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of religion ; aud doubtless that is in its proper place : Nor do i fee how they can free themselves from par:icipation in your ba, till they have admonished you for it, and caused you to expuga : it out of
book. (6.) That is a settling of your thresholds by God's threshold : These words you recite from Ezek. xliii. 8. which speak of the idolatrous kings of Judah and Israel building temples and altars for their idols, in or near the courts of the temple of God; as the English annotations on the text will inform you; an abomiDation that defiled God's holy name, a wickednefs not to be named, and for which the Lord confumed them, and calls it whoredom in the next words. Here, lir, you have exceeded all the bounds of society and Christian charity, and made this circumstantial difference about the proper subject of baptism the grosfest heatheoish idolatry in the world, and coosequeotly dif." solved the bonds of Christian charity, and broken off all communion with us; for with such idolaters you ought not to have aby communion.
Your more wife and moderate brethren, in the place abovecited, tell us, · They are loth hereby to alienate their affections' or conversatioos from any
that fear the Lord, and are willing to participate of the labours of those whom God hath endued • with abilities above themselves; qualified and called to the mi
Distry of the word; desirous of peace, and not of renewed contests hereabout.' This is a language of another air : And if they be (as I dare not faspect but they arel) sincere in that profession, they dare not comprobate such a defperate and unchristian censure as yours is : If they do, theo we may easily guess what our lor and treatment shall be, whenever Anabaptism gets the ascendant in England; we may expect as civil ufage as is due to gross idolaters, and no better : But I hope better things.
(7.) You say, that as these things are of highest concerament, fo they ought to be our most serious practice and endeavour, page 243. ult. Good Lord! whither bath zeal for an opinion trantported you ! Our most serious practice and endeavour! Sir, I thought the most serious practice of a minister had been to preach Christ aod salvation to the souls of men, and not to bap. rize : I am sure St. Paul reckoned fo; Christ fent me nof to baptize, but to preach; that is, baptism is not my principal work, or main business. And ver. 141h, he thanks God he had baptized none of them but Crispus and Gaius. I believe he never uttered such an expression about his other work of preaching Chrift. And for all Christians, I thought the securing of their
interest in Christ, living in the duties of communion with him, watching their hearts, and mortifying their corruptions, had been the object matter of their most serious practice, and faithful endeavour; and not the litigations about baptism. But I hope these were only inconfiderate expressions, falling from your pen, whilft you were in a paroxilm of zeal, or a traosport in the height of a conceited triumph: But whatever was the cause, I am sure you ought to revoke and repent such words.
(8.) You wish your testimony rise not up at last as a witness against us. Sir, we do not apprehend any cause we have to fear your testimony agaiost us, or severelt censures of us, whilft we are satisfied, that as you neither have the faculty or com mission to be our judge, fo deither is there aoy coaviaciag evideace in your reply to our arguments. But I think you have much more cause to fear, left those arguments should coine iu at last as a witness against you, who deny aod contemo them ; when, mean time, you are put to most lamentable shifts, even contradictions, and somewhat worse, to escape the point and edge of them.
(..) To conclude, You tell us, we must not expect the special presence of Christ to be afforded to us, without our compliance in these points with you.
Sir, we never yer deserted the judgment or practice of infants baptism, and yet have had (blessed be Jesus Christ for it) great and manifold, sweet and figoal proofs and evidences of his presence with us : He hath owned and blessed our ministry to the conversiou of many; and there are some, and those not mean, or few, of our spiritual children, now in your societies in England, who have acknowledged us to be the first iostru. ments of their conversion : The Lord lay it not to their charge, who now desert that ministry in which they first received Chrilt! But as for the departure of his presence, I assure you, friend, I am more afraid of the rents and divisions you now renew fo un seasonably among the churches of Chrilt, than of any one thing amongst us beside. It grieved my soul to see you, quieta movere, awake a sleeping controversy, especially ia such a feason, when we are little more than half delivered from our enemies and dangers ; you take us by the heel, as Jacob did his brother, whilft but yet in the birth. Sir, except you return to a more quiet and Christian temper, chaa you seem here to be in, I am out of hope that ever you aod i Mall see those blessed days, we have fo often, with pleasure, comforted ourselves with the hopes of. However, extend
kout charity (if you have any left) so far; as to believe that I am one, notwithstanding of all this, that am itudious of the church's peace, and inquisitive into the rules of duty; not daring to hold any truth of God in unrighteousness; and yet well satisfied I am in the path of my duty, wherein, though we cannot walk together, yet I hope to meet you at the end of our way; in our Father's house, where perfect light and peace dwells.
And here I had put an end to this debate, had I not received your return to some of these sheets, whilst the last of them was under my hand'; wherein I only find four things in which I am concerned. In general, you tell me, You are not con
vinced of any error, by what I have faid.' I am sorry to hear it : But considering the nature of error on one side; and the difficulty of self-denial on the other, you have not much deceived my expectation. More particularly,
(1.) You fay, As to your hooking the Sinai coveriant into this controversy, I gave you the first occasion of it ; for when you shewed me your papers about God's covenant with Abraham, I told you, that you were best first to try if you
could prove the covenant at Sinai to be a covenant of works ; forafmuch as our divines are so far from conceiting the covenant with Abraham to be a covenant of works; that they will not allow the Sinai law itself to be fo; and to convince you of it; I lent you Mr. Roberts and Mr. Sedgwick on the covenant, to enlighten and satisfy you about it: But little did I think you had confideuce enough to enter the lists with two such learned and eminent divines, and make them to follow your triumphant chariot, shackled with the incomparable Baxter and Allen, Sydenham and Burthogg, like three pair of noble prisoners of
But whatever was the occalion (setting afide your fm) I am not sorry you have given a fit opportunity to enlighten the world in that point also.
(2.) You seem to fancy in your lettef, that I once was of your opinion about the moral law, because you find these pafsages in a sermon of mine, upon John viii. 36. “ If the Son " therefore shall make you free; than are you free indeed ;** viz.
• That the law required perfect working, 'under pain of that $ curse; accepted no short endeavours, admitted no repent
ance, and gave no ftrength. But finding me here pleading for the law, you think you find me in a contradiction to that doctrine.
The words I own; the contradiction I positively deny'; for I speak not there, and here, ad idem ; for in that sermon, and in those very words you cite, I speak against the law, not as God intended it, when he added it to the promise ; but as the ignorance and infidelity of unregenerate men, make it to themselves a covenánt of works, by looking upon it as the very rule and reason of their justification before God: This was the stumbling-stone at which all legal jufticiaries then did, and still do stumble, Rom. ix. 31, 32, 33. In this sense the apostle, in his epiftles to the Romans and Galatians, argues against the law, and fo do I in the words you cite ; but vindicate the law in the very fame fermon you mention, as consistent with, and subservient to Chrift, in the former sense; and there tell you, • The law sends us to Christ to be justified; and Christ sends as « back to the law to be regulated. The very fame double sense of the law you will find in this discourse, and from the miftaken end and abuse of the law, which the apostle fo vehemently opposeth, I here prove against you, that the law in this fenfe cannot confift with, or be added to the promise; and therefore make it my medium to prove against you, that the true nature and denomination of the Sinai law, can never. be found in this sense of it, but it must be estimated and denominated from the purpose and intention of God, which I have proved to be evangelical. Try your fkill to faften a contradiction betwixt my words in that sermon and this difcourse.
I know you would be glad to find the shadow of one, to make some imall excuse, or atonement for the many
faults of that nature you
have here committed. (3.). Your letter also informs me, that
hear fwered by one hand already; and, for ought you know, many more may be employed against you, and I for one; and to we shall compass you about like bees.
Reply. I have only seen Mr. Whiston's little book against your brother Grantham, wherein he hath baffled two of your principal arguments ; but you only come in collaterally there, and must not look upon it as a full answer to your book, but only as a lash for your folly, en passant. And for our compasling you about like bees, methinks you seem to be elated in your own fancy, by the supposition, or expectation, of a mul titude of opponents. You know as well as I, who it is that glories in this motto, Unus contra omnes.
Sir, I think your mind may be much at rest in that matter. Of all the six fanous adversaries mentioned in your title page, there are but
you are ani
$W.0 living: and you know, Mortui non mordent ; 'and of the remaining two, one of them, viz. Mr. Baxter, is almost in beaven, living in the daily views, and chearful expectations of the saints everlifting rest with GOD; and is left for a little while among us, as a great example of the life of faith. * And it is questionable with me, whether such a great and hea
venly foul can find any leisure or disposition to attend such a weak and trivial discourse as this.
And as for myself, you need not much feas me; I have not, neither do I intend to vibrate my fting against you, unless I find you infecting or disturbing that hive to which I belong, and to which I am daily gathering and carrying honey; and then who but a drone would not fting.
(4.) To conclude: in the close of your letter you fall into the former strain of love, assuring me, 'That the ancient friendthip of so many years, shall still continue on your part.'
Reply. All that I shall return to this, is only to relate a short story out of Plutarch, in the life of Alexander; where he tells ús, That whilft he was warring in the Indies, one Taxiles an Indian king, came with his company to meet him; and faluting Alexander, said, "What need you and I to fight and
war. one upon another? If thou.comest not to take
water, and the necessaries of life from us, for which we • must needs fight : As for other goods, if I am richer than
thee, I am ready to give thee of mine; and if I have lefs, I
will not think ícorn to thank thee for thine.' Alexander, highly pleased with his words, made him this reply; " Think
est thou, that this meeting of ours can be without fighting ? • No, no; thou halt won nothing by all thy fair words ; for I ' will fight and contend with thee in honesty and courtesy, i and thou shalt not exceed me in bounty and liberality.'
I say with Taxiles, I had never armed against you, had you not come to take away our water, and the necessaries of life; I mean, the covenant of God with Abraham, which contains the rich charter of the Gentile believers children, and make it an abolished Adam's cevenant, and told us, that we must come up to the primitive purity in these things; that is, in renouncing it as a covenant of grace, and relinquishing infants baptism, as grounded thereon.
Sir, were my own father alive, I must and would oppofe him, should he attempt what here you do. Infant-baptism, with you is not; fingimg of psalms, that plain and heavenly gopel ordinance, with you, is not; and will you take away our