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Guide to Christ, p. 26. That they do not believe the testimony of God, do not lay weight on the word of God; that they do not believe the report of the gospel." Safety of Ap. Edit. 2. p. 229. That they do “ not receive God's testimony, nor lay weight on it.” (Ibid p. 99, that « There is no man, how great soever his profession, how large soever his knowledge that continues in a natural condition, who thoroughly believes that truth ;" i. e. that men may be saved by Christ's righteousness. Ibid. p. 4 and 5. That “common illumination does not convince men of the truth of the gospel.” Benef. of the Gosp. p. 148, 149. How then could it be the doctrine Mr. Stoddard taught, that natural men may really and with all their hearts believe and be convinced of the truth of the gospel ?
And Mr. Williams himself in his sermons on Christ a King and Witne88, p. 144, 115, says, “ man since the fall is naturally ignorant of divine truth, and an enemy to it, and full of prejudices against the truth" And says, further, Ibid, p. 114.“ The renewing of the Holy Ghost makes an universal change of the heart and life....He knows the doctrine contained in the bible in a new manner.... Before he had a view of the truth as a doubtful uncertain thing; he received it as a thing which was probably true ;-and perhaps for the most part it appeared something likely to answer the end proposed. But now the gospel appears to him divinely true and real, &c.” But how do these things consist with men's being before conversion, sincerely and with all their hearts convinced of the divine truth of the gospel ? Can that be, and yet men view it as a doubtful, uncertain thing, it not yet appearing to them di. vinely true and real ?
Again, Mr. Williams supposes, that some unsanctified men may speak true, and profess“ an hearty consent to the terms of the covenant of grace, a compliance with the call of the gospel, submission to the proposals, of it, satisfaction with that device for our salvation that is revealed in the gospel, and with the offer which God inakes of himself to be our God in Christ Jesus, a fervent desire of Christ and the benefits of the çovenant of grace, and an earnest purpose and resolution to
seek salvation on the terms of it, (p. 11) and a falling in with the terms of salvation proposed in the gospel, with a renouncing of all other ways (which he speaks of as agreeable to Mr. Stoddard's opinion, p. 32.) Quite contrary to the current doctrine of Calvinistic divines ; contrary to the opinion of Mr. Guthrie, whom he cites as a witness in his favor, (Pref. p. 4) who insists on satisfacrion with that device for our salvation which is revealed in the gospel, and with the offer which God makes of himself to be our God in Christ, as the peculiar nature of saving faith. And contrary to the principles of Mr. Perkins (another author he quotes as his voucher) delivered in these very words, which Mr. Williams cites in the present point, (p. 11)“ That a desire of the favor and mercy of God in Christ, and the means to attain that favor, is a special grace of God, and hath the promise of blessedness :.... That wicked men cannot sincerely desire these means of eternal life, faith, repentance, mortification, reconciliation, &c." And exceeding contrary to the constant doctrine of Mr. Stoddard, (though he says it was his opinion) who ever insisted, that all uncona verted sinners under the gospel are so far from heartily consenting to the covenant of grace, and complying with the call of the gospel, and falling in with the terms of salvation proposed in it, renouncing all other ways, as Mr. Williams supposes, that they are wilful rejectors of Christ, despisers of the gospel, and obstinate refusers of offered mercy. So he says, “the man that has but common grace....sets himself against the way of salvation which God prescribes." Nat. of Sav. Conv. p. 10. “ In awakened sinners, it is not merely from weakness, but from pride and sturdiness of spirit, that they do not come to Christ." Safety of Ap. p. 229. And in other places he says, that it is “ from the hardness and stubbornness of natural men's hearts,” that they do not comply with the gos. pel : That “there is a mighty opposition in their hearts to believe in Christ,” because it is “ cross to their haughty spirit : That they are enemies to this way of salvation : That they are dreadfully averse to come to Christ." See Book of 3 Sermons, p. 84. Guide to Christ, p. 55. Safety of Ap. p. 106, and 194.
And this scheme of our author is in a no less glaring man der contrary to the doctrine of Mr. Williams himself, in his sermon on Isa. xlv. 11. (p. 25, 26, 27. Speaking to those « whose natures remain unrenewed and unsanctified. See his words, p. 25, he says p. 27. “ You are opposing all the means of your own deliverance and salvation. The offers of grace, the allurements and invitations of the great Saviour of the world, have all been ineffectual to persuade you to accept of deliverance from a slavery you are willingly beld in. Nay, you strive against the liberty of the sons of God, and labor to find out all manner of difficulties and hindrances in the way of it. If you pray for it, you do not desire it should yet come, but would stay a while longer," And are these the persons who can truly profess, that they comply with the call of the gospel, and submit to the proposals of it, and are satisfied with the device for our salvation, and with the offers of the gospel, and consent to the terms of the covenant of grace with all their hearts, renouncing all other ways ?.... It is not much more easy to make these things consist with what he says in his answer to Mr. Croswell, (p. 26.) he there says, “ there is not a son nor daughter of Adam excluded from salvation, who will accept Christ upon God's offer, and take him in his person and offices, and whole work of redemption, to be their Saviour, and they find themselves willing to accept of Christ as so offered to them, and PLEASED WITH THAT DEVICE for their salvation, and heartily choosing him to be to them and in them, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption." See also to the same purpose, Ibid. p. 32, 33, and 94.
Mr. Williams, though he holds, that it is lawful for some unsanctified men to come to sacraments,yet supposes it not to be lawful for those that are lukewarm in religion to come. P. 35. So that according to his scheme, some unsanctified professors are above lukewarmness ; that is to say, their hearts within them are truly hot or fervent with Christian zeal, and they such as Christ will never spue out of his mouth ; in a great inconsistence with the scripture. He suggests, that it is an injury done to the cause of truth, in me, to represent Mr. Stoddard as being of another opinion, (p. 35) but let vs see whether such a representation be an injury to truth or DO. Mr. Stoddard taught, that natural men have “ no sincerity in them.” Guide to Christ p. 60, 61. That their hearts are dead as a stone, that there is no disposition or inclination to any thing that is good, but a total emptiness of all goodness." Ibid. p. 63. That “ some of them have considerable shews of goodness, there is an appearance of good desires, &c. but there is nothing of goodness in all this ; that all they do is in hypocrisy," Benef. of the Gosp. 73. That “they are acted by a lust of selflove in all their religion: If they are swept and garnished, they are empty: There may be some similitude of faith and love, but no reality, not a spark of good. ness in their hearts; though corruption may be restrained, yet it reigns." He speaks abundantly to the same purpose in his sermon, entitled, Natural men are under the government of selflove.. .
And Mr. Williams himself in his sermon on Psal. xci. I. describing carnal men, by which he means the same with unconverted men (as is evident through the book, particularly p. 36) he says, p. 27, 28. That to such “ religion looks like a dull, unpleasant kind of exercise, and so different from the sensual joys and pleasures which they choose, that they hate to set about it, as long as they dare let it alone ; and would do as little as ever they can at it : That when they durst not let it alone any longer, they set about it, but would fain dispatch it as soon, and as easily as they can ; because it seems to them a miserable, uncomfortable sort of life. Ask your own conscience (says he) see if this be not the truth of the case." Now let the reader judge, whether this be a description of persons whom it would be injurious to represent as having nothing above lukewarmne88.
Another thing, which Mr. Williams supposes must be professed in order to come to sacraments, and therefore accord.' ing to him is what an unsanctified man can profess, and speak true, is, “That they with all their hearts cast themselves upon the mercy of God, to help them to keep covenant.” P. 31 and 32. And yet elsewhere be mentions a depending on
Christ for things of this nature, as a discriminating mark of a true Christian. Ser. on Christ a king and witness, p. 19. Under a use of examination, he there says, “ Do you depend on Christ to protect you from all your spiritual enemies, to restore you to holiness, to subdue all your heart to the will of God, to make you partakers of his image and moral perfections, and in that way to preserve and lead you to your true perfection and eternal happiness ?”
Mr. Williams supposes, p. 36, that the profession men must make in order to come to sacraments, implies real friendship to God, “ loving God more than his enemies, loving him above the world ;” and therefore according to Mr. Williams, unsanctified men may make this profession also, and speak true ; contrary to the whole current of scripture, which represents unsanctified men as “ the enemies of God, those that have not the love of God in them, under the power of a carnal mind, &c." And contrary to the unanimous voice of all sound divines, yea, of the whole Christian world. Mr. Williams in the forementioned place blames me,that I had intimated (as he supposes) that the profession which Mr. Stoddard taugit to be necessary, did not imply · real friendship, and loving God above his enemies, and above the world." Let us then compare this with Mr Stoddard's doctrine, as that is extant in his writings. He speaks of it as a “ property of saving grace, wherein it specifically differs from common grace, that a true love to God prizes God above all the world. Nat. of Conv. p. 7. « That every natural man prefers vain and base things before God.” Ibid. p. 96. “That they are all enemies to God, and the very being of God.” Ibid. p. 5, and 97. “That their hearts are full of enmity to God.” Ibid. p. 55. “ That they have an aversion to those gracious actions of loving God, and trusting in Christ, and are under the dominion of a contrary inclination.” Ibid. p. 67. “ That those of them whose consciences are enlightened, and are reforming their lives, have no love ; and that it is a burden to them that they suspect there is such a God, that they wish there was not such an one. And that they are haters of God, and are so addicted to their own interest, that they have a bitter spirit towards God,