus sim religionis, quamvis id scripto meo quod habetis ostenderim, tamen hic breviter repetam. Et primum quidem doctrina de Messia, seu rege illo promisso, ad meam religionem nihil pertinet: ham rex ille tantum Judaeis promissus erat, sicut et bona ilia Canaan. Sic etiam circumcisio, sacrificia, et reliquae ceremoniae Mosis ad me non pertinent, sed tantum populo Judaico promissa, data, et mandata sunt. Neque ista fuerunt cultus Dei apud Judaeos, sed inserviebant cultui divino, et ad cultum divinum deducebant Judaeos. Verus autem cultus Dei quem meam religionem appello, est decalogus, qui est aeterna, et immutabilis voluntas Dei; qui decalogus ideo ad me pertinet, quia etiam mihi a Deo datus est, non quidem per vocem sonantem de coelo, sicut populo Judaico, at per creationem insita est menti meae; quia autem insitus decalogus, per corruptionem naturae humanae et pravis consuetudinibus, aliqua ex parte obscuratus est, ideo ad illustrandum eum, adhibeo vocalem decalogum, qui vocalis decalogus, ideo etiam ad me, et ad omnes populos pertinet, quia cum insito nobis decalogo consentit, imo idem ille decalogus est.

    Haec est mea sententia de Messia, seu rege illo promisso, et haec est mea religio, quam coram vobis ingenue profiteor.” — Martin.

    Seidelius Olaviensis Silesius.

    To this issue did Satan drive the Socinian principles in this man and sundry others, even to a full and peremptory denial of the Lord that bought them. In answering this man, it fell out with Socinus much as it did with him in his disputation with Franken about the adoration and invocation of Jesus Christ: for granting Franken that Christ was but a mere man, he could no way evade his inference thence, that he was not to be invocated; so, granting Seidelius that the promises of the Old Testament were all temporal, he could not maintain against him that Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is heavenly, was the king and Messiah therein promised; for Faustus hath nothing to reply but that “God gives more than he promised, of which no man ought to complain.” Not observing that the question being not about the faithfulness of God in his promises, but about the thing promised, he gave away the whole cause, and yielded that Christ was not indeed the king and Messiah promised in the Old Testament.

    Of an alike opinion to this of Seidelius was he of whom we spake before, Franciscus David; who as to the kingdom of Christ delivered himself to this purpose: “That he was appointed to be a king of the Jews, and that God sent him into the world to receive his kingdom, which was to be earthly and civil, as the kingdoms of other kings; but the Jews rejected him and slew him, contrary to the purpose of God, who therefore took him from them and placed him in a quiet place, where he is not at all concerned in any of the things of the church, but is there in God’s design a king, and he will one day send him again to Jerusalem, there to take upon him a kingdom, and to rule as the kings of this world do or have done.” — Thes.

    Francisei David de Adorat. Jes. Christi.

    The reminding of these abominations gives occasion, by the way, to complain of the carnal apprehensions of a kingdom of Christ , which too many amongst ourselves have filled their thoughts and expectations withal.

    For my part, I am persuaded that, before the end of the world, the Lord Jesus, by his word and Spirit, will multiply the seed of Abraham as the stars of heaven, bringing into one fold the remnant of Israel and the multitude of the Gentiles; and that his church shall have peace, after he hath judged and broken the stubborn adversaries thereof, and laid the kingdoms of the nations in a useful subserviency to his interest in this world; and that himself will reign most gloriously, by a spirit of light, truth, love, and holiness, in the midst of them: but that he hath a kingdom of another nature and kind to set up in the world than that heavenly kingdom which he hath peculiarly exercised ever since he was exalted and made a ruler and a savior, that he should set up a dominion over men as men, and rule, either himself present or by his substitutes, as in a kingdom of this world, which is a kingdom neither of grace nor glory, I know it cannot be asserted without either the denial of his kingdom for the present, or that he is or hitherto hath been a king (which was the blasphemy of Franciscus David before mentioned), or the affirming that he hath, or is to have, upon the promise of God, two kingdoms of several sorts; of which in the whole word of God there is not the least tittle.

    To return: about the end of the year 1579, Faustus Socinus left Transylvania and went into Poland, which he chose for the stage whereon to act his design. In what estate and condition the persons in Poland and Lithuania were who had fallen off from the faith of the holy Trinity was before declared. True it is, that before the coming of Socinus, Blandrata, by the help of Franciscus David, had brought over many of them from Sabellianism, and Tritheism, and Arianism, unto Samosatenianism, and a full, plain denial of the deity of Christ. f71 But yet with that Pelagian doctrine that Socinus came furnished withal unto them, they were utterly unacquainted, and were at no small difference, many of them, about the Deity. The condition of the first man to be mortal and obnoxious to death, that there was no original sin , that Christ was not a high-priest on the earth, that he made no satisfaction for sin, that we are not justified by his righteousness but our own, that the wicked Shall be utterly confined and annihilated at the last day , with the rest of his opinions, which afterward he divulged, they were utterly strangers unto; as is evident from the contests he had about these things with some of them in their synods, and by writing, especially with Niemojevius, one of the chief patrons of their sect.

    In this condition of affairs, the man, being wise and subtile, obtained his purpose by the ensuing course of procedure: — 1. He joined himself to none of their societies, because, being divided amongst themselves, he knew that by adhering to any one professedly, he should engage all the rest against him. That which he pretended most to favor, and for whose sake he underwent some contests, was the assembly at Racovia, which at first was collected by Gregorius Paulus, as hath been declared.

    From these his pretense for abstaining was, their rigid injunction of all to be rebaptized that entered into their fellowship and communion. But he who made it his design to gather the scattered Antitrinitarians into a body and a consistency in a religion among themselves saw plainly that the rigid insisting upon Anabaptism, which was the first principle of some of them, would certainly keep them at an unreconcilable distance. Wherefore he falls upon an opinion much better suited to his design, and maintained that baptism was only instituted for the initiation of them who from any other false religion were turned to the religion of Christ; but that it belonged not to Christian societies, nor to them that were born of Christian parents, and had never been of any other profession or religion, though they might use it, if they pleased, as an indifferent thing. And therefore he refused to join himself with the Racovians, unless upon this principle, that they would desist for the time to come from requiring any to be baptized that should join with them. In a short time he divided that meeting by this opinion, and at length utterly dissolved them, as to their old principles they first consented unto, and built the remainder of them, by the hand of Valentinus Smalcius, into his own mould and frame.

    The author of his life sets it forth as a great trial of his prudence, piety, and patience, that he was repulsed from the society at Racovia, and that with ignominy; when the truth is, he absolutely refused to join with them, unless they would at once renounce their own principles and subscribe to his; which is as hard a condition as can be put upon any perfectly conquered enemy. This himself delivers at large on sundry occasions, especially insisting on and debating that business in his epistles to Simon Ronembergius and to Sophia Siemichovia. On this score did he write his disputation “De Baptismo Aquae,” with the vindication of it from the animadversions of A. D. (whom I suppose to be Andrew Dudithius), and of M. C., endeavoring with all his strength to prove that baptism is not an ordinance appointed for the use of Christians or their children, but only for such as were converted from Paganism or Mohammedanism; and this he did in the year 1580, two years after his coming into Poland, as he declares by the date of the disputation from Cracovia, at the close thereof. And in this persuasion he was so fixed, and laid such weight upon it, that after he had once before broken the assembly at Racovia, in his old days he encourages Valentinus Smalcius, then their teacher, to break them again, because some of them tenaciously held their opinion; and for those who, as Smalcius informed him, would thereupon fall off to the reformed churches, he bids them go, and a good riddance of them. By this means, I say, he utterly broke up, and divided, and dissolved the meeting at Racovia, which was collected upon the principles before mentioned, that there remained none abiding to their first engagement but a few old women, as Squarcialupus tells him, and as himself confesses in his answer for them to Palaeologus. By this course of behavior, the man had these two advantages: — (1.) He kept fair with all parties amongst them, and provoked not any by joining with them with whom they could not agree; so that all parties looked on him as their own, and were ready to make him the umpire of all their differences, by which he had no small advantage of working them all to his own principles. (2.) He was less exposed to the fury of the Papists, which he greatly feared (loving well the things of this world), than he would have been had he joined himself to any visible church profession; and, indeed, his privacy of living was a great means of his security. 2. His second great advantage was that he was a scholar, and was able to defend and countenance them against their opposers, the most of them being miserably weak and unlearned. One of their best defensatives, before his joining with them, was a clamor against logic and learning, as himself confesseth in some of his epistles. Now, this is not only evident by experience, but the nature of the thing itself makes it manifest that so it will be: whereas men of low and weak abilities fall into by-persuasions in religion, as they generally at first prevail by clamours and all sorts of reproaches cast on learning and learned men, yet if God in his providence at any time, to heighten the temptation, suffer any person of learning and ability to fall in amongst and with them, he is presently their head and ruler without control. Some testimony hereof our own days have afforded, and I wish we may not have more examples given us. Now, how far he availed himself of this advantage, the consideration of them with whom he had to do, of the esteem they had of his abilities, and the service he did them thereby, will acquaint us. [As] for the leaders of them, they were for the most part unlearned, and so unable to defend their opinions in any measure against a skillful adversary.

    Blandrata, their great patron, was not able to express himself in Latin, but by the help of Statorius, who had some learning, but no judgment; and therefore, upon his difference with Franciscus David in Transylvania, he was forced to send for Socinus out of Helvetia to manage the disputation with him. And what kind of cattle those were with whom he had to do at Cracovia as well as Racovia, is manifest from the epistle of Simon Ronembergius, one of the leaders and elders of that which they called their “church,” which is printed, with Socinus’ answer unto it. I do hot know that ever in my life I saw, for matter and form, sense and language, any thing so simple and foolish, so ridiculously senseless and incoherent, unless it were one or two in our own days, which with this deserve an eminent place “inter epistolas obscurorum virorum.” And therefore Socinus justly feared that his party would have the worst in disputes, as he acknowledges it befell Licinius in his conference with Smiglecius at Novograde, and could not believe Ostorodius that he had such success as he boasted in Germany with Fabritius; and tells us himself a story of some pastors of their churches in Lithuania, who were so ignorant and simple that they knew not that Christ was to be worshipped. What a facile thing it was for a man of his parts, abilities, and learning, to obtain a kingdom amongst such as these is easily guessed. He complains, indeed, of his own lost time in his young days, by the instigation of the devil, and says that it made him weary of his life to think of it, when he had once set up his thoughts in seeking honor and glory by being the head and master of a sect, as Ignatius the father of the Jesuits did (with whom, as to this purpose, he is compared all along by the gentleman that wrote his life); yet it is evident that his learning and abilities were such as easily promoted him to the dictatorship among them with whom he had to do.

    It may, then, be easily imagined what kind of esteem such men as those would have of so great an ornament and glory of their religion, who at least was with them in that wherein they dissented from the rest of Christians.

    Not only after his death, when they set him forth as the most incomparable man of his time, but in his own life and to himself, as I know not what excellent person, — that he had a mind suited for the investigation of truth, was a philosopher, an excellent orator, an eminent divine, that for the Latin tongue especially he might contend with any of the great wits of Europe, they told him to his face; such thoughts had they generally of him. It is, then, no wonder they gave themselves up to his guidance. Hence Smalcius wrote unto him to consult about the propriety of the Latin tongue, and in his answer to him he excuses it as a great crime that he had used a reciprocal relative where there was no occasion for it. f82 And to make it more evident how they depended on him, on this account of his ability for instructions, when he had told Ostorodius an answer to an objection of the Papists, the man having afterward forgot it, sends to him again to have his lesson over once more, that he might remember it. f83 And therefore, as if he had been to deal with school-boys, he would tell his chief companions that he had found out and discovered such or such a thing in religion, but would not tell them until they had tried themselves, and therefore was afraid lest he should through unawares have told it to any of them; upon one of which adventures, Ostorodius making bold to give in his conception, he does little better than tell him he is a blockhead. Being in this repute amongst them, and exercising such a dominion in point of abilities and learning, to prevail the more upon them, he was perpetually ready to undertake their quarrels, which themselves were not able with any color to maintain. Hence most of his books were written, and his disputations engaged in, upon the desire of one assembly, synod, or company of them or other, as I could easily manifest by particular instances. And by this means got he no small advantage to insinuate his own principles; for whereas the men greedily looked after and freely entertained the things which were professedly written in their defense, he always wrought in together therewith something of his own peculiar heresy, that poison might be taken down with that which was most pleasing. Some of the wisest of them, indeed, as Niemojevius, discovered the fraud, who, upon his answer to Andraeus Volanus, commending what he had written against the deity of Christ, which they employed him in, falls foul upon him for his delivering in the same treatise that Christ was not a priest whilst he was upon the earth; which one abominable figment lies at the bottom of his whole doctrine of the justification of a sinner. The case is the same about his judgment concerning the invocation of Christ, which was, “That we might do it, but it was not necessary from any precept or otherwise that so we should do.”

    And this was nine years after his coming into Poland, as appears from the date of that epistle; so long was he in getting his opinions to be entertained among his friends. But though this man were a little wary, and held out some opposition unto him, yet multitudes of them were taken with this snare, and freely drank down the poison they loathed, being tempered with that which they had a better liking to. But this being discovered, he let the rest of them know that though he was entreated to write that book by the Racovians, and did it in their name, yet, because he had published somewhat of his own private opinions therein, they might if they pleased deny, yea, and forswear, that they were written by their appointment.

    And this was with respect to his doctrine about the satisfaction of Christ, which, as he says, he heard they were coming over unto; and it is evident from what he writes elsewhere to Balcerovicius that he begged this employment of writing against Volanus, it being agreed by them that he should write nothing but by public consent, because of the novelties which he broached every day. By this readiness to appear and write in their defense, and so commending his writing to them on that account, it is incredible how he got ground upon them, and won them over daily to the residue of his abominations, which they had not received. 3. To these add, as another advantage to win upon that people, the course he had fixed on in reference to others; which was, to own as his, and of his party of the church, all persons whatever that, on any pretense whatever, opposed the doctrine of the Trinity and forsook the reformed church. Hence he dealt with men as his brethren, friends, and companions, who scarcely retained any thing of Christians, some nothing at all; as Martin Seidelius, who denied Christ; with Philip Buccel, who denied all difference of good and evil in the actions of men; with Eramus Johannes, an Arian; with Matthias Radecius, who denied that any could believe in Christ without new apostles; — indeed, with all or any sorts of men whatever that would but join with him, or did consent unto the opposition of the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was the principal work which he engaged in. 4. Unto these and the like advantages the man added all the arts and subtilties, all the diligence and industry, that were any way tending to his end. Some of his artifices and insinuations, indeed, were admirable, though to them who now review them in cold blood, without recalling to mind the then state of things, they may seem of another complexion. f88 By these and the like means, though he once despaired of ever getting his opinions received amongst them, as he professeth, yet in the long continuance of twenty-four years (so long he lived in Poland), with the help of Valentinus Smalcius, Volkelius, and some few others, who wholly fell in with him, he at length brought them all into subjection to himself, and got all his opinions enthroned, and his practice taken almost for a rule; so that whereas in former days they accused him for a covetous wretch, one that did nothing but give his mind to scrape up money, and were professedly offended with his putting money to usury, for his full justification, Ostorodius and Voidovius, in the close of the compendium of their religion which they brought into Holland, profess that their “churches did not condemn usury, so that it were exercised with moderation and without oppression.” f90 I thought to have added a farther account, in particular, of the man’s craft and subtilty; of his several ways for the instilling of his principles and opinions; of his personal temper, wrath, and anger, and multiplying of words in disputes; of the foils he received in sundry disputations with men of his own antitrinitarian infidelity; of his aim at glory and renown, expressed by the Polonian gentleman who wrote his life; his losses and troubles, which were not many, — with all which, and the like concernmeats of the man and his business in that generation, by the perusal of all that he wrote, and of much that hath been written against him, with what is extant of the conferences and disputations, synods and assemblies of those days, I have some little acquaintance; — but being not convinced of much usefulness in my so doing, I shall willingly spare my labor. Thus much was necessary, that we might know the men and their conversation who have caused so much trouble to the Christian world; in which work, having the assistance of that atheism and those corrupted principles which are in the hearts of all by nature, without the infinite rich mercy of God sparing a sinful world as to this judgment, for his elect’s sake, they will undoubtedly proceed.

    Leaving him, then, in the possession of his conquest, Tritheists, Sabellians, Arians, Eunomians, with the followers of Francis David, being all lost and sunk, and Socinians standing up in the room of them all, looking a little upon what ensued, I shall draw from the consideration of the persons to their doctrines, as at first proposed.

    After the death of Socinus, his cause was strongly carried on by those whom in his life he had formed to his own mind and judgment; among whom Valentinus Smalcius, Hieronymus Moscorovius, Johannes Volkelius, Christopherus Ostorodius, were the chief. To Smalcius he wrote eleven epistles, that are extant, professing his great expectations of him, extolling his learning and prudence. He afterward wrote the Racovian Catechism, compiling it out of Socinus’ works; many answers and replies to and with Smiglecius the Jesuit, and Franzius the Lutheran; a book of the divinity of Christ, with sundry others; and was a kind of professor among them at Racovia. The writings of the rest of them are also extant. To him succeeded Crellius, a man of more learning and modesty than Smalcius, and of great industry for the defense of his heresy. His defense of Socinus against Grotius’ treatise, “De Causis Morris Christi, de Effectu SS.,” his comments and ethics, declare his abilities and industry in his way. After him arose Jonas Schlichtingius, a man no whit behind any of the rest for learning and diligence, as in his comments and disputations against Meisnerus is evident. As the report is, he was burned by the procurement of the Jesuits, some four years ago, that they might be sure to have the blood of all sorts of men found upon them. What advantage they have obtained thereby time will show. I know that generation of men retort upon us the death of Servetus at Geneva; but the case was far different.

    Schlichtingius lived in his own country, and conversed with men of his own persuasion, who in a succession had been so before he was bern:

    Servetus came out of Spain on purpose to disturb and seduce them who knew nothing of his abominations. Schlichtingius disputed his heresy without reproaching or blaspheming God willingly, under pretense of denying the way and worship of his adversaries: Servetus stuffed all his discourses with horrid blasphemies. Beza tells us that he called the Trinity tricipitem Cerberum, and wrote that Moses was a ridiculous impostor, Beza, Ep. 1; and there are passages cited out of his book of the Trinity (which I have not seen) that seem to have as much of the devil in them as any thing that ever yet was written or spoken by any of the sons of men.

    If, saith he, Christ be the Son of God, “debuissent ergo dicere, quod Deus habebat uxorem quandam spiritualem, vel quod solus ipse masculus femineus aut hermaphroditus, simul erat pater et mater, nam ratio vocabuli non patitur, ut quis dicatur sine matre pater: et si Logos filius erat, natus ex patre sine matre; dic mihi quomodo peporit eum, per ventrem an per latus.”

    To this height of atheism and blasphemy had Satan wrought up the spirit of the man; so that I must say he is the only person in the world, that I ever read or heard of, that ever died upon the account of religion, in reference to whom the zeal of them that put him to death may be acquitted. But of these things God will judge. Socinus says he died calling on Christ; those that were present say quite the contrary, and that in horror he roared out misericordia to the magistrates, but nothing else. But arcana Deo.

    Of these men last named, their writings and endeavors for the propagation of their opinions, others having written already, I shall forbear. Some of note amongst them have publicly recanted and renounced their heresy, as Vogelius and Peuschelius; whose retractations are answered by Smalcius.

    Neither shall I add much as to their present condition. They have as yet many churches in Poland and Transylvania; and have their superintendents, after the manner of Germany. Regenvolscius tells us that all the others are sunk and lost, only the Socinians remain; the Arians, Sabellians, David Georgians, with the followers of Franciscus David, being all gone over to the confession of Socinus: which makes me somewhat wonder at that of Johannes Laetus, who affirms that about the year 1619, in a convention of the states in Poland, those who denied that Christ ought to be invocated (which were the followers of Franciscus David, Christianus Franken, and Palaeologus) pleaded that the liberty that was granted to Antitrinitarians was intended for them, and not for the Socinians; and the truth is, they had footing in Poland before ever the name of Socinus was there known, though he afterward insults upon them, and says that they most impudently will have themselves called Christians when they are not so. f92 But what numbers they are in those parts of the world, how the poison is drunk in by thousands in the Papacy, by what advantages it hath [insinuated], and continues to insinuate itself into multitudes living in the outward profession of the reformed churches, what progress it makes and what ground it gets in our native country every day, I had rather bewail than relate. This I am compelled to say, that unless the Lord, in his infinite mercy, lay an awe upon the hearts of men, to keep them in some captivity to the simplicity and mystery of the gospel who now strive every day to exceed one another in novel opinions and philosophical apprehensions of the things of God, I cannot but fear that this soul-destroying abomination will one day break in as a flood upon us.

    I shall only add something of the occasions and advantages that these men took and had for the renewing and propagation of their heresy, and draw to a close of this discourse.

    Not to speak of the general and more remote causes of these and all other soul-destroying errors, or the darkness, pride, corruption, and wilfullness of men; the craft, subtilty, envy, and malice of Satan; the just revenging hand of God, giving men up to a spirit of delusion, that they might believe lies, because they delighted not in the truth, — I shall only remark one considerable occasion or stumbling-block at which they fell and drank in the poison, and one considerable advantage that they had for the propagation of what they had so fallen into.

    Their great stumbling-block I look upon to be the horrible corruption and abuse of the doctrine of the Trinity in the writings of the schoolmen, and the practice of the devotionists among the Papists. With what desperate boldness, atheistical curiosity, wretched inquiries and babbling, the schoolmen have polluted the doctrine of the Trinity, and gone off from the simplicity of the gospel in this great mystery, is so notoriously known that I shall not need to trouble you with instances for the confirmation of the observation. This the men spoken of (being the most, if not all of them, brought up in the Papacy) stumbled at. They saw the doctrine concerning that God whom they were to worship rendered unintelligible, curious, intricate,:involved in terms and expressions not only barbarous in themselves, and not used in Scripture, but insignificant, horrid, and remote from the reason of men: which, after some struggling, set them at liberty from under the bondage of those notions; and when they should have gone to “the law and to the testimony” for their information, Satan turned them aside to their own reasonings and imaginations, where they stumbled and fell. And yet of the forms and expressions of their schoolmen are the Papists so zealous, as that whoever departs from them in any kind is presently an antitrinitarian heretic. The dealings of Bellarmine, Genebrard, Possevine, and others, with Calvin, are known. One instance may be taken of their ingenuity: Bellarmine, in his book, “De Christo,’ lays it to the charge of Bullinger, that in his book, “De Scripturae et Ecclesiae Authoritate,” he wrote that there were three persons in the Deity, “non statu, sed gradu, non subsistentia, sod forma, non potestate, sod specie differentes;” on which he exclaims that the Arians themselves never spake more wickedly: and yet these are the very words of Tertullian against Praxeas; which, I confess, are warily to be interpreted. But by this their measuring of truth by the forms received by tradition from their fathers, neglecting and forsaking the simplicity of the gospel, that many stumbled and fell is most evident.

    Schlusselburgius, in his wonted respect and favor unto the Calvinists, tells us that from them and their doctrine was the occasion administered unto this new abomination; also, that never any turned Arian but he was first a Calvinist: which he seems to make good by a letter of Adam Neuserus, who, as he saith, from a Sacramentarian turned Arian, and afterward a Mohammedan, and was circumcised at Constantinople. “This man,” says he, “in a letter from Constantinople to Doctor Gerlachius, tells him that none turned Arians but those that were Calvinists first; and therefore he that would take heed of Arianism had best beware of Calvinism.” I am very unwilling to call any man’s credit into question who relates a matter of fact, unless undeniable evidence enforce me, because it cannot be done without an imputation of the foulest crime; I shall therefore take leave to ask, — 1. What credit is to be given to the testimony of this man, who, upon Conradus’ own report, was circumcised, turned Mohammedan, and had wholly renounced the truth which he once professed? For my part, I should expect from such a person nothing but what was maliciously contrived for the prejudice of the truth; and therefore suppose he might raise this on purpose to strengthen and harden the Lutherans against the Calvinists, whom he hated most, because that they professed the truth which he had renounced, and that true knowledge of Christ and his will which now he hated; and this lie of his he looked on as an expedient for the hardening of the Lutherans in their error, and helping them with a stone to cast at the Calvinists. 2. Out of what kindness was it that this man bare to Gerlachius and his companions, that he gives them this courteous admonition to beware of Calvinism? Is it any honor to Gerlachius, Conradus himself, or any other Lutheran, that an apostate, an abjurer of Christian religion, loved them better than he did the Calvinists? What person this Adam Neuserus was, and what the end of him was, we have an account given by Maresius from a manuscript history of Altingius. From Heidelberg, being suspected of a conspiracy with one Sylvanus, who for it was put to death, he fled into Poland, thence to Constantinople, where he turned Mohammedan, and was circumcised, and after a while fell into such miserable horror and despair, that with dreadful veilings and clamours he died; so that the Turks themselves confess that they never heard of a more horrid, detestable, and tragical end of any man; whereupon they commonly called him Satan Ogli, or the son of the devil. And so, much good may it do Conradus, with his witness. 3. But what occasion, I pray, does Calvinism give to Arianism, that the one should be taken heed of if we intend to avoid the other? What offense does it give to men inquiring after the truth, to make them stumble on their abominations? What doctrine doth it maintain that should prepare them for it? But no man is bound to burden himself with more than he can carry, and therefore all such inquiries Schlusselburgius took no notice of.

    The truth is, many of the persons usually instanced in as apostates from Calvinism to Arianism were such as, leaving Italy and other parts of the pope’s dominion, came to shelter themselves where they expected liberty and opportunity of venting their abomination among the reformed churches, and joined themselves with them in outward profession, most of them, as afterward appeared, being thoroughly infected with the errors against the Trinity and about the Godhead before they left the Papacy, where they stumbled and fell.

    In the practice of the “church,” as it is called, wherein they were bred, they nextly saw the horrible idolatry that was countenanced in abominable pictures of the Trinity, and the worship yielded to them; which strengthened and fortified their minds against such gross conceptions of the nature of God as by those pictures were exhibited.

    Hence, when they had left the Papacy and set up their opposition to the blessed Trinity, in all their books they still made mention of those idols and pictures, speaking of them as the gods of those that worshipped the Trinity. This instance makes up a good part of their book, “De Falsa et Vera Cognitione Unius Dei, Patris, Filii, et Spiritus Sancti,” written in the name of the ministers of the churches in Sarmatia and Transylvania; a book full of reproach and blasphemies. But this, I say, was another occasion of stumbling to those miserable wretches. They knew what thoughts the men of their communication had of God, by the pictures made of him, and the worship they yielded to them, — they knew how abhorrent to the very principles of reason it was that God should be such as by them represented; and therefore set themselves at liberty (or rather gave up themselves to the service of Satan) to find out another god whom they might worship.

    Neither are they a little confirmed to this day in their errors by sundry principles which, under the Roman apostasy, got footing in the minds of men professing the name of Jesus Christ; particularly, they sheltered themselves from the sword of the word of God, evidencing the deity of Christ by ascribing to him divine adoration, by the shield of the Papists’ doctrine, that those who are not gods by nature may be adored, worshipped, and invocated.

    Now, that to this day the Papists continue in the same idolatry (to touch that by the way), I shall give you, for your refreshment, a copy of a verse or two, whose poetry does much outgo the old, “O crux spes unica!

    Auge piis constantiam, Hoc passionis tempore, Reisque dona remain;” and whose blasphemy comes not at all short of it. The first is of Clarus Bonarus the Jesuit, lib. 3 Amphitrial. Honor. lib. 3 cap. ult. ad Divinam Hallensem et Puerum Jesum, as followeth: — “Haereo lac inter meditans, interque cruorem; Inter delicias uberis et lateris.

    Et dico (si forte oculus super ubera tendo), Diva parens mammae gaudia posco tuae.

    Sed dico (si deinde oculos in vulnera verto), O Jesu lateris gaudia male tui.

    Rein scio, prensabo si fas erit ubera dextra, Laeva prensabo vulnera si dabitur.

    Lac matris miscere vole cum sanguine nati; Non possem antidote nobiliore frui.

    Vulnera restituant turpem uleeribus mendicum, Testa cui saniem radere sola potest.

    Ubera reficient Ismaelem sitientem, Quem Sara non patitur, quem neque nutrit Agar.

    Ista mihi, ad pestem procul et procul expungendam; Ista mini ad longas evalitura febres.

    Ira vomit flammas, fumatque libidinis Aetna; Suffocare queo sanguine, lacte queo.

    Livor inexpleta rubigine saevit in artus; Detergere queo lacte, cruore queo:

    Vanus honos me perpetua prurigine tentat:

    Exsaturare queo sanguine, lacte queo.

    Ergo parens et nate, meis advertite votis Lac peto, depereo sanguinem, utrumque volo.

    O sitio tamen! O vocem sitis intercludit!

    Nate cruore, sitim comprime lacte parens.

    Dic matri, meus hic frater sitit, optima mater, Vise fonte tuo promere, deque meo.

    Dic nato, tuus hie frater mi mellee fili Captivus monstrat vincula, lytron habes.

    Ergo Redemptorem monstra to jure vocari, Nobilior reliquis si tibi sanguis inest.

    Tuque parens monstra, matrem to jure vocari, Ubera si reliquis divitiora geris.

    O quando lactabor ab ubere, vulnere pascar?

    Deliciisque fruar, mamma latusque tuis.”

    The other is of Franciscus de Mendoza, in Viridario Utriusque Eruditionis, lib. 2 prob. 2, as ensueth: — “Ubera me matris, nati me vulnera pascunt Scilicet haec animi sunt medicina mei, Nam mihi dum lachrymas amor elicit ubera sugo Rideat ut dulci moestus amore dolor.

    At me pertentant dum gaudia, vulnera lambo Ut me laeta pio mista dolore juvent.

    Vulnera sic nati, sic ubera sugo parentis Securae ut variae sint mihi forte vices.

    Quis sine lacte precor, vel quis sine sanguine vivat?

    Lacte tuo genetrix, sanguine hate tuo.

    Sit lee pro ambrosia, suavi pro hectare sanguis Sic me perpetuum vulnus et uber alit.”

    And this their idolatry is objected to them by Soeinus, who marvels at the impudence of Bellarmine closing his books of controversies (as is the manner of the men of that Society) with “Laus Deo, virginique matri Marine,” wherein, as he says (and he says it truly), divine honor with God is ascribed to the blessed Virgin.

    The truth is, I see not any difference between that dedication of himself and his work, by Redemptus Baranzano the priest, in these words, “Deo, Virglnique Matri, Sancto Paulo, Bruno, Alberto, Redempto, Francisco, Clarke, Joannae, Catharinae Senensi, divisque omnibus, quos peculiari cultu honorare desidero, omnis meus labor consecratus sit” (Baranzan.

    Nov. Opin. Physic. Diglad.), and that of the Athenians, by the advice of Epimenides Qeoi~v Asi>av kai< Eurw>phv kai< Libu>hv, Qew~| ajgnw>stw| kai< Xe>nw| both of them being suitable to the counsel of Pythagoras: — Aqana>touv memw| wJv dia>keitai Ti>ma kai< se>bou o[rkon e]peiq h[rwav ajganou>v Tou>v te katacqoni>ouv oe>be dai>monav e[nnoma rJe>zwn Let them be sure to worship all sorts, that they may not miss. And by these means, amongst others, hath an occasion of stumbling and hardening been given to these poor souls.

    As to the propagation of their conceptions, they had the advantage not only of an unsettled time, as to the civil government of the nations of the world, most kingdoms and commonweals in Europe undergoing in that age considerable mutations and changes (a season wherein commonly the envious man hath taken opportunity to sow his tares); but also, men being set at liberty from the bondage under which they were kept in the Papacy, and from making the tradition of their fathers the rule of their worship and walking, were found indeed to have, upon abiding grounds, no principles of religion at all, and therefore were earnest in the inquiry after something that they might fix upon. What to avoid they knew, but what to close withal they knew not; and therefore it is no wonder if, among so many (I may say)millions of persons as in those days there were that fell off from the Papacy, some thousands perhaps (much more scores) might, in their inquirings, from an extreme of superstition run into another almost of atheism.

    Such was the estate of things and men in those days wherein Socinianism, or the opposition to Christ of this latter edition, set forth in the world.

    Among the many that were convinced of the abominations of Popery before they were well fixed in the truth, some were deceived by the cunning sleight of some few men that lay in wait to deceive. What event and issue an alike state and condition of things and persons hath gone forth unto in the places and days wherein we live is known to all; and that the saints of God may be warned by these things is this addressed to them. To what hath been spoken I had thought, for a close of this discourse, to have given an account of the learning that these men profess, and the course of their studies, of their way of disputing, and the advantages they have therein; to have instanced in some of their considerable sophisms, and subtile depravations of Scripture, as also to have given a specimen of distinctions and answers, which may be improved to the discovering and slighting of their fallacies in the most important heads of religion: but being diverted by new and unexpected avocations, I shall refer these and other considerations unto a prodromus for the use of younger students who intend to look into these controversies.

    And these are the persons with whom we have to deal, these their ways and progress in the world. I shall now briefly subjoin some advantages they have had, something of the way and method wherein they have proceeded, for the diffusing of their poison, with some general preservatives against the infection, and draw to a close of this discourse. 1. At the first entrance upon their undertaking, some of them made no small advantage, in dealing with weak and unwary men, by crying out that the terms of trinity, person, essence, hypostatical union, communication of properties, and the like, were not found in the Scripture, and therefore were to be abandoned.

    With the color of this plea, they once prevailed so far on the churches in Transylvania as that they resolved and determined to abstain from the use of those words; but they quickly perceived that though the words were not of absolute necessity to express the things themselves to the minds of believers, yet they were so to defend the truth from the opposition and craft of seducers, and at length recovered themselves, by the advice of Beza: yea, and Socinus himself doth not only grant but prove that in general this is not to be imposed on men, that the doctrine they assert is contained in Scripture in so many words, seeing it sufficeth that the thing itself pleaded for be contained therein. To which purpose I desire the learned reader to peruse his words, seeing he gives an instance of what he speaks somewhat opposite to a grand notion of his disciple, with whom I have chiefly to do; yea, and the same person rejects the plea of his companions, of the not express usage of the terms wherein the doctrine of the Trinity is delivered in the Scripture, as weak and frivolous, And this hath made me a little marvel at the precipitate, undigested conceptions of some, who, in the midst of the flames of Socinianism kindling upon us on every side, would (contrary to the wisdom and practice of all antiquity, no one assembly in the world excepted) tie us up to a form of confession composed of the bare words of the Scripture, in the order wherein they are placed. If we profess to believe that Christ is God blessed for ever, and the Socinians tell us, “True, but he is a God by office , not by nature,” is it not lawful for us to say, “Nay, but he is God, of the same nature, substance, and essence with his Father?” If we shall say that Christ is God, one with the Father, and the Sabellians shall tell us, “True, they are every way one, and in all respects, so that the whole Deity was incarnate,” is it not lawful for us to tell them, that though he be one in nature and essence with his Father, yet he is distinct from him in person? And the like instances may be given for all the expressions wherein the doctrine of the blessed Trinity is delivered. The truth is, we have sufficient ground for these expressions in the Scripture as to the words, and not only the things signified by them: the nature of God we have, Galatians 4:8; the person of the Father, and the Son distinct from it, Hebrews 1:3; the essence of God, Exodus 3:14, Revelation 1:4; the Trinity, 1 John 5:7; the Deity, Colossians 2:9. 2. Their whole business, in all their books and disputations, is to take upon themselves the part of answerers, so cavilling and making exception, not caring at all what becomes of any thing in religion, so they may with any color avoid the arguments wherewith they are pressed. Hence almost all their books, unless it be some few short catechisms and confessions, are only answers and exceptions to other men’s writings. Beside the fragments of a catechism or two, Socinus himself wrote very little but of this kind; so do the rest. How heavy and dull they are in asserting may be seen in Volkelius’ Institutions; and here, whilst they escape their adversaries, they are desperately bold in their interpretations of Scripture, though, for the most part, it suffices [them to say] that what is urged against them is not the sense of the place, though they themselves can assign no sense at all to it. I could easily give instances in abundance to make good this observation concerning them, but I shall not mention what must necessarily be insisted on in the ensuing discourse. Their answers are, “This may otherwise be expounded;” “It may otherwise be understood;” “The word may have another signification in another place.” 3. The greatest triumphs which they set up in their own conceits are, when by any ways they possess themselves of any usual maxim that passes current amongst men, being applied to finite, limited, created things, or any acknowledged notion in philosophy, and apply it to the infinite, uncreated, essence of God; than which course of proceeding nothing, indeed, can be more absurd, foolish, and contrary to sound reason. That God and man, the Creator and creature, that which is absolutely infinite and independent, and that which is finite, limited, and dependent, should be measured by the same rules, notions, and conceptions, unless it be by way of eminent analogy, which will not further their design at all, is most fond and senseless. And this one observation is sufficient to arm us against all their profound disputes about “essence,” “personality,” and the like. 4. Generally, as we said, in the pursuit of their design and carrying it on, they begin in exclaiming against the usual words wherein the doctrines they oppose are taught and delivered. “They are not Scripture expressions,” etc.; “For the things themselves, they do not oppose them, but they think them not so necessary as some suppose,” etc. Having got some ground by this on the minds of men, great stress is immediately laid on this, “That a man may be saved though he believe not the doctrine of the Trinity, the satisfaction of Christ, etc., so that he live holily, and yield obedience to the precepts of Christ; so that it is mere madness and folly to break love and communion about such differences.” By this engine I knew, not long since, a choice society of Christians, through the cunning sleight of one lying in wait to deceive, disturbed, divided, broken, and in no small part of it infected. If they once get this advantage, and have thereby weakened the love and valuation of the truth with any, they generally, through the righteous judgment of God in giving up men of light and vain spirits to the imaginations of their own hearts, overthrow their faith, and lead them captive at their pleasure. 5. I thought to have insisted, in particular, on their particular ways of insinuating their abominations, of the baits they lay, the devices they have, their high pretences to reason, and holiness in their lives, or honesty; as also, to have evinced, by undeniable evidences, that there are thousands in the Papacy and among the Reformed Churches that are wholly baptized into their vile opinions and infidelity, though, for the love of their temporal enjoyments, which are better to them than their religion, they profess it not; as also, how this persuasion of theirs hath been the great door whereby the flood of atheism which is broken in upon the world, and which is almost always professed by them who would be accounted the wits of the times, is come in upon the nations; farther, to have given general answers and distinctions applicable to the most if not all of the considerable arguments and objections wherewith they impugn the truth: but referring all these to my general considerations for the study of controversies in divinity, with some observations that may be preservatives against their poison, I shall speedily acquit you from the trouble of this address. Give me leave, then, in the last place (though unfit and unworthy), to give some general cautions to my fellow-laborers and students in divinity for the freeing our souls from being tainted with these abominations, and I have done: — 1. Hold fast the form of wholesome words and sound doctrine: know that there are other ways of peace and accommodation with dissenters than by letting go the least particle of truth. When men would accommodate their own hearts to love and peace, they must not double with their souls, and accommodate the truth of the gospel to other men’s imaginations. Perhaps some will suggest great things of going a middle way in divinity, between dissenters; but what is the issue, for the most part, of such proposals?

    After they have, by their middle way, raised no less contentions than was before between the extremes (yea, when things before were in some good measure allayed), the accommodators themselves, through an ambitious desire to make good and defend their own expedients, are insensibly carried over to the party and extreme to whom they thought to make a condescension unto; and, by endeavoring to blanch their opinions, to make them seem probable, they are engaged to the defense of their consequences before they are aware. Amyraldus (whom I look upon as one of the greatest wits of these days) will at present go a middle way between the churches of France and the Arminians. What hath been the issue? Among the churches, divisions, tumult, disorder; among the professors and ministers, revilings, evil surmisings; to the whole body of the people, scandals and offenses; and in respect of himself, evidence of daily approaching nearer to the Arminian party, until, as one of them saith of him, he is not far from their kingdom of heaven. But is this all? Nay, but Grotius, Episcopius, Curcellaeus, etc. (quanta nomina!) with others, must go a middle way to accommodate with the Socinians; and all that will not follow are rigid men, that by any means will defend the opinions they are fallen upon. The same plea is made by others for accommodation with the Papists; and still “moderation,” “the middle way,” “condescension,” are cried up. I can freely say, that I know not that man in England who is willing to go farther in forbearance, love, and communion with all that fear God and hold the foundation, than I am; but that this is to be done upon other grounds, principles, and ways, by other means and expedients, than by a condescension from the exactness of the least apex of gospel truth, or by an accommodation of doctrines by loose and general terms, I have elsewhere sufficiently declared. Let no man deceive you with vain pretences; hold fast the truth as it is in Jesus, part not with one iota, and contend for it when called thereunto. 2. Take heed of the snare of Satan in affecting eminency by singularity. It is good to strive to excel and to go before one another in knowledge and in light, as in holiness and obedience. To do this in the road is difficult.

    Ahimaaz had not outrun Cushi but that he took a by-path. Many finding it impossible to emerge unto any consideration by walking in the beaten path of truth (all parts of divinity, all ways of handling it, being carried already to such a height and excellency, that to make any considerable improvement requires great pains, study, and an insight into all kinds of learning), and yet not able to conquer the itch of being accounted ti>nev mega>loi , turn aside into by-ways, and turn the eyes of all men to them by scrambling over hedge and ditch, when the sober traveler is not at all regarded.

    The Roman historian, giving an account of the degeneracy of eloquence after it once came to its height in the time of Cicero, fixeth on this as the most probable reason: “Difficilis in perfecto mora est; naturaliterque, quod procedere non potest, recedit; et ut primo ad consequendos, quos priores ducimus, accendimur: ita, ubi aut praeteriri, aut aequari cos posse desperavimus, studium cum spe senescit; et quod adsequi non potest, sequi desinit; et, velut occupatam relinquens materiam, quaerit novam: praeteritoque eo in quo eminere non possumus, aliquid in quo nitamur conquirimus; sequiturque, ut frequens ac mobilis transitus maximum perfecti operis impedimentum sit.” — Paterc. Hist. Romans lib. 1 cap. 17.

    I wish some such things may not be said of the doctrine of the reformed churches. It was not long since raised to a great height of purity in itself, and perspicuity in the way of its delivery; but athletic constitutions are seldom permanent. Men would not be content to walk after others, and finding they could not excel what was done, they have given over to imitate it or to do any thing in the like kind; and therefore, neglecting that wherein they could not be eminent, they have taken a course to have something peculiar wherein to put forth their endeavors. Let us, then, watch against this temptation, and know that a man may be higher than his brethren, and yet be but a Saul. 3. Let not any one attempt dealing with these men that is not in some good measure furnished with those kinds of literature and those common arts wherein they excel; as, first, the knowledge of the tongues wherein the Scripture is written, namely, the Hebrew and Greek. He that is not in some measure acquainted with these will scarcely make thorough work in dealing with them. There is not a word, nor scarce a letter in a word (if I may so speak), which they do not search and toss up and down; not an expression which they pursue not through the whole Scripture, to see if any place will give countenance to the interpretation of it which they embrace. The curious use of the Greek articles, which, as Scaliger calls them, are “loquacissimae gentis flabellum,” is their great covert against the arguments for the deity of Christ. Their disputes about the Hebrew words wherein the doctrine of the satisfaction of Christ is delivered in the Old Testament, the ensuing treatise will in part manifest. Unless a man can debate the use of words with them in the Scripture, and by instances from other approved authors, it will be hard so to enclose or shut them up but that they will make way to evade and escape. Press them with any testimony of Scripture, if of any one word of the testimony, whereon the sense of the whole in any measure depends, they can except that in another place that word in the original hath another signification, and therefore it is not necessary that it should here signify as you urge it, unless you are able to debate the true meaning and import of the word with them, they suppose they have done enough to evade your testimony. And no less [necessary], nextly, are the common arts of logic and rhetoric, wherein they exercise themselves. Among all Socinus’ works, there is none more pernicious than the little treatise he wrote about sophisms; wherein he labors to give instances of all manner of sophistical arguments in those which are produced for the confirmation of the doctrine of the blessed Trinity.

    He that would re-enforce those arguments, and vindicate them from his exceptions and the entanglements cast upon them, without some considerable acquaintance with the principles of logic and artificial rules of argumentation, will find himself at a loss. Besides, of all men in the world, in their argumentations they are most sophistical. It is seldom that they urge any reason or give any exception wherein they conclude not “a particulari ad universale,” or “ab indefinito ad universale, exclusive,” or “ab aliqno statu Christi ad omnem,” or “ab oeconomia Trinitatis ad theologiam Deitatis,” or “ab usu vocis alicubi” to “ubique:” as, “Christ is a man, therefore not God; he is the servant of the Father, therefore not of the same nature.” And the like instances may be given in abundance; from which kind of arguing he will hardly extricate himself who is ignorant of the rudiments of logic. The frequency of figurative expressions in the Scripture, which they make use of to their advantage, requires the knowledge of rhetoric also in him that will deal with them to any good purpose. A good assistance (in the former of these especially) is given to students by Keslerus, “in examine Logics, Metaphysicae, et Physicae Photinianae.” The pretended maxims, also, which they insist on from the civil law, in the business of the satisfaction of Christ, which are especially urged by Socinus, and by Crellius in his defense against Grotius, will make him who shall engage with them see it necessary in some measure to be acquainted with the principles of that faculty and learning also.

    With those who are destitute of these, the great Spirit of truth is an abundantly sufficient preserver from all the cunning sleights of men that lie in wait to deceive. He can give them to believe and suffer for the truth. But that they should at any time look upon themselves as called to read the books or dispute with the men of these abominations, I can see no ground. 4. Always bear in mind the gross figments, that they seek to assert and establish in the room of that which they cunningly and subtilely oppose.

    Remember that the aim of their arguments against the deity of Christ and the blessed Trinity is, to set up two true Gods, the one so by nature, the other made so, rathe one God in his own essence, the other a God from him by office, that was a man, is a spirit, and shall cease to be a God. And some farther account hereof you will meet with in the close of the ensuing treatise. 5. Diligent, constant, serious reading, studying, meditating on the Scriptures, with the assistance and direction of all the rules and advantages for the right understanding of them which, by the observation and diligence of many worthies, we are furnished withal, accompanied with continual attendance on the throne of grace for the presence of the Spirit of truth with us, to lead us into all truth, and to increase his anointing of us day by day, “shining into our hearts to give us the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ,” is, as for all other things in the course of our pilgrimage and walking with God, so for our preservation against these abominations, and the enabling of us to discover their madness and answer their objections, of indispensable necessity. Apollos, who was “mighty in the Scriptures,” Acts 18:24, “mightily convinced the” gainsaying “Jews,” Acts 18:28. Neither, in dealing with these men, is there any better course in the world than, in a good order and method, to multiply testimonies against them to the same purpose; for whereas they have shifts in readiness to every particular, and hope to darken a single star, when they are gathered into a constellation they send out a glory and brightness which they cannot stand before. Being engaged myself once in a public dispute about the satisfaction of Christ, I took this course, in a clear and evident coherence, producing very many testimonies to the confirmation of it; which together gave such an evidence to the truth, that one who stood by instantly affirmed that “there was enough spoken to stop the mouth of the devil himself.” And this course in the business of the deity and satisfaction of Christ will certainly be triumphant. Let us, then, labor to have our senses abundantly exercised in the word, that we may be able to discern between good and evil; and that not by studying the places themselves [only] that are controverted, but by a diligent search into the whole mind and will of God as revealed in the word; wherein the sense is given in to humble souls with more life, power, and evidence of truth, and is more effectual for the begetting of faith and love to the truth, than in a curious search after the annotations of men upon particular places. And truly I must needs say that I know not a more deplorable mistake in the studies of divines, both preachers and others, than their diversion from an immediate, direct study of the Scriptures themselves unto the studying of commentators, critics, scholiasts, annotators, and the like helps, which God in his good providence, making use of the abilities, and sometimes the ambition and ends of men, hath furnished us withal.

    Not that I condemn the use and study of them, which I wish men were more diligent in, but desire pardon if I mistake, and do only surmise, by the experience of my own folly for many years, that many which seriously study the things of God do yet rather make it their business to inquire after the sense of other men on the Scriptures than to search studiously into them themselves. 6. That direction, in this kind, which with me is instar omnium, is for a diligent endeavor to have the power of the truths professed and contended for abiding upon our hearts, that we may not contend for notions, but what we have a practical acquaintance with in our own souls. When the heart is cast indeed into the mould of the doctrine that the mind embraceth; when the evidence and necessity of the truth abides in us; when not the sense of the words only is in our heads, but the sense of the things abides in our hearts; when we have communion with God in the doctrine we contend for, — then shall we be garrisoned, by the grace of God, against all the assaults of men. And without this all our contending is, as to ourselves, of no value. What am I the better if I can dispute that Christ is God, but have no sense or sweetness in my heart from hence that he is a God in covenant with my soul? What will it avail me to evince, by testimonies and arguments, that he hath made satisfaction for sin, if, through my unbelief, the wrath of God abideth on me, and I have no experience of my own being made the righteousness of God in him, — if I find not, in my standing before God, the excellency of having my sins imputed to him and his righteousness imputed to me? Will it be any advantage to me, in the issue, to profess and dispute that God works the conversion of a sinner by the irresistible grace of his Spirit, if I was never acquainted experimentally with the deadness and utter impotency to good, that opposition to the law of God, which is in my own soul by nature, with the efficacy of the exceeding greatness of the power of God in quickening, enlightening, and bringing forth the fruits of obedience in me? It is the power of truth in the heart alone that will make us cleave unto it indeed in an hour of temptation. Let us, then, not think that we are any thing the better for our conviction of the truths of the great doctrines of the gospel, for which we contend with these men, unless we find the power of the truths abiding in our own hearts, and have a continual experience of their necessity and excellency in our standing before God and our communion with him. 7. Do not look upon these things as things afar off, wherein you are little concerned. The evil is at the door; there is not a city, a town, scarce a village, in England, wherein some of this poison is not poured forth. Are not the doctrines of free will, universal redemption, apostasy from grace, mutability of God, of denying the resurrection of the dead, with all the foolish conceits of many about God and Christ, in this nation, ready to gather to this head?

    Let us not deceive ourselves; Satan is a crafty enemy. He yet hovers up and down in the lubricous, vain imaginations of a confused multitude, whose tongues are so divided that they understand not one the other. I dare boldly say, that if ever he settle to a stated opposition to the gospel, it will be in Socinianism. The Lord rebuke him; he is busy in and by many, where little notice is taken of him. But of these things thus far.

    A particular account of the cause and reasons of my engagement in this business, with what I have aimed at in the ensuing discourse, you will find given in my epistle to the university, so that the same things need not here also be delivered. The confutation of Mr Biddle’s Catechism, and Smalcius’ Catechism, commonly called the “Racovian;” with the vindication of all the texts of Scripture giving testimony to the deity of Christ throughout the Old and New Testament from the perverse glosses and interpretations put upon them by Hugo Grotius in his Annotations on the Bible, with those also which concern his satisfaction; and, on the occasion hereof, the confirmation of the most important truths of the Scripture, about the nature of God, the person of Christ and the Holy Ghost, the offices of Christ, etc., — have been in my design. With what mind and intention, with what love to the truth, with what dependence on God for his presence and assistance, with what earnestness of supplication to enjoy the fruit of the promise of our dear Lord Jesus, to lead me into all truth by his blessed Spirit, I have gone through this work, the Lord knows.

    I only know that in every particular I have come short of my duty therein, and that a review of my paths and pains would yield me very little refreshment, but that “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that even concerning this also he will remember me for good, and spare me, according to the greatness of his mercy.” And whatever becomes of this weak endeavor before the Lord, yet “he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things and sure, and this is all my salvation and all my desire, although he make it not to grow.” What is performed is submitted humbly to the judgment of them to whom this address is made.

    About the thoughts of others, or any such as by envy, interest, curiosity, or faction, may be swayed or biassed, I am not solicitous. If any benefit redound to the saints of the Most High, or any that belong to the purpose of God’s love be advantaged, enlightened, or built up in their most holy faith in the least, by what is here delivered, I have my reward.

    MR BIDDLE’S PREFACE TO HIS CATECHISM.

    I HAVE often wondered and complained that there was no catechism yet extant (that I could ever see or hear of) from whence one might learn the true grounds of the Christian religion, as the same is delivered in the holy Scripture, all catechisms generally being so stuffed with the supposals and traditions of men that the least part of them is derived from the word of God: for when councils, convocations, and assemblies of divines, justling the sacred writers out of their place in the church, had once framed articles and confessions of faith according to their own fancies and interests, and the civil magistrate had by his authority ratified the same, all catechisms were afterward fitted to those articles and confessions, and the Scripture either wholly omitted or brought in only for a show, not one quotation amongst many being a whit to the purpose, as will soon appear to any man of judgment, who, taking into his hand the said catechisms, shall examine the texts alleged in them; for if he do this diligently and impartially, he will find the Scripture and those catechisms to be at so wide a distance one from another, that he will begin to question whether the catechists gave any heed at all to what they wrote, and did not only themselves refuse to make use of their reason, but presume that their readers also would do the same. In how miserable a condition, then, as to spiritual things, must Christians generally needs be, when thus trained up, not, as the apostle adviseth, “in the nurture and admonition of the Lord,” but in the supposals and traditions of men, having little or no assurance touching the reality of their religion! which some observing, and not having the happiness to light upon the truth, have quite abandoned all piety whatsoever, thinking there is no firm ground whereon to build the same.

    To prevent which mischief in time to come, by bringing men to a certainty (I mean such men as own the divine authority of the Scripture), and withal to satisfy the just and pious desires of many who would fain understand the truth of our religion, to the end they might not only be built up themselves, but also instruct their children and families in the same, I have here (according to the understanding I have gotten by continual meditation on the word of God) compiled a Scripture Catechism; wherein I bring the reader to a sure and certain knowledge of the chiefest things pertaining both to belief and practice, whilst I myself assert nothing (as others have done before me), but only introduce the Scripture faithfully uttering its own assertions, which all Christians confess to be of undoubted truth.

    Take heed, therefore, whosoever thou art that lightest on this book, and there readest things quite contrary to the doctrines that pass current amongst the generality of Christians (for I confess most of the things here displayed have such a tendency), that thou fall not foul upon them; for thou canst not do so without falllng foul upon the holy Scripture itself, inasmuch as all the answers throughout the whole Catechism are faithfully transcribed out of it and rightly applied to the questions, as thou thyself mayst perceive if thou make a diligent inspection into the several texts, with all their circumstances. Thou wilt perhaps here reply, that the texts which I have cited do indeed in the letter hold forth such things as are contrary to the doctrines commonly received amongst Christians, but they ought to have a mystical or figurative interpretation put upon them, and then both the doctrines and the texts of Scripture will suit well enough. To which I answer, that if we once take this liberty to impose our mystical or figurative interpretations on the Scripture, without express warrant of the Scripture itself, we shall have no settled belief, but be liable continually to be turned aside by any one that can invent a new mystical meaning of the Scripture, there being no certain rule to judge of such meanings as there is of the literal ones, nor is there any error, how absurd and impious soever, but may on such terms be accorded with the Scripture. All the abominable idolatries of the Papists, all the superstitious fopperies of the Turks, all the licentious opinions and practices of the Ranters, may by this means be not only palliated but defended by the word of God. Certainly, might we of our own heads figuratively interpret the Scripture, when the letter is neither repugnant to our senses nor to the scope of the respective texts, nor to a greater number of plain texts to the contrary (for in such cases we must of necessity admit figures in the sacred volume as well as we do in profane ones, otherwise both they and it will clash with themselves or with our senses, which the Scripture itself intimates to be of infallible certainty; see 1 John 1:1-3); — might we, I say, at our pleasure impose our figures and allegories on the plain words of God, the Scripture would in very deed be, what some blasphemously affirm it to be, “a nose of wax.” For instance, it is frequently asserted in the Scripture that God hath a similitude or shape, hath his place in the heavens, hath also affections or passions, ‘as love, hatred, mercy, anger, and the like; neither is any thing to the contrary delivered there unless seemingly in certain places, which neither for number nor clearness are comparable unto those of the other side. Why now should I depart from the letter of the Scripture in these particulars, and boldly affirm, with the generality of Christians (or rather with the generality of such Christians only as, being conversant with the false philosophy that reigneth in the schools, have their understandings perverted with wrong notions), that God is without a shape, in no certain place, and incapable of affections? Would not this be to use the Scripture like a nose of wax, and when of itself it looketh any way, to turn it aside at our pleasure? And would not God be so far from speaking to our capacity in his word (which is the usual refuge of the adversaries when in these and the like matters concerning God they are pressed with the plain words of the Scripture), as that he would by so doing render us altogether incapable of finding out his meaning, whilst he spake one thing and understood the clean contrary? Yea, would he not have taken the direct course to make men substitute an idol in his stead (for the adversaries hold that to conceive of God as having a shape, or affections, or being in a certain place, is idolatry), if he described himself in the Scripture otherwise than indeed he is, without telling us so much in plain terms, that we might not conceive amiss of him? Thus we see that when sleep, which plainly argueth weakness and imperfection, had been ascribed to God, Psalm 44:23, the contrary is said of him, <19C104> Psalm 121:4. Again, when weariness had been attributed to him, Isaiah 1:14, the same is expressly denied of him, Isaiah 40:28. And would not God, think ye, have done the like in those forementioned things, were the case the same in them as in the others?

    This consideration is so pressing, that a certain author (otherwise a very learned and intelligent man) perceiving the weight thereof, and not knowing how to avoid the same, took up (though very unluckily) one erroneous tenet to maintain another, telling us in a late book of his, entitled Conjectura Cabalistica, “That for Moses, by occasion of his writings, to let the Jews entertain a conceit of God as in human shape, was not any more a way to bring them into idolatry than by acknowledging man to be God, as,” saith he, “our religion does in Christ.” How can this consist even with consonancy to his own principles, whilst he holds it to be false that God hath any shape, but true that Christ is God; for will a false opinion of God not sooner lead men into idolatry than a true opinion of Christ? But it is no marvel that this author, and other learned men with him, entertain such conceits of God and Christ as are repugnant to the current of the Scripture, whilst they set so high a rate on the sublime, indeed, but uncertain notions of the Platonists, and in the meantime slight the plain but certain letter of the sacred writers, as being far below the Divine Majesty, and written only to comply with the rude apprehensions of the vulgar, unless by a mystical interpretation they be screwed up to Platonism. This is the stone at which the pride of learned men hath caused them continually to stumble, — namely, to think that they can speak more wisely and worthily of God than he hath spoken of himself in his word.

    This hath brought that more than Babylonish confusion of language into the Christian religion, whilst men have framed those horrid and intricate expressions, under the color of detecting and excluding heresies, but in truth to put a baffle on the simplicity of the Scripture and usher in heresies, that so they might the more easily carry on their worldly designs, which could not be effected but through the ignorance of the people, nor the people brought into ignorance but by wrapping up religion in such monstrous terms as neither the people nor they themselves that invented them (or at least took them from the invention of others) did understand.

    Wherefore, there is no possibility to reduce the Christian religion to its primitive integrity, — a thing, though much pretended, yea, boasted of in reformed churches, yet never hitherto sincerely endeavored, much less effected (in that men have, by severe penalties, been hindered to reform religion beyond such a stint as that of Luther, or at most that of Calvin), — but by cashiering those many intricate terms and devised forms of speaking imposed on our religion, and by wholly betaking ourselves to the plainness of the Scripture: for I have long since observed (and find my observation to be true and certain), that when, to express matters of religion, men make use of words and phrases unheard of in the Scripture, they slily under them couch false doctrines and obtrude them on us; for without question the doctrines of the Scripture can be so aptly explained in no language as that of the Scripture itself. Examine, therefore, the expressions of God’s being “infinite and incomprehensible, of his being a simple act, of his subsisting in three persons or after a threefold manner, of a divine circumincession, of an eternal generation, of an eternal procession, of an incarnation, of an hypostatical union, of a communication of properties, of the mother of God, of God dying, of God made man, of transubstantiation, of consubstantiation, of original sin, of Christ’s taking our nature on him, of Christ’s making satisfaction to God for our sins, both past, present, and to come, of Christ’s fulfilling the law for us, of Christ’s being punished by God for us, of Christ’s merits or his meritorious obedience, both active and passive, of Christ’s purchasing the kingdom of heaven for us, of Christ’s enduring the wrath of God, yea, the pains of a damned man, of Christ’s rising from the dead by his own power, of the ubiquity of Christ’s body, of apprehending and applying Christrighteousness to ourselves by faith, of Christ’s being our surety, of Christ’s paying our debts, of our sins imputed to Christ, of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, of Christ’s dying to appease the wrath of God and reconcile him to us, of infused grace, of free grace, of the world of the elect, of irresistible workings of the Spirit in bringing men to believe, of carnal reason, of spiritual desertions, of spiritual incomes, of the outgoings of God, of taking up the ordinance,” etc., and thou shalt find that as these forms of speech are not owned by the Scripture, so neither the things contained in them. How excellent, therefore, was that advice of Paul to Timothy in his second epistle to him, 2 Timothy 1:13, “Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus”! for if we once let go those forms of sound words learned from the apostles, and take up such as have been coined by others in succeeding ages, we shall together [with them] part with the apostles’ doctrine, as woful experience hath taught us; for after Constantine the Great, together with the council of Nice, had once deviated from the language of the Scripture in the business touching the Son of God, calling him” co-essential with the Father,” this opened a gap for others afterward, under a pretense of guarding the truth from heretics, to devise new terms at pleasure; which did, by degrees, so vitiate the chastity and simplicity of our faith, delivered in the Scripture, that there hardly remained so much as one point thereof sound and entire. So that as it was wont to be disputed in the schools, whether the old ship of Theseus (which had in a manner been wholly altered at sundry times, by the accession of new pieces of. timber upon the decay of the old) were the same ship it had been at first, and not rather another by degrees substituted in the stead thereof: in like manner there was so much of the primitive truth worn away, by the corruption that did, by little and little, overspread the generality of Christians, and so many errors in stead thereof tacked to our religion, at several times, that one might justly question whether it were the same religion with that which Christ and his apostles taught, and not another since devised by men and put in the room thereof. But thanks be to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, who, amidst the universal corruption of our religion, hath preserved his written word entire (for had men corrupted it, they would have made it speak more favourably in behalf of their lusts and worldly interests than it doth); which word, if we with diligence and sincerity pry into, resolving to embrace the doctrine that is there plainly delivered, though all the world should set itself against us for so doing, we shall easily discern the truth, and so be enabled to reduce our religion to its first principles. For thus much I perceive by mine own experience, who, being otherwise of no great abilities, yet setting myself, with the aforesaid resolution, for sundry years together upon an impartial search of the Scripture, have not only detected many errors, but here presented the reader with a body of religion exactly transcribed out of the word of God: which body whosoever shall well ruminate and digest in his mind, may, by the same method wherein! have gone before him, make a farther inquiry into the oracles of God, and draw forth whatsoever yet lies hid; and being brought to light, [it] will tend to the accomplishment of godliness amongst us, for at this only all the Scripture aimeth; — the Scripture, which all men who have thoroughly studied the same must of necessity be enamored with, as breathing out the mere wisdom of God, and being the exactest rule of a holy life (which all religions whatsoever confess to be the way unto happiness) that can be imagined, and whose divinity will never, even to the world’s end, be questioned by any but such as are unwilling to deny their worldly lusts and obey the pure and perfect precepts thereof; which obedience whosoever shall perform, he shall, not only in the life to come, but even in this life, be equal unto angels. JOHN BIDDLE.

    MR BIDDLE’S PREFACE BRIEFLY EXAMINED.

    IN the entrance of Mr Biddle’s preface he tells the reader very modestly “That he could never yet see or hear of a catechism” (although, I presume, he had seen, or heard at least, of one or two written by Faustus Socinus, though not completed; of one by Valentinus Smalcius, commonly called “The Racovian Catechism,” from whence many of his questions and answers are taken; and of an “Exposition of the Articles of Faith, in the Creed called the Apostles’, in way of catechism, by Jonas Schlichtingius,” published in French, anno 1646, in Latin, anno 1651) “from whence the true grounds of Christian religion might be learned, as it is delivered in Scripture;” and therefore, doubtless, all Christians have cause to rejoice at the happy product of Mr B.’s pains, wherewith he now acquaints them, ushered.in with this modest account, whereby at length they may know their own religion, wherein as yet they have not been instructed to any purpose. And the reason of this is, because “all other catechisms are stuffed with many supposals and traditions, the least part of them being derived from the word of God,” Mr B. being judge. And this is the common language of his companions, comparing themselves and their own writings with those of other men. The common language they delight in is, “Though Christians have hitherto thought otherwise.”

    Whether we have reason to stand to this determination, and acquiesce in this censure and sentence, the ensuing considerations of what Mr B. substitutes in the room of those catechisms which he here rejects will evince and manifest. But to give countenance to this humble entrance into his work, he tells his reader “That councils, convocations, and assemblies of divines, have justled out the Scripture, and framed confessions of faith according to their own fancies and interests, getting them confirmed by the civil magistrate; according unto which confessions all catechisms are and have been framed, without any regard to the Scripture.” What “councils” Mr B. intends he informs us not, nor what it is that in them he chiefly complains of. If he intend some only, such as the apostatizing times of the church saw, he knows he is not opposed by them with whom he hath to de, nor vet if he charge them all for some miscarriages in them or about them. If all, as that of the apostles themselves, Acts 15, together with the rest that for some ages followed after, and that as to the doctrine by them delivered, fall under his censure, we have nothing but the testimony of Mr B. to induce us to a belief of this insinuation. His testimony in things of this nature will be received only by them who receive his doctrine.

    What I have to offer on this account I have spoken otherwhere. That the confessions of faith which the first general councils, as they are called, during the space of four hundred years and upward, composed and put forth, were “framed according to the fancies and interests of men,” beside the word, is Mr B.’s fancy, and his interest to have it so esteemed. The faith he professeth, or rather the infidelity he has fallen into, was condemned in them all, and that upon the occasion of its then first coming into the world; “Hinc illae lacrimae:” if they stand, he must fall. “That the catechisms of latter days” (I suppose he intends those in use amongst the reformed churches) “did wholly omit the Scripture, or brought it in only for a show, not one quotation amongst many being a whit to the purpose,” you have the same testimony for as for the assertions foregoing He that will say this, had need some other way evince that he makes conscience of what he says, or that he dare not say any thing, so it serve his turn. Only Mr B. hath quoted Scripture to the purpose! To prove God to be “finite, limited, included in heaven, of a visible shape, ignorant of things future, obnoxious to turbulent passions and affections,” are some of his quotations produced; for the like end and purpose are the most of the rest alleged. Never, it seems, was the Scripture alleged to any purpose before! And these things, through the righteous hand of God taking vengeance on an unthankful generation, not delighting in the light and truth which he hath sent forth, do we hear and read. Of those who have made bold ajki>nhta kinei~n, and to shake the fundamentals of gospel truths or the mystery of grace, we have daily many examples. The number is far more scarce of them who have attempted to blot out those koinai< e]nnoiai, or ingrafted notions of mankind, concerning the perfections of God, which Mr B. opposeth. “Fabulas vulgaris nequitia non invenit.” An opposition ‘to the first principles of rational beings must needs be talked of. Other catechists, besides himself, Mr B. tells you, “have written with so much oscitancy and contempt of the Scripture, that a considering man will question whether they gave any heed to what they wrote themselves, or refused to make use of their reason, and presumed others would do so also.” And so you have the sum of his judgment concerning all other catechisms, besides his own, that he hath either seen or heard of. “They are all fitted to confessions of faith, composed according to the fancies and interests of men, written without attending to the Scripture or quoting it to any purpose, their authors, like madmen, not knowing what they wrote, and refusing to make use of their reason that they might so do.” And this is the modest, humble entrance of Mr B.’s preface.

    All that have gone before him were knaves, fools, idiots, madmen. The proof of these assertions you are to expect. When a philosopher pressed Diogenes with this sophism, “What! am, thou art not; I am a man, therefore thou art not,” he gave him no other answer but, “Begin with me, and the conclusion will be true.” Mr B. is a Master of Arts, and knew, doubtless, that such assertions as might be easily turned upon himself are of no use to any but those who have not aught else to say. Perhaps Mr B. speaks only to them of the same mind with himself; and then, indeed, as Socrates said, it was no hard thing to commend the Athenians before the Athenians, but to commend them before the Lacedaemonians was difficult. No more is it any great undertaking to condemn men sound in the faith unto Socinians; before others it will not prove so easy.

    It is not incumbent on me to defend any, much less all the catechisms that have been written by learned men of the reformed religion. That there are errors in some, mistakes in others; that some are more clear, plain, and scriptural than others, I grant. All of them may have, have had, their use in their kind. That in any of them there is any thing taught inconsistent with communion with God, or inevitably tending to the impairing of faith and love, Mr B. is not, I presume, such a filo>ponov as to undertake to demonstrate. I shall only add, that notwithstanding the vain plea of having given all his answers in the express words of Scripture (whereby, with the foolish bird, he hides his head from the fowler, but leaves his whole monstrous body visible, the teaching part of his Catechism being solely in the insinuating, ensnaring, captious questions thereof, leading the understanding of the reader to a misapprehension and misapplication of the words of the Scripture, it being very easy to make up the grossest blasphemy imaginable out of the words of the Scripture itself), I never found, saw, read, or heard of any so grossly perverting the doctrine of the Scripture concerning God and all his ways as those of Mr B.’s do; for in sundry particulars they exceed those mentioned before of Socinus, Smalcius, Schlichtingius, which had justly gotten the repute of the worst in the world. And for an account of my reason of this persuasion I refer the reader to the ensuing considerations of them.

    This, then, being the sad estate of Christians, so misinformed by such vile varlets as have so foully deceived them and misled them, as above mentioned, what is to be done and what course to be taken to bring in light into the world, and to deliver men from the sorrowful condition whereinto they have been catechised? For this end, he tells the reader, doth he show himself to the world ( Qeomen to a certainty;” 2. “To satisfy the pious desire of some who would fain know the truth of our religion.”

    The way he fixes on for the compassing of the end proposed is: — 1 . “By asserting nothing;” 2. “By introducing the plain texts of Scripture to speak for themselves.” Each briefly may be considered. 1. What fluctuating persons are they, not yet come to any certainty in religion, whom Mr B. intends to deal withal? Those, for the most part, of them who seem to be intended in such undertakings, are fully persuaded from the Scripture of the truth of those things wherein they have been instructed. Of these, some, I have heard, have been unsettled by Mr B., but that he shall ever settle any (there being no consistency in error or falsehood) is impossible. Mr B. knows there is no one of the catechists he so decries but directs them whom he so instructs to the Scriptures, and settles their faith on the word of God alone, though they labor to help their faith and understanding by opening of it; whereunto also they are called. I fear Mr B.’s certainty will at length appear to be scepticism, and his settling of men to be the unsettling; that his conversions are from the faith; and that in this very book he aims more to acquaint men with his questions than the Scripture answers. But he says, — 2. Those whom he aims to bring to this certainty are “such as would fain understand the truth of our religion.” If by “our religion” he means the religion of himself and his followers (or rather masters), the Socinians, I am sorry to hear that any are so greedy of its acquaintance. Happily this is but a pretense, such as his predecessors in this work have commonly used. [As] for understanding the truth of it, they will find in the issue what an endless work they have undertaken. “Who can make that straight which is crooked, or number that which is wanting?” If by “our religion” he means the Christian religion, it may well be inquired who they are, with their “just and pious desires,” who yet understand not the truth of Christian religion? that is, that it is the only true religion. When we know these Turks, Jews, Pagans, which Mr B. hath to deal withal, we shall be able to judge of what reason he had to labor to satisfy their “just and pious desires.” I would also willingly be informed how they came to so high an advancement in our religion as to desire to be brought up in it, and to be able to instruct others, when as yet they do not understand the truth of it, or are not satisfied therein. And, — 3. As these are admirable men, so the way he takes for their satisfaction is admirable also; that is, by “asserting nothing!’ He that asserts nothing proves nothing; for that which any one proves, that he asserts. Intending, then, to bring men to a certainty who yet understand not the truth of our religion, he asserts nothing, proves nothing (as is the manner of some), but leaves them to themselves; — a most compendious way of teaching (for whose attainment Mr B. needed not to have been Master of Arts), if it proves effectual! But by not asserting, it is evident Mr B. intends not silence. He hath said too much to be so interpreted. Only what he hath spoken, he hath done it in a sceptical way of inquiry; wherein, though the intendment of his mind be evident, and all his queries may be easily resolved into so many propositions or assertions, yet as his words lie, he supposes he may speak truly that he asserts nothing. Of the truth, then, of this assertion, that he doth not assert any thing, the reader will judge. And this is the path to atheism which, of all others, is most trod and beaten in the days wherein we live. A liberty of judgment is pretended, and queries are proposed, until nothing certain be left, nothing unshaken. But, — 4. He “introduces the Scripture faithfully uttering its own assertions.” If his own testimony concerning his faithful dealing may be taken, this must pass. The express words of the Scripture, I confess, are produced, but as to Mr B.’s faithfulness in their production, I have sundry exceptions to make; as, — (1.) That by his leading questions, and application of the Scripture to them, he hath utterly perverted the scope and intendment of the places urged. Whereas he pretends not to assert or explain the Scripture, he most undoubtedly restrains the signification of the places by him alleged unto the precise scope which in his sophistical queries he hath included. And in such a way of procedure, what may not the serpentine wits of men pretend to a confirmation of from Scripture, or any other book that hath been written about such things as the inquiries are made after? It were easy to give innumerable instances of this kind, but we fear God, and dare not to make bold with him or his word. (2.) Mr B. pretending to give an account of the” chiefest things pertaining to belief and practice,” doth yet propose no question at all concerning many of the most important heads of our religion, and whereunto the Scripture speaks fully and expressly, or proposes his thoughts in the negative, leading on the scriptures from whence he makes his objections to the grand truths he opposeth, concealing, as was said, the delivery of them in the Scripture in other places innumerable; so insinuating to the men of “just and pious desires” with whom he hath to do that the Scripture is silent of them. That this is the man’s way of procedure, in reference to the deity of Christ and of the Holy Ghost, the satisfaction and merit of Christ, the corruption of nature, and efficacy of grace, with many other most important heads of Christian religion, will be fully manifest in our consideration, of the several particulars as they shall occur in the method wherein by him they are handled. (3.) What can be concluded of the mind of God in the Scripture, by cutting off any place or places of it from their dependence, connection, and tendency, catching at those words which seem to confirm what we would have them so to do (whether, in the proper order wherein of God they are set and fixed, they do in the least east an eye towards the thesis which they are produced to confirm or no), might easily be manifested by innumerable instances, were not the vanity of such a course evident to all.

    On the consideration of these few exceptions to Mr B.’s way of procedure, it will easily appear what little advantage he hath given him thereby, and how unjust his pretense is, which by this course he aims to prevail upon men withal. This he opens, page 6: “None,” saith he, “can fall foul upon the things contained in this Catechism” (which he confesseth to be “quite contrary to the doctrine that passeth current among the generality of Christians”), “as they are here displayed, because the answers are transcribed out of the Scriptures.” But Mr B. may be pleased to take notice that the “displaying,” as he calls it, of his doctrines is the work of his questions, and not of the words of Scripture produced to confirm them, which have a sense cunningly and subtilely imposed on them by his queries, or are pointed and restrained to the things which in the place of their delivery they look not towards in any measure. We shall undoubtedly find, in the process of this business, that Mr B.’s questions, being found guilty of treason against God, will not be allowed sanctuary in the answers which they labor to creep into; and that, they disclaiming their protection, they may be pursued, taken, and given up to the justice and severity of truth, without the least profanation of their holiness. A murderer may be plucked from the horns of the altar.

    Nor is that the only answer insisted on for the removal of Mr B.’s sophistry, which he mentions, p. 7, and pursues it for three or four leaves onward of his preface, namely, “That the scriptures which he urgeth do in the letter hold out such things as he allegeth them to prove, but yet they must be figuratively interpreted.” For Mr B.’s “mystical sense,” I know not what he intends by it, or by whom it is urged. This is applicable solely to the places he produceth for the description of God and his attributes, concerning whom that some expressions of Scripture are to be so interpreted himself confesseth, p. 13; and we desire to take leave to inquire whether some others, beside what Mr B. allows, may not be of the same consideration. In other things, for the most part, we have nothing at all to do with so much as the interpretation of the places he mentions, but only to remove the grossly sophistical insinuations of his queries. For instance, when Mr B. asks, “Whether Christ Jesus was a man or no?” and allegeth express Scripture affirming that he was, we say not that the Scripture must have a figurative interpretation, but that Mr B. is grossly sophistical, concluding from the assertion of Christ’s human nature to the denial of his divine, and desperately injurious to the persons with whom he pretends he hath to do, who as yet “understand not the truth of our religion,” in undertaking to declare to them the special “chief things of belief and practice,” and hiding from them the things of the greatest moment to their salvation, and which the Scripture speaks most plentifully unto. by not stating any question or making any such inquiry as their affirmation might be suited unto. The like instance may be given in all the particulars wherein Mr B. is departed from “the faith once delivered to the saints.” His whole following discourse, then, to the end of p. 13, wherein he decries the answer to his way of procedure, which himself had framed, he might have spared. It is true, we do affirm that there are figurative expressions in the Scripture (and Mr B. dares not say the contrary), and that they are accordingly to be interpreted; not that they are to have a mystical sense put upon them, but that the literal sense is to be received, according to the direction of the figure which is in the words. That these words of our Savior, “This is my body,” are figurative, I suppose Mr B. will not deny.

    Interpret them according to the figurative import of them, and that interpretation gives you the literal, and not a mystical sense, if such figures belong to speech and not to sense. That sense, I confess, may be spiritually understood (then it is saving) or otherwise; but this doth not constitute different senses in the words, but only denote a difference in the understandings of men. But all this, in hypothesi, Mr B. fully grants, p. 9; so that there is no danger, by asserting it, to cast the least thought of uncertainty on the word of God. But, p. 10, he gives you an instance wherein this kind of interpretation must by no means be allowed, namely, in the Scripture attributions of a shape and similitude (that is, of eyes, ears, hands, feet) unto God, with passions and affections like unto us; which that they are not proper, but figuratively to be interpreted, he tells you, p. 10-12, “those affirm who are perverted by false philosophy, and make a nose of wax of the Scripture, which plainly affirms such things of God.” In what sense the expressions of Scripture intimated concerning God are necessarily to be received and understood, the ensuing considerations will inform the reader. For the present, I shall only say that I do not know scarce a more unhappy instance in his whole book that he could have produced than this, wherein he hath been blasphemously injurious unto God and his holy word. And herein we shall deal with him from Scripture itself, right reason, and the common consent of mankind. How remote our interpretations of the places by him quoted for his purpose are from wresting the Scriptures, or turning them aside from their purpose, scope, and intendment, will also in due time be made manifest.

    We say, indeed, as Mr B. observes, that in those kinds of expressions God “condescendeth to accommodate his ways and proceedings” (not his essence and being) “to our apprehensions;” wherein we are very far from saying that “he speaks one thing and intends the clean contrary,” but only that the things that he ascribes to himself, for our understanding and the accommodation of his proceedings to the manner of men, are to be understood in him and of them in that which they denote of perfection, and not in respect of that which is imperfect and weak. For instance, when God says, “his eyes run to and fro, to behold the sons of men,” we do not say that he speaks one’ thing and understands another; but only because we have our knowledge and acquaintance with things by our eyes looking up and down, therefore doth he who hath not eyes of flesh as we have, nor hath any need to look up and down to acquaint himself with them, all whose ways are in his own hand, nor can without blasphemy be supposed to look from one thing to another, choose to express his knowledge of and intimate acquaintance with all things here below, in and by his own infinite understanding, in the way so suited to our apprehension. Neither are these kinds of expressions in the least an occasion of idolatry, or do give advantage to any of creating any shape of God in their imaginations, God having plainly and clearly, in the same word of his wherein these expressions are used, discovered that of himself, his nature, being, and properties, which will necessarily determine in what sense these expressions are to be understood; as, in the consideration of the several particulars in the ensuing discourse, the reader will find evinced.

    And we are yet of the mind, that to conceive of God as a great man, with mouth, eyes, hands, legs, etc., in a proper sense, sitting in heaven, shut up there, troubled, vexed, moved up and down with sundry passions, perplexed about the things that are to come to pass, which he knows not, — which is the notion of God that Mr B. labors to deliver the world from their darkness withal, — is gross idolatry, whereunto the scriptural attributions unto God mentioned give not the least countenance; as will in the progress of our discourse more fully appear. And if it be true, which Mr B. intimates, that “things implying imperfection” (speaking of sleep and being weary) “are not properly attributed to God,” I doubt not but I shall easily evince that the same line of refusal is to pass over the visible shape and turbulent affections which are by him ascribed to him. But of these more particularly in their respective places.

    But he adds, pp. 13, 14, “That this consideration is so pressing, that a certain learned author, in his book entitled ‘Conjectura Cabalistica,’ affirms that for Moses, by occasion of his writings, to let the Jews entertain a conceit of God as in human shape was not any more a way to bring them into idolatry than by acknowledging man to be God, as our religion doth in Christ;” which plea of his Mr B. exagitates in the pages following. That learned gentleman is of age and ability to speak for himself: for mine own part, I am not so clear in what he affirms as to undertake it for him, though otherwise very ready to serve him upon the account which I have of his worth and abilities; though I may freely say I suppose they might be better exercised than in such cabalistical conjectures as the book of his pointed unto is full of. But who am I, that judge another? We must every one give an account of himself and his labors to God; and the fire shall try our works of what sort they are. I shall not desire to make too much work for the fire. For the present, I deny that Moses in his writings doth give any occasion to entertain a conceit of God as one of a human shape; neither did the Jews ever stumble into idolatry on that account. They sometimes, indeed, changed their glory for that which was not God; but whilst they worshipped that God that revealed himself by Moses, Jehovah, Ehejeh , it doth not appear that ever they entertained in their thoughts any thing but purum numen , a most simple, spiritual, eternal Being, as I shall give a farther account afterward. Though they intended to worship Jehovah both in the calf in the wilderness and in those at Bethel, yet that they ever entertained any thoughts that God had such a shape as that which they framed to worship him by is madness to imagine. For though Moses sometimes speaks of God in the condescension before mentioned, expressing his power by his arm, and bow, and sword, his knowledge and understanding by his eye, yet he doth in so many places caution them with whom he had to do of entertaining any thoughts of any bodily similitude of God, that by any thing delivered by him there is not the least occasion administered for the entertaining of such a conceit as is intimated. Neither am I clear in the theological predication which that learned person hath chosen to parallel with the Mosaical expressions of God’s shape and similitude, concerning man being God. Though we acknowledge him who is man to be God, yet we do not acknowledge man to be God. Christ under this reduplication, as man, is not a person, and so not God. To say that man is God, is to say that the humanity and Deity are the same. Whatever he is as man, he is upon the account of his being man. Now, that he who is man is also God, though he be not God upon the account of his being man, can give no more occasion to idolatry than to say that God is infinite, omnipotent. For the expression itself, it being in the concrete, it may be salved by the communication of properties; but as it lies, it may possibly be taken in the abstract, and so is simply false.

    Neither do I judge it safe to use such expressions, unless it be when the grounds and reasons of them are assigned. But that Mr B. should be offended with this assertion I see no reason. Both he and his associates affirm that Jesus Christ as man (being in essence and nature nothing but man) is made a God; and is the object of divine worship or religious adoration on that account. I may therefore let pass Mr B.’s following harangue against “men’s philosophical speculations, deserting the Scripture in their contemplations of the nature of God, as though they could speak more worthily of God than he hath done of himself;” for though it may easily be made appear that never any of the Platonical philosophers spoke so unworthily of God or vented such gross, carnal conceptions of him as Mr B. hath done, and the gentleman of whom he speaks be well able to judge of what he reads, and to free himself from being entangled in any of their notions, discrepant from the revelation that God hath made of himself in his word, yet we, being resolved to try out the whole matter, and to put all the differences we have with Mr B. to the trial and issue upon the express testimony of God himself in his word, are not concerned in this discourse.

    Neither have I any necessity to divert to the consideration of his complaint concerning the bringing in of new expressions into religion, if he intends such as whose substance or matter, which they do express, is not evidently and expressly found in the Scripture. What is the “Babylonish language,” what are “the horrid and intricate expressions,” which he affirms to be “introduced under a color of detecting and confuting heresies, but indeed to put a baffle upon the simplicity of the Scripture,” he gives us an account of, p. 19, where we shall consider it and them. In general, words are but the figures of things. It is not words and terms, nor expressions, but doctrines and things, we inquire after. Mr B., I suppose, allows expositions of Scripture, or else I am sure he condemns himself in what he practises. His book is, in his own thoughts, an exposition of Scripture.

    That this cannot be done without varying the words and literal expressions thereof, I suppose will not be questioned. To express the same thing that is contained in any place of Scripture with such other words as may give light unto it in our understandings, is to expound it. This are we called to, and the course of it is to continue whilst Christ continues a church upon the earth. Paul spake nothing, for the substance of the things he delivered, but what was written in the prophets; that he did not use new expressions, not to be found in any of the prophets, will not be proved. But there is a twofold evil in these expressions: “That they are invented to detect and exclude heresies, as is pretended.” If heretics begin first to wrest Scripture expressions to a sense never received nor contained in them, it is surely lawful for them who are willing to “contend for the faith once delivered to the saints” to clear the mind of God in his word. by expressions and terms suitable thereunto; neither have heretics carried on their cause without the invention of new words and phrases.

    If any shall make use of any words, terms, phrases, and expressions, in and about religious things, requiring the embracing and receiving of those words, etc., by others, without examining either the truth of what by those words, phrases, etc., they intend to signify and express, or the propriety of those expressions themselves, as to their accommodation for the signifying of those things, I plead not for them. It is not in the power of man to make any word or expression, not rJhtw~v found in the Scripture, to be canonical, and for its own sake to be embraced and received. But yet if any word or phrase do expressly signify any doctrine or matter contained in the Scripture, though the word or phrase itself be not in so many letters found in the Scripture, that such word or phrase may not be used for the explication of the mind of God I suppose will not easily be proved. And this we farther grant, that if any one shall scruple the receiving and owning of such expressions, so as to make them the way of professing that which is signified by them, and yet do receive the thing or doctrine which is by them delivered, for my part I shall have no contest with him. For instance, the word ojmoou>siov was made use of by the first Nicene council to express the unity of essence and being that is in the Father and Son, the better to obviate Arius and his followers, with their h=n o[tan oujk h+n, and the like forms of speech, nowhere found in Scripture, and invented on set purpose to destroy the true and eternal deity of the Son of God. If, now, any man should scruple the receiving of that word, but withal should profess that he believes Jesus Christ to be God, equal to the Father, one with him from the beginning, and doth not explain himself by other terms not found in the Scripture, namely, that he was “made a God,” and is “one with the Father as to will, not essence,” and the like, he is like to undergo neither trouble nor opposition from me. We know what troubles arose between the eastern and western churches about the words “hypostasis” and “persona,” until they understood on each side that by these different words the same thing was intended, and that uJpo>stasiv with the Greeks was not the same as “substantia” with the Latins, nor “persona” with the Latins the same with pro>swpon among the Greeks, as to their application to the thing the one and the other expressed by these terms. That such “monstrous terms are brought into our religion as neither they that invented them nor they that use them do understand,” Mr B. may be allowed to aver, from the measure he hath taken of all men’s understandings, weighing them in his own, and saying, “Thus far can they go and no farther,” “This they can understand, that they cannot;” — a prerogative, as we shall see in the process of this business, that he will scarcely allow to God himself without his taking much pains and labor about it. I profess, for ray part, I have not as yet the least conviction fallen upon me that Mr B. is furnished with so large an understanding, whatever he insinuates of his own abilities, as to be allowed a dictator of what any man can or cannot understand. If his principle, or rather conclusion, upon which he limits the understandings of men be this, “What I cannot understand, that no man else can,” he would be desired to consider that he is as yet but a young man, who hath not had so many advantages and helps for the improving of his understanding as some others have had; and, besides, that there are some whose eyes are blinded by the god of this world, that they shall never see or understand the things of God, yea, and that God himself doth thus oftentimes execute his vengeance on them, for detaining his truth in unrighteousness.

    But yet, upon this acquaintance which he hath with the measure of all men’s understandings, he informs his reader that “the only way to carry on the reformation of the church, beyond what yet hath been done by Luther or Calvin, is by cashiering those many intricate terms and devised forms of speaking,” which he hath observed slily to couch false doctrines, and to obtrude them on us; and, by the way, that “this carrying on of reformation beyond the stint of Luther or Calvin was never yet so much as sincerely endeavored.” In the former passage, having given out himself as a competent judge of the understandings of all men, in this he proceeds to their hearts. “The reformation of the church,” saith he, “was never sincerely attempted, beyond the stint of Luther and Calvin.” Attempted it hath been, but he knows all the men and their hearts full well who made those attempts, and that they never did it sincerely, but with guile and hypocrisy! Mr B. knows who those are that say, “With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own.” To know the hearts of men and their frame towards himself, Mr B. instructs us, in his Catechism, that God himself is forced to make trial and experiments; but for his own part, without any great trouble, he can easily pronounce of their sincerity or hypocrisy in any undertaking! Low and vile thoughts of God will quickly usher in light, proud, and foolish thoughts concerning ourselves. Luther and Calvin were men whom God honored above many in their generation; and on that account we dare not but do so also. That all church reformation is to be measured by their line, — -that is, that no farther discovery of truth, in, or about, or concerning the ways or works of God, may be made, but what hath been made to them and by them, — was not, that I know of, ever yet affirmed by any in or of any reformed church in the world. The truth is, such attempts as this of Mr. B.’s to overthrow all the foundations of Christian religion, to accommodate the Gospel to the Alcoran, and subject all divine mysteries to the judgment of that wisdom which is carnal and sensual, under the fair pretense of carrying on the work of reformation and of discovering truth from the Scripture, have perhaps fixed some men to the measure they have received beyond what Christian ingenuity and the love of the truth requireth of them. A noble and free inquiry into the word of God, with attendance to all ways by him appointed or allowed for the revelation of his mind, with reliance on his gracious promise of “leading us into all truth” by his holy and blessed Spirit, without whose aid, guidance, direction, light, and assistance, we can neither know, understand, nor receive the things that are of God; neither captivated to the traditions of our fathers, for whose labor and pains in the work of the gospel, and for his presence with them, we daily bless the name of our God; neither yet “carried about with every wind of doctrine,” breathed or insinuated by the “cunning sleight of men who lie in wait to deceive,” — is that which we profess. What the Lord will be pleased to do with us by or in this frame, upon these principles; how, wherein, we shall serve our generation, in the revelation of his mind and will, — is in his hand and disposal. About using or casting off words and phrases, formerly used to express any truth or doctrine of the Scripture, we will not contend with any, provided the things themselves signified by them be retained. This alone makes me indeed put any value on any word or expression not rJhtw~v found in the Scripture, namely, my observation that they are questioned and rejected by none but such as, by their rejection, intend and aim at the removal of the truth itself which by them is expressed, and plentifully revealed in the word. The same care also was among them of old, having the same occasion administered. Hence when Valens, the Arian emperor, sent Modestus, his praetorian praefect, to persuade Basil to be an Arian, the man entreated him not to be so rigid as to displease the emperor and trouble the church, dij ojli>ghn dogma>twn ajkri>beian , for an over-strict observance of opinions, it being but one word, indeed one syllable, that made the difference, and he thought it not prudent to stand so much upon so small a business. The holy man replied, Toi~v qei>oiv lo>goiv ejnteqramme>noi pro>esqai mewn dogma>twn oujde< mi>an ajne>contai sullabh>n — “However children might be so dealt withal, those who are bred up in the Scriptures or nourished with the word will not suffer one syllable of divine truth to be betrayed.” The like attempt to this of Valens and Modestus upon Basil was made by the Arian bishops at the council of Ariminum, who pleaded earnestly for the rejection of one or two words not found in the Scripture, laying on that plea much weight, when it was the eversion of the deity of Christ which they intended and attempted. And by none is there more strength and evidence given to this observation than by him with whom I have now to do, who, exclaiming against words and expressions, intends really the subversion of all the most fundamental and substantial truths of the gospel; and therefore, having, pp. 19-21, reckoned up many expressions which he dislikes, condemns, and would have rejected, most of them relating to the chiefest heads of our religion (though, to his advantage, he cast in by the way two or three gross figments), he concludes “that as the forms of speech by him recounted are not used in the Scripture, no more are the things signified by them contained therein.” In the issue, then, all the quarrel is fixed upon the things themselves, which, if they were found in Scripture, the expressions insisted on might be granted to suit them well enough. What need, then, all this long discourse about words and expressions, when it is the things themselves signified by them that are the abominations decried? Now, though most of the things here pointed unto will fall under our ensuing considerations, yet because Mr B. hath here cast into one heap many of the doctrines which in the Christian religion he opposeth and would have renounced, it may not be amiss to take a short view of the most considerable instances in our passage.

    His first is of God’s being infinite and incomprehensible. This he condemns, name and thing, — that is, he says “he is finite, limited, of us to be comprehended;” for those who say he is infinite and incomprehensible do say only that he is not finite nor of us to be comprehended. What advance is made towards the farther reformation of the church by this new notion of Mr B.’s is fully discovered in the consideration of the second chapter of his Catechism; and in this, as in sundry other things, Mr B. excels his masters. The Scripture tells us expressly that “he filleth heaven and earth;” that the “heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain him;” that his presence is in heaven and hell, and that “his understanding is infinite” (which how the understanding of one that is finite may be, an infinite understanding cannot comprehend); that he “dwelleth in that light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen, nor can see” (which to us is the description of one incomprehensible); that he is “eternal,’’ which we cannot comprehend.

    The like expressions are used of him in great abundance. Besides, if God be not incomprehensible, we may search out his power, wisdom, and understanding to the utmost; for if we cannot, if it be not possible so to do, he is incomprehensible. But “canst thou by searching find out God? canst thou find out the Almighty to perfection?” “There is no searching of his understanding.” If by our lines we suppose we can fathom the depth of the essence, omnipotency, wisdom, and understanding of God, I doubt not but we shall find ourselves mistaken. Were ever any, since the world began, before quarrelled withal for asserting the essence and being of God to be incomprehensible? The heathen who affirmed that the more he inquired, the more he admired and the less he understood had a more noble reverence of the eternal Being which in his mind he conceived, than Mr B. will allow us to entertain of God. Farther; if God be not infinite, he is circumscribed in some certain place; if he be, is he there fixed to that place, or doth he move from it? If he be fixed there, how can he work at a distance, especially such things as necessarily require divine power to their production? If he move up and down, and journey as his occasions require, what a blessed enjoyment of himself in his own glory hath he! But that this blasphemous figment of God’s being limited and confined to a certain place is really destructive to all the divine perfections of the nature and being of God is afterward demonstrated. And this is the first instance given by Mr B. of the corruption of our doctrine, which he rejects name and thing, namely, “that God is infinite and incomprehensible.” And now, whether this man be a “mere Christian” or a mere Lucian, let the reader judge.

    That God is a simple act is the next thing excepted against and decried, name and thing; in the room whereof, that he is compounded of matter and form,” or the like, must be asserted. Those who affirm God to be a simple act do only deny him to be compounded of divers principles, and assert him to be always actually in being, existence, and intent operation. God says of himself that his name is Ehejeh, and he is I AM, — that is, a simple being, existing in and of itself; and this is that which is intended by the simplicity of the nature of God, and his being a simple act. The Scripture tells us he is eternal, I AM, always the same, and so never what he was not ever. This is decried, and in opposition to it his being compounded, and so obnoxious to dissolution, and his being in potentia, in a disposition and passive capacity to be what he is not, is asserted; for it is only to deny these things that the term “simple” is used, which he condemns and rejects. And this is the second instance that Mr B. gives in the description of his God, by his rejecting the received expressions concerning him who is so: “He is limited, and of us to be comprehended; his essence and being consisting of several principles, whereby he is in a capacity of being what he is not.” Mr B., solus habeto; I will not be your rival in the favor of this God.

    And this may suffice to this exception of Mr B., by the way, against the simplicity of the being of God; yet, because he doth not directly oppose it afterward, and the asserting of it doth clearly evert all his following fond imaginations of the shape, corporeity, and limitedness of the essence of God (to which end also I shall, in the consideration of his several depravations of the truth concerning the nature of God, insist upon it), I shall a little here divert to the explication of what we intend by the simplicity of the essence of God, and confirm the truth of what we so intend thereby.

    As was, then, intimated before, though simplicity seems to be a positive term, or to denote something positively, yet indeed it is a pure negation, and formally, immediately, and properly, denies multiplication, composition, and the like. And though this only it immediately denotes, yet there is a most eminent perfection of the nature of God thereby signified to us; which is negatively proposed, because it is in the use of things that are proper to us, in which case we can only conceive what is not to be ascribed to God. Now, not to insist on the metaphysical notions and distinctions of simplicity, by the ascribing of it to God we do not only deny that he is compounded of divers principles really distinct, but also of such as are improper, and not of such a real distance, or that he is compounded of any thing, or can be compounded with any thing whatever.

    First, then, that this is a property of God’s essence or being is manifest from his absolute independence and firstness in being and operation, which God often insists upon in the revelation of himself: Isaiah 44:6, “I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God.” Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is,” etc.: so chap. 21:6, 22:13. Which also is fully asserted, Romans 11:35,36, “Who hath first given to him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again? for of him, and through him, and to him, are all things: to whom be glory for ever.” Now, if God were of any causes, internal or external, any principles antecedent or superior to him, he could not be so absolutely first and independent. Were he composed of parts, accidents, manner of being, he could not be first; for all these are before that which is of them, and therefore his essence is absolutely simple.

    Secondly, God is absolutely and perfectly one and the same, and nothing differs from his essence in it: “TheLORD our God is oneLORD,” Deuteronomy 6:4; “Thou art the same,” <19A227> Psalm 102:27. And where there is an absolute oneness and sameness in the whole, there is no composition by an union of extremes. Thus is it with God: his name is, “ I AM; I AM THAT I AM,” Exodus 3:14,15; “Which is,” Revelation 1:8.

    He, then, who is what he is, and whose all that is in him is, himself, hath neither parts, accidents, principles, nor any thing else, whereof his essence should be compounded.

    Thirdly, The attributes of God, which alone seem to be distinct things in the essence of God, are all of them essentially the same with one another, and every one the same with the essence of God itself. For, first, they are spoken one of another as well as of God; as there is his “eternal power” as well as his “Godhead.” And, secondly, they are either infinite and infinitely perfect, or they are not. If they are, then if they are not the same with God, there are more things infinite than one, and consequently more Gods; for that which is absolutely infinite is absolutely perfect, and consequently God. If they are not infinite, then God knows not himself, for a finite wisdom cannot know perfectly an infinite being. And this might be farther confirmed by the particular consideration of all kinds of composition, with a manifestation of the impossibility of their attribution unto God; arguments to which purpose the learned reader knows where to find in abundance.

    Fourthly, Yea, that God is, and must needs be, a simple act (which expression Mr B. fixes on for the rejection of it) is evident from this one consideration, which was mentioned before: If he be not so, there must be some potentiality in God. Whatever is, and is not a simple act, hath a possibility to be perfected by act; if this be in God, he is not perfect, nor all-sufficient. Every composition whatever is of power and act; which if it be, or might have been in God, he could not be said to be immutable, which the Scripture plentifully witnesseth that he is.

    These are some few of the grounds of this affirmation of ours concerning the simplicity of the essence of God; which when Mr B. removes and answers, he may have more of them, which at present there is no necessity to produce.

    From his being he proceeds to his subsistence, and expressly rejects h/s subsisting in three persons, name and thing. That this is no new attempt, no undertaking whose glory Mr B. may arrogate to himself, is known.

    Hitherto God hath taken thought for his own glory, and eminently confounded the opposers of the subsistence of his essence in three distinct persons. Inquire of them that went before, and of the dealings of God with them of old. What is become of Ebion, Cerinthus, Paulus Samosatenus, Theodotus Byzantinus, Photinus, Arius, Macedonius, etc.? Hath not God made their memory to rot, and their names to be an abomination to all generations? How they once attempted to have taken possession of the churches of God, making slaughter and havoc of all that opposed them, hath been declared; but their place long since knows them no more. By the subsisting of God in any person, no more is intended than that person’s being God. If that person be God, God subsists in that person. If you grant the Father to be a person (as the Holy Ghost expressly affirms him to be, Hebrews 1:3) and to be God, you grant God to subsist in that person: that is all which by that expression is intended. The Son is God, or is not.

    To say he is not God, is to beg that which cannot be proved. If he be God, he is the Father, or he is another person. If he be the Father, he is not the Son. That he is the Son and not the Son is sufficiently contradictory. If he be not the Father, as was said, and yet be God, he may have the same nature and substance with the Father (for of our God there is but one essence, nature, or being), and yet be distinct from him. That distinction from him is his personality, — that property whereby and from whence he is the Son. The like is to be said of the Holy Ghost. The thing, then, here denied is, that the Son is God, or that the Holy Ghost is God: for if they are so, God must subsist in three persons; of which more afterward.

    Now, is this not to be found in the Scriptures? Is there no text affirming Christ to be God, to be one with the Father, or that the Holy Ghost is so? no text saying, “There are three that bear record in heaven; and these three are one?” none ascribing divine perfections, divine worship distinctly to either Son or Spirit, and yet jointly to one God? Are none of these things found in the Scripture, that Mr B. thinks with one blast to demolish all these ancient foundations, and by his bare authority to deny the common faith of the present saints, and that wherein their predecessors in the worship of God are fallen asleep in peace? The proper place for the consideration of these things will farther manifest the abomination of this bold attempt against the Son of God and the Eternal Spirit.

    For the divine circumincession, mentioned in the next place, I shall only say that it is not at all in my intention to defend all the expressions that any men have used (who are yet sound in the main) in the unfolding of this great, tremendous mystery of the blessed Trinity, and I could heartily wish that they had some of them been less curious in their inquiries and less bold in their expressions. It is the thing itself alone whose faith I desire to own and profess; and therefore I shall not in the least labor to retain and hold those things or words which may be left or lost without any prejudice thereunto.

    Briefly; by the barbarous term of “mutual circumincession,” the schoolmen understand that which the Greek fathers called ejmpericw>rhsiv , whereby they expressed that mystery, which Christ himself teaches us, of “his being in the Father, and the Father in him,” John 10:38, and of the Father’s dwelling in him, and doing the works he did, John 14:10, — the distinction of these persons being not hereby taken away, but the disjunction of them as to their nature and being.

    The eternal generation of the Son is in the next place rejected, that he may be sure to cast down every thing that looks towards the assertion of his deity, whom yet the apostle affirms to be” God blessed for ever,” Romans 9:5. That the Word, which “in the beginning was” (and therefore is) “God,” is “the only begotten of the Father,” the apostle affirms, John 1:14. That he is also” the only begotten Son of God” we have other plentiful testimonies, Psalm 2:7; John 3:16; Acts 13:33; Hebrews 1:4-6; — a Son so as, in comparison of his sonship, the best of sons by adoption are servants, Hebrews 3:5,6; and so begotten as to be an only Son, John 1:14; though, begotten by grace, God hath many sons, James 1:18. Christ, then, being begotten of the Father, hath his generation of the Father; for these are the very same things in words of a diverse sound. The only question here is, whether the Son have the generation so often spoken of from eternity or in time, — whether it be an eternal or a temporal generation from whence he is so said to be “begotten.” As Christ is a Son, so by him the “worlds were made,” Hebrews 1:2, so that surely he had his sonship before he took flesh in the fullness of time; and when he had his sonship he had his generation. He is such a Son as, by being partaker of that name, he is exalted above angels, Hebrews 1:5; and he is the “first begotten” before he is brought into the world, verse 6: and therefore his “goings forth” are said to be “from the days of eternity,” Micah 5:2; and he had “glory with the Father” (as the Son) “before the world was,” John 17:5. Neither is he said to be “begotten of the Father” in respect of his incarnation, but conceived by the Holy Ghost, or formed in the womb by him, of the substance of his mother; nor is he thence called the “Son of God.” In brief, if Christ be the eternal Son of God, Mr B. will not deny him to have had an eternal generation: if he be not, a generation must be found out for him suitable to the sonship which he hath; of which abomination in its proper place.

    This progress have we made in Mr. B.’s creed: He believes God to be finite, to be by us comprehended, compounded; he believes there is no trinity of persons in the Godhead, — that Christ is not the eternal Son of God. The following parts of it are of the same kind: — The eternal procession of the Holy Ghost is nextly rejected. The Holy Ghost being constantly termed the “Spirit of God,” the “Spirit of the Father,” and the “Spirit of the Son” (being also” God,” as shall afterward be evinced), and so partaking of the same nature with Father and Son (the apostle granting that God hath a nature, in his rejecting of them who” by nature are no gods”), is yet distinguished from them, and that eternally (as nothing is in the Deity that is not eternal), and being, moreover, said ejkporeu>esqai or to “proceed” and “go forth” from the Father and Son, this expression of his “eternal procession” hath been fixed on, manifesting the property whereby he is distinguished from Father and Son. The thing intended hereby is, that the Holy Ghost, who is God, and is said to be of the Father and the Son, is by that name, of his being of them, distinguished from them; and the denial hereof gives you one article more of Mr B.’s creed, namely, that the Holy Ghost is not God. To what that expression of “proceeding” is to be accommodated will afterward be considered.

    The incarnation of Christ (the Deity and Trinity being despatched) is called into question, and rejected. By “incarnation” is meant, as the word imports, a taking of flesh (this is variously by the ancients expressed, but the same thing still intended f119a ), or being made so. The Scripture affirming that “the Word was made flesh,” John 1:14; that “God was manifest in the flesh,” 1 Timothy 3:16; that “Christ took part of flesh and blood,” Hebrews 2:14; that “he took on him the seed of Abraham,” chap. 2:16; that he was “made of a woman,” Galatians 4:4,5; sent forth “in the likeness of sinful flesh,” Romans 8:3; “in all things made like unto his brethren,” Hebrews 2:17, — we thought we might have been allowed to say so also, and that this expression might have escaped with a less censure than an utter rejection out of Christian religion. The Son of God taking flesh, and so being made like to us, that he might be the “captain of our salvation,” is that which by this word (and that according to the Scripture) is affirmed, and which, to increase the heap of former abominations (or to “carry on the work of reformation beyond the stint of Luther or Calvin”), is here by Mr B. decried.

    Of the hypostatical union there is the same reason. Christ, who as “concerning the flesh” was of the Jews, and is God to be blessed for ever, over all, Romans 9:5, is one person. Being God to be blessed over all, that is, God by nature (for such as are not so, and yet take upon them to be gods, God will destroy), and having “flesh and blood as the children” have, Hebrews 2:14, that is, the same nature of man with believers, yet being but one person, one mediator, one Christ, the Son of God, we say both these natures of God and man are united in that one person, namely, the person of the Son of God. This is that which Mr B. rejects (now his hand is in), both name and thing. The truth is, all these things are but colorable advantages wherewith he laboureth to amuse poor souls. Grant the deity of Christ, and he knows all these particulars will necessarily ensue; and whilst he denies the foundation, it is to no purpose to contend about any consequences or inferences whatever. And whether we have ground for the expression under present consideration, John 1:14,18, 20:28; Acts 20:28; Romans 1:3,4, 9:5; Galatians 4:4; Philippians 2:5-8; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 John 1:1,2; Revelation 5:12-14, with innumerable other testimonies of Scripture, may be considered. If “the Word, the Son of God, was made flesh, made of a woman, took our nature,” wherein he was pierced and wounded, and shed his blood, and yet continues” our Lord and our God, God blessed for ever,” esteeming it “no robbery to be equal with his Father,” yet being a person distinct from him, being the “brightness of his person,” we fear not to say that the two natures of God and man are united in one person; which is the hypostatical union here rejected.

    The communication of properties, on which depend two or three of the following instances mentioned by Mr B., is a necessary consequent of the union before asserted; and the thing intended by it is no less clearly delivered in Scripture than the truths before mentioned. It is affirmed of “the man Christ Jesus” that he “knew what was in the heart of man,” that he “would be with his unto the end of the world,” and Thomas, putting his hand into his side, cried out to him, “My Lord and my God,” etc., when Christ neither did nor was so, as he was man. Again, it is said that “God redeemed his church with his own blood,” that the “Son of God was made of a woman,” that “the Word was made flesh,” none of which can properly be spoken of God, his Son, or eternal Word, in respect of that nature whereby he is so; and therefore we say, that look what properties are peculiar to either of his natures (as, to be omniscient, omnipotent, to be the object of divine worship, to the Deity; f122a to be born, to bleed, and die, to the humanity), are spoken of in reference to his person, wherein both those natures are united. So that whereas the Scriptures say that “God redeemed his church with his own blood,” or that he was “made flesh;” or whereas, in a consonancy thereunto, and to obviate the folly of Nestorius, who made two persons of Christ, the ancients called the blessed Virgin the Mother of God, — the intendment of the one and other is no more but that he was truly God, who in his manhood was a son, had a mother, did bleed and die. And such Scripture expressions we affirm to be founded in this “communication of properties,” or the assignment of that unto the person of Christ, however expressly spoken of as God or man, which is proper to him in regard of either of these natures, the one or other, God on this account being said to do what is proper to man, and man what is proper alone to God, because he who is both God and man doth both the one and the other. By what expressions and with what diligence the ancients warded the doctrine of Christ’s personal union against both Nestorius and Eutyches, the one of them dividing his person into two, the other confounding his natures by an absurd confusion and mixture of their respective essential properties (Mr B. not giving occasion), I shall not farther mention.

    And this is all Mr B. instances in of what he rejects as to our doctrine about the nature of God, the Trinity, person of Christ, and the Holy Ghost; of all which he hath left us no more than what the Turks and other Mohammedans will freely acknowledge. And whether this be to be a “mere Christian,” or none at all, the pious reader will judge.

    Having dealt thus with the person of Christ, he adds the names of two abominable figments, to give countenance to his undertaking, wherein he knows those with whom he hath to do have no communion, casting the deity of Christ and the Holy Ghost into the same bundle with transubstantiation and consubstantiation; to which he adds the ubiquity of the body of Christ, after mentioned, — self-contradicting fictions. With what sincerity, candor, and Christian ingenuity, Mr B. hath proceeded, in rolling up together such abominations as these with the most weighty and glorious truths of the gospel, that together he might trample them under his feet in the mire, God will certainly in due time reveal to himself and all the world.

    The next thing he decries is original sin (I will suppose Mr B. knows what those whom he professeth to oppose intend thereby); and this he condemns, name and thing. That the guilt of our first father’s sin is imputed to his posterity; that they are made obnoxious to death thereby, that we are “by nature children of wrath, dead in trespasses and sins, conceived in sin; that our understandings are darkness, so that we cannot receive the things that are of God; that we are able to do no good of ourselves, so that unless we are born again we cannot enter into the kingdom of God; that we are alienated, enemies, have carnal minds, that are enmity against God, and cannot be subject to him;” ( Romans 5:12,15,16,19; Ephesians 2:1-3; Psalm 51:5; John 1:5; Ephesians 4:18; 1 Corinthians 2:14; John 3:5,6; Ephesians 2:12; Colossians 1:21; Romans 8:6-8.) — all this and the like is at once blown away by Mr B.; there is no such thing. “Una litura potest.” That Christ by nature is not God, that we by nature have no sin, are the two great principles of this “mere Christian’s” belief.

    Of Christ’s taking our nature upon him, which is again mentioned, we have spoken before. If he was “made flesh, made of a woman, made under the law; if he partook of flesh and blood because the children partake of the same; if he took on him the seed of Abraham, and was made like to us in all things, sin only excepted; if, being in the form of God and equal to him, he took on him the form of a servant, and became like to us, — he took our nature on him; ( John 1:14; Galatians 4:4,5; Hebrews 2:14, 16,17; Philippians 2:6-8.) for these, and these only, are the things which by that expression are intended.

    The most of what follows is about the grace of Christ, which, having destroyed what in him lies his person, he doth also openly reject; and in the first place begins with the foundation, his making satisfaction to God for our sins, all our sins, past, present, and to come, which also, under sundry other expressions, he doth afterward condemn. God is a God of “purer eyes than to behold evil,” and it is “his judgment that they which commit sin are worthy of death;” yea, “it is a righteous thing with him to render tribulation” to offenders; ( Habakkuk 1:13; Romans 1:32; Thessalonians 1:6.) and seeing we have “all sinned and come short of the glory of God,” doubtless it will be a righteous thing with him to leave them to answer for their own sins who so proudly and contemptuously reject the satisfaction which he himself hath appointed and the ransom he hath found out. ( Job 33:24.) But Mr B. is not the first who hath “erred, not knowing the Scriptures” nor the justice of God. The Holy Ghost acquainting us that “theLORD made to meet upon him the iniquity of us all; that he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, and that the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and with his stripes we are healed; that he gave his life a ransom for us, and was made sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in him; that he was for us made under the law and underwent the curse of it; that he bare our sins in his body on the tree; and that by his blood we are redeemed, washed, and saved,” ( Isaiah 53:5,6,10,11; 1 Peter 2:24; Matthew 20:28; 1 Timothy 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18, it. 24; Ephesians 1:7; Revelation 1:5,6, etc.) — we doubt not to speak as we believe, namely, that Christ underwent the punishment due to our sins, and made satisfaction to the justice of God for them; and Mr B., who it seems is otherwise persuaded, we leave to stand or fall to his own account.

    Most of the following instances of the doctrines he rejects belong to and may be reduced to the head last mentioned, and therefore I shall but touch upon them. Seeing that “he that will enter into life must keep the commandments, and this of ourselves we cannot do, for in many things we offend all, and he that breaks one commandment is guilty of the breach of the whole law, ( Matthew 19:17; 1 John 1:8; James 2:10.) God having sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of children; and that which was impossible to us by the law, through the weakness of the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us; and so we are saved by his life, being justified by his blood, he being made unto us of God righteousness, and we are by faith found in him, having on not our own righteousness, which is by the law, but that which is by Jesus Christ, the righteousness of God by faith;” ( Galatians 4:4,5; Romans 8:3,4, 5:9, 10:4; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Philippians 3:8-10.) — we do affirm that Christ fulfilled the law for us, not only undergoing the penalty of it, but for us submitting to the obedience of it, and performing all that righteousness which of us it requires, that we might have a complete righteousness wherewith to appear before God. And this is that which is intended by the active and passive righteousness of Christ, after mentioned; all which is rejected, name and thing.

    Of Christ’s being punished by God, which he rejects in the next place, and, to multiply his instances of our false doctrines, insists on it again under the terms of Christ’s enduring the wrath of God and the pains of a damned man, the same account is to be given as before of his satisfaction. That God “bruised him, put him to grief, laid the chastisement of our peace on him; ( Isaiah 53:5,6, etc.) that for us he underwent death, the curse of the law, which inwrapped the whole punishment due to sin, and that by the will of God, who so made him to be sin who knew no sin, and in the undergoing whereof he prayed and cried, and sweat blood, and was full of heaviness and perplexity,’’ ( Hebrews 2:9,14, 10:10; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Luke 22:41-44.) the Scripture is abundantly evident; and what we assert amounts not one tittle beyond what is by and in it affirmed.

    The false doctrine of the merit of Christ , and his purchasing for us the kingdom of heaven, is the next stone which this master-builder disallows and rejects. That “Christ hath bought us with a price; that he hath redeemed us from our sins, the world, and curse, to be a peculiar people, zealous of good works, so making us kings and priests to God for ever; that he hath obtained for us eternal redemption, procuring the Spirit for us, to make us meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, God blessing us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in him, upon the account of his making his soul an offering for sin,” performing that obedience to the law which of us is required, ( 1 Corinthians 6:20; 1 Peter 1:18: Galatians 1:4, 3:13; Titus 2:14; Ephesians 5:26,27; Revelation 1:5,6; Hebrews 9:12-14; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 1:29.) — is that which by this expression of the “merit of Christ” we intend, the fruit of it being all the accomplishment of the promise made to him by the Father, upon his undertaking the great work of saving his people from their sins. In the bundle of doctrines by Mr B. at once condemned, this also hath its place.

    That Christ rose from the dead by his own power seems to us to be true, not only because he affirmed that he “had power so to do, even to lay down his life and to take it again,” John 10:18, but also because he said he would do so when be bade them “destroy the temple,” and told them that “in three days he would raise it again.” It is true that this work of raising Christ from the dead is also ascribed to the Father and to the Spirit (as in the work of his oblation, his Father “made his soul an offering for sin,” and he “offered up himself through the eternal Spirit”), yet this hinders not but that he was raised by his own power, his Father and he being one, and what work his Father doth he doing the same.

    And this is the account which this “mere Christian” giveth us concerning his faith in Christ, his person, and his grace: He is a mere man, that neither satisfied for our sins nor procured grace or heaven for us; and how much this tends to the honor of Christ and the good of souls, all that love him in sincerity will judge and determine.

    His next attempt is upon the way whereby the Scripture affirms that we come to be made partakers of the good things which Christ hath done and wrought for us; and in the first place he falls foul upon that of apprehending and applying Christ’s righteousness to ourselves by faith, that so there may no weighty point of the doctrine of the cross remain not condemned (by this wise man) of folly. This, then, goes also, name and thing: Christ is “of God made unto us righteousness” (that is, “to them that believe on him,” or “receive” or “apprehend” him, John 1:12), God “having set him forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the forgiveness of sins,” and declaring that every one who “believeth in him is justified from all things from which he could not be justified by the law,” God imputing righteousness to them that so believe; those who are so justified by faith having peace with God.

    It being the great thing we have to aim at, namely, that “we may know Jesus Christ, and the fellowship of his sufferings, and the power of his resurrection, and be found in him, not having our own righteousness, which is of the law, but the righteousness which is by the faith of Christ, Christ being the end of the law to every one that believeth,’’ ( Romans 3:25; Acts 13:38,39; Romans 4:5,8; 5:1; Philippians 3:9,10; Romans 10:3,4.) we say it is the duty of every one who is called, to apprehend Christ by faith, and apply his righteousness to him; that is, to believe on him as “made the righteousness of God to him,” unto justification and peace. And if Mr B. reject this doctrine, name and thing, I pray God give him repentance before it be too late, to the acknowledgment of the truth.

    Of Christ’s being our surety, of Christ’s paying our debt, of .our sins ira- Fated to Christ, of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, of Christ dying to appease the wrath of God and reconcile him to us, enough hath been spoken already to clear the meaning of them who use these expressions, and to manifest the truth of that which they intend by them, so that I shall not need again to consider them as they lie in this disorderly, confused heap which we have here gathered together.

    Our justification by Christ being cashiered, he falls upon our sanctification in the next place, that he may leave us as little of Christians as he hath done our Savior of the true Messiah. Infused grace is first assaulted. The various acceptations of the word “grace” in the Scripture this is no place to insist upon. By “grace infused” we mean grace really bestowed upon us, and abiding in us, from the Spirit of God. That a new spiritual life or principle, enabling men to live to God, — that new, gracious, heavenly qualities and endowments, as light, love, joy, faith, etc., bestowed on men, — are called “grace” and “graces of the Spirit,” ( Ephesians 2:1,2; Galatians 5:23-25.) I suppose will not be denied. These we call “infused grace” and “graces;” that is, we say God works these things in us by his Spirit, giving us a “new heart and a new spirit, putting his law into our hearts, quickening us who were dead in trespasses and sins, making us light who were darkness, filling us with the fruits of the Spirit in joy, meekness, faith, which are not of ourselves but the gifts of God.” ( Philippians 1:6; 2:13; Jeremiah 31:33, 32:39; Ezekiel 11:19. 36:26, 27; Hebrews 8:10.) Mr B. having before disclaimed all original sin, or the depravation of our nature by sin, in deadness, darkness, obstinacy, etc., thought it also incumbent on him to disown and disallow all reparation of it by grace; and all this under the name of a “mere Christian,” not knowing that he discovereth a frame of spirit utterly unacquainted with the main things of Christianity. Free grace is next doomed to rejection. That all the grace, mercy, goodness of God, in our election, redemption, calling, sanctification, pardon, and salvation, is free, not deserved, not merited, nor by us any way procured, — that God doth all that he doth for us bountifully, fully, freely, of his own love and grace, — is affirmed in this expression, and intended thereby.

    And is this found neither name nor thing in the Scriptures? Is there no mention of “God’s loving us freely; of his blotting out our sins for his own sake, for his name’s sake; of his giving his Son for us from his own love; of faith being not of ourselves, being the gift of God; of his saving us, not according to the works of righteousness which we have done, but of his own mercy; of his justifying us by his grace, begetting us of his own will, having mercy on whom he will have mercy; of a covenant not like the old, wherein he hath promised to be merciful to our unrighteousness,” etc.? ( Ephesians 1:4; John 3:16; 1 John 4:8,10; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:8; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:18; Romans 9:18; Hebrews 8:10-12.) or is it possible that a man assuming to himself the name of a Christian should be ignorant of the doctrine of the free grace of God, or oppose it and yet profess not to reject the gospel as a fable? But this was, and ever will be, the condemnation of some, that “light is come into the world, and men love darkness rather than light.”

    About the next expression, of the world of the elect , I shall not contend.

    That by the name of “the world” (which term is used in the Scriptures in great variety of significations), the elect, as being in and of this visible world, and by nature no better than the rest of the inhabitants thereof, are sometimes peculiarly intended, is proved elsewhere, beyond whatever Mr B. is able to oppose thereunto.

    Of the irresistible working of the Spirit, in bringing men to believe, the condition is otherwise. About the term “irresistible” I know none that care much to strive. That “faith is the gift of God, not of ourselves, that it is wrought in us by the exceeding greatness of the power of God; that in bestowing it upon us by his Spirit (that is, in our conversion), God effectually creates a new heart in us, makes us new creatures, quickens us, raises us from the dead, working in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure; as he commanded light to shine out of darkness, so shining into our hearts, to give us the knowledge of his glory; ( Ephesians 2:8, 1:18, 19; 2 Corinthians 5:17, etc., 4:6.) begetting us anew of his own will,” so irresistibly causing us to believe, because he effectually works faith in us, — is the sum of what Mr B. here rejecteth, that he might be sure, as before, to leave nothing of weight in Christian religion uncondemned. But these trifles and falsities being renounced, he complains of the abuse of his darling, that it is called carnal reason; which being the only interpreter of Scripture which he allows of, he cannot but take it amiss that it should be so grossly slandered as to be called “carnal.” The Scripture, indeed, tells us of a “natural man, that cannot discern the things which are of God, and that they are foolishness to him; of a carnal mind, that is enmity to God, and not like to have any reasons or reasonings but what are carnal; of a wisdom that is carnal, sensual, and devilish; ( 1 Corinthians 2:14; Romans 8:7; James 3:15.) of a wisdom that God will destroy and confound;” and that such is the best of the wisdom and reason of all unregenerate persons; — but why the reason of a man in such a state, with such a mind about the things of God, should be called “carnal,” Mr B. can see no reason; and some men, perhaps, will be apt to think that it is because all his reason is still carnal. When a man is “renewed after the image of him that created him” he is made “spiritual, light in the Lord,” every thought and imagination that sets up itself in his heart in opposition to God being led captive to the obedience of the gospel. We acknowledge a sanctified reason in such an one of that use in the dijudication of the things of God as shall afterward be declared. Spiritual desertions are nextly decried. Some poor souls would thank him to make good this discovery. They find mention in the Scripture of “God’s hiding his face, withdrawing himself, forsaking, though but for a moment,” and of them that on this account “walk in darkness and see no light, that seek him and find him not, but are filled with troubles, terrors, arrows from him,” etc. ( Job 13:24; Psalm 10:1, <191301> 13:1, 27:9, 30:7, 44:24, <195501> 55:1, 69:17, 102:2; Isaiah 45:15, 8:17, 49:14, 54:7, 8, 60:15, 1. 10, etc.) And this, in some measure, they find to be the condition of their own souls. They have not the life, light, power, joy, consolation, sense of God’s love, as formerly; and therefore they think there are spiritual desertions, and that in respect of their souls these dispensations of God are signally and significantly so termed; and they fear that those who deny all desertions never had any enjoyments from or of God.

    Of spiritual incomes there is the same reason. It is not the phrase of speech, but the thing itself, we contend about. That God who is the Father of mercy and God of all consolation gives mercy, grace, joy, peace, consolation, as to whom, so in what manner or in what degree he pleaseth.

    The receiving of these from God is by some (and that, perhaps, not inaptly) termed “spiritual incomes,” with regard to God’s gracious distributions of his kindness, love, good-will and the receiving of them. So that it be acknowledged that we do receive grace, mercy, joy, consolation, and peace from God, variously as he pleaseth, we shall not much labor about the significancy of that or any other expression of the like kind. The Scriptures mentioning the “goings forth of God,” Micah 5:2, leave no just cause to Mr B. of condemning them who sometimes call any of his works or dispensations his outgoings .

    His rehearsal of all these particular instances, in doctrines that are found neither name nor thing in Scripture, Mr B. closeth with an “etc.;” which might be interpreted to comprise as many more, but that there remain not as many more important heads in Christian religion. The nature of God being abased, the deity and grace of Christ denied, the sin of our natures and their renovation by grace in Christ rejected, Mr B.’s remaining religion will be found scarce worth the inquiry after by those whom he undertakes to instruct, there being scarcely any thing left by him from whence we are peculiarly denominated Christians, nor any thing that should support the weight of a sinful soul which approacheth to God for life and salvation.

    To prevent the entertainment of such doctrines as these, Mr B. commends the advice of Paul, 2 Timothy 1:13, “Hold fast the form of sound words,” etc.; than which we know none more wholesome nor more useful for the safeguarding and defense of those holy and heavenly principles of our religion which Mr B. rejects and tramples on. Nor are we at all concerned in his following discourse of leaving Scripture terms, and using phrases and expressions coined by men; for if we use any word or phrase in the things of God and his worship, and cannot make good the thing signified thereby to be founded on and found in the Scriptures, we will instantly renounce it. But if indeed the words and expressions used by any of the ancients for the explication and confirmation of the faith of the gospel, especially of the doctrine concerning the person of Christ, in the vindication of it from the heretics which in sundry ages bestirred themselves (as Mr B. now doth) in opposition thereunto, be found/ consonant to Scripture, and to signify nothing but what is written therein with the beams of the sun, perhaps we see more cause to retain them, from the opposition here made to them by Mr B., than formerly we did, considering that his opposition to words and phrases is not for their own sake, but of the things intended by them.

    The similitude of “the ship that lost its first matter and substance by the addition of new pieces, in way of supplement to the old decays,” having been used by some of our divines to illustrate the Roman apostasy and traditional additionals to the doctrines of the gospel, will not stand Mr B. in the least stead, unless he be able to prove that we have lost, in the religion we profess, any one material part of what it was when given over to the churches by Christ and his apostles, or have added any one particular to what they have provided and furnished us withal in the Scriptures; which until he hath done, by these and the like insinuations he doth but beg the thing in question; which, being a matter of so great consequence and importance as it is, will scarce be granted him on any such terms. I doubt not but it will appear to every person whatsoever, in the process of this business, who hath his senses any thing exercised in the word to discern between good and evil, and whose eyes the god of this world hath not blinded, that the glorious light of the gospel of God should not shine into their hearts, that Mr B., as wise as he deems and reports himself to be, is indeed, like the foolish woman that pulls down her house with both her hands, laboring to destroy the house of God with all his strength, pretending that this and that part of it did not originally belong thereto (or like Ajax, in his madness, who killed sheep, and supposed they had been his enemies f127 ), upon the account of that enmity which he finds in his own mind unto them.

    The close of Mr B.’s preface contains an exhortation to the study of the word, with an account of the success he himself hath obtained in the search thereof, both in the detection of errors and the discovery of sundry truths.

    Some things I shall remark upon that discourse, and shut up these considerations of his preface: — For his own success, he tells us “That being otherwise of no great abilities, yet searching the Scriptures impartially, he hath detected many errors, and hath presented the reader with a body of religion from the Scriptures; which whoso shall well ruminate and digest will be enabled,” etc.

    As for Mr B.’s abilities, I have not any thing to do to call them into question: whether small or great, he will one day find that he hath scarce used them to the end for which he is intrusted with them; and when the Lord of his talents shall call for an account, it will scarce be comfortable to him that he hath engaged them so much to his dishonor as it will undoubtedly appear he hath done. I have heard, by those of Mr B.’s time and acquaintance in the university, that what ability he had then obtained, were it more or less, he still delighted to be exercising of it in opposition to received truths in philosophy; and whether an itching desire of novelty, and of emerging thereby, lie not at the bottom of the course he hath since steered, he may do well to examine himself.

    What errors he hath detected (though but pretended such, which honor in the next place he assumes to himself) I know not. The error of the deity of Christ was detected in the apostles’ days by Ebion Cerinthus, and others, — not long after by Paulus Samosatenus, by Photinus, by Arius, and others; the error of the purity, simplicity, and spirituality of the essence of God, by Audseus and the Anthropomorphites; the error of the deity of the Holy Ghost was long since detected by Macedonius and his companions; the error of original sin, or the corruption of our nature, by Pelagius; the error of the satisfaction and merit of Christ, by Abelardus; all of them, by Socinus, Smalcius, Crellius, etc. What new discoveries Mr B. hath made I know not, nor is there any thing that he presents us with, in his whole body of religion, as stated in his questions, but what he hath found prepared, digested, and modelled to his hand by his masters, the Socinians, unless it be some few gross notions about the Deity; nor is so much as the language which here he useth of himself and his discoveries his own, but borrowed of Socinus, Ep. ad Squarcialupum.

    We have not, then, the least reason in the world to suppose that Mr B. was led into these glorious discoveries by reading of the Scriptures, much less by “impartial reading of them;” but that they are all the fruits of a deluded heart, given up righteously of God to believe a lie, for the neglect of his word and contempt of reliance upon his Spirit and grace for a right understanding thereof, by the cunning sleights of the forementioned persons, in some of whose writings Satan lies in wait to deceive. And for the “body of religion” which he hath collected, which lies not in the answers, which are set down in the words of the Scripture, but in the interpretations and conclusions couched in his questions, I may safely say it is one of the most corrupt and abominable that ever issued from the endeavors of one who called himself a Christian; for a proof of which assertion I refer the reader to the ensuing considerations of it. So that whatever promises of success Mr B. is pleased to make unto him who shall ruminate and digest in his mind this body of his composure (it being, indeed, stark poison, that will never be digested, but will fill and swell the heart with pride and venom until it utterly destroy the whole person), it may justly be feared that he hath given too great an advantage to a sort of men in the world, not behind Mr B. for abilities and reason (the only guide allowed by him in affairs of this nature), to decry the use and reading of the Scripture, which they see unstable and unlearned men fearfully to wrest to their own destruction. But let God be true, and all men liars. Let the gospel run and prosper; and if it be hid to any, it is to them whom the god of this world hath blinded, that the glorious light thereof should not shine into their hearts.

    What may farther be drawn forth of the same kind with what is in these Catechisms delivered, with an imposition of it upon the Scripture, as though any occasion were thence administered thereunto, I know not, but yet do suppose that Satan himself is scarce able to furnish the thoughts of men with many more abominations of the like length and breadth with those here endeavored to be imposed on simple, unstable souls, unless he should engage them into downright atheism and professed contempt of God.

    Of what tendency these doctrines of Mr B. are unto godliness, which he next mentioneth, will in its proper place fall under consideration. It is true, the gospel is a “doctrine according to godliness,” and aims at the promotion of it in the hearts and lives of men, in order to the exaltation of the glory of God; and hence it is that so soon as any poor deluded soul falls into the snare of Satan, and is taken captive under the power of any error whatever, the first sleight he puts in practice for the promotion of it is to declaim about its excellency and usefulness for the furtherance of godliness, though himself in the meantime be under the power of darkness, and knows not in the least what belongs to the godliness which he professeth to promote. As to what Mr B. here draws forth to that purpose, I shall be bold to tell him that to the accomplishment of a godliness amongst men (since the fall of Adam) that hath not its rise and foundation in the effectual, powerful changing of the whole man from death to life, darkness to light, etc., in the washing off the pollutions of nature by the blood of Christ; that is not wrought in us and carried on by the efficacy of the Spirit of grace, taking away the heart of stone and giving a new heart circumcised to fear the Lord; that is not purchased and procured for us by the oblation and intercession of the Lord Jesus; a godliness that is not promoted by the consideration of the viciousness and corruption of our hearts by nature, and their alienation from God, and that doth not in a good part of it consist in the mortifying, killing, slaying of the sin of nature that dwelleth in us, and in an opposition to all the actings and workings of it; a godliness that is performed by our own strength in yielding obedience to the precepts of the word, that by that obedience we may be justified before God and for it accepted, etc., — there is not one tittle, letter, nor iota, in the whole book of God tending.

    Mr B. closeth his preface with a commendation of the Scriptures, their excellency and divinity, with the eminent success that they shall find who yield obedience to them, in that they shall be, “even in this life, equal unto angels.” His expressions, at first view, seem to separate him from his companions in his body of divinity, which he pretends to collect from the Scriptures, whose low thoughts and bold expressions concerning the contradictions in them shall afterward be pointed unto; but I fear “latet anguis in herba:” and in this kiss of the Scriptures, with “hail” unto them, there is vile treachery intended, and the betraying of them into the hands of men, to be dealt withal at their pleasure. I desire not to entertain evil surmises of any (what just occasion soever be given on any other account) concerning things that have not their evidence and conviction in themselves. The bleating of that expression, “The Scriptures are the exactest rule of a holy life, evidently allowing other rules of a holy life, though they be the exactest, and admitting other things or books into a copartnership with them in that their use and service, though the preeminence be given to them, sounds as much to their dishonor as any thing spoken of them by any who ever owned them to have proceeded from God. It is the glory of the Scriptures, not only to be the rule, but the only one , of walking with God. If you take any others into comparison with it, and allow them in the trial to be rules indeed, though not so exact as the Scripture, you do no less cast down the Scripture from its excellency than if you denied it to be any rule at all. It will not lie as one of the many, though you say never so often that it is the best. What issues there will be of the endeavour to give reason the absolute sovereignty in judging of rules of holiness, allowing others, but preferring the Scripture, and therein, without other assistance, determining of all the contents of it, in order to its utmost end, God in due time will manifest. We confess (to close with Mr B.) that true obedience to the Scriptures makes men, even in this life, equal in some sense unto angels; not upon the account of their performance of that obedience merely, as though there could be an equality between the obedience yielded by us whilst we are yet sinners, and continue so (for “if we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves”), and the exact obedience of them who never sinned, but abide in doing the will of God: but the principal and main work of God required in them, and which is the root of all other obedience whatever, being to “believe on him whom he hath sent,” to “as many as so believe on him and so receive him power is given to become the sons of God;” who being so adopted into the great family of heaven and earth, which is called after God’s name, and invested with all the privileges thereof, having fellowship with the Father and the Son, they are in that regard, even in this life, equal to angels.

    Having thus, as briefly as I could, washed off the paint that was put upon the porch of Mr B.’s fabric, and discovered it to be a composure of rotten posts and dead men’s bones, — whose pargeting being removed, their abomination lies naked to all, — I shall enter the building or heap itself, to consider what entertainment he hath provided therein for those whom, in the entrance, he doth so subtilely and earnestly invite to turn in and partake of his provisions.

    GOTO NEXT CHAPTER - JOHN OWEN INDEX & SEARCH

    God Rules.NET
    Search 80+ volumes of books at one time. Nave's Topical Bible Search Engine. Easton's Bible Dictionary Search Engine. Systematic Theology Search Engine.