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ry themselves externally like saints in all respects, remaining ungodly ; and mentioned some things which belonged to the external duty of godly men, which no ungodly man, remaining such, may do. To which Mr. William, makes no reply ; but to prove the point says, “ Mr. Stoddard knew, and all divines know, that the external carriage of some unsanctified men is, to the outward appearance, and the public judg. ment of the church, the same with the carriage of the saints ; and they know they are bound to such a behavior.” And this peremptory, confident assertion is all the argument he brings to prove the thing asserted.
Again, I observe, that sometimes Mr. Williams uses great exclamation, as though he intended to alarm, and excite terror in his readers, and raise their indignation : Though they are perhaps never like to know for what. We have two very remarkable instances of this, p. 136 and 137, where he says, “ I shall further take notice of two extraordinary and surprizing passages, if I understand them. And I have with great diligence tried to find out the meaning of them. One is p. 129, between the 17th and 23d lines; if it be rightly printed.” He does not quote my words : This mighty exclamation would have become too flat, and appeared ridiculous, if he had. The passage referred to is in these words.... Indeed such a tendency (i. e. a tendency to irreligion and profaneness) it would have, to shut men out from having any part in the Lord, in the sense of the two tribes and half, Josh. xxii. 25, or to fence them out by such a partition wall, as formerly was between Jews and Gentiles ; and so shut them out as to tell them, if they were never so much disposed to serve God, he was not ready to accept them : According to the notion the Jews seem to have had of the uncircumcised Gentiles." That is, plainly, to shut them out so as to tell them, that let them have hearts never so well and piously disposed to love and serve God, their love and service could not be accepted. This doubtless would have a tendency to discourage religion in men. And how the owning of it is an owning my scheme to have such a tendency, I do not know. Mr. Williams might as well have picked out any other sentence through all VOL. I.
the 136 pages of the book, and called it an extraordinary pago sage, and stood astonished over it, and told how he was ready to doubt whether it was rightly printed, and what great diligence he had used to find out the meaning of it !
The other extraordinary passage he stands thunderstruck with, is in these words ; « may it not be suspected, that this way of baptizing children of such as never make any proper profession of godliness, is an expedient, originally invented for that very end, to give ease to ancestors with respect to their posterity, in times of great declension and degeneracy ?” Mr. Williams knows, that through the whole of my book I suppose this practice of baptizing the children of such as are here spoken of, is wrong; and so does he too; for he abundantly allows, that persons, in order to be admitted to the privileges of visible saints, must make a profession of real piety, or gospel holiness. And if it be wrong, as we are both agreed, then surely it is nothing akin to blasphemy, to suspect that it arose from some bad cause.
Instances of the seventh particular, observed in Mr.
Williams's way of disputing, viz. His wholly overlooking argument, pretending there is no argument, nothing to answer ; when the case is far otherwise.
THUS in his reply to my tenth argument, which was this, “ It is necessary, that those who partake of the Lord's sup. per should judge themselves truly and cordially to accept Christ as their Saviour, and chief good; for this is what the actions, which communicants perform at the Lord's table, are a solemn profession of." I largely endeavored in p. 75, 76 and 77, to prove this, from the nature of those significant
actions, of receiving the symbols of Christ's body and blood when offered, representing their accepting the thing signified, as their spiritual food, &c. To all which Mr. Williams says, p. 74. “I do not find that Mr. Edwards has said any thing to prove the proposition, which is the whole argument offered here in proof of the point proposed to be proved, but only gives his opivion, or paraphrase of the purport and nature of the sacramental actions.” Since Mr. Williams esteems it no argument, I desire it may be considered impartially whether there be any argument in it or no.
These sacramental actions all allow to be significant actions: They are a signification and profession of something : They are not actions without a meaning. And all allow, that these external actions signify something inward and spiritual. And if they signify any thing spiritual, they doubtless signi. fy those spiritual things which they represent. But what in. ward thing does the outward taking or accepting the body and blood of Christ represent, but the inward accepting Christ's body and blood, or an accepting him in the heart ? And what spiritual thing is the outward feeding on Christ in this ordinance a sign of, but a spiritual feeding on Christ, or the soul's feeding on him ? Now there is no other way of the soul's feeding on him, but by that faith, by which Christ becomes our spiritual food, and the refreshment and vital nourishment of our souls. The outward eating and drinking in this ordi. nance is a sign of spiritual eating and drinking, as much as the outward bread in this ordinance is a sign of spiritual bread; or as much as the outward drink is a sign of spir. itual drink. And doubtless those actions, if they are a profession of any thing are a profession of the things they signify.* To say, that these significant actions are appointed
* Mr. Stoddard owns, that the sacramental actions, both in baptism and the Lord's supper, signify saving faith in Christ. Safety of Ap. p. 170.“ By baptism is signified our fellowship with Christ in his sufferings. That is sig. nified hereby, that we have an interest in the virtue of his sufferings, that his sufferings are made over unto us, and that we do participate in the good and benefit of them. It was John the Baptist's manner, betore he baptized per. sons, to teach then that they must believe on Christ, And the apostles and
to be a profession of something, but not to be a profession of the things they are appointed to signify, is as unreasonable as to say, that certain sounds or words are appointed to be a profession of something, but not to be a profession of the things signified by those words.
Again, Mr. Williams, in his reply to my answer to the second objection, with like contempt passes over the main argument wbich I offered, to prove that the nation of Israel were called God's people, and covenant people, in another sense besides a being visible saints. My argument in .p. 85, 86, was this : That it is manifest, that something diverse from being visible saints, is often intended by that nation's being called God's people, and that that nation, the family of Israel, according to the flesh, and not with regard to any moral and religious qualifications, were in some sense adopted by God, to be his peculiar and covenant people ; from Rom. ix. 3, 4, 5. “ I could wish myself accursed from Christ for my brethren according to the flesh; who are Israelites ; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory,and the COVENANTS,and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises ; whose are the fathers," &c. I observed, that these privileges here mentioned, are spoken of as belonging to the Jews, not now as visible saints, not as professors of the true religion, not as members of the visible church of Christ (which they did not belong to but only as a people of such a nation, such a blood, such an external, carnal relation to the patriarchs, their ancestors; Israelites, according to the flesh : Inasmuch as the apostle is speaking here of the unbelieving Jews, professed unbelievers, that were out of the Christian church, and open, visible enemies to it; and such as had no right at all to the external
apostolical men would not baptize any adult persons but such as professed to believe on Christ. " he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, Baptism is mentioned as the evidence of faith.” So concerning the Lord's supper, Ibid. p. 122, 123. « In this ordinance we are invited to put our trust in the death of Christ. Take, eat ; this is my body ; and drink ye all of it. When the body feeds on the sacramental bread and wine, the squl is to do that which answers unto it ; The soul is to feed on Christ crucified ; which is nothing else but the acting faith on bim,"
privileges of Christ's people. I observed further, that in like manner this apostle in Rom. xi. 28, 29, speaks of the same unbelieving Jews, that were enemies to the gospel, as in some respect an elect people, and interested in the calling, promises and covenants, God formerly gave their forefathers, and are still beloved for their sakes. “ As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes : But as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers' sakes. For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.
All that Mr. Williams says, which has any reference to these things, is, “ that he had read my explication of the “ name of the people of God, as given to the people of Israel, &c. But that he confesses, it is perfectly unintelligible to him." The impartial reader is left to judge, whether the matter did not require some other answer.
What is, and what is not begging the question; and
how Mr. Williams charges me, from time to time, with begging the question, without cause.
AMONG the particulars of Mr. Williams's method of disputing, I observed, that he often causelessly charges me with begging the question, while he frequently begs the question himself, or does that which is equivalent.
But that it may be determined with justice and clearness, who does, and who does not beg the question, I desire it may be particularly considered, what that is which is called begging the question in a dispute. This is more especially needful for the sake of illiterate readers. And here,
1. Let it be observed, that merely to suppose something in, a dispute, without bringing any argument to prove it, is not begging the question : For this is done necessarily, in every dispute, and even in the best and clearest demonstrations.