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Words ; ye therefore bear them not, because ye CHAP. are not of God; if ye believe in him to any XVIII. purpose, ye will believe also in me; but he that has, and cherishes the Spirit of Unrighteousness, will, for so long, cherish the Spirit of Anti-Christ, or Resistance to the Gospel, in himself; and that Man, throughout all Ages of it, will ever want Integrity towards its Truths, who is defective in his Integrity towards its purifying Design. It will never carry Evidence with it, whether internal or external, sufficient to convince and proselyte such a Person; tho' that Evidence was double to what it is, was that possible. But, if he is fincere and acts the Part of the Gentleman upon Honour, in his Declaration for fulfilling the Law of Nature, he will be altogether Christian, and look .upon Christ as the greatest Friend to that most honeft pacifick Project, that ever yet visited this World : as being, in every thing of his prescribing, the sole perfect, the only effectual Means for bringing it to any Effect; and from listening to him, become an Instance of the Truth of his divine incontestable Affertion, He that is of God, beareth God's Words. For this is, doubtless, the most usual Way of his opening the Heart of those who hear his Gospel ; and there is both Virtue and Piety in assenting to such a perspicuous Proposition, and embracing such evident Means, because the Evidence and Perspicuity are ratified in the Virtue and Piety of the End they promote. Such Means therefore are certainly to be earnestly and worthily contended for, if it was only for the sake of such a worthy End.

If any Man therefore is averse to the doing the Will of God, too much to be avow'd open

ly;

CHAP ly; or if indifferent to it, in Principle, he has XVIII. the Disposition of an Author within him, to des

clare upon Principle (as he of Christianity as old, &c. every where does) that the Means are nớt obligatory, but arbitrary, indifferent, needless Things ; which is filing a Declaration before God, and all the World, against himself, and all his Disciples, what little respect they bear to the End, too shameful for them to own! but, at the same time, too evident to be denied ! If therefore they know themselves to be such notorious Hypocrites as to the End, it is no wonder they are seen to be Unbelievers, or which is the same Thing, in other Words, Hypocrites in their Objections to the Means; and the Parity of divine Justice in allotting one and the same Portion to Unbelievers and to Hypocrites, admirably exact, as well as very terrible.

* is

They have been often put in Mind of the Danger, and Justice of the Damnation hanging over their Heads ; from that I defift, having fufficiently shewn the Immorality of their Unbelief; that answers my Purpose in speaking to the Rejecters of this Faith,

II. There are CORRUPTERS of the Faith. For this being a new explicit Principle for controuling all irregular Practice, when the Practice will not be contrould by it, it naturally becomes disaffected to the other, either in whole, or in part. If it cannot for Shame wholly throw it off, it will, out of Favour to the indulg'd Irregularity, try Ways and Means to corrupt, or new model it, so, as there shall be, at least to

* Luke. xii. 46. Matt. xxiv. 51.

their Imagination, a better Understanding be-CHAP. tween one and t'other. Either Ignorance of XVIII

. Scripture, filthy Lucre, Lust of forbidden Plea. fure, of Party Honour, and secular Ambition of a Sect, or some sinister View, as ic predominates, takes the Chair ; and dictates to the Principle, “ You cannot be my Guide unless

you bend and dispense so and so, it must be “ done ; I shall not disown you, if you do not

me : I perceive how it may be done." Thus Corruption begins in Principle, and spreads by Argument, and Men side with it, as they find the evil Disposition within towards Works of the Flesh terminating in this Life, like to be favour'd by it. For the Head of all Heresy is Carnality, or Earthiness. Sincerum est nisi vas, quodcunque infundis acescit. What tho' it occasions some Self-condemnation within, no Mortal can detect that; if the Principle is stuck to in Appearance, the Name of Faith remains, that faves Appearances, and that is enough.

And that has ever been done, by introducing new unscriptural Terms into the Faith once deliver'd to the Saints; for the defeating of which, Councils have been able hitherto to find out no better Method, at least they have tried no other, than piously to fuperadd to the Faith other antagonist Terms, not so much because they are to be met with in Scripture, as because they import a Meaning effectually contrary, and preservative against those Expressions and Sentiments, which first began the Innovation,

And so it will ever be, that corrupt Manners, in part resolv'd upon in some Instance or other, will ever be resolv'd upon a corrupt Creed to supVOL. II.

S

port

CHA P. port then. For Instance, the more the GreatXVIII. nels of the Person, whom God sent into the

World to take away Sin and give it Life, is lessen'd and degraded ; the more that, by a direct Tendency, lessens our Notion of God's Hatred of Sin; our Perception of his Love of the World ; and our Confidence of Access, and Acceptance; of Remission of Sins, and eternal Life ; and consequently, the corresponding Practice depending upon the Influence of those Truths, will all be proportionably leffen'd and abated, i, e. our Aversion and Avoidance of Sin, our Love and Gratitude to God ; our Repentance will be more flow and indifferent, and our Devotion colder and less frequent. So that whoever espouses these Diminutions of Virtue as his Choice, is violently inclined, and too often carried up and attach'd in Creed by way of Justification, to the lessening, degrading Notions of the Son of God. Tho' it is plain they ought not to use such. Liberty, feeing in realiay the End of such Liberty, however cloak'd over with Words, is a Cloak of Maliciousness ; there is Malice at the Bottom against the full Extent of the Commandments regarding the Religion of the Means for perfecting the Religion of the End, at the same time they continue to compliment and flatter the Commands regarding the last.

My present Subject confines me to consider such only, as has a near Affinity to what I have been treating of. Such is the Extreme of some, who by Principle receive the Faith, and yet in Principle degrade it of its proper Rank, and Subordination ; and depress it even below the Use and Service of a Means, making little or nothing of it; which is a very heinous and most

dan,

dangerous Departure from the Truth, denying CH A P. and diminishing it from what it really is in its XVIII. Station.

Obedi, & credidifti, is a famous Socinian Maxim ; and again Socinus disparages it at a very low Rate.

“ Faith as it applies Aflent of “ the Understanding to the Truths of the Gof

pel, is not of necessary Obligation, but a kind 6 of Ornament at best, rather than Matter of “ real Use; admit it brings some small Advan

tage with it, yet the Want or Absence will be " attended with no great Inconvenience ; you

may fay of it, as one did of the Art of Poetry, " Si adesi laudo, si abest non multum vitupero ; “ what is said of Meats may be said of that, " I Cor. viii. 8. it commendeth not to God, “ neither if we believe are we the better, neither

if we believe not are we the worse, modo vite sanctimonia salva sit.*

* Edward's Preservative, Part III. p. 35. See more of these Sentiments, in Reland's Critical Reflections on Mahometanism and Socianism, P. 236. And it is pretty observable what the same Author, p. 204, remarks of the Apoftate Emperor Julian, that he embraced the Sentiments of Aetius (whilft he was a Christian) which consisted in Opinions very little differing from Photianism, i. e. Socinianism.

So near is the Affinity, and so easy the Transition or Apoftasy, from Socianism to Deism. The Rational Catechism, and most of their Writings I have met with, drop all use of Christ as a Mediator, &c. and the very mention of a New Covenant, which is the most certain original Foundation of Christianity. Tho' some of their Books retain the mention of Christ as Mediator of Intercession in Heaven, yet was it possible for God, who never does an improper Thing, to appoint a mere Man in their Sense, to be Mediator there, he could be no more in the Nature of Things, than an incompetent, partial, half Mediator, as I have before shewn in the first Vol. and without Omniscience and Omnipresence to the Hearts of all Men, could not be capable of discharging the Office of Mediator ex parte.

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