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Contr. No man can groundedly believe the hacial Low of God to bim, nor his own Election or Juftification, before the beb ryca before he find in himself)pecial
tour to God. Because he that batb no Ypecial love to God, most believe a lye if he behieve that he is juftificd, or that cvet God revealed to him that ht is cled, or specially beloved of God : and no than hath any evidentc or proofar all of his election, and Gods fpecial tort, till hc have this evidence of his special love to God. Til te know this, he cannot know that any other is fincere.
2. They that deny or blafphetne Gods common love to fallen man, and his universal pardoning Corepant, do their worft to keep men from being moved to the special Lm of God by his common Love : But when they have done their worst, it shall stand as a fure obligution. Is there not alon cnough to bind men to love God above all, wen* one that yet way be their happiness in his own infinite Goodness, and all the revelations of it by Chrift, and in his to loving the world, M to give bis only Son, that we bofoever believer in thu fhould not porn, but bate currlafting life. And in his giving a fret perdon of all lin to mankind, and offering life ttemal ro them, to that nonc but the final refufars that i loke it, ma intreating them to accept it, &c? Is not all this fufficient in reufon to more then to the love of God, if the Spirit help them to make rife of Rrafon (as he must do what Rrapons Totver are presented to them) unlels men think that God doth not oblige them by any kindncss which they can polibly rejea?. ox by my thing which many others do partake of?
Yet herc nore, thu by Gods common love to mit, I do not meid, any which he hath to Roprobates, under the confideration of final despisers of his Antecedent Live: But of the ArSecedent Love it all, which he hath Dhewed to loll mankind in Chrift.
And note also, that I do not deny but that Love of God in Come men may be true, wherс their own preamption that God hath cleacd them, and loved them above others, before they had any proof of it, was an additional motin : But this is not 14), and not Gods. Errour 43. Thas truking to any thing. Jaw Coll
, that has Cbrift, for our salvation, in fin and damnato.
Contr. Confufion chcatch and choakech mens underfanding. In a word, to truft to any thing bre God, and Chrift, and the holy Spirit, for any of that which is the proper part of God, of Christ, of the Spirit, is fin and damnablc. Bui ro truft to any thing or person, for that which is but his own part, is but our duty. And he that prayech, and rcadeth, and hcareth, and endeavoureth, and lookech to be never the better by them, nor trustcth them for their proper part, will be both heartless and formal in his work.
And I have shewed before, that the Scripturi, the Promises the Apoftles, the Minister, and every Cbriftian and boneft man, hath a cercain truft duo so sbem for that which is tbeir part, cycn in order to our salvation. I may trust only to the skil of the Physician, and yet truft his Apothecary, and the Boy that carrycth the Medicine for their part.
Errour 44. That it w finful, and contrary to free grase, to look at any tbing in our felves, or our own inberent rigbteousness, as ibe evidence of our Justification. Contr. Then no man
can know his Juftification at all. The Spirit of Holiness and Adoption in our selves, is our corncft of salvation, and the witness that we are Gods children, and the pledge of Gods love ; ss is proved before. This is Gods scal, as God knowcth who are his; lo he that will know it hinfell, muft depart from iniquity, when he nametb Chrift. If God fan&ific none but those whom he justificth, then may the fandificd know that they are juftified. Hath God delivered in Scriprurc so many figns or chara&ers of the justified in vain?
Obje&. The witness of tbe Spirit only can affure m.
Ans. You know not what ihe witness of the Spirit is; or elle you would know that it is the Spirit making us boly, and poffesling us with a filial love of God, and with a defire to please him, and a dependance on him, &c. which is the witness, even by way of an inberent evidence (and helping us to perCeive that evidence, and cake comfort in it.) As a childlike love, and a pleafing obedience, and dependence, with a likeness to the Father, is a witness, that is, an evidence which is your child. Errour 45. That it is forful to perfwode wicked men to prat
for Juftification, or any grace, or to do anything for it ; seeing tbeir prayers and doings are abaninable to God, and cannot please bim.
Contr. Then it is finful to perswade a wicked man from his wickedness: Praying and obeying, is depirring from wickednels. He that prayech to be fanctified indeed, is repencing and furning from his fin to God. We never exhort wicked men to pray with the tongue, without the desire of the heart. Defire is the soul of prayer, and words are but the body : Wc perswade them not to diffemble : But as Peter did Simon, A&. 8. Repent and pray for forgiveness. And if we may not exhort them to good delires (and to excite and express the beft defires they have) we may not exhort them to conversion, I/. 55.6, 10. Seek the Lord wbile be may be found, and call upon bim wbile be in neer. Let the wicked forsake bis way, &c. You fee there that praying is a repenting act; and when we cxhort them to pray, we cxhort them to repent and seck God.
Objed. But tbry.bade no ability to do it.
Ans. Thus the Devil would excuse finners, and accusc God. Thus you may put by all Gods commands, and say, God should not have commanded them to repent, belicve, love him, obcy him, nor love one another, nor forbear their fins ; for they have no ability to do it. But they have their natural faculties, or powers, and they have common grace ; and Gods way of giving them special grace, is by mcering them in the use of his appointed means; and not by meeting them in an Ale-houss, or in sinful courses. (However a foul may be met with in his persecuting, and God may be found of them that fought him noti ye that is not his usual, nor his appointed way,) Can any man of reason dream that it is not che duty of a wicked man to use any means for the obraining of grace, or to be better ; nor to do any thing towards his own recovery and falvation ... Nature and Scripture teach men as foon as they see their fin and milery, to fay, Whu mult I do to be saved? As the repenting Jews, and Paul, and the Jaylor did, Ads 2.37. & APs 8. & 16.
The prayers of a wicked man as wicked, are abominables that is, both his wicked prayers, and his praying to quict and frengthen himself in his wickedacks, or praying with the
tongue without the heart. The prayers which come ftom a common faith, and common good defires, are better than none, but have no promise of Justification. But the wicked must be exhorted both to this, and more, even to repent, defire and pray fiacerely,
Errour 46. It is finful, and against free grace, to think that any works or adions of our own, are rewardsble; or to say, tbat tbey are meritorious, i bougb is be notbing but rewardableness tbat is meant by it.
Contr. The Papifts have fo much abused the word merit, by many dangerous opinions about it, that it is now become more unmect to be ufed by us than it was in ancient times, when the Doctors and Churches (even Austin himself)did commonly ulc it. But if nothing be meant by it, but rewardableness, or the selation of a duty to the reward as freely promised by God. (as many Papifts themselves understand it, and the ancient Fathers gencrally did) he that will charge a man with errour in do&rinc for the use of an inconvenient word, is uncharia table and perversc ; especially when it is orher mens abuse, which hath donc molt to make it inconvenient. The merit of the cause is a common phrafc among all Lawyers, when there is commutative mesiting intended. I havs fully thewed in my
. Confefion, that the Scripture frequently useth the word [wor. sby] which is the same or full as much: And a subje& may be said to merit protection of his Prince ; and a scholar to merit praise of bis Matter, and a child to deserve love and respect from his Parents, and all this in no refpe&t to commutative 3*ftige, wherein the Rewarder is fuppofed to be a gainer at all; but only in governing distribusive Juftice, which giveth every onc that which (by gift or any way) is his duc. And thac cvery good man, and every good a&ion, deferveth praise, that is, to be esteemed such as it is. And that there is alfo a contin parative merit, and a not meriting evil : As a Believer may be said not to deferve damnation by the Covenant of Grace, but only by (or according to the Law of Nature or Works.
But to pass from the word merit (which I had rather were quite difufed, becaufc the danger is greater than the benefic) the thing fignified thus by it, is patt all disputc, diz. that whatcvir duty God hath promised å keward io, that dury of work
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is. Rewardable according to the tenour of that promisc: And they that deny this, deny Gods Laws, and Government, and Judgement, and his Covenant of Grace, and leave not themfelves onc promisc for faith to reft upon: So certainly would all these persons bc damned, if God in mercy did not keep them from digesting their own errours, and bringing thcom into predicc.
Grour 47. God is pleased witb w only for the rigbteanswers of Cbrift, and not for any thing in our felves.
Contr. This is tufficiently answered before. He blafphemeth God, who chinketh that he is no better pleased with holiness than with wickednekswith well doing, than' with ill doing. Ibey tbat are in tbe flesh cannot please God, Rom. 8. 6,7. buc the spiritual and obedient may. Without faith it is imposible to please bime, becausc unbelievers think not that he is a Rewarder, and therefore will not seek his reward aright : But they that will please him, muft believe that be is, and ibat be is a rewarder of them skat diligently seek bin, Heb. 11.6. They forget not to do good and diftribute, because with such sacrifices God is wel pleased, Heb. 13. And in a word, it is the work of all their lives to labour, ibat webether living or dying tbey may be accepted . of bim, 2 Cor. 5. 8, 9, and to be such, and to do those things as are pleafing in bis figbt. Nay, I will add, that as the glory of God, that is, the glorious demonstration or appearance of bimself in bis voorks, is materially the ultimate end of man ; so the pleafing of bimself in this his glory shining in his Image andWorks, is the very apex, or highet formal norion of this ul. cimarc end of God ard of man, as far as is within our rcach.
No mans works please God out of Chrif, both because they are unfound and bad in the spring and end, and because their Pauliness is not pardoned." But in Chrift, the persons and duties of the godly are pleafing to God, because they have his Image, and are fincerely good, and becausc their former fins, and present imperfections arc forgiven for the sake of Chrif (who Dever reconciled God to wickedness.
Errour 48. It is wircenary to work for a reward, and legal to set men on doing for salvation. Contr. It is legal or foolish to think of working for any