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certain knowledge of the fact, about which he had given his evidence; and he should say, 'No, I am not certain of it; but I hope it is so ; it is my prevailing opinion ; although I must confess I have many doubts and fears whether there is any truth in it or not.? Would not all mankind agree to call such a one a perjured person, who had taken a false oath ?" No one, therefore, according to his scheme, may profess that he believes the gospel to be true, unless he is infallibly certain of the fact, that he does believe it to be true. But if regeneration and this belief are infallibly connected, then this professor must be infallibly certain of his regeneration; and so not one soul, on Mr. Mr. M.'s scheme, may or can be admitted into the church, as graceless. And thus his scheme overthrows itself. Nor is there any way to avoid this, but for Mr. M. to

“A man may be infallibly certain of the truth of the gospel, and so of God's readiness to be reconciled to sinners, as therein revealed ; and yet, after all, remain totally depraved, and an enemy to God.” But to say this, would be to give up the fundamental principle on which his whole scheme is built, namely, that the true and the only reason" of total depravity is the apprehension, that it is inconsistent with the divine perfections to forgive sin ; in which view “self-love and the love of God are inconsistent." And if this is given up, his whole scheme sinks of course ; for if this is not the true and only reason of total depravity, he is wholly wrong, from the foundation to the top stone. And if an apprehension that it is inconsistent with the divine perfections to forgive sin, is the true and only reason of total depravity, then a belief that God can consistently forgive sin, would at once regenerate us; for it is an old maxim, Remove the cause and the effect will cease.

Every man, therefore, according to Mr. M., who believes the gospel to be true, is at once reconciled to God. Nor may any be received into the church until they believe it to be true. And so no graceless man, as such, can be admitted into the church ; because no infidel, as such, may be admitted ; and all but infidels are regenerate, if Mr. M.'s scheme is true. And then the scheme of religion which he has advanced, in order to support the external covenant, were it true, would effectually overthrow the grand point he had in view.

SECTION XI.

THE EXTRAORDINARY METHODS MR. MATHER HAS TAKEN TO SUP.

PORT HIS SCHEME, AND KEEP HIMSELF IN COUNTENANCE.

The ordinary methods of supporting religious principles by Scripture and reason, which Mr. M. has taken to support his external covenant, we have already attended to. And I think Mr. M. is much to be commended for coming out boldly, like an honest man, and giving the public such an honest account of his scheme of religion, by which he designed to support what he had advanced in his former piece concerning the external covenant. If every writer on that side of the question would do the same, the controversy would soon come to an end.

But there are various other methods, which Mr. M. has taken to keep himself in countenance, and to persuade his readers that his scheme is right, and that the plan is wrong on which the churches in New England were formed, when this country was first settled ; and particularly that the synod at Saybrook were wrong, in that resolve which they unanimously came into namely, “That none ought to be admitted as members, in order to full communion in all the special ordinances of the gospel, but such as credibly profess a cordial subjection to Jesus Christ;” various other methods, I say, of a different nature, and which are not so commendable.

1. One extraordinary method he takes to keep himself in countenance is, to pretend that I had “wholly misrepresented his sentiments,” and given his scheme “the bad name of a graceless covenant," and pointed “all my arguments, not against any thing that he had written," nor so much as “essayed to confute one single argument" that he had offered. . This pretence is very extraordinary. 1. Because, if his covenant is not a graceless covenant, it will not answer the end by him proposed. For if it does not promise its blessings to graceless men, as such, upon graceless conditions, then graceless men, as such, with only graceless qualifications, cannot enter into it; for he affirms, that none can consistenly profess a compliance with the covenant of grace, without the most full and perfect assurance. 2. This pretence is very extraordinary, because he had, in his first book, declared his external covenant, in express terms, to be “ distinct from the covenant of grace ;” and in his second book sets himself professedly to prove the same point over again. But if his external covenant

is “distinct from the covenant of grace,” it is either the covenant of works, or a graceless covenant, or a covenant which requires no conditions at all ; for no other sort of covenant can be thought of. But if Mr. M.'s external covenant is absolute and unconditional, then a Pagan, a Turk, or a Jew, as such, hath as good right to the Lord's table, as to hear the gospel preached. And if his external covenant is the same with the covenant of works, then no mere man since the fall is qualified to join with the church. And if his external covenant is the covenant of grace, then no graceless man, as such, is qualified to enter into it and seal it. It is, therefore, nay, it must be, a graceless covenant, or nothing at all. 3. This pretence is very extraordinary, because Mr. M. was so pinched with what I had advanced against his scheme, that he had no way to get rid of my arguments, but to deny first principles, and give up the doctrines contained in the public approved formulas of the church of Scotland, and the churches in New England, and advance a new scheme of religion, never before published in New England. And why did not he point out at least one single argument of his, which he judged to be unanswered? Or why did not he mention one single instance, wherein I had represented his covenant to be more graceless than it was? Or what need was there, if I had said nothing to the purpose, to expose himself and his cause, by the publication of such a system of new notions, to make all the country stare ?

2. The loud outcry which he makes of new divinity! new divinity! is another of the extraordinary methods which he takes to keep himself in countenance. And it is very extraordinary in him to raise this cry, on this occasion, in answer to me, and that when he himself was writing such an answer. 1. Because I was justifying the old scheine, on which our churches in this country were originally settled —the good old way; and

nant.

Mr. M. offered five arguments, in his first book, to support his external cove

These tive arguments the reader may find answered in my former piece. And if he will read my piece through, he may find the two points fully proved, which I undertook to prove, on which the whole controversy turns, namely, That there is but one covenant, of which baptism and the Lord's supper are seals, even the covenant of grace; and that the doctrinc of an external graceless covenant is unscriptural. Some wonder why Mr. M. did not make a particular reply, and wonder more why, instead of a particular reply, he should advance such an inconsistent, absurd, shocking scheme of religion, in support of the external covenant, which, instead of supporting, rather tends to sink it. For, say they, if the external covenant cannot be supported without going into this scheme of religion, we will give it up. But I wonder not at Mr. M.'s conduct in all this. "The external covenant cannot be supported but by overthrowing the Scripture scheme of religion, and establishing Mr. M.'s scheme in its room. His scheme of religion is absolutely necessary to support his external covenant. Without the introduction of Mr. M.'s new scheme of religion, my former picce can receive no answer at all. He could not be silent. He must take this way, or none at all. VOL. II.

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he wrote with a design to bring in a new scheme, called by the name of the external covenant, both name and thing unknown in all the public formulas approved by our churches, and absolutely inconsistent with some of the fundamental articles of our confession of faith and catechisms. 2. Because, in order to justify the good old way, and confute his new scheme, I built my arguments on the good old Protestant doctrines of the perfection of the divine law, and total depravity, as held forth in Scripture, and in our public formulas, without any one new sentiment; yea, without expressing old sentiments in stronger language than the language of Scripture, and of that confession of faith, which Mr. M. himself professes to believe; while, on the other hand, Mr. M. was writing not only in defence of a new scheme, but endeavoring to justify it by a whole system of new divinity, never before advanced, so far as I know, in New England. However, it is not entirely new. It was some years ago published in London, by Mr. Cudworth, and an answer to it was printed in Boston, 1762, in “An Essay on the Nature and Glory of the Gospel,” before referred to.

3. Another extraordinary method which he takes to keep himself in countenance, is, to impute the most absurd and odious doctrines to those whom he opposes, which neither they nor any Christian writer ever believed to be true ; particularly, " that the enmity of the carnal mind against God consists in disinterested malice; that in regeneration, new natural faculties are created in us; that the unregenerate, being without these new natural faculties, let their hearts be ever so good, are under a natural impossibility of hearkening to the call of the gospel ; that we must be willing to be damned in order to be prepared for Christ ; that Christ has no hand in our reconciliation to God.” To be sure, I was never acquainted with any man, or any book, which held these points. Should it be affirmed concerning a very poor and very lazy man, that, although he is convinced in his conscience, that it is his duty and interest to be industrious, yet the more he thinks of it, the more averse he feels to it, would this amount to saying, that this lazy man has a disinterested malice against industry ? Or, should it be affirmed concerning the unregenerate, that God hath not given them eyes to see nor ears to hear, would this amount to saying, that they are destitute of eyes or ears, considered as natural faculties, and so can neither see nor hear; and therefore are not at all to blame for their spiritual blindness and deafness ? Or, should a wise and good father, when his impudent, haughty child, about to be corrected for a crime, insolently says, “ Well, father, if you do whip me, I shall never love you again as long as I live;" should a

wise and good father say to such a child, “You deserve to be whipped, nor will I ever forgive you until you will own that it is good enough for you, and that it is not a blemish, but a beauty, in your father's character, to be disposed to maintain good government in his house,” would that amount to saying, that the child must be willing to be whipped in order to prepare him for a pardon? Or if, by the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, communicated through Jesus Christ, the only Mediator, as the fruits of his purchase, the holiness and justice of the divine nature are viewed as a beauty in the divine character, by the true penitent, will it hence follow, “that there was no need of Christ to die, or to be exalted, that through him, repentance and remission of sins might be given unto us, consistently with the divine law"? It is true that there is no need of Christ to make us amends for the injury done us in the divine law, and so to reconcile our angry minds to the Deity, and bring us to forgive our Maker. Such a Christ would suit the taste of a carnal heart. But a true penitent, having a new taste, already grants that God and his law are wholly right, perfect in beauty, without a blemish, prior to the consideration of the gift of Christ; and this prepares him to see the wisdom and grace of God, in giving his Son to die upon the cross, in the manner, and for the purpose, set forth in the gospel. (Rom. iii. 25. 1 Cor. i. 18.)

4. Another extraordinary method Mr. M. has taken, is to insinuate, that the sacramental controversy turns on these absurd doctrines; whereas, in truth, he cannot produce an instance of any one writer, on our side of the question, who ever believed these absurd doctrines, much less ever built his arguments on them. Let him read Mr. Richard Baxter, Dr. Watts, Dr. Guise, Dr. Doddridge, Mr. Henry, Mr. Flavel, and look through the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms, and read over President Edwards, Mr. Green, and others in these parts of the world, who have written on the subject, and he will not find a syllable to countenance him in such an insinuation. Nay, the chief of the arguments used, by writers on our side of the question, are conclusive, to prove that baptism and the Lord's supper are seals of the covenant of grace, and of no other covenant, without entering into any dispute about the perfection of the divine law, total depravity, regeneration, etc. The point is so clear and plain, that Calvinists, Arminians, Neonomians, Arians, etc., have agreed in this, while they have differed in almost every thing else. If we may believe Dr. Increase Mather, it was, in his day, the “common doctrine ” of Protestants in opposition to Papists, "that it is a justifying faith only which

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