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Vindiciae Legis et Foederis :

O R,

A

R E P L

Y

To Mr. PHILIP CARY'S Solemn Call;

Wherein he pretends to anfwer all the Arguments of

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Mr. SEDGWICK,
Mr. ROBERTS, and
Dr. BURTHOGGE,

ALLEN,

Mr.
Mr. BAXTER,
Mr. SYDENHAM,

For the Right of Believers Infants to BAPTISM.

By proving the Law at Sinai, and the Covenant of Circumcifion with Abraham, were the very fame with Adam's Covenant of Works, and that because the Gofpel-covenant is

abfolute.

A friendly PREFACE to the AUTHOR of the Solemn Call, and the more discreet and charitable of the Party concerned with him in this Controversy.

Chriftian Friends,

WH

HEN we open our Bibles, and read that text, 1 Cor. i. 10. we have cause to deal with it as Origen once did by another scripture, even close the book and weep over it, in confideration of the weak and feeble influences fuch melting words, delivered with such a pathos, have upon the hearts of profeffors this day. "Now, I beseech you, brethren, by the << name of our Lord Jefus Chrift, that ye all speak the same "thing, and that there be no divifions among you, but that 66 ye be perfectly joined together in the fame mind, and in the "fame judgment."

1 befeech you] He dips the nail in oil, that it may drive the eafier. I beseech you, brethren] A compellation breathing fweetness and affection, and fhould drop from our lips into each others ears with the fame effect that word once did upon

the ears of Benhadad's fervants, My brother Benhadad. (faid Mofes to the ftriving Ifraelites) ye are brethren. thall the church become a true Philadelphia !

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I beseech you brethren, by the name of our Lord Jefus Chrift] or as you love Jesus Christ, ut quantum ipfum amant, tantum ftudeat concordiae, faith Calvin: Be as ftudious of concord as you are free in profeffing love to Chrift.

That there be no divifions] or rents among you: a Exiμa, fchifm, or rent in the church, is much the fame, and altogether as dangerous as a raris, or fedition in the commonwealth, and harder to be cured. For as the Lord Verulam truly obferves, Differences amongst perfecuting enemies and the church, are like the strivings of the Egyptian with the Ifraelite, which Mofes quickly ended, by knocking down the Egyptian; but diffentions in the church are like the striving of one Ifraelite with another; and all that Mofes can do to quiet and part these, is only by fair and gentle words, and reminding them that they are brethren.

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Sirs,

O when

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Great is the mischief of divifions among Chriftians; and the lefs the grounds and caufes are, the greater always is the fin and mischief of them. In the primitive church contentions grow fervent about meats lawful and unlawful, which did not profit, the meaning is, it greatly damnified them that were occupied therein, Heb. xiii. 9. Practical religion among them grew cold, as difputations about thefe trifles grew fervent.

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The readieft way to cool fuch heats is, by discovering the trivial nature of the matter contended about; as Demofthenes appeafed the tumult among the people raised by a small occafion, by relating to them the story of a man that hired an ass to carry him a journey, but the fun fhining fervent, he was forced to quit her back, and betake himself to her shadow: the owner withstood him, alledging, that he had hired the body of the ass, but her fhadow, was not in the bargain; and fo the contention between them grew as hot as the fun. Many fuch trifles have raised great contentions in the world, witness the great contention betwixt the Eastern and Western church about keeping of Eafter.

Other points there are of greater moment, about which good men contend, and yet these oftentimes are magnified much above their true intrinsical value. So I am fure it is in the controverfy before us. Mr. Cary tells us, that these things will be found at length to be of higheft concernment unto us, and must therefore be our moft ferious practice, p. 243. If fo, then the proper fubject of baptifin must be one of those

that is of greatest weight, and the profeffion thereof the very Schibboleth to distinguish one perfon from another in matters of religion. No wonder therefore the fires of contention are blown up to fuch a vehement heat, even in such an improper feafon; much like the contentions among the English fugitives at Frankfort, when their brethren were frying in the flames at Smithfield. Juft fo muft we be fcuffling, whilft thousands of our brethren are bleeding in Ireland. Had we a true fenfe of the quality of the fubjects, or the unfeasonableness of the time, it should certainly allay these heats among us. Did we fee who ftand by, and look with pleasure upon our follies, it would quickly allay our heats. Tertullian tells the Chriftians of his time, that they were like the Funambulones, or men that walk upon ropes, the least tread awry might be their ruin, fo narrowly did their enemies watch them.

Sirs, the peace, fafety and honour of the diffenting interest are things of too great value to be hazarded amongst the hands of our common enemies. You may fancy they will neglect the advantage you give them; but if they do, the devil will call them fools for it. Mr. Herle tells us of a king's fool, who wrote down the king himself in his table among his brotherfools, because he had trufted an African stranger with four thousand pounds to buy Barbary horfes, The king asked him how he would make him amends, if the ftranger should come again? Why then (faid he) I'll blot your name out of my table of fools, and write down the African in your ftead. Think not our enemies are fuch fools to neglect the advantage we caft into their hands. It is a weighty note of Livy, Confilia non dant homines rebus, fed res hominibus; Men do not counsel things, but time and things counsel men. Methinks the poftures of times and affairs give us better counsels than we seem to be governed by in fuch work as this. Divisions of forty years standing and more, about infants baptifm, have eaten up the time, wafted the fpirits, and alienated the hearts of English profeffors, divided them both in fociety and love; by reafon whereof God's pleasant plant in this resembles the bramble, which taking root at both ends, by reason of the rencounters of the fap, commonly withers in the middle. Your brethren, in their Narrative from their General-Affembly, make a fad and fenfible complaint of withering in the power of godliness. And truly we as well as they may complain with the church, We do all fade as a leaf: The Lord help us to difcern the true caufe, whether it be not the mifplacing of our zeal, our being cold where we should be fervent, and fervent

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hot where it fhould be cold; and whether the eating up of To much time and study about baptizing of infants, have not kept us these forty years in the infancy of our graces?

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I well remember that bleffed time, when ours and yours were terms almost unknown amongst profeffors in England. When their affections and prayers melted and mingled together fweetly in days of humiliation, and other duties of edifying and heavenly communion; and then churches began to flourish, and the graces of Chriftians every where flourished, and became fruitful: but no fooner did the faints divide in fociety and affection, but these pleasant bloffoms were nipt by it, as by a frofty morning; the church formed itself as it were, into two armies, fet in battalia against each other. It was now with us much like as it is faid of the amphisbena, that hath an head at either end, of which neither can well move without the confent of both; but, if each move a contrary way, the body tears in the middle. I doubt not but many that dif fered from us belonged to Chrift, the fame head with us; and yet it is paft doubt, that many who feemed to be of us were headed by Satan; and quickly discovered themselves to be so, by running farther than we firft, or you next, imagined, eveni into Quakerism, Socinianifm, Ranterifin, and the fouleft, puddle and fink of complicated errors; of which an impartial ftranger, under the name of Honorius Reggius, avapaatias, Georgius Hörnius having heard the report in his own country, came over on purpose into England for his particular and perfect information, and hath given the foreign churches a full and fad account thereof in a Latin narrative, which I have by me; whereby I find, that, if the Lord in mercy to us had not let in a third party with the common calamity upon us all, we ourfelves must in all probability have mutually ruined each other. But God faw other hands fitter for fuch dirty work than ours; and now it was time to reflect upon former follies, and tenew our ancient acquaintance in the common goals. And, through the goodness of God; this did fomewhat allay the heats of good men, and gave us fresh hopes of an hearty and lafting redintegration. We hoped the furnace might have purged our drofs, and melted our hearts into unity, both by discovering the evils for which the Lord afflicted us, and the fincerity of the fufferers hearts under thofe trials.Chriftians, (faith Mr. Jenkins) if we muft die, let us die like men, by an unanimous holy contention against the common enemy; not like fools! VÓL. VIII: X

71

by giving him our fword, and deftroying one another by

fchifms in our own bowels.'

But alas! alas! no fooner is the rod off our backs, and a refpite from fufferings given us, but we are prefently founding an alarm to the battle again, and, to my forrow, myself unavoidably engaged therein.

Friends, I have a witnefs in many of your bofoms, how 'peaceably and respectfully I have always carried it towards you, even to fuch a degree as began to bring me under the sufpicion of fome of your party, that I was inclining to their opinion, though I did not openly profefs it. But the true reasons of my moderation in this point were, (1.) That I ever did, and ftill do look upon many of you as Chriftians, found in the other great doctrines of the gofpel. (2.) That there are difficulties in this controverfy which may puzzle the minds of well-meaning Chriftians. (3.) I highly valued the peace of the church, and durft do nothing that tended to keep open the breaches upon a controverfy of this nature, you being for purity in doctrine and worship in most other controverted points, as well as we. (4.) I obferved how rare a thing it is for engaged parties to give ground.

Qui velit ingenio cedere, rarus erit.

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Mad difputants to reafon seldom yield.'

(5.) My head, heart, and hands have been filled with better employments, from which I am extremely loth to be diverted. If Bellarmine turned with loathing from school-divinity, because it wanted the fweet juice of piety, much more may I turn from fuch perverse disputes as thefe: Sure I may find as fair expofitions of fcripture, and as accurate and legitimate distinctions among the school-men, as in Mr. Tombes's Examen and Apology; or (which for the most part is but a tranfcript of both) in Mr. Cary's Solemn Call. But I fee I must not be my own chufer; I cannot now be both filent and innocent; for in this Solemn Call I find the great doctrines of God's covenants abused by my neighbonr; the books difperfed into many families related to me in this place, one of them delivered to me by the Author's own hands, with a preffing defire to give my judgment upon it: Several objections which I privately and feasonably fent him, to prevent the fin and folly of his attempt, pretended to be answered from p. 164. ad p. 183. Thus am I neceffarily brought into the field of controversy: whither I come not a volunteer, but a pressed man; not out of choice, but neceffity. And now I am here, I refolve to be.only Adverfarius litis, non perfone, an adverfary in the contro

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